Ray of Hope: A dream come true Reply

White Rock, New Mexico overlooking the Rio Grande River

White Rock, New Mexico overlooking the Rio Grande River

It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

-  Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Vero’s legacy is in your hands on November 4 1

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

Crestlawn Cemetery

Crestlawn Cemetery

When is a park more than a play area and an expanse of grass? When is a cemetery the legacy of a community?

There are questions Vero Beach voters will be asking themselves when they go to the polls November 4 or sooner. The ordinance in question will protect the city’s landmark properties from the whims of a three-person majority on City Council. Chief among the properties that would be protected under City Charter is Crestlawn Cemetery. This is only on the ballot because of an effort by two City Councilmen to put it up for sale this past year. The election of one more like-minded candidate could spell the end to one of Vero Beach’s treasured legacies, where many of the pioneer families who made our community what it is today are buried, and it would be lost strictly for the sake of profit. More…

Beachside parking issue addressed by City Council 2

Stricter enforcement to begin Nov. 8

MILT THOMAS

In a rare 2-2 vote, Vero Beach City Council has let stand the decision a year ago allowing Mulligan’s Beach House restaurant at Sexton Plaza to add 28 outdoor seats without additional parking spaces. Since its initial approval, the move has sparked complaints from other beachside businesses. A three-vote majority is necessary to overturn the previous ruling but Councilwoman Pilar Turner left the meeting before the vote was taken. Council members Kramer and Graves supported allowing the additional parking decision to stand. Winger and Fletcher opposed. More…

Commission postpones Oslo Road boat ramp 3-5 years 3

Commission votes to postpone work on Oslo Road Boat Ramp 3-5 years

Commission votes to postpone work on Oslo Road Boat Ramp 3-5 years

MILT THOMAS

The Indian River County Commission voted 3-2 to postpone enhancements to the Oslo Road Boat Ramp for three to five years much to the delight of the nearly packed house. The motion to postpone it had been forwarded by Commissioner Solari at the last meeting but discussion postponed until today. Commissioners Flescher and Zorc joined Solari in voting to postpone, Commissioners O’Bryan and Davis opposed it. Davis suggested taking out the asphalt road from the project as the only change needed. O’Bryan cited a number of references before concluding that “the benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages.”

Earlier, during a final public input, citizen Gail Norris asked, “Why postpone it. It should be laid to rest permanently.”

Commissioner Solari said by delaying it three to five years would effectively kill it, but added that we should know much more about the lagoon and its problems by then to better evaluate the damage if any.

Commissioner Flescher had kept his position quiet until today’s meeting and was the first to speak in favor of the delay.

Vote is not just a four-letter word 2

Vote 2COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

Somewhere between the youngest and oldest generation of registered voters is a serious misunderstanding of what it means to vote. The oldest generation probably fought in a war where our very survival as a nation was at stake. Sacrifice meant giving up your life so future generations could live in freedom rather than tyranny. They probably also lived through some part of the Great Depression where up to 25 percent of Americans were out of work. Sacrifice then meant not paying your rent so you could afford to feed your family another day. More…

Charlie Wilson wrong on campaign sign law 3

COMMENTARY

Anybody But Charlie

Turn Off Turner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARK SCHUMANN

Though Charlie Wilson’s Facebook rantings hardly make for the top news story of the day, perhaps readers should be aware of his antics. After all, Wilson is a candidate for the Vero Beach City Council and he does aspire to “serve” as Mayor of Vero Beach.

This weekend, Wilson criticized InsideVero for not reporting what he claimed was a certain campaign violation.  That Wilson could make such a claim without first checking the facts could explain why he is no longer in the news business. More…

It isn’t “just a movie” 2

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

Last Saturday my wife and I decided to go see a movie, Gone Girl, with Ben Affleck, which spent two weeks as the number one movie in the land, a fairly good barometer of audience approval. We like to go to the movies, usually, to suspend disbelief for a few hours, become involved in the story on the screen and forget everything else going on in our lives.

Somehow, there are always reminders of real life though. A patron didn’t turn off his cellphone as he should, or you can hear rain on the theater roof, or someone starts gasping loudly for air several rows behind you. That’s what happened last Saturday night. People around him started shouting to turn up the lights. Someone called 911. A policeman appeared and said the man wasn’t breathing, so he moved him to the floor and began chest compressions. The lights went up, the movie stopped as the real life drama went on. Patrons were asked to leave, since by now the few people in the theater were standing in shocked silence witnessing attempts to save his life. More…

Early voting starts Tuesday, Oct. 21 Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Early voting for the General Election will take place from Tuesday, October 21st through Saturday, November 1st. Early voting sites will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, at the following three locations.

· Supervisor of Elections Office—4375 43rd Avenue, Vero Beach
· Indian River County Main Library—1600 21st Street, Vero Beach
· Sebastian City Hall Council Chambers—1225 Main Street, Sebastian

Save time by planning ahead. Voters may view estimated early voting wait times, as well as a map of each location on the Elections Office homepage. Please refer to the attached press release for more details on early voting for the General Election or visit http://www.voteindianriver.com and click “IN THE NEWS”.

Moment of zen: Pointing fingers 4

Though Charlie Wilson did not bring a fan to the Taxpayers Association candidate forum, he found a way to break the rules. When reminded by moderater, Taxpayers Association President, John Kistler, that under the ground rules for the forum participants were not to attack each other by name, Charlie Wilson walked over to Vice Mayor Jay Kramer and simply pointed to him.

Though Charlie Wilson did not bring a fan to the Taxpayers Association candidate forum, he found a way to break the rules. When reminded by moderater, Taxpayers Association President, John Kistler, that participants were not to attack each other by name, Charlie Wilson walked over to Vice Mayor Jay Kramer and simply pointed to him.

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Killing the Messenger - Could this be Charlie Wilson's favorite move?

Killing the Messenger – Could this be Charlie Wilson’s favorite move?

Charlie Wilson is apparently so ignorant of the City’s contractual obligations to the Florida Municipal Power Agency that he actually believes it is within Vice Mayor Jay Kramer’s power to have “stalled” the sale.  “Jay Kramer is responsible,” Wilson wrote on his Facebook page, which is where the wanna-be-mayor seems to be conducting his campaign.

What Wilson, Harry Howle, III, Pilar Turner, along with Craig Fletcher and former councilwoman Tracy Carroll, have never grasped is the complete and utter powerlessness of the City to simply walk away from its contractual obligations to its fellow FMPA members and their bondholders.

"Without offering any specifics, city council candidate, Charlie Wilson, goes before the television cameras at virtually every City Council meeting to accuse of current City leaders of "taking the sale from a done deal to a dead deal." In truth, since Pilar Turner and Craig Fletcher lost Tracy Carroll's support and became a minority on the Council, insurmountable legal impediments to the sale became undeniable, even by those with their heads buried in the sand."

“Without offering any specifics, city council candidate, Charlie Wilson, goes before the television cameras at virtually every City Council meeting to accuse current City leaders of “taking the sale from a done deal to a dead deal.” In truth, since Pilar Turner and Craig Fletcher lost Tracy Carroll’s support and became a minority on the Council, insurmountable legal impediments to the sale became undeniable, even by those with their heads buried in the sand.”

More…

Vintage Vero: Woman from Vidalia found sweet onions in Vero Reply

JANIE GOULD

Janie Gould

Janie Gould

Just as the Indian River region is renowned for its citrus, a small town in Georgia is synonymous with onions. Mary Owen was born in Vidalia but has lived in Vero Beach since the mid-1940s.

Q. “In Vidalia, did your family grow Vidalia onions?”

A: “We grew the onion that is now famous as a Vidalia.”

Q: “What is so special about a Vidalia onion?” More…

Update: Detectives on scene of suspicious death, arrest made Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Detectives with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office have identified the deceased man as Eric Deffendall (42) of Vero Beach. Tonight, Mark Deffendall (39) is being charged with the homicide of his brother. Father, Rex Deffendall, left both Eric and Mark home around 10:30 A.M. and returned around 2:30 P.M. to find Eric dead of gunshot wounds and no sign of Mark. After a long day of investigation, detectives determined that a fight between the brothers erupted near the hangar in the rear of the family home. More…

Charlie Wilson: A throwback to Richard Nixon 8

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson

With his latest Facebook rant, Vero Beach City Council candidate, Charlie Wilson, may well have opened himself to a lawsuit.  If I decide to take action, it will only be to make a point.  In terms of suing Wilson for damages, well, as they say, you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

Wilson is likely smarting over coverage about his unkept promises of the past and his unrealistic assurances of the present, coupled with frustrations over recent reporting on the outside money funding his campaign.

When he ran in 2009, Wilson told voters he could get the deal done in one year. Now, five years later, he claims to have a “plan” to complete the sale in another two years.

Wilson’s response to our reporting has been to attempt to discredit me by telling his Facebook followers I was “fired from Vero Beach 32963,” and allegedly for unethical behavior.  In court, I can certainly prove I resigned from 32963 in January 2010 in order to help Scripps launch the Newsweekly.  In fact, soon after plans for the Newsweekly were announced, 32963 publisher, Milton Benjamin, did no small amount of public complaining. It should be obvious, then, even to Wilson, that I was not “fired” from 32963.  My point, and it is a legal one, is that Wilson’s false accusation is not simply a mistake on his part.  He knows better. More…

Vero Beach City Council race: Connecting the dots to outside money 2

Howle, Turner, Wilson financed by powerful Indian River Shores residents

Shores Mailer 4Shores Mailer 2BShores Mailer 3

COMMENTARY

“…if Howle, Turner and Wilson are elected, the Vero Beach City Council might as well hold its meeting in the Indian River Shores Town Hall, because there is where the important decision about the future of Vero Beach will be made.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Harry Howle, III

Harry Howle, III

Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson

Pilar Turner

Pilar Turner

Borrowing Charlie Wilson’s campaign colors and campaign theme, the Committee to Change Vero Electric sent out another mailer urging Vero Beach voters to elect three candidates the PAC claims will, come hell or hight water, sell Vero Electric.

Their Strategy? Force the Florida Municipal Power Agency to set aside contracts already validated by the Florida Supreme Court.

According to the latest financial reports filed Oct. 3, all of the group’s contributions have come from Indian River Shores residents, including Shores Vice Mayor Gerry Weick. More…

Vero Beach’s court jester, Charlie Wilson, is at it again 3

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Vero Beach City Council "court jester" Charlie Wilson

Vero Beach City Council “court jester” Charlie Wilson

The highly negative and now sputtering campaign of Vero Beach City Council candidate, Charlie Wilson, appears to be running on fumes – at least Wilson appears to be fuming. The two candidates he claims as “teammates,” Harry Howle, III, and Pilar Turner, are not exactly going out of their way to make appearances with him.  Wilson’s primary means of getting his message out is a Facebook page; and now he is spending time and energy attacking the press rather than addressing the issues.

Wilson, who once was in the news business but who would probably prefer not to discuss the circumstances of that particularly career change, is “reporting” campaign violations without first checking the facts.  For example, candidate Randy Old, who has raised more than ten times as much as Wilson in campaign contributions, has run many ads in the Press Journal, Vero Beach 32963, VeroNews.com, TCPalm.com and InsideVero.  To my knowledge, very one of those ads complied with Florida election law. More…

Who’s that knocking on your door? All Aboard Florida? Nevermore. 5

COMMENTARY

LYNNE LARKIN

Lynne Larkin

Lynne Larkin

Such an odd early Halloween we’re having. A group of merry tricksters was out walking neighborhoods last week. Along with Pilar Turner and Harry Howle [candidates for Vero Beach City Council] were Glen Heran [no surprise – Turner’s been carrying his FPL treat bag for years], Jackie Solari [the FPL team has its genesis with the Solaris], and the last member Matt Mohler, the paid representative here in our area for All Aboard Florida high-speed rail.

Well, it’s all coming clear. No matter about actually doing the right things for the City, this gang is all about doing for FPL and AAF. Money talks, the candidates walk. More…

Is Vero ready for more compassion? 3

Compassion Vero Team Front Row – Steering Committee: Milt Thomas, Dan Holloway, Scott Alexander, Suzy Feeney, Maryann Ronan-Lamson. 2nd Row – Andy Bowler, Dan Lamson, Tammy Adams, Lalita Janke, Walter Janke, Claudia Jimenez. 3rd Row – Jack Diehl, Jay Kramer

Compassion Vero Team
Front Row – Steering Committee: Milt Thomas, Dan Holloway, Scott Alexander, Suzy Feeney, Maryann Ronan-Lamson. 2nd Row – Andy Bowler, Dan Lamson, Tammy Adams, Lalita Janke, Walter Janke, Claudia Jimenez. 3rd Row – Jack Diehl, Jay Kramer

MILT THOMAS

It all began in June 2013 with a proclamation at Vero Beach City Council recognizing Humanist Recognition Week that then-Mayor Craig Fletcher refused to support because he refuses “…to support any organization that does not believe in Jesus Christ.” Then Vice-Mayor Tracy Carroll also refused to support the proclamation. Aside from the obvious constitutional issues that created, it revealed a side of Vero Beach inconsistent with its image.

That one act prompted a meeting of local clergy to discuss why this kind of attitude exists and what to do about it.  The group then expanded beyond clergy to include representatives from government, healthcare, non-profits, the business community and educators. The group began meeting regularly and adopted the name of Compassion Vero with the purpose of spearheading a coordinated effort aimed at increasing civility, consideration, respect, acceptance, inclusion, kindness and compassion in the community of Vero Beach. More…

O’Connor: Forced partitioning of Vero Electric would cost city residents and taxpayers $14 million a year 4

Electric rates would go up 30 percent, property taxes 50 percent

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

Jim O'Connor

Jim O’Connor

Pilar Turner

Pilar Turner

Out on the campaign trail, City Council candidates Harry Howle, III, Pilar Turner and Charlie Wilson are assuring voters they can find a way force the Florida Municipal Power Agency to let Vero Beach out of contracts that have been validated by the Florida Supreme Court.  Failing that, Howle, Turner and Wilson can be expected to give in to the demands of the Indian River County Commission and the Indian River Shores Town Council, both of which are seeking to force Vero Beach to abandon its customers and electric utility infrastructure outside the city limits. More…