Winger calls on Vero Beach residents to be informed, stay engaged Reply

COMMNETARY

Editor’s note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council.  Today, he issued the following statement calling on Vero Beach residents to follow closely development at City Hall and to let their opinions be known. 

RICHARD WINGER

Richard Winger

On Tuesday, May 16  there will be two council meetings: The first at 9:30am is a Special Call.  We are expecting FP&L to present a “Letter of Intent.” 
The second at 6:00pm is a regularly scheduled City of Vero Beach Council meeting and is scheduled to deal with tearing down “Big Blue.” 
Both meetings will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

I believe you all know I have been working towards a full sale of the City’s electric utility and I remain committed to it. The 9:30 meeting is very important to that end.  
Our prior effort to sell came from a Letter of Intent presented by FP&L in May 2011. It was merely accepted, not vetted, and 6 years and millions of ratepayer-dollars later, the sale could not be completed as written and the contract was allowed to expire by the current Council and Mayor December 31, 2016.

If we are going to finally complete this sale we must not repeat past mistakes.  We must vet the details of any written document requiring signatures by both parties and we must keep the public informed.  
Because they have muzzled me as a City Council member, I am not allowed to comment further, so I am sharing a Press Journal editorial which is a must read.  http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/04/27/our-view-thoroughly-review-proposed-purchase-fpl/100982566/
The sale of the Electric Utility is the biggest financial event the City of Vero Beach has ever, or will ever, go through and you are the owner.  A price must be fair to protect the future of our City. More…

Is City delaying release of public records? O’Connor says ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ 1

NEWS ANALYSIS

“In part that is right,” and, “No,” cannot both be accurate answers to essentially the same question.  O’Connor’s equivocation regarding the City’s rationale for not releasing the requested public records until May 16 further suggests City Staff is being pressured by Moss to conduct the public’s business in the shadows.

MARK SCHUMANN

Jim O’Connor

Contradictory answers City Manager Jim O’Connor gave yesterday regarding recent public records requests suggest the City is delaying the release of documents in order not to complicate efforts to negotiate terms of the Vero Electric sale in secret. Mayor Laura Loss claims the information requested is “proprietary.” It is not.

Moss, (who in the most recent election received $50,000 in support from Florida Power and Light), along with members of City Staff and attorneys with the law firm of Carlton Fields have been holding private discussions with FPL representatives on the proposed sale of Vero Electric. According to Moss, members of City Staff, likely O’Connor and Finance Director Cindy Lawson, have been conducting “a thorough review” of the terms of FPL’s pending offer.

FPL is to submit a letter of intent to City Council on May 16. That letter, Moss says, will become a part of the public record this coming Wednesday when it is included in the agenda packet for the May 16 special call meeting.

If the documents are not released until May 16, that will be fully 8 days after the initial request was submitted by Vero Beach resident Brian Heady. More…

Kept in the dark, Winger seeks attorney’s time sheets Reply

NEWS ANALYSIS

“FPL’s determination to acquire Vero Electric is evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of dollars the company has spent pushing referendums and sponsoring council candidates friendly to its cause. The larger objective, of course, is FPL’s desire to expand its customer base by acquiring additional municipal utilities in Florida. Vero Beach is just the first move in a much broader, state-wide chess game. FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy admitted as much in public statements made at an investor conference in March, 2013.” See: FPL president tells investors Gov. Scott is urging other municipal utilities to sell to FPL (Since 2013, FPL’s rates have risen steadily and significantly. Accounting for a franchise fee, the rate differential between Vero Electric and FPL at 1000 kilowatt hours per month is now less than 10%.)

MARK SCHUMANN

Richard Winger

Laura Moss

The law firm of Carlton Fields, engaged by the City three months ago, has yet to submit invoices for work the firm has done and is doing to negotiate a sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light.

Absent invoices and itemized time sheets with which to assess the work of Carlton Fields, Councilman Richard Winger today submitted a public records request seeking those documents.  Even though Carlton Fields may be holding back on submitting invoices, surely the firm is keeping detailed records of time spent and work done. Those records will be needed to eventually prepare invoices. In his records request Winger wrote, “Such sheets, (time and billing sheets), should include time billed, or to be billed, and who acted or was “Present” (in person or on the phone) and on what specific day. “Present” means all personnel, whether from the City, Carlton Fields, FMPA, FPL, etc.”

Given Mayor Laura Moss’s secretiveness about discussions she has had with representatives of FPL and with Carlton Fields, it seems likely Moss may have requested Carlton Fields to delay submitting invoices and billing records.  Her goal would be to keep from public view as long as possible the nature of the discussions and of the work being done to craft a deal acceptable to FPL, to the Florida Municipal Power Agency and to the Orlando Utilities Commission. More…

O’Connor: No documents, no notes 1

On proposed power sale” “no documents, no notes.”

Claims City Staff has been conducting “an ongoing financial review.”

Following receipt today of InsideVero’s latest public records request, City Manager Jim O’Connor replied, “My office has no documents related to the proposed sale, but I have been involved in discussions, but there were no documents passed between parties in the discussion where I participated.”

When asked how staff could be conducting an ongoing financial review of FPL’s proposed terms without putting any information in writing, O’Connor replied, “I know better than to take notes in fact I usually will not carry a pen.”

O’Conner’s explanations make it unmistakably clear he and just one member of the City Council, Laura Moss, are negotiating the sale of a public asset and are doing so behind closed doors. Further, his comments raise questions about the veracity of Moss’s claim that members of City Staff have been conducting “an ongoing financial review” of the deal.

Moss, along with fellow Council members Harry Howle and Lange Sykes, seem set to accept FPL’s terms on May 16, the day the offer is scheduled to be presented. Based on what she has claimed so far, Moss seem likely to argue that the deal has already been carefully reviewed by Staff.

See: Power sale being negotiated behind closed doors

Power sale being negotiated behind closed doors 3

COMMENTARY

“Florida’s open government laws are intended to insure that the public’s business is conducted in the public, not in secret.  Moss appears to be flaunting, if not violating those laws. (In her recent election to the Council, Moss benefited from a $50,000 contribution FPL made to a political action committee supporting her.)”

Editor’s note:  Following receipt today of InsideVero’s latest public records request, City Manager Jim O’Connor replied, “My office has no documents related to the proposed sale, but I have been involved ini discussions, but there were no documents passed between parties in the discussion where I participated.” When asked how staff could be conducting an ongoing financial review of FPL’s proposed terms without putting any information in writing, O’Connor replied, “I know better than to take notes in fact I usually will not carry a pen.” O’Conner’s explanations make unmistakably clear he and just one member of the City Council, Laura Moss, are negotiating the sale of a public asset and are doing so behind closed doors. Further, his comments raise questions about the veracity of Moss’s claim that members of City Staff have been conducting “an ongoing financial review” of the deal.

MARK SCHUMANN

When it comes to Mayor Laura Moss’s negotiations with FPL, no one knows what is said behind closed doors.

During last Tuesday’s Vero Beach City Council meeting, Mayor Laura Moss acknowledged that the City’s outside attorneys have in their possession “complete information” on a pending letter of intent from Florida Power & Light. That letter is to be presented to the Council at a special call meeting scheduled for the morning of May 16.

At least based on public statements they have made to date, Council members Harry Howle, Lange Sykes and Moss intend to accept FPL’s letter of intent at the May 16 meeting. Unlike Howle, Moss and Sykes, Councilmen Richard Winger and Tony Young have said they will be reluctant to accept even an outline of FPL’s offer until the terms can be reviewed by the Finance and Utilities Commissions.

According to Moss, member of City Staff have access to at least the outline of FPL’s pending offer. The information, Moss said, has been the subject of “an ongoing financial review by Staff.” Despite Moss’s public admission that the specifics of FPL’s pending offer are in the hands of the City’s outside counsel, as well as Staff, no one at the City has yet been willing or able to provide the information in response to public records requests. More…

FPL’s parent company didn’t pay Federal tax for 8 years, got $313 million in credits 1

JERRY KANNELLE/MIAMI NEWS

Since 2016, Florida Power and Light, the monopoly consumers are forced to pay if they want electricity in Miami, has been accused of the following: Leaking radioactive wastewater into Biscayne Bay; trying to trick consumers into giving up their rights to solar power; attempting to stash radioactive waste in an area that could possibly leak into Miami’s drinking water; unjustly raising rates on consumers by $811 million; paying off bigoted State Sen. Frank Artiles via $2,000 in Daytona 500 and Disney World trips; and even just straight-up writing their own bills in the state legislature. Despite all this, its parent company’s stock price hit an all-time high of $133 per share on Friday. Continue reading…

Laura Moss: Self-described ‘queen’ of Vero Beach 3

Mayor Laura Moss recently described herself as a “queen.”

Speaking to a group of children gathered for a tree planting event, Laura Moss recently introduced herself as the Mayor of Vero Beach. “What’s the mayor?,” one child asked. Moss replied, “Well, the mayor is like being the queen.”

Given the way Moss has recently muzzled discussion of the proposed sale of Vero Electric, it seems she sees her self-described role as “queen,” not as a ceremonial one, but more as that of a monarch with absolute power and authority over her subjects.

Last Tuesday, when civic activist Brian Heady appeared before the City Council during public comment time, he sought to make a public records request related to the proposed power sale.  Moss had Heady removed from the meeting.  By the time City Attorney Wayne Coment could offer Moss guidance on the likely illegality of barring Heady from the meeting, he had already left City Hall. Likely, he was headed home to begin preparing a lawsuit against Moss and the City.

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING

WE NEED YOUR VOTE!

The Vero Beach Cultural Arts Village has applied for a grant with A Community Thrives, brought to you by USA Today Network to facilitate development of the infrastructure of the Village. Visit: http://act.usatoday.com/submit-an-idea/#/gallery/60252360 to see the video grant application.

The Vero Beach Museum of Art is currently exhibiting significant examples of Deborah Butterfield’s (at left) distinctive sculpture based on the equine form in the exhibition Deborah Butterfield: Horses continuing through Sunday, June 4. View 16 unique sculptures in the exhibition Larry Kagan: Object/Shadow, (at right) on view through Sunday, May 21. Digital montages by photographer Jeffery Becton, The View Out His Window (and in his mind’s eye) continues through May 7.

 

More…

The PJ, even the PJ, now questions strong-arm tactics of Moss 3

Editor’s note: In a recent editorial, the TCPalm.com-Press Journal editorial board finally questioned the strong-arm tactics of Vero Beach City Councilwoman Laura Moss. (The newspaper has yet to report on the unprecedented outside contributions Moss received from Florida Power and Light and Indian River Shores residents.)  The board, which until now has offered unquestioning and unqualified support for all thing FPL, is now urging the Council to thoroughly assess the utility giant’s latest offer to acquire Vero Electric.  “A review of a potential FPL deal will not occur overnight and must include thorough analysis of future settlements with the city’s existing power providers, the Orlando Utilities Commission and Florida Municipal Power Authority,” read the editorial.  Regarding the rate differential between FPL and Vero Electric, the Press Journal and FPL have long used each utilities 1000 KWH rate as a benchmark for comparison. Accounting for a 6% franchise fee, that differential is currently 8.7%.

PRESS JOURNAL EDITORIAL

Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss delivered her fellow council members and city electric ratepayers some good news recently: She expects Florida Power & Light Co. to deliver the city a letter of intent to purchase Vero Beach’s electric operation. Continue reading...

Editorial: Don’t make FPL customers pay for fracking Reply

TIMES EDITORIAL

Editor’s note: This is the second editorial this week on FPL’s attempt to gain permission from the Florida State Legislature to charge ratepayers for out of state fracking. The effort is now opposed by Florida’s top two daily newspapers.

Florida Power & Light’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Florida Legislature, is moving toward allowing the state’s largest electric utility to charge customers for its natural gas fracking projects in other states. This is nothing but a massive handout to a powerful monopoly at the expense of consumers who should not have to pay for this. If fracking is that promising, the utility’s shareholders should shoulder the financial responsibility. continue reading

Will FPL’S political investments in Howle, Moss and Sykes pay off? 2

And who is looking out for Vero Beach?
COMMENTRY

“Certainly a majority of Vero Beach voters have more than once expressed support for selling Vero Electric. What voters have never approved, however, is the kind of determination Howle, Moss and Sykes are showing to hand over the City’s largest asset on terms that are not carefully reviewed, and that might be terribly unfair to the City, its residents and taxpayers.”

MARK SCHUMAN”N

Laura Moss

At the Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 9, representatives of Florida Power and Light are expected to present a letter of intent to acquire Vero Beach’s municipal electric utility. Except perhaps for Councilwoman Laura Moss, who has been in direct discussions with FPL representatives, no one knows exactly what terms FPL will offer.

When Richard Winger first ran for a seat on the Council in 2011, his campaign theme was “A Fair Deal” for Vero Beach. Winger’s concern at the time was that the Council not simply cave to FPL’s terms, but instead negotiate terms that would be fair to the City. As it turned out, the Council majority of Tracy Carroll, Craig Fletcher and Pilar Turner approved a fatally flawed, unworkable contract that expired last December.

Now the new council majority of Harry Howle, Moss and Lange Sykes, all of whom were elected with significant financial support from FPL, seem set to swallow hook, line and sinker the utility giant’s new offer.  So determined are Howle, Moss and Sykes of concluding the sale on FPL’s terms that they have, over the objections of Winger and Councilman Tony Young, muzzled the Finance Commission by instructing it not to discuss the proposed deal. More…

Hospital slows search for new CEO 1

Move is to allow Hospital District time to consider alternate forms of governance

NEWS RELEASE

The CEO Search and Transition Committee, charged with identifying a new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Indian River Medical Center (IRMC), decided to slow down the search as recommended by the Executive Search Firm, Spencer Stuart.  On a parallel track, the Indian River County Hospital District’s Collaborative Committee is evaluating the current governance structure of the Medical Center as well as alternative structures that might best assure high quality healthcare services for our community for years to come.

Spencer Stuart’s recommendation was based upon the opinion that uncertainty related to the governance structure might limit the pool of high quality candidates.  Furthermore, potential changes to the governance structure will most likely shape the characteristics set as the highest priority in selection of the new CEO. More…

Florida Junior College Women’s Softball Championships at Historic Dodgertown Reply

Games begin tomorrow and continue through the weekend

The 2017 Florida Junior College Women’s Softball Championship will be played at Historic Dodgertown beginning Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30. Sixteen teams from across the state will compete for the title, and the top two winners will move on to play in the Junior College World Series next month in St. George, Utah.

The tournament, in its third consecutive year played at Historic Dodgertown, is co-hosted by the Treasure Coast Sports Commission and Historic Dodgertown. The teams will play their games at the Quad area, a recent addition to the property, consisting of four softball fields, each with its own outdoor batting cage and warm-up pitcher’s mound. Players, coaches, families and friends will stay at multiple hotels throughout Vero Beach and the Treasure Coast, adding to the economic impact in the region.

The championship event opens Friday with the following schedule. Games will be played that evening beginning at 4 p.m. in accordance with the double elimination format. The tournament continues Saturday and Sunday with morning and evening games. More…

Bruhn: Local government authority is under attack 1

GARY BRUHN/ TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT

Every year, your local governments come under attack by the same people who tell the federal government to stay out of their business – our state legislators.

You see, local government’s self determination, or Home Rule, is guaranteed by our Constitution. Local government can do anything not denied to them by state law. And every year, your legislators come up with new ways to impose their will on your local way of life.

This year we have an unprecedented number of bills that will impact you. continue reading…

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING

AT RIVERSIDE THEATRE

Saturday Night Fever through April 30. Tickets start at $35.

THURSDAY, APRIL 27

The Center for Spiritual Care, 1550 24 Street in Vero Beach, is hosting “A Conversation with Mari Perron”, on Thursday, April 27 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. This is a wine and cheese reception for her only appearance on the Treasure Coast. Please RSVP 772-567-1233.

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 28

The Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce presents An Evening with America on Friday, April 28 at 8 pm. Hear hits such as I Need You, Ventura Highway, Don’t Cross The River, Tin Man, Lonely People, Three Roses, and Sister Golden Hair. For tickets ( $59/$49) visit SunriseTheatre.com.

 

 

 

More…

Blessing of the Animals Set for Saturday, May 6 Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County (HSVB) invites members of the community and their companion animals to the annual Blessing of the Animals on Saturday, May 6th, 2017, at 10:00 A.M. The service will be held in the Humane Society’s Volunteer Pavilion located at 6230 77th Street (Hobart Road), Vero Beach. The Blessing of the Animals is being held in conjunction with “Be Kind to Animals Week,” a nationally recognized week celebrating the human/animal bond and promoting the protection of all animals. More…

Florida Senate advances bill to let FPL charge customers for fracking costs Reply

Intended to overturn a 2016 Florida Supreme Court ruling, the legislation will allow FPL to place the financial risk for fracking and exploration on the backs of its costumers. In 2015, FPL lost $5.6 million on a fracking venture in Oklahoma.

Editor’s note: Tuesday, May 9 the Vero Beach City Council is to receive, and presumably accept a letter of intent from FPL to buy Vero Electric.

MARY ELLEN KLAS/MIAMI HERALD

Florida Power & Light’s quest to have customers pay for natural gas fracking projects in other states overcame a key hurdle Tuesday as the Senate Rules Committee passed the controversial measure and overlooked opposition from residential and commercial customers.

The proposal, SB 1238 by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, now goes to the Senate floor. A similar measure in the House, HB 1043, has made it through one of three committees in that chamber. Continue reading…

A major case of sticker shock Reply

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

I received this postcard in the mail yesterday and the first thing I noticed was the price on this small, basic home. At first I thought it was a joke, no way a house this size could sell for that price, even if it was on the waterfront. Then I thought it must be very special, like inside was John Dillinger’s vault, or the building was a storage shed at Mar-a-Lago.  But clearly, it was a realtor’s postcard (name blurred to protect the flood of fake inquiries sure to follow) and the address was in North Hollywood. I know real estate is much more expensive in South Florida, but this is ridiculous.

Wait a minute…there is no North Hollywood in Florida – but there is in California.

I flipped the postcard over and it was addressed to a person  in North Hollywood, California. So how did I get it? I have certainly received other people’s mail and then either walked it over to the appropriate neighbor or put it back in the mailbox. But to mis-deliver a postcard 3,000 miles away? It had to go through the hands of more than one person, more than one post office, and many screw-ups to arrive in Vero Beach.

More…

VNA awarded $6,000 by Grand Harbor group Reply

Pictured from left are: Maureen McCaffery, Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program; Ann Marie McCrystal, VNA and Hospice Foundation Grants Committee Chairman; Caryn Llewellyn, Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program; Mary Linn Hamilton, VNA of the Treasure Coast President/CEO; Kathy Orton, VNA of the Treasure Coast Vice President Clinical Services; and Kerry Bartlett, VNA of the Treasure Coast Vice President Foundation

NEWS RELEASE

Recently, the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) was awarded a $6,000 grant from the Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program to provide a portion of the support required in the Medicaid-Eligible Patient Care Program (M-EPCP). Due to VNA’s 42 year commitment to providing charitable care, the M-EPCP provides funding for people whose low income qualifies them for Medicaid. Qualified patients are under the age of 65, and either under-insured, or without health insurance or money to pay for their health care. The M-EPCP will allow the non-profit home health organization to provide necessary, and sometimes urgent, medical care for an estimated 120 indigent home health patients during the next fiscal year. More…

Canadian football team to practice this week at Historic Dodgertown Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are returning to Historic Dodgertown for their  2017 mini-camp from Tuesday, April 25 to Thursday, April 27. The Riders football operations staff, led by Chris Jones, John Murphy and Jeremy O’Day, along with the complete coaching staff will be in attendance to conduct the workouts

 More than 40 players are expected at camp, including the team’s five quarterbacks: Bryan Bennett, Brandon Bridge, Kevin Glenn, GJ Kinne and Vince Young. The rest of the camp roster will be made up of CFL rookies or players with previous professional experience but entering their first year in the Canadian Football League.

All practices are open to the public. More…

Grand Harbor continues to support Camp Haven Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Camp Haven receives their fifth grant from the Grand Harbor Community Outreach Philanthropy Committee. After an in-depth interview process, Camp Haven received a $14,000 grant to provide professional counseling for clients in the Pathways to a Purposeful Life Program.

“We are pleased to partner with Camp Haven to help homeless men regain financial independence and self esteem through a structured program,” said Dale Jacobs, Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program, Inc. vice president.

Grand Harbor Community Outreach is dedicated to addressing the unmet needs of groups and individuals in Indian River County. The nonprofit commits 100 percent of member donations to support the disadvantaged of Indian River County. More…

Vero Beach should coordinate Lagoon efforts with regional, One Lagoon group 2

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

RICHARD WINGER

The next City Council meeting is Tuesday May 2nd at 9:30am. Between now and then, I need your help to rally support for the Indian River Lagoon. The City of Vero Beach must participate in the holistic approach to the Lagoon.

A formal call from me for consideration at the next City Council will be forthcoming for all City of Vero Beach Indian River Lagoon projects to be submitted to One Lagoon.

As I said at City Council April 18th, our City and our County need be whole-hearted participants in One Lagoon (formerly named the 5 county Indian River Lagoon Council).  We must realize, as Senator Nelson has said, it takes each and every local government along the Lagoon, working together with state and Federal agencies, to do its part to save the Lagoon.

The small projects envisioned in “The Legacy” project, are something I support, but apart from a coordinated regional effort they will make minimal improvement.  These small Legacy projects won’t help even a fraction as much as fixing the major problem of storm water runoff in the City.  However, all effort helps, and will benefit the Lagoon much more if they are a part of the holistic One Lagoon effort. I am requesting at the next Council meeting that the Legacy projects be submitted to One Lagoon, and I am suggesting they be brought to One Lagoon’s STEM and Management meetings. We went over that procedure for this at the April 18th City Council.

Please share this information with your friends and everyone you know who will support the holistic approach. Small fragmented efforts are not the correct path. A united effort means the Indian River Lagoon can and will recover.  One Lagoon is the only path for saving this unique environmental treasure and the City of Vero Beach needs to be a part of the total solution.

 

 

Vero Beach again named ‘Tree City USA’ Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Vero Beach, Florida was named a 2016 Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. This is the 36th year Vero Beach has earned the national designation.

Vero Beach achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, and increased property values and commercial activity are among the benefits enjoyed by Tree City USA communities.

On April 28, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. the City of Vero Beach and the Vero Beach Tree and Beautification Commission will be planting a tree at MacWilliam Park located at 3361 Bridge Plaza Drive, Vero Beach, Florida, to commemorate Arbor Day. The Vero Beach City Council and the schoolchildren from Beachland Elementary School have been invited to participate. All interested parties are cordially welcomed to attend this Arbor Day celebration.

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING   


Art in Public Places announces a new exhibition, “Saudade,” mixed media by Gina DeMario (at right) now on view at the Indian River County Courthouse, 2000 16th Avenue in Vero Beach.  On view through August 24th.  Visit 9 am to 5 pm Weekdays.

AT RIVERSIDE THEATRE

Based on the 1977 blockbuster film, Saturday Night Fever whisks you back to the 1970s, where open shirts, bell-bottoms and disco were all the rage.  April 11 – 30.  Tickets start at $35.

CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE CULTURAL ARTS VILLAGE GRANT

The Vero Beach Cultural Arts Village has applied for a grant with A Community Thrives, brought to you by USA Today Network to facilitate development of the infrastructure of the Village.  The application is in the form of a video now on the USA Today website along with many other applicants.  At Noon on Wednesday, April 12, voting for your favorite video opens and will continue through May 12th.  A person may vote once a day for the one month period.  The ten entries in each category with the highest number of votes will move forward to a panel of judges for review.  We need your help!   Please take a minute and vote for the Vero Beach  Cultural Arts Village.    Visit:  http://act.usatoday.com/submit-an-idea/#/gallery/60252360 to see the video grant application.  Vote today for a better tomorrow! More…

Impact 100 Announces 2017 Grant Winners Reply

Shannon Bowman, Childcare Resources of Indian River; Paul Sexton, Hibiscus Children’s Center; Suzanne Bertman, 2016-17 Impact 100 President; Peggy Cunningham, Alzheimer & Parkinson Assoc. of IRC; Dr. Edie Widder, ORCA – Photo By Phil Reid Photography

NEWS RELEASE

On April 19th, the membership of Impact 100 voted at their Annual Meeting to select the winners of this year’s awards. Since this year’s membership consists of 439 members, four $100,000 Impact Grants will be awarded, with the remaining $39,000 divided evenly among the three Merit Grant winners. Each year, Impact 100 awards every dollar of membership funds in grants to Indian River County nonprofits.

With today’s awards, Impact 100 will have donated more than $3.3 million dollars to non-profits in Indian River County over the last nine years.

The four winners of the 2017 Impact Grants are: More…

Finding Common Ground: An Interfaith Conversation at St. Edward’s Saturday April 22 Reply

MILT THOMAS

Although this is short notice, an important discussion will be held at St. Edward’s School this Saturday, April 22 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts. The keynote speaker will be Dr. John L. Esposito, Georgetown University Professor of Religion and International Affairs.  Representatives from the local faith community will also contribute. The event is sponsored by the Breaking Barriers Club, a student-run club at the school.

Yesterday, at the Vero Beach City Council Vision Plan meeting, it took students from Vero Beach High School and the Indian River County Charter High School at bring the health of our Indian River Lagoon into focus as the most important issue facing our community’s future. The upcoming Finding Common Ground discussion is also an example of our students leading the way for us to focus on an issue of prime importance to our community and our country.

See the details below:

What is your vision for the future of Vero Beach? Reply

If it matters to you whether the now-decommissioned power plant site and other public lands are preserved for public use and are not sold for high-rise developments, consider attending Monday’s Visioning workshop. The meeting is to begin at 11:00 in City Hall.

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

If you care about the future of the city we all call home, then you should consider attending tomorrow’s Vision Meeting at Vero Beach City Hall, 11:00 a.m. This is the second Visioning meeting held by the current Council, but unlike last month’s meeting, it will address specific issues. At least according to the published agenda, tomorrow’s meeting will not be a free-for-all public input session.

Here are the specific issues to be discussed:

Commercial Districts

There are five districts scheduled for discussion and the issues related to each:

  1. Historic Downtown

Although some would consider the beachside commercial area as “downtown,” the true downtown is between U.S. 1 and the western edge of the Twin Pairs at 20th Avenue. It includes City Hall, the main post office, Pocahontas Park, Vero Theater Plaza, Art district, Crestlawn Cemetery, County Administration complex, County Courthouse, Vero Beach Municipal Airport – in other words every government and historic property within Vero Beach’s city limits. Back in 1975 the state created a plan to facilitate the flow of traffic through downtown because I-95 ended at the SR 60 exit. That plan was implemented in 1991 and created the Twin Pairs. It is essentially a bypass through the heart of our Historic Downtown. Creating a more pedestrian-friendly downtown is one of the issues to be discussed.

  1. Royal Palm Pointe

The City created a destination out of what was formerly the western end of the original Barber Bridge. City taxpayers authorized $6 million of improvements to create parking and a public park that would attract visitors who would then shop at the businesses on what became Royal Palm Pointe. Today many of those businesses have been replaced by private, upscale condos and the concern is whether the vision of previous City Councils will fall victim to big money interests. More…

Catch the Fever at Riverside Reply

REVIEW

Tony Jacob Tischler) and Stephanie Alexandra Matteo) compete for first place in the 2001 Odyssey dance contest from Saturday Night Fever.

MILT THOMAS

The so-called Disco Era of the 1970s hardly qualifies as an era having only lasted about five years, but the soundtrack of those years – Saturday Night Fever – is timeless. You probably have one of the 40 million copies of that vinyl album somewhere in your storage unit. I don’t want to know if you still have the bell-bottoms and platform shoes, but if you do, you will want to drag them out because Riverside Theatre has a torrid case of Saturday Night Fever and you’ll want to catch it. On second thought, put those bell-bottoms back into storage. But don’t miss the show at Riverside!

Based on a 1975 New York Magazine article, “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,”  the 1977 movie was a major hit and the 1999 musical theater adaptation of Saturday Night Fever ran on Broadway for 500 performances  long after the disco fad had faded. However, then as now, the music and story are timeless.

The main character, Tony Manero, was played in the film by John Travolta and handled superbly onstage by Jacob Tischler in this Riverside production. Tony works in a hardware store and lives for the weekends when he can strut his stuff on the 2001 Odyssey Disco dance floor. He gets no emotional support or encouragement from his parents, who idolize his priest brother.  His loser friends idolize him, including a wannabe girlfriend and dance partner, Annette (Nicole Colón). When Tony sets his sights on first place in a dance contest, a $1,000 grand prize and maybe a life, he spurns Annette in favor of a new girl, the relatively classier Stephanie Mangano (Alexandra Matteo).

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Col. Tony Young: Believe In Vero! 1

Editor’s note: Vero Beach City Council member Col. Tony Young issues regular updates on the work of the Council and on events happening in Vero Beach. Young released the update April 14.

Col. Tony Young

Passover, Easter Time: This week is abbreviated. Most government offices are closed tomorrow. Please take the opportunity to celebrate one of our basic liberties: Religious Freedom! Having served where that is denied, I realize we should all appreciate the privilege to practice any faith or not. Vero Beach is rich in the spiritual realm. Our houses of worship manifest the faiths we hold dear. These days are numbered so let’s use them wisely.

Monday is the second special-call meeting to address our City Vision. It is essential to look ahead and express our desires. We understand constraints. Businesses and families deal with limited means as a norm. But, goals are guideposts of life. Without them, our efforts are disjointed, and hap stance. These discussions help drive decisions. The process is the key. Along the way, we will adjust course. We can find resources, reduce our appetite, extend the horizon, or realign priorities. All are variables in the mix. Visions are part of all dynamic organizations. More…