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2. Shores Post Office
3. The Bottle Shop
4. Lemon Tree
5. Corey's Pharmacy
6. 7-Eleven

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1. Grand Harbor
2. Oak Harbor
3. Regency Park
4. Vero Beach Book

5. Classic Car Wash
6. Hospital Gift Shop
7. Divine Animal
8. Sunshine Furniture

9. Vero Beach Bridge Center
10. Many Medical

Quail Valley sparking Royal Palm Pointe renaissance
week of October 1, 2015

The new Quail Valley Club hotel and restaurant rapidly taking shape at the end of Royal Palm Pointe has stirred up intense interest in property on the peninsula and shows signs of sparking a general renaissance in the area. “This could be the catalyst for the resurrection of Royal Palm Pointe,” says Cheryl Gerstner, a broker associate with Alex MacWilliam, Inc. who had her own real estate office there for several years. “It could become a real destination and adjunct to the oceanside village on the island.” New shops and restaurants are opening along the half-mile strip and investors are eagerly pursuing opportunities to build luxury townhomes and condominiums, hoping to repeat the early success enjoyed by Fred Peters when he built the 18-unit Royal Palm Pointe Condominiums, which were a big hit when they came on the market in 2005, with top-floor units selling for more than $2 million. READ FULL STORY

Four golf courses prepare to reopen after big upgrades
week of October 1, 2015

The “Summer of Re-grass,” as Windsor Head Golf Pro Zac Courtenay called it, has come to a close. Four barrier island clubs that shut down their golf courses, three on the island and one on the mainland, for various re-grassing and other renovations this past summer are preparing to reopen them in the coming weeks. Quail Valley, which is located northwest of Vero Beach and has a tennis/social campus on the island, was scheduled to reopen its course today (Oct. 1). “It’s a little unusual for a small town like Vero Beach to have four courses closed at the same time,” said Robert Tench, general manager at Orchid Island, which, along with island neighbors Riomar and Windsor, is putting the finishing touches on its renovation project. Fortunately for us, about 85 percent of our members go away for the summer, so it’s not much of an imposition,” he added. “For the members who stayed, we had reciprocal agreements with Hawk’s Nest, Bent Pine and Indian River Club.” READ FULL STORY

As the Melody fades, French bistro to open
week of October 1, 2015

The much-loved Melody Inn restaurant has closed its doors in downtown Vero after 11 years of pleasing snowbirds and year-around regulars with a Swiss and French menu that featured such delicacies as escargot Bourguignon and morel mushrooms in a cognac sauce. “We had a great year and I wanted to end on a high note,” said chef-owner Margaret Burri, who began working at the Melody Inn in Miami in 1980 when she was 22, two years after husband-to-be Hans Burri opened the eatery. The Burris moved from Miami in 2004 when the red brick building that housed their Coral Gables restaurant for 27 years was sold, and reopened in Vero Beach quickly attracting a loyal following. “But the time has come to figure out some new adventures,” said Burri, who has continued to cook and manage the restaurant on her own, almost five years after her husband’s death. What convinced her the time was right was the desire of Stephane Becht – whose contract recently ended as executive chef at the exclusive Windsor Club – to open his own French bistro in Vero. READ FULL STORY

New playground huge upgrade at Humiston Park
week of October 1, 2015

GoPlayVero, an all-volunteer organization working with the City of Vero Beach, will soon officially unveil its first big initiative – the complete renovation of the Humiston Park Children’s Playground – at a ribbon cutting Oct. 17. GoPlayVero was formed in late 2012 after an initial conversation between Kelley Della Porta, a mother of three frustrated by the deteriorating condition of playground equipment in local parks, and City of Vero Beach Recreation Director Rob Slezak. Della Porta recruited others equally interested in promoting the group’s mission: “Improving our community one playground at a time.” After meeting with City Manager Jim O’Connor and Public Works Director Monty Falls to discuss proposed improvements and designs, they began actively fundraising in January and the community quickly responded. “When she came to me with their goal, I thought it would be a pretty long stretch,” said O’Connor, “but I was very impressed with what she did, and the team she assembled. It shows the support this community gives to the city; it’s really important.” READ FULL STORY

A very hot time at the Indian River Medical Center
week of September 24, 2015

It was early last Saturday evening when the air-conditioning system at Indian River Medical Center – a system that serves the Emergency Room, the Intensive Care Unit, the Respiratory unit, and most of the hospital – began grinding to a halt. In the hours that followed, as temperatures in the hospital began to rise, the Emergency Room began turning away all patients except those with stroke symptoms. By Sunday morning, all ambulances were being diverted to Sebastian River Hospital, Lawnwood in Fort Pierce, or St. Mary’s in West Palm Beach. The hospital ceased using its CT scan and MRI equipment – which also require cooling – and began calling county ambulances to transport patients in need of imaging across the street to Vero Radiology. Sunday night, sweltering hospital employees were saying the cooling system was not expected to be fixed before Monday, forcing them to figure out how to nurse more than 100 patients – some of them critically ill – through a second night and into a third day of heat. The air conditioning system was finally repaired – and the hospital began begging back to normal – Wednesday. READ FULL STORY

Hospital story of exec’s departure called in question
week of September 24, 2015

In 2013 when Indian River Medical Center was facing a huge financial crisis with multi-million dollar budget shortfalls, the hospital administration announced that Chief Operating Officer Cindy Vanek was resigning in late August as part of what CEO Jeff Susi called “a mutual decision” to save money. But recently released tax documents raise troubling questions about that version of events, offered at a time when the hospital – faced with a precipitous drop in operating funds – was laying off staff and eliminating dozens of positions. Did Vanek actually leave the hospital payroll? And did the hospital actually curb expenses with her departure? Hospital communications director Lewis Clark, who was not working at the hospital when Vanek left, researched her departure and said in an email: “Ms. Vanek’s last day at work was in August (2013),” and “Ms. Vanek was terminated on Saturday, September 7th, 2013.” But in 2013, according to the hospital tax documents, Vanek – known as Susi’s “right hand” – received close to $568,000 in total compensation. This amount was about $100,000 more than what she had been paid for the full year before. READ FULL STORY

Police brutality suit by Sea Oaks woman set for November trial
week of September 24, 2015

A Sea Oaks woman's police brutality lawsuit against the City of Vero Beach, former Police Chief Don Dappen and former officer Fletcher McClellan is scheduled to go to trial in early November, if the parties cannot reach agreement at a court-ordered settlement conference Oct. 8 in Fort Pierce. Allison Landsman, 62, has alleged McClellan – now an Indian River County Sheriff's deputy – punched her in the face and used unnecessary force during a December 2010 traffic stop outside the Vero Beach Police Department's jurisdiction. Although the exact numbers remain confidential, sources said Landsman is seeking a settlement in excess of $1.5 million to cover medical expenses, lost wages and legal fees, as well as to compensate her for the ongoing physical pain, emotional suffering and psychological effects she claims were caused by the incident. Should the case go to trial, Landsman's Stuart-based attorney, Guy Rubin, also will seek punitive damages that could add more than $1 million to the judgment, if the jury renders a verdict in her favor. READ FULL STORY

Vero electric study: ‘To save, trim trees’
week of September 24, 2015

It’s no huge surprise that Vero electric’s hired consultants recommend the city trim trees more aggressively and move to an automated metering system to save money – Florida Power and Light already does these things to help keep rates low – but it was shocking to see that the highly touted “optimization” study only found $108,000 in potential cuts in a $94 million operating budget. That might mean about a 10-cent savings on the average electric bill. City officials had held this study out as promising in terms of opportunities for reducing electric rates, but with recommended efficiencies like more aggressive tree trimming and a smart-metering system not being without their own implementation costs, the small amount of anticipated savings, at least in the short-term, seems like a wash. The study, which consultants Power Resources finished and gave to Vero on Sept. 2, but which Councilwoman Pilar Turner had to specifically ask for to get a copy of on Sept. 14, compared Vero’s electric Transmission and Distribution (T&D) system to other government-owned utilities in terms of staffing, operations and efficiency. READ FULL STORY

Boat sales are booming, and Vero Marine adds a new line
week of September 24, 2015

Another sign the economy is humming? Local boat dealers are reporting strong sales, even through the usually slower summer months. “No question, we’re up,” said Brian Cunningham, co-owner of Vero Marine Center, which has been selling boats at its Royal Palm Pointe location for 56 years. “The past three summers have been better than our typical summer, and this year has been a lot like last year.” Cunningham credited Vero Marine’s strong sales to the products he represents, which include Grady-White, Southwind Deck Boats and Yamaha outboards. And just this month, Vero Marine added Robalo Boats, known for building the world’s finest premium quality fishing boats, to its product line. “There’s not a dealer out there who wouldn’t want the products we sell,” Cunningham said. “The manufacturers have stepped up with new products and new technologies, and we’re the only five-star shop on the water.” READ FULL STORY

New recycling program to be rolled out next week
week of September 24, 2015

Indian River County’s single-stream recycling program and new once-a-week trash pick-up schedule for unincorporated County residents starts on Oct. 1, and in case learning the details has not been a top priority, the county has videotaped a town hall meeting and provided answers to the many questions about the program online. All the information about the changes, and the Sept. 16 town hall video, can be found at The video link is listed in the “more information” section. The first change that residents will see is the blue, rolling recycling cart that either has popped up or will soon arrive at the end of their driveways. This cart (except for Indian River Shores residents) replaces the two blue-bin system. Shores residents for now will keep using their two blue bins, but they no longer have to sort the recyclables. The new system is “single stream,” meaning that plastics, paper, glass, aluminum, newspapers and all other recyclables can be mixed together. READ FULL STORY

3 seek spot on Hospital District Board
week of September 24, 2015

Three people have applied to Gov. Rick Scott to be appointed to a volunteer position on the Indian River County Hospital District Board to decide how to fund indigent healthcare. The applicants are Dr. Michaela Scott, Karen Deigl and Joe Saul. They are vying to succeed District Trustee Harris Webber, who resigned unexpectedly in mid-term, citing pressing business responsibilities. Scott, who lives on South Beach, is an oncologist and hematologist very well known to island residents. She has treated thousands of Indian River County cancer patients since getting her medical degree in 1967 in Bonn, Germany, then doing a residency in the U.S. Deigl, the GoLine administrator and CEO of the Senior Resources Association, was employed as the Hospital District executive director nine years ago. Saul, a combination lawyer and dentist from New York who retired to this area, began attending Hospital District meetings in 2013, where he was vocal about what he viewed as the mismanagement of Indian River Medical Center. READ FULL STORY

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