Category Archives: Feature Stories

Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles

Kasey Perry-Glass Joins Forces With FullBucket To Bring ‘Be Good & Do Good’ Mantra To Wellington

Kasey Perry-Glass Joins Forces With FullBucket To Bring ‘Be Good & Do Good’ Mantra To Wellington

With many titles to her name, including an Olympic bronze medal and an FEI World Equestrian Games silver medal, dressage star Kasey Perry-Glass could be content with her busy life. However, while she is a competitive athlete driven by success, her passion for philanthropy also plays a large role in her life.

Her drive for success with horses began young, and she quickly advanced up the levels as a young rider when she decided to focus on dressage at age 14. Little did she know that years later, her determination and dedication to the sport, in combination with the talent of her Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet, would lead her to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she would help Team USA secure the bronze medal. Fast forward a few years, and the pair have had other notable performances at the FEI World Cup Finals, the FEI World Equestrian Games and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Originally from California, Perry-Glass is based in the winter equestrian capital of the world during the season. Her busy routine consists of training multiple horses with the assistance of U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor Debbie McDonald.

Outside of the time she spends in the saddle, Perry-Glass is dedicated to expanding the awareness of philanthropy within the Wellington community and beyond. Her longtime support of Brooke USA, a nonprofit that funds programs to help equine owners in developing countries, has been a key part of her life. Inspired to help working equines in Central America, she was thrilled to recently become a brand ambassador for FullBucket, a one-for-one giving business with an extensive line of veterinary-strength digestion supplements.

Perry-Glass first learned of the company when she needed a higher-quality probiotic supplement for Dublet when travel was stressing his digestive system. Since beginning to use the probiotic line in 2018, following a recommendation from her vet, she not only witnessed the benefits of the scientifically proven ingredients, but she was exposed to FullBucket’s important promise — for every FullBucket product purchased, another will be donated to treat horses and donkeys in developing countries through the company’s giving program. This is a promise that Perry-Glass felt needed to be brought to the attention of all animal lovers, and she proudly joined the team as an ambassador.

FullBucket was founded by veterinarians and surgeons determined to use their business to make a significant difference in the world. The team developed the highest concentration of probiotic-based equine, dog and cat health supplements on the market, but they wanted to continue helping animals. With their mantra “Be Good & Do Good,” FullBucket used the supplements as a springboard into helping working equines around the world.

“When we first began donating products to these communities, we recruited the help of local veterinary colleges to test the donkeys, horses and mules’ stool and soil samples to better evaluate what was needed in their diets,” explained Dr. Rob Franklin, one of FullBucket’s co-founders. “We were then able to craft a unique blend to fit their specific nutritional needs. In addition, we hired local mills to produce the supplement to stimulate job growth, and we developed a channel to distribute on an ongoing basis, which delivers free to the developing communities who really need the assistance.”

While the products are used by top veterinary practices around the country, FullBucket’s unique business model is a steadfast reason that it has become a staple for many pet owners as they make the choice to give their pets FullBucket products over others.

Perry-Glass is one of many to make FullBucket her first choice in keeping her horses feeling and performing their best. 

“I am so excited to be working with a company with such good values and a great product — that is really important to me, and giving back is a passion of mine,” she explained. “What they do for working equines is amazing, and I’m looking forward to telling more people about FullBucket, especially in the animal-loving community of Wellington, and their one-for-one giving business model.”

FullBucket has shaken up the animal healthcare industry as the first successful giving one-for-one business. With support from its customers, the company has distributed more than 13,000 buckets of nutritional products to impoverished villages throughout Central America. Taking their support one step further, FullBucket’s team of professionals organize giving trips to communities that need the most aid. 

“During our annual giving trip, we invite several veterinarians and industry professionals to volunteer in a program that allows them to use their skills and help these working equines and the families that rely on them, and see firsthand what goes on in these impoverished communities,” co-founder Robo Hendrickson said. “For a week, we vaccinate, float teeth, trim hooves and tend to saddle sores like you’ve never seen before.”

It has been nine years since their first trip, and the community behind FullBucket has served hundreds of tons of nutritional supplement and helped thousands of malnourished working equines and their families.

“More than 170 volunteers have experienced the lifechanging gift of serving those in desperate need,” Hendrickson added. “To be able to return to a community a year following our initial visit and see the vast improvement in the health and care of their working equines by our support and the educational tools we provided, makes our journey even more special.”

The devotion of FullBucket’s time and resources to social issues close to her heart epitomizes the philanthropic aspirations of Perry-Glass. 

“We were thrilled to have Kasey as our first official rider in our athlete ambassador program,” co-founder Dr. Keith Latson said. “When we launched FullBucket as a supplement line that developed first-class products for veterinarians to use for digestive issues, we quickly realized that our team shared an innate ambition to help others. We redesigned the business from the ground up to align with our personal objectives to help others and working equines. Kasey shares our passion to try your best each day and to leave people, animals and the world better than you found them.”

Together, Perry-Glass and FullBucket Health are committed to continuing their philanthropic efforts into the future, and she looks forward to joining them on a future giving trip to Guatemala to see the good FullBucket brings to communities in dire need of assistance.

As a team, they hope to bring light to the conditions of the working equines that aren’t always lucky enough to receive top-of-the-line care, or even any care at all. Beyond the beautiful properties of Wellington, there are animals that need help and can benefit directly from FullBucket’s “Be Good & Do Good” mantra.

Learn more at www.fullbuckethealth.com.

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New Ambulatory Surgery Center To Open Soon At Bethesda Hospital West

New Ambulatory Surgery Center To Open Soon At Bethesda Hospital West

Having an outpatient surgery procedure is about to get more convenient for residents in Wellington and the surrounding communities. Baptist Health South Florida is opening a new Ambulatory Surgery Center this fall on the campus of Bethesda Hospital West.

At the Ambulatory Surgery Center, surgical procedures that once required a hospital stay of two to three days can now be performed at the new outpatient facility, allowing patients to make faster recoveries and keep their healthcare costs more affordable.

Equipped with the latest in clinical innovation and advanced technology, the Baptist Health Surgery Center is a 15,000-square-foot center designed to offer patients comprehensive outpatient surgical services in a spa-like environment.

Upon entering the new center, patients will be greeted by a team of board-certified surgeons and specialty trained surgical nurses who are dedicated to providing the highest levels of quality and safety. As patients prepare for surgery, families are ushered to the tranquil, natural light-infused waiting room, where they will be able to track their loved one’s progress during their procedure in real time and enjoy complimentary wi-fi.

Thanks to modern medical advancements, such as minimally invasive procedures and new anesthesia techniques that reduce complications, patients can return home sooner from procedures such as orthopaedic knee replacement procedures and gynecologic surgeries.

Looking ahead to 2020, Bethesda Hospital West will embark upon its largest expansion to date. Currently 80 beds with all private rooms, the hospital is going to add 35 medical-surgical beds in all private inpatient rooms, with two new operating suites. Because of the hospital’s butterfly design, the new rooms will be built on the side opposite the existing patient tower. In this way, construction noise can be kept to a minimum for patients at rest. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023.

Bethesda Hospital West was designed to grow to 400 inpatient beds as the community grows. It offers medical and surgical care, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation services, an intensive care unit and a 24-hour emergency center for adults and children.

“These two new additions to the Bethesda Hospital West campus demonstrate our commitment to the people in western Palm Beach County,” said Roger L. Kirk, CEO of Bethesda Health. “Together with Baptist Health South Florida, we are making outpatient surgical care and inpatient hospital care more accessible, reflecting our continued commitment to providing compassionate care that will meet our community’s needs.”

Bethesda Hospital West, along with Bethesda Hospital East and its affiliated facilities, joined Baptist Health in 2017 to expand access to high-quality, compassionate healthcare across South Florida. Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals — Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Bethesda Hospital East, Bethesda Hospital West, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Fishermen’s Community Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital, South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital — and nearly 50 outpatient and urgent care facilities, spanning four counties.

Learn more at www.baptisthealth.net.

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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.

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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 www.somersetartspb.com. 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.

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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 www.msainc.org. To support the school, contact Walsh-Watson at (561) 932-3938.

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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 www.geminidressage.com.   

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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 www.ahschool.com.

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Wellington Rotary Club’s Kevlar For K9s Raffle Supports Heroic Dogs

Wellington Rotary Club’s Kevlar For K9s Raffle Supports Heroic Dogs

Heroes come in many different shapes and sizes. Our heroes may be short, tall, fast, strong or possibly even covered in fur. It is those animal heroes that the Wellington Rotary Club’s Kevlar for K9s fundraiser aims to protect.

Heroic moments can and do occur at any given time at any given place, often when they are least expected. Heroes and their heroic moments are not predestined. They just happen, such as the sacrifice made by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office K9 Cigo last Christmas Eve.

While Wellington residents were celebrating the holiday, perhaps in church, singing Christmas carols, finishing up holiday shopping or enjoying time at home with friends and family, a heroic incident occurred in a most unlikely location by a most unlikely hero. While helping subdue a violent criminal in the parking lot near the Mall at Wellington Green, Cigo was shot and later died from his injuries.

Not only did Cigo become a hero that night, but the three-year-old dog gave his life in the process of doing what he was trained to do — protect the public.

Since then, Wellington locals have sprung into action, and fundraising efforts are now underway with help from two local organizations to raise enough money to buy protective bulletproof Kevlar vests for as many PBSO K9s as possible.

Kevlar for K9s is a raffle fundraiser being run by the Wellington Rotary Club, which is selling raffle tickets for $100 apiece between now and May 16. This raffle is being sponsored by local law firm Lesser, Lesser, Landy, & Smith. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn on May 16, and you don’t have to be present to win. The holder of the winning ticket will receive one-third of the raffle funds, while the remaining two-thirds of the total collected will go to Kevlar for K9s and other Rotary charities.

“When we heard about K9 Cigo losing his life, organizing a fundraiser to buy Kevlar vests for the dogs seemed like the right thing to do,” Wellington Rotary Club President Tom Carreras said. “The club likes to help the local community where there’s a need. Plus, a fundraiser like this fits well with our motto at Rotary, which is ‘Service Above Self.’”

The club also has close ties to the PBSO, which makes the fundraising effort that much more rewarding.

Rotarian Mickey Smith, a partner at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, is proud that his firm stepped up to sponsor this important fundraiser.

“Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith is proud to partner with Rotary’s efforts,” Smith said. “Our law firm has represented many Wellington residents through the years, and we have an office in Wellington. As a firm, we believe that we have an obligation to give back to the communities we serve — the communities where we live and work. It’s in our DNA. Throughout our 91-year history in Palm Beach County, the firm has partnered with many initiatives to make a positive difference in the community. Here, we are thrilled to be involved in the Rotary Club of Wellington’s efforts to protect these amazing, four-legged sheriff’s deputies.”

Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith is a third-generation law firm that has been representing injured clients and their families across Florida for more than 91 years. In that time, the firm has grown to four offices located in West Palm Beach, Stuart, Wellington and Boca Raton primarily representing clients and their families who have suffered serious injury or the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another.

Smith said he was heartbroken when he heard about the incident involving Cigo on Christmas Eve.

“As a member of the Rotary and a resident of Wellington for more than 25 years, I was devastated when K9 Cigo was shot by a cowardly thug,” Smith said. “Cigo epitomized Rotary’s motto of ‘Service Above Self.’ He literally gave his life in service of our community. While a bad person wrote the beginning of this horrible story, I was confident that the community, working together, could salvage some good from this tragedy. The Rotary’s initiative both honors K9 Cigo and helps protect other brave sheriff’s dogs by providing them Kevlar bulletproof vests. The response from the Wellington community has been incredible. Every ticket purchaser will have the satisfaction of helping make a positive difference here in our community.”

Officials from the PBSO are thankful for the club’s efforts.

“We are greatly appreciative of the fact that the Wellington Rotary is holding this fundraiser for the bulletproof vests for the K9s,” PBSO Chief Deputy Michael Gauger said. “The dogs do what they are trained to do, and they do what they love. They are tremendous athletes who work in a very stressful environment. They are chasing and dealing with some of the worst criminals out there in the county.”

Gauger noted that the K9s have saved the lives of law enforcement officers on multiple occasions.

“It just goes to show the importance of giving that extra protection for those dogs,” Gauger explained. “I am personally contributing to the Kevlar for K9s fund.”

The Wellington Rotary Club has been working to promote the Kevlar for K9s raffle at community events in the area, such as the animal rescue and adoption event Paws at the Mall held Friday, April 5 at the Mall at Wellington Green and annual Wellington Egg Hunt held Saturday, April 20 at Village Park.

For the fundraiser to make a real difference, many tickets must be sold, since each K9 vest will cost more than $1,000. According to Carreras, the current goal is to sell at least 500 raffle tickets, which means the winning raffle ticket would be worth more than $16,000. As of mid-April, more than 350 tickets had been sold.

“Our initial goal was to raise enough money to buy Kevlar vests for one of the two K9s in Wellington,” Carreras said. “Now, we know that we will surpass our initial goal.”

Both Smith and Carreras have acknowledged that the strong purchasing response from the general public confirms that Kevlar for K9s is a great cause worth supporting.

Also, all 50 members of the club are selling tickets and collecting the proceeds for the big drawing on May 16. To buy a ticket, visit www.wellingtonrotary.org or call Carreras at (561) 798-4565.

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Law & Justice Avery Chapman Horse Trainers Beware: Training Fees Not Included Under Stablekeeper’s Lien Law In Florida

Law & Justice  Avery Chapman Horse Trainers Beware: Training Fees Not Included Under Stablekeeper’s Lien Law In Florida

Many horse trainers not only provide training to the equine athletes in their charge but also provide feed and care for those horses. This is commonly billed to the owner as “training board.” However, and contrary to common belief, if the owner of a horse on training board does not pay the trainer for the entire bill, in most states, a trainer cannot claim a lien against the horse for unpaid amounts attributable to training fees. To make such a claim is to make an improper lien.

In this article, I discuss the proper scope of a lien. That is, what amounts can be claimed?

Florida, like most states, does not permit liens against horses for training services. Most states do not have specific lien statutes specifically designating non-payment of “training fees” as a legal basis to claim a lien against a horse and sell the horse to satisfy the lien.

The general principal of interpretation of law is that if something is not specifically included, then the statute should be read to omit it. Therefore, under Florida law, and in many other states, because training services are not specifically mentioned in the stablekeeper’s lien law, unpaid training fees do not properly subject the horse to a lien. In contrast, exceptions to this general rule are the stablekeeper’s liens laws of Maryland and West Virginia, which specifically state that training services are properly subject to a lien.

In other states, such as Florida, which do not specifically list or include “training” or “training fees” along with “care and feeding” of a horse, a trainer should be wary of claiming too large a lien upon a horse when providing multiple services to a horse. For example, Florida’s stablekeeper’s lien law (F.S. § 713.65), otherwise known as an agister’s lien, does not include a right to lien for unpaid training fees associated with a horse. The law is very specific in that it provides for a possessory lien in favor of the stablekeeper for “the caring and feeding” of a horse. The language of the statute does not include “training” in the categories of services provided.

The logical and proper interpretation of the law, using the common meaning of the words “care and feeding,” leads to the reasonable conclusion that Florida’s statute does not allow a trainer to impose a claim of lien against a horse pursuant to F.S. § 713.65 for unpaid training fees.

Reading other Florida statutes on the topic leads to the reasonable conclusion that the Florida Legislature specifically declined to include training expenses into a second lien statute on the subject. Specifically, F.S. § 713.66, which applies to racehorses, polo ponies and dogs, allows a non-possessory lien only to those who “furnish corn, oats, hay, grain or other feed or feedstuffs or straw or bedding material” for the cost thereof. As well, the legislature has provided an express remedy in F.S. § 713.655 to veterinary professionals for the professional services veterinarians supply to horses.

The point is that while providing feed providers and veterinarians specific lien rights against horses for their materials and services, a lawmaking body, such as the Florida Legislature, may have not specifically provided equine trainers a right of lien against horses for training services. In that case, a trainer and his or her attorneys should resist the temptation to include all overdue charges in a claim of lien when some of those overdue charges include training fees.

In contrast, Florida’s stablekeeper’s lien law does not specifically enumerate “training” or “trainers” as being a lienable charge and a party entitled to impress a lien for training services. “Feeding or caring for” and “feeding and taking care of” are not the same words and do not have the same meaning as “training,” and the statute does not ever mention “trainers” as a professional service provider entitled to impress a lien for training services. Accordingly, the amount of a proper stablekeeper’s lien on horses in Florida is, therefore, limited to the care and feeding costs and no more.

Finally, be aware that a party exercising self-help under Florida law does so at his or her peril. Therefore, a stablekeeper who imposes an improper lien for a too-large amount, and later causes a sale of the horse, is not free from responsibility of the improper lien. Florida courts have held that when a sale of a horse pursuant to a stablekeeper’s lien passes ownership of the horse, it does not establish the legitimacy of the underlying debt or of the lienor’s conduct. In other words, if a trainer imposes a lien for charges that are not properly included under F.S. § 713.65 and then forecloses the lien by selling the horse or horses under F.S. § 85.031 (non-judicial, public sale), the sale does not legitimize the actions of the trainer and the trainer is not immune to an action by the horse owner for foreclosing on a lien based on an inflated amount that should not have included training charges.

For these reasons, a stablekeeper, and his or her attorneys, should be wary of asserting a lien amount on a horse that covers amounts that are not covered by Florida’s stablekeeper’s lien law.

Confused yet? The process of impressing and foreclosing on the lien, as well as holding the public sale or pursuing judicial sale, are equally complex. I recommend the assistance of legal counsel when these issues arise.

Attorney Avery S. Chapman is the founding and inaugural chair of the Equine Law Committee of the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar. He practices in Wellington, where he counsels members of the equine industry and athletes on a wide range of matters. Chapman may be reached at asc@chapmanlawgroup.net or through www.equinelawgroup.com.

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Local Attorney Marcelo Montesinos Is Committed To His Community And His Clients

Local Attorney Marcelo Montesinos Is Committed To His Community And His Clients

Moving to Palm Beach County when he was less than a year old, Marcelo Montesinos spent the first 15 years of his life in West Palm Beach before his family moved to Wellington. He loves the area, where he practices family life and law today.

“There was no great epiphany that made me want to be a lawyer,” Montesinos recalled. “I was drawn into it because I always wanted to fight for the underdog and people who have the odds against them. I became a lawyer because I wanted to be given an opportunity to help people who sometimes need help.”

Married since 2005, with a five-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, Montesinos, 46, is a noted personal injury attorney and family man.

A graduate of Florida Atlantic University and Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey, he has been practicing law since 1997. Working in Washington, D.C., after college, then joining the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office after law school, he went into private practice in 2001.

“Wellington has grown in the past decade quite a bit, and what I love about it is that there’s still a very tight-knit kind of community setting,” Montesinos said. “I enjoy being part of the community and seeing it grow and seeing all the leaders, some of whom I know personally, move us in the right direction.”

Montesinos also likes the community vibe here in Wellington.

“There’s still a small-town feel,” he said. “I guess that’s every small city’s challenge, to try and maintain the small-town feel, and Wellington does that.”

His is an intimately sized firm that specializes in personal injury law.

“There is just me and a couple of attorneys and a couple of paralegals and staff. So, we feel like a family practice, and clients can easily speak directly to me,” Montesinos said. “We are not a family practice, of course. We do personal injury and wrongful death cases.”

Montesinos said he gauges the success of his firm by the positive impact it has on clients and those clients’ willingness to refer him to their friends and family. “We handle things such as car accidents, trucking accidents and accidents caused by the negligence of someone else,” he explained.

While some gauge success by money won for clients, Montesinos said that for him, it’s more about helping those in need.

“It’s so hard to be specific, but we’ve handled thousands of personal injury accident cases, and they number very high in terms of the compensation. I’ve never really made a tally, although that seems to be the trend,” Montesinos said. “I realize that the best way I can tell that I’m doing well is by the referrals from clients, so I know that we are doing something right.”

Montesinos is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, which has helped him communicate and maintain many relationships throughout the South Florida community.

What he feels sets his practice apart from others in any language is the entire team’s attitude toward their clients.

“We have a deep, deep commitment to our clients that goes way beyond a phone call to the office,” he said. “My clients have my cell phone and can contact me almost at any time. They can bypass the office when they feel the need. We have our team there, and they can help with a lot of the procedural paperwork, but sometimes clients talk to or text me directly, also. Since I’m a smaller office, I have an obligation to provide personal service, and I call them back, and our team does our best to make sure clients feel they can call us at any time.”

Nothing gets in the way of Montesinos’ commitment to clients.

“We satisfy our goal of devoting all of our energy and passion to every case,” said Montesinos, who explained that he is committed to excellence in the practice of law while maintaining the highest ethical standards in the pursuit of justice. “My dedication is surely to my clients and what they are going through, because when someone is involved in an accident, it really changes their world. Sometimes it really turns everything upside down. We work to set things right again.”

Things sitting right brings Montesinos back to his hometown and what he feels is great about Wellington.

“It is a great place to raise a family. I believe that this is a great community that is growing in a controlled manner, so we still maintain the small-town flavor. We have plenty of great restaurants and places to go with the kids,” Montesinos said. “I love Wellington, and I hope to continue living and working in the area for the rest of my life.”

For more information about Marcelo Montesinos and his law firm, call (561) 721-1600 or visit www.montesinoslaw.com.

 

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