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Published by Vero Beach 32963 Media, 2020-01-16 14:10:15

01/16/2020 ISSUE 03


Vero now seeks bus and train
station at airport. P7
Sheriff: ‘This guy
is lying to you.’ P8

Federal judge reprimands
School Board’s hired attorney. P9

MY VERO For breaking news visit

gets new CEO but
How vulnerable we all are troubles continue
in the age of social media
A 32963 island resident Staff Writer
learned a hard lesson last week
about the power and perils Vero residents provide relief to the Abacos Sebastian River Medical Cen-
of social media, when a few ter’s much-delayed $60-million
minutes of videotaped hostil- BY KAILA JONES plies, pilot Randy Brennan playground for Floridians expansion has missed another
ity went viral, viewed by hun- Staff Photographer spots a familiar patch of land for generations can be seen projected completion date.
dreds of thousands of people down below in the turquoise strung out like jewels on the
within a matter of days. EN ROUTE TO ABACO and azure Atlantic. horizon. With no explanation from
ISLANDS – Cruising at 7,000 hospital management, the
What happened on South feet in his 1972 Piper Chero- Less than 150 miles from From a distance, all seems project blew past the Decem-
Beach at Castaway Cove on Jan. kee 6 stuffed with relief sup- Vero Beach, the Bahamian calm and beautiful. But as ber completion date predicted
5 was not something of great islands that have been a by the hospital’s then-CEO Kyle
significance or something any CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sanders before he left last fall.
of us needed to know about.
A new president and CEO,
But we do. Ronald Bierman, was finally
We know about it because named last week, but the
one of the teenagers involved hoped-for February opening
in the incident used his smart- now appears further delayed
phone to record it. to late spring or early summer.
We know about it because
someone posted the teen’s Bierman formerly led an-
video on Instagram where it other Steward Health hospital,
has been viewed more than Trumbull Memorial Hospital
in Warren, Ohio, and since No-
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 vember has been running Sha-
ron Regional Medical Center in
Randy Gori, 47, of Pennsylvania.
Orchid Island slain
in Illinois robbery Construction setbacks are

Staff Writer
After years of pursuit, does Vero not
When tragedy took a hus- really want commercial air service?
band and father in Edwards-
ville, Ill., it also deprived the PHOTO BY KAILA JONES BY NICOLE RODRIGUEZ the city from losing up to a $1
32963 barrier island commu- Staff Writer million a year in state grants.
nity of an extremely generous,
thoughtful, and down to earth Elite Airways may end up a The City Council, which will
part-time resident. victim of its own success after make the final decision, is ex-
the Vero Beach Airport Com- pected to take up the issue at
Powerhouse personal-injury mission voted in favor of termi- its Jan. 21 meeting.
attorney Randy Lee Gori was nating the airline’s lease at Vero
Beach Regional Airport to keep Elite Airways, which flies
CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 small Bombardier jets carry-


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© 2020 Vero Beach 32963 Media LLC. All rights reserved.

2 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Relief for the Abacos schools and killed scores of islanders. velopmental and physical disabilities. a Mission, were “like Amazon Prime,”
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Windshields of cars are blown out Today, the school serves as “base rounding up and delivering emergency
relief supplies to Marsh Harbour.
we descend, it becomes clear the is- and pine trees have been snapped camp” for recovery volunteers.
lands are still engaged in a desperate like twigs. Tarps function as shelters “The damage in Marsh Harbour He says relief organizations would
struggle to recover from Hurricane and residents’ belongings – or pieces call from the island asking for specific
Dorian, a Cat 5 storm that hovered over of them – remain scattered across re- was eye-opening,” Brennan said. “If supplies “and the next day it would be
the northern Bahamas for days. cently cleared dirt roads. a storm like that is coming toward delivered.”
Vero Beach, people can leave. There?
On the ground in Marsh Harbour, a Brennan knows Marsh Harbour well. Where do you go? You’re on an island The two Vero Beach residents were
town familiar to many Vero residents, The Vero Beach attorney has been fly- in the middle of the ocean. There is no able to deliver supplies in a fraction of
the remnants of the natural disaster ing to the town for six years to assist place to evacuate to, and there is very the time that a barge would take. With
are beyond belief. For a first-time visi- Youth on a Mission, a ministry of St. little high ground on Abaco.” the help of 11 volunteers and a DC-3,
tor, it seems as if time has stood still Helen’s Catholic Church. The service- they were able to set up a base camp
since the monster storm shredded based ministry had a strong presence in Matt McAlarnen, a Youth on a Mis- to accommodate 40-50 volunteers at
infrastructure, destroyed homes and Marsh Harbour prior to the hurricane, sion board member and ministry vol- a time for the months and years of re-
working to support Every Child Counts, unteer at St. Helen’s Church, recalls how covery still ahead.
a school of about 100 children with de- in the days after the disaster Brennan
and Richard Schlitt, director of Youth on For Maureen Leu, another Youth on
a Mission board member and early
volunteer, the first trip back to the area
following the catastrophe was difficult.

“I thought going over in Septem-
ber would somehow ease my mind,”
Leu recalls. “But, for me, it was almost
worse because you didn’t know where
the kids were.”

At that time, some of the students
at Every Child Counts school were still
unaccounted for.

“Our trips have always largely been
about the kids,” Leu said. “So, not to
have them around the church or show
up at the common places was really,
really hard.”

Much of the infrastructure in Marsh
Harbour – once the commercial center
of the Abacos – is still shattered and
there is a continuing need for con-
struction materials and other relief
supplies. As winter continues, island-
ers need blankets.

“People don’t think of the Bahamas
as getting cold, but it does get cool at
night and a lot of people are without
shelter,” Maureen Leu said.

The Bahamian government is wav-
ing duties on incoming relief supplies,
but that will stop in June, and Youth on
a Mission board members are urging
Vero residents to donate as much as
they can before the summer to avoid
having relief funds eaten up by cus-

toms fees. 

My Vero


630,000 times.
We know about it because two ver-

sions of that video – the 19-second
post on Instagram and a four-minute
account that surfaced later – have
been circulating via text messages
and emails throughout the Vero Beach

And there is little that Bill Becker,
portrayed as the villain in the video,
can do about it.

Three days after sharing his account
of the incident, in fact, Becker clearly
had backed off his initial response to
the video and no longer was exploring

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 3


legal remedies for what he believes as 25 feet and the embers threatened The boys, using “sir” to address the boys appear to be well-mannered and
was cyber-bullying. his “$5 million house.” firefighters, also apologized for any respectful.
trouble they caused. One of them can
“Ray, this thing is dead,” he wrote In the extended version, the boys be heard saying the wind was blowing But Becker said this episode outside
in a text message Sunday morning, deny being snarky or rude, and they “toward the ocean,” away from Beck- his home actually began 10 minutes
when I made a follow-up inquiry for tell the firefighters that they were col- er’s house. before the video starts, adding that he
additional information about the Jan. lecting Christmas trees and burning endured as much of the teens’ “disre-
5 incident in which he angrily con- them. They repeatedly say they would There’s nothing in the video to sup- spectful, rude and condescending at-
fronted two teenaged boys outside his have extinguished the fire if Becker port Becker’s claim that the teens were titude towards me” as he could before
Castaway Cove oceanfront home over had simply come down to the beach verbally abusive or disrespectful to his anger pushed him to profanity.
a Christmas tree bonfire on the beach. asked them to do so. him or anyone else. If anything, the
“Any more comments or actions
empower cyber bullies,” he added.
“You are being used by these bullies.”

Actually, the purpose of this column
is to use this unfortunate incident to il-
lustrate how vulnerable we’ve become
in the age of social media, where our
worst 19 seconds can be exposed and
exploited – sometimes to embarrass
someone as a means of retribution,
most times for no other reason than
low-brow, juvenile entertainment.

All too often, such videos have been
edited down to eliminate any semblance
of context and fairness, and to make the
greatest impact possible on the social
media sites to which they are posted.

If the laughs, outrage, views and/
or comments they produce happen to
come at someone’s expense? That, I’m
told, is the world we now live in.

Any one of us can become a social-
media star at any time. Do something
stupid, be involved in an accident,
lose your temper – and if you’re out-
side your home and someone near-
by has a smartphone, there’s a real
chance you’ll end up on the Internet.

It’s a lesson Becker learned after he
uttered harsh profanities while scold-
ing and berating two teens about the
bonfire on the beach behind his home.

“I really don’t know much about
social media,” Becker said last week,
after the video generated a local buzz.

He knows more now.
If those 630,000 views were by sep-
arate individuals, a group of people
greater than the entire population of
Baltimore and nearly as large as the
population of Las Vegas has seen –
and in many cases commented on –
Bill Becker at his worst.
In the Instagram video, Becker
twice says to one of the boys to “shut
your (expletive) mouth” and calls him
a “smart (expletive),” telling the teens
that embers from the bonfire in his
“backyard” were blowing toward both
the dunes and his house.
The boy responds, “Dude, I’m not
even talking,” as the red flashing lights
from an approaching Fire Rescue
truck, which responded to Becker’s
call, can be seen in the background.
The shortened version of the video
ends before the Fire Rescue crew ar-
rives and calms the scene.
All of that is included in the longer
version of the video, which records
Becker telling the firefighters that
flames from the bonfire rose as high

4 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


My Vero Yes, Becker was wrong to use profan- boarding and the airport just minutes to, according to city documents and
ity when scolding the boys – no matter from the island – and Elite has said city officials.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 how uncharacteristic his verbiage, no that Vero is its best market.
matter how angry he was at the time. The fee increases were written into
“Those words are not something Passenger numbers – and airline the new agreement because of low
somebody would say at the beginning But the last words uttered on the revenue – steadily increased from year fees Elite was charged as a startup
of a conversation, so, for me to have four-minute version of the video were to year and in 2018 the company flew incentive, city documents state. The
said that, there had to be a significant troubling, too. 11,084 passengers, according to city previous lease agreement with the
period of time where I let them go off documents. airline expired on Nov. 30 and Elite is
on me,” Becker said. “Hey, I’ve got the whole thing on currently operating with a month-to-
video,” one of the boys boasts, as if he It was the first time Elite had more month lease agreement.
“People who know me,” he added, had done something to be proud of. than 10,000 passengers flying out of
“know I use words like ‘sugar’ and Vero in a single year and that is where The popular carrier offers nonstop
‘fudge,’ and that it’s unusual for me to That might be the world we now live the company’s current problem began. flights to and from Newark and Port-
use that kind of bad language.” in, but it doesn’t make it right land, Maine, during the winter, ac-
The city was notified by the Florida cording to the city’s website. Elite has
For the record: I know Becker. I’ve None of us is perfect. Even the best Department of Transportation in De- offered seasonal flights to Asheville,
played tennis with him. On those oc- of us makes mistakes. We shouldn’t cember that the airport will be reclas- North Carolina, and limited winter
casions, he has always opted for ‘sug- need to worry that someone with a sified from a general aviation airport holiday flights to White Plains, New
ar’ and ‘fudge’ – not profanities – to phone will catch us at our worst and – which primarily serves small private York. It also tried a Vero to Naples
express his frustrations. share it on social media. planes – to a commercial airport effec-
tive in July because of the 10,000-pas- route that was not successful. 
That’s why I found it jarring to But, as Bill Becker learned on the senger number.
watch him spew those harsh profani- Sebastian River
ties in the video and hear the venom first Sunday in January, we do.  If it goes into effect, the new classifi-
in his voice as he verbally blasted the cation would cost the city as much as CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
two teen boys. Vero air service $1 million per year in lost state grant
revenue for airport projects included not the only delays causing the hos-
But, again, I wasn’t there. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 in the municipality’s five-year plan, pital to take heat. As the hospital’s
I know what Becker told me. I know City Manager Monte Falls said. construction team prepares for a re-
what I saw on the video. I don’t know ing 50 or 70 passengers back and forth view next week by the state’s Agency
what happened before one of the boys between Vero Beach and Newark, N.J., When an airport is designated as for Health Care Administration, that
pulled out his smartphone and began as well as other destinations, has been general aviation, the state typically same agency has fined Sebastian
recording the incident. a big hit in Vero. covers 80 percent of the cost for large River for delays in filing financial
I’m sure of this, though: That 19-sec- projects, while the city is responsible documents unrelated to the expan-
ond gotcha video was edited and post- Since it launched service here in for 20 percent. Under the new desig- sion.
ed on Instagram to publicly humiliate 2015, beachside residents with sum- nation, the cost split would be 50/50.
Becker and punish him for his outburst. mer homes in the New York area The $4,000 fine levied by AHCA
have raved about the convenience of The new designation could deplete in mid-December marks the fourth
the flights – with free parking, quick the airport’s current fund balance of time the hospital has been fined for
$3.5 million in a few years, city officials late filings since Steward Health ac-
said. Elite would need to handle 200,000 quired the hospital in mid-2017. It
departing passengers a year to make up is the second time the hospital has
for the shortfall, according to Falls. been late providing prior year finan-
cial statements.
“It’s really a tough situation that
we’re in and it’s not an Elite Airways Both times, Steward got a one-
problem,” Falls said. “Elite is just a month extension on top of the AHCA’s
commercial carrier that we happen to 120-day grace period. Last year’s fine
have and that’s a side issue. The issue amounted to just over $2,000, about
we have is that we’ve pushed up into half of this year’s fine.
the commercial airline category.”
While those filing delays can be
Although it’s estimated commercial measured in months, the hospital’s
service brought $8.3 million in eco- three-story wing – a project it inher-
nomic benefit to the area, the Airport ited from SRMC’s previous owner – is
Commission saw no upside in keeping now more than a year-and-a-half be-
Elite and also advised the City Council hind schedule, based on its original
not to find another airline to replace it, projected opening date.
because of the financial risk any com-
mercial airline could impose. The 90,000-square-foot addition,
which will include patient and oper-
“Unfortunately, I just don’t see how ating rooms, broke ground in August
the present situation can sustain it- 2016 when the hospital was owned by
self,” Airport Commission Vice Chair- Community Health Systems.
man Louis Vocelle Jr. said. “Any future
operations by Elite with 10,000 en- At that time, it had a projected
planements is an economic detriment completion date of mid-2018, but
to the city and to the airport.” the project stalled when SRMC was
acquired by Steward in 2017. Con-
The Airport Commission voted struction on the building didn’t be-
unanimously to recommend termi- gin in earnest until almost a year af-
nating Elite’s contract to operate at the ter Steward took over.
While the addition retained its
The advisory board’s recommenda- original design, Steward brought in
tion comes just days after Elite agreed a new contractor, Boston-based Suf-
to a new lease agreement that ups the folk Construction, which has offices
airline’s annual license fee from $8,400 in West Palm and Miami.
a year to $20,625 and imposes an ad-
ditional $18,000 annual rent charge As the timeline has stretched, the
for ticket-counter space – rate hikes
Elite expected and had no objections

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 5


initial phase of the project itself has and the Suffolk website, which at the to John McCoy, Indian River County’s Following that, the state’s Agency
scaled back to only half the original time mentioned only 25. Sanders did chief of community development and for Health Care Administration does
number of patient rooms. Sanders not provide a start date for the sec- current construction. Once site im- a final inspection, which will include
called it a “phase-in” last summer af- ond-phase buildout. provements and the exterior of the testing medical gas systems, nurse
ter Vero Beach 32963 pointed out a building are certified, the interior must call and code blue systems, HVAC
discrepancy between hospital press As for the first phase, hospital repre- be completed before a certificate of oc- and fire protection.
releases, which spoke of 48 rooms, sentatives say the building shell will be cupancy can be issued by the county.
complete by March or April, according CONTINUED ON PAGE 6



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6 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Sebastian River rooms at the hospital, which currently ville, population 25,000, about 20 Drive residence was not the nearby
has 154 licensed beds, including some miles from St. Louis, where Gori’s law amenities as much as the massive
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 semi-private rooms. firm has offices. The firm’s claim to garage space. “They loved the house,
fame, according to the St. Louis Busi- and Randy loved Ferraris, he collect-
As with the county’s inspection pro- The wing will also add seven oper- ness Journal report, is that it “has won ed them. The house has a five-car un-
cess, the AHCA inspections have the ating suites and a new reception area. more than $3 billion in asbestos cases derground garage.”
potential to further delay the project On completion, the hospital’s main throughout the U.S.”
while any required changes are made. entrance will be at the back of the Back in the Midwest, Gori was the
complex rather than in front, off U.S. Gori’s obituary described his charity vice president of the local chapter of
News of the postponed build-out of 1, as it is now. work saying, “Randy was a true phi- the Ferrari Club of America. Local St.
upper-floor patient rooms came af- lanthropist at heart.” Louis-area magazine Ladue News ran
ter the hospital’s admissions in 2018 Numbers for the first quarter of a big spread on Gori’s passion for Fe-
were the second lowest in a decade, 2019 also show decreased patient vol- A bit of the fruits of Gori’s courtroom rarris in 2017, saying that he wanted
revealed in a required AHCA filing. ume, with inpatient discharges at the prowess made its way to Vero’s barrier one since he was 5 years old.
lowest point since 1994. Ambulatory island eight years ago. Seeking a place
Numbers for the first quarter of outpatient back to 1997, the earliest to enjoy sun and surf with their chil- But don’t get the wrong idea, Carson
2019 also show decreased patient vol- results posted. Emergency depart- dren on school holidays, Gori, 47, and said. Gori might have been a flashy-
ume, with inpatient discharges at the ment visits in the same quarter were his wife Beth first bought a $2.5 mil- car guy, and an extremely driven
lowest point since 1994. Ambulatory lion oceanfront home in Ocean Ridge and successful guy who could jet to
outpatient visits were the lowest of the lowest since 2008.  near The Moorings. Then in 2016 the Vero just to check out a potential in-
any year going back to 1997, the earli- family moved north on the island to vestment property, but, Carson said,
est results posted. Emergency depart- Orchid Island man’s slaying an $8 million oceanfront estate in the “You’d never know it.
ment visits in the same quarter were CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club.
the lowest since 2008. “He was such a wonderful guy. Randy
brutally murdered in his Illinois home Keller-Williams Real Estate Broker- was very friendly with everybody and
While hospital officials claim the on Jan. 4, and according to reports, Associate Scott Carson sold the Gori got along with everybody,” Carson said,
decline in patient volume turned died saving the lives of his two minor family the Orchid home, and later adding that Randy and Beth Gori were
around in the third quarter of 2019, children. The accused killer has been handled deals for four commercial very grounded, totally down to earth. “A
they did not provide data to back up arrested and the investigation into the buildings Randy Gori bought as in- wonderful family, great kids, they could
that claim. heinous crime is ongoing. vestments. Carson said the family have lived anywhere, in any big city, but
enjoyed going to the club and had a they chose to stay in Edwardsville.”
AHCA will not post full-year 2019 Mourners paid their respects Mon- few friends in John’s Island.
patient data for SRMC until it has re- day evening at St. Boniface Catholic Nearly five years ago, Gori expand-
ceived data from all Florida hospitals, Church in the small town of Edwards- “He was not a golfer, he didn’t have ed his property management busi-
which is due this spring. time to play golf,” Carson said. What ness to Vero Beach. Ansley Watkins,
really attracted Gori to the Beachside who co-manages Gori Property Man-
The new wing will add more private

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 7


agement with her husband Philip, In dramatic reversal, Vero now seeks train station
experienced Gori’s vision and en-
couragement first-hand. BY GEORGE ANDREASSI Beach Regional Airport as the company Up till now, there has been nearly
Staff Writer forges ahead with its Miami to Orlando unanimous opposition to the train
She was cleaning his Orchid Island high-speed passenger rail project. project, with the county spending mil-
home and he noticed how hard-work- In a dramatic reversal, Vero Beach’s lions on lawsuits to block the rail ser-
ing and conscientious she and her hus- mayor and city council now want to The proposal is an amazing turn- vice and the city expressing support for
band were at their cleaning business. team up with Virgin Trains USA to de- around from what most local officials the county’s stance and passing an an-
velop a train and bus station at Vero have been saying ever since the high- ti-train resolution as far back as 2014.
“Randy asked me if he’d ever told speed train project was announced.
me about his side business. He said Now, with the county losing again
he loved real estate and was interest- in federal court and County Attorney
ed in buying more real estate in Vero Dylan Reingold advising commission-
and asked if he bought some proper- ers there is no point in further appeals,
ties, would my husband and I manage the city has decided to try and work
them for him,” Watkins said. “Then al- with the train company.
most overnight we had four buildings
and 20 tenants and Randy encouraged The council on Jan. 7 directed City
me to get my real estate license and Manager Monte Falls to try to negoti-
pay for school for me.” ate with VTUSA representatives for a
train station at the airport and quiet
That life-changing generosity, Wat- zones at the city’s railroad crossings.
kins said, exemplifies who her boss,
Randy Gori, was. Now a Realtor for Federal grants could be used to pay
Alex MacWilliam Real Estate on the most construction costs for the multi-
barrier island as well Gori’s property modal terminal proposed near Avia-
manager, Watkins said she’s distraught tion Boulevard and the Florida East
beyond words for the Gori family, and Coast Railway tracks, city officials said.
for all the people whom he mentored.
A Virgin Trains station at Vero Beach
Carson said Gori had hoped to in- Regional Airport would enable city res-
vest even more in the Vero Beach idents to take a train to Orlando Inter-
community. But those plans are the
least of the dreams shattered by what CONTINUED ON PAGE 8
initially appears to be a robbery gone

very bad, a crime of opportunity. 

8 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Vero train station “If we had the ability for our citi- started passenger service between Fort tion oversight for higher-speed pas-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 zens to get to the Orlando airport in Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in senger rail lines like Virgin Trains.
less than an hour, it may solve the is- January 2018 and added a Miami sta-
national Airport in less than an hour, sue with having air service into Vero,” tion that May. Virgin Trains/Brightline killed 24
said City Councilman Joe Graves. Graves added. people South Florida in 2019, Fed-
The Vero Beach City Council’s con- eral Railroad Administration records
“I believe there’s a mutual interest Virgin Trains started work in sum- sensus to seek talks with Virgin Trains show, and seven in 2018. Many of
in Virgin Trains having a stop in Vero,” mer 2019 on new tracks from Orlando about a train station came as Indian these were apparent suicides.
Graves said during the Jan. 7 meeting. International Airport to Cocoa and im- River County commissioners were
“I can’t reveal who told me what, but provements to the FECR tracks from considering whether take their court Meanwhile, the Indian River Neigh-
I do believe there is interest in them Cocoa to downtown West Palm Beach. battle against the passenger rail project borhood Association Board of Direc-
having a stop here. all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. tors, which sided with the county in the
VTUSA’s goal is to run 34 trains per court case, Friday passed a resolution
“What’s worse than having high- day between Orlando and Miami by the Reingold advised commissioners to urging the commissioner to petition for
speed rail come through our city, is end of 2022. Trains would reach speeds accept their Dec. 20 defeat in a federal a writ of certiorari for Supreme Court
having high-speed rail come through up to 110 mph in Indian River County. appeals court and forgo further appeals review. The deadline is March 19.
our city and not have a stop. because of steep odds against success.
Virgin Trains – previously known “This is a disastrous project that
as Brightline and All Aboard Florida – “I think it is best for the board and should be stopped, period,” said Pe-
the county to focus on safety issues, ter Seed, an IRNA board member in-
such as supporting Sen. (Debbie) volved in the case. “It’s dangerous, it’s
Mayfield’s bill, working with FDOT disruptive, it’s going to have a very
and closely reviewing Virgin Trains’ deep-and-lasting adverse effect upon
plans,” Reingold said. our community and its residents. It’s
so obvious.”
State Sen. Mayfield (R-Melbourne)
filed a passenger rail safety bill for the As for the idea of a VTUSA station
current legislative session that would at Vero Beach Regional Airport, Seed
strengthen regulations and increase said, “I just think that’s a divide-and-
Florida Department of Transporta-
conquer red herring.” 



Ryan and Melissa Weaver, Agency Owners BY RAY MCNULTY ed with the plaintiff via email and did
Ryan Weaver Insurance, Inc. is a locally owned make a payment for some of the re-
Staff Writer cords requested, but he denied that he
independent agency that has been serving was “John Doe” and said the plaintiff is
Indian River County for over 13 years. Sheriff Deryl Loar flatly rejected a not working for him.
mystery plaintiff’s claim that the pub-
All lines of commercial or personal insurance available. lic records lawsuits filed against the He said he didn’t know the plaintiff’s
Sheriff’s Office and school district last identity.
OLD DOMINION month were not politically motivated.
INSURANCE COMPANY “He thought the Sheriff’s Office was
“This guy is lying to you,” Loar said trying to find out who he was, so he sent
A member of Main Street America Group of the plaintiff, who identified himself me an email and asked me if I’d drop off
only as “John Doe aka saveverobeach@ a money order for him,” Kirby said. “It
855 21st Street – CenterState Bank Building” in the court filings. “He’s was for $15, I think. It wasn’t for much.
2nd Floor – Vero Beach being disingenuous when he tells you
he has no political motives.” “But that was before he filed the
(772) 567-4930 • [email protected] lawsuits and this all blew up.” Loar said he believes the plaintiff is
working – alone or in tandem with a Kirby said he would not file law-
Conveniently located just off of Miracle Mile, political ally – to defeat Sheriff’s Maj. suits anonymously, adding, “If I’ve got
across from Classic Car Wash on US-1 Eric Flowers, the candidate Loar has something to say, my name is on it.”
endorsed to succeed him as the coun-
ty’s top law enforcement officer. Two weeks ago, the mystery plaintiff
told Vero Beach 32963 in an online in-
According to Loar, the anonymous terview his decision to take the Sheriff’s
plaintiff filed 320 public records re- Office and school district to court was
quests with the Sheriff’s Office between not a political venture, and that Flow-
Sept. 17 and Jan. 9, and “all of them ers’ name being included in both law-
were directly related to Eric Flowers.” suits was little more than coincidence.

Loar said he also found it curi- “Eric Flowers is not the common
ous that retired Sheriff’s Capt. Chuck thread,” the plaintiff said, insist-
Kirby, who also is running for sheriff, ing that he was not trying to derail
showed up at the Sheriff’s Office on Flowers’ candidacy, despite the fact
Nov. 13 and used a money order to pay that most of the public records being
for some of the records requested by sought in the two lawsuits are directly
[email protected] related to Flowers’ communications.

“It certainly makes you wonder,” The plaintiff said he filed the law-
Loar said. suits because he has serious concerns
about how local government officials
Kirby admitted he has correspond- and agencies conduct the people’s

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 9


business, particularly when it comes “I received an email last night from resent the agency, Loar and Flowers. “some are so obscure that we don’t
to providing the public records need- someone threatening me,” he added. Evans serves as general counsel for have a record for them.”
ed to hold them accountable. “It’s not the first and I doubt the last.
Then there are always a few people the Florida Sheriff’s Association and The plaintiff said his “intentions
He said officials and agencies have who email me with supportive mes- produces for its members a webinar de- are noble” and that his experiences
too often resisted or refused his re- sages.” tailing the public’s right to see govern- reveal the Sheriff’s Office “picks and
quests, and that some of them were ment records as mandated by state law. chooses” which records it is willing to
rude and hostile when he persisted. Loar said the Sheriff’s Office will provide.
“vigorously defend” itself against the Loar said he has had two employ-
Told of Loar’s remarks, the plaintiff lawsuit, which also names him and ees working full time to respond to “Why they won’t simply provide
remained steadfast in his assertion Flowers as defendants. the mystery plaintiff’s requests and the records, instead of wasting tens
that his motives are pure. that many of the records requested of thousands of taxpayer dollars in
“Hell, yes, we’re fighting it,” Loar have been provided. attempting to fight an established
“There is no political connection,” said, adding that the Sheriff’s Office Florida law, is on them,” the plaintiff
he said in another online interview last has hired attorneys Wayne Evans and “I think we’re caught up,” he said. said. “I will always stand up for my
weekend. “People here are so afraid of Marc Sugerman of the Allen, Norton However, Loar said the Sheriff’s rights, even if those who are sworn to
questioning officials, and some offi- & Blue law firm in Tallahassee to rep- Office is unable to provide all the
cials think they are demigods. records the plaintiff seeks because protect those rights will not.” 

Federal judge reprimands School Board’s hired attorney

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ liams, who oversees the school dis- and ‘spanked’ D’Agresta for refusing struct the two sides to resubmit a joint
Staff Writer trict’s compliance with a long-standing to allow the NAACP and the Equity report, but said she expected a joint
federal desegregation order, informed Committee to have any input,” said report that meets the court’s require-
A federal judge on Friday repri- D’Agresta during a hearing in Miami NAACP President Tony Brown, who ments when the next progress update
manded county School Board attor- she would not accept the report the at- attended the hearing. “The judge is filed later this year.
ney Suzanne D’Agresta for writing and torney authored and submitted with- chewed her out.”
submitting an unauthorized desegre- out informing the school board. Williams recommended that Brown
gation “progress” report, and sharply D’Agresta could not be reached for and Moore meet and work together to
criticized her for refusing to include in The outlines of the two-hour hearing comment on Monday. School district make sure the next report is compiled
the report input from the NAACP and were confirmed by Judge Williams of- officials said Superintendent David in a collaborative way, Brown said.
the school district’s Equity Committee. fice, the school district and the NAACP. Moore, who also attended the hearing,
could not comment on the legal issue. D’Agresta’s report, which claimed the
U.S District Judge Kathleen Wil- “Judge Williams basically decided district is complying with the desegre-
to throw the report into the trash Brown said Williams did not in-

10 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


County seeks ‘critically eroded’ designation for beaches

BY NICOLE RODRIGUEZ ing consultant, APTIM Environmen- habitat or important cultural resourc- lost an average of 5 to 8 feet of dune
Staff Writer tal and Infrastructure Inc., to analyze es are threatened or lost. during Hurricane Dorian, which didn’t
beach survey data and prepare a peti- hit the county directly but produced
Indian River County commission- tion to the Florida Department of En- If the state designates the 3.3-mile big, destructive surf for several days.
ers are hoping to get 3.3 miles of vironmental Protection that asks the stretch as critically eroded, the county
beach – mostly in Indian River Shores agency to classify the shoreline in Sec- will be eligible for state funds to infuse The project is expected to be com-
– designated as “critically eroded,” tor 4 as critically eroded. the shoreline with sand. plete by April 30 prior to the start of
with the aim of securing state funds sea turtle nesting season.
to help defray the cost of repairing “The county is focused on pursu- While the fate of Sector 4 remains
the shoreline. ing the critically eroded designation,” in limbo, the county is in the midst of Two more substantial sand projects
County Administrator Jason Brown another beach repair project – this one on the island are scheduled to start in
The area known as Sector 4, which said. “Once that process is complete, mostly in the city of Vero Beach. November.
extends from Old Winter Beach Bou- we will make a decision regarding Sec-
levard to Surf Lane, was damaged by tor 4 beach restoration activities.” The 3.1-mile renourishment effort Between them they will add roughly
hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Dorian. extends from north of the Seawatch 900,000 cubic yards of sand at a cost of
Beaches have narrowed along that According to Florida Administrative Condos in Indian River Shores south $25.75 million along a 6.6-mile stretch
stretch due to wind and waves eating Code, “critically eroded shoreline” is a through Central Beach to the Riomar of shoreline between the north island
away at the shoreline. segment of shoreline where nature or Golf Course, an area designated Sec- community of Seaview and Turtle Trail
human activities have contributed to tor 5. beach park near the Carlton condo-
In an effort to sway the state, the erosion of the beach and dune system minium, an area the county calls Sec-
county commission approved a to such an extent that upland develop- The $6 million project will infuse tor 3, and in Sector 7, a 2.2-mile stretch
$25,800 proposal to hire engineer- ment, recreational interests, wildlife more than 200,000 cubic yards of sand of South Beach that extends from Sea-
along the stretch of beach. That area,
also impacted by recent hurricanes, grove to the Moorings. 

Local tennis pros compete in 25th annual King of the Hill

BY RAY MCNULTY the longtime local teaching pro who panded from six weeks to eight, with $37,000 in its 20th year and $51,000
Staff Writer founded and still organizes the dou- play in the 40-and-over and 50-and- last year.
bles-only tournament. “Fortunately, over divisions – each has eight play-
The 25th annual King of the Hill there’s no other place where the ers – starting last Tuesday at The Bou- “It’s pretty impressive to have a
tennis tournament started last week pros from different clubs work to- levard Tennis Club and continuing local event has been around for 25
with local teaching pros as commit- gether and help each other the way Tuesday nights through Feb. 4. years and remains as popular as it is,”
ted as ever to playing in the wildly they do in Vero Beach. said John’s Island head pro Joe Bie-
popular, in-season event, which has Play in the 16-player Open division denharn, who won the title in 2004
raised more than $450,000 for Youth “Their commitment to the event, is scheduled to start Feb. 11 at The and will play in the doubles tourna-
Guidance of Indian River County along with the support we receive Moorings and continuing on Tues- ment for the 24th consecutive year.
since its inception in 1996. from the sponsors and the commu- day nights through March 3. “The King of the Hill is a special thing
nity, is what has made King of the Hill in Vero, and I’m thrilled to still be a
“Without the players, you don’t the tradition it has become.” Approximately 140 players have part of it. I’m going to be sad when
have an event,” said Gigi Casapu, competed in the tournament, which
This year’s tournament has been ex- raised $2,000 in its inaugural year, I’m not invited anymore.” 

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Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 11


School Board attorney the board acknowledged in December. “We can’t undo what’s been done. But 52-year-old desegregation order, gave
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 After the School Board learned we can take steps to make sure it doesn’t the district failing marks in 2019 in 9
happen again,” Moore said in December. out of 11 areas of concern identified
gation order, included false and mis- that its attorney had filed the report by the court.
leading information and was not autho- without input from the NAACP and In contrast to D’Agresta’s report,
rized by the School Board, Moore and the Equity Committee, Moore said the NAACP and the Equity Commit- Williams ordered Friday’s hearing af-
D’Agresta’s actions had damaged the tee, which is charged with evaluating ter the NAACP filed a complaint about
school district’s credibility. the district’s efforts to comply with the

12 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Michael Jones appeals conviction for murdering nurse Duve

BY LISA ZAHNER hearings, jury selection, trial and sen- preparation for the panel to consider In a court filing entitled, “Statement
Staff Writer tencing of convicted killer Michael Jones’ Dec. 3 appeal. of Judicial Acts to be Reviewed,” Jones’
David Jones has estimated she will end trial defense attorney, Assistant Pub-
The defense attorney for Michael up sending the appellate court 4,400 Jones, 37, who was sentenced to life lic Defender Stanley Glenn, listed five
David Jones, found guilty last month pages of transcripts. in prison for the June 2014 death of the bones of contention Jones has with
of murder in the slaying of Moorings 26-year-old Diana Duve, is challenging the court.
resident and Sebastian River Medical On top of that, the Indian River decisions Vaughn made eight months
Center nurse Diana Duve, has filed an Clerk of the Court must send the Court before the trial with regard to evidence. The litany reads, “That the verdict
appeal of Jones’ conviction with Flori- of Appeals copies of all of Circuit He is also questioning the handling of of the jury was contrary to the law.
da’s Fourth District Court of Appeals. Court Judge Dan Vaughn’s rulings on the jury selection process, the trial and That the verdict of the jury was con-
motions and evidence, plus all plead- the sentencing phase, in which the jury trary to the weight of the evidence.
The court reporter transcribing the ings filed by the state or the defense in spared him the death penalty. The court erred in not granting the
defendant’s motion for judgment of
acquittal at the close of the state’s
case. That the court erred in not
granting the defendant’s motion for
judgment of acquittal at the close of
all the evidence. That the court erred
in sentencing the defendant.”

Jones no longer awaits his appeal in
the county jail, but as Inmate Num-
ber 142225 at the Florida Depart-
ment of Corrections Central Florida
Reception Center, just 10 miles east
of the Orlando International Airport
off the Beachline Expressway (State
Road 528).

The Florida Corrections website
says he is in “close custody,” meaning
that he’s being held in high security
under constant armed supervision, in
an all-male facility housing 1,659 pris-

oners. 

School Board attorney

D’Agresta’s rogue report, Brown said.
The School Board had promised

that the progress report would be
compiled in collaboration with the
NAACP and the Equity Committee,
and board members have said they
were not aware of D’Agresta’s solo
report until Brown and Merchon
Green, chairman of the Equity Com-
mittee, told them about it in late No-

The school district’s contract with
D’Agresta’s Orlando-based law firm
expires in March, and the School
Board, which has expressed unhap-
piness with D’Agresta on multiple
occasions during the past year, was
scheduled on Tuesday to vote to seek
bids from other law firms interested in
representing the district.

The current controversy has put
a new strain on the relationship be-
tween the School Board and NAACP at
a time when both sides have pledged
to work together and expressed hope
for a new era of cooperation in re-
ducing inequity in the district and
improving educational outcomes for

minority students. 

Anna and Acen Koehn
with Robby.


14 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


‘Mangroves & Moonlight’ celebrates all things ELC

Barbara Schlitt-Ford and John Moore. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE Jim Sourbeer and Dan Barr. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
Carolyn Norton and Alan Singer.

Diane Nielsen-Cito, Kat Redner, Susan Nielsen, Nannette Nielsen and Pam Barr. Jeff and Rosanne Susi with Martha Redner and Kirk Funnell.

BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF With a beautiful full moon rising, spoke of future plans to expand the tween the bridges of the Wabasso
Staff Writer Mother Nature provided the per- campus with the construction of Causeway, she added, “we like to be
fect backdrop as the “evening un- an education and event pavilion, in that bridge between the science
A fiery sunset welcomed more der the stars” moved to a specially hopes of drawing 25,000 visitors to community and the everyday gen-
than 150 guests as they arrived at erected Moonlight Pavilion to dine the campus annually. eral community. To help people un-
the Environmental Learning Center on a buffet dinner catered by Wild derstand what the issues are. What
last Saturday for an evening of Man- Thyme Catering. “You’re going to be seeing and the causes are and what the solu-
groves & Moonlight on the grounds hearing a lot about the ELC in the tions are.”
of the 64-acre nature center. “I’ve always loved the ELC,” said next year,” said Barbara Schlitt-Ford,
Martha Redner, event chair with who began a position as interim di- Reiterating that people are both
Pockets of people milled about on co-chairs Kat Redner and Bev Shea. rector in April and was appointed as the problem and the solution, she
the outdoor decks enjoying cock- “I don’t really get much outside time executive director in September. challenged everyone to be ambas-
tails and hors d’oeuvres while lis- during the week. I love the environ- sadors for the environment.
tening to music by the band Third ment; it’s my stress relief.” A lot has already happened in
Stream, while inside others were the nine months since she came on “That is how we’re going to turn
enticed by auction items, silent gift- A video screened after dinner il- board, including new programming, the tide on the environmental prob-
ing and door prizes. They wandered lustrated how in 1988, a group of but there is more to come. “Keep lems that we’re having. We’re not
about learning of the board’s new “environmentally conscious pio- your eyes on us in 2020, because going to solve the issues that we
Master Plan and viewed stunning neers” had been dedicated to pres- there’s going to be a lot going on.” have by operating in silos. It’s only
photography from Clyde Butcher’s ervation and education. It described by working together, sharing in-
Living Waters Exhibit, on display how “these trailblazers lived in our Schlitt-Ford noted that such en- formation and tackling these huge
through Feb. 28. community and cherished the na- vironmental issues as red tide and global issues together that we’re go-
ture that thrived in and around the blue-green algal blooms are real ing to move the needle.”
The more adventurous got their Indian River Lagoon.” concerns.
hands wet in the interactive Dis- Afterward, auctioneer John Moore
covery Station, dipping into the The ELC is located along the la- “It’s not somebody else’s backyard rallied the crowd in a bidding war for
145-gallon Touch Tank, home to goon, the most bio-diverse estuary anymore. It’s ours,” she said. “We an impressive collection of live-auc-
marine creatures such as hermit, in North America and home to more know that it’s time to do something. tion items and a paddle raise in hopes
horseshoe and spider crabs, sea cu- than 4,300 species of plants and an- People are ready to hear about the of garnering $100,000 to benefit ELC
cumbers, brittle stars and sea ur- imals, including 36 rare and endan- causes and solutions. They are ready educational programming and opera-
chins. gered species. to step up and do their part, to be tions.
part of the solution.”
Don Barr, ELC board chairman, For information, visit 
Aptly, as the ELC is situated be-

16 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 County Commissioner Joe Flescher and Rosemary Flescher.
Jacqueline and Matthew Barth with Brooke and Michael O’Neill.

Jackie and Gene Martello with Kari and Rob Tench. Stacey and Robert Lewis. Carolyn and Charles Duncan.

Sherman and Barbara Hotchkiss with Lynn and Jerry Babicka.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 17


Peter Stifel and Leigh Bennett. Jim and Bonnie Mountain.

Jim and Marge Fuller. Liz Bahl and Tim Kinney. Michael Natale and Joni Mazzola.

18 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Lovin’ those pooches’ smooches at Bark in the Park

BY MARY SCHENKEL Kate Meghji and Steve Smith. Hannah. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE & MARY SCHENKEL Society took in over 3,700 homeless ani-
Sabre and Oliver. mals and adopted out more than 2,000.
Staff Writer Rob Haughey and Jen Wortham with Eisley and Talzin.
“We have big, big plans for 2020 in
From teeny tiny tea-cup poodles to terms of growing out our programs and
majestic Great Danes, curly-haired services to help people keep their pets
doodles to fluffball Pekingese, seem- and really focus on the ways that we
ingly every variety of canine possible can keep animals out of the shelter for
sniffed their way to Riverside Park last the long haul.”
Saturday for the seventh annual Bark in
the Park, to benefit the Humane Society Meghji said that while the shelter
of Vero Beach and Indian River County. always needs donations, fundraising
wasn’t the main focus of the event.
“This is Vero Beach’s best, largest,
drooliest, tail-waggingest party ever. “We have some really wonderful
This is absolutely a day to celebrate our sponsors. Hills Pet Nutrition came in
canine companions and the human/ and is our presenting sponsor,” she said.
animal bond,” said Kate Meghji, HS- “But this is more about the community
VBIRC executive director. “This is a day and the dog-loving community. It’s just
filled with joy and laughter and the ri- a way to take your dog out and have
diculous antics of these dogs that mean fun.”
so much to us in our lives. You see all
these breeds of dogs you never see. My And there was plenty of that, with
personal favorite is getting covered in lots of vendors, as well as shows put on
dog kisses; it’s just the best.” by Disconnected K-9 Frisbee Dogs and
Ultimate Air Dogs, and by Indian River
The canine-centric event was a great County’s own heroic K-9 officers and
way for people to share their dog experi- their partners.
ences with one another, and many were
doing just that. Human companions of There were also plenty of pooches
adorable big-pawed pups took advan- who got into the act themselves, invited
tage of getting tips on everything from to try their skills at chasing a piece of
grooming to training from others who fabric around a lure course, or emulat-
have been there, done that. ing the professional diving dogs with
some impressive dives of their own.
“Watching people with their pets
helps us as shelter employees to rein- But the best part was watching as
force the work that we do,” said Meghji. well-behaved four-legged companions,
“Sometimes we get really sad, because their tails and bodies in constant mo-
it’s a hard job sometimes, but here we tion, socialized with humans and fellow
get to see all sorts of people who adore canines alike.
their dogs. And that helps us feel good
about what we do.” “No, his tongue isn’t broken,” one
mother assured her toddler, who was
She said that last year, the Humane concerned by the huge tongue lolling
out of a Great Dane’s mouth. Yup, it was
that sort of day. 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 19


Trainer Lawrence Frederick with White Pepper. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

Boo and Layla. Betty Lou. Ultimate Air Dogs.

John Turner, Jan Howington, Scott Wheeler with Xander, and Phyllis Turner.

Sharon Deligdish, Lisa English and Carol DePaul with Gello, Atticus, Nala, Chester, Scout and Journey.

20 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 Nicole Maddux, Bob Stanley and Patti Lyons.
Giancarlo, Sophia and Brenda Cetrulo with Rosie.

Vero Beach Dog Park board members Bob Joy and Jill Jones. Santino. Ray Zellars with Bucky and Mya.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 21


Cali Dupre with Bentley. Trainer Jodi Frederick with Darla.

Linda Scott and Mitzie with Carl and Shirley Cerreto with Toby and Rio.
Hannah and Michael O’Shea with daughter Claire and their dog Dixon.

22 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


5K continues Quail Valley Charities’ run of success

BY MARY SCHENKEL PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 nice, is that the charities are getting neared the finish line.
Staff Writer to know each other.” Just across from them, Joanna
Overall winner Michael Musso. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE
Well over 400 people started off “It’s a great day; a great success. Meyers was doing the same thing,
the day last Saturday morning at the organizations were asked to wear It’s fun to get the children involved, commenting with a laugh, “I’m run-
Quail Valley River Club for the an- their own team T-shirts, adding, because that’s what it’s all about,” ning out of steam clapping! It’s the
nual Quail Valley Charities ‘Making “So what’s happening that’s really said Kathy Mulvey, Quail Valley most enthusiastic crowd ever.”
Strides for Children’ 5K Walk/Run CEO/owner. “The momentum we
and Kids 1-Mile Fun Run – some as have with the charities keeps get- Prior to the 5K, excited youngsters
participants and others to cheer on ting bigger and bigger each year. in the Kids Fun Run, ranging in age
their friends, family members and, People really love what we do with from 2 to 14, had taken off like a
in some cases, even the family dogs. the charities in Indian River Coun- shot. Winners in the 6-and-under
ty, and our membership is unbe- category were Jarren Rossmell and
Folks were all smiles as they lievably supportive.” Araya Hindelang; ages 7-to-9 win-
milled about, snacking on goodies ners were Chris Curley and Lucille
served up by the wonderful Quail To date, Quail Valley Charities Banzhaf; 10-to-12 winners were
Valley staff, getting in some pre-race has donated $6.6 million to local Austin Banzhaf and Cassidy Olea;
stretches, chatting with acquain- programs focused on children and and 13-and-over winners were
tances and making new friends. education. Mulvey said they hope Parker Banzhaf and Tanea Wymer.
to raise even more than last year’s
“We always ask our sponsored or- $607,000 to fund this year’s grants. While the adults took part in their
ganizations to participate, and we 5K, youngsters made their way to
usually ask them to volunteer. But “It’s the most giving membership. a new addition this year – an area
this year we asked them to bring a I’m so proud of our volunteers, and filled with bounce houses and
team. That’s why there are so many my charity committee is unbeliev- slides.
more people and so many more able,” said Mulvey. “I couldn’t do it
kids,” said Wanda Lincoln, Quail without them.” In the 5K race, where runners
Valley Charities committee chair. spanned nearly eight decades –
The portico echoed with encour- from age 4 to 82 – the overall winner
Lincoln explained that the partic- agement as a group of young ladies was Michael Musso at 19:00:56, and
ipants from the 30-plus beneficiary from the Vero Elite Volleyball Acad- the top female runner was Stepha-
emy cheered on the runners as they nie DiLella at 22:23:77. 

24 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 Members of the Vero Beach Museum of Art 5K team. Susan Boyd, Susan Lovelace and Marie Stiefel.
Brad and Amanda Pfennig with daughter Lillian.

Susan Perry, Anne Patrick and Rosanne Moler. Ashley Watson, Andrea Berry, Elisabeth Bublitz and Kristen Crocker. Abbe and Alan Chane with Diamond Litty.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 25


Camilla Wainright with Aubrie Belanger. Ryleigh and Carrie Lester with Bella and Jessica Simmons.

Top female finisher, Stephanie DiLella. Overall 1-Mile Fun Run winner Parker Banzhaf. Cassidy Olea, female winner of 1-Mile Fun Run. Barbara Hammond and Bill Motta.

26 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Reliving and learning at Sexton Homestead History Weekend

BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF STORY & PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 In a nod to the historical theme of the
Staff Writer Bill and Peggy Wargo with Chris Sexton, Ava Richardson and David Barnhart. event, Flowers shared sheriff lore – from
the first record of a sheriff in America
The grounds of the 1914 homestead not forgotten, Waldo’s Mountain. and Tripson Dairy, as well as taking an in 1635 to the assignment of sheriffs
of Vero Beach pioneer Waldo Sexton The site for the three-day event was up-close look at the variety of objects in Florida in 1821, the appointment of
echoed with stories of bygone days he salvaged, many from the ruins of female sheriffs as far back as 1938, and
during the second annual Waldo Sex- the homestead where Waldo and wife Palm Beach mansions. the hiring of the first African-American
ton Homestead History Weekend, host- Elsebeth raised their family. Now fond- deputy in 1962. He also recounted sto-
ed by members of the Tripson family, ly referred to as Waldo’s Secret Garden, The weekend kicked off with an al- ries on the wild early days. Of particu-
some of Sexton’s descendants. it has become a popular wedding spot. fresco dinner catered by Marsh Land- lar interest for the crowd, he told of the
ing under twinkling lights, where guests end of the Ashley Gang’s reign of ter-
An event last year as a part of Vero’s Throughout the weekend, visitors gathered family-style for an evening of ror, which occurred on Roseland Road,
centennial celebration was so well re- could tour the rustic home which Sex- reminiscence led by Indian River Coun- right here in Indian River County.
ceived that the Tripson family decided ton built piecemeal over the years, with ty Sheriff’s Office Maj. Eric Flowers and
to continue that tradition to highlight its outdoor kitchen and covered out- former IRC Commissioner Fran Adams. Adams spoke about the importance
the history of the area, which Sexton door dining area, native Florida garden of preserving our past, as she regaled
helped to shape. the crowd with stories from her 40 years
as a county resident. Her recollections
“We wanted to open up our house to elicited chuckles from Vero natives, as
the public, so people could learn more she imparted remembrances of the Cit-
about him and see what he created for rus Mafia, horse races at Garcia Ranch,
himself,” explained Charlotte Tripson, and battling the government to install
Sexton’s great-granddaughter. an artificial reef along the coastline.

Sexton quite literally left his mark on More laughs came when Adams re-
Indian River County through the con- lated being asked by an Ohio native to
struction of such well-known haunts rid the county of love bugs, because
as McKee Jungle Gardens (today’s they were annoying and bad for tour-
McKee Botanical Garden), the Ocean ism.
Grill, Driftwood Inn, Patio Restaurant
and Szechuan Palace and, gone but “Give me two weeks,” had been her

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28 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


STORY & PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 Ned and Lorry Gartner with Lia and Robert Peters and Kelly Peters. Patty and Ron Rennick. PHOTOS: KAILA JONES & STEPHANIE LABAFF
Kristen Tripson with David and Alice Gunter.

Fran Adams and Maj. Eric Flowers. Willie Johns, Seminole Chief Justice of the Tribal Courts. David Busch and Charlotte Tripson.

Established 18 Years in Indian River County

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3920 US Hwy 1, Vero Beach FL 32960

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 29


reply, knowing the pests would be gone Tribal Courts of the Seminole Tribe, an opportunity for us to share some of was founded to help families needing
on their own by then. spoke about the history of Florida Semi- the history that makes it such a special emergency financial assistance while
noles and there was even an interactive place,” said Hilde Tripson, wife of Sex- dealing with cancer, and to the Busch
Saturday and Sunday were chock- presentation of Florida’s early cowboys. ton’s grandson, Mark Tripson. Wildlife Sanctuary, a privately funded
ful of additional informative speakers nonprofit dedicated to the protection
weaving tales of old Florida, including “Waldo always loved people and he A portion of the weekend’s proceeds and conservation of Florida’s wildlife
paranormal investigations and Florida loved to do things for people. We live were being designated to the Sam R. and natural resources. 
myths. Willie Johns, chief justice of the in a wonderful community, and this is Tripson Memorial Foundation, which

30 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Hole lotta love for renovated Windsor Golf Course

BY MARY SCHENKEL effort,” said golf committee chair- piece and made it even better.” pushed to get it done,” she added.
Staff Writer man Gordon Nixon, congratulating Charlton paid tribute to every- Steele noted that while the eight-
everyone involved.
Windsor residents cheered as one involved in what he said was month project had endured some
the Hon. Hilary and Galen Weston Paying special tribute to the We- “very much a team process,” and weather delays, the back nine was
snipped the ribbon to officially re- stons, Nixon said that because of described the Westons as gutsy for actually open to members in De-
open the Windsor Golf Course, their influence, nothing in Florida agreeing to enhance an already fan- cember.
which just recently completed a ma- compares to Windsor’s unique qual- tastic golf course.
jor renovation. The ribbon-cutting ity, architecture and culture. “It’s been terrific; everyone has
was followed by an impressive cer- “We just can’t thank you enough been enjoying the new course,” said
emonial ‘first drive’ by Paul McGin- Adding that the course had been for that support. Believe me, it was Steele.
ley, captain of the victorious Europe built to the Weston’s standards, he a pleasure, an absolute labor of love,
team at the 2014 Ryder Cup. said, “It’s truly one of the best cours- to come back and kind of dress it up When asked if he had a favor-
es in all of Florida. The membership and polish it,” said Charlton. ite hole, Steele answered, “There’s
The project to restore the original just can’t thank you enough for your a number of them, but I’ve always
Robert Trent Jones 18-hole course willingness to ensure that it remains Calling it a young course, he loved hole No. 5. It’s a great, great
was spearheaded by Bruce Charl- so and will continue in the future.” added, “Be patient with it; I think hole. The bunkering is beautiful, the
ton, Robert Trent Jones II president you’ll see it grow a lot in the next 12 lake is on the right-hand side. It’s
and chief design officer, and was In thanks, Nixon unveiled a new months. This is not a process that just the perfect hole.”
overseen on the Windsor side by Jeff Weston Cup, a Member-Member moves quickly, although we did it
Steele, director of golf, and Jason Championship Trophy. pretty darn fast, and that’s a lot to do Commenting on some of the en-
Schoonover, course superintendent. with the crews.” hancements, Steele said that the
Nixon commented that Charl- bunkers had been reshaped to re-
“I’m not sure all of the members ton had been heavily involved in “It is a big moment,” said Hilary store their contours, and that the
have an appreciation of how dif- the original design of the Windsor Weston after the ceremony, as guests addition of a SubAir system under-
ficult it is to build a course in eight course, as well as a number of others milled about on the patio overlook- neath the greens enables them to
months, particularly when there was around the world. ing the picturesque course. regulate moisture in the soil.
21 inches of rain in August. So we
were lucky to get it done and we’re “I think that this is certainly one of “To do it in the condensed time “So it’s pretty state-of-the-art; ev-
now all beneficiaries of their great his best,” said Nixon, adding that the that we had, to have succeeded in erything is so perfect,” said Steele.
subtle changes made have created making it, is just tremendous. And “It’s very, very exciting.”
both an improved and more beauti- it’s all to do with the people who
ful course. “You’ve taken a master- were on this, who just pushed and For more information, visit wind- 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 31


Mike Riley, Don Segalas and Greg Stringer. PHOTOS: KAILA JONES Jason Schoonover and Bruce Charlton. Tom Gahan and Ivan Lendl.

Margaret Snow and Martha Shaw. Georgia Welles and David Shaw.

Betsy and Michael Hanley. Winnie and Chris Mortenson.

Paul McGinley, Galen and Hilary Weston, and Gordon Nixon.

32 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™



Jim and Meredith Van Veen. PHOTOS: KAILA JONES Rich Odendahl and Jessica Schmitt.

Staff Writer

Looking to start off 2020 on the right Dillon Helzerman.
foot, roughly 670 runners and walkers
gathered on a perfectly glorious New with a time of 16:33. Top female was
Year’s morning at Riverside Park, in another out-of-towner, Sydney Settle
front of the Vero Beach Museum of Art, from Owensboro, Ky., with a time of
to participate in the annual Resolution 19:35.
Run 5K, the fourth race in the 2019-
2020 Run Vero Race Series. The 2019-2020 Run Vero Race Se-
ries included September’s Twilight
With a nod to the previous night’s 2-Mile, October’s Frightening 4K and
New Year’s Eve festivities, Jim Van Veen December’s Candy Cane 3K preced-
was easy to spot in his snazzy gold se- ing the Christmas Parade on Ocean
quined jacket, as he kicked off the race. Drive. Still to come are the Feb. 8
Participants and onlookers joined him Cupcake 2-Mile from AW Young Park,
in a countdown that ended with color- which contains a tasty cupcake stop
ful confetti shot out of canisters over at the 1-mile, and the March 31 Cit-
the heads of the eager runners, who rus Classic 5K from Pocahontas Park,
took off in an enthusiastic flash. a two-loop course through scenic
Downtown Vero Beach neighbor-
The Resolution Run drew partici- hoods.
pants from around the nation and sev-
eral from Canada, ranging in age from For more information visit runners-
7 to a spry 81, each sprinting their way 
into the New Year. Members of the In-
dian River County Sheriff’s Office Ex-
plorer Program, which was being giv-
en a portion of the proceeds, were on
hand as volunteers, helping out along
the route and at the finish line.

The overall winner was Brad Demar-
co, all the way from Cambridge, Mass.,


34 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Riverside’s ‘Modern Millie’: First-rate fun never gets old


Old troupes get jazzed up in Riverside From left to right: Melissa Schott, Samantha Young, Cassandra Brooks, Abigail Isom, and Danielle Jackman PHOTOS BY GARETT SCHIEFER
Theatre’s snappy and vibrant produc-
tion of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

The entertaining musical may have
the look and feel of something right
out of the ’20s, but it’s based on the
1967 George Roy Hill movie starring
Julie Andrews. The stage musical has
a book by George Scanlan and Rich-
ard Morris, who wrote the screenplay.

But given the art deco appeal, girl-
meets-boy storyline, a subplot deal-
ing with criminal behavior and a
bounty of bright singing and flap-
per-girl tap dancing, you may feel
like you’ve already seen it. Really
… didn’t Howard Lindsay do this
something like this already in the
’30s? No, that was “Anything Goes.”

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” fol-
lows the frivolous and fun exploits
of Kansas-bred Millie Dillmount,
who has, in the midst of the Roar-
ing ’20s, moved to New York City
to find a rich husband. Saying she
wants to be a modern girl, she re-

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Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 35


phaned women. Speaking with cari- But really, there’s not a moment
cature accent, she intones “Sad to be in this zippy show where your mod-
all alone in the world.” She forces help ern mind will have a chance to light.
from two Chinese men, Ching Ho and From the first downbeat of the over-
Bun Foo, who work in a laundry. They, ture to the final curtain, you will be
and a talented ensemble of dancers, won over by a talented cast and de-
round out the cast of “Thoroughly sign team who deliver a winning, fun-
Modern Millie.” filled show.

However, a thoroughly modern au- The music, like the story, is new
dience may wonder about jokes feed- and old. It was composed by Jeanine
ing at the trough of glass ceilings, eth- Tesori, one of the hottest contempo-
nic stereotyping and sex trafficking. rary Broadway composers, who won a
Indeed, Vero Beach audiences might Tony Award for “Fun Home.” She uses
find the timing a bit ironic in light of peppy 1920s-inspired melodies and
last year’s headlines about a possible even some brilliant moments invoking
human trafficking ring in Vero Beach.

Abby Church as Millie and
Adinah Alexander as Mrs. Meers.

jects the idea of love and instead has friend, Miss Dorothy, and finds a job
her mind set on finding a secretarial with a handsome boss, Mr. Graydon.
job and marrying the boss.
The romance part of the comic plot
Millie checks into the Priscilla Hotel becomes entangled when Mr. Graydon
for Single Women, which is run by a falls for Miss Dorothy; and Jimmy, an
mysterious Mrs. Meers, a woman who earnest young man, falls for Millie.
disguises herself to look and sound
like a Chinese villainess from a 1930s The mysterious Mrs. Meers lurks in
B-movie. Millie soon makes a best the background, though, supplying a
white slavery racket with young or-

36 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 ing test number; Victor Herbert’s “Ah, Nutcracker Suite” adds classy under- sensational spectacle by director/cho-
Sweet Mystery of Life” proves a per- tones to a speakeasy scene. reographer James Brennan, who has
classic tunes and a lot of fun. Gilbert & fect musical motif when Grayson and grown into a Riverside favorite.
Sullivan’s “My Eyes Are Fully Open” is Dorothy meet; and Tchaikovsky’s “The In fact, the music is so big and won-
the tune and tempo for a rousing typ- derful, it becomes the canvas for some His remarkable ensemble dance

Your Vero Beach NewsNwiceoleekPloywe™ll as Vero Beach 32963M/atJthaenwuHayrdyzi1k6a,s2Tr0e2vo0r Graydon3, 7

Muzzy Van Hossmere. Abby Church, and Victoria Britt
as Miss Dorothy.

Abby Church and Patrick Mobley as Jimmy Smith.

through choreography that has layers
of embellished gesture. From flipping
of the hand and tapping while seated,
to akimbo kicks and arms flung up-
ward in joy, Brennan uses every part of
the body and the entire stage for a most
satisfying abundance of dance.

Moreover, his scenic shifts are in-
spired. Working in concert with lighting
designer Julie Duro, moving lights are
projected onto Michael Schweikardt’s
excellent scenery while it is changed.
Keeping the featured characters in
front of the scenery, the shifts become
tightly timed “carpenter scenes,” keep-
ing the pace bustling along.

Abby Church is a wonder as Mil-
lie. Bright-faced and cheerful, she is
a singing and dancing joy, while at
the same time bringing the romance
and comedic touches. Patrick Mobley,
who was Gabe in Riverside’s “Next to
Normal,” is very appealing as Jimmy,
the young man who falls for Millie.

Matthew Hydzik makes an ideal
Mr. Grayson, Hydzik, who was on
Broadway as Gregg Allman in “The
Cher Show” and Tony in “West Side
Story,” has fulsome fun with Victo-
ria Britt, who turns up the innocent,
wide-eyed appeal as Miss Dorothy.
Together, they hit the big notes with
astounding ease.

Anthony Chan brings sweetness to
his role of Ching Ho, a Chinese immi-


38 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


grant who falls in love and helps pro- use those fabulous gowns, designed Broadway appeal, where a few beauti- through Jan. 26 at Riverside Theatre,
tect Miss Dorothy. Like the rest of the by Kurt Alger, oh so very well. fully crafted pieces slide easily on and 3250 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach. It
featured cast, Chan has a solid list of off to set mood and place. performs 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednes-
professional credits, including work- Music director and keyboard- days and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and
ing with Bartlett Sher and Lin-Manu- ist Ann Shuttlesworth leads a solid This is a first-rate, polished, profes- Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Wednesdays, se-
el Miranda and appearing in multiple 11-piece pit orchestra. Duro’s rich sional production. You would be hard lect Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
roles in “Vietgone,” one of the hottest lighting brings out the vibrancy in pressed to find better. Tickets begin at $35. Call 772-231-6990
American plays around now. Alger’s costumes, and Schweikardt’s or visit 
scenery has that high sophisticated “Thoroughly Modern Millie” runs
Carl Hsu is Bun Foo, who, like Ching
Ho, is desperate to get his mother out
of Hong Kong and bring her to New
York City. Hsu brings out the com-
edy in musical numbers with Chan,
as they sing and speak in a combina-
tion of Cantonese and Mandarin dia-
lects, with supertitles translating.

Adinah Alexander, who has been in
numerous original Broadway casts,
is a drop-dead hoot as Mrs. Meers.
She delivers nuanced jokes as asides
between her and the audience, and
shimmies between the intention-
ally hackneyed Chinese accent into
a tough Brooklyn “broad” talk. And,
when her character reveals that she
used to trod the boards (theater speak
for ‘act’), she turns up the droll, say-
ing she could still play Juliet, if the
house was big enough.

Nicole Powell, who also has a long
line of credits on Broadway and in
television, is a show-stopper as singer
and as wise socialite Muzzy Van Hoss-
mere. And she knows how to wear and

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 39



BY PAM HARBAUGH Art Club scholarship fund. The Vero
Correspondent Beach Museum of Art is at 3001 Riv-
erside Park Drive, Vero Beach. Visit
From fascinating talks by Gen. John
Kelley to exquisite dance, music and
art, this is one of those special weeks 2 The Indian River Symphonic
where you’re especially happy to be in Association presents the Royal
Vero Beach. Plan this next week care-
fully and you will find yourself awash Philharmonic Orchestra Friday eve-
in wonderful cultural activities.
ning. The concert features virtuoso

pianist Khatia Buniatishvili perform-

ing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto

1 Art by the Sea, presented by No. 2. Also on the program will be
the Vero Beach Art Club, will
W. Walton’s “Portsmouth Point Over-

have its annual exhibit and sale this ture” and J. Sibelius’ Symphony No.

weekend in the Holmes Great Hall at 2 in D major. The concert begins

the Vero Beach Museum of Art. More 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Community

than 200 artists will have works for Church of Vero Beach, 1901 23rd

sale. It opens to the public with a Street. Tickets range from $60 to $95.

cocktail reception 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There are a limited number of $10

Friday. The exhibit continues 10 a.m. student tickets. Call 772-778-1070 or

to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 visit

p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Part

of the sales goes to the Vero Beach CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

2 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Community Church Friday.

40 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


3 Sebastian Riverfront Fine Art & ing does fill up pretty fast.” The Se- fathers are the ones who created Bal- educate participants on their finds.
Music Festival runs this week- bastian Riverfront Fine Art & Music let Vero Beach. There will be a world Mazza has been a fossil hunter for
Festival runs 10 to 5 p.m. Saturday premiere, “Tunic and Tutus,” by prin- more than 30 years and has contrib-
end along what should be mostly and Sunday at Riverview Park, U.S. 1 cipal dancer Camilo A. Rodriguez. It uted unusual finds to the Florida Mu-
and County Road 512, Sebastian. For features three dancers and the music seum of Natural History and to the
the sunny banks of the Indian Riv- more information, visit Sebastian- of Rossini. Rodriguez will also per- New Jersey State Museum. And while form his solo piece, “Harlequin/Pier- you’re there, stroll through the gar-
er. About 120 artists come in from rot.” Also on the program is “Friends dens. There’s something fascinating
and Lovers,” by artistic director and beautiful around every corner.
around the country to show works Adam Schnell, who created the piece The Fossil Discovery Hour begins 1
when he was resident choreographer p.m. Saturday at McKee Botanical
at this annual event. You’ll also hear with the Sarasota Ballet. Set to the Garden, 350 U.S. 1, Vero Beach. Ad-
music of Bruch’s Concerto for Two mission is $15 general, $13 seniors and
live bluegrass, country, soul, Island Pianos, it was created after the Sep- $10 children 2 to 12 years of age. Ad-
tember 11 attacks and explores the mission is free for members. Call 772-
and rock music. There will also be 4 Ballet Vero Beach opens its sea- human need for love, companion- 794-0601 or visit
son with “Founding Fathers,” ship and hope. “Founding Fathers”
food vendors. “We have several park- performances begin 8 p.m. Friday,
and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at the
ing lots,” said organizer Richard Rob- Friday and Saturday at the Vero Beach Vero Beach High School Performing
Arts Center, 1707 16th St. Tickets are
inson, husband of the event’s late High School Performing Arts Center. $10 to $75. Call 772-905-2651 or visit
founder, Lisanne Robinson. “But we Don’t expect an American history

get close to 30,000 people, so park- lesson set to dance. These founding

6 Gen. John Kelly speaks Monday
for the Distinguished Lecturer

Series at Riverside Theatre. Yes, this

is the man who was in the headlines

from 2017 to 2019 as the White House

Chief of Staff. Before that, he was the

Secretary of Homeland Security. He

5 Bring the whole family to the will lecture twice, at 4 p.m. and 6
Fossil Discovery Hour Satur-
p.m. Monday at Riverside Theatre,

day afternoon at the McKee Botani- 3250 Riverside Dr. Tickets are sold

cal Garden. Children should delight out, but there’s always a possibility

in exploring Florida’s unusual fossils. to pick up a ticket at the box office.

The whole family can get their hands Admission is general, at $100. You

into fossiliferous gravel as they search can also get on a waiting list by call-

for shark’s teeth, bones, shells, sting- ing the box office at 772-231-6990 or,

ray spines and more. Fred Mazza, the for more information, visit River-

president of Paleo Discoveries, will 

MusicWorks and Paris Productions TICKET TO THE MOON




VBHS Performing Arts Center · 1707 16th Street, Vero Beach
Doors Open at 6 pm, Seating at 6:30 pm

Tickets: (800) 595-4849

PRESENTING SPONSORS: Cindy O’Dare & Fenia Hiaasen

SHOW SPONSORS: The Audiohouse · Joe and Denise Corr
MID-Florida Credit Union · Catherine Sullivan

44 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


For years, drug companies have en- research altogether in favor of more failed to reach more than a fraction of When Sanofi introduced Praluent,
joyed the freedom to charge high pric- lucrative medicines for cancer and its intended market. it seemed destined to become a hit.
es for their latest products. But when other diseases. Heart disease remains the top killer in
Sanofi and Amgen Inc. each marketed Praluent’s disappointing sales are the United States responsible for 1 in 4
a powerful new cholesterol-lowering “We’re proud of our past, but it the result of insurance giants’ reluc- deaths each year. With its proven ability
medicine, something surprising hap- shouldn’t dictate some poor invest- tance to pay for expensive new phar- to dramatically lower “bad” cholesterol,
pened: High prices hurt sales. ment decisions,” Paul Hudson, Sano- maceuticals that treat chronic disease or LDL, Praluent, its promoters argued,
fi’s new chief executive officer, told when far cheaper drugs can often get would quickly grow into a multi¬billion-
Sanofi’s experience has been espe- a group of investors last month. “We the job done. dollar-a-year blockbuster.
cially painful. The French company have to draw a line in the sand.”
spent more than five years develop- Praluent’s disappointing perfor- Biotechnology specialist Amgen
ing Praluent with Regeneron Phar- What went wrong with Praluent? mance shows how consolidation thought so, too, and invested in a com-
maceuticals Inc. before its launch in The drug is one of several choles- among insurers and pharmacy-ben- peting compound, Repatha. The drugs
2015. But Praluent never caught on. terol-lowering injections known as efit managers – the middle¬men that were intended to serve a sizable seg-
Now Sanofi is cutting its losses, get- PCSK9 inhibitors. It does a better job handle prescription drug plans for em- ment of patients who can’t tolerate or
ting out of the U.S. market for the than earlier drugs of reducing the risk ployers and pension plans – has given control their cholesterol with widely
drug, and halting its heart disease of heart attacks and strokes for some them much more control over pricing used statins such as Pfizer Inc.’s Lipi-
people. Yet this class of new drugs has and patient access to medicines.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 45


tor and for those who have a genetic While the companies argued the constructed barriers that made it vir- the market were denied approval for
condition that puts them at risk for medicines would provide billions tually certain few patients would get coverage, according to the Duke Clini-
early heart attacks and strokes. of dollars in savings by keeping pa- the new drugs. cal Research Institute. Many of those
tients out of hospitals and reducing who were approved by their plans of-
The drugmakers badly miscalcu- the need for more intensive cardio- “PCSK9s had the potential to be for ten found they couldn’t afford their
lated their pricing strategy, however. vascular care, insurers balked at the a very large population,” says Harold share of the cost.
Sanofi and its partner Regeneron in- potential cost of these long-term Carter, a senior director of value-based
troduced Praluent at $14,600 a year treatments. They pointed to research pricing solutions at Cigna Corp.’s Ex- Things were particularly dire for se-
in mid-2015. Amgen priced Repatha that suggested giving Praluent and press Scripts unit, which manages niors enrolled in Medicare, who could
at $14,100 annually a month later. Repatha to all eligible patients would drug-¬benefits plans.“We knew it could be on the hook for a quarter or more of
Compared to the multimillion-¬dollar be responsible for about a $120 bil- break the budgets of health plans, so we the drug’s list price. Debbie Hileman, a
price tags for genetic drugs that cure lion increase in annual health-care made sure that only patients that abso- patient in Grand Tower, Ill., with a ge-
rare diseases, the cost wasn’t unrea- spending in the U.S. – a finding the lutely needed it got access.” netic condition known as familial hy-
sonable, company officials say. But manufacturers doubt. percholesterolemia, was forced to pay
unlike those one-time treatments, the The strategy employed by Express more than $400 each month for Re-
new cholesterol drugs are intended to Since generic statins cost as little Scripts and its counterparts proved ef- patha through her federal drug benefit.
be taken for a lifetime. as $40 a year, insurance companies fective. Half of all patients prescribed
a PCSK9 inhibitor in their first year on CONTINUED ON PAGE 46

46 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


“It left me with some difficult choices,” many drug middle¬men ignored the pany could pass them the rebate. How- “That discount has not changed the
says Hileman, 67, who often did with- lower-priced meds in favor of putting ever, Brennan concedes its demand way the game is played.”
out the drug. “I couldn’t put my family the $14,000 versions on their approved for a “clinical” justification for the dis-
in the poorhouse.” lists – which would give heftier rebates. counted product was inaccurate and Like Sanofi and Amgen, other drug-
unnecessary. makers have struggled to introduce
High-risk patients with the same ge- CVS Health Corp., for example, asked discounted versions of their treatments
netic condition couldn’t even get ap- prescribers to provide one of two codes “It was a business decision that should to improve affordability and patient ac-
proved for the drug: 63% of their pre- to request access to either the $14,100 have been reviewed more deliberately,” cess. Eli Lilly & Co. created a half-price
scriptions were rejected, according to a product or the $5,850 product. Although he says. After five months, CVS updat- version of its popular insulin Humalog
2017 study in the medical journal Cir- it stated “the two products are the exact ed the form to eliminate that question last year after criticism over the drug’s
culation. As a result, sales of the drugs price. But a majority of diabetes pa-
suffered. Sanofi’s treatment generated SANOFI ANDAMGEN tients still haven’t gotten insurance cov-
a meager $307 million in 2018, while erage for it.
Amgen’s fared better at a still-disap- OVERPRICEDTHEIRNEWCHOLESTEROL
pointing $550 million. TREATMENTS, ANDINSURERSBALKED “It’s extremely disappointing that
that’s the outcome we land on,” says
That pushed the manufacturers same and made in the same manufac- and now covers the $5,850 version of Lilly CEO David Ricks. “We’ve done
to take drastic measures. In October turing facility,” the company required a Repatha. CVS and Express Scripts say what we can do. I guess insurance
2018, Amgen cut its list price by 60%, “documented clinical reason” to access they’ve since eased restrictions in the companies, pharmacy-benefit man-
to $5,850. Sanofi, which had already of- the cheaper drug. Even with such a rea- wake of new medical guidelines and re- agers, and supply chain actors have
fered heavily discounted drugs to cer- son, CVS said it wouldn’t make the dis- cent data that show the drugs’ effective- showed their hand. They prefer the
tain benefit managers, matched that counted drug available. So doctors fill- ness. high list price, high rebate, to a low list
in March 2019. The companies hoped ing out forms essentially had only one price, low rebate.”
the sharply reduced prices would en- choice: request the expensive option. Even so, critics say the drugs are still
courage insurers to take down their hard to come by. “A model that pri- Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG will
coverage barriers while also lowering Troyen Brennan, chief medical of- oritizes the more expensive product take a different strategy. Late last year
seniors’ out-of-pocket costs. In other ficer of CVS Health, says the $14,100 when a less expensive one is available it agreed to buy Medicines Co. and its
words, they were willing to trade profit product initially offered health plans doesn’t serve the patients,” says Scott state-of-the-art cholesterol-¬bashing
margins for scale. the lowest net-cost because the com- Wright, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic. drug for $9.7 billion. Unlike Praluent
and Repatha, which are self-injected
But their more moderate pricing failed twice a month, Novartis’s injection is
to boost sales because of incentives pe- only needed twice a year. If the com-
culiar to the drug industry. Drugmakers pany doesn’t overreach on pricing, the
provide pharmacy-benefit managers drug could be a highly attractive alter-
discounts in the form of rebates to win native.
preferred coverage status for their ex-
pensive medications. Throughout 2019, Calling the battle between Praluent
and Repatha for market share “a race

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 47


to the bottom,” Sanofi’s Hudson, who generon, which will manage commer- at the end of 2019. The company re- product, a doctor to prescribe a prod-
became CEO in September, says he’s cial operations alone. moved the more costly version from uct, and a pharmacy to carry the prod-
done trying to negotiate with the in- the market on Dec. 31 in an attempt uct,” says Murdo Gordon, Amgen’s
surance industry over Praluent. “We’re Amgen says it’s in for the long haul. to force the insurance industry’s hand: executive vice president for global
all battle-scarred enough not to go After more than a year of urging bene- Pay for our discounted product or commercial operations, “but the pa-
there again.” In the U.S., the company fit managers to adopt their discounted don’t pay for our product at all. tient can’t afford the product, then the
will return the cholesterol drug to Re- drug, the high-priced version still ac- health-care system is broken.” 
counted for almost half of its volume “If you can get an insurer to supply a

48 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


The risk of nuclear proliferation (and war) is growing

It’s been 75 years since Hiroshima source. (Israel, Pakistan, India and Game theory also offers plenty of ers – can easily go from somewhat, to
and Nagasaki were incinerated, and South Sudan never signed, and North reasons to worry once soft arms races totally, out of hand.
50 years since the Nuclear Non-Pro- Korea withdrew.) turn into hard ones. That’s because
liferation Treaty took effect. And yet the world has become more complex Another difficult strategy is postur-
the world is today in greater danger of Has the treaty been a success? Its since the Cold War. Back then, the ing, to deceive adversaries about one’s
nuclear war than at any time since the fans claim that without it even more U.S. and the Soviet Union used game own risk appetite.
Cuban Missile Crisis. states might have nukes today. Skep- theory to find a stable strategy for
tics worry that the system requires a avoiding the worst: mutually assured One mathematical problem is that
In its confrontation with the U.S., benevolent hegemon, i.e. the U.S., to destruction. (The acronym – MAD – many of these games need to be played
Iran appears hell-bent on getting police it, but fear that this credible and says it all.) for an unimaginable number of rounds
nukes, and could do so within a year. predictable benevolence is gone. before a Nash equilibrium becomes
If it does, Saudi Arabia and Turkey It rested on various assumptions. clear. That might seem acceptable when
will almost certainly follow suit. Is- If allies – Japan, South Korea or Tai- Both sides, for example, must be able game theory is applied to economic
rael is already armed. Asia has several wan, say – can no longer be absolutely to retaliate even after being struck, problems such as how to design the
nuclear hotspots. And in the most sure that the U.S. would retaliate on which is why the U.S., Russia and best type of auction for 5G wireless
frightening scenario, at any point their behalf against a nuclear strike on now also China are so keen to be able spectrum. In a nuclear context, it would
bombs could fall into the hands of them – say, by North Korea or China – to deploy from land, sea, air or even be game over for Homo sapiens.
terrorists or other “non-state” groups what’s to keep them from wanting to go space.
that are hard to retaliate against and nuclear themselves? And what’s to keep But game theory also offers a glim-
thus to deter. other adversaries from doing the same By today’s standards, those old mer of hope. A huge problem, in
as a hedge against such an outcome? games are laughably simple. They games and reality, is that players either
To slow this proliferation of nukes, had two players, both assumed to be don’t know, or can easily misread, the
the world still relies mostly on the That’s where game theory comes “rational,” an assumption few people minds of their adversaries. This can be
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, known in. It’s a branch of mathematics that’s make confidently about some world fixed by adding a mediator, in effect
as NPT, which currently has 191 sig- been used since the 1960s in nuclear leaders today. a trusted adviser who selectively pro-
natories. Every five years, diplomats scenarios. The initial games included vides and withholds information to
gather for a review conference (Rev- simple classics such as “chicken” and Worse, the number of players keeps the enemies, while introducing strate-
Con), and the next one, in New York, “the prisoner’s dilemma.” One dis- growing. So do the permutations of gies such as “regret minimization.”
starts in April. turbing insight is that, depending on new weapons, such as small nukes for
the game, even rational players act- tactical uses or hyper-sonic missiles Let the search be on for such media-
Expectations are low, and fears are ing rationally can end up in situations that give adversaries no time to weigh tors, ideally in time for the RevCon in
high. If diplomats and the public read (called Nash equilibria) that are disas- responses. This leads to a spectacular April. The U.S., Russia and China could
up on game theory, their dread would trous for everybody. increase in the possible decisions and also use mediation. The former two ca-
grow more. responses – and miscalculations. The sually shrugged off one arms-control
When analyzed with game theory, math quickly gets complex beyond treaty last year and seem blasé about
When the treaty was negotiated in the NPT looks like a terrible idea. The normal human capacities. rescuing the only remaining one, called
the 1960s, it was meant to be a grand problem is it still lets countries of all New START, which expires in a year.
bargain. The five countries that al- stripes gain entry-level nuclear tech- Games include, for example, per- China, thinking more about power and
ready had nukes (the U.S., the Soviet nology for civilian use. However, once fectly rational but slippery strate- destiny than survival, is boosting its ar-
Union, the U.K., France and China) a country, like Iran, learns to build a gies such as brinkmanship, when ac- senal to catch up with them.
would keep them but promise to work nuclear reactor – by enriching ura- tors deliberately “let the situation get
toward eliminating them. nium – it’s only a few small steps from somewhat out of hand” just to make Everyone involved needs to under-
making bombs. That in turn forces ad- it “intolerable to the other party.” The stand that nuclear war is not a game. 
All other signatories would for- versaries to sprint to the same point. problem is that such situations – such
swear nuclear weapons in return for The result is a “soft arms race” like the as the skirmishes last year between A version of this column by Andreas
help from the big five in using civil- current one in the Middle East. India and Pakistan, both nuclear pow- Kluth first appeared on Bloomberg. It
ian nuclear technology as an energy does not necessarily reflect the views of
Vero Beach 32963.

HappyNewYou!PartIII  Exercise © 2020 VERO BEACH 32963 MEDIA, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Strive to get a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes of mod-
The new year is good time to look at lifestyle habits to erate exercise most each day. Try not to let two days
find opportunities to improve vigor, strength and overall go by without exercise.
well-being. m Aerobic exercises

POSITIVE ATTITUDE w Take a brisk walk outside or inside on a treadmill
w Take a low-impact aerobics class
Start making healthy lifestyle changes grounded in a pos- w Swim or do water aerobic exercises
itive attitude. As you develop strategies, recognize there w Ride a bicycle outside or stationary bicycle indoors
will be times when you “go off the wagon.” But hop right m Flexibility exercises
back on. It’s a temporary lapse. w Stretching exercises help keep joints flexible and

Thoughts and feelings determine action. Your conscious reduce chances of injury. Gentle stretching for 5
mind holds one thought at a time. Take a negative to 10 minutes helps your body warm up and get
thought captive and transform it into encouraging self- ready for aerobic activities such as walking or
talk to create optimistic, constructive emotions. For ex- swimming.
ample, if you’re thinking “problem,” deliberately change
it to “situation” or “challenge.” m Strength training exercises
w Strength training exercises help you regain lost
Consider setbacks as opportunities to learn valuable
lessons. Let overcoming disappointments become your strength in your muscles and/or make your muscles
new habit and you’ll find sticking to your plan becomes more injury resistant.
more automatic.
m Balance exercises
LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS w Balance is an important element for the elderly.

 Alcohol Older muscles are smaller, slower and less responsive,
Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per making a person more vulnerable to falls. Balance
day maximum. One serving of alcohol is equivalent training helps improve stiffness and unsteadiness.
to 1 ounce of liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces Keep yourself moving – even if it’s only doing household
of beer. chores. Do what your body allows you to do. Ask your
 Diet primary care physician for specific exercises that are
Good nutrition is the first line of defense to avoid right for you and maintain a regular exercise routine.
many diseases. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables  Safe sex practices
and whole grains. Cook with oils that contain poly- m Follow CDC guidelines at
unsaturated or monounsaturated fat like olive oil or prevention.
canola oil. Choose chicken, fish or beans instead of  Tobacco use
red meat. Consume white rice, white bread, potatoes, m Refrain from using tobacco products, including
white pasta, soda and sweets sparingly. Ask your chewing tobacco.
doctor if you should include dairy or calcium supple-  Wear your seat belt
ments in your diet. Don’t skip a meal – and remember m And never text while driving!
to burn more calories than you eat. To make life more fun and fulfilling, surround yourself with
positive friends. 
Your comments and suggestions for future topics are
always welcome. Email us at [email protected].

50 Vero Beach 32963 / January 16, 2020 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


St. Ed’s hoopsters have bounce in their step for 2020


“We are going to hit the ground run- Zion Atwater. Jayla Brown. Karis Crookshank. PHOTOS BY KAILA JONES
ning in 2020,” St. Ed’s girls basketball
head coach David Rogers said while ship game, where a 17-1 third-quarter The original starting five included Neumann Marlett, a former varsity
anticipating a new calendar year. Un- flameout proved decisive in a 50-37 sophomore Izzy Jennings and fresh- girls head coach at St. Ed’s for two sea-
fortunately, his team was not imme- loss to Atlantic Christian. man Jayla Brown. In recent weeks it sons (2010-11 and 2011-12), assists Rog-
diately able to fire on all cylinders. became a matter of incorporating the ers on the bench, as he did last season.
Atwater, the only other senior, rest of the nine-person squad – fea- The pair brings a great deal of coaching
Senior standout Elise Mallon was shares the leadership role as co-cap- turing sophomore Karis Crookshank experience to a task almost identical to
sidelined for the past month with a tain with Mallon. She is second on the and three freshmen, Lauren Chesley, what they worked on a season ago.
hand injury. The team missed her lead- team in scoring and rebounding with Kate Kedem and Imani Williams.
ership, ball-handling prowess, and 9.4 averages of 10.8 and 6.4, respectively. Atwater, Mallon and Soderman ac-
scoring average as the go-to point and Soderman, a sophomore, is all over “With our five starters we have a counted for the bulk of the scoring back
shooting guard. She is expected to re- the stat sheet again, just as she was pretty tall lineup,” Rogers said. “Elise then, and this year the trio is again ac-
turn any day now and provide a need- in volleyball. She tops everyone with Mallon directs the offense, but even counting for well over 90 percent of
ed shot in the arm as the stretch run 11.2 points and 9.9 boards per game. without her our ball-handling is pretty the point production. Developing and
includes two postseason tournaments. Call it averaging a double-double. good. But I would say that every team blending in the supporting cast is once
could improve in that area. It never again a season-long priority.
The Pirates were able to persevere One favorable aspect for St. Ed’s quite meets the standards coaches
admirably during her absence, reach- thus far is home cooking. The 6-5 re- would prefer, but we have definitely The team would like to have Mal-
ing 6-5 overall following a win and cord of breaks down to 6-1 at home, improved from what I saw last year. lon back at full strength for the SSAC
loss on consecutive nights to usher in 0-4 on the road. tournament later this month, and for
2020 last week. “I don’t have any juniors, which is the FHSAA district tournament in
“The season started well and then OK. I would like to have some juniors early February.
For the first time in the brief history of we hit a couple of hurdles, as every to step into those leadership roles
St. Ed’s D5 Alive holiday tournament – in team does,” Rogers said. “I’ve known next year because I don’t think you “One of my goals was to get the
memory of the late basketball star Darell our seniors since they played for the ever truly replace players like Zion At- program back into a district,” Rogers
Flowers – the girls hosted a four-team middle school, and we have good lead- water and Elise Mallon. But we have a said of the decision to graduate from
field. Alexa Soderman scored 17 points ership. So far I’m pretty pleased with pretty good young team this year, and independent status. “The idea was to
twice, and Zion Atwater averaged 11 as the way the team has played. We just we have a good nucleus of players in hopefully raise the level of our girls
the Pirates broke even. The duo account- need to improve in some areas, but I’m the middle school.” play, with the district being higher
ed for 31 total rebounds in two contests. happy with the path we are on.” quality basketball.” 

Scheduling games during the holiday
break was a completely new adventure
for the girls, but it supports an innova-
tion that Rogers sees as vital to an overall
upgrade in the quality of the program.

“Some were not really excited when
I told them about playing two games
over the Christmas break,” Rogers
told us. “But we lined everything up
and gave them some time off to travel
or be with family. A couple that were
traveling came back specifically for
the tournament. I believe the team
was jacked up for the possibility of
becoming the first winners on the
girls side of the D5 Alive tournament.”

St. Ed’s reached the champion-

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