Partial sale, full sale of electric system appear to be going nowhere Reply

MARK SCHUMANN

Utility attorney Schef Wright

Utility attorney Schef Wright

Vero Beach’s special utility counsel, Schef Wright, along with Mayor Richard Winger and City Manager Jim O’Connor, met Tuesday with six members of Florida Power & Light’s senior staff. According to Wright, the meeting was “cordial, frank and candid,” but unproductive.

“We all concluded that our power purchase agreements have cost structures that just are not conducive to or permissive of being able to find common ground on a partial sale,” Wright said in his report to the City Council later that evening.

Wright explained that if Vero Beach were to sell to FPL its Indian River Shores customers, significant stranded costs associated with the City’s power purchase agreements with the Florida Municipal Power Agency would have to be paid by the City’s remaining customers. More…

Just three votes control County’s loose purse strings, and your taxes 2

COMMENTARY

“Representatives must represent, and somehow we have to be able to discern what it is they really represent. US? Or is it something else? Their friends on Blue Cypress Lake? Their need for more power by destroying the cities within their borders? Selling their votes for future remuneration in political support, new jobs, favors for their family?”

LYNNE LARKIN 

Solari

Bob Solari

Wesley Davis

Wesley Davis

The number of legal disputes being generated by members of our County Commission continues to grow. They’ve committed funds to waging battle against the City of Vero Beach in an epic gesture to prove something (we’re not sure what). They want to commit further millions to fighting the fast-trains through Florida, another effort which sounds so bold and noble yet which will prove only that we respect private property only when we wish to do so.

Now we’ve learned of their decision to fight the State, yet again, on attempts to return public land to public uses. Out at Blue Cypress Lake, residents have built stilt houses over state-owned water. They thus avoid permitting, taxes, and get to use public area for their sole benefit. More…

Among county commissioners, hypocrisy abounds 7

COMMENTARY

LYNNE LARKIN

LynneLarkin_042315“I’m for clean water,” he said, as he poured his used motor oil into the lagoon.

“I know we can save our manatees,” he said, as he ran his motorboat 50 MPH in a no-wake zone.

Hypocrites unite on the Board of County Commissioners.  What they say and what they do are entirely different things.

When they say they want to promote local business growth, they don’t mean our licensed and regulated hotels. For some reason, these businesses that suffer slow months making it difficult to maintain quality vacation destinations all year ‘round are less important than flop houses being run in residential areas.  What they want is to create unregulated competition in the neighborhoods for the legitimate businesses left wanting on our beaches.  Welcome to the short-term rentals on the street where you live. More…

This Weekend and Summer Camps Reply

Sunday, May 24

EarthOdysseyUnder the direction of Conductor and Artistic Director Aaron T. Collins, the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra, in cooperation with NASA, will close its 2014-15 performing season with An Earth Odyssey on Sunday, May 24th at 3 pm. The unique concert will allow attendees  to experience HD images from NASA projected on the big screen.  The concert will be held at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center., 1707 16th Street.  For tickets, visit SpaceCoastSymphony.org or call (855) 252-7276.

summercamps

 THE GREAT OUTDOORS

The Environmental Learning Center offers camps for ages 4 (Pre-K) through 7th Grade on its 64 acre campus.  Little Wonders (4 years to Pre K) 4 day morning sessions are June 15 – 18, June 22 – 25 and  June 29 – July 2.  Young Explorer (for children entering 1st grade) 4 day morning sessions are June 22 – 25 and July 6 – 9.  Our Living World (for children entering 2nd and 3rd grade) morning sessions are June 8 – 11;  June 15 – 18 and June 29 – July 2.  Island Adventure (for children entering 4th and 5th grade) are 3 full days each session June 8 – 10 and June 29 – July 1.  Marine Safari (for children entering 6th and 7th grade) are 3 full days ,from June 8 – 10.  For camp descriptions, costs and activities, visit DiscoverELC.org.   Register by calling (772) 589-5050 ext. 114. More…

Historic Dodgertown and Softball Factory announce long-term partnership Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Dodgertown LogoHistoric Dodgertown and Softball Factory today announced the signing of a three-year partnership providing the latter’s use of the Historic Dodgertown facility in Vero Beach. The facility will be known as the Southern Home of Softball Factory.

Softball Factory, a division of Factory Athletics, is the leader in developing softball talent and helping educate players on the college recruiting process. Since its creation in 1994, Factory Athletics has helped place over 75,000 players in college programs that suited their best interests as student athletes. These players have received an astounding $1 Billion in college scholarships. Factory Athletics’ system of world class instruction and life-changing experiences provides players with unique player development opportunities that lead to future success both on the field and in the classroom. More…

Life guards teach water safety to home-schooled students Reply

Tim Capra, Vice President of the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, teaches students from Classical Conversations at South Beach Park

Tim Capra, Vice President of the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, teaches students from Classical Conversations at South Beach Park

NEWS RELEASE

Students from Classical Conversations, a national organization of home-schooled students, were recentlytaught about ocean and beach safety at South Beach Park by Tim Capra, Vice President of the Vero Beach Lifeguard Associaton.

“We are happy to volunteer our time to local groups and students”, replied Mr Capra who has taught this particular group for the past three years. More…

Welcome to Motel 6, your new neighbor Reply

COMMENTARY

LYNNE LARKIN

LynneLarkin_042315One more Trick/Treat from the Tallahassee Turncoats [your Florida government], those men and women who pretend to represent your interests and instead pass laws you would have shot down with a surface-to-air missile.  Your state government tore up any ability of a city or county to enforce the law restricting residential rental properties.

Cloaking it as “helping” local rule – and don’t expect an explanation here of how that works – the legislature said any government that didn’t already have laws restricting rental length could not, in the future, do so.  The mom-and-pop Days Inn lobby must work with the sugar folks, how else could this occur?

But Vero Beach already had a law.  Then . . . More…

Gifford shooting incident leaves one in critical condition Reply

Gifford Shooting_051815NEWS RELEASE

At approximately 6:38 P.M. this evening, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a shooting in the 4600 block of 39th Avenue in Gifford. Deputies arrived on scene and found Reginald Davis Jr. (22) inside of a vehicle with a gunshot wound. Davis was transported to the Indian River Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.

A section of 46th Street and 39th Avenue is closed to traffic as detectives process the crime scene. Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, “The area of this shooting is a populated neighborhood. We know that someone out there saw something tonight that could help our detectives bring the person(s) responsible for this to justice.”

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477) or www.tcwatch.org. Your can remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00 .

Who just got into bed with Pilar Turner, Bob Solari and their friends at FPL? 6

COMMENTARY

LYNNE LARKIN

LynneLarkin_042315We already know that Turner is in bed with FPL. The most recent indication is her editorial with several false and misleading comments about the FMPA.  Then her demanding – literally, demanding! – that fellow council members vote to keep attacking the Florida Municipal Power Agency.

The reason behind the vote was simple: The useless vote would provide Turner and Bob Solari, another of her bunkmates, with ammunition either way. Yes or no, a vote either way is used to bludgeon opponents at election time.

Turner

Turner

Sykes

Sykes

Solari

Solari

If “yes,” the response will be to question everything the rest of the Council does in the future that they pretend

doesn’t match with the goal of ruining FMPA.  If “no,” as was the case, the chorus of condemnation begins immediately that the Council is not trying to  out of the FMPA contracts (even though that already has proven impossible). More…

Finance Commission Chairman: Sale of Indian River Shores customers would lead to higher rates 3

MARK SCHUMANN

Peter Gorry

Peter Gorry

Dan Stump

Dan Stump

At a meeting of the Finance Commission yesterday, Chairman Peter Gorry said he believes a sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers would result in higher rates for the remaining customers, including those in the unincorporated areas of Indian River County.

According to Gorry, Shores residents make up just 8.6 percent of the total customer base for Vero Electric. Within the Shores, 94 percent of the City’s electric customers are residential, compared to 80 percent system wide. More…

This Weekend Reply

Ongoing Events

“You Can’t Take It With You” opens at Theatre Guild 

thisweekend-143319The Vero Beach Theatre Guild, 2020 San Juan Avenue, presents You Can’t Take It with You on stage from May 14th through 24th. This Pulitzer Prize-winning play starts with the budding romance between Tony Kirby and Alice Sycamore. When Tony accidentally brings his parents to dinner at the Sycamores’ house the night before they are expected, they encounter all the interesting characters living in the Sycamore’s home, including ones who have stopped by and never left. After an explosive evening, the Kirby’s decide Alice is not the girl for Tony. Maybe the Grand Duchess of Russia will change their minds. For tickets, visit VeroBeachTheatreGuild.com or call 772-562-8300 on weekdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Friday, May 15

he Homeless Family Center invites the public to the HFC Kids Got Talent Show that includes original skits, popular songs, and choreographed dances to be performed by children living at the Homeless Family Center, on Friday, May 15th, from 4 to 6 pm. Enjoy the show as well as free ice cream, games, and tours of the Homeless Family Center Campus. For more information, call (772) 567-5537 or visit homelessfamilycenter.org.

The Riverside Theatre presents comedians Mike Rivera and Josh Phillips on Friday and Saturday, May 15th & 16th with shows at 7:30 and 9:30 pm. Enjoy free live music outdoors beginning at 6:30 pm with Blue Cypress Bluegrass Band both nights. The Outside Bar & Grill opens around 6 pm, rain or shine, on the covered theatre front terrace now with expanded seating. Enjoy great food by Chef Jimbo. For Comedy Zone tickets ($16/$18), visit RiversideTheatre.com. More…

Power agency responds to Turner’s accusations Reply

The Florida Municipal Power Agency posted on its website a response to a guest column by Vero Beach City Councilwoman Pilar Turner published recently in the Press Journal.  Among her other accusations, Turner claimed the agency is keeping “dark secrets.”

Below is the FMPA’s response to Turner’s accusations.

Fact Checking Vero Beach’s Pilar Turner

Summary

City of Vero Beach Councilmember Pilar Turner made several incorrect claims about the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) in a guest column published May 2, 2015, in the Vero Beach Press-Journal.

  • Regulation: Turner claims FMPA is an “unregulated monopoly” when, in fact, FMPA is accountable to the 31 members it serves, as well as many other governmental agencies and regulatory bodies that oversee aspects of its operations. FMPA introduced substantial market choice for its member cities’ wholesale power needs.
  • Exit Provisions: Turner says the exit provisions from FMPA’s contracts are “arbitrary” and not clearly defined. She asks to know the cost for Vero Beach to exit its contract obligations. FMPA has provided on several occasions detailed descriptions of the exit requirements and costs. In addition, FMPA met with Turner in August 2014 to review the detailed cost estimate. A recent Florida Auditor General’s report says FMPA’s exit costs calculations for Vero Beach followed the contract provisions and “appear to be reasonable.” In addition, the Auditor General’s review of exit provisions in contracts for other joint action agencies, like FMPA, showed that many do not contain any exit provisions at all, and if they do, the provisions are highly restrictive.
  • Transparency: Turner demands transparency, but FMPA is already subject to public records and public meetings laws and is directly governed by the communities it serves.

Detailed Analysis More…

VBHS Golden Grads picnic a huge success 3

MILT THOMAS

VBHS Golden Grads under one roof

VBHS Golden Grads under one roof

On Saturday, May 9, nearly 700 people gathered at the Indian River County Fairgrounds for a first time event — a ‘reunion’ of former Vero Beach High School graduates who have lived at least 50 years since the day they received their diplomas. That means the ‘youngsters’ representing Class of 1965 mixed their fellow graduates from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The record was held by Mrs. Gladys Phillips, age 101, who graduated from Vero Beach High School in 1932!

More…

Councilwoman Turner denies existence of public records. What is she hiding? 1

Turner-Vock email

Turner-Finklea email

Finklea-Turner email

COMMENTARY

“One day after the meeting held at FMPA’s offices in Orlando, Turner wrote, “Just want to thank you and your staff for the informative meeting yesterday. I do appreciate the time and effort expended on my behalf. I certainly departed with a better understanding of the issues.”

“…could it be that Turner is using her personal email account and then clearing it of correspondence related to public business in order to get around Florida’s open records laws?”

MARK SCHUMANN

Pilar Turner

Pilar Turner

In a recent guest column published in the Press Journal, Vero Beach City Councilwoman Pilar Turner called for “the bright light of Florida’s Sunshine to be cast upon the darkest secrets of the FMPA” While accusing the FMPA of hiding information, Turner did not reveal that she met for a full afternoon with senior FMPA staff in Orlando on August 13, 2014.

The meeting was arranged to share with and explain to Turner the rational behind the agency’s calculation of Vero Beach’s cost for ending its membership in the joint action agency.

This week, responding to a public records request, Turner denied the existence of any email communication between herself and FMPA staff regarding the meeting. She also claimed not to have taken any notes during the half-day meeting. In an email to City Clerk Tammy Vock Turner wrote, “Please advise Mr. Schumann I was given no documents at the subject meeting. I have no notes relating to the discussions and I did not have any written communications with anyone regarding the meeting.” More…

Vice Mayor Kramer to run for County Commission 3

MARK SCHUMANN

Jay Kramer

Jay Kramer

Vero Beach Vice Mayor Jay Kramer announced yesterday he is a candidate for the District 5 Indian River County Commission seat now held by Bob Solari.  Kramer has served as mayor of Vero Beach, has been on the city council since 2010. He is also currently the State Committeeman for the Indian River County Republican Executive Committee.

All Aboard Florida, the Lagoon crisis and short term rental are his top three priorities. Kramer said working collectively and collaboratively local governments can more effectively address the Lagoon crisis.

The County, he said, must do more to regulate and mitigate the impact of short term rentals.  Unlike the County Commission, Kramer and his fellow city council members preserved the City’s right to ban short term rentals in neighborhoods. He and his fellow councilmen have increase fines and have indicated a determination to defend the City’s zoning regulations in court.

Kramer said it is important to resist All Aboard Florida without burning bridges. Despite legal opposition, if the high speed trail becomes a reality, Kramer said local governments along the rail line are going to need to be able to work with the company to maximize the benefit of quiet zones and in other ways mitigate the impact of the train on the quality of life in Indian River County.

 

Who Cares for the Kids? 1

Helping Hands

 D. LORNE COYLE, MDIV.

1200 children.

Ashley Garrison with her family

Ashley Garrison with her family

Ashley Garrison was one of them. More on her in a moment.

1200 is the number of children who need foster care in our area. The state defines that area as Judicial District 19, comprising Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. There are so few foster homes in our area that our children are now being sent to Jacksonville’s foster homes.

Who speaks for those children? Various overworked and understaffed state agencies help. But there is one which consistently advocates for those children. It is the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. According to its website, it is “…a network of professional staff and community advocates, partnering to provide a strong voice in court and positive systemic change on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children. There are 21 local Guardian ad Litem programs in 20 judicial circuits in Florida.” More…

This Weekend Reply

ONGOING EVENTS:
Island Gossip by Doris Hill

Island Gossip by Doris Hill

Idyllic Landscape by Rita Sprague

Idyllic Landscape by Rita Sprague

The Emerson Center’s Foyer Gallery of Art will present a Group Art Show entitled “Four Amazing Women Artists.” From the Vero Beach Art Club, the artists are Pat deRobertis (a left-handed pen-and-ink drawing artist), Doris Hill (acrylics), Mary Ellen Koser (acrylics and watercolors) and Rita Sprague (acrylics).The Foyer Gallery of Art is located in the Emerson Center at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, on the southeast corner of the intersection at 27th Avenue and 16th Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. to noon. For information, call Foyer Gallery director Ellen Rantz at 772-581-5904 or the Emerson Center at 772-778-5249.

 

Best of Show by Sarah Besade

Best of Show by Sarah Besade

The annual Indian River County Student Exhibition is currently on view at the Vero Beach Museum of Art, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, through May 24th in the Museum’s Studio Gallery in the Hazel Education Wing. Admission to this exhibition is free. The exhibition features works of art created by Indian River County public and private middle and high school students under the capable leadership of area art educators. Seventy-three entries were submitted from 12 participating Indian River County schools. Each Indian River County art teacher selects their students’ most highly accomplished works to enter into this juried exhibition. Participating students are eligible to earn awards for their works of art; First Place through Third Place, in each of four categories: painting, drawing/mixed media, photography/digital arts, and three-dimensional.

 

 

 

Friday, May 8th

this weekend - tumbleweedThe Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce presents a free concert featuring Tumbleweed at Riverview Park on Friday, May 8th from 5:30 to 8 pm. Tumbleweed plays Blues, Southern Rock, R&B and Country. There will be food and refreshments available. Admission is free.

The Vero Beach High School will hold its Spring chorus concert “Sounds of the Season” on Friday, May 8th at 7:30 pm at the VBHS Performing Arts Center. The concert features Mixed Choirs, Men’s Choir and Women’s Choir singing a wide array of repertoire to celebrate music making over the entire school year. Call the Box Office at 772-564-5537 for tickets.
On Friday, May 8th, McKee Botanical Garden will offer one free admission to the Garden with any paid admission (with coupon) in celebration of National Public Gardens Day. To take advantage of the buy one, get one free admission offer, please visit McKee Botanical Garden’s page on the National Public Gardens Day website at http://www.nationalpublicgardensday.org/content/mckee-botanical-garden and click on ‘Get this Offer.’ Coupon must be presented at the time of purchase.

Saturday May 9th

The Oceanside Business Association presents Sunset Saturday Night on May 9th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on Ocean Drive at Humiston Park. The featured band is Category Five. There will be food and drink available for purchase. Free admission. .

this weekend - haloHALO No Kill Rescue is holding a “Kitten Shower,“ featuring kittens and mothers up for adoption, at the HALO Adoption Center in the Indian River Mall on Saturday, May 9th from 10 am to 4 pm.

 

 

 

Sunday, May 10

On Sunday, May 10th, McKee Botanical Garden will offer free admission to all mothers with any paid admission to the Garden in celebration of Mother’s Day.

HIGHLIGHTS NEXT WEEK

The Pelican Island Audubon Society meeting on Monday, May 11th will be held at the North Indian River County Library beginning at 6 pm. The topic is Will the Indian River Lagoon Summer of 2015 be one that is “Lost” or “Epic”? – How weather patterns, public policy and Mother Nature collide to alter the fish behavior (and fishing) patterns in our Indian River Lagoon with Ed Killer, Outdoors Writer, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Free.

NIGHT TRIPPIN!

this weekend - ZooDay Trippin’ with Patti & Vicky is offering a night trip to Zoominations, a Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights on Monday, May 11th. Zoominations is a night-time event at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. Over 40 highly-skilled crafts people from the village of Zigong have constructed this once-in-a-lifetime experience for trippers to experience and enjoy (all while the zoo animals are sleeping). An early dinner at the famous Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City will also add to this delightful evening! The cost is $85 and includes full day except the meal at Columbia Restaurant. Reservations can be made by calling (772) 569-8372.

Is Florida House candidate Lange Sykes in FPL’s pocket? 1

COMMENTARY

“It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots. Like Turner and Howle, who were supported in the last campaign by an electioneering communications organizations heavily funded by FPL, Sykes appears to be another marionette in FPL’s puppet show.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Sykes

Sykes

Mohler

Mohler

In a recent campaign update, Lange Sykes, a candidate for Florida House of Representatives Seat 54, claimed to be perplexed by the unwillingness of four members of the Vero Beach City Council to support Pilar Turner’s proposal to join the Indian River County Commission and the Indian River Shores Town Council in calling for another state-mandated and state-funded audit of the Florida Municipal Power Agency.

Echoing Turner’s talking points, Sykes wrote, “It perplexes me that the City of Vero Beach would not want to bring the light of transparency to shine on the financial inner workings of the FMPA.” More…

14 students certified as Interpretive Guides at the Environmental Learning Center Reply

NEWS RELEASE

ELC LogoFourteen students who attended a recent workshop at the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) have been certified as Certified Interpretive Guides (CIG) by the National Association for Interpretation. Other ELC volunteers also attended the workshop to improve their skills without being certified. The 32 hour workshop that they completed is designed to help volunteers and guides at Nature Centers, Zoos, Aquariums, Parks and Historic sites hone their interpretive skills to help them design and deliver effective programs, hikes, and other presentations. Continue reading…