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April 2021


volume 1, number 1 APRIL 2021 PREMIERE ISSUE

executive editor

from the

Cover Story

Joshua I. Manning



Dawn Rivera


senior graphic designer Stephanie Rodriguez

Palm Beach County’s 2020 Principal of the Year Dr. Jesús Armas actively deflects any credit for the improvements at Royal Palm Beach High School during his 11-year tenure. For Armas, it’s all about the team. BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

graphic designers Nancy Pobiak Yolanda Cernicky

account managers Betty Buglio Evie Edwards Joetta Palumbo

Departments PALM HEALTH 25 ROYAL The NRI Institute Educates


Jill Kaskel Carol Lieberman

Future Nurses and More from its Campus in Royal Palm Beach.



Abner Pedraza

PALM BUSINESS 31 ROYAL The Jordano Insurance Group


Meredith Burow Erin Davisson Denise Fleischman Melanie Kopacz Mike May Callie Sharkey M. Dennis Taylor Deborah Welky

Gives Clients Personal Attention in a Digital Age. BY CALLIE SHARKEY

PALM TABLE 35 ROYAL India Grill & Bar Serves Up Authentic Cuisine Featuring Recipes from Across India.

ROYAL PALM Bringing You The Best Of Royal Palm Beach


PALM PROGRAM 39 ROYAL New Methods, Same Mission: RPB Uses Technology to Make Government More Responsive


12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 www.royalpalmthemagazine.com

published by

Royal Palm The Magazine Inc.


Barry S. Manning

We are pleased to announce the launch of Royal Palm The Magazine! This new magazine features everything you know and love about Royal Palm Beach. Each issue, we will celebrate life in this vibrant community and the surrounding area on the pages of a sophisticated, upscale publication. Royal Palm The Magazine will present all things current, interesting and important, directly to the people who care about and support this amazing community. The magazine will be the preferred resource for all things local: dining and entertainment, professional services, community events, fundraisers and more. As we prepared for this exciting launch, meeting with residents, business owners and the team at the Village of Royal Palm Beach, we soon realized how much our community wanted a voice of its own. A sister publication to Wellington The Magazine, publishing for more than 15 years in Wellington, Royal Palm The Magazine gives Royal Palm Beach a creative and independent voice, representing our community with the pride and acknowledgment it deserves. Come and join us in this adventure. Enjoy our premiere issue!

Dawn Rivera

Dawn Rivera, Publisher


Groundbreaking Event Celebrates Tuttle Royale’s New Erica Blvd. Royal Palm Beach’s Kids Cancer Foundation Hosts Dr. Seuss Night Barky Pines Hosts Puppy Love 5K Run/Walk At Commons Park Enjoy Royal Palm Beach Green Market Through The End Of April

on the cover

Principal Dr. Jesús Armas in front of Royal Palm Beach High School. PHOTO BY ABNER PEDRAZA

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Royal Palm The Magazine is published six times a year in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved by Royal Palm The Magazine Inc. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.

Social Scene


royal palm the magazine | april 2021 5

royal palm | social scene


Groundbreaking Event Celebrates Tuttle Royale’s New Erica Blvd.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the future Erica Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach, a direct gateway to the new Tuttle Royale project from State Road 7, was held Wednesday, March 10.The new roadway is a critical addition to the village’s infrastructure. It will align the entrances between the Lowe’s and Home Depot shopping centers on SR 7 and include a new traffic signal to improve the safety and flow. It will also allow drivers a way to bypass the busy intersection of SR 7 and Southern Blvd.

(Left to right) Chris DeBehnke and Michael Tuttle of Tuttle Land Investments, Joseph Sophie representing Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, Mayor Fred Pinto, Tuttle Land Investments owner Brian Tuttle, Vice Mayor Jeff Hmara, Councilman Richard Valuntas and Councilwoman Jan Rodusky; Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto with Brian Tuttle, owner of Tuttle Land Investments; and D.S. Eakins Construction Corp.’s Steve Eakins and Douglas Eakins, Mayor Fred Pinto, Brian Tuttle, and Engenuity Group engineers Keith Jackson and Adam Swaney.

(Left to right) Chris and Nicole DeBehnke; D.S. Eakins Construction Corp. President Douglas Eakins and Vice President Steve Eakins with a front-end loader; Juli Panse, Michael Tuttle, Chris DeBehnke, Nicole DeBehnke, Mayor Fred Pinto, Brian Tuttle, Susan O’Rourke and Rex Kirby; and the future intersection of Erica Blvd. and State Road 7.

Articles | Artwork | Brochures | Design Works Digital Marketing | Newsletters | Press Releases

Selena Samios, Creative Mastermind premiere issue

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royal palm | social scene


Royal Palm Beach’s Kids Cancer Foundation Hosts Dr. Seuss Night On Friday, March 5, the Kids Cancer Foundation, a Royal Palm Beach-based nonprofit, held a Dr. Seuss Kids Fun Night at the Mall at Wellington Green. Many stands and activities were based on books the late author wrote. During the walk around, everyone had fun and left with bags full of treats. The next Kids Fun Night will be in April with an Easter theme. The Kids Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports local children and families battling cancer. For more info., visit www.kidscancersf.org.

(Left to right) Director of Programs Nicole Isaacson, the Grinch, Child Enrichment Assistant Megan O’Boyle, Frank O’Boyle as the Cat in the Hat, Educational Advocate Marla Pipkins and KCF Executive Director Michelle O’Boyle; Mia Isaac, Stacy Pestuglicci and Becky Lobrutto; Marla Pipkins with Nathaly and Katherine Valera and the Grinch; and Melany Vragg and Nathan Field.

(Left to right) Elizabeth Field and Tatianna Bassler; Amy Ferris and Katharina Jochem; and Marla Pipkins, Savannah Guererri, Missy Poirier, Sadie Kellerman, Nicole Isaacson and Donna Leone.

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Barky Pines Hosts Puppy Love 5K Run/Walk At Commons Park Barky Pines Animal Rescue & Sanctuary held its second annual Puppy Love 5K Run/Walk event on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park.A chip-timed race was followed by a “fun run” or walk with pets. Barky Pines is the second largest rescuer of animals from Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control. For more info., visit www.barkypinesanimalrescue.com.

(Left to right) Grand Marshal Royal Palm Beach Councilwoman Selena Samios with her daughter Marya; the 5K race gets underway; men’s first place finisher Jakob Colodney completes the race; women’s first place Regina Goolsby and second place finisher Charlie Green; and Debbie Tugby, Beth Davino and Elaine Tobita at the ticket auction table.

(Left to right) Alyssa Freeman, Jeff Fisher, PBSO Major Eric Coleman, Elizabeth Accomando, Noel Chessman, Abby Ross and Steve Accomando; Barky Pines volunteer Caleigh Coleman with Marble, who was looking for a loving home; Barky Pines’ Elizabeth Accomando with youth winner Dylan Johnson; and the fun run gets underway.

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royal palm | social scene

Enjoy Royal Palm Beach Green Market Through The End Of April The Royal Palm Beach Green Market & Bazaar is held Saturdays in season lakeside at Village Hall at the corner of Okeechobee and Royal Palm Beach boulevards.The Green Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 25. It will then close for the summer and return in October. For more info., visit www.rpbgreenmarket.com.

(Left to right) Green Market Manager Kathy Gilbert of POTTC Events; Catherine Cotter buys a baguette; Jennifer Rankin of Nova Tea Co.; and Leila Persaud looks over eggplants at Continental Produce.

(Left to right) Robin Stern of Tied in Knots Design sells Dolores Haas a skull windchime; Natalie and Savannah Smith; Nancy Maxwell looks over orchids at Duncan & Sons Orchids; Cheza and Ryan Held; and Fur-Ever Chic Boutique’s Meaghan Welch and Lauren Windle.

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With a tenure of 11 years, Dr. Jesús Armas is the longest-serving Royal Palm Beach High School principal by far.


april 2021 | royal palm the magazine

A Vision For Success Has Helped Dr. Jesús Armas Transform Royal Palm Beach High School STORY BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR | PHOTOS BY ABNER PEDRAZA

The continuity of leadership provided by Dr. Jesús Armas has allowed Royal Palm Beach High School to flourish, adding new programs and setting new records.

One thing that Armas is very proud of is the annual School Effectiveness Questionnaire that shows consistently high ratings from a content staff, with the last year rankings of 97 percent of the staff with positive feelings about working at Royal Palm Beach High School. Under Armas, the school has a record of low staff turnover, and a high rate of assistant principals moving up to be-

come principals, and teachers moving up into administrative positions. Before Armas arrived, the school was once given a dismal D rating by the state. Under Armas, his team worked hard to earn a B rating — an impressive accomplishment for a Title 1 high school. The strive to improve continues, but Armas is realistic in his goals. “Only 39 percent of the Title 1 high schools in the state are an A or a B, and 27 percent of the Palm Beach County Title 1 high schools are a B — and none are an A,” he said. Grades are wonderful, but for Armas, it’s more about opportunity. Is there a place for every student to achieve and be successful on the Wildcat campus? He believes so. Armas resides in nearby Loxahatchee with his wife of 33 years, Teresa, and their son, Daniel, a Royal Palm Beach High School student. The son of Cuban political refugees and a native of Belle Glade, he graduated in 1986 from the University of Miami — no small feat considering his humble beginnings. He earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry and a minor in biology. The first job in teaching that he held after graduating college was at his alma mater, Christian Day School.

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Self-effacing about his accomplishments and with a quick wit, Palm Beach County’s 2020 Principal of the Year Dr. Jesús Armas actively deflects any credit for the improvements at Royal Palm Beach High School during his 11-year tenure. For Armas, it’s all about the team. Of course it is, and every team needs a strong captain — one with a firm command, a clear vision and the willingness to stick around and get it done. About the honor of being named principal of the year? “It was a slow year for principals,”Armas laughed. About Royal Palm Beach High School’s slow but steady rise in its own ratings over the last decade? Armas explained it as “continuity.” Before Armas came to the school, there had been five principals with the longest tenure being three years.“With that kind of turnover, misalignment can occur,” Armas explained. “One person can create a vision of who we want to be and where we want to go.” Armas attributed the many improvements at the school to that continuity of vision his extended tenure has brought. “We have good people, and there were good people here before I came,” he said. What was missing was a strong leader to bring it all together and make it happen.

royal palm the magazine | april 2021 15

Dr. Jesús Armas working at his desk.

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“Graduation is ultimately what we are here for. It’s what we do... Every year we have been up over the past year, which was the previous record.” — RPBHS Principal Dr. Jesús Armas There, he coached basketball and, for five years, taught several different subjects, including chemistry. The next stop was Haines City High School in central Florida as a science teacher and basketball coach in 1992. Following two years there, Armas relocated back to Palm Beach County to Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, where he worked for another five years, teaching chemistry and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, while also coaching basketball and working as the athletic director. In 1999, Armas headed to Jupiter High School, where he became the school’s athletic director. During this


april 2021 | royal palm the magazine

time, he also attended Nova Southeastern University, earning his master’s degree in science education and receiving his certification in school leadership. He later returned to Nova Southeastern and earned his doctorate in educational leadership in 2017. “I had always just wanted to coach basketball,”Armas joked.“Then I turned to the ‘dark side’ and went into administration.” In 2003, he became an assistant principal at Jupiter High School. From there, he headed west to Seminole Ridge High School, which wasn’t even open yet. In 2004, he became the future school’s assistant principal in charge of curricu-

lum. As Seminole Ridge’s first assistant principal, Armas was instrumental in the creation of the school’s biotechnology and construction academies, along with the creation of the school’s Advanced Placement Accipiter Program. By 2006, Armas’ courting days with basketball had completely passed, and he was appointed the principal of Lake Worth Middle School. He oversaw the school’s transformation that saw it achieve the only two B ratings in the school’s history, the creation of the school’s two choice academies — medical science and engineering — and he was responsible for the school’s 18-classroom campus expansion.

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(Inset) Royal Palm Beach High School Principal Dr. Jesús Armas holds the 2020 Principal of the Year trophy. (Background) A mural depicts the school’s mascot.

After a four-year successful run, Armas headed to the top job at Royal Palm Beach High School in 2010, taking charge over Wildcat country. And there he has stayed, bringing 11 years of continuity as the school’s longest-serving principal by far. Since arriving,Armas — and his team, of course — have brought a number of new academic programs to school. They helped the school become an IB World School — the only one in the western communities — and has introduced several programs and academies, including STEM, computer gaming, AICE,AVID and a Navy JROTC program. RPBHS has won several district-


april 2021 | royal palm the magazine

wide competitions as Armas continues to upgrade the academics within the school. Armas said that the strengthened college prep courses, honors classes and specific academies such as medical science are all very strong, the equal of any in the county, and the rigorous degree certificate programs help students who want to go right into the workforce. “The HVAC [Heating,Ventilation and Air Conditioning] academy program is the oldest we have,” he said.“When you see the Habitat for Humanity houses that Seminole Ridge builds, our students do the HVAC work.” Armas is proud of the cultural and

systemic changes at RPBHS during his tenure. “Graduation is ultimately what we are here for,” he said.“It’s what we do.” The graduation rate is up 20 points over the past 11 years. The Class of 2020 of some 2,200 student had the highest percentage graduation rate yet at 94 percent. “Every year we have been up over the past year, which was the previous record,”Armas said. There have been ups and downs since Royal Palm Beach High School opened in 1997, but since Dr. Jesús Armas arrived, the trajectory has been up. And he aims to keep it that way.


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Nonprofit Wellington Cares Expands To Serve Seniors In Royal Palm Beach BY SELENA SAMIOS

Shelley and Carol making calls. Phone calls keep clients connected.

to augment what is already available for senior citizens. The nonprofit strives to be prevention based and engage participants before crises and respond to their changing needs over time, which can make a big difference in a senior’s quality of life. Expanding into Royal Palm Beach was the next step.“We have been very fortunate over the last few years,” said Cheryl Anders, Wellington Cares’ current board president. “Thanks to grants and generosity from the community, we were able to expand our services to serve more residents of Palm Beach County.” Through a grant from the Palm Health Foundation, the organization had seed money to begin planning the expansion. Wellington Cares started working on establishing criteria for an expansion and redeveloping its business plan. Over the course of two years, the organization considered several municipalities within the county ideal for an expansion and agreed that Royal Palm Beach would be the next logical area for growth.“Our goal is to build a better place for people to grow old and remain in their homes,”Anders said. Wellington Cares is a communitybased, nonprofit organization committed to coordinating volunteers of all ages to assist in enabling residents over age 65 to remain in their homes with the support of the community.

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“When we first discussed the concept for Wellington Cares, we felt from the start that if we were successful in our area, the model was easily replicable in other communities with mixed-age residents. In order for the idea to work, we knew we needed people of all ages.” — Kathy Foster

Local nonprofit Wellington Cares has expanded and is now offering Royal Palm Beach residents who are over 65 years old the free services it has provided to Wellington residents for the past decade. Wellington Cares was founded in 2010 by Kathy Foster when she recognized a growing need in her hometown community of Wellington. Her interest in establishing an organization to serve the aging population grew from her awareness of limited free resources and choices available that allow seniors to stay in their homes when they are experiencing challenges. Wellington Cares provides shortterm soft services designed to provide assistance for residents at least 65 years old if they would like to age in their own home in Wellington or Royal Palm Beach. “When we first discussed the concept for Wellington Cares, we felt from the start that if we were successful in our area, the model was easily replicable in other communities with mixed-age residents,” Foster explained. “In order for the idea to work, we knew we needed people of all ages — seniors who needed help, as well as those who were looking for an opportunity to help their neighbors in a meaningful way.” It is not Wellington Cares’ goal to replicate community resources but rather

royal palm the magazine | april 2021 21

Diane Gutman with participant Edith; a volunteer meeting; participant Adele with volunteer Shelley; and Wellington Cares helps install a ramp in a senior’s home.

“We have been helping Wellington seniors for the last 10 years, and we are so excited to expand our services to neighboring Royal Palm Beach,” said Diane Gutman, director of operations for the organization. In some cases, the decision of a senior to leave their home is made by circumstances, not by choice. The organization’s primary goal is to minimize the feelings of isolation and loneliness so commonly expressed by participants. The organization was the recipient

of funds from the Great Charity Challenge, which helped make the expansion possible. “Wellington Cares’ model and approach to senior support is truly unique. We are delighted to know that this funding will go to support the expansion of such a successful program,” said Anne Caroline Valtin, executive director of the Great Charity Challenge. Wellington Cares is able to provide free services due to the generous time its volunteers provide. Many of the volunteers, seniors themselves, have been

with the organization since the beginning. Free services include pickup and delivery of prescriptions and groceries, socialization by visitation in the home or with phone calls, write letters, pay bills, schedule appointments, help coordinate services available in the community, and drive to doctors, therapy or places of worship. Limited services will be available to Royal Palm Beach senior residents in the beginning. “This volunteer organization is a give-give,” Gutman said. “Although the participants sign up to receive services

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and the volunteers join to give of their time, all agree they are recipients. Age, physical ability and even cultural differences fall by the wayside, commonality is found, and friendships are formed.” Although participants must be residents of Wellington or Royal Palm Beach to receive services, volunteers can be from anywhere, at least 16 years old, and pass a Level 2 background check. “Our volunteer services have proven invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic, by helping those susceptible to the virus remain in their homes but not isolated,” Gutman said. If you or someone you know who lives in Wellington or Royal Palm Beach needs short-term assistance in order to maintain independence, Wellington Cares may be able to help. For additional information on services, volunteering or being a participant, call (561) 568-8818 or visit www. wellingtoncares.org.

Through donations, Wellington Cares makes sure that its clients have enough to eat.

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President, Rocco Falcone with son, John Falcone

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royal palm the magazine | april 2021 23

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royal palm | health

NRI INSTITUTE OF HEALTH SCIENCES Royal Palm Beach-Based School Educates Future Nurses And More


“Even before the pandemic, there was a nationwide shortage of one million nurses. County residents are predominately people over 65, with more in season, so the need is great.” — Dan Splain “We are proud to be part of the Royal Palm Beach community since 2012, and we work for the success of that community,” Splain said.

NRI Institute of Health Sciences founder and CEO Dan Splain.

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Royal Palm Beach is home to the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, a licensed and accredited, private degree-granting post-secondary school. It offers programs in registered and practical nursing, nursing assistant and diagnostic medical sonography. The ownership team of Chief Administrative Officer Dan Splain and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Stolkowski, who serves as president and director of the nursing program, operate the school.They work with the highly qualified staff to prepare students as quality medical caregivers, helping these students discover their own opportunities to serve in the healthcare field.

royal palm the magazine | april 2021 25

royal palm | health

The NRI Institute of Health Sciences in Royal Palm Beach celebrated its first graduating class in August 2014. PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

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Both Splain and Stolkowski have extensive healthcare backgrounds in the U.S. and internationally, including hospital administration, managed care, nursing education and the international recruitment of healthcare professionals. They brought that background to Royal Palm Beach nearly 10 years ago. “We educate healthcare providers for this and adjacent communities,” Splain said. “We started out with eight students, and last semester we had 112. Some go to work at Palms West Hospital and a number go to Wellington Regional Medical Center, as well as various hospitals on the Gold Coast and the Treasure Coast.We even have some teaching in fine institutions all over the country.” Growing from an initial small location in West Palm Beach to the 13,500-square-foot facility in Royal Palm Beach, NRI offers two post-secondary school degrees: associate of sciences in nursing and associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography. 26 april 2021 | royal palm the magazine

“We educate healthcare providers for this and adjacent communities. We started out with eight students, and last semester we had 112. Some go to work at Palms West Hospital and a number go to Wellington Regional.” — Dan Splain The school is adding a medical assistant diploma this spring. “We believe we are fulfilling the goals of the organization,” Splain said. “We have created lots of opportunity in Royal Palm Beach, and we have awarded some scholarships.” He is proud that NRI has become a valued member of the Royal Palm Beach community. After researching the overall South Florida region extensively, one

night he happened to watch a Palm Beach County Commission meeting on TV. Splain remembered it well. One elected official, Commissioner Jess Santamaria, caught his attention. Perhaps it was because of his well-spoken, earnest comments. Perhaps it was his background, because Stolkowski is also from the Philippines, and they had done recruiting of healthcare professionals there. Splain arranged a brief meeting with Santamaria, and the rest is history. “Jess introduced me to [Royal Palm Beach Mayor] Fred Pinto, and the meeting turned into lunch and a tour of the village,” recalled Splain, who ultimately decided to locate NRI here and become a part of the Royal Palm Beach community. “Even before the pandemic, there was a nationwide shortage of one million nurses,” Splain said. “County residents are predominately people over 65, with more in season, so the need is great locally.”

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(Above) Nursing degree graduates gather for a group photo at the NRI Institute’s January 2019 ceremony. (Inset) Nursing educator Dr. M.J. Duthie welcomes Mayor Fred Pinto to the NRI campus.

He added that the reputation of NRI and the way the school provides personal attention to the students helps them to pass the state license exam, offering them a high level of confidence that they will be employed right out of school. Stolkowski’s responsibilities focus on the education aspects of the school to deliver the promised education to the student population, orchestrating the right faculty and the right learning to qualify good nurses so they get licensed. “We are small, so we are quick and innovative, and we make sure the students’ success comes first,” Stolkowski explained. Making sure the students get what they expect from the school is the secret to their success. “We have many non-traditional students enrolled,” she said. “The average age is 30, many have families as well as full-time school… life happens around them. We spend lots


april 2021 | royal palm the magazine

of energy monitoring and motivating them toward success.” The fact that the school offers more degrees than competing facilities is why NRI has such an excellent reputation and level of credibility, Stolkowski added. Dr. M.J. Duthie is a highly skilled nursing educator who teaches five classes per week at the NRI Institute in health and anatomy, and also handles the upper level administrative and clinical needs. “Our instructors were educated at some of the top 10 colleges and major universities in the nation,” Duthie said. “It is so nice to have the responsibilities and rigors of the larger, high-powered schools here in a smaller, more private setting. We have the same standards as the larger schools for our students here in a two-year, four-semester situation.” Duthie also likes NRI’s centrally located, compact campus.“It is a beautiful campus here, and staff is available to stu-

dents all day,” Duthie said.“It is small and close knit. We are a forever family here. It is rewarding to see a person develop into such a professional here.” Splain said NRI chose to locate at the corner of Royal Palm Beach Blvd. and Southern Blvd. for its community feel. Its central location means it is an easy commute for students from as far away as Vero Beach. Splain lauded the village, saying that it has well-run municipal services in a safe community. “It is centrally located for travel to and from the school, and it has a good housing inventory for residents,” said Splain, who has taken a leadership role in the community, including as an officer of the Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club. The NRI Institute of Health Sciences is located at 500 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza. For more information, call (561) 688-5112 or visit www.nriinstitute.edu.


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royal palm | business

Jordano Insurance Group Gives Clients Personal Attention In A Digital Age BY CALLIE SHARKEY

“You’ve got to be able to sit down and listen to what people need and not assume what they want. It is important to know your clients personally.” — Keith Jordano

Photo by SA Photographer

one-stop shop for all insurance needs, but also for all group sizes. “I do work with individuals, but I also have small groups that I do health and voluntary products in, and I’ve worked with very large companies that have thousands of employees to help educate their employees on what their benefits are,” Jordano explained. “I have clients in the VA that I have helped with insurance, and I keep in

touch with my brothers in service.” Jordano is a veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserves and is a member of the American Legion. Having diverse expertise in the insurance world gives Jordano the ability to gently guide customers through everything from explaining the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act to determining the types of insurance and coverage they really need. royal palm the magazine | april 2021

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For more than a quarter century, local insurance expert Keith Jordano has put his clients first. The Jordano Insurance Group has been serving the community’s insurance needs through all phases of life. “We do health, Medicare, auto, home, life, group and individual products,” Jordano said. “This allows clients to transition through a variety of life changes.” The New Orleans native has worked across the country with massive insurance corporations, but he has found a long-term home here in the western communities. Working, living, playing and serving locally is Jordano’s focus. The Royal Palm Beach community has benefited from this service through his longtime work with the Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club, of which he is a past president. He is also a longtime, active member at Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church in Royal Palm Beach. “When I first got to Florida, I traveled all over the state. I know about the State of Florida and understand that someone in the Panhandle is different from Tampa, different from Naples and different from Miami. They have different upbringings, attitudes and opinions,” Jordano said.“You’ve got to be able to sit down and listen to what people need and not assume what they want. It is important to know your clients personally.” The Jordano Insurance Group is a



“The computer age is zooming along. You get so much information and do a lot of things on the computer, but at the end of the day, people don’t want to talk to a computer if they have an issue,” Jordano said. “People don’t want to enter stuff on the web not knowing what the person on the other end is going to do.” Jordano understands that he is work-

ing with real people, not just numbers in an algorithm. Some companies spend money on computer software to do research instead of looking out for the best interest of an individual client. “When working with individuals, I explain everything. A computer may give you the best price out there, but it doesn’t necessarily help you keep your

doctor,” he said. “The first words out of my mouth are always, ‘Do you want a particular doctor in your network?’” From the first meeting, Jordano ensures that the needs of his clients are addressed thoroughly. “We are there for all your insurance needs, and our customers always come first,” he said.“You don’t turn your back on people who need help — there is no judgement or making assumptions about clients. Labels don’t work. I have worked hard in the field so my clients can rest easy. I am always available, and if I don’t have the answer right away, I will get on it.” Jordano understands that this is also a difficult time for many who have undergone career and economic changes. Being flexible keeps clients at ease during a time of uncertainty and drastic changes. “I’m happy to meet in person or over

Premier, Award-Winning Realtor Sophie’s sincere interest in helping her clients discover that special property to meet both their needs and desires is the hallmark of her success, consistently placing her among the TOP 5% of her peers at Keller Williams Wellington. Sophie is a skilled negotiator with in-depth knowledge of Palm Beach County’s unique real estate market. Her clients can expect the expertise of someone who has been living in the local area since 2001 and has a thorough understanding of the real estate buying and selling process. Sophie offers superior customer service tailored to each individual’s needs and prides herself on her communication, availability, and responsiveness throughout the home buying or selling process. Sophie’s goal is to earn the client’s trust and respect and to be their Realtor of choice. Fluent in English, French and Spanish, Sophie Ghedin will be your voice whether you want to buy or sell a single family home, an oceanfront condominium, equestrian property or an estate home in a country club. A lifelong rider, Sophie also brings her expertise as a Realtor and horsewoman to the Equestrian community helping horse lovers buy, sell, or rent equestrian properties.

“As a Realtor, my first priority is to make my client happy. I strive to ensure that the home buying or selling process is fun, easy and stress free. I listen to my client’s needs and wants to achieve the best outcome in every transaction.” Let Sophie share with you her knowledge and enthusiasm for the place she now calls home. You will find yourself falling in love with all that Palm Beach County has to offer.

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WELLINGTON april 2021 | royal palm the magazine

12008 S. Shore Blvd. Suite 201 Wellington, FL 33414 (561) 472-1236 | (561) 472-1233 (fax) www.kwwellington.com

royal palm | business the phone. I try to help clients feel comfortable with the process, whether it be working with them over the internet or socially distanced,” he said.“If I can help someone meet their needs and give them a good umbrella, not sell them the most expensive policy, then I’ve done the right thing.” Jordano has worked as a leader in the healthcare insurance industry. In 2015, he traveled to the nation’s capital to lobby on behalf of healthcare reform with the Palm Coast Association of Health Underwriters, and he looks forward to doing so again. Jordano’s work with the Rotary and local chambers of commerce reflect a pattern of leadership and service that now includes the role of an elected official. Jordano serves on the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors, a seat he won in November 2020.

“We are there for all your insurance needs, and our customers always come first. You don’t turn your back on people who need help — there is no judgement or making assumptions about clients. Labels don’t work. I have worked hard in the field so my clients can rest easy. I am always available, and if I don’t have the answer right away, I will get on it.” — Keith Jordano

“I’ve served my clients, and I felt like the next step would be to serve not only my clients, but the entire community. So, I ran for office to be a representative of the people — not a politician,” Jordano explained.“Just like in insurance, you have to research who you put in office. You have to make sure that the person you elect will be

John F. Froehlich

there to protect your interests.” Keith Jordano can be reached via e-mail directly at keith@jordanogroup. com.You can also obtain a quote digitally through his company web site at www.jordanogroup.com. However, the best way to learn more is to call Jordano at (561) 333-6228 or (561) 3072622.

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royal palm | table

India Grill & Bar Serves Up Authentic Cuisine Featuring Recipes From Across India BY MELANIE KOPACZ

(Clockwise from top left) Salmon can be prepared in a variety of sauces; Lamb Curry features tender lamb in a spicy sauce; Papdi Chaat is a quintessential Indian street food; Onion Bhaji are crisp onion fritters with an array of sauces; Tandoori Chicken is made in a traditional clay oven; and the flavorful shrimp are also popular.

delightful Dosa Bites are made with crispy lentil pancakes, spiced potato stuffing, a special blend of Sambar soup dip, coconut and street chutneys. For meat lovers, the Tandoori Sampler is a mix of Chicken Malai Kebab, Lamb Kebab and Chicken Pakora.

“We focus on getting the best produce,” Thomas said. “Once we have that, the rest is easy.” Thomas calls the imported spices the key components to every recipe. Clove is his personal favorite. “It has a spark to it; a burst of flavor,” he said. “I’m from

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Authentic Indian flavors, attention to detail in every dish and friendly table service set the mood for a dynamic culinary experience at India Grill & Bar. Foodies from all over the area and beyond are discovering this Royal Palm Beach restaurant for its modern, multiregional cuisine. “We welcome you with open arms and hearts, and we feed our customers with an appetite for authentic Indian cuisine,” India Grill & Bar owner and manager Soye Thomas said. It’s that true love and passion for sharing the Indian culture and cuisine that comes across in each and every dish. Culinary creations are carefully and skillfully constructed by four chefs, each specializing in a different region. “We have a south Indian chef, a north Indian chef, one from Bombay for the snacks and one from the east side to cover all the seafood,” Thomas said. For starters, try the wide selection of warm, light and fluffy naan. The freshly baked Indian bread is offered in a wide variety, from cheese mildly spiced, to garlic with cilantro. The Kashmiri naan is a slightly sweet mix of flavors with cashew and pine nuts, coconut, saffron, honey and raisins. There are also several savory soups available. The Sambar is a classic made with a delicate vegetable broth with lentils, ginger, curry leaves, fresh vegetables, exotic herbs and mild spices. Appetizers include the Vegetable Samosa, hand-rolled pastries with amchur potatoes, chaat and dry-aged peas. The

royal palm the magazine | april 2021 35

the land of spices! That’s one primary thing for us. We import straight from India. We never use powder. We get the cardamom, the organic cumin. We have dried cumin straight from India. We roast and grind all our spices right here. The flavor and aroma is so fresh and real. It’s amazing.” The entrees are equally as enlightening. The Tandoori specialties are made in the traditional clay oven, a technique from the Mughal Empire of the 16th Century. They are all prepared fresh to order. The mixed grill platter includes an assortment of Tandoori grilled shrimp, seasoned lamb chops and boneless Chicken Tikka. Other standouts are the Lamb Roganjosh, Chicken Biryani on the bone and Daal Makhni. “We use an all-charcoal grill,” Thomas said. “It sears all the juices inside.” Some newer favorites now offered are the ginger garlic shrimp and the

chicken kebab trio. To finish off all those flavors, there are a number of desserts. Gulab Jamun, an Indian favorite made with special saffron and served golden brown in cardamom honey and syrup, is one to try. It’s not just the genuine love for the cuisine that’s poured into each dish. For the past decade at this location, a large focus has been put on the elevated experience. While the extensive event planning and catering end of the business has been scaled back due to the pandemic, the high-end service is apparent in all areas. “Our staff dotes on our customers. They’re trained with leading hotels in South Florida where we’ve done events, so they bring that same culture to the restaurant,” Thomas said. “That elevates our service and attention to detail that we give to the customers.” The restaurant serves as home base, while Thomas runs a nationwide cater-

ing company — Madras Catering and Event Production, which he is anxious to return to full throttle once large events are back on the schedule. It’s at the Four Seasons, J.W. Marriott and Hyatt where Thomas worked in management after coming to the United States from India in 1997. He used that experience and added his own twist, with now 18 years of catering under his belt, in recent years catering 40 weddings a year, averaging 300 people per event. “Guests come here and say, ‘Wow! The food is amazing.’ But they don’t realize the chefs cooking for those weddings are the same ones cooking for them,” Thomas said. “There are no shortcuts, anywhere.” That same attention to detail shows at the Royal Palm Beach restaurant. When you walk in, it’s designed to look like an Indian palace with hues of gold, and a circular 400-gallon saltwater fish aquarium serving as its centerpiece.

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royal palm | table Outdoor seating is also available with white tablecloth-covered tables, Moroccan table lamps, and Bollywood music and videos to surround diners with the lively sounds and sights of India. The restaurant also offers a banquet hall for up to 200 people. It includes a separate entrance, private bar and reception area, suited for private parties or corporate events. There’s also a tasting room for as many as 20 people, also privately set with its own bar. It’s that same personal touch that has made India Grill & Bar a success. “For me, it’s very personal,” Thomas said. “The food, presentation, food culture, spices, quality of ingredients. I get to know the clients.” A huge selection fills the bar as well, including exotic cocktails, a variety of spirits, and a large beer and wine menu. Happy hour is seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m., with both $5 cocktails and $5 small bites. Also, a Sunday brunch

India Grill & Bar now offers an outdoor seating area.

selection ranges from $12 to $18 and allows for a unique experience with a tableside Tandoori grill to taste a variety of food items and sip mimosas. Meantime, Thomas and his crew are always looking for new infusions. Each year, they tour India, checking out new flavors. “We give all we have to our patrons who are coming to the restaurant. It’s their support that makes you feel encouraged to do what we are doing,” said Thomas, who strives for all to taste the love and feed their souls with the food that stirs his passion.

Carryout and online ordering is available. Delivery is available through DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Delivery Dudes. For catering and event planning, e-mail soye@madrascatering. com or visit www.madrascatering.com. India Grill & Bar is located at 650 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza at the corner of Southern and Royal Palm Beach boulevards. The restaurant is open seven days a week from noon to 9 p.m. For more information, call (561) 249-7168 or visit www.indiagrillandbar.com.

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royal palm the magazine | april 2021 37

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royal palm | program

New Methods, Same Mission: RPB Uses Technology To Make Government More Responsive To Residents

Royal Palm Beach’s new mobile app puts community services at your fingertip.

As life continues to slowly return to pre-pandemic practices, Royal Palm Beach is promising to keep many of its more convenient and modern changes in place. One of the most noticeable changes is the continuation of live-streamed Royal Palm Beach Village Council meetings. While it was a necessity in order to continue public participation in meetings during quarantine and

building closures, the village has decided to continue the practice even now that the public can attend in person. Normally, state law requires in-person council meetings. However, during the height of the pandemic, the state allowed elected leaders to hold meetings remotely. As conditions improved, that permission ended. But the practice of offering live streaming of meetings in Royal Palm Beach will continue.

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The Village of Royal Palm Beach has always taken pride in the personal touch it provides residents and visitors. But in a world changed by COVID-19 — a world of masks, social distancing and hand washing — fulfilling that commitment to offer a personal touch has taken on a new look. While everyone is anxiously awaiting a time when we can put the pandemic behind us, there are some positive, lasting effects of the previous 12 months that will remain in the Village of Royal Palm Beach. Closing government buildings to residents forced all municipalities to reinvent how services are delivered. In Royal Palm Beach, that meant discovering new ways to keep the virtual doors open even when the actual doors were closed. The result was a renewed commitment by village leaders to use technology as a replacement for face-to-face service.

royal palm the magazine | april 2021 39

royal palm | program The Village of Royal Palm Beach aims to make it easier than ever for residents to reach out and get results.

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Even though members of the council are back to in-person meetings at Royal Palm Beach Village Hall, those meetings will also continue to be live streamed so the public can participate from home. “What’s important is that we will continue to provide the meetings virtually so that citizens are not compelled to feel like they have to physically come here, risking themselves or exposing themselves,” Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto said. “They can still participate, provide public comment and provide input. That’s very important.” The meetings have long been avail-


able for viewing on the village’s web site and TV station, but this new practice will open to the door to live public participation without having to leave home. The Village of Royal Palm Beach is also making it easier than ever for residents to reach out and get results. Another recent improvement born out of the pandemic has been the use of a mobile app to access village services and information. From your computer or your cell phone, you are never more than a click away from village hall. “RPB City Support” is a free mobile app for smartphones that allows residents to do everything from reporting potholes in the street to missed trash pickups to an illegally parked car. The app allows you to track your work orders with your phone or tablet from anywhere. Issues or questions can be sent directly to the village along with pictures, voice messages and a geo-

tagged location where applicable. The app also includes links to village news and announcements, the village calendar, park information and the official web site. The app can be downloaded at www.royalpalmbeach. com/support. Meanwhile, village efforts to encourage online services are proving successful as a greater number of residents are making the click instead of making the trip. From submitting permit applications to meeting remotely with village staff, online services are allowing members of the public to receive services while never having to visit village hall. Numerous village services are available at www.royalpalmbeach.com. Village staff remains committed to being responsive and nimble so that it can continue to balance the dual needs of both serving as well as protecting the public.

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Neighborhood Kids is coming to your neighborhood! We are excited to announce our new location in Royal Palm Beach beginning June 1, 2021!

Neighborhood Kids is a family owned private Christian preschool that has served generations of Palm Beach County families. We are a full service preschool serving children from 10 weeks (infants) to 4 Years old (Pre-K/VPK).

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NRI Institute Of Health Sciences

NRI Institute of Health Sciences NRI Institute of Health Sciences is a private degree granting post-secondary school located in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. NRI Institute was formed as a result of the merger of the former Ultrasound Medical Institute and the NRI Institute of Health Sciences. The school was renamed the NRI Institute of Health Sciences to reflect the expanded

programs in registered and practical nurse as well as nursing assistant while continuing the respected diagnostic medical sonography program. The current owners of the school have extensive healthcare experience in the United States and internationally that includes hospital administration, managed care, nursing education and the international recruitment of healthcare professionals.

503 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard | Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411 Located In the Royal Plaza At The Intersection of Southern Boulevard and Royal Palm Beach Boulevard

Our Mission

The mission of this institution is to educate and train students to become healthcare professionals in the fields of nursing and diagnostic medical sonography and related fields. Our mission is to insure they are trained to a high level that enables them to secure employment in their chosen profession.


Visit us on the web at


Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 1768 | Accredited By The Council On Occupational Education

Profile for Wellington The Magazine LLC


April 2021 | ON THE COVER Principal Dr. Jesús Armas in front of Royal Palm Beach High School. Photo by Abner Pedraza |A Vision For Success H...


April 2021 | ON THE COVER Principal Dr. Jesús Armas in front of Royal Palm Beach High School. Photo by Abner Pedraza |A Vision For Success H...

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