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Wellington’s top student hopes to one day make technology easier

April 20, 2016 on 5:07 pm | In As Seen In..., General, Palm Beach Post | No Comments


It’s not every day that the principal shows up for English class.That’s when 17-year-old Wellington High School senior Davy Yue suspected something.

“Mr. Crocetti, the school principal, visited my second-period English class, made a small announcement congratulating me for becoming Wellington’s 2015 -16 valedictorian and gave me a formal handshake for achieving such an honorable position,” Yue said.

Davy Yue is the 2016 valedictorian for Wellington High School.

Davy Yue is the 2016 valedictorian for Wellington High School.

Yue has a 3.9 GPA and an HPA (honors point average) of 5.24; however by the end of the year both will get a boost because of the AICE courses that he’s enrolled in. Along with his rigorous academics schedule, Yue is dually enrolled in various classes at Palm Beach State College. He also made sure to include courses that sparked his interest, such as AP computer science, AP art studio: drawing portfolio, and AP psychology.

As president of the National English Honor Society for the past two years, Yue volunteered tutoring kids at New Horizons and Wellington Landings schools. He is president of the Math Honor Society, where he is involved in managing various math competitions.

Wellington’s top student hopes to one day make technology easier photo

In his downtime, Yue enjoys painting and admits to being a bit obsessed with origami. He became interested when he saw a friend take an ordinary sheet of paper and turn it into something magical.

He even started his own club.

“I founded and have been president of the Origami Club for three years,” said Yue. “In the Origami Club, I teach other students about how to fold mundane printer paper into fascinating three-dimensional objects.”

Not one to procrastinate, Yue has penned his graduation speech, and is a little relieved for a reprieve.

“It feel great having worked so hard for years and to be able to achieve a position that’s obviously the highest honor at my school,” said Yue. “It was sort of a relief knowing that it’s almost the end.”

For Yue, this is just the beginning. The Wellington resident has been accepted to Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Florida, however he will head to Nashville this fall to attend his dream school, Vanderbilt University.

“Vanderbilt provides the combination of both a challenging academic environment and a diverse, passionate community that would continue to impact me for my whole life,” said Yue.

It all seems to jive well with his favorite quote from Justin James “J. J.” Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, who said, “Success isn’t owned. It’s leased and rent is due every day.”

At Vanderbilt, he’ll pursue a degree in computer science. Yue hopes to end up at a big firm like Google, creating technology that makes life easier for people.

“I’ve always liked programs that ease the user’s ability to utilize technology for their own benefit,” he said.


What are you reading now?

“The Complete Book of Origami: Step-by Step Instructions in Over 1,000 Diagrams” by Robert J. Lang

What’s your favorite junk food?

Key Lime Pie Oreos

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Morgan Freeman, whose voice alone would assure me that all is well in the universe. He doesn’t even have to speak English; Pig Latin would have the same calming affect.

Who do you admire most?

Bill Gates

What’s playing on your iPod?

“Not Afraid,” by Eminem

What three things you would bring with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?

A pedal-powered boat, Usain Bolt, and a 4.2-pound bag of Ling Ling All Natural Potstickers — chicken and vegetable flavor.

North Palm ramps up for 60th with festival, parade

March 30, 2016 on 5:01 pm | In General | No Comments

Turning 60 isn’t usually all fun and games, but for the Village of North Palm Beach, let the party begin.

The village is celebrating on Saturday with its 17th Annual Heritage Day Festival and Parade, which is set to take off from Village Hall at 11 a.m. and end up in Anchorage Park with a daylong festival.

North Palm ramps up for 60th with festival, parade photo

“It’s a fun family event that brings the community together,” said Nancy Hensler, program superintendent for North Palm Beach. “Everybody gets to enjoy a day outside in the park with their family and friends having a good time.”

Marching and performing in the parade are the kindergarten through the fifth grade students from The Conservatory School @ North Palm Beach’s Children’s Orchestra & Performing Arts Project; the St. Clare Catholic School Marching Band, the Palm Beach Gardens High School Marching Band and the Boynton Beach Marching Band.

Also representing will be the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps, Ronald McDonald and the Palm Beach County Fire Department with its pink fire truck.

North Palm ramps up for 60th with festival, parade photo

“The parade will be bigger than it has been in the past few years,” said village manager Jim Kelly. “In celebration of our 60th, there will be more events. There’ll be a memory booth where people can talk about their experiences in North Palm Beach and leave their history. It’s just the very epitome of community.”

According to village historian Ruby Holden, North Palm Beach wasn’t a town that sprang up overnight.

“This is what made it unique,” Holden said. “It was meticulously planned from the very beginning. Everything was in place on paper before a single house was built …

North Palm ramps up for 60th with festival, parade photo

“They didn’t want it to be walkable,” he added. “In 1950, they were thinking about a thoroughly modern automobile-centered community. Every residence was contained in the area by Village Hall, and businesses were contained in the area of the Twin City Mall on Northlake Boulevard, and U.S. 1 — so, you had to drive there.

“Everyone would be moderately wealthy. They were attracting engineers from Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut.”

And at the festival this weekend, the village is hoping to continue to spur weath and businss with a business expo. Twenty area businesses, clubs and organizations are participating including: Velocity Community Credit Union, Live Like Jake a group dedicated to drowning prevention, Char-Mar School of Dance, Legacy Martial Arts and more.

Of course, the event will have carnival rides, entertainment, demonstrations, live music and food.

Local musical favorites including Taylor Norris will take the stage from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Memory Lane, another popular group that plays Motown every Friday night at the Colony Palm Beach Hotel will perform from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

The midway will have rides from a carousel, kiddie coaster to giant swings, slides and the Cliff Hanger, which simulates a hang gliding experience.

New to the festival this year is a cornhole contest.

“It’s like bean bag toss,” said Hensler. “It’s a big thing here in South Florida. You can be a professional cornholer or a newbie; they have two divisions.”

As North Palm Beach celebrates its anniversary, it’s time for change with U.S. 1 shrinking from six lanes to four to accommodate a bike lane, according to Kelly. The area also will become more mixed-use with town homes with stores underneath all part of a new master plan the residents put together with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.

“It’s a combination, millennials want the walkability, ride-ability and older baby boomers don’t want to take care of larger homes. These town homes allow them to be close to things.”


17th Annual Heritage Day Festival and Parade

When: Saturday, 11 a.m. parade begins; festival is noon-8 p.m.

Where: Anchorage Park, 603 Anchorage Drive; parade starts at Village Hall; ends at the park

Admission: Free, however, tickets are needed for rides and food.

More information: www.village-npb.org, or call, 561-841-3386.

District’s math resource teacher wins prestigious presidential award

September 3, 2015 on 10:27 am | In General | No Comments


Robin O’Brien had waded through the paperwork, dotted the i’s crossed the t’s and submitted her video to be a candidate for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and then just got on with the business of teaching math at Seminole Ridge High School.

Robin O’Brien at the White House

Robin O’Brien at the White House

Later she took a new job as a resource teacher in secondary mathematics with the district and had nearly forgotten about the application, until that email came – two years later.

“At some point I (thought) maybe it’s not going to happen,” said O’Brien. “I knew within three months that I was a state finalist, then I waited almost two years from there. They sent me an email that said congratulations, you have been chosen. Please just tell your immediate friends and family, the White House will put out a press release later on that evening and then it’s open for the world to know.”

The PAEMST is the highest honor given to math and science teachers in grades K-12 who demonstrate how they’ve developed and implemented teaching programs that enhance their students’ learning. One math and one science teacher from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions is selected each year.

 Winners received a paid trip for two in July to Washington, D.C. where they met President Barack Obama, and attended recognition events and a series professional development seminars. They also received a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

For O’Brien, recognizing her own failure, may have led to this outstanding achievement.

“It was with my AP statistics class, a group of 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders at Seminole Ridge. We just finished a unit and they were taking a unit test and a big majority of them just bombed – it was terrible,” said O’Brien.

That’s when it hit her: “They’re just spitting back words that I said, but they don’t understand what it means.”

After reflecting on the failure, O’Brien decided to get the kids out of their seats and immerse them in a learning experience. She set up a carousel of learning stations where kids worked together to solve problems and review what they learned before rotating to the next station, each one a little more difficult than the last.

It was the same personal reflection that led her away from the business world and into teaching. O’Brien had earned her bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Delaware.

“I always wanted to be a teacher but my mom said, ‘don’t go into teaching, you won’t make any money,’” she said.

After going into the business world she began tutoring a co-worker who was struggling with math.

“I started to realize how much I love it,” said O’Brien. She told herself: “Life is too short, I’m going to give this a shot. If I don’t like it I always have my business degree to go back to.”

O’Brien earned her teaching certificate from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and her master’s in education, specializing in curriculum and instruction, from Florida Atlantic University. She has been with the Palm Beach County School District for eight years. She taught at Royal Palm Beach High School for five years and then Seminole Ridge for one year before becoming a resource teacher with the school district.

Today the 39-year-old Lake Clarke Shores resident is a teacher teaching teachers.

“Teaching is great,” said O’Brien. “You do something different all the time. It lets you be silly, it lets you be serious, you can let all different parts of your personality out – and that’s a good thing.”


What are you reading now?

Just finished the Divergent series – “Allegiant”

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching reality TV

What’s you favorite junk food?


If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Living or dead? If so, my dad who passed away when I was young.

Who do you admire most?

My mother.

What’s playing on your iPod?

A little bit of everything – I don’t have big favorites when it comes to music.

What three things would you bring with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?

A deck of cards, a good book, and sunscreen.

People think I’m …

Outgoing, but really I’m … really loud – and relatively shy.

Who’s your favorite actor?

There are so many good choices, but Meryl Streep comes to mind for me.

What’s your favorite movie:

“Gone with the Wind,” but I do love comedies like “Old School” and “Bridesmaids.”

In my off time you’ll find me …

Spending time with friends and family.

Designer Vagina – Labiaplasty

April 22, 2015 on 4:55 pm | In Advertorial Blogs / Copywriting | No Comments

Why Getting the Barbie Look Down Under is the New Frontier

The latest trend in plastic surgery isn’t as plain as the nose on your face, and if your neighbor gets hers done, you’re not likely to notice — let’s just say it’s personal.

We’re talking about your lady bits, as they say across the pond. Fans of Grey’s Anatomy know it as your va-jay-jay, it’s okay, say it with me, your vagina.


“The labia is no longer taboo,” said Dr. Laura Sudarsky. “We talk about labia and vaginas freely today. Our parents used to be embarrassed to say the word breast, now it is part of our vocabulary.”

Whatever you call it, if you’re self-conscious about the way yours looks, you’re not alone.

But just in case you were wondering, our very own Dr. Laura Sudarsky says, beauty, even down there, is in the eye of the beholder.

“There is no correct anatomy for the vagina,” said Dr. Sudarsky. “It’s not supposed to look like this or that. There is no defined esthetic vagina, it is solely up to a woman’s perception.”

Loose lips sink ships and apparently make us uncomfortable under the sheets.

According to the most recent statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery more than 5,000 labiaplasty surgeries were preformed making it the second fastest growing cosmetic procedure that year (2013) — just behind the behind.

“The vagina ages just like the rest of our bodies, just like your eyes your face, your neck,” said Dr. Sudarsky. “Nobody cares about the facelift, today everyone is talking about vaginas.”

It’s no wonder our crotch conforming clothing once reserved for the gym like leggings and yoga pants have now become everyday street ware, and when it does come to underwear, g-strings and thongs have become the norm. It all started in the early 1990s with growing grooming techniques like the advent of the popular Brazilian wax and the bold, bald trend — going all Telly Savalas.

And now the g-string has landed on the beach. So, if you’re planning on rocking one of these new micro-bikinis this summer, well…


Enough said.

“Most women don’t want to have labial show, so they can have their labia minora reduced,” said Dr. Sudarsky. “Some woman feel their labia majora are empty and droopy as they age, so we tighten them, or fill them with fat, or use skin tightening procedures.”

“The labia is the new breast, it droops, ages and gets plastic surgery,” said Dr. Sudarsky.

At Esse, you can feel free to drop your panties in a non-judgement zone and tell us just what look will make you happy.

“Women wan to see a female plastic surgeon for labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation where they are not criticized for their requests and their privacy is respected,” said Dr. Stokes.

Interested in knowing more about labiaplasty, come in and talk to us, our lips are sealed!

A healthy fix: Fresh Healthy Vending

You recognize that feeling – crash and burn – and now you can hear your stomach growling to you in four different languages. It’s 3 p.m. and your body is calling for a “pick me up.”Michelles-blog-257

Unfortunately that “pick me up” is a “never should have picked that up,” high-fat, high-sugar snack grabbed from the notorious dealer of afternoon garbage, the vending machine.

It’s 2015; finding healthier choices just got easier with Fresh Healthy Vending.

This isn’t your mama’s vending machine. Fresh Healthy Vending machines are high-tech, sleek and loaded with delicious healthy snacks.

“People want healthy options in their communities,” said Brian Fettner, a local franchisee. “In schools specifically, the snacks offered in the machines are intended to align students’ snack and beverage vending machine choices with the federal regulations regarding Smart Snacks contained in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. The machines will provide students with access to healthy snack and beverage options such as smoothies, natural juices, fruit, granola bars, baked chips and natural sodas.”

The vending machines are state-of-the-art; although they accept cash, there’s no need to search for money. They also take credit and debit cards, or you can pay with your smartphone – they even play games.

The machines have refrigerated areas so they can offer perishable foods like fruit, veggies, yogurts and smoothies. They also have traditional fare like healthier versions of chips and cookies.

Forget the late afternoon coffee-shop run, Healthy Vending Café serves up gourmet, freshly ground organic coffee, cappuccinos, lattes and espressos – and the goodies that go with them.

Healthy doesn’t necessarily come with a hefty price tag.

“The way we are able to supply them gives our customers the opportunity to purchase healthy snacks for around the same price as traditional junk food vending machines,” said Fettner.

It’s the perfect pairing – convenient and healthy.

“Obviously people go wrong on healthy eating due to convenience,” said Fettner, “Fast food chains are one of the largest industries because of that, but accessible healthy vending alleviates that.”

To find out more about getting a Fresh Healthy Vending machine in your location or for franchise opportunities, visit www.freshvending.com.

A creative lunch

A 20th birthday party is a big deal, especially if you’re an institution in Palm Beach County that strives to bring the arts, culture and education to area school children.

The Center for Creative Education will mark the occasion at their annual luncheon on

April 8 at 11:30 at a beautiful lakefront home in Palm Beach.Michelles-blog-259-second-photo

“The Center for Creative Education Luncheon is always a fan favorite,” said Margie Larkin, director of marketing and communications, “but this year will be especially great as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our organization that uses the arts to open children up to learning.”

The CCE is pulling out all the stops to celebrate as well as raise money for all the wonderful things they do for Palm Beach County kids.

“People will be able to see their donations at work during the luncheon,” said Larkin. “We will be treated to a visit from one of the schools that CCE teaching artists have been working with, Freedom Shores Elementary [in Boynton Beach].”

Last year CCE provided both in-school and after-school programming classes for 12,500 students, many who are considered at risk of failure.

“Not only does CCE work with students who lag behind and are able to catch up to their peers using the visual learning that art provides, but we work with accelerated students to help them excel,” said Larkin.

Co-Chairmen Talbott Maxey, Tom Quick and Tricia Quick and Honorary Chairmen Maura Ziska Christu and Susan Miller are hard at work to make this year’s event the most successful yet.

“As a nonprofit we need to raise more than $1.2 million a year to continue to serve the same number of children we serve now,” said Larkin. “That says nothing of all the children who are on the waiting list, hoping to get into CCE classes. The money raised at the luncheon helps us reach more of these kids.”

Tickets are $300 per person; tables of 10 are available for $2,750. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (561) 805-9927 or visit www.cceflorida.org.

PBA Employee of the Year known for dedication, humility

January 29, 2015 on 11:09 am | In General | No Comments

Alice Lee is the kind of employee who sees a problem and solves it, maybe even before you knew you had it.

The Palm Beach Gardens’ resident was recently honored when she received 2014 Palm Beach Atlantic University 2014 Employee of the Year Award.

Alice Lee was named Palm Beach Atlantic University’s 2014 Employee of the Year.

Alice Lee was named Palm Beach Atlantic University’s 2014 Employee of the Year.

Lee is the database administrator for Campus Information Services. She and her team manage a software system, Jenzabar, that shares information between multiple departments across campus. She is responsible for the data security and integrity of the whole database.

“I was very surprised and very glad because there are so many qualified employees there,” said Lee, who has been at PBA since 2005. “I was very lucky to get the award this year.”

Candidates are nominated by their peers for their outstanding contributions, customer focus, quality of their work, professionalism, teamwork and innovation.

In nominating her for the award, colleagues described Lee as someone who dedicates herself to helping others and who consistently makes a profound impact on her department as well as on the entire university. She is known for her efforts to help save time and resources, they said, and she goes about her work quietly and humbly.

“We have a gathering at the beginning of the summer. The president invites all the staff and faculty together, the students are not there. We review the past year what we have achieved and set goals for next year and the president introduces new employees and staff for the year and then he gave the award – I was surprised, I was so excited.”

Lee grew up in Taiwan, where her father worked for the government in mainland China, and came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in communication at Auburn University. It was there that she met her husband, Charles Lee, who served as professor of pharmaceutical sciences at PBA from 2005 until his retirement earlier this year.

They have two children — Kevin, a health technology specialist, and Tiffany, a health physicist.

The couple belong to the Palm Beach Chinese Christian Chapel in suburban Lake Worth, where they serve in the children’s Sunday school and lead a family Bible study group that meets weekly.

It may have been Lee’s latest innovation with Jenzabar that cinched her win.

“We try to do everything paperless, everything online,” said Lee. “In the past year we started to do the 1098 (IRS) student statement online. But first, we are required to have affirmation from students who agree to obtain the 1098-T form electronically, so we created an online student consent form. The online 1098-T is convenient to both students and parents; no reprints for wrong addresses; projected costs of forms dramatically reduced, staff time devoted to 1098-T processing already reduced and the risk of identity theft also reduced by not using postal delivery. We are saving time, energy and money.”

Getting consent from a student population of 3,000 it was no easy task, but so far the response has been great.

“About 2,000 students and counting,” said Lee.

As for the next innovation …

“I don’t have anything in mind yet,” said Lee. “It’s the challenge, that’s that the fun part. You learn new things, you find a better way to do things.”


What are you reading now?

Clay Christensen’s, “How Will You Measure Your Life.”

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching soap operas from YouTube

What’s your favorite junk food?

Instant noodles

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Bill Gates

What’s your favorite movie?

“Sleepless in Seattle”

Who’s your favorite actor?

Tom Hanks

Who do you admire most?

Bill Gates

What’s playing on your iPod?


What three things would you bring with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?

A knife, sunscreen and plastic bags.

People would be surprised to know that …

I cannot swim.

Top elementary science teacher aims to gets kids excited about subject

November 13, 2014 on 6:32 am | In General | No Comments

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Tracy Sheppard, 53

Fifth-grade science teacher, Tracy Sheppard, can’t point to one single thing she’s done to win the Elementary Science Teacher of the Year Award. Instead, she can give you a laundry list of things she does on a consistent basis, which may be why she took home the prize.

Bill Ingram Elbridge Gale Elementary fifth-grader student Austin Marton (left), 10, reacts to a small electric shock produced while touching a Van de Graaff generator, and the touch from the pinky finger of science teacher Tracy Sheppard, while student Katelyn Goodale, 10, looks on Oct. 22, 2014 in Wellington. Sheppard was named Elementary Science Teacher of the Year for 2014. (Bill Ingram / Palm Beach Post)

Bill Ingram
Elbridge Gale Elementary fifth-grader student Austin Marton (left), 10, reacts to a small electric shock produced while touching a Van de Graaff generator, and the touch from the pinky finger of science teacher Tracy Sheppard, while student Katelyn Goodale, 10, looks on Oct. 22, 2014 in Wellington. Sheppard was named Elementary Science Teacher of the Year for 2014. (Bill Ingram / Palm Beach Post)

This past summer the Palm Beach County Science Educators Association doled out awards to honor the county’s top science teachers at their science symposium held at Seminole Ridge High School this past summer.

Sheppard, who teaches at Elbridge Gale Elementary School in Wellington said she won because she’s good at her job.

“I’m damn good at my job,” said Sheppard. “I work really hard at it. I’m constantly learning, constantly mentoring other teachers. I think that’s a lot of it.”

It could also be the way she does that job. Sheppard likes the kids to figure things out for themselves by telling them to go ahead, make mistakes. Using the textbook as a guide in her classroom, she leads the kids through experiments and experiences.

“My room is crazy full of science. I live it, breathe it. My kids know that. I try do interesting and different things. We hardly use textbook. I use it as reference – we are constantly doing.”

Her class has just finished a unit on energy. The kids experimented with static electricity, electrostatic discharge and electric circuits.

The way she drove the point home was shocking, literally.

“We used a Van de Graaff generator” said Sheppard. “The kids shocked each other; their hair stands up on end; we make lightning. You touch it and you see sparks. We build circuits, test insulators, test conductors and measure how much current flows then we build on that. We’ll talk about electricity, how we heat and cool our homes, fossil fuels, renewable energy. So we build on knowledge.”

For the high-energy, fast-talking 53-year-old Wellington resident with a thick Georgia drawl, teaching is her second career.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, with a bachelor of science degree in social work, she worked in child protective services, foster care and mental health counseling.

In 1999, Sheppard, her husband Jamie, daughter Katie, and son John moved to Florida. As a stay-at-home mom she spent a good amount of her time volunteering at Binks Forest Elementary in Wellington where her children were students.

“The principal said, ‘You’re here all the time, I really need an assistant, would you like to be part time’. I was then encouraged by the principal to go back and get my teaching credentials. I became a substitute teacher.”

She earned her certification in elementary education K-6 through the University of Phoenix. In 2004 she was hired at Elbridge Gale.

For Sheppard, fifth grade is a great time to get students interested in science.

“I get them excited about science. That’s where the future is,” said Sheppard. “When they go to middle and high school they’ll want to take science, math, engineering. That’s where the jobs are. They need to work in teams; I do a lot of cooperative learning, that’s what you have to do in a real world.”

As for being Elementary Science Teacher of the Year, Sheppard said she’s proud and embarrassed with the attention.

“My daughter in college found out and she said, ‘Mom that so cool I’m so proud of you.’ – that was the best part.”


What’s on your nightstand?

“A Storm of Swords” by George R. R. Martin

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Long naps!

What’s your favorite junk food?

Peanut butter on anything, with anything!

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

My mom. She lives eleven hours away and I miss her.

Who do you admire most?

My colleagues at Elbridge Gale Elementary. I work with the most amazing and dedicated teachers and staff.

What’s playing on your iPod?

Top 40 and Classic Rock

What three things would you bring with you if you were stuck on a desert island?

Water, my kindle, and a boat!

Ice bucket challenges going strong in Palm Beach County

August 28, 2014 on 2:44 pm | In General, Palms West Monthly | No Comments

The idea is simple: Take a bucket of ice water, dump it over your head, record it and post the video on social media.

It’s cold, it’s fun and it’s contagious. But these ice bucket challenges and similar social media-powered stunts also are raising awareness and money for causes such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and breast cancer.pbzoo_ice_bucket

Martha Stewart has been doused. So has Matt Lauer. And pro golfer Greg Norman.

The fund-raising phenomenon asks those willing to douse themselves to challenge others to do the same within 24 hours. If they don’t, they must make a donation to a certain charity. Each person who participates nominates more friends, who nominate more friends, who nominate still more friends, which explains why the trend has exploded.

Locally, temperatures were above 90 degrees at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society on Aug. 13, when Brian Luongo, director of Facilities and Design, stepped up to take the challenge that was given to him from his friend Beverly Davis.

“You would think that with the sweat dripping from my forehead, I would have welcomed a cool down,” said Luongo.

The sun and heat didn’t quite take the sting out of the gushing flow of ice water as three willing staff members, each armed with a large bucket, took their positions. One stood on a chair above Luongo to dump one over his head, the other two flanking his sides waiting for him to call out the five names of the people he’s challenging.

“Let’s just say it was shocking how cold that felt,” said Luongo.

Why three buckets?

“When accepting the challenge I thought it would be fun to use it as a bit of a team building exercise. After all, who doesn’t enjoy soaking their boss without reprimand,” said Luongo.

His boss, Palm Beach Zoo CEO and president Andrew Aiken, was the last name on Luongo’s hit list.

The next day at 5 p.m., Aiken took a seat with Luongo holding the bucket.

In his YouTube video Aiken makes a statement about the disabling disease before the water flows.

“So the quality of life … you have with Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS is terribly debilitating,” said Aiken. “You’re not able to enjoy life the way we all do here at the zoo, run around, have a great time all day doing work that we love. A lot of that has to do with being mobile, being agile and being able to do the things that you want to do. So, it’s very important for us to contribute wherever we can to help with research to beat this disease back, and so that’s what we’re doing today at the zoo.”

Aiken then proceeds to dare more zoo personnel to keep the challenge alive before Luongo dumps the bucket over his boss’ head.

The very public dares have challengers answering the call in droves, if not dumping water over their heads, they’re pulling money out of their wallets – or both.

Recently, Ethel Kennedy took the bath but not before calling out President Obama who will stay dry and make a donation. Oprah dumped a bucket on her head but first called out director Steven Spielberg and actress Dame Helen Mirren. Local WPTV anchor Roxanne Stein also got drenched on live TV.

Matt Lauer got soaked with ice water last month after Greg Norman challenged him and ended up kicking in some cash for Hospice of Palm Beach County.

For those who work to raise awareness of ALS, the ice bucket challenge has been a windfall.

“It’s blowing us away, said Lisa Bublinec, office manager for the Florida Chapter of the ALS Association headquartered in Tampa. “It’s just incredible and everyone wants to do it. Our focus is really to let people know what the disease is about and hope people will give a little verbiage before they actually dump the ice water over their heads. It’s been a fantastic awareness project, we’re very happy.”

Donations in South Florida have increased significantly, said Bublinec. In Florida, $52,826 was raised between July 22 and August 12, compared to $21,368 for the same period last year.

“It’s increased because of the ice bucket challenge (by) $31,458,” said Bublinec. “It’s huge.”

The ALS Association’s national president, Barbara Newhouse, said donations to the national office have also surged. As of Aug. 21, the ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations since July 29, compared to $2.1 million during the same time period a year ago.

“It’s just been wonderful visibility for the ALS community,” Newhouse said. “It is absolutely awesome. It’s crazy, but it’s awesome, and it’s working.” ν

Denise Lavoie contributed to this story.

It’s official: Flagler Museum Reaccredited by American Alliance of Museums

One of Florida’s most beloved museums has gotten to hold onto its bragging rights by receiving re-accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.

Once again the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum was bestowed the highest national honor achievable by an American museum, accreditation. Out of the nation’s 20,000 or so museums, only 778 are currently accredited.

News to us, but not the museum, which has held the distinction since 1973, according to David Carson, the museum’s public affairs director.

“We believe that the Flagler Museum continues to qualify for accreditation through its commitment to excellence, its accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement,” said Carson.michelle-210

Accreditation sees that each individual museum holds up to their own high standards and ensures that these organizations continue to uphold the public trust.

Only four sites in the nation have been awarded all three of the highest honors given to historic sites. These are honors are: designation as a National Historic Landmark, accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, and presentation of the Ross Merrill Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections. The Flagler is one of the four.

“Here at the Flagler Museum, we believe that we are entrusted with the job of keeping and maintaining Whitehall and its collections for future generations of the public to visit, enjoy, and learn about the incredible impact that Henry Flagler had on the development of the State of Florida,” said Carson.

The Flagler Museum is located at Cocoanut Row and Whitehall Way in Palm Beach. Admission is $18 for adults, $10 for youths ages 13-18, $3 for children ages 6-12, and children under 6 get in free. For more information, visit www.flaglermuseum.us or call (561) 655-2833.

Staying Forever Young with Dr. Arturo K. Guiloff

Juan Ponce de León may have discovered Florida, but unfortunately he made a wrong turn while looking for the Fountain of Youth. Apparently, he should have hung a left on PGA Boulevard.

Had he done so, he would have run smack dab into the Estética Institute of the Palm Beaches and Dr. Arturo K. Guiloff, who’s making the world a younger, more beautiful place, one patient at a time.forever-young2

With two state-of-the-art surgical suites, Estética Institute of the Palm Beaches is a one-stop shop offering everything from wrinkle reduction, laser hair removal and laser skin resurfacing to breast augmentations, nose jobs, tummy tucks and liposuction. If it can be nipped and tucked, it can be done here. And here is a comfy place to be.

Estética is a cozy, spa-like facility. Forget cold and clinical – the offices are visually inviting with a natural color palette featuring wood and marble.

The friendly and efficient staff adds to the warm ambiance. That team includes two board-certified plastic surgeons, Drs. Guiloff and Greg DeLange, along with highly trained anesthetists and registered nurses, and two licensed estheticians.

Estética has all the cool new toys and high-tech procedures, including CoolSculpting, which is designed to contour your shape – it’s all the rage in the world of plastics.

CoolSculpting came about when Harvard University scientists Dieter Manstein, MD, and R. Rox Anderson, MD, observed that some children developed dimples in their cheeks due to eating popsicles. They developed this non-surgical device that cools the skin, killing the subcutaneous fat cells – permanently.

However, Guiloff says this procedure is not a complete alternative to liposuction nor is it as dramatic as a tummy tuck. Instead, CoolSculpting will smooth away small rolls on the tummy, love handles, and those pesky areas of unwanted fat that seem most resistant to diet and exercise.

Sounds too good to be true?

“A lot of people want to know, is it a scam? The truth is it works,” Guiloff said. “Every year we go to a special conference to see what’s new, what’s the latest. We have to have a skeptic’s eye with everything – have there been good studies with enough patients, things that are good come to the surface – those are the things we offer to our patients. The things that are effective, so that patients aren’t wasting their money.”

CoolSculpting has all the elements his patients appreciate. It’s non-invasive so there’s no downtime as well as very little discomfort and side effects, with maybe some minor bruising and possible skin irritation. The procedure takes about an hour. Patients can read, check email or just relax during the procedure. Afterward, patients can resume their regular activities, even sports.

“One application can take 20-25 percent of the volume applied to areas of bulging fat,” he said. “You’re really sculpting the body by applying this machine to different areas. People have four to eight treatments to obtain nice, noticeable results.”

The machine freezes and kills the fat cells, and the body eliminates them naturally over time. It can take up to two to three months before the patient sees the final results.

“Patients need to understand it’s not as fast as liposuction,” Guiloff said. “It does not tighten the skin; people with loose skin are not good candidates.”

Another Estética innovation has been making tummy tucks less taxing.

“About a year ago we started using Exparel; it’s an injection that lasts for 36 hours,” Guiloff explained. “It significantly reduces the discomfort and pain so patients go home with no drains or catheters; they’re able to recover much better from the encounter.”

Patients not only experience a more comfortable recovery, but they’ll also feel better about themselves. Aside from the physical changes, the emotional differences are not lost on Guiloff – it’s one of the many reasons he loves what he does.

“A young woman had to have bilateral mastectomy for cancer,” he recalled. “After her breast reconstruction she sent me a nice letter about how grateful she was, how it made her feel like a woman again. That kind of thing fills your heart.

“The emotional part of the person depends on so many things – how one feels, how you present yourself to the world,” he added. “If you have emotional balance, everybody around you benefits – your husband, kids, work. It’s not just vanity; if you fix something on the outside, you’re going to feel better inside.”

The Estética Institute of the Palm Beaches is located at 2865 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. For more information, or to schedule a complimentary consultation, call (561) 776-9555 or visit www.esteticainstitute.com.

Imitation is the best form of flattery (sorta)

You call them rotten tomatoes, bombs and stink-a-roos, but at swede fest palm beach 3, the more outrageously bad a movie is, the better.

So what’s a swede?

A swede comes to us from the movie Be Kind, Rewind, in which a pair of video store owners lose all of their films and decide to remake them using household objects as props, and of course amateurish, horrible special effects (no CGI here).

Basically it’s a no-budget, so-bad-you’ll-cry, three-minute remake of a Hollywood film. The process started an underground craze that gave birth to the first “swede fest” in Fresno, California, then Tampa Bay, and in 2012 Palm Beach got bit by the swede bug.

More than 500 fans of farce turned up to laugh until they peed their pants at the sold-out event at The Borland Center for Performing Arts in Palm Beach Gardens.

This year’s swedes paid homage to classics like: Casablanca, Raising Arizona, Tremors, Twilight, War of the Worlds, John Tucker Must Die, White Chicks, Toy Story, Desperado, Robocop, Castaway, Rocky 3, Mean Girls, Gravity, To Have & Have Not, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Project X, Up, Pulp Fiction, Mementos, Catching Fire, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, The Dark Knight Rises, Jurassic Park, Noah, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and The Ring.

swede fest palm beach was originated (or instigated) by Ram Realty Services Marketing Manager Belle Forino, who had read about the event in Fresno and thought it perfect for Palm Beach.

“We are thrilled that swede fest palm beach 3 was such a hit this year. Once again, the enthusiasm of the sold-out crowd showed their appreciation for the wild creativity of the filmmakers,” Forino said. “Mainstreet at Midtown offers one-of-a-kind community events and swede fest palm beach is the most unique by far.”

And the winners are…

The creators of Noah, this year’s Audience Choice award winner. Runner-up: Chris Notarnicola with Jurassic Park. Other honors included: Best Use of a Lazy Dog (Rocky); Most Abundant use of Heinz Ketchup (Swe7en); Best Looking Shorts We’ve Ever Seen on an Actor (Rocky) and Greatest Amounts of Props We’ve Ever Seen in a Swede (Goonies).


For more info on next year’s festival, visit www.swedefestpalmbeach.com.

Too hot for singing the blues

August is not a month known for its holidays or spectacular weather, yet the hot, sultry, temperatures lend themselves perfectly for an evening performance of cool jazz.The Colony Hotel’s Royal Room, known as “probably the best place for cabaret on the planet,” accorMichelle's-blog-206ding to The Palm Beach Post, will play host to a very special event when songstress Nicole Henry lights up the room August 16, 23 & 30.Rob Russell, entertainment director for The Colony Palm Beach, said this event is a can’t-miss.

“She’s probably the closest thing to Whitney Houston we’re ever going to see in our lifetime,” Russell said.

Henry’s sensual style and emotional performances in more than 15 countries and 30 music festivals worldwide have earned her a lot of recognition, including the 2013 Soul Train Award for Best Traditional Jazz Performance. She has three Top 10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums, and has received rave reviews in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Her latest release in 2013, So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live, is a 13-track album with songs from some of her favorite artists of the 1970’s, such as Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Commodores and Gladys Knight. The album was recorded at Feinstein’s in NYC during her sold-out performances in May 2012.

Henry will perform favorites from the Great American Songbook; her repertoire also includes contemporary as well as classic jazz titles, contemporary standards, blues, and original songs. She also performs accompaniment that range from jazz trios to full-on big bands.

To have an even more romantic evening, pair the delightful entertainment with a delicious three-course dinner including appetizer, entrée and a decadent dessert as only the culinary artists at The Colony can create.

Tickets cost $100 for dinner (excluding beverages and taxes) and the Nicole Henry performance. Doors open at 6:30 for dinner with the show beginning at 8:30. For reservations, call the hotel box-office at (561) 659-8100. The Colony is located at 155 Hammon Ave. in Palm Beach. For more information, please call (561) 655-5430 or visit www.thecolonypalmbeach.com.michelle-206

Waste not want not


ecocoziesThere may be no such thing as a free lunch, but a carbon-footprint-free lunch may be little more realistic. For those of you who live to help Mother Nature breathe a little easier, here’s a way to pack your lunch without packing the land-fill.

Meet Ecocozies, reusable food containers that keep food fresh, eliminating the need for plastic baggies, aluminum foil and plastic wrap, so you save money and the planet!

“Ecocozies are made of neoprene on the outside,” said Diana Richardson, owner and founder of Daisy Container Company, makers of Ecocozies. “Neoprene is used for many purposes, including wet suits, because of its ability to expel water and retain body heat.”

Richardson, a mother of two young children, wanted to develop a product that would cut down on the use of disposable food storage products. She wanted a design that provided insulation yet was safe enough to make direct contact with food.

Ecocozies have no BPA, lead, PVC, vinyl or phthalates. The interior lining is made of food-safe materials that have been tested in accordance with the FDA’s guidelines for food safety.

Ecocozies are available for $19.95 and come in a variety of colors and three fun shapes – squares, rectangles and um, triangles?

“I had always dreamed of a container specifically for pizza, so that’s why we came up with the triangle,” Richardson said. “The other two shapes are designed for a variety of types of foods.”

When it comes to design, moms know best. Kids just don’t like their grapes muscling in on the chips.

“We are currently designing a larger, square container with the food-safe liner. It may have dividers inside so the food won’t touch, as I know that bothers many young children. The design of this container will be different as we are now working with a graphic designer on different patterns. We strive to provide fun and eco-friendly solutions for mothers.”

Best of all, Ecocozies clean up with a swish of warm soapy water, or you can stick them on the top rack of your dishwasher – easy-peasy!

For more information or to get your own Ecocozie, visit www.daisycontainercompany.com.

Snug like a bug in a rug

Everyone loves fun in the sun, and living in South Florida, there’s more than a little sunshine to go around. Sometimes the searing sun can be a bit much, especially for our most vulnerable citizens, our babies.SunBug_Open_Blue_72dpi-300x290

Meet the Cozy Sun & Bug Infant Carrier Cover, a unique product that’s easy to use with an elasticized edge that slips onto all infant carriers and fits all standard car seats.

Its primary function is to protect your baby, and is designed with a weather-proof microfiber shell that creates a spacious self-supporting well ventilated enclosure for baby. It’s great for keeping babies out of the glaring sun, away from the elements, pesky insects and even the two-legged bugs – you know, those people who love to reach out and touch baby’s hands and faces with their germiness! It’s a cocoon of cleanliness.

“Cozy Cover has been around for 20 years. We strive to be the industry leader in travel accessories for kids,” said Mike Locker, business development, EVC Inc., the parent company of Cozy Cover. “Input from real-life families has been the inspiration for the quality products we design and produce with the goal of making life easier and more convenient. Each product from Cozy Cover provides a solution to problems busy, on-the-go parents face on a daily basis.”

It’s uniquely designed with families in mind. The Sun & Bug carrier’s compact design makes it easy to store in a diaper bag or stroller pouch, great when the family is on the go. It’s super easy to clean; toss it in the washer and it comes out good as new. It’s available in several bright color combinations with fun striped and polka-dot designs.

But it’s more than just fashionable, it’s all about safety.

“Cozy Sun & Bug Infant Carrier Cover is an industry leader in baby protection” said Locker. “We designed it with safety in mind. The backless design is recommended by car seat specialists so that it does not interfere with the child safety straps.”

The Cozy Sun & Bug Infant Carrier Cover is available for $24.95. For more information or to order one, visit www.cozy-cover.com, or get it at Walmart.

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