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July, 2015 A Few Headlines

Hello Around Wellington readers! Visit our “AW Coupons” for great coupons!

Cantankerously Yours – Men Versus Women

Florida Foodie - The Best BBQ in Florida

Health & Fitness – Do You Have Addictions?

Paws-itive Press - Weight Loss in Cats

Wellington Amphitheatre – Current Schedule of Events

Free Breakfasts for Kids – All Summer in Palm Beach County


July/August, 2015 – Summer Camps and More Summer Fun!  

By Krista Martinelli and Shawn Thompson


Are you in need of a fun summer camp for your kids?  We have some great options from our advertisers with  Click on their sites below to see what they have to offer this summer!  Tell ‘em you found it on AroundWellington! 


A Few Great Camps!

Bright Horizons (753-9140)

Bootz Culture Camp (290-2753)

Lake Worth Playhouse (586-6410)

Joey’s Outback Adventures (204-4554)

Planet Kids at Wellington (434-9098)

Picasso’s Paint-Your-Own Pottery (439-4000)

Resource Depot (882-0090)

South Florida Science Center & Aquarium (832-1988)

Standing Ovation Performing Arts (734-0187)

That’s Dancing (642-9677)

Village Music (798-5334)

Fun at Village Music Camp, where kids learn two new instruments (and the history of that instrument) per day

Fun at Village Music Camp, where kids learn two new instruments (and the history of that instrument) per day



Looking for free and cheap fun stuff to do with the kids this summer?


Here’s a great FREEBIE for the summertime - Just sign up your kids and you get coupons for FREE bowling emailed to you each week.


Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics

From project basics to giving your child the opportunity to say, “I built it!”, our Build and Grow kid’s clinics are a great way to help build confidence! Bring the kids into any Lowe’s store and build a FREE wooden project. Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certification of merit upon completion of their project.

Certain Saturdays at 10 a.m.  (Visit their website for more info).

Sign up at   


Home Depot Kids Workshops


Build. Learn. Create. Designed for children ages 5-12 – FREE.

The workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety, while at the same time helping to instill a sense of accomplishment. This fun time allows for quality one-on-one time between adults and children. In addition to the newly constructed project kit, each child receives a kid-sized orange apron, similar to The Home Depot associates’ aprons, and achievement pin.

First Saturday of every month

For more information call (561) 793-7048


Norton Museum of Art


Palm Beach county residents get free admission to the entire museum (proof of residency) on the first Saturday of every month.

FREE Admission for Florida School Teachers and Administrators.

West Palm Beach residents receive FREE admission every Saturday.

Visit for more information

(561) 832-5196


Farmer’s Daughter Garden Center


Come check out the chickens, ducks, a goat, Red the dwarf mule, George the pig, Bubba the giant cat, and five turkeys. Enjoy the beautiful selection of flowers, trees, mulch, produce and fresh eggs.  Step inside the air conditioned building and purchase a delicious smoothie!

13415 Southern Blvd., Loxahatchee  (561) 790-4222


Revolutions Bowling at City Place

 Kids bowl 2 free games 4 p.m. – close on Monday nights all summer

    477 S Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
    (561) 203-6188 

Regal Summer Movie Express


During festival, select Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theatres will offer selected G or PG rated movies for only $1 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. for 9 weeks.  Royal Palm Beach Stadium 18

1003 State Rd. 7, Royal Palm Beach



Movies at Wellington


A 10 Week Series of fun surprise and activities with great movies!  (See schedule below)

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays at 10 a.m. & noon

Series Tickets $5 for all 10 weeks!

$4 popcorn & soft drink combo

13881 Wellington Trace  (561) 792-7334


California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Kid’s Tour


 Kids can be a chef for a day!  Get a tour of the restaurant, find out how the food is made and then make your own pizzas!  A drink and dessert is included and costs approximately$10 per child.  Call and ask for a manager 3 weeks ahead of time to schedule your group.

The Mall of Wellington (561)793-1601 (Tues., Wed. or Sun. at 9:30 a.m.)


Wellington Amphitheater


Various free events!  Listen to local musicians, see a car show, watch a movie or laugh out loud with a comedy act. Bring your own seating.

12100 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington

To see the summer schedule visit

(Under Events)


Summer Reading Programs


Programs like these are a great way to encourage our children to continue reading throughout the summer months!

All Palm Beach county library locations have reading programs.  Kids will receive a free ticket to a Roger Dean stadium game, end of summer reading program party and a chance to win free goodie baskets!

Visithttp://www.pbclibrary.orgfor more information

Wellington Library: (561)790-6070 / Royal Palm Library: (561) 790-6030


TD Bank Summer Reading Program


Reading literally pays off: Complete 10 books and $10 is added to a new or existing Young Saver bank account.

12280 South Shore Blvd., Wellington   (561)227-2001

Visit for more information


Barnes &  Noble Summer Reading Program


Barnes and Noble is having a Summer Reading Program again this year and your kids have a chance to earn a FREE Book. All you have to do is download the Reading Journal and read 8 books that you record in the journal. There is a list of free books the kids can choose from when they return the completed form this summer! See your local Barnes and Noble or their website details.

Local store (Wellington): (561)792-1292


Here is some more information about other Summer Reading Programs:


July/August, 2015 – Kids Eat FREE

Compiled by Shawn Thompson

Kids Eat FREE! This is your one-stop source for your favorite restaurants around town where your kids can eat free!  All restaurants listed offer one free child meal (10 and under – some are 12 and under) per adult entrée purchased unless specified (drink offers vary).  Since most places change their kids eat free promotions from time to time, please call ahead to make sure the offer is still good.

Shawn Thompson

If you have a favorite restaurant that offers a freebie meal not listed, please feel free to share!




Brass Ring Pub   10998 Okeechobee Blvd., RPB  (561)296-4563

After 5 p.m. – drink included

Bonefish Mac’s Sports Grille  10880 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington (561)798-6227

All day – drink included (2 kids per adult w/ $8 meal)



Alabama Joe’s 6316 Lantana Rd. #45 Pinewood Square, Lantana (561)963-3393

All day – drink included

Denny’s  300 Civic Way, RPB  (561)793-7050

From 4-10 p.m.  – no drink included (2 kids per one adult meal)

Shane’s Rib Shack  11051 Southern Blvd., RPB (561) 333-7427

All Day – drink included

Bru’s Room  11111 Southern Blvd., RPB  (561)790-2771

From 5-9 p.m. – drink included, (Thursdays 1/2 off)

Hurricane Grill & Wings  11071 Southern Blvd, RPB  (561)753-4868

All Day – drink included

Hurricane Grill & Wings  4075 State Rd. 7 (441), Lake Worth  (561)318-6107

All Day – drink included

Rosalita’s Tex Mex Grill  5949 S. Congress Ave., Atlantis – corner of Lantana & Congress (561)964-5747

After 5 p.m. – drink includedCaptain Cartoon, aka Dick Culpa, does FREE kids’ caricatures at Rosalita’s on Tuesday nights! Check out his website too.



Moe’s Southwest Grill  2605 St. Rd. 7, Bay 410   (561)792-5712

After 5 p.m. – drink, cookie + chips included

Duffy’s  11935 Southern Blvd., RPB   (561)792-4045

All day – drink included

Tequila Cancun  2202 Jog Rd., Greenacres (561) 641-5100
Kids Eat FREE with adult meal purchase



Bonefish Mac’s Sports Grille  10880 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington (561)798-6227

All day – drink included (2 kids per adult w/ $8 meal)



See Everyday section



Steak ’n Shake   133 S. State Rd. 7, RPB  (561)333-6474

All day – drink included



Steak ’n Shake  133 S. State Rd. 7, RPB (561) 333-6474

All day – drink included


EVERYDAY (and Almost Everyday)

Butterfields Southern Café  1145 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., RPB  (561)792-8723.  (Monday thru Saturday.  Restaurant closes on Sundays at 3pm).

4-8 p.m. every day – no drink included

The Original Pancake House    105 South State Rd. 7, RPB  (561)296-0878

Until 2 p.m. Mon. – Friday – drink included



Shawn Thompson is a local Wellington Mom and has two children, Aaron and Audrey.  She enjoys volunteering at her children’s schools, attending their activities, working for a polo player, working for, plus taking evening walks with her family. Please e-mail her any free deals you find and would like to have included to

Krista Martinelli is the editor of, which has been in business for 9 years, and the mother of two kids, who have been around for about the same amount of time.  She loves finding fun and FREE things to do with her kids for the summer Around Wellington! 


AW Spotlight


Ernie Zimmerman – Vietnam Vet, New York Cop, Columnist


By Krista Martinelli


Ernie Zimmerman. Photo by Krista Martinelli,


Ernie Zimmerman has been to hell (Vietnam) and back. He’s seen a lot of things in his lifetime that many people will never see, both as a New York police officer and as a Vietnam vet. He was nearly stabbed to death, while working a day shift in his police car in New York. He’s lived through some important moments in history; he returned from Vietnam one day after Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 and remembers the not-so-warm welcome he received, as a returning soldier.  He’s also been a Wellington resident for 32 years, which takes him back before Wellington was incorporated as a Village (incorporated in 1995).


Now he writes what he calls a “dry humor” column for Palms West Monthly newspaper. And he can also be heard on Tuesdays at 3pm with his radio show, the “EZ Connection” on the, an Internet radio station. He’s one of the most interesting people I’ve ever interviewed in Wellington, and I’m surprised that I didn’t come across Ernie until now – nearly our 10th year of AroundWellington. In brief, Ernie has been through a lot. And Ernie is fun!  Just check out his philosophy of life.


See the Video!  (Ernie’s Philosophy of Life)


We began with talking about the Vietnam War. Ernie Zimmerman was drafted and served in Vietnam for one year – during the height of combat, 1967 to 1968. “I was 19,” he says. “I was just a kid.” Ninety of the troops, including Zimmerman, were from Brooklyn, New York out of the 110 men in his unit. They began their journey in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “We were using big 8-inch artillery guns, the most accurate guns at that time. They could shoot up to 16 miles on a dime,” he explains.


Ernie Zimmerman was unusual, among his graduating class from high school. “There were 1880 people who graduated. We were the first wave of the Baby Boomers. And I was the only one who got drafted that we know about from my class.” Zimmerman is also Jewish, and it was a very rare thing for a Jewish teenager to get drafted into the army at that time.


Looking back, he says his parents didn’t realize how dangerous the combat would be and the fact that he could have possibly avoided the draft, like so many of his classmates were able to do. However, Zimmerman was happy to serve and had no second thoughts about going to Vietnam at the beginning of his experience.


“Now that some time has passed, do you think we should have been fighting in Vietnam?” I asked him. “In retrospect, absolutely not,” he says. “The rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer. Over 58,000 U.S. troops died in Vietnam. Meanwhile, we did nothing about stopping trade. The docks were pumping goods through there every day; money was being made, while our soldiers were being killed.”


The thing that was different about Vietnam – different from our previous wars – was being in the jungle and being on the move, while not being able to see the enemy because of the foliage.  “One of my most intense memories was being in a vehicle and getting ambushed. My friend, the driver, got shot in the arm. We didn’t realize it right away, but the bullet went right through to his heart. He died immediately. I had to take the wheel of a five ton truck and continue driving.”


Zimmerman doesn’t believe the U.S. is good at fighting a Guerrilla war. War is hell, according to Zimmerman, but when you cannot see the enemy and they are striking with frequent ambushes, it’s not anything we are equipped to fight against.

Ernie Zimmerman (left) at the Memorial Day ceremony in Wellington, FL, 2015. Photo: Town-Crier newspaper.

Ernie Zimmerman (left) at the Memorial Day ceremony in Wellington, FL, 2015. Photo: Town-Crier newspaper.


Vietnam was a more intense fight than the U.S. was prepared for. “The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter,” according to  In 1968, when Zimmerman was in Vietnam, it was the year of the Tet Offensive – a lot happened that year, and over 500 lives were lost in just one week. The deadliest week of the Vietnam War for the U.S. was February 11 to 17, 1968, when 543 Americans were killed and 2,547 were wounded in action.


Also, Zimmerman remembers Lieutenant Calley, who was found guilty of murdering 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre, which happened on March 16 of 1968. “When someone was coming after you, you really couldn’t always know whether you were striking back at the enemy or civilians or both. But you had to defend yourself in a split second.” As someone who faced combat in Vietnam that difficult year, Zimmerman feels that Calley should not have done jail time. It was never Calley’s intent to kill civilians, according to Zimmerman, and there were many others who made the same mistake. It was just an impossible situation – to assess every factor in a split second during this “jungle warfare.”


“We didn’t know the hazards of Agent Orange back then,” he adds. “I remember watching them drop Agent Orange to burn the foliage – it would be only about 200 yards away.” They thought it looked pretty, almost like fireworks. Read more about the Health Effects of Agent Orange (


4/30/1967-Vietnam- A typical scene in Vietnam – US Marines are shown protecting a helicopter that is evacuating them from the area. They are allowing the wounded soldiers to get through first. They have just ended a 11-day long battle. – Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS


“I went to Vietnam in 1967 and came back on June 6th, 1968. Robert Kennedy had just been shot. Everyone was very upset about Kennedy, but not about the 400 troops who had been killed that same week.”


As he writes in one of his columns “Pennies from Heaven” for the Palms West Monthly newspaper, Zimmerman never saw his father cry, except for one time. “He was a happy-go-lucky World War II vet type of guy. In fact, the only time I saw tears come out of my father’s eyes is when I came home from Vietnam and surprised my family by ringing the door bell.” As a side note, the other men in Zimmerman’s unit came home a couple of days before he did. So his family had good reason to suspect that he might have been killed in combat.


“Do I believe in the draft?” he says. “No, not the way we do it here. Rich kids can get out of it too easily.” He points to Israel, as one of the only places where there is a “fair draft.” Everyone is drafted at 18 years of age, no matter what.


“Would I want my kids or my grandkids to go through this? Never.” Ernie realizes he was lucky to get out alive. He sees a lot of Vietnam veterans having flashbacks. “Why am I not having flashbacks? Why am I so happy?” One of his theories is that he saw so much more – in his career as a police officer.


Life as a New York Cop


“There are parts of New York that are worse than Vietnam,” he says. He served as a New York cop for 14 years and has some sharp memories that will never fade.  There was the time that a dead body floated up on Coney Island. The other cops asked him to remove the man’s ring, so they could identify the body. He tried to carefully remove the ring, but ended up removing the entire ring finger. There were many homicides, robberies, car crashes and other calls to respond to. One of the worst addictions he witnessed was heroin. “If you have a $100 a day habit, you are going to find ways to get that $100,” he explains.


Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer when he was 19; however, you had to be 5’8” tall at that time, and he was just short by one inch.  As he says, “I was one inch short of staying here and not going to Vietnam.” As a cop, he would have also avoided the draft. When he returned from Vietnam, they had changed the height requirement. He served for 14 years on Coney Island as a cop, seeing the good, the bad and the ugly.


He tried his best to be fair, no matter what the situation appeared to be. “I would hear all sides of the story. You don’t jump to conclusions. You have to be a street psychologist when you’re a cop.” He explains that as a police officer he might have 2 to 3 seconds to make up his mind on how to take action, while people will have 2 to 3 years to investigate what happened.  “And no one hates a bad cop more than a good cop,” he adds, touching upon some of today’s most prevalent stories in the news.


“As a cop, none of my prisoners ever had to go to the hospital,” he says. “I treated people as I would want to be treated.” He points to the fact that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in this country – that’s supposed to be the way our justice system works.


People often ask why there’s such a high divorce rate among police officers, says Zimmerman.  One of the problems is the schedule. The police officer is going to be home with the family only one weekend out of every 8 or 9 weekends. And the violence they see is a lot to recover from during the downtime at home. “These marriages work best when your spouse goes into it with her eyes wide open,” he says. Zimmerman’s wife already knew him as a cop before they got married. In fact, she walked into his police patrol sector just moments after someone had tried to stab him and he had to kill the guy who tried to stab him. She had seen what it could be like to be married to a cop, and knew that she couldn’t take Ernie for granted. Yes, as a part of his job, he could die. And she knew this.


Zimmerman was married at 26, and they will celebrate their 43rd anniversary on July 30th. His wife Sharon just recently retired from WellingtonElementary school. So now instead of taking his daily walks alone, he and his wife are walking together. He surprised her at the end of her last school day with two dozen roses in hand. “I’ve never done anything like that before,” he smiles.




Zimmerman went to St.FrancisCollege in New York. “I wanted to be a better-educated cop, and the GI Bill paid for many college credits.” Meanwhile, he explains, the Police Bill paid you to go to college, based on how many dependents you have. Zimmerman had to major in Criminal Justice to receive the benefits of the Police Bill, and he took a lot of psychology courses. Other than that, he was free to take a lot of courses that were of interest to him and he did. He is grateful for both the GI Bill and the Police Bill.  “I made the most of it!” Some of his friends joked with him, “How long are you going to stay in college, Ernie?”


As a Columnist “Nice and Easy”


Zimmerman began his writing career about 25 years ago. He was not trained asErnie-PWMonthly a writer. But, as he explains, he’s done some research and the average audience for a publication is usually reading at a 6th grade level. So he figured he was up to the task. “I try to write the truth, and then I stretch it out a bit. It’s dry humor, New York cop humor.” He started with the Sun Press, writing the New York angle for their “Condo Sun.” Then he moved onto the Town-Crier and wrote for that publication for about 15 years. Now he has moved on to writing for the Palms West Monthly newspaper and has been writing for them for five years. His column is called “Nice and Easy,” a play on his initials – EZ.  Check out one of his recent articles.


He has a lot of life experiences that are unusual, thanks to his background with the NYPD and as a Vietnam vet. One of his recent columns is about “saving Santa” at a Christmas Eve party.  He and his partner police officer arrived on the scene to find that this man, dressed up in the red suit from head to toe, needed mouth to mouth and CPR. They swung into action and also called the paramedics, saving the man’s life that night. The rest of the family, especially the young kids, looked on with horror as they saw Santa going through all of this. Anyway, that story had a happy ending.


The “EZ Connection” on the WEI Network


Zimmerman also does a weekly talk radio show called “The EZ Connection” on Internet radio, the Tune in every Tuesday at 3pm to hear Ernie. He had previously done a talk radio show for WPBR.  He is a friendly, practical voice, during this time of incendiary talk radio hosts.  He calls himself socially liberal, but economically conservative.


Beyond Brighton, the Play


A play is being written about the life of Ernie Zimmerman, titled “Beyond Brighton.” The playwright Kay Cosgriff was a classmate of Zimmerman’s in high school. They didn’t know each other back then. But since then, she has launched several plays on stage and she reached out to him about his life story. Zimmerman is quite pleased about the play in progress. Cosgriff has written other history-related plays, including an investigation-type play about the KentState shooting, called “Blanket Hill.” She is interested in using Ernie’s voice as a teenager, narrating the conflict of the most controversial war the U.S. has ever been involved in.


Playwright Kay Cosgriff says, “The images of Vietnam were not only brought back in the minds and hearts of our military but its realities were shown during the nightly news -  lists of wounded and those missing in action were displayed as well as news clips on demonstrations and riots across the country each and every day.  Families gathered and watched religiously.  The dissolutions of the 60’s coupled with the excitement of the 70’s brought unprecedented controversy to each and every American.  Beyond Brighton! invites each audience member to see a reflection of self, whether soldier or protestor – history will repeat.” Both Ernie Zimmerman and Kay Cosgriff post frequent updates on a public Facebook group, “Beyond Brighton!”


Working for the Village of Wellington


Ernie Zimmerman served as a Code Enforcement Officer for the Village of Wellington for the past twenty years. “And the Village of Wellington has the strictest codes in the state of Florida,” says Zimmerman. “Even more strict than some gated communities and their Home Owners’ Associations.”  Before Wellington was called the Village of Wellington, Zimmerman worked for their Home Owners’ Association, which was then called First Wellington, and later Acme Water District.  “Nobody knows Wellington from the inside out as well as I do.”


After retiring a few years ago, he ran for a Village Council seat in 2010. When I asked him about his brief venture into politics, he said he would never run again. “You can accomplish a lot more behind the scenes actually,” he says.


Family Life


Ernie and Sharon Zimmerman will soon celebrate 43 years of marriage. Ernie is also the proud father of two boys, Brian and Ronnie, and the grandfather of six children, ranging from 6 to 14. “They are all here in Florida, which is nice,” says Zimmerman. Brian lives in Wellington with his family and works as a speech therapist in a public school in Canal Point out in the Glades. Ronnie also lives in Wellington with his family and is a VP of a bank in Miami. Zimmerman enjoys every minute of his family time.


Here’s a little video that was made with one of Brian Zimmerman’s more “famous” students, a kid named Damon Weaver, who caught the attention of President Obama when he was 11 years old. He was also invited to the White House to do a one-on-one interview with Obama and appeared on The Today Show. In this video, however, Damon Weaver interviews Ernie Zimmerman about his time in Vietnam (video was recorded in 2009).



See the video.


For more info about Ernie Zimmerman, check out his column in Palms West Monthly or tune into his radio show on the



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