Lagoon advocates post video promoting proposed storm water fund Reply



Lagoon advocates want to see the City of Vero Beach step up efforts to better filter storm water runoff.  To address the Lagoon crisis, Councilman Richard Winger believes it is time for Vero Beach to follow the example of most surrounding municipalities along the Lagoon. Nearly all of them have establishing a source of dedicated funding for maintaining and expanding storm water filtration.

At its 9:30 meeting tomorrow morning, the City Council will vote on a proposal to begin assessing a storm water system user fee on property owners. The proposed fee is estimated to average $5 a month per property, and is expected to raise just under $1 million a year.  An alternative proposal would have the City increase it property tax to pay for handling storm water runoff. This alternative approach, Winger points out, would leave all non-profits and governments exempt from helping to pay the cost of removing and cleaning the runoff from their properties.

Limited-government advocates, chief among them Councilman Harry Howle, oppose Winger’s proposal, because, they says, it will lead to more government. Echoing Howle, Press Journal columnist Larry Reasman again yesterday repeated the claim that Winger’s proposal will create a “new utility,” as he put it in his front page column. Winger counters that what he is proposing, and what the Council is set to vote on tomorrow, is a user fee to fund improvements to and expansion of the City’s network of canals, culverts and filters.  The proposal to be voted on tomorrow restricts the use of the money to be raised.  It cannot be use to hire employees, or to establish “a new utility,” as Resiman and Howle claim.

Both sides are bracing for what will likely be a long and spirited debate tomorrow.

South Korean baseball team in Vero Beach for spring training Reply


The South Korean baseball team, the Wyverns, has taken to the fields at Historic Dodgertown

The South Korean baseball team, the Wyverns, has taken to the fields at Historic Dodgertown

The SK Wyverns return to Historic Dodgertown, making this the sixth consecutive year the team has held their Spring Training in Vero Beach. The team’s Spring Training opens today.

The Wyverns of the professional Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) recently introduced American Trey Hillman as the team’s field manager. This is Hillman’s first season managing in the KBO. His previous managerial experience was with the Kansas City Royals (2008-2010), and the Japanese Professional Baseball Pacific League Nippon Ham Fighters (2003-2007). Hillman also coached for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2010-2013) and Houston Astros (2014-2016). He also managed in the Minor Leagues for 12 seasons. More…

Cultural Calendar Reply


Riverside Theatre presents Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” opening January 31 with shows through  February 19.  Elyot and Amanda, once married and now honeymooning with new spouses at the same hotel, meet on the balconies of their adjacent rooms. As they relive the past, their original spark reignites and they impulsively runaway together to give their relationship another shot, much to the shock of the newlyweds they leave behind. Tickets start at $35. Visit or call 772-231-6990. 

Vero Beach Opera’s Opera Studies Program begins on February 2 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. This year’s theme is “Russia: Land of the Tsars.” Dates are: February 2 – Boris Godunov, February 16 – Ivan Susanin, February 23- Khovanshchina, March 2 – Mazeppa, and March 9 – War and Peace. The programs are presented from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. Tuition is $50/$70. To register call 772-231-0707 ext. 116 or visit

Kindermusik, music and movement classes for children with Ocean Strings Studio, are being offered every week on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to noon from January 31 through April 27 at Leisure Square, 3705 16th Street in Vero Beach.  For more information, visit More…

McKee Botanical Garden’s Motor Car Exhibition Feb. 11 Reply

8th annual exhibition to feature ‘Rods and Customs’
1949 Mercury DiPol

1949 Mercury DiPol


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

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

Buggy Bunch to open Family Education Center in downtown Reply


Rendering of renovations planed for Buggy Bunch's newly acquired building located at 1450 21st. Street.

Rendering of renovations planed for Buggy Bunch’s newly acquired building located at 1450 21st. Street.

The Buggy Bunch is excited to announce The Buggy Bunch Family Education Center!

Join us as we transform a life, a family, a community!

Thanks to a small group of generous donors, The Buggy Bunch has chosen a building in a strategic downtown “Old Vero” location to serve as its headquarters. The new Vero Beach Family Education Center will allow The Buggy Bunch to expand infrastructure to meet the demand for new and targeted family programming. More…

Howle, Moss and Sykes voting ‘under the influence’ 1









Speaking before the City of Vero Beach Finance Commission earlier this week, City Manager Jim O’Conor said he agrees with and stands behind the assessment that it will take some $42 million, plus a $5 million allowance for contingent liabilities, to ensure a sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers does not negatively impact the remaining customers over the next 30 years.

By agreeing to accept just $30 million, O’Connor said the new City Council majority of Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes will be shortening by 10 years the period of time over which Vero Electric’ remaining customers will be protected from rate increases resulting from the sale.  This carving up of the utility is being done at the request of, and for the benefit of the Shores.

Why would Howle, Moss and Sykes make a $17 million concession that in no way advantages their constituents or the future customers of Vero Electric?  Quite simply, they are voting under the influence of Shores leaders and Florida Power & Light. More…

Quote of the Week Reply

Finance Commission member Kathryn Barton

Kathryn Barton

“In the letter of intent is says, ‘in the context of a total sale.’ This is a partial sale, and I don’t know what they mean by ‘the context of a total sale.’ Because what are you actually doing to implement the total sale?  If you really think a total sale is going to happen, then why are we doing a partial. That leads you to believe there isn’t going to be a total sale.” – Kathryn Barton, member City of Vero Beach Finance Commission, speaking during Tuesday’s Finance Commission meeting.

Editor’s note: Barton was referring to a letter of intent between Florida Power & Light and the City of Vero Beach for the sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to FPL. 

Young issues report on ‘work in progress’ Reply

Editor’s note: Under the heading “Tony’s News and Views,” Vero Beach City Councilman Col. Tony Young today issued an update and report on the actions and direction he sees the Council taking in 2017.  Following is Young’s email report is reprinted in full.


Col. Tony Young

Col. Tony Young

Welcome to my initial offering! This is one manner for me to express subjects that are currently on my radar. It is critical for you to periodically learn of the work I am doing on your behalf. These updates will serve as a means for me to reflect on observations and priorities that stem from my work as part of the City Council. These are my views and are not official record or positions. This will be a conduit for my personal ideas and serves to facilitate productive dialog in the coming year.

2017 is in full swing! Since Election Day, several City Council Meetings and a couple Special Call meetings have already been completed. Yes, I have enjoyed being a City Council Member. And, I am pleased that I have already contributed in a small measure to our community. This business is a collective effort. I have learned from all of my fellow members. In addition, the City Staff has been of great support as I get my feet on the ground. My phone, email and office are operational. My door located on the west hallway is always open. The City is now center stage on my calendar. More…

Winger makes case for ‘Lagoon Enterprise Fund’ 2


Richard Winger

Richard Winger

In a guest column published in the Press Journal, Vero Beach City Councilman Richard Winger urged city residents to attend the 9:30 a.m., Feb. 7 meeting of the City Council to support an effort he is backing to help address the Lagoon crisis.

The proposal to raise an average of $5 per month from each of the City’s property owners to pay for better filtration of stormwater runoff was approved by 11 of 12 members of the Finance and Utilities Commissions. Yet, Winger expressed concern that several Council members may attempt to stall or kill the plan. “The City Council has members who campaigned one way and perhaps will vote another,” Winger wrote.

As Winger explained, within the five counties through which the Indian River Lagoon flows, Vero Beach is only one of two municipalities not adequately funding filtration of stormwater runoff with a dedicated, secure source of revenue. Winger reiterated the message he is receiving from fellow members of the Indian River Lagoon Coalition, which is that the Lagoon can only be saved if each and every county and municipality along the estuary does its part.

According to Winger, two-thirds of Vero Beach surface water currently flows into the Lagoon unfiltered, “carrying whatever is on our lawns and paved surfaces to contaminate the Lagoon.”

The average monthly fee of $5 to be paid by local property owners would not be used for salaries, operating expenses or equipment, but would instead pay for piping, pumps and filtration system to better clean surface water runoff before it reaches the Lagoon. The money could also be used for muck removal and aeration projects to clean the bottom of the Lagoon near outfall areas.

Opponents of the proposal, Councilman Harry Howle chief among them, argue the Lagoon Enterprise Fund will lead to more bureaucracy. Winger and other proponents of the plan stress that none of the money raised will in any way increase the City’s payroll or to buy equipment.  Use of the funds will be restricted specific projects. If the City is going to do its part to help save the Lagoon, the only other alternative, they say, will be to raise property taxes.


Cultural Calendar Reply


weekend-web_koi-to-the-world_20x20_hires_cmykweekend-web_tranquil-morning_36x36_12000_hires_cmykThe J.M. Stringer Gallery, 3465 Ocean Drive, is pleased to present Natural Wonders, featuring the recent paintings of Joseph Sundwall and Luke Steadman.  Sundwall  (at right) paints in a style called “alla prima” or “direct painting,” in which each area of the painting is accomplished in a single sitting. Steadman (image at left), a signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists and a Vero Beach local, has a quiet, contemplative style that is enveloped in atmosphere and mood.   Visit the website, to preview the artists’ work and read their full biographies. Exhibition on view through February 11th.  Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 am – 6 pm.


Rowing club 10,000 meter ‘Erg-A-Thon’ Feb. 11 Reply

More than 60 student athletes to participate in the 10K Erg-a-thon in Vero Beach


Vero Beach Rowing is organizing their third annual Erg-a-thon on Saturday, February 11th at Vero Strength + Conditioning from noon to 2:00pm.  Each participating high school level rower will row 10,000 meters on a rowing machine called an ‘erg’ to help raise funds for the construction of a new community boathouse and rowing facility at MacWilliam Park, an area with calmer waters and ideal for rowing activities.   

This year’s goal is to raise $10,000, and a GoFundMe page has been set up for donations as follows: More…

Local minister delivers open letter to President Trump 4

Guest Commentary
Editor’s note:  Rev. Scott Alexander, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, delivered the following open letter to President Donald Trump.  Alexander also delivered the message as a sermon to his congregation yesterday. 
Rev. Scott Alexander

Rev. Scott Alexander

Yesterday I preached the following “Open Letter to Donald J. Trump” on the occasion of his inauguration as the 45 th President of the United States…those in attendance (we had one of the biggest crowds of the year) urged me to share it as widely as possible…here is the complete text.


The following letter was sent (under my signature) to President Donald J. Trump (care of The White House in Washington D.C.) two days ago (on Friday, January 20th) the day he was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. I share it with you now…and will publish it and share it as widely as I can in the coming days.

Dear Mr. President,
I am writing you this “Open Letter” on your inauguration week – which will be shared with the congregation I serve here in Vero Beach, Florida, and subsequently publishing it as widely as I can for other American’s to read and consider – because I have deep and serious concerns about the kind of moral leadership you may bring to your Presidency.

Let me begin, please, by briefly introducing myself. My name is Rev. Scott Wells Alexander. I am a 10th Generation American — with the first of my family arriving in Massachusetts in 1630 with the first wave of Puritan immigration. I have lived and worked in the United States my entire life, and have been a Unitarian Universalist minister for the last 43 years – serving congregations in Maine, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Florida and also working as a denominational executive for a decade (in the 1990’s) out of our national headquarters in Boston. I write you today as a proud and patriotic American, a religious leader (particularly focused on addressing hunger, poverty, and inequality in my community) and a faithful Unitarian Universalist.

Before I tell you what is on my mind today (as you begin your Presidency) let me share just a little about my religious tradition, which informs and animates everything I want to say to you as my President. Although the roots of our liberal faith tradition go all the way back to Jesus’ gospel message of compassion, inclusion and justice for all — and the earlier teachings of other great religious leaders (such as Buddha, Moses, Mohammad and Confucius) who also taught human unity, dignity and compassion — our formal institutional roots go back some 500 years to the European Reformation. Today, we are an inclusive, diverse and progressive 21st Century American faith tradition built on the bedrock principle of “The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person,” and devoted to building a world (and a nation) with justice, equity, compassion, dignity and safety for all. More…

Partial utility sale could hurt local businesses Reply



Local business owners enthused about the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power and Light may be in for an unpleasant surprise, if not a rude awakening.

In the short term, any partial sale is likely to lead to higher rates for the remaining customers of Vero Electric.  City leaders pushing for the downsizing of Vero Electric, namely Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, say the sale for the Shores is being pursued “in the context of a full sale.” Yet, they have so for offered no explanation for how a partial sale would in any way improve the prospects of eventually selling the remainder of the system.

If the sale of the full system proves undoable, then local businesses could be facing higher electric rates, not just short term, but for many years to come.  Not only will local business face higher power costs, but so too will schools, governments, the hospital, churches, the Vero Beach Museum of Art, the Riverside Theatre and other non-profits. Worse, if the sale must be partially funded by a significant, long-term surcharge, that burden will fall entirely on the remaining customers of Vero Electric, including commercial customers, city and county government, the hospital and non-profits.  Make no mistake about it, with only 2.7 percent of Vero Electric business customers located in Indian River Shores, and some 97 percent of the City’s commercial customers located outside the Shores, any shift if electric costs could be significant.

Though the Shores represents just 8.7 percent of the City’s total customer base, those customers use more power than the average resident. What does this mean?  Quite simply, the Shores portion of Vero Electric contributes more than 8.7 percent of operating profits. The loss of these profits will inevitably lead to higher rates, and/or higher taxes for everyone else. More…

Reader Comment: Half the experience for twice the price? What gives? Reply

Being both a resident of the City of Vero Beach and thus an owner of Vero Electric, I am writing in hopes that you could straighten out this “Sale situation of Vero Electric”.

#1- The former city council of Turner, Fletcher and Carrol signed an agreement to sell to FP&L some years back.   After spending several $MILLIONS by Vero Electric on attorneys they found no way forward, neither did FP&L’s attorneys.  Attorneys the City hired said we should get $185,000,000, but they accepted and offer for $85,000,000 less.  

#2-Then when a new city council came in they hired new attorneys and also spent $MILLION or so to find out that out prior $MILLION attorneys were right. This attorney also advised us not to sell a $47,000,000 asset for $30,000,000 because this would lead to higher rates. That city council took his advise.

#3- Now the new city council majority of Howle, Moss and Sykes fired that attorney that advised us not to take the deal  because they want to sell it for $30,000,000, because somehow that’s the neighborly thing to do. They then interview new attorneys, one of which knows all the details of all these bonds and contracts, but because this very knowledgeable of the facts attorney says a sale will NEVER be able to go through for the entire system, they do not hire him.  Instead they hire an attorney that knows none of the facts and details of all the contracts and bonds, but at $500.00 per hour he will gladly get educated in all the sales agreements that we have already paid other attorney $MILLIONS and who have all come up with the same conclusion that we will never be able to sell the entire system and that we are losing $17,000,000 on the sale of Indian River Shores and that our rates will be increasing.

If this is not the case, could you please tell me what really happened?


John Wester.

Editor’s note: At a special call meeting of the City Council Jan. 10, Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes voted to hire the law firm of Carlton Fields at a rate of $495 an hour.  The firm will head the City’s negotiations to sell the Indian River Shores portion of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light.  Councilmen Tony Young and Richard Winger preferred the firm of Gray Robinson, which has worked in utility and municipal law for some 38 years, and has handled utility sales.  In contrast, the lead attorney for Carlton Fields had not represented a municipal utility in a sale. Gray Robinson’s proposed fee was $250 per hour. Howle and Sykes were so sure they wanted to hire Carton Fields, that they moved to dismiss attorneys from Gray Robinson before even hearing their presentation. “I think it would be a complete outrage for the City of Vero Beach to invite a law firm here and then dismiss them without listening to their presentation,” said Young.  

Is a stormwater utility finally in the cards? Reply

Vero Beach leaders propose to establish a storm water utility to raise funds to better filter storm water runoff into the Lagoon.

Vero Beach leaders propose to establish a storm water utility to raise money to better filter polluted storm water runoff draining into the Lagoon.

Editor’s note: This story was first published Oct. 15, 2015.  On Jan. 10 of this year, in a joint meeting of the City’s Utilities and Finance Commissions, commission members voted 11-1 to recommend the City Council continue moving forward with forming a stormwater utility. The new utility, which would assess charges averaging $5 per month, is seen by many as the preferred means of establishing a dedicated source of funds for addressing stormwater runoff that is contributing to the Lagoon crisis. 



The Vero Beach City Council has now taken the first steps in forming a stormwater utility. While that might not be the first thing on residents’ (and taxpayers’) minds, it ties in to the one subject on everyone’s mind, the future of our Indian River Lagoon. More…

FMPA offers possible path for sale of Vero Electric Reply



A solution may be on the horizon to overcoming impediments that have so far blocked the sale of Vero Electric. To date, the absence of a qualified utility willing and able to assume Vero Beach’s long-term commitments to three Florida Municipal Power Agency projects has stood in the way of the deal. However, at a meeting of the FMPA board of directors in Orlando today, FMPA General Manager and CEO, Jacob Williams, outlined steps the agency is willing to take to help facilitate the sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light.

Williams indicated the FMPA’s All Requirements Project, made up of 13 municipally owned utilities, could assume Vero Beach’s position in the Stanton I and II coal-fired power plants in Orlando, as well as Vero Beach’s share of the FMPA’s fractional ownership in the Saint Lucie nuclear plant. Because the average cost of Vero Beach’s power from these three projects is more than twice the current short-term price for wholesale electricity, Vero Beach will have to pay the FMPA’s ARP to “buy” the City’s position in the power projects. “Vero Beach will have to pay other municipal utilities to take its shares,” Williams explained to the FMPA board. More…

“Beautification Weekend” set for Feb. 11-12 Reply


In conjunction with the City Council, we are announcing the 3rd annual “Beautification Weekend” for the City of Vero Beach on Saturday and Sunday, February 1112.  Dedicating a weekend to beautification re-establishes a concept that first began in 1930 honoring Dr. Humiston’s efforts in beautifying the City through cleanup and planting projects. This year the Tree and Beautification and the City will be completing a beautification project to kick off this weekend. The Vero Beach Police Department property was selected as the project location and it will be receiving plenty of attention and new landscaping. More…

Stormwater ‘utility’ best way to fund improving lagoon health 1


Editor’s note: Randy Old is a former member of the Vero Beach City Council. He currently serves on the City’s Finance Commission.


Randy Old

Randy Old

On Tuesday, at 9:30 am, February 7, the Vero Beach City Council will consider establishing a stormwater utility system dedicated to funding the infrastructure required to keep stormwater runoff from polluting the lagoon. Studies have shown this to be a serious problem, but one that has been ignored for years by the city because of lack of funds.

The purpose of the Stormwater Utility is to protect and improve the health of the lagoon, by providing a dedicated funding source to control and clean stormwater before it gets to the lagoon. The Utility is funded by all those who own impervious property, be they individuals, schools, the City, churches, or commercial enterprises. The average bill would be $5.00 per month, or $60.00 per year, and would generate a total of just under $950,000. Those wishing to reduce their bill could change the impervious qualities of their property.

The Finance and Utility Commissions each recommended to the City Council that the City finalize the consultants’ study, and that billing each property owner be done through the existing utility billing system.

There are about 166 Stormwater Utilities in Florida that have been created by municipalities.  The main advantage of this project is that this funding allows the city to plan a multiyear program, to make use of matching grant programs, and to ensure that the lagoon funding doesn’t compete during the budget process with roads, staffing, and safety. Most importantly, while the effort to protect and improve the lagoon is now voluntary, it will soon become mandatory as state and federal guidelines become law. This project establishes a method for Vero to comply with the future.

Happy New Year,


Hibiscus Children’s Center ‘Wine & Dine’ Sat., Feb. 4 Reply

Hibiscus Wine & Dine Committee

Hibiscus Wine & Dine Committee


Hibiscus Children’s Center is excited to announce that we will once again take you on a culinary journey at the “Taste of Italy” – The Journey Continues! Don’t miss this fabulous Wine & Dine event to be held on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 6:00-9:00pm at Bent Pine Golf Club in Vero Beach.   Guests will savor a progressive Italian tasting from appetizer to dessert. There is nothing like the flavors of classic Italian cuisine, especially when paired with wonderful wines selected by our event partner, Varietals and More. Your taste buds will be delightfully tempted while we join together for a great cause, to support the abused youth living at the Hibiscus Village and help to provide a better future for the teens. More…

Attendance at City’s beach parks nearly 700,000 in 2016 2

Tim Capra, Vice President of the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, teaches students from Classical Conversations at South Beach Park

Tim Capra, Vice President of the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, teaches students from Classical Conversations at South Beach Park


According to an annual report recently released by the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, total beach park attendance increase by 40,000 patrons from 2015 to almost 700,000. Attendance does not include the beach outside the guarded areas and 100 yards north and south of each guarded beach. Estimates put the total number of people who visit our beach at over 1 million per year.

The total number of medical emergencies declined by 30% to just under 300. Water rescues were down 13% in 2016 with lifeguards rescuing 34 people from drowning. Approximately one half of all water rescues and medical emergencies occurred outside the guarded areas. Unfortunately, 1 fatality occurred in the water due to the dangers of breaking waves. Medical emergencies and water rescues occurred in almost every month despite the weather conditions or time of year.

March through July continued to see the largest crowds at our beach.

Turtle nesting season ran from April through October with turtle research volunteers marking 1 in every 15 nests. More…

Youth Sailing Foundation appoints new director of sailing Reply


Mary Morgan

Mary Morgan

Mary Morgan grew up sailing at the historic Riverton Yacht Club on the Delaware River. Starting in a Sunfish, she quickly moved up to racing C-420’s.

Mary worked as Sailing Instruction Manager at the Cooper River Yacht Club throughout her high school and college years. There she learned the skills required to plan and administer sailing instruction programs, which included community sailing and outreach to inner city children from Camden and Philadelphia. Along the way she became an accomplished sailor and racer

Most recently Mary worked summers as Sailing Director at Brant Beach Yacht Club on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. There she managed a sailing program that encompassed teaching beginners as well as coaching racing teams. With responsibility for curriculum development, teaching and staff supervision, and acting as liaison with Club parents, officers, and management, Mary brings a wide range of skills and experience to Youth Sailing Foundation.

Mary is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental and Business Economics. While at Rutgers, Mary was a member of the sailing team and member of the Alpha Zeta Honors and Service Fraternity.

About the Youth Sailing Foundation 

Cultural Calendar Reply



weekend-cultural-connection-doy-demsick-mitchell-steinMichael Cooney’s riotous farce, Cash on Delivery, is coming to the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, 2020 San Juan Avenue, January 12th through January 22nd. Eric Swan lost his job two years ago and was afraid to tell his wife, Linda. Instead, he has been duping the British Welfare Authority ever since by claiming every type of benefit for the innumerable people he claims live at his address. His schemes include fictitious children and bogus disabilities. When welfare investigators show up, events spill out of control in hilarious fashion. Cash on Delivery runs through Sunday, January 22, with four matinees and six evening performances. Tickets are $24 and $26 and may be purchased by calling 562-8300 or online at


weekend-chicagoChicago – on stage through January 22. Get an entertaining, story-filled tour backstage on Friday, January 13 at 11 am or 2 pm. See the set designs and props up close. Learn more about how the shows are created and brought to life on stage. The tours last roughly one hour, the cost is $5 per person / Free for Members ($100 or more donors).



weekend-empty-plateAn Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf performs January 17 – February 5 at Riverside Theatre. At the world’s greatest restaurant, the Café du Grand Boeuf in Paris, is open for only one patron, owner and American millionaire Victor, the staff is always ready to prepare the most sumptuous of meals. On a hot July night in 1961, Victor arrives from Madrid disheveled and depressed with one simple wish: to die of starvation. The devoted staff, who depend on Victor’s patronage for their livelihood, desperately try all means to change his mind. When all else fails, Victor is convinced to have his favorite dishes prepared, but the food is to be kept in the kitchen and only empty platters served. Comedy ensues throughout the delectable seven course meal as a feast of words and declarations fill the restaurant. For tickets ( $45) call the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or visit More…

An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf at Riverside Theatre is a tasty treat Reply


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I love to cook and among my favorite dishes is a Moroccan Tagine, a kind of stew that includes something for every one of my taste buds – savory (umami), sweet, sour, salty and bitter.  The Riverside Theatre play, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf is such a dish, and like any well-prepared meal, it leaves you comfortably satisfied.

Yes, it is a play about food – or more specifically, it’s absence. Let me explain. It takes place at the Paris restaurant, Café du Grand Boeuf (Restaurant of the Big Ox) in 1961. The staff provides comic relief as they prepare for the restaurant’s owner and only customer to arrive. The headwaiter, Claude (Brian Myers Cooper), is a candidate for Ritalin if there ever was one as he flits around the stage in near panic mode trying to shake his staff into a modicum of professionalism. His reclamation project is Antoine (Daniel Burns), a recently hired, stuttering dishwasher, who Claude  wants to transform into a waiter before the owner arrives. Mimi (Maria Couch), is the restaurant’s hostess and Claude’s unhappy wife, who dreams of living the life of Jackie Kennedy as she complains about Claude’s anniversary present, a tube of lipstick.


Umpire training academy taking place at Historic Dodgertown Reply


t1larg-umpires1More than 80 men and one woman are learning the rules of the game of baseball and practicing calling balls and strikes at the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Umpire Training Academy, currently taking place at Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, through the end of January.

The MiLB Umpire Academy is the country’s only all-inclusive program, preparing aspiring umpiring professionals on the technical side – and nuances – of the game. The Umpire Training Academy has been held at Historic Dodgertown since 2010.

Students come from all walks of life, and from all over the world to attend the training academy. For example: More…

Murder, mayhem and great music in Riverside Theatre’s Chicago Reply



chicago-riverside-7There are those people who love musicals and those who despise them. People love musicals because they use song and dance to advance a story; people who don’t like musicals consider breaking out in song and dance an impediment to a story.

So listen up if you are in the former group – Chicago, currently playing to packed houses at Riverside Theatre is a must-see event! If you see any musical, even if you have seen every version of this one, you know why Chicago is probably the most successful show in modern musical history. Well, not probably. Chicago IS the longest running American musical in Broadway history (20 years and still running), winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy. It spawned a movie version that won six Academy Awards in 2003 including Best Picture (first musical to win in 35 years), and another movie, All That Jazz, about original Chicago choreographer Bob Fosse, that won the Palme d’Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

As far as the latter group is concerned, those who might otherwise shun musicals, it’s safe to say that all this success had to pull in plenty of people like you, so why not give it a shot? Truly, you need to see this production! More…

Author to discuss Florida’s ‘fringe subcultures’ Reply


lynnwaddellWhat do “mud boggers, furries, ufologists, and nudists” all have in common?

They are among the weird, wacky, and wonderful cultural curiosities who have found refuge in Florida and are making an indelible mark on the reputation of the Sunshine State.

On January 12 at 7 PM, author and journalist Lynn Waddell will appear in a free lecture at The Emerson Center’s Florida Humanities Series to explore Fringe Florida: The Unusual Subcultures of the Sunshine State. Her presentation, drawn from her 2013 book published by the University of Florida Press, begins at 7:00 p.m.

Waddell contends that many Florida tourists are bypassing the attractions of Miami Beach, Orlando, and Tampa.  Instead, they are spending their time in less familiar locations, seeking to witness odd behaviors and lifestyles that challenge traditional cultural norms.  To make her point, Waddell will go behind the sensational headlines to take our audience inside some of the state’s most eclectic and daring worlds.  She will reveal the colorful people and lifestyles that make Florida truly unique, while discussing how these edgy subcultures came to

Cultural Calendar Reply



weekend-cultural-connection-doy-demsick-mitchell-steinMichael Cooney’s riotous farce, Cash on Delivery, is coming to the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, 2020 San Juan Avenue, January 12th through January 22nd. Eric Swan lost his job two years ago and was afraid to tell his wife, Linda.  Instead, he has been duping the British Welfare Authority ever since by claiming every type of benefit for the innumerable people he claims live at his address.  His schemes include fictitious children and bogus disabilities.  When welfare investigators show up, events spill out of control in hilarious fashion.  Cash on Delivery opens Thursday, January 12, and runs through Sunday, January 22, with four matinees and six evening performances.  Tickets are $24 and $26 and may be purchased by calling 562-8300 or online at More…

FPL seeking yet another rate hike Reply


In addition to the $6.93 per 1000 kilowatt rate increase recently approved by the Florida Public Service Commission for Florida Power and Light, the utility giant is now asking the PSC for permission to rase rates another $318.5 million, or $3.36 per month on the average residential customer. Together, the increases would bring FPL’s rate for 1000 kWh to $99.56.

In comparison, Vero Electric’s rate is $116.08 per 1000 kWh, for a difference of 14.2 percent. Vero Electric’s rate includes a 6 percent payment in lieu of tax to the City’s general fund. If the residents of Vero Beach were served by FPL, the City would instead assess a 6 percent franchise fee, brining FPL’s rate to $105.53, for a difference of 9 percent.

Proponents of the proposed sale of Vero Electric to FPL have long argued the move would save city residents 30 percent or more on their power bills. In truth, if the sale of the utility system to FPL ultimately requires a substantial and long-term surcharge on the current customers of Vero Electric, there may be no measurable savings to the city’s utility customers.