Photo by Paulina Splechta.

Mommy and Me for You and Me: Our Top 3 Boca Classes

Sometimes you just need to GTFO—get the family out of the house—especially when you have a little one.

My saving grace when I had a toddler? Mommy & Me classes (and wine). But seriously, I had no earthly idea how amazing a baby and toddler music class would be for my mommy morale. I made friends! I learned songs I could sing to my kid at home! I enjoyed a change of scenery! It was great.

And luckily, we have some amazing Mommy & Me options in Boca Raton. Here are my favorites.

Modern Boca Mommy & Me at Grandview Preparatory School

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Photo by Michelle Olson-Rogers.

Get ready to sing, dance and move! Modern Boca Mommy & Me at Grandview Preparatory School allows children to learn and explore in a real-life educational setting. Each 45 minute #grandviewmoms class during the school year (and summer!) is specifically tailored to capture the attention of babies and toddlers. All classes are taught by the school’s early childhood faculty and offer opportunities for parents and their children to participate in yoga, dance, music and movement. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

I’m the Director of Communications and Community outreach at Grandview, and I’ve been helping promote their Mommy & Me classes. And while I do get paid to talk about how great it is, it really is great! My daughter graduated from the program and into Grandview’s preschool last year.

336 Spanish River Blvd. NW, Boca Raton

Mommy & Me Dance at Organic Movements

Photo by Paulina Splechta.

Photo by Paulina Splechta.

The Mommy & Me Dance class at Organic Movements in east Boca is not only fun for babies and toddlers, but is a challenging hour-long workout for Mom as well. Founder Ms. Courtney developed the class to introduce rhythm, musicality and movement to the youngest of Boca’s residents. In addition to stretching, core strengthening exercises and ballet movements, there is music, scarf and ribbon play. And puppets. I love the puppets!

Boca Mom Tip: Bring your baby carrier so you can wear your little one while you move in class!

2400 NW Boca Raton Blvd., Suite 12, Boca Raton 

Songs for Seeds at Creative Heart Dance Studio

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Photo provided by Songs for Seeds.

Musical education AND a live band? Yep, that’s what you’ll get at Songs for Seeds, a Mommy & Me import straight from New York City! This weekly interactive class encourages children, newborn to age 6, to sing, dance and play along with a three-piece band. Kids can rock out with children’s instruments as well as real drums, guitars and keyboards during the 45-minute class. Songs for Seeds even introduces instruments from around the world with teachers taking students on a global journey each week at their new location in central Boca Raton.

8212 Glades Road, Boca Raton


Visit www.modernbocamom.com for even more things to do with your little ones! And be sure to subscribe to Modern Boca Mom’s weekly e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/mbmsubscribe

Michelle Olson-Rogers, a native to Boca, is the founder of ModernBocaMom.com, a lifestyle website for the stylish & modern South Florida Mommy. Modern Boca Mom features family events, activities, classes, fitness, dining, travel, home improvement and shopping options—as well as a weekly MOMpreneur spotlight! She and her husband Andrew have one daughter, Avery.
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5 Questions for X-Scream Halloween’s Creative Director

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This story comes from our September/October 2017 issue. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.

Written by John Thomason. Photo by Aaron Bristol.


There’s nothing frightening about George Colavecchio. In fact, he’s kind of a hippie. In a previous life as a professional singer/songwriter, he toured with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, and recorded with MCA under the name George St. John. Before that, he toiled the same coffeehouse circuit as Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

But these days, he strums scarier notes as creative director of G-Star School’s X-Scream Halloween, which bills itself as Florida’s third-largest haunted attraction. Built and performed by film students at the Palm Springs high school, this durable fundraiser has transformed G-Star’s benign soundstages into zombie apocalypses, Old West ghost towns, anarchic mental wards, demented circus shows and more, for intrepid visitors aged 8 to 80. It earned its haunt-industry bona fides in 2008, when the Travel Channel named it one of the 13 Scariest Haunted Attractions in America.

Colavecchio’s 200 X-Scream students, who comprise about a quarter of the school’s student body, have expanded well beyond the October event, staging FBI and first-responder disaster drills, writing murder-mystery dinner theater productions, and even decorating the Palm Beach Zoo for Christmas.

Colavecchio oversees it all, along with handling G-Star’s web and graphic design and most of its P.R. His job description is complicated. “If you ask the teachers what I do, they have no clue,” he says. “I found this niche for a very bizarre set of skills.”

With X-Scream’s lucky 13th anniversary this October, we asked Colavecchio to share insights from the spook trade.


Do you have a special affinity for horror films?

No. The funny thing is that I don’t watch horror films. The only horror films I’ve ever seen are going back to Lon Chaney—the original “Dracula” and “Werewolf.” Because you can scare people without all that [gore]. It’s more about the entertainment, and the fact that when doing a haunted event, you don’t have any boundaries. If you can think it, you can probably do it.

What’s the secret to a good scare?

There is a psychology to scaring people. You can try to rationalize it all you want, but when you take all of the sophisticated ideas about how haunting works, basically it’s just ‘boo.’ The key to it is getting you to look over there, and getting something to bump or scream over here. It’s like doing a magic trick—it’s all about misdirection.

How important is it to have a story?

There are two trains of thought in the haunt industry. There’s your standard, old-school vampire room, zombie room and clown room, that have no story—it’s just there to scare you. Then there’s a group of us who are referred to as themers, where you have a backstory.

I’m a big-time themer for a couple of reasons. No. 1, I’m a writer, and I’ve got all these stories in my head. No. 2, everything we do is somewhere in time. We’ve done haunts that took place in the 1400s. We’ve done them in the 1920s. In order to do it right, the kids have to research what we’re doing. They’re actually learning a lot of history. You have to learn the correct history before you can twist it.

Your website lists the 2017 X-Scream as the most ambitious one yet. Why?

We wanted to do something different with witches—not your stereotypical pointy hat and broomstick. The inside haunt is in the soundstage, and there are no walls: It’s a dark forest. A witch has cursed the forest and the creatures within it. It’s trolls and goblins and ogres and wood nymphs—all the stereotypical fantasy characters, with our twist on them.

The outside haunt is a medieval village during a witch burning. The village has been hit by the Black Plague—and Black Plague victims are basically zombies with slightly different skin tones. This year I’m also adding a hayride that goes around the property, and there are scare zones built in along the way.

Why do people enjoy being frightened?

It’s kind of like living on the edge. It’s safer than skydiving or bungee jumping. If your haunt is successful, when people come out that back door,  I want them sweating bullets and smiling.

You’ve scared them, but you’ve also made it fun.


Our interview with Colavecchio took place over the summer. Visit xscreamhalloween.com to see the haunts at this year’s event, which vary slightly from those described in the interview. 

X-Scream takes place Oct. 13-28 at 2030 S Congress Ave., Palm Springs. Tickets are $8 to $10. Call 561/967-2023 for more information.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
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The Top 6 Halloween Haunts and Fall Festivals This Month

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If there’s one holiday South Floridians know how to celebrate it’s Halloween.

And we don’t just dress up the day of. Halloween is one of those holidays that we can get into all month long. There’s something about fall that gets us in the mood for pumpkin (everything), warm colors and gettin’ dressed up!

There is NOTHING the ladies of LLScene love more than dressing up for Halloween. We’re known for getting really into it… (See above photo!)

Today, we’re sharing all of the #SceneWorthy events you can look forward to this month to celebrate one of our favorite holidays.

Halloween at the Addison presents “A Horror Story”

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Date: Tuesday, Oct. 31st

Time: 7:30 p.m. to midnight

Location: The Addison, 2 E Camino Real, Boca Raton

This is probably our favorite event of season, let alone the entire year. If you know anything about The Addison, you know they are fully equipped to throw a killer party. This year, Halloween at The Addison is benefiting the Slow Burn Theatre Company at the Broward Center for Performing Arts. Last year’s party was a complete success, so this year they are going above and beyond with extravagant activities (a haunted walk-through and themed rooms), live music and entertainment, foodie-approved and themed fare, specialty craft cocktails. Plus, Boca Magazine is this year’s participating media sponsor!

Seriously gross! But delicious...

Seriously gross! But delicious… Photos provided by The Addison.

The ladies of LLScene are also giving away two tickets to the event. CLICK HERE to enter to win!

Tickets

$100 Early bird (offer ends Oct. 14)

$125 General admission

$2,400 VIP tables for up to 10 guests (limited availability) – includes complimentary valet parking, access to indoor VIP area, table side food and beverage service, and champagne bottle service—in addition to general admission benefits.

Tickets and VIP tables are available at http://addisonhalloween.com.

Boca Pumpkin Patch Festival

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Date: Saturday Oct. 14 – Sunday Oct. 15

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

This is a fun little event for families and people of all ages! The first Boca Pumpkin Patch Festival is bringing the season of fall to life in Boca Raton this year. Be prepared for pumpkin madness, because there will be a massive pumpkin patch (with 2,500 pumpkins!), a cornstalk maze, scarecrow dress-up activity, unlimited carnival rides for all ages, live entertainment, a pumpkin food court, pumpkin beer bars (for adults obvs) and more!

Enigma Haunt

Enigma

Date: Oct. 6-7, 13-15, 19-22, and 27-31

Time: Fridays and Saturdays: 7 p.m. to midnight

Thursdays and Sundays : 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 31: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Location: Enigma Haunt, 1751 N Military Trial, Boca Raton

Okay, we will be the first to admit that we have yet to try out Enigma Haunt in Boca Raton. We have purchased tickets to this event for the past three years and chicken out EVERY SINGLE TIME. Warning: this is not an event you want to attend if you scare easily. That being said, we have friends who go every year and always have the best time. If you’re really looking to get into the Halloween spirit, Enigma Haunt is for you. Enigma Haunt has grown to be top in the nation. This year, they were voted as one of the top 31 haunted houses in the U.S. It takes about an hour to get through all of the haunted houses, without the huge lines! Even if there is a line, you will still be entertained every step of the way.

Tickets:

Realms of Terror: $25

Pre-Sale Triple Terror Pack: $25 – Includes admission to all three haunts: Pandemic, Into Oblivion and Realms of Terror

RIP Triple Terror: $45 – Includes admission to all three haunts plus access to a VIP entrance for each haunted house.

Purchase tickets here.

Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market Fall Festival

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The Bedner’s pumpkin patch. Photo provided by Bedner’s.

Date: Weekends in October

Location: Bedners Farm Fresh Market, 10066 Lee Road, Boynton Beach

This is always an adorable time of year at Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach. Their family friendly fall festival started Oct. 1 and is filled with picturesque seasonal photo opportunities. Since the festival is only open on weekends, be sure to get there early before the crowds. What makes October at Bedners so noteworthy and fun?

  • Traditional pumpkin patch open every day but Tuesday
  • Hayrides around their beautiful 80 acres of working farm
  • A bigger and better corn maze
  • Petting zoo with pony rides
  • Bounce house, slides, rides and games
  • Award-winning BBQ
  • Local handmade craft vendors
  • Air cannons
  • And way more!

Tickets:

Free entry, fee for activities/food. Open to the public.

X-Scream Halloween 13

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Date: Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28

Time: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m,

Location: G-Star School of the Arts, 2030 South Congress Ave., West Palm Beach

This year’s haunts are Tale of the Dragon Witch and The Void. The former is about dreams and a terrifyingly evil witch who plants nightmares about monsters and myths in the unsuspecting. But are they really just dreams, or are they a reality? Enter The Void if you dare. This maze has no rhym or reason, no light and no escape. We’re scared just writing about it! But there will be family friendly acitivities for the weak-hearted, so everyone can go and have a good time.

Tickets:

$10 for adults, $8 for children

Tickets are available here.

Fright Nights

FrightNight

Date: Oct. 6 – 28

Location: South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach

Fright Nights is the premier haunted house attraction in South Florida and is going to be loaded with scares this year with four haunted houses, carnival rides, food and entertainment. If you’re a true Halloween enthusiast, you won’t want to miss this event. It’s not for the squeemish.

Tickets:

FRIGHT TICKETS: $30 – Includes park admission and 30 Fright Tickets and can be used for:

Haunts: 7 tickets each

Rides: 1-3 tickets each

*Additional Fright Tickets can be purchased on the Midway: $1 per ticket.

R.I.P. TICKETS: $5 – R.I.P. tickets may be purchased on the midway. Limited tickets will be available each night.

The RIP Experience is the ultimate way to experience the terror of Fright Nights. Enjoy an evening of horror that includes:

  • Express front of line access
  • Private VIP horror lounge with cash bar
  • Scare actor photo ops

For more information about Fright Nights tickets, click here.

Lindsey Swing & Lilly Robbins are best friends and founders of LLScene, a fashion and lifestyle blog based in South Florida. Sharing the same enthusiasm for style and lifestyle trends, the ladies of LLScene bring an influential twist to “20-30 somethings” looking for a little more in life. Lindsey is a newlywed with a passion for innovative fashion movements and Florida State football. Lilly is a former Miami Dolphins Cheerleader with a desire to further her philanthropic work and brand lifestyle concepts. Until they’re fortunate enough to have children of their own, Lindsey & Lilly will continue to enjoy being “dog moms” to Bentley & Duke.
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Moving Addison Mizner, Recouping Debris Pickup Fees, Budget Notes and More

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Moving Mizner?

Almost everyone in Boca Raton loves Addison Mizner Elementary, but not everyone likes the school where it is. Read more

Randy Schultz has lived in Boca Raton since 1985 and has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1974. He spent 37 years at The Palm Beach Post, the last 23 as editorial page editor. He has written the City Watch blog for Boca Raton Magazine since February 2014. He also writes a weekly oped column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The Boca Raton Tri-Rail station. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

The Facts About Tri-Rail, Issues with Royal Palm Place Expansion and More

Time yet?

It happened a long way from South Florida, but the massacre in Las Vegas should prompt more reflection about violence—especially gun violence—in our country. Read more

Randy Schultz has lived in Boca Raton since 1985 and has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1974. He spent 37 years at The Palm Beach Post, the last 23 as editorial page editor. He has written the City Watch blog for Boca Raton Magazine since February 2014. He also writes a weekly oped column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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Tim Finnegans Spread the Giving Spirit for Florida Keys Relief

 

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Last night took me back to the good old days when everyone pitched in to help people who needed it—the days before everything was couched in political terms and all of us were so divided.

I was at Tim Finnegans in Delray at a benefit for the Keys hurricane relief—hosted by owner Lisa Walsh and some of her friends and customers, Michele Bellisari, Steve Martel, Linda Somers, Paula Tolly, Greg Weiss, Bob Wieder. The Joe Cotton band played for free and radio fun boy Paul Castronovo (The Paul Castronovo Show, Big 105.7) opened up the night with a great pitch to help the Keys we all love so much—and toasted the crowd with a Pilar’s rum and coke.

He also mentioned that Crane’s Beach House donated 17 rooms of furniture to the effort and his pals from Greek Moving and Storage stepped right up to deliver that furniture (gratis) down to the Keys to the Habitat for Humanity warehouse.

It was a packed house before it even started—and the people kept coming, and coming. Business people, politicians, old hippies, random do-gooders. People parked a block away, and everyone donated their $20, bought raffle tickets, had a cold one (or four) and rallied for the cause.

“Hurricane Irma devastated the Keys, leaving tens of thousands of people without shelter, wood, fuel, food or even basic toiletries,” said Walsh. “More than a quarter of all homes are now uninhabitable, more than half have suffered damage, and hundreds of businesses were destroyed. Our friends in the Florida Keys are going to be without power, water and employment for an extended period of time.”

Organizers of the event were hoping to raise at least $25,000; no word yet on how they did but my bet is that they exceeded that goal. And it was a beautiful thing to see.

“As Floridians always do, we band together to help our own,” Walsh said.

I could not have said it better.


If you want to help rebuild the keys, please visit the GoFundMe campaign at gofundme.com/florida-keys-hurricane-relief-fund.

Marie Speed is group editor of all JES publications, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Worth Avenue, Mizner’s Dream and the annual publication for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. She also oversees editorial operations of the company’s Salt Lake City magazines.

Her community involvement has ranged from work with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce to a longtime board member position at Caridad Center. She is also on the George Snow Scholarship Fund review committee. She is a past officer of the Florida Magazine Association and a member of Class XVII of Leadership Florida. In her spare time, Marie enjoys South Florida’s natural world through hiking and kayaking, and she is an avid reader and an enthusiastic cook.

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Making Conservation Work in Africa

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Words and photos by Howie Minsky

On this trip—which is conservation-based—I am learning it is not all about the animals.

It is not enough to simply protect wildlife and its habitat; it’s just as crucial to involve the community surrounding that habitat. The people here are hardworking and for the most part, poor—and they want the same things we all do: to live with their families in a safe, self-sustaining environment.

A strong conservationist must be a caring community leader. All too often well-meaning conservationists come to preserves like this one and dictate to the local community what they need to do to save wildlife through impassioned speeches, shoving abstract ideas down the throats of people who may be more interested in where their next meal is coming from. It’s not that they don’t care about the animals—but they also have some practical matters to resolve like food, clean water and education.

 

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A good conservationist must create a long-range plan that accommodates these concerns. As part of our community outreach, the team has built a one-room schoolhouse for k-6 children living in the surrounding area. It is gratifying to help install pipes to carry water from a local well, or plant trees to provide shade in the coming years, or till the soil and plant a vegetable garden to help feed the students. The greatest reward is seeing these kids so excited to attend school. These rural families have great appreciation for education and the opportunity to improve their children’s lives and those of their families.

Today, we are heading to the school to work on the vegetable garden, plant more trees and help with any building maintenance. It’s a two-hour drive down a winding and very bumpy dirt road deep in the bush. Along the way we pick up garbage visible from our 4×4. Surprisingly, there is not much trash to pick up, but we make a game of it seeing who can spot and retrieve the most.

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As we arrive at the school, the kids are already lined up for the one daily meal the school provides: mashed maize similar to mashed potatoes, vegetables and a bit of meat. This may be the only meal a child may eat that day.

Even more mind-numbing is the fact that children as young as 6 years old may walk 3 miles to school—on well-worn paths through the African bush also used by giraffes, zebras, baboons, elephants and sometimes lions.

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The vegetable garden is a great accomplishment, given the rocky soil and dry season. We have established a productive garden of cabbage, tomatoes, carrots and onions despite the conditions.

We get to work expanding the vegetable garden, planting more trees in the orchard and fixing a leaky pipe drawing water from the well. It’s hard work in the heat but we know the pay-off is huge: our community improvements have resulted in minimal poaching issues on this preserve. We have a clear line of communication with the community and its leaders. Most importantly, we are a part of the community and are excited to continue to improve people’s lives and protect the wildlife and its habitat for decades to come.

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To read more of Howie’s adventures, visit Our Man in Africa on our website. 

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The Best Fall Family Events in Boca and Beyond

It’s that time of year again, Boca moms. I can already smell the pumpkin spice in the air—despite the fact that it’s still a blazing 85 degrees outside. It’s Florida’s version of FALL! Bring on the ankle boots, bales of hay and pumpkin patches because autumn is on its way via fun family events and hopefully, cooler weather. These are my favorite fall activities to go to each year:

Oktoberfest at the American German Club

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Michelle at Oktoberfest, beer in hand, of course. Photo by Michelle Olson-Rogers.

Dust off your lederhosen and beer steins because on the second and third weekend of October, Oktoberfest is coming to the Palm Beaches. You and your kids will enjoy traditional Bavarian food, drinks, folk dancing and sing-alongs with two bands straight from Germany. There’s also a carnival for all ages and a kids’ zone! Having been to the real Oktoberfest in Munich, this is the most authentic experience your family will find—at least locally. We never miss it. Tickets are only $10 and kids under 12 are free.

5111 Lantana Road, Lake Worth; 561/967-6464

Lantern Festival at the Morikami

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“And at last you’ll see the light!”

That’s what I told my Rapunzel-obsessed daughter when I tried to explain the popular Lantern Festival at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. The Lantern Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21, and attendees will experience Japanese folk dancing, drumming, an Ennichi street fair and the iconic lantern floating ceremony. Hundreds of lanterns are lit and placed on the Morikami’s central lake in the spirit of Obon, Japan’s summer homage to ancestors who return for a brief visit to the living. It is absolutely beautiful. If you haven’t been, get your tickets sooner rather than later because this event always sells out!

4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach; 561/495-0233

Shriek Week at Sugar Sand Park

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Avery looking spooky at Shriek Week. Photo by Michelle Olson-Rogers.

When it comes to Halloween family fun, no one does it better than Boca Raton’s Sugar Sand Park. Shriek Week features an indoor haunted house (paid reservations required), outdoor haunted walkthrough, shows, games, train rides and family entertainment. There’s also a killer (free) indoor trick-or-treat trail featuring local businesses and organizations. The 13th Annual Shriek Week runs Oct. 20-21 and 26-28.

300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton; 561/347-3900

NEW! Boca Pumpkin Patch Festival at Mizner Park Amphitheater

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I had to throw one new event in the mix. The Boca Pumpkin Patch Festival is taking over Mizner Park with thousands of pumpkins, a pumpkin food court and pumpkin beer bars! The event promises to be a fall wonderland for the whole family! Admission includes unlimited carnival rides, a kiddie cornstalk maze, scarecrow dress-up activity, beautiful photo ops, and live entertainment. The outdoor event runs for two days on Oct. 14 and 15.

590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton


Visit www.modernbocamom.com for even more fun Halloween and fall events! And be sure to subscribe to Modern Boca Mom’s weekly e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/mbmsubscribe

Michelle Olson-Rogers, a native to Boca, is the founder of ModernBocaMom.com, a lifestyle website for the stylish & modern South Florida Mommy. Modern Boca Mom features family events, activities, classes, fitness, dining, travel, home improvement and shopping options—as well as a weekly MOMpreneur spotlight! She and her husband Andrew have one daughter, Avery.
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Ocean Breeze Presentation Today, Delray City Manager Out-of-Staters

What to do with Ocean Breeze?

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Some things will be clearer this afternoon after the Boca Raton City Council hears a presentation on the former Ocean Breeze golf course. Read more

Randy Schultz has lived in Boca Raton since 1985 and has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1974. He spent 37 years at The Palm Beach Post, the last 23 as editorial page editor. He has written the City Watch blog for Boca Raton Magazine since February 2014. He also writes a weekly oped column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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Irma Updates (Including Debris Pick-Up), the Downtown Boca Campus and More

Debris removal

Pieces of roofing on the curb at Briny Breezes have yet to be removed. Photo by Marie Speed.

Pieces of roofing and tree branches on the curb at Briny Breezes have yet to be removed. Photo by Marie Speed.

Just as Florida Power & Light asked customers to be patient while the company restored electricity, officials in Boca Raton and Delray Beach want residents to be patient while trucks pick up debris from Hurricane Irma. Read more

Randy Schultz has lived in Boca Raton since 1985 and has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1974. He spent 37 years at The Palm Beach Post, the last 23 as editorial page editor. He has written the City Watch blog for Boca Raton Magazine since February 2014. He also writes a weekly oped column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.