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10. Many Medical

Sheriff’s Office opens probe into Polish Club coup
week of November 19, 2015

The Indian River Sheriff’s Department has opened an investigation into the actions of the breakaway board of directors of what was once the Polish American Social Club, which used the club’s premises to form a new social club without any links to Polish heritage. Former members claim the six-member board unlawfully disbanded their club, formed a new one and sold the real property – said to be worth $1 million – to the new incarnation, the Vero Social Club. “The focus of my investigation is whether that was done in a manner that constitutes a crime,” said Detective Sergeant Tom Raulen, who specializes in fraud-related investigations for the Indian River Sheriff’s Office. Raulen has sent out 140 questionnaires to members of the former club asking whether they had been made aware of or asked to participate in a vote to either dissolve the club or sell the real property. Of the two dozen or so he has received back, none he has reviewed said they were notified of any such vote. Raulen has contacted Royal Palm Beach attorney Lynne Hampton, who oversaw the dissolution and transfer of property. She was hired last spring as things heated up between past members and the new board of directors. “She contends that the board acted in a legal manner and that any issue would have been civil in nature,” says Raulen. READ FULL STORY

Vero Man dig moving ahead after jolt of Mercyhurst’s withdrawal
week of November 19, 2015

The group backing the Ice Age excavation known as the Vero Man dig suddenly found itself frozen out of a critical source of funding two months ago, when the prestigious Mercyhurst University Archaeological Institute withdrew from the project, taking with it the imprimatur of a major scholar key to winning grants and recognition. But the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee now seems to have managed to retain in some capacity two key archaeologists with the project since its inception: Andy Hemmings, an assistant professor at Mercyhurst and the lead archaeologist at the site; and James Adovasio, director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute and dean of the school of natural sciences. And talks are well underway with FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to take over where Mercyhurst left off. Harbor Branch, once a privately-funded research center north of Fort Pierce, is now affiliated with Florida Atlantic University. The Ice Age Site committee already works with Harbor Branch’s DNA lab, and paid to use its dormitory to house students working at the dig. “That’s a much bigger school than Mercyhurst, and it has interest in the project,” says Dick Kerr, board member. READ FULL STORY

Cost of clearing the land on the river side of Big Blue estimated at $5 to $10 million
week of November 19, 2015

When it comes to creating a pristine riverfront on the site where Big Blue now stands, the cost is currently estimated at $5 to $10 million – and that’s without removing either the hulking building or the electric substation from the front of the property. The best case, according to City Manager Jim O’Connor, is that it would cost about $5 million to clean up the site, and free up “green space” on the lagoon where tanks, cooling towers and other equipment would be dismantled and removed. City officials say while Big Blue will not be fired up again, the process of taking the building down piecemeal – to preserve the critical components inside, which have some resale value – will take considerable time. Employees have been told they should expect to have work until at least next July. But beyond that, the city Finance Commission found out last week it would cost about $20 million to move the substation that is on the West side of Big Blue to another location. Finance Commission member Glen Brovont, a local realtor with a career in the construction industry, expressed disappointment at hearing those numbers last week a month after the panel considered the new Orlando Utilities Commission deal in detail. READ FULL STORY

Rowing Club set to build dream boathouse at the island end of Merrill Barber Bridge
week of November 19, 2015

With the much-anticipated signing of a lease with the city, the Indian River Rowing Club is about to start power-stroking its way toward its dream home: a $2 million boathouse on the Indian River Lagoon at the east end of the Barber Bridge. “We believe that Vero Beach is going to build a rowing culture in a big way,” club spokesperson Shotsi Lajoie said on the eve of the scheduled lease-signing. “Just as golf and tennis are all throughout Vero, rowing is going to be part of the lifestyle here.” With one 25-year-term for a total of $625 rent, and an optional second 25 years to be renegotiated in 2040, the club now begins fund-raising for the structure. The firm of well-known Windsor architect Scott Merrill is on board to design the building – two of its architects are rowers – and Lajoie predicts a “beautiful, signature structure” for MacWilliam Park. The boathouse land is directly behind the building housing the Volunteer Ambulance Squad. Lajoie says no oaks will be removed from the site. Space for a 100-foot floating dock is in the plan as well. READ FULL STORY

Hospital District dismayed at news of lawsuit
week of November 19, 2015

The majority of Hospital District trustees expressed either shock or dismay last week after learning that the Indian River Medical Center, its CEO Jeff Susi and its COO Steve Salyer had quietly settled a federal non-compete lawsuit after Salyer was hired away from Sebastian River Medical Center. District trustees, who direct millions of taxpayer dollars to the hospital, and a few hospital board members said they first learned of the suit when they read about it in Vero Beach 32963 in late October, after the suit had already been settled for an undisclosed amount. “Did the hospital and its advisors never think that this would come out in the public domain?” asked District chairman Tom Spackman. At a Tuesday meeting last week, several District trustees not only questioned the hospital’s secrecy after repeated promises to the District to be more transparent and communicate better. They questioned whether the hospital had behaved ethically when it hired Salyer, who had non-compete, no-solicitation of employees and no sharing of trade secrets clauses in his contract with Sebastian, where he was Chief Executive Officer three weeks before coming 15 miles down the road to Indian River hospital. READ FULL STORY

The Estefan musical ‘On Your Feet!’ debuts on Broadway
week of November 12, 2015

NEW YORK CITY – A near-delirious ovation swept over the cast of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s “On Your Feet!” last week following the official Broadway opening of their new biographical musical. With headlines the following morning declaring it a welcome bright spot on Broadway, hopes are raised of a major hit – and, with Gloria’s luck, a conga line of Tony awards. Back in Vero, the couple’s Costa d’Este hotel has quietly touted the show with a single lobby signboard, and Gloria and Emilio’s cherished oceanfront home north of Windsor has been sanctuary this fall to more sea turtles than Estefans. The couple has been living out of suitcases all fall in another hotel – New York’s Marriott Marquis. Their upper-floor suite is just an elevator ride away from the newly-renovated 1,600-seat Marquis Theatre. Opened in 1986, a year after Gloria’s crossover hit “Conga” launched her career, it is now home to “On Your Feet,” the story of that auspicious start. After a month-long Broadway preview period, and earlier previews in Chicago, reactions point to a long Broadway run. READ FULL STORY

Mayfield makes one final attempt to rein in FMPA
week of November 12, 2015

Lobbyists from the Florida Municipal Power Agency and its sister organization the Florida Municipal Electric Association – who year-after-year have managed to kill every previous effort by Rep. Debbie Mayfield to regulate FMPA or its member municipal utilities – will have one final bill from her to kill this coming year before she is term-limited out of office. House Bill 579, as proposed, would accomplish several of the things Indian River County officials and Vero Councilwoman Pilar Turner have been pressing for, including forcing the FMPA to put a dollar figure on each member city’s stake in the co-op. This has been seen as the essential first step if Vero is to ever navigate a reasonable exit from the FMPA. In stating the case for her bill, Mayfield cited the Florida Auditor General’s finding that the FMPA’s hedging practices were riskier than industry standards, and that some of its personnel and spending policies were also criticized by auditors. FMPA ratepayers will be paying for huge losses for decades, as the co-op floated millions of dollars in new bonds to get the FMPA out of hedges on a failed project. READ FULL STORY

Charles Sullivan’s accuser files a civil lawsuit
week of November 12, 2015

As promised two months ago after the State Attorney declined to pursue criminal charges against attorney Charles Sullivan Sr., the former receptionist employed in the office suite he shared has filed a lawsuit in civil court detailing what she says were unwanted sexual acts that caused her bodily and mental harm, as well as loss of income and loss of enjoyment of life and family activities. Christina Petticrew, 43, who filed the suit under the pseudonym Jane Doe, alleges counts of battery, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and false imprisonment during the time she accuses Sullivan Sr., 83, of holding her down at her desk while molesting her. Attorney Jerome Stone of Stuart filed the suit. Stone was one of the attorneys who sued another influential attorney, Willie Gary, as part of a highly publicized Martin County sex case. The receptionist’s husband, George Petticrew Jr, 41, filing under the pseudonym John Doe, is also suing for “loss of consortium” with his wife, as the suit alleges she is no longer able to fulfill all of her social and relational duties to him and to the family. The husband’s count in the suit also claims that he suffers from the lack of income from his wife’s lost employment. READ FULL STORY

Vero voters send a message: Howle in, Graves out
week of November 5, 2015

Thanks to beachside voters’ confidence in Councilman-elect Harry Howle, and his persistence to try again after a loss in 2014, Councilwoman Pilar Turner will at least have a second when she makes a common-sense motion to protect the taxpayers of the City of Vero Beach. With four out of five precincts reporting in Tuesday night, it appeared that Vero would return incumbents Dick Winger and Amelia Graves to office and that city residents could brace for two more years of higher taxes, stagnant electric rates and Graves serving as an echo to all of the Mayor’s ideas and policies – no matter how expensive or imprudent. But that all changed when Precinct 17 reported in with Howle carrying 27.48 percent of the beachside vote to put him in second place behind Mayor Dick Winger, and on the dais. It was highly unlikely that anyone would beat Winger, with his name recognition, his more than $16,000 in campaign funds, most of that raised early on. That left Winger time to campaign which he did, walking precincts door-to-door. In the end Winger won the day with 1,178 votes for 25.78 percent and a first-place finish in the five-way race for two seats on the council. Winger was not available for comment election night. READ FULL STORY

Melanoma expert picked to lead Cancer Center
week of November 5, 2015

The Indian River Medical Center, racing to complete the new Scully-Welsh Cancer Center by mid-December, took another major step forward last week with the announcement that an international expert on the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma would become its medical director. The hiring of Dr. James Grichnik, 54, a dermatologist who since 2011 had directed the melanoma program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami, quickly drew praise from local physicians and members of the Duke Cancer Network, with which the new Scully-Welsh center is affiliated. “He will be a great asset to this community. His background in molecular and targeted therapy, which is at the forefront of cancer treatment, gives him a great opportunity to turn Scully-Welsh into a center for melanoma treatment,” said dermatologist John McDonald, who is director of the Indian River Skin and Cancer Center. “He is exactly the leader we’ve been searching for and brings special skills that will be an enormous benefit to our community,” said Dr. Michaela Scott, a local oncologist who has treated cancer patients for 40 years. READ FULL STORY

How Zudans was chosen for Hospital District seat
week of November 5, 2015

The recent appointment by the governor of ophthalmologist Val Zudans to the Indian River County Hospital District came as a surprise to District trustees and staff who did not know he had applied, but not to Zudans himself. Zudans told Vero Beach 32963 he had been interested in a District seat for more than a year. He said he had talked about possibly running for a seat to a friend at his church who supported him, retired District trustee Alma Lee Loy. But Zudans said he did not run for a District seat in the 2014 elections because he was too busy as president of the County Medical Society, as a pro bono eye surgeon with We Care, and with his practice at the Florida Eye Institute. In December, however, he knew his term as medical society chief would end, and he began looking at other ways to serve the community in the healthcare field. In late September he read an article in Vero Beach 32963 about a vacant seat on the Hospital District that would be filled for a year by a governor’s appointment. On Oct. 1, he sent an online application and resume to Gov. Rick Scott’s appointment office. READ FULL STORY

American Icon Brewery a top candidate for the old Diesel power plant
week of November 5, 2015

Developer Michael Rechter kicked off his Monday morning staff meeting with a startling order. “Everyone that’s been working on American Icon Brewery, stop what you’re doing.” With that, Rechter kicked the keg out from under plans for 14th Avenue’s Compass Rehab building, and turned his focus to the newly available old Diesel plant, his first choice when he began scouting brewery locations two years ago. “If we’re able to secure the building, we’re ready to move forward strongly,” he said emphatically. Rechter got an informal tour of the plant’s bare-bones interior eight years ago from a subcontractor doing work there. “There’s something really great about that place. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.” He was on the verge of placing a huge beer-making equipment order for the Compass building last month but checked in with City Manager Jim O’Connor first. READ FULL STORY

Natural gas coming soon to downtown Vero and the island
week of November 5, 2015

Now that the City of Vero Beach is tied into Orlando Utilities for bulk power for the next eight years with only about a 2 percent decrease in rates, it may be time for Vero’s 34,000 customers to stop mourning the failed sale of the city’s utility to Florida Power and Light and start getting proactive about reducing energy costs on their own. After hearing from several major users of power, including Piper Aircraft, that they’re ready to seriously investigate renewable energy sources and natural gas, Indian River County Commissioner Tim Zorc asked his colleagues on the Board for permission to put together an energy forum where interested parties could get all the information they need to get started. That forum happened last Friday afternoon at the County Administration Complex. The takeaway: Natural gas is coming soon to downtown Vero and the barrier island, so now is the time to weigh the benefits and costs. READ FULL STORY

Hospital wars: A top exec moves ‘down the road’
week of October 29, 2015

A 14-month-old federal lawsuit brought by the parent company of Sebastian River Medical Center against Indian River Medical Center, its chief executive officer and chief operating officer was recently settled for an undisclosed amount. The depositions, transcripts and documents in the suit provide a fascinating inside look at the maneuvering involved when Indian River hospital hired Sebastian CEO Steve Salyer to become IRMC’s chief operating officer, despite a non-compete clause, a non-solicitation clause and a confidentiality clause in his contract with Sebastian. At the time of his hiring by Indian River Medical Center, Salyer was universally hailed as a top-notch choice. But Health Management Associates, which owns the Sebastian hospital, was not at all happy about its CEO’s surprise move to the hospital “15 miles down the road.” In mid-August, 2014, Health Management Associates sued Salyer, along with Indian River CEO Jeff Susi and other Indian River leadership for breach of contract. The suit alleges that Susi and Indian River hospital leadership aided in the breach. READ FULL STORY

Accused slayer of Diana Duve fears dying in prison
week of October 29, 2015

Former banker Michael David Jones, who faces first-degree murder charges for the strangulation death of 26-year-old Moorings resident and Sebastian River Medical Center nurse Diana Duve, fears he will die in prison – one way or another. Several hours of videotaped jailhouse visits with Jones by his former co-workers at Ocean Drive PNC Wealth Management employees – during the time he was held at the Indian River County Jail in August 2014 – depict a distraught but surprisingly rational and lucid Jones, still adjusting to his new life behind bars. The videotapes of Jones communicating by videophone with his visitors, part of growing volumes of discovery materials in the case, were released last week. Jones tells a former co-worker and friend that he had to be taken out of general population at the jail because someone had tried to kill him, and that he was hated by the other inmates and by the guards. Jones explains that he was isolated from the other inmates after the incident, which was better for his safety but which also gave him ample opportunity to ponder his fate. READ FULL STORY

Polish Americans fight dissolution of their social club
week of October 29, 2015

Just as he feared for the past six months, Harry Klimas did not get to celebrate his 97th birthday as he usually does – at the Polish American Club. The new leadership wouldn’t let him, even after he and his buddies drove down and asked face-to-face, even after his daughter called twice to plead: Klimas founded the club. It is his whole life. He is the oldest member, the lone survivor from the early days. Now he knows the reason. By the time the big day rolled around in September, the Polish American Social Club no longer existed; the corporation, a non-profit, was dissolved a month before, the 8-acre property and building deeded over to the newly formed Vero Social Club Inc. The dissolution was not put to a vote by club membership. Voted on only by a six-member board of directors, the switch was handled with the guidance of a West Palm lawyer. On the Division of Corporations form asking how members voted, the box was left blank. Only under a second section, applicable “if the corporation has no members or members entitled to vote on the dissolution” was the board’s unanimous vote noted to end the three-decades-old club. READ FULL STORY

Shores edging toward decision on cell tower
week of October 29, 2015

Indian River Shores residents and town officials want the absolute best cell phone and data service, but with the least obtrusive tower. And they don’t care if the Town gleans much income from the venture. That’s what emerged from a Town Hall meeting held to give residents a chance to weigh in on the latest effort to end more than a decade of frustration over the town’s cellular service – or lack thereof. One woman among the 50 persons present at last Thursday’s workshop complained that her sons don’t visit often because they cannot work remotely from inside her home due to the poor cell signal. “We can’t make a call from inside our office. We have to go outside,” said Bob Gibb, owner of John’s Island Real Estate. “We have clients who make a decision whether or not to buy based upon this and they can’t believe we’re such a backward place that we don’t have cell service. The overall community is hurt by not having cell service – it really hurts us all.” READ FULL STORY

Governor makes a surprise pick for Hospital District trustee
week of October 29, 2015

To the surprise of Hospital District trustees and staff, Governor Rick Scott appointed Vero ophthalmologist Val Zudans to a vacant seat on the Hospital District last week. District trustees and staff had been unaware that Zudans, 43, had even turned in an application to the governor’s appointment office. With the appointment to the seat vacated by trustee Harris Webber, Zudans becomes one of seven District trustees to make decisions about how to spend property tax dollars for indigent care in Indian River County. “I am honored to be trusted with an appointment to the hospital District,” said Zudans. “My goal is to view every decision through the lens of how it improves the quality of care in our community.” Four others had applied for the seat: oncologist Michaela Scott; retired DC telecommunications attorney Richard Kennedy; Senior Resource Association chief Karen Deigl; and attorney and retired dentist Joe Saul. One of those four was expected to be appointed, but Zudans threw his hat in the ring in early October – although the press office did not tell anyone – and was the governor’s choice. READ FULL STORY

Electric deal approved by Vero Council
week of October 22, 2015

After 15 months of negotiations, the Dick Winger-led City Council secured its place in Vero Beach infamy this week by approving, on a 4-to-1 vote, a bulk power contract with the Orlando Utilities Commission that rivals the terrible deal the Tom White-led City Council locked Vero into seven years ago. The best thing to be said for this agreement is that it's shorter. In return for the ability to reduce a typical 1,000 kilowatt hour Vero electric bill a trifling $2.50 a month in the near term, the City of Vero Beach not only gave OUC assets worth millions but actually agreed to further limitations on how it runs the Vero electric utility between now and 2023. Councilwoman Pilar Turner, the only Council member to vote against the new agreement, said “the contract before us has the most onerous provision with regard to litigation that I’ve ever seen.” The clause, inserted by Vero’s own attorney, would require the city to exhaust all legal remedies should a law, regulatory action or court ruling alter Vero electric’s customer base. READ FULL STORY

Two incumbents seek re-election in Vero Council race
week of October 22, 2015

Are you better off now than you were two years ago? It’s a catch phrase often heard in presidential campaigns, but a variation could be applied to this year’s Vero Beach City Council race. Is Vero Beach better off than two years ago, when voters gave Mayor Dick Winger and Amelia Graves the nod? At two candidate forums hosted this month by the Tea Party and the Taxpayers’ Association, Winger and Councilwoman Graves stood on their records. But three challengers think Vero’s worse off today. Property taxes and municipal spending are up nearly 24 percent over last year’s rate. On top of that, the city is on the verge of asking residents to approve and pay a stormwater utility tax that Winger has said might cost residents from $5 to $9 per month on their utility bills. Vero is no closer to getting out of the electric business than it was in 2013, plus it’s bogged down in a new troublesome entanglement with Orlando Utilities – attempting to correct a previous bad deal by digging the hole even deeper. READ FULL STORY

Oceanfront home sets year’s high, selling for $17 million
week of October 22, 2015

The highest-price home sale of the year so far, and one of the top sales ever on the island, closed last Friday for $17 million. Located about a mile south of The Moorings at 1920 S. A1A, the multi-building, 15-acre estate includes a main house, guest house and carriage house with a total of 16,000 square feet of air-conditioned space. “There is about 22,000 square feet under roof,” says Premier Estate Properties broker associate Clark French, who developed the home in 2009. “There are 8 bedrooms, 11 full baths and three half-baths,” he added. The main house has eight fireplaces, garages for eight cars, an oceanfront swimming pool and 155 lineal feet of frontage on the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon. Known as La Palmeraie, designed by Vigneault & Hoos Architecture and built by Water’s Edge Estates, builders of the East End and Surf Club townhomes, the walled Côte d’Azur-style compound has steadily appreciated in price over the past six years. According to public records, it sold for $11.4 million in 2009 and for $15.6 million in 2012, prior to the most recent sale for $17 million. READ FULL STORY

Island rentals for coming season are moving fast
week of October 22, 2015

Anyone looking for a seasonal rental on the barrier island – especially for the months of February and March – is facing a challenge this year. The ongoing “discovery” of 32963 by affluent retirees, travelers and investors in the U.S. and abroad promises to make this winter the busiest in Vero’s history, and rental agents from one end of the island to the other say they are already fully booked for the heart of the season, or nearly so. “Our office has been much busier this year than last year at this time,” says Dale Sorensen Real Estate rental manager Angela Waldrop, who oversees a portfolio of 42 seasonal rental properties that command fees ranging from $3,000 to $30,000 per month. “The 2016 season promises to have Vero abuzz with people that share our love of this irresistible town. Rentals that were available in 2015 for 2016 were booked before the close of last season. Properties available at the present time are listings that have just materialized as investors closed on properties, or landlords who may have been hesitant previously have joined the rental market.” READ FULL STORY

Air conditioning break cost hospital over $1 million
week of October 22, 2015

The September air conditioning system breakdown at Indian River Medical Center – which sent temperatures soaring, forced IRMC to send patients elsewhere, and led to a several-day halt in surgeries and other procedures – wound up costing the hospital $1.5 million, Chief Financial Officer Greg Gardner admitted last week. Gardner provided the number in explaining to the Hospital District why Indian River Medical Center was unable to cover out of its own funds higher than projected expenses for indigent care unrelated to the air conditioning crisis. He said indigent patient numbers for both outpatient and Emergency Department services this past year were higher than the hospital had budgeted, and as a result the hospital needed an extra $429,000 in tax dollars from the District. While Gardner estimated that $500,000 to $600,000 of the $1.5 million in expenses for the air conditioning crisis would be eventually recovered through insurance reimbursement, he said the hospital was still looking at a million-dollar loss. READ FULL STORY

New Citrus Bowl seating may be ready for graduation
week of October 22, 2015

The Indian River County School District's director of facilities planning and construction admits it would be easier to demolish the decaying Citrus Bowl and build Vero Beach High School an entirely new stadium. But such a project, Scott Sanders said, would cost too much and take too long to complete. So the School Board chose the quicker and cheaper option, voting unanimously last week to spend $1.7 million to repair the 48-year-old, concrete stadium, which is expected to be ready for the 2016 football season. "We looked at a lot of different options," Sanders said. "The easy way would've been to knock it down and start over, but that's a two-year project and it's a lot costlier. You'd be looking at a total cost in the neighborhood of $8 million. "This way, we'll just take off the existing concrete seating and replace it with aluminum bleachers, which is what you see at most high school stadiums nowadays," he added. "The under-structure is very sound." READ FULL STORY

Many questions, few answers on Vero power deal
week of October 15, 2015

After another four hours of attempting to demystify all the potential pitfalls in Vero’s proposed bulk power deal with Orlando Utilities, the city’s Finance and Utilities commissions recessed their meetings until 9:30 a.m. Friday with more questions than answers still on the table. The agreement – which commits the city to pay just less than a billion dollars, spans eight years and would replace Vero’s 2008 deal with OUC – is being touted as Vero’s best chance of reducing electric rates, shortening its commitments to non-market-based pricing and shuttering Big Blue. Each time a new iteration of the contract has been scrutinized, Vero’s negotiators have gone back to OUC and gotten small concessions, cheaper prices, more favorable terms, clearer wordings or even the elimination of a whole problematic section from the contract. The advisory committees, feeling empowered on Monday by this ability to get things changes, sent attorney Robert Scheffel “Schef” Wright back yet again to seek some answers and further hone the agreement. Finance Committee Chair Peter Gorry suggested that the negotiating team gather all the information the joint commission had requested and resume the process on Friday to see if all the concerns could be ironed out to the members’ satisfaction. READ FULL STORY

The Moorings moving quickly to absorb Hawk’s Nest
week of October 15, 2015

With its $2.5 million acquisition of the Hawk’s Nest Golf Club now complete – the deal closed on Oct. 1 – The Moorings is preparing a five-year capital plan to enhance the clubhouse, course and other facilities on its new mainland property. Already, though, the Hawk’s Nest parking lot has been resurfaced, pine straw has been replaced on the golf course, the clubhouse has been repainted and trees have been trimmed. “Hawk’s Nest has an excellent reputation ... and The Moorings plans to build on that excellence,” said Ursula Gunter, the club’s marketing and membership director. “The work is just beginning.” Gunter said an integration committee is handling the Hawk’s Nest members’ transition to The Moorings, where Gunter said they’re being encouraged to participate in the governance of the club and solicited for positions on committees, even the Board of Governors. Though Gunter said it was too soon to know exactly how many of Hawk’s Nest 144 members would make the move to The Moorings, “we expect most will accept membership here.” READ FULL STORY

Shores looks at three sites for cell tower
week of October 15, 2015

Indian River Shores Town Manager Robbie Stabe has engaged Datapath Towers to coordinate efforts to build and market a cell tower at one of three locations in the Town, but the final decision on the site might be made by federal officials. “The Federal Aviation Administration is a very big part of the tower business,” Stabe said. “They (Datapath) have to apply to them with coordinates of three options to make sure they’re not in the flight pattern.” Stabe said the three locations Datapath is looking at are somewhere in the Shores Town Hall complex, somewhere on the Shores Public Safety Department property and at the west end of Fred Tuerk Drive. The first two locations have made some residents of the Bermuda Bay community bristle. The more western location, which is also known as Bee Gum Point near an electric substation, has in the past prompted threats of litigation by residents of adjoining John’s Island. Before any final vote is taken by the Town Council, the whole plan, once formulated, will have to first go through the Town’s Planning, Zoning and Variance Board. But even before the PZB hearing, Town officials will schedule a public workshop about the cell tower to give residents ample opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns. The workshop is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 22. READ FULL STORY

Old ambulances on the island break down in ‘perfect storm’
week of October 15, 2015

Last Sunday was a good time to not have a heart attack or any other medical emergency in Central Beach or South Beach. Three ambulances with a lot of miles on them all broke down on the barrier island on the same day, and Indian River County Fire & Rescue officials at one point were forced to replace one of the ambulances with a Ford Crown Victoria, basically a modified police car. That car was staffed by paramedics who could treat, but not transport, a patient. Fortunately, no lives were lost due to the mechanical failures. County officials admit that, after the 2008 recession, they postponed replacing emergency vehicles used to put out fires, treat injuries and transport local residents to the emergency room. It was only a matter of time before this aging equipment posted at beachside stations gave out. This summer, after caustic negotiations with firefighters in which decrepit vehicles were one item hotly debated, the county finally broke down and ordered new fire trucks and ambulances – but not before a Vero Beach 32963 reader reported seeing the county’s Fleet Maintenance scurrying around the island and employing a tow truck to haul an ambulance away. READ FULL STORY

Vero Beach philanthropist Richard Stark dies at 94
week of October 15, 2015

Vero Beach lost one of its most dedicated champions with the passing of philanthropist Richard “Dick” Stark last week. An ardent supporter of the arts and a passionate advocate for the homeless, Stark passed away at his John’s Island home in the early morning hours of October 6 at the age of 94. “People like Dick come around once in a lifetime. He was a real renaissance man,” said Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council Executive Director, Louise Hubbard. Stark founded the organization and remained its board chairman, working closely with Hubbard to develop it into the lead agency for the Continuum of Care for Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin Counties. “A whole generation of people have had their lives made better because of his selflessness,” added Hubbard. “He always did the right thing to improve the quality of life for people he would likely never know and likely never see. And he did it all with such energy and genuine humility; a rare quality in a human being. I will miss our champion.” READ FULL STORY

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