Everyday socialism, American-style, is happening now all across the country 2

Editor’s note: The City of Vero Beach Utilites and Finance Commissions will meet Aug. 30 to review the terms of the proposed sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light. City Hall watchers expect the Council to approve the terms of the proposed sale when it next meets in September. As Vero Beach prepares to hand over its municipally owned utility for net proceeds of little more than existing cash reserves, the following article on public utilities is worth considering.  This article exploring the benefits of public ownership of utilities was first published in 2013 by truth-out.org.

According to the most recent bills comparisons published by the Florida Municipal Electric Association, FPL’s rate for 1000 kilowatt hours per month is $106.05, allowing for a six percent franchise fee. Vero Electric’s rate is $116.08. Based on current rates, then, Vero Beach residents could expect to save approximately 9 percent on their electric bill, if the deal were to close now. However, FPL will be making a number of rate hikes over the coming years, all of them already approved by the Florida Public Service Commission. Whatever saving Vero Beach residents will see on their electric bills will be somewhat offset by cuts in services and/or tax increases, as the City deals with the loss of $7 million no transferred annually from the Electric Fund to the General Fund.

For a start: It’s often forgotten—or simply not known—that there are more than two thousand publicly owned electric utilities now operating, day by day, week by week, throughout the United States (many in the conservative South). Indeed, 25 percent of US electricity is supplied by locally owned public utilities and co-ops.

Moreover, most of these now conventional “socialist” operations have a demonstrated capacity to provide electricity at lower cost to the consumer, not to mention cheaper and more accessible broadband. (Nationally, on average, customers of private utilities pay 14 percent more than customers of public utilities.)

One obvious reason: Public utilities and co-ops simply don’t pay the same exorbitant executive salaries common in the private sector. They get pretty much the same work done for far less. General managers of the largest class of publicly owned power companies earned an average salary of roughly $260,000 in 2011. Average compensation for CEOs of large investor-owned utilities was $6 million—almost twenty-five times as much.

Also, of course, public utilities and co-op producers don’t have to pay private shareholders any dividends. And they return a portion of their revenues to the city or county to help supplement local budgets, easing the pressure on taxpayers. A recent study found an average transfer of 5.2 percent of revenues to municipalities—compared with average tax payments by private-investor-owned utilities of 3.9 percent.

Continue reading…

Cultural Calendar 1

ONGOING

Ballet Magnifique – A Ballet Class for Special Needs presented by Vero Classical Ballet  is for children ages 5 to 14 with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Cerebral Palsy including those requiring a wheelchair. The classes are taught by experienced instructors, in a welcoming, nurturing, fun and creative atmosphere.  Classes are held every Tuesday, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm at Leisure Square, 3705 16th Street in Vero Beach.  Financial aid is available.  Call 772-360-8577 or visit www.veroclassicalballet.com/special-needs-program.

THURSDAY AUGUST 24

H.A.L.O.  No Kill Rescue presents Meows & Mutts at the Marsh on Thursday, August 24 at 6:30 pm  during Live Bluegrass Night at Marsh Landing Restaurant in Fellsmere. Enjoy signature cocktails & appetizers, live Bluegrass and fun raffle items while supporting H.A.L.O. Visit www.halorescuefl.org.

 

FRIDAY AUGUST 25

Violinists of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra will perform Britten’s  String Quartet No. 2 and Vaughan Williams’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor during British Roadtrip: Britten & Vaughan Williams concert on Friday, August 25 at 7 pm at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1850  6th Avenue in Vero Beach.  Don’t miss this FREE program featuring two of Britain’s finest composers.  Tickets are not required.

Main Street Vero Beach hosts Downtown Friday on August 25 from 6-9 pm along 14th Avenue in Historic Downtown Vero Beach. Listen to the music of Anderson Council and during band breaks, hear rhythm & blues sensation, Gary Moore  and Stefan’s Tiny Sparks.  Stop by the Food Court where there is a great variety of delicious food vendors, ice cream, and cold drinks. Street vendors will be set up along 14th Avenue selling soaps, art, clothing and more.  This family-friendly event is fun for all ages. Free Admission. More…

Old clarifies comments about management of Vero Electric 1

Editor’s note: Vero Beach City Council candidate Randy Old issued the following statement today clarifying his position on the City’s capacity to manage a $100-million-dollar-a-year electric utility business.

Apology Necessary: To the Staff and Management of Vero Electric

I wrote an article entitled “Update on The Sale of Vero Electric” that came out in the last couple of days and it said “Vero has proven that it cannot run a utility” and I meant that the complicated task of running a $100 million utility business was too complicated for a City Council that turned over every couple of years. It needed a structure of people who knew the business, a Utility Authority, or a consulting agreement with a Utility Management Company who could help the City Council make good decisions. In no way was I criticizing the City of Vero Beach employees of the utility, in fact I should have commended them for putting up with our community for the past 10 years while this keep/sell debate was raging and jeopardizing their jobs. I have spent a good deal of time talking to staff trying to understand the situation, rode around with Ted Fletcher just after the last hurricane, and have tremendous respect for him, Tom Richards before him, and his whole unit. I was criticizing City Council people like me, not knowledgeable people in Vero Electric. My apologies.

See Old’s original statement: Old sees power sale closing in 2018

When private thoughts go public 16

Editor’s note: Recently, a now-former Tump Administration official, Anthony Scaramucci, and current presidential advisor, Steve Bannon, gave reporters what they claim were to be off-the-record interviews. The full transcripts of both interviews soon became public. Neither Scaramucci nor Bannon appear to understand the rules under which journalist agree to receive off-the record comments. Locally, civic activist Phyllis Frey wrote an email to Press Journal columnist unilaterally declaring her comments to be “off the record.”  There is no indication, though, that Reisman made public Fry’s wacky email. It seems more likely Fry decided her rant too clever to keep private, and so shared it with others, perhaps with Vero Beach City Councilwoman Laura Moss. What we do know is that Moss read from Frey’s comments during a City Council meeting, thus making the email to Reisman a part of the public record. Below is the full text of Frey’s message to Reisman. Given Frey’s bizarre comments, that Moss seems to be on the same page with her is a bit troubling. 

Correction: The original version of this story posted August 17, 2017 at 8:01 p.m. indicated that Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss opened the August 10 Special Call meeting of the Vero Beach City Council with a statement that included excerpts from an email Phyllis Frey sent to Press Journal columnist Larry Reisman. While some of Moss’ opening statement reflects Frey’s views, it did not directly quote Frey’s email. One commenter to InsideVero, Susan Mehiel, cnfirmed that Frey’s email was sent to Moss and “was sent to 4 or 5 people after the meeting…”

Related story: Vero Beach Cultural Arts Village will be transformative

From:

Phyllis freyTo: larry.reisman reisman

Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 8:55 AM

Subject: Fw: Follow up to the Special Call workshop: A star performance

Phyllis Frey

Good morning Larry,

Before I get down to a serious strategy, I thought I would impart a few private thoughts—off the record, about yesterday’s star performance by an all-star cast.

I set about my early morning reflections upon the charade that posed as a city council meeting yesterday. If all the world’s a stage, even Shakespeare would have been impressed by the parade of entertainers that strutted, pranced and danced their hour upon the stage, swirling like dervishes before the camera, entertaining all those “wonderful people out there in the dark” in true Norma Desmond fashion.

It was a five star performance by the art village. There were jesters hypnotizing the politicians who sat behind the dais, taken to their own final act of trolling for votes. The original purpose of researching and evaluating the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan turned into a shadow puppet show then was shown the nearest exit. It was a document too boring, too filled with facts, much too sobering for such a giddy-faced crowd worked into a froth, lined up at the podium to extol the virtues of the arts. When the snake charmer brought the cobra from the basket, Councilman Winger was so entertained he said he would pass the Comp Plan on the spot as is! Bravo, bravo, another Zinger from Winger who was eager for the next act billed as “Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils.”    More…

Moody’s economist speaks to Chamber’s Economic Leadership Alliance Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Dr. Mark Zandi, Bill Penney, and Helene Caseltine at Quail Valley on August 10, 201

On Thursday, August 10, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce Economic Leadership Alliance welcomed Moody Analytics’ Chief Economist, Dr. Mark Zandi to speak to a small group at the Quail Valley River Club. Taking topic suggestions from the crowd, Dr. Zandi spoke brilliantly about subject matter most relevant to our local business owners and residents with regard to the U.S. and Florida economy. His overall outlook was positive.

Dr. Zandi directs economic research for Moody Analytics, a subsidiary of Moody’s Corp, which is a leading provider of economic research, data, and analytical tools. He regularly conducts briefings on the economy for corporate boards, trade associations, and policy makers, and has testified before Congress on topics including economic outlook, the nation’s fiscal challenges, the merits of fiscal stimulus, and financial regulatory reform. Having owned a home in Vero Beach since 2007, Dr. Zandi answered questions from the group spanning topics including unemployment, labor force, economic prospects, future recessions, real estate, the federal reserve balance sheet, and interest rates. More…

Old sees power sale closing in 2018 2

Former Vero Beach City Councilman Randy Old is running this fall to regain a set on the Council. Old this week issued the following “update” on the proposed sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light. 

RANDY OLD

Randy Old

Short version: aiming to be signed by September 5th 2017, final FMPA approval by January 2018.

Longer Version:  at Tuesday’s City Council meeting both Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) and Florida Municipal Power Agency’s (FMPA) representatives together with Vero Beach’s lawyer brought the Council up to date on the progress of the sale. The numbers have not changed and they are approximately as follows:  FPL is paying $185 million, Vero is paying off its debt and exiting its Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) contract for $47 million, and exiting FMPA for $108 million leaving Vero with net proceeds of some $30 million. More…

Military Moms prayer group honors Marc Richards with Braveheart Award Reply

Marc and Chris Richard with Military Moms Prayer Group

NEWS RELEASE

The Military Moms Prayer Group has named Marc Richard, owner of Postal Connections, as the recipient of the group’s 2017 Braveheart Award. The award, which honors “Extraordinary service to U.S. troops and to the Military Moms Prayer Group,” was presented to Marc at a July reception in his honor at the home of Linda Colontrelle, the group’s president.

Marc, a West Point graduate and nine-year veteran of the Army, was recognized for his help in streamlining the procedures for the prayer group’s gift-box outreach to U.S. troops deployed overseas. Through his efforts, his company has become a primary hub for shipping the care packages.

“I am truly honored to be the recipient of the Braveheart Award,” said Marc. “Knowing that I can play a small part in helping a great organization like the Military Moms Prayer Group has been very rewarding. Recognition with this award is very humbling, especially when I think about all that our troops go through in defending the freedoms we enjoy.” More…

Brerner, Deigl, Perry join Executive Roundtable Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Karen Deigl

Angela Perry

Three community leaders have been invited to become members of the Executive Roundtable of Indian River County bringing the number of voting members to twenty-two.

The Executive Roundtable of Indian River County is a group of executive level community leaders from the school system, law enforcement, government and social service organizations, who come together to identify solutions and accomplish system changes that will protect and enhance the lives of Indian River County children, individuals, families and senior residents. Their meetings are held the last Thursday morning of each month at the United Way of Vero Beach. 

The new members are Karen Deigl, President/CEO of Senior Resource Association where she successfully advocates for older adults and their families; Angelia Perry, the Executive Director of the Gifford Youth Achievement Center and Ann Berner of the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network . More…

Youngstown Ohio residents push to oust corporations from election campaigns Reply

Editor’s note: Locally, Florida Power and Light has spent more than $200,000 in pushing for passage of two local referendums and in supporting City Council candidates such as Tracy Carroll, Harry Howle, Lange Sykes and Laura Moss. At the state level, FPL has poured so much money into political campaigns and political action committees that the Tampa Bay Times editorial board this year described the Florida Legislature as “a wholly owned subsidiary of FPL.” 

RURAL AMERICA IN THESE TIMES

In their seventh attempt to put an end to the environmental threats the oil and gas industry pose to their land, water and right to self-governance, a community rights group in Youngstown, Ohio, is attempting to amend their city’s charter in order to ban corporate interference in their local elections.

With assistance from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)—a non-profit, public interest law firm that provides legal services to communities facing outside threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy and quality of life—the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee has gathered and submitted the signatures required to get the initiative, explained below, on their November ballot. Continue reading…

Cultural Calendar Reply

THURSDAY & FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 & 18

THEATRE-GO-ROUND PRESENTS NEW SUMMER SHOW

Theatre-Go-Round Dinner Theatre is presenting a special show, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage” with Shane Frampton and Phill Greenland at the Quilted Giraffe Restaurant on Thursday and Friday, August 17 & 18. They will be performing Broadway classics.   Enjoy dinner at 5:30 pm followed by the show at 7 pm.  The dinner theatre package is $55 per person.  On Sunday, August 20, Forever in Blue Jeans continues beginning at 4:30 pm.  Reserve by calling 772-252-9341.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, AUGUST 18 & 19

AT RIVERSIDE THEATRE AUGUST 18 & 19

Howl at the Moon Experience: Shows at 7:30 and 9:30 pm with musicians Ken Gustafson and John Kenney.  Come Hungry! Enjoy fire-grilled sandwiches and cold cocktails!

Live in the Loop: Free Outdoor Concerts beginning at 6 pm with The Copper Tones (Variety & Classic Rock) on Friday and Soul Jam (Jam Rock) on Saturday.  Visit RiversideTheatre.com.

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 

The Laura Riding Jackson Foundation is offering a free Teen Writers Workshop on college essays and applications from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on Saturday, August 19 at the Environmental Learning Center. During this three-hour session, attendees will learn how to navigate college applications on the web; get an overview of the application process and write at least one complete draft of their college essay.  Bring a device, computer, ipad or phone.  Sign up at www.lauraridingjackson.com. 

The Environmental Learning Center is hosting an “EcoTalk” on Saturday, August 19 at 11:00 am.  Make Prehistoric Florida Your Home with Kevin Gidusko, Public Archaeology Coordinator, Florida Public Archaeology Network.  Designed for the whole family, this interactive presentation teaches children about the raw and natural resources Native Americans used to build their campsites and villages.  For more information, visit DiscoverELC.org.

Sebastian Inlet State Park is having a Surf Fishing for Snook workshop on Saturday, August 19 from 1:00 to 3:15 pm at the Sebastian Fishing Museum in the park. This two-hour workshop introduces anglers to the art of Surf Fishing for Snook. The discussion will center on several tactics for catching snook in the surf with live bait and lures. Also included will be information on rods/reels, rigging hard, soft plastic lures and live baiting options. Anglers should bring a pen/pencil and something to write on. Snook season opens September 1.  For more information, visit: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Sebastian-Inlet

 
SUNDAY, AUGUST 20

SCSO’S THE MERRY WIDOW THIS SUNDAY

Farce, romance and jealousy abound when the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra and Orlando Light Opera collaborate in an updated production of Franz Lehar’s famed operetta, The Merry Widow.  Multiple Central Florida performances include a single Indian River County showing at 3:00 pm on Sunday, August 20 at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.  Lehar’s music sparkles in this English language production, staged and reimagined for the new millennium. Directed by Eric Pinder and conducted by Aaron T. Collins, The Merry Widow will please fans of the classic operetta and garner new admirers along the way.  $20 advance tickets for adults are available through the orchestra website at www.SpaceCoastSymphony.org Tickets at the door are $25.  The concert is free for those aged 18 and under or with a student ID.   

The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County will be hosting a Disaster Animal Responders workshop on Sunday, August 20 from 10-3:30 p.m. conducted by RedRover, a nonprofit organization that provides national animal disaster response and training. This program is for adults interested in helping animals impacted by disasters at either a local or national level.  RedRover’s class will cover the set-up and operation of a temporary emergency animal shelter;  caring for, feeding and comforting animals displaced by natural disasters; reuniting animals with their families; saving animals from puppy mills and other abusive and neglectful situations; educating the public about issues such as puppy mills and animal hoarding and Disaster planning for pets.  The fee for this class is $45 and includes a RedRover t-shirt, training manual and light lunch. This program will be held at the Humane Society’s Adoption and Education Building, located at 6230 77th St., Vero Beach. Space is limited. To register call (772) 571-6418 or sign up online at redrover.org/joinresponders.


The Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce continues its Free Summertime Movies on Sunday, August  20 with A New Hope, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher  Tickets are available in person only at the theatre’s box office located at 117 South Second Street, Ft. Pierce, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday to Friday and two hours prior to each movie.  Limit 4 tickets per person.  Tickets are subject to availability. For more information call 772-461-4775.

 

UPCOMING

TAKE A TRIP WITH PIAS

The Pelican Island Audubon Society is hosting a day trip to Gainesville on Thursday, August 24.  Visit the Florida Museum of Natural History to view two exhibits: Butterfly Rainforest and Frogs! a Chorus of Colors.  Travel in comfort in the new Pelican Island Audubon passenger van. The Butterfly Rainforest is a living exhibit that features hundreds of free-flying butterflies and birds from around the world along with an assortment of other animals including turtles and fish.  Frogs! A Chorus of Colors is an interactive exhibition featuring fascinating living frogs, each adapted ingeniously for survival in locations around the world. Experience some of the most visually stunning, vocally pleasing and remarkably adaptable life forms on earth. Plan to leave Audubon House at 8:00 am and return at 7:30 pm. Combined transportation and museum ticket is $25. Bring a bagged lunch or buy a meal on your own at the museum cafeteria. Limited to twelve participants. Sign up at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f4daea72ca7fa7-visit online.

Cultural Calendar Reply

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12

FUN ON THE WATER AT ELC

The Environmental Learning Center has two opportunities this summer to explore our beautiful lagoon.  Canoe Excursions are held every 2nd & 4th Saturday of the month through December 31 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.  The cost is $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 8 to 11.   Pontoon Boat Excursions are on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.  The cruise takes you by Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (the nation’s first national wildlife refuge) and mangrove islands where birds, manatees, and dolphins gather. ELC’s naturalist guide provides just the right touch of education through commentary and props, and will also provide information about ways we can positively impact the Indian River Lagoon. ELC will even provide binoculars for a better view!  The cost is $30 for adults; $10 for children (ages 4 to 11) and a 20% discount is given to ELC members.   Call  (772) 589-5050 ext. 114 to reserve a seat. 

The Indian River Genealogical Society is offering  Introduction to Genealogy Class  for free on Saturday, August 12, 19 and 25 from 10 am to Noon at the Indian River County Main Library. Sign up at the Main Library or call 772-444-7470. For more information, visit www.irgs.org.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 13

SUMMERFEST CONCERT AT CHRIST BY THE SEA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH AT 3 PM (SEE ABOVE)

The Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce continues its Free Summertime Movies on Sunday, August  13 with Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.  Tickets are available in person only at the theatre’s box office located at 117 South Second Street, Ft. Pierce, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday to Friday and two hours prior to each movie.  Limit 4 tickets per person.  Tickets are subject to availability. For more information call 772-461-4775I

Meet the Artists at Emerson Center

The Foyer Gallery of Art will present a “Meet the Artists” Event on Sunday August 13, at the Emerson Center located on 1590 27th Avenue at the corner of 16th Street from noon until 2PM.  The participants in this event are 15 Unitarian Universalists Members and friends: Richard Atkinson, E. Marie Francis, Paul Gleaves, Phil Katrovitz, Jan Mathrani, George Michos, Jean Panuto, Al Parmentier, Katrina Pascale, Aksel Pederson, Carl Rantz, Pam Reiner, Marion Vrusho, Tobias Van Buren, and Debra West.  In our Lobby Gallery we have an invitational guest artist Sharon Morgan exhibiting her Mandalas.    Hope you can join us and meet all of our artists and enjoy their company and refreshments.  If you have any questions, please call Ellen Rantz at 772-581-5904.

Marine Bank announces record earnings for first half of 2017 Reply

NEWS RELEASE 

Marine Bancorp of Florida, Inc., parent company of Marine Bank & Trust Company, has just announced record earnings and asset growth for the first six months of 2017.  

  

2017

2016

1st quarter earnings

$261,000

$216,000

2nd quarter earnings

$294,000

$218,000

First 6 months earnings

$555,000

$434,000

The Bank has experienced asset growth year over year with $219 million in total assets as of June 30, 2017, compared to $207 million as of June 30, 2016, equating to a 6% growth rate.  Net income is up year over year due to growth in the loan portfolio and customer deposit accounts.  Loans outstanding as of June 30, 2017, were $165.9 million as compared to $164.3 million on June 30, 2016, an increase of $1.6 million. Total deposits as of June 30, 2017, were $194.1 million as compared to $187.5 million on June 30, 2016, a $6.6 million increase.  Deposits in Marine Bank’s new Sebastian Banking Center have grown 38% since the Bank purchased the location in October 2016. More…

Airport’s World War II legacy ribbon cutting set for August 18 Reply

NEWS RELEASE

On Friday, August 18th, Vero Beach Regional Airport will conduct a ribbon cutting ceremony at the airport terminal lobby, 3400 Cherokee Drive in Vero Beach, to commemorate the Airport’s World War II legacy and especially celebrate the historical display of Lieutenant John Carney, United States Navy. Guests will start to arrive at 9:30 AM just after the Elite Airways flight departs for Newark, New Jersey.

Indian River County Historical Society, led by Carolyn Bayless and Ruth Stanbridge, presented the WWII artifacts which Ms. Alma Carney has held so dear for so many years to the Airport Staff. The artifacts are themselves a time capsule of LT Carneys experience as a Pilot trainee at Vero Beach Naval Air Station and his experience during WWII and Korean War. The Mayor of Vero Beach, Laura Moss, will be on hand to join Ms. Carney when she officially cuts the ribbon. More…

Healthy Start Coalition holds annual Giving Closet event Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The annual Healthy Start’s Giving Closet, presented by the IRC Healthy Start Coalition and their partner Kidz Closet Charities, took place Saturday, August 5 at the new offices of Healthy Start located in the Bridgewater Building on Indian River Boulevard, Vero Beach.

New and used baby, toddler, children’s and maternity clothes, shoes, books and toys, were delivered in six van loads by Kidz Closet who donates over 20,000 pieces/items of clothing and goods for this yearly event.  Held in Healthy Start’s new spacious office space, in multiple rooms and labeled by age, staff assisted with any questions or directions to the enjoyment of all parents and children in attendance. Over 60 client families in Indian River County were given two garbage bags each to fill the sorted by gender and size articles and toys, all free of charge. More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

BUY YOUR SUMMERFEST TICKETS TODAY!

Symphony of the Americas “Summerfest” 2016

Tickets are on sale now for the Cultural Council of Indian River County’s  annual Summerfest Symphony Concert on Sunday, August 13 at 3 pm at Christ by the Sea United Methodist Church. The tickets are $35, are available at the Cultural Council Office, 2041 14th Avenue and on its website, www.cultural-council.org/summerfest. More…

Vero Beach Cultural Arts Village will be transformative Reply

COMMENTARY

BARBARA HOFFMAN

How would you like to live in a home in a creative community where neighbors can live, work and sell their creations right from their homes? A community that appreciates and supports arts and culture? An established neighborhood – with small homes, large lots and tree canopied streets? A place where visitors will come to visit the shops and participate in the events?  

The Edgewood neighborhood residents and a Leadership Team under the Cultural Council of Indian River County have been developing the plans for the Cultural Arts Village. Located south of Route 60 between 14th and 20th Avenues, the Cultural Arts Village will complement the Downtown Arts District.

Starting with a design workshop held in September 2015 involving over 400 people; residents, architects, community leaders, historic preservationists, urban planners and city staff, putting their heads together to imagine what the Village could be. More…

Riverside Dance Festival continues through Saturday, Aug. 5 Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Now its sixth year, the Riverside Dance Festival is an intensive, two-week dance program that culminates with a performance on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 2pm.

Begun in 2012 under the direction of Adam Schnell, Director of Dance Education at Riverside Theatre and Artistic Director of Ballet Vero Beach, the Riverside Dance Festival is a unique experience in intensive summer study for ages 10 and up.

From July 24 – August 5, accepted students from the local area and around the country will experience day-to-day life with New York’s acclaimed Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD), this year’s selected professional dance troupe. More…

Today anniversary of O’Malley’s induction into Baseball Hall of Fame Reply

NEWS RELEASE

On this date in 2008, the National Baseball Hall of Fame holds its Induction Ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York, as Dodger owner Walter O’Malley is one of the inductees in the “Class of 2008.” Elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee on December 3, 2007, O’Malley was the full-time owner of the Dodgers, the most accomplished franchise in the modern era, from 1950-79.

In 1999, ABC Sports Century Panel named visionary O’Malley in its Top 10 Most Influential People “off the field” in sports history, while The Sporting News named O’Malley the 11th Most Powerful Person in Sports in the last century. O’Malley is widely-recognized for the westward expansion of baseball in 1958 and for helping to design, build, maintain and privately finance Dodger Stadium, which opened on April 10, 1962. More…

An eerie silence 3

COMMENTARY

“Even our Representatives to Congress have two year terms. I fail to find any justification for increasing terms for City Council members.  More than ever before, Council members must be held responsible for their actions and face you the voter.” 

RICHARD WINGER

Richard Winger

It has always been said that 15-20 hours a week of “homework” was necessary for a City Council member to do the job.  I found this to be true from the very beginning. But recently there has been very little paperwork of any kind coming to my In-Box. Therefore no homework or study required.

This has been going on for a while now, and departs from past years when my 50 years experience with Fortune 100 companies was called upon for financial planning. It was especially troublesome when this year’s Budget session was approaching.

The Budget session has now ended leaving the City of Vero Beach underfunded and in deficit spending. This Council majority dismissed the long term financial planning that recent Council instituted, and for the third time they rejected Council Member Young’s request to have the Finance Commission study the proposed finances of the Electric Utility sale and its’ impact upon the City. More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

THURSDAY, JULY 27

ARTISTS:  BRING YOUR ART TO COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING

Cultural Council Artist Registry Members are invited to hang an art piece (no nudes, please) on Thursday, July 27  from 9 to 10 am  at the Indian River County Administration Building, 1801 27th Street in Vero Beach for a 3 month exhibit. If you are a new participant to this program, please e-mail Liz Mayo at lizmayo@artfullymanaged.com with your contact information for all of the details of the program. If you currently have a piece displayed, this is the time to take it down and (if you wish) replace it with a new piece.  In the e-mail, please include the name of your artwork, medium and price as soon as possible, so she can create a tag and encourage a sale.  It is a wonderful way, easy and FREE as a perk of CCIRC membership to expose your art to our community.

FRIDAY JULY 28

DOWNTOWN FRIDAY THIS WEEK

 

Main Street Vero Beach’s hottest event on the Treasure Coast is Downtown Friday scheduled for July 28 from 6-9 pm along 14th Avenue in Historic Downtown Vero Beach. Come dressed in your best Pirate Costume to show support for the annual Festival in Riverside Park this weekend. Listen to the music of Soul Jam with musical band breaks provided by Octopus’s Garden. This month’s band breaks will be Gary Moore, a rhythm and blues sensation and Flint Blade with his 12 String Chapman Stick. Bring your appetite and stop by the Food Court where there is a great variety of delicious food vendors, ice cream, and cold drinks. Walking Tree Brewery will be on hand with Craft Beer as well as wine and mixed drinks available. Many new street vendors will be set up along 14th Avenue selling soaps, art, clothing and more.  The Children’s area will have the Skateboard ramp for demonstrations by The Vero Beach Skate Park Alliance.  The Heritage Center and Citrus Museum will be open with special hours during Downtown Friday.  Free Admission.  More…

Behind closed doors 1

NEWS ANALYSIS

Though Moss has no legal authority to negotiate on behalf of the City, or to act with O’Connor as an ad hoc committee, that clearly seems to be what she is doing. Her actions, and those of O’Connor, could well be in violation of Florida’s open government laws.

MARK SCHUMANN

Jim O’Connor

Laura Moss

Today, representatives of the Florida Municipal Power Agency, the Orlando Utilites Commission, Florida Power and Light and the City of Vero Beach are to meet to discuss the proposed sale of Vero Electric to FPL.  Representing the City will be City Manager Jim O’Connor and Councilwoman/Mayor Laura Moss.

In explaining why the discussions will not be open to the public, and why other members of the City Council are not allowed to attend, O’Connor described the meeting as “administrative.”  The meeting may well be “administrative,” but it is also part of the entire decision-making process, or what Florida’s courts have described as “the inquiry and discussion stages.” These discussions, the courts have ruled, are also subject to the Sunshine Law.

Though Moss has no legal authority to negotiate on behalf of the City, or to act with O’Connor as an ad hoc committee, that clearly seems to be what she is doing. Her actions, and those of O’Connor, could well be in violation of Florida’s open government laws.

Addressing a similar situation, then Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth wrote that for the Sunshine Law provisions requiring open meetings to apply, “2 or more members of a body or other entity or group to which the Sunshine Law applies must be present, or there must be delegation of decision-making by such a body to either a single member thereof or to an advisory group or committee used by the covering entity.” (Below is the full text of the Attorney General’s opinion.)

The City Council has never voted to delegate to Moss the authority to represent the City in its negotiations on the proposed sale of Vero Electric, but the Council’s acquiescence in Moss’ assertion of authority to do so could well be construed as consent.

If Moss, and now O’Connor, are skirting, if not violating, Florida’s open government laws and the City’s policies for handling public records, it will not be the first time. Last summer, as Chair of the Utilities Commission, Moss wrote the head of the Florida Public Service Commission, but failed to forward the correspondence to the City Clerk’s Office. More recently, Moss wrongly claimed as “privileged” documents that should have been public record, and Moss and O’Connor seemed to have collaborated in delaying the release of those documents until FPL was ready to make a public announcement relating to the documents.

Moss has publicly likened her role “like being the queen of Vero Beach.” If Moss is assuming she is above the law because “the monarch can do no wrong,” then she must think she is living in some country other than the United States of America.

At stake here is the interest of the City and the people of Vero Beach. With only Moss and O’Connor in the room, who is looking out for the people of Vero Beach?

Given that Moss was aided in her election by a $50,000 contribution from FPL to a political action committee supporting her, it is difficult to imagine how she can be expected to do anything other than capitulate to FPL’s every demand.

For his part, ever since assuming his position as City Manager, O’Connor has focused on protecting his job by shifting his priorities to conform to changes in the Council majority. Given that O’Connor well knows the current proposal is not a fair deal for Vero Beach, his going along with Moss can be seen as nothing other than malicious obedience.

More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

SAVE THE DATE!

CULTURAL COUNCIL PRESENTS SUMMERFEST 2017

Save the date for the Cultural Council of Indian River County’s  annual Summerfest Concert on Sunday, August 13 at 3 pm at Christ by the Sea United Methodist Church.  Twenty musicians from  ten countries around the world will be performing an exciting program including the works of Bach, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, Piazzolla and Ravel as well as pieces by Lorenzo Turchi-Floris, Summerfest Composer in Residence.  Music students from middle through high school are invited to not only attend the performance as guests of the Cultural Council, but to personally interact with the Orchestra members prior to the performance. Vero Beach High School’s Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform the first  piece on the program with the Summerfest Chamber Orchestra. Tickets, $35, are available at the Cultural Council Office, 2041 14th Avenue and on its website, www.cultural-council.org/summerfest.

THURSDAY, JULY 20

Join Main Street Vero Beach for a Networking Breakfast on Thursday, July 20 from 8 to 9 am.  This is open to all!  Take this opportunity to introduce your business to the community!  The event will be held at The Spa Downtown, inside the Vero Beach Athletic Club, 2043 14th Avenue.  RSVP to info@mainstreeetverobeach.org. More…

Back To School Party coming to Riverside Theatre Aug. 5 Reply

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 5th from 10am to 2pm at Riverside Theatre followed by a performance by students of the Riverside Dance Festival.

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.

The Food Services Department will provide fresh produce, their meal plan, and information on their free/reduced lunch program. The Student Services Department will participate with health screenings and mind-body wellness programs. The Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program will share information on Kindergarten readiness. People from these informative programs, along with After School Programming and the Transportation Department, will be available for consultation. Plus, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Indian River County will be bringing their SWAT team (Students Working Against Tobacco) to the event with information and interactive games. More…

Will City Council members keep campaign commitments? 3

COMMENTARY

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

RICHARD WINGER

Richard Winger

Three days of budget discussions did absolutely nothing to bring our City into a financially secure future.  The can has been kicked down the road and it is financial management by crisis.

We now have deficit spending amid millions of dollars of financial shortfall.

All the good work of the last four Councils, when they began long term financial planning, was tossed away.

Summarily dismissed was the need to address the ancient stormwater infrastructure, collapsing culverts, unpaved and failing streets  and recreational facilities in need of repair.

Instead those monies were directed to other areas.  94% of the budget goes to City departments to provide services and cover fixed costs.  With employee numbers down, there is additional need to hire outside personnel to provide for essential services.

Prior Councils, in the recent past, addressed Employee Pension and Benefits under-funding, deferred purchase of cars and trucks, and deferred maintenance and repair of aging infrastructure/structures.  More…

Riverside Theatre For Kids presents ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Riverside Theatre for Kids, the educational arm of Riverside Theatre, presents the Tony Award®-winning Broadway hit play, Peter and the Starcatcher, on July 21 and 22, 2017.

Performing on Riverside’s main stage, Stark Stage, the play upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan.

A young orphan and his mates are shipped off from Victorian England to a distant island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They know nothing of the mysterious trunk in the captain’s cabin, which contains a precious, otherworldly cargo. At sea, the boys are discovered by a precocious young girl named Molly, a Starcatcher-in-training who realizes that the trunk’s precious cargo is starstuff, a celestial substance so powerful that it must never fall into the wrong hands. When the ship is taken over by pirates – led by the fearsome Black Stache, a villain determined to claim the trunk and its treasure for his own – the journey quickly becomes a thrilling adventure. More…

IRMC board approves resolution to explore potential partnership Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The Indian River Medical Center’s Board of Directors unanimously   approved today a resolution to explore potential partnership opportunities with hospitals or multi-hospital organizations, with special focus on not-for-profit organizations with a charitable mission, to provide the long-term delivery of quality healthcare services to the residents of Indian River County.

The IRMC Board decision allows the Indian River Hospital District Collaborative Committee’s decision to move forward in the process by selecting the best consulting firm that will guide the process of identifying possible partners for the hospital. The Collaborative Committee will hear from three consulting firms on Monday, July 17 beginning at 8:45 a.m. at the Indian River Hospital District office.

“I believe this is a significant step in the right direction to proactively secure IRMC’s future in serving our community,” said IRMC Board of Directors Chairman Wayne T. Hockmeyer, Ph.D. “We are operating from a position of strength. It is the changing healthcare environment that is driving this effort and we need to explore the options available to us so that this community asset will be available to the residents in the future,” Hockmeyer added.

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING:

NEW EXHIBIT OPENS AT THE FOYER GALLERY IN THE EMERSON CENTER

A new exhibit is on view at the Foyer Gallery of Art in the Emerson Center featuring a variety of subjects and media created by members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach.   The exhibit will be on view through August 31.  To see the works, stop by Monday-Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 12:30 pm. 

image::Photograph of Spoonbill by Jim Gleaves

The 4th Annual Vero Beach International Music Festival continues through July 14 at the First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach, 250 Royal Palm Blvd.   All performances are open to the public and FREE, with a suggested donation of $20, which goes directly to the MBSC Scholarship Fund.  For a complete schedule, visit www.VeroBeachInternationalMusicFestival.com. More…

Exchange Club hears from Treasure Coast Food Bank speakers Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Homer Gutierrez, Triana Romero, and Jonathan Rose

Treasure Coast Food Bank Senior Director of Programs Homer Gutierrez was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Exchange Club of Indian River County gathered for lunch at CJ Cannons. Gutierrez and Director of Marketing and Communications Triana Romero shared how Treasure Coast Food Bank fights hunger and poverty in its four-county service area.

“On behalf of Treasure Coast Food Bank, I want to thank you for having us visit with you today. Since the Exchange Club is very focused on the care and safety of children, I’m sure you’ll be very interested in how our efforts support that as well,” Gutierrez said.

More than 100,000 people in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties struggle with hunger, including 21,000 in Indian River County, or 15.2 percent of the population, he said. Contributing to that struggle is the relatively high cost of a meal in Indian River County. At $3.40, it is well above the national average cost of $2.94, according to data from the most recent Map the Meal Gap study. More…

Elite Development Invitational underway at Historic Dodgertown Reply

NEWS RELEASE 

Week One of Baseball (Ages 13-14) Features Appx. 130 Amateur Players with Diverse Backgrounds Learning from Former Major League Players and Coaches in a Spring Training-Environment

Schedule Includes Player Workouts, Games and Special Presentations by Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and Former Major League Manager Bo Porter

Details for Week Two of Baseball (Ages 15-17), Including a Visit by Commissioner Rob Manfred, And Softball Week (Ages 18u) to be Announced at a Later Date

  More…