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Student Artists Show How To Make Every Drop Count

Student Artists Show How To Make
Every Drop Count

South Florida is surrounded by water. And with summer, comes the rainy season. But while it’s one of the wettest areas of the country, with more than 50 inches of rainfall a year, there’s always the danger of drought conditions.

Conserving our water supply year-round is key, and elementary and middle school students in Wellington and across the state are being recognized for turning their water conservation ideas into award-winning works of art through the Drop Savers poster contest.

“This is an educational component of our water conservation effort,” Wellington Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque explained.

The Drop Savers poster contest is an effort by the Florida Statewide American Waterworks Association. Students are encouraged to create posters depicting water conservation and awareness.

A panel of judges base the winners on message, creativity and originality. First-place winners move up to the state level of the competition. In all, 195 students from four local schools participated this spring. Eight of the winners were from Panther Run Elementary School and Wellington Landings Middle School. The Wellington Village Council recognized them in March, while the posters helped promote April as Water Conservation Month.

“It’s starting that education at a young age, so it becomes habitual through life,” LaRocque said.

Last year was the first time that Wellington participated in the contest. Then a third-grader, Grace Bostwick from Panther Run won at the state level. Her artwork is now part of a special calendar.

This year, five students from Panther Run took top honors at the local level.

At the elementary level, fourth-grader Gabriella Pedicino took first place in Division 3, which is comprised of fourth-grades and fifth-graders. Paige Albert, a fifth-grader, took second. Returning first-place contest winner Lauren Allen, a fifth-grader, took third this time.

In Division 2, which encompasses students in second and third grades, Maibelin Fernandez, a second-grader at Panther Run, took second place, while Wilmide Derastel, a third-grader, won first place in her division.

“I drew a water drop that’s sad,” Derastel explained. “The letters are dry with no water, like land. I think water makes the world a better place to live in, because we use water for many things. If you waste less water, it’ll make the world a better place.”

That’s a lesson that’s close to the heart of her mother, Fabiola Gene. Gene is from Haiti, where she said clean drinking water is hard to come by.

“You see kids drinking dirty water. It’s sad. I remind my daughter not to waste water,” Gene said.

Panther Run has been recognized as a “Green School of Quality” for two years in a row for its conservation efforts. Principal Edilia De La Vega said that the school puts a big focus on teaching students about conservation and taking care of the environment. It also has Earth Club lead by teacher Tracy LaBrosse, the school’s “green ambassador.”

“One of the things we added this year, because of an abundance of water bottles coming on campus, is refillable water stations into the water fountains,” De La Vega said. “That was a wonderful resource, as well as to teach the kids the importance of refilling their water bottles, and not just using and getting rid of plastic ones.”

The school has two water stations. One in the cafeteria and one outside. “When they go out to PE, they always have their water, so they can refill it right there, and it’s filtered,” she said.

Wellington Landings Middle School is also working hard to teach the importance of conservation with separate recycling bins throughout the campus.

“I think the number-one thing this generation needs to focus on is conservation of water, our environment and making sure that we’re not being wasteful,” Principal Blake Bennett said. “We do a recycling program with bins and community-based instruction for students in our self-contained special education program. Students in the program are in charge of recycling and picking up recycling bins.”

Blake said that she is very proud of her school’s three students who placed in the Drop Savers contest for Division 4, which is comprised of sixth-graders through eighth-graders, including Deseray Johnson, an eighth-grader who placed first. Another eighth-grader, Lilly Paulitz, came in second place, while sixth grader Ciana Han placed third.

“I drew ways to save water inside droplets. Like short showers and planting plants that don’t require a lot of water,” Han said. “I pay more attention now, and I’m more aware of our water and not wasting it.”

All eight local winners attribute their art teachers for inspiring them. Art teacher Lyda Barrera, who just retired from Panther Run, and Ashlan Sheesley from Wellington Landings, both guided the students on their art posters for this contest, where the primary goal was making water conservation a way of life.

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Information Technology Among Choice Programs At Wellington Middle Schools

Information Technology Among Choice Programs At Wellington Middle Schools

The School District of Palm Beach County is an A-rated district committed to providing students a world-class education — and for more than 50,000 students, that means participating in the impressive array of choice and career programs.

Throughout their school careers, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in relevant career-oriented classes, custom-tailoring their education to their future career paths in the performing and visual arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), the International Baccalaureate program, JROTC, dual language and more.

The school district features a 90 percent graduation rate, and that rate approaches nearly 100 percent for students in choice programs. Students self-select the programs that interest them, with eligibility criteria that may be based on grades and a lottery process. Enrollees in the programs must maintain a minimum grade point average in order to remain with the track.

Several choice academies are located in Wellington’s middle schools. All three — Emerald Cove, Polo Park and Wellington Landings — offer the popular pre-information technology program. Wellington Landings also offers a fine arts choice program, while Polo Park also features pre-engineering.

Students enrolled in the pre-information technology program are exposed to a variety of different IT and computer-science-related concepts in grades six through eight, including: project management and job-readiness skills, computers and logic, web development, design, HTML coding, CSS and JavaScript, cloud computing and social networking.

The pre-information technology programs also allow for middle school students to earn industry certifications. Approximately 90 percent of district middle school students taking one of two exams earn the industry certification.

Students are able to distinguish themselves by successfully obtaining these industry certifications that can be added to their resume for work, college applications and career readiness, explained Dr. Jeraline Johnson, director of choice and career options programs for the school district.

The academies provide a variety of hands-on learning experiences that meet student interests and engage them in preparation for college and career with opportunities for job shadowing, internships, project-based learning and on-the-job training. Students can also participate in various clubs and organizations that provide even more hands-on activities and competition, Johnson added.

Johnson said that the benefits of participation in the program courses include improved academic achievement and increased scholarship opportunities; higher attendance and graduation rates; greater parental and community involvement; specialized teaching staff providing themed-based education; and advanced technical training for career readiness and success.

Sandra Wesson, manager of choice programs for the school district, said that succeeding in a choice program is often a marker for future success.

“Students in Palm Beach County have equitable opportunities to participate in one of more than 300 choice and career programs that meet their interests, best prepare them for making informed decisions leading to future success in both college and career, and encourage them to be contributing members of their communities,” she said.

About 90 students participate in the pre-information technology choice program at Emerald Cove Middle School each semester, Principal Dr. Eugina Smith Feaman said.

“In the program, students matriculate through three pre-IT elective classes,” Feaman said. “This includes Information & Communication Technology Essentials in sixth grade, which introduces students to computer science as a vehicle for problem solving, communication and personal expression. It focuses on the visible aspects of computing and computer science, and encourages students to see where computer science exists around them and how they can engage with it as a tool for exploration and expression.”

In the seventh grade, the students learn the Fundamentals of Web Design and Software, and in eighth grade, they take the Emerging Technologies Course, which prepares them for Computer for College and Careers (CCC) course taught on the high school level, Feaman added.

Students learn digital literacy, which includes proficiency with computers in the exploration and utilization of databases, the internet, spreadsheets, presentations, applications, management of personal information and e-mail, word processing, document manipulation, and the integration of these programs using software that meets industry standards.

At Emerald Cove, completing the program often leads the students to matriculate into Palm Beach Central High School’s Web & Digital Design Academy, Feaman explained.

Craig Corsentino is in charge of the two choice programs at Polo Park Middle School. The pre-information technology and the pre-engineering programs each have about 150 students.

“We chose to do these two programs because we want our students to be prepared for the future. Information technology and engineering careers are currently expanding and are expected to continue to do so in the next 20 years,” Corsentino said. “The pre-information technology program is a computer-based program where students will learn how to code, work with apps and learn about the different careers and technologies that will exist in the future.”

The pre-engineering program, meanwhile, is a hands-on program that allows students to explore several different aspects of engineering, from aerospace to science in technology.

“Students love both programs and enjoy utilizing the different technologies that Polo Park has to offer, from our 3-D printer to our drones, robots and much more,” Corsentino said. “Many of our students go on to succeed at Palm Beach Central, Wellington, Suncoast and many of the other fantastic high schools that our district has to offer.”

Wellington Landings Middle School Principal Blake Bennett has found that the pre-information technology students are very engaged in the subject matter.

“Students love the classes and are excited to earn industry certifications,” she said. “We also add in pieces like Photoshop, robotics, etc., and the students love learning those tools and applications.”

Bennett is also proud that her school offers more high school credit classes than any other middle school in the county.

“The pre-information technology academy offers an innovative learning environment focused on computers, technology and communications over the course of three years,” Bennett said. “The sixth-grade year is a semester course designed to help students develop speed and accuracy by learning the touch operation of alphanumeric/keyboard characters. Students will also get a basic understanding of word processing using the Microsoft Word software program.”

Bennett continued that the seventh-grade class is a full-year course with an emphasis on web design. Students in this class have the opportunity to earn the CIW Site Design Associate certification. “In the eighth grade, academy students will take a high school credit, year-long course that teaches foundational knowledge of web technology used throughout the business world,” Bennett said.

The majority of graduates have indicated that the school district’s choice programs are positive experiences that prepared them for their future goals, with many indicating that they plan to pursue employment or post-secondary studies directly related to the area of study they were enrolled in.

For additional information about these programs, visit www.palmbeachschools.org/choiceprograms or contact the schools individually.

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Maggie Hill: From Wyoming Cowgirl To Wellington Champion

Maggie Hill: From Wyoming Cowgirl To Wellington Champion

Like many girls, Maggie Hill has been crazy about horses from an early age. But unlike many kids competing on the A-show circuit, the talented 15-year old didn’t come from an equestrian family or start showing in Lead Line or Short Stirrup at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Hill’s career in the saddle didn’t start in Wellington, where she now lives with her parents and sister Ellie, along with rescue dogs Piper and Riley, and two cats named Hersey and Riley. It started thousands of miles away, in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in a western saddle with a paint Quarter Horse.

Today Hill competes against the best junior riders in the country and has ridden to numerous victories, including the Large Junior Hunters (15 and under) Championship at the prestigious Devon Horse Show.

“I started riding in Wyoming when I was 5 years old at a western barn,” recalled Hill, who attends the Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches.

Jackson Hole might be an outdoorsy person’s paradise, but it is lacking when it comes to show jumping. “When I was old enough, I joined 4-H and competed at the county fair,” Hill said. “I competed in in-hand classes, western pleasure, reining competitions, even barrels and poles. I loved riding and wanted to progress, but my mom made me wear a helmet. Everyone else wore cowboy hats, and it was embarrassing! My mom encouraged me to try English, where everyone has to wear a helmet.”

So, at the age of 8, she changed disciplines, joined the Pony Club, and competed in both eventing and dressage. Her parents, Tom Hill, the founder and CEO of Summit Materials, and her mother Jane, have always been supportive of her equestrian aspirations.

“In Wyoming, the horse world is very different from what you will find here in Wellington and on the circuit,” Hill said. “There is no such thing as ‘full service’ in Wyoming. You did all the work yourself, grooming, caring for the horses, feeding them, and tacking up, which wasn’t easy because a western saddle is really heavy! There was no coddling either. If you fell off, the trainer would check to make sure you weren’t hurt and then tell us to ‘cowgirl up’ and not cry.”

Winters could be brutal, and by November, the farm would be under eight feet of snow. The family decided to board the horses south of Jackson Hole and trailer to a public arena a couple times a week to ride.

“You would have to use a hammer to break ice off of the handles to open the trailer door,” Hill remembered. “We’d share the ring with cowboys and rodeo folks. There were no jumps, but there were team penning cows waiting for the next arena session, and my horse hated them.”

She spent a few years participating in Pony Club activities and learned about being a good horseman. “It was a blast, but it was also hard work. We would go to rallies, and we’d be on our own for the tests. No one was allowed to help us, or even talk to us, over the two days when we were being judged,” Hill said. “It wasn’t just a test of our riding; it was all about horse care and horse management. The Pony Club, of which I am still a member, has a manual which is on my book shelf here in Wellington, and I refer to it whenever I have questions.”

When Hill was in fourth grade, the family purchased Randi, a Shire/Thoroughbred cross mare.

“It took at least six months to really grow into being able to ride her,” she said. “I did a bit of eventing with her, but transitioned to dressage because of her abilities. She had been competing at the Preliminary level and was a powerful and big mare.”

Hill was taking dressage lessons, but missed jumping, so her trainer Margie Boyd recommended her sister-in-law, famed hunter rider Liza Towell Boyd, and father-in-law, award-winning trainer Jack Towell of Finally Farm in South Carolina.

In 2015, Hill leased a horse named Nevada and started riding with Finally Farm. “I had to start all over really, and it was challenging and sometimes frustrating to have to relearn things,” she admitted. “There was so much I didn’t know. But I was really determined to make up for lost time and be competitive in the sport.”

Her first trip to Wellington was an eye-opener. “My grandparents used to live here, and they’d always mentioned going to the horse show, but it never happened. The first time I came to ride at WEF, it was surreal,” she said. “I was showing just in the back ring, and I was in awe of it all!”

The family rented a house at first, and Hill took online classes and worked with private tutors to keep up with her education. “I started in pre-children’s showing at Pony Island, where we were champion four weeks in a row, but I cried every day because I wanted to be doing the bigger classes,” she said.

Hill quickly worked her way up to the Children’s Hunter divisions, once again taking home the championship.

In 2017, Hill made the jump up to the 3’3” division, competing in the Junior Hunters, 15 and under. By the end of the circuit, she had enough points to qualify for the year-end indoor championships, winning top honors at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and securing the year-end championship in the Southeast WCHR for 3’3” Juniors.

Wellington seemed to offer something for everyone in the family, so they decided to relocate and first purchased at the Equestrian Club Estates, adjacent to the showgrounds.

This past season, Hill moved up to the 3’6” division competing and winning in the Small Junior Hunters (15 and under) aboard O’Ryan and Large Junior Hunters (15 and under) with Cassanto, even qualifying to compete the 12-year-old Warmblood gelding under the lights in the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.

Since the family is now in Wellington for the school year, they are moving to Palm Beach Polo, which offers golf and tennis amenities as well. “I don’t like the cold and love the weather here,” Hill said. “Everything is so easy and beautiful — it is horse heaven. Everywhere you go, it’s all about horses, polo, dressage and show jumping. I actually have tried polo, and it’s harder than I thought.”

Her sister, who attends Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, skates at the Skate Zone, while Hill is able to balance her school work while training consistently.

Most riders dream of ending up in the Dixon Oval at the Devon Horse Show, but it usually doesn’t happen the first time they compete. But that’s exactly what Hill did, winning the Large Junior Hunter (15 and under) Championship with Cassanto and earning the prestigious Martin F. Bucko Family Perpetual Trophy.

“As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a professional rider, even back when I was riding western,” Hill said. “Things have changed now, but my goal is the same. There is never a day that I don’t look forward to going to the barn.”

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Travel Basketball Program Builds A Brand Of Winning In Wellington

Travel Basketball Program Builds A Brand Of Winning In Wellington

Since 2002, the Wellington Wolves Travel Basketball Association has been providing a top-quality boys basketball program. Then, five years ago, Javatis Midget’s daughter, Jahnae, got involved and her father began coaching her fifth-grade girls team.

The first couple of years, the Wolves only had that single girls team. However, with Midget’s help, the program began to expand and improve. This year, the fifth-grade girls team are proud U.S. Amateur National Champions.

“I got involved because my daughter was interested in recreational basketball and someone suggested we get into the travel league,” Midget said. “I had about seven years of experience coaching then.”

It was a challenge early on.

“Most of the girls were in the fourth grade, but it’s hard to find competition younger than fifth grade, so they played up,” Midget recalled. “The first few years were very, very rocky, then we got more young ladies involved, and they started playing at a higher level. There was a large commitment from the coaches and the parents and the players.”

Through this hard work, the girls travel basketball program began to grow steadily.

“We started to develop some talent and attract some talent that had been going to towns as far away as Miami and Daytona to play. We started winning a few games,” Midget said.

Most of the current team has been together two years. “The coaches have learned a bit more, and the girls started buying-in,” he said. “That first year, the official record was 22 wins and three losses. We played in three tournaments, and we won one. I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got something here.’”

Midget still coaches the fifth-grade team, and his younger daughter, Jayla, is on it. Jahnae now plays on the ninth-grade team.

“Last year, the older team came in second and the younger team came in third, but there seemed to be improvement in every game,” Midget said. “This year, we had a tryout process and took a couple of new girls, and both my fifth-grade and ninth-grade teams won state, and the fifth-graders went to Tennessee and won the nationals.

The fifth-grade girls team includes: Ja’Niah Suprius, Sophia Vasquez, Alanna Beckman, Jayla Midget, Kiersten Henley, Julia Vasquez, Aubrey Beckham, Karolina Ramirez and Sophia Kateris.

The ninth-grade girls team, which started out as Midget’s first team, includes: Tyler DeBose, Ashley Thornton, Franaja Williams, Aspen Johnson, Ja’Niyah Eggeletion, Jahnae Midget, Lynzie Smikle, Christell Mentor and Kaela Swick.

“For the first couple of years, there was only the one girls team in the entire program,” Midget said. “It was a boys organization, but I kept working, along with a few others, to get more girls playing in it to build the brand for girls teams in Wellington. Our teams have professional uniforms that are second to none. Each player has the same shoes, the same socks, so they look sharp and professional. We win and lose with class.”

Midget complimented all the other coaches. “They are doing a tremendous job in building the brand for girls basketball in Wellington,” he said. “Hopefully, the teams will do well and get some college scholarships to help the parents out.”

Last year, seven players in the league received scholarship offers.

Some 60 girls competed this year, with the ninth-graders competing this summer in Kentucky. The seventh-grade girls also won at state. Next year, the Wolves will field seven grade-level girls teams.

“That’s huge growth,” Midget said. “I’m proud to have had a little bit of something to do with that growth.”

The boys unit, which fields twice as many teams as the girls side, won three state championships this year for the fifth-grade, seventh-grade and ninth-grade boys teams, with the seventh-grade team also winning the U.S. Amateur National Championship.

The certifying entities organize tournaments and live periods to provide prime opportunities to play in front of coaches, evaluators and collegiate scouts under authorized conditions. Players and parents never know just who might be watching.

Some of the organizations distinguish the different team groups based on age, grade level or year of graduation. “The groupings are all interchangeable,” Midget explained.

He believes that everything came together to create a year of championships.

“This year has been a phenomenal year for a lot of reasons, including that Wellington is a great place for kids to play, and the coaches treat them right,” Midget said. “It’s a good program with a really great president.”

That president is Chris Fratalia, who said that the league had 19 teams this year with more than 225 boys and girls participating in the Wellington Wolves program.

“It was established with the help of former Mayor Bob Margolis, who still acts as an advisor today, and it has an interlocal agreement to be the official basketball supplier for the village,” Fratalia said.

It also has the permission of the school district to use the high school and middle school courts, as well as the village’s basketball facilities. “That keeps costs down because we don’t have to pay gym fees,” Fratalia explained.

The athletes are able to learn life lessons through the program.

“There are 37 trained volunteer coaches. Most are current high school or assistant coaches and some college staff, but it’s not just about competing in basketball. We hire Perseverance Training every year. They have professional coaches,” Fratalia said. “We teach the kids, who do all their playing in indoor, air-conditioned gyms, about [everything from] fundamental ball handling, to a strong work ethic to achieve results, all the way to decision-making skills.”

Fratalia said that the association will be adding a “Council of Dads,” inspired by the book of the same name by Bruce Feiler.

“Rolling out in August, the association’s own council of 13 local businessmen have little interest in basketball but are key people who have a very strong interest in helping kids,” Fratalia explained. “The council will advise and mentor players on the SAT and ACT [tests], scholarships, and Sylvan and Huntington for tutoring.”

Participants learn how to be the best basketball player they can be, as well as get some lessons in how to be the best student, best athlete and best person they can be.

Of course, the Wellington Wolves Travel Basketball Association’s comprehensive campaign centers around youth basketball. It opens doors by providing players entrance to top tournaments.

At one annual event, about 1,000 college coaches and scouts watch some 9,000 student-athletes compete. “It doesn’t get much bigger than that,” Midget said.

For more information about the league, visit www.wellingtonwolves.com.

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Young Elvis Tribute Artist Matt Stone Puts Heart And Soul In His Performances

Young Elvis Tribute Artist Matt Stone Puts Heart And Soul In His Performances

Wellington teenager Matt Stone grew up watching the television show “Full House,” featuring John Stamos as the leather-jacket-wearing rock musician Jesse helping his brother-in-law raise three daughters. But never mind the girls — it was the music that captivated him.

Although Stone originally favored the music of Led Zeppelin, legendary rock ’n’ roll pioneer Elvis had always been “a character in my mind,” he explained. As he became more aware of the music and the legend, it became something he wanted to emulate.

When Stone, now 15, found a leather jacket upstairs at home and began singing “Hound Dog,” his career as a youthful Elvis tribute singer began.

He started off slowly, singing in the living room. Then there was that one time he broke into Elvis songs while reading Christmas books to senior citizens. “They loved it,” Stone recalled.

However, it was a fateful family trip to Memphis that included a visit to Elvis’ home Graceland in 2015 that really kicked it into high gear.

“I was out back at the guest house of the Graceland hotel,” Stone said. “My dad threw me in front of everybody, and I did a couple of songs. I made $80 in tips in 10 minutes!”

That’s when father and son knew they were onto something.

Stone started small, getting booked at the Brookdale senior living facility in Lake Worth. Today, he does so many shows for the chain that he can barely remember them all.

“There’s one in Palm Beach Gardens, two in Boynton… I love to see the folks smile,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t get that much out of their day. And it makes me smile, too, because I love to play.”

In late 2016, at Backstreets Neighborhood Bar & Grill’s open mic night, Stone played the rock classic “Stairway to Heaven,” along with some of the other music that had inspired him. They hired him. By April 2017, he was a professional.

“I started going to other places, and started doing Elvis shows,” said Stone, who uses a vintage Shure Super 55 mic, known as “the Elvis mic” for its similarity to the one used by “The King,” together with a portable PA system.

At Backstreets, he uses one of their guitars, but elsewhere, he’ll use one of his own. He has 14, but for Elvis shows, he uses the Epiphone EJ-200SCE. “I don’t recommend it,” Stone said. “It has been in and out of the shop so often that Guitar Center finally gave me a loaner and sent it back to the factory. It seems to have been OK since then, though.”

Stone has 140 backing tracks and more on his phone. An average one-hour show allows him to sing and play through 15 songs. In a classic Elvis move, he hands out leis. “They don’t fall off my neck like scarves, and they’re cheaper, too,” he explained.

His biggest challenge? “Well, it’s not booking the shows. My dad does that,” he said. “It’s that going to school kind of limits my time. School lets out 2:45 p.m., I get picked up at 3 p.m., and I have a gig at 3:30 p.m.”

So, will his parental chauffeur be buying him a car when he turns 16?

“I’ve saved enough money to buy my own car,” Stone said, matter-of-factly.

Money aside, the biggest compliment Stone has received came recently when he was approached after a show by a woman who had known Elvis in the 1950s, before the rock icon went into the U.S. Army.

“She was friends with one of his bodyguards, and she told me that, in different fields, I am better than Elvis,” Stone laughed. “There is nobody who is ever going to be better than Elvis.”

Stone’s favorite song is one Elvis did in the 1960s. “Elvis had declined a movie career, probably a mistake, and in 1968, he comes back dressed in black leather, and he jumps back into touring. Elvis didn’t write his own music, but if he really connected to a single song, really felt it, it was ‘If I Can Dream.’ That was the one, and that is my favorite.”

So, what does the future hold for Wellington’s young “Elvis?”

“My dad wants me, sometime in the future, to use all my inspiration from Elvis and the artists of the time to create my own show and my own sound — to effectively bring back that music,” Stone explained. “Music is going in a downward spiral. Machines are taking over the instruments. The machine doesn’t have a heart, so there’s no heart to the music, no soul. I want to put the heart and soul back into music.”

Although Stone doesn’t feel that recording a music CD would be cost-effective yet, he does have a couple of songs on iTunes and Spotify — or visit “Matt Stone: The Prince of Rock ’n’ Roll” on YouTube if you want to hear some of music’s missing heart and soul.

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Two-Story Wellington’s Edge Home A Quiet Retreat Near A Nature Preserve

Two-Story Wellington’s Edge Home A Quiet Retreat Near A Nature Preserve

Located in the Wellington’s Edge neighborhood, this two-story, single-family home is located in the heart of it all: close to shopping, medical facilities and top-rated schools. Adjacent to a nature preserve, the home affords a quiet retreat from all the hustle and bustle. It features an open concept layout, a split bedroom plan and a completely fenced backyard with lush landscaping. Meanwhile, accordion shutters provide extra protection from the elements. A paved patio off the kitchen makes for great entertaining. Outside, a network of walkable concrete sidewalks provide a sense of connectivity with the rest of the neighborhood. The family-friendly community features bicycle paths, a clubhouse and a neighborhood park.

Living Room: The living room features lovely white plantation shutters and a statement wall featuring a large collection of artwork and curios. A door to the backyard patio is featured in the corner, and oversized ceramic floor tiles throughout the main living space make indoor/outdoor living a breeze. Crown molding adds a touch of class.

Main Living Area: The open floor plan brings the living room and dining areas together with plenty of seating and a wonderful place for family gatherings.

Dining Room: The dining room can be set up for more formal occasions. There’s plenty of room, and the adjacent kitchen makes serving and clean-up a breeze.

Guest Bedroom: One of three spacious, fully carpeted guest bedrooms, the room offers plenty of natural light and is tastefully decorated.

Home Office: This restful space currently houses a private office, but it also serves as one of the three available guest bedrooms.

Master Suite: The master suite features a tray ceiling, walk-in closet, bonus sitting room and an en suite bath, complete with dual sinks and rainfall shower head.

 

Front Elevation: The two-story home boasts a two-car garage, covered entry and distinctive barrel tile roofing.

 

Kitchen: Recently upgraded with black granite countertops, the light and spacious kitchen offers a wonderful view of the backyard.

 

Breakfast Nook: A cozy breakfast nook serves as a convenient dining area just steps from the backyard outdoor space.

 

Guest Bath: Black granite countertops are also featured in the guest bath. The home features two full baths and one half bath.

 

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Tasty Treats and More At Glazed & Confused Eatery

Tasty Treats and More At Glazed & Confused Eatery

Glazed & Confused Eatery owner Sean Upson has been serving breakfast, lunch, coffee and donuts to the families of Wellington since January 2017. Glazed & Confused is not your average donut shop, which is made evident by the restaurant’s inviting staff, fun décor, and full breakfast and lunch menus.

Upson, who has been in the restaurant business since his early 20s, opened Glazed & Confused to offer Wellington residents a fresh, new spot to grab high-quality food, coffee and donuts.

“We aren’t just a donut shop,” Upson said. “In reality, we are a full restaurant that also happens to make good donuts.”

Glazed & Confused not only has a full menu, but it also has some of the best breakfast and lunch specials available. Throughout the summer, customers can purchase a full breakfast of two eggs, home fries, a bagel and coffee for $3.99 every Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. For lunch, patrons can choose from a burger, a chicken sandwich, a tuna salad sandwich or an egg salad sandwich for $6.99. “It is the best deal in town,” Upson said.

Along with the breakfast special, Upson highlighted some of the dishes that have turned Glazed & Confused into a favorite for Wellington locals.

The two versions of a traditional avocado toast are big favorites. The original avocado toast is served on multigrain bread with thinly sliced tomato and two over-medium eggs. Glazed & Confused adds a twist to the traditional dish by also offering its nova avocado toast, which is served just as the original, but topped with fresh nova salmon.

The “Jono” — named after one of Upson’s menu and business collaborators — is another frequently requested dish. It features challah French toast made with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, granola and topped with a strawberry drizzle.

Upson is currently working on expanding the featured portion of the menu to include a wider variety of French toast options.

The menu also includes several dishes, such as the Irish Benedict, that are accompanied by corned beef hash, which is freshly made in house.

“We make all of our corned beef hash,” Upson said. “We don’t use any processed ingredients, so that we can make a very high-quality dish.”

For lunch, customers can order from a variety of available sandwiches, such as a classic grilled cheese, a tuna melt or a smoked brisket sandwich, or from a list of popular wraps, like the sundried chicken salad wrap or the California turkey wrap.

Of course, Upson’s menu would be incomplete without the vast variety of homemade donuts.

Upson has developed more than 60 donut flavors and offers about 15 of them daily. The donut part of his menu, Upson explained, offers more options for a young and family-based clientele.

“The cool and neat thing about this restaurant is that families have the option to come here and give their kids a treat, like a donut, while they can relax and enjoy good food for themselves,” Upson said.

Though donut flavors change seasonally, some crowd favorites are the maple bacon donut, the PB&J donut and a classic sprinkle donut.

Aside from the appealing breakfast and lunch items, Upson credits the overall ambiance of his restaurant to be the thing that keeps people coming back.

“I think people appreciate the fact that we are a family business and that they can really adopt all of us as part of their own family,” he said.

Upson currently runs the restaurant with a small staff, which includes his three children.

“This truly is a local and family-run operation. My 10-year-old, Ryan, can make donuts from scratch now, and my two older ones, Evan and Kayla, help out serving tables,” he said. “We also hire a lot of high school students, which is really cool because it allows us to give a lot of them their first job opportunity.”

Upson believes that the most individual aspect of his restaurant is that he, because of his high customer retention and return rate, can greet many of his guests by name.

“I probably know about half of our customers by name, which is such a special and neat part of all of this,” Upson said.

The restaurant is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Dine-in or take-out services are available daily, and private party inquiries are also accepted.

Glazed & Confused Eatery is located at 2803 State Road 7, Suite 300, in the plaza with Trader Joe’s. For more info., visit www.glazedandconfusedeatery.com or call (561) 847-4346.

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CPA Arthur Lichtman Enjoys Helping People Through His Work And Community Service

CPA Arthur Lichtman Enjoys Helping People Through His Work And Community Service

A resident of Wellington for nearly 25 years, Arthur Lichtman has devoted himself to helping area residents through his accounting services and his community involvement.

“I live in the community and enjoy serving the people of Wellington and its surrounding areas,” he said.

Lichtman has been employed in the accounting field since 1977, when he began working for accounting firms as an undergraduate college student. It was then that he discovered an underlying fulfillment stemming from combining numbers and math with the opportunity to help others.

“I’ve always been good at math, and I found it easy from the start,” he explained. “I like what I do, so things never get too stressful during tax season or other busy times of the year. I also get the chance to help people with their taxes and reduce their tax liability.”

Lichtman said that the fulfilling part of the job in accounting is solving people’s tax or financial-related issues.

As a licensed and certified public accountant (CPA) in Florida since 1994, and in New York since 1980, Lichtman provides well-rounded services.

“Many of my clients don’t think of me or refer to me as their accountant, they call me and think of me as the CPA,” he said. “I can do things that a regular accountant can’t do, like represent someone with the IRS and do certified audits. [Being a CPA] gives clients assurance, because it’s a higher level of service.”

Through the one-on-one services he offers clients, Lichtman gets to know their needs and can offer them specialized services in accordance with their individual financial circumstances. Knowing his clients’ needs, Lichtman explained, is what he believes sets his small business apart from larger accounting firms.

“We focus on more specialized services and offer one-on-one care, where in a big firm, you can easily get lost being passed from accountant to accountant,” Lichtman said. “I value knowing clients and providing them with personal services.”

Lichtman has run his accounting firm in Wellington since 1997 and has operated it on his own the entire time.

“I have one staff employee during tax season,” he said. “It is all about offering one-on-one services for clients.”

Lichtman offers full accounting services for small businesses, enterprises, corporations and individuals.

“It’s definitely more than just taxes,” he said. “I offer full services from bookkeeping to payroll for larger entities like S corporations and LLCs, as well as for small businesses.”

Because of his wide range of services, Lichtman has gained a loyal and diverse clientele, which has only grown larger as a result of his high referral and retention rates.

“I’ve been blessed to have such good retention with my clients and the referrals that come from them being happy,” he explained. “Nowadays, professional businesses are going to be successful based off referrals more than anything else.”

Often, Lichtman gets new clients when they’re going to buy a house or start a new business. “It’s a nice relationship built from the base of accounting and helping people through their finances,” he explained.

Lichtman credits a lot of his success to his wife, Merryl Turkowitz, who he said supports and encourages him in his career. “I have a good person by my side, who is very supportive. There are nights where I go home and have dinner with my wife, but have to come back to the office and work until midnight,” he said. “We are supportive of each other.”

Lichtman is also a dedicated member of the Wellington chapter of the Lions Club and actively works to help members of the community in need, particularly those with vision or hearing disabilities.

“We help people in need. Most people who need our help are dealing with vision and hearing impairments and come to us when they have financial issues,” he said. “We help them get medical appointments and things [such as] eyeglasses.”

Through the Lions Club, Lichtman also makes a great effort to help local children in need.

“Though our main goal is to help people with hearing or vision problems, the club is also there for other people in the community,” he said. “With Walmart, we can give out $50 gift cards for kids to buy school supplies. And, really, it’s all about the small things like that. It makes a big difference for the kids who don’t have much at all, and they get to go back to school with new clothes and supplies.”

Lichtman is also the treasurer and an active volunteer of his religious congregation, Temple Beth Torah in Wellington, and enjoys having the opportunity to apply his profession in a nonprofit way.

For more info., call (561) 792-2008 or e-mail arthur@arthurmlichtmancpa.com.

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Frenette Dor Of Dor Life Spa Is Passionate About Health & Wellness

Frenette Dor Of Dor Life Spa Is Passionate About Health & Wellness

Frenette Dor, the owner of Dor Life Spa & Wellness Center, finds great joy in being an intricate part of the wellness of others. As a state-licensed, certified massage therapist, aesthetician and skincare specialist, she has been in the business for 15 years, moving to a new, larger location in May.

“We are now in the original Wellington Mall in a bigger, nicer location where we can offer more services,” Dor said. “My clients choose my spa because my job is not finished until my client is satisfied.”

In fact, client satisfaction is her top goal. “There are many spas in Wellington, but what sets me apart from them is that I make sure that each client feels like they are the only customer I have,” Dor said. “I always strive to make certain that my clients feel like their service was like no other they have ever experienced.”

The staff at Dor Life Spa includes a holistic doctor, registered nurse, nurse practitioner and therapists providing complete services for massage therapy, facials, bio-therapy, nutritional therapy, weight loss and weight maintenance treatments with an emphasis on eating clean and healthy, skin care, contouring, medical-grade chemical peels and more.

Dr. Melissa Peters is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner. A member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and the American Holistic Health Association, Peters focuses on increasing the “gut-brain” function, as well as power, strength and endurance among individuals and athletes.

Recovering from severe health issues of her own lead Peters to return to school in order to better care for herself and her family. Earning a master’s degree in health and nutrition education and a doctorate in holistic sports nutrition, she has also worked as a health coach and conducted research in nutritional protocols for Alzheimer’s prevention.

Peters is an expert on genetic and environmental factors pertaining to optimal nutrition. Like Dor, she is passionate in her efforts to enable clients to achieve wonderful health through the use of proper nutrients, knowledge and guidance. She works with a broad range of clients, including children and adults.

Marthany Jean Baptiste has been a registered nurse since 2012. As a nurse, she has focused on crucial care and emergency room nursing and has also worked as a personal trainer. She has a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a primary focus on exercise science.

Baptiste earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from South University in West Palm Beach. She is a new mother of her daughter, Renee, and is an active board member for a nonprofit organization promoting wellness in the community.

With extensive experience, many certifications and a decade-and-a-half in the spa and wellness business, Dor puts her focus on holistic methods, noting that they can be powerful painkillers without the side effects. “Massage is for more than just relaxation,” she said. “Natural painkillers released can help with chronic pain.”

The spa offers a long list of services.

“We offer a number of services that benefit so many different factors,” Dor said. “This would include doctor-endorsed nutrient body sculpt. Our formulation has been effective in a variety of consumer settings. Many clients see benefits after just one or two sessions and immediately start feeling more toned and relaxed.”

At the spa, Dor and her team use specialty products to optimize the benefits of the services.

“Our propriety solution is vegan,” Dor said. “It is a natural, premium product that tightens and tones, improves body contour, lifts thighs, buttocks and breasts, minimizes fine lines, improves mental clarity, relieves stress and relaxes the body.”

Several of the services are for people suffering from chronic pain.

“Another service is the laser and massage therapy blended approach, which deals with a broad range of soft tissue and repetitive stress injuries,” Dor said. “This method provides significant results for the elderly and patients suffering from conditions previously thought hopeless.”

Many of the services are preventative in nature, helping clients live a healthier life.

“I offer cardio-metabolic testing that helps assess the risk for developing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” Dor said. “This micro-nutrient analysis can yield powerful information that can be used to improve individual health status.”

Dor also offers the products used in her therapy to clients. “We are proud and excited about our partnership with the Circadia by Dr. Pugliese brand of products,” she said. “We are using Circadia professionally, in the treatment room, and we also have a comprehensive selection of Circadia retail products available for sale to all of our guests. This affordable luxury brand is known for its results-driven products that are manufactured in the USA.”

Other services offered at Dor Life Spa are enzymatic and traditional facials, “Zero Down Time” chemical peels, the liquid “Oxygen Rx” facial system by Circadia, the Switch Dermal Rejuvenation System by Circadia, nutrient body sculpts, hormone and thyroid testing, EpiFree hair removal and Vivace Fractional Micro Needle RF therapy.

Dor Life Spa will hold a special event on Friday, Aug. 24 from 2 until 6 p.m. Product demonstrations and explanations will be available.

“The event includes an exciting product, Xeomin, that is used by Christy Brinkley — age 63, an actual Xeomin and ultra-therapy patient and advocate,” Dor said. “Xeomin is highly purified, FDA approved and clinically proven to temporarily smooth lines between the brows. We will have drinks and light bites. There will also be package deals available. A $50 deposit reserves a client’s spot.”

Dor is excited about her first few months in the new location. “The business is expanding as more and more people find how exceptional our services really are,” she said.

Dor Life Spa & Wellness Center is located at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 18A, in the original Wellington Mall. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more info., visit www.dorlifespaandwellness.com or call (561) 557-4177.

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Faye Ford Keeps Busy Supporting Community Groups

Faye Ford Keeps Busy Supporting
Community Groups

Faye Ford isn’t a Florida native, but she’s close. The 81-year-old never cared for cold weather, not even as a child. So, at 10 years of age, she was thrilled when her parents made the decision to move from southern New Jersey to South Florida.

It wasn’t a job that lured them to the area. Ford’s parents had fallen in love with Miami while on vacation and decided to call the city their home. The year was 1947, and Ford’s experiences in Miami were quite different compared to those of any 10-year-old living there today. Miami was a completely different city, and not nearly the metropolis that it is today.

“Miami was a totally different place. Of course, the population was a lot less. I remember walking and riding bikes to the Orange Bowl. It was a safe place. My girlfriend and I would ride our bikes to the Orange Bowl, watch the Orange Bowl Parade, and then ride home by ourselves at 14 years of age. You’d never be able to do that today,” Ford said.

With a typical 10-year-old’s imagination, Ford enjoyed the trek down south, which took place in between Christmas and New Year’s. She was absolutely certain that swimming pools would dot the landscape, and every house past the Georgia/Florida line would have one. That, perhaps, was the only disappointment the move had for Ford.

Getting used to the heat was a challenge. “We didn’t have air conditioning when we first went there, and the schools weren’t air conditioned either,” Ford said. “It was hotter than heck.”

Before attending college, Ford, an artist, took art classes at the University of Miami. She attended the University of Florida and studied art, before returning to Miami and taking classes at night at the University of Miami.

She didn’t receive an art degree, but that never stopped her from loving and practicing her craft. Her favorite medium is oil. “There’s art in everything you do every day. People don’t even think about it, but you know, when you pick out the curtains for your bedroom or put food on a plate, it’s all to please the eyes,” Ford said.

Her creative right brain constantly battles her more logical, analytical left brain. Ford views this as an asset, rather than a challenge, embracing the fact that in addition to her creative side, she is also a detail person who worked in finance.

A bank employed Ford for nearly 19 years. She started at Southeast Bank in Miami until it became First Union. Not thrilled with the change, Ford left the job, taking early retirement at age 55. This was also about the time that she was going through a divorce. Three days after she signed the papers to leave the bank, Hurricane Andrew slammed into her house, which was in the evacuation zone.

The memory of the hurricane remains so vivid that when she tells the story, not only does she remember the forecaster’s warning, but also his name. “That was quite an experience,” Ford recalled. “There was Bryan Norcross on TV, saying, ‘Folks if you live in this area, I am telling you, get out of there because this thing’s going to hit us.’”

Ford evacuated to a friend’s house near the University of Miami. The next day, her friend’s husband accompanied her back to the neighborhood, which was only five miles away. All the trees and familiar landmarks were down, making it hard to find her way back home.

“The things you were used to looking at that reminded you to turn here or to turn there were down,” she said. “It was awful, but I was very lucky that I had the only house in the neighborhood that didn’t have a blue tarp on it. My windows blew in, but my roof didn’t leak. The only thing that really happened good that year was my youngest granddaughter was born.”

Family is very important to Ford, who was an only child with ties to a large extended family, which included both sets of grandparents up until the time she was 28 years old. Her daughter, Jill, lives in Arizona, and Ford continues to cultivate a long-distance relationship with her two granddaughters, along with her great-grandson. She is looking forward to welcoming a second great-grandson in September.

Ford keeps very busy with a number of activities and projects. She is a member of the Wellington Art Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes art in the area and raises money to provide scholarships to Palm Beach County students who wish to pursue art.

In addition to high school students, the organization has added a provision for a Florida Atlantic University student. The Wellington Art Society awarded $12,000 in scholarships this year. Most of the scholarships were awarded in increments of $1,200. The Wellington Art Society also hosts member exhibits, as well as its large Art Fest on the Green show the last weekend in January.

Ford has served on the Wellington Art Society board as a director, but this year took over the treasurer position, but this isn’t all that keeps her active. She joined the Wellington Women’s Club in 1998. The name has been since changed to the Women of the Western Communities so that people living outside of Wellington wouldn’t feel excluded. The club meets monthly at the Wellington National Golf Club. Ford has been treasurer on and off since joining the club 20 years ago.

The Wellington Seniors Club is also a group where Ford enjoys spending her time and energy. She’s in charge of the Wellington Seniors Dinner Group. The seniors go to dinner together once a month, and Ford, who has remained somewhat tech savvy, notifies members by e-mail where to meet.

“We try not to talk about anything serious, like our ailments. We try not to dwell on that, or talk a lot about politics or religion,” she said. “We talk more about what we’re doing every day.”

Faye Ford may be 81 but stressed that she’s not old. Attitude and meaningful activities are factors in the aging process, playing a significant role in the octogenarian’s lifestyle.

“I don’t like the aches and pains, but I try to think young,” she said. “I have a bad back and COPD, because I was a smoker, and the beginnings of some Parkinson’s, but you have what you have, and you just do your best and try to move forward every day.”

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