No local sportscaster has a meaner task than Ducis Rodgers. His hosting duties on WSVN's weekly Sports Xtra should earn him combat pay. In addition to sifting through local team tidbits, commenting on star athletes' antics, and providing steep segues for boring golf highlights, he is required to referee the two most indigestible personalities on South Florida television: fellow reporter Steve "Snide" Shapiro and super agent Drew "Jerry McGuire" Rosenhaus. Ducis always seems to be in their favor as they clamor for his support, but he always puts them in their place with a smiling, backhanded compliment, and they love him for it. He also gets away with saying things other sportscasters won't, speaking between the lines of his engaging observations. When Mike Tyson shammed boxing fans by beating Clifford Etienne in a ridiculous 49-second bout, Ducis introduced the highlights with a subtle cough and question-marked grin as he dragged the word fight from his throat. The man also happens to be quite the cool Miami cat who's a regular on South Beach's glitz-and-glam club circuit. Go, Ducis.

Readers Choice: Jimmy Cefalo, WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

Nicholas Cole is an odd, gentle fellow with the manner of a man not quite of this time and place. Silver of beard, typically clothed in flowing, monkish robes, Cole is a practitioner of the ancient art of storytelling. For years he's been a regular at Renaissance festivals, coffeehouses, restaurants, bookstores, and bars around South Florida. His specialty, you might have guessed, is the medieval tale, which he delivers in full costume, often with the aid of a drum. In another life Cole was a rehabilitation counselor and special-education teacher at local schools. He sometimes claims to be a 480-year-old relic of the Renaissance who is trying to find the Fountain of Youth. But his most fantastic tale isn't about knights and ladies, dragons and goblins. It's about his 2002 run for the District 2 school-board seat against wily incumbent Solomon Stinson. Now, who would believe that?

It's about time Kwiat received recognition as a one-man repertory company. A chameleon of an actor who appears regularly in many local theaters, Kwiat is a director's dream. He can take the tiniest role and turn it into a perfectly realized character. Some of his recent work was memorable -- the brooding Irish drinker in The Weir and the embittered Yiddish actor in Smithereens, both at New Theatre; as well as his hilarious cameos in Comic Potential at Actors' Playhouse. But it was GableStage's Dirty Blonde that really turned into a Kwiat riot as he rolled out one carefully etched characterization after another.

Morgan has long been well-known and well liked on the local theater scene, but her work this season really showed off her range of skills. The British-born actress recently knocked off the crotchety Scottish housekeeper Mrs. Hudson in Sherlock's Last Case for Actors' Playhouse, plus some bizarre comedic cameos as an android actress and a wacky wigged hooker in Comic Potential, also at AP. And her work in Tom Walker for the New Theatre was a range in itself -- playing Tom's nightmare of a harridan wife and doubling as his new love, the harried Widow Baine. While Morgan has been lauded for each of these performances, it's the breadth of her abilities that's really remarkable. Some actors do well by playing the same role over and over. Lisa Morgan is never the same twice.

This year the nod goes to the New Theatre, Coral Gables's Little Theater That Could. It may be tiny in size but its creative vision is large indeed. Recently recognized as one of the top 50 theaters in the nation by the venerable Drama Guild of New York, the New Theatre promotes inclusion as well as excellence. It is one of the few theaters in South Florida that actively casts minorities in main-stage productions, and its policy of subsidizing student ticket prices can't be beat. Where else can a student with an ID grab a ticket to truly professional theater for just five dollars? Founding artistic director Rafael de Acha can always be counted on to deliver nuanced, elegant productions. Another asset is de Acha's eclectic programming strategy, which serves up a provocative menu of contemporary off-Broadway hits, classics (two Shakespeares are on the plate this summer), and especially new plays from a trio of talented playwrights: Nilo Cruz, Mario Diament, and Michael McKeever, works the company often commissions. It's this patient development of and ongoing relationship with writing talent that really sets New Theatre apart from the pack.

This stunning, dreamlike musical was not only the clear champion of the season, it was the best of the past several years. Featuring the gorgeous, complex chromatic harmonies of composer Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's textured, character-driven book, Floyd Collins tracked a simple, true-life tale of a Kentucky man who got stuck in a cave, a misfortune that became a national media obsession. Everything about this production clicked. The cast featured an array of local and New York talent at its best. To this add David Arisco's fluid and inventive staging, a simple but hugely effective set design from Gene Seyffer, great sound design from Nate Rausch, evocative lighting from Stuart Reiter, and Mary Lynne Izzo's carefully detailed costumes. The result was a daring, provocative production that set a new standard for South Florida theatrical excellence.

About seven years ago Robert Moehling, owner of the renowned fruit and vegetable market bearing his name, boarded a collection of turtles and tortoises for his friend Richard Paul, who was leaving town. Moehling was thinking trash removal. The creatures helpfully eat his organic refuse. Now the acre he set aside for the hardbacks has become an intriguing roadside stop. About 40 turtles, including bright-green spur-thighs, so-named because of the large scales jutting from their legs, mix in lethargic grace with others termed simply redfoots and yellowfoots. But clearly the star of the show is Centurion, a Galapagos tortoise who is between 160 and 170 years old, weighs approximately 725 pounds, and ambles about like a slow-moving coffee table. Apparently Centurion had some trouble sharing his space with a large Aldabra turtle named M-2. From the sign on the enclosure: "Centurion #11 isn't usually here because he can't stand M-2.... Centurion has his reasons. M-2 walks, stands, and sits on Centurion's food, cuts him off, makes disgusting noises, and doesn't make the proper Galapagos tortoise head-raising signs in greeting." You'll be happy to know they tolerate each other now, so you can catch both. Best of all, Moehling doesn't charge to view the beasts.

During his first season in aqua and orange, the dreadlocked one busted out for 1853 yards on the ground. That broke the Dolphins' single-season rushing record and garnered for Williams the NFL's rushing title. (He also broke Miami Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard's record for most coverage in a single season.) The Dolphonics gave up two first-round and two fourth-round draft picks to grab Williams from New Orleans and have him run roughshod over arch-rival New York Jets, the New England Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills. Naturally Miami's NFL franchise, in typical fashion, wasted (check that: obliterated) Williams's banner year by missing the playoffs in yet another end-of-the-season collapse.

We've always had a love-hate relationship with Channel 7, whose local news programs best represent the kind of town Miami is -- loud, obnoxious, superficial, sometimes ridiculous, but family, you know? Lynn Martinez, a WSVN reporter and anchor for the past twelve years, is adept at handling the station's split personality. At 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. she's professional newscaster Lynn, delivering her lines with a snap and polish that would hold up nicely at the networks. But at 7:30 we get a glimpse of Lynn the mischievous wag as she trades barbs with co-host Belkys Nerey on the silly and thoroughly enjoyable Deco Drive, which would be nothing more than a half-hour ad for the entertainment industry were it not for the evident glee with which Lynn (and the impish Belkys) finesse the clever writing.

Readers Choice: Dwight Lauderdale, WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

While her specialty remains thrashing the school board, teachers' union, and classroom chaos, this "Pitbull in Pumps" (a nickname from her days in Tulsa television) has branched out recently. She's looked into everything from failing police radios in Miami Beach to prescription drug prices to medical fraud. For her fans, Jilda knows how to cut to the chase. To the retired dentist whose "resonator" had no tangible medical value, the relentless investigator asked, "Have you cured AIDS?" Does she have detractors? Of course, and she's proud of the long list. "Why do I have to explain it to Jilda Unruh?" one of the teachers' union members demanded of her when she questioned him about his bloated contract. Well, sir, because if you don't respond, she might just sink her teeth into you.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®