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March 19, 2012

Autistic Children Count started out of Boynton mother's kitchen

When Kathy Gosselin’s son Robert, 9, was diagnosed with autism, the Boynton Beach mother reached out for information on therapy groups and resources to help her through the tough transition.

She discovered that new methods of motivating autistic children were out there but were not covered by insurance. For example, she wanted to get her son a therapy dog after the family dog Buddy was put to sleep.

“We found one organization out of Jacksonville but the dog costs $10,000,” she said.

Gosselin started fundraising through garage sales and an event at the local Bru’s Room Sports Grill. Within two months, she had enough money to get her son a therapy dog.

She didn’t stop there and when Florida Atlantic University went through budget cuts, support groups for parents with autistic children were cut as well.

While sitting at her kitchen table last July she came up with the idea for Autistic Children Count.

“I said, ‘I think I’m going to be the person that can start a foundation for unconventional types of therapy like horseback riding or support groups with child care,’” she said.

The goal of the new organization is to help parents who find out their child is autistic but don’t know where to turn.

Robert’s new dog Archer is a Golden White Retriever, a friend he has already taken to Disney World and on the Thunder Mountain ride.

“We have a parent support group with 10 regular people,” she said. “We have 12 kids on a regular basis do our outings like fishing, a therapeutic dolphin swim, we have a movie night plan and even a resource fair.”

The group is new and looking to partner with any local organization that wants to help.

Stephanie Raab met Gosselin through a friend and is the director of development at Oakstone Academy Palm Beach in Lake Worth.

Forty percent of the recently opened school’s students have autism spectrum disorders.

Raab’s son Jakob is also on that spectrum and the school utilizes the social emersion model in which children with autism can mix in a class with peers that don’t have the condition.

More than 25 students have already signed up for the new school, which is a nonprofit private academy.

“She is a warrior mother,” Raab said of Gosselin. “She is an inspiration to others like myself.”

Raab said Autistic Children Count gives parents an environment in which to get support, connect, form a network and work together.

Call 561-797-0397.

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March 16, 2012

Boynton to go through branding process

What does Boynton Beach have to offer? The rest of Palm Beach County and beyond should know soon enough.

Since 2010, the city has been undergoing a branding journey, as independent contractor Dale Carlson calls it.

She was brought in last October to help present a brand promise during a recent City Commission meeting.

“I’ve been down here for 20 years and operating my own marketing business for the last 14,” Carlson said.

For the past few months, she has been working with a brand committee to come up with catchy phrases that tell the world what the city to offer that should make the average out-of-towner stop in to visit, or stay.

“There were 15 locals in the brand promise committee: educators, Realtors, philanthropists,” she said. “This included Glenn Jergensen from the chamber and Joseph Schneider from Galaxy Elementary. It was a good collection of Boynton assets.”

But what does this mean for residents?

The goal is to increase traffic within the city by giving it a memorable place in the mind of all Florida residents.

The committee assessed the strengths and weaknesses and determined the city’s target audience.

“Who do we want to come to the community in the future?” Carlson said. “Our target audience is retirees, businesses, artists even, and residents.”

In particular she said she wants to attract “I-95ers,” the people who drive up and down Interstate 95 but have no reason to pull off in Boynton Beach.

She said these drivers have no idea that the beach is so close, closer from the interstate exit than other cities nearby like Boca Raton. This is the message Carlson wants to get out to a family looking to build a sand castle or a college student looking to surf.

“Let’s give them a reason to pull over,” she said. “Hey in five minutes, your feet can be in the sand.”

From a 2011 survey, the committee also discovered what people considered positive and negative attributes about Boynton Beach.

These results told the committee that the green, verdant parks were a major plus while corruption, crime, limited downtown and elderly residents were all negatives.

But after doing some research Carlson said she found some of the survey participants’ perceptions weren’t based on facts.

“Boynton Beach has the second lowest crime rate behind Boca Raton,” she said. “The no downtown depends on your perspective. Our downtown just doesn’t look like Delray or West Palm.”

She said when it comes to the downtown area, the work the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency has done over the past three years trumps the work done in the 20 years before that.

Free movies, concerts and art events are some of the pieces that the branding effort is trying to highlight.

“Affordability too; this is the second most affordable city behind Lake Worth,” she said.

Some samples from the branding promise include:

“It’s time to take a look at Boynton Beach, A tropical home town where the Atlantic and Florida’s Everglades meet.”

“Catch a wave, Catch a fish, Catch your breath.”

“Breeze into Boynton Beach, America’s Gateway to the Gulfstream.”

Carisse LeJeune, assistant to the city manager, also worked on the campaign and said the City Commission took the branding promise well.

“Staff has been given approval to go forward to implement it,” she said. “We are coming back in May with an outline of the plan,” which will include steps and a timeline. It will also try to estimate costs and different strategies.

LeJeune said moving forward, all those initiatives should be at no cost to the city.

She wants the branding to be used by local businesses and schools.

A branding effort like this is what’s going to bring in new families, visitors, more real estate and restaurants, she said.

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March 15, 2012

Business Profile - Golden Time Estate Buyers

For someone down on their luck looking to make a little cash or a woman looking to trade up her current engagement ring, Boynton Beach has Golden Time Estate Buyers.

The store at 7459 S. Military Trail buys and sells estate jewelry, including gold, silver and diamonds.

Tanya Coke, the store’s co-owner, said the difference between her shop and others like it is that they don’t scrap gold or melt it down, rather the store buys whole inventories and recycles them into the community.

Coke said the store also does not use wholesalers.

“If someone has a diamond, they can take the old one and get a bigger one through trade,” she said. “Maybe a bigger one for their 25th anniversary.”

Coke was candid about women who inherit pieces of jewelry from their grandparents and how they might be out of fashion.

“If the owner thinks they are ugly, they just sit in a drawer,” she said.

Coke’s father-in-law Neville started in the jewelry business back in Jamaica in the 1970s.

“My husband Ray grew up in the store there,” she said. “I have pics of him as a little boy sitting behind the showcase.”

Now, it is a family affair with her 14-year-old son learning the business as well from his father.

“We home school him in the shop,” she said. “In this business, it is hard to hire outside the family.”

In addition to Ray and Tanya, their aunt Yvette Veley works the eBay portion of the business in the back of the store and the father-in-law is the watch maker.

After numerous successful locations, the family’s current location opened last Dec. 15.

Tanya’s mother Renee Tellini works all the sales and keeps everyone in line, Coke said.

“It’s hard times and people are selling things they don’t want to,” she said. “It comes down to keeping a gold chain or buying food.”

Ray Coke said it feels nice to carry on his father’s legacy and tradition.

“I just hope I can teach my son to pick it up the same way I did,” he said.

Ray said every day is different and dealing with the different customers is the best part, especially when a story is tied to a specific piece.

“That’s what is cool about it,” he said. “It’s like watching ‘Pawn Stars,’ where they tell you the story of where the piece came from.”

The store is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.

Call 561-966-6060.

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March 9, 2012

Local officer teaches dog training in the convenience of the home

If anyone can help train a dog to be man’s best friend, it should be a police officer with experience in the K-9 unit.

Police officer Bob Burnell, owner of Sit Means Sit in Boynton Beach, said his other passion is training dogs and being a master instructor in first aid for animals.

Burnell has been with Sit Means Sit for five years and even though he lives in Boynton Beach, he covers the entire county by traveling to customers’ homes.

“I help them get control back of the situation by in-home training with them and their dog,” he said.

Burnell works with the owner on an individual basis to train the dog on what it needs, whether it is aggressive or just chewing on the couch.

“With puppies, I do more house breaking, going over behavior like nipping and chew toy selection,” he said. “If the they don’t do it early, the dog will one day be ripping up couches and shoes.”

Burnell said the training starts with the owner to make sure he or she listens to him and gets the dog to listen, as well.

Burnell said he uses the E-collar, or electronic collar, as direction not correction to guide the dog away from something and also incorporates treats and praise into the mix.

“I build that muscle memory, so the commands become second nature to the dog,” he said. “I make the command mean something.”

Burnell started training dogs 15 years ago in New York and when he came to Florida 10 years ago, he went into the K-9 unit.

Bruce Whitely met Burnell at the South Florida Fairgrounds and wanted to get training for his two Goldendoodles, Moose and Molly.

“We basically were interested in getting the dogs into a therapy dog program and we knew they needed some training to have control of them during the therapy,” he said.

The first time Whitely met Burnell, the E-collar was introduced and Whitely said he was able to hold it, feeling its light power of suggestion.

“He came to our home and that’s important because when you do training in other locations with the dog, it is not in their environment and becomes problematic,” he said.

After a few months, the dogs were ready for nursing homes and rehab centers to bring joy to patients and families.

At one camp in which the dogs work with children ages 5 to 13, Molly was able to break through to a young boy who was not responding to anyone else.

Whitely had taught Molly to sit on objects and when the boy himself was able to get her to sit on a bench with a simple command, his eyes lit up and he gave her a big hug, Whitely said.

“From that point on, his attitude went up,” he said of the boy.

Call 561-543-5583.

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Sitting down with Danny Phan, owner of the Nail Studio

Danny Phan, owner of the Nail Studio in Boynton Beach.

The salon is in the Fountains Plaza at 6665 Boynton Beach Blvd.

He was born in Vietnam.

He lives in Wellington.

He used to live in Chicago.

He came to Florida eight years ago.

He has two other nail salons, including DJ Nails in West Palm Beach and La Vie Nails in Wellington.

He likes to watch TV, read on the computer and listen to music.

When did you open your nail studio in Boynton Beach?

“Six months ago and we are open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday except for Sunday, when we are closed.”

Why did you want to expand into Boynton Beach?

“It is a very busy location with very good clientele. We also use 100 percent organic nail polish with no chemicals and a lot of the people here love that.”

How did you get into the nail business?

“Just came naturally to me from my family; we have been doing this since 1992.”

What is your favorite part of being in the industry?

“I like seeing the nail art, like the colors. I also enjoy talking with the clients and [we] have good nail technicians here that offer great customer service.”

What are some hot items right now at the studio?

“The Natural Nail, which is free of chemicals. Also, we have the pedicure with the liner, so clients do not share water with anybody, we throw away the liner, so no germs, and it’s very clean.”

What’s next for you?

“Maybe go up to Boca or Fort Lauderdale ... something like that.”


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March 2, 2012

Local school shaving heads, raising funds for their coach

While $500 may be a significant amount for a middle school student, it may mean even more to a physical education teacher at Saint Mark Catholic School in Boynton Beach.

India Roehrich-Hill, a seventh-grader at the school, has raised $500 through relatives and friends to help coach Chris Barulic, who was diagnosed with cancer before the winter holidays.

And India also is ready to shave her heard for the Loving Locks/Bald For Barulic event set for 11 a.m. Friday at the school, 730 NE Sixth Ave.

“I made fliers and gave them to people in my neighborhood,” she said. “I’m excited about it. I want to give support to coach and raise money for him.”

The National Junior Honor Society at the school is putting on the event and other students are raising funds to get their heads shaved. Faculty is sure to get involved for one of their own, too.

To help Barulic with hospital bills, the school is urging others to come out and donate for the cause. The school also designed original bracelets for Barulic that teacher Robert Lanza said has become a popular item around the community.

“We’ve sold a couple hundred bracelets and they are similar to the Livestrong bands,” he said. “They are yellow and blue with a cougar paw on them, [which are the school’s colors.]”

The cost is a $1 donation for each band.

“The last two years, we sent students and faculty to St. Baldrick’s after we had a student that beat cancer a few years back,” he said. “We were sending kids to Jupiter and when we heard about Chris, we figured we should focus our donations toward him.”

Lanza said it made sense to do an event at the school and get all the students involved.

“We put out the word to other schools like Gulf Stream School and their coach wants to help with donations,” he said. “Unity School in Delray too.”

Lanza said the school is keeping part of details a secret from Barulic so that it will be a surprise.

Call 561-732-9934.

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Sitting down with Debbie Tanguay, Boynton Beach Community High School teacher who received the Transitions Teacher Recognition Award from Lynn University

Debbie Tanguay, Boynton Beach Community High School teacher

Lynn University’s Transitions Teacher Recognition Award winner

Age 55

She was born in Massachusetts.

She lives in a historic area in Lake Worth.

She likes gardening.

She runs the ESE program at the high school.

The award recognizes the transition activity after high school for teens with disabilities.

She helped to raise the graduation rate by 16 percent by working with learning disabled teens to help graduate and place them in jobs.


What is the award?

“It happened by taking all those ESE students that don’t fit that regular track, the special needs kids, and getting them to see they can get a diploma, get job placement or go to community college ... There are people that don’t fit the usual college mold.”

How does it feel to be honored?

“It means that this is starting to get recognition, which brings to light lots of kids who need people in their high school to recognize their strengths ... This award means all kids now have an opportunity.”

How did you get into this line of work?

“I got into special education when ESE started in 1976 ... I saw a lot of those kids that the whole traditional approach was not working. I worked with a couple of teachers to start this jobs programs. Then I came to Boynton and said let’s establish a job program for Boynton too. We have 25 kids in what we call internships in the community. We take them to all these job experiences, for two or three years, so when they leave, they have this experience.”

What is your favorite aspect of teaching?

“Every year on May 19 watching those kids walk across the stage at graduation.”

What is next for you?

“I have 12 more years before I retire and I plan to keep walking them across that stage in May.”

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February 24, 2012

Walk on March 4 for local hunger

An organization that has been making a big impact in Boynton Beach for years is having a walk to combat local hunger.
The Community Caring Center, 145 NE Fourth Ave., is having its 2012 Hunger Walk at 2 p.m. March 4 starting outside the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum & Learning Center at 129 E. Ocean Ave.
Executive Director Sherry Johnson said through a 2004 survey, the center became aware of the city’s issues with hunger.
“Children in Palm Beach County are three times higher than the national average to not know where their next meal is coming from,” she said, adding that with a seven-year study conducted by the center, it found that 32 percent of those coming and asking for help from the center could not work because of nutritional diseases.
The walk will take a path down Seacrest Boulevard, Fourth Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard to the Community Caring Center Cafe, 410 E. Boynton Beach Blvd.
Johnson said that 1,636 children in Boynton Beach are living in poverty because parents lack access to affordable, healthy food.
The center has been pushing nutrition in its program for years with its cafe that not only incubates small businesses but sells healthy fruits and vegetables to those who usually can’t afford them.
“We want to change the perception of a food pantry with no high sodium, no cans,” she said. “We also want to make sure we have more grains, fiber and protein.”
The walk is free but participants are urged to make a donation or bring nonperishable food items.
The food pantry that the center runs on Fourth Avenue, in addition to the cafe, serves 3,000 households a year and provides 4,000 pounds of food. It also has cooking and nutrition classes..
Michelle Davis-White runs the center’s Senior Veggie Mobile program, which helps 274 frail elderly residents that can’t make it to the cafe for nutritious food.
“We take fresh fruits and veggies, grown at our urban farming project to them,” she said. “We also check for signs of dehydration and malnutrition.”
Davis-White shows up at the homes on Fridays.
“They choose which veggies and fruits they need,” she said. “They come to the truck and make their choices, and we do this in the Heart of Boynton, a food desert with no grocery store, and a lot of them don’t have transport.”
She also brings some of the seniors to the cafe for breakfast on Saturday mornings.
“They come on their birthdays too and I give them a free breakfast,” she said. “We had a Valentine’s party for them. We treated them to gifts and flowers; some elderly don’t get to experience love on that level.”
The program has been running for 15 months.
Call 561-364-9501.

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February 23, 2012

Business Profile - Captain’s Catch Seafood Restaurant

Marilyn Galli lives in Delray Beach but has been driving to Boynton Beach five nights a week for about six years.

It hasn’t been to visit family or for any big engagement but to enjoy her favorite cuisine at Captain’s Catch Seafood Restaurant, 9851 S. Military Trail.

“I always wind up back here,” she said. “I love it all from the bread all the way down to the dessert. I always brag about them to all my friends where I live.”

Galli said even when her husband can’t make the drive, she brings a girlfriend to taste the food that she calls not too spicy with a price that can’t be beat.

“I get the tilapia for $9.99,” she said. “Tonight, I’m getting the shrimp parmesan, which is also excellent. The trout is good too.”

The little things are what impress Galli, with Captain’s Catch offering sweet potatoes as sides to keep things healthier.

“They have nothing greasy,” she said. “It is very healthy and that is why a lot of the customers are seniors.”

Ivo Domesic, chef and owner of Captain’s Catch, said the restaurant has been around since 1990 but that he and his family bought it in 2003.

“Everything in the restaurant is made to order,” he said. “Fresh sauces, nothing from a can.”

In fact, he urges diners to come early because Captain’s Catch runs out of certain fish by 8 or 9 p.m. some nights because it keeps only the freshest fish.

Some current specials include two jumbo soft shell crabs for $22.95 and the early bird menu from 4 to 6:30 p.m. that ranges from $10.95 to $15.95.

“The menu has seafood, pasta, vegetarian dishes; it caters to everyone,” he said.

As for Domesic, he was influenced by his grandmother who was from the Mediterranean. He even takes requests like the Bronzini fish. But he said customers have to call in advance for that.

The restaurant also serves up Chilean sea bass, salmon, swordfish and stuffed tilapia or stuffed flounder.

Captain’s Catch is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Call 561-732-9600 or visit captainscatchseafoodrestaurant.com.

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Sitting down with Marcy Hurowitz, marketing director for Carson’s Corner

She was born in New York.

She moved to Boynton Beach last June.

She likes to read, collect dolls and volunteer.

Her son Brian created CarsonsCorner.com, a support group networking site for people going through emotional, mental, relationship or health challenges, and their family and caregivers.

The site went live last November.

Call 917-515-5669.

What is the site?

“It’s a support group networking site ... most of the sites around are for the person who has illness. This is for the person, caregivers and family members too. Anybody in the family or friends. There are secure chat rooms, blogs and stories. The goal is to get charities involved.”

Why did your son create it?

“My son is married and his niece, Carson, he was visiting her Mississippi. Somebody there had cancer. She was 10 years old and asked why there wasn’t a support group for everyone. He did some research and couldn’t find a lot of sites for that.”

How did you get involved?

“I’m working on getting charities involved; it’s global with some of his partners in the UK and Ireland.”

What future initiatives can we expect?

“Eventually, we want to have a gift page for different charities to post their products and fund raise that way. Once the site starts making money, it will begin donating to charities too. We have a couple of charities on there now. Feel the Hugs is a partner of ours ... All the pages are free for charities.”

What did you do before this?

“I’ve always done a lot of marketing. I used to have my own employment agency back in New York. I just have a talent for networking but I’m retired right now and said I’d love to be involved. It’s been going well; I think it’s a great site and has a lot to offer. Of course, we need to get people involved to go on the site.”

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About This Blog

Mike RothmanMike Rothman
Mike Rothman graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Management. He grew up in South Florida and has been back working here since July 2006. Mike wrote for numerous publications previously including the Gainesville Sun, GatorBait Magazine and Inspin.com, where he was the NBA Expert.

When Mike is not hitting the streets of Boynton Beach and Delray Beach looking for stories, he can be found playing sports or spending time with friends.

He also enjoys provoking his fellow Hometown Downtown columnist, Dave DiPino, for the sake of good stories, of course. He can be reached at mkrothman@tribune.com or at 954-871-1233.

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