It’s not exactly a selfie, but the series of photos will come in handy if you suspect your car has been damaged while being towed.  Photographs of a vehicle’s condition (front and back) prior to being towed and a photo confirming the violation that justifies the need to remove a vehicle is one of several revised tow truck industry regulations developed by Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen and passed by the County Commission.  “These new regulations are to protect the consumer,” said Commissioner Bogen. Under the new rules, consumers will be able to voice complaints about tow truck companies to a hearing officer and if a towing company can’t process a credit card for payment, the vehicle must be returned free of charge with payment billed at a later date.  If the mandated photos are not retained by the towing company, the vehicle owner must be provided a refund.  The new regulations also allow the County to revoke a business license if a company is banned in another jurisdiction or if they violate the county regulations three times in one year.  “This Board of County Commissioners has done everything in its power to protect the consumer as much as possible, and there are a lot of wonderful people who own tow companies. But, there are a lot of bad players out there too, and so we are trying to create compromise that balances the regulation of the towing industry and protects the consumer. That’s what we’ve done here today,” said Commissioner Lois Wexler.  “Consumers have to have protection, but on the same token, I don’t want to infringe upon small businesses and be overly burdensome,” noted Commissioner Chip LaMarca. Some changes are beneficial to the towing industry.  Commissioners agreed that tow truck companies can charge a 2.5% fee for credit card use, which could be increased in the future.  ‘If the industry asks to increase that, I certainly want to have some backup to see what the actual charges are. Because you can have a lot of different deals with credit card companies,” said Commissioner Tim Ryan. Companies can also now print required consumer instructions on the back of an invoice, instead of a separate sheet of paper under a previous law.  “Processing two sheets of paper can be expensive. Basically if you have a complaint, you may call the Broward County Environmental Licensing and Building Permit Division and it has the number on the back of the invoice.  I think this is a fair amendment and good amendment and would save some trees as well,” said Mayor Marty Kiar. Commissioners approved the new regulations 7 to 1 with only Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief voting against the revised ordinance.  “I’m just saying in an abundance of caution and in an effort to be reasonable that some of this stuff really is too far reaching for me,” said Vice Mayor Sharief.

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Ashley Soto loves being the head drum major of the J.P. Taravella High School band. She has been in the band program for four years and has enjoyed the experience.

“I have made a lot of friends in this band. It is like being a part of a 150 member family. I love to learn and play music,” she said.

The Trojan band has a new director, Mike Friedman. He has been involved in band programs for 30 years in Broward County was recently at Sawgrass Springs Middle School. “I wanted to get back to high school band. I enjoy directing high school band,” he said.

Friedman is very pleased to be a part of the J.P. Taravella program which has a strong tradition of marching band excellence. The band has won many accolades over the years. The band earns superior ratings at competitions and performs well at football games and in parades. It has about 155 members. Friedman is taking over from Cheldon Williams, who was a former student of his and is now leading a college band program.

“I hope to maintain the tradition of excellence that has been established here,” he said.

The band will participated in the FBA assessment at Coral Springs High School on October 22, a competition at Park Vista on November 5, and a state competition on November 12. It will perform at home football games.

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The  J.P. Taravella High School football team is getting ready to play against Orlando Evans in football. The Trojans have a solid team and are likely to have a good season.

Join us at Water Safety Fun Day on Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cypress Park Pool for pool fun, music, and an entertaining and educational experience as you participate in water safety activities, watch real-time scenarios and demonstrations, and learn about resources available to help make your home water-safe. The event is free, but food items will be available for purchase.

As the school year begins, the City of Parkland (City) says goodbye to two wellliked school principals—Jack Vesey and Thomas “Rick” Redshaw.  At its meeting on Wednesday, August 17th the City Commission honored both principals by presenting them with a key to the City and thanking them for all they have done for Parkland in their years of service.

Jack Vesey retired as the Principal of Westglades Middle School where he had served since 2009.  That assignment ended his 35 year teaching career.  “After 35 years of dedication, no one deserves retirement more,” said Mayor Michael Udine at the presentation Wednesday, “because no one has cared more for the welfare of our students.”

Thomas “Rick” Redshaw, currently in his 34th year of teaching, was the Principal of Park Trails Elementary School and has been called on by the Broward County School Board to be the Principal of Eagle Ridge Elementary School in Coral Springs.  “It is easy to understand why the School Board selected Rick,” Udine said, “but that doesn’t make it easy to say goodbye.”
Matthew Bianchi replaces Vesey as the Westglades Middle School Principal and Russell Schwartz takes over for Redshaw as Principal of Park Trails Elementary.

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The Coral Springs High School Cross Country team has a strong program this year. Around 60 boys and girls are practicing with the team and some are likely to do well in upcoming meets. Longtime Coach Brantley Barr is pleased with this year’s team. Top runners for the boys team include Khiro Hoilett, Michael Curro, Tyler Brunton and Isaac Louigene. The Coral Springs City Championship will take place on September 20 and the District meet will take place on October 18. Both meets will take place at Tradewinds Park.

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