Aquaculture firm locating to Indian River County Reply

Parabel to construct $10-million production facility in Fellsmere


The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Office announced that Parabel, a producer of plant-based protein, is constructing a $10-million production facility in Fellsmere in northwest Indian River County. The Indian River County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the company’s Local Jobs Grant application at their March 1 meeting.

The company has signed a lease for 450 acres of land in Fellsmere, where it plans to build a facility to produce water-lentil-based proteins. Based on the company’s anticipated job creation numbers and proposed wages for the new hires, Parabel is eligible for up to $177,000 in Jobs Grant incentives. Parabel anticipates creating 43 new jobs by 3rd quarter of 2016, their first phase of operation. The majority of the new positions will pay an average wage of about $40,000 per year, greater than the county’s average annual wage of $37,882. The Jobs Grant is a performance-based program, meaning that it is paid out over a three-year period after the jobs are in place.

Continue reading…

Thunder on the Beach Pow Wow fun for the family Reply


Feb. 6 - Pow Wow winddancer.BThe 13th annual Thunder on the Beach Pow Wow at the Indian River County Fairgrounds on February 19-21 is the largest of its kind in Florida, featuring three action-packed days of performances, crafts, ethnic foods, music and much more for children of all ages.

Enjoy the spectacle of Native Americans representing tribes from all over the U.S. performing dances in brilliant tribal regalia, singing, drumming and storytelling with Miss Judy, as well as educational seminars and craft competition..  It is #1 of many pow wows in the State of Florida and around the country.

Field activities take you back to life as it was before the first European settlers arrived and from the Wild West, with bull whip, fast draw, knife throwing and archery demonstrations, a story telling circle, children’s drum and a Native American museum. Once inside the arena, you will be treated to non-stop performances by noted Native American singers, dancers and musicians. The arena will also feature 30 artist and vendor exhibits including Native American-made clothing, jewelry, leather goods, art, musical instruments, dolls, handcrafted tools and weapons, recordings, and more. An auction of items donated by vendors will also be held.


Do private property rights trump the right of privacy? 2


short term rental committee

Short-Term Rental Committee

In this classic showdown between the desire of real estate investors to maximize profit versus those who want to live in the traditional peace and quiet of suburban neighborhoods, the Indian River Board of County Commissioners must decide if one side deserves preference over the other or whether there is room for compromise.

The Republican-controlled state legislature has already voted on this issue in 2011 and has effectively come down on the side of private property owners, allowing them to operate short-term, vacation rentals, if local governments do not already have an ordinance on the books.


Why is Sebastian the city that works? Reply



City Council: Mayor Richard Gillmor, Jim Hill, Andrea Coy, Vice Mayor Jerome Adams, Bob McPartland

Longtime mayor of Chicago used to brag that his town is “the city that works.” During his tenure that was true, although his methods weren’t necessarily something to brag about. Locally, while our attention is focused on what happens in Vero Beach and in the county, Sebastian seems to quietly go about its business and do it successfully.

It all begins with a city council that has its act together. Newly elected mayor, Richard H. Gillmor has a background in sales and is a great salesman for his city. “The city council was such a mess that when I was first elected in 2008, I was named mayor. Working with the other council members we have accomplished a lot since then because we may have our differences, but we are all working for the citizens of Sebastian.”


Sebastian Clambake attracts thousands Reply

clambake revised



The 15th annual Sebastian Clambake drew large crowds all three days this past weekend with a winning mix of music, food and plenty of vendors. Despite unseasonably warm temperatures (it was downright hot!), attendees and volunteers alike were cool in the shade of Riverview Park and cool Lagoon breezes.

According to Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, Beth Mitchell, “We don’t have final numbers yet, but the crowds were up, food sales were up and the volunteers, vendors and attendees were up and enthusiastic. The organizers, all local Sebastian folks, have been doing this for so many years it goes smoothly without the challenges we faced the first few years with long lines and running out of food. Last year it rained off and on throughout the weekend, but this time the weather was great overall. Couldn’t be more pleased.”

Every year profits from the Clambake are shared by several local beneficiaries. This year they are the American Legion, Elk’s Club and Sebastian River High School Crew toward construction of their boathouse.

County’s Chambers partner for Peru & Machu Picchu adventure Reply

IRCOUNTY CHAMBER LOGOSEBASTIAN CHAMBER LOGOThe Indian River County and Sebastian River Area Chambers of Commerce are in their fourth year of a series of travel opportunities to their members and area residents. The first 2016 trip is Peru & Machu Picchu scheduled for April.

The nine day trip travel price of $4,295 per person (double occupancy) includes roundtrip airfare from Miami to Lima, Peru. In addition to accommodations, the trip includes 16 meals, 2 inner country flights, expert guides, a professional tour director, and all other transit, sightseeing and attractions admission costs per the itinerary. More…

‘Getting Ahead 2015!’ to be held in Fellsmere Reply


Want to go on a helicopter ride? How about meeting players from the Florida Institute of Technology Panthers football team? Bounce House anyone? Police K-9 Demonstration?

The City of Fellsmere, in conjunction with the Fellsmere Action Community Team (F.A.C.T.), is pleased to announce that Getting Ahead 2015! is scheduled for Friday, July 31st from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Little League Park, located at 4 N. Broadway Street in Fellsmere.

Getting Ahead 2015! Is a unique opportunity for people to check out the services and programs that are available in Indian River County to “get ahead”, make a job connection, pick up some food from the Treasure Coast Food Bank, or to just have some fun on a summer day!

Attractions this year are as follows: Continue reading…

Indian River Lagoon Council approves representation through cities 1

At the urging of Commissioner Bob Solari, the Indian River County Commission is refusing to participate in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis. The Sebastian City Council is taking steps to insurance local interests will be represented on the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council. The new Lagoon Council today agreed to all representatives from the cities of Fellsmer, Sebastian and Vero Beach to represent the county's interests in the regional effort to save the Lagoon.

At the urging of Commissioner Bob Solari, the Indian River County Commission refused to participate in the new five-county Indian River Lagoon Council. The Lagoon Council today agreed to allow leaders from the cities of Fellsmere, Sebastian and Vero Beach to represent the county’s interests in the regional effort to save the Lagoon.

Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari sees new Lagoon Council as an affront to representative government.

Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari sees new Lagoon Council as an affront to representative government.

The Indian River Lagoon Council today voted to allow representation for Indian River County through a collaborative effort of the cities of Fellsmere, Sebastian and Vero Beach.

Together, the three cities will contribute $50,000 to the Lagoon Council to help fund the new Indian River National Estuary Program.

In response to the Indian River County Commission’s decision to not participate in the new five-county effort to save the Lagoon, leaders in Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fellsmere agreed to work together to seek representation on the new Lagoon Council.

The Lagoon Council is made of up representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida and St. John’s Water Management Districts, Volusia, Brevard, St. Lucie and Martin Counties.

Each county commission, with the exception for Indian River, is contributing $50,000 a year. The three state agencies are contribution a total of $750,000, with another $500,000 coming from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Indian River Shores Town Council recently voted not to participate in the Lagoon Council. The Shores is currently suing Vero Beach over utility issues.

This Weekend Reply

Island Gossip by Doris Hill

Island Gossip by Doris Hill

Idyllic Landscape by Rita Sprague

Idyllic Landscape by Rita Sprague

The Emerson Center’s Foyer Gallery of Art will present a Group Art Show entitled “Four Amazing Women Artists.” From the Vero Beach Art Club, the artists are Pat deRobertis (a left-handed pen-and-ink drawing artist), Doris Hill (acrylics), Mary Ellen Koser (acrylics and watercolors) and Rita Sprague (acrylics).The Foyer Gallery of Art is located in the Emerson Center at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, on the southeast corner of the intersection at 27th Avenue and 16th Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. to noon. For information, call Foyer Gallery director Ellen Rantz at 772-581-5904 or the Emerson Center at 772-778-5249.


Best of Show by Sarah Besade

Best of Show by Sarah Besade

The annual Indian River County Student Exhibition is currently on view at the Vero Beach Museum of Art, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, through May 24th in the Museum’s Studio Gallery in the Hazel Education Wing. Admission to this exhibition is free. The exhibition features works of art created by Indian River County public and private middle and high school students under the capable leadership of area art educators. Seventy-three entries were submitted from 12 participating Indian River County schools. Each Indian River County art teacher selects their students’ most highly accomplished works to enter into this juried exhibition. Participating students are eligible to earn awards for their works of art; First Place through Third Place, in each of four categories: painting, drawing/mixed media, photography/digital arts, and three-dimensional.




Friday, May 8th

this weekend - tumbleweedThe Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce presents a free concert featuring Tumbleweed at Riverview Park on Friday, May 8th from 5:30 to 8 pm. Tumbleweed plays Blues, Southern Rock, R&B and Country. There will be food and refreshments available. Admission is free.

The Vero Beach High School will hold its Spring chorus concert “Sounds of the Season” on Friday, May 8th at 7:30 pm at the VBHS Performing Arts Center. The concert features Mixed Choirs, Men’s Choir and Women’s Choir singing a wide array of repertoire to celebrate music making over the entire school year. Call the Box Office at 772-564-5537 for tickets.
On Friday, May 8th, McKee Botanical Garden will offer one free admission to the Garden with any paid admission (with coupon) in celebration of National Public Gardens Day. To take advantage of the buy one, get one free admission offer, please visit McKee Botanical Garden’s page on the National Public Gardens Day website at and click on ‘Get this Offer.’ Coupon must be presented at the time of purchase.

Saturday May 9th

The Oceanside Business Association presents Sunset Saturday Night on May 9th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on Ocean Drive at Humiston Park. The featured band is Category Five. There will be food and drink available for purchase. Free admission. .

this weekend - haloHALO No Kill Rescue is holding a “Kitten Shower,“ featuring kittens and mothers up for adoption, at the HALO Adoption Center in the Indian River Mall on Saturday, May 9th from 10 am to 4 pm.




Sunday, May 10

On Sunday, May 10th, McKee Botanical Garden will offer free admission to all mothers with any paid admission to the Garden in celebration of Mother’s Day.


The Pelican Island Audubon Society meeting on Monday, May 11th will be held at the North Indian River County Library beginning at 6 pm. The topic is Will the Indian River Lagoon Summer of 2015 be one that is “Lost” or “Epic”? – How weather patterns, public policy and Mother Nature collide to alter the fish behavior (and fishing) patterns in our Indian River Lagoon with Ed Killer, Outdoors Writer, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Free.


this weekend - ZooDay Trippin’ with Patti & Vicky is offering a night trip to Zoominations, a Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights on Monday, May 11th. Zoominations is a night-time event at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. Over 40 highly-skilled crafts people from the village of Zigong have constructed this once-in-a-lifetime experience for trippers to experience and enjoy (all while the zoo animals are sleeping). An early dinner at the famous Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City will also add to this delightful evening! The cost is $85 and includes full day except the meal at Columbia Restaurant. Reservations can be made by calling (772) 569-8372.

Fellsmere police officer shoots charging bull Reply


Wednesday,  Officer Jeff Gibbs (ID 1301 on radio recordings) of the Fellsmere Police Department was dispatched to the Sonrise Villa’s Apartments at 53 Sonrise Place in Fellsmere to investigate the report of a bull running loose in the complex and that it already charged one person.

That person, identified as Nicholas Seuderling (772-713-0814) called 911 to report the bull. Seuderling said he was waiting for the GoLine bus at the bus stop on N. Willow Street in front of the apartment complex. Seuderling said he was texting on his cell phone and when he looked up, the bull was “staring him in the face”. Seuderling said he immediately got up from the bus stop bench and ran in to the Apartment Complex area. He said the bull chased him so he hid behind a tree and watched the bull continue east in to the complex. He also told 911 dispatchers that there were numerous middle school aged children congregating near the entrance to the complex. Continue reading…

Chamber expresses opposition to state handling of public hearing on All Aboard Florida 3


All Aboard Florida B 2-15-18Editor’s note: A public hearing by the Florida Development Finance Corporation is planned for tomorrow (Monday, April 20) in Tallahassee regarding the proposed issuance of up to $1.7 billion in Transportation Facilities Revenue Bonds for All Aboard Florida. The following letter dated April 16 states the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the hearing being held without three new trustees of the FDFC being present.

April 16, 2015
Mr. Bill Spivey
Florida Development Finance Corporation
800 N. Magnolia Avenue, Suite 1100
Orlando, FL 32803

Dear Mr. Spivey:

On behalf of our Board, our members, and the community I am sending our written comments concerning the All Aboard Florida project. I request both this letter and the attached information be distributed to the FDFC Board of Directors.

We were disappointed to learn that new appointees to the FDFC Board were not even going to be present at the public TEFRA hearing called for April 20, 2015. It was difficult to understand the reasoning behind holding an important public hearing that, according to your quote in the morning Indian River Press Journal “The (finance corporation) has expended a significant amount or time, effort and expense preparing for this public hearing” when no one from the FDFC Board will attend. Further, considering the three FDFC directors are newly appointed by the Governor, it is more confusing as to why a meeting was established for this date, time and place if none of the three were even able to attend. More…

Municipalities are working together to seek participate in Lagoon Council Reply


In the face of the Indian River County Commission’s refusal to participate in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis, four municipalities – Sebastian, Fellsmere, Indian River Shores and Vero Beach – are banded together to seek representation on the new Indian River Lagoon Council. More…

Sebastian Inlet State Park to host Night Sounds concert April 4 Reply


Remember When PictureThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Sebastian Inlet State Park will hold the Night Sounds concert series on Saturday, April 4, 2015. Hosted by the Friends of Sebastian Inlet State Park, the concert will showcase Remember When. Remember When is three singers and a music mixer that play the oldies but goodies from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. Come join us for a jukebox Saturday night style concert. The concert will Take place at the pavilions on Coconut Point, located on the south side of Sebastian Inlet. The concert is free with regular park entry fees.

For more information about Remember When visit

For more information about the concert please call (321)984-4852 or visit

This event will take place:  Saturday, April 4, 2015, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sebastian Inlet State Park


Lagoon Council holds first meeting, elects officer, Indian River County unrepresented 1


Currently, Indian River County is unrepresented in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis.

Currently, Indian River County is unrepresented in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis.

The new Indian River Lagoon Council, a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis, held its first meeting today in Palm Bay. The group includes representatives from the Brevard, Saint Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach County Commissions and from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Saint John’s and South Florida Water Management Districts. The Indian River County Commission chose not to participate in the Lagoon Council, objecting to voting representation for the three state agencies. (See: Regional Lagoon Council proceeds without Indian River County) More…

Who cares about our kids? Reply

Who cares about our kids?


The Recession is over?

Commercial space is being occupied. New restaurants are opening. Hotel occupancy is way up from two years ago. Gas prices are down. Giving to the United Way is up. New home construction is booming again.

The Great Recession is over.

Or is it?

Not for everyone in Indian River County:

  • While unemployment is down from its 14% peak in 2010, it is still almost twice as high as in pre-recession 2006
  • The number of Indian River County citizens in poverty has increased to 14% from 10% in 2006
  • The number of homeless in the County has grown to 1048 from 741 in 2006
  • Births to single mothers have increased to 47% from 43%
  • And the children? Today 21% of our children under 19 years old live in poverty vs. 16% in 2006.

Two candidates announce bids for District 1 County Commission seat Reply


Susan Adams

Susan Adams

jim Hill

jim Hill

With Indian River County Commissioner Wesley Davis’s announcement this week that he will not seek reelection, two candidates, Susan Adams of Fellsmere and Jim Hill of Sebastian, have already made known their intentions to run for the District 1 County Commission Seat Davis has held since 2006. More…

Fellsmere City Council will seek representation on Lagoon Council 5


Fellsmere SignThe Fellsmere City Council this evening directed City Manager Jason Nunemaker to work with its sister cities in Indian River County to seek representation on the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council.

Fellsmere, along with Sebastian, and possibly Vero Beach, are acting in response to a void created when the Indian River County Commission recently voted not to participate in the regional effort to save the Indian River Lagoon. More…

Vero Beach, Sebastian, Fellsmere may fill void left by County on new Lagoon Council 2


Richard Winger

Richard Winger

Richard Gillmore

Richard Gillmore

Leaders in the cities of Sebastian, Fellsmere and Vero Beach appear to be considering how to fill the void created when the Indian River County Commission declined to participate in the new Indian River Lagoon Council.

Vero Beach Mayor Richard Wingers said yesterday he has been in conversation with Sebastian Mayor Richard Gillmore. Vero Beach City Manager Jim O’Connor said he has discussed the issue with Fellsmere City Manager Jason Nunemaker. More…

Commission approves $2.7 million to fight All Aboard Florida 2


Bob Solari

Bob Solari

The Indian River County Commission this morning unanimously approved a motion by Commissioner Solari to create a $2.7 million fund to fight All Aboard Florida and “protect the community.”

The fund will be established to cover legal expenses in fighting the high speed rail project that is almost universally opposed by Indian River County residents. The motion, approved by a 5-0 vote this morning, calls for the county to reserve $500,000 this year and then budget $1.1 million in each of the next two fiscal years. More…

Vero Beach should join Sebastian in seeking a seat on Indian River Lagoon Council 2


“Working together, Sebastian and Vero Beach leaders will demonstrate that far more good can be accomplished through compromise and collaboration than through divisiveness. The Lagoon is in crisis. There is no time for petty politics.”


"Put simply, Solari does not do well when things do not go his way."

“Put simply, Solari does not do well when things do not go his way.”

To more aggressively address the Lagoon crisis, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the St. John’s Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District and the county commissions of Brevard, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach Counties recently formed the Indian River Lagoon Council. Conspicuously absent from the group is any representation from Indian River County.

Following the advice of Commissioner Bob Solari, the Indian River County Commission chose not to participate in the regional effort to save the Lagoon? Why? Because the Lagoon Council does not reflect Solari’s idealistic vision of “representative government.” How ironic, then, that Solari’s response to not getting his way is to refuse to participate in the Coalition, thus leaving Indian River County without representation and input into how local, state and federal money will be spent in a regional effort to save the Lagoon. More…

Sebastian seeks to fill void left by County 2

Sebastian City Council will ask for a seat on Lagoon Council

With the Indian River County Commission refusing to participate in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis, the Sebastian City Council is taking steps to insurance local interests will be represented on the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council.

At the urging of Commissioner Bob Solari, the Indian River County Commission is refusing to participate in a regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis. The Sebastian City Council is taking steps to insure local interests will be represented on the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council.


Solari: Objects to participation boy DEP and Water Management District

Solari: Objects to participation by DEP and Water Management District

Agreeing that it is “a travesty” and “unconscionable” for Indian River County to have no voice in how lagoon-designated funding will be used, and on the heels of the county’s official separation from the newly formed Indian River Lagoon Council earlier in the day, the Sebastian City Council on Feb. 11 agreed to seek a seat on the lagoon body – with or without other local municipalities’ participation. Continue reading…

Home Rule empowers towns and cities to chart their own course Reply


“Talk of unified local government may feed at least a few egos longing to rule over larger fiefdoms, but consolidation of local government within Indian River County would do nothing to improve the quality of life for the residents of Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, the Town of Orchid, Sebastian or Fellsmere.”


Within Indian River County there are five incorporated municipalities: Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, the Town of Orchid, Sebastian and Fellsmere. Why these “extra” layers of government, collecting taxes, imposing regulations and providing services some argue are not essential? Wouldn’t it be more efficient and less expensive for the Indian River County Commission to administer the basic, essential services mandated by the state?

To advocates of so-called limited government, that may sound like a compelling, rational argument, but the case for consolidation crumbles under the weight of reality. In his 2103 book,“If Mayors Ruled the World,” Benjamin R. Barber argues that national and state leaders, and county leaders as well, could govern move effectively and responsibly if they would take a lesson or two from mayors serving cities large and small. More…

Fellsmere leaders focused on economic development, historic preservation, and eco-recreation/tourism 3



Editor’s note: Jason Nunemakers is the City Manager of Fellsmere.

Jason Nunemaker

Jason Nunemaker

Ten years – depending on your perspective that may seem like a trivial length of time. But as a city manager that is a term of service in a single city that is unusual in Florida and frankly a milestone I was not sure I would achieve based on my early experiences in the profession. Rarer still is the opportunity to work with people as genuine, caring, and proactive as I have found in a succession of City Councils in the City of Fellsmere. Against the backdrop of this milestone, ten years as City Manager, coupled with a New Year and a recent large-scale annexation it seems appropriate to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.

The City Council changed their charter from a strong-mayor form of government to a council-manager form in 2005. I was humbled to be selected as the first city manager subsequent to this change, albeit the second choice as Councilman Tyson likes to jokingly remind me. This significant change was predicated in large part on the City’s desire to manage and facilitate quality growth. Several years prior the Pine Grove annexation and associated land use amendments were completed and City leaders recognized the need to professionally manage the implementation of the eventual development. More…

Rushing through Vero: The fast train to elsewhere 3



As we entered 2014, the IRNA Land Use Committee meetings were dominated by concerns arising from the high-speed train proposed by All Aboard Florida (AAF). The train would run from Miami to Orlando through Vero Beach with intermediate stops only at Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach without stopping at Vero. We wanted only the facts about the project – not the fluff.

At the same time, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce was facing a similar situation, seeking information about the proposed train that would speed through the community without servicing its residents – not railroad propaganda. More…

Exchange Club of Fellsmere donates toys to the Fellsmere Police Department Reply


Fellsmere Exchange Club 12-16-14Recently, the Fellsmere Police Department announced to the public that it was initiating a toy drive to collect toys for local youth this Holiday Season. The Exchange Club of Fellsmere partners with organizations in the community each year on various occasions, but makes a special attempt during the Holidays for just such a purpose. This year the Club adopted the Police Departments’ cause as their own. MORE...