Vero Beach, Shores, FPL representatives to discuss numbers for a ‘partial sale’ July 26 4

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

When attorneys and consultants for Vero Beach and Indian River Shores meet with representatives from Florida Power & Light next Tuesday there biggest challenge will not be whether to characterize their talks as “negotiations,” or “discussion.” Rather, the daunting task facing all sides will be to arrive at a sale price that will work for everyone.

Like FPL’s experts, six consultants and rate experts hired by Vero Beach were charged with arriving at a sale price that will not lead to higher rates for existing customers. From FPL’s perspective, company spokespersons have said the price for Vero Electric’s approximately 3400 Indian River Shores customers needs to be close to $13 million. Any number more than that would, they say, lead to higher rates for FPL’s more than 4 million customers.

For Vero Beach officials, the priority is essentially the same, namely rate stability, but the calculations are quite different, and indeed more complex.  If it were possible for FPL to acquire Vero Electric’s full system and take on service to all 34,000 customers, this so-called “full sale” would relieve Vero Beach of any and all contractual obligations to the Orlando Utilities commission, to the Florida Municipal Power Agency and its bond holders, and to retirees and former employees of Vero Electric.

With a “full sale” having run aground on currently insurmountable contractual obligations, Shores leaders and FPL executives are asking the City to consider selling off Vero Electric’s Shores customers base.  Unlike a full sale, a partial sale presents entirely different considerations, as Vero Beach leaders seek to ensure that carving off ten percent of a 34,000 customers electric system would not hurt the remaining customers. More…

The Education Foundation and  Riverside Theatre partner again for RT Star’s Back To School Party Reply

BACK TO SCHOOL PARTY

NEWS RELEASE

The Education Foundation of Indian River County in partnership with Riverside Theatre will present a FREE, fun-filled family event, RT Star’s Back To School Party, on Saturday, August 6th from 10am to 2pm at Riverside Theatre.

With hands-on activities, live performances, face painting, a bounce house, and entertaining contests, this community-wide event will also feature back to school information from Administrators and Directors from the School District of Indian River County. More…

On the Road to the Hall of Fame Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Dodgertown LogoIn celebration of the upcoming National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony weekend (July 22-25), Historic Dodgertown will share highlights of the Dodger inductees and their special connection to this iconic complex. The posts will be made on Historic Dodgertown’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts, as well at http://www.historicdodgertown.com.

Eleven players and executives, plus three broadcasters, were inducted with their Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger affiliations. Their unique connection to Historic Dodgertown, the Dodgers’ spring training complex from 1948-2008, allowed each of the men to transform their talents on the road to the Hall of Fame. More…

FMPA wholesale power costs down 10% from 2015 Reply

Power costs to members down 30% since 2009

Editor’s note: Vero Beach is a member of the Florida Municipal Power Agency, buying approximately one third of its wholesale power from the joint action agency.

NEWS RELEASE

Nicholas Guarriello

Nicholas Guarriello

Wholesale electricity costs from the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) decreased 10% last year and are down 30% since 2009, according to FMPA’s recently released 2015 Annual Report. Declining fuels costs and a modern, efficient fleet of power generators have resulted in competitive wholesale electric costs for the municipal electric utilities served by FMPA.

“I’m proud of how FMPA’s member cities and staff have worked together to improve our competitive position,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Nicholas Guarriello. “During the past few years, we’ve addressed some challenging issues. Today, we’re stronger than ever. The results speak for themselves, and we are well positioned for the future.”

Highlights of the 2015 fiscal year included:

Power Costs Decrease: All-Requirements Project (ARP) power costs decreased 10% from the prior year and are down a total of 30% since fiscal 2009. As a result, FMPA’s costs are lower than one major investor-owned utility and nearing the other.

Load Growth: ARP’s net energy for load grew 1.4% in fiscal 2015 on a weather normalized basis. This is the second consecutive year of load growth for the ARP, which grew 0.8% in fiscal 2014.

Clean Emission Profile: Natural gas-fired gen­eration supplied more than 80% of ARP energy sources in fiscal 2015, while less than 15% of energy came from coal-fired generation. ARP’s young fleet of largely gas-fueled generation gives the project one of the cleaner emission profiles in the state.

Exploring Utility-Scale Solar: FMPA is working with its members to develop a joint-action, utility scale solar project that is cost-effective for customers and addresses the limitations of roof-top solar systems.

 

Humane Society waiving cat and kitten adoption fees 1

Humane SocietyThe Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County will be waiving the adoption fees on all cats and kittens from July 23-August 7. 

“Summer is the time of year when we are inundated with litters of kittens,” said Maria Ramirez, the shelter’s Director of Operations.  “We’re hoping that waiving the adoption fees will  help our feline friends find forever homes,” she added. According to Ramirez, all adopted cats are spayed and neutered, microchipped, dewormed and given age-appropriate vaccines prior to adoption. Thanks to donations from volunteers, adopters can also enter a drawing to win a $100 gift card.

For individuals who love animals but cannot adopt, the shelter also offers a comprehensive volunteer program with many exciting opportunities to help animals and people.

The Humane Society is a nonprofit organization located at 6230 77th St., Vero Beach and is open seven days a week. Adoption hours are Wednesday through Sunday 11-4 and Tuesdays from 11-6. The Adoption Building is closed on Mondays during the summer. Animals for adoption can also be seen on the shelter’s website

VNA welcomes new faces to volunteer department Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Ashley Gubitl and Sara Bumgarner

Ashley Gubitl and Sara Bumgarner

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is excited to announce the addition of two new faces to their volunteer department. Sara Bumgarner, previously VNA’s human resources recruiter, has stepped into the role of volunteer manager, and VNA’s volunteer coordinator role now belongs to Ashley Gubtil. The VNA relies on its volunteer department of nearly 400 individuals to assist in their everyday operations, such as working the cash register at one its Hidden Treasures Hospice Thrift Stores, assisting with administrative tasks at VNA’s office building or spending time with VNA Hospice patients and their loved ones.

Bumgarner began her non-profit career in 1993 as a YMCA camp counselor. After graduating college, she continued to work in youth development for the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Safe Place and other youth organizations. Prior to working as the VNA’s HR recruiter for four years, Bumgarner worked for Indian River County’s Senior Resource Association (SRA) as their nutrition director, and also as their Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) director. “I have always had a passion for service and am so pleased to be afforded the opportunity to work with volunteers in this capacity again,” Bumgarner said.

Gubtil relocated to Vero Beach from Middletown, Connecticut early this summer. Gubtil has worked as a social worker for over 10 years, assisting seniors re-entering the world from nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospice care. She has a deep passion for spending time with seniors, and looks forward to learning about the senior community in Indian River County. “I have always enjoyed spending time with the senior population,” said Gubtil. “You hear the most amazing stories, and learn so much for the experiences they are willing to share. I am thankful for the opportunity to step into the role of volunteer coordinator, and am thrilled to be living in Florida!” 

For more information about VNA volunteer services or opportunities, please visit www.vnatc.com, or call 772-567-5551.

VNA launches teen grief workshop Reply

NEWS RELEASE

“Inside, Outside and Beyond the Box” is the theme of the Visiting Nurse Association’s (VNA) first ever teen grief workshop. Held at the Vero Beach Museum of Art on Saturday, August 20th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., the workshop will be an outlet for Indian River County teens ages 13 – 17 to process the loss of a loved one. Staffed by certified bereavement counselors and therapists from the VNA, along with museum associates, the workshop will lead teens through movement exercises, mindfulness activity, art, music and other interactive activities teaching them about healthy grieving processes. Teens will also have the opportunity to interact with peers who have experienced a similar loss and discover they are not alone.

In 1995, the VNA held their first bereavement camp session for children, Camp Chrysalis. Over twenty years later, Camp Chrysalis still takes place twice a year in Indian River County. VNA staff saw a need to reach out teens, resulting in this summer’s teen grief workshop. “The VNA has a presence in the community with Camp Chrysalis, and we have seen amazing results with children and families that have been a part that program. This is our first teen event, and we believe there is a population of teens in our community that could benefit just as much as younger children,” said VNA’s Social Services Manager, Dory Webber.

There is no cost to Indian River County teens to attend, and applications are due Friday, August 12th. If you know a teen who could benefit from the grief workshop, please contact Sara Bumgarner at 772-978-5630. For more information about VNA services, call 772.567.5551 or visit www.vnatc.com.

FPL’s proposed rate hike draws fire Reply

FPL customers Harold and Joyce Salomon oppose the utility’s request for a $1.3 billion rate increase. Photo by Joshua Prezant

FPL customers Harold and Joyce Salomon oppose the utility’s request for a $1.3 billion rate increase. Photo by Joshua Prezant

DAN TRACY/AARP FLORIDA

Harold and Joyce Salomon have been customers of Florida Power & Light (FPL) since they retired to Coral Springs 20 years ago. They oppose its request for a $1.3 billion rate increase that would be phased in over four years starting in January.

“They are doing excellently,” Harold Salomon said of FPL’s finances. “They don’t need an increase.”

Salomon, 79, a retired air-conditioning engineer, has owned FPL stock for years and tracks the performance of the utility’s parent company, NextEra Energy Inc., of Juno Beach, on the New York Stock Exchange. NextEra stock has risen from $56 a share five years ago to the neighborhood of $120 recently.

This is the third time in seven years that FPL has sought higher rates. Four years ago, the company won a $965 million increase from the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). In 2009, the utility got a $300 million raise. Continue reading…

IRNA endorses Adams, Earman, Kramer for County Commission Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Susan Adams

Susan Adams

Joe Earman

Joe Earman

Jay Kramer

Jay Kramer

The Indian River Neighborhood Association, a county-wide organization that stands for managed growth, the cleaning up of the lagoon, elimination of the fast train and controlling short term rentals, yesterday endorsed Susan Adams, Joe Earman and Jay Kramer for the Indian River County Commission.  Adams is running for the seat being vacated by Wesley Davis. Earman is challenging incumbent Tim Zorc, and Kramer is running against incumbent Bob Solari.  

Historic Dodgertown and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Reply

Millions of baseball fans enjoyed last night’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and as more than 500 youth and coaches from Youth Baseball are playing at Historic Dodgertown this week and dreaming of the big leagues, here is a little All-Star Game trivia related to Vero Beach.
July 8, 1980 – The only All-Star Game in Dodger Stadium history is played. The architect of Dodger Stadium is Captain Emil Praeger, the same man who designed Holman Stadium in Dodgertown.
image005July 9, 1996 – Mike Piazza is named the MVP of the All-Star Game in Philadelphia. Piazza played for the Vero Beach Dodgers in the Florida State League, their first Hall of Fame player as he will inducted into the Hall of Fame in July, 2016. Seen to the right is Mike in his Vero Beach Dodgers uniform.

July 11, 1995 – Hideo Nomo is the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game played in Arlington, Texas. Nomo is the first Japanese born player to play in the major leagues in 30 years. Nomo is a founding partner of Historic Dodgertown, along with Peter O’Malley, Terry Seidler and Chan Ho Park.

July 14, 1995 – Ramon Martinez pitched a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium against the Florida Marlins. Martinez pitched for Vero Beach in the Florida State League in 1987.

Winners announced in McKee Botanical Gardens’ photo contest Reply

People's Choice Winner - Shelley Stang, Ft. Pierce, FL

People’s Choice Winner – Shelley Stang, Ft. Pierce, FL

NEWS RELEASE

McKee Botanical Garden is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Waterlily Photo Contest held in conjunction with its 12th Annual Waterlily Celebration on June 18. Photographers from around the Treasure Coast and beyond submitted photos of McKee that were taken in 2015 or 2016. Photos were classified into three categories – Color, Black and White, and Manipulated. A first, second and third place winner was determined in each of the categories along with two honorable mentions. Winners were also selected in the Youth division, open to photographers ages 17 and under.

The list of winners included: More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING


weekend - IMG_4623 AT THE VERO BEACH MUSEUM OF ART – 
The Vero Beach Museum of Art is now exhibiting Out of This World: The Art and Artists of NASA and Masters Of Studio Glass through September 25th as well as an exhibition of pieces in the museum’s permanent collection on view through September 4th.  Cool off this month with a tour of the exhibits and a visit to the Museum Store featuring an artful selection of jewelry, cards, wearable art, toys for kids, exhibition catalogs and gifts.  All  Purchases benefit the educational programs the Museum brings to the community.  Regular admission is Adults $10; Seniors (65yrs+) $9; Students with ID $5; Members, Children (17 yrs and under), and Active Military with ID receive free admission. More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

JULY 6 – 15

VERO BEACH INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL – The Vero Beach International Music Festival will take place Wednesday, July 6th through Friday, July 15th at the First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach (520 Royal Palm Boulevard). This one-of-a-kind festival will feature performances by world-class musicians and singers in Americana, Rock, Celtic, World, and Jazz, as well as local and international students from the Mike Block String Camp. All performances are open to the public and free, with suggested donation of $20, which goes directly to the MBSC Scholarship Fund.  The festival schedule can be found online at verobeachinternationalmusicfestival.com.

 

FRIDAY  & SATURDAY, JULY  8 & 9


weekend - volpeweekend - kenneyHOWL AT THE MOON AT RIVERSIDE
– 
Riverside Theatre presents  Howl at The Moon Experience,   a high-energy music show on Friday & Saturday, July 8 & 9.  Musicians John Kenney and  Rob Volpe will  perform favorite songs from 80’s rock, 90’s pop, and today’s dance hits on dueling pianos with shows at 7:30 and 9:30 pm.   Free live music featuring The Smoking Jackets on Friday and Kilt the Messenger on Saturday will play the Live In The Loop Outdoor Stage prior to each performance.  Buy tickets ($16, $18, $20, $22)  by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990.

Images: Performers Kenney & Volpe

  More…

Moss to run again for Vero Beach City Council 2

NEWS ANALYSIS

“A skeptic, and these are times when a measure skepticism is called for, would wonder if Moss, Turner and Howle are simply using the power issue as a cover for their real agenda, which is to gut Vero Beach city government while moving toward consolidating services with the County.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Pilar Turner

Pilar Turner

Harry Howle -Demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

Harry Howle

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Laura Moss announced last week she will try a third time for election to local office. Previously, Moss has been a candidate for the Indian River Hospital District and the City Council.

An email announcement released by Moss last week read,  “She pledges to run on a conservative platform of low taxes and limited government. One of her high priorities is the sale of the Vero Beach electric system.”

Moss’ press release was sent from the email address of the secretary of the Indian River County Republican Executive Committee – Indian River REC – tedpank@comcast.net. The clear identification with the Republican Party in the release of Moss’ announcement may violate Florida election laws, which prohibit reference to party affiliation in non-partisan elections. (In his first run for a seat on the Vero Beach City Council, Harry Howle mailed a post card touting his political party affiliation. He was later fined by the Florida Elections Commission.)

Last fall, Moss joined the Town of Indian River Shores’ representative on the Utilities Commission in opposing a revised wholesale power purchase agreement between Vero Beach and the Orlando Utilities Commission.  Even Councilwoman Pilar Turner’s then appointee to the Commission, Scott Stratley, voted to approve the contract changes, which allow for the decommissioning of the power plant, and are expected to save Vero Electric’s customers and average of $750,000 a month.

Since the revised OUC agreement was approved — over the objection of Moss, Turner and Harry Howle — two rate reductions have already been possible.

Tracy Carroll

Tracy Carroll

Craig Fletcher

Craig Fletcher

If the third time is a charm for Moss, and if Pilar Turner is re-elected, the Vero Beach City Council will again be controlled by a troika of pro-sale, limited government advocates.

A Turner-Howle-Moss majority would take Vero Beach back to the days when Turner collaborated with Tracy Carroll and Craig Fletcher in spending $2 million negotiating a sales agreement with FPL that all parties now acknowledge can never be executed. Turner, Carroll and Fletcher pushed for massive staff cuts, sought to consolidate services with the County, were unwilling to vigorously enforce the City’s ban on short-term rentals, (Turner voted to let stand a Code Enforcement Board ruling that would have open the floodgates to unlimited vacation rentals in residential areas), and essentially rejecting much of what has made Vero Beach a special community. More…

What does our nation stand for on this Independence Day? 2

COMMENTARY

“Standing up for conservative values is not supposed to be a rejection of progressive values. Being Christian is not about rejecting those who are not. We are a nation of continuums, not of absolutes.”

MILT THOMAS

As we celebrate our independence as a free nation,  we should reflect on what is truly unique about us. Yes, there are many other democracies in this world, at least in name, but few countries go to the lengths we do to share our uniqueness.

So how are we unique? One way is the way in which we treat others. It is easy to criticize our foreign policy without acknowledging the core values underlying it. Chief among those values is compassion. As a nation we have always tried to help others. We like to think of ourselves as compassionate people, but there are times we must remind ourselves how important compassion is to our uniqueness.

America is a country of immigrants. Go anywhere in the US and you will find groups, cities and even regions that identify with their countries of origin. Chicago is the largest Polish city outside of Warsaw itself; Pennsylvania Dutch (“Deutsch”) country was settled by Germans; E. Nelson Fell founded Fellsmere, but also founded Narcoossee in the Orlando area – as a British colony. There are countless other examples, especially in major cities. What was New York without Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants? Los Angeles without Hispanics and Asians? Detroit without Muslims? Yes, Muslims. And of course those among us who were forced to come here as slaves. More…

Heady shuts 55,000 voters out of County Commission District 5 primary election 2

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

“Now that Heady is running, 28,335 Indian River County voters registered as Democrats, and another 26,547 registered as Independents or with no party affiliation will be unable to vote in the Republican primary race between Kramer and Solari. Given that Heady is forever and always insisting his voice be heard, it is more than a little ironic that he would deny half of Indian River County’s voters at least an opportunity to participate in choosing who will represent District 5 on the County Commission.

Brian Heady

Brian Heady

Perennial candidate Brian Heady, who often says “it wouldn’t be a legal election without me on the ballot,” and who has run for election locally 19 times, this week jumped into the County Commission District 5 race between Commissioner Bob Solari and Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer.

To join the race, Heady switched his voter registration from “Republican” to “Libertarian,” to “no party affiliation.”  When the only declared candidates for an office are all of one party, those primary elections are open to all voters. If one Republican candidate believes their challenger will do better among Democrats and independents, it is not uncommon to see a straw man like Heady enter the race.

Whenever he has run for a seat on the City Council, Heady has avoided paying the $58 filing fee by claiming the fee would place on his a financial burden.  In qualifying to run for the County Commission he some how came up with the $2,800 filing fee, and at the last minute.  By Heady’s own admission, the filing fee was more than his monthly retirement income.

Heady paid the $2,800 fee out of his personal bank account. If any of the money was given to him as a gift or loan, he will not have to report it as a campaign contribution.

More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

THURSDAY, JUNE 30

weekend - WEBAMGenericPC1SAVE ART MUNDO! – Join Art Mundo, A Center for Creative Expression, for a celebration on  Thursday, June 30 from 5 to 8 pm at the Old City Hall, 315 Avenue A in Fort Pierce.  Enjoy music and dance, heavy hors d’ouevres  and a cash bar in an effort to raise funds for this not-for-profit community arts education organization.  Tickets are $50 per person or 3 tickets for $100.  Art Mundo is a supportive and creative environment providing people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunities to create, study and present art, nurturing artists’ careers in all stages of development and servicing the community’s art and cultural needs by expanding public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of art.  Tickets must be purchased in advance at ArtMundo.org or by calling 772-466-1010. More…

O’Connor to Shores, FPL: We’re listening. Reply

MARK SCHUMANN

Jim O'Connor

Jim O’Connor

Following a 5-0 vote by the Vero Beach City Council to open discussions Florida Power & Light and Town of Indian River Shores on a so-called “partial” sale, City Manager Jim O’Connor this week wrote a letter to Town Manager Robert State and FPL Vice President Sam Forrest. “We look forward to meeting with you and representatives of the Town and FPL to hear what you have to propose,” O’Connor wrote.

Echoing essentially the same criteria for a partial sale as those articulated by Florida Pubic Service Commission staff last week, O’Connor made clear any sale of Vero Beach assets and Shores customers base of some 3400 meters must “keep the City, its citizens, and all of the City’s remaining customers, including those in unincorporated Indian River County whole.” More…

Performance at Riverside will leave you Howling at the Moon Reply

REVIEWhowl

MILT THOMAS

You can’t complain that the only things to do in Vero Beach this summer are playing golf or playing in the water (that’s where I play golf, unfortunately). The Riverside Theatre is alive and well with a broad palette of activities all designed for fun. This past Saturday, for instance, they held their weekly get together on the patio with food, drink and live music that is known as “Live in the Loop.”  Then at 7:30, we attended a show in the Waxlax Second Stage auditorium called “Howl at the Moon.” No, it wasn’t about werewolves, coyotes or trying to achieve an impossible dream. It Is simply a terrific, enjoyable evening that just may cause you to howl in delight.

The Waxlax was transformed from a theater into a cocktail lounge with cocktail tables for two or a crowd of friends. Waitresses served from a menu of food and drink, while on stage, two electronic pianos awaited the performers. Then Ken Gustafson and Katie Pinder Brown emerged, sat at their respective pianos and began an evening of great music, all based strictly on requests from the audience with unscripted patter to keep the audience singing, laughing and dancing to a medley of hit songs for the ages. It sounds like it might have been Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour (for the few audience members who know that reference), but it was a polished performance by two excellent vocalists and talented musicians.

More…

Are short term rental operators paying their fair share of business taxes? Reply

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

Tuesday’s BCC meeting was, in Chairman Bob Solari’s words on a radio call-in show, a “knockdown,” with regard to approval of a short term rental ordinance covering unincorporated Indian River County. However, it may have been more of a sucker punch given his previous attitude toward regulating short term rental businesses in residential neighborhoods.

More…

“Just two guys talking,” or just more shallow reporting? 5

COMMENTARY

“Essentially, what is on the table now is a proposal from the utility’s wealthiest customers to abandon ship, and at the expense of everyone else.”

“While Barefoot’s veiled threat to Kramer may be true, it is also true the Mayor has a lot of Vero Beach residents, as well as county residents on Vero Electric, who are ‘watching how he behaves here.'”

MARK SCHUMANN

Barefoot

Barefoot

Kramer

Kramer

More often than not, after reading the Press Journal’s reporting and “analysis” on the ongoing struggle over Vero Electric, I am left with the question, “What is more misleading here, the headline or the story?”

Again yesterday, the Press Journal, whose publisher is married to a key Florida Power & Light vice president, served up another misleading headline and still more shallow reporting. “Informal meetings with Shores, Vero Beach mayor could lead to a sale to FPL,” read the Press Journal’s headline. More…

Who will stand up for Vero Beach? 4

COMMENTARY

“According to PSC staff, any modification to existing service territory agreements must be to the mutual benefit of all customers affected.”

“Given the inclination of Shores leaders to make mischief and to spend money, Vero Beach voters should pay close attention this fall to which candidates are beholden to Shores patrons. Just as importantly, voters would do well to determine which candidates are committed to standing up for Vero Beach.”

MARK SCHUMANN

As recently as last week, Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot was putting a positive spin on his and the Town Council’s attempt to reinterpret the Florida Constitution. In a letter emailed to Town residents last week Barefoot wrote, “The Public Service Commission is scheduled to address our petition on the unique constitutional issue next month.”

In advance of the PSC’s July 7 meeting, PSC staff today released its recommendations. Quite simply, PSC staff dismissed the “unique” arguments Shores leaders have spent nearly $1 million making before the courts and the PSC.

Listening to the rationale Barefoot and his fellow council members use to justify expensive litigation, you get the sense they believe the Shores in a sovereign principality, not a municipality governed by the laws of Florida. More…

PSC staff recommends against Indian River Shores’ petition 2

ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

In what is yet another setback for the Town of Indian River Shores, Public Service Commission staff today released a long-awaited and highly-anticipated recommendation on the Town’s petition to assign to Florida Power & Light the portion of the Town now served by Vero Electric.

In short, PSC staff concluded, “The (Shores’) Petition fails to show that modifying the Territorial Orders is necessary to the public interest or that it would not be detrimental to the public interest.”

Though the legal arguments for and against the Shores’ request are numerous and nuanced, perhaps the Achilles heel in the Town’s argument is found in the 1968 Florida Supreme Court ruling in Story v. Mayo. In that case, the Court held, “[a]n individual has no organic, economic or political right to service by a particular utility because he deems it advantageous to himself.” More…

Property owners win at County Commission 4

MILT THOMASbcc 6-21

I’m not one for sports metaphors, but Indian River County residential homeowners – represented by the South Beach Property Owners Association (SBPOA) and Indian River Neighborhood Association (IRNA) – are now the Cleveland Cavaliers of the short term rental championship. After being subverted by County Commission Chairman Bob Solari, derided and ignored by his Short Term Vacation Rental Advisory Committee and losing to the Planning & Zoning Commission, these outspoken and engaged citizen groups won a major victory at Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting. They unexpectedly reversed several key positions that had been recommended by the committee, P&Z and county staff.

  1. Licensing

The committee had recommended a three-year license, Chairman Glenn Powell’s majority (Glenn Heran and Joel Molinari, both limited regulation advocates, Angela Waldrop Realtor, Powell a short term rental operator) arguing that yearly renewal was too often. Staff and Planning & Zoning agreed. The SBPOA recommended one year licenses since that is what the State of Florida requires, adding that local regulations can be more stringent, but not less. The BCC decided to keep it at three years; however, if short term rental operators failed to renew the state license annually, the county license would be revoked. The fee for a county business short term rental operator license was set at $250.

  1. Noise

More…

Community Calendar Reply

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, June 24 & 25

weekend - Howl at the MoonHOWL AT THE MOON AT RIVERSIDE THEATRE  – Riverside Theatre presents the next entertaining series of events – Howl at The Moon Experience on Friday & Saturday, June 24 & 25.  More than just dueling pianos, Howl at The Moon Experience is a high-energy music show like no other. Sing, dance, and, yes, even howl as the most versatile and talented musicians perform favorite songs from 80’s rock, 90’s pop, and today’s dance hits on dueling pianos. These highly energetic and entertaining shows make for a fun-filled and memorable night!  Every show is different because there is no set agenda or playlist as the audience helps select the songs to create the unique music party experience. Each Howl at The Moon will showcase different, talented musicians at every Howl weekend.  Starting June 24th and 25th, Howl at The Moon Experience will alternate with Comedy Zone Experiences to showcase professional entertainment every weekend, on the Waxlax Stage, all summer long! Similar to Comedy Zone Experiences, free live music featuring local bands will play the Live In The Loop Outdoor Stage prior to each Howl at The Moon performance at 7:30 and 9:30 pm.  Tickets are $16, $18, $20, $22 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at www.riversidetheatre.com

  More…

FPL seeks additional rate increase – wants PSC permission to hike customer service charge 27 percent 1

“The utility estimates that a typical residential bill of 1,000 kilowatt hours would rise from $91.84 per month to $100.66 per month next year, including all charges and fees, according to FPL materials. That typical rate would eventually rise to $105.31 in 2019 at the conclusion of the increases.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 3, 2016

MARK SCHUMANN

The Press Journal has yet to inform its readers on Florida Power & Light’s proposed $1.3 billion rate increase. Meanwhile, other news organizations across the state have stepped up their reporting on the utility giant’s plans. Below are links to stories published recently by Florida Today, the Palm Beach Post and the Miami Herald.

Florida Today: FPL customers concerned over proposed $1.3B rate increase

Palm Beach Post: FPL customer service charge could increase 27 percent

Miami Herald: FPL offers to skip nuclear fee – but rate hike is still looming

See also: Reisman pleads ignorance

Honoring fallen Blue Angel pilot, Capt. Jeff Kuss Reply

 

The Commemorative Air Force’s F4U Corsair is a new addition to the line-up of performers at the Vero Beach Air Show. Photo Credit:  Commemorative Air Force

The Commemorative Air Force’s F4U Corsair is a new addition to the line-up of performers at the Vero Beach Air Show. Photo Credit: Commemorative Air Force

 

NEWS RELEASE

When Lt. John “Toby” Keith flies the U. S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet at the Vero Beach Air Show this weekend, the number ‘6’ on the plane will honor the memory of Capt. Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel #6. The Blues continue to stand down following the death of Capt. Kuss in a tragic accident in Smyrna, Tennessee, June 2. Capt. Kuss leaves his wife and two young children behind. The show, which takes place June 25-26 at the Vero Beach Regional Airport, will also memorialize the fallen Angel. More…

US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet to star at Vero Beach Air Show Reply

160211-N-GZ947-004 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 10, 2016) ÐAn F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Warhawks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 flies a mission. Providing a combat-ready force to protect collective maritime interests, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago / Released)

F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Warhawks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 flies a mission. Providing a combat-ready force to protect collective maritime interests, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago / Released)

NEWS RELEASE

The U. S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, flown by Lt. John “Toby” Keith, will appear in the Blue Angels’ slot at the Vero Beach Air Show June 25-26 at the Vero Beach Regional Airport. This is flying you won’t want to miss! The beloved Super Hornet will fly in the Blue Angels slot. The Blues continue to stand down following the death of their #6 colleague, Capt. Jeff Kuss, in a training accident in Smyrna, Tennessee, earlier in June.

Corsair 2The show also features nationally known award-winning air show acts, including Rob Holland, Shockwave jet-powered truck, the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Mike Goulian, Kyle Franklin, Greg Shelton, wing walker Ashley Key, Jacquie Warda, John Black, the Misty Blues All Woman Skydiving Team, and a Commemorative Air Force F4U Corsair.

Thirty static military and civilian aircraft displays, including a C-17 and four A-10s, will be on display. You can take a ride in a warbird, see native Florida animals in the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary exhibit, and enjoy the FREE Family Fun Zone complete with Windjammer Slide, Giant Obstacle Course, and Bungee Run; there’s even a Bounce House and a Crazy Slide for children 5 and under.

Homeowners have one last chance to influence proposed short term rental regulations 3

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

At the next County Commission meeting (Tuesday, June 21), staff will present the final recommended proposed ordinance covering short term vacation rentals in Indian River County.

However the Commission votes – and voting will occur after final public input on the proposed ordinance – several important points should be noted:

  1. The issue of short term rentals in unincorporated Indian River County residential neighborhoods only arose when the County Commission dropped a previous ordinance requiring such lodging establishments be confined to commercially zoned areas. The City of Vero Beach does not allow short term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

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