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Volume 2, Issue 04


A Newspaper by Children for Children

Eric Hersh, Mayor of Weston

A public servant dedicated to protecting the integrity of his city by Brian Jaffe, Age 15 Weston, FL My city of Weston is one of the best cities I have ever been to. The main reason for this is our mayor, Mr. Eric Hersh. I had the honor of interviewing him for the Circle Gazette last November. Even though he has another job besides being the Mayor of Weston, he took the time out of his busy day to allow me to ask him some questions. There are about 62,000 people living in Weston now. For starters, I wanted to know, why did Mr. Hersh want to become Mayor of Weston and he satisfied my curiosity by saying: “I had no intention of being mayor, but there were many things happening in the community, in the early stages of the development, that I did not agree with. So I decided I needed to run for mayor to try to change what was happening and effect the change that I thought was necessary. That is why I ran and that’s why I have done the job for as long as I have. I have

no other political aspirations. I have been mayor for ten years and have a total of seventeen years in public service.” I wanted to know if Mr. Hersh had any other family members involved in politics and he said “Not one. They are wondering why I am doing it. There is no one in my family who has even come close to approaching the political world.” I asked, “Do you have a driver or bodyguard and what does the city pay you for being mayor?” and Mayor Hersh responded: “No, I drive myself around most of the time.” Mr. Hersh makes $13,000 dollars a year for being mayor and has no secretary or bodyguard; he doesn’t even have aides to help him. So what parts of the job keep Mr. Hersh motivated to be Mayor? He says: “There is very little that I do not like. It’s a good job, primarily because it is Weston. I enjoy interacting with people and I love dealing with students. I go to all the schools every year and I enjoy teaching what government is. When I grew up, kids never

had any interaction with any politicians. We didn’t know who ran the city, and I feel it is important for the students to have a connection. We also have developed a lot of programs, including Weston University which brings kids in and teaches them about all the career opportunities that are in government. That is really the most enjoyable part of the job.” And what would be what Mr. Hersh doesn’t like about the job? He shares: “I don’t really like the mundane meetings and dealing with other politicians. It is hard when you come across issues where legally you have to do something and you know people will not agree. We recently had an issue on one of the Bonaventure Golf Courses where some people wanted to develop homes. I think it is a terrible idea, as do all the people who live on that golf course. But, legally, we have no choice but to say ‘okay’ to this project. And I know this will make people unhappy, but as a Mayor I need to protect the integrity of the city as a whole and do

Reporter Brian Jaffe interviews Mayor of Weston, Mr. Eric Hersh. things in a legal fashion. So some things are very difficult. You want to represent the community and do what they want you to do, but at the same time you can’t always do that. I cannot vote for something that will jeopardize us and cause a lawsuit and may cause us to lose a lot of money and therefore affect everybody. That would

be irresponsible. There are many difficult decisions. You are not going to make everybody happy in this job. I like to tell people that anyone in politics, who has no enemies, is a person doing absolutely nothing. If you are going to do something, there are going to be

such as cholera, which cause thousands of deaths annually. It is amazing that something that you and I take for granted every day, is the most important element for human life, a not readily available in other places. Recently, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, research organization, released a report that millions of Americans in at least 31 U.S. cities could be drinking tap water contaminated with the harmful chemical hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, was first recognized by the public when the movie “Erin Brockovich” was produced in 1996. It portrayed the story of Hinkley, a small city in California, whose residents fell ill and sick due to this chemical in the tap water. Tallahassee and Miami were included in this report. Tal-

lahassee contained levels of chromium that were the 6th worst in the country. Relatively fortunate for us South Floridians, Miami was 29th on the list and is only considered to be “borderline.” After learning all of this news, I couldn’t help but ask how safe our tap water was and what we could do to be more safe. I wanted to learn more on the subject, so I contacted our local Coral Springs water management and booked an interview with its chief water plant operator, Mr. Leon Liberus. He kindly accepted my request and graciously allowed me to interview him a few weeks ago. I had a wonderful experience and learned a great deal of information. Read this interview on page 5. We must make sure to preserve our quality of water for future generations.

Second Annual ESSENTIAL Living Green Fair WATER at Mizner Park by Ismail Ercan, Age 13 Coral Springs, FL

by Aaron Cross, Age 13 Boca Raton, FL On November 6 and 7, there was a special event at Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida. The Living Green Fair was started to teach people about saving the environment and to introduce them to products that will make that task easier. Many businesses came to set up stalls along the sides of the road. Of the companies who came, most had one thing in common — they were environmentally friendly! Educational companies also came to teach people about the environment and the importance of preserving it. The Wyland Living Green Fair also had fun exhibits and entertainment for your whole ‘family tree.’ The main sponsor of this year’s event, Robert Wyland

(generally known only as ‘Wyland’), also had some exhibits set up including a mobile water conservation museum and

a water journey maze. Wyland is famous for being a scuba diver, sea life artist, and founder of the Wyland Foundation. At the Living Green Fair, he painted a 50 foot mural each day, featuring different sea creatures. All the kids were invited to paint on the bottom of the painting. If they needed help, the famous artist would paint with them. Disney Channel stars Anna Margaret, Ryan Newman, and Jasmine Sagginario have realized how important it is to protect the Earth. They were there performing live, signing autographs, and telling kids that it is cool to be green. I went to this event with my press pass and interviewed a few of the companies. One of the companies I talked to has a business making cards, coasters, bookmarks, wine bottle tags and other paper products.

The name of the company is Sprouts!, and the unique thing

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Water is nature’s most important gift to mankind and to the rest of Earth’s inhabitants. As one of the most vital components of any human’s survival, one can only live a few days without water. Our body, which is 70% water, uses it in many ways. First of all, water serves as a natural air conditioning system in our body by keeping the temperature stable. It also helps maintain proper muscle tone, supplies oxygen and nutrients to the cells, rids the body of wastes, and helps the digestion and absorption of food! Also, many fruits and vegetables that we consume are mostly made of water! Corn, apples, tomatoes, and pineapples all are made of more than 80% water! So we consume water even when we don’t know it! Humans are not the only organisms on Earth that rely on water. All sorts of vegetation and plants cannot live without it either. Without water on Earth, there is no life, period. Although water covers nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface, ninety-seven percent of that water is salt water. The remaining 3 percent is fresh water, 2 percent of which we cannot access because the water is frozen in glaciers. That leaves one percent of fresh water scattered around the Earth that we can use. Unfortunately, many humans around the world, especially in third world countries such as Haiti, do not have access to clean, drinkable water. This can lead to many diseases,


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Map of significant levels of chromium 6 in American tap water, as reported on 12/20/2010 by Environmental Working Group (EWG)






word from the editor: The role of writing in

the preservation of our culture and traditions

Think about it. Everything we write and publish gets recorded, practically forever. Newspapers, books and pamphlets, to mention a few, are archived in public libraries, museums and other institutions so that future generations can look at the thoughts, events, experiences and customs of previous ones. Most printed media now include online versions, so we not only have physical access to the archives, but also to online copies of what has been printed. Now when we write something seemingly simple such as “I received a letter in the mailbox this morning,” or “we went to the movies in my dad’s car,” or “I sent an email to the mayor’s office” we are, perhaps without realizing it, including information about our culture. We are telling our future generations that today we use email and letters, cars and movie theaters as part of our daily activities. We know today that movies and cars were not very common a hundred years ago and email was not used publicly just twenty five years ago (some grandparents

today still don’t like using email or texting), so we can safely presume that the way we do things today will be different in the future. There are, however, certain things that have remained fairly constant over the generations. Holiday celebrations, those special recipes that we prepare certain times of the year, Thanksgiving Day, the candle in the window, all of them traditions that we have learned from our parents and our community, and that we will pass along to our children. And what better way to pass them along than writing about them? Telling the world of today how we see these traditions, what do we do in special occasions, what costumes we wear during the holidays, how do we cook that special recipe, and where did we go last week is a part of making history.  As we tell the world of today, we are also telling the world of tomorrow how we went about keeping our traditions and what our culture was like during this time. Pedro Gómez, Associate Editor

A Brand New Year for Writers by Bilal Amodu, Age 13 Deerfield Beach, FL This is my way to thank The Circle Gazette and its management for bringing out the best in kids like us and helping us to discover our inclination to writing.  Unlocking our hearts and introducing us into the realm of thinking, dreaming and expressions, seems easy and possible with our newspaper – The Circle Gazette.  For kids who have a passion for

writing, and are still looking for how and where to express themselves, The Circle Gazette is where you are always welcome. Prior to last year, when I was not much into writing, I usually resolved to work on something different. But on discovering the existence of this publication, my fingers are aching to write.   Now in 2011, I am enthusiastic to further create awareness and continue to educate our readers. Writing can be very exciting and

it will add more meaning when we share it with kids like us and like-minded adults. Talking about sharing, there is a lot more to share than just your toys and games – share your thoughts and feelings. Share it all and write it all down till you run out of ideas and your pen runs dry.  Begin your new year in a new style! While you write – reach for new heights! Wishing our valuable readers a very happy new year!

Top 10 Tips Recommendations for New Year’s Resolutions by Shadya Amodu, Age 10 Deerfield Beach, FL

A brand new year is now here and I am so excited. It’s going to be so much fun.  But what is the New Year all about?  Is it New Year’s Eve and the fireworks, or the cake and treats, or what?  My friends, New Year is about a lot of good plans, choices and strategies.  Here are my recommendations:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Read a lot Think a lot Show kindness & Respect Stay away from drugs Get off the couch and stay fit 6. Eat Healthy 7. Let your mind loose and write a lot 8. Make achievable goals 9. Spent time judiciously 10. Limit your time spent with electronic gadgets

All of these are something you should do, but you can make your own goals too. Remember to always follow your dreams and be the best you can be. Your life depends on what you want and what you do for yourself so, like Hannah Montana says, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.”

Community News by Bilal Amodu, Age 13 Deerfield Beach, FL

The Enrichment Circle

A Non-Profit Organization for the Advancement of Education

Deerfield Beach Middle School will be hosting IB Open House on Wednesday January 12, 2011 from 7-9 p.m. at their school. Dr. Regina Del Pino, the coordinator of the IB Magnet program will be looking forward to meeting the “Best and Brightest” students of Broward County.  What makes this program unique?

Unlike every other magnet program in the county, the IB Middle Year Program is a rigorous academic program focusing on ALL SUBJECT AREAS rather than one area of interest or ability. The entrance requirements are the most stringent in Broward County. Only the top ten percent of students are eligible for admission. At the core of the program are the Areas of Interaction: Approaches to Learning, Community Service, Environment, Health and Social Education, and Homo Faber.

Each of these themes is interwoven into the curriculum through the eight required subjects. There is a strong emphasis on foreign language and advanced course work. Teachers must be trained by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Deerfield Beach Middle School is one of fifty-seven schools in the world and one of only four in the state of Florida authorized to deliver the middle years International Baccalaureate Program.




Second Annual Living Green Fair at Mizner Park by Aaron Cross, Age 13

Reporter Aaron Cross meets Sharon Quercioli from Sprouts, a seed paper making company. about the paper is that it has flower seeds embedded in it! The concept is that when you are done with the product you do not throw it away. Instead you plant it in soil and grow flowers. All of the seed paper has wildflower seeds in it, except the ones that say they grow catnip. The products are all handmade, and environmentally friendly. The products are made with recycled paper and the ink is made from soy or vegetable. Sprouts! makes cards for all occasions. One interesting card set was one with children’s artwork on the cards. Every year, an organization called Arti Gras has a contest for all the schools in Palm Beach County. The schools send them copies of the kids’ artwork and choose the best one from each age group. Sprouts! chooses six of the winners and makes cards out of the artwork. The owner is a nice woman named Sharon Quercioli. She started her seed paper business in 2004. One can see she is proud of her business. She likes the seed paper idea a lot. Even her business card is made out of it. In February 2009, her company won the ‘Small Business of the Year’ award. The business has gotten so large that Sharon can no longer make the paper herself. She now gives someone else the seeds and other materials and they make the paper for her in the quantities necessary. Sharon started out her business by making paper which she then embedded flower petals into. When she was making her paper one day she wondered whether she could put seeds in it and get it to grow. She tried it, and it was a success! Sharon was not sure if people would like this, so she showed her early seed paper to some other companies she worked with. “And they went crazy!” She says. She decided to switch her business over to seed paper, and grew it from that. “It was all hand-done, hand-made, and it still is,” Sharon claims. If you would like to order some seed paper items or have any other questions, visit the web site at

Another company I spoke to sells countertops for your kitchen or bathroom. The business is called Ecosimplista, and the products they sell are American made. The concrete countertops are customizable. Extents of customization include thickness, colors, patterns, and etched designs. Items can be embedded into the concrete, such as shells, glass, rocks, and metals! They also sell countertops that are not customizable. They have standard thicknesses and patterns, but the cool thing about them is that they are made out of compressed recycled paper. Different colored papers are layered in different patterns forming very sturdy countertops. There are many different styles and patterns of the paper countertops to choose from. Countertops are not the only thing they sell. Floors are also a big part of the company. They have carpet, cork, recycled rubber, tile, bamboo and coconut palm wood flooring. Ecosimplista also sells environmentally friendly wall paint. Ecosimplista is coming out with green cleaners and detergents in the near future. They currently have a store on Oakland Park Blvd where they sell green products. In the future, there will be a refill station for their cleaning soaps in the store so you can have your bottles refilled instead of buying new ones that are going to get thrown away. Even if you recycle your bottles it is always better to reuse than to recycle. Also, a lot of the cost of buying cleaners and detergents is in the packaging, so it will be half the cost to refill a container than to buy new ones. They currently sell other detergents and cleaners. Ecosimplista was founded by a man named Derek Shambora. He started in 2008 with an eco-friendly paint store. When his sister, Dana, was offered the opportunity to join the company, she did not have to be asked twice before saying yes. Now she runs their store. Before deciding whether or not to sell a product, the Shamboras test it themselves. The product must meet the following standards in order for them to sell it. It is healthier and safer for people and the environment than similar, conventional products. It is reasonably priced for them and their customers. They would use it themselves in their home or workplace. Only after they are satisfied with the product will they sell it. I spoke to Dana at the Living Green Fair. She talked about some of the products they sell. “The concrete countertops are all custom. Even if you don’t have something to add to it you can customize the colors and thickness,” she said. She was also telling me about the refill station they are opening. “We have the bottles, we have the formula, but we have not actually filled the bottles

yet. When we do, our store will have a refill station so you can refill your old containers,” she went on. If you want to know more about Ecosimplista, visit the web site at Those are a couple of the companies I talked to. Be sure to keep an eye out for other green companies in your everyday life. One thing I noticed at the fair was that


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all the people that were running or working at the stalls were friendly and happy to talk with me. Even though I was a 13 year old boy that claimed to be writing for a newspaper that they had no idea really existed, they still looked at me as a reporter and were happy to take their time for me. I think that is really great, and I am happy for these people. I hope you will give you’re your business, and enjoy the products.


Thousands affected by extraordinary rainfall in Venezuela by Andy Hernández, Age 11 Caracas, Venezuela The people of Venezuela are in a state of emergency. Poor people are suffering due to the unstopping rain that started at the end of November 2010. Schools have been closed, people have lost their homes, and some have even been killed under their destroyed houses, being buried under the dirt and debris with their families. According to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, 118,000 people have lost their houses due to the heavy rains. By now thirty four people have died, schools have been closed in nine states over Venezuela since early December and until January. It is also said that it has rained three times more than normal, and that this catastrophe is the worst over the last ten years, when the Vargas flood occurred.

The country is doing numerous donations and providing help to the affected families. People have been translated to a refuge, some of them schools, where they

“More than 118,000 people have lost their homes” have been cared for, fed and entertained. They will continue there until this catastrophe is over.

“Poorly built houses at the mercy of the weather”



by Carolyn Kean, Age 9 Lauderhill, FL On Sunday, November 14th I saw the Broadway Musical Hairspray for the second time. I went with family and friends to the Paladin Playhouse, the theater at South Plantation High School in Plantation (SPHS), Florida. The show was directed by Mr. Jason Zembuch. This unique show was presented in voice and in American Sign Language (ASL). Hairspray is about a girl named Tracy Turnblad who desperately wants her dance skills to be showcased on the Corny Collins Show. She wants what all the other teenagers in 1960’s Baltimore want… to dance on T.V. The only difference is that Tracy Turnblad doesn’t look like the other kids on the Corny Collins Show because she and her hair are enormous. Tracy has to compete against Amber Von Tussle, the pretty, perfect, snob of the show whose mother happens to be the producer. Even though Tracy has big dreams, all she hears from other people is negativity. She spends a lot of time in detention where

THE CIRCLE GAZETTE she meets Seaweed Stubbs, a black boy who shows her some pretty cool moves. Tracy is so impressed with his moves that she wants Seaweed to dance on the Corny Collins Show. The problem is that Seaweed can only dance on Negro Day and that only comes around once a month. Tracy comes up with a brilliant plan to integrate television. During this part of the show, the actors invaded the theater including the aisles and the back of the house with wonderful protest signs that read “Black is Beautiful” and “T.V. is Black and White”. Television really was black and white in the 1960’s. Imagine that! In the end, Tracy gets what she wants and she gets on the show. Television is integrated. Her best friend, a White girl, falls in love with Seaweed, Amber and her mother, are kicked off the show and the whole cast is on the stage dancing, signing and signing to “You Can’t Stop the Beat” which happens to be my favorite choreography by Mr. Ron Hutchins. In this performance of the show, not only was each character unique and perfectly performed,

but the music was awesome too. There was a live band and one of its members is a SPHS student. Another cool fact about this production is that Abigail Cline who played Amber Von Tussle glossed (translated the script from English to ASL) and taught the ASL script to the large cast. The Paladin Playhouse is unique and special because, like Mr. Zembuch says, he only steers the boat. The students do everything else, including building the set. Hairspray might have contained scenes that were more appropriate for audience members over the age of 12 but The Paladin Playhouse offers a Summer Theater Camp for campers ages 7-13. They always put on familyfriendly shows. I have participated in their summer theater camp for two years. The first year, I played a baby elephant and a porcupine in The Jungle Book and last summer, I played a duckling in Honk, Jr. If you want additional information about The Paladin Playhouse or any of its upcoming shows, or are interested in supporting them, visit their website:

Theatre World Snow White

by Daniela Gómez, Age 10 Margate, FL Hello readers! Happy New Year! This month, I will review a play from not only an audience point of view, but from the point

the Seven Dwarfs. This performance, directed by Sean Cutler and Patti Meyers, is not the Disney version. Mr. Cutler wrote the script and lyrics for this musical performance. Rick Kaydas wrote the music. This new version has changed the names of the dwarfs:

Daniela and Emma Gómez, a sapphire and a yellow bird in Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater’s Snow White. of view of an actress in the play! I played a sapphire in the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre’s production of Snow White at the Broward County Main Library. Most likely, a lot of you have seen Disney’s Snow White and

Sarge (Aleyna Morales), Specs (Kiley Grant), Chatty (Hannah Ellowitz), Burpy, (Jack Santoro), Grouchy (Michelle Grace), and Klutzy (Richard Gambardella). Lauren Scheuller starred as Snow White, Josh Venkataraman as the

Prince, Rachel Kartiganer as the Evil Queen, Brittany Payne as the Hag and Chad Coolidge as the Mirror. The show began in the Queen’s chamber where the Mirror told her that her stepdaughter, Snow White, was the fairest in the land. The set showed that the Queen kept her chamber dimly lit and glum. Her costume was long and beautiful in a sinister way. She was pretty, but had an evil look in her eye. Snow White, on the contrary, was dressed simply and spent a lot of time in the garden of the palace with her animal friends. The set was wonderfully colorful and creative. The jewel mine scene design was delightful with sparkles and all kinds of shades and colors. The costumes were magnificent (with a capital ‘M’). Our costume designer, Karen Hancock, always brings great surprises to us all. I was very proud to dance the Jewel Mine song with my ‘sapphire blue’ dress. There was one song toward the end that, to be done correctly, required that the actors focus on nothing but the task at hand. This song was called ‘the Trio.’ The Hag, Snow White and the Prince sang together, telling us of their own problems. The Queen had, thinking Snow White was dead and pretending to be worried for her, told the Prince that she had run away to the woods without “explanation or escort” and asked him to go and search for Snow White and never go home until he had found her; or until he grew old and died. The mirror cast a spell on him so that the Prince would do as the Queen told him. The Prince, searching for Snow White, sang: “Where is she now? The girl who stole my heart away…” Then it was Snow White’s turn to sing, she


GREAT CATCHES! Happy New Year! by Bilal Amodu, Age 13 Deerfield Beach, FL Hello, my loyal readers. New Year means resolutions, new habits and new books. I will start with a new series for the New Year that you will just love. All of the books I am reviewing have something new, whether it is a new guardian, a new world or a new taste for freedom. Happy New Reading! Among the Hidden Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix Age level: 3rd grade and up Rating:

For his whole life, Luke Garner had to hide from the outside world for committing a serous crime. What crime could a mere twelve-year-old boy commit that could spell the end for him and his family. The crime he committed was being born third. The Bad Beginning Author: Lemony Snicket Age level:2nd grade and up. Rating:

sang from an open window in the dwarf’s cottage: “What happens now? So much has changed, my simple life was rearranged. It’s not so bad, it could be worse, I could be dead or lost or cursed…” Of course, next sings the Hag: “I must be fairest, fairest in the land, no one can be fairer, that I will not stand. One bite of the apple, Snow White will be dead…” Then came the really impressing part of the Trio: All three of them sing their own parts at the same time and it was amazing! The Jewel Mine scene was one of my favorites. I loved my part, even if I only appeared once, not counting the finale. The Jewel Mine started with the main curtain closed and the dwarfs in front of it. The dwarfs sang a little then the curtain opened to reveal the gems and the mine! The choreography was excellent and fun to do. I had a wonderful time. Another of my favorite scenes was A Lovely Magnificent Day. I was not in it but my sister, Emma,

This is a story that will really make you appreciate your home and parents. In this novel, three children are orphaned when a deadly fire consumes their home and their parents. The miserable threesome is sent to live with a greedy, despicable and rather sordid man. That man is after the only thing left behind by their parents, an enormous fortune which the man will do anything to get. Especially if that “anything” involves murdering three orphaned roadblocks. First light Author: Rebecca Stead Age level: 4th grade Rating:

In this story two characters discover worlds they never dreamed of. One of the characters, Peter, the son of a climate scientist, is on an adventure in Greenland, hoping to see something interesting for once in his life. Thea, has lived in a sealed, secret and strict society where the customs are stern. One can only imagine the outcome of these two worlds combining.

was. It was the second scene in the performance. The Queen’s chamber is changed to the garden where Snow White sings with her animal friends. My sister, Emma, played a yellow bird. As always, a great play by the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater (FLCT). For more information on the plays coming up by this local theater company go to The next FLCT performance is Glee at the Galleria Mall, January 21, 23 and February 4 and 5 2011. Next is Aida, March 2011, after that is My Son Pinnochio, May 2011. The summer show is Hello Dolly! in July, 2011. I hope you have enjoyed the performance through my review and felt as if I have dropped you into our opening night performance, and now brought you back. I hope you enjoyed the review and come with me as the lights go out!





Local Homeschoolers Compete in LEGO Robotics Competition by Sara and Aaron Cross, Ages 10 and 13 Boca Raton, FL On September 3, 2010, The FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) released a new challenge for this year’s competition on November 20. Every year, teams compete at different locations all over the country. At each preliminary competition, thirteen awards are given to select teams of 3 to 10 kids of ages 9 to 14. The theme this year is Biomedical Engineering. In order to complete the robot game obstacle course, teams must use LEGO Mindstorm motors and sensors and any other LEGO brand pieces to build a robot that can pass missions on the challenge course. Team members should work together to come up with a robot design that works. Although this competition is called the FIRST LEGO League, the LEGO robot is only fifteen percent of what you are judged on. The team also must learn about the year’s topic and find a problem that it can address. The team then has to present the problem and solution to judges at the competition in any form, such as

a skit, a film, a stop motion movie, or a speech. Even if a team completes all the challenges on the board, and do a lot of research to make a good presentation, that team might not get one award if they don’t show teamwork. Even if another team has received an award, everyone should be a good sport, show gracious professionalism, and congratulate them on their effort. The more participants show respect to their team members and other teams, the greater chance they have of making it to regional, county, state, and even national competitions. If you want to start a team, join an existing team, or find out more about the FIRST LEGO League, visit Team Fusion is a local team of homeschooled kids. The team is made up of five boys ages 12-14: Colin Packard, Atticus Palmer, Donnavan Woller, Nate Brumet, and Aaron Cross. The boys all reside in either Palm Beach or Broward County, Florida. The team is coached by Mrs. Michelle Packard , Colin’s mother. While preparing for competition, the

meeting place was provided by Axiom Engineering, Inc in the city of Coral Springs. Team Fusion’s research idea for the presentation was a needle-free blood analysis. The boys envisioned a sub-lingual device that uses monolithically integrated photonic circuits to analyze blood. A lot of the technology already exists to make this idea real. It would be exciting for the team if this idea does come to life. Team Fusion first had to order and build the challenge course before design of the robot could start. The challenges were all based on this year’s theme, and included missions like bone casting and heart patching. Team Fusion designed a forklift robot with different attachments for different challenges. If you want to know more about the challenge course, watch the FLL mission’s video at, and search for ‘FLL Body Forward mission’s video’. Though I (Sara) am not a member of Team Fusion, like my brother, I sat in and watched many of the meetings. I think the boys did very well at showing teamwork and cooperation. When someone made a mistake in the

WATER MANAGEMENT OPERATION IN CORAL SPRINGS Interviewing Chief Water Plant Operator by Ismail Ercan, Age 13 Coral Springs, FL Mr. Leon Liberus, met with me a few weeks ago and offered some of his time to answer a few questions. Where does the water used in Coral Springs come from? “The water comes from the Biscayne aquifer. It

is an underground channel of water and is fed by Lake Okeechobee. We drill about 150 feet down into the Earth, pump the water to the surface, and we use it.” How is our water treated? “Here in South Florida, our water comes from groundwater, which in this case, is the Biscayne aquifer. However other cities such as Pittsburg or Chicago are on the shores of lakes or rivers, so their water comes from a surface water source. After the water is pumped in, we add chemicals,

Mayor Hersh Interview by Brian Jaffe, Age 15 people who are going to be unhappy with you. It’s just the nature of being in public office. You have to have enough confidence in yourself and your ability to reason and understand what is best for the community as a whole, and you have to do your research and understand the issues so you ultimately make the right decisions.” On this topic, I wanted to know about some of those controversial decisions Mayor Hersh has faced in the course of his years in office. Mayor Hersh commented: “The building of timeshares in Town Center. The community was adamantly opposed to allowing them to be built, but in reality the town center would not have survived this long without them. The business that comes in is supporting the merchants. The people who really objected before are now saying the timeshares are nice. They bring in good property taxes, need very few services, don’t impact the schools, and the tourists spend money in the community. We did our research and made a tough decision.” With current budget cuts, I wondered if fire and police departments would be affected and Mayor Hersh said: “No, I have been quoted many times by saying that during difficult times, if you act like a distressed community, you will become a distressed community. If we start cutting back on fire, police, road improvements, parks and even landscaping and recreation, then we will become like every other city in distress. We will become distressed if property values deteriorate. People will not want to move in, demand for homes will go down, prices will go down, and then we will have fewer taxes coming in; so it will create a domino effect. We have done extensive financial planning work. We are also fortunate that when times were really good we saved a lot of money for a rainy day, and now that it’s raining we are using some of that money. We have always been very cautious with the budget. We have put away an excess of $70 million dollars in reserves for hurricanes or any other emergency.” This led me to ask about Weston’s plan in case of a strong hurricane or disaster. Mr. Hersh was very explicit: “We have a very extensive emergency management plan. Weston has a financial reserve account equivalent to, what we think is, the worst scenario for two storms in one season. We have about $45 million put away in an account that we cannot touch until needed. We have many different contracts for clean-up and administration. We

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also learned from Hurricane Wilma the need to build our own gas station for our public service vehicles. Also, we have contracts with suppliers. We have worked with private businesses, like Publix and local gas stations, and they now have emergency generators, to serve our people and the many people from other cities without power that come to Weston.” “Additionally,” Mr. Hersh continued, “we now have contracted services to assist with FEMA claims; and we now have generators stationed at each intersection [to power traffic lights]. During Wilma there was a heavy demand on BSO to place officers at intersections with no power. These generator stations eliminate the demand so officers can focus on more critical areas. Also we now have satellite phones in case cell phone service goes down. We also work closely with Homeland Security on any other security issues.” Weston is a city well run and with many resources, so I wanted to know why we don’t have our own police department, and why do we use the services of Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). Mr. Hersh said that by using the services of the Broward Sheriff’s Office we have more resources available for Weston to use. He adds that with our own police department we wouldn’t have the SWAT or a Hazmat team that BSO provides for us. BSO also allows for advancement opportunities for officers. In a smaller police department, these opportunities would be limited. Finally I asked Mr. Hersh, “If kids want to run for public office, when they grow up, what is your advice to them?” and Mayor Hersh responded: “Kids should get involved with student council and learn to be effective leaders. They should get involved in public speaking; maybe become a member of the debate team. It is necessary to feel comfortable speaking in front of people. Look at topics that interest you and spend your time on these areas. The best politician is the politician that wants to do a public service and care more about the issues than just have it as his job. You really have to want to do something for the community if you want to be a public official.” I had an amazing time interviewing Mayor Hersh and learning what it takes to be a mayor. He answered all my questions with great integrity and is an inspirational person. He is dedicated to his job as mayor of Weston and truly makes my city a better place. I recommend any students who are interested in their city or who want to get involved in politics to give their mayor a call and see what they can learn from him or her.

such as aluminum sulfate (alum), polymers, and chlorine, into the water to improve taste, remove odor, and most importantly, kill the bacteria. The water, and these chemicals, are then rapidly mixed together. Then comes the coagulation and flocculation step. Here the alum and the other chemicals from the chemical-addition step cling to particles of another material that has been put in water, like a magnet. (This is called coagulation) These particles stick together and form larger particles called floc. From here, the water and the floc flow into a sedimentation basin. Then the floc settles to the bottom and is removed from the water. After this, the water is filtered to remove any other particles that are still in the water. Finally, some chlorine or other disinfecting chemical is added to kill any remaining germs. From here, the water is stored and gets pumped to our customers.” How often is the quality of water of Coral Springs checked and who checks it? “Quality is checked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and this procedure is done by our operators.” Are there any specific days for water clean up? “Every day. There is no such thing as a water clean-up day. It is a continuous process to produce quality water and it can’t stop. We constantly monitor our water quality and if something is wrong, we fix it immediately.” How often are the pipes that carry the water checked? “Well, the pipes are underground, so you can’t really check them. Instead, we check the quality of the water and if the water quality is good, then the pipes are fine. If a pipe is broken the water pressure is low, and we have to set up to find and repair it.” Are there any other water managements in the area? Are there specific plants for each city? “Yes, in most cities, there are specific plants for each area. For Coral Springs, there are 4 water management plants. There are 3 privately owned plants, and there is one city owned plant which is where we are.” Does this city only supply water to Coral Springs? “Yes, this plant is just for Coral Springs.” Are there any specific water restrictions in Coral Springs? “There are just the restrictions that Broward County follows. A good example would be the days and times for watering your lawn.” So, is this facility privately owned or does the municipality own it? “The municipality owns this site.” During the dry season, do you ever have any issues with water shortage? “We have no issues. None.” During the rainy season, when there is too much water, are there any storage issues? “For us, no. The South Florida Water Management District would let us know if we needed to cut back on the amount of water that we are putting out. We are just pulling water out of the ground, and we are serving the customers. We take what we need unless someone tells us that we need to do something different.” Can you explain the process of what happens when our water goes down the drain? “When your water goes down the drain, it goes to the waste water system. But to explain more, it goes to a pumping station or a sewer station, and from there it gets pumped to a waste water facility, for treatment.” Is some of the water that we get in our house, recycled waste water? “No. First of all you cannot mix treated wastewater with freshwater. There would have to be separate lines going to your house, one with freshwater, and one with treated wastewater. I don’t think any utility has the infrastructure to pump treated water and freshwater to your house.” What happens with treated wastewater? “I don’t really know because we do not have a

programming or presentation, or built a robot design that did not work, no one got angry or frustrated. They realized everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and tried another idea. I think the most important thing is that they had fun, they learned how to work on a deadline, and they learned how to be a team. I (Aaron) am a member of Team Fusion. My team entered the competition on November 20. I could not be there due to religious reasons, but we came up with a way for me to participate in the presentation without being there. Although the team did not win any awards we still had fun, which is the most important thing about the competition. I am now good friends with the members of my team and I hope to stay in touch with them in the upcoming years. Over the course of many meetings, I developed programming skills, and learned how to work with other people and how to be on a team. I had a great time and I recommend entering FLL to anyone that enjoys LEGO toys or technology.

wastewater facility. I don’t want to speak for other utilities that have a waste water facility. They would have to answer your question.” Can tap water be used in dialysis machines? (In hospitals) “The water has to be filtered. However, the dialysis machines do have filters so yes, you can use tap water.” Is there a huge difference between tap water and bottled water? “Well, I can’t really comment on that. But I can tell you this; it is a matter of preference and your taste. A lot of bottled water is tap water, just processed further.” Question 19: How many gallons of water do your water tanks produce per day? We have two tanks that produce approximately 5,000,000 gallons of water per day and two tanks of water that produce about 4,000,000 gallons of water per day. What has been the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome? “Every day is a challenge. You have to make sure that the quality of water is satisfactory, every second of the day. And as for anything drastic, nothing.” During a natural disaster, like a hurricane, are there any specific procedures that you do in advance to prepare? “First we check the structures of our building and try and protect them as much as possible. Also, our metabolism is to keep running until we have to stop because, even though it’s a hurricane, our customers are at home, and they still need water. So even when we are in emergency mode, we still HAVE to operate. During a hurricane, we prepare. We have three external booster sites. We have one or two individuals stay at one of our booster sites, and just in case we lose communication, we can contact them with radio and ask them if they can continue operating. The ultimate goal is to stay running and we monitor everything from inside our site. We don’t want our water pressure in the system to drop below 20 PSI (pound per square inch) because when that happens, we have to tell our customers to bottle their water. No utility ever

Reporter Ismail Ercan meets Coral Springs Chief Water Plant Operator, Mr. Leon Liberus. wants to tell their customers to do that. So, as long as we can continue running, and operating, we will do that. Whether it’s by generator, or regular power, anything really, we don’t shut down.” How do citizens like the water system? “I know that it is about a 90% satisfaction rate.” Is there anything that you would like to tell our readers? “Keep drinking our water!” Wow! We certainly have a great water management system here in Coral Springs! Most people take their

water system for granted; I certainly did. Now I have learned to appreciate our water services, no matter how big or small. To conclude, since water is one of the most important elements that we need to survive and it is essential for any type of life on Earth, we must make sure to preserve our quality of water for future generations. To dispose of hazardous liquids visit: RECYCLING/Pages/HouseholdHazardous.aspx





Kids & Politics Tax Slash

by Joshua Thompson, Age 12 Parkland, FL

The Four Seasons by Sara I. Cross, Age 10 Boca Raton, FL

The sea, splashing, splashing, splashing upon the sea shore, Such a sweet, strange smell in my gasp. The taste of sour salt stuck to my tongue. The sea splashes as I swim through it. It is cold to the touch as I swim through it. The sea, splashing, splashing, splashing upon the sea shore.

The first season is winter, the snow gently falls, water turns to ice, The trees lose leaves and wither. The second season is spring, seeds break the surface, the babies are born, birds wake up and stretch their wings. The third season is summer, the sun shines brightly, the rain hits the ground, the shade we’ll all come under. The final season is fall, leaves float to the ground, squirrels hide their nuts, birds slowly quiet their call.

Slave by Daniela Gómez, Age 10 Margate, FL

Staring at the carpet of crashing wave The sun burning in my eyes Not looking forward to being a slave The ‘free’ country, America! Just lies! I’d had just a happy life in Africa But now all of that is gone I don’t want to live in America But I’ll spend my life cleaning someone’s lawn.   I am chained to the deck of a rocking ship. I’ve been seasick since I was forced on I am tired of strong winds as they try to nip And the waves that want to soak me each dawn   The sea smells so inviting and salty too And the ship feels rough and cruel Thinking of my country, yes I wish I’d be In beautiful, comfortable Africa   Not looking forward to being a slave Not at all, in America

The Four Seasons

A Time to Change by Daniela Gómez, Age 10 Margate, FL

A Time to Change The time to go In seasons that go from sea to snow Might wonder where it all will go? Ever the mountains they will glow The sea’s not blue Oh! It is brighter! Change is coming, it is here! Here to stay, Oh! Dear! A dog is yellow Now lion’s mellow Great changes will come Enter change, then go.


by Bilal Amodu, Age 13 Deerfield Beach, FL It was the year 2001, When the economy was thriving The deficit was at an all time low and pleasing And everyone was surviving!   Taxes posed no pugnacious problem For those with alacrity to pay them It was a small sacrifice For an economy that was so nice.   Then came an unpromising President Along with an intimidating and tragic air crash. That gradually changed our great economy Into just a scurrilous handful of ash.   To provide solace and comfort For those with hurts and aches He created an oversized tax cut This happened to be one of his biggest mistakes.   In a brash and belligerent manner He presented his plan to Congress And the plethora of his Republicans Just had to say yes!    For nine long years these tax cuts prolonged Causing more damage day by day With a billion dollar war waging on They were a laceration to the nation in a very grim way.   The rich were gaining power Holding more disdain for the poor All aspirant job seekers Never got what they worked hard for   The rich abused their tax privileges Having party after party Leaving the poor with no advantages Costing the tax cuts more support   After the 2010 election shellacking The President looked for compromise Extended them for the Republicans Becoming the man the Democrats now despise.   Will these tax cuts ever cease to be? Or help the deprived in a tangible way We will just have to wait and see, Because I have no more to say!

“Happenings Last Holiday Season”

The Nutcracker The Heart of Christmas Show by Sofia Serrano, Age 4 North Lauderdale, FL I went to see The Nutcracker ballet [at Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale as a part of the Broward Smart Stage Series] today [December 17, 2010]. I’ve seen this ballet a lot of times, and I always love it! My favorite part is when the Nutcracker becomes bigger and bigger and turns into a humongous Nutcracker man to save Clara from the mice. He fights the Mouse King and wins! Then the Nutcracker and Clara dance and the whole audience cheers. Another of my favorite parts is when the Nutcracker takes Clara to a party in the “Land of Sweets” where all the guests dance in very pretty costumes. I especially love the Sugar Plum Fairy who always has a beautiful tutu and gets to dance with the

prince. I have been going to ballet class since I was 2 and I hope I can be Clara someday in The Nutcracker!

by Alizdair Sebastien Ray, Age 7 Davie, FL I went to the Heart of Christmas Show in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I’ve been going to Christmas Shows since I was six

weeks old. This is our first time to the Heart of Christmas Show, we used to go to another one. We saw them sing and dance. It was fun to see the actors on stage. It is a time that I love because I am with my family. Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

Santa Claus Comes to Town in December by Alizdair Sebastien Ray, Age 7 Davie, FL

“The Nutcracker…fights the Mouse King and wins!” Soft pastels on paper.

I love the Christmas holidays because when I wake up I see my gifts under the tree and I open them up with my mom and dad. I love to see that Santa ate my cookies and soy milk. I write my letter to Santa in November because I like to give it to him early. My dad and I put up the tree together. My mom and I put up

the stockings together. Santa is real. He is nice and has a white beard. He gave a candy cane after I told him what I wanted. Santa’s workshop at Bass Pro Shop is fun. You get to play games. There were a lot of kids in line to see Santa, but I was first. I hope that all kids get what they want. I love Christmas and being with my family. It is Jesus’ birthday and we can’t forget.

by Carolyn Kean, Age 9 Coral Springs, FL

Hanukkah, Opening presents, Loving Jesus, Igniting the Kwanzaa kinara, Dolls galore, Abundant food, Yay! The holidays are here!



“Thunderstorm” the Grey Fairy by Daniela Gómez, Age 10 Margate, FL

Name: Thunderstorm Age: 1 month Color: Grey Hobby: Riding storm clouds Least Favorite Thing to Do: To be suspected Favorite Bird: Mockingbird Favorite Insect: Housefly Animal Friend: Nightstorm (Mockingbird) Favorite Season: Winter Home: Lightning struck tree in Pixie Place, a fairy town Favorite Accessory: Her lightning wand case. Hi everyone! I am Thunderstorm, I am one month old, yes I am a baby, but only literally because fairies (along with nymphs and nixies) are the eternal maidens of the forest and natural places in the human world. Those places are called FairyLands and they can even be in a nature center, buried deep beneath the sight of the human eye. When a fairy is born, she is born already grown but knows as much as a human baby does (that gets rather frustrating). Ok, a little, tiny bit more. Fairies don’t have parents that are fairies. Nature gives birth to all of us, for example: I popped out of a storm. Oh! Sorry! I got a bit carried away. Grey is the color of prophecies so sometimes things I didn’t even know come out of me. I HATE when everyfairy stares at me. But oh well! Back to the story. This morning was a beautiful blue sky and a few grey clouds! Yay! I was in the mood to go storm cloud-riding so I hopped out of bed and pulled out my clothes and walked to my treasure chest (no it doesn’t have real treasure) and pulled out my lightning wand tucked inside its beautiful case with lightning carved on it. I strapped the case to my belt next to my Pixie Dust Pouch. I tapped each of my tall wings and electric light coursed through me. I stretched my wings and then I flew down the stairs to eat breakfast. After breakfast, I flew out of my house and up I shot to the sky. My companion, Nightstorm, the mockingbird, met me on a storm cloud and I waved my wand and the cloud jerked itself into a total frenzy. “Whoo hoooooo” I called out, and lightning flew out my wand to the world below and back to me. A voice yelled through the storm, “Hi!” I looked around, and found a blue spot of sky and a broken-winged dragonfly flying in it. A fairy was riding the dragonfly. Blue hair was blowing in her face; she waved, “Hello Thunderstorm!” I waved back and flew towards the blue. “Hey Jay!” I called, “How are you?” Jay is much older than me, she is almost 103 years old but she still acts, and looks, like she’s 12. She told me that she was going to audition for her favorite play: Birds n’ Bugs. It was based on a book by a White Fairy named Cloud Skyrocket about how humans and fairies needed to work together to save the earth. The main characters are a hu-

“Thunderstorm” the Grey Fairy man child named Johanna and the Blue Fairy, Ocean, who had a dragonfly and a Blue jay for pets. These are Jay’s favorite animals! There were other main characters but these two were the MAIN, MAIN ones. “I want to audition!” I jumped off my cloud and it turned from a storm cloud to an ordinary white fluff. “Sure!” said Jay, “It’s tomorrow morning, I’ll help you memorize a monologue, and you will need a song, since this is a musical.” Next morning, I stood with Nightstorm at my door, waiting for Jay. Minutes later it was my turn to walk onstage. I felt scared… A few days later, Jay burst into my house waving the cast list in her hand and showed me that she had been cast as Ocean. I scanned the page and saw my name as Lightning, the Grey Fairy who was Johanna’s friend. Nightstorm was cast as Johanna’s pet bird! “YEEEES” I called out and lightning burst out of my eyes and I hugged Jay! “WE DID IT!!” Glossary Everyfairy: as in the human for “everyone”



STUCK IN THE MIDDLE Part III by Ari Swift, Age 13 Boca Raton, FL “All clear! Come on,” said Dyre as Lark, Quat and Barky trudged up after him. “I’m so tired it’s not funny,” said Quat. “Come on, Quat, I’m tired too, but do you see me complaining? Plus, this was your idea in the first place,” said Lark. “But, I still feel like I’m gonna faint. OOOW!” exclaimed Quat as Barky grabbed and pulled him down by his ear. “Be quiet before you get us killed,” whispered Barky. “What are you talking about?” asked Quat. “You almost got picked up by their sonic scanners,” said Barky pointing to the android (nicknamed Andy) patrol that just passed. “Quat, you must keep an eye out for these things, otherwise, next time Barky may not be able to save you,” whispered Lark. A half hour, two miles, and four rest stops to wait for Quat later, they were crossing a small road and stopped on the other side to wait for Quat. “Can we stop for the night already?” whined Quat, along with a hundred other complaints as he started to cross the street. “Hey guys, why did you just dive into those bushes?” asked Quat. “Okay, I’m coming what’s the rush? Why are you pointing down the street? Oh! You want me to look,” said Quat turning just in time to see the transport bearing down on him. The brakes squealed in an attempt to stop, but it was too late. “AAAH!” screamed Quat as the transport rammed into him pinning him under it. “QUAAAT!” yelled Lark before Barky could stop him. “Quick! Get down and run,” said Dyre in a panic. Too late - they had been spotted! “Get any weapon you can use and attack for all your worth,” shouted Dyre, pulling out his laser blaster and downing three of the ten lightly armored androids. Lark and Barky only having a couple of hunting knives pulled those out and destroyed another two Andys. “I’m hit!” yelled Lark, as a laser hit him in his left shoulder, immobilizing his arm. After retaliating and throwing his knife at a

second Andy, he saw his buddies had felled two Andys and Quat had tripped a third. Click! Click! “Shoot! My gun has a dead battery,” said Dyre, tossing away his gun and pulling out his hunting knife to cut out the last Andy’s hard drive for information. “Ouch!” moaned Quat as the gun hit him in the head. BAM! Suddenly, the side doors opened - smacking Barky in the head and knocking him out. Two commando Andys jumped out each side and started shooting. “SSSS!” slashed Lark’s knife through both of the two 50 gallon drums in the transport as the Andy dodged his attack. A viscous, purplish liquid started to bubble out. Lark ignored it. Finally, Lark destroyed the Andy and was sent sprawling into the transport from the jolt of electricity that came up his knife as it severed the Andy’s power supply. Lark was knocked unconscious. “AAAH!” screamed Quat as the purplish liquid spilled all over him, Lark and Barky. The strange caustic substance gave them third degree burns and turned their skin white. Dyre, an expert knife fighter, managed to hold off the second Andy until he was briefly distracted by Quat’s scream. At that moment, he was hit in the head by one of the Andy’s arms. He was thrown to the ground, dazed. Quat, seeing what was happening, quickly grabbed the gun Dyre had thrown down. He pulled out the dead battery and cracked the casing by smashing it into the armor panel on the transport’s fender. Using his pocketknife, he scraped a bit of the purple goo into the battery, hoping it was acidic enough to recharge it. He replaced the battery into the gun and, much to his surprise, the power light flickered on. Almost fainting from the pain of the burns, and his leg still pinned under the transport wheel, Quat managed to squeeze off only one shot before passing out. The bullet grazed the Andy, distracting it long enough to let Dyre move in for the kill. After cutting out its hard drive, Dyre realized that the only thing he could do was to go for help.

Hero Dog Saves Boys Life Fictional Journalism:

A practice in community reporting

Diabetic Saved By Trained Service Dog by Megan Schimansky, Age 11 Coral Springs, FL Last night while Jeffrey Marks was sleeping, his dog Rex saved his life. Jeffrey is a 7 year old diabetic boy. Rex is a diabetes trained working dog who can smell changes in blood sugar. He

by Sara I. Cross, Age 10 Boca Raton, FL “Brrr, cold out!” Teresa complained through chattering teeth. “I would say the same thing,” Malana agreed. They came to the largest of the Ice Mountains. They could not continue on, for the mountain was blocking their path, and they could not find a way around it. Suddenly, a perfect equilateral triangle at the bottom of the mountain extended from the side. It slid aside to reveal a young man with ice beads threaded on his long white hair. Three icicles stood on his head, to function as a crown. He was lying on a hovering platform beading a necklace of the prettiest green emeralds in the world, and humming a sad song that went like this: “I’m living, but I’m not really living. ‘Cause as long as you live, life keeps giving. True love for me I had finally found. Then the world stopped giving all year round.” He hummed until he noticed the two shivering girls looking at the mountain trying to figure out where the top of it was. “Hello, I’m Devere, guardian of the Ice Mounts. What brings you to my precious home?” he asked. “Oh! And by the way, there is no top.” “Huh? Malana said, apparently confused. “I’m Malana and this is Teresa. What do you mean, there is no top?” “What do you mean ‘what do you mean there is no top’? I said there is no top, now come inside. It

was able to smell that Jeffrey’s blood sugar was very low, and went to get Jeffrey’s mom to alert her. When Jeffrey’s mom took his blood sugar it was 20, which is very low. The blood sugar is supposed to be between 80-120. Jeffrey was given a shot of glu-

is quite cold out.” Devere hustled them into the mountain of ice through the triangle doorway. He pulled a chain of ice beads and the door closed behind him. To the two girls’ surprise, the house (which was more or less a giant room) was very warm and comfortable. Devere sat them down at a table made out of a solid block of ice. He told them to please wait a minute while he went over to a glass counter-top. Teresa was glad that Devere had gone, for she had wanted to have a few minutes alone to talk with Malana in a comfortable place ever since they started on this quest. Teresa reached into the pocket of her denim skirt and pulled out the map. She laid it down on the table. Malana nodded, as if she knew what Teresa wanted, which she did. “I now understand this map” Malana said, relieved. “The waterfall is where we met Anatwa.” “And the flowers represent the field where I fainted,” added Teresa. “And the cliff is Botato’s realm.” “And the trees are Celinina’s forest.” “And the bridge is the rope bridge we crossed.” “And the mountains are Devere’s home that we are sitting in right now at his table and on his chairs,” Teresa finished with a sigh, “and the next place will be a warm place I presume, for a volcano represents it.” “It makes a lot more sense now,” Malana agreed, rolling up the map as Devere walked in and set a plate of weird looking breads on the table. “They will taste like whatever you wish. So eat up, you’ll need the energy for the rest of the quest,” he said. Teresa stuffed a whole one in her mouth as quick as she could.

cagon, which raises blood sugars very fast. Jeffrey is fine today, but if he didn’t have Rex he could have died. Rex is a very special dog and his family considers him a hero. Editor’s note: A fictional article compiled and based on factual data and research.

“Teresa reached into the pocket of her denim skirt and pulled out the map” : Illustration by Aaron Cross. Color pencils on paper. “Thish ish ta besht peemep bubber shantwitch I hash eversh tashted!” (“This is the best peanut butter sandwich I have ever tasted!”) Teresa announced with her mouth full, while chewed up bread sprayed out of her mouth (and maybe some came out of her nose, too!). “Thanks for sharing!” Malana said, rolling her eyes and helping herself to a bread. She bit off half of it, but had more manners than to talk before she swallowed. “Mm, cinnamon roll, the best ever!” “I’m glad you like them so much, they have been a recipe handed down from guardian to guardian of the Ice Mounts.” Devere said proudly. “You mean you aren’t the first guardian to live here?” Teresa asked surprised. “There were others before you?” “Of course! Sadly, guardians don’t live forever, and someone has to take my place when my time has come. Thankfully, my friends and I are still young, and because of that you are only our second

guests.” Little did Devere know, but they were about to get more guests, although unwelcome...




TAG USA GYMNASTICS, Weston Meet Owner Marissa Zoldan by Rachel Schonberger, Age 10 Weston, FL Would you like to learn more about TAG USA GYMNASTICS? Well, here is the perfect opportunity to find information! I interviewed Marissa Zoldan, owner of TAG in Weston, for facts and statistics about her organization. Rachel Schoenberg for The Circle Gazette: How did you become interested in owning TAG? Ms. Zoldan: I was on the original TAG team in 1973. I didn’t stay with TAG because they didn’t have Elite Gymnastics, which I wanted to do. They only had competition gymnastics, so I switched to another Gym for a while, but now here I am! Rachel: What different types of classes does TAG offer?

Ms. Zoldan: We offer classes for babies, from a year old. We have “Mommy and me” and “Tiny-Tots” (which is unique to us). Tiny-Tots is a transitional class, where the parents can stay with the kids in class, and during these weeks, the kids become more independent. Then we have a preschool program. For kids 5 and up, we have recreational classes for girls and boys. Then there’s team. We have trampoline, tumbling and floor teams. Rachel: What plans do you have for the future of TAG? Ms. Zoldan: We’ve got lots of plans. We’d like to see our Team really grow. We are now also offering Hip-Hop classes, which is different for us. We are planning to branch out into dance and martial arts. Rachel: Is that why you now

have more space? Ms. Zoldan: Yes. Since we purchased TAG two years ago, we’ve been looking for a new place. We knew that we’d need a bigger place, because we wanted to do more than just gymnastics. Not that only gymnastics is bad, but there are so many more things kids love to do. Rachel: How do you like being in the new facility? Ms. Zoldan: It’s a lot more work. The biggest part, and the one I like the most, is that it is just as personal as it was at the other place, if not more. There is more interaction with the coaches and the parents. Rachel: I’ve heard that TAG supports some charities. Can you tell me more about that? Ms. Zoldan: We do work with “Kids in Distress.” We had

“The River Flows” by Liora Elkoby. Fort Lauderdale, FL. Soft Pastels on paper.

a school supplies drive and collected supplies and backpacks for about fifty children. We also support “Project Home.” This organization helps get people off the streets and places them in emergency shelters. It educates the young and the older. Rachel: When you are not at TAG, what do you do in your free time? Ms. Zoldan: Play with my kids. I do volunteer work at their schools and we travel away a lot

Did You Know...


Ms. Zoldan and Rachel for my charity. For more information about TAG USA Gymnastics you can call 954-384-9393 or visit them at 1951 N Commerce Pkwy, Weston, FL 33326. … that TAG USA Gymnastics offers fun recreational classes for children of all ages and skill levels? For the advanced athlete, TAG USA has boys and girls competitive gymnastics teams, trampoline & tumbling team, Fast Track Training, Girls TOPS Training Center, TAG USA’s Elite Program, and National Cheerleading Team.

“Comparisons and Differences” by Gillian DeZinna, Age 11. Margate, FL. Pencils and color pencils on paper. “Mrs. Banks” from Mary Poppins by Elizabeth Abrams, Age 6. Fort Lauderdale, FL. Oil Pastels on paper.

“The Lion” by Emma Gómez, Age 7. Margate, FL Inspired by the story “The Lion and the Mouse” from Aesop’s Fables. Color pencils and soft pastels on paper. “Snow White” by Elizabeth Abrams, Age 6. Fort Lauderdale, FL. Snow White with the Prince having dinner at the Royal ball. Color pencils on paper.

January 2011 Circle Gazette  
January 2011 Circle Gazette  

January issue of The Circle Gazette