So much for “conservative” support of local control 2

Corcoran touts Legislature as more responsive

Editor’s note: If House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s point is that through big spending in political campaigns corporate giants such as Florida Power and Light can gain control of local governments, as they have done in Vero Beach, he has a point. At the same time, though, FPL has poured so many millions of dollars into the campaign accounts of members of the Florida Legislature that one can now reasonably argue the Legislature is a wholly owned subsidiary of FPL. 

ADAM C. SMITH/TAMPA BAY TIMES

Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran thinks Tallahassee knows best.

Florida’s Legislature is more responsive to Floridians and less susceptible to special interest influence than local governments, House Speaker Richard Corcoran asserted to a skeptical and occasionally hostile group of Tampa Bay residents Friday.

 

“If you are a special interest or you are somebody that wants to curry favor, it is generally much more difficult in a comparative scale to get something through in the state government that would affect the state than it is the local government,” the Pasco County Republican told about 100 people gathered for the weekly Cafe con Tampa breakfast in South Tampa. Continue reading…

Related article… Local governments responsive to citizens

 

Decency. Diligence. Democracy. 

Where are you?  6

COMMENTARY

RICHARD WINGER

Richard Winger

There seems to be a reluctance on the part of a Council majority to examine the details of FP&L’s offer for our Electric utility.  This is difficult to accept.

The last contract was blindly signed by Council members who were not diligent about the terms, specifically to standing contractual obligations. After millions of our ratepayer dollars were later spent on legal actions, the courts confirmed those legally binding contracts.  The result was having a contract with FP&L which could not be executed.  We are supposed to learn by mistakes and not repeat them.

I have been working for 7 years to complete this sale and I am not stopping now. But it has become problematic.

When I bring up challenges to the successful completion of the sale my comments are routinely interrupted by Mayor Laura Moss who attempts to silence me. Vice Mayor Harry Howle then raises his voice, leans forward, turns towards me and proceeds with accusations that have no basis in fact.  Silence. The agenda moves on. More…

Finance Commissioners raise questions about power sale 3

NEWS ANALYSIS

“I share the concern of many ratepayers that the proposed purchase price of $185,000,000 may be insufficient.” – Dan Stump

“Sykes claims executive experience. In truth, the company he ran was a one employee, home based business. Similarly, Howle and Moss lack the financial experience to conclude a nearly $200 million transaction without advice and input from members of the City’s advisory commissions. Lacking that vital input, they could at least use some courageous guidance from O’Connor.” 

MARK SCHUMANN

Glen Brovont

Dan Stump

Peter Gorry

Vero Beach City Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes last week voted to forbid the Finance and Utilities Commissions from discussing, reviewing, or analyzing the proposed sale of Vero Electric. (Like former Council member Tracy Carroll, Howle, Moss and Sykes all benefited from substantial campaign contributions from Florida Power & Light.)

Clearly displeased at being muzzled, Finance Commission Chairman Glen Brovont wrote to City Clerk Tammy Bursick, “While censorship may be in vogue, a finance meeting should be scheduled as soon after receipt of the budget data.” He added, “Even dictatorial societies found while the mouth may be shut, the brain can still question and think.”

Even Commission member Dan Stump, who headed a political action committee that raised and spent more than $100,000 supporting Moss and Sykes, is now calling for negotiation of the purchase price of Vero Electric. In an email to City Manager Jim O’Connor Stump wrote, “I share the concern of many ratepayers that the proposed purchase price of $185,000,000 may be insufficient.” More…

McKee Botanical Garden to host healthy cooking series Reply

NEWS RELEASE

McKee Botanical Garden is hosting a series of five healthy cooking demonstrations, “Lighten Up,” including one for children by Michael Clifford, Jr. and Jayne McAllister of Sealantro in Vero Beach.  All workshops will take place each Saturday beginning July 8 until August 5 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, in the Cafe at McKee Botanical Garden. The cost for each session is $45 for McKee members and $50 for non-members. The final workshop, “Fun and Healthy Cooking for Kids” is a workshop for children only and the cost is $35 for McKee members and $40 for non-members. Participants will enjoy lunch during each demonstration.

Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Participants can register for classes directly at McKee Botanical Garden located at 350 US Highway 1, Vero Beach, FL  32962 or by calling 772-794-0601. Classes fill up quickly and walk-ins will not be accepted, so register now. To view a complete description including dates, times and fees for all classes, please visit www.mckeegarden.org.  More…

Marine Bank & Trust CEO Bill Penny receives FBA award Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Bill Penney

Marine Bank & Trust President and CEO Bill Penney was presented with the 2017 Chairman’s Award by the Florida Bankers Association (FBA) at the association’s annual June meeting in Naples.

This annual award is presented to a recipient selected by the FBA Chairman in order to honor someone who has gone above and beyond to support the FBA during his or her term. Penney was selected because of his continuous support of the association, his leadership on FBA committees, and his commitment to the success of the banking industry. Continue reading…

 

Business: Hala Laviolette joins Center State Bank Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Chris Bieber, Community President and Senior Vice President for CenterState Bank in Vero Beach, announces the appointment of Hala Laviolette to the Vero Beach team. Ms. Laviolette, with over 25 years of banking experience, is the Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager for the Vero Beach Banking Center. She is working directly with Bieber in commercial lending and with Assistant Branch Manager Vanessa Hughes in business development. Continue reading…

 

Howle, Moss and Sykes are selling out the people of Vero Beach 5

Lange Sykes' acceptance of so much outside money in his latest campaign, (90%), suggest that, if elected, he may have an extremely difficult time balancing loyalty to his patrons against his fiduciary responsibility to the people of Vero Beach.
COMMENTARY

“The troika seems determined to make the best deal possible for FPL and for Shores interests.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Imagine the suspicions that would be raised if a U.S. presidential candidate received 70 percent of their total campaign contributions from Russian oligarchs.

The Russians don’t care about public policy in Vero Beach, Florida, but Indian River Shores oligarchs sure do. They contributed heavily to the campaigns of Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, and they joined Florida Power and Light in raising more than $100,000 to fund a political action committee to support Moss and Sykes in last fall’s municipal election. (Moss received 70 percent of her campaign funds from Shores residents. Sykes took in 90 percent of his campaign funds from the Shores.) More…

MPO gets scolded by its newest member, Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss 3

COMMENTARY

Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss (foreground) addresses the MPO.

MILT THOMAS

The regularly scheduled June 19 Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting began as scheduled but abruptly veered into controversy. The MPO is the legislative agency responsible for transportation planning in the urbanized area of Indian River County. It’s 12 voting members represent the local governments within the county. City of Vero Beach City Councilmember Laura Moss was attending her first meeting.

Twenty minutes into the meeting reviewing projects,  Moss proceeded to complain, “On this list of projects there’s not a single one that benefits the City of Vero Beach. My question is how is that allowed to happen with all these millions and millions of dollars being spent and virtually none of it goes to the City of Vero Beach?”

Phil Matson, the County’s MPO staff director, responded that the list of projects includes $16 million dollars  for the intersection of 43rd Avenue and SR60 and $6 million for A1A resurfacing. More…

Indian River Shores Councilman derails Vero Beach’s Utilities Commission 2

City Code:

The utilities commission shall meet at least once every quarter.”

COMMENTARY

“…Howle, Moss and Sykes continue to insist a partial sale at $30 million would be a good deal for the City. Just this week though, Finance Director Cindy Lawson released a report projecting that a partial sale will lead to a 1.9 percent rate increase for the remaining customers and a tax hike on City residents of 9 percent to 12 percent.”

“With Howle, Moss and Sykes in the majority at City Hall, and with Brian Barefoot and Bob Solari behind the scenes pulling their strings, Vero Beach is quickly becoming like Venezuela, a failed democracy.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Robert Auwaerter – The fox in the henhouse

Laura Moss

In what appears to be a clear violation of City of Vero Beach Ordinances, the City’s Utilities Commission has gone dormant. Indian River Shores Town Councilman Robert Auwaerter, who just happens to also be Vice Chair of the Vero Beach Utilities Commission, has yet to call a meeting of the Commission in 2017.  Auwaerter assumed responsibility of the Commission when the previous Chair, Laura Moss, was elected to the Vero Beach City Council.

Vero Beach City Ordinances require the Commission to meet to elect a new Chair.  According to City Clerk Tammy Bursick, her office has inquired with Auwaerter monthly about convening the Utilities Commission. Each month he has declined to do so.

Auwaerter is a ally of Moss, who won election with overwhelming financial support from Indian River Shores residents and from a political action committee that raised more than $100,000 exclusively from Shores residents and Florida Power and Light. (Shores residents graced Moss with 70 percent of her campaign contributions. Lange Sykes took in 90 percent of his funds from the Shores.) One has to wonder if, in failing to convene the Utilities Commission, Auwaerter is taking direction from Moss, who appears to be receiving her marching orders from Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot and from FPL. More…

The latest conspiracy theory Reply

Listening to public comments made during yesterday’s Vero Beach City Council meeting, one might wonder if blowhard conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has contacts in Vero Beach. The latest suspicion theorizes that a broadly popular proposal to develop an Arts Village as a way to help revitalize downtown Vero Beach is a dark conspiracy being foisted on the community by leaders of  the Treasure Coast Regional Planing Council. And, as everyone knows, the TCRPC is controlled by United Nations officials who seek to create “One World Government.” All of this is absurd, of course, but that doesn’t keep devotees of County Commission Bob Solari from making such claims. Perhaps unwittingly, they are being used to create an issue for the next municipal elections.  If the electric issues is well on the way to being concluded by the end of this summer, Solari, the local Tea Party and other limited government extremists will need another issue to help elect candidates determined to turn the City of Vero Beach over to the County Commission.

OUC wants far more than $20 million to settle electric contracts Reply

Winger, Young decry lack of negotiations

NEWS ANALYSIS

“Who is looking at the financial implications of this deal? It is not being done.”  – Councilman Tony Young

“Given that, as candidates, Howle, Moss and Sykes were all heavily supported by FPL, perhaps Young should not be surprised to see them accept whatever FPL offers.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Tony Young

Richard Winger

In an email sent yesterday to Vero Beach City Manager Jim O’Connor, Orlando Utilities Commission Vice President Jan Aspuru put the City on notice that it will cost far more than $20 million to settle its obligations to the OUC. Aspuru noted that the letter of intent between Florida Power and Light and the City for the sale of Vero Electric provides no more than $20 million to release Vero Beach from its contractual obligations to the OUC. Vero Beach buys the bulk of its wholesale power from the OUC.

“I wanted you to know that the OUC’s damages will far exceed the $20 million if Vero Beach defaults on its contractual commitments to the OUC,” Aspuru wrote.

FPL is now offering some some $20 million less for Vero Electric than the company was willing to pay in 2014. Previous forecasts based on FPL’s offer suggested the City would net $30 million in cash from FPL. Aspuru’s caution raises the prospect that the City could wind up getting nothing from the deal.

Despite these developments, Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes continue to insist FPL’s offer is more than fair. This week, over the objections of Councilmen Richard Winger and Tony Young, Howle, Moss and Sykes voted to impose a gag order on the City’s Commissions. Those boards are now forbidden from discussing or analyzing the impacts of the proposed sale. More…

Riverside Theatre continues Vegas Nights and adds a Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament Reply

NEWS RELEASE 

Due to the continuing success of the Comedy Zone and Howl at the Moon evenings at Riverside Theatre, Vegas Nights returns for the entire month of July 2017.

In addition to the professional stand-up comedians and dueling pianists performing on the Waxlax Stage, patrons are invited to our exciting Las Vegas-style casino night parties with live entertainment inside and outside the theatre. Play a game of chance at the blackjack and craps tables, or get a lucky hand at Caribbean poker. Play with our ‘casino money’ and then cash in your winnings for raffle tickets to win some great prizes. All proceeds benefit children’s theatre scholarships and at Riverside Theatre.

“We experienced great success with Vegas Nights last summer,” says Jon Moses, Managing Director of Riverside Theatre. “People really enjoyed the different activities offered. We hope people return and enjoy as we continue to make each weekend a fun experience.” More…

Space Coast Symphony Winds and Chorus perform patriotic favorites at The Emerson Center Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Indian River County residents are encouraged to don red, white and blue and wave the flag during the Space Coast Symphony Wind Orchestra’s free patriotic concert, America the Beautiful. The concert will be performed at 2:00 PM on Saturday, June 24 at the Emerson Center, 1590 27th Avenue, Vero Beach, 32960.

Presented in conjunction with the Space Coast Symphony Chorus, America the Beautiful will showcase our national heritage as conductor and artistic director Aaron T. Collins directs the wind orchestra with music by John Williams, Richard Rodgers, Lee Greenwood, and marches from “The March King,” John Philip Sousa. The concert will open with an extended version of the “Star Spangled Banner.” The women of the Space Coast Symphony Chorus will perform several works with the ensemble, including “God Bless the USA” and “Hymn to the Fallen” from the film, Saving Private Ryan. Among the many rousing patriotic numbers will be a salute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces; veterans will be asked to stand when their service song is played. Audience members are asked to wear red, white and blue in a show of patriotic solidarity.

Artistic Director and Conductor, Aaron T. Collins, considers it an honor to salute the USA and our veterans. “We owe everything to the men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform,” said Collins. “These concerts are a powerful way to come together as a community and celebrate our great nation. To top it off, we are thrilled to be back at The Emerson Center for this awesome concert.”

Main Street Vero Beach receives national accreditation Reply

NEWS RELEASE 

Elaine Jones

Carolyn Kleinpeter

Main Street Vero Beach has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach®.

“It is a great honor to recognize this year’s 828 nationally Accredited Main Street America programs for their outstanding work to transform downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Florida Main Street, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings. More…

Hunts honored with Book of Golden Deeds Reply

Roy Howard and John Wurzburger of Exchange Club of Vero Beach with Jane McNulty, Ginny and Austin Hunt and Barb Lowry, Chair of United Against Poverty’s Indian River Community Board of Directors.

NEWS RELEASE

Austin and Ginny Hunt, founders of United Against Poverty (formerly Harvest Food & Outreach Center), were awarded with the “Book of Golden Deeds” Award from the Exchange Club of Vero Beach at their June 20, 2017 meeting. The award recognizes dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities better places to live. 

“We founded United Against Poverty based on the great commandment to love people the way that we would want to be loved and this basic principal continues within the organization to this day,” commented Austin Hunt, United Against Poverty Founder/CEO.  “We are truly honored to accept this award on behalf of the countless volunteers, board members and staff that consider their work to be a calling and who have formed the organization to be what it is today.”   More…

Indian River Community Foundation awards grant to United Against Poverty Reply

Jeffrey Pickering, CEO of Indian River Community Foundation, presents Barbara Lowry, Chair of UP’s Indian River Community Board (center) and Annabel Robertson, UP Indian River County Executive Director, with a $50.000 grant to support UP’s Success Training for Employment Program (STEP).

NEWS RELEASE

United Against Poverty (UP) of Indian River County recently received a $50,000 grant from Indian River Community Foundation through its “Established Program Grant” program. The grant specifically supports the Success Training for Employment Program (STEP).  

“This grant is especially important to our purpose, which is to empower and inspire people to become self sufficient,” explained UP Executive Director Annabel Robertson,. “With 86 percent job retention rates, STEP is consistent with the national average. This is remarkable because most of the people who enroll in STEP believe that they are unemployable. STEP changes their minds and transforms their lives.” More…

Christ Church Vero Beach to host Veterans Salute Barbecue Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Christ Church Vero Beach will host the 3rd ANNUAL VETERANS SALUTE BARBECUE Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 1 pm – 3 pm .

The event is being held inside the new Christ Church Vero Beach building located at 667 20th Street in Vero Beach, FL and is the first public event for the church’s 9.23 Community Center.  

The 2017 Veterans Salute Barbecue welcomes veterans, their families and friends. The lunch, provided by Christ Church Vero Beach volunteers, will feature pork barbecue, coleslaw and beans followed by cherry cobbler for dessert. Tea, water, coffee and lemonade will also be available.

The day’s ceremonies will include an honor guard and the dedication of Christ Church Vero Beach’s newly installed flagpole. An American Flag that was first flown over the US Capital on Easter Day 2017 will be raised during the dedication ceremony. In the future, this very special US Flag will be flown exclusively on military and national holidays

RSVPs are encouraged.

For RSVPs and additional event information please contact Mrs. Connie Boyter at 772-696-2160 or connieboyter@comcast.net.

McKee Botanical Garden announces waterlily photo contest winners Reply

“Into the Looking Glass,” by Dawn Currie of Indian Harbor Beach, won both 1st place in Black and White and won the “People’s Choice” award

NEWS RELEASE

McKee Botanical Garden is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Annual Waterlily Photo Contest held in conjunction with the 13th Annual Waterlily Celebration on June 17.

On Friday, June 16, three accomplished photographers judged 128 spectacular photos submitted by local residents and beyond.  The judges selected a first, second and third place winner, as well as an honorable mention in the following adult categories (Color, Black and White, and Manipulated).  A Youth category for photographers 17 and under was also judged and a first, second and third place winner was selected.

On Saturday, during the 13th Annual Waterlily Celebration, the public was given the opportunity to cast their vote for the “People’s Choice” award. 

The list of winners included:

People’s Choice Winner –  “Into the Looking Glass” by Dawn Currie More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING:

Vero Classical Ballet is holding “Princess Ballet Camp” for ages 4 to 8 from 9:30 am to Noon on weekdays beginning Monday, July 10 and ending Friday, July 21 at Leisure Square, 3705 16 Street in Vero Beach.   Princess Ballet Camp is a fun, enriching, and educational summer activity that focuses on a ballet and story of the day. Join Mrs. Amy, Mrs. Margaret, Mrs. Marilyn and guest teacher Mrs. Yvonne Miller for a week (or two!) of delight and excitement. Daily activities will include: Ballet Class, Arts and Crafts, Music Class, Snack, Story of a Famous Ballet and  Dress-up Time/Tea Party.  Participants will also put on a live performance at 11:30 am for parents on Friday, the last day of camp.  There will also be surprise visits from a Princess and Ballerina Guest!  For details, visit http://www.veroclassicalballet.com/princess-camp/.forms. More…

Dr. Cronin of IRSC selected for leadership program Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Dr. Marta Cronin

The National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) has announced that Dr. Marta Cronin, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Indian River State College, is participating in the NCHCC Leadership Development Program as a 2017 Fellow.

Dr. Cronin joined IRSC in 2001 as a faculty member and has been appointed to positions of increasing responsibility.  The Port St. Lucie resident holds a Doctorate from the University of Sarasota and was promoted to IRSC Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2016.

Dr. Cronin is one of twenty-two members of the 2017 Hispanic Fellows cohort selected from college candidates from around the country.  The program is hosted by the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences and engages participants in leadership training and new strategies to help students succeed.  It is designed to develop a pool of highly qualified Latinos interesting in educational career advancement.

VNA welcomes new board member, Karen Schievelbein Reply

NES RELEASE                                                

Karen Schievelbein

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) welcomes Karen Schievelbein to their board of directors. A VNA and Hospice Foundation board member and finance committee member, Schievelbein’s professional background includes business development, financial analysis, risk management and accounting. She has served as chief financial officer for Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and United Behavioral Health before becoming the chief operating officer of Spectera UnitedHealthcare Dental from which she retired in 2007. 

”The role of the VNA and Hospice Foundation is to strategically build and strengthen relationships with people interested in supporting the local health care delivery system  and specifically the areas of home health care, hospice services and community wellness programs through the VNA,” said Anne Cooney, Chair of the Foundation’s Nominating Committee. “Karen’s unique health care experience and accounting expertise aligned well with our organization’s commitment to accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency for our donors and partners.”  More…

Riverside Theatre announces KIDSPOT Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Riverside Theatre announces KIDSPOT, a special area designated for kids 12 and under, at select performances at the Theatre’s outdoor Loop.  KIDSPOT access is complimentary to children with tickets to a performance of Willy Wonka or iRascals.

Designed to enhance a child’s enjoyment at the theatre, KIDSPOT will engage children with activities, arts and crafts, games with prizes, character meet and greets, and complimentary refreshments.

KIDSPOT will be open one hour prior to evening performances and one hour after matinee performances. For evening shows, children will receive a dinner item and beverage prior to the show.  For matinees, they will receive a complimentary snack and beverage after the show.  Allergy sensitive options are available upon request.  Parents and older kids can purchase food, snacks, and drinks separately.

Willy Wonka and iRascals show dates and times are listed below. KIDSPOT performances are designated with a (KS).

The Shows

Willy Wonka JR. and Willy Wonka KIDS

The delicious adventures experienced by Charlie Bucket on his visit to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory light up the stage in this captivating adaptation of Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale. Featuring the enchanting songs from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka JR. and Willy Wonka KIDS follow the enigmatic candy manufacturer as he stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory – or suffer the consequences.

The hour-long version of Willy Wonka JR. starring children aged 12 to 18 takes place:

June 16 @ 1:30pm & 7:30pm (KS);                                       June 17 @ 1:30pm (KS) & 5:30pm (KS)

A shorter version, Willy Wonka KIDS, starring children aged 7 to 12 takes place:

June 23 @ 1:30pm & 7:30pm (KS)                                         June 24 @ 1:30pm (KS) & 5:30pm (KS)

 iRascals JR. and iRascals KIDS More…

Single Tickets now on sale for Riverside Theatre 2017-2018 Season Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Single tickets for Riverside Theatre’s exciting 2017-2018 Season of shows are now on sale. Building on the success and support the theatre has received over the last few years, Riverside is proud to present another ambitious season of music, comedy, and drama.

The season begins in October with a wonderful musical showcasing the songs of Hank Williams with Hank Williams: Lost Highway. January brings the Broadway hit musical, Million Dollar Quartet, followed by the play about football legend Vince Lombardi in Lombardi. The next production on the Stark Stage is one of the most acclaimed musicals of all time, Gypsy, and the season concludes with the Broadway smash hit, Mamma Mia. Two distinctive theatre pieces play on the Waxlax Stage: The Mystery of Edwin Drood in January and the Off-Broadway smash, Buyer & Cellar in March.

Individual tickets start at $35 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at http://www.riversidetheatre.com. Continue reading…

Hundreds turn out to support Jermey Gable’s struggle with cancer Reply

From Left: Jermey Gable, Shotsi Lajoie, David Moshier, Kristie Gallagher, Calvary Church Pastor Jim Gallagher, Camp Haven Executive Director Lalita Janke, Elizabeth Moshier

NEWS RELEASE

Chipolte, Vero Beach. The rain was no deterrent for the hundreds of people who came to show their moral and financial support for Jermey on this dreary evening full of hope. Our facebook posts and flyers told them they could make dinner a selfless act by joining Camp Haven for a fundraiser at Chipolte to support Jermey and his family in their struggle.

On Friday May 5th, Jermey found out he has adenocarcinoma in his pancreas and it had spread to his liver. The oncologist suggested that he start an aggressive form of chemo therapy ASAP but Jermey has no health insurance. Jermey is 41and has a young family. Baby Maiya is just 17 months old. We are asking for prayers and financial support to ease the many challenges Jermey, Brenda and the children will face in the months ahead. More…

Our obligation to endow the City of Vero Beach 1

COMMENTARY

Editor’s Note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council.

RICHARD WINGER

Richard Winger

The Good news in my message today is that FP&L has submitted a document stating their intent to finalize a Purchase and Sale Agreement at Council’s only meeting in July on the 18th. Their document includes details of their  “Due Diligence” for the Acquisition of our Electric Utility.  The draft had been submitted and now they will finalize it.

This “Agreement” will be something determined by each party: FP&L’s part is the “Purchase” and the City’s part is the “Sale”. When does the City start to work on our “due diligence”?  Surely it cannot be an Agreement when only one party to it has done “Due Diligence”.

This is where the Bad enters my message. Not only have we not done our due diligence, but we now learn the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) has just made it clear they find FP&L’s offer in the Letter of Intent for the Vero Beach exit unacceptable. This is the same situation we had in the prior contract which expired last December.  At that time FP&L wanted to pass along $26,000,000 to the ratepayers, to be attached to their monthly bills, to accommodate OUC’s exit cost. If we are face with that again, power bills would likely increase over current Vero Beach rates, given the City has gone down 15% and FPL has gone up 10%.  The differential has shrunk greatly.
 More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING:

VERO BEACH MUSEUM OF ART OFFERS SUMMER FUN FOR ALL AGES

The Vero Beach Museum of Art offers Art & Film on Tuesdays at 5:30 this month beginning June 13 and continuing on June 20 and 27. “The World of Wes Anderson” features The Life of Aquatic with Steve Zissou (June 13); Fantastic Mr. Fox (June 20) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (June 20) Free with museum admission: Adults $6; Seniors $5; Free with Museum membership. There is still time to register for Adult Art Classes beginning today. Family programs include Art Babies, Kidz Art Shops, Artful Storytime and Toddler Tours. Summer Art Camp for ages 4-16 continues through July 28th, and enjoy the Deborah Butterfield, Horses exhibit. For offerings, visit VeroBeachMuseum.org.

PUBLIC ART EXHIBITS

Indian River County Courthouse: Gina DeMario

Indian River County Administration Bldg A: CCIRC member artists

Indian River County Main Library: Vero Beach Art Club

Image: by Chris Gunkel at County Admin

THURSDAY, JUNE 8

VERO BEACH WINE + FILM FESTIVAL BEGINS THURSDAY

The Second Annual Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival (VBWFF) begins on Thursday, June 8 and continues on Sunday, June 11 at various screening locations in Vero Beach. VBWFF focuses on providing a truly unique festival, allowing guests to fully experience films with tailored wine and drink pairings, special guests and immersive viewing. Visit the website, http://www.vbwff.com for current offerings and to purchase passes ranging from a one-day pass to screenings, wine tastings and panel discussions is $40; four-day passes are $95 to $100. Passes with extras range from $185 to $2,500.

More…

A possible ugly outcome for the budget 1

COMMENTARY

Editor’s note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council.

RICHARD WINGER        

Richard Winger

The Good news is property values have increased by 6.9% and is expected to provide an additional $400,000 to City revenues this year.

The Bad news is we are going into our Annual Budget preparations with an existing more than a million dollar shortfall in funding for just street and storm water repair.  And, there is not enough money for existing staff.

Please don’t accept arguments that the City has too many employees.  That simply is not true.  Past Councils have systematically reduced staff to a barebones level.

The Ugly is there is no other significant revenue increase coming in. And, there will be a loss of annual funds, once the sale of the Electric Utility to FP&L is completed. More…

Marine Bank & Trust adds new senior vice president Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Bill Koehne

Vero Beach, Fla. Marine Bank and Trust has announced that Bill Koehne has joined the 20-year-old bank as senior vice president, commercial lending manager. Koehne will manage Marine Bank’s team of commercial loan officers while raising awareness of the Bank’s commercial lending capabilities in Indian River and Brevard counties.

“As an independent community bank, Marine Bank is committed to being a resource for the small business owners of Indian River and Brevard counties,” said Bill Penney, president and CEO of Marine Bank. “Bill’s 40 years of experience as a commercial lender combined with his contacts in the Melbourne area will be an asset to Marine Bank’s market expansion plans.”

About Marine Bank & Trust:  Marine Bank, was chartered in 1997 and has $216 million is assets with three full-service branches in Vero Beach and Sebastian. It is the only community bank headquartered in Vero Beach, Florida. The Bank was named one of Indian River County’s Best Places to Work in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2016. The Bank is an active community supporter providing over $200,000 to more than 125 local non-profit organizations in the market over the last five years. For more information, visit the website at http://www.marinebankandtrust.com.

More than 120 high school diplomas presented at IRSC ceremony Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Approximately 121 Indian River State College High School and GED Preparation graduates participated in the Adult Secondary Education Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, May 25, at 6:00 p.m. in the McAlpin Fine Arts Center at the Main Campus in Fort Pierce. Commencement speaker Ann L. Decker, Executive Director of IRSC Foundation, addressed the graduates with inspirational remarks about their educational journey and career paths.

Many of these graduates will continue their education in one of IRSC’s certificate or degree programs. As Dr. Kelly Amatucci, Assistant Dean of the School of Education, explained, “Students enrolled in the IRSC Adult Education program have the opportunity to simultaneously begin their career while completing their high school credential. Ongoing support is provided through mentoring and career inventories. Financial support is also available for students in need who would like to register for college courses.” More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING:

McKee Botanical Garden is proud to be a Blue Star Museum and one of more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense. McKee Botanical Garden will offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 29, through Labor Day, September 4. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and to learn more about their community.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, JUNE 2 & 3

AT RIVERSIDE THEATRE

— Comedy Zone-Summer Nights: Shows at 7:30 and 9:30 pm with comedians Philly Plowden and Juanita Lolita.

–Live in the Loop: Free Outdoor Concerts beginning at 6 pm with Wiley Nash (rockin’ blues) on Friday and Voodoo (groovy rock) on Saturday. Visit RiversideTheatre.com for more information. More…

A Father and Son Memorial Day Reply

Jim and David Thompson  –  Once again my son David came to town and we went in uniform to the Memorial Day Service on Veterans Memorial Island. He wore his dress blues and I wore my BDUs. It’s our small way of paying tribute to those in Lincoln’s words who, “Gave the last full measure of devotion”.  (David’s grandfather, J.A. “Coach” Thompson, also served in the U.S. Coast Guard.)

The very good, the bad and the ugly 8

FPL Letter of Intent

“FP&L’s $30 million offer for a Partial Sale is low, and should it be accepted, over time, the city will have to raise rates for every remaining ratepayer to absorb the loss of the Shores customers.” 

RICHARD WINGER/VERO BEACH CITY COUNCILMAN

Richard Winger

It is Very Good that Florida Power and Light has presented a new Letter of Intent to purchase Vero Beach’s entire Electric Utility. They outlined costs and terms, which signal the start of negotiations prior to a contract being signed.

Negotiations, simply put, occur when each participant has something to gain and something to lose. A successful negotiation concludes when each party benefits to the maximum extent possible.

The financial offer for the system is considerably lower than the last contract signed 3 years ago. And, it does not take into consideration the millions spent since that time to upgrade the system, close the plant, etc. My responsibility to the people of Vero Beach and the ratepayers of the Utility requires my attention to such detail. It is a starting point in negotiations.

Moving towards the full sale, through myriad details,  is something I have worked on for years and I sincerely want it to be completed this time.

FP&L last submitted a Letter of Intent on August 2012.  It led to a contract for sale in March 2014. That contract could not be executed because of contractual obligations, upheld by law, with other agencies to produce, transmit and distribute electricity. That contract expired December 31, 2016.

Those obligations exist because Vero Beach is a member city in the Florida Municipal Power Authority.  There are 19 other member cities which must, unanimously, approve an exit. This obligation blocked the sale previously, but there is a new level of optimism that approval can finally be accomplished. More…

Historic Dodgertown’s annual Memorial Day Invitational set to welcome teams from across the state Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Historic Dodgertown, one of the nation’s most popular tournament destinations, will welcome nearly 50 youth teams and their families this weekend at the annual Memorial Day Invitational, a baseball tournament for youth ages 9 to 14.

Families from throughout Florida, from as far as Jacksonville to Miami, will travel to Vero Beach for the three-day tournament. Game times are scheduled throughout each day, from 8 a.m. under blue skies to 8 p.m. under the lights. The public is invited to attend and tickets are priced at just $5 per person each day. Concession stands will be open and parking is free. 

Historic Dodgertown provides tournament participants an experience not found elsewhere.

From 1948-2008, Historic Dodgertown was the Spring Training home of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Today, the same fields and facilities used by the tournament teams are the same as trained and played on by Hall of Famers from Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Sandy Koufax, to managers Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda, and to recent inductees Pedro Martinez and Mike Piazza, both of whom started their careers right here at Dodgertown in Vero Beach. 

In 2012, Historic Dodgertown opened the Quad, a set of four fields designed for youth baseball and accordance with girls and women’s softball regulations. Recently the State Junior College Softball Championships and the State High School Softball Championships were held at the Quad.

Historic Dodgertown welcomes tournaments and games throughout the year in the sports of baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, and land training for water sports. In addition the conference center, including hotel villa rooms and recreational amenities (pool, tennis, basketball, sand volleyball, paths and fields for recreation), hosts business meetings, parties, retreats, reunions and social gatherings.

To learn more about Historic Dodgertown, please visit HistoricDodgertown.com or call (772) 569-4900.

Come to the 28th annual Vero Kiwanis “Take A Kid Fishing” Tournament Reply

The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast will hold its 28th annual “Take A Kid Fishing” Tournament on Saturday, June 3, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. until noon (registration starts 8:15 a.m.) at the fishing catwalk under Barber Bridge in Vero Beach. This free event is open to the first 250 kids ages 5-12 and their parent/guardian who attend (adult supervision required). A free cookout lunch will be served beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Kiwanis provides rods and reels to those who need them, as well as bait and fishing guidance. Kids can bring their own equipment if they wish. Prizes will be awarded for each age bracket and a special prize for the ugliest fish. The tournament is catch-and-release, which will be greatly appreciated by the audience of pelicans and other birds!

Flyers announcing the event have been distributed to all Indian River County elementary schools. Again, registration begins at 8:15 a.m. so arrive early to avoid the wait.

For more information, go to www.verokiwanis.com (under EVENTS) or call Jim Wolfe at (772) 299-0570.

This event is made possible through the support of Kiwanis members and sponsorships.  Each year Kiwanis members devote many hours to make this event successful.  Special thanks go Jim Wolfe who has chaired the event for many years.

Russ Lemmon still serving up half truths 3

Editor’s Note: Russ Lemmon, now publisher of Lemmon Lines, once wrote a regular column for the Press Journal. There he took every opportunity to push for the sale of Vero Electric, often repeating Florida Power and Light’s public relations claims as if they were fact.

This week, writing about revived efforts to sell Vero Electric to FPL, Lemmon pointed out that when steam first began to build for the proposed sale Vero Electric’s rates where some 30 percent higher than FPL. The master of half truths, Lemon does not now mention that the rate differential between the two utilities is less than 10 percent.

Lemmon has long credited utility activists Stephen Faherty and Glenn Heran, along with civic activist Charlie Wilson, for helping push for the sale. This week, Lemon wrote that Heran “built ‘The Model’ to show the public the financial benefits of the sale.” 

Benefits?

Heran did, in fact, create a model projecting what has proved to be wildly exaggerated benefits to selling Vero Beach’s electric utility. Most notably, Faherty and Heran made presentations around the community promising the sale of the City’s electric utility would not lead to higher taxes or cuts in services. They claimed interesting earnings from some $150 million in sale proceeds would make up for any loss in revenue to the General Fund.  Excluding the electric utility reserve fund of some $30 million, the City is now expected to net $36 million, not $156.5 million, as Faherty and Heran promised.

After publishing Heran’s model, InsideVero.com received an email from Heran, in which he wrote, “The example sheet you are referring to was one of MANY scenarios we presented.” Heran did not provide examples of other models he now claims were developed.

The story below reporting on now debunked  financial projections may be utility activists Stephen Faherty and Glenn Heran was first posted April 29, 2013.

More…