Ray of Hope: Understanding 1

Clouds_032015_BThe evil that is in the world almost always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. - Albert Camus

Stop defending Phil Robertson – you’re embarrassing yourself Reply

He is not a good face for the Christian conservative brand

"...Phil Robertson is an ignorant buffoon..."

“…Phil Robertson is an ignorant buffoon…”

Editor’s note: The National Review is a conservative publication, founded by William F. Buckley. 


Phil Robertson is an embarrassment, not a hero, and the socially conservative movement needs to distance itself from him immediately. Continue reading…

Reader Comment: Robertson’s point missed by progressive publications Reply

Dear Inside Vero,

I am writing regarding the “controversy” over the out of context statements the left wing progressive publication “Right Wing Watch,” has used for click bait on their website that has thus gone viral. I would like to set the record straight.

On the accusations that Phil Robertson’s example was in bad taste, I believe that accusation comes from no experience in discussing philosophy. College professors bring these examples to their classrooms when discussing ethics on a regular bases. Its a common exercise in discussing topics like moral relativism vs absolute truths for example. More…

Municipalities are working together to seek participate in Lagoon Council Reply


In the face of the Indian River County Commission’s refusal to participate in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis, four municipalities – Sebastian, Fellsmere, Indian River Shores and Vero Beach – are banded together to seek representation on the new Indian River Lagoon Council. More…

Shall the fundamentalists win? Reply



Harry Emerson Fosdick

Harry Emerson Fosdick

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

The state of Indiana this week enacted a so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” allowing businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, 1,000 miles a way in Florida, a crowd of some 2500 attending the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast gave a standing ovation to television star and radical Christian fundamentalist Phil Robertson following a keynote address in which the star of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” made dehumanizing, sickening comments about atheists.

Organizers of the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, a group closely associated with a fundamentalist radio program, “The History of Liberty,” continue to defend Robertson, while declining to disclose if and how much the television star was paid to serve as the event’s keynote speaker. More…

Who invited Phil Robertson to speak in Vero Beach? 10

And, who is behind the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast?

Editor’s note: One commenter, who identified herself as being associated with the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, indicated in a comment posted to InsideVero.com and on Facebook that the cost of the event was $60 per person, or $150,000 total. Proceeds from ticket sales, at $30 per person, , were something under $75,000. No one from the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast organization, which is closely associated with John Bona’s “The Story of Liberty” radio program, has yet to reveal how much Robertson was paid to serve as the event’s keynote speaker. The commenter, whose name is being withheld at her request, claims to have received “horrible threats” against her family from “atheists.”   Robertson’s defenders claim the “liberal” media is taking his comments out of context and blowing the story out of proportion. One not-so-liberal media, FOX News, reported the story two days ago. FOX News: ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson under fire for graphic anti-atheist speech


Phil Robertson and John Bona together at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast.

Phil Robertson and John Bona together at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast.

Controversial statements made by television star Phil Robertson at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, and continued support for him by event organizers, raise questions about exactly who is behind the annual, $150,000 gathering in Riverside Park.

Is the event truly ecumenical, as many believe? Or, is the group, lead by local businessman John Bona, who produces “The Story of Liberty” radio program, really a band of radical, far right free market fundamentalists and Christian Reconstructionists intent on establishing a theocracy in America? Finally, how does the 501c3 group spend the more than $75,000 it raises from ticket sales?

InsideVero is currently seeking answers to these questions.

Following the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Bona said in a YouTube post, “They endorsed abortion, same-sex marriage and immorality. The very soul of America was cast down at their convention. Race and ethnicity overrode morals. More unborn children will die. Traditional marriage will be attacked and sin will be exalted. Islam will be promoted and Israel will not have America as a strong friend. Our military will become weak and the world will become a more dangerous place. These things will happen because America turned against God. As a consequence of mocking God, America will pay a terrible price.”

‘Nature Connections, A LEGO Brick Exhibition” at McKee Botanical Garden in final weeks Reply

Collection of large-scale sculptures created entirely from LEGO® bricks on display through April 12


NATURE CONNECTS hummingbird 1Nature Connects, a LEGO® Brick Exhibition featuring the nature-inspired LEGO sculpture creations of New York Artist Sean Kenney is now in its final weeks at McKee Botanical Garden.

Nature Connects features 14 large-scale sculpture installations created from more than half a million LEGO bricks. The exhibit contains sculptures of plants, animals and people, and 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 are displayed throughout the Garden’s 18-acre landscape, further illustrating this relationship and inspiring visitors to think about their own connection to the natural world.

“Nature Connects carries with it powerful messages about our planet and its resources,” stated McKee Botanical Garden Executive Director Christine Hobart. “It has been one of our most successful exhibitions to date, and we encourage anyone who has not yet had a chance to view these amazing sculptures to come to the Garden and see them before they’re gone.” More…

This weekend in Vero Beach and Indian River County Reply

Friday, March 27

Hanneke and MIke Duo PicOn March 27th at 7 pm, musicians Mike Block and Hanneke Cassel will perform traditional fiddle music and contemporary original songs at a scholarship fundraising concert for the Mike Block String Camp. The concert will be held at Christ by The Sea United Methodist Church at 3755 Highway A1A. Admission to the concert is free, however, donations for MBSC Scholarships will be gratefully accepted.

Saturday, March 28

Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels

The Emerson Center’s Celebrated Speakers Series season ends on Saturday, March 28th, with Producer/Director Lee Daniels who claimed an Oscar nomination for Best Director (Precious, 2009) and is highly-recognized for The Butler (2013). Performances are held at 4 p.m. ($80) and 6:30 p.m. ($70). TheEmersonCenter.org. All tickets dated for March 21 will be used for the presentations on March 28. Additionally, there are available tickets that can still be purchased; at 4 p.m. for $80 per seat and at 6:30 p.m. for $70 per seat. Tickets may be purchased either online at http://www.TheEmersonCenter.org or by calling the Box Office at 772-778-5249. Student tickets for balcony seating will be sold for $20 for the 6:30 p.m. performance only. Tickets will be sold at the door with a student ID.
The City of Vero Beach Recreation Department will present its 56th Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 28th at Mulligan’s in Vero Beach. Children up to 9 years old are invited to participate in this FREE event, which will include beachside egg hunts and a visit from the Easter Bunny! The hunting begins at 10:00 a.m. so be sure to bring your basket! Every participant will receive a prize! Please bring a donation of 6 empty plastic eggs. For more information, please contact the City of Vero Beach Recreation Department at 567-2144.

Craft-Fair-2011Join Day Trippin’ with Patti & Vicky on Saturday, March 28th for a bus trip to the Mount Dora Spring Collectibles & Craft Show featuring 300 exhibitors. Spend the day browsing the exhibits and enjoy lunch on your own in one of Mount Dora’s delightful cafes or restaurants. To make a reservation ($70 per person), contact Vicky at (772) 569-8372.

First Presbyterian 32715The First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach is hosting a “Spring Fling” Fashion Show and Luncheon on Saturday, March 28th, at the Christian Life Center, 520 Royal Palm Boulevard. Following a catered luncheon, the ladies of the church will model the latest resort fashions by Patchington. For the mother/daughter duos, the little girls will be dressed in enchanting outfits either from Lily Pad or hand-fashioned by the church’s Sewing Circle. A Silent Auction will offer more than a dozen items. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for Silent Auction bidding, with the luncheon at noon. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased by Wednesday, March 25th by calling 772-562-9088. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Sunday, March 29

Craft Fair 32715Visit Humiston Park on Ocean Drive in Vero Beach for the Vero Beach Art Club’s Art in the Park on Sunday, March 29th and April 12th. Stroll two dozen artists’ booths from 10 am to 4 pm to see a wide variety of art work in varied media by club members. Free.

Environmental Learning Center receives national certification Reply


ELC LogoThe Environmental Learning Center, (ELC) has earned national certification as a Nature Explore Classroom from Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation. The ELC joins a growing network of organizations and institutions that have created effective nature-based outdoor learning environments for children. This network allows for idea-sharing, peer support and continuous development.

ELC Naturalist, Rosemary Badger states, “We call our Nature Explore Classroom Imagination Station. One side is intentionally left “wild” where exploration is encouraged. The other side is located next to the large picture window of our Entry Pavilion, where visitors can look out at children and families enjoying the area. It makes me smile when I hear laughter and singing coming from Imagination Station and from seeing that the area is loved by so many.” Continue reading…

Detectives seek man in domestic violence attempted murder Reply




In the morning hours of March 26th, Jamalis Hall (39) and Sheila Hall (47), both of Vero Beach, began arguing over money and drug use. After only one year of marriage, the couple had a history of unreported domestic violence. Jamalis needed money, but Sheila didn’t have any money to give him. In a fit of rage, Jamalis attacked Sheila, severely beating her. Sheila’s injuries included a broken nose and a deep cut to her throat.

Sheila was transported to the hospital where she was treated for her wounds. Jamalis fled the area in his vehicle. Indian River County Sheriff’s Detectives arrived on scene and began working the case. Jamalis Hall’s vehicle was located in Fort Pierce. Detective Ross Partee obtained a warrant for Jamalis Hall for the charge of attempted murder. Detectives believe Jamalis may still be in the Fort Pierce area, armed and possible emotionally unstable. Hall is described as 5’6″, 230 pounds, bald with some facial hair. More…

Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy receives award from Gov. Scott 1


Indian River County Sheriff's Deputy Teddy Floyd with Gov. Rick Scott and the members of the Florida Cabinet.

Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy Teddy Floyd with Gov. Rick Scott and the members of the Florida Cabinet.

On Tuesday, March 24th, Deputy Teddy Floyd of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office was honored by Florida Governor Rick Scott with the Champion of Service Award. In a press release from the Capitol, the announcement read,

“For over ten years, Deputy Floyd has constructed and restored homes for needy families in his community. Under Deputy Floyd’s leadership, the homes are constructed and given to individuals who have been positive role models and contributors in the community. Detective Floyd leads the team of builders who construct the homes, facilitating the donation of the supplies, general labor, and specialty services. Thanks to Deputy Floyd, over a dozen needy families have been able to experience the American Dream of home ownership. Deputy Floyd has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to improve the quality of life in some of the area’s most impoverished communities.”

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, “We are honored that Governor Scott would take time to recognize Deputy Floyd’s work both here in our community and around the state. Many know Teddy from his work coaching kids, as a mentor, and a role model. We are so glad that he was recognized for his efforts.”

Prayer Breakfast organizers ‘help’ Vero Beach make national news 2


“If organizers of the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast did not know better than to invite Robertson as their featured speaker, they at least should have known better.”


Supposedly in their right minds, organizers of the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, invited well-known bigot Phil Robertson as their featured speaker this year.

Supposedly in their right minds, organizers of this year’s Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast invited well-known bigot Phil Robertson as their featured speaker.

Whoever participated in making the decision to extend a speaking invitation to controversial television personality and well-known bigot, Phil Robertson, managed to ‘help” Vero Beach again make national news for reasons that do not necessarily make for good marketing.

Following Robertson’s address at the March 20 Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, an event at which he received a standing ovation from a record crowd of some 2500, Roberson and Vero Beach have been in the news.

Long before Robertson was invited by event organizers to speak at the 11th Annual Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast,  the television personality was making news for bigoted, hateful statements. For a time, he was even suspended from the A&E network’s popular ‘Duck Dynasty” program.  Under pressure from conservative voices, including Republicans like Sarah Palin and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, A&E management reinstated Robertson.

In the January 2014 issue of GQ Magazine Robertson was quoted as saying, “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

If organizers of the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast did not know better than to invite Robertson as their featured speaker, they at least should have known better. More…

What exactly was he praying for? 2



Which of these photos represents the real Vero Beach?

Which of these photos represents the real Vero Beach — This?

How many good deeds does it take to overcome the hateful and ignorant ramblings of one TV star’s hyper-inflated ego as he enjoys his 15 minutes of fame?

Of course I am referring to the TV personality Phil Robertson who led the City’s annual prayer breakfast last March 20 and received a standing ovation from the audience of 2500 for his anti-racial, anti-gay, anti-atheist, anti-liberal, but Bible-praising comments. His scenario of an Atheist family being raped and murdered was a spiritually uplifting touch to the event that also received national attention for Vero Beach.

Or this?

Or this?

He is not the first public figure in Vero Beach to “go viral” for bad-mouthing anyone who doesn’t agree with his religious beliefs. Almost two years ago, City Councilman Craig Fletcher refused to sign a National Humanist Week proclamation because he wouldn’t endorse any person or group that doesn’t accept Jesus Christ as his/its lord and savior. That flew in the face of the US Constitution and his comments went viral in the internet.

As a result of that incident, along with numerous other examples of divisive public discourse in government meetings, gatherings, on the street and in the media, Compassion Vero was created by concerned leaders of all faiths. It soon spread to businesses, non-profits and even politicians. A screening this past February of a documentary, Kindness is Contagious, drew over 300 everyday people from the community, tired of Vero being a poster child for mean-spirited behavior. More…

While island weekly whitewashes Sunshine Law violations, Press Journal continues to ignore story Reply


“Who knows what Tomasik, hold up in his office in Stuart, may be thinking. In the case of Benjamin, it seems pretty clear his island weekly is not dedicated to serving the public interest, but rather is pandering to and looking out for a few special interests on the barrier island, including a real estate developer who recently received from the Indian River Shores Town Council approval for a controversial zoning variance.”


The Press Journal’s continued silence over efforts by members of the Indian River Shores Town Council to flaunt Florida’s open government laws leads me to remember the day I heard Editor Mark Tomasik speak to a Vero Beach service club. Tomasik bragged about how proud he is to be leading a newspaper that is “looking out for the public interest.”  Tomasik’s claimed commitment to “watchdog journalism” simply does not ring true.

Island weekly publisher Milton Benjamin’s claim to fame is the time he spent working in the Washington Post newsroom during the Watergate days. Journalistically, Benjamin seems to have come a long way since his Post days, and not necessarily in the right direction.  Just yesterday, the island weekly’s online site, VeroNews.com, posted a whitewashed story about a summons delivered to Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot and Councilman Dick Haverland.  The two elected officials are to appear in Indian River County Court April 21 to answer charges they violated Florida’s Sunshine Law. More…

Ray of Hope: Sacred work Reply


Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

I appreciate any organization or individual people who sincerely make an effort to promote harmony between humanity, and particularly harmony between the various religions. I consider it very sacred work and very important work. - The Dalai Lama

Shores mayor, councilman charged with Sunshine Law violations 4


See also: Sunshine Law questions raised with State Attorney’s Office
Brian Barefoot

Brian Barefoot

Richard Haverland

Richard Haverland

According to Assistant State Attorney Christopher Taylor, Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot and recently re-elected councilman Dick Haverland were served with a civil summons today for allegedly violating Florida’s open government laws.

Barefoot and Haverland, both charged with non-criminal infractions of the Sunshine Law punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, are to be arraigned April 21, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.

Between July 19 and July 21 of last year, Barefoot and Haverland exchanged a series of emails discussing how the Town arrived at its claim that Shores residents are being overcharged by Vero Electric some $2 million a year. More…

March 25: Obituaries Reply

RUTH LOUISE STARK ANDERSON, left us peacefully at 6:43am on March 21, 2015 after a brave battle with cancer, she was 78. Ruth was born in Shrub Oak, New York on June 3, 1936 and attended Thornwood Elementary School, Pleasantville High School, SUNY New Paltz where she obtained her BS Degree, and went on to Hunter College to achieve her Master’s Degree. She was a dedicated teacher and taught elementary school for 36 years. More…

County’s fails to submit filing fee for Supreme Court appeal 2

In 2009, just when the local economy needed a boost, the Indian River County Commission slashed spending and laid off hundreds of employees. Now, the five so-called "conservatives" are spending like their's no tomorrow, and seem more than ready to raise taxes to pay for their binge.

In 2009, just when the local economy needed a boost, the Indian River County Commission slashed spending and laid off hundreds of employees. Now, the five so-called “conservatives” are spending like their’s no tomorrow, and seem more than ready to raise taxes to pay for their binge.

“Quite simply, the County Commission’s appeal of the PSC ruling is going nowhere. It’s just another $180,000 wasted by so called ‘conservative’ Republicans. To say the five members of the Indian River County Commission have been spending money like drunken sailors would be an insult to sailors.”


In collecting from the Indian River County Commission more than $100,000 in legal fees for a failed petition to the Florida Public Service Commission, special counsel, Floyd Self, has done at least one thing right. He’s made money for himself and his law firm. What he is accomplishing for the taxpayers of Indian River County, though, is hard to see.

Presenting the County’s case for essentially forcing Vero Beach out of the electric utility business, Self got his hat handed to him by a PSC that rejected his every argument. Now Self is acting on the County’s behalf in appealing the PSC ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. Just yesterday, word came from the Court that the County’s appeal was submitted without the necessary $300 filing fee. Could it be that Indian River County is short on cash? More…

Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast speaker’s comments making news 6



Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast Speaker Making National NewsPhil Robertson, star of A&E’s realty show “Duck Dynasty,” helped draw a record crowd for the 11th annual Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast March 20. Local press reported Robertson was “well received,” with a crowd of some 2400 giving the television star a standing ovation.

During his 40 minute address, Robertson vividly described an imaginary rape and murder of an atheist family. Robertson’s remarks have been reported by Right Wing Watch and Talking Points Memo, and have been aired on Truenews.

Below is an excerpt of Robertson’s address at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast:

“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson said. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’”

Robertson kept going: “Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’”

“If it happened to them,” Robertson continued, “they probably would say, ‘something about this just ain’t right.”