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Movers & Shakers

Some Floridians will be celebrating new positions or continued appointments in 2014. If you know of any movers and shakers in the world of politics or state government, please send them to Rochelle Koff at

Three picked for Florida Women's Hall of Fame

Dottie Berger MacKinnon, Sheriff Susan Benton and Louise Jones Gopher have all been selected for the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. Gov. Rick Scott chose the three women from a list of 10 nominees chosen by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

MacKinnon, a former Tampa resident who died April 12, 2012, was a founder of Joshua House, a haven for children removed from their families, and she chaired the Friends of Joshua House Foundation board from 2003 to 2006. Most recently, MacKinnon founded A Kid’s Place, a group home in Brandon where siblings can live together after being taken from their homes over abuse or neglect.

Benton, 64, of Sebring, is the sheriff of Highlands County. In 2004, she became the first woman elected sheriff in Florida’s history. In 2012, Benton was named the first female president of the Florida Sheriffs Association in the organization’s 118-year history.

Gopher, 68, of Okeechobee, is a longtime educator. From 2003 to 2007, she served as the director of education for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Gopher was the first female Seminole Indian to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Executive director of Guardian ad Litem Program reappointed

Alan Abramowitz has been reappointed by Scott as the executive director of the statewide Guardian ad Litem Program.

Abramowitz, 51, of Tallahassee, has been the program’s executive director since 2010 -- his new term ends Dec. 29, 2016.

Abramowitz previously served as DCF’s state director for family safety, and as the chief legal counsel for DCF’s Central Florida region. He also served as the assistant general counsel for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Other appointments

David Di PietroRocky Rodriguez and Darryl L. Wright have been appointed to the North Broward Hospital District’s Board of Commissioners.

Di Pietro, 33, of Oakland Park, is the founder and president of Di Pietro Law P.A.

Rodriguez, 68, of Fort Lauderdale, is a real estate agent with BHG Commercial Real Estate. He is the current president of the Broward County Substance Abuse Advisory Board and was past chairman of the board of Hispanic Unity of Florida.

Wright, 44, of Fort Lauderdale, served in the United States Army from 1991 to 2013 and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Stephen L. Hammond and Cara A. Higgins have been reappointed to the Lower Florida Keys Hospital District for Monroe County.

Hammond, 56, of Key West, is a sales associate with Island Resort Realty. Higgins, 39, of Key West, is an attorney and partner with the law firm of Horan, Wallace, and Higgins LLP.

Scott has made two appointments to the Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Christopher Cobb, 38, of St. Augustine and an attorney with Jimerson & Cobb PA, is reappointed. Albert Korelishn, 76, of Pompano Beach and a plumbing contractor with Dixie Plumbing Service Inc., has been reappointed.

Dr. Kevin M. Christie II, of Fort Lauderdale, and Brandon L. Harris, 29, of Tallahassee, have been reappointed to the Board of Athletic Training.

Christie II, 33, of Fort Lauderdale, is a self-employed chiropractic physician. Harris is a certified athletic trainer with Titus Sports Academy.

Dr. Anna Z. Hayden, 52, of Fort Lauderdale, was reaappointed by Scott to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. Hayden is an osteopathic physician with Broward Health.

Jonathan Toppe, of St. Petersburg, has been reappointed to the Board of Architecture and Interior Design. Toppe, 67, an architect at Toppe Consultants.

Stan Connally, Jr., of Gulf Breeze, has been appointed to the Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. board of directors. He is the president and CEO of Gulf Power Company.