Press Journal columnist Russ Lemmon’s perspective on power sale disconnected from reality 5



Russ Lemmon

Russ Lemmon

Long on wishful thinking and short on reporting skills and open mindedness, Press Journal columnist, Russ Lemmon, continues to misinform his readers about the proposed sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light. Today, Lemmon wrote, “A divided council made it easy for the FMPA (Florida Municipal Power Agency) to play hardball with the contracts.”

Lemmon’s assertion that it was ever within the Council’s power to dictate terms to the FMPA is pure baloney – as in Charlie-Wilson-style political baloney. From the beginning of the effort to sell Vero Electric, Lemmon has ignored indisputable facts, failed to educate himself on the insurmountable impediments to the sale, and has swallowed hook, line and sinker FPL’s pro-sale propaganda. More…

More questions about Wilson’s business licenses Reply

“In responding to Inside Vero’s report that the man who says he would like to be the mayor of Vero Beach appears to be operating his business without a license, Wilson wrote described the report as, ‘a completely unfounded absolutely inaccurate story.'”


Acting president of the Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce, Charlie Wilson, recently announced he will again be seeking public office, this time vying seat on the Vero Beach City Council.  As a member of the new Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce, Wilson lists as his active business, The Media Arts Group, Inc.  However, Wilson’s business is currently registered with the State of Florida Division of Corporations as The Media Arts Group of Florida.

According the the latest information available on the Indian River County Property Appraiser’s website, Wilson’s business license for The Media Arts Group expired in 2009.  Records in the City of Vero Beach Planning Department show that Wilson had a business license for The Media Arts Group, but the name on the license was changed in March 2011 to Asset Research and Recovery.  That account is now inactive. More…

If you can’t take the heat, get out of the race 5

Charlie Wilson.6COMMENTARY


I was surprised to see Charlie Wilson’s latest personal attack on Inside Vero publisher Mark Schumann posted on his Facebook page, not because it was crude and immature, but because he is now a candidate for public office. Personal attacks are sadly commonplace these days between candidates for public office, but unusual when a candidate attacks a reporter.


Shores mayor’s “guest column” short on facts, long on assertions 2


“The Shores’ lawsuit is hardly a way of seeking an amicable divorce.  In fact, it is more like the lawyer who told his wife, ‘Here is how this divorce is going to go.  What mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.'”


Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot

Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot

The Press Journal today published a “guest column” by Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot explaining why he and his fellow Town Council members resorted to filing a lawsuit against the City of Vero Beach. Notably absent from Barefoot’s epistle was any discussion of the potential cost of such a suit on the residents of Indian River Shores and the customers of Vero Electric.

Barefoot repeated the claim that “on average” the 2300 or so Shores residents served by Vero Electric are paying 30 percent more with the city than they would with Florida Power & Light.  Using the 1000 KWH comparison so popular with FPL and its local pro-sale advocates, the true rate differential between the two utilities is 17.9 percent. Currently, Vero Electric’s rate for 1000 KWH for residential use is $123, and FPL’s $101.  Add a 6 percent franchise fee, as does the Indian River County Commission, and FPL’s rate rises to $107.38.  FPL’s rates have been going up this year, while Vero Electric’s have declined, a fact scantly reported by the Press Journal. More…

County Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan responds to reporting on County’s franchise fee 4

Peter O'Bryan

Peter O’Bryan

Editor’s Note: Soon after Inside Vero posted a story reporting on the Indian River County Commission’s 6 percent franchise fee that is added to utility bills for Vero Electric’s county customers, County Commission Chairman Peter O’Byan wrote pointing out information he believes would make our coverage more complete.  The following is the complete correspondence between Commissioner O’Bryan and Inside Vero editor, Mark Schumann.

See: County Commission adding 6 percent to Vero Electric’s bills to county customers

July 25, 7:54 AM


You may wish to include the fact that the county charges FP&L customers the same 6% franchise fee. So to help you make an apples to apples comparison, compare the City’s base rate of $123 (your figure) to FP&L base rate $101 (again your figure), difference of $22, City is 21.8% higher than FP&L.  In addition, because the city rate is higher, city customers pay $1.32 more in the franchise fee than FP&L customers.

Peter More…

Reader’s Comment: Press Journal’s Russ Lemmon should stick to light, trivial subjects 1

Russ Lemmon usually writes about matters most trivial with occasional burst of bombast. He certainly offered the latter with his screed against the current City Council. I know the Mayor and Amelia Graves and know them both to be persons of integrity and intelligence. I believe Jay Kramer to be of the same caliber. Mr. Lemmon should save his comments for his usual trivia and leave important matters to those who know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. - Frank Lamson

McKee Botanical Garden announces “Nature Connects” exhibition Reply

Nature-themed sculptures constructed with LEGO® bricks by New York artist Sean Kenney to be on display January 16 – April 12, 2015


NATURE CONNECTS hummingbird 1McKee Botanical Garden is excited to announce that Nature Connects, a LEGO® Brick Exhibition will be on view at the Garden beginning January, 2015.

Nature Connects  features 14 installations comprised of 27 individual sculptures created from more than half a million LEGO® bricks. Sculptures include an 8-foot-tall hummingbird, a 7-foot-tall rose and a 5-foot-tall butterfly, among others. The exhibition represents the important connection that nature has to all living things – just as one LEGO brick connects to another to form each sculpture. The sculptures will be displayed throughout the Garden’s natural landscape, further illustrating this unique relationship. More…

Indian River Community Foundation Executive Director announces resignation Reply

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                              

Kerry Bartlett

Kerry Bartlett

The Board of Directors of the Indian River Community Foundation announced today that Kerry Bartlett has resigned as Executive Director after six years of leading the organization through a period of record growth and development. Bartlett’s resignation is effective July 31, but she has agreed to stay on in a part-time capacity through the end of the year to give the Board time to recruit a new leader to the position.

Bartlett was hired in 2008 as the organization’s first Executive Director. During her tenure, IRCF grew from ground zero to managing $24 million in assets restricted for charitable purposes, the majority of which are in donor advised funds. IRCF has facilitated an additional $21 million in grants on behalf of its fund holders to predominantly local nonprofit organizations. Bartlett attributes IRCF’s success to the Board’s commitment to helping connect local philanthropists, professional advisors and civic leaders to the causes they care about most. More…

Dritenbas named Sunrise Rotary’s Rotarian of the Year Reply

Paul Dritenbas

Paul Dritenbas

The Rotary Club of Vero Beach Sunrise recently chose Paul Dritenbas as Rotarian of the Year for the 2013-14 Rotary year. Dritenbas is in the CCA Costal Conservation Association of the TC, The Salvation Army Advisory Board, started the Oyster Matt project with 5 schools and the VB Power Squadron, started the RISSA Rotary Initiative to Save Submerged Sea Grass, the Vero Beach Recreation Advisory Committee, Reel Life Charters, FIND Florida  Inland Navigation District, Crown Royal Cattle Cartel-4H and of course Rotary Club of VB Sunrise…and did we mention he owns Edlund Dritenbas Binkley Architects and Associates, P.A.


Indian River Estates certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation Reply

Local seniors making a difference to protect wildlife  NEWS RELEASE

Landscaping Committee Co-Chairs Russ and Marilee Bell

Landscaping Committee Co-Chairs Russ and Marilee Bell

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is pleased to recognize that Indian River Estates an ACTS Retirement-Life Cmmunity, has successfully created an official Certified Wildlife Habitat site. NWF celebrates the efforts of the residents, led by Landscaping Committee Co-Chairs Russ and Marilee Bell, who created a campus that improves habitat for birds, butterflies, turtles and other wildlife by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young.

“Providing a home for wildlife in our communities – whether it’s at home, or in schools businesses or parks – is the demonstration of a healthy and active eco-system. There is no more rewarding way to stay connected to nature right outside your door,” said David Mizejewski, naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. More…

Seminole County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested on Indian River County warrant for lewd computer solicitation of a child Reply


In mid July, 2014, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from the father of a seventeen year old female that his daughter had been contacted through Facebook by a twenty-eight year old male friend who solicited the girl for sex. Indian River County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Shepherd learned that the twenty-eight year old male friend, identified as David Rodriguez, is a uniformed patrol deputy with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. More…

A good read: This old man Reply


Roger Angell and Andy; Central Park, January, 2014. CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIGITTE LACOMBE.

Roger Angell and Andy; Central Park, January, 2014.

Check me out. The top two knuckles of my left hand look as if I’d been worked over by the K.G.B. No, it’s more as if I’d been a catcher for the Hall of Fame pitcher Candy Cummings, the inventor of the curveball, who retired from the game in 1877. To put this another way, if I pointed that hand at you like a pistol and fired at your nose, the bullet would nail you in the left knee. Arthritis.

Now, still facing you, if I cover my left, or better, eye with one hand, what I see is a blurry encircling version of the ceiling and floor and walls or windows to our right and left but no sign of your face or head: nothing in the middle. But cheer up: if I reverse things and cover my right eye, there you are, back again. If I take my hand away and look at you with both eyes, the empty hole disappears and you’re in 3-D, and actually looking pretty terrific today. Macular degeneration. MORE…

Reader Comment: Wilson will not represent the City of Vero Beach Reply

If elected Wilson will not represent the city of Vero, this is all too obvious. He probably is behind the law suit that will hurt all ratepayers, but the residents of the city the most. He should explain why his electricty was not in his name before the deadline. Based on this ,we don’t know if he can hold office if elected. Combine his bloated ego , past history, and self interest it all adds up to a poor choice for council. – John E. Church

See: Is Wilson serving as Indian River Shores’s attack dog?
See: Shores mayor’s “guest column” short on fact, long on assertions