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January 2013

Our Lady of the Lakes Chess Team Players Win Trophies at Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championship

At the end of December 2012, 12 members from the chess team at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School competed at the 14th Annual Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championship held at the Miami Airport Marriott Hotel.

The team’s youngest player Keani Philips, a 5 year old kindergarten student, won a trophy in the “6 and under” category.  The OLL Team 2 won a 5th place team trophy in the “9 and under” and Lynnette Piniero, a 3rd grade student, finished as top ranked player in the “9 and under” category.

Also representing the OLL school team were: David Segall (7th grade); Daryl OrtizCarolina GuerreroTaye'zee Omaya, and Lucas Menvielle (all in 5th grade); Isabella CardosoDaniel Zambrano, and Charles St. Louis (all in 4th grade); and Ben Segall and Keninah Philips (both in 3rd grade.)

“This was really a challenging tournament.  It was three days of grueling competition mixed in with fun for our kids and I hope for parents too,” commented Dominick Cama, team moderator and OLL’s music teacher.  “I am really happy and proud we hung in there for 5th place in the 9 and under category!”

Cama has headed the Chess Club since its inception two years ago.  OLL computer teacher, Lucie Talbert joined forces with him this year to assist the chess club expand into the realm of computer chess.

The Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championship is comprised of local, national, and international participants; bringing people together from all over the world.  The event is governed under the rules of the United States Chess Federation (USCF.)

“Chess is a game that helps students develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills in a fun setting,” Cama concludes.  “Competition in an environment where our students get to sit across from scholastic players from all over the world such as Hungary, Trinidad, Jamaica, Honduras, and Ecuador is an enlightening and exciting cultural experience for our children.”

(l to r): Keani Philips (kindergarten) and Keninah Philips (3rd grade) and Taye'zee Omaya (5th grade) pose with the team trophy.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner at Florida A&M

Malcolm-Jamal Warner at FAMU
Actor-director-musician Malcolm-Jamal Warner (center) kicked off the 2013 Lyceum Series at Florida A&M University on January 25. On the far left is FAMU interim president, Dr. Larry Robinson.
About the Lyceum Series:

The Florida A&M University Lyceum Series has been a part of the FAMU tradition since the University’s early beginnings.  Throughout the history of the series, FAMU has enriched campus life and shared with the community the artists, performers and lecturers of the day.  

In its early beginning, the series featured Poet Langston Hughes, Singer Marion Anderson, the Count Basie Orchestra and author, activist W.E.B. DuBois and many others who were nationally recognized performers and personalities.  During the 2009-2010, FAMU brought the series back to the campus after a brief hiatus.  Among the featured performers and artists for the inaugural return were the 3’Mo Divas, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, the Highway Men and DanceBrazil.

Enhancing FAMU students’ exposure to culture is essential to the selection of performers.  The campus is also committed to exposing the Tallahassee community to a variety of cultural experiences through the series.

For more information about the FAMU Lyceum Series, please contact the Office of Communications at (850) 599-3413.

Florida Memorial University is off to a great new year


SACS reaffirms the 133-year-old institution, with a clean report


Florida-Memorial-University-Opa-Locka-ADF90599MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Florida Memorial University (FMU), South Florida’s only historically black university, is off to a great start in 2013. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has reaffirmed the accreditation of the 133-year-old institution for another 10 years.

“To learn that Florida Memorial University’s accreditation has been reaffirmed--with no recommendations--was the perfect way to end 2012 and to begin the New Year,” said Mary A. O’Banner, Ph.D., acting president. “We are moving forward, knowing that our academic programs are competitive and the overall operation of the university is sound.”

The official news of the university’s affirmation came in December while O’Banner and other university officials were attending SAC’s Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

Florida Memorial has had even more good accreditation news recently.  The accreditation of three FMU programs was reaffirmed over the last several months:  the School of Business by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) through 2020; the Computer Science, Math and Technology Program, one of the nation’s few historically black universities to earn the ABET designation, through 2014; and the School of Education.

Makola Abdullah, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said the university had been preparing for the reaccreditation for about three years.

“The news is a testament to the teamwork of the FMU family,” Abdullah said. “It reaffirms the quality of our programs.”

O’Banner added: “This means our students can return from the holidays knowing that their university is still fully accredited and in good standing.”

FAMU's Simply Marvelous wins 10th national championship

In the last six years, FAMU Simply Marvelous women's flag football team has won 10 national championships, exhibiting that the team is just that — simply marvelous.

Coached by Marvin Green and Derrick Folson, the team goes about their business without much fanfare, but with results that dictate their dedication to perfection. Green said he likes the title of “undisputed champion.” The team participates in the two notable college intramural championships on a yearly basis to remove any doubt that Simply Marvelous is the best in the nation. The grueling championship schedule calls for the team to compete in championship tournaments on back-to-back weekends.

The teamwork is something Henry Ford would admire. Coupled with the strategies implemented by the coaches, the recipe for success has been refined to perfection. In the two recent championship games, they were not scored on, blanking Angelo State 39-0 in the ACIS championship game and 28-0 in the NIRSA championship.

College intramural teams from all across the country fight it out in state championships before being allowed to compete in the national championship. An example of the diversity in schools who competed in the national championship are Old Dominion, University of Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Texas State, University of Central Florida, Howard University, Southern University and Georgia Southern.

Green is also a mentor taking the opportunity to teach the young women about life, relating it to their competitiveness. He is the current director of Student Activities and the golf coach at FAMU. Green first began coaching the team when he was assistant director of FAMU Campus Recreation.

Assistant Coach Folson is also a FAMU police officer. To get the team ready for tournaments, they have been known to play against male teams.

“(Robert) Bob Carroll encouraged me a few years ago to play in some national championship tournaments,” Green said. “We had success on campus and locally, but he felt our squad was good enough to go on to national competition.” That was in 1996.

Carroll is the director of FAMU Campus Recreation and is proud of the team. "What that team accomplished is what is expected of them," Carroll said. “Coach Green has a game plan that is second to none. Anytime you've been to the top, you expect to get there. The fact that they have continued to excel is phenomenal.”

Erika Collins, a junior quarterback/defensive back, was inducted into the ACIS Hall of Fame on Dec. 30 in Pensacola, Fla. She is the team's leader and has set several standards in national championship play. To summarize the strength and growth of this team, Collins was moved to receiver in the ACIS National Championship Game, turning over quarterback duties to freshman Christina Mattis. Mattis performed solidly at quarterback and is poised to represent the future of Simply Marvelous.

Tynequia Roberts, a senior on the team, went out with a bang, earning back-to-back championships.

"I'm extremely proud of what our team has accomplished," Roberts said. “What a great bunch of girls. I learned a lot about leadership and being dedicated to a team. I learned sisterhood, patience and respect.”

City of Miami Gardens Town Hall Meeting with FDOT 01/29

Mayor Oliver Gilbert
City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert invites all residents and concerned parties to a Town Hall Meeting with the Florida Department of Transportation. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the State Road 826 & NW 12 Avenue Project that is currently underway.


Town Hall Meeting with the Florida Department of Transportation

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex Auditorium
3000 NW 199th Street
Miami Gardens, FL 33169


For more information, please call the City of Miami Gardens at 305-622-8010.



Foundation retains firm to survey employees, solve retention issues

MIAMI and CINCINNATI  (Jan. 16, 2013) – The Miami Foundation in Miami, Fla., has retained Blackbook HR to help the region improve its rate of turnover among major employers, retain bright young professionals and increase civic engagement.

“Miami has the fifth-highest percentage of college students per capita in the U.S. and the fifth-highest flight of those students once they graduate,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO at The Miami Foundation. “It is incumbent on us to develop, attract and retain the best and the brightest here in Miami.

“Our future depends on it.”

Soto and his team heard Blackbook CEO Chris Ostoich present at a recent CEOS for Cities conference and asked his team to help them survey employees at key companies in Miami and develop solutions for retaining them.

“We were excited about partnering with Blackbook for a number of reasons,” adds Nancy Jones, vice president for development and communications at the Foundation. “Among them is the amazing results their tools have had in reducing year-over-year turnover for major employers in the Cincinnati area.”

The Foundation convened more than 20 major corporations and community partners to engage with Blackbook in conducting a regional Embeddedness Quotient (EQ)™ survey, which determines how connected people feel to an employer or community and calculates their risk of leaving. 

EQ is a patent-pending Web-based survey technology built on the LinkedIn API.

After completing the EQ survey, Blackbook plans to use its Yocal™ platform, connecting employees by using social networking tools and information, activities and events within the community, to engage 30,000-50,000 participants.

“Obviously, Miami has a treasure trove of community assets, and our job is to help evaluate why some citizens aren’t connecting with them and how to make that happen,” said Ostoich.  “We are excited to bring the success we’ve had working in enterprises to regions such as Miami that understand that talent is a critical driver in economic and regional prosperity.” 

Watching History In The Making


South Florida News Service

Anthony Cave
In the vastness of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium parking lot in Washington, D.C., a caravan of buses carrying a variety of groups, from churchgoers to unions, arrived early Monday for the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Among the more than 800,000 people who attended the second inauguration of President Barack Obama were 38 members of the Martin Luther King. Jr. Coordinating Committee of West Palm Beach, a historically black non-profit group dedicated to preserving the memory of Dr. King.

They chartered a bus from West Palm Beach to D.C. for the inauguration, which also coincided with the 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“It was a second history in the making,” Samore Agrawal, 26, a part-time radio producer and one of the MLKCC members from Riviera Beach, said.

The 18 to 29 age demographic represents almost one-fifth (19 percent) of President Obama’s 2012 voter total, up 1 percent from 2008. Obama received 60 percent of the youth vote, compared to 37 percent for challenger Mitt Romney, apparently in part because of his message to young people during the campaign — and on Monday.

During his second inaugural speech, Obama said that America’s journey is not complete “until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce.”

And support for Obama showed at the inauguration. Youths represented a large part of the huge throng that turned out for the event, among them younger ones holding the hands of their parents and college students with friends.

The 20-somethings wove around multiple barricades and walked miles in sub-50 degree weather to catch a glimpse of the president. In the non-ticketed portion of the National Mall setting, they had to contend with a malfunctioning Jumbotron. Yet even so, thousands stood to hear the audio.

Even Cuban-American inaugural poet Richard Blanco, at an “older” 44, represents youth in the South Florida community. He graduated from Florida International University (twice), the second time with an MFA in creative writing in 1997, in a far different college climate from what the school is today.

But, like Miami’s Freedom Tower, which he referenced Monday in his poem One Today, young means “jutting into a sky.”

I attended the inauguration along with five other student journalists from Florida International University. We reported on the MLKCC group, telling the story through their eyes. We documented everything from the rest stops to the children, as young as 4, who made the trip. We tweeted, instagrammed, photographed, wrote and found time for sleep.

Despite the long bus ride and walking for miles, reporting on my first presidential inauguration is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life. The relative youthfulness of the FIU poet and President Obama himself made us see the impact that people such as I can have at a young age. I simultaneously saw and reported on history.

The youth generation and the college culture are more important than ever in today’s economic landscape. College students, and even more so the student veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to take advantage of the post- 9/11 G.I. Bill, are today’s job seekers.

Agrawal spent the bus ride up to D.C. editing sound clips on Audacity for a radio segment. While she did not get to see much of the actual inauguration, she was thrilled to hear the president’s speech in person.

“Obama’s speech was my favorite part of the day,” she said. “When he spoke, he spoke from the heart, which he always does, but this time it was felt not only in the nation, but around the world.”

Anthony Cave is a Miami Herald intern and junior journalism student at Florida International University.

Source: South Florida News Service

Children's Disney Day at Gulfstream Park

BARKER ANIMATION ART GALLERY presents Children’s Disney Day with Artist TIM ROGERSON
from 11 AM - 5 PM
in The Village at Gulfstream Park,1270 Seabiscuit Trail, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

BARKER ANIMATION welcomes families and children of all ages to enjoy a day of FREE fun and games with the internationally known Disney artist Tim Rogerson. He will paint live in the gallery as he tells stories of being the resident artist on the fabulous new Disney Cruise ship, The Disney Fantasy.

Rogerson will be joined by a host of roaming Disney and cartoon characters. Barker mascot Pony Baloney will be making his first appearance of the racing season as he hands out his special free coloring book and crayons. Scooby Doo will also be on hand for photo opportunities, so families should be sure to bring their cameras.

There will be trivia contests and prizes, along with free cartoon classes throughout the day. Come to enjoy some free food and live music and you will have the chance to meet and greet some very special future Disney princesses. They will be stopping by inside the gallery and strolling outside, beside our life-sized Simpsons family.

For additional information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Troy Giorgio at 1-888-224-2357 or 1-954-457-2280, or email [email protected].

AKAs Kick off Peace Campaign with Youth Summit

Seeking peaceful solutions to youth violence that has claimed the lives of teenagers and children in South Florida, the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. is hosting a Peace Summit during the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend.

The Summit launches the chapter’s 40 Days of Peace Campaign. It brings together clergy, church members, law enforcement officers, youth group leaders and members, and two Broward County AKA chapters for a discussion and interactive activities to get at the root of the violence.

The event takes place 4 - 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Universal Truth Center for Better Living, 21310 N.W. 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens. The public is invited to this free event. Refreshments will be served.

Later, the sorority will plant trees in honor of Miami-Dade Public School students killed in violence over the last year.

Also during the holiday weekend, in keeping with King’s call for service, sorority members will create care packages to assist military families who have at least one member who has returned to the United States after being deployed.

MLK “Stop the Violence” Basketball Classic starts 01/18 at Miami Central

Florida’s Top High School Basketball Players Compete for Prestige and Bragging Rights

South Florida high school basketball enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Stop the Violence” Basketball Classic, January 18-19, 2013. This year’s event will be held at Miami Central High School, 1781 NW 95th Street, Miami, FL 33147.

Some of the nation’s best high school basketball players will be playing and a most valuable player will be chosen after each game. Not only are bragging rights at stake but also college scholarships. Tickets are $10 for each session or $25 for an all-day pass.

Former players of the MLK Classic includes Keyon Dooling, James Jones, Udonis Haslem, Raja Bell, Kwame Brown, Steve Blake and scores of collegiate stars such as the University of Florida’s Kenny Boynton.

Schedule of Games:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18: Session One

4:00PM – Miami Northwestern vs. Archbishop Carroll

5:45PM - Tampa Berkeley Prep vs. Ransom Everglades

7:30PM - Palm Beach Dwyer vs. Booker T. Washington

9:15PM – Miami Central vs. American Heritage


9:00AM - American vs. Doral Academy

10:45AM - Coral Reef vs. Jupiter

12:15PM - Tampa Berkeley Prep vs. Gulliver Prep

1:45PM - Grandview Prep vs. Jackson

3:30PM - St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Columbus

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19: Session Three

5:20PM Hialeah Gardens vs. Dillard

6:50PM - Miami High vs. Palm Beach Lakes

8:20PM - American Heritage vs. Sagemont

10:00PM - Miami Norland vs. Coral Springs Christian