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2024 GPL Tournament Brings Global Grandeur To Wellington Wellington Shines The Light During Autism Awareness Month Looking Back With Wellington’s First Mayor, Kathy Foster Enjoy Perfect Pastries Paired With Fresh-Roasted Coffee Plus Wellington’s Historic Council Bids Farewell




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APRIL 2024

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Jim Barnes

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Phone: (561) 793-7606

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published by Wellington The Magazine, LLC chairman/ceo

Barry S. Manning


The 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, will bring together players and spectators from around the globe from April 4 to April 6, for a weekend that is equal parts competitive play and joie de vivre.


This month marks the end of an era. For the first time in village history, the Wellington Village Council remained unchanged for eight solid years. They were blockbuster years with major changes, led by a panel of leaders who were unusually cohesive. BY MIKE MAY


The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County hosted the inaugural Baran Hunt Ball in Wellington on Friday, Feb. 9. This debut event was a resounding success, raising more than $285,000 to support local children.


In the realm of luxury home goods, where elegance and sophistication take center stage, Casa Cristalle is a beacon of both refined taste and heartfelt generosity. Lissette Abreu Cabrera founded Casa Cristalle as a reflection of her personal values. BY SHANNON ANASTASIO

On our cover is the Wellington Village Council that has served unchanged for the past eight years — the first time in village history that has ever happened. With new faces arriving on the dais this month, we salute the outgoing council with a look back over the past eight years. Since it’s April, it’s time for the 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate. We preview this popular annual event in this month’s issue.

Purveyor of elegant tableware and fine tablescapes, Casa Cristalle and owner Lissette Abreu Cabrera are also focused on philanthropy and giving back. Learn more about this company imbued with a dedication to making a positive impact. Meanwhile, we also feature the inaugural Baran Hunt Ball, held recently in Wellington, raising $285,000 for the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club.

In this month’s Wellington Today feature, Village Manager Jim Barnes honors Autism Awareness Month and explains the programs that the Village of Wellington offers to serve the neurodiverse community. Our Wellington History series continues with inaugural Wellington Mayor Kathy Foster on the early years of the village and the fight for incorporation. Finally, Wellington Table visits Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes, which pairs the perfect blend of coffee with amazing pastries. The two companies have joined forces, bringing a new energy and sweetness to the Pointe at Wellington Green.

This month marks the pinnacle of the high-goal polo season. Be sure to catch some of the exciting action before the polo ponies gallop away!

Our Wellington History series continues this month with a focus on Kathy Foster, a member of the inaugural Wellington Village Council and the first mayor of Wellington. BY JOSHUA MANNING WELLINGTON

It’s two great tastes coming together at Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes, which opened last year featuring coffee roasted on-site and madefrom-scratch baked goods. BY

contents April 2024 Features 10 12 14 16 18 Brooke USA Hosts Divertimentos & Dressage Polo Hall Of Fame Gala Celebrates The Sport Wellington Rotary Presents Wenham Golf Classic Historical Luncheon Focuses On The Everglades Wellington Kicks Off ‘Let’s Move Challenge’ Event WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004
21, number
The Magazine is published monthly in Wellington, Florida. Copyright 2024, all rights reserved by Wellington The Magazine, LLC. 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.
Blvd., Suite
Forest Hill
22 Wellington Village Council members
Siskind, Michael Napoleone, Michael Drahos, Anne Gerwig
Certified Autism Center designation sets the Village of Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding of the neurodiverse community. BY JIM BARNES
48 wellington the magazine | april 2024 7 from the publisher 48 22 63 58 63 27 38
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Brooke USA hosted its second annual Divertimentos & Dressage fundraiser Thursday, March 21 at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center. The event raised money and awareness for Brooke USA’s mission to help working horses around the world. At the event, the Palm Beach Symphony, led by Conductor Kyle Elgarten, played an accompaniment of classical pieces, setting the tone for amazing dressage performances in the ring. Live and silent auctions also helped raise funds for Brooke USA’s cause. Learn more at www.brookeusa.org.

10 april 2024 | wellington the magazine wellington
(Left to right) Conductor Kyle Elgarten leads the Palm Beach Symphony; Lindsey O’Keefe rides Knight’s Silver Luna as the Palm Beach Symphony performs; Cynthia Screnci rides Sir Chipoli; Kerensa Muller aboard Memphis de Massa and Klendy Muller aboard Ricardo; and the Palm Beach Symphony performs as Kerensa Muller and Klendy Muller ride in the ring. (Left to right) Audience members applaud as the event gets underway; JJ Tate and All of Harmony ride in the ring; event co-chair Jennifer Burger addresses attendees; and Pierre de La Sayette and Ash Atkinson during the live auction. (Left to right) Ash Atkinson served as the master of ceremonies; Katherine Kaneb, past board chair for Brooke USA, addresses the gathering; Pierre de La Sayette, Gianna Federico and Angela Brackett; the Palm Beach Symphony warms up before the start of the performance; and Julie Khanna, Clarice Redding Louis and Lillian Khanna. (Left to right) Brooke USA CEO Emily Dulin, co-chair Jennifer Burger, Donor Relations Officer Kendall Bierer and co-chair Candy Platz; guests enjoy the appetizer and food layout; Susan Miller and Sue Bierer enjoy the entertainment; Equestrians Annie Peavy and Ava MacCoubrey.



Almost 250 distinguished guests gathered to celebrate polo’s heroes, past and present, at the 35th annual Museum of Polo Hall of Fame Awards Dinner and Induction Gala on Friday, Feb. 16. Highlighting the newest members was three-time U.S. Open champion Jeff Blake. Rube Williams, a star of the winning West team in the 1933 East vs. West series, was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously. Dick Latham received the Iglehart Award for lifetime contributions to the sport, and was further honored, along with Hall of Famer Charles Smith, for their horse, Sweet Be, in the Horses to Remember category. Museum of Polo President Melissa Ganzi read a statement from Iglehart Award recipient Vicki Armour, who could not attend. Museum Chair Marty Cregg read a note from Dan Beveridge on behalf of his father, Don Beveridge, the posthumous Iglehart Award recipient. Harry Payne Whitney’s three greatgranddaughters, Whitney Miller Douglas, Penelope Miller and Maria Flora Miller, were present to celebrate his famed favorite pony Royal Diamond, honored with a Horses to Remember Award. The Polo Hall of Fame Awards Dinner is the most important annual fundraising event for the museum, which is dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the sport and its history, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport. The museum is located at 9011 Lake Worth Road. Learn more at www.polomuseum.org.

12 april 2024 | wellington the magazine wellington | social scene PHOTOS BY KRYSTAL ZASKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
(Left to right) Craig and Roni Duke; 1999 Hall of Fame inductee Red Armour and Louise Armour; Mary Jo Galindo and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Hector Galindo; and Tim Gannon and Nic Roldan. 2024 Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Blake (center) with his parents, Dave and Lynne Blake. (Left) Dick Latham (left), who received the 2024 Iglehart Award, also shared the Horses to Remember honor with Hall of Famer Charles Smith, for their pony, Sweet Be. (Right) Fred Williams, Museum of Polo Vice President of Operations Brenda Lynn, Heather Williams, Museum of Polo Chief Operating Officer George DuPont Jr. with Rube Williams’ trophy from 1933. Nacho Figueras, Gala Dinner sponsors Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini and Delfina Figueras. Maria Flora Miller, Penelope Miller and Whitney Miller accept the Horses to Remember honor for their great-grandfather Harry Payne Whitney’s pony Royal Diamond. (Left to right) Amanda Prince and USPA Global Licensing President & CEO J. Michael Prince; major sponsor Olexa Celine (center) with Brian and Laura Kaynor; Wine and Spirits sponsor Margaret Lipman Orthwein, Stevie Orthwein and Ginny Orthwein.


The Wellington Rotary Club’s Thomas M. Wenham Memorial Golf Classic was held Thursday, March 14 at the Wanderers Club. Proceeds from the tournament will support both Wellington Rotary Club projects, as well as projects from the Wellington Community Foundation. The event was renamed last year in honor of the late Thomas M. Wenham, Wellington’s first elected mayor and the first chair of the Wellington Community Foundation.

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(Left to right) Golf event winners Tony Calle, Clay Cleveland, Hugh Dollard and Tristan Nunez with Scott Armand (center); members of the Wellington Rotary Golf Committee; Joe Gilbert, Barry Manning, Dr. Gordon Johnson and Steve Miller with Regis Wenham and Mike Gauger (seated); and Jose Cepeda, Sam Aquila, Dan Rubin and Galo Poveda of the Wellington Regional Medical Center team.
wellington | social scene PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN
(Left to right) Tom Schlechter, Mike Schlechter, Bo Schlechter and Royal Hayes; Maureen Gross, Maggie Zeller and Dr. Gordon Johnson; Scott and Mary Lou Bedford with Lee Frankhouser; Larry Falk, Tiffany Rodriguez, Maria Cruz and Scott Armand donated their tips; and Walter and Joan Imperatore with Dwayne Brown.

Together We’re Saving Lives in Our Community

At Bethesda Hospital, part of Baptist Health, our Emergency Department treats more than 80,000 patients each year. And when every second counts, state-of-the-art care is vital.

That’s why Baptist Health Foundation donors are supporting the modernization of the Emergency Department at Bethesda Hospital East. When complete, the department will feature a redesign for optimized patient care, advanced smart technology, private rooms and more.

Your gift will not only provide our patients and staff with outstanding resources when they’re needed most, it will also show our community how much you care.

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The Wellington Historical Society and the Wellington Garden Club hosted a Lunch & Learn event on Wednesday, March 13 at the National Polo Center. The luncheon featured Mary Crider, environmental education supervisor at the Grassy Waters Preserve, speaking on the history of the Everglades in a presentation titled “History in Every Drop: The Story of Our Wetlands.” Learn more about future programs at www. wellingtonhistoricalsociety.org.

16 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
(Left to right) Sue Bierer, Sandy Wertz, Twig Morris and Chrissy Wood; Jenna Levy and Ryan McCarthy sell raffle tickets; and Laurie Cohen and James Seder at the check-in table.
wellington | social scene PHOTOS BY JOSHUA MANNING
(Left to right) Wellington Historical Society President Sue Bierer and guest speaker Mary Crider of the Grassy Waters Preserve; Wellington Garden Club President Carol Ralph, raffle winner Maria Antuña, Wellington Historical Society President Sue Bierer and raffle winner Margaret Tamsberg; Sara and Jay Webber, Mayor Anne Gerwig, Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Jack Webber and Nick Webber; and Jim and Paula Sackett with Chuck Edgar.

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The Let’s Move physical activity challenge returned last month to motivate Palm Beach County residents to move during the month of March. The Village of Wellington, the winning team for the past three years, hosted a kickoff event Friday, March 1 at the Wellington Amphitheater. Last year’s challenge resulted in more than 103 million minutes logged from 465 teams across the county. Learn more at www.letsmovepbc.org.

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(Left to right) Channel 25 morning news anchor Steven Graves, Digital Vibez Executive Director “Mr. Wil” Romelus, Deputy Harold Harper and Deputy Brad Shouse with birthday party winner Shaddai Lugo; Mayor Anne Gerwig, Gianna Ponce and Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone; Ethan Hejazi and Wellington Soccer Club coach Patrick Zoete; Erica Bojanowski, Emi Duque, Aaliyah Raymond and coach Sergio Rios of SR1 Volleyball; and Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone, Mayor Anne Gerwig and Digital Vibez Executive Director “Mr. Wil”Romelus.
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(Left to right) Sarah Van Eaton, Kerri Van Eaton, Mayor Anne Gerwig and Robyn Gasso; Andres Gutierrez, Sophia Luis, Ananda Gonzales and Lucas Saenz of Wellington High School’s Latinos in Action; kids gather with event VIPs at the stage; and Channel 25 morning news anchor Steven Graves.
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The 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, will bring together players and spectators from around the globe from April 4 to April 6, for a weekend that is equal parts competitive play and joie de vivre. For the first time, the Gay Polo League (GPL) will hold the tournament at the exclusive Patagones Polo Club in Wellington.

The annual tournament has become one of Wellington’s most anticipated events of the spring season, known for creating a culture of togetherness, equality and high fashion, to inspire and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in sports and beyond.

“While this event is fun and competitive, it is the desire for equality that pushes us to do more each year,” GPL founder Chip McKenney said.

22 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
wellington the magazine | april 2024 23

The Flagship For International Play

While the GPL produces polo tournaments worldwide, Wellington has been the site of its flagship tournament since 2010. Players and allies from all over the globe descend upon the village each year for the highly engaging, multi-


The tournament features 16 LGBTQ+ polo players from around the world competing in this year’s tournament. The community is invited to attend this fabulous event!

Thursday, April 4

VIP Sponsor’s Reception (by invitation).

Friday, April 5

Polotini Wigstock Charity Party to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Saturday, April 6

The GPL Tournament Finals at Patagones Polo Club.

For tickets, visit www.gaypolo.com/gpl-wellington-fl-2024

day event where everyone is welcome.

During the three-day event, celebrity players and novices mix with international polo aficionados and local entertainment-seekers. Creativity, energy and positivity are the vibe for players and spectators alike.

The tournament’s wildly popular Polotini Wigstock charity party on Friday, April 5, kicks off the weekend with a “hair-raising extravaganza” to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Wigs are the accessory of choice at this annual event, where partiers try to top the previous year with their elaborate and colorful hairpieces and compete for prizes. Live entertainment will be the highlight of the evening.

The merriment continues the next day at the tournament’s tailgating party and competition in anticipation of the main event. Whimsical tablescapes and décor add to the fun-spirited competitiveness that lines the polo field. Coveted awards for best in show, best cuisine, best cocktail, best single tailgate and best multiple tailgates are all up for grabs.

“Anyone who comes to the tournament will see that we are a community that shares a love for adventure, fun and the beautiful, challenging sport of polo,” McKenney said.

Fast And Open Polo Play

As the only LGBTQ+ polo organization in the world, the GPL is changing the perception of gay athletes and providing a place where all can come together around a competitive, international sport, and promote inclusion and diversity at the same time. How the four teams come together is a prime example, McKenney explained.

“Most polo teams play consistently as teams,” he said. “Ours don’t. GPL teams

combine players from other countries — gay and non-gay — who have not played together before. Players have one day of practice, and then we put together the teams based on skill and experience. Over the years, we have attracted more experienced players, and now our games are fast and open.”

The polo field will be new to the players and spectators as well this year. The Patagones Polo Club is the new home for the 2024 tournament, a location that fits the spirit of the GPL, according to McKenney.

“The Patagones Polo Club is the perfect, chic and intimate environment for our players and the camaraderie that happens along the sidelines,” he said. “We are grateful and excited for our new venue.”

Four teams will compete for two GPL perpetual trophies: the Senator’s Cup and the Founder’s Cup. Confirmed players to date include Gus Larrosa (Argentina), Tyler Thompson (England), Tony Natale (United States), Jesse Lee Eller (United States), Adrian Pia (Argentina), Eva Marquard (Germany) and Juan Diego Patron (Peru).

McKenney is quick to acknowledge the number of polo pros who donate their time and knowledge to the tournament both as players and consultants.

“We are fortunate to have so many generous professionals and advocates supporting the tournament,” McKenney said. “The international world of polo is embracing the GPL and setting an example for how we can all come together to promote acceptance, on the field and off.”

Learn more about the 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament at www.gaypolo.com.

24 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament

Your Family’s Plans Can Have Impact

Plan for your family’s future and the causes you care about

Planning for the future is always a good idea, no matter where you are in life. Nicklaus Children’s Hospital relies on community support, including gifts of non-cash assets, to continue creating a healthy future for every child.

From appreciated stock and mutual funds, to insurance policies, retirement assets, and real estate, there are many ways to efficiently fund a charitable gift that also has the welfare of your family in mind. Contact us to help change kids’ lives today and in the future.


Contact Greg Romagnoli, Senior Director, Gift Planning, CAP® Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation
Greg.Romagnoli@Nicklaushealth.org (305)582-0137


The 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, bears the names of two luxury brands known for their support of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Lexus and Douglas Elliman have offered extraordinary support since 2021,” said Chip McKenney, founder of the Gay Polo League. “They have made it possible to create the high-end event our audience expects. We are all about the luxury experience, and so are they.”

Lexus, while known for luxury and innovation, has also been recognized for its support of the LGBTQ+ community and for promoting diversity in its advertising campaigns. McKenney sees the far-reaching impact that the prestige brand has on inclusivity. “We are grateful for Lexus’ unwavering commitment to enact change,” he said.

Many other sponsors have come together at all levels to support the tournament. Cherry Knoll Farm, known for high-performance horses that compete internationally in dressage and show jumping, is the sponsor of the VIP tent and one of the teams. Goshen Hill is a team sponsor as well. 3 Graces Dressage is a silver sponsor. U.S. Polo Assn. and John Greene Real Estate are the tournament’s grand sponsors.

The crowd-pleasing divot stomp

is sponsored by Equity Performance Equine. Both the United States Tennis Association, sponsoring the GPL Tailgate Competition, and Lauracea, a luxury brand of leather goods handcrafted in Italy with equestrians in mind, are new sponsors this year. RBC Wealth Management, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Discover the Palm Beaches and the Village of Wellington have all signed on as sponsors as well.

“Our sponsors are not only reaching an incredible audience for their brands, but they are also sharing their core values of inclusivity and equity,” McKenney said. “That’s the message that is remembered by our community.”

Learn more about sponsorships at www. gaypolo.com/our-sponsors.


wellington the magazine | april 2024 27
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The Lexus International Gay Polo



The players and spectators who come out for the 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, set for April 4-6, will join the Gay Polo League (GPL) in supporting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and its mission to be a powerful force in ending the AIDS epidemic.

Every year since 2016, GPL has chosen an LGBTQ+ charity to benefit from its Wellington tournament, raising awareness of the isolation and exclusion that has hurt gay people of every age. This year, GPL will harness the power of community and sport to raise crucial funds and awareness for the foundation’s lifesaving efforts.

Last year, the foundation launched the Rocket Fund to turbocharge its innovative work, targeting those most at risk of HIV/AIDS, including the LGBTQ+ community. Through their partnership, the GPL further solidifies its commitment to fostering an environment of inclusivity, while contributing toward a cause that makes a positive impact in the lives of millions of people.

GPL founder Chip McKenney is passionate about the partnership and the support the tournament will bring.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation is one the foremost independent AIDS charities in the world,” he said. “We share their belief that AIDS can be beaten and that everyone must get compassionate support and care to stay healthy and safe, and live with dignity.”

A portion of the funds from tournament ticket sales and proceeds from the event’s signature GPL Polotini Wigstock party will benefit the foundation and contribute to its work to end stigma, prevent HIV infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments around the world to end AIDS.

wellington the magazine | april 2024 29

The wildly popular GPL Polotini Wigstock party takes place on Friday, April 5, and features cocktails, light bites, a themed wig contest and fabulous entertainment that will captivate audiences while generating funds for the foundation.

McKenney noted the impact that the foundation has already had in the U.S. to build the health workforce, provide stigma-fee testing and compassionate care, and make it easier and more affordable for people to get HIV prevention and testing products.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation is at the cutting edge of overcoming barriers to care and saving lives,” McKenney said. “We are proud to support their innovative and compassionate work that will impact people and communities

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation is at the cutting edge of overcoming barriers to care and saving lives. We are proud to support their innovative and compassionate work that will impact people and communities across the world and right here in the United States.”

across the world and right here in the United States.”

Anne Aslett, chief executive officer of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, is pleased to be chosen by the GPL.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation proudly stands as the charitable beneficiary of the Gay Polo League in 2024,” she said. “Our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community extends beyond the polo fields, throughout the

U.S. south and around the world. From working tirelessly to challenge discriminatory laws, to championing equitable standards of HIV care, we are guided by our fundamental belief that everyone deserves a life free from judgment, no matter who they are or whom they love.”

Learn more about GPL’s partner the Elton John AIDS Foundation at www. eltonjohnaidsfoundation.org.

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Known for its lush gardens and acres upon acres of polo grounds, it was a simple decision for the Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, to make when deciding to move the annual event to the gorgeous Patagones Polo Club in Wellington on Saturday, April 6.

The event is one that brings together thousands of revelers to celebrate inclusiveness and pride and serves as a safe space for LGBTQ+ athletes who love the sport. In that spirit, organizers felt that a more intimate space to bring attendees even closer together was the best way to celebrate the annual event.

“Patagones is an incredible venue for GPL. The club is private, beautifully manicured and beyond stunning. The polo field is world-class, too. We are beyond grateful to the owners for opening the doors to us,” said Chip McKenney, who founded both the Gay Polo League and its tournaments, which take place aside from Wellington around the world in spectacular locations such as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Saint-Tropez, France; and London, England. “This year, we


are planning for a record number of attendees who will, without a doubt, bring their ‘A Game’ to the party. We are counting the days to see the tailgates field side, hearing the supporters cheering the teams, and the unbridled feeling of togetherness and acceptance that will

resonate throughout the grounds.”

Founded in 2004 by Gonzalo Avendaño, the Patagones Polo Club has become the home to many significant, high-level matches during the winter and spring polo seasons.

2024 wellington the magazine | april 2024 33
“Patagones is an incredible venue for GPL. The club is private, beautifully manicured and beyond stunning. The polo field is world-class, too. We are beyond grateful to the owners for opening the doors to us.”
— Chip McKenney

With on-site stabling, the Patagones Polo Club is a must-visit for equestrian athletes from around the world, and one that aligns perfectly with the Gay Polo League’s needs.

Once again, this year’s tournament will feature 16 LGBTQ+ and ally athletes competing for the Senator’s Cup and Founder’s Cup. In between the friendly competition matches, there will be everyone’s favorite champagne toast

and divot stomp. Tickets, tailgates and sponsorships for the 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, are still available.

The Patagones Polo Club is located at 4656 125th Avenue South in Wellington.

To get your tickets for the tournament on Saturday, April 6, visit www.gaypolo. com.

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Join us in celebrating the timeless tradition of the Derby with an event that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. Step into the world of equestrian elegance and Southern charm at Wellington’s Inaugural Derby Party extravaganza! Prepare to be whisked away on a journey of thrilling races, genteel revelry, and gourmet delights.

As you don your finest hats, get ready to cheer on your favorite derby horse in true Southern style. It’s not just a party; it’s a fundraiser for a cause close to our hearts - the Wellington Community Foundation. So, come out and show your support while indulging in a full delicacy of culinary delights prepared by the renowned chef, Gardo Vincken.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll be immersed in the spirit of the Derby, with mint juleps flowing and the excitement of the races palpable in the air. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian enthusiast or just looking for a fun-filled evening, this event promises to be unforgettable.

So, mark your calendars and saddle up for an evening of glamour, gastronomy, and giving back. Let’s make this Derby Party extravaganza a roaring success while supporting our community. Get ready to gallop into a night of pure delight!

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38 april 2024 | wellington the magazine © 38 april 2024 | wellington the magazine


Transformative Wellington Village Council Remained Unchanged For Eight Years

This month marks the end of an era in Wellington government. For the first time in village history, the Wellington Village Council remained unchanged for eight solid years. They were blockbuster years with major changes, led by a panel of leaders who were unusually cohesive — and almost always got along well, even amid a few significant disagreements.

Meanwhile, the Village of Wellington has garnered some special recognition in recent years, such as an All-American City finalist, Money Magazine’s Best 100 Places to Live in the USA, listed as one of the Top 10 Safest Cities in Florida in 2022, and the Eighth Best Place to Live for Families, according to Fortune.

Many of those accolades came due to policies put in place by the five individuals who made up the Wellington Village Council over the past eight years — Mayor Anne Gerwig, Michael Drahos, John McGovern, Michael Napoleone and Tanya Siskind.

The outgoing council is a quintet of dedicated, diverse, driven and dynamic individuals who are diehard advocates of Wellington with a goal to serve the best interests of the residents and the village, even if there is always some disagree-

ment on how best to accomplish that monumental task.

They have worked closely together, effectively and efficiently, to guide and oversee Wellington’s growth and expansion, and sometimes redevelopment. Not only have they served and worked well together, they have also been able to cooperate, communicate and compromise in an effort to serve the best interests of the village.

“It has been a hardworking group of people,” said McGovern, and those sentiments were shared by his fellow council members.

Nothing — whether hurricanes or a pandemic — has impeded the ability of this five-person delegation to meet on a regular basis to successfully conduct the business of the Village of Wellington. For the last eight years, whenever the clock struck 7 p.m. on a meeting night, Gerwig, Siskind, Drahos, Napoleone and McGovern were almost always sitting in their seats on the dais.

“We worked hard to work together,” Napoleone said.

“We never rubber-stamped any issues,” Drahos added.

“We have made many decisions with the best interests of the Village of Wel-

wellington the magazine | april 2024 39
The Village of Wellington honored Mayor Anne Gerwig, Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone and Councilman Michael Drahos on Tuesday, March 12 for their eight years of dedicated service to the Wellington community. (L-R) Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone, Mayor Anne Gerwig, Councilman Michael Drahos and Councilman John McGovern. PHOTO COURTESY THE VILLAGE OF WELLINGTON

lington in mind,” McGovern explained. “I call it community unanimity.”

This council came together after a tumultuous time in Wellington history, following a council that was sharply divided on many significant issues, but more importantly, did not get along.

“We restored a sense of order to the council,” said Gerwig, who has lived in Wellington for more than 30 years, where she and her husband run a business and raised their three children. “Before us, the council had become dysfunctional.”

This council, which includes the first two council members (McGovern and Drahos) who actually grew up in Wellington, was determined to strike a different tone.

“We’ve listened to the residents of the community and made decisions which were in the best interests of Wellington,” said Siskind, who considers herself a public servant, not a politician.

“We brought an unprecedented era of calm, collaboration, cohesion and continued success to the council,” McGovern added.

According to Drahos, “We brought credibility and stability to the council. We showed how to properly behave as elected officials.”

Napoleone referred to it as “bringing civility back to council meetings.”

If you look at this council’s list of achievements, it’s impressive and worth reviewing. It includes, but is not limited to, the construction of the new Wellington Town Center, which included the expansion of the Wellington Amphitheater and Scott’s Place playground, as well as the creation of the new Lakefront Promenade. Behind the scenes, they oversaw a $50 million modernization of Wellington’s water and wastewater utilities. They expanded the Wellington Ten-

nis Center and have approved the construction of a new Wellington Aquatics Complex be built at Village Park, replacing an aging and outdated facility.

The council also approved and funded the acquisition of 45 acres of land for the expansion of the Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat located off Flying Cow Road. This adds significantly to what was already a huge passive park and natural area. They also approved, funded and constructed the new Greenview Shores Park at Wellington High School’s campus, which features the largest non-collegiate artificial turf field east of the Mississippi River and is being used by dozens of local sports teams.

After decades of discussion, the council passed Wellington’s first golf cart ordinance.

“It was a safety issue,” Drahos said. “It was not an easy issue. It was very complex and difficult. But it’s critical to our way of life in Wellington.”

Possibly the most high-profile decision by the council was its recent approval of the Wellington Lifestyle Partners project, which while controversial for allowing the removal of some land from Wellington’s signature Equestrian Preserve Area, it will bring two significant recreational improvements that will benefit all residents.

Wellington will gain control of 55 acres just north of Forest Hill Blvd., which will become a new passive park on former golf course land that has been repeatedly suggested for development.

More importantly, the approval paves the way for the construction of an expanded equestrian showgrounds to be completed by 2028, allowing Wellington to continue to shine as the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World.

“That was a super hard, intense issue,” Gerwig recalled.

The council has also looked into the future of the village-owned K-Park property and settled longtime litigation issues affiliated with the land around the Mall at Wellington Green.

“Making those decisions was essential for the next decade of Wellington,” McGovern noted.

Supporting public education has been another priority of the council, which has increased the village’s Keely Spinelli grant award amounts given annually to each public school in Wellington, which has helped to keep Wellington’s schools A-rated.

The council also made decisions that have positively impacted the lifestyles of Wellington residents, such as the approval of new events like weekly outdoor concerts, the inclusion of food trucks, an expanded green market, and special events like the Wellington Classic Brew Fest and Bacon & Bourbon Fest.

There were significant policy initiatives, too. “We designed, passed and funded the first paid parental leave policy in Palm Beach County, supporting our employees that are new mothers and fathers,” McGovern noted.

All these improvements and upgrades to the quality of life in Wellington have been achieved without raising the millage rate.

“Our ability to maintain our way of life without raising the tax rate was not easy,” Drahos said.

Gerwig pointed out that while the council made decisions that provided direct and tangible benefits to Wellington residents, these “big picture” decisions also positively impacted residents of nearby communities.

“Our amenities are also enjoyed by those living in the surrounding commu-

40 april 2024 | wellington the magazine

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nities, such as Royal Palm Beach, Greenacres and Boynton Beach,” Gerwig said. “We don’t live in a bubble.”

While this diverse council often had different points of view, they all voted based on what they felt were in the best interests of Wellington. After each vote, they would transition to the next topic. For Drahos, Napoleone and McGovern, that behavior is second nature, since they are all attorneys.

“We are all trained to be prepared, and we never carry with us the baggage of disagreement,” Drahos said.

“We are trained to take input, assess the issue, make a decision, cast a vote and then move on,” Napoleone agreed.

“We may have agreed or disagreed, but we were never disagreeable,” McGovern added. “We know how to properly behave as elected officials.”

Siskind also has a tendency to think like an attorney. “I am married to an attorney,” she noted.

While Gerwig may have been Wellington’s elected mayor, her goal was to be a team player.

“I was just one of five votes,” Gerwig said. “I was always a critical thinker. You should always care about every issue equally, whether it’s parks, schools, education or business.”

Despite the success of the eight years, changes are imminent. When the council next meets on Tuesday, April 9, Napoleone will take over the gavel from Gerwig after being elected mayor. Two new faces will join dais, but who they are will not be known until after an April 2 runoff election.

The swearing in ceremony on April 9 will be a Wellington watershed moment.

“Because of term limits and staggered terms, this will likely never happen again,” McGovern said of having an unchanged council for eight years.

Moving forward, Siskind and McGovern will be part of a new council team, as Napoleone learns the ins and outs of being mayor. While Drahos is stepping back from public life, Gerwig is currently running for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives.

Drahos said he will always cherish his time serving on the council.

“I will be looking back at these last eight years for the rest of my life,” he said.

Gerwig, who was Wellington’s sixth mayor and served a total of 14 years on the council, takes a pragmatic perspective.

“Everything will be perceived in hindsight,” she said. “My focus has always been on the residents of Wellington. Only time will tell.”

Napoleone knows that having the chance to work alongside Gerwig, Siskind, Drahos and McGovern was a special experience.

“It was such a privilege to spend the last eight years together,” the new mayor said. “We had a great run.”

Siskind said that serving on the council is an important assignment and not an easy task.

“We always set the bar high,” said Siskind, who works as a Realtor. “We all brought professionalism to the council. We agreed to disagree, and we always respected other people’s perspectives.”

As one of the two council holdovers, McGovern pledges to continue serving Wellington for today’s residents and future generations.

“We as a village cannot be stagnant, so we must modernize and advance while remaining true to our core principles of being the premier place to raise a family with great schools, great parks programs, dedicated programs for seniors and continuing to be the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World,” McGovern concluded.

42 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
The Wellington Village Council on the night Tanya Siskind joined the dais in April 2016, creating the council that remained unchanged for eight years. (L-R) John McGovern, Michael Drahos, Anne Gerwig, Tanya Siskind and Michael Napoleone. PHOTO COURTESY THE VILLAGE OF WELLINGTON
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Spring Is H ere!


Hunt Ball Raises $285K For The Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County hosted the inaugural Baran Hunt Ball in Wellington on Friday, Feb. 9. This debut event was a resounding success with more than 400 attendees helping raise more than $285,000 to support local children.

The proceeds from the event held at Wellington International’s equestrian ring will benefit the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club and fund its career readiness and summer camps in Wellington.

“For a first-time event, the Hunt Ball was a smashing success that was so well supported by the equestrian communi ty. It was a magnificent night watching these athletes, as both horse and riders performed under the lights for the title and $100,000 in prize money. It was an honor to be title sponsor and a special thank you goes out to our chairs Georgina Bloomberg and Jenny Oz LeRoy. We can’t wait to do this again next year,” Kristen Baran said.

The winning team was comprised of

Sponsorships included Title Sponsor Kristen Baran, Presenting Sponsor Sebilion, Platinum Benefactors Georgina Bloomberg and Pamela Walkenbach, Gold Benefactors Jenny Oz LeRoy and GLDN Events, and Silver Sponsors the Jacobs Family Foundation and Ovando Palm Beach.

The Baran Hunt Ball featured an exciting equestrian team format with in-

wellington the magazine | april 2024 45
Jaene Miranda, Jenny Oz LeRoy, Kristen Baran, Mitch Kates and Georgina Bloomberg with the winning team of Brianne Goutal, Grace Debney and Clara Propp. PHOTO BY CAPEHART PHOTOGRAPHY

novative competitions for significant prize money. The teams consisted of a professional, an amateur and a junior rider. The prize money of $100,000 was split according to the finish of the top 12 teams.

“It is rare that an inaugural event goes so well and smoothly, but because of the hard work of Georgina, Jenny and Kristen, the Baran Hunt Ball was nothing but a triumph. Not only was it a fun and exciting night, but the funds raised will

“For a first-time event, the Hunt Ball was a smashing success that was so well supported by the equestrian community.”
— Kristen Baran

have life changing impact for so many of our families,” said Jaene Miranda, CEO and president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.

Founded in 1971, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is a notfor-profit youth development organization dedicated to promoting the educational, vocational, health, leadership and character of boys and girls in a safe, nurturing environment. The clubs, including the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys &

Girls Club in Wellington, provide more than a safe, fun and constructive alternative to being home alone — they offer a variety of award-winning developmental programs to help youth build skills, selfesteem and values during critical periods of growth.

The 20 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Palm Beach County serve more than 13,000 children ages 6-18. For more information, visit www.bgcpbc.org or call (561) 683-3287.

46 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
(Left) Alexandra Lanci and Kaela Genovese. (Top row, left to right) Georgina Bloomberg and Alex Hammer; Hollis Pica and Jenny Oz LeRoy; and Kristen Baran with Mitch Kates. (Middle row, left to right) Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Christine Schott, George Ledes and Lee Fry; Larry and Alexandra Smith; Jonathan and Whitney Cameron Hayes; and David William Coffin and Stacey Leuliette with Grace and Randy Walker. (Bottom row, left to right) Kamdon Kutchins and Pam Walkenbach; Jean and Martin Shafiroff; and Lee Fry with Kim Dryer. PHOTOS BY CAPEHART PHOTOGRAPHY
“Together, let us continue to spread love, kindness and generosity, one elegant table setting at a time.”
— Lissette Cabrera
48 april 2024 | wellington the magazine


Locally Owned Online

Retailer Casa Cristalle

Provides Elegant Tableware While Serving The Community

In the realm of luxury home goods, where elegance and sophistication take center stage, locally owned Casa Cristalle is a beacon of both refined taste and heartfelt generosity.

Nestled within its offerings of fine china, exquisite linens and fragrant candles lies a deeper purpose — an unwavering commitment to giving back to the community. The story of Casa Cristalle is one imbued with resilience, inspiration and an enduring dedication to making a positive impact.

Casa Cristalle began as a reflection of its founder’s personal values and aspirations. Local resident Lissette Abreu Cabrera drew inspiration from the qualities and characteristics she cherishes in her daughters — transparency, delicacy, radiance and resilience. With a desire

to infuse these characteristics into her home, Cabrera christened her residence Casa Cristalle. What started as a passion for creating captivating tablescapes soon blossomed into a thriving online venture, fueled by her love for fine china and antique treasures.

Specializing in luxury home gifts and antiques, Casa Cristalle curates a unique selection of esteemed brands, ranging from Antica Farmacista to Spode, from Vietri to Rosenthal. With an eye for

both timeless elegance and contemporary flair, Cabrera meticulously sources each product, attending antique shows, estate sales and boutique shops to unearth hidden gems that elevate the art of table setting to new heights.

However, the Casa Cristalle story is not just one of commerce, but of triumph over adversity. Cabrera’s journey took an unexpected turn when she faced a formidable foe — non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

wellington the magazine | april 2024 49
Lissette Abreu Cabrera with some of her amazing tablescape creations.

In the face of this life-threatening illness, she discovered an inner strength and resilience that would shape her perspective on life and business. Embracing her battle with unwavering faith and courage, Cabrera emerged victorious, her spirit unbroken, and her resolve strengthened.

The experience of overcoming illness infused her entrepreneurial endeavors with a profound sense of purpose. She realized that life’s most precious gifts are often found in the act of giving back. Thus, Casa Cristalle became more than just a purveyor of luxury goods; it became a vessel for philanthropy.

“My family supported the idea of combining my tablescaping entrepreneurial passion with my life mission,” Cabrera said. “We have donated to the Lord’s Place and Place of Hope, and we have helped individuals and families that reach out. Internationally, we have helped Fabrica de Milagros and a hotel and hospitality technical school in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.”

From donating profits to nonprofit organizations to spearheading initiatives for the less fortunate, Cabrera and her team are committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Whether it’s providing essential medical assistance, supporting orphanages or empowering aspiring artisans, the chari-

table efforts at Casa Cristalle are guided by a spirit of compassion and empathy.

The impact of these outreach initiatives extends far beyond material donations. It is measured in the smiles of children receiving toys, in the gratitude of individuals receiving much-needed support, and in the hope restored to communities facing adversity. Each success story serves as a testament to the transformative power of kindness and generosity.

Looking to the future, Cabrera aims to expand Casa Cristalle’s footprint in both the luxury home goods market and community outreach efforts. With aspirations of opening physical retail locations and broadening its charitable endeavors, she envisions a world where compassion and commerce intersect seamlessly. Through continued innovation, collaboration and dedication, Casa Cristalle seeks to leave a lasting legacy of hope, strength and love.

For aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to follow in Cabrera’s footsteps, her advice is simple yet profound: follow your passion, embrace adversity as an opportunity for growth and never underestimate the impact of giving back. By aligning business goals with a greater purpose, entrepreneurs can create meaningful change and inspire others to do the same.

To Casa Cristalle’s loyal customers and supporters, Cabrera extends her heartfelt gratitude. It is through their patronage and generosity that the company’s mission thrives, enriching the lives of countless individuals in need. With every purchase, they become partners in a journey of compassion and empowerment, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Casa Cristalle stands as a testament to the transformative power of combining luxury with philanthropy. With its unwavering commitment to excellence and compassion, it serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in an ever-changing world.

“Together, let us continue to spread love, kindness and generosity, one elegant table setting at a time,” Cabrera said, thanking her family for their support, including her husband Carlos Orlando Cabrera and daughters Cristalee Amber Garcia and Christine Angelee Garcia.

For those interested in reaching out to Casa Cristalle or joining its mission of giving back, the company can be found on the web and at numerous social media channels.

To learn more, contact Lissette Cabrera at (347) 512-6211, lissette@casacristalle. com or info@casacristalle.com. Find them online at www.casacristalle.com and on Instagram and Facebook @casa_cristalle.

Lissette Abreu Cabrera with her daughters, Cristalee Amber and Christine Angelee.

50 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
Lissette Abreu Cabrera with her family. (L-R) Christine, Carlos, Lisette and Cristalee.
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With April being Autism Awareness Month, let’s explore how Wellington’s Certified Autism Center designation sets the Village of Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding of the neuro-diverse community.


The Village Of Wellington Shines Light And Offers Support During Autism Awareness Month

April is not just a month of blooming flowers and gentle showers; it’s also a time to embrace diversity and promote understanding. As we step into Autism Awareness Month, it’s imperative to recognize and appreciate the unique perspectives and talents of our neuro-diverse community members and individuals on the autism spectrum. This month serves as a beacon of awareness, fostering empathy, acceptance and support for those navigating life with autism.

Certified Autism Center

In a groundbreaking move toward inclusivity, the Village of Wellington was recently honored with the prestigious Certified Autism Center designation by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This designation marks a significant milestone in our communi-

ty’s commitment to creating an environment that is welcoming, supportive and accessible to our neuro-diverse community members, individuals with autism and their families. This designation sets Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding.

Understanding The Designation

The Certified Autism Center designation is a testament to Wellington’s dedication to understanding and accommodating individuals with autism. It involves comprehensive training for staff and personnel to ensure they possess the knowledge and skills necessary to interact effectively with individuals on the autism spectrum. By achieving this designation, the Village of Wellington has demonstrated its commitment to providing inclusive experiences across various facets of community life.

wellington the magazine | april 2024 55 wellington | today

For individuals and families living with autism, simple activities like attending community events can pose significant challenges. The Certified Autism Center designation empowers residents and visitors alike by ensuring that our programs and facilities are equipped to accommodate diverse needs. From sensory-friendly events to trained staff members ready to aid, we are fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Enhancing Accessibility

Education is key to fostering understanding and empathy toward individuals with autism. The village is taking proactive steps to raise awareness about autism within the community. By offering training sessions and informational resources, we are equipping staff and volunteers with the knowledge and tools needed to interact with individuals on the spectrum respectfully and compassionately.

Recreation and leisure activities are essential for overall well-being and quality of life. With the Certified Autism Center designation, we are ensuring that individuals with autism can fully participate in these opportunities without barriers. Whether it’s enjoying a day at the park, attending a cultural event or participating in sports programs, residents and visitors with autism can now engage in activities tailored to their unique needs.

KultureCity Program

Wellington’s staff is also certified through the KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Certification Program, developed by sensory issue experts such as physicians,

board-certified speech therapists, applied behavioral analysis therapists and occupational therapists. The program helps to ensure that all guests are included, regardless of the event they are attending. A KultureCity-designated area is set up at key events, like the village’s Fourth of July Celebration and Fall Festival, and the dedicated area is for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment. Sensory bags are available and filled with items to help lessen the sensory overload, with no additional cost.

Additionally, autism friendly/sensoryfriendly inflatables are included as part of other regularly scheduled activities during key events. These inflatables are different than other inflatables because the team working them has undergone business-centered autism training to increase understanding and sensitivity about autism and related disabilities. Each section has only one entrance/exit and is secured by Velcro, so users aren’t interacting with each other, and a trained paraprofessional is included with every rental, positioned at the entrance/exit to the inflatable to supervise users and regulate the line. An ultra-quiet generator is also used rather than a traditional generator to accommodate those with noise sensitivities.

A Day For Autism

We have also held “A Day for Autism: Building Bridges with Law Enforcement” since 2018. This event is made possible through a collaboration between the Village of Wellington, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities and

has activities for everyone, including a petting zoo, face painting, a bounce house, touch-a-truck zone, a Relax Zone for parents and a DJ. The event provides an opportunity to engage with local law enforcement through interactive displays featuring therapy dogs, the mounted unit, ATV/motors, the 911 bus and firerescue. It provides a unique opportunity to learn, ask questions and build bridges with our community protectors.

Setting The Standard

By becoming a Certified Autism Center and making inclusion paramount in day-to-day operations, Wellington is setting a standard for others to follow. We’re demonstrating that inclusivity is not just a goal, but a tangible commitment that can be achieved through dedicated efforts and collaboration. As other communities take note of our success, we hope that they too will prioritize autism inclusion and work toward creating environments that celebrate diversity and accommodate all individuals.

Our achievement of the Certified Autism Center designation is a testament to our unwavering dedication to inclusivity and understanding. By prioritizing autism awareness, accessibility and support, we are leading the way toward creating a more inclusive and compassionate community for individuals with autism and their families. As other communities take inspiration from Wellington’s example, we move one step closer to a world where everyone, regardless of neurodiversity, can thrive and belong.

As we commemorate Autism Awareness Month this April, let us commit to fostering a more inclusive and accepting society. By promoting understanding, celebrating strengths and building support networks, we can create a world where individuals with autism are valued, respected and empowered to reach their full potential. Together, let’s shine a light on autism and embrace the beauty of neurodiversity.

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Wellington offers specially equipped locations at major events to support the needs of those on the autism spectrum.
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Former Mayor Kathy Foster Shares Her Vivid Recollections Of The Early Years Of Wellington

Our Wellington History series continues this month with a focus on Kathy Foster, a member of the inaugural Wellington Village Council who served as the first mayor of Wellington, back when the role was a position appointed from among the council members. She shares her vivid recollections of the early years of the community.

It has been 28 years since the inaugural Wellington Village Council met for the first time on March 26, 1996. Kathy Foster, who would be named the first mayor of the fledgling village at that meeting, had already been a leader in the Wellington community for years, first as a parent activist and then as an elected supervisor of the Acme Improvement District, Wellington’s preincorporation government.

“I really got involved as a mother of young children, when we first realized that there were no schools in Wellington,” recalled Foster, who noted that her children were first bused to Greenacres Elementary School. “I really thought it was about time that the school district focused on the community that was growing so rapidly out here.”

So, Foster and her friend Harriet Offerman organized a group of parents to attend a Palm Beach County School

Board meeting to request an elementary school in Wellington. This led to the creation of Wellington Elementary School, led by legendary Principal Buz Spooner, who had been principal at Greenacres. “After that, I realized we had a voice,” Foster said.

Then came the discussion of opening the developer-controlled Acme board to residents. Spooner encouraged Foster to run and be a voice for schools and families. She was the only woman

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among 22 candidates running for various seats.

“I was the only one not representing outside influences. I worked here, had children here,” said Foster, who won with 48 percent of the vote.

The seat’s incumbent resigned on the spot, leading Foster to be sworn-in the next morning.

“They handed me a one-sheet agenda, which was all consent,” Foster recalled, noting that one item was about

a bond refinancing. “Purely ironically, I had worked on Wall Street in college. I asked for the return on the ratio.”

Turns out, broker Smith Barney was making more on the deal than the district, and Foster demanded a public bid, which led to a better deal for Acme taxpayers. “I became a financial expert overnight, purely by accident. That was my introduction to politics in Wellington,” Foster said.

About that time, discussions over

the possible incorporation of Wellington began to heat up.

“There was a small group of people led by Ken Adams, Dick Palenschat and Mark Miles, who had done quite a bit of extensive research,” Foster said.

The group hosted meetings to talk about the pros and cons of incorporation. They brought in the League of Cities and Florida International University to study the financial impact of incorporation.

wellington the magazine | april 2024 59 wellington | history
Mayor Kathy Foster (center) and the inaugural Wellington Village Council celebrate the first council meeting on March 28, 1996. (L-R) Paul Adams, Tom Wenham, Kathy Foster, Michael McDonough and Dr. Carmine Priore.

“We all realized that incorporation was really the way to go,” Foster said. “We were paying much more to the county government than we were getting back. We were paying over $7.5 million in taxes to the county government but were receiving less than $700,000 back for the community, and that’s just not right. Everything at that time was focused on redevelopment east of I-95.”

An initial vote failed in 1992, but the discussion was revived two years later. And thanks to some last-minute heroics by sponsor State Rep. Rick Minton on the floor of state legislature, and a nail-biter of a referendum that passed by just a handful of votes, the Village of Wellington was born on Dec. 31, 1995. The first council elections were held in March 1996, and Foster’s name was on the ballot.

“I felt that I had a history in Wellington. I had been here since 1979. I had a point of view as a wife, mother and a small business owner,” she said. “I felt that putting a voice like mine on the council would give some balance to the community.”

By that time, Foster was not only an experienced Acme supervisor, she was a founding member of the Palms West Chamber of Commerce (now the Central Palm Beach County Chamber), was on the board at St. Rita Catholic Church and volunteered with school PTAs. “I felt those organizations needed to be represented within the community,” she said.

Her best recollection from that campaign was partnering with Ken Foster, who was then running for the Palm Beach County Commission, on signs that said “K Foster for Office,” thereby doubling their signs. Both ended up winning their races.

Foster fondly recalls the electric atmosphere of the first council meeting.

“It was wonderful. We were all so excited and happy that Wellington would have a chance at self-determination,” she said.

She was joined on the dais by Dr. Carmine Priore, Tom Wenham, Paul Adams and Michael McDonough.

“The one decision we had to make was determining who would be the mayor,” Foster said. “I had by far the most experience, and I had received more votes than any other candidate. They felt it was a logical way to make a selection, and it was unanimous, I recall.”

While the first board had its differences, Foster was impressed by how cohesive it turned out to be.

“Everyone wanted the same thing for Wellington, which was to try to preserve the neighborhood feel that had been established in the community,” Foster said. “We wanted to ensure that our children and grandchildren would enjoy that same small-town feel that had brought us to Wellington.”

This included working to bring together a new village still healing from a divisive incorporation fight.

“We wanted to reassure the people

who had been against incorporation that we would work with them to preserve their way to life, in particular the equestrian and farming interests in the south end of Wellington,” Foster said.

Meanwhile, the county was not happy about Wellington’s incorporation. A fax came in from the county road department about no longer fixing potholes in Wellington. “We had to immediately figure out a roads department,” Foster said.

However, she remains grateful to Nancy Graham, then mayor of West Palm Beach, who reached out to help.

“I was so grateful to her for opening that door for us,” Foster said. “She was the only one of the other municipalities who reached out to help us.”

That inaugural council would go on to make key decisions that shaped the village into what it is today, but the key challenge, Foster said, was more theoretical.

“I think the biggest challenge we had was to convince the community that we were one village, regardless of where you lived, how much property you owned or whether you were a renter,” she said. “We, as the council, would treat everyone fairly and create an atmosphere that invited future homeowners to come and join us.”

This required getting the community involved in deciding Wellington’s destiny.

“There were so many unanswered questions. We had to take it step by step. We created committees for public input on multiple topics,” Foster said. “We opened the door to public input and asked their help in making these decisions. And I think that went a long way in establishing a sense that the village belonged to all of us, and everyone had a voice.”

Many of the key decisions involved what not to do.

“The most important decision we

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Former Wellington Mayor Kathy Foster has stayed involved locally during the nearly 25 years since she stepped down from the dais, including as founder of the nonprofit group Wellington Cares.

made was to preserve the entire village as it was,” Foster said. “No major zoning changes. Preservation of the existing zoning in all communities. Keeping [a village average of] two units per acre, and not widening Forest Hill past four lanes. There was an effort to maintain what we had.”

It has been nearly 25 years since Foster left the council in 2000. Her assessment of Wellington today? “So far, so good.”

“I think the village has done 95 percent of it very effectively over the years,” she said. “None of us could have imagined how well Wellington would turn out. It is an amazing place to live. We have managed to maintain multiple levels of neighborhoods, incomes, variety and diversity of population. Our schools are all A-rated schools. It is really a fantastic place to live.”

This includes the best recreation system in Palm Beach County and “a quality of life that is rarely found throughout this country,” Foster added. She is also glad to see that the equestrian com-

munity remains a key part of Wellington’s success.

“The equestrian industry is really the backbone financially that we based Wellington’s success on,” she said. “Without the equestrian industry, we would be a very different community.”

While no longer in elected office, Foster has stayed involved in the community, both through her business, K. Foster Designs, and her work with nonprofits. She served as executive director of the Adam Walsh Children’s Fund and Junior Achievement, and later founded Wellington Cares, which harnesses local volunteers to help seniors age in place. In 2020, her name was placed on the Wellington Founder’s Plaque to honor her contributions to the village.

“I hope that our future leaders maintain the vision that has supported us so well over the past 30 years and keep Wellington what it is today. As long as the families of Wellington are the priority, I think they will do a very good job,” Foster said.

wellington the magazine | april 2024 61
Former Mayor Kathy Foster is honored in March 2020 by having her name placed on the Wellington Founder’s Plaque. (L-R) Wellington Councilman John McGovern, Mayor Anne Gerwig, Kathy Foster, Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone and Councilman Michael Drahos.
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It’s two great tastes coming together at Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes, which opened in Wellington last year featuring coffee roasted on-site and made-from-scratch baked goods.

It’s a recipe for success with Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes, which pairs a perfect blend of coffee with a pastry chef who specializes in elevated desserts. The two companies have joined forces in one location, bringing a new energy and sweetness to the Pointe at Wellington Green.

“Both our brands are so bright and colorful. It was all so very symbiotic immediately,” said Anna Ross, proprietor of Anna Bakes.

This must-try coffee shop and bakery specializes in on-site roasted coffee along with sweet and savory made-fromscratch baked goods and pastries — from the sweet and textured Birthday Batter Cupcakes oozing with filling, frosting and crunchy birthday crumb, to the savory Feta Pesto Danish, made with croissant dough, whipped feta cheese, pesto and grape tomatoes drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

These treats pair with an array of expertly crafted brews from Candid Coffee that include blends from Guatemala with notes of chocolate, almond and sugar cane, as well as one from Ethiopia with hints of milk chocolate, strawberry and merlot.

Coffee and bakery flavors rotate, while also keeping staples on the everyday menu, including traditional coffees.

Beans are roasted to perfection onsite, with the state-of-the-art Bellwether Coffee roasting system, which allows for customized, unique flavors by roasting beans to taste.

“We have an all-electric roaster for utmost quality and consistency,” said Candid Coffee co-owner Bryan Jenkins, who received his roasting certification in Seattle. “The whole goal is to roast on a small scale, so you can do a lot of fresh stuff quickly. It’s always fresh.”

“It’s a science and an art,” added coowner Megan Jenkins.

A trendsetter herself, Megan began creating cold foam varieties four years

ago, which have grown into 50 flavors that rotate, from funfetti to cookies-n-cream, hazy honey and malted vanilla.

“We switch them every month, and you can try a flight that includes all three of the featured drinks, as well as one of our staples,” Megan said. “I love experimenting with flavors.”

She began experimenting with ingredients, first creating a cocoa cinnamon variety. “If something’s good on a pastry, it’s probably good with coffee,” Megan said.

“Once roasted, you want to let it sit. It tastes the best between a week and two weeks after it was roasted,” Bryan explained. “My favorite coffee flavor is fruity and surprising. I like to drink them black because you get all the nuances.”

Ross said she has known since she was 15 that she would open a bakery. She was inspired by her mother. The family baked together every night, experimenting.

“I’ve always been Anna Bakes. My friends called me that in high school and college. My slogan is ‘Anna Bakes to make you happy,’ and I really feel like baked goods do that,” she said.

The Candid Coffee husband-and-wife team, Bryan and Megan Jenkins, started in Palm Beach County’s warehouse district. The Palm Beach Central High School sweethearts fell in love with the art of coffee during their travels after graduating from college. They began by roasting at their site, then remotely selling at green markets.

Meanwhile, Ross was baking from her parents’ kitchen in Lake Worth, but when they decided to sell their home, she had to find a new location. As fate had it, they found each other.

“We realized we were missing a huge ingredient, which was Anna,” Bryan explained. “We had coffee, but we needed a partner who would give us that other side. We wanted to feel like the love that went into the coffee would also go into the pastries.”

wellington the magazine | april 2024 63 wellington | table
(Clockwise from top left) Pastries on display include the Banana Coffee Cake and the Lemon Raspberry Loaf; a hand-crafted hot latte paired with the Baklava Twice Bake; the Birthday Batter Cupcakes are a favorite, oozing with birthday batter filling, vanilla frosting and birthday crumb; the Sweet Potato & Spinach Quiche has a made-from-scratch crust and makes for a hearty meal; the Everything Scone is filled with cream cheese, onion, scallion, cheddar, Parmesan and everything seasoning. The Baklava Twice Bake pastry is drenched in honey orange syrup, pistachio and walnut phyllo crumble. STORY AND PHOTOS BY MELANIE KOPACZ

with funfetti and chocolate cookie dough, and Emily’s Chocolate Chip

chocolate chips and Maldon salt; a slice of the Lemon Raspberry Loaf made with lemon cake, raspberry jam swirl and topped with lemon streusel; and there is always a new, unique coffee creation to try. (Bottom

Mama Ross Breakfast Burrito, along with Everything Scones and Vanilla Bean Scones; Candid Coffee’s gourmet whole bean bags come from a number of origins, like these from Guatemala and Ethiopia; Candid Coffee drinks are always poured to perfection; and a revolving array of sweet and savory delights fill the display case.

Ross, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, crafted her love of baking at the prestigious culinary university, and then took her studies abroad to France.

The fresh and welcoming coffee house-bakery is bright and open with hues of blue and muted pink, created by muralist Devin Noel. It’s also perfect for a coffee date for parents and little ones, who get their own child-sized lounge space.

“We have a kids’ latte. We foam the milk, put a little cinnamon on it, and serve it in a coffee cup, and they love that they can have a coffee date with their parents,” said Megan, adding that it is an ode to their three-year-old daughter, Riley.

Other fan favorites are the rich quiches by the slice, with scratch-made crust. Flavors include sweet potato and spinach, as well as the traditional Quiche Lorraine with ham, bacon, onion and Swiss cheese.

Scones are a savory staple, including the Everything Scone, stuffed with

chunks of cream cheese and topped with “everything” seasoning. The Mama Ross Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and tater tots, served with a side of homemade salsa, is a huge daily hit.

Special pastry rotations include the Baklava Twice Bake, drenched in honey orange syrup, pistachio and walnut phyllo crumble. The Lemon Raspberry Loaf is also popular with raspberry jam swirl and topped with lemon streusel.

There are always gluten-free and vegan options, as well as homemade granola.

The pastry and coffee creations are endless, made with a palpable passion, summed up by a bright yellow neon sign: “We go together like cake & coffee.”

Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes is in the Pointe at Wellington Green at 10120 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 160. For more info., visit www.candidandannabakes.com or call (561) 766-1742.

Candid Coffee Co. owners Bryan and Megan Jenkins, with Anna Ross of Anna Bakes.

64 april 2024 | wellington the magazine
wellington | table
(Top row) Slices of gourmet quiche include roasted sweet potato with sautéed spinach and onion, as well as the classic Quiche Lorraine with ham, bacon, onion and Swiss cheese; the Feta Pesto Danish is made with croissant dough, whipped feta cheese, pesto and grape tomatoes drizzled with a balsamic glaze; the whimsical mural was created by local artist Devin Noel; and the Everything Scone is filled with cream cheese, onion, scallion, cheddar, Parmesan and everything seasoning. (Middle row) Candid Coffee offers more than 50 rotating flavors of cold foam, including the funfetti; a variety of granola is available, like this gluten-free, vegan maple cranberry flavor; sweet treats include a Nutella-stuffed cookie made Cookie with buttery cookie dough, row) The
wellington the magazine | april 2024 65 Subscribe To ONLY $24/year Get 12 issues of Wellington The Magazine mailed directly to your home or office for just $24 and keep up with all that our unique community has to offer. (Please Print Neatly) Name: Address: City: State/Zip: Phone: Enclose a check for $24 made payable to Wellington The Magazine, fill out your credit card information below, or visit our subscription section online at wellingtonthemagazine.com Card Type:  Visa  Master Card  Disc  American Express Card Number: Expiration Date: CVV Code: Mail this form to: Wellington The Magazine 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 Wellington, FL 33414 or visit us online at: www.wellingtonthemagazine.com Accounting Audit IRS Representation Business Profit Coaching Tax Services: Domestic & International Cost Segregation Studies for Commercial & Residential Real Estate 3319 S. State Road 7, Suite 314 Wellington, Florida 33449 (561) 795-9500 www.froehlichcpa.com
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