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M A R C H 2 014 E D I T I O N

The Miracle League


Let’s Move!


Local Entrepreneur


Every Child Deserves to Play Baseball

Pinecrest Awarded Gold Medal for its Participation High School Student Making a Difference

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Spring is Coming


The Florida Villager





arch is upon us, and that means one thing…Spring is right around the corner. Days are getting longer, and the humidity is creeping back up. We are the envy of the country, as many places are still dealing with snow and freezing temperatures. Our weather is precisely why snowbirds, tourists, and spring breakers love to vacation here! We can’t blame them…we live in paradise! We encourage you to take advantage of the great weather and check out some of the many fun events taking place this month! See page six for a complete list of local happenings. On a side note, we want to thank our readers for the wonderful support and positive feedback we continue to receive. We love hearing from you, and it brings smiles to our faces. Sincerely,

DanDanBastien Bastien President/Publisher

PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dan Bastien VP OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dana Bastien MANAGING EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alexis Prieto ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chris Koval, Debbie Berman ART DIRECTION, DESIGN & PRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . ONE5 Design Group CONTRIBUTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . Omar Arcia, Penny Daniels, Debbie Martinez . . Gaby Martinez, Dr. Marta Sanchez Emden, Mayor Stanczyk, Michael Stoklosa

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786-505-1817 • Total circulation is 21,500. ONE5 Design Group, LLC, DBA The Florida Villager (TFV), is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in the cities of Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, South Miami, southern Coral Gables, and east Kendall as verifiable by US Postal statements. Additional free copies are available at locations throughout those cities and upon request by contacting this publication. Opinions expressed by the writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. ONE5 Design Group, LLC, DBA TFV reserves the right to edit and/or reject any editorial or advertising content. TFV is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyrighted © 2013-2014 by TFV, Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher.

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CONTENTS :: MARCH 2014 CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 COMMUNITY NEWS South Florida’s First Free and Publicly Accessible Electric Car Fast-Charging Station . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Universal Orlando Brings More of Harry Potter’s Adventures to Life This Summer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 From the Streets to Serving Our Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Miracle League of Miami Dade Every Child Deserves to Play Baseball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Mixed Ability Dancing: A Bridge for the Divide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Neighborhood Watch Groups are Booming in Pinecrest . . . . . . . . . 18 KIDS FITNESS Pinecrest Awarded Gold Medal for its Participation in Let’s Move! . . . 20 FROM THE MAYOR To My Palmetto Bay Neighbors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 SPOTLIGHT EVENT Vintage Auto Show at The Deering Estate at Cutler . . . . . . . . . . . 23 SCHOOL NEWS High School Entrepreneur Making a Difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Riviera Preperatory School’s Students Win Bronze . . . . . . . . . . . 26 WCS’s Investment in Science Education Pays Off . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 DANCE TIPS Choosing the Right Pointe Shoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 MUSIC NEWS Valuable Instruments Collecting Dust in the Closet . . . . . . . . . . . 27 HEALING A New Era of Healing: Mind, Body, and Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

To Advertise in The Florida Villager, Please call 786-505-1817

15 PET OF THE MONTH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 PET CARE Stem Cell Therapy for Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 DEBBIE DOES DIVORCE Shifting With the Tides of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 CAR CARE GOOD, FAST, and CHEAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 CHAMBER NEWS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 LEGALLY SPEAKING The Key to a Successful Loan Modification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 TEAM OF THE MONTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 SEEN ON SCENE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

March 2014 |












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March 7


Miami International Film Festival – Annual film festival located at Miami Dade College, that showcases independent American and international films. The competitive film festival draws international and local attention, with films being showcased in several venues across the city center and includes features, documentaries, short films, and retrospectives.

Pickleball Senior Games – Singles & Doubles, 9:30 am; Saga Bay Park. Pickleball is a combination of three sports (tennis, ping pong and badminton). Come witness the fastest growing adult sport in the country today.


The 8th Talent Showcase – The prestigious faculty for the 15-week residency includes -- Lucia Aratanha Lund, Bernardette Salgado, Lize-Lotte Pitlo, Carly Dorman, Ana Chaconne and Karen Peterson. You are invited to attend the annual dance event performed by 200 Miami Dade School Students with special abilities directed by Karen Peterson and Dancers at the Booker T. Washington Senior High School Auditorium, 1200 NW 6th Avenue, starting at 10am. $5.00 Donation at the door. Fairchild’s 12th Annual International Orchid Festival – Friday, March 7, 2014 - Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM Choose from over 10,000 orchid plants from vendors from around the world.Explore the wonder of orchids during our garden workshops and walking tours. Marvel at rare orchid species in the American Orchid Society juried show, presented by the Orchid Society of Coral Gables. Enjoy wonderful food and live entertainment!


The Miami Fine Beverage, Chocolate & Food Show – Pinecrest Gardens; 10 am - 6 pm. This is a unique fine chocolate and culinary event featuring fine artisanal chocolate vendors and creations from around the world. The event will also showcase the gourmet talents of local chefs and present a selection of fine food products and beverages.


Sony Open Tennis Tournament – Key Biscayne - The 12-day Sony Open Tennis boasts the participation of the world’s top men’s and women’s players, and has become the place to be seen in Miami.

23 2nd Annual Vintage Auto Show – 10am - 3pm at Deering Estate at Cutler. Car enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy a variety of vintage cars from 1952 and older. Call 305.235.1668 Ext. 233 for more information.

Sony Open

9 15th Annual Sponsor An Athlete 5K Run/Walk benefiting Special Olympics – 8 am at Gulliver Prep, 6575 Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156. All proceeds go to Special Olympics Miami, which provides Olympic-like sports training and competition for almost 3000 athletes with Intellectual Disabilities who live in Miami. Anyone and everyone is welcome to register for this event at Sponsorship opportunities are available. Volunteers are needed. For more information, please call 305-406-WINS (9467) or go to Calle Ocho Festival – The Calle Ocho Festival, or Eighth Street Festival, is a yearly tradition that brings together people who want to celebrate Miami’s colorful Latin culture on the streets of Little Havana. The festival is the largest street festival in Miami and rights along 8th Street from 8th Avenue to SW 27th Avenue.

13 The Fair – 62nd annual Fair; March 13-30, 2014. Presented by KIA Motors of North | March 2014

America and Sedano’s Supermarkets, The Youth Fair is ranked the largest fair in Florida. This adrenaline-filled eighteen day event includes over ninety heart pounding rides, two giant Kiddielands, outrageous Fair Foods, livestock and agricultural competitions, live concerts, blockbuster shows, a sensational European style circus and much, much more all within our 86 acre complex located in southwest Miami-Dade County.

16 for Your Heart Bark

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Bark for Your Heart – This walk will be a family friendly, fun event with dogs that brings attention to everyone’s heart health. The beginning point will be behind First National Bank of South Miami where there will be numerous vendors and activities. Registration starts at 8 am. For more information please visit:


The Florida Renaissance Festival – Miami’s Cauley Square Historic Village - Open weekends beginning March 29th from 11 am to 7 pm until April 13th. Prices range from $20.00 for adults and $9 for children ages 6 to 11 years of age. Children 5 and younger are free. Special seasonal passes are available for $40 (valid all three weekends) and group ticket discounts are also offered. For more information visit:

30 10th Annual Deering Seafood Festival – Enjoy a non-stop island celebration complete with delicious catch from the waters of the world, a fun-filled kids’ adventure called “10 Leagues Under the Sea,” stilt walkers, a Junkanoo musical parade and on-going live entertainment. Look to the right for more infomation.

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COMMUNITY NEWS South Florida’s First Free and Publicly Accessible Electric Car Fast-Charging Station



he first free and publicly accessible electric car fast-charging station in South Florida has been installed in the Pinecrest Gardens’ parking area. The Village Council opened the fast-charging station during a brief ceremony in the Pinecrest Gardens’ parking area on Tuesday, February 4 at 5 p.m. The station can charge an electric car in a fraction of the time it takes to charge with a regular charging station. For example, a Nissan LEAF can be charged from zero to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes. The station was donated by the Nissan Corporation. The fast-charging station is located in the northeast area of the parking lot. Pinecrest Gardens is located at 11000 Red Road. “We have a significant focus on sustainability, improving access to energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said Mayor Lerner, who added that her next car will be an electric car.  Pinecrest Gardens attracts over 150,000 visitors each year and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 2011, making it historically significant on a local, state and national platform. “Because of its popularity and the Village’s commitment to conservation and sustainability, Pinecrest Gardens is the ideal location for an electric car fast-charging station,” said Galiano. “One can visit the Gardens, take a class in the community center or go to the library while charging the car.” The fast charger is capable of charging at 44kW, compared to regular charging which runs at approximately 6kW. The fast-charger can be used by drivers of Nissan, Mitsubishi and Tesla electric cars. Tesla electric car owners need an adapter in order to charge.

Mayor Cindy Lerner with the electric car fast-charging station.

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COMMUNITY NEWS Universal Orlando Brings More of Harry Potter’s Adventures to Life This Summer



ever before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley unfold before you. And it is all real. With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.

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The two companies recently revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family. The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks. And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express. Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010. That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. (Park-to-park admission is required.) Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience. After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level. More details about the unique experiences that can be found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time. For more information about the area, visit To Advertise in The Florida Villager, Please call 786-505-1817





COMMUNITY NEWS From the Streets to Serving Our Students



lizabeth Mejia, President/CEO of Communities in Schools (CIS) of Miami, is a fervent leader and community activist. She has worked with CIS since 1996 alongside a team of site coordinators and volunteers at more than 27 schools in the country’s “Most Improved School District.” Communities in Schools (CIS) is the largest and most effective dropout prevention organization in America working in more than 2,200 public schools, in 200 communities across 27 states, serving 1.3 million students and their families. CIS works within the public school system, determining student needs and establishing relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers, and parent and volunteer organizations to provide needed resources. Under the leadership of Mejia, CIS of Miami has made an incredible impact on the quality of education in the region in tandem with the school district. CIS has been an important partner collaborating on many major school improvement efforts at inner city schools including Miami Edison Senior, Liberty City Elementary, Holmes Elementary, Miami Jackson Senior High, Charles Drew Middle, Miami Edison Middle and Miami Northwestern Senior High among others. Elizabeth’s success was not a life long prospect. In fact, at a young age, Mejia wasn’t sure she would amount to anything.

She grew up in an inner city neighborhood in Connecticut with a single mother. Witnessing substance abuse, domestic violence and watching as her mother went to jail, Mejia knows first-hand what it is to beg on the streets and to struggle. She recalls one night as the police were called to her house for domestic disturbance: “A police officer pulled me to the side and said, ‘Life doesn’t have to be like this.’ He just walked away doing his job and didn’t know what kind of an impact those words had on my life,” Mejia states. From that moment on, she managed to break the cycle of poverty and become the first person in her family to ever graduate from high school and go on to pursue higher education. Mejia’s belief is “regardless of what’s around you, the key is education. It really gets you out and changes you.”

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COMMUNITY NEWS The Miracle League of Miami Dade Every Child Deserves to Play Baseball



lay Ball!” That’s exactly what 26 local school children did on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at Marlins Park in Little Havana. But this was no ordinary game of baseball. The teams were comprised exclusively of children with physical and/ or mental challenges. The players are part of The Miracle League of Miami Dade; a Florida 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that provides special needs children with an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league. Steven can’t walk but that didn’t stop him from rounding second base like his favorite big league player. Jennifer can’t hear, but the cheers for her from the fans and her teammates were never louder. With the assistance of his walker, Eli courageously beat out an infield single. This was truly a wonderful game! Karl Sturge, Chairman of the Miracle League, explained that the players had the rare opportunity to play on the Major League ball field at the invitation of the Miami Marlins as part of Marlins Winter Warm-Up and Ayudan Week 2014. “The Marlins and the Miracle League gave this small group of special needs children something few believed to be possible – the chance to play baseball.” The Miracle League is part of the Howard Palmetto Baseball Softball Association, one of South Florida’s largest youth sports organizations. “For more than 50 years Howard Palmetto has been fielding organized baseball and softball teams for the children of our county,” said Sturge. Unfortunately, children with special needs were almost always left off these teams. That all changed a few years ago when “Jack,” a special needs teen age

Marlins President, David Samson helping one of The Miracle League players at bat.

Eli beating out a grounder.

boy (who regularly attended his brother’s games), was invited to join a team. It proved to be a wonderful experience for Jack and the other players in the league. It was clear to the officials at Howard Palmetto that the Association had to do something for other children like Jack. Shortly thereafter, The Miracle League of Miami Dade was formed. The Miracle League of Miami Dade began playing games in November 2012. It quickly became apparent that conventional baseball fields are not ideal for children with disabilities. “The grassy turf and traditional clay ball field are very difficult for players in wheelchairs, walkers and braces to navigate,” explained Sturge. This spawned the idea to build a field with a special surface that was safe and easy to navigate for children with disabilities.  The League is committed to raising the money to construct a ball park that will include a custom-designed, rubberized turf ball field which will allow children in wheelchairs and with walkers to glide unrestricted around the bases and to their positions on the field without fear of injury. It has formed a partnership with the Miami Marlins and Miami Dade Parks & Recreation Department to help make the dream of a custom field become a reality. “From day one, the Miami Marlins have been a tremendous supporter of our League, 14 | March 2014

said Sturge, indicating, “Everyone in the organization has been committed to helping us build the field for the special needs children of our community. From President, David Samson, to past and present players and the entire staff of the Marlin’s (Charity) Foundation have been there for us every step of the way.” “The Miami Marlins have generously donated more than $300,000 towards the construction of the ball park,” said Sturge and added that “Miami Dade Parks & Recreation Department has provided the land on which the ball park will be built.” The new park will be centrally located in Miami-Dade County at Tamiami Park. However, Mr. Sturge explained that it would cost approximately $1,500,000 to construct the ball field, support structures and a playground specifically designed and equipped for special needs children. Consequently, a capital campaign has been under way to raise the remainder of the money. “We are extremely excited to forge ahead with our capital campaign as we work to bring this truly wonderful and worthwhile project to our community,” stated Lisa Mays, the Miracle League’s Co-Director of Fundraising. “The Miracle League field will be the first and only of its kind in Miami-Dade County. Our campaign is committed to raising the money to build the ball field, support building and playground for the nearly 30,000 special needs children living in our county,” explained Mays. “We are seeking contributions from a wide range of donors,” said Sandy Robinson, the League’s Co-Director of Fundraising. “We have modest sponsorship opportunities for individuals and families to larger sponsorship opportunities for foundations and corporations which include associated naming rights.” Local Corporations have already made generous donations to the League including Assurant Solutions and Ryder Systems, Inc., and Bacardi. There are non-monetary ways to support the Miracle League of Miami Dade as well. “One of the most exciting aspects of our league is the volunteer buddies who join the players on the field,” stated Susan Sirota, Director of Buddies. The Buddies are typically youth volunteers who are ideally close to or the same age as the players. Sirota explained that, “we pair each player with a ‘buddy’ who assists the player throughout the game both on and off the field. This partnership benefits both the players and the buddies as they share the great American pastime and more importantly build lasting friendships.” “Parents frequently request that their son or daughter be paired with a particular buddy who assisted at the previous games,” explained Jenni Eguilor, Director of Players. “It truly is rewarding to see these children bond and develop friendships that will hopefully extend beyond the ball field.” “We are committed to building a baseball facility where all of the children in our community can come together and build friendships and create memories that could never be measured by the score of a game,” explained Sturge. “Our goal is to raise the money necessary to build the field, support structures and a special needs playground. With your help we will achieve this goal!” For more information about joining a team, volunteering during games or supporting the Miracle League of Miami Dade, please visit – Because every child deserves a chance to play baseball! To Advertise in The Florida Villager, Please call 786-505-1817





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COMMUNITY NEWS Mixed Ability Dancing: A Bridge for the Divide


aren Peterson and Dancers, founded in 1990 as a nonprofit dance organization, presents excellence in dance through its quality-based programs, community performances and educational workshops. The organization commissions and produces the work of dance artists with and without disabilities, promotes and supports international cultural exchange, and provides rehearsal rentals and performance opportunities at their home Excello, established in 2002. Karen Peterson and Dancers’ program features adult dancers with and without disabilities who create and perform “mixed-ability” dance as an inclusive art form on a year round basis. The dancers collaborate, research and integrate their personal movement styles and discover an innovative dance language for choreography. The troupe provides a positive role model for the disability community and offers new visual inspiration for traditional dance audiences. Grit is the title of Peterson’s latest choreography development, which recently debuted at the Off Frame Festival in Belgrade, Serbia. Two able-bodied dancers and two dancers in wheelchairs performed the aggressive, athletic piece on a rainy, cold night, and received a double encore from the packed audience. “I think they were hungry to see us say, ‘Yes, it’s okay for disabled people to dance,’” says veteran KPD dancer John Beauregard, who was left with a spinal cord injury 30 years ago while helping a friend build a house in the Keys. Today, he’s danced in over 20 countries. “How fun for me to take something as simple as dancing in a wheelchair and affect someone on the other side of the world,” he says. The experience was just as moving for able-bodied dancer Katrina Weaver. “The work truly left an impact on many audience members who have probably never had the opportunity to witness a mixed-ability performance before that night,” she says.

Grit illustrates the more complex movement and grittier direction in which the company is headed. Excerpts of the new piece as well as the group’s classic Dance (4) 8, and the popular duet Heaven, was shown on February 1st and 2nd at the Pinecrest Gardens Banyan Bowl Amphitheatre. Peterson, who is still in the creative process with the movement and sound elements of Grit, says that its full version will be presented in May at the Miami Dade County Auditorium. Featuring the image of a boxing ring, the work has dancers boxing from their seats, then falling to the floor and lifting back into their wheelchairs. “We know the strength in the dancers and we want to push limits,” says Peterson, who prior to each rehearsal had dancers share their personal stories of endurance, determination, perseverance, bravery, and fortitude. As South Florida’s premiere mixed ability dance company, KPD is known for its multimedia special effects and versatile repertoire, including classical ballet, Broadway jazz, and modern dance. “In the past we worked on how to acquiesce, how to collaborate, but there was nothing really physical or aggressive about the partnership,” Peterson says. “With Grit I think we are developing a new vocabulary. Now we want to go for the muscle and bone.”



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A Very Special Place


hen driving down south (on the corner of 112th street and 87th avenue) you will come across Children’s Resources Fund (CRF), a beautiful state-of-the-art Educational Center on two and a half acres that offers endless hope and possibilities. Walk inside the building and you will find a highly regarded Inclusion Program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and awarded Five Stars by the Early Learning Coalition. The school provides top quality educational and therapeutic services to both, special needs and typically developing children. Research states that all children can and do benefit from this type of program. Typically developing children can gain empathy and role modeling skills while improving their academic performances due to a low teacher/student ratio and highly trained teachers and staff. On the other hand, a child with special needs will benefit from being exposed to typical role models and a creative curriculum that focuses on improving their weaknesses and highlighting their strengths. Additionally, the children are offered an array of therapies within their school day. All the children make enormous strides and improvement in their early development. Children’s Resources center is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help children develop to their fullest potential. It was founded by an extraordinary group of women who worked tirelessly to raise funds in order to build the Educational Center where Children’s Resources is currently housed. In the past few years men joined the group of ladies and together they continue to fundraise. Since becoming a direct early service provider in 1995, the school continues to expand and now offers a wide array of services that cannot be found anywhere else in the community. Some services include, speech, occupational, behavior and physical therapies, provided by therapists with expertise in early development and by a doctor in psychology. The school also has sensory rooms to assist children with

sensory integration disorders, ADHD, Autism, and other developmental delays, tutoring, and ongoing assessments to formulate Individualized Education Plans. Additional services include before and aftercare, cooking, dancing, and piano lessons. Furthermore, the Inclusion Program maintains a 5:1 student/ teacher ratio and more specialized programs maintains a 2:1 ratio. All the classrooms are staffed by highly qualified, trained teachers with Bachelor or Master level degree in Early Childhood Education or Special Education and two Assistants with at least an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education or a National Certification. The Inclusion Model provides all students enhanced opportunities to learn from each other’s contributions. It simulates the real

world by teaching all children to understand and accept human differences. No one person is alike and if children are taught early to be empathetic and understanding of others it will make an impact on their future accomplishments. Children’s Resources is more than a school, it is a home where all children can grow and thrive. Each child who comes through the door will enter a place where their fullest potential will be met. We often hear from parents how grateful they are to have found a place where their child can receive so many services under one roof. Each day we have new parents walk through the door with the concerns of raising a child with special needs and the challenges ahead. On that very same day we have a child walk out the door who has accomplished a new goal. Teachers and therapists create a loving and caring learning environment for the children and feel privileged to see them meet their development milestones. There are always smiles and laughter heard throughout the hallways. The skills and love our teachers use in the classrooms is what helps our students learn and thrive. Children’s Resources school has often been referred to as the “Miracle on 112th Street”. Can you see why? For more information on Children’s Recources Fund, please call 305.596.6966 or visit CRF online at

COMMUNITY NEWS Neighborhood Watch Groups are Booming in Pinecrest



ver the last six months In the Village of Pinecrest, nine Crime Watch groups have formed in an eight-square-mile area to deter crime on their blocks. The latest in a series of Neighborhood Watch Block Parties was held on Saturday, February 15th. The block party was from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and extended from 72nd Avenue to 74th Avenue on Southwest 109th Terrace. The block party kicked off the newest group’s participation in the Neighborhood Watch Program. The Village of Pinecrest provided hamburgers, hotdogs, tables and canopies, and the neighbors contributed drinks, desserts and side dishes. One neighbor even provided a bounce house for children to play in. The Crime Watch Program is designed to create an alliPinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner with resident ance between the Pinecrest Police Department and the Residents learn about safety measures during the Block Party. Bret Berlin at the Neighborhood Block Party. community, to enhance neighborhood security, heighten numbers and landscaper and pool servicer resident’s observation of daily events and encourage neighbors to meet and help each information. This information is placed in a spreadsheet and shared with the members other have a safer community. of the group to help neighbors be more vigilant of each other’s houses. Jennifer Solomon is the Neighborhood Watch chairperson from her block and “If something looks suspicious or sounds suspicious call the police department. We encourages other Pinecrest residents to join because “it is a great opportunity to see are here to help keep you safe,” said Sergeant Gorsline, who said thieves many times how the crime watch program is getting neighbors to connect and bring a small town use power tools to break through impact resistant glass. “The more eyes and ears we feeling to our community.” have working together the less chance there is of falling victim to a crime.” Pinecrest Police Crime prevention Specialist Michael Gorsline heads the program and schedules an initial meeting with neighbors interested in starting a Neighborhood Getting started is easy. The first step is to get organized by calling Sergeant Gorsline Watch Program on their block. Neighbors share information, such as, emails, phone at 305-234-2100.

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KIDS FITNESS Pinecrest Awarded Gold Medal for its Participation in Let’s Move!



gold medal was awarded to the Village of Pinecrest by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for the completion of the fifth step of the five-step Let’s Move! initiative. Let’s Move! increases play spaces for children, promotes physical activity and makes outdoor recreational facilities easily accessible. In order to receive the gold medal, Pinecrest mapped all play spaces, completed an assessment of all play spaces, developed an action plan, and launched at least three proven policies, programs, or initiatives. Play spaces are defined as any place children and youth can play and be physically active. They include publicly accessible playgrounds, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, skate parks, parks, fields, trails, and greenways. Pinecrest was also awarded bronze medals for the first and third steps of the Let’s Move! initiative. The bronze medal for the first step was awarded for elected local officials being committed to helping early care and education providers incorporate best practices for nutrition, physical activity and screen time into their programs, to provide children with a healthier start. The third step bronze medal was awarded due to local officials having a commitment to increasing participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative that was launched by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010. This initiative dedicated to solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. So that children born today will grow up healthier and be able to pursue their dreams. As part of this initiative, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties, call upon local elected officials to adopt long-term, sustainable and holistic approaches IO re sto OCAT w e L n b ig N E W o u r OUR n i AT a re We IT US S VI

to addressing childhood obesity. Pinecrest parks include Coral Pine Park, Evelyn Greer Park, Flagler Grove Park, Red Road Linear Park, Suniland Park and Veterans Wayside Park. For more information about Pinecrest parks and recreational activities go to or call 305-284-0900.


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FROM THE MAYOR To My Palmetto Bay Neighbors



arch in Palmetto Bay begins with a grand celebration of our Village’s incorporation. While this was written ahead of The Celebration Picnic, it is a sure thing that over 4,000 residents descended on Coral Reef Park (as they have for the last 12 years) to picnic, enjoy childrens’ games, face painting, bounce houses, rock climbing, school performances, and so much more. This highlight of the year demonstrates the positive effect the development of Palmetto Bay has on the quality of life in our community, as well as stressing the enduring importance of family life. Palmetto Bay continues on the path of progress in our commercial area with the work by the Downtown Redevelopment Task Force. Recently, the Council authorized the beginning phases of the plan that includes traffic and marketing studies. The DRTF is an advisory group of 40 neighbors and professionals working to set the foundation for the Village’s long-term future - while preserving the fundamentally residential nature of Palmetto Bay. Bringing an improved commercial area, restaurants, shops, and offices, bordered by an extensive linear park system, continues the drive for high level of quality of life for residents. Over the past months, Task Force Outreach Meetings have been held in homes, PTA meetings, and Home Owner Associations seeking input to the plan. The Village continues the pursuit for input with a Survey on the Village website ( Resident input is a necessary component to designing a plan that is responsive to the residents of our Village. The Downtown Experience Event on Friday evening, March 14, from 6:30-9:30 at Village Hall is an opportunity to sample what the plan can bring to the Village. Share your night with your neighbors “Downtown” in Palmetto Bay with complimentary food, music, and prizes (take the survey to win). Experience what a downtown can be. February 24, was the first meeting of the Education Committee that began the cooperative effort with Miami Dade County Schools. The Education Compact signed late last year signals the high level of importance of our quality public schools in the Village. Parents, teachers, administration, and School Board representatives were included in the process. This was an open invitation for all members of the Village to contribute to the futures of our children by ensuring high quality education. Check the Public Meeting Schedule on the Village Website to attend future monthly meetings. Have a great month and I hope you will join me at the Downtown Experience in Palmetto Bay.

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SPOTLIGHT EVENT Vintage Auto Show at The Deering Estate at Cutler


he Deering Estate at Cutler, in collaboration with the Antique Automotive Club of America – South Florida Region, will host the 2nd annual Vintage Auto Show supported by Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay on Sunday, March 23, 2014, from 10a.m. to 3p.m. Car enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy a variety of vintage cars from times past. Activities at the Vintage Auto Show include: vintage cars from 1952 and older, old fashion lawn games and old fashion treats, a scavenger hunt for children where photo clues will be used to identify a selection of vintage automobiles, guided historic house tours, and a guided natural areas tour at 12:30 pm. The historic house tours will take place at 10:30a.m. and 3:00p.m. The 1950 International Harvester Truck, which was donated to the Deering Estate Foundation, will also be on display. When the truck was brand new, Marion Deering

ABOUT THE ANTIQUE AUTOMOTIVE CLUB OF AMERICA – SOUTH FLORIDA REGION Founded in 1955, the Antique Automotive Club of America is open to enthusiasts of antique automobiles of all makes and models of cars, trucks, and motorcycles from the early 1900’s and now including the year 1987. Show rules require that the vehicles be twentyfive years old or older, but that doesn’t mean you have to own a show car to join the club or participate in non-show events. In fact, you don’t even have to own an antique car; all it takes is a love of these treasures and an appreciation for the history they represent.

McCormick, the daughter of Charles Deering, purchased it in Chicago. After Mrs. McCormick passed away in 1965, the truck was passed down to her son and was maintained by the McCormick family until they donated it to the Deering Estate Foundation. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, including wings and beers provided by Sports Grill. Preordered picnics are available by Chef David Schwadron Catering, 305-238-5881, and Joanna’s Marketplace, 305-661-5777. They can be contacted directly to place an order. For more information on the Vintage Auto Show at the Deering Estate at Cutler, visit or call the Deering Estate Ticket Office at 305-235-1668 ext. 233. General Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for youth (ages 4-14). The Deering Estate at Cutler is located at 16701 SW 72 Avenue.



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SCHOOL NEWS High School Entrepreneur Making a Difference



Daniel Lafuente and Wifredo Fernandez, and n the spirit of “giving back,” high funded by the Knight Foundation. “I was able school Junior, Alexander Swerdlow, has to get the company formed, manufacture and launched an innovative Company called logo the bags, build a website, source the supGivingBackPacks. The company’s mission is to plies and secure two large charities to take the ultimately increase the standard of education bags in our program,” Swerdlow said. “It was in the United States by providing children with a super exciting summer for me, and I learned equal opportunities to succeed, by eradicata great amount about entrepreneurship and ing the problem of a lack of school supplies business while interning at the LAB.” for underprivileged kids. GivingBackPacks is GivingBackPacks has a program in place with predicated upon the 1-for-1 model, a platform The Chapman Partnership for the Homeless, used by do-good companies such as TOMS a local organization that helps homeless indiShoes and Warby Parker, whereby they give viduals and families get back onto their feet in away one product for every product they sell. tough economic times, and Pam’s Place, a New Swerdlow, a 17-year old junior at Ransom York hospital library program. The Company Everglades High School in Miami, Florida, recently signed an agreement with The Haiti thought of the idea while walking around Alexander Swerdlow showing two of his GivingBackPacks. Initiative at Ransom Everglades, a program campus. He had recently read a book about the founder of TOMS Shoes and set out through which the Ransom Everglades community is providing essential supplies to make a difference. He recognized that backpacks were an item bought by a large and utilities to an orphanage in Haiti. GivingBackPacks is the official school supply market of students and young professionals across all demographics each and every distributor, and is selling their backpacks at a discounted price to students and comyear, and he could make a big impact by giving away backpacks and school supplies munity members, while giving a backpack loaded with school supplies to a child in with each backpack sold. Then the name GivingBackPacks was born – a play on the the orphanage with each backpack that is sold. “We’re looking to work with fraternity words “Giving Back” and “Backpacks.” and sorority groups on college campuses to market to a college audience, as they are Swerdlow honed the idea and began production over the summer while interning at The LAB Miami, a successful Miami-based venture hub founded by two Ransom Graduates, Continued on page 39


IS YOUR CHILD HAVING DIFFICULTIES IN SCHOOL? MAKE A CHANGE! Children’s Resources is a fully accredited inclusion school offering services to children with special needs and their typically developing peers ages 2 to fifth grade. Class sizes are kept small to create a unique program aimed at each student’s individual needs. All therapies including speech, occupational and behavior are offered on-site along with many extra curricular activities.


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DANCE TIPS Choosing the Right Pointe Shoes BY GABY MARTINEZ


ew events in a ballerina’s life are more emotional or anticipated than the fitting of her first pointe shoes,” says Gabriela Martinez de la Portilla (Miss Gaby). Miss Gaby, former dancer and Teacher of Classical Ballet for almost 30 years, performs now as a Pointe Shoe Master Fitter at the Ballet Boutique dancewear stores. “Unfortunately, more times than not, all the initial enthusiasm and excitement is replaced by disillusionment once they begin wearing the Pointe Shoes. If they are too big, too small, or inadequately fit it, may cause blisters and sores in most cases. In the worst cases, tendinitis, sprains, bunions and fractures.” “There are parameters and exercises I design to be used as guides in order to properly size and fit the Pointe Shoes,” notes Miss Gaby. During a professional fitting of pointe shoes, Miss Gaby will determine what type of feet the ballerina has and which Pointe Shoes will work best for her. This allows the ballerina´s foot to have the necessary support and comfort since they need to be able to withstand long hours of practice, and moreover to enjoy and smile while they dance. Parents are welcome at the fittings, and they are encouraged to ask as many questions as they want in order to understand this new stage in their daughters dance career.

For All Your Dance Needs! “There is not a better or worse brand. The best Pointe shoes will always be the ones that best replicate all the features of each Ballerina’s foot. Every girl needs to be able to focus on the exercises and enjoy the lessons. Using the wrong Pointe Shoes could damage the growth of the foot even though lesions are not apparent right away. The girls may also want to give up Ballet if they are in pain while dancing.” Miss Gaby explains to Ballerinas, “The greatest enemy of any pointe shoe is moisture. Leaving the toe pads inside the shoes, and putting them directly in your ballet bag, reduces the life of the shoes by up to 50%, as this does not allow them to dry after class or rehearsal. The best way to prolong the life of pointe shoes is to carry them by hand and let them dry on your night stand.” Miss Gaby also mentions not to wait until they are worn out to buy a new pair. It is recommended to use two pairs at once, one for working at the barre, and another for center and variations. It is similar to the way we wear tennis shoes or sandals for school, and heels for a party. Miss Gaby is now devoted to her research on Pointe Shoe Fittings to decrease the rate of injuries in Ballerina’s feet. She is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS). Gaby keeps files and statistics from more than 3,000 ballerinas all over the world. The Ballet Boutique Company was founded by her three sons and runs four other stores in Mexico. To Advertise in The Florida Villager, Please call 786-505-1817

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SCHOOL NEWS Riviera Preperatory School’s Students Win Bronze


ongratulations to the Riviera Prep School Build & Design Club. The team placed third in the Bionic Hand Competition at the SECME Olympiad and Festival. This was Riviera Prep’s first year participating in this countywide event, in which more than 8,000 Miami-Dade students participated in multiple science and engineering competitions. SECME (Southeastern Consortium of Minorities in Education) is a premier primary and secondary (K-12) alliance, linking engineering universities, school systems, and corporate/government investors. Its mission is to increase the pool of historically under-represented, underserved, and differently-abled students who will be prepared to enter and complete post-secondary studies in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Each year SECME identifies science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities to improve student performance and outcomes in the form of competitions, with a special emphasis on engineering design concepts. These activities are built into SECME programs throughout the school year culminating in Local, Regional, and National Competitions. The purpose of the Bionic Hand Competition was to build a working prosthetic prototype that can be used by an amputee.  Approximately 15 area high schools entered, delivering a 3-minute oral presentation involving a series of practical tests using the hand to hold and stack objects, pour water, and hold a water bottle as it was being filled. Presentations were judged based on innovative engineering, effective presentation, most realistic prosthesis, and product demonstration.

Pictured (L to R) - PLTW Engineering Teacher and Club Advisor Maria Sargarduy, Kevin Ramos, Frank Chavez, Daniel Correa-Manzor, Felipe Colon and Jonathan Dominguez.

Vintage Auto Show Deering estate at Cutler

Sunday, March 23, 2014 / 10 am to 3 pm Free with general admission: $12 For adults & $7 For children (ages 4-14) Vintage Cars from 1952 & olDer HistoriC House tours at 10:30 am & 3:00 pm • natural areas tour at 12:30 pm fooD anD beVerages aVailable for purCHase deering estate at cutler 16701 sw 72 avenue 305.235.1668 eXt. 233

To requesT maTerial in accessible formaT, informaTion on access for persons wiTh disabiliTies, or sign language inTerpreTer services (7 days in advance), call 305.755.7848

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MUSIC NEWS Valuable Instruments Collecting Dust in the Closet



usic filled the air. The loud sounds, the high pitches and the beat of the drums got the attention of the audience. The orchestra began playing the overture introducing the Broadway play – The Beauty and the Beast. The play was about to begin. The stage was set, the actors were ready, and the musicians were in their places ready to make the story come alive through music. Tones from the flute, piano, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, trombone and drums, raised excitement for the opening act. Throughout the play, music of various octaves directed our emotions and anticipation of what would happen next. Can you imagine what this play would have been like without music?

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Used Instruments As the play unfolded, we let our emotions play along with the sounds of music. It reminded me of a time when I played a musical instrument and performed in front of others. Boy, it seems like a lifetime ago when I learned invaluable lessons and fell in love with music. A long time ago, I learned how to read music, play the flute, play in a band and enjoyed working together with others to create musical entertainment. But… where is that old flute? Is it collecting dust in the closet? In the attic? Do I still even have it? Hmmm…it may be time to search for it and see if it still works? Is it valuable since it’s almost an antique? According to the 2009 U.S. Census data, about eight percent of Americans play musical instruments regularly. Are you part of that eight percent? If not…do you want to regularly play a musical instrument again? It’s never too late. Get that old instrument out of the closet. Dust it off. Or you may even consider trading it in towards a new instrument; you have several options, but the first step is taking it out of the closet. Instruments are valuable – both in the monetary and cultural senses. Musicians Discount Center can help you decide what is best for you and your old instrument. Maybe it’s relearning how to play the instrument. Maybe it’s trading it in for something new and different. Whatever your decision is, let us help you. Stop in today and see what is available…let music fill your life and let the fun begin!

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HEALING A New Era of Healing: Mind, Body, and Spirit


n March 15, 2014, at Miami Dade College’s Koubek Center, Dr. Paula Petry will lead the first annual Discover from Within Conference, a day dedicated to the practice of and science behind holistic healing. There is a new era of healing creating a ground swell across the country. People are turning inward to find their own answers, seeking treatments, solutions, and guidance from professionals whose healing approaches exist outside of traditional medicine. South Florida is no exception. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, research shows. Antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkilling opioids are the most commonly prescribed. The last of these is for the estimated 47% of the population that has at least one kind of chronic pain. With 12% of personal health care spending going to prescription drugs, pain has become painfully expensive. The side effects of prescription drugs are leading to more drugs. The percentage of people taking 5 prescription drugs per day doubled between 2000 and 2008.  The Discover from Within Conference is for those ready to treat the underlying causes of their symptoms.  The Discover from Within Conference will inform people about approaches that prevent illness and disease, and relieve the underlying symptoms of chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. Although people want new solutions, they also want to make informed choices—choices that are grounded in evidence-based practices. The conference also believes in this approach, and will include only evidence-based practices, with expert presenters helping people understand why particular approaches are effective. That knowledge will serve as a basis for making decisions about which modalities are worth one’s time and money. Among the presenters are Dr. Paul Canali, Dr. Eugene Ahn, Jennifer Grace, the acclaimed Brazilian Voices, and Jeff Deen. For example, Dr. Paul Canali, who has his clinical practice in South Miami, will help participants understand how their emotional wounds are also their physical ailments.

been published in the field’s most prestigious journals. Dr. Ahn will share his experiences in helping cancer patients integrate holistic and western approaches in their treatment, share stories of how patients achieved miraculous healings--and perspectives on why others did not--and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the many mind-body-spirit approaches. It will not be strictly science at the Discover from Within conference. Complementing the science, there will be co-creating performances by the Brazilian Voices and Jeff Deen. Jennifer Grace from the Center of Grace in Ft. Lauderdale, a Hay House author and talk radio host, will lead the participants on a guided meditation to discover their own inner wisdom. For more, visit: With singing shown to enhance the activation and development of neuronal structures that help prevent stress, Brazilian Voices co-founders Beatriz Malnic and Loren Oliveira will lead the participants in creating harmonic melodies. Brazilian Voices is a non-profit organization comprised of 40 women from seven countries who share a common love and passion for healing, music, and cultural exchange. They perform regularly at the Broward Performing Arts Center, special events, and corporate-team building settings, and their healing arts group sings at hospitals and nursing homes. For more, visit: Drumming is considered to be among the oldest forms of healing. Jeff Deen, a premier drummer and musician who recently performed at TEDxMIA, will use his unique talents to create healing moments for everyone. A former attorney, Deen left his legal career in 2007 after discovering that his gift to the world comes through drumming as a source of healing. He leads drumming events all over South Florida and for all types of audiences, including children with special needs, cancer patients, Parkinson’s patients, those in nursing homes, and executives in corporate team-building settings. For more, visit: Leading the event is Dr. Paula Petry. She has her doctoral degree from the University of Miami and, for 12 years, was the director of an interdisciplinary family-centered training program in its school of medicine. Dr. Petry is certified as a light body prac-

Dr. Canali has been involved in trauma and stress research for over 25 years. During that time, Dr. Canali has originated and developed powerful new therapeutic approaches to healing trauma, anxiety and chronic pain including Unified Therapy.™ His recent discovery of an autonomic righting or balancing reflex, combined with effective somatic (body) awareness, has resulted in a new healing modality. This unique synthesis enables the body to experience fast and efficient healing from persistent unexplained illness, including post traumatic stress disorder. For more, visit: For more than five years, Dr. Ahn has led an integrative oncology clinical practice at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Miami VA Medical Center. The author of the forthcoming book on the mind body spirit connection, has

titioner and trained in shamanic energy medicine; she regularly holds workshops and sees clients in South Miami, Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne. “We each have our own momentum tunnel,” says Dr. Petry. “It contains our DNA, beliefs, thoughts, regrets, grudges, and traumas. All of these forms of energy carry such a force that there is an element of prediction as to future outcomes. Science is showing this to be true. We want to create new possibilities for people, possibilities that exist outside of the momentum tunnel—a life of optimal health, a life of joy, ease, and flow. It will be a day of knowledge, healing and personal transformation. We want people to leave informed, with community-based resources and feeling lighter, hopeful and thankful for having carved out a day for their own wellness.” For more, visit:

28 | March 2014

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SCHOOL NEWS Westminster Christian School’s Investment in Science Education Pays Off



of Size-Dependent Cu2O Octahedra estminster Christian and Their Comparative Photocatalytic School’s financial investActivity.” He also earned the Friends of ment and curricular focus Science Fair High School award, and on science and research is paying off. the Yale Science and Engineering award. For the fifth year in a row, Westminster Other special award winners at the students have advanced from the local South Florida Regional Science Fair level to compete at the Intel International were freshmen Annika Heetderks, who Science Fair in Los Angeles in May. WCS received the Dade County Science senior Chandler Precht and sophomore Teachers Association award, the Carl Kevin Rodriguez earned two of only six G. Hartman Award, and awards from available slots in Miami-Dade County to the US Army and US Naval Academy compete at this prestigious competition, Award, and Valentina Saavedra who which draws the brightest young minds received the Naval Academy Science from around the world. and Engineering award. “This is a continuation of a legacy of In 2012, Westminster Christian School scientific research that was cultivated by invested $2 million in a state-of-the art two Westminster alumni, Jack Erdozain science facility for middle and high school and Eric Riehl, who were repeat award Westminster Christian's 13 competitors at the 60th Annual South Florida Regional Science and Engineering students to support the research taking winners at the International Science Fair -- (back row, l to r) Annika Heetderks, Abigail Raffalski, Jonathan Lee, Cory Bond, (front row l to r) place and curriculum being taught in the Chandler Precht, Ashley Diaz, Sophia Gonzalez, Valentina Saavedra, Connor Crotty, Kevin Rodriguez, Christian and Engineering Fair, and who are now Goodin, (Not pictured) Lauren Pedersen and Sophia Poveda -- earned seven superiors, four excellents, classroom. This school-wide focus began freshmen at MIT,” said Lisa Garrido, and two honorable mentions, and four of the only 19 spots available at the State Competition in April. about 10 years ago with the implementaWCS High School science tion of the WorldWonder teacher and fair coordinator. program in the elementary “Their leadership and passion, school. This program comalong with Westminster’s plemented the science curstate-of-the art facilities and riculum, but took scientific expanding science curricuresearch and discovery out lum, has developed a very of the classroom by providstrong research program at ing hands-on, on-campus Westminster.” opportunities that developed Rodriguez and Precht, curiosity, and critical thinkalong with 11 of their ing and analysis. classmates, competed at “As a school that educates the 60th Annual South from preschool through Florida Regional Science Westminster Christian senior Chandler Precht, sophomore Ashley 12th grade, Westminster Westminster Christian senior Chandler Precht and sophomore Kevin Rodriguez earned two of only six available slots in and Engineering Fair in early Diaz, junior Christian Goodin, and sophomore Kevin Rodriguez is uniquely positioned to earned four of the only 19 slots available for the State Science and Miami-Dade County to compete at the Intel International February. The Westminster Engineering Fair of Florida. Precht is the only student ever in local respond to the academic Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May. contingency; Cory Bond, Science Fair history to be selected for State seven years in a row. needs of our students as Connor Crotty, Ashley Diaz, they grow and interact with our curriculum,” said Dr. Lynell Martinez, Westminster Christian Goodin, Sophia Gonzalez, Annika Heetderks, Jonathan Lee, Lauren Pedersen, Christian’s High School Science Department Head. “The improvement to our facilities Sophia Poveda, Chandler Precht, Valentina Saavedra, Abigail Raffalski, and Kevin in the middle and high school were designed to culture within our students a passion Rodriguez, earned seven superiors, four excellents, two honorable mentions, and four for research, and an aptitude for critical thinking in order to meet the ever-changing of the only 19 spots available at the State Competition in April. demands of the twenty-first century.” Headed to the State Competition are senior Chandler Precht, junior Christian In the last five years, Westminster Christian high school students have been selected Goodin, and sophomores Kevin Rodriguez and Ashley Diaz. 16 times to attend the State Competition, and six times to the International Science Precht, the only student ever in local Science Fair history to be selected for State seven Fair. This record is unparalleled by any other private or public school in Miami-Dade years in a row, was selected for her project, “Unintended Consequences of Mosquito County. This exposure has provided Westminster students the opportunity to work Pesticides on the Marine Environment: Potential Effects on the Threatened Staghorn in research labs in leading facilities and earn significant scholarship awards to further Coral, Acropora cervicornis.” She was also awarded the Stockholm Junior Water Award. their education at the collegiate level. Kevin Rodriguez’s research, “The Effect of the Area of Visible Sclera on a Person’s Perception of Another Person’s Trustworthiness and Friendliness,” earned him his first Founded in 1961, Westminster is an independent, college-preparatory, coeducational trip to States, as well as the Dr. Benjamin Cole award. Christian School serving 1,072 students from preschool through 12th grade. Its acaSophomore Ashley Diaz will be making her second trip to States for her research demic program challenges and empowers learners with a rigorous curriculum from a on “The Effect of Interpersonal Rewards on Cheating Rates,” which also earned her an Biblical worldview. Students enjoy an extensive selection of academic electives, athletic award from the American Psychological Association. offerings, and fine arts disciplines that allows them to discover their God-given talents, Junior Christian Goodin will also be making a return trip to States for his project, “Synthesis preparing them to excel in college and beyond. 30 | March 2014

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March 2014 |








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Every month The Florida Villager randomly picks a Pet of the Month winner. Enter your pet today! Email entries to Please send a high-resolution photo with your entry. Tell us a little bit about your pet…

Animal name & breed:_______________________________________________ Age and gender of animal:__________________________________________ Before

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t’s almost impossible to avoid all the media chatter over stem cell therapy. The last couple Olympiads were marred by controversy after it became public that athletes had been boosting their performance with stem cells, so much so that there has been debate whether or not to classify them as doping agents. Research at the University of Miami Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the Miller School of Medicine has shown that stem cells injected into enlarged hearts will reduce the hearts’ size and scar tissue, improving function of the injured areas to a more significant degree than the present cardiac treatment protocols. A hundred percent of the human patients benefited from the procedure and there were no side effects. Stem cell therapy is being studied by researchers across the world, and is available for humans in many countries...but stem cell therapy for animals? Stem cell therapy falls under the discipline of Regenerative Medicine; where cells, growth factors and other natural agents are used to repair damaged tissues. It represents a breakthrough in medicine, where we no longer focus on treating the secondary effects of the degenerating tissue or organ, but instead will facilitate their regeneration. In veterinary medicine, stem cell therapy has been FDA approved for many years for dogs, cats, and horses. It is approved so far for the management of arthritis and for injured ligaments/tendons. Once injected , the cells have the ability to turn into cartilage, ligament, and bone tissue. They also will facilitate repair of the injured site and decrease inflammation. In animals with orthopedic diseases, these benefits translate into decreased pain and inflammation (decreasing the need for medications) and enhanced repair of cartilage, ligament, and bone degeneration. So far, thousands of dogs have been treated and benefited from this breakthrough therapy. A small amount of the pet’s own adipose (fatty) tissue is surgically removed to harvest the stem cells, thus eliminating potential for cell rejection and the use of embryos. The adipose tissue is sent to a specialized laboratory, where the processing is performed under strict quality standards. The stem cells are evaluated and counted, and a specific amount of cells is placed in each dosing syringe. The dosing syringes are then sent back to the veterinary clinician who then administers the cells, guiding them by ultrasound directly into the affected joints. Excess cells are banked in frozen nitrogen at the processing laboratory for future use. There are companies offering equipment to process the adipose tissue at your veterinarian’s clinic. Disadvantages of this option is the lack of strict quality standards, lack of highly trained professionals handling the stem cells, and the inability to store the excess cells for future use. Stem cell therapy is not a magic panacea. It should be integrated with a comprehensive rehabilitation program by a certified veterinary rehab practitioner in order to maximize the potential of successfully managing arthritis and soft tissue injuries. Like any novel therapy in high demand, it is important to find a veterinary clinician with formal training and experience on the procedure in order to obtain the best results. Stem cell therapy represents one of the few cases where - for the time being - animals have a better cutting age therapy available to them than any allowed to their owners. It’s a real breakthrough where the focus is not on treating the disease, but minimizing its progression. It provides a safer and better alternative than conventional treatments. There has been a lot of progress in Veterinary Regenerative Medicine, and yet there is more to come. I welcome all pet owners to stay tuned for this rapidly progressing field. After all, we all have a common purpose: to provide the best care for our pet. Dr Marta Sanchez-Emden is founder of Animal Health and Rehab Center in South Miami. She is a certified in both, Veterinary Acupuncture and Veterinary Rehabilitation. She has been practicing in Miami for over 20 years and is featured regularly on national TV and radio shows including Despierta America and Tu Desayuno Alegre (Univision) educating the public on pet topics. She is the author of the book “Chihuahuas: How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” available in two languages at See more at

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March 2014 |


DEBBIE DOES DIVORCE Shifting With the Tides of Life



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o one will argue that divorce isn’t a huge change in someone’s life. One minute it’s smooth sailing and the next, the winds have picked up and the storms are upon you. So what do you do? You ride out the storm and change course. “I don’t do well with change,” is something I hear all the time from my clients, but I remind them, it’s not the change they don’t do well with but their resistance to it. We fight it, we dig our heels in, we resist with every ounce of strength this change that has come upon us like a plague, and thus, our unhappiness is spawned. Do you ever feel like you’re stuck? Nothing is moving in the direction you’d like it to? As a matter of fact, you feel like you are moving backward instead of forward? Your frustration level increases by the day because no matter what you do, nothing is clicking. Again, you’re resisting the change in your life. Have you ever considered that you are in your own way? And if so, how will you deal with this? My answer…change the way you view it. Here are some tips to help you move on by shifting with the tides of life. »» Tip #1 - Turn the page. Let go of the past. Recognize that there is nothing back there for you and everything lies ahead. Learn the lesson, forgive yourself and others and turn the page. Don’t keep revisiting what was because it only makes moving on harder than it needs to be. »» Tip #2 - Take control. Let go of the things that “appear” to be in your way and don’t let “time’ dictate your life i.e.; when the kids go off to college, when I lose 10 pounds, when I make more money. Don’t give “time” so much power. You effect the change in your life. »» Tip #3 - Set goals. How can you hit a target you can’t see? Moving forward isn’t always about big steps. Don’t always look at the big picture as it can overwhelm you. Set small, daily goals and not too many. It’s not about a lack of time so much as it is a lack of direction, organization and commitment. »» Tip #4 - This is one of the most important. Don’t get caught up in the emotion of feeling stuck. Refrain how you think about this “season” in your life. Don’t let your thoughts dwell on the negative. Don’t walk around speaking negatively about your life. Positive thinking and speaking is key to moving on. Remember, what you resist, persists. Sometimes, the best course of action is to just take a breather. If you believe and feel that you are stuck, then you are. Instead, believe and feel that what you desire is only around the next bend. Live your life with anticipation and see how quickly you accept change and move on. Debbie Martinez, MA is a certified, mindful life coach specializing in divorce (aka: heartbreak coach). She professionally coaches clients on how to avoid the breakup backlash and live better, not bitter. As a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator trained in collaborative divorce, Debbie gives clients the tools they need to successfully untie the knot and stand strong in the wake of adversity. She brings her formal training and life experience into her coaching practice to empower and educate clients through their divorce journey and onto new beginnings.

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ood, Fast, and Cheap…you can only have 2, all 3 cannot exist. If you want GOOD & CHEAP, it’s NOT going to be FAST. If you want FAST & GOOD, it’s NOT going to be CHEAP. If you want FAST & CHEAP, it’s NOT going to be GOOD. So what does this have to do with auto repairs you ask? Everything! Consider who you hire to fix your vehicle and what your expectations are. Are you getting what you are paying for? Were the repairs needed? Today’s vehicles are complicated and can be very costly to repair. If you are happy with your current mechanic, stay with him and support him. If not, these are your options: the Independents, the Dealers, the Tire stores, and the Shade Trees. Shade Tree Mechanics - Avoid at all cost; the odds are against you. Chances are they are NOT licensed and most likely lack the necessary equipment and training to fix your vehicle properly. You stand a high chance of being worse off than when you started. Also, there will probably be NO warranties for the repair you just paid to have performed. Good luck if you have an issue. Tire Stores - As the name implies they sell tires and related services. They are the “up-sales kings.” Be prepared to be told you need many other services besides the tires you came in for. The managers work on commission and need to drive sales. Therefore, every car needs alignment. This is not true anymore. If your tires wore evenly, you DO NOT need an alignment. Most vehicles today have very little adjustments that can actually be changed. They are usually very limited on the expertise in other areas of your vehicle, as they specialize in tires. Dealers - They represent the manufacturer of your vehicle and honor the warranty your new vehicle came with. Warranty repairs are performed at no cost to the owner.

They are also the only one who will perform warranty repairs at ‘no charge.’ After your vehicle is ‘out of warranty,’ you will be responsible for all repairs or services. Dealers tend to be the most expensive and take the longest time to perform repairs and services. They are usually very large and intimidating, and you generally have no idea who the mechanic is that is working on your vehicle.

Why An Independent Repair Shop?

Good question. Most independents were started by well trained mechanics who felt constrained by the other choices. We knew we could offer better service at a better price. You know who is working on your vehicle each time you bring it in. You get ‘one on one’ attention with someone who is concerned about what is best for you, your vehicle and your budget. Many of us take pride in our training and are constantly enhancing our wealth of knowledge. We also take pride in fixing your vehicle when the other options would give up because of corporate constraints. No matter who you choose - ask questions about the repairs and services needed and the reasons they are necessary. Ask to see your failed parts. If something does not make sense or you don’t understand, ask for an explanation of how it works. If you still feel uncomfortable, get a second opinion - even if it’s just a phone call. Bottom line…you must TRUST and have FAITH in the person(s) fixing your vehicle. Choose wisely. BUCKLE UP, DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!!!! & SMILE M&R Auto Repair is owned and operated by Michael Stoklosa and has been serving South Florida since April of 1985. You can contact M&R Auto Repair via email at, or call 305-253-7499. You can also visit them online at

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March 2014 |


CHAMBER NEWS Chamber South is The Small Business Champion


hamber South is the chamber of commerce for greater south season playoffs. These games will be on Sunday, March 9th, at Palmer Park in South Miami-Dade County, providing leadership and vision in our communities, Miami starting at 1:15pm. This caps their regular season, played Wednesday evenings including South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, and Greater Kendall. at Palmer Park. The members of Chamber N-XT believe that all of the elements needed Since its creation in 1931, Chamber South has become an effective voice for local business to succeed in business are the same elements needed on any sports team. Teamwork, and is committed to improving the economic vitality of the strategy, and most of all spirit, are qualities achieved when community. In addition to serving the business community CHAMBER SOUTH EVENTS IN MARCH a group bands together towards common goals. by providing monthly networking opportunities, Chamber SOUTH FLORIDA ADULT SPORTS PLAYOFFS Chamber N-XT will also be hosting the new members of South is also a resource to the community at large through Sunday, March 9th, 2014 • First Games, 1:15pm Chamber South in an after hours reception at Dadeland Mall our committees, by offering educational opportunities, Palmer Park (South Miami) on Thursday, March 20th beginning at 5:30pm. While this providing environmental outreach, supporting our military, NETWORKING LUNCHEON & NEW event focuses on those who have recently joined Chamber MEMBER ORIENTATION acting as municipal liaison, developing leadership, assist- Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 South, all are welcome. Come join us as our young profesing in small business marketing, championing non-profits, Orientation 11:00 am, Luncheon 11:45 am sionals provide a welcoming atmosphere for all. promoting wellness, and becoming a technology resource. Carrabba’s Italian Grill (South Miami) The following Saturday, March 22nd, Chamber N-XT Chamber South is THE SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPION. BUSINESS AFTER HOURS: NEW hosts their annual SOMI Walkabout, beginning at 2:30pm Chamber N-XT engages the young professionals of MEMBER RECEPTION at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in The Shops at Sunset Chamber South and challenges them to become the leaders Hosted by Chamber N-XT Place. This is one of the group’s signature annual events of tomorrow. Its purpose is to provide opportunities which Thursday, March 20th, 2014 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm which combines networking with a food and drink tour of Dadeland Mall enhance networking skills, create business relationships downtown South Miami. Get ready for a fun-filled night, CHAMBER N-XT’S SOMI WALKABOUT and connect with the community. Chamber N-XT believes Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 • Beginning at 2:30pm and don’t forget your walking shoes! that networking can be different. This month, they take Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar at For more information on any of these events, contact networking out of conference rooms in three events that The Shops at Sunset Place Chamber South by visiting or engage the community. calling 305-661-1621. GENERAL MEMBERSHIP BREAKFAST Join Chamber N-XT, the young professionals of Chamber Keynote Speaker: Eneida Roldan, MD Chamber N-XT can be found on Facebook ( South, as their kickball team plays in the South Florida Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 ChamberNXT), Twitter (@ChamberNXT) and YouTube Adult Sports ( league Registration 7:15 am • Miami Dadeland Marriott (






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LEGALLY SPEAKING The Key to a Successful Loan Modification



here are countless homeowners accepting loan modifications in which their resulting payment is the same, and in some cases, actually higher than their original mortgage payment. Also, the resulting principal balance owed by these homeowners is far more than the home is worth, and even more than when they started the modification process. Still other homeowners end up losing their homes because they are unable to complete a loan modification before the home is sold at public foreclosure auction. These homeowners were apparently unaware that the key to a successful loan modification is hiring an established law firm with an experienced loss mitigation department. First and foremost, every homeowner should know by now that just because you’ve applied for a loan modification does not mean that your lender will stop the foreclosure of your home. If you do not have proper representation in the foreclosure action, you risk losing your home before you can complete your loan modification. Despite what the bank representatives may tell you, the law firm representing the bank may have a different protocol to pursue the foreclosure of your home. We witness individuals in court lose their homes daily due to their refusal or inability to hire a qualified attorney to represent them. The attorneys at the Arcia Law Firm have been representing consumers in foreclosure defense cases for over 17 years, are familiar with all the available legal defenses in a foreclosure case, and have established credibility through years of successful practice throughout the State of Florida. In addition, the Arcia Law Firm is one of only very few law firms with a local in house loss mitigation (“loss mit”) department that works hand in hand with our clients and our litigation department to ensure that the loan modification is completed before the foreclosure. When preparing a loan modification application, it is important that it contain everything the bank’s loan negotiators are looking for, and that it be organized in a certain specific order. If items are missing, your application is passed and sent to the back of the queue to start from the beginning. This process can continue for months, and then you must convince a loan negotiator that you qualify under the various government and/or the bank’s own in-house loan modification programs. This complex cycle is where most homeowners get stuck for months without success, or where they become so frustrated they accept the first modification offered despite the terms being worse than the original loan (higher principal, higher payments, etc.). The key to break the vicious cycle, and obtain a viable loan modification is to be properly represented by a law firm that has both an established foreclosure defense as well as a knowledgeable and experienced loss mitigation department. More detailed explanations of different options available to homeowners in foreclosure, at risk of foreclosure, or considering bankruptcy are discussed in a new consumer-friendly DVD developed by the Arcia Law Firm entitled “Fight For Your Home,” available for purchase on our website. If you mention that you heard about the DVD through this magazine you will receive a FREE copy during the appointment to discuss your case in detail with a member of our qualified legal team. If you are struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments, or if you just received a foreclosure summons, contact the Arcia Law Firm today at 954-437-9066 to schedule a free consultation, or visit for more information. To Advertise in The Florida Villager, Please call 786-505-1817

March 2014 |



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SCHOOL NEWS (CONT.) Continued from page 24

The Art of David Schor

An Internationally collected artist for almost all of his three decades as a professional Artist, DAVID SCHOR is the artist for thousands of paintings around the world. He is in a league of his own. Few artists possess the ability to create the variety of paintings that David has shown us so far. His work may be found in many homes and public places, as well as in offices, magazines, books, newspaper articles, and on television.

interested in promoting GivingBackPacks as their philanthropy projects. In addition, we plan on partnering with education-promoting organizations to increase our market base in the near future,” stated Swerdlow. The most recent “Give” (a term coined by Swerdlow) took place at The Chapman Partnership, where he and a group of his close friends brought backpacks filled with supplies to the children in the facility. The backpacks came just in time for the new year, and it was apparent in the faces of the children that they felt invigorated and excited to start the second half of the school-year with brand-new backpacks and school supplies. “There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the smile on a kid’s face when you hand her a new backpack and tell her that it’s filled with supplies. These kids do not have much, and I believe that providing them with school supplies is essential for their confidence and development,” said Swerdlow after the January “Give.” Swerdlow explained that when families are struggling to place food on the table or clothes on their children’s backs, they are hardly thinking about providing their kids with school supplies. This leads to a lack of motivation and excitement for learning in many kids and ultimately results in poor grades and scores. By giving underprivileged children backpacks with brand-new supplies, GivingBackPacks will be able to provide students with a new outlook on learning and provide opportunities to succeed. You can visit to purchase a backpack online and provide a child in need with a backpack filled with supplies. “It’s simple. You buy a bag, we give a bag – and together we will make a difference,” concluded Swerdlow when asked to explain the program.


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72” x 36” • Acrylic on Canvas $22,000 MENTION THE FLORIDA VILLAGER - $20,000 To purchase this painting or for an appointment to view the piece and his other work at his studio, contact The Florida Villager at or 786.505.1817. March 2014 |


SEEN ON SCENE RIBBON-CUTTING The Village Council had a ribboncutting ceremony to officially open the Hammock Pavilion in Pinecrest Gardens, which was recently renovated. Pictured (L to R) Councilmember James E. McDonald, Vice Mayor Joseph M. Corradino, Village Clerk Guido Inguanzo, Mayor Cindy Lerner, Councilmember Jeff Cutler and Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez.

YACHT & BROKERAGE SHOW PARTY Sunset Harbour Yacht Club (SHYC) joined forces with Show Management and Haute Living magazine to host the Official Kickoff Party for the 2014 Yacht & Brokerage Show on Wednesday, Feb. 12th at SHYC in Miami Beach.

Left (L to R): Amber Barbach, Hannah Bursack, Zoey Theriault, Rachael Bobman, April Donelson, DanaRhoden, and Lonnie Paige.


On Feb. 20, Chamber South hosted its 15th Annual Business Expo at the Datran Center Atrium.

Above: Diana Adams, JoAnn Linn Parns, Mary Scott Russell, Mary Scott Russell and Rose Hedgemond. Photos courtesy: All Star Event Photo,


Deering Wine is produced in Sonoma County by Todd & Blair Maus. Blair is a descendent of the DeeringMcCormick family, who were early developers of farming technology.

Right: Tomi Rose and Mark Strickland.


40 | March 2014

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Be sure to ask us about hot water heating and our electricity generating photovoltaic panels, to reduce or eliminate your monthly utility bill. | March 2014

To Advertise in The Florida Villager, Please call 786-505-1817

The Florida Villager - March 2014 Edition  
The Florida Villager - March 2014 Edition  

#SafesUniverse is the cover feature this month. #Pinecrest #PalmettoBay #SouthMiami #Kendall #CoralGables