Chamber response to All Aboard Florida impact study 2

NEWS RELEASE

After review of the DEIS for All Aboard Florida (The Project), we believe it is inadequate. The information regarding Indian River County, Florida and its communities that will be impacted by All Aboard Florida – Sebastian, Gifford, Vero Beach as well as the county along or near the railroad is incomplete.

Support information and appendices are missing from the report. Reputable local historians and cultural heritage experts from Indian River County were never contacted. The DEIS attempts to pass off contacts used in the southern portion Phase 1 of the project (Palm Beach to Miami) as representing and commenting on Indian River County. This is unacceptable, the representation is inaccurate, and the study not at all reflective of our cultural heritage information. More…

Media Watch: Island weekly report wrong on key fact 1

"Perhaps it is time Zahner's editors direct her to stop peppering "news" stories with her own opinions and so-called "analysis."  They might also do well to encourage their attack dog 'reporter' to try clinging to the truth."

“Perhaps it is time Zahner’s editors direct her to stop peppering “news” stories with her own opinions and so-called “analysis.” They might also do well to encourage their attack dog ‘reporter’ to try clinging to the truth.”

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

In her tortured analysis of why events did not unfold as she predicted, Zahner claimed that, unlike the voice vote that was taken, a written vote would have been done "secretly."  That is simply not true.

Zahner claimed that, unlike the voice vote that was taken, a written vote would have been done “secretly.” That is simply not true.

Vero Beach 32963 City Hall reporter Lisa Zahner’s latest “news analysis” suggests she and her editors are choking on sour grapes over the outcome of the Nov. 4 City Council election. Much could be said about the acerbic and acidic tone in Zahner’s story headlined, “Dick Winger clings to post of Vero Beach mayor,” but the bottom line is the island weekly’s star “reporter” missed the mark on at least one key fact. More…

The future looks promising for our community 2

GUEST COMMENTARY

DAN LAMSON

Editor’s note: Dan Lamson is the Executive Director of the Indian River Neighborhood Association.

Daniel Lamson

Daniel Lamson

The 2014 election is now history – and the future looks promising for our community.

The Indian River Neighborhood Association took an active role in the election and was gratified by the support our candidates and our issues received not only from the City of Vero Beach, but also from Indian River County and the state. We think IRNA made a positive contribution.

IRNA is a local, non-partisan group that believes in supporting the most qualified candidates regardless of party affiliation who will best serve the interests of our community and in advocating on behalf of issues that will enhance the health, welfare, safety, and prosperity of our people while preserving our unique quality of life.

In Vero in the last election, two of the three outstanding candidates we supported, Jay Kramer and Randy Old, were elected with the two most votes. The Charter Amendment to protect our parks and historic cemetery was approved by a large majority. On the state level, Amendment 1, the Water and Land Legacy Amendment to the State Constitution, passed overwhelmingly. We enthusiastically supported them all. More…

Controversial art exhibit at Lighthouse Art Gallery Reply

Riot

Riot

Eight small paintings, inspired by the events that unfolded in Ferguson, MO where the shooting of an 18 year old African-American teen by a white police officer led to riots in the streets have caused quite a stir in the town of Vero Beach, Florida where they are on exhibit at the Lighthouse Art Gallery.

The artist, Ron Van Sweringen is no stranger to controversy. His art, both in print and on canvas have always stirred strong emotions. But these images of violence and racial intolerance struck a loud chord in his audience and the reactions to this exhibit with such strong, grotesque imagery have been both physical and emotional. At the well-attended opening more than one argument broke out as to what these paintings represented and who was right or wrong. MORE…

Indian River Impact 100 kicks off season of giving Reply

Featured speaker Sally Armstrong with Alma Lee Loy.

Featured speaker Sally Armstrong with Alma Lee Loy.

Brenda Cetrulo with Past President Linda Knoll

Brenda Cetrulo with Past President Linda Knoll

A new season of giving kicked off on Thursday, November 13th as Impact 100 hosted their Seventh Annual Breakfast at the Oak Harbor Clubhouse featuring guest speaker Sally Armstrong. More than 200 members and prospective members heard Armstrong tell them “Women are the key to progress on ending poverty, violence and conflict.”

Attendees were spellbound as the human rights activist, journalist and awarding winning author captivated them with stories about women and girls in zones of conflict all over the world, from Bosnia and Somalia to the Middle East, Rwanda, Congo and Afghanistan. MORE…

 

 

Dodger Adult Baseball Camp at Historic Dodgertown concludes with awards, donation and many memories Reply

SONY DSC

NEWS RELEASE

Campers from 15 states traveled home from the just concluded 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp at Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida with extraordinary memories and experiences to last a lifetime.

Participants were treated to daily interaction with the largest group of Dodger legends ever assembled for a camp at Historic Dodgertown. The All-Star lineup of instructors included Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Mickey Hatcher, Ken Landreaux, Rick Monday, Chan Ho Park, Jerry Reuss, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager. In addition, Hall of Fame Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda and former National League umpire Bruce Froemming were guest instructors. Hall of Fame Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax stopped by world-famous Historic Dodgertown. More…

Island weekly has its Dewey-Defeats-Truman moment 3

Dewey-defeats-Truman-e135217680044232963's Dewy-Defeats-Truman Moment 2
COMMENTARY

“As the saying goes, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own set of facts. It is time for the Indian River Shores Town Council, south barrier island utility activists and their favorite “newspaper” to ground their arguments in reality.”

MARK SCHUMANN

In a Nov. 13 “News Analysis” story drenched in her signature sarcasm, Vero Beach 32963 reporter Lisa Zahner advised the island weekly’s readers Jay Kramer was the “odds-on favorite” to become the next mayor of Vero Beach.

At its organizational meeting yesterday, the 2014-15 Vero Beach City Council re-elected Richard Winger to serve as mayor and Kramer as vice mayor. Both men allowed for the possibility that the Council might hold a reorganization meeting midyear.

What is predictable is that Kramer, and Winger, along with Amelia Graves and newly elected councilman, Randy Old, will work well together moving the City forward on a number of priorities, including addressing the Lagoon crisis, reforming City pensions, shoring up the City’s finances, planning for much-needed infrastructure improvements and lowering electric rates. Pilar Turner’s choice will be whether to join her follow council members in a collaborative effort. More…

Deputies and Florida Highway Patrol investigating crash scene Reply

NEWS RELEASE

At approximately 3:18 A.M., deputies with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a one vehicle crash in the 5200 block of Old Dixie Highway in Vero Beach. Responding deputies determined the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was deceased upon their arrival. Florida Highway Patrol was called to the scene to investigate the crash at which time the deceased was identified as Alphonso Wynn Jr. (35) of Gifford. During the investigation, deputies identified bullet holes in the vehicle, which changed the course of the investigation. More…

Is Shores Town Council feeling the heat for suing neighboring Vero Beach? 4

Mayor Barefoot writes yet another “guest column” defending the Town’s position
COMMENTARY

“Though the Shores Town Council is taking its case to circuit court, it seems to want, instead, to litigate its claims in the court of public opinion.”

MARK SCHUMANN

In what may be the understatement of the year, Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot said, "I would like to say that it is unfortunate that it has come to this point."

Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot

Last week, Florida Public Service Commission staff released a report recommending the Commission deny Indian River County’s request for clarification of its asserted right to force Vero Beach to surrender its out-of-city electric customers when the franchise agreement between the City and the County expires in 2016.

In a lawsuit filed in circuit court, the Indian River Shores Town Council is making essentially the same claim as the County. Apparently hoping to control the public relations ground war, Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot submitted yet another guest column to the Press Journal. Barefoot’s column read as if it had been crafted by a public relations specialist. The Shores Mayor claimed the PSC’s decision will not affect plans to challenge Vero Beach in circuit court. More…

Winger, Kramer re-elected mayor, vice mayor 1

The new Vero Beach City Council: Amelia Graves, Jay Kramer, Richard Winger, Pilar Turner, Randy Old. PHOTO SUPPLIED

The 2014-15 Vero Beach City Council: Amelia Graves, Jay Kramer, Richard Winger, Pilar Turner, Randy Old. PHOTO SUPPLIED

MARK SCHUMANN

Richard Winger

Richard Winger

Jay Kramer

Jay Kramer

Randy Old

Randy Old

At its organizational meeting this morning, the Vero Beach City Council re-elected Richard Winger as mayor.  Jay Kramer was re-elected to serve as vice mayor. The Council’s selection followed the swearing in of Kramer, Randy Old and Pilar Turner.

Kramer, Old and Turner were the three winners in the recent City Council election that included a field of seven candidates. Kramer and Turner are both beginning their third two-year terms on the Council.  Old, the Council’s newest member, received the second most votes in the Nov. 4 election and will take the seat vacated by Craig Fletcher.

More…

New season for Dancing with Vero’s Stars announced Reply

Couples paired for the new season of Dancing with Vero’s Stars are: (On staircase from top to bottom) Jan Mason Cilento and Robert Scott; Deb Polackwich and Barry Trammell; Marianella Tobar and Bobby Sexton; Jackie Savell and Bob Kane; Eric Flowers (partner Beth Shestak missing from photo), Susie O’Toole and Joe Wynes; Shari Tessier and Lee Olson; Karren Walter and Andy White. (Bottom of stairs) Amy Trammell and Tom Lowther; Karen Franke and Joe Tessier - Photo courtesy of the Indian River Photo Club

Couples paired for the new season of Dancing with Vero’s Stars are:
(On staircase from top to bottom)
Jan Mason Cilento and Robert Scott; Deb Polackwich and Barry Trammell; Marianella Tobar and Bobby Sexton; Jackie Savell and Bob Kane; Eric Flowers (partner Beth Shestak missing from photo), Susie O’Toole and Joe Wynes; Shari Tessier and Lee Olson; Karren Walter and Andy White.
(Bottom of stairs) Amy Trammell and Tom Lowther; Karen Franke and Joe Tessier – Photo courtesy of the Indian River Photo Club

 

NEWS RELEASE

The Vero Beach Hotel & Spa was the venue for the annual Meet & Greet for Dancing with Vero’s Stars on Sunday, November 16, where all dancers, instructors and the pairing of dancing couples were announced. More…

It’s a jungle out there 1

Willie is 17 years old and slimmed down to 105 pounds.

Willie is a 17 years old yellow lab mix, slimmed down to 105 pounds.

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

Life has not been easy in the Thomas household the past few weeks. Aside from book and story deadlines taking up my daily routine, my wife called one day to say she had been in an accident. Nothing serious, no one hurt, except for her prized 22-year old mint condition Lexus with 48,000 miles on it. Now it has a concave fender, punctured tire and smashed headlight. Imagine the pain, taking care of a car for that many years, only to have it disfigured in a fender bender on U.S. 1.

Then Willie, our 17-year old, 105-pound yellow lab mix rescue broke his leg falling out of our SUV at the vet’s office. He is confined to sedatives for the next six weeks and can only move when his alimentary canal needs to move. Outside hopefully.

More…

When wishful thinking becomes pure delusion 4

COMMENTARY

“It is time to elevate the discussion to a higher level,” the Press Journal editorial board wrote. Well, it is impossible to elevate the discussion without also elevating the level of thinking; and at least for now the Press Journal is simply repeating FPL propaganda.

MARK SCHUMANN

"...if a more reasoned, dispassionate discussion is what the editors of the Press Journal want, then they should consider having a Dutch uncle talk with Turner.  Her attacks on utility attorney, Schef Wright, during the last City Council meeting were an embarrassment to the City of Vero Beach."

“…if a more reasoned, dispassionate discussion is what the editors of the Press Journal want, they should consider having a Dutch uncle talk with Turner. Her attacks on utility attorney, Schef Wright, during the last City Council meeting were an embarrassment to the City of Vero Beach.”

In its latest commentary on Vero Beach’s proposed power sale, the Stuart-based Scripps Press Journal editorial board again missed the point.  The newspaper continues to perpetuate the delusional belief that a way can be found over, under or around Vero Beach’s contractual obligations to its fellow Florida Municipal Power Agency members and their bondholders.

Now a minority of one on the Vero Beach City Council, Pilar Turner has become the Press Journal’s lone poster child for persisting down a path that has already cost the customers of Vero Electric some $2 million in legal fees. The simple truth is the average person does not care who owns Vero Electric. What people want are lower rates.  The outcome of the recent Council election is proof of that fact.

Despite heavy backing from Florida Power & Light and other outside interests, including a Stuart developer who gave $3,000, two of three pro-sale candidates were defeated. Yes, as the Press Journal is quick to remind its readers, Turner was re-elected, but with less votes than were received by Jay Kramer or Randy Old.  It is worth noting that the Press Journal has yet to report on the level of support Turner received from out-of-city interests, including FPL.

Last year, when Kramer urged his fellow council members to take steps to lower rates, Turner dismissed his suggestions. Turner argued that lowering rates would merely be a distraction from the larger objective of selling the utility to Florida Power & Light. The Press Journal, who’s publisher is married to a key FPL vice president, continues to join Turner in insisting the only reasonable objective is to find a way to sell to FPL. More…

Ray of Hope: Footprints in the sand Reply

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White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  - John Muir

 

Is our legal system Frost-proof? 3

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

Shawn Frost

Shawn Frost

District school board winner Shawn Frost wants the residency suit against him dismissed as baseless. Au contraire, sir, it is far from baseless. Here are some of the facts as reported on September 12 by InsideVero:

“Nearly two weeks before voters went to the polls Aug. 26, we reported on Frost’s claim to have established legal residence in District 1 by moving into living space above the garage at his father’s house at 6700 77th Street. All the while, according to Frost, his wife and children continued to live in his homesteaded property at 1301 38th Avenue in District 3.

We then reported that several month earlier, when filing to run for the District 2 seat on the Indian River County Commission, Frost gave as his address 30 acres of pasture land on 65th Street.

After one of Frost’s neighbors came forward, we also reported that, according to the neighbor, the two vehicles driven by Frost and his wife could regularly be seen early in the morning and late at night parked in the driveway of their home on 38th Avenue. Further, the neighbor said, Frost was often seen walking the neighborhood late at night.

More…

Media Watch: Scripps publishes yet another misleading power story Reply

 

“In truth, going into the 2013-14 fiscal year, the City budget $60,907 in profit for Vero Electric.  The actual profit for the fiscal year was $854,084. That fact did not keep Scripps from claiming fuel costs are eating into Vero Electric’s profits.”

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Of all the poorly reasoned stories and misleading headlines Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers has published about Vero Electric, perhaps none is more off the mark than a report posted yesterday on TCPalm.com headlined, “Fuel costs eat Vero Beach electric utility’s bottom line.”

Reading the headline on reporter Keona Gardner’s story, one might never realize Vero Electric’s profit for the 2013-14 fiscal year was nearly $800,000 more than budgeted. It is true fuel costs were $1.1 million over budgeted, or 1.9 percent; but given that sales were also above budget, the increased fuel coast should come as no surprise. Purchased power, after all, is a variable cost for Vero Electric, and variables expenses rise with sale and revenue. More…

County Commission and Shores Town Council are driving up electric bills. Enough is enough. Reply

“The Shores Town Council may well press ahead with a lawsuit that could cost Shores taxpayers and Vero Electric customers million of dollars, but in the end no one will be well served. It is time for the Shores Town Council and the Indian River County Commission to support the Vero Beach City Council as it moves ahead with lowering electric rates and hopefully forming a utility authority that can fairly represent all 34,000 customers of Vero Electric.”

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

The news coming out of Tallahassee yesterday was not good, at least not for the Indian River County Commission, the Indian River Shores Town Council and pro-sale utility activists who are hoping the Florida Public Service Commission will assist them in forcing Vero Beach out of the electric utility business.

Though some are already putting the best possible spin on what is clearly a setback, the fact is the PSC’s Office of the General Council and Division of Economics jointly released a report yesterday recommending the PSC deny the Indian River County Commission’s request for a statement clarifying the County’s claimed rights when the franchise agreement between the City and the County expires in 2016. More…

Public Service Commission staff recommends denying County’s request for a declaratory statement Reply

MARK SCHUMANN

In a 112-page report including attachments and footnotes, Florida Public Service Commission staff today recommended the PSC deny Indian River County’s request for a declaratory statement addressing Vero Beach’s rights and responsibilities to serve its electric customers in the unincorporated areas of the County.

If the PSC follows the advice of its staff when it meets in Tallahassee Nov. 25, Indian River County will not get the answer it is looking for in its effort to force Vero Beach to discontinue service to out-of-city customers when the franchise agreement between the County and the City expires in 2016. More…