sea turtle

Why Crowds Flock to Rehabilitated Sea Turtle Releases

With a crowd of more than 400 people cheering around them, Mayor Mort and Reilly scuttled across the warm powder-like sand of Juno Beach. As they drew closer to the ocean, the briny foam of the ocean teased their beaks.

With an abrupt toss of the waves—and roar of applause from the spectators—the loggerhead sea turtles were back in the their native underwater world. In the far distance toward the horizon, the surface of the churning Atlantic shimmered.

Sea turtle release by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Photo courtesy of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Sea turtle release by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Photo courtesy of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

The Valentine’s Day release of the pair may have ended with a short trot to the water, but it was a scuttle some time in the making—just months before both sea turtles were found sickly and on the verge of death.

Reilly, the smaller of the two, was found back in October in a power plant canal in St. Lucie county. The adolescent turtle had numerous barnacles embedded on its body, indications of prolonged inactivity due to anemia. Feeble and emaciated, veterinarians at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach deemed Reilly to be chronically debilitated.

Mayor Mort, who was named in loving memory of Juno Beach’s late mayor, Mort Levine, was also discovered in St. Lucie. Mort, like Reilly, was lethargic and anemic, but unlike his younger counterpart didn’t just have barnacles (hundreds of them!) on his carapace, but also had leeches too.

Thousands of leech teeth were puncturing Mort’s shell, sucking blood. Heavy infestations of such organisms can be a death sentence for a sea turtle.

At the Loggerhead Center, both turtles were immersed in fresh water for the first few days of their stay, a treatment that causes many of the parasites to detach. Since neither seemed to have much of an appetite when they first arrived, they were given parenteral nutrition—intravenous sustenance—until they were able to eat again for themselves.

Mayor Mort in his "hospital room." Photo courtesy of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Mayor Mort in his “hospital room.” The black object on his back is the tracking system the center uses to chart his course in the wild. Photo courtesy of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Slowly, over the course of many weeks, and with the added help of antibiotics and iron supplements, the pair began to show progress in their healing. When they were finally released earlier this month, Mayor Mort and Reilly became part of the dozens of sea turtles—like Betty White, Nemo, and Dory—that the Loggerhead Center successfully rehabilitated this past year.

The beach releases, which are free to attend, have become nothing short of a spectacle for many locals, such as Sarah McDonald, a student at Florida Atlantic University’s Honor’s College. She says that every release is an emotional experience for her.

“It’s exciting to follow [a sea turtle’s] whole story and road to recovery,” she says. “As a marine biology major, you learn a lot about the disruption that mankind can put on our oceans, so it’s a great feeling to see the other side of that: being able to help rather than harm the animal.”

Over the years the rehabilitation efforts have not only helped the turtles, but have also helped catapult the Loggerhead Center to local stardom. In 2016 alone the facility welcomed more than 300,000 visitors, many from around the world—that is as many as the Perez Art Museum receives annually!

As more people come to learn about the center’s mission to help marine animals (through e-blasts, social media channels, and news stories) the attendance of each release has steadily grown.

Hannah Deadman, a spokesperson for the marine life center, says that the large turnouts are a testament of the local community’s support for sea turtles and coastal environments.

As to why many of the observers of the releases are regulars, Deadman tells Boca Raton the reason she believes the events continue to be so popular: “Watching a wild animal return to its home never gets old!”

As for Mayor Mort and Reilly, the duo are expected to do well back in their aquamarine world. “Since we have medically cleared the turtles for release, we are hopeful that the turtles will do well in their wild ocean home—just as sea turtles should be,” Deadman says.

Mayor Mort was tagged with a satellite tracker before release so that biologists can see the turtle’s movements in the wild. If you’re interested in checking out how Mort is faring out in the open ocean, you can so do by visiting:

Jonathan Kendall is a published writer with bylines in the Miami New Times and the Broward and Palm Beach New Times. He was born and raised in sunny South Florida and is a graduate of Harvard University, where he studied journalism under several Nieman Fellows.
free yoga

Free Yoga This Weekend at Delray Marketplace Amphitheater

free yoga

Local yoga instructor and physical therapist Bea Gruman will be teaching a free yoga class at the Delray Marketplace Amphitheater, at 14851 Lyons Road, Delray Beach, Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m.

The event, called Yoga in the Park, is for all levels of yoga experience. People only need to bring a mat and towel.

While the class is free, any donations made at the event will go to support Lynn Cancer Institute and Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

The inspiration for the event came from a local network of teens, called Teens of Pink Ribbon. Teens of Pink Ribbon was founded in 2014 by Fern Duberman, a Boca Raton resident, professional interior designer and cancer awareness advocate. The group has evolved into a growing network of local teens and adults committed to wellness, education and fundraising, according to Duberman.

“[Teens of Pink Ribbon] is dedicated to advancing awareness and education about cancer, genetics, lifestyle choices, prevention, treatments and technological innovations [for] teens and adults, as well as fundraising to support local medical facilities and resources,” Duberman says. “This specific event was created by the teens, and Delray Marketplace went along with the idea and donated the space!”

Boca Raton resident and yoga instructor Katherine Karageorges Sharp, who is a cancer survivor, will close Yoga in the Park with meditation.

“My yoga practice really brought me to my meditation practice,” Sharp tells “Since beginning a regular meditation practice, I feel happier, lighter and more grounded. I am less reactive to external events—things I cannot control.”

Gruman teaches yoga at Synergy Fitness Boca, Life Time Athletic and Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton.

For more information about Teens of Pink Ribbon, go to: For more about Yoga in the Park, email Duberman at

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on

Delray Commission Candidates Form Political Alliances; Other Boca/Delray News

city watch

Delray commission alliances revealed through campaign contributions

The candidates for Delray Beach’s March 14 election are set — and so are the political alliances.

Seats 2 and 4 on the city commission are up. Both are open, after Jordana Jarjura announced that she would not seek re-election in Seat 4. Jarjura, though, remains in the election indirectly.

Four candidates are competing for Seat 2, from which the term-limited Al Jacquet resigned last fall after his election to the Florida House. The two main candidates are Kelly Barrette, who operates the TakeBackDelrayBeach Facebook page, and Jim Chard, who serves on the city’s site plan review and appearance board.

Jarjura first nominated Chard to fill the Seat 2 vacancy. Chard’s contributions include $500 from Gulf Building, Jarjura’s current employer, and $500 from the Conrad & Scherer law firm, Jarjura’s previous employer. One of the partners at Conrad & Scherer is former Delray Beach City Attorney Noel Pfeffer.

He resigned last year after clashing repeatedly with commissioner Mitch Katz and Shelly Petrolia. Jarjura supported Pfeffer. Barrette’s contributions include $100 from Katz and $500 from Anthony Petrolia, Shelly Petrolia’s husband.

Chard has raised about $36,000, including a $10,000 loan from himself. He has received $500 from two former Delray Beach mayors — Tom Lynch and Jeff Perlman — $250 from Reggie Cox, chairman of the community redevelopment agency and $100 from former commissioner Fred Fetzer.

Bruce Bastian, who lost to Katz in 2015 — Jarjura supported Bastian; he entered early, while Katz got in late — gave Chard $250. County Commissioner/former Delray Beach City Commissioner Mack Bernard gave Chard $100. Chard has $1,000 in contributions from Colony Hotel owner Jestena Bouhgton, developer Scott Porten and Woo Creative, whose owner is civic activist Ryan Boylson. Chard also received $1,000 from Atlantic Bakery.

Barrette has raised about $16,000, including a $4,000 loan. She has received $3,000 from Delray Beach accountant Warren Roy, his wife and Roy’s firm.

At this point, there’s less money in the Seat 4 race, but the alliances are similar.

Shirley Johnson is opposing Josh Smith. He sought appointment to the Jacquet vacancy. Katz and Petrolia supported him. Jarjura and Mayor Cary Glickstein wanted Yvonne Odom. Jarjura switched her support to Odom after the first round of voting.

Johnson has received $100 from Odom. Like Chard, she got $250 from Reggie Cox. She also received $500 from Herman Stevens, who serves with Cox on the CRA board, and former city commissioner Angeleta Gray. Johnson seems to be drawing support from African-American residents who urged the commission to name Odom over Smith for the Jacquet vacancy. In a sign that she might get help from Chard supporters, Johnson received $1,000 from Scott Porten.

As for Smith, he got $500 from Anthony Petrolia. He also received $1,000 from Ken MacNamee, who regularly sends long, angry emails to city commissioners and administrators. MacNamee does not target Katz and Petrolia, but he has been especially critical of Glickstein and Jarjura, and regularly bashed Pfeffer.

So Katz and Petrolia hope to form a four-person majority with Barrette and Smith. Though Glickstein, Katz, Jarjura and Petrolia at one time worked for and otherwise supported each other, that reformist alliance frayed. We will see next month what new alliances emerge.

FAU loses round in Tracy lawsuit

Florida Atlantic University has lost its latest attempt to dismiss the lawsuit by conspiracy theorist James Tracy.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenberg ruled against FAU on all counts. In December, Rosenberg gave the university a split decision, but allowed Tracy the chance to file a new complaint that clarified his contention that FAU violated his constitutional rights by firing him. Though Tracy attracted notoriety by claiming on a website unrelated to FAU that mass murders such as the Sandy Hook School shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing didn’t happen, the university fired Tracy for failing to report his outside blogging.

Rosenberg’s ruling doesn’t address the merits of Tracy’s case. It states only that he now is presenting a case the court can hear. Among other things, Tracy claims that FAU President John Kelly and other administrators used him as the “poster child” in a campaign to weaken the strength of the faculty union.

In this time of supposed “post-truth” and “alternative facts,” it will be interesting to see if this case touches on the question of what happens when constitutionally protected speech is demonstrably false. Would the Sandy Hook parents who lost their children have to testify? Or a trial could turn on more technical matters related to Tracy’s contract with FAU. The university has seven days to respond to Tracy’s new complaint.

Mr. Sandman, bring me some sand

I wrote recently about Boca Raton’s successful search for domestic sand to be pumped onto the city’s beaches when they erode, as they inevitably do. One missing element was when Boca will need the next such project, after completing work on the central beach. According to a city official, the south beach will need more work in 2020. The northern and central beaches are scheduled for renourishment in 2024, but the work could come sooner if storms cause more erosion.

FAU student district update


The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council has submitted its report on the proposed student district for FAU along 20th Street east of the campus. Administrators are reviewing the report and will prepare a presentation for the Boca Raton City Council.

As with other projects, the city needs to start things moving. The report recommends that the city begin work this spring on a University District Master Plan, which would cover the area bounded by Spanish River Boulevard, Interstate 95, Glades Road and Federal Highway. 20th Street might emerge as the spine, but the study should look at the broader area.

As FAU implements its plan to have all freshman and sophomores live on campus, the university and the city should collaborate on “management and oversight” of off-campus housing complexes like University Park. Notably, campus police would be the first responders, with the city’s department assisting if needed.

The university also should apprise the city regularly about its plans for a hotel and conference center on Glades Road at the southeast corner of the campus. To improve relations between FAU and the city, the planning council recommends that they establish a chapter of the International Town & Gown Association. The planning council also recommends that city council members and FAU trustees meet regularly. According to the report, the last such meeting took place in 2009.

Mayor Susan Haynie and council members Jeremy Rodgers, Scott Singer and Robert Weinroth attended the “visioning session” in December that produced this report. So did FAU President John Kelly. The report notes that creating a student district would help FAU as it seeks to become more of a traditional, residential campus and would help the city by getting students out of single-family neighborhoods. City staff is busy, but this issue should get to the council as soon as possible.

Possible Ag Reserve land sale a slippery slope

Yet another threat to the Palm Beach County Agricultural Area has emerged.

Eighteen years ago, voters taxed themselves $150 million for land purchases to keep as much farming in the 22,000-acre reserve as possible. Now the South Florida Water Management District wants to sell the largest parcel bought with that public money. That would be the nearly 600-acre tract known as the Pero Farms property.

The South Florida Water Management took a 61 percent share in the property, envisioning it for use as a reservoir. The district no longer wants to build the reservoir and wants to sell the land, supposedly for other Everglades restoration projects. The county commission — by a supermajority of five votes — must agree to any sale. If the commission refuses, however, the district might be able to force a sale through the courts.

Supporters of the sale argue that it could include an easement limiting use of the land to farming. Critics respond that a future commission could remove the easement, which is true. Like the critics, I would point out that the district wouldn’t be so desperate for money if Gov. Rick Scott hadn’t ordered such deep budget cuts.

One option, of course, would be for the county to buy out the water management district. On Tuesday, the county commission heard a report that the district had appraisals valuing its share at roughly $9.1 million but might be willing to sell for 90 percent of that appraised value. That would mean a payment of $8.2 million. There are no related bond funds available.

Keeping development off that land is crucial. If it goes, so might the rest of the reserve. For now, the water management district should back off.

Downtown shuttle service needs a replacement

All candidates in Boca Raton’s election agree that downtown needs a shuttle/trolley service. The Downtowner, whose revenue came from advertising on the company’s vehicles, recently decamped to Tampa. At Monday’s meeting, city council members acting as the community redevelopment agency will discuss options for a replacement shuttle and other services, such as a shared bicycle program.

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.
Randy is married to Shelley Huff-Schultz, director of Access PC at Pine Crest School. Their son, Alec Schultz, and daughter-in-law, Meredith Schultz, are lawyers in South Florida. They live in Boca Raton and have three children: Carter, 8; Preston, 6; and Lila, 4. Their daughter, Mara Howard, is a veterinarian practicing in Hunt Valley, Maryland. She lives with her husband, Chip Howard, in Reisterstown, Maryland.

Another Legal Issue For Al Zucaro


Al Zucaro

Rockland County lawsuit

Three weeks ago, I reported on the six lawsuits that had been filed since 2007 in Palm Beach County against Al Zucaro, who is running for mayor of Boca Raton against incumbent Susan Haynie. All six actions claimed that Zucaro had failed to repay loans or debt.

In addition, Zucaro faces a 12-year-old lawsuit in Rockland County, New York, alleging that he wrongly took $137,500 from the estate of his late uncle, Thomas Imperato. In November 2014, the court ordered Zucaro to return the money “due to the fraudulent actions of the respondents,” who were Zucaro and his late wife. Zucaro appealed. The court heard arguments two weeks ago.

Zucaro’s legal adversary has been Angela Amengual, the executrix of Imperato’s estate. Zucaro earlier tried to block the will from going to probate, claiming that Amengual exercised “undue influence” over Imperato.

In 2007, the Surrogate’s Court of Rockland County rejected Zucaro’s argument. Zucaro appealed that ruling, and lost. The four-judge appellate panel ruled unanimously in 2009 that Amengual had “made a prima facie showing that the will was not procured through undue influence” and admitted the will to probate. The judges found Zucaro’s “remaining contentions without merit.”

Eight years ago, a Palm Beach County judge ordered Zucaro to repay a business investor $406,000. Zucaro has not paid any of that judgment. He settled lawsuits with his former in-laws alleging that he had failed to repay $40,000 in loans for property in Georgia. He settled a lawsuit with another investor to whom Zucaro owed $150,000.

To that record, add a case in which a judge called Zucaro’s action “fraudulent.” On Monday, I asked Zucaro, among other things, whether the money from Imperato’s estate remained in an account from which Zucaro could return it. I also asked, given the judge’s ruling in the Imperato case, what qualifies him to be mayor.

Zucaro would not answer the questions. Instead, he said in an email, “This is an ongoing legal matter, and we fully expect to win the appeal. The fact is Boca Raton residents are far more concerned about the lack of media coverage regarding the mayor’s voting record on rampant overdevelopment and traffic gridlock than they are about any personal issues of (sic) Mayor Haynie or myself.”

Kellyanne Conway couldn’t have ducked the questions any better.

And BocaWatch?

When he became a candidate, Zucaro said he would give up his role as publisher of BocaWatch. He claims that the website is operating independently of him.

That supposed separation never seemed believable. Now, to no one’s surprise, BocaWatch has endorsed Zucaro. The endorsement referred to Zucaro’s “challenges in his business dealings,” yet dismissed them because “Mr. Zucaro never suffered censure or suspension of his legal license during this time in his career.”

Which is beside the point. None of the lawsuits challenged Zucaro’s actions as a lawyer. None of the lawsuits, which included a foreclosure on his home, included a complaint with the Florida Bar. Judging by these comments, we can presume that Zucaro remains in control of BocaWatch and that the website will continue its role as a Zucaro campaign publicist.

Golf course update

As I had reported would happen, Lennar has offered to sell the closed Ocean Breeze golf course to the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District. The company wants $24 million for the roughly 200 acres.

The deal actually would be with Lennar and the Wells Fargo subsidiary that owns the property. Lennar has a contract to buy it, based on being able to develop land that under a deed covenant must be a golf course. Only a majority vote of units within the surrounding Boca Teeca community could allow development. The sale would include the land and all buildings, one of them a former hotel.

Any sale also would involve the city, which would have to provide financing. The beach and park district board received the offer at its meeting last Monday and voted to proceed. One day later, the city council passed a resolution agreeing with the district’s decision to buy Ocean Breeze but without agreeing to the $24 million price or committing the city on financing.

In addition, Lennar raised its offer for the city’s western golf course from $41 million to $73 million, comparable to the offers from Compson Associates and GL Homes. Lennar’s first offer included a conveyance of Ocean Breeze for $1 million, meaning that the city would have netted $31 million. Lennar’s new offer removes most conditions related to how much development Palm Beach County might approve on the western course.

Given how quickly things are moving, next Tuesday’s long-planned joint meeting between the council and the district board comes at a perfect time. The 10 elected officials have much to discuss about Ocean Breeze.

The biggest issue is how much Ocean Breeze is worth. That Wells Fargo subsidiary paid only $4 million for the property just 13 months ago. In December 2004, however, it sold for $7.2 million. The buyer was a company that got approval to develop part of the course, but the project never was built.

GL Homes, which was first to offer $73 million with basically no conditions, is pushing back against the Lennar offer. Marty Steinberg, a GL lawyer, sent a letter to the district last week challenging the $24 million figure. GL has hired two appraisers who valued Ocean Breeze at $5 million and $3.2 million, respectively. Steinberg called the $24 million offer “exorbitant.”

Steinberg further disputed any suggestion that including the buildings justified a higher price. GL also paid for an appraisal of the hotel site, which was $2.2 million. As GL sees it, the collective property is worth no more than $7.15 million. The district, Steinberg wrote, has “no legal basis to justify” a $24 million sale. GL does not object to the sale itself but to the price.

Acquiring the land would not be the only expense. The district and city would have to clean up the property and return the course to playing condition. Some council members have talked about making Ocean Breeze a championship course, which would further increase the cost. Since the city already runs the western course, there might be no net increase to the operating budget, but Northwest Second Avenue, which is the main entrance to Boca Teeca, might have to be widened. Boca Teeca residents have opposed it.

From the city’s standpoint, the other key question is how to finance the purchase. Should the council seek a bond issue? If so, should the voters decide? Would the city net enough money—perhaps toward the downtown campus project—to justify a purchase that mostly would help Boca Teeca residents who don’t want Ocean Breeze developed?

There is much to consider in a short time. The council doesn’t meet this week. The district will hear an update at its meeting tonight. The joint meeting is in seven days.

Councilman Robert Weinroth said, “I’m frustrated by the speed of this.” District board member Craig Ehrnst called the $24 million figure “cheap” compared to the cost of Sugar Sand Park but “incredibly expensive” compared to the appraisals GL Homes produced.

“So, now,” Ehrnst said, “the due diligence period begins.” He has sent questions to Art Koski, the district’s executive director, and expects “a mountain of paper, attorney work product and financial analysis. I have faith that more information, with the support of Boca Teeca homeowners will help us arrive at a good conclusion. There should be no rush, as we have time.”

Practically speaking, the district can’t move without the city’s blessing. It has taken more than a year to schedule the council-district meeting. The participants will need to hear a lot of answers on Ocean Breeze.

Campaign finance reports

Candidates in Boca Raton’s March 14 election have submitted their January campaign finance reports. The candidate with the most money continues to be the candidate in the most lopsided race.

That would be Seat A incumbent Scott Singer, who through January had raised about $83,000, roughly $17,000 of it coming last month. Singer faces Patricia Dervishi, who filed on the last afternoon of qualifying and has received just $25 in contributions. She has loaned herself $1,000.

Though Zucaro also filed on the final day, he roughly matched Haynie in fund-raising for the month. Each received about $18,000. Zucaro also gave his campaign a $10,000 loan. Haynie has raised a total of $60,000, including a $500 loan. Three years ago, she raised $150,000 against Anthony Majhess.

Among Zucaro’s notable contributions are $1,000 from James Hendrey, who led the petition drive against a restaurant on the Wildflower property—across the Intracoastal Waterway from Hendrey’s home. Zucaro received $1,000 from the Shoppes on 18th Street, which is controlled by his wife, Yvonne Boice. He also got $1,000 from Frank Chapman, who ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2012 and 2015. Like Zucaro, Chapman had a list of legal issues on which I reported.

In January, Haynie received $1,000 from Angelo Bianco of Crocker Partners, which supports changes that would allow residential development in the Midtown neighborhood. Crocker owns several properties in Midtown, most notably Boca Center. Haynie also got $1,000 from another Midtown property owners, Cypress Realty. She received $1,000 from attorney Bonnie Miskel, who represents another Midtown property owner—Town Center Mall—and Elad Properties, which has applied to build the Mizner 200 condo project.

In the race for the open Seat B, Andrea O’Rourke continues to lead all three candidates, though her $72,000 total includes $25,000 in loans. Andy Thomson has no loans in his total of $55,000, and last month he received roughly twice as much as O’Rourke—$12,000 to $6,000. Emily Gentile has $53,000, more than half of that in loans. Gentile raised just $4,200 in December and January combined. The firefighters union endorsed all three Seat B candidates and gave each $1,000. Thomson got the endorsement of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and the group’s $1,000 donation.

Office of Inspector General website

At today’s county commission budget meeting, Inspector General John Carey will propose that the county allow him to hire 10 extra investigators and auditors over the next three years.

Ideally, the Office of Inspector General already would have the 40-person staff deemed adequate to oversee the county, the 39 cities, the Solid Waste Authority and the Children’s Services Council. That would happen if the cities were paying their share, as voters demanded seven years ago.

But 14 cities, including Boca Raton, sued over the method of payment. They lost at trial, but won on appeal, after which the county declined to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court. So either the cities pay voluntarily, the county pays or the office remains at just 23 positions.

Though Carey makes a persuasive case, the county has many budget demands. The cities’ resistance remains a throwback to the days of “Corruption County.”








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.
Randy is married to Shelley Huff-Schultz, director of Access PC at Pine Crest School. Their son, Alec Schultz, and daughter-in-law, Meredith Schultz, are lawyers in South Florida. They live in Boca Raton and have three children: Carter, 8; Preston, 6; and Lila, 4. Their daughter, Mara Howard, is a veterinarian practicing in Hunt Valley, Maryland. She lives with her husband, Chip Howard, in Reisterstown, Maryland.

Color Your World—With a New Soulmate

Arielle Ford & Brian (husband)

Arielle Ford and her husband, Brian.

For those of you still smarting from not having your very own Valentine this year, there may be a way to get the wheels in motion for next year—by coloring. Yes, you heard us right. A brand new coloring book (fueled by positive advice and affirmations) has just been written by former South Florida resident and relationship expert Arielle Ford (above, with husband Brian)—and it is intended to help you “manifest your soulmate” by “using the timeless principles of the Law of Attraction” by coloring in romantic artwork—and contemplating the accompanying message of each illustration.

For example, the coloring book, Inkspirations, love by design, published by HCI in Deerfield, begins with the notion of intention (“Live in the knowingness that you deserve to have loving committed relationship”) through belief (that your soulmate exists) and on through the stages of trust, surrender, clarity, making your soulmate wish list and more.

Ford will present her new book, which she calls a “transformational coloring book” this Saturday, February 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the downtown Boca library.

Ford is a speaker, a blogger for the Huffington Post, and the producer and author of 10 books including The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction. Her latest book is Turn Your Mate into Your Soulmate.

The event promises to be interactive and we say you have to start somewhere. So color yourself hopeful and get back in the game. For more information, visit the event page here.

downtown bbq throwdown

See Bobby Flay With Your Own Eyeballs at Downtown BBQ Throwdown Tomorrow

I feel like there’s no good barbeque near me.

And that makes me very sad. I live way out west in Wellington right now, and all we have out there are chain restaurants like Smokey Bones and Park Avenue Grill.

If you find yourself in a similar BBQ-devoid, soulless vacuum of suburbia, then you may consider going to the 2017 Downtown BBQ Throwdown at Mizner Park Amphitheater tomorrow, Feb. 18. I love going to Mizner, eating good barbeque and MEETING BOBBY FLAY. That’s right, folks, the king—of literally all food, ever—himself  Bobby Flay will host and judge the competition, with over 40 local chefs competing for the title of  Grand Champion and the opportunity to compete in the 30th Annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue.

downtown bbq throwdown

Photo provided by At Large PR.


The event goes on all day. You can purchase finger-licking BBQ, meet local celebs and chefs, drink and more. It’s chaired by Miguel and Denese Brito, whose vision is to support the local community, according to a press release.

The throwdown benefits our bellies as well as eight local charities: The Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Boca Helping Hands, Brothers of St. Gregory’s, Family Promise, Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, KidSanctuary, Love Boca and The Spirit of Giving.

Love Boca Outreach Ministries at last year's Downtown BBQ Throwdown. Photo provided by

Love Boca Outreach Ministries at last year’s Downtown BBQ Throwdown. Photo provided by

Another, equally important celebrity chef (in my opinion) will prepare an invitation-only farewell brunch on Sunday. That chef is Anne Burrell. So cheers to the lucky, invite-only few. You haunt my dreams and make me drool with envy. 🙂

Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door and $10 for children ages 9-12. They can be purchased here. Children 8 and under may enter for free with a canned good donation.

BBQ from last year's Downtown BBQ Throwdown. Photo provided by

BBQ from last year’s Downtown BBQ Throwdown. Photo provided by

Shayna is a 20-something sorta-recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. Most of her time is spent fawning over cats and kittens; cooking food at home for her family; and observing Florida’s greatest asset: nature.

Holiday! Celebrate! Holiday The Turtle to Return Home Tomorrow

This Thursday will be a Holiday like no other.

It was Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center got a call from Florida Fish and Wildlife asking if it could take in Holiday, a loggerhead sea turtle found at a Port St. Lucie power plant with a hook caught in her throat.


A large fishing hook with line still attached lodged in Holiday the loggerhead’s esophagus. All photos provided by Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

“We have no idea how long the hook had been in there, so we had no idea how long it had been affecting her,” says Dr. Maria Chadam, a veterinarian at Gumbo Limbo.

Holiday was slightly malnourished, but otherwise a relatively healthy turtle (with the exception of the fishing hook) when she was admitted. Chadam was able to remove the hook from the turtle’s esophagus, and the sub-adult has made a steady recovery since. Holiday has gained about 10 pounds since being admitted, and she takes an interest in people who peek through the window to her tank, swimming over to greet them.

Holiday after her surgery.

Holiday after her surgery.

“She’s definitely ready to go,” Chadam says.

And go she will. The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center will release Holiday the loggerhead back into the ocean at Spanish River Park at 4:30 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 16.

“We can take the loggerheads right across to the ocean,” Gumbo Limbo Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Coordinator Whitney Crowder says. Even though Holiday was found in Port St. Lucie, she’ll be just fine in the Boca water because loggerheads aren’t as area-specific as other types of turtles.

A happy and healthy Holiday!

A happy and healthy Holiday!

The public turtle releases can attract up to 1,500 spectators. In 2016, Crowder says the nature center rescued 107 turtles and that turtle populations are rising.

“It’s our payday, being able to release them back into the ocean,” Crowder says.

Shayna is a 20-something sorta-recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. Most of her time is spent fawning over cats and kittens; cooking food at home for her family; and observing Florida’s greatest asset: nature.
disney world

Exciting Disney Park Happenings in 2017

2017-02-10 11.32.02

It has been a whirlwind week of travel, Boca moms. Walt Disney World invited me and my family to a very special event, the “2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.” What did we celebrate? 160 bloggers and digital influencers came together to learn about the endless magic happening at Walt Disney World Resort as well as new enhancements to the Disney Wonder, one of four ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. And by learning about it, I mean personally experiencing it as we spent two days at the parks and Disney Springs and four days aboard the Wonder.

I told you it was a whirlwind!

There’s so much to write about (and I will on in the coming weeks), but these are the two things I am most excited about at the Disney Parks. I had to share…

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom


There’s a new show after dark at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, and we saw a sneak preview! Opening Friday, Feb. 17, Rivers of Light is an elaborate theatrical production that takes guests on a breathtaking emotional journey—a visual mix of water, fire, nature and light all choreographed to an original music score.


The new 15-minute show is the latest addition to the lineup of nighttime experiences at Animal Kingdom. Celebrating the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world, the performance combines live performers, beautiful floating lanterns, glistening fountains, special effects and authentic animal imagery projected on giant water screens. We even found out that all of the scenes projected are from past Disney Nature films! Rivers of Light will be performed on select nights.

Pandora: The World of Avatar to Open this Spring

2017-02-07 18.32.01

Walt Disney World has announced the addition of several new “lands” ranging from Star Wars to Toy Story over the next few years at Hollywood Studios, but the first to open at Animal Kingdom will be Pandora: The World of Avatar on May 27. Pandora will transport guests to a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees. Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by James Cameron’s epic film AVATAR.

Guests will discover two main adventures in this breathtaking new land. We experienced the final model of Pandora during the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Avatar Flight of Passage will send guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee. Na’vi River Journey is a family-friendly boat ride that sails down a sacred river hidden within a glowing rainforest for an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman.

Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders.

We are counting down the Disney days!

Visit for even more Disney news! And be sure to subscribe to Modern Boca Mom’s weekly e-newsletter:

Michelle Olson-Rogers, a native to Boca, is the founder of, a lifestyle website for the stylish & modern South Florida Mommy. Modern Boca Mom features events for mom and kids, activities, classes, fitness, dining, travel and shopping options—as well as a weekly MOMpreneur spotlight! A MOMpreneur herself, Michelle truly believes that working moms (and dads!) instill an unparalleled work ethic in their kids. She and her husband Andrew have one daughter, Avery.
beyond fitness

Delray Gym ‘Beyond Fitness’ Fighting Parkinson’s with Punches

The gym offers fitness classes for kids with disabilities and adults with Parkinson’s. 

Colleen Greenhalgh during a boxing class at Beyond Fitness.

Colleen Greenhalgh during a boxing class at Beyond Fitness.

I get lots of press releases about how to get fit in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, but this news was something I hadn’t yet seen.

Beyond Fitness, a Delray Beach-based gym that focuses on fitness for seniors, began offering fitness classes specifically for kids with disabilities, including those with Autism, as well as classes for adults with Parkinson’s disease.

“We opened in mid-September, and originally we were focused on seniors only, then realized that the community needed other classes that we could offer” says Colleen Greenhalgh, Beyond Fitness’s owner and head trainer, and Delray Beach resident. “We want to be a place that offers something for everyone, and it’s always changing to meet the needs of the community.”

Greenhalgh has worked with people with special fitness needs, including children on the Autism spectrum or with Down syndrome, as well as with adults suffering from the progressive nervous system disorder, Parkinson’s.

Greenhalgh, 36, started working with seniors 13 years ago and loved it.

“It wasn’t until I went to Indianapolis to get certified in Rock Steady Boxing that I got into the boxing component with Parkinson’s. After leaving the training, I knew I wanted to have that class at our gym,” she says.

Rock Steady Boxing is a boxing exercise format that trainers use to reduce, reverse and delay symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, according to its website.

“Ever since then, I have taken certification after certification to learn as much as I can about the clients that I am working with,” she says. “I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a teacher and someone that made a difference in the world.”

Greenhalgh says Beyond Fitness aims to offer safe, challenging, fun, joyful classes, which offer an element of mindfulness. That’s regardless of one’s ability.


Included in the current lineup of classes for kids with disabilities, participants will also learn to dance. A class starting later in the month will be a mix of strength, cardio, yoga and meditation. The cost is $130 for 10 weeks of once-a-week classes.

For those with Parkinson’s, The Rock Steady Boxing class starts with participants introducing themselves, which creates connections and a family feel, Greenhalgh says.

“We do a warm-up with movements in all directions, balance exercises, strength exercises and coordination. We add some shadow boxing so they are ready for the combinations on the heavy bags …,” Greenhalgh says. “We then do some speed bags, which is coordination. [That] helps them stand up straight, and it just makes them feel good. We then go to heavy bags or focus mitts to work on strength, cardio, memory and coordination.”

Greenhalgh says people in the boxing class emerge more able to move and feel hopeful that they can do something about slowing down a disease with no cure. They have more energy, a support group, better balance, coordination and strength.

“We even have some doctors asking our members ‘What are you doing?’ and they [members] are saying ‘Coming to our gym and boxing,”’ she says.

All the trainers at Beyond Fitness have experience working with the populations they teach. The trainers also have big hearts and love what they do, Greenhalgh says.

In addition to her work with seniors, Greenhalgh worked in various positions, including fitness training, at country clubs for 13 years.

“I loved my last job and loved the members, but I couldn’t ignore this feeling inside. So after one night when I was meditating I began to cry and then found myself in this peaceful place. I went into work the next day and gave my notice. My boss was shocked and was wondering what I was going to do. I told him ‘I am not sure yet, but I know I have to do this,’” she says. “A few months later… we opened up the doors to Beyond Fitness.”

Greenhalgh seems to be finding her calling.

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on

The Eagle That Ended the 2017 Allianz Championship

How Scott McCarron Won This Year’s Top Prize


Scott McCarron with the first place trophy at Allianz. Photo by Charlie Anderson.

As the golfers roved along the sprawling green, they were followed by a whispering legion of pastel fans resembling Easter eggs—women dressed in pink and green Lilly Pulitzer wrap dresses, men in varying shades of blue T-shirts and khaki shorts.

Swing after swing, applause after applause (and occasional collective groans), this year’s Allianz Championship, which took place on the Old Course at Broken Sound this weekend, culminated to three players by Sunday afternoon: Kenny Perry, Carlos Franco and Scott McCarron.

Though the trio was tied by the time the players reached the 18th and final segment of the tournament—a par-5 hole—only one of them turned the ball into a winning eagle (two strokes under par) when he struck it.

McCarron, 51, looked across the 507-yard green, steadied his hands, and with a confident stroke, whipped his club through the air. The ball took flight in the sky. The setting sun’s glare, however, blinded him from seeing exactly where it landed.

“As soon as I hit it, I couldn’t see it at all, just went right in the sun so I had no idea—but it felt good,” McCarron says.

Good it was.

Though blinded, McCarron could hear the crowd in the far distance—the people surrounding the 18th cup “oohed” and “aahed,” then enthusiastically applauded. The ball landed about seven feet from the cup!

Once on the hill, surrounded by the grandstands filled with breathless spectators, McCarron tapped the eagle and sunk it into the hole, earning the first place title and a $262,500 prize. It was his second victory in the last four champion events for Allianz champ McCarron.

Immediately after winning, his wife, Jenny, leapt into his arms. “All wins are exciting, but this one, to be able to finish it off the way I did, [was] really something special,” McCarron says. “It was a very good day.”

Beyond McCarron’s win, this year’s Allianz Championship (pronounced: Ahh-lee-ahnz) also won a new distinction. Rebecca Seelig, a spokesperson for event says that the 2017 Allianz Championship at Broken Sound had the largest turnout on record. “Attendance was 12,000 on Friday, 14,000 on Saturday and 16k on Sunday,” she says.

Photo by Jonathan Kendall.

Photo by Jonathan Kendall.

Jonathan Kendall is a published writer with bylines in the Miami New Times and the Broward and Palm Beach New Times. He was born and raised in sunny South Florida and is a graduate of Harvard University, where he studied journalism under several Nieman Fellows.