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12281621501?profile=RESIZE_710xThe arrows on this sign imply that the private beach extends to the ocean. It does not. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

By Larry Barszewski

A new Ocean Ridge ordinance regulating beach signs has been in effect for two months, but don’t be surprised if you visit the beach and don’t notice much of a difference with the “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs there.

Several of the controversial signs are still just as they were before, though time is about to run out for those not in line with the new rules.

Ocean Ridge police officers enforcing the new ordinance found only four properties with signs not in compliance in September. Certified letters giving the property owners 30 days to make the needed fixes didn’t go out until the first week of October, so Police Chief Scott McClure said officers will be back out the first week of November to see if any signs still fail to meet the new rules.

The new ordinance doesn’t regulate what the signs can say, only where they are placed, how they are positioned and how big they are.

Violation notices were sent to the Turtle Beach of Ocean Ridge Condo Association, 5101 N. Ocean Blvd.; McCormick Mile Beach Club, 6897 N. Ocean Blvd.; and to two Old Ocean Boulevard property owners — at 6000 N. Old Ocean Blvd. and at a beach parcel immediately south of Tropical Drive.

The new rules, adopted in September, say any beach sign has to be situated at the dune toe line, be at least 200 feet away from any other signs, face east-west, and be 18-by-18-inches or smaller.

McClure said Turtle Beach and McCormick Mile had signs too close together. A couple of the other signs were too large and several were facing north-south.

Beach visitors using the Tropical Drive access path are greeted street-side by a “Private Beach No Trespassing Please” sign, which doesn’t come under the new regulations because it isn’t on the beach itself. But once you cross over the dunes, many signs are visible along Turtle Beach to the north and along the parcel to the south.

As of Oct. 30, many of the signs were still facing north-south and at least one appeared to be seaward of the toe line.

“Never have I witnessed anything so ridiculous,” said one Tropical Drive resident spending an afternoon at the beach, who asked that her name not be used. “They’re an eyesore.”

Amanda Rider, who also lives on Tropical Drive, said it’s only the locals using the beach, because there’s no parking for out-of-towners.

“It’s pretty absurd that we the people that live here can’t use the beach,” Rider said.

A Turtle Beach resident out on the sand said the signs aren’t designed to scare away people relaxing on the beach, but to discourage rowdy parties that could disturb the condominium’s residents.

If a noticed sign still doesn’t meet the new regulations when police do their November checks, the property owner may have to appear before the town’s special magistrate in December.

Beach signs have been a controversial issue in town for years. Those concerns surfaced anew in February, when residents complained at a Town Commission meeting about signs at Turtle Beach, placed in the middle of the beach, that warned beachgoers away. The residents said the signs were intimidating and were discouraging people from using portions of the beach that were open to the public.

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12281618661?profile=RESIZE_710xRelated: Boca Raton: Former Gumbo Limbo employees start new sea turtle care nonprofit

By Steve Plunkett

The city of Boca Raton has a new strategy to regain permission to house sea turtles at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, but there still is no firm date for the return of the cherished reptiles, which were ordered out of the center in March.

David Anderson, Boca Raton’s sea turtle conservation coordinator, applied to the state on Oct. 4 to hold “non-releasable turtles in captivity for educational purposes.” Almost simultaneously the nonprofit Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards withdrew its application for the same activity.

Morgan and Cane, the nature center’s two longtime resident sea turtles, were transferred to other facilities on March 14, the day after Boca Raton fired its turtle rehabilitation coordinator, Whitney Crowder, and the assistant coordinator, Emily Mirowski. Crowder held the permit to care for the reptiles.

The terminations were part of an evolving city plan to move responsibility and costs for treating sick and injured turtles to the Coastal Stewards, which already was paying for a veterinarian and medical equipment at Gumbo Limbo.

The Coastal Stewards’ application to resume veterinary care was filed on Oct. 2 and is also pending with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Meanwhile, Crowder and Mirowski have started a new nonprofit, Sea Turtle Care and Conservation Specialists LLC.

“I’m working away right now,” Crowder said. “We’re trying to get a big grant.”

Anderson, who holds the FWC permit for beach-side turtle activities such as monitoring nests and staging hatchling releases for the public, said agency officials have asked him already for more information on amending his permit. He has up to 60 days to respond to their questions, and then they will have 90 days to respond to his answers.

That means no known timeline for the turtles’ return exists as of now. “It depends on how quickly FWC and I go back and forth with questions and answers,” Anderson said.

He said his long association with Gumbo Limbo — he started working part-time there in 2007 — would not speed up the process.

“FWC treats each applicant and application as if they do not know you or the facility/location in which the activity will take place,” Anderson said.

That means it is too early to plan any celebration for Morgan and Cane’s return.

“We are looking forward to once again having sea turtles in our aquariums, but will not be planning anything until after they are back,” Anderson said.

Meanwhile, he reunited with former colleagues Crowder and Mirowski on Oct. 16 when a beachgoer in Delray Beach called the FWC hotline to report a turtle floating just offshore, in apparent distress and drifting south.

Anderson’s team made several attempts to wade into the ocean and net the turtle but it remained just out of reach. Figuring it might be a long wait to see if it would get closer to shore, he called nearby sea turtle stranding permit holders for assistance, including Crowder, who has kept her permit active from her time at Gumbo Limbo.

He also called Boca Raton’s police marine unit, which has helped his team many times with water rescues.

“After an hour or so of trying to get the turtle ourselves, the marine unit showed up and I climbed aboard, easily netting the turtle thanks to the boat’s ability to get near it,” Anderson said.

The FWC told them to take the turtle to Zoo Miami’s sea turtle hospital. Crowder and her former assistant, who has married and now goes by Emily Mirowski Mercier, made the trip.

The path to getting the FWC’s blessing to restore turtle operations at Gumbo Limbo has stretched on now for more than six months. Boca Raton and the Coastal Stewards agreed on April 25 to let the nonprofit take over all responsibility, operation and financing of sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts.

The city started to apply for the permit to hold the non-releasable turtles in June out of concern that it would take a while for the Coastal Stewards to make two key hires, a veterinarian and rehabilitation coordinator. It dropped that effort in early July.

After making the new hires, the Coastal Stewards applied for the non-releasable permit on Aug. 18, but the FWC threw up a huge roadblock on Sept. 11 with a demand that the city give the nonprofit group “ownership or control” of the nature center’s multimillion-dollar aquariums.

That led to the Stewards withdrawing its application for holding the non-releasables and applying for the veterinary permit on Oct. 2. Anderson applied to hold Morgan and Cane two days later.

On Oct. 30, FWC officials asked the Stewards for more details on how much experience veterinarian Shelby Loos and rehab coordinator Kara Portocarrero have specifically with sea turtles.

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Related: Boca Raton: City changes tack on who should hold permit to house turtles

By Steve Plunkett

People who want to help endangered and threatened sea turtles survive have a new nonprofit they can support.

Two former Gumbo Limbo Nature Center employees, Whitney Crowder and Emily Mirowski Mercier, have started Sea Turtle Care and Conservation Specialists LLC, with a goal to “provide specialized care for sick and injured sea turtles, while promoting conservation awareness and action.”

Joining them is fellow Boca Raton resident Samantha Clark, who spent eight years at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach caring for turtle patients. And on the nonprofit’s board are Dr. Maria Chadam, Gumbo Limbo’s former veterinarian, and Dr. Charles Manire, Loggerhead Marinelife’s former vet.

“Within our core group we have over 100 years of sea turtle experience,” Crowder said.

Crowder said she and Mercier have been “working tirelessly” getting the nonprofit up and running and have helped other turtle groups “behind the scenes” to release hatchlings offshore since they lost their city jobs in March.

Their group has a website,, and a page on Facebook at “CareandConservation” where supporters can make donations.

“It’s a huge labor of love,” Crowder said.

She said her new group does not directly compete with the nonprofit Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards, which is in the process of getting state permission to treat turtles at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

“The entire sea turtle community is a family,” Crowder said. “The sea turtles need us, and that’s what we’re here to do.”


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Meet Your Neighbor: Emily Gentile

12281615452?profile=RESIZE_710xEmily Gentile, president of the Beach Condo Association of Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach. She lives at the Yacht & Racquet Club of Boca Raton and previously lived in Highland Beach. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

Emily Gentile gets things done.

The president of the Beach Condo Association of Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach for the last 51/2 years, Gentile has continued to strengthen the organization as it sets it sights on ensuring the safety and preservation of the coastal communities.

“I’m very concerned about the barrier island and the problems we could have in the future,” says Gentile, a resident of the Yacht & Racquet Club of Boca Raton. “We need to pay attention to what can be done.”

As president of the organization — which brings together condo presidents and managers to discuss key issues and identify areas that need to be addressed — Gentile is working with representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation and with FPL to ensure improvements and address concerns of residents.

She also reaches out to her strong links to decision makers to ensure they, too, hear the voices of up to 15,000 residents in close to 70 condominiums the organization represents.

Active in Boca Raton governmental affairs, Gentile is a former City Council candidate and has served on several boards, including the Art in Public Places board.

It was Gentile’s ability to follow through on projects that first caught the eye of the condo organization’s former president, Jack Fox, who asked her to join the board. From there, it was an easy transition to the leadership role when Fox retired as president.

Gentile, who became the beach condo association’s first woman president, was quick to step in.

“I knew we had the right people and would get things done,” says Gentile, 72, the mother of a son and a daughter and the grandmother of two.

Having lived in Highland Beach before moving to Boca Raton, Gentile was an ideal choice to lead the organization.

A New York transplant, Gentile arrived in South Florida in the early 1990s and settled in the Miami area, using her technology skills while working in the financial services industry.

She arrived in Highland Beach in 2004 and quickly got involved, helping to create the town’s culture board after noticing there were few social activities for residents. That board, with Gentile at the helm, helped produce concerts and other events and was the driving force behind “Light Up the Holidays,” an annual holiday celebration.

She moved to Boca Raton in 2007 and developed contacts within the city that have proved invaluable in her beach condo association role. The panel is helping members navigate challenges including high insurance rates and legislation requiring condo recertifications following the collapse of Champlain Towers South in 2021.

She has served on the city’s Historic Preservation Board, Business Improvement District Steering Committee and the Downtown Boca Raton Advisory Committee.

Gentile plans to continue working through the beach condo association to drive needed improvements along the barrier island.

— Rich Pollack

Q. Where did you grow up and go to school? How do you think that has influenced you?
A. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Stony Brook, New York, on the north shore of Long Island. I was very influenced by my upbringing in Stony Brook. The area was the site of George Washington’s Revolutionary War spy ring and the streets were named after the heroes of the Revolution. We were very proud of our history and the heroes that helped make America during the Revolution. I became extremely patriotic.

Q. What professions have you worked in? What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
A. I had an education in computer science in the 1980s and was hired by the head of systems at Chemical Bank in New York. Our objective was eliminating brick and mortar bank buildings and building giant call centers. After I made a name for myself, I was recruited to an officer’s position where I was responsible for writing programs for private banking customers.

Q. What advice do you have for a young person selecting a career today? 
A. Anyone starting out today should focus on what makes them happy. Large salaries are great but not if you dread the work. Find your passion, work on it, watch it grow and put your energies into what makes you happy and successful.

Q. How did you choose to make your home in Boca Raton?
A. I spent several years in Highland Beach. I moved to Boca soon after because of a relationship. I love it here.

Q. What is your favorite part about living in Boca Raton? 
A. My favorite part of Boca is my relationship with the City Council, cultural events, restaurants and the ocean.

Q. What are you reading now? A. I’ve been reading many historical articles of famous women. They sure didn’t have it easy.

Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax? 
A. I relax with light environmental music. It helps me to meditate. Most of my inspirations come from meditation.

Q. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions? 
A. “Treat everyone with respect and dignity.” It helps to keep everything in check and makes us all human.

Q. Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A. My parents were very inspirational and taught me about a lot of things including running a business, how to grow tomatoes. My mother taught me to have insight into why people do what they do. Another inspiration was my godfather, who was a doctor and a child of immigrants. He was afflicted with polio at very young age and was in an iron lung but went on to graduate from Georgetown as a physician.

Q. If your life story were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
A. I asked family members, they all said Meryl Streep. In The Devil Wears Prada she was a very hard businesswoman, but had to keep the momentum of her fashion dynasty. At times I, too, have had to make tough decisions.

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12281613270?profile=RESIZE_710xLittle League teams, parents, merchants and spectators from Broward and Palm Beach counties arrive at the East Boynton Little League Park on Woolbright Road for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Stand Up to Cancer event. BELOW: Members of the Panthers, a West Boca travel team, talk to students and media members while their parents watch and beam with pride. The day served as a soft opening for the soon-to-be-renovated park. It will also be home to an indoor training facility where athletes — kids and adults — can hone the skills for their specific sports. Photos by Tao Woolfe/The Coastal Star12281613660?profile=RESIZE_710x

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12281611673?profile=RESIZE_710xThe new dog park will have a grand opening from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 4. The area at Jaycee Park on South Federal Highway will be divided for dogs of different sizes. Photo provided

A new dog park at Jaycee Park, 2600 S. Federal Highway, officially opens Nov. 4, with hours from sunrise to sunset.

Leashed dogs are welcome at the 5.5-acre park that runs along the Intracoastal Waterway in Boynton Beach. The dog park has two runs — one for big dogs and one for smaller breeds. The park also offers water and washing stations.

People interested in exploring other parts of Jaycee Park will find bocce courts, children’s play areas, pavilions, picnic tables, restrooms and a fitness trail.

A grand opening celebration for the dog park will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 4. Food trucks will be on hand, so bring your appetite as well as your pooch.

— Tao Woolfe

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12281606661?profile=RESIZE_710xTemporary window coverings are just one of numerous problems for the house at 2900 Avenue Au Soleil, which the town hopes will be demolished. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

By Steve Plunkett

A daily fine of $200 will kick in on Dec. 8 unless the dilapidated Intracoastal home between Bluewater Cove and the rest of Place Au Soleil is demolished by then.

In addition, the owner of 2900 Avenue Au Soleil must get a building permit by Dec. 1 to rehabilitate or replace the property’s sea wall, Special Magistrate Kevin M. Wagner ordered on Oct. 20. The sea wall must be rehabilitated by March 1 or rebuilt by Aug. 1 to avoid another $200 daily fine, he said.

The actions came after Gulf Stream cited Bhavin Shah for not keeping the principal building or the sea wall in acceptable condition. A third code violation, for having “makeshift” hurricane protection devices on the windows, would be corrected by the razing of the building.

A $200-a-day fine is already accruing on the main building and its multi-vehicle garage for having leaky roofs. The anticipated demolition would also fix that problem.

Shah, with 2900 AAC LLC, which bought the property in October 2021 and is in the midst of selling it, told Wagner at an Oct. 4 hearing that the tiles on the roofs are no longer made in the same size.

“After the roof contractor got up there, cleaned everything and saw the damage, they essentially suggested that we need to replace the whole roof … which would be almost a $250,000, $300,000 expense,” Shah said.

Shah also hopes to have the town vacate a utility easement that runs the length of his property. Its driveway opens up just behind Place Au Soleil’s guardhouse and weaves behind seven homesites on Bluewater Cove and nine on Orchid Lane.

The pipe that sends drinking water under the Intracoastal to the rest of the town is in the easement on the property. Another line along 2900’s northern edge carries irrigation water to the Gulf Stream Golf Club.

In a complex plan, the developer of Bluewater Cove has already installed an alternate main under the street it built to accommodate the drinking water line. But that would need a new easement to connect to the underwater pipe, which is behind 2900 Avenue Au Soleil.

And the prospective buyers of 2900 are reluctant either to allow the water connection or to demolish the house until Gulf Stream assures them that it will vacate the current easement.

“This is something that we all want to work together to get done,” Vice Mayor Tom Stanley said.

Wagner scheduled a fine assessment hearing for Dec. 15 in case the three recent code violations are not remedied. The home’s previous owners racked up $200,000 in code enforcement fines that the Town Commission reduced in 2019 to $20,000 in an effort to get new owners for the property.

Bluewater Cove originally wanted to buy 2900 Avenue Au Soleil and incorporate the parcel into its new subdivision. But Cary Glickstein, president of Ironstone Development Inc., told town officials in early 2021 that he had abandoned that plan partly because of the property’s “tortured” legal past.

Three of Bluewater Cove’s planned 14 homes are under construction. The next four in the plans are all along the south side of the street, and as they are built will partially obscure visitors’ views of 2900 if demolition does not take place.

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Gulf Stream: News briefs

Bids produce sticker shock — The lowest bid for road and drainage work in the Core District came in at $13 million, or $2 million more than expected. Jockey Prinyavivatkul of Baxter & Woodman Consulting Engineers said he would talk to the two bidders to see why the prices were high. Town commissioners said they may rebid the work. Construction has been planned to start in January or February.

Crew damages Australian pines — More than a dozen of the town’s prized Australian pines along State Road A1A were damaged by a construction crew. An arborist was called in, and the owner of 2817 N. Ocean Blvd. will pay $5,250 to save the trees, Assistant Town Manager Trey Nazzaro said.

Another camera to keep eye on cars — The town is installing a license-plate recognition camera at Pelican Lane and State Road A1A to monitor vehicles entering Gulf Stream from the south. It joins six LPRs that were put in earlier this year.

— Steve Plunkett

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By Larry Barszewski

Moving the headquarters of Delray Beach’s police and fire departments could create new possibilities for redeveloping West Atlantic Avenue between Interstate 95 and Swinton Avenue, officials say, the latest idea in a difficult, decades-long effort to transform the stagnant downtown gateway.

Not only is the stretch of West Atlantic east of I-95 the most significant corridor into the city’s bustling downtown, it is also the major route to and from the city’s beaches and oceanfront communities.

A conglomeration of major governmental and public structures — a mix that includes the Delray Beach Public Library and the city’s tennis complex, the South County Courthouse and the police and fire buildings — has created a dead-zone barrier for pedestrians and visitors, dividing the downtown to the east from the neighborhoods to the west.

But a recently approved $100 million public safety bond referendum could change that. City commissioners at an Oct. 17 workshop said using the money to build a new police station farther west on Atlantic could open the Police Department’s current location to a residential or commercial development that would bring more life to a West Atlantic Avenue better connected to the downtown. And the same idea goes for the fire headquarters, they said.

“This is the perfect opportunity for us to really kind of re-envision what’s happening on West Atlantic,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said. “I would love to see, personally, West Atlantic be almost like the destination people turn off to before they even get to East Atlantic,” that it become a stretch “so unique and so interesting” with lots of places for people to go and have things to do.

Anything that would be done, however, would be in the context of plans, developed with community input, that are in place and being updated. One of those is The Set Transformation Plan, so named because the West Atlantic area is collectively known as The Set, encompassing neighborhoods between I-95 and Swinton Avenue from Lake Ida Road south to Southwest 10th Street.

“I just want to make sure that we are paying attention to what the residents wanted, the residents that live in that area,” Commissioner Angela Burns said. “And that whatever we do will engage the people that live in that area: Housing that matches the income, not necessarily looking exactly like downtown, but bringing those kinds of businesses to this area as well — family restaurants, coffee shops, nice green space. The people in this area deserve that.”

The moves would also allow for development connected to Northwest and Southwest Fifth avenues, the historic business district for the city’s Black community, a business corridor that Petrolia said had the potential of becoming a Pineapple Grove-type offshoot to West Atlantic.

Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston said moving the police and fire stations could make a dramatic positive difference in developing the corridor.

“If we’re able to do that, that’s five uninterrupted blocks without any city facilities. It’s two blocks with the courthouse and library, and then it’s five — on both sides of the street — it would be five uninterrupted blocks with Fifth right in the middle. I think that could be transformational,” Boylston said.

It has been 35 years since the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency first put forth a plan — widely panned by nearby residents who weren’t consulted about what they would like to see happen on West Atlantic — that would have dislocated hundreds of families living within a block of the avenue to make way for commercial developments.

Over the ensuing years, progress has been made, with residents playing an active role. Vacant lots along the avenue were spruced up, and gateway art installations near I-95 welcome visitors. Likely the most significant redevelopment change to West Atlantic has been the construction of the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, in the 900 block of West Atlantic Avenue.

More needs to be done. Petrolia said she sees people bicycling on West Atlantic, but lamented, “They’re not bicycling to something. They’re bicycling through it.”

Most recently, the city has been discussing what to do with land its Community Redevelopment Agency has acquired in the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of West Atlantic Avenue. Instead of using the land for one big project, commissioners are discussing making it available for smaller projects.

“We’re saying, we’re open to whatever’s best. We’ll move our things around accordingly,” Boylston said.

Commissioners said they still wanted the police and fire departments to remain in the corridor, with Boylston suggesting they might make more sense next to and across from the Fairfield. “I think it’s absolutely worth a conversation that there would be a better location for those two stations,” Boylston said.

The library and courthouse weren’t part of the discussion because they are not city-owned.

“The ones [with] the potential for land swapping or relocating would just be the police I think first, because of the bond funds, and then the fire. I don’t think there’s funds for that at this point, but that may be a future idea,” CRA Executive Director Renee Jadusingh said.

Deputy Vice Mayor Rob Long said if the two headquarters were moved farther west on the corridor, they could be designed so that they had passive parks or light commercial use directly on the avenue that would improve the pedestrian experience.

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Delray Beach: News briefs

City manager settlement­ — The city released details of its settlement with former City Manager George Gretsas, in which it agreed to pay $75,000 to Gretsas to end litigation he filed. Gretsas initially demanded $205,213 to settle, which he later reduced to $135,000 before agreeing to the $75,000 offer, according to City Attorney Lynn Gelin’s Aug. 8 confidential memo to commissioners.

Festival of the Arts — The annual Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts is moving west on Atlantic Avenue when it returns for its 35th installment Jan. 13-14. The major event, which in the past has been held on Atlantic Avenue to the east and the west of the Intracoastal Waterway bridge, will be set up between Northwest Fifth and Swinton avenues. Commissioners agreed to the new location at their Oct. 17 meeting. Some commissioners were concerned about the potential effect on traffic, but said they were willing to give the new location a chance.

Support for Israel — Commissioners approved a resolution in support of Israel in its war with Hamas. The resolution “condemns this unprovoked attack by Hamas.” It supports “Israel’s right to defend itself and protect its citizens from violence and terrorism,” and it backs Israel’s right “to exist as a sovereign and independent nation.”

DDA change — Commissioners approved a change in the Downtown Development Authority’s agreement to manage Old School Square, removing the Crest Theatre from the DDA’s responsibilities.

Water treatment improvement — City Manager Terrence Moore said the city is preparing to host a town hall with residents in early 2024 to go over plans for improvements to the city’s water treatment facilities.

Marine Way flooding — The city is moving forward with sea wall, roadway and pump improvements along Marine Way. City Manager Terrence Moore expected the bid process to begin in late October. “Those are the initial steps to bring improvements to that area,” Moore said.

Long reimbursed after ethics complaint dismissed — City commissioners agreed to reimburse Deputy Vice Mayor Rob Long $11,880 in expenses he incurred because of an ethics complaint filed against him that was dismissed by the Florida Commission on Ethics. The City Commission’s 3-1 decision (with Long recused from voting) also approved a request that the Ethics Commission make the complainant, Chris Davey, reimburse those costs. Mayor Shelly Petrolia said she supported paying Long’s costs, but voted against the motion because she said going after the complainant to cover the costs may discourage others from challenging potential wrongdoing.

Advisory board changes — The commission approved changes to its land development regulations that revise what cases go before the city’s Site Plan Review and Appearance Board and the Planning and Zoning Board, and which projects will be able to be approved administratively by staff without going before either board. As part of the changes, the commission plans to refill all the seats on the two boards in November.

— Larry Barszewski

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By Tao Woolfe

When it was first proposed in 2021, future neighbors objected to an eight-story apartment complex at the intersection of Federal Highway and Southeast First Avenue.

Now, the Boynton Beach neighbors are looking forward to something — anything — being built there. They are tired of looking at a 2.76-acre denuded parcel of land surrounded by chain link fence. The property’s sole structures are piles of dirt, crabgrass tufts and concrete Jersey barriers.

The project — originally called Legacy and now known as Broadstone — has been stalled since 2021, but remains active, the city says.

“They have destroyed my property and stolen my street,” said Robert Nebb, who owns Ocean Plaza along Ocean Avenue just west of the Ocean Avenue bridge. The plaza backs up to the fallow site along First Avenue.

“Most of the time I am looking at a brick wall and a big pile of mud,” Nebb added. “If something gets built, fine, but if not, give me my street back.”

The city said recently, through a spokeswoman, that the Broadstone was purchased by a new developer in 2022. The new owner is listed with the city and the Palm Beach County property appraiser as Boynton Beach Apartments Venture LLC, with a mailing address of Scottsdale, Arizona.

The developer is listed as Alliance Residential, also of Scottsdale, which specializes in multifamily workforce and rental housing — much of which has Broadstone in the name — according to the company’s website.

Demolition work on the downtown site was completed last year, the spokeswoman said, and the developer has applied for its site work and vertical construction permits. Those permits are making their way through the review processes of various city departments.

Meanwhile, the developer is working on the relocation of a 48-inch storm sewer pipe, which is necessary to obtain a land development permit from the city’s engineering/utility department, the spokeswoman said.

Back when it was called Legacy, the project was envisioned as an eight-story residential and retail project, which was approved by the city in January 2021.

The city commissioners approved the project unanimously despite rejection by the planning board, and objections from neighbors that the complex would close part of a downtown street and worsen congestion.

The plan included 274 apartments, more than 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 530 parking spaces, mostly in an enclosed garage.

“The project’s materials include simulated weathered wood planks, clear glass at the retail level, black window frames, vertically oriented windows and subtle tan tones that create a warmth to the building while maintaining clean lines,” city staff wrote in describing the original plans.

According to slightly revised plans submitted to the city last year, the colors of the building will change from beiges to steely gray and white with slate accents.

Residents objected to the site two years ago because, they said, the plan would permanently close a portion of Southeast First Avenue, which would terminate the street’s connection to Federal Highway.

The original owner was an affiliate of Beachwood, Ohio-based Goldberg Cos. Inc.

Those in opposition said periodic traffic backups and flooding on East Ocean Avenue would make the loss of alternative routes worse, while also limiting access by ambulances or other emergency vehicles.

The city’s planning and development board voted 4-3 against one component of the plan in September 2021, and 6-1 against two other pieces. Among the concerns expressed was a “rushed” timetable while many seasonal residents were not present to weigh in on traffic and density issues.

The project does not have to come back before the City Commission unless there are major site plan changes, the city spokeswoman said.

No construction start date has been announced.

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Obituary: Colleen Beckner

BOYNTON BEACH — Colleen Williams Beckner of Boynton Beach died Oct. 5 at the Hospice of Palm Beach County. She was 83.

12281595089?profile=RESIZE_180x180Born Sept. 30, 1940, to Frank E. and Martha B. Williams in Noblesville, Indiana, Colleen graduated in 1959 from Noblesville High School and attended Purdue University. After moving to Florida, Colleen worked in the title insurance field as a senior underwriter.

For many years, Mrs. Beckner was active and involved in the annual Delray Affair in Delray Beach. She also loved her travels to Europe, especially enjoying England and all things relating to Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth.

Along with her work, Mrs. Beckner loved her Florida life and friends. Special friends who assisted her in many areas of life during her later years were Kelly Callaway and Katie Jurinich.

Mrs. Beckner is survived by her brother, James A. Williams of Cicero, Indiana, and by nieces Camey Williams and Mitizi Evans.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Beckner was preceded in death by her husband, Al Beckner.

At this time no services are planned.

— Obituary submitted by a friend

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12281585064?profile=RESIZE_710xThe $50 million Onix Delray Beach on Southeast Fifth Avenue will have 26 residential units priced from $1.5 million to $2.25 million. Rendering provided

By Christine Davis

Wellington residents August “Gussie” Busch and Haley Busch, great-great-grandchildren of beer company co-founder Adolphus Busch, have invested in Onix Delray Beach, 318 SE Fifth Ave. The four-story, $50 million residential project, which is launching sales in November, is in pre-construction phase.  

“I saw how COVID affected the real estate market in South Florida, and I thought this Delray project was a great opportunity, and we got the land at a very attractive cost,” said Gussie Busch, 26. “I still think we are in the beginning phases of the Florida real-estate growth-expansion market, and I am bullish on the market in the South Florida region. I am expanding my family’s real estate portfolio and am looking for properties from Jupiter to Miami.”  

The property was purchased for $3.9 million in March 2023, and the project was approved by the Delray Beach Site Plan Review and Appearance Board that same month.

Onix Delray Beach’s 26 residences, ranging in size from 1,400 to 2,200 square feet, are priced from $1.5 million to $2.25 million. Architect Norberto Loianno designed them. Interior details will include 10.5-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, and natural-wood and white-onyx finishes. Amenities will include a pool, clubhouse, gym, grilling area and EV charging stations. The building will also have 5,000 square feet of mixed commercial space.

Mike Bokzam, of the Boca Raton-based 1112 Development, owner of the property, said that groundbreaking is slated for April or May 2024, with a completion date 18 to 24 months later.

“Delray is just a really great area,” Bokzam said. “It woke up in the early 2000s and it offers night life and walking distance to the beach. The town capped the heights, so it’s a little bit more controlled with a small-town feel just north of Boca, centrally located between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.”

Sales are being handled by Lauren Mathews and Claudia Fisher, agents with Douglas Elliman.


Ron Ellish, chairman and CEO of the Boca Raton-based Ellish Builders, recently received a $20 million construction loan from Centennial Bank for Delray Ridge, 2212-2285 Delray Ridge Lane, a gated development comprising 14 single-family homes. This loan follows the $5 million for acquisition and site development that Ellish Builders received from Centennial Bank a year and a half ago. Senior commercial loan officer Bill Bramlett led the financing for the bank. Priced from $4 million to $6 million, the houses range in size from 4,700 square feet to 6,600 square feet.

Delray Ridge is expected to be completed next year and seven homes have already been pre-sold. Jennifer Kilpatrick, a Corcoran Group agent, is handling sales for the project. 


Pebb Capital, developer of Sundy Village, a 7-acre development being built at 22 W. Atlantic Ave., has secured new leases. Tenants include Vertical Bridge, a company that owns and leases communication towers, data centers, wireless cells and billboards; Barcelona Wine Bar, a tapas restaurant chain; and Schulson Collective, a Philadelphia hospitality company founded by chef Michael Schulson. Additionally, Pebb Capital plans on moving its Boca Raton headquarters to Sundy Village.

Joe Freitas and John Criddle, of CBRE, oversee the Sundy Village office leasing. Sara Wolfe of Vertical Real Estate handles retail leasing.

Sundy Village is slated for completion in summer 2024.


The Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency received an award for its project “The Heart of Boynton Village apartments and shops,” from the International Economic Development Council, a nonprofit professional association for economic developers. The agency was acknowledged for addressing issues related to affordable housing, economic revitalization and community empowerment. 


A 7,339-total-square-foot Intracoastal Waterway estate on .83 acre at 2408 E. Maya Palm Drive, Boca Raton, previously owned by the late Patricia Payne Carpenter, sold for $23.5 million to Jeff Norman, president of Boca Raton-based JH Norman Construction Company. The D’Angelo Liguori team of Carmen D’Angelo, Joseph Liguori and Gerard Liguori, broker/owners of Premier Estate Properties, represented both sides in the deal.

Built in 1964 by architect Byron Simonson, a Mizner/Fatio protégé, the home was acquired for $500,000 in 1977 by William K. Carpenter, who later married Patricia Payne. She expanded the property with a guest house and a pool in 1987. Carpenter, a major supporter of local nonprofits like Boca Raton Regional Hospital, died in 2022.


Right on time for the holiday travel rush and South Florida’s busy season, JSX public charter jet service is introducing new routes as of Dec. 21 running through spring 2024.

These include routes between the municipal airport in Morristown, New Jersey, to Boca Raton Airport and Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. Another route connects Westchester County Airport in New York and Boca Raton Airport. Introductory fares start at $669 one-way.

“Our new flights offer customers much-needed peace of mind so they can focus on the festivities of the season and not the burdens of congested airports and unreliable airlines,” said JSX CEO Alex Wilcox. “Bypassing New York City and South Florida’s most congested airports brings an entirely new and attainable level of convenience and connectivity to travelers ready to fall in love with flying again.”


Among Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards winners for Florida, in lists released in October, Four Seasons ranked No. 1, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa ranked No. 2, and The Boca Raton ranked No. 3. The awards are based on 2023 surveys taken by 500,000-plus Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers who rated their travel experiences in various categories.


The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University’s Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic received a 2023 Excellence in Economic Development Silver Award from the International Economic Development Council in September at the Dallas “Recognition Night” conference.

“Global Ventures was created to help second-stage entrepreneurs scale in South Florida. We identified a gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and developed a program to develop it,” said Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park. 


The 2024 Niche “Best Schools” rankings placed Florida Atlantic University’s A.D. Henderson University School as the No. 3 public elementary school and No. 5 public middle school in the nation. The Niche website, which researches public and private K-12 schools, also ranked A.D. Henderson at No. 3 in Florida for public elementary, middle and high schools.

Its faculty was ranked No. 4 statewide for best elementary school teachers, as well as No. 2 for best middle school teachers and No. 3 for best high school teachers.


Jim Kobrick is now Lifespace Communities’ Abbey Delray executive director. Previously, he served in operations roles for senior living organizations that include Harbor Retirement Associates, Meridian Senior Living, and Sunrise Senior Living. 


Boca Raton resident German Cabieses has become managing director of Alina Residences  Boca Raton, 200 SE Mizner Blvd. Previously, he was the regional director for Castle Group, and he was managing director at Peninsula Community and Residences, Aventura. 


Patricia Nooney has joined Boca Raton-based Avison Young as principal and director of real estate management services for the Florida market. Previously, Nooney was president and principal at CRE Analytics Now LLC. She has also worked at Madison Marquette and CBRE.


American Heritage Schools announced that 40 of its 2024 seniors from its Delray Beach campus were named National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists. American Heritage Schools, founded in 1965, is a private, nonsectarian, co-educational college preparatory day school with two 40-acre campuses serving approximately 4,800 students up to 12th grade.

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Philanthropy: Making an impact

12280882283?profile=RESIZE_710xImpact 100 Palm Beach County, a women’s nonprofit organization funding local initiatives in southern Palm Beach County, was formed in 2011 by (l-r) Lisa Mulhall, Tandy Robinson and Cindy Krebsbach, pictured recently at the Delray Beach Club. Tim Stepien /The Coastal Star

A charity founded by local women funds more than $6 million in special projects

By Sallie James

Connect with us, engage with us and be inspired by what we do to improve our community.

That’s the message of Impact 100, an all-woman organization that makes dreams come true by awarding transformational $100,000 grants to nonprofits in southern Palm Beach County.

Since 2012, Impact 100 has funded more than $6 million in special projects submitted by 99 local nonprofits. Fifty-six of the nonprofits received $100,000 grants and 43 received merit grants of lesser amounts.

The Palm Beach County chapter blossomed through grassroots efforts of three women.

It was 2011 when Delray Beach resident Tandy Robinson crossed paths with the Indian River chapter and knew she had to bring the organization south. Robinson and Boca Raton residents Lisa Mulhall and Cindy Krebsbach founded Impact 100 Palm Beach County and awarded their first $100,000 grant the following year.

“The first year the three of us would just meet in bagel joints around town,” said Robinson, remembering how they hammered out policies, procedures and their board membership over many cups of coffee. “The three of us would get together and brainstorm.”

Mulhall, an attorney who writes grants for cities, was certain that another funding source in south Palm Beach County would be welcomed.

“Boy, we’ve really come to find that that’s the truth,” Mulhall said.

The funding source is ingenious: Each member contributes $1,000 a year that goes into a self-perpetuating grant fund. Every 100 members provide enough money for one $100,000 grant, Robinson said.

The organization has grown from 148 members its first year to the current membership of 804, Krebsbach said.

“We are just becoming much more of a sophisticated organization. It’s very exciting,” she said.

After a decade, Palm Beach County has the second-largest Impact 100 chapter in the world.

12280884667?profile=RESIZE_710xJeannine Morris and Kimberly Boldt are co-presidents of Impact 100. Photo provided

How selection works
Impact 100 funded eight $100,000 grants for 2022-2023, said Kimberly Boldt, one of the organization’s co-presidents. Members range in age from their 20s to their 90s.

Grants are awarded in five categories — arts, culture and historic preservation; education; family; health and wellness; and environment and animal welfare.

Here’s how it works: Local nonprofits send in letters of intent for initiatives that need funding. A grant review committee assesses each application, selects semifinalists and conducts site visits.

Then finalists are chosen to make presentations at the organization’s annual Grand Awards Celebration. The Impact 100 membership votes on the winners.

This year’s winners will be chosen on April 30 at the Boca West Country Club. The deadline to apply was Nov. 1. To be eligible, nonprofits must be based in south Palm Beach County. Grant winners can re-apply every three years.

“It’s huge and transformational,” said co-president Jeannine Morris, a Realtor from Boca Raton.

It was for the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, which received a $100,000 grant in 2022 that allowed formation of a second choir at the Boynton Beach Cultural Center. The grant also provided financial assistance for the tuition-based programming, said Young Singers Executive Director Holly J. Stewart.

“Without the grant, I couldn’t have done it,” Stewart said. “Impact 100 also helped me make the connections that made the program self-sustaining. They are an incredible group of women.”

Impact 100 is looking for applicants that have the means to complete the initiatives they are proposing and to produce measurable results.

“You don’t have to be one of the bigger nonprofits that have been doing this for years,” said Boldt, a lawyer from Boca Raton. “If the committee believes you can come through, that’s all that matters.”

Aiming for $1 million
Morris hopes to grow membership big enough to award $1 million a year.

“We’re going to get there, whether it’s this year or next year or the year after that,” she said.

The group meets monthly, but also has a calendar full of events that promote networking and fun.

The organization is open to any woman who is able to donate $1,000 to help fund the grants. For more information, see

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12280880062?profile=RESIZE_710xNov. 11: The Rotary Club Downtown Boca Raton‘s black-tie dinner dance that raises funds to support health and wellness needs in the community will celebrate city visionaries past and present. Time is 6:30 p.m. Cost is $450. Call 561-756-3097 or visit ABOVE: (l-r, sitting) Committee members Alan Kaye, Dr. Allen Konis, Arlene Herson, Jeff Weber, Jon and Bonnie Kaye, Dyana Kenney, Kim Champion, Shaheer Hosh, Gale Wechsler, (standing) Howard Tai, Turi and Feri Turker, Dr. Ron Rubin, Linda Petrakis, Michael Pierce, Jonathan Whitney, Bruce Spizler, Marilyn Wilson, Gloria Wank and Doug Mithun. Photo provided

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12280878295?profile=RESIZE_710xWoman Volunteer of the Year luncheon Chairwoman Nancy Dockerty and Honorary Chairwoman Margaret Blume. Photo provided

By Amy Woods

A fashion show featuring couture from the exclusive retail shops at The Boca Raton highlights this year’s Woman Volunteer of the Year luncheon benefiting the Junior League of Boca Raton.

Also highlighting the 36th annual fundraiser are the 49 nominees whose contributions to South County know no bounds.

“They’re powerhouses,” said Margaret Blume, honorary chairwoman of the Nov. 10 luncheon. “These are people who are busy making things better.”

The nominees for Woman Volunteer of the Year are Elaine Abrams, Amy Adaniel, Amy Aronowitz, Judi Asselta, Ashley Bacon, Mara Benjamin, Katie Miller Busch, Nancy Chanin,

Kim Champion, Pamela Coffey, Susan Diener, Mary Donnell, Nicole Flier, Marianne Forrest, Dre Garcia, Donna Glenn, Ellen Gorringe, JoAnne Greiser, Wendy Hasselman, Sharon Hill, Bonnie Kaye, Janet Kranich, Zoe Lanham, Ellen Leibovitch, Kathryn Leonard, Cristina Lewis, Rebecca Lourido, Fernanda Macedo, Victoria Matthews, Tarra Pressey Moten, Claudia Mineyi Nichols, Lynne Ogren, Betsy Owen, Isabel Parrado, Julie Peyton, Pamela Polani, Vicki Pugh, Ana Maria Restrepo, Jackie Reeves, Claudia Rodney, Kristen Ross-Majhess, Danielle Rosse, Bonnie Schweiger, Lynn Travis Stender, Missy Tschappat, Christine Turner, Andrea Virgin, Lee Williams and Aubrey McCutchen Zeigler.

“It’s very inspiring to read the biographies that the women submit,” said Nancy Dockerty, luncheon chairwoman. “They all are longtime volunteers, many of whom have been nominated previously from other organizations.”

The women will be honored during the event as they walk the runway while a video screen displays each one’s name, photo and the logo of the organization that nominated her, all before a sold-out crowd of 1,000.

“My responsibility is fundraising. Equal to that, though, is making this an amazing experience for the nominees,” Dockerty said. “I have been nominated for this in the past, and I felt like the belle at the ball. That is ultimately our goal.”

The luncheon will conclude with the naming of the award recipient, who will receive a gold-and-diamond pin.

“These remarkable nominees have made such an enormous difference in our community,” Junior League President Meghan Shea said. “We are thrilled to honor these truly deserving women who have uplifted and positively impacted so many lives.”

If You Go
What: Woman Volunteer of the Year luncheon
When: 10:30 a.m. Nov. 10 Where: The Boca Raton, 501 E. Camino Real
Cost: $200
Information: 561-620-2553 or

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12280874872?profile=RESIZE_710xCereal4All founders Luke and Jett Justin. Photo provided

During September’s Hunger Action Month, Boca Helping Hands in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University and Cereal4All organized the Tackle Hunger cereal drive.

In its third year, the drive offered free tickets to the Owls’ Sept. 9 game against Ohio University to those who donated one or more unopened cereal boxes prior to kickoff.

Participants donated 738 boxes, equating to 7,380 bowls, more than double last year’s total.

“We were so pleased that so many people came out from the community to donate cereal— especially with some rain showers leading up to the game,” said Greg Hazle, executive director of Boca Helping Hands. “Cereal is one of the least-donated items to food banks across the country, which means underserved kids and families do not always get to start their day with a nutritious breakfast.”

Cereal4All was started by 15-year-old twin brothers Jett and Luke Justin, of Boca Raton, when they were age 8. After volunteering at Boca Helping Hands with their parents, the boys planned their first cereal drive at their elementary school in 2016.

Since then, they have expanded the program to 15 schools in Palm Beach County as well as to schools in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Nevada, New York and Washington to benefit local food banks.

“The reason Cereal4All is successful is because most other students feel the same way we do about cereal,” Jett Justin said. “It gets them thinking about the happiness and hunger needs of others in a more personal way.”

For more information, visit

To learn more about Boca Helping Hands, call 561-417-0913 or visit

Airport awards $25,000 for aviation students
Now a seven-year tradition, the $25,000 contribution by the Boca Raton Airport Authority to the Boca Raton Airport Scholarship took place at the September board meeting.

The funds aim to underpin the educational pursuits of Palm Beach County students seeking to make their mark in the aviation industry.

“The next generation of aviators and aerospace professionals starts with these students,” said Clara Bennett, the BRAA’s executive director. “We’re proud to be part of their journey toward a career in this growing industry.”

The scholarship is administered by the George Snow Scholarship Fund, which earlier this year honored the BRAA with the Corporate Community Service Award.

For more information, call 561-391-2202 or visit

Symphonia to teach Milagro Center kids
The Symphonia has entered into a partnership with the Milagro Center to serve as the base of operations for the orchestra’s youth-outreach program.

Named the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Strings and Self-Esteem Program, it provides children from underserved families the opportunity to learn to play a string instrument such as the violin, viola, cello or bass while developing self-esteem through positive instruction and encouragement.

“We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with the Milagro Center,” said Annabel Russell, the Symphonia’s executive director. “Our missions and visions are so aligned in the kind of opportunities we want to bring to the children we serve. This is the perfect new home for our program.”

For more information, call 561-376-3848 or visit

Gifts needed for Adopt-A-Family holiday program
Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches is looking for gift donations for children and adults for its 2023 Holiday Adopter Program. 

“We are proud to serve over 1,270 families through our programs and services in fiscal year 2023,” said Matt Constantine, the nonprofit’s CEO. “Through donations to this program, families can have a little holiday joy while taking a break from the stress of their daily lives.”

People interested in participating can donate cash, gift cards or gifts. For a donor form, visit The deadline to participate is Dec. 1.

Send news and notes to Amy Woods at

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12280872472?profile=RESIZE_710xProfessional golfer Morgan Pressel has made a $1.2 million gift to the hospital’s Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute via the Morgan Pressel Foundation. For more than 13 years, the foundation has funded the mammography vans at the institute; the initial gift launched the Kathryn Krickstein Pressel MammoVan in honor of Pressel’s mother, who died of breast cancer 20 years ago at age 43. ‘Morgan has proven to be one of our most committed donors over the years, ‘ hospital CEO Lincoln Mendez said. ‘It is her dedication to the battle against breast cancer that underscores much of her giving and motivates her continued involvement.’ Photo provided

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12280870281?profile=RESIZE_710xThe signature George Snow Scholarship Fund soiree raised $1.2 million to help send deserving students to college. The night of sashays and sequins captivated the audience with spectacular performances by eight volunteer dancers and their professional partners from Fred Astaire Dance Studios. Among the fundraising champions were Dr. Patricio Espinosa, who raised more than $210,000, and Danielle Rosse, who broke the event’s all-time record by raising more than $320,000. ABOVE: Espinosa and Rosse. Photo provided

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12280869086?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Boca West Children’s Foundation came to the rescue of the Fuller Center and the Volen Center, providing funding to help the two nonprofits launch their new Intergenerational Project. The project is a full-time early education program at the Volen Center where seniors and children interact and enhance each other’s lives. Because of the foundation’s $13,000 donation, as of Oct. 3 a total of 12 children now have the opportunity to experience the enrichment. ABOVE: (l-r) Pam Weinroth, Fuller Center CEO Ellyn Okrent and Bob Weinroth. Photo provided

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