City receives $2.7 million offer for Dodgertown property 5

MARK SCHUMANN

With plans to build a 280-unit residential development, Murphy Garlinge & Associates, LLC of Palm Beach Gardens has made an offer of $2.7 million for approximately 35 acres of public land located southeast of the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Aviation Boulevard.

The land was once the site of of a nine hole golf course owned and operated by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a deal involving the City, County and the Dodgers, Vero Beach bought the land in 2005 for $10 million dollars. At the time, the vision was to develop a park comparable to Riverside Park. Sharp budget cuts following the 2009 Recession and an increasing focus locally on limited government has left the City without the resources or the inclination to create more public open space.

Currently, some $500,000 in sale tax revenue that could otherwise be used for road maintenance and for making improvements to the City stormwater system now goes to service the City’s $5 million debt on the property. Debt service this fiscal year will total $662,000.

Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari, who was a member of the Vero Beach City Council in 2005, continues to insist buying the land for $10 million dollars was a wise move on the part of the City.

In a memorandum accompanying the offer Murphy Garlinge founder Patrick Murphy wrote, “Gents, I understand the City paid a premium for this site, but in all honesty, it was never worth what they paid for it.”

Mayfield advocating 2-part sale of Vero Electric 4

MARK SCHUMANN

In her most recent newsletter, State Sen. Debbie Mayfield signaled she has lined up with Indian River Shores officials, who insist best way to sell Vero Beach’s entire electric system to Florida Power & light is to first carve off the Shores portion of the customers base.  Without question, a bifurcated sale will be more costly and more complicated for the City. This reality seems to be of little concern to Mayfield, or the Shores officials. Vero Beach City Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes also contend a partial sale for the Shores is their first priority, and is being pursued “in the context” of a full sale.  Moss and Sykes, in particular, have strong ties to the Shores. In the recent municipal election, they received nearly all of their campaign contributions from Shores residents.

From Mayfield’s newsletter:

FMPA/Vero Electric Press Release

“After discussions with the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and local government officials in Indian River County, tangible progress towards the sale of Vero Electric is taking place.  In a letter the FMPA provided to the City of Vero Beach, the estimated exit cost from three All-Requirements Projects that the city is currently involved in is $108 million.  Although completing this complicated transaction may take up to a year, it is the second phase of a two-part process which also includes the partial sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to FP&L in the near term.”

UPDATE: Off duty Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy killed in evening Gifford shooting Reply

deputy-chambliss

NEWS RELEASE

Since last night, detectives have learned that Deputy Garry Chambliss was visiting family and friends in the 4400 block of 28th Avenue when gunfire erupted. Detectives are also aware that a number of people were gathered in the 4300 and 4400 blocks of 28th Avenue after a wake from earlier in the evening. Makhail Malik Chambliss (21) of Gifford, and an undisclosed passenger were traveling north on 28th Avenue when an object struck his black Chevrolet Camaro. It is believed that the object was thrown due to an ongoing dispute between Makhail Chambliss and several unidentified suspects. Forensic evidence shows that Makhail Chambliss then fired several rounds in the 4300 block of 28th Avenue. As he fled the scene heading north in his vehicle, an as-yet-unidentified suspect fired rounds at Makhail Chambliss’ vehicle. The bullet that struck and ultimately killed Deputy Chambliss originated from the second suspect, firing from more than 100 yards away. More…

Off Duty Indian River County Sheriff’s corrections deputy killed in evening Gifford shooting 1

NEWS RELEASE

At approximately 9:30 P.M., the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received multiple calls of a shooting in the 4400 block of 28th Avenue. Responding deputies located Indian River County Sheriff’s Corrections Deputy Garry Chambliss with a gunshot wound. Deputy Chambliss was transported to the Indian River Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. Information was received that suspects in the shooting were seen leaving the Gifford area in a black Chevrolet Camaro. Deputies located the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop at Powerline Road and County Road 510. One suspect was taken into custody but deputies are currently searching for a second suspect who has not yet been named. Details of the shooting are still under investigation at this time. More will be released as it comes available.

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, “This is a tragic day for the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.  We are actively investigating this homicide as we face the difficult reality of losing one of our own to violence. We will find those responsible for this senseless loss of life and put them in prison where they belong. Please pray for the family of Deputy Garry Chambliss and everyone at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office during this difficult time.”

Sale of Vero Electric now a real possibility 1

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

The Florida Municipal Power Agency’s executive committee yesterday authorized General Manager Jacob Williams to begin discussions with Vero Beach officials to enable the City to exit the power agency. As a point to begin negotiations, the FMPA is suggesting it might be able to assume all of Vero Beach’s power purchase and power supply contracts, as well as contingent liabilities, for approximately $108 million. Williams is to address the City Council next Tuesday evening.

With yesterday’s development, what has long been an insurmountable wall of contractual obligations to the Florida Municipal Power Agency may soon be reduced to an intermediate hurdle, one that can easily be cleared, if Vero Beach leaders focus their efforts and work together to achieve the sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light. Though $108 million may seem to many like a lot of money to exit contracts, it is significantly less than the $200 million to $300 million some had speculated would be needed to ensure other FMPA cities are not negatively impacted by Vero Beach’s exit from the joint action agency.

Some Vero Beach officials, including Councilman Richard Winger and Finance Commission chairman Glen Brovont, believe that, based on the price FPL had previously been willing to pay for the full electric system, it might now be possible to sell the electric system in a way that will not require tax increases for the people of Vero Beach. More…

More on the outside money that bankrolled Moss in recent election 1

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss’ attempt to exercise authority not assigned to her by the City Charter has lead two council members to submit related agenda items for next Tuesday’s Council meeting. Given the recent offer by the Florida Municipal Power Agency to clear the way for Vero Beach to sell its electric system to Florida Power and Light, Moss’ behavior, and her dogged insistence on passing ahead with with Indian River Shores’ request for a partial sale, has some continuing to wonder about where the mayor’s loyalties lie.

Perhaps the answer can be found in, as they say, following the money.  During the recent municipal election, Moss was supported by a political action committee funded entirely by contributions from Shores residents and from FPL.  The PAC, chaired by Dan Stump, raised $106,249, with $55,000 given by FPL.  Additionally, seventy percent of the campaign funds raised directly by Moss came from Shores residents.

This unprecedented level of outside influence in a Vero Beach municipal election, though newsworthy, was never reported by the Press Journal, or by the John-Island-centered island weekly. (Press Journal publisher, Bob Brunjes, is married to a key FPL executive involved in the company’s effort to acquire municipal utilities.)

Not only was the PAC that supported Moss funded entirely with outside money, it used those considerably funds to mislead voters with what have no be proven to be false claims about the supposed benefits of the partial sale.

Below is a full accounting of the contributions to the PAC that supposed Moss. Other than the $55,000 given by FPL, all the remaining contributions were from individuals with homes in Indian River Shores.

flip-the-switch

Moss forces cancellation of Finance Commission meeting 4

Council to discuss mayor’s authority, procedures for boards and commissions

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Glen Brovont

Glen Brovont

More back and forth yesterday between Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss and Finance Commission Chairman Glen Brovont led to a postponement of Monday’s scheduled meeting of the citizen advisory board.

After failing to persuade Brovont to drop from the agenda any discussion of the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power & Light, Moss directed the City Clerk to inform the members of the Finance Commission that their meeting scheduled for Monday was cancelled. In response, Brovont wrote the mayor, “With all due respect, please provide a copy of the written statutes, or other supporting legal documents, that authorizes you to cancel a duly called meeting of the finance commission.”

Though City Staff advised Brovont that he was within his rights to hold the meeting as scheduled, he ultimately agreed to postpone the next meeting of the Finance Commission until after the Council can discuss and review commission procedures.

Moss,who was identified last fall by Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as being “a member of the Shores team,” won election in November with unprecedented outside support from Indian River Shores residents and from FPL. The “Shores team” member seems determined to do whatever she believes necessary to move forward with the Shore’s requested partial sale, including shutting down any discussion or review by the Finance Commission. More…

Historic Dodgertown opens 2017 sports season with Presidents’ Day Tournament Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Dodgertown LogoMore than 1,300 athletes ages 9 to 18 representing 87 teams, plus coaches, families and friends from 12 states and Canada, will meet in Vero Beach this weekend for Historic Dodgertown’s annual Treasure Coast Presidents’ Day Challenge tournament.

The Treasure Coast Presidents’ Day Challenge, co-sponsored by the Treasure Coast Sports Commission, kicks off the busy spring sports season at Historic Dodgertown. The tournament’s size and scope expands to games also being played at South County Regional Park as well as Lakewood and Lawnwood Park in St. Lucie County. 

Historic Dodgertown hosts seven weekend and weeklong tournaments each year in addition to other teams, sports and organizations who utilize the facility for their games, training, conferences and retreats.  More…

Timothy Girard named 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Timothy Girard

Timothy Girard

Exemplifying the innovation, drive and persistence of a successful entrepreneur, Timothy Girard of Vero Beach and Girard Equipment will be recognized with the Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Program’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Announcement of the award will be the highlight of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award dinner held on Thursday, March 2 at the Indian River State College Richardson Center at the Mueller Campus in Vero Beach. The award, which recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit, business excellence, and community involvement, is a central element of the Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Program established by the IRSC Foundation and 13 other founding members to promote awareness and appreciation of the free enterprise system. More…

Gallery 14 to present ‘Soulful Statements’ Reply

Mixed media by Carol Staub and acrylic paintings by Cheri Cruden

NEWS RELEASE

By Cheri Cruden

By Cheri Cruden

By Carol Staub

By Carol Staub

Gallery 14 is happy to present an exhibit featuring Cheri Cruden and Carol Staub, two artists with long standing ties to the Gallery. Carol who is represented by Gallery 14 year round is being given a special expanded showing of her work. An international star in the field of mixed media, Carol has won an astonishing number of awards for her work, including most recently, the Holbein Award in the California Watercolor Association’s 47th Annual National Exhibition and First Place in Acrylic, at Art by the Sea in Vero Beach. A former owner-artist at Gallery 14, Cheri’s acrylics and mixed media work include abstract as well as representational images done in a bold, large, distinctive style. Commissioned by Scoozi in the Arts District, her striking vegetable paintings create dramatic ambiance in the main dining room, where they adorn the walls. More…

An open letter to the Press Journal’s Adam Neal, Larry Reisman, Colleen Wixon 4

Colleen, Larry, Adam:

As Laura Moss continues to assert authority not given her by the City Charter, things at City Hall are heating up and may soon be out of control. I hope you are paying attention, for when the press does not fulfill its responsibilities autocrats can get away with all kinds of unreasonable and irresponsible acts.

As I trust you are aware, Vero Beach does not have a strong-mayor form of government, and certainly, at least until now, has not been governed by an autocrat.

Given the current tension between Finance Commission Chairman Glen Brovont and Mayor Moss, it should be remembered that Borvont was first appointed by Pilar Turner, and was recently re-appointed by Moss. He is by no means among the so-called opponents of the proposed power sale.

Surely you will recall when, a number of years ago, then councilwoman Tracy Carroll went before the Marine Commission telling them what advice she wanted to receive from the board.  Why have independent citizen advisory boards and commissions, if members of the City Council are going to instruct them what to think. Moss is now taking Carroll’s brand of manipulation to another level.  

So far, your newspaper has failed to report on the building tension at City Hall.  Similarly, during the fall elections the Press Journal never reported on the unprecedented level of outside money that poured into the campaign accounts of Laura Moss and Lange Sykes. Not offering commentary on the attempt by Indian River Shores residents and Florida Power and Light to influence the outcome of Vero Beach’s municipal election is one thing, but failing to report the facts is quite another. Freedom of the press is a public trust, and thus it is both a right and a responsibility. That cherished freedom is given, not for your commercial benefit or convenience, but in order that the public will have access to the information needed to cast informed votes.

Again, please pay attention to what is happening at City Hall. You have a job to do!

Sincerely, 

Mark Schumann

https://insidevero.com/2017/02/14/moss-asserts-authority-to-cancel-finance-commission-meeting/

https://insidevero.com/2017/02/14/finance-commission-chairman-responds-to-moss/

https://insidevero.com/2017/02/13/questions-raised-about-role-of-mayor-and-of-advisory-commissions/

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING

AT RIVERSIDE THEATRE

Private Lives – thru February 19.

Seussical – February 17, 18, 24 & 25.

 weekend-img_4078The Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee. is conducting tours of the Ice Age archaeological dig, one of the most famous sites in North America, located at 1680 27th. St., (northeast corner of the County Administrative Complex. The tours are available at 1 pm every day except Tuesday and Wednesday, February-April.  Call 772-226-9278 for information.


More…

‘The Rocketman Show’ this evening at the Emerson Center Reply

rocket-man

“Remember when rock was young?” You will when you see the #1 Elton John Tribute Show appearing on The Emerson Center stage on Thursday, February 16 at 7:00 PM!

The Rocket Man Show is the USA’s #1 70’s and 80’s Elton John Tribute show! It is an EXACT re-enactment of an early Elton John concert featuring elegant and colorful replica costumes – many of which were worn by Elton John himself! Rus Anderson as Elton, plus his talented musicians and back-up singers will make this a night you don’t want to miss!

Audiences are guaranteed to laugh, cry, sing and dance while enjoying a fun-filled evening.

Come join us for this memorable evening and hear all of Elton’s classic hits including: “Bennie and The Jets”, “Goodbye Yellowbrick Road”, “Crocodile Rock”, and “Tiny Dancer” – just to name a few!

Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger Randy “Handsome Ransom” Jackson returns to Historic Dodgertown on Feb. 18 for a visit and book signing Reply

NEWS RELEASE
Dodgertown LogoRandy “Handsome Ransom” Jackson, who played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1956-58, will make his first visit to Historic Dodgertown since his playing days, on Saturday, Feb. 18. Ransom, who turned 91 on Feb. 10, will take a walk down memory lane, and share those memories with Historic Dodgertown visitors and Presidents’ Day Tournament participants.

Jackson recently published an autobiographical memoir in which he chronicles his life from growing up in Arkansas to being signed to take over for Jackie Robinson, only to quickly discover nobody replaces a legend like Jackie. More…

Moss asserts authority to cancel Finance Commission meeting 5

Related Story: Finance Commission chairman responds to Moss

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

After Finance Commission chairman Glen Brovont declined to postpone Monday’s Finance Commission meeting at her request, Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss fired off an email to members of the Finance Commission unilaterally canceling the meeting. “The Finance Commission meeting scheduled for 02/20 is cancelled. ‘Review of Commission Procedures’ is to be placed on the City Council Agenda (02/21) meeting; (under my matters) for discussion,” Moss wrote.

Moss also sent a separate email directly to Brovont in which she wrote, “Stated simply, the City Council already has voted on the matter of the partial sale; no further discussion is required at this time.”

Brovont replied, “This meeting & issue are being blown way out of proportion! The committee intends to go forward with its agenda…”

The City Charter gives the mayor limited authority to preside over Council meetings, to sign documents on behalf of the City and to attend ceremonial functions.  In attempting to unilaterally cancel next Monday’s Finance Commission meeting, Moss appears to be acting outside her authority.

Editor’s note: During the recent City Council election, Laura Moss received 70 percent of her campaign contributions from residents in Indian River Shores. She was also supported by a political action committee funded entirely by contributions from Shores residents and from Florida Power & Light. At a meeting held in the Shores early last full Moss was introduced by Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as “a members of the Shores team.”

Finance Commission chairman responds to Moss Reply

Related Story: Questions raised about role of mayor and of advisory commissions

MARK SCHUMANN

Glen Brovont

Glen Brovont

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Mayor Laura Moss yesterday sent an email “directing” the Finance Commission to not review or make recommendations on the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power & Light. Today Moss attempted to postpone the Commission’s meeting schedule for Feb. 20 until after the next City Council meeting, which is set for Feb. 21.

Finance Commission Chairman, Glen Borvont, today responded to Moss, insisting the Commission can, should and will review the proposed partial sale and will offer its advice to the Council. “Sound decisions are arrived at by listening to all sides of an issue, and particularly those committees the city has designated for such use; like the finance committee, and they are not fostered by: threats, intimidation, or autocratic leaders,” Brovont wrote.

Brovont also addressed Moss’ criticism of the Finance Commission for not previously reviewing the partial sale, as was done by the Utilities Commission, which at the time was chaired by Moss. Brovont wrote, “Prior to being authorized by city council the partial sale proposal at $30,000,000 was not subject to the due-diligent of the city’s finance committee but rather by the Utility Commission that was Chaired by you and supported by a board-member representing, albeit not fully, the benefiting city; Indian River Shores.  Although there is an excuse for it, the Vero Beach City Finance Committee was not allowed any input on the partial sale price proposal.”

Brovont also informed Moss he would not postpone the Commission’s next meeting until after the Feb. 21 Council meeting.

In her email, Moss asserted that the Finance Commission “serves at the pleasure of the City Council.” In fact, each City Council member appoints one of the five members of the Finance Commission. Brovont, who was appointed by Moss, wrote, “Although it is not clear in section 2-101 and 2-102 (City Charter) who designates or fires members, I presume you may not incur opposition if you would like to re-leave me.   I will forward my resignation if requested.”

Editor’s note: During the recent City Council election, Laura Moss received 70 percent of her campaign contributions from residents in Indian River Shores. She was also supported by a political action committee funded entirely by contributions from Shores residents and from Florida Power & Light. At a meeting held in the Shores early last full Moss was introduced by Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as “a members of the Shores team.”

Below is the full text of Brovont’s response to Moss: More…

Questions raised about role of mayor and of advisory commissions 4

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Glen Brovont

Glen Brovont

As the result of an email Mayor Laura Moss wrote today attempting to direct and limit the work of the Finance Commission, a number of sections from the City Charter and Ordinances appear to have been violated by the newly elected mayor. Moss wrote the email without guidance, direction or concurrence from her fellow council members. In acting unilaterally, Moss apparently overstepped her limited authority under Vero Beach’s form of government.

Moss’s email was written one day after newly elected Finance Commission Chairman, Glen Brovont, wrote the following to his fellow commission members. “At the past meeting, it was agreed, the 2/20/2017 meeting will be devoted to the partial IRS utility sale to FPL.  The city councils position is well known, but there is no guarantee of the partial sale price yet or that a full sale will occur. Therefore, understanding the difference between this “on-the-table price & the city’s original “asked price” may be advisable.”

Below are excerpts from Moss’ email and relevant sections of the City Charter and Ordinances:

Moss:With regard to the Finance Commission’s planned discussion (02/20) of the “partial sale,” the previous City Council did not request that the Finance Commission review same prior to its vote on the matter.  The current Council neither.”  …  “As City Council already has voted on this matter, no further discussion is required at this time.”

City Charter: “In performing its mission, the finance commission shall initiate its own proposals, make recommendations, and provide alternatives to the city council.”

Moss:The Finance Commission serves at the pleasure of the City Council.”

City Charter: “Each council member shall individually appoint one regular voting member to each of the following:1. Finance commission. 2. Planning and zoning board.3. Utilities Commission.”

Moss:As the Presiding Officer of City Council, I direct that the priority be funding matters with specific regard to the following: 1) Recreation Department; 2) Streets and stormwater; 3) Marina; 4) Number and function of City employees (full/part-time), including pension/benefits.”

City Charter:Duties. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the council and shall be recognized as head of the city government for service of process, ceremonial matters, and execution of contracts, deeds, and other documents. The mayor shall have no administrative duties other than those necessary to accomplish these duties.”

The following in the full text of Moss’ email regarding the work of the Finance Commission. More…

Winger sees hope for power sale 3

MARK SCHUMANN

Following last week’s announcement by the Florida Municipal Power Agency that it is now proposing a price at which Vero Beach can exit the

Jim O'Connor

Jim O’Connor

Richard Winger

Richard Winger

joint action agency and sell its utility to Florida Power & Light, Vero Beach City Councilman Richard Winger wrote City Manager Jim O’Connor urging the City to begin renewed negotiations with FPL.

“Selling the entire utility is what we must do,” Winger wrote, adding, “Full speed ahead!”

Winger is calling on the Utilities and Finance Commissions to move quickly to review and asses the FMPA’s tentative offer of $108 million.

“It would look like the number can now work,” Winger wrote, citing the structure of the original purchase an sale agreement.  He pointed out that some of the value in the original deal was assigned to costs FPL would have to have paid to upgrade transmission lines and to decommission the power plant. Because the City has already taken on those costs, Winger suggested FPL’s cash offer can now be higher, thus helping the City to afford to exit the FMPA.

 

Private Lives are there for all to see at Riverside Reply

REVIEWprivate-lives

MILT THOMAS

Watching a Noel Coward play is like a journey back in time, especially when you consider Private Lives, which has been performed more times over more years than just about any other theatrical production outside of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. The premise has you struggling to suspend disbelief if you are under the age of, say, 100. Yet, it still provokes laughter and is certainly worth the price of admission.

The first couple we see out on the veranda of their honeymoon suite is Elyot (Jason Loughlin) and Sibyl (Liana Hunt) Chase. She is 23, a bit younger than the worldly and sophisticated Elyot whose sloughing off of Sibyl’s affection spells trouble on the horizon. Does he not love her? Is he gay? (Several stifled laughs from the audience occur when the term “gay” is used in its original meaning, not in the way we know it commonly today). Sibyl makes frequent reference to Elyot’s first marriage, apparently a disaster, and a sore point for Elyot.

More…

What exactly is the role of City government? 4

COMMENTARY
city-council-2-7

Vice Mayor Harry Howle, Mayor Laura Moss, Councilman Richard Winger

MILT THOMAS

Despite a community-wide call to action, the City Council this week rejected a proposal for establishing a storm water utility. Though some claimed otherwise, the move would not have have led to the hiring of more public employees, or the formation of a new “layer of bureaucracy.”  The proposal would simply have created a dedicated source of funding to pay for expanding, improving and maintaining the City’s stormwater system. Given that the Council, by a vote of 3-2, rejected the stormwater utility primarily on philosophical grounds, (limited government, low taxes), one must question the role and responsibility of local government.

The marathon debate that began mid morning and lasted until 3:30 in the afternoon, featured experts on water quality, conservationists, environmentalists and citizens all making impassioned pleas to pass the storm water utility. These speakers represent easily a majority of Vero Beach citizens concerned about the deteriorating condition of the Indian River Lagoon. They contend Vero Beach can and must to more to help address the crisis.

Speaking against the idea were limited government advocates and tax protestors. Mrs. Jackie Solari read a letter from her husband, County Commissioner and leading limited government advocate, Bob Solari, in which he demonized “another layer of government bureaucracy.” That was also his rallying cry when the County Commission refused to join the Indian River Lagoon Council, a consortium of all counties bordering the Indian River Lagoon created to coordinate efforts aimed at saving it. The net result of that decision motivated the three major Indian River County municipalities to join the consortium anyway. Last November’s election ultimately provided the one vote necessary for County Commissioners to “rethink” their decision and agree to join the effort.

More…

Four Chaplains Memorial Service set for Saturday afternoon in Sebastian’s Riverview Park Reply

 

 

Four Chaplains monument in Sebastian on the waterfront in Rivervidw Park. Memorial service to be held there Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2.

Four Chaplains monument in Sebastian on the waterfront in RiverviEw Park. Memorial service to be held there Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2.

NEWS RELEASE

At 12:55 am on February 3, 1943, the USAT Dorchester was tragically sunk. Of the 902 young men on board only 230 survived. Many of those survivors owe their lives to the courage and leadership exhibited by the heroic Four Chaplains, who, in sacrificing their lives, created a unique legacy of brotherhood. These Four Chaplains gave their life jackets to save four soldiers and, in so doing, gave up their only means of survival. They were last seen on the deck of the ship with their arms linked together and their heads bowed in prayer as they went to their watery graves in the North Atlantic off the coast of Greenland. Each Chaplain received the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously.

The Four Chaplains Monument in Sebastian is a “Living Monument” created by Dorchester Survivor Ernie L. Heaton and Monument President Larry Wapnick. It is a tribute to the Chaplains, Chaplain George L. Fox, Methodist, Chaplain Alexander D. Goode, Rabbi, Jewish Faith, Chaplain Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed Church and Father John P. Washington, Catholic Priest. Heaton was one of the last survivors to see the Chaplains alive. This is validated by an official Army Air Corp Document. More…

Another increase from FPL Reply

STAFF REPORT

Stephen Faherty and Glenn Heran

Stephen Faherty and Glenn Heran

Florida Power and Light has begun assessing a $3.65 monthly charge to recover for costs associated with Hurricane Matthew.  FPL’s bill for 1000 kWh is now $102.37.  Florida Today writes, “The storm charge follows the commission (Florida Public Service Commission) approval in late 2016 of a four-year $811 million base-rate increase that pushed up the typical customer’s 1,000-kilowatt hour monthly bill by $6.93 in January. The base-rate hike will require increases in January 2018 and June 2019.”

Curiously, local utility activist, Stephen Faherty, avoids mentioning FPL additional charges in his regular propaganda e-mail newsletter. Faherty, along with fellow activist Glenn Heran first build support for the sale of Vero Electric by claiming the City would net some $170 million from the sale.  There would, they said, be no need for tax increases or cuts in municipal services.  Now it appears any sale will require not only tax hikes and service cuts, but also a hefty, multi-year surcharge to be paid by the customers of Vero Electric.

Reader Comment Reply

Good thing the three that voted against this were again not confused by the facts. Just like our $30,000,000 sale of our $47,000,000 assets these three Indian River Shores representatives will vote contrary to the advice of trained professionals when it doesn’t suit their objective. So, so far since they’ve been in office we lost $17,000,000 and have a more polluted river in the future. I can only anticipate their glee with the City of Vero Beach losing about $60,000,000 to $70,000,000 on the sale of the electric company. Maybe the Fletcher, Turner and Carroll days weren’t that bad after all. They only cost us $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 in attorney fees after all. – John Wester

Related story: City Council votes against continuing stormwater utility study

Indian River County Sheriff’s Detectives seek help in shooting investigation Reply

NEWS RELEASE

At approximately 9:30 P.M. last night, Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call of a shooting in the 4400 block of 28th Avenue. When deputies arrived, they located siblings Norris Jones (32) and Lakeisha Jones (39) with gunshot wounds. Lakeisha had multiple gunshot wounds and was airlifted from Indian River Medical Center to Lawnwood where she is still being treated but is expected to survive. Norris Jones was treated at IRMC and released. More…

Cultural Calendar 2

ONGOING:

Private Lives  at Riverside Theatre thru February 19. Visit RiversideTheatre.com.

THURSDAY, February 9

weekend-02-17-art-grmChrist Church Vero Beach, in the 9.23 Community Center (behind Outback), is holding a reception for pastel and oil painter,  Julie Grm on Thurssday, February 9, at 6:30 pm.  Free.

weekend-vero-concert-poster-2-9-17The Hanneke Cassel Trio, with Mike Block (cello, vocals) and Christopher Lewis (guitar)  will perform at First Presbyterian Church in Vero Beach on Thursday, February 9 at 7:30.  Donations will be accepted for the Mike Block String Camp, as concert admission is free.

weekend-winston_scottThe Treasure Coast Navy League Speaker Series continues with Winston E. Scott, Capt, USN (Ret.), Former NASA Astronaut, SVP of Florida Institute of Technology, author and musician will discuss “Reflections from Earth Orbit” on Thursday, February 9 beginning at 5:30 pm at Pointe West Country Club in Vero Beach.  Tickets include dinner for $27 per person.  Reserve by e-mail to agfornl@yahoo.com and pay at the door.

More…

McKee Botanical Garden’s 8th Annual Motor Car Exhibition this Saturday Reply

The grounds of the McKee Botanical Gardens will again this year be the site of what has become one of Florida's premier auto shows

The grounds of the McKee Botanical Gardens will again this year be the site of what has become one of Florida’s premier auto shows

NEWS RELEASE

McKee Botanical Garden will host its Eighth Annual Motor Car Exhibition “Rods and Customs” on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  This event is for one day only.  Don’t miss one of the most popular and highly anticipated events in Vero Beach! Forty spectacular pre-selected Mod Rods, Street Rods, Hot Rods and Retro Rods will be on display throughout the Garden.

This year, the show coincides with our Nature Connects®: Art With LEGO® Bricks Exhibition so visitors will be able to experience both exhibitions in a single day.  Just as the owners of these uniquely distinctive cars have transformed ordinary automobiles into breathtaking “sculptures” with thousands of intricate components, the sculptures of Nature Connects include over 300,000 LEGO brick pieces and hundreds of hours of work. 

Over 3,400 car enthusiasts came to last year’s show from throughout the Treasure Coast and beyond to view these stunning, artistic reinterpretations of automotive body shapes and designs.

Regular admission fees apply:  $12 Adults, $11 Seniors, $8 Children ages 3 – 12, and free for McKee members and children under 3. Advance tickets are available at Garden Admissions during regular business hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday noon – 5:00 pm, and closed Monday.

Please follow the signs to overflow parking at the corner of 17th Street and Indian River Boulevard.

The event is sponsored by Einstein Bros. Bagels, Velde Ford and Treasure and Space Coast Radio (The Breeze 93.7 FM, 94.7 Hot County, and 97.1 Ocean FM).

City Council votes against continuing stormwater utility study 5

MILT THOMAS

In a marathon City Council meeting today, Mayor Laura Moss, Vice Mayor Harry Howle and Lange Sykes voted down proceeding with the Stormwater utility proposal. Richard Winger and Tony Young supported moving forward with the proposal. After presentations by lagoon science experts, environmental activists, homeowners and limited government advocates, newly elected Moss and Sykes, joined Howle in postponing any decision on how to fund a stormwater utility or even whether to have one at all.

Public Resources Management Group (PRMG) first presented their electric system rate study update and cost of service analysis in anticipation of proceeding with the structuring of a stormwater utility, but concerns about the cost ($108,000 spent already and another $40,000 anticipated expenses) became the primary concern for majority Council members. More…

FMPA provides option for Vero Beach to exit power projects 1

Preliminary idea could enable Vero Beach to exit FMPA for $108 million

Editor’s note: The original 2013 purchase and sale agreement between Vero Beach and Florida Power and Light included a provision for $50 million to be paid to the Orlando Utilities Commission to assume Vero Beach’s position in three FMPA power projects. Subsequent negotiations called for a payment of $52 million to the FMPA to absorb Vero Beach’s power purchase commitments for several years, before they were to be assumed permanently by the OUC. Left unresolved in the original agreement was how Vero Beach would settle its commitments to the FMPA’s All Requirements Project (ARP). The preliminary proposal announced by the FMPA today would address all of Vero Beach’s commitment to the FMPA, including contingent liabilities. Today’s preliminary proposal, with a total price of $108 million, will at least be a starting point for renewed negotiations between Vero Beach and FPL. Vero Beach will still need to negotiate and end to its wholesale power purchase agreement with the Orlando Utilities Commission. 

NEWS RELEASE

Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) provided preliminary information to its member cities today on an option for Vero Beach to transfer its FMPA power projects to other cities so that Vero Beach can sell its electric system.

Vero Beach currently participates in three FMPA power projects—two coal units and one nuclear unit—for a total of 51 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The 13 cities in FMPA’s All-Requirements Project (ARP) have excess generation capacity but would consider taking the additional power if compensated for the increased costs and risks. More…