Household Journalism War Breaks Out Over Rothstein

Of course this is a bit of a comment cleaner, but one of the beauties of doing the Pulp is that I get to put out the interesting stuff other people are doing. In this case, it's my wife at the Sun-Sentinel.

She's come out with the most detailed story about Kim Rothstein yet. It's a little irritating, since I knew that Kim Wendell, who grew up in Davie, was a star in karate when she was a little girl and that her father was a major martial artist. I also knew she worked as a spiritual healer before going into real estate (how's that for a career change?).

But the sting of that is softened by the fact that I inadvertently swiped some of the wind out of that story's sails with an impromptu interview with Joe Alu last night that focused on Kimmie. I had no idea I was pre-empting Brittany, though. Just glad I did.

The truth is that Brittany and I are flat-out competing on this story, and it's sort of getting weird. We've usually managed to stay away from each other's turfs (meaning I haven't done much at Fort Lauderdale City Hall, which she normally covers). But Rothstein unfortunately is deeply tied into that beat, and the recent revelation about Chief Adderly only intensifies it.

So it's getting to the point that she actually asked me, with a serious tone, if I stole a phone number of a Rothstein-related source off her cell phone (of course I hadn't!) and I'm sneaking off to the kids' bedrooms to conduct quiet interviews. This is good for journalism, I suppose, but it's not the best thing for the Pulp household.

Anyway, about that karate thing, Kim Wendell won first place for the girls' 9-11 age group at the

Miami International Open martial arts competition in 1983, according to an old Miami Herald article. She was 9 years old at the time. Here's a passage from another Herald article about the Miami competition:


New enthusiasts are drawn by the image of a martial artist as a tough guy who can defend himself.

"In a high-crime city, where you keep reading about people getting robbed and murdered, people want to know how to take care of themselves," said Rosenkranz.

But they usually stay with the martial arts because they help build coordination, self-control and self-confidence.

Demonstrating all three characteristics Saturday evening were two diminutive girls -- Kim Wendell, 9, of Davie, and Heather Miller, 8, of Bradenton -- who performed a coordinated routine of kicks, punches and leaps timed to music that looked like something out of the movie Flashdance.

But for their pajamas, that is.

What I didn't see was a Sun-Sentinel article that featured her later, recapped in today's Sentinel story:

Dubbed in one article the "karate kid,'' Kim had been working at it since the age of 6, and was besting adult competitors by age 9.

A health crisis struck when she was 12. She collapsed at a Plantation Central Park karate tournament. Doctors found she had a blood vessel disorder in her brain, a condition that causes seizures and headaches. She took a break from her beloved sport.

A 4.0 student at Seminole Middle School in Plantation, she became depressed and her grades slipped, the Sun Sentinel reported at the time.

But she made a comeback, despite the health risks.

"She's a great example of a never-quit attitude,'' her late grandfather John Shaffer told the newspaper.

That's impressive, and it makes me think that a lot of people may underestimate Princess Kimberly. She's obviously got some real toughness (and she may need every bit of it now, especially if her hubby told her what was going on and she was involved in hiding any cash or assets).

But she also has her New Age-y side, apparently. She was featured in the newspaper again in 1999 while she worked as a healer at a store called Earth Wisdom in Davie. Here's how the Herald described the so-called art Kim Wendell was practicing at the time (she was about 25 years old):

Some call it the life force of the universe. Others call it Reiki -- an ancient Chinese form of energy and hands-on healing. Regardless of the label, there is one common denominator: that the power is nothing more and nothing less than love itself.

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, throughout the United States are attempting to harness it.

Earth Wisdom was owned by her mother, then called Lynn Chung:

In Davie, 100 to 200 people flock to Earth Wisdom bookstore every Friday night to study and receive Reiki energy. They are old people in wheelchairs, toddlers in their mother's arms, movie attendants at a nearby AMC theater.

"Sometimes so many people show up we have to lock the doors," says Earth Wisdom owner Lynn Chung.

... There are doctors, lawyers, homemakers and teenagers with spiked hair cuts and peace signs around their necks. All are seeking energy in the form of Reiki.

"People are tired of leading stressed-out lives and they know Reiki calms, so they're open to it like never before," says Chung, the owner. "It is time."

Note to Miami Herald: You should have a photograph of Kim Wendell from that time. I can't see the photo, but the cutline from the January 16, 1999 article reads: "Kim Wendell, above, treats Nelson Almodovar at Earth Wisdom in Davie."

I don't know how she went from that to bartender at the Blue Martini, which is what she was doing when she met Rothstein four years ago.  

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