Bye-bye, Jai Alai? | Tailpipe | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Bye-bye, Jai Alai?

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DeRosa's dream finally becomes reality in May, when the Creation Museum and Science Resource Center will hold its grand opening. But the 'Pipe couldn't wait to check out Fort Lauderdale's newest museum. A few weeks ago, he popped in to the unmarked building on the edge of the Calvary Chapel campus in Cypress Creek, expecting a great shining structure, not unlike the pearly gates, to mark the museum entrance. Instead, at the end of a short hallway lined with classrooms and a library, he found... another classroom.

A large one, to be sure, but not quite the "place for wonder and amazement" that DeRosa had promised. A few fossils sat at the entrance, including a mammoth jaw. Inside, on the floor wrestling with a piece of plywood, was Joanne Rabolli, a dedicated churchgoer and mom who is the main designer and builder of the museum. Hired last April to make DeRosa's grand vision come to life, she's designed all the exhibits and displays herself and built them with the help of local college students and homeschoolers. ("It's a lot of work for women and children," she says.)

Proud of her handiwork, Rabolli was happy to show the 'Pipe around the partially constructed exhibits. She has transformed the classroom into several "rooms" with plywood partitions, and she eagerly describes the murals that will soon cover them.

"On that wall," she says, "you'll be looking out of a cave onto the Ice Age world." Then she points to the floor, where the painted tracks of some sort of dinosaur meander from display to display. "That little guy goes everywhere," she says, laughing. Behind her is a large "dig pit" filled with sand and "fossils" for kids to dig up and photographs of animals interspersed with crosses and placards reading "designed for a purpose."

"It's educational as well as fun," Rabolli says, and indeed, it does seem benign and sciency, like a kindergarten classroom. But then she leads the 'Pipe into the passageway depicting Earth before the flood. Dominating the wall is a mural called "Job Beholding the Behemoth," with Job sitting on a rock placidly watching a brontosaurus munch some greenery while zebras graze in the background.

"That's from the chapter where God says, 'Behold the Behemoth,'" Rabolli explains. "'He chews the cud like a cow —watch out for his tail!'"

There are plastic flowers lining the tops of the exhibits. "Those are there to remind us that God's fruits will soon fade," Rabolli says. "Everything has a little connotation."

She could have added that everything has the plastic smell of rigged "science," Tailpipe thought, heading for a bar.

Cuffed Rocket

The next time one of those insane daredevils on a Japanese motorcycle hits warp speed as it passes you on the highway, rest assured it isn't David Carpenter hugging the handlebars. Instead of outrunning police helicopters while tearing down the Florida Turnpike on his Honda CBR 1000, Carpenter ("Crotch Rocketeers," July 7, 2005), once among Broward County's most notorious scofflaws, lives at a slower pace these days. In January, he was found guilty of three counts of fleeing and eluding police and two counts of assault on an officer (cops tend to take a dim view when you shoot your crotch rocket in their direction), and it doesn't look like he'll be driving anything more than golf balls for a while. A long while.

In fact, says Carolina Corona, prosecutor for the State Attorney's Office on the case, Carpenter's license is suspended and he's on probation until 2012. The first two years of that probation is Community Control, "which is basically house arrest," adds Corona, so video golf may be his only option for the time being. In addition, she says, Carpenter's going to spend the next two years bumming rides just to make it to his community service job as well as to give lectures at local schools about the error of his speed-demon ways. He also had to reimburse the cost of all those man-hours police spent chasing him through turnpike tollbooths at 140 mph.

For a dude who used to outrun pursuit helicopters and phalanxes of highway patrolmen, it must be a drag. But maybe Carpenter's lucky. As some former rocketeers will tell you, an ankle bracelet's not nearly as uncomfortable as having your legs sliced off by a metal guardrail.

La Vida FEMA

Some windows remain boarded up in downtown Fort Lauderdale's skyscrapers. Some fences have definitely seen better days. And all of your neighbors now own gas-powered electric generators. But the signs of last year's exhausting hurricane season are pretty much gone, right?

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