Fellsmere police officer shoots charging bull
Wednesday, Officer Jeff Gibbs (ID 1301 on radio recordings) of the Fellsmere Police Department was dispatched to the Sonrise Villa’s Apartments at 53 Sonrise Place in Fellsmere to investigate the report of a bull running loose in the complex and that it already charged one person.
That person, identified as Nicholas Seuderling (772-713-0814) called 911 to report the bull. Seuderling said he was waiting for the GoLine bus at the bus stop on N. Willow Street in front of the apartment complex. Seuderling said he was texting on his cell phone and when he looked up, the bull was “staring him in the face”. Seuderling said he immediately got up from the bus stop bench and ran in to the Apartment Complex area. He said the bull chased him so he hid behind a tree and watched the bull continue east in to the complex. He also told 911 dispatchers that there were numerous middle school aged children congregating near the entrance to the complex.
After calling 911, Seuderling called his wife to tell her about the bull and she told him it was behind building 7, located north and east of the entrance. Seuderling flagged down Officer Gibbs as he entered the complex and told him where the bull was.
Officer Gibbs traveled to building 7, only to learn that the bull ran behind building 7, then building 9 toward the entrance where Seuderling first encountered it.
Upon arrival there, Officer Gibbs located the bull walking west toward approximately 20 middle school age children congregating in an open area of the complex near their bus stop. Officer Gibbs recognized the bull as possibly being the property of Fellsmere resident Mike Reuhman, so he contacted an IRCSO Ranch and Grove Officer en route to assist him if he had Reuhman’s number and asked him to call him to report his bull was loose.
In the mean time, fearing for the children’s safety, Officer Gibbs attempted to distract the bull so it would focus on him and not the children.
The bull turned and approached Officer Gibbs with its head down and began to charge. Officer Gibbs waited until the bull was approximately two feet from where he stood before firing his pistol. He fired three shots, striking the bull each time. The bull then struck Officer Gibbs, knocked him to the ground and trampled him before falling over himself.
The bull then got back up and ran back to the east away from the children and behind building 9. Officer Gibbs followed the bull to continue to protect the area, notified dispatch that shots had been fired at the bull and requested EMS for an injury to his ankle.
Officer Gibbs maintained contact with the bull as it ran behind building 9 at which time the bull turned, put his head down and charged him again. Officer Gibbs fired his pistol four more times, killing it.
Deputy David May, School Resource Officer at Sebastian River Middle School, located 10 middle school age children who witnessed the event and obtained their written statements. They were also offered counseling services if needed.
Officer Jeff Gibbs drove himself to the Sebastian River Hospital where it was determined that he sustained an injury to a peripheral nerve on the outside of his right ankle. He was released and is recovering at home.
Mike Reuhman was located and he removed the bull from the Sonrise property. He was also issued a $115 citation for violating IRC Ordinance 302.05 (a)(1), “failure to keep animal under restraint”.
Two candidates announce bids for District 1 County Commission seat
With Indian River County Commissioner Wesley Davis’s announcement this week that he will not seek reelection, two candidates, Susan Adams of Fellsmere and Jim Hill of Sebastian, have already made known their intentions to run for the District 1 County Commission Seat Davis has held since 2006.
Adams, who’s mother Fran Adams served on the County Commission from 1992 to 2004, said in a prepared statement, “My parents instilled in me a passion to be involved in the future of my community. I am looking forward to working hard in the campaign to bring a positive outlook to the future of Indian River County. After being involved in multiple levels of leadership, I understand how important it is to have strong leadership on the commission and I believe I have valuable experience and attributes to continue moving the county toward a legacy of progress, while preserving the irreplaceable beauty and natural resources of Indian River County.”
Jim Hill, who is serving his third term on the Sebastian City Council, announced he, too, will seek the County Commission seat representing much of the Sebastian River Area. Hill released his announcement on his Facebook page, Hill wrote, “I would like to thank Commissioner Davis for his many years of service in Indian River County. Over the next several days, I will be announcing my intention to run for County Commission, District 1 seat. Exciting days ahead!
Fellsmere City Council will seek representation on Lagoon Council
The Fellsmere City Council this evening directed City Manager Jason Nunemaker to work with its sister cities in Indian River County to seek representation on the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council.
Fellsmere, along with Sebastian, and possibly Vero Beach, are acting in response to a void created when the Indian River County Commission recently voted not to participate in the regional effort to save the Indian River Lagoon.
Citing concerns that the new Lagoon Council does not reflect a truly “representative form of government,” County Commissioner Bob Solari persuaded his fellow Commissioner to decline to participate in a coalition that was to be made up of representative of five counties (Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach), along with representatives of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the St. John’s and South Florida Water Management Districts.
Though the three state agencies are contributing more than 80 percent of the start up money for the coalition, Solari specifically objected to their having voting representation on the Council.
Vero Beach City Manager Jim O’Connor said earlier this week that if the cities of Indian River County can participate in the Lagoon Council in a meaningful way, he will support joining with Sebastian and Fellsmere to “seek a seat at the table.”
Sebastian to seek seat on Indian River Lagoon Council
Agreeing that it is “a travesty” and “unconscionable” for Indian River County to have no voice in how lagoon-designated funding will be used, and on the heels of the county’s official separation from the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council earlier in the day, the Sebastian City Council on Feb. 11 agreed to seek a seat on the lagoon body – with or without other local municipalities’ participation. Continue reading…
New internal medican physician in Sebastian
Indian River Medical Center is proud to announce that Dr. Mary Quillinan, board certified in Internal Medicine, has joined the staff.
Dr. Quillinan, whose practice is located in Sebastian, specializes in the following areas: Acute and chronic diseases (adults), annual physicals, diabetes, hypertension, pre-op clearances, preventative medicine, women’s routine annual checkups and pap smears, and other internal medicine services.
“The addition of Dr. Mary Quillinan is just one more way that Indian River Medical Center is striving to meet the needs of the North County community with a quality primary care physician,” said Mark Quenan, director, Physician Practice Operations at IRMC.
Dr. Quillinan graduated from The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Philadelphia, PA, with her D.O. and completed her internship and residency at Suburban General Hospital, located in Norristown, PA, and JFK Memorial Hospital, located in Stratford, NJ. Prior to coming to IRMC, Dr. Quillinan served as director of the Diabetes Program and department chair of Internal Medicine at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland, FL.
Dr. Quillinan is seeing new patients at Family Practice North, 801 Wellness Way, Suite 205, in Sebastian. Most insurances accepted. Call (772) 581-5581 for an appointment.
Fellsmere leaders focused on economic development, historic preservation, and eco-recreation/tourism
Editor’s note: Jason Nunemakers is the City Manager of Fellsmere.
Ten years – depending on your perspective that may seem like a trivial length of time. But as a city manager that is a term of service in a single city that is unusual in Florida and frankly a milestone I was not sure I would achieve based on my early experiences in the profession. Rarer still is the opportunity to work with people as genuine, caring, and proactive as I have found in a succession of City Councils in the City of Fellsmere. Against the backdrop of this milestone, ten years as City Manager, coupled with a New Year and a recent large-scale annexation it seems appropriate to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.
The City Council changed their charter from a strong-mayor form of government to a council-manager form in 2005. I was humbled to be selected as the first city manager subsequent to this change, albeit the second choice as Councilman Tyson likes to jokingly remind me. This significant change was predicated in large part on the City’s desire to manage and facilitate quality growth. Several years prior the Pine Grove annexation and associated land use amendments were completed and City leaders recognized the need to professionally manage the implementation of the eventual development.
The real estate market was on fire in 2005 and it seemed likely that development would escalate quickly in the City. Facilitating a clear and unified vision became paramount and several substantive efforts were taken to make this happen. One of the first planning initiatives that in retrospect has had a most profound impact on the future of the City is our participation in the Design Institute through Florida Atlantic University led by Marie York. A direct result of this planning session was the decision to locate City Hall in the Old School. This decision meant that the historic core of the City would remain the epicenter of the City regardless of future growth and the temptation to shift focus. It also resulted in the location of our first Boy’s & Girls Club providing new hope and opportunity for the children of Fellsmere.
The City engaged with the Indian River Health Department to implement the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE-EH). This grassroots planning effort led by Julianne Price engaged our at-risk community to facilitate their participation in addressing their needs in a manner that allowed a comfortable and honest dialogue. As a result of this effort the City gained a better understanding of the perceptions and needs of some of its most vulnerable residents and the residents were empowered with an internal efficacy that was previously lacking.
The City similarly engaged in the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) sponsored by the AIA and the Your Town Citizen’s Institute on Rural Design through the National Endowment for the Arts. These community planning efforts coupled with the public processes of updating the City’s comprehensive plan, implementation of the Community Redevelopment Area, and revising the land development code created a unified vision focused on economic development, historic preservation, and eco-recreation/tourism. It is important to note that participation in these various efforts was widespread and represented a cross-section not only of Fellsmere but indeed Indian River County and beyond. Annexation became an opportunity to make the vision happen. The 2007 annexation of the Fellsmere Joint Venture (Sun-Ag) property is perhaps most emblematic of the positive-sum scenario through strategic expansion. As one of the largest employers in the County and the largest employer in the City the future of Sun-Ag could not be disaggregated from the future of Fellsmere itself. Citrus has never been a business for the faint of heart but its very survival began to become an issue.
The annexation addressed the property owners’ need to protect the future of their investment and the future opportunity for their employees. The City was able to address its desire to create opportunity for its residents and make once distant goals happen immediately. The siting of Florida Organic Aquaculture and The National Elephant Center along with the extension of natural gas to North County and the implementation of the North County Greenway are all a direct result of the Sun-Ag annexation. The Ansin annexations that occurred concurrent with Sun-Ag have not resulted in development yet but their generous donation of $250,000 facilitated the development of the Boys & Girls Club. It is hard to imagine another course of action that could have had as significant an impact creating opportunity and increasing the quality of life for the residents of Fellsmere.
These experiences led to the ability of the City to seamlessly move forward the latest annexation of the Corrigan property. This approximately 8,800 acres will foster unparalleled job opportunities, preservation, and connectivity. The Corrigan family will be outstanding partners to work with Sun-Ag and the Ansins to realize the vision of City Council.
Working together we hope to diversify our economic base so that we overcome the tradition of suffering higher unemployment levels in Indian River than the state and national averages respectively. We are also optimistic that a diversification of our economic base will make us less susceptible to market fluctuations and that tend to impact our service, citrus, and construction-based environment.
I feel blessed to be a part of this history in Fellsmere and I look forward to being a part of the dynamic future we envision. We have come a long way in the past ten years. Check back in 2025 and I think you will find that we realizing our vision.
Exchange Club of Fellsmere donates toys to the Fellsmere Police Department
Recently, the Fellsmere Police Department announced to the public that it was initiating a toy drive to collect toys for local youth this Holiday Season. The Exchange Club of Fellsmere partners with organizations in the community each year on various occasions, but makes a special attempt during the Holidays for just such a purpose. This year the Club adopted the Police Departments’ cause as their own.
On December 16th, Exchange Club President Sandi Gehrke, who is also the Branch Manager for TD Bank located at 13633 US Hwy 1 in Sebastian, contacted Fellsmere Police Chief Keith Touchberry and asked if a member of the Police Department could receive the toys. “We were thrilled to receive the toys from the Exchange Club and look forward to getting them to families here in Fellsmere,” said Chief Touchberry
Multiple department members met Sandi at City Hall to receive the toys (see attached picture) and will ensure they go to families who can use them the most. The Exchange Club of Fellsmere is proud to partner with businesses, governments, non-profits, and other organizations in the community while striving to achieve its mission: “working to make our communities better places to live.”