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12280868063?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum celebrated its sold-out event that took attendees ‘all aboard’ on an historically rich ride to area restaurants for delicious bites and signature cocktails. It was a night to remember with stops at Sushi by Bou, The Boca Raton and Cove Brewery. All proceeds benefit the Boca Raton Historical Society. ABOVE: Lisa and Derek Vander Ploeg. Photo provided

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12280867054?profile=RESIZE_710xGuests enjoyed a four-course dinner prepared by local celebrity chefs plus cocktails and live entertainment to benefit Feeding South Florida’s mission to end hunger. The meal was prepared by Lindsay Autry, of The Regional Kitchen & Public House, Bryce Statham, of Blue Moon Fish Co. and Spoto’s Oyster Bar, and Susan Taves, Feeding South Florida’s director of culinary services. Feeding South Florida estimates that about 10% of South Florida residents remain uncertain about where they will get their next meal. ABOVE: Alex and Francesca Lewis. Photo provided by Dream Focus Photography

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12280859499?profile=RESIZE_710xHosting 101, a party-giving tutorial held at the Sklar Furnishings gallery in Boca Raton, included stations set up for demonstrating specific hosting skills. Abbey Furlong, who specializes in visually spectacular charcuterie boards and grazing tables, provided the food with this presentation. Proceeds went to the Achievement Centers for Children & Families. Photos by Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Tao Woolfe

Eleanor Roosevelt, famous for throwing lavish parties at the White House during her husband’s presidency, believed there was no such thing as a bad guest.

“A guest is really good or bad because of the host or hostess who makes being a guest an easy or a difficult task,” she said.

Mrs. Roosevelt might have been interested to learn that there’s a slightly different school of thought among Palm Beach County philanthropists: There’s no such thing as a bad hostess.

You just need a little practice and some props.

At a recent party-giving event, dubbed Hosting 101 and held at the Sklar Furnishings gallery in Boca Raton, guests dressed in bright summer colors moved around to stations set up for demonstrating specific hosting skills.

12280862484?profile=RESIZE_710x12280862862?profile=RESIZE_400xAbbey Furlong instructs guests on how to make roses from salami.

At one table, for example, guests — most of whom were women — learned to make roses from salami and zucchini. The “flowers” consisted of many small pieces of salami folded in on themselves to give the impression of petals. The zucchini provided greenery.

“We wanted to offer something fun and easy,” said Abbey Furlong, creator of Sprd the Vibe, a Fort Lauderdale-based catering business that specializes in visually spectacular charcuterie boards and grazing tables.

“I think they’re just adorable,” Peggy Zapantis, of Boca Raton, said of the salami roses. “And they’re so easy.”

The event was hosted by a partnership of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Sklar Furnishings, and Achievement Centers for Children & Families, with proceeds going to the achievement centers.

Napkin folding, cocktail-making, centerpiece creations, wine tasting and the art of high tea were the most popular activities among the guests.

12280861669?profile=RESIZE_710xMimi Haley Meister, proprietor of Tea by the Sea, taught tea etiquette to the guests. Her specialty is hosting fundraising teas.

Cat Beach, a country singer who just moved back to Delray Beach after living and working in Nashville for many years, said she was fascinated by the Tea by the Sea table.

“She was authentic and really interesting,” Beach said of Mimi Haley Meister, the proprietor of Tea by the Sea.

Meister wore pearls, white gloves, a simple black dress, a pink shawl, and a straw hat with a brim so huge it extended halfway down her back.

Her specialty is hosting fundraising teas, which are highly successful, Meister believes, because when tea is served correctly, it forces people to slow down and focus.

“We want to bring the conversation back to the table,” Meister said, lifting the brim of her hat from her face. “Fundraising with a cup of tea is magical.”

She knows her teas — all 150 flavors. Meister also knows how to simultaneously hold an ornate cup of tea while showing how a gloved pinky — pointed subtly in the right direction — can reveal a scandal.

“I think bringing conversation back, especially among those under 40, is crucial to fundraising and just socializing,” said Meister, who lives in Delray Beach and works in homes, businesses and other pop-up locations. “We are lacking in conversation.”

The Sklar Furnishings event was offered during August as part of Boca Festival Days, which is sponsored by the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce.

Beach said she was extremely impressed by the Achievement Centers staffers, and the services they offer to children and families in crisis.

The Delray Beach-based agency works to strengthen and provide economic stability to families while helping toddlers, preschoolers and students do well in education and discover their talents.

Achievement Centers’ four core programs are early learning; after school; and teen and summer camps.

“We were thrilled to have such a fantastic partner for this year’s Boca Chamber Festival Days,” said Julia Corliss, event manager for the Achievement Centers. “Sklar Furnishings went above and beyond in preparation for this event.”

Linda Gunn, manager at Sklar, said the furniture store has been involved in charitable work for more than 25 years.

“We love to give back to the community,” Gunn said. “It’s what we’re all about.”

Beach said she would like to work with the Achievement Centers to develop a music-writing program for the kids.

“I would love to volunteer there and work with kids and music,” Beach said. “Sometimes our ideas align with the universe. I would be super excited if that happened.”

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By Jan Norris

Jeremy Bearman thinks positive. And luckily, pivots well.

In a twist of timing, the landlord for his restaurant, Oceano Kitchen in Lantana, served a vacate order in August.

12280852483?profile=RESIZE_180x180It just so happened, he and his wife/pastry chef, Cindy, had been on the hunt for another location.

“We were already looking for a space in Lake Worth Beach,” he said. “We found the old Social House space on Lucerne Avenue, and started securing it. The closing was set for Sept. 15.

“The idea was to start renovating it for a year, then open next season.”

But the landlord’s order to be out by mid-November put the long-term plans on hold and rushed the opening date at the new spot.

“We didn’t want to close for the season, so we had to speed up and change plans for the Lake Worth Beach site,” Bearman said. “We’ll open in November and stay open till June, then close down to finish the renovations.”

The couple plans a farewell celebration for the Lantana location on Nov. 3, a walk- around event with drink, food and dessert stations for $125.

Bearman has a leg up on the new site, because the Social House had a commercial kitchen and bar in place. “We’d been working on it a while. We’re done painting. Some cosmetic changes,” he said.

The new place has the advantage of both indoor seating and a covered patio out back in its 3,500-square-foot space. It also has a courtyard.

A redesign will happen, just not this season, Bearman said.

The indoor seating will mimic the Lantana spot’s outdoor feel, thanks to collapsible windows and doors out front.

The daily menu will be much the same as now with one exception: no pizzas.

“There’s no wood-fired oven there yet. It would take a lot of permitting to put one in now. So we’ll run it with the other menu items guests like from here,” Bearman said.

Based on what’s fresh and available, the menu will change daily, same as usual, he said.

“Right now, we’ll do much more crudos, salads and pastas. We have a full kitchen with hoods, and the smoker outside.”

But once next season rolls around and renovations are complete, “it will be a whole new ballgame,” he said.

The full bar also will wait. “We want to do it right, and have a signature cocktail,” Bearman said. “We’ll offer a cocktail here and there, but it won’t be a full bar this season. Beer and wine.”

There’s no lunch service, either. “Just the same as before: Dinner only. Cash only,” he said.

He’s staying positive about the whole move. “I’ve opened a few restaurants before. We’re pretty laid back about it. We opened Oceano Kitchen in one week,” he said.

The couple had more time to design and open High Dive, a seafood restaurant in The Square in West Palm Beach — but then the pandemic hit. High Dive never gained its audience.

Bearman doesn’t look back. “The past is what’s already happened. I’m not somebody who dwells on things. I’m staying positive.”

Oceano Kitchen will be at 512 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth Beach, starting in mid-November, open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. Cash only.


12280855854?profile=RESIZE_710xA tomahawk from the Meat Market in Boca Raton. Photos provided

The Meat Market joins more than 12 other steakhouses within a 10-mile hub in Boca Raton. With counterparts in Tampa, Palm Beach and San Juan, it becomes the fourth in the chain.

If the grand opening party is predictive, the social side of its definition will live up to its name. The long, narrow entrance bar was crowded with partiers. Guests filled tables in the open, gold-and-wood dining room while glittering and mingling.

Chef Sean Brasel and his team worked hard to keep food coming, while on-point servers were quick to see that drinks and appetizers held guests over.

Wagyu and Kobe — premium beef — are stars on the steak menu, with a wide selection of cuts, including a signature 30-ounce wagyu tomahawk ribeye. They’re accompanied by a raft of house-made sauces. (Also don’t miss the bone marrow offering; ask for extra crostini.)

Crudos included an iced seafood tower filled with delicacies, such as the roasted truffled oysters Rockefeller, featuring spinach and bacon with a creamy béarnaise. Oysters on the half-shell were sweet and salty, a selection of Northeast varieties. Tuna tartare was layered with creamy smashed avocado, mango mole and a citrus foam.

Several seafood choices give pescaterians a chance here. The Scottish salmon was a table favorite.

Meatloaf, duck, short ribs and sliders are among alternatives to steak selections. There’s a line on the menu for vegetarians, too: Ask and the chef will prepare something for you.

Cocktails were sturdy and creative; a curated wine list matches the menu. One of the three private dining rooms is in the wine room, of sorts.

A brief walk down a hallway from the dining room leads to the atrium of the Renaissance Hotel, the host property for the restaurant. Soon to be renovated with an outdoor event space around the pool and a tiki bar, the hotel stands to draw public cocktail parties and meetings to the area. The restaurant will be exclusive caterer for the events.

A dress code for the Meat Market is posted on its website. Dress shorts are allowed only on the patio; in the dining room guests must wear proper dress trousers and no garments that expose underwear.

The Meat Market is open for happy hour and dinner only. Later this month, weekend brunch and lunch are planned.

The Meat Market, 2000 NW 19th St., Boca Raton. 561-245-6777. Dinner nightly. Reservations encouraged. Valet available.


12280851293?profile=RESIZE_710xSpicy tuna with crispy rice from Sushi by Bou in Boca Raton. BOTTOM RIGHT: Pan-seared scallops from Sushi by Bou

12280852052?profile=RESIZE_400xSushi by Bou in Boca Raton now offers a “patio menu,” different from the omakase that guests order at the counter indoors.

If you can forgo the lure of the Jazz Age speakeasy interior, the more casual covered breezeway is the place for a la carte selections — plenty for sharing.

They range from a wide list of fresh basic Bou rolls, sashimi, appetizers, seared seafoods and light desserts.

Spicy tuna with crispy rice features truffle caviar; seared Hokkaido scallops have yuzu butter and roasted red pepper toppings.

The No More Mr. Rice Guy is sans carbs: crab, salmon, tuna and yellowtail served in a cucumber wrap.

A spicy dish, chicken Karaage, is based on a fried chicken thigh, with Holy Tshili Spicy Everything chili crisp, and yuzu aioli.

Signature cocktails also are available.

The patio menu appeared in the sister restaurant in the Hamptons during the pandemic and proved popular. The menu is available only outdoors at the Boca Raton location, where a covered area protects diners from rain.

Omakase is available by reservation at the 12-seat counter indoors.

The partners in the Sushi by Bou franchise, Erika London and chef David Bouhadana, are Boca Raton residents.

Sushi by Bou, 409 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 5 p.m. to midnight.

In brief
For the ninth season, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches will sell pies during its Pie It Forward campaign. For $30 or $35, pie lovers can buy a pie through the organization, and the money will feed a homebound senior for a week.

Order an apple, pecan or pumpkin pie by Nov. 15 for $30 (Key lime for $35) and pick it up Nov. 21 — right before Thanksgiving — at Duffy’s Sports Grill in Delray Beach (other locations are in West Palm Beach and Jupiter).

Other options: $100 gets you three pies and a tote bag. An extra $5 buys a slice for a senior in the MOW program. Area chefs from country clubs, restaurants and resorts contribute the 3,000 pies each year. For all info and to order, go to ...

Top country club chefs will stage a Chef’s Showdown, “Iron Chef” style, on Nov. 30 at Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton to benefit Trustbridge Hospice Foundation. The public can buy tickets for the cocktail hour and sampling of the entries from stations set around the room, as well as the competition show. Chefs competing include Samuel Faggetti of Mizner Country Club; Troy Tipton of The Polo Club of Boca Raton; Donnie Young of Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club; and Joseph Leonardi of St. Andrews Country Club. Ticket sales and more information are at

Jan Norris is a food writer who can be reached at

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Finding Faith: The joys of holiday music

12280827054?profile=RESIZE_710x The Chancel Choir at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach will perform Nov. 5. Photos provided

By Janis Fontaine

For many people, worshipers and agnostics alike, holiday music is one of the best parts of the holiday season.

“Music is the language of the soul,” says Tim Brumfield, music director at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton. “It’s the great unifier. It bridges the gaps and brings people together.”

Brumfield and the congregation will celebrate the return of music to St. Gregory’s just in time for Christmas Eve.

The sanctuary underwent a total remodel, and the pipe organ had to be carefully protected from the construction mess. It was the first thing the church packed up (hermetically sealed!) and will be the last thing unpacked.

The remodel also removed the carpet and replaced it with a stone floor, improving the acoustics. “The sound had a deadness to it because of that, and now it’s glorious,” Brumfield said. The traditional midnight Mass will be “souped up” with performances by a string orchestra and the choir.

12280835698?profile=RESIZE_400xJody Miller will bring his recorder to St. Paul’s on Dec. 3 in a concert with the Palm Beach Recorder Society Ensemble.

Music lovers drive from Miami and Port St. Lucie to hear music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, which boasts the best classical music performed in an acoustically astounding sacred setting. This annual concert series has been showcasing the most gifted classical musicians at St. Paul’s for 35 years, and the internationally acclaimed Delray String Quartet kicked off its sixth year as artists-in-residence with a program called “The Bullfighter” on Oct. 15.

The second concert of the season is an observance of All Souls’ Day, the Christian feast that recognizes loved ones who have passed, on Nov. 5. The program, “For Us the Living, a Requiem” by American composer Alfred Fedak, is a solemn requiem Mass sung by St. Paul’s Chancel Choir accompanied by a chamber orchestra. The program is directed by David Macfarlane, the church’s organist and choirmaster.

“I began this annual tradition at St. Paul’s three years ago and it has quickly grown into one of our most beautiful and moving services of the year,” he said.

Missy McArdle, a well-known local actress, has taken up the reins of music at St. Paul’s as its interim director through the end of the year. As a performer, McArdle takes the stage with her fellow members of the Palm Beach Recorder Society Ensemble on Dec. 3 for “A Merrye Noyse,” a performance featuring Jody Miller.

Miller, based in the Atlanta area, is “a whirlwind of a man,” McArdle said. “He’s a strong leader and an engaging teacher.”

Miller’s love of historical music and traditional instruments has filled his life with performances, workshops and small groups focusing on the recorder.

You may think of the recorder as that “toot-toot-toot” instrument thousands of grade schoolers were given as their first musical instrument. Made of plastic, they were incredibly affordable, but most of those recorders ended up in the back of the kids’ closets, or were replaced with “real” instruments like the flute or clarinet by anyone with talent.

In reality, the recorder is simple to learn but it easily can transition from “Three Blind Mice” to Vivaldi’s Recorder Concerto RV 443 in the hands of a good player. It would have stood the test of time but for its volume: The poor, sweet recorder is simply not loud enough to stand up to the other orchestral instruments.

The recorder ensemble has been meeting at St. Paul’s for more than 20 years and is directed by Glen Rovinelli, who is “a magnificent teacher and very knowledgeable,” McArdle says. In full disclosure, the couple has been married for more than 20 years, ever since he gave her an unsolicited critique of her recorder solo from “Godspell.” The group has about 15 members, about half of whom will perform with Miller.

New members are welcomed and can get started with a one-day workshop with Miller and the Palm Beach Recorder & Early Music Society on Dec. 2.

Music at St. Paul’s concerts take place monthly at 3 p.m. on select Sundays. A donation of $25 for adults and $15 for students is requested. Music at St. Paul’s season will include:

The annual performance of “A Festival of Lessons & Carols,” which takes place Dec. 10 and features the church’s choir and schola.

The Muse Duo — Collin Holloway and Robert Luke Benedict performing a guitar and piano concert composed by Benedict on Jan. 21.

Bailey-Michelle Collins, a bronze medal winner at the Nina Simone Piano Competition, who performs March 3.

Stars of David — The Judaic Muse II, featuring music of 19th century Jewish composers for the piano, performed by Jose Lopez, on March 17.

For more information, visit

Handel’s ’Messiah’
Among the favorite classical pieces performed at Christmas is Handel’s “Messiah.” While not specifically about Christmas — it tells the story of the life of Jesus from birth through the Resurrection — it’s still a popular piece at the holidays.

The Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches performs Handel’s “Messiah” at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Royal Poinciana Chapel, 60 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach. 561-845-9696 or

The Florida Atlantic University Chamber Singers with faculty, alumni and friends, and the Schola Cantorum of Florida perform the Christmas portion of “Messiah” under the baton of Dr. Patricia P. Fleitas at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 370 SW Third St., Boca Raton. Tickets are $15 at

Now for something new
“Journey to Bethlehem,” a new musical feature film about the birth of Jesus, opens at local theaters on Nov. 9. Adam Anders, a four-time Grammy nominee and two-time People’s Choice Award winner, co-wrote, directed and produced the movie. It features 12 original songs, co-written by Anders.

The trailer indicates this is more of a love story than a biblical retelling of the trip Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. It’s a fresh look at a brave couple who faced down the world with just each other and their faith in God to protect them. Rated PG.

Cinemark Palace 20, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton. Shows at 2, 4:50, 7:40, 10:25 p.m.

Janis Fontaine writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and community events. Contact her at

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12280819076?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Rev. D. Brian Horgan of St. Lucy Catholic Church and Steven Moss, rabbi to Temple Sinai of Palm Beach County in Delray Beach, united for a prayer vigil on Oct. 12 at St. Lucy in Highland Beach. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Janis Fontaine

When Americans see something, they want to do something, especially when innocent children are involved.

Our first inclination is to donate cash, but how do we get the money to the people who really need it?

Locally, we can support rabbis like Ruvi New of Boca Beach Chabad, who joined a mission with other Chabad rabbis from across the United States to travel to Israel and bring supplies.

“We will visit soldiers in the army, wounded in the hospitals, families in mourning. Our goal is to inspire and uplift. To send a message to Israelis that we in the diaspora stand with them,” New wrote on Chabad’s website last month.

The group planned to “distribute funds to families in need” and offer “programs to help soldiers and victims of terror.”

Chabad’s network of local groups communicates directly with friends and family in Israel. That allows congregations like Rabbi Shmuli Biston’s Chabad East Delray to fulfill specific needs for medical supplies, food or clothing. Biston said it doesn’t matter what you give but that you give freely.

Do those pronouncements of people standing in solidarity help? Yes, Biston says, you’re not wasting your time. The Jewish community wants and needs your support. “It’s very meaningful to hear that others share our grief,” he said.

But what about the Christians and Muslims who live in Gaza? How do we support innocent children? What about the children of Hamas? Is it right to leave them to die for the sins of their fathers?

Almost everyone condemns Hamas’ attack on Israel. But what about the Palestinians who have been trying to scratch out a life in the barricaded Gaza Strip for decades? Now they’re collateral damage in a conflict that cannot be won. So how do we help them?

“The sad thing is the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza is killing civilians, not soldiers,” said Mahmoud Elghewisky, the executive director of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton.

It’s just one of the contradictions he sees. “Why are Ukrainians who are fighting for their homes seen as freedom fighters, but Palestinians are seen as terrorists?” he asks.

The border choke-holds by government troops, both Israeli and Egyptian in the South, are preventing sufficient aid from reaching the people.

The military argues that any aid sent into Gaza for women, children and the elderly will be stolen by Hamas to support its fighters. The Israeli military wants the citizens to evacuate. But they’re too poor to leave and too afraid to venture out. A slow death by starvation or for lack of medical care is all the future they can see.

Whomever you want to help, money is the quickest and easiest way of showing support.

Where to help locally
Rabbi New, Chabad Boca Beaches. Support Rabbi New here:

Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s Israel Emergency Fund: If you have any questions or concerns about your donation, contact Marc Fishman at or call 561-852-3169.

The Islamic Center of Boca Raton: The Islamic Center is hosting an open house Dec. 1 for anyone who has questions about Islam. The center is at 3480 NW Fifth Ave. 561-395-7221 or

Other charities to consider and vetted a list of reliable charities and organizations that include:

Anera: It addresses the development and relief needs of refugees and others hurt by conflicts in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan. It’s working to provide humanitarian relief to Palestinians and residents of East Jerusalem. It received a 92% score on Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates other nonprofits.

Doctors Without Borders: This international group brings emergency medical care where it’s most needed. DWB received a 98% score from Charity Navigator.

International Committee of the Red Cross: ICRC partners with chapters of the Red Cross and Red Crescent so its neutral workers can visit detainees in both Israel and the Palestinian territories.

International Rescue Committee: It works in more than 40 countries to help people affected by humanitarian crises, in the short and long term. Regarding Gaza, the organization says it is “assessing needs on the ground and our capacity to ensure critical, life-saving humanitarian relief reaches affected civilian populations.” Its Charity Navigator score is 91%.

IsraAID: This global NGO, based in Tel Aviv, claims it is housing evacuees from Gaza, operating child-friendly spaces where kids can play and process, and distributing resilience kits to families. Its Charity Navigator score is 95%.

American Friends of Magen David Adom: This is Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service — the equivalent of a Red Cross. It says donations will be used to make sure responders and volunteers have all the training, equipment and medical supplies (including blood) to treat injured people. Charity Navigator: 100%.

Medical Aid for Palestinians: This group is responding to the emergency in Gaza by providing essential drugs, disposables and other health care supplies to hospitals struggling to cope with an influx of serious injuries.

Islamic Relief USA: Middle East/Palestine: In addition to calling for a cease-fire, the IRUSA says, “All parties have a duty to protect civilians from harm, avoid targeting civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and humanitarian facilities, and ensure that civilians have access to basic necessities such as water, food and power.”

Middle East Children’s Alliance: This nonprofit dedicated to children’s rights in the Middle East supports dozens of communities with Palestinian children. It is procuring medical supplies for hospitals as well as providing emergency assistance to families who have fled their homes. Its Charity Navigator score is 100%.

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund: PCRF provides medical and humanitarian relief to Arab children, regardless of nationality or religion, and has had a presence in Gaza for 30 years. Its donations provide access to medical care, mental health support and essential supplies for kids in Gaza. Its Charity Navigator score is 97%.

Palestine Red Crescent Society: PRCS was founded in 1968 as a humanitarian organization that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It provides hospital, emergency medicine and ambulance services, and primary health care centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Save the Children: This NGO, founded after World War I, is committed to protecting and assisting children in Gaza and Israel and working to renegotiate humanitarian corridors. It received a 97% score from Charity Navigator.

UNICEF: Established by the UN after World War II, UNICEF says it has staff in Gaza delivering support. UNICEF received a 92% score from Charity Navigator.

UNRWA: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was established by the UN to provide direct relief programs for Palestinian refugees. Since Oct. 7, it claims that more than 270,000 refugees have populated its shelters.

The Carter Center, founded by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University has been promoting peace and a viable two-state Israel-Palestine solution since 1982.

Zakat Foundation of America: Founded in 2001, it is dedicated to alleviating the immediate needs of the poorest communities by providing food, shelter, health care and delivering emergency relief. Charity Navigator score: 100%.

Life for Relief and Development: This global organization dedicates itself to alleviating human suffering around the world regardless of race, color, religion, or cultural background. It was founded in 1992 by Arab American professionals in response to the humanitarian crisis that developed in Iraq as a result of the 1990-91 Gulf War conflict.

Islamic Relief USA: It provides relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Organized in 1993 in California.

Mercy-USA for Aid and Development: This group is dedicated to alleviating human suffering and supporting individuals and their communities in their efforts to become more self-sufficient. Mercy-USA’s projects focus on improving health, nutrition and access to safe water, as well as promoting economic and educational growth and providing disaster relief around the world.

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12280802469?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Palm Beach County Health Care District is hosting free ’Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance’ classes weekdays at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach. Photo provided

By Jan Engoren

We’ve all heard about the commercial that shows a woman stretched out on the floor crying, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” The probability of falling is real, especially for people 65 and older.

In Palm Beach County, falls are the leading cause of traumatic injury, with Health Care District data showing the number of people who fell and were treated within the county’s trauma system rising 145% in the past 12 years, from 1,048 in 2010 to 2,572 last year.

In response, the Health Care District secured a $1 million, one-year grant, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, to spearhead a proactive approach toward fall prevention.

In September, the district began offering free “Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance” classes at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach.

One of the first to sign up was Delray Beach resident Toby Koritsky, 71, a retired educator. With two hip replacements and two knee replacements, she wants to improve her strength and balance. Koritsky was not looking for strenuous exercise and found exercise DVDs too intense.

“This is just what I need,” she says. “It’s every day at 8:30 a.m. and gets me up and going.”

This Tai Ji Quan regimen was developed for older adults by Fuzhong Li of the Oregon Research Institute.

Diane Lundstedt, 67, of Lake Worth Beach, instructs the South County class. She says this regimen takes the focus away from the core and puts emphasis on hips and feet — the first defense against falling.

The eight forms of movement include weight-shifting exercises, reaching exercises, finger mobility, spatial awareness, pushing and pulling, and turning, all geared to prevent a loss of balance.

Routines can be modified to include sitting and geared to an individual’s level.

Practicing this routine for 10 years has helped Lundstedt become more aware of her body, made her stronger and able to center herself if she feels at risk of falling.

Lundstedt says a core group of 14-18 people comes to class and she expects more as snowbirds arrive.

Koritsky says she has learned how to shift her weight from side to side and to be conscious of her feet on the ground, which can help prevent loss of balance.

Koritsky, who has diabetes, says she is beginning to have neuropathy in her feet, another cause of concern. In 2019 while at synagogue, she fell and fractured her shoulder.

She’s encouraged by the techniques she’s learning.

“It’s slow-moving, but good exercise, which I like,” she says. “I found what works for me.”

Tips to prevent falls include enrolling in a balance and exercise program to improve balance, strength and flexibility; asking for a risk assessment from your health care provider; reviewing your medications with the provider to make sure dosages are correct; having your vision and hearing checked and ensuring your eyeglass prescription is up to date; fall-proofing your home to remove area rugs that may slip, installing grab bars in the bathroom or where needed, and ensuring your home is well-lit.

“Falls are a serious health concern,” says Darcy Davis, CEO for the Health Care District. “Not only can falls cause serious injury, but they also contribute to many in our community losing their independence.

“With this free program for all ages, the Health Care District and our partners strive to decrease falls in Palm Beach County through proactive collaboration, education and prevention,” she says.

The district is looking to partner with other locations to host classes in the county and is offering free “train the trainer” courses to prospective instructors, with an eye on expanding class offerings.

The district also will create a fall-prevention video series that will serve the community after the conclusion of the grant.

For Koritsky, she hopes learning these balance techniques and improving her strength will allow her to feel less afraid about falling.

“These movements are great for anyone looking to increase stability and build strength,” she says.

They have enabled her to go longer, farther and with less fear of falling when she walks Abu, her 11-year-old Shih Tzu.

Classes are held weekdays from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the South County Civic Center, 16700 S. Jog Road, Delray Beach, and are open to all. For more information, see

Jan Engoren writes about health and healthy living. Send column ideas to

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Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue District Chief 42 William Stansbury has joined Delray Medical Center’s  governing board.

12280796261?profile=RESIZE_180x180Stansbury was a strike-team leader for the Holocaust survivor vaccine mission in 2021, and that year, he was a strike-team leader following the Surfside building collapse.

“A first responder can bring unique insights into the demands and challenges that emergency health care providers encounter,” said Delray Medical Center CEO Daniel Listi. “This outlook can help ensure the medical center is adequately equipped to manage various crises and that effective emergency response methods are implemented.”

His addition to the board will assist Delray Medical Center’s position as a prominent health care institution in the community.

Stansbury has a personal connection to Delray Medical Center. 

“I was a patient for one month in 1999 after a horrible car accident,” he said. “I know what it feels like to be a long-term patient requiring around-the-clock medical care.

“As an emergency medical services professional with Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, I have been transporting patients to DMC since 2004, working alongside the hospital’s medical professionals. Therefore, I hope to provide a unique and broad perspective from several points of view — patient, paramedic and co-professional.”  


Instrumentum, a surgical tool company, will relocate to the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, making a $1 million capital investment and adding 30 jobs over the next two years.  

Instrumentum will occupy a 9,300-square-foot office space that includes a sterilization facility, which will serve hospitals and outpatient surgery centers in South Florida. The company also will collaborate with Florida Atlantic University to develop a training curriculum tied to the surgical sterilization field.

Instrumentum reports that outsourced sterilization services is a growing industry, as more hospitals operate with limited resources. Instrumentum is already working with the FAU College of Business to analyze the full costs of surgical tool sterilization.


The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University honored outstanding individuals for their contributions toward promoting research and fostering economic development, at its annual celebration of entrepreneurship in October at Boca West Country Club.

12280796098?profile=RESIZE_400xAmong the honorees were two Boca Raton residents: Drs. Robert Colton and Siri Terjesen.

Colton is the co-founder and chairman of Thema Brain Health, a Research Park at FAU-based company. Thema Brain Health aims to shift the focus of dementia research toward identifying genetic and lifestyle risk factors, early diagnosis and prevention.

Terjesen is the founding executive director of the Madden Center for Value Creation, and Phil Smith Professor of Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic’s College of Business. She is an expert in higher education, strategic management, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Her research, covered in more than 80 articles, two books, many white papers and manuscripts, has earned her national recognition.

Send health news to Christine Davis at

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12280792897?profile=RESIZE_710xZev Bailey, 3, of Boca Raton, carries the sensory coral reef he made while taking part in the Discovery Series at the Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach. Photo provided

By Faran Fagen

The first thing 3-year-old Zev Bailey of Boca Raton does when he comes home from a session of the Sandoway Discovery Series is teach his dad, Chris, what he’s learned.

So far, the topics at the Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach have ranged from the jungle to biodiversity, and in November pumpkin volcanoes and ice cream science will be featured.

“Each session is filled with things for him to explore, maneuver and create while learning each theme,” said Brittany Bailey, who signed her son Zev up for every session this fall, including the two this month, Nov. 3 and 17. “Zev is always fully engaged and happy to be there and loves his take-home projects.”

Sandoway has run this retooled Discovery Series for the past three months. Sessions are limited to no more than 15 kids, suggested ages 3-5, and usually take place outdoors.

“Our goal is to get young kids excited about learning and about science through discovery,” said Suzanne Williamson, Sandoway’s director of education. “We want kids to feel like they’re discovering new ideas and phenomena with hands-on activities and demonstrations.”

The center opened in 1998 with the goal of entertaining and educating people about environmental topics through experiential learning.

Williamson joined the staff at the beginning of June, after being a high school AP environmental science, biology and marine science teacher for 15 years.

“I’m so passionate about environmental education, and Sandoway has allowed me to spread that message to a wider range of kids and the public in so many cool ways,” she said.

For each part of the new series, Williamson and her staff have generated a theme.

In September, the theme was Ocean Explorers Academy, and the staff used coffee grounds and filters to model how fish breathe and then used a variety of materials to create a 3D coral reef.

A session showcases an experiment or demo to get the kids thinking about the science process, and then a hands-on craft and/or sensory project that stimulates their preschool minds and is something they can take home.

“We like to get messy, so we usually try to have sessions outside,” Williamson said.

In another session, kids explored the differences in density between fresh and salt water, and then used that understanding to make the layers of the ocean in a jar using liquids of differing densities.

The kids “had so much fun building their oceans in a jar,” Williamson said. “The parents really loved that they could give their kids a messy sensory experience and then just leave the cleanup to us.”

Each class is capped at either 12 or 15 kids, depending on space needed. October’s sessions were full.

Each meeting starts with a question to let kids share anything they know about the topic. Then they move into the experiment or demo, often working in groups to foster collaboration. 

Next, they talk about what they saw and move into the craft or model that they make individually.

“Kids are encouraged to be creative and know that making mistakes is a learning process and that science is fun,” Williamson said.

November is STEM-sgiving, so activities are centering on fall and the great American Thanksgiving. Experiments will center on Thanksgiving foods, like making bread in a bag and simple homemade ice cream using the laws of physics. Kids will even make pumpkin volcanoes.

The Discovery Series has been a program at Sandoway for several years. The staff reinvented it this fall to make certain that kids immersed themselves in phenomena of the natural world and learned concepts that they will need to know in elementary school.

The series targets preschoolers because ages 3-5 are such critical years to shape the way kids feel about learning. Sandoway also offers a Young Scientists Series twice per month on weekends to allow a broader age range of kids to experience what scientists do and to develop a better understanding of the science process. 

As for admission to the Discovery Series, the fee for non-members is $12 per child and $2 per child for members. Each accompanying adult is $10 (free for members).

Fee includes all materials and admission to the center for the day. To reserve a spot, call 561-274-7263 or email Payment will be accepted upon arrival.

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12280788671?profile=RESIZE_710xDebbie and Wally Majors of Delray Beach adopted Lily in 2018, when the poodle was about 10. Lily died in 2020. ’We knew that she had had a hard life, but we wanted to make her senior years the best we could,’ Debbie Majors said. Photo provided

By Arden Moore

I just realized that four of our pets would qualify for Medicare if they were humans. Where did the years go?

Kona, my terrier mix, and Casey, my orange tabby, are both 9. We are guessing that our black-and-white cat, Baxter, whom we rescued from the streets, is about 12, and topping the age chart is our 19-year-old black cat, Mikey. Our youngsters are 4 years old: Emma, a poodle-Chihuahua mix, and Rusty, another orange tabby.

It seems like yesterday that Kona was a frisky youngster who loved marathon ball-fetching sessions. The brown markings on her face have faded to white and she is now content to end the fetch game after retrieving five balls. I recently found a 7-year-old Facebook video clip of Mikey happily stalking and pouncing on a feather wand toy. Now, he much prefers napping by the sunny window on his orthopedic bed.

The graying of America is not limited to people. One out of every three cats and dogs is 7 years or older. That equates to senior citizenship status. Fittingly, November is a month noted for gratitude with the celebration of Thanksgiving. It is also designated as National Senior Pet Month.

Debbie and Wally Majors, of Delray Beach, weren’t planning to adopt a senior dog, but they are glad that they did. They now have wonderful memories centered on a rescued poodle named Lily.

“She was in bad shape with only one tooth, a dislocated hip and her hearing and sight nearly gone when we adopted her in 2018,” says Debbie. “We were guessing that she was about 10 or 11 at the time. Lily was so kind and gentle and such a joy. We knew that she had had a hard life, but we wanted to make her senior years the best we could.”

Lily died in 2020, but every day the couple remembers the impact she made in their lives. At the two-year adoption date, the Majorses treated Lily to a celebration that included pupcakes. Lily happily sported a party hat.

“We tried to make up for all she had been through,” says Debbie. “Lily seemed to give us love every second. She was such a wonderful dog.”

The Majors household today includes a pair of seniors: Boone, an 11-year-old labradoodle, and Tequila, an 11-year-old cat. The couple also has a 5-year-old labradoodle named Cassidy.

“I have had puppies. Yes, they are cute, but they are also a lot of work,” says Debbie. “Dogs in their senior years are really the best.”

The staffers at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach agree. They encourage the adoption of senior dogs and cats at their center through a program called the Grey Whisker Club.

“Senior pets make the best pets!” says Kelsey Otocki, Peggy Adams spokesperson. “Research shows that having a pet helps people lead healthier lives and the benefits are many: companionship, lowered blood pressure, stress relief, sense of purpose and responsibility.”

Animals up for adoption in the Grey Whisker Club are 7 years and older. By adopting a senior pet, you receive a lot of perks that include:

• 50% off the adoption fee 
• Starter bag of food courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition
• 30 days of free pet insurance with MetLife
• Complimentary spay/neuter and microchipping, plus ensuring the adopted senior is updated on all age-appropriate vaccines
• A comprehensive senior exam that includes bloodwork and dental evaluation is conducted prior to adoption.

More information on the Grey Whisker Club can be found at

Jill Merjeski, founder of the award-winning Jill’s Next Door Dog Walking and Pet Services (, based in Highland Beach, does a high percentage of her business catering to senior pets.

“Although we always keep a keen eye on all of our clients’ pets’ health, we pay close attention to senior pets,” says Merjeski. “For senior pets, we perform a house check to make sure that their beds, food and water are easily accessible for them and that the home temperature is comfortable for them.”
Merjeski also customizes play time for senior pets.

“On walks with older dogs, we may walk slower and take more time and maybe include backyard time in a secure, fenced-in yard to customize the visit,” she says. “For older cats, we may include wand toys that we move more slowly and at ground level to be mindful of the senior cat’s mobility.”

Her pet-sitting service also offers Canine Aqua Fitness, which enables safe mobility exercises for senior dogs struggling with arthritis.

Merjeski shares her home with 5-year-old cats named Jules and Izzy, but also fosters elderly cats from All About the Cats Animal Rescue (

“We absolutely love our senior pet clients,” she says, adding with a laugh, “They also don’t seem to get in trouble as much as their kitten or puppy counterparts.”
Got a senior pet? Or looking to adopt an older dog or cat? You can make their senior years truly golden ones.

Arden Moore is an author, speaker and master certified pet first-aid instructor. She hosts a radio show, Arden Moore’s Four Legged Life (, and the weekly Oh Behave! podcast on Learn more by visiting

Enroll your dog in a national study on aging
What are the keys to a healthy, long life in our dogs? That’s the challenge facing leaders of the Dog Aging Project. This is a long-term, comprehensive canine science health study that includes veterinarians, researchers, volunteers and pet parents. The goal is to better understand how genes, lifestyle and the environment affect aging in dogs and future generations of dogs.

And you’re invited to participate by enrolling information about your dog. The project welcomes dogs of all ages, breeds and health conditions. You must have a good idea of your dog’s actual age.

Learn more at

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12280783280?profile=RESIZE_710xConstruction of PopStroke in Delray Beach was in full swing in October. The 36-hole venue designed by Tiger Woods’ company is set to open the first week of November. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Brian Biggane

As PopStroke golf opens new facilities around Florida, from Port St. Lucie to Fort Myers to Sarasota to Orlando, the obvious question is: What is PopStroke, anyway?
Tim Glita, operations manager of the Delray Beach PopStroke, which plans to open the week of Nov. 6, explained.

“It’s a mini-golf experience, but not your traditional miniature golf,” Glita said of the 36-hole layout on Federal Highway just north of George Bush Boulevard.

“Traditional mini-golf features clowns’ mouths, lighthouses, alligators and windmills, all that fun stuff,” Glita said. “We look for a real-life putting experience, something you see on a traditional 18-hole golf course. Our courses are designed by Tiger Woods’ company, TGR Design. It’s a unique putting experience at every course.”

PopStroke is the brainchild of Jupiter businessman Greg Bartoli, who founded the company in 2019 and got a big boost when Woods signed on as a partner in the fall of that year. Manufacturer Taylor Made came aboard a year ago, and another notable addition is consultant Ken Kennerly, former longtime executive director of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens.

The two 18-hole courses in Delray Beach are intertwined yet different. The Black course is a bit easier and ADA accessible, meaning it can be navigated by strollers and wheelchairs. The Blue course features more sloped greens. Greens are artificial turf, with the rough slightly taller and sand traps painted white.

Only putters are allowed.

“They’re all a combination of 36 unique putting holes, so every PopStroke has a different experience,” Glita said. Delray will be the sixth such facility in Florida; Port St. Lucie was the first to open about a year ago and Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa/Wesley Chapel and Orlando have followed.

And each has more than golf. A restaurant and full-service sports bar overlook the courses, offering everything from burgers to local craft beers and cocktails. Ice cream will be available in the pro shop. Another bar sits among the courses so patrons can order drinks and food from their phones. The tees have cup holders, and misters will be in operation during summer play.

There’s also a gaming area featuring foosball, table tennis and cornhole.

Glita said pricing has yet to be determined in Delray Beach but the Port St. Lucie venue charges $20 per person for the whole day with $16 for seniors over 60 and military, active or retired. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and 9 a.m. to midnight Thursday to Saturday, with parking available for up to 100 cars and valet service available.

The facility is about a half-mile north of the mini-course Putt’N Around, which has been in business 13 years. Manager Kaylee King said ownership endorsed the new project when it came before the city. “Our owner is very pro-Delray,” King said. “The feeling was what’s good for Delray is good for us.

“It’s different. It’s date-night, partying, while we’re kind of low-key, family-oriented, we decorate for the holidays. I’m kind of excited for it. They might hurt us the first few months, but they’re pretty different.”

Three PopStrokes have opened in other states — one in Katy, Texas, and two in the Phoenix area — and Glita said plans are to open eight to 10 more every year going forward.

One of those is set for Wellington next year and another in mid-to-late 2024 in West Palm Beach near the airport, which Glita said will be the flagship for the company.

“That will be two stories, with five bars, multiple dining facilities, a playground, VIP lounge on the second floor, and party and event space for up to 200,” he said. “We’re based in Jupiter so that will be the closest to us.”

For more information, see

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12280780083?profile=RESIZE_710xAlan Zaremba holds a peacock bass he caught in a southern Palm Beach County canal. Photos by Steve Waters/The Coastal Star and provided

By Steve Waters

Although South Florida is renowned for its largemouth bass fishing, exotic fish such as peacock bass and snakeheads have established themselves as bucket-list fish for both local and visiting anglers.

One of the best places to catch the latter two species is Lake Ida and the canals that are connected to the lake. They extend from Boca Raton to Boynton Beach.

Peacock bass were stocked in several canals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in the mid-1980s by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission fisheries biologist Paul Shafland. His goals were to provide recreational fishing opportunities and for the peacocks, which feed primarily on fish, to control the expanding populations of illegally introduced exotic species such as tilapia and Mayan cichlids.

Shafland’s plan was a huge success. The colorful fish that are native to South America’s Amazon River and its unspoiled jungle tributaries are equally at home in the bustling canals of Palm Beach County. After being stocked, peacock bass migrated north into the Lake Ida chain.

Some of the best fishing is in the C-15 Canal along the Boca Raton-Delray Beach line, the Hunters Run canal just north of the boat ramps at Lake Ida Park in Delray Beach, and the Boca Rio canal that runs along the western side of Florida’s Turnpike in Boca Raton.

12280781093?profile=RESIZE_710xAngler Ed Connell shows off one of 38 big snakeheads he caught on a single fishing trip with Zaremba. BELOW RIGHT: Snakeheads are known to be attracted to frog lures floating on the surface of the water.

12280781481?profile=RESIZE_400xThose same waterways also are home to snakeheads. According to the FWC, bullseye snakeheads are native to Pakistan, Malaysia and southern China. They were first documented locally in 2000. No one knows for certain how they got here, although they were sold by some pet shops, so it’s likely that aquarium owners released the fish, which can grow to about 15 pounds.

What anglers do know is that snakeheads love to chase down lures fished on the surface, they fight hard and their firm, white flesh is low in mercury and can be prepared in a number of tasty ways.

Capt. Alan Zaremba, who specializes in fishing for snakeheads and peacock bass, said his anglers can catch both species on the same trip using hard jerkbaits and topwater plugs in local canals. Snakeheads also bite soft-plastic frogs and jerkbaits fished on the surface.

“To me, this is the best time to go after snakeheads,” Zaremba said. “They seem to be done with all of their spawning; they’re done with protecting their young. And they’re sitting underneath the cover waiting for food, and they’re feeding right now.”

One of his best days was just before a November cold front when he guided his angler to 20 snakeheads. He later smashed that personal best when he and his customer Ed

Connell caught and released 38 snakeheads up to 11 pounds.

They were fishing in shallow, narrow, shabby looking canals in Boca Raton. Snakeheads breathe air, so water quality does not matter to them. They do like canals lined with vegetation, where they wait to ambush small fish as well as frogs, lizards, snakes and baby ducks and birds.

“When I get somebody who wants to target snakeheads, I take them into my ugliest canals and that’s where the best fishing is,” Zaremba said, adding that many of those canals are 4-5 feet deep and shallower. “That’s not to say you can’t find snakeheads in deeper canals, but the ones that are actively feeding are usually in canals with not much water in them, and they’re usually very narrow.”

Zaremba said snakeheads are wary, so long casts are essential to avoid spooking the fish.

He rigs his spinning outfits with 15- and 20-pound braided line, which casts farther than monofilament line of the same strength, and has his anglers retrieve the lures across the surface and parallel to the bank.

When you see the wake of a snakehead following your lure, keep reeling until the fish hits it. Then drop the rod tip, reel up the slack line and set the hook. If all goes well, you can check off the snakehead from your bucket list and even take it home for dinner.

Outdoors writer Steve Waters can be reached at

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12280773486?profile=RESIZE_710xThe quartzite oversize kitchen island in Aegean teal has USB outlets, microwave and undercounter lighting. Wine fridge is in the butler’s pantry. BELOW RIGHT: The loggia offers Intracoastal views. Photos provided

12280775464?profile=RESIZE_584xThis luxury townhouse in Ocean Ridge has been renovated from stem to stern and is truly a yachtsman’s dream home.

A rare find with two private, completely equipped, protected dock slips that will hold up to two 60-foot yachts, this home has unobstructed views of a nature preserve and the Intracoastal Waterway. Located in the gated enclave of Pelican Cove, with only 40 waterfront residences, it is just a mile or so from the Boynton Inlet for easy ocean access, and the community is mere steps to its dedicated beach access.

The three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath residence is 2,972 square feet of living area under air, complete with impact windows. It also has a two-zone air conditioning system and 40-by-40-inch porcelain flooring. Solar screen window treatments and custom overhead lighting and light fixtures are part of the design. Patio ceilings are painted pecky cypress.

The new privacy glass front door welcomes you, but the renovated kitchen is the true heart of the townhome. It has custom cabinets in Aegean teal with a sea glass backsplash, a new SubZero refrigerator, new Wolf induction range and a new ZLine wall mount range hood in stainless steel, a Matte graphite farmhouse sink with a high-arc kitchen faucet, and an instant hot/cold filtered water faucet.

Offered at $3,170,000.

Contact Valerie Coz, senior director of luxury sales, Douglas Elliman, 561-386-8011,

12280776066?profile=RESIZE_710xA modern floating walnut staircase with walnut railing leads from the living room to the second floor.

12280776283?profile=RESIZE_710xA custom designed Dell Anno Italian master suite closet has glass front dresser drawers.

Each month, The Coastal Star features a house for sale in our community. The House of the Month is presented as a service to our advertisers and provides readers
with a peek inside one of our homes.

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Boca Raton’s Office of Sustainability is inviting residents to complete a sustainability survey, which is intended to get input that will guide the city’s sustainability initiatives over the next five years.

The survey allows residents to express their priorities, propose ideas and offer their suggestions on how the city can effectively address sustainability issues.

The city’s first Sustainability Action Plan was created in 2019. The survey results will be used to create the city’s second, updated plan.

“Community feedback in the strategic planning phase of our Sustainability Action Plan is a top priority,” said Sustainability Manger Lindsey Roland Nieratka. “We encourage all residents to participate.”

The survey is available at and on the city’s website,

— Mary Hladky

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12239533682?profile=RESIZE_710xYvonne Odom with her granddaughter Coco Gauff, who holds her U.S. Open trophy during a visit home. BELOW RIGHT: Yvonne Odom, then Yvonne Lee, was the first Black student to attend Seacrest High (now Atlantic High), in 1961. Photos provided

12239536857?profile=RESIZE_400xBy Brian Biggane

Arriving home after watching a grandson’s baseball game in Fort Lauderdale, Yvonne Odom was getting phone calls and texts to join friends and relatives at a watch party for her granddaughter.

Her granddaughter is Cori “Coco” Gauff, who was playing to win the women’s championship at the U.S. Open last month in New York.

Odom, who lives in Delray Beach, didn’t want to go. Knowing that Coco had already lost the first set, she wasn’t eager to set herself up for disappointment.

“I like to watch her matches when they’re over, when I know she’s won, because I get so nervous,” said Odom, 77. “My husband didn’t want to go because he doesn’t like crowds. But I’m getting these texts: ‘Where are you? Everybody’s waiting for you.’

“My niece offered to drive me, and I got a standing ovation when I walked in. Then I saw so many people I knew: people from the church, (daughter) Candi’s sorority sister, the vice mayor, the (city) commissioner. So, I sat down and of course Coco won the second set and I said, ‘Here it comes.’”

Gauff dominated the final set and defeated Aryna Sabalenka, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, to capture her first Grand Slam tennis title at age 19.

“When she hit that point I lost it,” Odom recalled of the winning shot. “My phone rang then, and it was Coco but I didn’t answer because I was almost on my knees. My niece answered and she didn’t recognize her voice so she hung up. But I was just out of it. I was so relieved, so happy, because I knew she worked so hard.”


12239544263?profile=RESIZE_710xOdom wears a shirt bearing letters of her granddaughter Coco Gauff’s first name. Odom is a retired teacher with 45 years in Palm Beach County public schools. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

Family ties in Delray
The Odom/Gauff family has achieved almost legendary status in Delray Beach. Yvonne’s father, Randolph Lee, brought the family south from Daytona Beach in the late 1950s when he was named pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist in Boynton Beach, where he served 42 years. Yvonne became the first Black student to integrate Seacrest (now Atlantic) High in 1961.

Yvonne and Eddie Odom’s daughter Candi was a track star at Atlantic who earned Athlete of the Year honors from The Palm Beach Post and a scholarship to Florida State University. Her husband, Corey Gauff, grew up across the street from Pompey Park and played basketball at Spanish River High and Georgia State University. Small wonder, then, that their daughter, Coco, is one of the best athletes on the women’s tennis tour.

Married in 2001, Corey and Candi moved to Atlanta after Coco was born on March 13, 2004, when Corey got a lucrative job in the health care industry. Candi was a schoolteacher.

12239544087?profile=RESIZE_584xCorey and Candi Gauff pose with their daughter, Coco Gauff, after her U.S. Open championship. Photo provided

“Coco was premature and I think I know why,” Odom said. “We were at my brother’s house the night before and a cat ran past and Candi jumped. The next day she called and said, ‘Mama, my water broke.’ I was still planning a shower for her and went ahead and had it anyway. I blew up a picture of Coco and hung it on the wall.”

Odom recalled going to pick up Coco from nursery school when she was 3 or 4 and the children had all been asked their favorite foods. “A lot of them said McDonald’s or French fries and Coco said broccoli. I asked Candi about it, and she said, ‘Well, I do feed my kids vegetables.’”

Coco started playing tennis at age 6 and showed so much promise that a year later the family decided to return to Delray Beach, where Coco could get better instruction. Both parents also quit their jobs — a decision that didn’t sit well with Yvonne — with the agreement Candi would home-school Coco.

“I didn’t like that because Candi had 19 years as a teacher,” said Odom, herself a retired teacher. “It wasn’t OK with me. I told my husband, ‘Oh no.’ But he said, ‘Vonnie, that’s not your child.’ So, I didn’t talk about it anymore.”

The family spent two years living with Yvonne and her husband, Eddie — who is better known by his nickname Red — while Coco’s game blossomed. At age 8 she won a national Little Mo tournament and at 10 it was decided she would move to France to work with Serena Williams’ longtime coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.

“She had a poster of Serena hanging in her room. When Venus and Serena moved here from Compton, they were students at Carver,” Yvonne Odom said of the middle school in Delray Beach. “They were in sixth and seventh grade, and (father) Richard used to come and pick them up early.”12239544862?profile=RESIZE_400xAt age 13, Coco Gauff entered a 5K race and won the entire women’s division. Photo provided

Wimbledon splash at 15 ...
Meanwhile, Coco’s budding athletic prowess was becoming evident in other ways. At age 12 she showed promise in a youth basketball league, and at 13 she entered a 5K race and not only won her age group but the entire women’s division. It was about that time, with her tennis results becoming more and more impressive, Corey decided she would concentrate on that sport.

At age 10 years and 3 months Coco won the USTA National Clay Court 12-and-under championship — becoming its youngest winner ever — and at 14 she won the prestigious Orange Bowl junior tournament in Miami. The same year she won the French Open junior girls title on clay and became the No. 1-ranked junior in the world.

She also turned pro in 2018 and just over a year later was invited to play in the qualifying rounds on grass at Wimbledon. After winning three matches to reach the main draw, she learned her first opponent would be five-time champion Venus Williams.

“Oh my God,” Yvonne Odom said. “I was very skeptical she would beat Venus, but I remember this guy [family friend] Dwayne Randolph said, ‘We’re going to put Venus out to pasture.’”

Gauff won that match and three more at Wimbledon, exploding onto the international scene as a 15-year-old.

... and some difficult losses
Gauff’s next big splash came at the 2022 French Open, where she reached the final before losing to No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek 6-1, 6-3.

“We boo-hoo cried because she finished second,” Odom said. “That’s a term we use. But when I saw her I said, ‘Listen, God just decided this wasn’t your time yet. Because sometimes you get things and you’re not ready for it. So, cry 30 seconds, that’s my rule. You cry 30 seconds and get back to work.

“You don’t know if that stuck, but as a teacher I learned you don’t speak ill of anybody. She called herself stupid one time. She lost a point and said to herself, ‘What’s the matter, are you stupid?’ When that match was over I told her, ‘As long as you live, don’t ever refer to yourself as stupid. Uh-uh. That’s not going to happen. Because you’re not.’”

After a disappointing run early this year that culminated with a first-round loss at Wimbledon, Gauff switched coaches, signing on with Spaniard Pere Riba and one-time American star Brad Gilbert. She promptly won two big hard-court events in the United States that put her among the favorites in the Open.

“I like what Brad said,” Odom said. “He said, ‘I’m not going to change her forehand; you don’t just go and change somebody’s forehand.’”

Eddie Odom, Yvonne’s husband and Coco’s grandfather, was a longtime baseball and football coach after whom the baseball field at Pompey Park is named.

“You should see Coco practice, and my husband says, ‘The team that works the hardest is supposed to win.’ He doesn’t say will, but should,” Yvonne Odom said.

An active grandmother
Upon winning the Open title, Coco grabbed the microphone from interviewer Mary Joe Fernandez and thanked everyone from her parents to the fans, including her grandparents.

Her composure and her willingness to address social issues has led some to promote her as a spokeswoman for her generation.

“To me it’s a natural gift,” Yvonne said. “I’m a product of a Baptist minister, so we’re used to talking, and we have oratory contests in the church, you do the Sunday speeches and all that.”

Odom was equally unflappable when she was pulled away from her friends at Carver High School and enrolled at Seacrest early in her sophomore year back in 1961.

“People ask me if it was difficult, but I didn’t see it that way,” she said. “I went to everything. I ran for political office; I won the primary but lost the general election. We went to the football games, the proms.”

Odom had opportunities to go to bigger colleges, but a lack of money led her to what was then Palm Beach Junior College, then Florida Atlantic University. She went on to get her master’s at Nova Southeastern and taught in the Palm Beach County school system for 45 years.

One day at Delray Elementary she learned the racism she had worked as a teenager to diminish if not erase was still alive and well.

“I was standing at the door to my room and this girl was dragging her momma down the hall to meet me,” she said. “When that lady looked at me her face turned red, and she had her kid removed from my class the next day. My administrator said, ‘Well, Yvonne, that’s her loss.’”

Odom remains active in the community and is working to resuscitate the former Hilltoppers Quarterback Club, which was formed back in the Seacrest days but was brought down by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re teaming up with the Delray Historical Society to get 200 businessmen to pay $500 each to proportionately divide between Atlantic and Village Academy,” Odom said.

“I’ve already donated $10,000 as president of the Delray Beach CDC,” the Community Development Corporation. “We’ve got 21 members so far but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We can’t have these kids spending their own money just to play football.”

What’s next for Gauff
Gauff’s U.S. Open victory improved her world ranking from No. 6 to No. 3. She has not yet been celebrated by the city of Delray Beach but has been feted in gatherings involving friends and family. She has two younger brothers, Codey and Cameron.

Gauff returned to play early this month and won her first two matches in Beijing. She planned to play a couple of tournaments before the WTA Finals come along at the end of October in Cancun, Mexico, and then the Billie Jean King Cup in November in Spain.

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12239530059?profile=RESIZE_710xOur Arts Season Preview offers a comprehensive look at cultural events across South Florida

ABOVE: Students (l-r) Angel Jean (University of South Florida), Dante Estevez, Austin Lois and Mason Lois (all from Florida Atlantic University) admire work by Dennis Cardelús Jones on Sept. 14 during an Art Walk in the Boynton Beach Art District.
BELOW: South Florida-based singer, artist and entertainer Ana Kiri (aka Anastasiia Kirilik) plays the ukulele with South Florida musician and songwriter Cailey Weaver during Boca End of Summer Festival on Sept. 24 at Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Photos by Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star


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Commissioners seek ways around new law on personal finances

By Larry Barszewski

Manalapan commissioners want to know if there’s any way local elected officials can get around a new state law — other than by resigning their seats by Dec. 30 — that requires them to make public more of their personal financial information.

“I really think it’s opening up the door to some very serious problems,” said Vice Mayor John Deese, who has written the governor seeking his assistance in changing the law. “We could lose our entire commission over this.”

Some ideas mentioned at the Sept. 25 commission meeting included putting assets in a spouse’s name, turning the Town Commission into an appointed body — though that would require a referendum and raised the question of who would do the appointing — or simply refusing to file the required form and paying the penalty instead.

Commissioners say the increased requirements don’t make sense for officials in small towns, especially in places like Manalapan where it’s difficult enough to get people to fill the elected positions, where commissioners earn no salary and where the limited candidate pool includes business executives who may not want their financial portfolios or client names available online for anyone to see.

“There aren’t any gold bars or cash in my suits or anything like that,” said Mayor Stewart Satter, who has suggested he may resign instead of complying with the rules of the new law. He said the requirements are “political window-dressing” and won’t better protect the public from unscrupulous officials.

Commissioners plan to hold a workshop meeting Oct. 24 to get more information about the law and what options are available. It’s possible, if a majority of the commission would rather resign than comply, that Gov. Ron DeSantis would fill the vacancies. Officials said nothing in the Town Charter would require DeSantis to pick town residents for the seats.

The new state law requires mayors and other municipal elected officials to disclose their full net worth, certain clients and the aggregate value of jewelry, art and other household goods. It requires the information to be filed in an online system and available to the public who want to see it. Those who don’t comply can face a penalty of up to $20,000 and possible removal from office.

Town elected officials currently must fill out Form 1, which asks for sources of income, liabilities and interests in businesses, but without specific dollar amounts. Starting Jan. 1, they will have to fill out the more detailed Form 6, which is already required to be filed by the governor, lieutenant governor, legislators, county commissioners, sheriffs and various other officials.

At the commission’s Sept. 18 meeting, state Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, said it’s virtually impossible for changes to be made to the law before it takes effect in January. Powell, who voted against the new law, suggested the commission work toward building a coalition with officials from other towns to push for changes to the law when the Florida Legislature convenes next year.

Budget, tax rate approved
Commissioners unanimously voted Sept. 25 to keep the town’s tax rate the same, at $3 per $1,000 of assessed value. That represents an overall 13.35% tax increase for existing properties, not including new construction, because of rising property values in town.

The commission also adopted a $7.88 million general fund budget — which covers the town’s day-to-day operations — for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, a 12.8% increase. The general fund budget includes $166,132 to cover the cost of a 7% raise for town employees, $291,944 for insurance costs, $274,500 for the security guard contract on Point Manalapan, and $2 million for the fire-rescue contract with Palm Beach County.

In other news:
• Commissioners approved a site plan revision for Thaikyo Asian Restaurant, 201 S. Ocean Blvd., in Plaza Del Mar. The changes include an extension of the awning-covered outdoor dining area on the north side of the building farther to the east (the front of the building). It will include a lounge area for patrons waiting to be seated and a window opening for bar service. The restaurant plans to make the changes in the spring, following peak season, said project manager Kermit Schilling.
• Town Manager Linda Stumpf told commissioners that former Mayor Peter Blum, who died in January, included the Manalapan Library in his will. P

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By Larry Barszewski

Ocean Ridge’s two newest town commissioners plan to leave office before the end of the year.

12239521292?profile=RESIZE_180x18012239523470?profile=RESIZE_180x180Commissioners Philip Besler and Ken Kaleel, two former office holders appointed to join the board again in April following the resignations of Martin Wiescholek and Kristine de Haseth, say they won’t continue on the board past December.

Besler announced his decision at the Town Commission’s Oct. 2 meeting, saying it was being done for “personal reasons.” Kaleel, who previously indicated that he would likely resign rather than comply with the state’s new financial disclosure requirements, then emphasized that he, too, was going. Kaleel previously served 16 years on the commission and Besler three years.

The two were appointed by a three-member commission since Wiescholek and de Haseth resigned the same night. Besler and Kaleel have not set the specific days they will resign. If the dates are staggered, one of the men may participate in naming the other’s replacement.

Both seats are up for election on March 19. The qualifying period runs from noon Nov. 6 until noon Nov. 17, giving commissioners an idea of who is interested in serving.

Commissioners could also request that those who want to be considered submit their names to them.

One scenario the commission wants to avoid is having the two resignations take effect — and then have a third commissioner abruptly resign before the seats are filled. That would leave only a two-member commission unable to conduct business, turning the appointment powers over to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A new state law requiring municipal elected officials to disclose more personal financial information has many throughout the state considering resigning before the end of the year, when the law takes effect.

Commissioners indicated they were prepared to move quickly to fill the vacancies once the resignations take effect so that the appointments remain in the commission’s hands.

Commissioner Carolyn Cassidy, herself a first-time commissioner this year, said Besler and Kaleel brought needed experience to the board following the hiring of a new town manager and the resignations of the two commissioners.

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Brazilian pepper was the pervasive invasive in the 1980s when I moved to this area. Now there are iguanas. Fewer “square groupers” wash ashore on summer nights; instead more sea turtles make the annual trek up the beach. Then sometime during the past 20 years, the water began to rise, houses grew larger and small businesses disappeared. And, of course, I’ve grown older.

Changes over many years.

I’m lucky, I guess, to still recall the 1980s and nights out with friends, dancing at nightclubs in Delray Beach and Boca Raton followed by dipping into private swimming pools and hot tubs — especially during the long, slow summers.

I’ll admit at times the beer and booze flowed, the scent of marijuana lingered in the humid air, and once in a while people staggered from the bathroom wiping white powder from their noses. But never once did I see a gun.

I won’t deny we sometimes behaved irresponsibly. We were young and reckless.

How a similar late-night gathering resulted in the Sept. 12 shooting death of The Coastal Star’s computer support contractor — and friend — makes no sense. Police are calling the shooting at the Berkshire by the Sea timeshare along the beach in Delray Beach a murder. The youngest person involved was 45. The victim was 58.

Unless the case goes to trial, it’s unlikely most of us will learn anything about that night that make sense. All we know is Al Camentz — a good guy who kept our office computers running and advised us on the best live New Orleans music to hear — is gone. Shot to death.

I know there were plenty of guns in South Florida in the 1980s. I read The Miami Herald and watched Miami Vice. But here along the beach in Palm Beach County, we felt safe from gun violence.

Now it feels as if the tectonic plates of a South Florida summer have shifted.

Not all recent deaths have been violent, of course. Consider the loss to skin cancer of songwriter, musician and businessman extraordinaire Jimmy Buffett. Seventy-six years old seems far too young for someone to die whose music continues to reverberate from nearly every open ragtop cruising A1A on any given weekend.

Also gone too soon is our mechanic, candy salesman and friend Vin Dinanath, who owned the Gulfstream Texaco on A1A. Since 1995, Vin was a friend to our unique little neighborhood. He will be deeply missed by many, especially his fellow cops (Vin was a retired officer) and fishing buddies. Vin would have been 68 in November.

Neighbors who lived long lives and witnessed almost unfathomable changes throughout their many years also died last month. I will miss sharing gossip and goodwill with these seniors.

As the autumnal equinox passed on Sept. 23, the Earth’s axis and its orbit lined up so that both hemispheres got an equal amount of sunlight.

Balance for a short while. Subtle changes of the season.

I’ll take it.

— Mary Kate Leming, Editor



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