Town-Crier Newspaper February 23, 2024

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Five Candidates Seeking Wellington Council Seat 4

Town-Crier Staff Report

Wellington voters will head to the polls Tuesday, March 19 to choose from among five candidates running for Seat 4 on the Wellington Village Council. Seat 4 is being vacated by Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone. Candidates Shelly Lariz Albright, Maria Antuña, Carol Coleman, Karen Morris-Clarke and Michael Partow have filed to replace him in the seat.

The election will be held on the same day as Florida’s presidential preference primary. If no candidate gets more than 35 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff on Tuesday, April 2.

Also on the March 19 ballot will be four candidates seeking Seat 1 (Bob Margolis, Marcella Montesinos, Amanda Silvestri and John “Jay” Carl Webber), as well as a mayoral race between Napoleone and Bart Novack.


Shelly Albright believes that her wide and varied service in the community makes her the best choice for the council.

Karen Morris-Clarke Michael Partow

“I think it is really important to know that I have been heavily involved in this community for more than 20 years at the ground level,” Albright said. “Being active with the Community Services Department, when there is a need, I’m the one they call. When the PBSO needs someone, I’m the one they call, because I know the people to get things done.”

Albright works as director of children and youth ministries at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church.

“Working in this community at the church has given me the opportunity to meet so many families and people and


Council Leaning Toward Related’s K-Park Proposal

Town-Crier Staff Report

A possible private K-12 school is back in the discussion on 66 acres owned by the Village of Wellington known as K-Park, possibly paired with a mixed-use development from the Related Companies, led by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

Meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Wellington Village Council heard a presentation from Related for possibly 500 residential units and up to 120,000 square feet of retail space, along with trails and parks. A private school is doing its due diligence about the potential to occupy about half the property south of the Mall at Wellington Green, company representatives said.

The school was not identified, but it is not North London Collegiate School, which had earlier discussions with Wellington, according to Related officials.

At the same meeting, the council took action on other village-owned land on a different side of the mall area. By a 4-1 vote, the council approved a settlement agreement for the $11 million sale of 10 acres behind the Hampton Inn to original mall developer Brefrank Inc., with development rights for 220 residential units. Village approval for specific building plans on the site is not guaranteed, but the deal could ultimately involve the settling of litigation along with arrangements to maintain wetland areas, officials said. Ideas for what to do with the 10 acres known as Wellington Green Park have ranged from an arts center with apartments and offices to keeping it for soccer fields.

Speaking at the meeting, resident Mark Offerman asked, “Why would you give up 10 acres of park land that you have?”

Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone said the property is not a park in the sense of a pristine natural area.

“This parcel of land has not a single tree on it,” he said. “It’s a parking lot, a port-a-potty and three plots of grass that are being used for soccer.”

The $11 million sale price is more than the appraised value of $5.7 million, he said.

The village will get money to improve sports fields at Wellington’s Palm Beach Central High School, he added.

Councilman Michael Drahos said he would love a performing art center, but a previous plan for that involved more development density than is contemplated now.

Mayor Anne Gerwig, who cast the dissenting vote, said she still preferred a greater effort to pursue a public purpose, such as a performing arts center.

As for K-Park, some residents have continued to ask what happened to notions such as a park or botanical garden, expressed at forums going back nearly a decade.

Drahos said conditions have changed somewhat as the village is slated to get, under a recently approved equestrian development plan, a centrally located park of 55 acres off Forest Hill Blvd., near the Wellington branch library.

K-Park sits by busy State Road 7, Councilman John McGovern noted.

A big question now is what happens to competing offers. Developers led by the Ward family, W&W VIII LLC, offered $54 million to buy K-Park late last year.

Drahos contended it was unfair to keep the Wards investing time and money in the project if Related seemed to be generating the most interest at this stage. “We need to tell staff clearly which direction we want to go in,” he said.

“We have the possibility of having a world-class private school in our community,” McGovern said.

In a village noted for giving rare municipal grants to its public




Volume 45, Number 4 February 23 - March 7, 2024 Your Community Newspaper Serving Palms West
Since 1980
DADDY DAUGHTER DANCE IN RPB By Joshua Manning Town-Crier Staff Report The race for Seat 3 on the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council features incumbent Councilwoman Marianne Miles being challenged by former Councilwoman Anita Kane. Former Councilman Todd McLendon, who had initially filed to run for Seat 3, withdrew from the race last month. The Seat 3 race is one of two council races on the ballot. The other is Seat 1, which has incumbent Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia challenged by longtime resident Robert Sullivan. The election will be on Tuesday, Anita Kane Challenging Marianne Miles For Seat 3 On Lox Groves Town Council
Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Tournament Supports Dog Rescue On Friday, Jan. 26, 100 tennis players and enthusiasts — nearly all of them dressed in dog-themed outfits — gathered at the Wellington Tennis Center to compete in a triples tennis tournament fundraiser. The tournament is held every year as a fundraiser for dog rescue XPort Paws and as a way to honor the late Lisa Bowman. Page 21 RPB Council Welcomes New Businesses To Village See LOX SEAT 3, page 14 By Callie Sharkey Town-Crier Staff Report On Thursday, Feb. 15, the Royal Palm Beach Village Council heard a variety of requests that involved new businesses coming to the area. These new projects range from two unique indoor recreational facilities to a longtime Palm Beach County meat processing plant to a new healthcare facility. We Rock the Spectrum provides specialized equipment for children with sensory issues to exercise and develop various skills and abilities. Village staff supported the franchise moving into the Village Royal Palm Beach held its annual Daddy Daughter Dance on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center. More than 120 people attended the evening, which included DJ music by Let’s Party DJs, games such as musical chairs and limbo, along with dancing and party favors. Shown above are Arianna and Alexander Zambito. MORE PHOTOS, PAGE 15 PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN/TOWN-CRIER Foundation Grants $11,000 To Help Arts At Wellington Schools On Friday, Feb. 9, the Wellington Community Foundation invited all 11 Wellington schools to the annual “Our Schools” grant breakfast event, dedicated to honoring the principals from all 11 public schools serving the Wellington community. Page 3 WELLINGTON HOSTS ORCHID FESTIVAL SEE PHOTOS, PAGE 16 CANDIDATE FORUM HELD IN WELLINGTON SEE STORY, PAGE 3
sixth annual Buck Off Challenge to benefit Southeast Florida Honor Flight was held Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Wellington Community Center. About 200 people attended the event, in which 10 teams competed on the bucking mechanical bull to help raise money. The event raised close to $45,000 to support Honor Flight. Shown above is Event Organizer Bobbi Rottman with the winning team, Real Bucking Deal (Hailey Grumbar, Donnie Mills, Abby Herrin
Nadine Allen). MORE PHOTOS, PAGE
See K-PARK, page 7
See RPB COUNCIL, page 14
WELL SEAT 4, page 4
Anita Kane Maria Antuña Carol Coleman Shelly Albright
be able to do outreach in ways that I think are impactful,” she said. Aside from her work, Albright Marianne Miles Royale shopping plaza at 1169 A & B Royal Palm Beach Blvd. Owner Amber Rudishauser has another location in Palm Beach County that offers open play times, bulk packages and monthly membership options. “Our whole mission is inclusion,” she said. “So, while a lot of the equipment that we have in the building is designed to meet kids on the spectrum’s sensory needs, we also welcome just everybody. So, we want you to know it is not just for kids on the spectrum and not just neurotypical kids. We would like to include everybody. Any child can benefit from it, and that inclusiveness may be a benefit for everybody in that regard.” The facility will serve toddlers to children about 10 years old to start, but the plans could serve middle school social clubs, offer summer camps and parents’ night out. Meanwhile, in the Village Shoppes plaza at 10113 Southern Blvd., 99 Lives LLC is preparing to move in with a specialized video game training center. “The proposed center aims to create a unique and engaging platform for video gamers ages 7
17, offering competitive e-sports training, mentorship, gaming skills development, personal brand building for athletes and other team-building activities,” Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said. Village staff supported the request. “We’re really excited to come here to Royal Palm Beach,” owner and applicant Robert Eckert said. “It’s a new experience that we’re trying to bring here to offer kids. We want to focus on mentoring and teaching these kids to
be team
added that the Royal Palm Beach facility would be different from others located in areas like Miami that only rent computers and hold competitions, but would include other skills such as graphic and character design, but not programming.
also addressed questions about content, and explained they use a list of approved games from the school district.
We Rock the Spectrum and 99 Lives LLC were approved as indoor commercial recreation facilities, which require council West Fest Brings A Fun Time To Commons Park In Royal Palm Beach Royal Palm Beach West Fest 2024 was held Friday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 17 at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park. The western-themed celebration featured music, food, rides, vendors and more. Contests included Little Miss/Mr. West Fest, and entertainment included the Toby Keith tribute band Beer for My Horses. Page 18 Equestrian Board Seeks Changes To Showgrounds Plan A reshuffled Wellington advisory committee voted Thursday, Feb. 15 to seek new conditions for a revamped horse show tied to Wellington’s first-ever removal of land from its Equestrian Preserve Area to build luxury homes. Page 4

Forum Gives Wellington Voters A Chance To Meet Candidates

With three of five seats on the Wellington Village Council up for grabs Tuesday, March 19, a candidate forum Monday, Feb. 12 at the Wellington National Golf Club offered a chance for a crowded field of contenders to make their case to voters.

On issues from development to schools, taxes and annexation, races have attracted a doubledigit mix of experienced hands and fresh faces.

At the forum hosted by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, former Mayor Bob Margolis said discussions with his wife got “testy” about whether he should jump back into village politics as one of four candidates for Seat 1 to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Drahos.

Margolis served as mayor from 2012 to 2016, and before that as a councilman. In the end, she gave her whole-hearted support, he said.

“I believe my experience means

a lot,” Margolis said. “I’m offering the village residents a chance to have someone sit on the council who has had experience, who hears about the whole community including seniors, and I want to thank everyone for giving me this opportunity.”

Margolis spoke at public meetings to oppose taking land out of the village’s equestrian preserve to allow a golf community that the council approved, conditioned on an expanded horse show. Margolis said he will not try to reverse what the current council decided but will endeavor to make sure the developers live up to their promises.

Marcella Montesinos, also seeking Seat 1, emphasized her experience as director of the honors program at Palm Beach State College and serving as vice chair of the village’s Education Committee, among other roles.

“I want to remind you that if elected, I’ll be the first person as an educator on the council,” she said. “I am 100 percent commit-

ted to students and our Wellington schools. I’ll also be one of the first elected as a Latina.”

One of her concerns with the possible annexation of land north of Southern Blvd. into the village is that it might overburden area schools. “We have to make sure our schools are not filled to the point where our teachers begin to

leave,” Montesinos said.

Seat 1 candidate Amanda Silvestri, whose family runs an insurance agency, said she opposed the recent equestrian development plan.

“I know a lot of people were unhappy with the recent vote, as was I,” she said, adding that it wasn’t just equestrians. “A lot of our soc-

cer moms were upset about this.”

Increased traffic and congestion getting to athletic fields threaten to undermine what residents, particularly young families, want in Wellington, Silvestri said.

“I will listen to every single resident with their concerns, and we will come up with a solution that works for everyone,” she said.

Seat 4 candidates Michael Partow, Karen Morris-Clarke, Shelly Albright, Maria Antuña and Carol Coleman. See FORUM, page 7

Seat 1 candidate Jay Webber, an attorney who represents hospitals and doctors and has chaired the village’s Education Committee for seven years, said this is a pivotal decision for voters. He pointed to his advocacy for keeping Wellington residents in top-rated village schools as Palm Beach County de-

Foundation Grants $11,000 To Help Arts At Wellington Schools

breakfast event, dedicated to honoring the principals from all 11 public schools serving the Wellington community. Hosted by Wellington Regional Medical Center, the event had the

foundation’s board of directors in attendance, including WCF Chair Barry Manning, Vice Chair Jim Sackett, and directors Michael Gauger, Pam Tahan, Maggie Zeller, Joanna Boynton, Dr. Gor-

Edilia De La Vega, Jim Sackett, Polo Park Middle School Assistant Principal Annjeanette Munnings, Dr. Gordon Johnson, Wellington High School Principal Cara Hayden, Wellington Landings Middle

don Johnson and Herta Suess.

The highlight was the presentation of $11,000 by the WCF board to support the fine arts departments across all 11 schools through the “Our Schools” grant program. This year’s allocation underscored the foundation’s commitment to fostering creativity and artistic development among Wellington’s youth.

Opening the event, Manning welcomed the principals and school representatives. He emphasized the foundation’s overarching mission to serve seniors, children and veterans, expressing admiration for the public school system as a vital component of community development.

Each school representative was invited to share how they plan to utilize the grant money throughout their fine arts departments. Many shared exciting new initiatives, while others expressed their gratitude for making upgrades and repairs to existing art department items.

After they heard from all 11 schools, WCF Executive Director Dawn Rivera shared news about plans underway for the foundation’s first Teacher Appreciation Brunch to be held in August to celebrate Wellington’s teachers

and assist with classroom supplies for the 2024-25 school year.

“We are very excited to launch this new event,” said WCF Board Member Maggie Zeller, chair of the Children’s Committee. “We want to be sure to get the much-needed school supplies that underserved students may need throughout the year in the hands of the teachers who actually serve them daily.”

The event was meticulously organized by Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO Pam Tahan and her team, ensuring every detail was perfect. The breakfast spread featured a delectable array of options, including made-to-order omelets, bacon, sausage, kielbasa, an assortment of fruit and a variety of beverages, creating a vibrant atmosphere for the attendees to enjoy.

Reflecting on the history of the “Our Schools” grant program, Manning highlighted the foundation’s consistent support for various educational initiatives over the past eight years. This year’s focus on fine arts was made possible through the generosity of numerous donors and sponsors.

“The foundation takes pride in championing our local schools and empowering students to excel in

the arts,” Manning said, underscoring the importance of community collaboration in nurturing young talent.

To learn more about this grant project and other foundation initiatives, visit the Wellington Community Foundation at www. wellingtoncommunityfoundation. org.


Hosted by SATURDAY | MAY 4 | 5:00 PM

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!

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 3 NEWS
Staff Report
Wellington Community Foundation invited all
Wellington schools
the annual
Schools” grant
On Friday, Feb. 9, the
WCF Board Members With Principals — Maggie Zeller, Joanna Boynton, Wellington Elementary School Principal Dr. Maria Vaughan, Palm Beach Central High School Principal Reginald Myers, Binks Forest Elementary School Principal Michella Levy, Elbridge Gale Elementary School art teacher Dr. Nicole Crane, Don Gross, Emerald Cove Middle School Principal Dr. Eugina Smith Feaman, Barry Manning, Polo Park Middle School Principal Dr. Jennifer Galindo, Panther Run Elementary School Principal School Principal Lindsay Ingersoll, Herta Suess, Michael Gauger and Pam Tahan. Wellington Community Foundation Chair Barry Manning makes a grant presentation to Palm Beach Central High School Principal Reginald Myers. PHOTOS BY SHANNON ANASTASIO/TOWN-CRIER
Tickets: $200 per person Wellington Community Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) corporation and contributions are deductible to the extent of federal law; Tax ID# 26-4778984. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION # 31031 AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. For more information visit Scan QR Code Below To Buy Your Tickets Today!
Seat 1 candidates Bob Margolis, Marcella Montesinos, Amanda Silvestri and Jay Webber.
Sponsorship opportunities available THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Equestrian Board Seeks Changes To Showgrounds Expansion Plan

permanent horse stalls in the current show plan, as opposed to tents.

Annabelle Garrett, one of two new members appointed to the board days before the meeting, described her understanding of her job as “make this the best showgrounds you can.”

ton’s Equestrian Preserve Committee asked to double the 220

Well Seat 4



continued from page 1 served as vice chair of Wellington’s Education Committee for eight years, was chair of Wellington Interfaith for many years, sat on Palm Beach County’s Commission on the Status of Women and on the board of the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club. She was also president of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches and was involved in several PTOs and PTAs while her four adult sons were growing up.

‘I chose to run for the council so that I can continue to serve, but at a higher level,” said Albright, who ran unsuccessfully for a state house seat last year. “We have lots of people who still need things, from our seniors to our homeowners to our children in the schools.”

Her top campaign issues are dealing with traffic, protecting the environment and protecting the equestrian lifestyle.

“I already have resources and knowledge in place, and I have done hard work over the past 20 years to help the people,” Albright said. “We need someone who will listen and be the voice of the people.”

She considers raising her family and supporting nonprofits as her top accomplishments.

“Aside from being a mother, I’m incredibly proud of the fundraising I’ve done for nonprofits over the years,” Albright said. “I’m especially proud of the impact I’ve been able to make on improving the lives of families in Wellington.”

Her top priorities are to support Wellington’s A-rated schools, keep the Keely Spinelli school grants, make sure seniors are getting their needs met, and protecting the equestrian preserve and environmentally sensitive lands.

“I’d like for Wellington to keep this hometown feel we have without becoming stagnant,” Albright said. “I want families to be able to live and work in our hometown, like I do.”

She believes that Wellington needs to be proactive when it comes to dealing with growth and traffic issues.

“We need to work and support regional transposition initiatives to relieve traffic and continue to support the efforts of the PBSO at the local schools, which has helped a lot,” Albright said. She sees pros and cons regarding Wellington’s annexation on the north side of Southern Blvd.

“I support the idea of going to the vote, so the people can choose,” Albright said. “We would have some sort of say over what will happen there. The residents there seem to really want it, but it is something for them to decide.”

She is supportive of the work being done by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

“I think they are doing a wonderful job keeping us safe and helping out with issues as they arise,” Albright said. “I think very highly of all the officers that I have met.”

While she does not support the recent vote by council members to remove land from the Equestrian Preserve Area to support the Wellington Lifestyle Partners project, she does not support the proposed recall vote.

“The vote has gone through, and now we need to make sure that WLP follows through on all of the requirements that were put in place,” Albright said. “I would take a hard line on that.”

On the council, Albright hopes to be a voice for the residents. “I’m most proud of being part of a community that cares about one another and who are so fully invested in making Wellington a great hometown,” she said.

Judith Sloan, another new board member, agreed. “For us to compete on the world stage, and for us to continue to be the destination,


Maria Antuña moved to Wellington in 1978. After living in South Shore, she moved to her current home in Paddock Park 37 years ago. “I was a banker for 45 years,” she said. “I have always been a leader in every job I had.” Her current position is as CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, where she is “an advocate for economic impact for our community.”

“I chose to run for the council because I felt that now was the time that I could use my experience of leadership and my finance background,” Antuña said. “It is time that we look toward the future, and with my experience, I felt that I could be the candidate to move Wellington forward toward the future.”

Antuña said she is the best person to serve on the council because of her strong leadership skills, banking experience and expertise in budgeting and finance.

“As the CEO of the chamber, I have been a job creator and a business creator, and I have created economic impact,” she said. “I am also involved with education. The chamber has always been involved with moving our children forward, providing scholarships and giving them opportunities for their future.”

She is proud of her work growing the chamber to 538 members, as well as “creating an amazing life with my husband of 48 years, establishing a solid foundation of family values.” Together, they raised two sons.

Protecting the equestrian community and fighting overdevelopment are her top priorities.

“My commitment to the equestrian community goes beyond admiration. It is a promise to preserve this integral part of our town’s heritage and ensure that the equestrian lifestyle continues to be part of our identity and brand for years to come,” Antuña said.

She also opposes overdevelopment, which she said creates overcrowding and traffic. She would prioritize public safety by supporting first responders and “champion world-class education for our children.”

“My vision for the future is to continue to preserve what Wellington is today,” Antuña said. “We must continue creating opportunities for small businesses to move into Wellington, continue to ensure that our schools maintain A ratings and continue to protect our preserve areas.”

Antuña said that the village should respond to growth by listening to the residents of Wellington. “The residents of Wellington are the Village of Wellington, and they should be heard,” she said.

On the issue of traffic, Antuña said the village should work with county and state agencies. “We must work closely with these entities so that we can come to the table with solutions in helping relieve traffic,” she said.

She is very supportive of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

“I believe that they do a very good job,” Antuña said. “They have done a good job at being involved in the community and being part of the community.”

Antuña does not support Wellington’s annexation on the north side of Southern Blvd.

“I am currently not in favor of the annexation because the residents have voiced that the [Wellington Lifestyle Partners] project was rushed for a decision, and I don’t want to see that happen again,” she said. “With the impact it would bring to Wellington, we need to look at the annexation on a slower pace to ensure that the outcome is one for the good of the residents of Wellington.”

While she does not support the recall effort against council

I think we have to offer up more permanent stalls in this new showgrounds,” she said. Committee Vice Chair Haakon Gangnes echoed that sentiment. “We paid a high price for this. We need to get it right,” he said. The board’s advisory decision, by a 4-1 vote with several members absent, ultimately is not binding, as the showgrounds plan moves on to the village’s Planning,

members who voted for the WLP project, she does support their right to express themselves and offer their opinions.

“I am most proud of what the village has done in keeping Wellington a great place to live, great schools and creating and providing resources to have the equestrian community and the polo community here, allowing us to be equestrian capital of the world,” Antuña said.


Carol Coleman believes that her varied experience makes her the best choice for a seat on the Wellington Village Council.

“I am an equestrian, and I moved to the village because of the equestrian nature and lifestyle,” she said. “I am a 28-year resident of the village. Married for 45 years with two grown children and six grandchildren.”

Coleman, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2010, is a past member of the village’s Equestrian Preserve Committee, and a past member and chair of the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board. She has also served on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and is a past president and current member of the Wellington Garden Club, as well as past district director for the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.

While her training is as a speech pathologist, audiologist and learning disabilities expert, she has also owned several businesses, such as a ballroom dance shoe company, and her current business, which manufactures the studs that go into horseshoes.

“We have never had an equestrian on the council, and the economy of the Village of Wellington is based in the equestrians being here,” said Coleman, who also sits on the board of two equestrian-related nonprofits, the Kevin Babington Foundation and the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament, and has 40 years of experience as a judge with the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the Canadian Equestrian Federation. “Because of my background with the village on the committees I have served on, and the fact that I am an equestrian, makes me an ideal candidate for the position.”

Coleman’s top priorities are the economy, taxes and safety, as well as “fairness and transparency for the people who sit on the council.”

“My vision is that we have smart development and, in particular, affordable housing for people who work in the village but cannot afford to live here,” she said.

Growth and traffic will always be issues in Wellington, but they must be properly managed, she said.

“We have to understand that there will always be growth, and we have to monitor the growth so that it does not affect the lifestyle of the village that we all love,” Coleman said. “I do feel that we have to make adjustments at the major intersections, in particular Pierson Road and South Shore Blvd. I think we need additional traffic lights and signage throughout the village. I also think we need additional street lighting in the equestrian areas because many of those roads are very dark.”

She also thinks that Wellington needs to do a better job with the striping of lines on roadways, which Coleman said are hard to see.

Coleman supports Wellington’s proposed annexation on the north side of Southern Blvd. but does worry about potential safety issues it might cause.

She wants to make sure that Wellington keeps up with growth when it comes to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

“I think they do a wonderful job,” Coleman said. “But I do worry that if we have more growth, we will be putting undue stress

Zoning & Adjustment Board, probably Feb. 28, before heading to the Wellington Village Council, perhaps March 5.

Still, it does send a signal on a sensitive issue for a village whose official logo sports a horse’s head. At the request of a team working with equestrian businessman Mark Bellissimo, village officials agreed to replace Equestrian Preserve Committee Chair Jane Cleve -

on them if we do not have more officers. They do a marvelous job for the village, and I think they are well respected by the people.”

Coleman opposed the Wellington Lifestyle Partners equestrian development plan and supported the recall effort that grew out of it. “I think they certainly tried to accomplish something and make people aware,” Coleman said of the recall organizers.

Regarding the WPL plans, she said, “I am fraught with the problems that have occurred with the people involved in the project. I question whether the developers will complete what they have promised.”

Nevertheless, she hopes for an amicable solution to the entire situation.

“I am most proud of the equestrian community having come together to voice their opinions about the projects in front of us,” Coleman said. “I hope that we can come to some amicable resolution that will satisfy all of the equestrians and still maintain the lifestyle that we are accustomed to and the reason that many of us moved to Wellington.”


Karen Morris-Clarke said that her 24 years raising a family in Wellington makes her a strong candidate to serve on the Wellington Village Council.

“From nurturing my family of five children, to building my businesses, Wellington isn’t just where I live; it’s where my heart resides,” she said. “It has been fulfilling to volunteer in my community.”

This volunteer work has included youth football, managing parent traffic at Binks Forest Elementary School, serving meals at food pantries and working with local nonprofit organizations.

“In addition to my volunteer work, I’ve garnered extensive experience in the real estate and travel industries,” Morris-Clarke said. “In real estate, I’ve held positions ranging from property management to sales, allowing me to understand the intricacies of housing and development in our community. My tenure in the travel sector has involved roles in working with large groups, customer service and management, fostering a deep appreciation for hospitality and tourism, both locally and internationally.”

This background, she said, “underscores my ability to navigate complex systems and negotiate effectively, skills that are essential in advocating for our community’s interests.”

It has also taught her the value of hard work and dedication, which she now intends to put to work for the residents of Wellington.

“My deep-rooted connection to this community has afforded me intimate knowledge of our collective struggles and triumphs,” Morris-Clarke said. “With a wealth of experience, unwavering dedication, and a genuine passion for the well-being of our village, I believe I can contribute positively to shaping our future.”

One of her top goals is to make Wellington’s streets safer for everyone.

“My candidacy is driven by a personal tragedy — the loss of our 25-year-old son in a road accident, minutes from home,” she said. “This heartbreaking experience has significantly influenced my dedication to prioritize road safety.”

Morris-Clarke, who ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in 2022, stressed that she has no ties to special interests or self-serving agendas and will “bring a unique perspective to the table.”

Her top priorities are growing the economy, protecting neighborhoods, road safety and infrastructure improvements, preserving the village and community involvement.

land and Board Member Carlos Arellano after they spoke against the Wellington North and South projects approved by the council earlier this month.

The developers argued that the two spoke at public meetings outside their committee positions, at times representing interested parties in the process, raising the question of whether they ran afoul of rules designed to promote fair

“I envision a future where Wellington’s growth is embraced and balanced with the preservation of Wellington’s distinct identity,” she said.

Morris-Clarke said that Wellington needs thoughtful planning and community involvement when dealing with growth.

“Striking a balance between growth and the village’s unique character is crucial, and understanding the concerns and preferences of residents and businesses is essential,” she said.

Addressing traffic concerns is a key priority.

“To alleviate congestion, we must pursue a multifaceted approach,” Morris-Clarke said. “Firstly, investing in road infrastructure expansion and enhancement is imperative to accommodate the burgeoning traffic volume and alleviate congestion at critical junctions. Additionally, leveraging cutting-edge traffic management technologies, such as intelligent traffic signal systems, can optimize traffic flow and mitigate gridlock.”

She also supports more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly infrastructure and proactive education campaigns aimed at promoting responsible driving behavior. She is also concerned about traffic around schools. “One potential strategy involves revising school boundaries in neighboring areas to alleviate congestion and ensure equitable access to educational resources,” Morris-Clarke said.

She supports Wellington’s proposed annexation on the north side of Southern Blvd., as long as it is done thoughtfully and responsibly.

“It has the potential to benefit Wellington by stimulating economic development, improving services, attracting new businesses and investments,” Morris-Clarke said. “This could create job opportunities and bolster our local economies. Additionally, this annexation can broaden our tax base, offering additional revenue to enhance public services and infrastructure for both our residents and the annexed area.”

She gives high marks to the work of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. “I acknowledge the work they do to maintain a secure environment for all residents,” Morris-Clarke said. “Regularly monitoring how well they’re doing is important to keep Wellington residents safe.”

She is proud of Wellington’s distinct character.

“I’m proud of our lively community spirit and the peaceful coexistence among our residents,” Morris-Clarke said. “Small businesses are able to flourish, and residents of all ages actively engage, making Wellington a warm and welcoming hometown for all. Additionally, our great equestrian feature adds a unique charm to the community, enhancing the overall character of Wellington.”


An engineer, Michael Partow believes that his background makes him the best choice for the council.

“Because of where we are today, at the intersection of some really dramatic changes, I think my background is uniquely interesting,” he said. “I’m an engineer. I have worked as an engineer in many industries and at multi-national companies.”

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MBA. Before retiring, he was the vice president of global engineering at Pfizer.

“In terms of looking at development, I have been doing this all my life — what makes a successful project and how to present it to the public,” Partow said. “You have to bring the public into the discussion.”

On several current projects, he feels that Wellington is rushing

consideration by village government. Village officials concluded it presented the risk of a lawsuit. Replacing the pair, by way of council appointments, were Sloan, an accounting executive and amateur rider, and Garrett, a hedge fund manager and polo team owner. Reorganizing on Feb. 15, the committee tapped Glen Fleischer


into them without enough forethought.

“The amount of impact that these projects will have on our town over the next four to five years will be dramatic,” Partow said. “It will impact everything from our traffic to our schools to our first responders.”

He feels that the council is disconnected from what residents want on these issues, and others.

“I would like to do better with our schools, parks and cost of living in Wellington, which is outrageous,” Partow said. “Our service providers can’t afford to live here.”

Partow and his family own two horse farms, one in Virginia and one in Wellington, known as Caspian Farm North and South, where his daughter, Ashley Partow, works as a trainer.

“I see myself beyond the qualifications,” he said. “It suits this particular phase in time. Things were calm a few years ago. What we have in front of us now is colossal.”

As his top personal accomplishment, Partow points to his volunteer work with the Shriners, which included driving children to medical appointments at the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia. Professionally, he is proud of his work building medical research facilities around the world. His top priority will be to safeguard the Equestrian Preserve Area.

“What happened just recently can’t happen again,” Partow said. “I would like to have a set-aside legal budget, not to be touched for anything else, except to go after in court, if it needs to be, that our preserve is not touched. We need to change the way we do business, and it starts with the council.”

As an equestrian, Partow began coming to Wellington in the late 1980s. “It is a dream area of horses, and this town cannot forget its origins,” he said. “I am working to have responsible development, not just more concrete.”

He remains furious about the Wellington Lifestyle Partners project, and he supported the recall effort that sprang out of it.

“It breaks my heart what is being proposed at South Shore and Pierson,” Partow said. “That 9,000-acre preserve cannot just be given away for development. We are naive if we think others won’t challenge us on this. My vision is safeguard that. What was the rush?

Why did it have to be six weeks before the election?”

He believes that the village needs an independent traffic consultant to challenge the studies being put forward by developers.

“I have worked with municipalities on traffic issues. Developers come in with traffic people, but they are good at looking at it one way,” Partow said. Partow needs more information before supporting Wellington’s annexation on the north side of Southern Blvd.

“What are the negative and positive impacts on residents?” he asked. “Will the cost that goes into it be more than the tax contribution over time? I have doubts.”

He also needs more information before rating the job being done by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. “I would like to find out how many open positions there are among our firefighters, police and paramedics,” Partow said. “I want to know how much overtime they have. I want to know if the salaries we pay to these folks is competitive. Are we getting the best people?”

He wants to make sure Wellington’s equestrian industry is protected.

“I am proud of the way, up to now, the village has treated the horse industry and held the 9,000 acres as sacrosanct, but all of that has changed,” Partow said. “I am proud of how people came together to fight it.”

Page 4 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier NEWS Your Community Newspaper Serving The Palms West Communities For 44 Years 12794 West Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 The Original Wellington Mall Wellington, Florida 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Classified Ads: (561) 793-3576 Web: E-Mail: EDITORIAL STAFF/ Erin Davisson • Denise Fleischman • Frank Koester Melanie Kopacz • Mike May • Louis Hillary Park • Callie Sharkey • Julie Unger CONTRIBUTORS/ Leonard Wechsler • Deborah Welky ADVERTISING/ Betty Buglio • Evie Edwards • Joetta Palumbo STAFF/ Yolanda Cernicky • Shanta Daibee • Jill Kaskel • Carol Lieberman POSTAL STATEMENT The Town-Crier (USPS #021547) is currently published every other week on Fridays by Newspaper Publishers Inc., 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33, Wellington, FL 334144758. Periodicals Postage Paid at West Palm Beach, FL. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Town-Crier, c/o Newspaper Publishers Inc., 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33, Wellington, FL 33414-4758. TOWN-CRIERTHE Founded In 1980 By Bob Markey Sr. Copyright 2024, Newspaper Publishers Inc. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. MEMBER OF The Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce The Wellington Chamber of Commerce STEPHANIE RODRIGUEZ Art & Production Manager BARRY S. MANNING Publisher DAWN RIVERA General Manager JOSHUA I. MANNING Executive Editor By Charles Elmore Town-Crier Staff Report A reshuffled Wellington advisory committee voted Thursday, Feb. 15 to seek new conditions for a revamped horse show tied to Wellington’s first-ever removal of land from its Equestrian Preserve Area to build luxury homes. Among other things, Welling
The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 5 NEWS BUCK OFF CHALLENGE IN WELLINGTON BENEFITS HONOR FLIGHT PROGRAM The sixth annual Buck Off Challenge to benefit Southeast Florida Honor Flight was held Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Wellington Community Center. About 200 people attended the event, in which 10 teams competed on the bucking mechanical bull to help raise money. The event raised close to $45,000 to help support Honor Flight’s mission to bring veterans to Washington, D.C. VIP guests were treated to an open buffet throughout the evening. Guest judges scored points based on time of the ride, costume and presentation. Learn more about Southeast Florida Honor Flight at PHOTOS BY FRANK KOESTER/TOWN-CRIER Event Organizer Bobbi Rottman with the winning team, Real Bucking Deal (Hailey Grumbar, Donnie Mills, Abby Herrin and Nadine Allen). Judges Kevin O’Brien, Lenore Brown, Carmine Yannotta and Roxanne Stein award points to the riders. Anne Gerwig with judges Carmine Yannotta, Roxanne Stein and Lenore Brown. Iron Horse (Dean Dignelli, Chelsea Coyle, Jonathan Corrigan and Christian Coyle) took second place. Sidney Edson, Dorothy Pagano and Vincent Herman stand for the national anthem.
Hoose sings the national anthem. Honor Flight President Sean McGovern and Event Organizer Bobbi Rottman welcomes guests. Emily Keithley rides the bull.
Thibodeau, Sydney Boldt, Emily Keithley and Ally Curvelo of Lendon’s Favorites. David Fuentes, Sean Messer, Chloe Reimer, Catori Schmidt and Alex Hyatt of the Bucking Patriots. Eriel Dendis warms up before the start of the Buck Off Challenge. Caroline Lloyd competes during the Buck Off Challenge. Wellington veteran Fred Quan enjoys the Buck Off Challenge. FOR MAYOR EXCELLENCE AND PASSION A PROVEN LEADER WITH OF ROYAL PALM BEACH, FL STEVE'S PRIORITIES INCLUDE: Balanced approach Term limits for elected officials Scan the QR code for more information! UNITED WE SHINE

Wellington Teens Spearhead Fundraiser For The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

2024 Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Student Visionaries of the Year campaign, a leadership development program that runs from mid-January through early March. The program helps raise funds



Wellington Candidates

continued from page 3

bated where to draw the boundary lines for a new high school south of the village. As for annexation northwest of the village, he said if neighboring property owners vote to join Wellington, at least it means the village is overseeing development standards there. He noted that some form of development is likely to happen there, perhaps under another municipality if Wellington does not act.

“This is a very important election that’s going to guide Wellington for the next two, three, five, 10 years,” Webber said. “Wellington is the best place to live, to raise a family, to have a small business, in all of Palm Beach County. The next council is going to be tasked with making sure that remains the same, as well as making sure the equestrian community thrives, and the commitments that have been made, and the promises that have been made, are kept.”

In the race for mayor, current Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone faces candidate Bart Novack, who was not present for the Feb. 12 forum. Napoleone hopes to replace term-limited Mayor Anne Gerwig.

“Over the past eight years, I believe we have made a lot of positive difference in Wellington, and I would like to be able to continue my service as mayor,” said Napoleone, an attorney and past president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association.

He said achievements by the council during his tenure include prioritizing public safety and keeping tax rates low.

“As mayor I am going to do the same things we’ve done,” Napoleone said. “We’re going to focus on keeping our neighborhoods safe, ensuring great schools, preserving our quality of life, respecting our equestrians, protecting our green space, improving our parks, managing our budget properly and addressing traffic.”

The race for Seat 4 features five candidates seeking the council seat that Napoleone is vacating.

Shelly Albright said she came

to help blood cancer patients survive and thrive after their treatment. “I’m competing against other teams that have kids my age — from freshmen to seniors in high school — to raise money for LLS,” Sophie said.

Each team — there are about seven — has different fundraising goals, which are kept confidential during the program. Sophie’s team was established in March 2023, with three team leaders, including Sophie and her twin sister Grace Norick, as well as Kyle Fleisch.

“We’re just doing as much as we can,” Sophie said. “We’re planning things, we’re marketing, we’re emailing, we’re doing all of that to raise the most amount of money.”

Sophie applied for the program and was also nominated by her neighbor, Natalie Rhoades.

Rhoades’ son, Bodhi, was diagnosed in 2019 with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at three years old.

to Wellington more than 20 years ago and has been involved with volunteering in school and church roles for many years. She wants to focus on family issues, from children to seniors.

“I’m worried about our senior citizens and how they’re paying for their houses,” she said. “They’re house rich and cash poor.”

Skyrocketing home insurance costs represent a big concern, she added.

Maria Antuña said she has been in Wellington for 45 years, raising a family and working in the banking industry in roles from teller to vice president.

After retiring, she took a leadership role with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County and became vice chair of the village’s Architectural Review Board. “I’m very strong in my background in budget and finance,” she said.

Carol Coleman, a 28-year resident of the village, called attention to her roles as rider, judge and business owner in the equestrian world.

“We moved to Wellington be-

For Sophie and Grace, Bodhi and his brother Fynn are more like siblings than neighbors. It was difficult for them, at 13 years old, to see their three-year-old neighbor go in and out of the hospital, and then seeing other children who were sick. “It’ll absolutely tear you to shreds,” she said.

Not all children are as lucky as Bodhi, she added, to have two parents who would be with him all the time.

And on June 20, 2022, Bodhi Danger Macken rang the bell signaling the end of his three-year battle with cancer, which is now in remission.

“After witnessing first-hand the support Bodhi and his family were given, it inclined me to give other kids and their families the same support throughout their own cancer journey,” Sophie said. “Bodhi and his mother Natalie Rhoades inspired me to help those who face similar struggles.”

cause of horse country,” she said. “I’m also very much a part of the village.”

She has served on the village’s Equestrian Preserve Committee and chaired its Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board.

Karen Morris-Clarke, a village resident of 24 years, said her work in travel and real estate has helped her stay attuned to the needs of small businesses and families.

“I’m deeply committed to serving Wellington, and assuring its continued growth and prosperity,” she said.

For key issues on her radar, she highlights road and public safety, infrastructure, small business development and wide community engagement with local government. This is candidate Michael Partow’s first time running for office. As a horse farm owner, he is concerned that village leaders are not always connecting with what residents want.

His background in engineering and construction, he said, can help make sure promises are delivered on development plans and proposals crucial to the equestrian

Inspired by Natalie, Sophie has taken the lead of her fundraising team, where they’ve planned various fundraisers throughout February, including Dollar for No Collar at Binks Forest Elementary School, a Sip and Shop event at Fab Finds by Sarah at the Winter Equestrian Festival and a soccer night at Village Park.

Additionally, they are selling “Doing it for Danger” trucker hats online at www.doingitfordanger. com.

The goal of their fundraising campaigns is to raise money on the pillar of family advocacy.

To contribute to their campaign, visit svoypb24/sophieandgracenorick.

community’s future in Wellington. “That is going to be a huge challenge,” Partow said. In answer to an audience question passed along by moderator

Christina Nicholson, all five Seat 4 candidates said they would vote against any future proposals to remove more land from the Equestrian Preserve Area.

Wellington To Offer New Online Registration Option For All-Day Summer Camp

Registration will open in March for Wellington’s popular All-Day Summer Camp. This year, the Parks & Recreation Department is offering the option of online registration. To take advantage of online registration, users must create a CivicRec account with the department.

Wellington’s Summer Camp is for ages 5 to 15 and is held at the

Village Park Gymnasium (11700 Pierson Road). The camp runs in weekly sessions, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 3, through Aug. 9. Campers are divided by age group for age-appropriate activities scheduled throughout the day. Activities include athletics, arts and crafts, animal exhibits, games and entertainment, magi-

cians, movies and more. Older age groups go on field trips to local attractions. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, all campers go to the Wellington Aquatics Complex. Registration will open Monday, March 4 for ages 5 to 6; Wednesday, March 6, for ages 7 to 12; and Friday, March 8 for ages 13 to 15. If your child is 6 and will be turning 7, or 12 turning 13, be-

tween June and August, it is important that you contact the office for assistance at (561) 791-4748 before registering. The cost to register is $175 per week, per camper for residents; and $200 per week, per camper for non-residents. There is a $30 per camper, per week administrative fee deducted for transfer and refund requests.

Save A Soldier Foundation Hosts First Gala To Fund Mental Health Breakthroughs For Military Members

The Save A Soldier Foundation (SAS), a nonprofit organization, will hold its inaugural Gala Fundraising Event on Saturday, March 2 at the Polo Hall of Fame & Museum, located at 9011 Lake Worth Road. This landmark occasion aims to raise $1 million to support groundbreaking advancements in neuroscience, directly benefiting military members, both active and retired. The event underscores the nonprofit’s mission to advance breakthroughs in neuroscience for the betterment of all, caring for patients' mental health by healing the brain from trauma and disorders, resulting in a quiet mind, enhanced

Wellington To Mark Women’s History Month

With ‘Tea Talk’

The Village of Wellington will celebrate the outstanding contributions of women in the community and beyond at a Women’s History Month “Tea Talk” on Friday, March 15, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Wellington Community Center (12150 W. Forest Hill Blvd.). Join in an afternoon of traditional tea and delightful light bites as the village honors the strength, resilience and dedication of female first responders who play crucial roles in keeping the community safe.

The event will feature inspiring stories from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and the Alpha Alpha Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. For more information, and to view speaker bios, visit

While free to attend, registration is required, and spaces are limited. RSVP through Eventbrite by Wednesday, March 13 at https://wellington-tea-talk-2024.

cognition and a happier life. In partnership with the International Institute for Brain Enhancement (IIBE) in Delray Beach, the SAS Foundation is poised to send 30 service members through an immersive therapy program. IIBE stands out as the only facility integrating hyperbaric oxygen treatment, extensive neurotherapies, and advanced IV therapy with nutraceuticals in one location. This holistic approach has demonstrated exceptional success in addressing PTSD, traumatic brain injury, suicide prevention, as well as other neurological conditions, like Alzheimer's, autism and dementia. For questions, or additional information, contact Michelle Garvey at (561) 7914082 or mgarvey@wellingtonfl. gov.

Art Show March 3 In Lox Groves

Artist Gisela Pferdekamper will be presenting her annual show featuring her own work and that of artist Lisa Marie Bishop on Sunday, March 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. at her home studio, located at 14281 Collecting Canal Road in Loxahatchee Groves. The evening will include a wine and cheese reception, and a print from each artist will be raffled off to attending guests.

Soup And Spirit Lenten Gatherings

The community is invited to participate in the St. Michael Lutheran Church Lenten Soup and Spirit Dinners on Wednesdays during Lent. Remaining dates are Feb. 28, March 6, March 13 and March 20.

A simple meal is offered at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall for

Dr. Philip DeFina, a distinguished U.S. Army intelligence veteran, leads the IIBE with his dual expertise in neuropsychology and neurophysiology. His innovative protocols have revived more than 200 veterans from comas, significantly enhancing their brain health and overall well-being.

The gala promises an evening of sophistication and commitment to the cause. Guests will be treated to a champagne and caviar cocktail party, followed by a gourmet dinner prepared by Ken Rose Catering. The night will also feature both a silent and live auction.

Tickets are available at $500 per person, with all proceeds going

all to share, which is followed by a guided faith discussion. There is no charge for the meal, but a free will donation basket will be available.

St. Michael Lutheran Church is located at 1925 Birkdale Drive in Wellington at the intersection of Forest Hill Blvd. and Birkdale Drive. For more information, contact the church office Monday through Thursday at (561) 7934999.

Garden Club To Feature Talk By David Valdes

The Wellington Garden Club will meet on Monday, March 4 at the Wellington Community Center (12150 W. Forest Hill Blvd.). The meeting will feature a presentation at 10 a.m. on strength training and injury prevention for gardeners by David Valdes, a physical therapist with Saylor Physical Therapy in Wellington. As a licensed physical therapy practitioner, Valdes has extensive experience in diverse healthcare settings and offers unparalleled, one-on-one, quality-based care. His expertise extends from treating weekend warriors and athletes to

toward achieving SAS's goal of treating 100 brain-injured veterans over the next two years. This effort not only aims to give back “normal lives” to heroes and their families, but also to embody the mission of healing and enhancing mental health through the power of neuroscience. Sponsorship opportunities, ranging from gold ($25,000) to copper ($5,000), offer a unique way to contribute to this noble cause. For more information, or to secure your tickets, reach out to or call (561) 819-6125. Purchase tickets online at sas03-02-24.

aiding stroke victims on their road to recovery. With a deep passion for functional biomechanics, Valdes advocates for injury prevention through proper techniques. His ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge to remain injury-free. He will share his insights with gardening enthusiasts, enlightening them on the importance of strength training for their favorite hobby. The community is invited to join the club for coffee and a plant raffle beginning at 9:30 a.m. Visitors are asked to check in at the guest table. To reserve a spot, contact Carol Ralph at caroltaylorralph@

For more information about the Wellington Garden Club, visit

Craft Fair & Petting Zoo At Moose Lodge

Lake Worth Moose Lodge #994 will host its Spring Craft Fair and Petting Zoo on Saturday, March 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Moose Lodge of Greenacres, located at 4844 Bowman Street in Greenacres. Entry is free, and the event is open to the public.

While registration is available both online and in-person at Village Park, registrants are encouraged to take advantage of online registration. A CivicRec account must be established before registration and may be created in person at Village Park. A birth certificate copy is required for first-time registrants. If you do not already have a CivicRec account,


Plans Being Negotiated

continued from page 1 schools, education remains essential to its brand, he said. Still, the council was not unified on a motion to instruct staff to emphasize negotiations with Related. It passed 3-2, with Napoleone and Gerwig dissenting. “I don’t want to cut off all my options,” Napoleone said. In other business:

• A 5-0 vote on second reading approved legal and administrative steps to make possible an annexation of more than 250 acres into the village north of Southern Blvd. near Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. It will require more than 50

Showgrounds Expansion Plans

continued from page 4 as chair, with Gangnes remaining as vice chair. Among the group’s other recommendations were enhanced standards for horse and hospitality tents, adequate fencing between parking areas and barns, and schooling hours that could start at 6:30 a.m., slightly earlier than previous agreements. The moves come in a process described as reviewing compatibility with village codes.

The proposed site plan features a 78,000 square foot covered arena, a 3,000-seat international arena, a 1,500-seat hospitality area, a 1,000-seat special events pavilion, a 210-seat restaurant, a derby field, 5,100 square feet of retail operations and other amenities, according to a village staff summary.

“It is an appropriate canvas for a new set of showgrounds to be painted that are worthy of Wellington,” said Doug McMahon, CEO and managing partner of Wellington Lifestyle Partners, the development group working with Bellissimo. The goal is to do the majority of the showgrounds expansion work

two forms of ID will be required to establish proof of residency. A completed summer camp registration packet is also required for each camper. They can be picked up in person at Village Park and returned in person or submitted to Packets can also be completed online at summercamp.

percent of qualifying electors to vote yes on a March ballot.

• By a 3-2 vote, the council approved $10,000 to join other municipalities in a proposed legal challenge to a state law that requires municipal officials to file more stringent financial disclosures, known as Form 6. The suit could seek an injunction that, if successful, might relieve plaintiffs of having to file the tougher form. Gerwig and Napoleone dissented.

• The council approved a slate of revisions 5-0 to Wellington’s rules for short-term vacation rentals, generally meaning fewer than 30 days at a time. The second-reading vote marks the latest bid to give Wellington tougher enforcement options for problems with parking, noise and other issues when people rent out homes.

in the next two years or so, he said.

In the end, one of the conditions for eventually building 203 homes and a commercial main street in the overall WLP project is that the new showgrounds must come to fruition by December 2028 or homes can’t be built in key parts of the plan.

Dressage is set to be moved from its current, separate location to join hunters and jumpers in an expanded, centralized show site.

Conditioned on showgrounds improvements, the council agreed to remove 96 acres north of Pierson Road from the Equestrian Preserve Area in order to accommodate a golf community.

Now the focus shifts to the horse show, where WLP has made financial commitments meant to ensure that the new showgrounds happen even as executives acknowledge show ownership could change hands as events unfold.

Each recommended change potentially affects profit-and-loss considerations by, say, requiring additional barns or shifting around space available for parking, unloading, rings, amenities and a Rubik’s cube of other factors.

At the meeting, resident Elizabeth Armstrong said she did not see enough green space in the plan, recommending, “Only approve when they come back with way less density.”

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 7 NEWS
Wellington High School student Sophie Norick was recently nominated as a candidate for the Leukemia & Team leaders Sophie and Grace Norick with Kyle Fleisch. Grace Sophie Norick during a visit with patient Bodhi Danger Macken back when he was in the hospital. Alec Domb of the Wellington Chamber Government Affairs Committee, moderator Christina Nicholson and mayoral candidate Michael Napoleone.



Page 8 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier NEWS WELLINGTON SENIOR CITIZENS ENJOY SWEET LUNCHEON ON VALENTINE’S DAY
Village of Wellington held a Valentine’s Day luncheon for senior citizens on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the Wellington Community Center. Many seniors were on hand to enjoy lunch, entertainment from DJ Rick Febles, along with dancing. PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN/TOWN-CRIER
Neera and Allen Lumish celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Nativ and Ruth Wall.
Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club members stopped by the Capstone at Royal Palm senior living facility on Saturday, Feb. 10 to visit with the residents for Valentine’s Day as part of “Rotary Has Heart.” They brought candy, cupcakes, stuffed animals and roses. Royal Palm Beach High School Interact Club students were also on hand to give out Valentine’s Day goodies. PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN/TOWN-CRIER
Rotarians Steve Epstein, Chris Durham, Steve Avila, Jeff Hmara, Dez Romm, Opal Keith, Pastor Mike Rose, Joan Scherer, Lynn Balch, Tony Endler, Dr. Sarda Bhandary and Andre Blackwood. Dez Romm and Carolyn Hmara give Valentine cards to Virginia Knevel and Lucille Cervasio. Kyle Ostroff with PBSO deputies Jennifer Baker and Brad Shouse. Nicole Vitale and her mother Harriet Tursi with Harriet Epstein and her son Steve Epstein. Virginia Michaelchuk with her gifts. Sue Hammond with Jack and Paula Brownson. Sherie Scalzitti, Bob Nappi and Mary Smith. Pat Kohn and Eric Stoller. Maureen Crimarchi with William and Joan Mancuso. Wellington’s Rick Febles served as DJ for the day. Patty Klammer and Richard Domark.


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The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 11 of Forest Hill Blvd. and Wellington Trace. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce 561-790-6200 MARTIAL ARTS Villari’s Studios of Self Defense 561-792-1100 VETERINARIAN Animal Medical Clinic 561-798-2900 BICYCLE SALES & REPAIR Cycle Fit Studio 561-795-3038 GENERAL DENTISTRY Dr. Steven Miller, DDS 561-798-8023 ENGINEERING SERVICES Alan Gerwig & Associates, Inc. 561-792-9000 NAIL SALON Glamorous Nail Spa 561-422-8882 NEWSPAPER & MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS Town-Crier Newspaper Wellington The Magazine / Royal Palm The Magazine 561-793-7606 CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS Spillane & Zahul, CPAs 561-790-1488 PRIVATE SCHOOL Wellington Collegiate Academy 561-784-1776 PSYCHOTHERAPIST Andrea Rusher, LCSW 561-444-7230 PEDIATRICIAN Dr. Rosa Fernandez, M.D. 561-793-3232 FINANCIAL CONSULTANT Dunamis Capital Consulting 561-313-0535 TITLE INSURANCE South Shore Title, Inc. 561-798-9092 CUSTOM BOOTS & SHOES La Mundial 561-459-1629 CHIROPRACTOR Taylor Chiropractic Center 561-793-5050 AEROSPACE COMPONENT SALES AeroGear Telemetry 561-223-2590 REAL ESTATE The Fabbri Group Concierge Properties 561-468-7653 HAIR SALON Star Salon 561-784-9994 GENERAL INSURANCE BRIGHTWAY INSURANCE 561-331-6652 MAKE & TAKE ART STUDIO WOOD • PAPER •GLASS 561-557-9583 Wellington Mall Center Court TUTORING AND TEST PREP Sapneil Tutoring 305-968-6364 Chris Santamaria 561-793-4500
Page 12 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier PET SUPPLIES PLUS Minus the hassle. Your pet’s new favorite store just moved in. Get Your Scripts Filled Save on prescriptions to keep your pets healthy. Find everything your furry, scaly and feathery friends need right around the corner at your neighborhood Pet Supplies Plus! Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-9pm | Sun 8am-7pm Southern Palm Crossing - Royal Palm Beach 11051 Southern Blvd. Unit 160 • 561-345-3151 Plus Grooming • Self Service Dog Wash • Vitamins and Supplements Your neighborhood Pet Supplies Plus has everything you need for your furry, scaly and Feathery Friends. Our shelves are stocked with the right products, including wide selection of natural and made in the USA products. Easily find all their favorites at prices you love, whether you shop with us in store or online using free curbside pickup or same-day delivery. • 1 hour curbside pickup & free same-day delivery • Widest selection of natural dog & wet cat food • Large variety of made in the USA products • Grooming Salon & Self-Service Pet Wash • VIP PetCare Clinics

Equestrian Legends Celebrity Polo Event Benefits Buoniconti Fund

Actor Tommy Lee Jones and decorated polo player Dawn Jones served as honorary chairs and were joined by the evening’s honorees polo legend Nacho Figueras and Argentine businesswoman and equestrian Delfina Blaquier for the second annual Equestrian Legends Celebrity Polo Match & Gala to benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Hundreds of philanthropic partygoers celebrated at the National Polo Center in Wellington while witnessing a thrilling polo match and a phenomenal equestrian exhibition from Olympic and World Champion riders in the disciplines of show jumping and dressage. Event chair and Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon welcomed patrons along with Buoniconti Fund President Marc Buoniconti, who inspired the audience with his story of determination and perseverance. After a seated dinner with wine and champagne pairings by Penfolds, hands flew in the air to bid during the live auction as coveted VIP tickets to a Taylor Swift concert in Paris were on the block.

Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, executive director of the Miami Project, presented the Buoniconti Fund Award to the first couple of polo, Nacho Figueras and Delfina Blaquier, for their decades-long devotion and fundraising efforts.

Figueras delivered a moving and poignant speech about their passion for helping others and pledged his continued support for the Buoniconti Fund and the Miami Project. Dr. Barth Green, co-founder of the Miami Project, and Mark Dalton, longtime Buoniconti Fund board member and Great Sports Legends Dinner

chair, received a special recognition during the evening, which culminated with dancing on the polo terrace. Special thanks to the evening’s Platinum Sponsors Mark Dalton, Tim Gannon, Diana Morrison and Itchko Ezratti, Victoria Ranger Nunez and Mike Nunez, Mack V/Lynn and Reed Mack, Concord Equity Group/Dana Barnes, Jeffrey and Melinda Hildebrand, and Penfolds. Gold Sponsors were Bainbridge/Richard Schechter and the Arlene F. Page & J. David Page Charitable Foundation/ David and Tuny Page. Special thanks to event co-chairs Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Louise and Red Armour, Marc Buoniconti, Teresa Buoniconti, Mark Dalton, Shannon Falcone, Tim Gannon, Richard Gray, Dr. Barth Green, Dawn and Tommy Lee Jones,

Reed Mack, Diana Morrison, Victoria Ranger Nunez and Suzie Sayfie. For more information, contact


Wellington’s Classic Brew Fest returned to Wellington Town Center on Saturday, Feb. 10. The festival featured more than 35 local Florida breweries offering beer and hard cider. Around 100 different types of unlimited samples were on hand from across the nation. VIP guests were treated to an extra hour of tastings, special tastings and a buffet catered by sponsor World of Beer. Guests also got to try their hand at ax throwing from Brewfest sponsor Game of Axes. Learn more at

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 13 NEWS
Tim Gannon, Mark Dalton and Tommy Lee Jones. Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Delfina Blaquier, Nacho Figueras and Suzie Sayfie. Reed Mack and Marc Buoniconti. Mark Dalton and Dr. Barth Green. Ann and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney. Diana Morrison and Victoria Ranger Nunes. PHOTOS BY FRANK KOESTER/TOWN-CRIER The Smith family takes some time from the Brewfest for a family photo. Jess Tracer enjoys the Brewfest. Jennifer Hamilton, Ann Gormley and Michelle Brockway enjoy samples. Greta Joung and Zach Tannenbaum sample some of the VIP-only brews. Wellington Village Council members Michael Drahos, Michael Napoleone, Tanya Siskind, Anne Gerwig and John McGovern. Allana and Chris Moreira, Andy Medved and Matt Vaughan enjoy all the Brewfest has to offer. Rebecca Taylor, Kaitlin O’Dell and Alex Godbout enjoy the VIP section. Katelyn and Emily Targonski enjoy the first pours of the day.
PINES HOLDS ANNUAL PUPPY LOVE 5K AT ACREAGE COMMUNITY PARK On Saturday, Feb. 10, Barky Pines Animal Rescue & Sanctuary held its annual Puppy Love 5K fundraiser at Acreage Community Park. The fundraiser featured an appearance by celebrity pup Mr. Bean, featured in this year’s Puppy Bowl. Originally from Barky Pines, Mr. Bean has no front legs but is an amazing dancer who has now found a permanent home with an amazing family. Many people who attended brought their precious fur babies to run or walk with them. Some dogs were even dressed up for a costume contest. The day also included raffle tickets, dog treats, toys and special drinks. Learn more about Barky Pines at PHOTOS BY ERIN DAVISSON/TOWN-CRIER Participants finish the 5K.
Dustin and Mary Canestorp in traditional German Oktoberfest attire.
Barky Pines founders Steve and Elizabeth Accomando. Kyler West was the first to finish. Mr. Bean with George Melgarejo and owner Dasha Melgarejo. Foster dog Yoyo is up for adoption. Alex Anglesey finished third. Bryan Gunty with Bogart. Royal Palm Beach Councilwoman Selena Samios took part in the 5K. Abby Ross, Ella Freeman and Alyssa Freeman at the Barky Pines table. Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard at (305) 243-6385 or ssayfieaagaard@ Learn more at www.


Vs. Kane

continued from page 1

March 19, held concurrently with Florida’s presidential preference primary. Both seats are for threeyear terms.

Anita Kane was appointed to the council in December 2018 to fill a vacancy and served until March 2019, when she was unseated by former Councilwoman Lisa El-Ramey. Prior to that, she served on the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Board of Supervisors before that board was eliminated.

More recently, Kane has served as chair of the town’s Finance Advisory & Audit Committee (FAAC), reviewing town finances and budgetary documents, and making recommendations.

“I have served the town since

moving here in 2012,” Kane said, noting that she is proud of her work to make the LGWCD dependent to the town. “I was among those who went to Tallahassee to bring it to a referendum.” That eliminated a second layer of government and streamlined town operations, Kane noted, adding that she considers it her top accomplishment when it comes to her work on behalf of the town.

Her time on the FAAC has also helped taxpayers, Kane added. “I have exposed some inconsistencies in spending and assessments through my post on the finance committee,” she said. “Those were resolved.”

In addition to her town service, Kane is an educator who runs a private school in the western communities. “I have been a small business owner for 25 years,” said Kane, who considers herself fiscally conservative. Her work looking over the town finances was crucial in her decision to run for the council this year.

“I am passionate about trying to protect our community and have it remain rural,” Kane said. “I think that there has been a colossal waste of money… Town funds have been wasted on a series of projects that were done to get votes, as opposed to get a quality project.”

She also wants to make sure that commercial uses stay off Okeechobee Blvd.

“Okeechobee is our main street, and if you commercialize that, you are basically splitting our town in half,” Kane said. Her top priority over the next three years is to reduce government waste.

“I would continue paving projects with established rights of way, proper drainage, and proper design and engineering,” she said. “I will try to seek appropriations to fund townwide canal functionality and road and trail improvements.”

Kane said that her “experience in town matters” makes her the best person to serve on the council.

“I am very familiar with the town’s financial situation,” she said. “I look to represent all of the residents of Loxahatchee Groves with integrity and transparency.”

Her vision for the future is that Loxahatchee Groves “remains a rural enclave for those who trea-

RPB Council

Several New Businesses

sure rural life, be it for nurserymen, equestrians or just people who like living in a rural area.” Kane believes that the town should respond to regional growth with caution, noting that everything is interconnected. She would fight to keep Okeechobee a twolane road “because that growth is using our main street as a shortcut for their way home… There are other roads they can use.”

While Kane does not support Wellington’s proposed annexation on the north side of Southern Blvd., she does not think the area should become part of Loxahatchee Groves.

“I personally don’t think we’re in a situation to annex that land west of us,” she said. “There is a lot of turmoil in a particular area, and we are not equipped to handle those issues in addition to all we have.”

Regarding the work of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in keeping the town safe, Kane noted that Loxahatchee Groves is a relatively safe community, but said she has been concerned by reports of increased crime.

When asked what she is most proud of in the Town of Loxahatchee Groves, Kane said, “I am most proud of the people who live

Now, hopefully, in 2024, we’re going to move in to Royal Palm Beach. We’re excited.”

in the town and their passion for what they do and where they live.”


Marianne Miles was elected to the council in 2021, unseating former Councilwoman Lisa El-Ramey. She is seeking her second three-year term in Seat 3. Miles did not return several calls and e-mails for input into this article. However, in January, she sent an e-mail to town residents, copying the Town-Crier

“In 2021, residents voted me into the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council,” she wrote. “It was an opportunity to serve our community and get things done. We paved the deteriorating OGEM, and some dirt roads were paved, giving all drivers a safer, dust free and longer-lasting surface. Thanks to resident cooperation, six major bridge and culverts were replaced.”

She also noted that state-mandated reserve funds are met at $2.8 million.

“All this, in three years, without increasing taxes or going into debt, while preserving our rural community,” Miles continued. “There is more to do for our community. Continue drainage, paving and completing the FPL

underground power lines project, to name a few. I have not forgotten the residents coming to the council asking for road and drainage relief. Some are on this year’s Capital Improvement Plan, others require complex engineering assessment before proceeding.” She also noted the council’s work improving trails. “We need better connectivity and maintenance, but we now have several recreational trails to enjoy,” Miles wrote. “I am proud of preserving lands, our tree canopy and striving for better water management.”

If re-elected, Miles said that she would protect the community’s unique lifestyle.

“I believe in making our own rules that fit our town and lifestyle,” she wrote. “Raise a family, livestock, work from home and live at ease in this rural community we call home. I’ll continue to support uncomplicated rules that apply to everyone, not special interests, and that don’t erode our rural lifestyle.”

She added that commercial development along Southern Blvd. has brought money to the town and jobs close to home.

If re-elected, Miles said that she would “listen, be fair and serve our unique community.”

On Friday, March 1, members of the Jewish community will gather at Temple Beth Tikvah in an unparalleled display of Jewish revitalization and Jewish unity.

Conceived and organized by National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) in 1997, Shabbat Across America represents a united effort by the entire Jewish community to renew interest in the fourth of the Ten Commandments — observing a weekly day of rest (Shabbat in Hebrew).

Temple Beth Tikvah will be one of approximately 700 synagogues across the continent that will simultaneously open its doors to all Jews, so they may join together to experience and rejoice in a traditional Shabbat service and festive meal. Led by Rabbi Jacob Benzaquen, attendees will experience an interactive explanatory service and a traditional Shabbat dinner with

all the rituals explained. The event will take place Friday, March 1, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Designed to teach a generation of unaffiliated Jews about the beauty and significance of the Jewish Sabbath, Shabbat Across America is the first and only program aimed at uniting Jews across North America through one event and will take place in every community where there is a

continued from page 1 special exception approval per the village code.

Another new business arriving in Royal Palm Beach is the Bush Brothers Provision Co., which has been operating in Palm Beach County since 1925 and is a fifth-generation wholesale meat processing business.

After operating in the same location in downtown West Palm Beach for nearly a century, Bush Brothers are looking to make Royal Palm Beach a permanent new home within the Aldi Park Planned Industrial District at 1131 - 1161 N. State Road 7.

“This is a relocation. We’ve been in the same building on North Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach since 1931, and we’ve been looking for a new home for a while,” owner Doug Bush explained. “We actually opened in 1925 across the street from our current location, and we moved into our current building in 1931.

One of many reasons why this new location is appealing is the fact that much of their existing staff live closer to Royal Palm Beach, Bush said. The company’s expansion is expected to bring 25 to 30 new jobs to the area. The meat processing facility will not have an open public store, and there is a detailed plan on handling processing waste that will not affect the community.

The requests for a special exception use and a parking variance were approved unanimously.

Finally, Baptist Health South Florida, in conjunction with Urban Design Studios, came to the council with a proposal for a new integrated care center on State Road 7, at the site of a former Toys R Us store.

O’Brien introduced the application with some background and details.

“The nature of this business and its scope of services is very important in differentiating between what has been before this council in the past with a standalone emer-

gency room,” he said. “This is an integrated care center that has an emergency room component, [in addition] to the broad spectrum of services.”

While the facility will have an ER associated with a licensed hospital, it will also have physicians’ offices, ambulatory surgery, outpatient services such as physical therapy, diagnostic imaging and a laboratory. The intent is to provide comprehensive emergency services and an on-site physician 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Several requirements must also be met. Patients cannot be kept on site for more than 23 hours. At that point, they must be discharged or transferred to a hospital. What is different from past proposals is that patients will have a choice on their transfer location, depending on their additional care needs.

“I got an overwhelming concern from citizens that they didn’t want to be booked into a hospital 15 miles away,” Mayor Fred Pinto said. “So, what you’re telling me is that would not be the case? That they have some control over this?”

Village Manager Ray Liggins explained that the initial decision

of where a patient goes is first determined by the ambulance picking them up. Ken Tuma with Urban Design Studios explained that walk-in situations would be assessed on site.

“If you had a heart issue and you weren’t stabilized, you can’t stay overnight,” Tuma said. “They would then be shuttled off to the closest, most appropriate hospital where their care would be taken care of. For example, you came into this facility, and you had a stroke, that’s not something that’s going to be handled at this facility — you would be taken offsite. But if I broke my arm, it’s a perfect spot for this facility.”

Tuma also explained that the offices at the care center do not have to be directly associated with Baptist Health.

“We need more hospital capacity not less,” Councilman Richard Valuntas said. With the entire council and village staff on board, the first reading for the Baptist Health integrated care center was approved unanimously. The second reading will take place at the next council meeting, on March 21.

NEWS Page 14 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier
Lox Seat 3
Jewish presence. Located at 4550 Jog Road in Greenacres, Temple Beth Tikvah is an egalitarian Conservative synagogue serving Jews in cen
tral Palm Beach County. Since its founding, Temple Beth Tikvah has been an innovator in Jewish programming and education. The congregation invites everyone to this exciting event. Call the temple office at (561) 967-3600 for more information and reservations. Temple Beth Tikvah To Participate In 28th Annual ‘Shabbat Across America’ Program On March 1 Celebrating over 36 Years in the Practice of Law • ESTATES AND PROBATE • GUARDIANSHIP • WILL AND TRUST LITIGATION • ELDER LAW • MEDICAID PLANNING • POWERS OF ATTORNEY • ESTATE PLANNING 561-795-9590 The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide ask for free written information about my qualifications and experience. 14611 Southern Blvd. Unit 1250 Loxahatchee, Fl 33470 JoAnn Abrams ATTORNEY AT LAW EVENING HOURS BY APPOINTMENT New Location 9112 Forest Hill Blvd | In Kobosko’s Crossing (561) 793-7373 Visit us at our Wellington location Celebrating 48 Years in Wellington! Rotary is looking to add a few good spokes to our Rotary Wheel. Wellington Rotary Meets Thursdays - 12:15 p.m. The Wanderer’s Club For additional information call Scott Armand 561-635-0002 Royal Palm Beach Rotary Meets Thursdays - 7:30 a.m. Hilary’s For additional information call Chris Durham 561-971-9679 Make lasting friendships. Enjoy good fellowship. Join us at one of our weekly meetings Service You Deserve From People You Trust Donald Gross 561-723-8461 Maureen Gross 561-714-0887 “I Wish Mommy & Daddy Could Buy A NEW HOME With A BIG BACKYARD, So I Could Go Out And Play All Day” LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME CALL THE “REAL” REAL ESTATE ADVISORS, DONALD & MAUREEN GROSS
The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 15 NEWS
Royal Palm Beach held its annual Daddy Daughter Dance on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center. More than 120 people attended the evening, which included DJ music by Let’s Party DJs, games such as musical chairs and limbo, along with dancing and party favors. The food was catered by Mario the Baker.
PHOTOS BYDENISE FLEISCHMAN/TOWN-CRIER DJ Sean with Let’s Party DJs. Anyla Pinto and RPB Mayor Fred Pinto. Helbert and Alysson Diaz. Bryan and Braylin Sealey. Arianna and Alexander Zambito. Brianna and Luis Feliciano. Sam Diaz and Valerie Guerrero. Emily and Carlos Broche. Paul and Arianna Macaluso. Abigail and Chris Durham. Nick and Harper Di Battisto. Josie and Izzy with dad Benjamin Bean. Freya and Brian Price. Arianna and Alexander Zambito. Tiffany and Dwayne Hudson. Jillian and Brandon Lozier.


The Wellington International Orchid Festival, sponsored and hosted by Orchids in Bloom in Apopka and Loxahatchee’s Tangled Roots Orchid Nursery, took place at Wellington’s Village Park on Saturday, Feb. 17 and Sunday, Feb. 18. More than 1,300 people attended the festival, a first for Wellington, which featured 34 vendors in 31 booths, including those traveling from across Florida, and as far away as Taiwan, Thailand and Hawaii. The festival featured hundreds of uncommon orchids, collectible aroids, exotic plants, growing supplies and more. PHOTOS BY JULIE UNGER/TOWN-CRIER

One of Wellington’s most anticipated events of the spring season is one that welcomes individuals from around the world for a weekend of vibrant fun. The annual fête, the International Gay Polo Tournament, inspires awareness for inclusiveness and equality. It is one of the most colorful events to take over Wellington, and plans for the 2024 event are already off to a strong start.

Back again as title sponsor is Lexus, known for its commitment to luxury, innovation, amazing experiences and supporting organizations that are making impactful change for diverse communities around the world.

The 2024 event will take place

from April 4 to 6 at the Patagones Polo Club and will again create a culture of togetherness, equality and high fashion, to inspire and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in sports and beyond.

The robust itinerary will feature new and exciting components to be announced soon, but will follow tradition by hosting the annual Players Welcome Reception (by invitation) on Thursday, April 4, the wildly popular GPL Polotini Wigstock party on Friday, April 5 featuring cocktails, light bites, a themed wig contest and a fabulous drag show that will captivate audiences.

Saturday, April 6 is reserved

for the “main event” tournament and tailgate competition, where players from around the world will compete during both the Senator’s Cup and the Founders Cup. Spectators and friends are invited to participate in the always popular tailgate competition. Tailgaters are already dreaming up their whimsical tablescapes and décor in preparation for the fun-spirited competitiveness that lines the polo field, with each tailgate becoming its own experience that collectively contributes to the overall exhilaration of the day. Coveted awards for Best in Show, Best Cuisine, Best Cocktail, Best Single Tailgate and Best Multiple Tailgate are up for grabs.

“While this event is a fun and competitive one, it is the desire for equality that pushes us to do more each year,” Gay Polo League founder Chip McKenney said. “We are excited about the new components this year that we will be announcing soon and are forever grateful for the unwavering commitment of Lexus for doing all they can do to enact change.”

The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament is open to all. To experience the excitement, or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit Custom sponsorship packages to elevate and advance brands can be curated. For more info., e-mail

Let’s get moving, Wellington! The Village of Wellington is excited to once again join communities and organizations across Palm Beach County for this year’s “Let’s Move: Commit to Change Physical Activity Challenge.”

The Let’s Move Challenge, presented by Digital Vibez Inc. in partnership with the Palm Health Foundation, encourages individuals and teams to commit to exercising for at least 30 minutes every day throughout March.

As the “Top Team” from the 2023 campaign, logging a record-breaking 36,022,563 minutes of physical activity, the Village of Wellington will once again host the Let’s Move Campaign Kickoff Event at the Wellington

Amphitheater (12100 W. Forest Hill Blvd.).

On Friday, March 1, from 5 to 7 p.m., come move and groove with Digital Vibez and learn about a variety of local programs and opportunities that will keep you moving all month long. A selection of food trucks will also be available.

Up for the Challenge? Log your physical activity minutes and help the village win back the title of the most active community in the county. Register for free at www. and select “The Village of Wellington” as your team.

Additional details can be found at the Let’s Move Palm Beach County web site.

Page 16 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier NEWS
Meagan and Ray Clyne and Sophia Ye with their new orchids. Raquel and Joshua Jones of the Orchid Den in Jacksonville. Cole and Candice Klee of C.R. Orchids in Loxahatchee. Serena Roman and Ernesto Cabezas of Lady Vanda in Homestead. Event organizers Michael Sands with Tangled Roots Orchid Nursery in Loxahatchee and Pam Waters of Orchids in Bloom in Apopka. Nicole Rose with her new cattleya orchid. Ben Oliveros and Jorge Merlo from Orchid Eeros, from the Big Island of Hawaii. Roxy DeLaGuardia of Orchids 365 with 3D-printed orchid pots and mounts.
A team of senior primary care experts committed to one goal: helping you achieve yours For Medicare members Schedule your tour now 561–486–4437 Conviva Care Center accepts Original Medicare, as well as many Medicare Advantage plans, including Aetna, AvMed, CarePlus, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Wellcare. We also accept Medicare Supplements and Part D plans. Board-Certified Physicians Behavioral Health Specialists 4 Clinical Pharmacists 4 Care Coaches 4Varies by location. Conviva does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, age or religion in their programs and activities, including in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, their programs and activities.
International Gay Polo Tournament Set To Return To Wellington
April Let’s Move Challenge Kickoff Party March 1

Dancing Horses & Family Fun: Help Fight Breast Cancer At COTA

Get ready to gallop into a night of pure entertainment, hoof-tapping music, family fun and heartwarming moments at the Friday, March 8 Challenge of the Americas (COTA), where the community comes together to give breast cancer the boot. It’s a spectacular evening of horses and music, all to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through its partner, Play for P.I.N.K.

General admission ticket holders will have an ideal vantage point in the grandstands, and tickets are available at the gate the night of the event. The cost is $30 per adult, and children 12 and under are admitted free. Gates open at 5:45 p.m. at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival showgrounds at the corner of South Shore Blvd. and Pierson Road in Wellington. Grandstand guests can grab food and beverages available for purchase and enjoy pre-show entertainment.

VIP tickets, available at www., provide the same top-notch entertainment with the bonus of enjoying the elegantly festive Challenge Gala featuring dinner and dancing

under a tent at the showgrounds. You won’t want to miss COTA’s newest event, the Disco Dressage Derby, where three teams of two horses and riders boogie on down to four minutes of choreographed disco music with a unique twist: the teams must continue dancing to surprise musical selections during the last minute of their performances.

The adorable jumping mini horses with their full-size friends, and a fun musical pas de trois set to Tina Turner tunes round out the entertainment before the headline event, the musical Grand Prix Quadrille Team Challenge. Featuring five teams of six dancing horses and their skilled riders, each team maneuvers in precise patterns set to musical themes. Competitors pull out the stops with intricate choreography and colorful costumes to delight the crowd while raising funds for breast cancer research.

COTA has evolved since its origins in 2002. Created by Mary Ross to honor her mother, who died of breast cancer, the event grew from an afternoon luncheon

featuring three horse-and-rider combinations to an international event with 44 Grand Prix riders and their mounts. Its success and continued growth are due not only to its partnership with the top-rated breast cancer research organization in the U.S., but also to its uniquely entertaining format.

The beneficiary of the event, the

Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) through partner Play for P.I.N.K. (PFP), is the largest private funder of breast cancer research — and the largest private funder of metastatic research — in the world. Play for P.I.N.K. is a grassroots organization committed to raising funds for breast cancer research through sporting and

lifestyle events. Since 1996, PFP has raised more than $80 million for breast cancer research and is currently supporting 20 research projects to bring about breakthroughs in detection, treatment, prevention and survivorship.

Let’s come together to #ChallengeBreastCancer and create a future where families can thrive

without the fear of this disease. Spread the word, gather your crew, hoof on over to the dressage showgrounds on March 8 and enjoy an exciting evening of dancing horses and family fun to help find a cure for breast cancer. Learn more about the event at www.challengeoftheamericas. com.

Want to learn a bit about old Florida from its natural side? The Wellington Historical Society and the Wellington Garden Club will host a joint luncheon with featured speakers Mary Crider and Lauren Butcher. Both are environmental education experts with extensive experience in the Florida Everglades.

The topic of their presentation is “History in Every Drop: The Story of Our Wetlands.” Learn how people have used the unique plants, wildlife and waterways of the local wetlands, and how the waters continue to serve humans and wildlife today.

The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at the National Polo Center’s Mallet Grille, located at 3667 120th Ave. South in Wellington. Crider is the environmental education supervisor for the Grassy Waters Preserve, a 23-square-mile wetland ecosystem with a nature

center located off Northlake Blvd. While completing her thesis work in Ecuador for her master’s degree in environmental science from Florida Atlantic University, she worked closely with local organizations to increase environmental awareness in the area. Seeing the importance of education, she shifted her focus and has now worked with students and the public as an Everglades educator for 12 years. Butcher has 14 years of experience as an environmental educator. She shares her knowledge of the Everglades with visitors and students as environmental education coordinator at the Grassy Waters Preserve. A third-generation Floridian, Butcher is passionate about connecting people with the natural world in South Florida. She’ll help teach about the history and ecology of the wetland wilderness and about what residents can do to conserve, protect and enjoy its waters. Join the Wellington Historical

Society and the Wellington Garden Club for the luncheon event, where you also can learn more about the two organizations. Tickets are $50 per person, and proceeds will benefit both organizations. They can be purchased at www.eventbrite. com/e/lunch-learn-history-inevery-drop-the-story-of-our-wetlands-tickets-824142200507.

The Wellington Historical Society is a nonprofit organization driven by dedicated residents with the goal of preserving the unique history of Wellington.

For additional information, or to become a member, visit www.

The Wellington Garden Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating members and the public in the fields of gardening, horticulture, floral design and landscape design, and to promoting conservation of natural resources, civic beautification and youth education. To learn more, visit www.

The Wellington Garden Club met Monday, Feb. 5 at the Wellington Community Center. The meeting featured a presentation on eco-friendly solutions for pest control in gardens by Dr. Lance Osborne, professor of entomology at the University of Florida, a dedicated and passionate advocate for the insect world.

Osborne’s expertise lies in integrated pest management and sustainable agricultural practices. His love for insects began during his childhood explorations in Florida’s countryside. His groundbreaking work in biological control and insect-plant interactions has earned him recognition within the scientific community. His commitment to promoting eco-friendly solutions solidifies his place as a respected figure in entomology.

In his presentation to the club, Osborne focused primarily on the growing problem of Thrips parvispinus (Thrips) in commercial and home landscapes, and

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 17 NEWS
Team BioStar won the 2023 Grand Prix Quadrille Challenge with a swanky nod to the Roaring 20s, and their hotsy-totsy flapper and gangster costumes were the cat’s pajamas.
“Oh, What a Night” it was as velvet smoking jacket-clad Team Purina performed to the Jersey Boys at COTA 2023.
these invasive pests, contact the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center at the University of Florida at https://mrec. To learn more about the Wellington Garden Club, visit www. Garden Club And Historical Society Lunch Event Features ‘The Story Of Our Wetlands’ Wellington Garden Club Meeting Featured Talk On Eco-Friendly Pest Control Wellington Garden Club members listen to Dr. Lance Osborne. Having your taxes prepared should not be a painful experience With all the new confusing tax laws, have your taxes prepared by an experienced professional who will take the time to answer all your questions and concerns. Arthur M. Lichtman, P.A. CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT 12773 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 203 Wellington Plaza • Wellington 561-792-2008 FREE Electronic Filing Credits Cards Accepted Arthur M. Lichtman, C.P.A. Licensed in Florida and New York SERVING THE WESTERN COMMUNITIES FOR OVER 25 YEARS 10% off for all new clients with ad QUALITY SERVICE AT AFFORDABLE PRICES Dog Pack 1 Rabies 5 in 1 Bordetella Heartworm Test $95.00 Dog Pack 2 Dog Pack 3 Rabies 5 in 1 Bordetella $75.00 Puppy Pack 5 in 1 Bordetella Deworming $70.00 Cat Pack 1 Rabies 4 in 1 Leukemia FeLV test $95.00 Cat Pack 2 Rabies 4 in 1 Leukemia $70.00 Kitten Pack 2 4 in 1 Leukemia Deworming FeLV test $90.00 Kitten Pack 1 4 in 1 Leukemia Deworming $65.00 Low Cost Vaccinations Sunday March 3, 2024 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. DOG STUFF CAT STUFF Please have all dogs on leashes and cats in carriers Services Provided by: Attending Veterinarian: Virginia Sayre, D.V.M. 561-236-7365 USE YOUR LOCAL VACCINATION CLINIC COUNTY LICENSE & TAG AVAILABLE ON SITE. FLEA PRODUCTS AND HEARTWORM PREVENTIVE AVAILABLE FOR SALE. 5 in 1 Bordetella Heartworm Test $80.00 Pet Supplies Plus 11051 Southern Blvd. Unit 160 Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411 NEW LOCATION! NEW LOCATION! A dental office designed specifically for serving the needs of the family. Established in 1983 Wellington’s first full-time, full service dental practice. Wellington’s Premier Center for Dental Health. Become part of the family! Dr. Michael Starr Contact us to arrange an appointment to discreetly discuss your dental needs. (Financial arrangements available) (561) 798-0100 Conveniently located in the heart of Wellington 1200 Corporate Center Way, Suite 103 | Wellington, Florida 33414 VISIT OUR WEBSITE: Welcome to Starr Family Dentistry in Wellington
how to combat these garden pests using environmentally friendly methods. These tiny pests have been found in a wide variety of ornamental plants and agricultural crops. They feed on plant tissues by extracting the contents of plant cells, causing severe damage and ultimately, plant loss. Members were surprised to learn that in a survey of large retail nurseries from Palm Beach County to the Georgia border, along the I-75 and I-95 corridors, all but one store had plants with Thrips. For more information on Thrips and how to control
NEWS WEST FEST BRINGS A FUN TIME TO COMMONS PARK IN ROYAL PALM BEACH Royal Palm Beach West Fest 2024 was held Friday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 17 at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park. The western-themed celebration featured music, food, rides, vendors and more. Contests included Little Miss/Mr. West Fest, and entertainment included the Toby Keith tribute
My Horses. PHOTOS
Page 18 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier
for BY FLEISCHMAN/TOWN-CRIER Lincoln, Richie, Kristina and Landon Gryl with Thor and Teddy. Toby Keith tribute band Beer for My Horses performs on stage. Chris “Moose” Ivers, Jasper Mayer and Fred Saykle from the Paul Bunyon Lumberjack Show. RPB Councilman Richard Valuntas, Councilwoman Selena Samios, Vice Mayor Jan Rodusky, Councilman Jeff Hmara and Mayor Fred Pinto welcome attendees. Zayla Lam, baby Jade Liu and Luke Liu on the slide. Ileana Navarro dishes up food at Mozza Arepas Latin Food. Dylan and Chris Pegg. Pony ride Carolina Ramirez on Jazzy led by Luis Angel. Chris “Moose” Ivers made a wood chair for Laure Lelievre Champagne. Jillian and Jackson Lozier try ax throwing. J.J. Serrano rides the bull. West Fest contestants gather for a group photo. Princess Miss West Fest 2023 Eden Wood, Kaylee Chamberlain, Sweetheart Miss West Fest 2023 Calli Tenan, Princess Miss West Fest 2024 Ocean Korczrnski, Sweetheart Miss West Fest 2024 Rose Coffey, Mini Miss West Fest 2024 Raelynn Mortimer and Pee Wee Miss West Fest 2024 Chloe Wax. Contest judges Stacy Saltzman and Maria Powell of City Girls Hat Bar. Jeff and Denise Smith.
If you think you or someone near you is having a stroke or a heart attack, every second counts. Call 911 immediately. If you need a physician, call our free physician referral service at 561-798-9880. Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Wellington Regional Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the nondiscrimination notice, visit our website. 231322352-1401113 12/23 Our Comprehensive Stroke Center is here for you when you need us. We have earned numerous certifications, designations and awards for advanced stroke care. Our Cardiology Program uses advanced technology to diagnose and treat a variety of cardiac disorders. We are an accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology.
Joseph and Ricardo Paola Smith play with bubbles.
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Page 20 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier Thank you to our great supporters as they partner-up in the fight against breast cancer At time of printing. PURCHASE COTA VIP GALA SEATING (WITH DINNER AND DANCING) ONLINE AT CHALLENGE CANCER The Challenge of the Americas presented by THE PINK HATS calls on you to GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS AT THE GATE $30 PER ADULT CHILDREN 12 & UNDER FREE PRE-SHOW ENTERTAINMENT WITH LIVE MUSIC GATES OPEN 5:45 PM FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2024 GLOBAL DRESSAGE FESTIVAL SHOWGROUNDS Corner of South Shore & Pierson, Wellington Photo by Mark & Amy Bozzone Margaret H. Duprey | Cherry Knoll Farm A. Ronald Johnson & Elizabeth Stauber-Johnson, Ph.D. Mr. & Mrs. Steffen Wolff Paul & Sharon Zaidins Experience this amazing under-the-lights equestrian extravaganza as over 40 horses and riders from around the world dance together to fight breast cancer. Winners of the 2023 Challenge of the Americas TEAM BIOSTAR ! EQUINE INSURANCE Custom Freestyle Inc.

Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Tournament Supports Dog Rescue

On the evening of Friday, Jan.

26, 100 tennis players and enthusiasts — nearly all of them dressed in dog-themed outfits — gathered at the Wellington Tennis Center to compete in a unique triples tennis tournament fundraiser.

The tournament is held every year as a fundraiser for dog rescue X-Port Paws and as a way to honor the late Lisa Bowman, who was a tennis enthusiast, friend, teammate, partner, daughter, aunt, niece and dog lover.

According to event coordinator Liz Stockton, the Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Tournament raised $15,000 for X-Port Paws, which raises money and awareness to save old dogs, sick dogs, pit bulls, pit mixes, black dogs, discarded dogs and dogs with behavioral issues. Rescued dogs are transported to safety, to either boarding facilities while they await a committed rescue or to a foster. Trainers are hired to work with them, as well as

veterinarians to help them. While the primary goal of X-Port Paws is to rescue animals with little to no chance of surviving the system, no animal is left behind.

“Our triples tennis tournament brings like-minded people together in a way that she [Bowman] would have loved,” said Stockton, who was a longtime friend. “I got to know her not only as a tennis player, but also as a friend and fellow dog lover. We connected on many levels. She was an inspiration.”

Stockton said that by staging this tournament for the last five years, it helps people to remember Bowman and to support the wellbeing of neglected dogs.

“I think about her all the time. Every time I walk a dog, I think about how she would have loved him or her,” Stockton said. “And that’s why this triples tennis tournament is so important to me. It’s not just because as a not-for-profit, we depend on donations to survive, but because it keeps Lisa’s spirit alive.”

One of the keys to the success of the event is the support that Stockton receives from the Wellington Tennis Center.

“Thank you to the Village of Wellington and Tennis Director Chuck Gill,” Stockton said. “I don’t know why Chuck still entertains my insanity, but he does, and he challenges me to go bigger and better every year.”

There was a degree of starpower in attendance, as two of the pros were former standout professionals on the ATP tour. They were U.S. tennis greats Harold Solomon and Dick Stockton.

Solomon, known as a clay court specialist, played pro tennis during the 1970s and 1980s. He achieved a career-high world ranking of No. 5 in singles in 1980 and No. 4 in doubles in 1976. Over the course of his career, he won 22 singles titles. He was a finalist in the men’s singles at the 1975 French Open.

Stockton won eight pro singles titles and 10 doubles titles from the

early 1970s to the early 1980s. His highest world ranking was No. 8. Stockton played on the U.S. Davis Cup team five times (1973, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1979). The U.S. won the Davis Cup in 1979. The main sponsors of the Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Tournament included the Village of

Wellington; Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath; LIFE PT; BG Squared; Green Girl Garden Design; Junko Fuji Homes; Bluefish Sport; Mobile Tack; Lindburgers; U Mortgage; the Katzman Family; Mamma Mia’s Trattoria; Jake’s Pet Food Delivery; Boots on the Court; Delicia’s Cuban Bakery;

Pure Wellness; Scotty’s Sport Shop; Sloan’s; and Wellington High School’s X-Port Paws Club.

“I want to thank all the pros who came to the event after spending hours on their courts all week,” Stockton said. “They show up with endless energy and make triples even and awesome.”

Wellington’s Girls Soccer Squad Reaches The Regional Final

At the beginning of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s high school soccer postseason, seven boys and girls varsity teams from schools in the western communities qualified for the state playoffs.

The four girls teams were from Berean Christian School (Class 2A), the King’s Academy (Class 3A), Seminole Ridge High School (Class 6A) and Wellington High School (Class 7A). The three boys teams represented Berean (Class 2A), Palm Beach Central High School (Class 7A) and Royal Palm Beach High School (Class 7A).

Of those seven teams, four won their respective postseason district tournaments, which allowed them to play their first-round, regional quarterfinal matches at home.

Of those seven teams, the only squad that is still playing soccer at press time is the girls team from Wellington. Under the direction of head coach Ashley Parrett, the Wolverines won their district tournament on Jan. 31 when they dominated Palm Beach Central, 6-1. That propelled them into the regional playoffs as the second seed.

On Feb. 13, Wellington hosted Olympic Heights High School from Boca Raton in the regional quarterfinal. Wellington blanked the Lions, 3-0. With that win, Wellington advanced to the Region 3 semifinal against sixth-seeded Treasure Coast High School from Port St. Lucie on Feb. 16.

That game, played at WHS, had extra meaning for Wellington, since it was Treasure Coast that upset the Wolverines, 2-1, in last

year’s Class 7A regional playoffs. The squad was focused on not letting history repeat itself. The Wolverines prevailed against Treasure Coast, 3-0, courtesy of goals from Rebecca Quintero, Hannah Pahl and Alana Riddle.

Quintero and Pahl scored their goals in the first half. Riddle’s goal was notched with roughly 15 minutes left in the game. With that win, Wellington (15-3) advanced to the Class 7A, Region 3 final against Boca Raton High School (16-2-2). That game was played on Wednesday, Feb. 21 in Boca Raton. The result was not available at press time.

Going into the match, Parrett was cautiously optimistic that her team would continue its winning ways.

“We have to be physically and mentally flawless. We have to keep

up our intensity and the momentum we’ve set in our postseason run,” Parrett said.

Wellington has now won seven straight games. During this sevengame winning streak, Wellington goalkeeper Emma Filice and her fellow defenders have produced five shutouts and have only allowed two goals. Wellington’s last loss was on Jan. 11, when Boca Raton visited Wellington and defeated the Wolverines, 2-0. Parrett said that her team has worked to correct what went wrong back in January.

“We have watched film and have worked on correcting the mistakes,” Parrett said. “We made some mental mistakes and didn’t play a full 80 minutes against Boca.”

The winner of the match will advance to the FHSAA’s Class 7A final four. The two state semifinals will be played Thursday, Feb. 29, and the state final will be contested two days later on Saturday, March 2.

In the history of the girls varsity soccer program at WHS, two teams have advanced to an FHSAA state championship game. In 2003, WHS lost to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from Parkland, 2-1, in the state championship game. In that game, Wellington lost 4-3 in penalty kicks. In 2008, Wellington won the FHSAA’s Class 6A state championship final, 2-1, over Oviedo High School. That match was also decided in penalty kicks with WHS winning, 4-3. In other area girls regional

results, Class 2A’s Berean (17-4) lost to the South Florida Heat, 6-1, in their regional semifinal game on Feb. 9. To reach the semifinals, Berean defeated David Posnack Jewish Day School in the quarterfinal, 2-1, on Feb. 6.

In Class 3A, the TKA girls reached the regional finals on Feb. 14, where they lost, 2-0, to Edgewood High School. To reach the final, TKA defeated St. Andrew’s School from Boca Raton, 6-0, on Feb. 6 in the quarterfinal. Then, the big win took place on Feb. 9 in the regional semifinals, when the Lions traveled to Palm Beach Gardens and upset previously undefeated, top-seeded Benjamin School. That game against Benjamin was scoreless after regulation play and remained 0-0 after 20 minutes of extra time. TKA won on penalty kicks, 4-3. TKA finished with a record of 12-5-2. In Class 6A, the girls from Seminole Ridge had a disappoint-

ing finish to the season as the Hawks lost, 2-1, to George Jenkins High School from Lakeland in the regional quarterfinal round, which was played at Seminole Ridge. That game was tied 1-1 after regulation, but George Jenkins scored the go-ahead and game-winning goal in the 20 minutes of extra time to win the game. Seminole Ridge concluded its season with a record of 11-3-2.

In area boys regional results, Berean (12-3-3) lost to Highlands Christian from Pompano Beach, 1-0, in the Class 2A, Region 4 semifinal on Feb. 9 in a game played at Berean. To reach the semifinals, Berean defeated Miami Christian in its quarterfinal on Feb. 6. That game was decided in penalty kicks (4-2).

In Class 7A, the boys from Palm Beach Central High School traveled for a quarterfinal on Feb. 13 and lost, 2-0, to Celebration High

See SOCCER, page 24

Four SRHS Softball Players To Continue Playing Ball In College

team are as focused on the future as they are on the present.

Grace Rawn, Hailey Vassalotti, Maya Moro and Isabella Martinez, along with their teammates, are looking forward to a winning spring softball season. In addition, the softball careers of these four seniors will continue after high school graduation, now that they have accepted offers to play on the collegiate level.

Rawn will play for the Bulls of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Vassalotti will be headed out west to play for the Broncos of

Boise State in Idaho, and Moro and Martinez will continue as teammates for the Montreat College Cavaliers in North Carolina.

Rawn is a four-year starting shortstop for Seminole Ridge. Last season, as a junior, Rawn had seven home runs and scored 25 runs. At USF, she will study communication sciences and disorders. Vassalotti has been at Seminole Ridge since her sophomore year. She is a three-year starter as the team’s catcher. Last spring, Vassalotti had a .400 batting average. At Boise State, she plans to study kinesiology. Moro has been enrolled at Seminole Ridge since the beginning of her junior year. She starts at

either first base or third base, and she is also one of the team’s relief pitchers. Last spring, Moro had 24 RBIs, which was the second highest in the district. At Montreat, she will study biology with a concentration in pre-nursing.

Martinez is a four-year starter at Seminole Ridge. She plays either third base or as a pitcher. Last spring, Martinez had a .500 on-base percentage. At Montreat, she will study exercise science.

According to Seminole Ridge head softball coach Candace Navarro, those four seniors, plus Brooke Bohn, have transformed the softball program at Seminole Ridge into a very competitive program.

“This senior class consisting of Grace Rawn, Hailey Vassalotti, Maya Moro, Isabella Martinez and Brooke Bohn have changed the trajectory of the Seminole Ridge High School softball program,” Navarro said. “They have created a winning mindset among the team as they continue to lead the underclassman in the development of a championship team. We all appreciate these amazing young women, and we are very excited to see where their hard work leads them.”

Seminole Ridge opened its spring season Tuesday, Feb. 20 with a home game against Jupiter High School. Seminole Ridge won, 12-2.

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 21 SPORTS & RECREATION SPORTS & REC, PAGES 21-24 • PEOPLE, PAGE 25 • SCHOOLS, PAGE 26 • BUSINESS, PAGE 27 • COLUMNS, PAGE 28 • CLASSIFIEDS, PAGES 29-30
(L-R) Liz Stockton and Aaron Uter of the Wellington Tennis Center; Junko Goldman, Dave Goldman and Avra Vrahimi of Muttley Crew; and Andrea Rodney, Ashley Miceli and Wendy Stechman from Pure Wellness. PHOTOS COURTESY THE WELLINGTON TENNIS CENTER
seniors on the Seminole Ridge High School girls varsity softball
Town-Crier Staff Report Four
Seminole Ridge softball players (L-R) Grace Rawn, Isabella Martinez, Maya Moro and Hailey Vassalotti. PHOTO BY CANDACE NAVARRO The Royal Palm Beach High School boys soccer team celebrates their regional quarterfinal win. Wellington’s Hannah Pahl (left) and Alana Riddle (right) were among the players scoring goals in the regional semifinal.
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Wellington keeper Emma Filice. PHOTOS BY ASHLEY PARRETT
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Loss To Rival Lake Worth Ends WHS Boys Basketball Season

While Wellington High School’s boys varsity basketball team had yet another season with more than 20 wins, it was an earlier end to the season than is normally the case for the Wolverines. This year, the squad lost in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 7A, Region 2 quarterfinals when they fell, 49-46, to crosscounty rival Lake Worth High School on Feb. 15. Wellington’s final record was 22-6.

That game against Lake Worth was the second time in less than a week, and the third in less than three weeks, that the two teams played one another. Of those games, Lake Worth won two and Wellington prevailed in one. Reviewing the total points scored in those games, Lake Worth outscored Wellington by one point — 163 to 162. Of the 12 quarters played during the three games, Lake Worth won six, Wellington won four and two quarters were tied.

Wellington won the first game, 59-54, on Jan. 26 in Lake Worth. The next game was the Class 7A, District 8 tournament final on Feb. 10, when Lake Worth won, 60-57, in a game played at Royal Palm Beach High School. The memorable part of that game was Wellington’s huge, fourth-quarter

comeback. After three quarters, Wellington trailed Lake Worth by 19, 50-31. A 19-point deficit after three quarters is usually considered insurmountable, but Wellington head coach Matthew Colin and his Wolverines continued to play hard. For Lake Worth head coach Frank Baxley and his team, the fourth quarter of that game probably seemed like an eternity, as the Wolverines kept hustling, running, trapping and rebounding. Colin said the key to his team’s comeback was its press defense.

“We got Lake Worth to turn the ball over a bunch, and that also got us out of having to run our half-court offense. The fourth quarter was mostly transition baskets off the press when we forced turnovers,” Colin said. “It’s something we couldn’t go to too early because of our short bench, having two starters injured, but the guys stepped up and pushed themselves.”

As the time crept dwindling, the Wolverines kept chipping away at the 19-point deficit. Throughout the fourth quarter, Colin made a series of effective substitutions.

Wellington’s Lucas Moore and Rashard Reinhardt kept rotating in to play defense while Elyjah Freeman and Toney Collins, both of whom had four fouls, were returning to play offense.

With 19.2 seconds left in the game, Wellington’s Freeman was standing at the free-throw line with two throws to tie the game. Unfortunately, he missed the first free throw, but made the second, to pull his team within one point, 58-57. After a quick foul by Wellington, Lake Worth’s Jeremy Innocent stood at his free-throw line with two shots to extend his team’s lead to three points. He missed both shots.

Wellington grabbed the rebound, brought the ball up the court, and called a time out with 12.5 seconds left in the game. Trailing by one, Wellington had the ball with the chance to make a go-ahead and potential gamewinning shot, which would have concluded a most-remarkable comeback. After the timeout, the inbound pass was thrown to senior Reggie Reinhardt. After dribbling near the top of the key, he passed the ball to Jeremy Tovar, who was standing near the baseline.

Unfortunately, Tovar was unable to secure possession, and the ball glanced off his right hand out of bounds, with 2.4 seconds left on the clock. Tovar aggressively bounced the ball against the floor and caught it, which caused one of the referees to call Tovar for a technical foul. Lake Worth’s senior point guard, Joseph Rog-

ers, proceeded to make the first technical foul shot, which gave his team a two-point lead, 59-57. Rogers then missed the second free throw, and Innocent grabbed the ensuing rebound. He was immediately fouled by Wellington with 1.8 seconds left.

Innocent missed the first free throw and made the second, which gave Lake Worth a three-point lead with less than two seconds on the game clock. After catching the inbound pass, Reinhardt took one dribble and then took a Hail Mary shot from beyond half-court, which missed the mark as the final buzzer sounded. Lake Worth won, 60-57.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the entire Wellington team, which had a refuse-to-lose attitude in the fourth quarter.

After that game, Lake Worth earned an automatic bid into the Class 7A state playoff series as the No. 4 seed. Because Wellington also had a strong regular season, the Wolverines earned an at-large bid into the state playoffs as the No. 5 seed. So, according to the bracket, the fourth and fifth seeds (Lake Worth and Wellington) met for a third time on Feb. 15, this time at Lake Worth High School.

Not surprisingly, the game was close from beginning to end. Wellington led for the majority

of the contest until Lake Worth’s Hedrens Barthelus made a threepointer with roughly 80 seconds left in the game to put his team ahead for good. With just more than 30 seconds left in the game, Wellington had a chance to take the lead with a basket, but the Wolverines couldn’t convert. Just like the game on Feb. 10, when the final buzzer sounded, Lake Worth had another three-point win, 49-46.

With that win, the Trojans advanced to the regional semifinals, where they met top-seeded Oak Ridge High School from Orlando on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

As for Colin and his squad, they are already making plans for next year when they, most certainly, will have another close game or two or three against their latest rival, Lake Worth.

“The rivalry between Lake Worth and us has been going on for three years now,” Colin said. “Three years ago, we beat them for the district title. They have won the last two. I’ll say the positive for us has been that it has been different teams that we have had a rivalry with — Lake Worth, Forest Hill, John I. Leonard, Jupiter and Dwyer. We have been the consistent team in it.”

TKA And Berean Girls Basketball Teams Reach Regional Finals

At the beginning of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s basketball postseason, six boys and girls varsity teams from schools in the western communi-

ties qualified for the state playoff series.

The four girls teams were from Berean Christian School (Class 2A), the King’s Academy (Class 3A), Seminole Ridge High School (Class 6A) and Palm Beach Central High School (Class 7A). The two boys teams represented TKA (Class 3A) and Wellington High School (Class 7A). Of those six teams, two won their respective district tournaments, which allowed them to host their firstround, regional quarterfinal games. Out of those six teams, two are still in contention for a chance to finish their seasons in Lakeland, the site of the FHSAA’s annual final four for boys and girls basketball in all classifications. Those two squads are the girls basketball teams from TKA (Class 3A) and Berean (Class 2A).

On Feb. 9, the TKA girls defeated Somerset College Prep Academy in the Class 3A, District

8 tournament championship, 6048. That was TKA’s fourth-straight district tournament title. As district champ, TKA was seeded second in Region 2.

In their opening quarterfinal game on Feb. 14, it was a Valentine’s Day to remember, as TKA defeated First Academy from Orlando, 62-48. Junior Jade Jones and senior Sophia Kateris each scored 20 points to lead TKA in scoring. In their next game, on Monday, Feb. 19, TKA hosted the Lakers from Windermere Prep in the regional semifinal, coming away with a 62-55 victory, as Kateris led the way with 24 points. Jones chipped in 15 points, and Brielle George had 11 points.

For the third-straight year, TKA (19-9) advanced to the regional final, this time against host Seffner Christian (24-4), the top seed in Region 2. The game was played Thursday, Feb. 22, and the final score was not available at press

time. If TKA defeats Seffner, the Lions will advance to the Class 3A final four in Lakeland. This year’s two Class 3A state semifinals will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28. The Class 3A state final will be played Friday, March 1.

After defeating Atlantic Christian Academy 46-34 on Feb. 9 to capture the district title for the fourth-straight year, Berean was assigned the No. 2 seed in Region 4. In their quarterfinal on Feb. 15, Berean hosted Atlantic Christian in a re-match of the district final. Berean prevailed again, 45-15. Senior center Ashley Hendricks led her team with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

On Feb. 19, the Bulldogs hosted the Pine School from Stuart in a Region 4 semifinal. Led by Hendricks’ 27 points and 14 points from teammate Yemeli Tavarez, Berean won, 55-45. For the thirdstraight year, Berean (15-4) will travel south to play the Miami


Christian Victors (13-13) in the Class 2A, Region 4 final. In 2022 and 2023, Miami Christian defeated Berean in the Region 4 final. This year’s game was played Thursday, Feb. 22, but the final score was not available at press time. If Berean defeats Miami Chris-

tian, they will advance to the FHSAA’s Class 2A final four in Lakeland, where the first two state semifinals will be held Tuesday, Feb. 27. The Class 2A state championship final is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29. In other area girls regional

See BASKETBALL, page 24

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 23 SPORTS & RECREATION
Wellington’s Tor-el Robinson shoots a free throw during the district final game against Lake Worth High School. PHOTO BY MIKE MAY/TOWN-CRIER The Christian School girls varsity basketball team. PHOTO BY JENNY SCHARTNER The King’s Academy girls celebrate following their regional semifinal win over Windermere. PHOTO BY BRAD PERSON
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Nick Haness & McQueen Dazzle At WEF’s Hunter Spectacular

World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week at the 2024 Winter Equestrian Festival came to a peak on Saturday, Feb. 17 when the country’s best hunter combinations went head-to-head in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. The win went to Nick Haness and McQueen, owned by Walkenbach Equestrian LLC.

Andy Christiansen designed the two-round class that allowed riders to show off their horses over a classic first round and then a handy track. The panel one judges consisted of Mark Jungherr and Mary Eufemia, panel two was Chris Wynne and Shane George,

Basketball Regional Results

continued from page 23

results, in Class 6A, Seminole Ridge High School lost their District 8 championship game to Atlantic High School, 58-52, on Feb. 9. Despite that loss, the Hawks earned the eighth seed in the Class 6A state playoff series.

On Feb. 14, Seminole Ridge traveled to Pompano Beach to play top-seeded Blanche Ely in their opening quarterfinal. The Hawks were outplayed, falling 71-25. Seminole Ridge’s final record was 13-8.

On Feb. 9, the girls from Palm Beach Central High School defeated Forest Hill in their Class


Season Ends For RPBHS

continued from page 21 School. Palm Beach Central ended the season 7-2-4.

Also in Class 7A, the Royal Palm Beach High School Wildcats had a sensational season, which ended in a tough 3-0 loss to Boca Raton High School in its regional semifinal clash on Feb. 16. To reach the regional semifinals for the first time in program history, Royal Palm Beach won its quarterfinal, 1-0, against Centennial High School from Port St. Lucie on Feb. 13. Late in the second half, Sebastian Montes scored that game’s only goal.

and panel three held Mary Lisa Leffler and Wendy Peralta. Entries for the Saturday Night Lights class qualified by winning the champion title in their respective divisions at the 3’6” height or above. From a 33-horse field, 12 returned for the handy round. Haness and McQueen, a 10-year-old Cornet Obolensky Dutch Warmblood gelding, posted a first round score just shy of the 90 mark, but returned for the handy and impressed the judges to earn a 93. Their tworound average of 91.81 clinched the victory gallop. The WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular is the highlight of WCHR Week at

7A, District 8 championship game, 70-51. That victory earned the Broncos the seventh seed in Class 7A, Region 2. On Feb. 14, Palm Beach Central played its opening quarterfinal at Palm Beach Gardens High School, falling 69-51. Palm Beach Central’s final record was 11-12.

In boys Class 3A, the TKA Lions lost their District 8 championship game to Cardinal Newman, 60-47, on Feb. 10. Despite that loss, the Lions earned the seventh seed in the Class 3A state playoff series.

On Feb. 15, TKA traveled to Lakeland to play the second-seeded Santa Fe Catholic Hawks in their opening Region 2 quarterfinal. The Hawks outscored TKA, 76-47. TKA’s final record was 21-8.

Wellington International each year and is a title that eluded Haness until this week.

“To win this class for me is very emotional and very exciting. I had a lot of support around the country watching the live stream. My mom was watching, which brought me to tears after the class,” said Haness, who collected five champion titles during WEF Week 6. “McQueen has been a horse the last year that has been a strong partnership with me, and I’m thrilled to add this to his list of amazing accomplishments.”

Haness continues to split his winter season between California and Florida, and this week, McQueen did the same. After flying to Florida from Southern California last week, McQueen took reserve champion in the High Performance Conformation before winning the spectacular.

“Honestly, the two of us are kind of jet lagged together,” Haness laughed.

The jetlag didn’t show as Haness and McQueen rode to the top of the class. For Haness, the atmosphere in the International Arena played a big part. “As a rider, to feel this vibe; it’s buzzing, the turnout was great, it makes you feel like your dreams are coming true. You watch the movies, you watch the Olympics and you see those stands so full. For the hunter sport, it’s so important that we have that same experience.”

Riding a horse that is normally a mount of Haness, Kate Conover piloted Queen Celeste to second

Sebastian Montes controls the ball for Royal Palm Beach. Royal Palm Beach concluded its season with a 19-3-1 record. Head coach Mal Hasan was proud of the season-long effort of his squad. “It

was a great season with a terrific bunch of guys who worked so hard and had such good attitudes,” Hasan said.

Sergeant James “Rocky” Hunt

with a two-round average of 90.78 for owner Glade Run Farm LLC. Conover took over the rider duties for the feature class on Queen Celeste after Haness piloted the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare to a tricolor in the 3’6” Performance Division during the week.

“I’m Queen Celeste’s backup quarterback,” Conover joked. “I’ve shown her a few other times, and her owners were gracious enough to let me ride her tonight. It was a huge opportunity to reunite with Queen because she’s a dream come true for me to get the chance to ride. She has such a big heart. She was tired in this last round, but as soon as I put my leg on her first jump, she was on it. She fights to make every jump spectacular, and you can depend on her.”

Conover was pre-qualified for the evening’s class, which took some pressure off. “This is the first time I’ve come here where I didn’t have to qualify,” she said. “It gave me a different kind of pressure during the week. There’s no other atmosphere than riding in this ring with this many people for us as hunter riders.”

Rounding out the podium, John French guided 2023 National Horse of the Year Paradigm to third. The 12-year-old Carrico gelding owned by Meredith Lipke finished with a two-round average of 89.75.

“He keeps doing more and more and impressing all the time,” French said. “He came along so quick right out of the jumper ring after coming over from Europe. He’s not a horse that needs to get

in the ring all the time; you can pull him out for the big class and he’s super brave.”

Paradigm was the horse that helped French recuperate from a broken leg that led to a hip replacement almost two years ago. “He was the only horse I wanted to ride because of how comfortable his canter is,” French said. “He’s methodical, so even if you’re kind of nervous, you just sit down and he relaxes you.”

Horse fans poured in at Wellington International on Saturday evening, delivering one of the biggest crowds WCHR Week has recently seen.

“I’ve never seen so many people here before ever,” French said. “It’s a super special class under the lights in this big ring, and it’s so nice when we get a chance to experience that.”

Learn more about the 2024 Win-

Wellington Adds Futsal And Pickleball To Open Play Offerings At Village Park

Wellington Parks and Recreation is excited to announce the addition of two new open play sports at the Village Park Athletics Complex (11700 Pierson Road).

Open Play Futsal — Experience the thrilling debut of futsal. Futsal is a FIFA-recognized soccer variant, typically played on smaller hardcourts. Open play futsal will be located in the uncovered hockey rink at Village Park, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Courts will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 5 to 9 p.m. Players must bring their own

soccer balls, wear closed-toed shoes, and check in at the Village Park gymnasium front desk before participating. A valid ID will be required, and children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent/ guardian. Non-residents are required to pay a $5 entry fee. Open Play Pickleball — Indoor pickleball will be coming to the Village Park gymnasium, beginning on Monday, March 4. Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines the elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, into a lively, competitive game for all ages and abilities. Pickleball will

be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to noon. Players can participate on a firstcome, first-served basis, and are required to bring their own paddles and balls, and must check in at the Village Park gymnasium front desk before participating. A valid ID will be required, and children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Non-residents are required to pay a $5 entry fee. For additional details visit www. or contact the Village Park front desk at (561) 791-4005.

SPORTS & RECREATION Page 24 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier
Nick Haness and McQueen, winners of the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. PHOTO BY SPORTFOT
Kate Conover rides Queen Celeste. PHOTO BY
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Wood, Paper, Glass Art Studio Hosts Successful Valentine’s Day Event

Wood Paper Glass, a make-andtake art studio nestled in the heart of the original Wellington Mall, celebrated Valentine’s Day with an unforgettable dinner and craft event on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Attendees were treated to an evening of creativity and romance as they immersed themselves in various crafting activities, ranging from bracelet-making to mosaic art and traditional painting. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation as guests

eagerly embarked on their crafting journeys.

The highlight of the evening was the all-vegan dinner, expertly crafted by Rahein Jones from the Vegan Restaurants exclusively for the event. Guests raved about the delicious fare, with plates being emptied in record time. Kris Barnett and Terri White, the owners of Wood Paper Glass, observed the joyous atmosphere as couples bonded over shared creativity and delectable cuisine.


The art table was adorned with enchanting Valentine’s Day decorations, setting the stage for an evening of love and connection. Surrounded by a sea of reds, pinks and hearts, couples were enveloped in a whimsical ambiance that enhanced their crafting experience.

Laughter filled the air as partners worked together, strengthening their bonds and creating lasting memories.

Reflecting back on the amaz-

ing evening, Hector, one of the event’s attendees, expressed his gratitude.

“Thank you so much for last night; we all had such a great time!” said Hector, and his sentiments echoed by others who left the event with hearts full of love and memories to cherish.

To learn more about Wood Paper Glass Art Studio, visit www. or connect with them on social media @

Vita Nova’s Mallets & Martinis On March 2 To Benefit Homeless Youth

Vita Nova will host its seventh annual Mallets & Martinis event on Saturday, March 2 at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach. This annual affair is the nonprofit’s signature fundraising event to raise money to support the homeless youth that Vita Nova serves in Palm Beach County. The money goes directly toward Vita Nova’s Housing Program and Independent Living Services.

Beginning at 6 p.m., guests will experience an exciting evening under the palms featuring croquet, martinis and live music. Guests, who are encouraged to wear “Chic Croquet Whites,” will also have the opportunity after dinner to bid on unique live auction items and dance the night away.

Serving more than 640 youth annually in Palm Beach County,

Vita Nova is a safe bridge to independence for former foster care, LGBTQ and other homeless youth through supportive housing, education, employment and life skills training. Working to eliminate homelessness for youth aged 18 to 25 years old in Palm Beach County, Vita Nova acts as an advocate and support system for homeless young adults. The honorary chair for the event is Katrina Long-Robinson, a former councilwoman in Westlake and an affordable housing supporter. Long-Robinson has more than 15 years of education and six years of public service experience in Palm Beach County. She is an award-winning community leader with a passion for children, women and underserved communities. She uses intentional collabora-

tion and targeted messages to implement high-value programs and meaningful experiences for community stakeholders.

“I am so thankful for Vita Nova for collaborating and working tirelessly to help find solutions for our young adults in Palm Beach County,” Long-Robinson said. “They continue creating a home for the homeless youth, and this event is just one way to support their work.”

Sponsors to date include Florida Power & Light, Dex Imaging, Sunshine Health, PBCHRC, Holyfield & Thomas and Palm Beach Illustrated Tickets to Mallets & Martinis are $250 each. To learn more, become a sponsor and/or purchase tickets, visit mallets-martinis, or call (561) 472-


There were a variety of fun craft events for couples to explore.

PALMS WEST PEOPLE The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 25
Honorary Chair Katrina Long-Robinson
Recently, Maxwell Nelson was recognized among past post commanders receiving plaques of recognition from Wellington’s American Legion Post 390 for having served two consecutive terms, 2014-16. Presenting Maxwell (center) with the plaque is Adjutant Krissy Robbs and Commander John Shwiner.
of the attendees show off the craft bracelets they created.
food was prepared
Rahein Jones from the Vegan Restaurants.
take a break from crafting
enjoy dinner.
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Education Foundation Honors Award Winners

The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County and the School District of Palm Beach County partnered for the third annual Celebrate the Great awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Boynton Beach Arts & Cultural Center. Many philanthropic and business leaders, along with educators and students, gathered to hear the announcement of who took home the awards for the 2024 Principal, Assistant Principal, Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year.

The winners were: Scott McNichols of Forest Hill Elementary School as Principal of the Year; Jamie Evans of Glade View Elementary School as Assistant Principal of the Year; Katie Judge of Palm Beach Public School as Teacher of the Year; and Doris Cabrera-Jerez of Wellington Elementary School as School Dis-

trict-Related Employee of the Year.

“When you’re having a bad day, I encourage you to stand next to a teacher and watch them inspire the next generation with the love of knowledge and learning and be inspired by their heroism,” said James Gavrilos, president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. “What teachers do every day in Palm Beach County is greatness, and we can’t celebrate them enough. Nominees, teachers, principals, assistant principals, school district employees, school board members and Superintendent Michael J. Burke and his staff, you are all great, and tonight we celebrate you.”

The winners will represent the school district as they go on to compete at the state level as part of the Florida Department of Education recognition programs.

American Heritage Schools Celebrates Seniors For Early College Acceptances

American Heritage Schools, the top-ranked PK3 through grade 12 college preparatory school in Florida, is proud to announce that many of the students in its 2024 graduating class have secured early acceptances to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities.

At American Heritage, preparing for college begins as early as elementary school to ensure a well-rounded foundation that propels students toward their academic aspirations. By senior year, many students have identified their dream schools. Many of

these students choose to apply to their first-choice college through the early decision process, demonstrating their strong commitment to a particular institution.

Many in this year’s graduating class chose to apply to elite colleges and universities, including MIT, Stanford University, Duke, Cornell University, Brown and the University of Chicago.

American Heritage students have experienced some of the highest acceptance rates to elite universities nationwide, solidifying its position as a premier institution that nurtures academic excellence.

Anna Shullman, a senior from American Heritage Schools’ Palm Beach campus, who will be attending Georgetown University in the fall, said, “American Heritage has definitely prepared me for a school like Georgetown and beyond college because of all of the amazing resources and opportunities that they’ve provided us here.”

For an impressive 14 consecutive years, American Heritage has held the coveted No. 1 spot for the highest number of National Merit Scholars in Florida. American Heritage is also the No. 1 private school in Florida for nationally

recognized scholars in math competition, science fair, mock trial, moot court, and speech and debate.

“We are proud to see our seniors receive early acceptances to the universities and colleges of their dreams and see their hard work pay off,” said Dr. Doug Laurie, president of American Heritage Schools. “The impressive roster of acceptances is a testament to each of the student’s academic and artistic talent, dedication, philanthropic endeavors and personal attributes. We cannot wait to see


Exceptional achievements unfolded at the 2024 Palm Beach Regional Science and Engineering Fair this year as a small group of hardworking seventh-grade students from Emerald Cove Middle School showcased their scientific expertise and won multiple awards. These innovative projects presented by these young minds not only demonstrated a deep understanding of scientific concepts, but also earned them well-deserved recognition for their hard work. The school is proud of these young scientists for their outstanding accomplishments, underscoring the school’s commitment to fostering a passion for science for this next generation of innovative thinkers. Shown above are (L-R) Aayush Patel, Zachary Greene, Ethan Adams, Ashton Kuznik, Shafi Mohamed and James Prince.

been around for 100 years, and we will continue to be the best choice.” The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County was founded in 1984 and serves as a nexDunks, Drives, and Dives at Life.Church Wellington We’ll have a ton of FREE FUN! Bring your family and friends and stop by! Visit our free car show with over 35+ exotic cars! Don’t miss this all day event from 9:00am till 3:00pm

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SCHOOL NEWS Page 26 February 23 - March 7, 2024 www gotowncrier com The Town-Crier
Palm Beach Campus Early Acceptance Students — (Front row) Anna Shullman, Elias Toren, Caroline Jones, Isidoro Lapidot, Trina Britton, Ramez Ortiz, Maite Collier Marinho and Charloe Xie; and (back row) Jiaxin Lin, Bailey Ellsworth, Jacob Flaks, Joseph Solomon, Rayan Rahmani, Sara Meran and Ryan Vanscoy. The Binks Forest Elementary School Art Club, under the supervision of art teacher Nova Vazquez, won first place for the South Florida Fair school art project in the Elementary School category. The art department will receive a $500 award. The theme of the fair this year was “Dive Into The Fun.” Three Binks Forest fifth-grade students also received ribbons for their artwork: Fynn Macken (second place, PBCATA Award), Jennifer O’Brien (third place, Superintendent Award) and Addison Leal (third place, PBCATA Award). Award winners Katie Judge, Doris Cabrera-Jerez, Jamie Evans and Scott McNichols.
“We have an amazing team in Palm Beach County,” Burke said. “Our motto is ‘Your Best Choice,’ which is true because of everyone on our team, teachers, principals and all of the support staff. As a testament to this greatness, the School District of Palm Beach County increased 1,000 students this year. The School District has us between the county’s public schools, the private sector and the community. Learn more at www. FUN FOR FAMILY!WHOLETHE CELEBRATING MARCH MADNESS SUNDAY,,,MARCH 10TH

Lisbet Health Center At Wellington Bay Provides Gift Of Stress-Free Living

If you could give yourself one gift, what would it be? For Judy Tart and Ronny Garnett, it has been to reduce the stresses of daily living, which has made it possible for them to enjoy activities and make new friends.

The ladies live in assisted living at Lisbet Health Center at Wellington Bay. The luxury rental senior living community provides independent living, assisted living and memory care.

Assisted living at Lisbet Health Center allows residents to receive the extra help they need to maintain their most independent lifestyle. Look for either woman, and you’ll likely find them gathering with friends at the community for appetizers and a chat, playing cards or other games, enjoying a concert or performance, or any of

the host of other fun activities the community provides on-site for residents. You won’t find them worrying about the cost of maintaining their homes, wondering how to take care of minor tasks such as housekeeping, or trying to plan how they can travel to visit family or friends. For both residents, the decision to move to the community has been a gift to themselves.

“It has been wonderful,” Garnett said. “I have everything I could desire right here at my fingertips.”

Choosing Lisbet Health Center has enabled Tart and Garnett to live without the cares and worries they’d had previously while living on their own in single-family homes. And they are both close to their families, who visit often.

“My family comes to visit any time they want,” said Tart, who has

lived at Lisbet Assisted Living for six months.

Tart has gotten used to no longer having to take care of the tasks of daily living. Even changing a light bulb or washing clothes is made easy at the community.

“They do the laundry for me once a week here,” Tart said. “I don’t have to worry about it. They also have a lovely dining room. It’s very pleasant.”

She also no longer has any concerns about how she’ll get to doctor’s appointments.

“They have available transportation,” she explained. “You make an appointment, and you will be picked up.”

Both women agree that moving to Lisbet Health Center has opened a whole new world of friendship for them, and building new relationships isn’t difficult because of

the variety of activities provided.

Tart meets with friends daily. “At 3:15 p.m., we have baking activities in the lobby, baking goods like cookies, coconut shrimp, or guava and cream cheese pastries,” she said.

“We play cards and all kinds of games, and we have sing-alongs,” Garnett added. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Garnett said that another gift to herself has been the one-bedroom apartment that she chose.

“It’s large, but not too large. It suits me well,” she said.

Tart said the warm, family atmosphere that Lisbet Health Center nurtures is another gift she is enjoying.

“You will make friends, and they will be like your family,” she said.

Garnett agrees that making new friends, even at the age of 86, has

Margaritaville At Sea Receives Awards From ‘USA Today’

largest names in the industry.

“It’s a genuine honor to have our cruise line voted the best among such a stellar field of nominees,” said Christopher Ivy, CEO of Margaritaville at Sea. “This recognition from a respected group of travel experts and real-life cruisers illustrates how much fun travelers of all ages have with Margaritaville at Sea, and how much they

enjoy our island-vibe itineraries.” Margaritaville at Sea brings Margaritaville’s iconic hospitality to the open ocean for a one-of-akind offshore vacation experience. The cruise line’s maiden vessel, the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise, offers easy-breezy getaways from the Port of Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island, while the new flagship vessel, the Margaritaville at Sea Islander, will set sail in June out of Port Tampa Bay on four- and five-night adventures to Key West and Mexico. Guests aboard Margaritaville at Sea can relax and unwind in comfort, featuring a range of fully redesigned suites, balconies, and ocean view and interior staterooms dressed in nautical details and colors inspired by the sea, sand and sky. The ships also feature

numerous inclusive and specialty dining restaurants centered around chef-crafted, island-inspired cuisine, uniquely themed bars and lounges that provide nonstop live entertainment paired with premium cocktails, kids’ clubs and arcades, the action-packed Margar-

itaville Casino, the St. Somewhere Spa & Salon, multiple pools, hot tubs, and plenty of quiet spaces to soak up the Caribbean sun.

To learn more about Margaritaville at Sea, call (800) 814-7100 or visit www.margaritavilleatsea. com.

Wellington’s Andy Jones Joins Triton Property Management

Triton Property Management, an industry leader in community association management, is proud to announce the addition of award-winning accountant Andy Jones to the team. Jones will bring his unique skillset to Triton clients through expert budgeting, planning and financial services. He joins the property management company helmed by longtime local industry experts Paul Licata and Mark Wade, to provide property management, accounting, onsite maintenance

and janitorial services to homeowners and condo associations in South Florida.

The Wellington resident graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in accounting. Prior to joining Triton, he worked with both Licata and Wade to help grow Seacrest Services from $6 million to $35 million annually. The trio was key in identifying areas where associations could save money and maximize every dollar. Most recently, Jones served as comptroller of

Everglades Equipment, where he helped the company double its growth and add more than 200 employees.

“We are very excited to have Andy on board with our team. Andy’s experience and financial expertise is second to none, and our clients will have the benefit of an expert overseeing their financial well-being, ensuring proper cost savings measures. He is incredibly skilled at maximizing and accounting for every dollar for clients, and, as a longtime member of the property management community,

he knows what associations expect, and he can deliver on these expectations,” Licata said. “Our focus will always be hands-on leadership. We continue to stay ahead of the game to better serve our communities, are efficient in managing needs, and continue to tailor our services to meet each individual community’s expectations.”

To learn more about Triton Property Management, or for a consultation for your community, call (561) 250-6565 or visit www.

been one of the joys of living at the Lisbet Health Center.

She makes a point of wearing a smile and welcoming newcomers to the community.

“You make friends by smiling,” she said. “Everyone wants a new friend, no matter their stage of life.”

Wellington Bay is a rental retire-

ment community featuring luxury apartments on a palm-tree-shaded campus in Wellington. Wellington Bay is owned and operated by Liberty Senior Living LLC, a division of Liberty Healthcare Management.

To learn more about Wellington Bay, visit www.wellingtonbayfl. com.

Lotis Wellington Project Taking Shape Off SR 7

Progress is underway at Lotis Wellington, a landmark community that promises to set a new standard for mixed-use living within the Village of Wellington and Palm Beach County.

Commuters along State Road 7 just north of Wellington Regional Medical Center have already witnessed the first signs of change with the installation of a new traffic signal, turn lanes and directional signage.

Site development at Lotis Wellington is in full swing, with essential infrastructure for the Square at Lotis Wellington — the project’s inaugural phase — taking form. Vertical construction of the buildings and plazas within that part of Lotis Wellington is just weeks away. The Square at Lotis Wellington will emerge as a hub for restaurants, shops, versatile professional and medical office spaces, and a three-level parking garage, all of which are slated to welcome businesses and patrons by late 2024.

Envisioned by Boca Raton’s Lotis Group, this signature development extends beyond commerce. Lotis Wellington will incorporate more than 540 luxury residences, including apartments, townhomes and single-family homes, within two distinct com-

munities adjacent to the Square.

Two medical office buildings, a state-of-the-art daycare/early learning center, a vibrant mini-golf entertainment complex, and an array of parks and recreation areas will be featured. The crown jewel of Lotis Wellington is the scenic one-mile lakefront greenway trail and public park spaces, designed for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors.

“I am proud to welcome this exciting new development into our community. Lotis Wellington offers new live, work and play options that will undoubtedly enhance Wellington. The open space and greenway will be a wonderful addition to our parks and offer all residents a place to relax and recreate,” Mayor Anne Gerwig said. Lotis Wellington is not just a community; developers believe it is the future of upscale living, working, dining, shopping and entertainment within Palm Beach County. Stay tuned as the Lotis Group shapes this new Wellington destination.

The Lotis Group is a premier real estate development firm based in Boca Raton, specializing in creating communities that enhance lifestyles and bring people together. Learn more at www.lotisgroup. com.

The Town-Crier www gotowncrier com February 23 - March 7, 2024 Page 27 BUSINESS NEWS
at Sea has been voted the No. 1 “Best New Cruise Itinerary for 2024” and the No.
“Best Cruise Line for Families” in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
expert panel
judges and voted upon by readers, the fast-growing cruise line finished in the top spots among an elite group of nominees, including some of the
Wellington Bay residents Judy Tart and Ronny Garnett.
Nominated by an
Family AutoFest FamilyAutoFest WELLINGTON FAMILY AUTOFEST CHARITY CAR SHOW AN D FAMILY OUTING JOIN US FOR A CHILL OF A LIFETIME 8:30 A.M. To Noon SUNDAY MORNING BY THE LAKE WELLINGTON TOWN CENTER 12100 FOREST HILL BLVD. COOL CARS • GREAT PEOPLE • MUSIC • FOOD PLAYGROUNDS • LAKESIDE • PET FRIENDLY Independently Judged Contest — $20 Show Vehicle $10 Spectators — Free Separate Parking MARCH 10 Call for an appointment to meet at our office or your home to talk about your plans for your future “living the good life!” We look forward to meeting you! Is It Time? Are you considering a move to a Senior Living Community? We specialize in working with Seniors every step of the way to prepare and market your home to assure the best results. We are 30-year Wellington Residents and you can rely on our knowledge, integrity, experience, and professional, personalized service to make your move easy and worry-free. Here’s some of what we do: • Inspect property condition • Schedule repairs and paint as needed • Downsize: Keep/Sell or Donate • Create Curb Appeal • Market and Sell your Home using Extensive Media Advertising • Support every step of the way 24/7 Courtyard Shops at Wellington 13920 Wellington Trace #200 Wellington, FL 33414 Randy & Leslie Pfeiffer Sales Associates 561-632-3676
at Sea Paradise is based at the Port of Palm Beach.

Taking Care Of The Grandkids Leads To A Flurry Of Questions

I’m watching the Missouri grandkids over the weekend and, because I was in Florida so long, I’m completely out of practice.

Not only are the kids each six inches taller than I remember, but they are also smarter. I can’t keep up. I mean, I was hanging by a thread before, and now I think I’m losing my grip. OK, I am losing my grip.

“Grandma! I have to audition for the school play on Monday! Can you download the music and the lyrics and send them to Alexa in the bedroom?”

“Grandma! The virtual barn I’m building on my Switch has two staircases and the cows can’t get to the second floor!

Do you know how to install an elevator? And have I earned enough apple star bits to pay for it?”

“Grandma! I left my Spanish book at school, but mom ordered me a new one on Amazon. Has it arrived in your mailbox yet?”

I answer: “No, no, I don’t know, and I’ll check.”

“Grandma! Do you have three AAA, one D and four C batteries? Do you have a tiny screwdriver? Can you help me get this plastic trapdoor removed? Do you know where my Nerf bullets are?”

“Grandma! I’m going outside. Where are my mittens with the iPad-friendly fingertips? And my earbuds?”

“Grandma! Do you have Netflix in both bedrooms or just this one? Did papa talk to you about our new phone family plan? He says you need a new phone.” I answer: “Yes, yes, yes and no. In the closet. On the counter. No, I don’t think so, and please tell me he isn’t going to

replace the phone I just learned to use with another one.”

It’s like being in a corn popper — kids and questions swirling around in my brain when all I want to do is try to complete a sentence.

I know it’s time to eat when the second round of questions starts.

“Can I have a waffle? An egg? Two pieces of toast and an orange?”

“Not me, Grandma! I want three pancakes and an apple.”

“You didn’t put butter on the waffle, did you? Is the egg scrambled? Is this whole wheat toast?”

“I don’t want syrup but, do you have whipped cream? And do you have sprin-

Matthew Vaughn’s New Film ‘Argylle’ Is

Matthew Vaughn’s new film Argylle was a surprise for me. I had not planned to review it or even see it because of many negative reviews. But it has been the highest-grossing film in the country for several weeks, and I was curious. Let me be clear. This is not a great film. It is wildly derivative and hardly memorable. But it is also nonstop fun; a nice way to spend a couple of hours. It has plenty of action but it also a comedy that is generally funny.

Bestselling crime fiction author Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) has written a series of books about a smooth, sexy secret agent (played in her fantasies by Henry Cavill) who out-Bonds James Bonds. Her overly intrusive mom (Catherine O’Hara) browbeats her over the ending of an upcoming book, so she gets on a train with her trusty companion cat Alfie to visit. She’s taking the train because she’s scared of flying. Actually, she’s scared of just about everything. A


bearded, obnoxious guy sits across from her and tells her everyone else on the train wants to kill her. And it seems they do. The guy (Sam Rockwell) in a series of stylized battles wipes out dozens of agents and takes Elly by grabbing her and parachuting off the train while on a suspension bridge. It seems Elly is writing spy fiction that turns into reality, and an evil organization headed by a nasty villain (Bryan Cranston) wants to get its hands on her. This leads to a chase through London, France and Arabia before things get settled. But

things are not all that simple. People are never quite who they seem, they change sides, they say and do outrageous things. Vaughn states things using all sorts of colors, music and even dancing to ham up the story. Just when you think you know what’s happening, there is another twist. The twists, however, provide the fun. The fighting choreography was far more effective when I saw The Beekeeper. Howard is very good in the lead. Her timing is impeccable. Also, it is a pleasure to have in the lead a woman who is not only likable but intelligent and also feminine. She is not girlish; she is past that, but is able to handle romance, fighting and comedy equally well. And, happily, the script by Jason Fuchs allows her to really create a complex character. Rockwell is equally good. To make the plot work, the relationship between the two has to be complex. At different times she fears him, hates him, likes him, and

kles? And is the apple green or red?”

I answer: “Yes, OK, fine, sure. Pancakes are on. Yes on the apple. No, yes and yes. Yes, yes and green.”

Before I can sit down, they pop up like tarts from a toaster and are off. Fifteen minutes later, just as I finish drying the last dish, the boy pokes his head around the corner and says, “I’m hungry. Could I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” I nod but I have to work quickly. I promised that this afternoon I would take them to swim lessons, a movie and out for ice cream. Then I have to get them home in time for their scout meeting.

(Deep breath.) I’ve heard that a lot of people my age take a nap in the afternoon.

Amusing, But Not Deep

often doesn’t trust or understand him. And Rockwell, a really fine actor, plays him well. To add to the confusion, Elly sometimes sees Cavill’s Argylle doing the things that Rockwell’s Aiden actually is doing. At times it is amusing.

The supporting cast is very good. Cranston and O’Hara steal most of the scenes they are in, not all that difficult when they seem to be playing different parts at different times. Samuel L. Jackson in a far too small role is excellent as the man determined to take down the bad guys.

And Dua Lipa is excellent in another small part as a spy taking on Argylle as part of Elly’s stories.

The story is flashy and fun, but some of the bits are wildly derivative, which pulls us away from the story. As in the Kingsman movies, everything is over the top. And when everything seems to be screamed, it is difficult to appreciate any quiet moments. And some of the elements

seem wasted. A series of scenes in London could have been done as easily anywhere. The farmhouse in France could have been in California.

Another problem is that there are so many fighting scenes that after a while they start to blend. And the main plot is the usual: missing information that only the lead and no one else can locate. And, of course, the lead somehow finds what’s important even though all the experts have failed.

Still the film has enough fun and good points, to please most people. No thinking involved. Lots of action. A talented, charming cast. Enough twists and turns in the plot to give serial whiplash. And, of course, nothing in it can be taken seriously.

But we have not had a movie that was essentially just for fun for a long time. So if you simply want to lean back and scarf down some popcorn while simply enjoying a movie, this one just might be for you.

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