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Published by Vero Beach 32963 Media, 2018-04-12 13:16:53

04/12/2018 ISSUE 15


Stealing construction worker
gets sentence cut. P8
Community spirit at
Hibiscus Festival. P20

Palm Island Plantation finds
sweet spot in housing market. P9

For breaking news visit

MY VERO Former manager
of Nino’s pizzeria
BY RAY MCNULTY pleads to theft

A year later, no arrest
likely in Grove shooting

More than a year had passed BY BETH WALTON
since Andy Capak, one of the Staff Writer
co-owners of The Grove Bar,
was shot multiple times at Croce Giambanco and Bren-
close range outside the down-
town establishment in the wee nan Baker were like father and
hours of a Friday morning –
and still he hadn't spoken pub- son.
licly about what happened.
The owner of Nino’s Café,
So, seizing upon the March
31 anniversary of the shooting a popular beachside pizzeria
as a potential opportunity, I re-
quested an interview, sending that has mainland locations as
him a text message that listed
the topics I wanted to discuss well, hired Baker when he was
with him for this column.
just a boy, impressed by his
Capak declined, just as he
had done when I made a simi- work ethic.
lar request last summer.
The two worked together for
This time, though, he offered
an alternative. more than a decade, as Giam-

"I'm not interested in do- banco taught Baker the ins
ing an interview, but I will give
this statement," he responded, and outs of the restaurant in-
"because I believe my commu-
nity deserves it." dustry. He co-signed on a car

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The Grove Bar, where an alteraction last year spilled into the street and ended with a co-owner shot. PHOTO BY GORDON RADFORD loan for Baker and eventually

Publix moving ahead Speeders taking shortcut off A1A being targeted promoted him to manager of
with plans for island the Easter Lily Lane pizzeria,
market, liquor store across from Humiston Park.
Then, one day, the business
Staff Writer BY LISA ZAHNER nearly hitting leashed dogs and considered moving or wished owner was forced to notify
Staff Writer even careening into one home, they’d never bought into what police that his long-time em-
Plans for a Publix super-
market on the North Bar- causing tens of thousands of they thought was a quiet, pe- ployee was stealing from the
rier Island are rolling forward
like a loaded shopping cart. Island motorists accustomed dollars in damage. destrian-friendly neighbor- business. It was a call Giam-
Shortly after a presentation to
the Orchid Town Council and to cutting through on one of the More than one said they had CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 "tree streets" in Central Beach

to avoid A1A backups en route After fire, Citrus Grillhouse to
to the Barber bridge will want to

cruise very carefully if they keep reopen with new look in October
using that shortcut.

Over the past week, Vero BY RAY MCNULTY
Beach Police have issued 39 ci- Staff Writer
tations and three written warn-

ings to drivers on the quiet, Citrus Grillhouse chef/owner Scott Var-

canopied streets where resi- ricchio and partner Matt Gaston said their

dents have long complained restaurant will be out of commission until

about speeding cars. October in the aftermath of a kitchen fire

At theVero Beach City Coun- in the early morning hours of March 27 – a

cil meeting last Tuesday, Cen- blow to island diners who patronize the

tral Beach residents cited inci- Citrus chef Scott Varricchio following fire. PHOTO BY GORDON RADFORD CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

dents of cars clipping bicycles,

April 12, 2018 Volume 11, Issue 15 Newsstand Price $1.00 Environmental
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© 2018 Vero Beach 32963 Media LLC. All rights reserved.

2 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


My Vero Capak, now 32, then addressed the Vero Beach/Fort Pierce community –  The trouble began inside the bar
life-threatening injuries he sustained family, friends, acquaintances, service shortly before 2 a.m., when one of at
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 after being shot at least three times industry professionals, small business least two men in the suspected shoot-
and the financial assistance he re- owners, first responders and even com- er's group said something to a woman
In his statement, which he sent via text ceived to cover his medical expenses. plete strangers," he added. "So many who was accompanied by another
message last week, Capak wrote that he people pitched in on so many levels. man.
believed the Vero Beach Police Depart- The St. Edward's School graduate  Harsh words were exchanged, which
ment "did all they could, given the lack expressed gratitude for the commu- "I'm not sure I'll ever feel deserving ignited a physical altercation and then
of good evidence, number of conflicting nity's support and vowed to return the of so much support, but I want every- a brawl that spilled outside the bar and
witness statements, and the fact that I favor should others need his help. one out there who lifted a finger for onto 14th Avenue.
could not positively ID the suspect." me to know: I got your backs and I love  Capak told detectives he was en-
"I have nearly made a full recovery you all!" gaged in the fight outside the bar and
He continued: "It should not be in- and, thanks to, the "remembered punching an individual
ferred in any way that the department beachside benefit and negotiations The statement was, certainly, a nice with dreadlocks."
dropped the ball on this investigation. with bill collectors, we should have gesture. And there's no reason to doubt  Capak also told detectives that he
Detectives working the case were al- most of the major medical bills under the sincerity of the sentiments he shared. was "actively approaching the shooter"
ways patient, thorough and kept me control," Capak wrote. and was about 20 feet from him when
up to date on the process." But there are still questions that he was struck by the first shot. He said
"My wife and I (Yes, I got married on need to be asked. he was 10 to 15 feet away when the sec-
10/14/17) can't say enough about the ond and third shots hit him.
Thus far, all we know is this:  Capak told detectives he saw the
shooter and saw the gun discharge
multiple times, but he said he "would
not be comfortable making an in-court

So I'm wondering . . .
Why, when the incident first became
physical, didn't Capak simply call the
police and let them handle it?
Why did Capak remain engaged in
a brawl after it moved outside the bar
and onto the street?
Why did Capak, after punching one
of the men, then approach the shoot-
er, who was 20 feet away and posing
no immediate threat?
Those are practical questions.
Here's a legal one: Could the shoot-
er claim he saw Capak, who already
had struck one man, moving toward
him in a threatening manner and fired
in self-defense under Florida's contro-
versial stand-your-ground law?
Then there's the obvious ques-
tion: How could Capak not be able to
identify the shooter, who was only a
few feet away and standing directly in
front of him? Especially after serving
him drinks at the bar?
Only Capak has the answers, and he
doesn't want to be interviewed.
Maybe, after surviving the shoot-
ing, he's simply thankful to be alive
and married and he no longer wants
to think about it. Maybe he's still trau-
matized. Maybe he doesn't want any
negative publicity for his bar.
Maybe it's something else.
We don't know, and, at this point,
it probably doesn't matter. While the
investigation remains open, police say
it's not active – and won't be until or
unless a new witness comes forward,
new evidence surfaces or someone
Detectives identified a suspect they
wanted to charge with attempted
murder, but a state prosecutor denied
their warrant request last fall, citing
discrepancies in witness statements,
mistaken identification and the failure

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 3


of most of them to select the shooter Monte Falls said completion of that to the 11 narrow, residential streets “People are coming to me and ex-
from a photographic lineup. project is months away. Falls said traf- from Acacia Road to Live Oak Road. pressing a concern, and they’ve ex-
fic officials are also studying the tim- pressed an idea that they’d like to try.
In other words: There were too many ing and synchronizing of the traffic He said the speeding problem has I think we live in a citizen government
conflicting accounts and not enough signals on A1A and Beachland, and gotten worse as the population on the where the leaders should be responsive
hard evidence to establish the prob- that such adjustments might help. north barrier island has grown, the to their citizens and at least consider
able cause necessary to file a criminal dog park has developed into a destina- their idea,” Zudans said of his proposal.
charge. In the meantime, Councilman Val tion and renovations at the Vero Beach
Zudans, a Central Beach resident since Yacht Club have increased use of those Of the 400 or so households in that
"In this matter," Assistant State At- 2002, has proposed the drastic idea of facilities by local groups for meetings neighborhood, 156 people signed a
torney Bill Long wrote in a four-page closing off westbound access from A1A and other functions.
letter announcing his decision in No- CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
vember, "the state cannot ignore the
fact that the incident occurred at a bar,
where a majority of the witnesses who
reported their respective observations
had been consuming alcohol prior to
the event."

And the event occurred shortly be-
fore closing time.

So while Long said, "I won't say it
will never be solved," it seems increas-
ingly unlikely we'll ever see an arrest.

The Grove Bar shooting, despite
occurring in the middle of the street
along the main drag of downtown Vero
Beach in front of multiple witnesses,
remains an unsolved case with too
many unanswered questions.

That's something to talk about. 

Speeders taking shortcut NEW PRICE
Exclusively John’s Island
hood where their kids could play and
they could stroll with the family dog Conveniently located near the south gate, squash and tennis courts is this
without fear of being run over. spectacular 3BR/2BR, top floor, end unit condominium. The desirable
2,000± SF unit boasts breathtaking ocean and sunrise views, an expansive
After hearing an hour’s worth of living room, custom bar, large balcony, updated kitchen and expanded guest
citizen complaints, the City Council bathroom. Two underground parking spaces, a large A/C storage room, impact
directed staff to crack down on speed- doors & windows and private pool and beach access complete the picture.
ers with extra police coverage – which 950 Beach Road #387 : $1,920,000
has resulted in all those tickets – and
to gather traffic data for possible ad- three championship golf courses : 17 har-tru courts : beach club : squash
ditional stop signs. health & fitness center : pickleball : croquet : vertical equity membership

The city has tried numerous tactics 772.231.0900 : Vero Beach, FL :
to slow drivers down in the neighbor-

Crews recently put up electronic
warning signs on Live Oak Road and
Indian River Drive, the roads most
used by short-cutting drivers. The
signs flash the speed of an approach-
ing car and produce a strobe light ef-
fect if the car is going more than five
miles over the 25 mph speed limit.

One street, Fiddlewood, has four-
way stop signs to deter people from
cutting through, but that effort re-
quired the neighbors to agree, and to
petition the city – an action that might
not be feasible on every street.

Speed bumps were installed on
some streets years ago, as this prob-
lem spans more than a decade, but
the speed bumps were later ripped
out, City Manager Jim O’Connor said.

The city also posted signs that side
roads are not through streets, but that
is not an enforceable distinction.

Planned sidewalks on Live Oak
Road should help residents feel some-
what safer, but Public Works Director

4 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Speeders taking shortcut roads because whenever you do that, of the signs ahead of her on the shoul- design “unique, a prototype” created
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 it doesn’t matter how you structure it, der of a road. with the neighborhood in mind, fea-
you shift the pattern to different parts turing “a West-Indies look with beach
petition saying they agreed with clos- [of the road network]. While the city looks for other an- and Jungle Trail influences.”
ing off access to the tree streets from swers, clamping down on speeders is a
A1A. “It’s not a slam-dunk,” Zudans “If you cut off these roads . . . [A1A] way to take action now, the City Coun- Publix’s inventory, too, will cater to
said, but it’s worth a try. If it backs up is going to be backed up to the 7-Elev- cil agreed. Lt. Jerry Karchefski said of- the island’s high-end clientele, with a
traffic too much, the temporary barri- en,” Howle said. ficers will be patrolling the tree streets larger cheese and wine selection and
ers can be removed. in cruisers and on motorcycle to deter more organic products.
Councilman Tony Young asked that speeders.
Councilmembers and city staff dis- whatever is done be fully coordinated The April 4 audience included some
cussed pros and cons of making the with the schools so parents and school He said speeders are a mix of local residents who objected to the store in
east end of the tree streets into dead bus drivers know what’s happening. Vero residents, folks headed to and general terms, saying there was no
ends. Cons included reduced access He also wanted to make sure that the from Indian River Shores or the Orchid need for another Publix, but most
for emergency vehicles and added diversion of law enforcement resourc- area, plus visitors. Google maps and concerns and questions, were spe-
driving for Central Beach residents es to traffic enforcement while school other Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) cific: Orchid residents wanted details
who would have to circle around on is still in session wouldn’t reduce of- navigation applications sometime di- about traffic, lights, noise, drainage,
Beachland to reach A1A. ficers’ ability to effectively protect all rect people down the side streets when tax impact, aesthetics and security.
the schools in the city. traffic data signals a backup at the
“If it stops all these people speed- Beachland Boulevard and A1A inter- Buchanan and Vitter explained that
ing through my neighborhood, I don’t Vice Mayor Lange Sykes said he section. Publix will work with the county traf-
mind being slightly inconvenienced,” grew up in Central Beach, trick-or- fic engineer, and said a traffic light at
Zudans said. treated on those streets, and is in no Chief David Currey said data from the store entrance between the bridge
way trivializing the issue, but that he’s the electronic signs shows that about and A1A is being considered.
The changing traffic patterns would afraid of setting a precedent of shut- 9 percent of drivers speed in Central
need to be studied, and any changes ting down public streets. Beach.  Parking lot lights will be adjustable
involving Beachland Boulevard, which LEDs, their placement and inten-
is also State Route 60, and U.S. High- “If we’re going to do that, then we’re Orchid Publix sity determined with the surround-
way A1A, would have to be approved changing the whole landscape of Vero ing residential community in mind.
by the Florida Department of Trans- . . . [and] almost turning these into gat- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Delivery trucks are expected to have
portation and the U.S. Department of ed communities,” Sykes said. minimum negative impact, accord-
Transportation. a chamber full of residents on April 4, ing to Publix. Some vendors, such as
Zudans countered saying that the Publix notified Town Manager Noah bread trucks, will deliver early in the
“There’s no doubt that the use of measure could increase property val- Powers it will proceed with an appli- morning before the store opens. Oth-
those streets has increased over time,” ues and reduce crime. cation to build an upscale market on a er daytime deliveries will off-load in-
Mayor Harry Howle said. “[But] I do 7-acre property north on County Road side the building.
not agree with closing of any of those Councilwoman Laura Moss said she 510 within the town’s boundaries.
thinks the electronic signs are working The conceptual plan calls for multi-
and that she personally monitors her A parking lot full of golf carts and a layer landscape buffering between the
speed more closely when she sees one Council Chamber packed with Orchid store and nearby homes, as well as dec-
residents testified to the intense inter- orative, landscaped parking lot islands
est – and concern – the proposed proj- and flowering pots in strategic public
ect has generated among those who areas. There will be, Buchanan assured
would be its neighbors, and the Publix one concerned resident, no increase in
team got an earful of questions, sug- property taxes and, in fact, the business
gestions and concerns. would generate tax income for theTown.

The Florida-based company, cur- Drainage is not a problem, accord-
rently one of the 10 largest-volume ing to Publix. The store’s representa-
supermarket chains in the country, tives said St. Johns River Water Man-
came prepared with slides, flipcharts, agement District has looked at the
conceptual site plan drawings, and plan and informed them run-off from
answers to most of the audience ques- the property will be handled by the
tions. Craig Buchanan, president of existing drainage system.
WindCrest Development Group, and
James Vitter of Vero Beach engineering Some queries could not be an-
firm Kimley-Horn fielded questions. swered at the initial meeting, Buchan-
an said, because the project is still in
At 31,000 square feet, the proposed the conceptual phase, but the public
island market will not be petite, but will have more opportunities to ask
it will have a smaller footprint than questions and offer input as the pro-
a typical 45,000-square-foot Publix - cess goes forward.
and be about half the size of the Mir-
acle Mile Publix. Following the workshop, residents
remained to talk with the Publix reps
An additional 6,000 square feet in- and study the charts and drawings,
cluded in the conceptual plan will many voicing support for the project.
accommodate five retail tenants, in-
cluding a Publix liquor store that will Once Publix submits the applica-
occupy a 1,200-square-foot slot. It tion, Powers explained, the Town’s
would join the Bottleshop as the only planner will review the document to
liquor stores on the island. ensure it is accurate and complete,
and then pass it to the Town’s Local
Occupants for the other four retail Planning Agency.
spaces will be chosen to meet local
needs, and could include tenants such Next, Publix will present the final
as a hair salon, a mail box store and a plan at a quasi-judicial hearing where
restaurant. public input will be allowed. After
that, the Planning Agency will make a
Buchanan called the conceptual recommendation to the Town Coun-
cil, for or against the project.

The Council will consider the rec-

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 5


ommendation and the final plan, High-end barrier island Realtors idea, “as long as it looks like it be- Oberlink agreed, noting that Windsor,
take questions from the public, and generally see the project as a plus for longs, in keeping with the surround- John’s Island, and other north-island
vote to approve or reject the develop- the community, as long as it fits with ing environment.” She mentioned communities also would benefit from
ment application. the Town’s upscale ambiance. Coral Gables as a place where Publix the convenience of a nearby market,
has done a good job fitting into up- as long as it has a smaller footprint
If the project is approved, Publix Premier Estate Properties broker scale surroundings. than a typical Publix and is compat-
officials say it would take about eight associate Cindy O’Dare says a market ible architecturally. 
months to complete. for the north barrier island is a good Orchid Island Realty broker Scott



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6 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Nino’s thief Baker, reached by phone, said he Nino’s Café. PHOTO BY GORDON RADFORD with the restaurant’s finances. Some
feels remorse every day. It was a bad employees said Baker wasn’t paying
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 time in his life and he didn’t make the banco by his sentencing hearing and them on time or at all. The cash reg-
right choice. There are circumstances an additional $5,000 by Oct. 1. He did ister wasn’t balancing with sales re-
banco said he never wanted to make that people don’t understand, he said. not admit guilt and claimed he agreed ceipts at the end of the night. Money
Giambanco and his attorney twice to the deal because it was in his best was also missing from the ATM. Only a
“I love Croce. He was like a father to interest. He had never been in trouble few people, including Baker, had keys
attempted to settle the $21,000 dis- me. He taught me everything I know with law enforcement before. to access the machine.
pute out of court, offering Baker the about the restaurant industry. I have
option to repay the stolen funds, along nothing but respect for him.” Third-degree grand theft is punish- “I gave him all my trust,” said Giam-
with an outstanding personal loan. able by up to 5 years in prison and a banco, who at the time was griev-
But, Brennan Baker, also known as Baker, who is now employed, agreed $5,000 fine. ing the loss of his wife. “I let him run
“Red,” stopped making payments Jan. to pay $8,000 in restitution to Giam- Nino’s Café on the beach. He was the
31 and the business owner finally rec- It was September 2016 when Giam- manager. Then, he started hanging
ommended criminal prosecution. banco noticed something was amiss with the wrong crowd. “

“It broke my heart,” Giambanco told Baker admitted to his boss he had
Vero Beach 32963. “It’s not even the been skimming money from the other
money. I treated him like my own son.” employees, according to court records.
Later, when Giambanco’s lawyer was
Baker, of Vero Beach, stole at least present, he confessed to taking nearly
$9,000 from the restaurant’s cash reg- $9,000 from the restaurant – $3,300
ister, payroll and ATM machine, ac- from payroll, $4,300 from the register
cording to court documents. He also and $1,200 from the ATM.
failed to make payments on a car
loan, cosigned by his boss, which cost The police were notified, but the
Giambanco an additional $13,000. owner wanted to handle the issue out
of court.
Baker, 29, pleaded no contest to fel-
ony third-degree grand theft last week “During the conversation Mr. Bak-
and is set to be sentenced in June. His er readily confessed to the theft and
negotiated plea, arranged by defense became very emotional, apologizing
attorney Andrew Metcalf and prosecu- to Mr. Giambanco and [asking] if he
tor Patrick O’Brien, calls for a withhold could make it up in some way,” attor-
of adjudication pending completion ney Robert Meadows wrote police.
of two years’ probation.
“At first Mr. Giambanco was very

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 7


reluctant to work with Mr. Baker and immediately and then make $150 pay- “We’re moving quickly, trying to do gency Services Department, said the
just wanted to involve law enforce- ments each week for no more than 32 everything we possibly can to get things state fire marshal investigating the in-
ment. After some discussion, Mr. months. Twenty-one dollars, or 6 per- cleaned up so we can start the make- cident told her the blaze appeared to
Giambanco agreed to allow Mr. Bak- cent, would go toward interest. The re- over,” Gaston said last week as a Ser- be an accident.
er to make payments to him to pay maining $129 would cover a portion of viceMaster crew donned safety masks
back the full amount of the theft and the debt’s principal balance. and continued to remove soot-covered, According to Varricchio, the fire was
the moneys Mr. Baker had borrowed water-soaked floors, walls, ceilings and caused by a kitchen employee who,
from Mr. Giambanco.” Baker’s initials are on the Dec. 6 doc- insulation. while cleaning up after the restaurant
ument next to a clause that said if he had closed, unknowingly turned on
Baker promised payment in two defaulted on the deal, his boss would “We’ve got to re-do the entire inte- the burner where a five-gallon pot con-
weeks, but by November no money exercise all legal remedies against him. rior,” he added, “but we need to get taining oil strained from the fryer had
had been paid, according to court doc- Seven months later Giambanco’s attor- everything out first.” been placed to cool.
uments. ney wrote police calling for a criminal
prosecution. Baker had paid nearly By the end of last week, the restau- He said the pot was so large nobody
The police were notified again, $3,800 but had since missed four out rant had been gutted, except for the noticed the burner, much smaller in
and this time a detective with the of 10 payments. kitchen area. Varricchio said he had to diameter, was lit before the staff left
Vero Beach Police Department in- wait until fire inspectors finished their for the night at 10:30 p.m. March 26.
terviewed Baker. According to court “I was trying not to ruin his life,” investigation before pulling out the
documents, Baker confessed again Giambanco lamented. “Young people kitchen equipment, The owners said the fire caused the
over the phone and said he was try- make mistakes. I was trying to help 8-year-old restaurant to lose power, so
ing to pay his boss back by putting him out. I gave him chances. Finally, I Officials have now wrapped up their they’ve been unable to view surveil-
his boat for sale. Baker no longer had said, ‘Enough is enough.’”  inspection of the premises and given lance video to determine exactly when
a job and money to pay off the debt permission to demo the kitchen. the blaze started.
was hard to come by, he said. Citrus Grillhouse
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The heating, ventilation and air- It wasn’t until 5:30 a.m. that a resi-
He admitted to making a mistake. conditioning system also must be re- dent of one of the apartments above
He said he believed if he had been popular seaside spot. placed, the owners said, adding that the restaurant called 911 and reported
honest with his boss from the begin- On the plus side, Varricchio said, they’ve hired an industrial hygienist to seeing smoke in the courtyard. Fire-
ning, Giambanco would have given test the restaurant’s remains for soot, fighters responded immediately and
him the money and he would have come October, customers will walk fire-retardant chemicals and other pol- needed fewer than 30 minutes to ex-
never had to break the law. into a new-and-improved Citrus Grill- lutants that could present a hazard. tinguish the blaze.
house with a more open layout, lighter
The restaurant owner again decided decor and quieter setting. “When we start the rebuild,” Gaston “Putting out the fire was no big deal,
to be lenient and keep the case out of said, “we’re going to start with a clean because it hadn’t really spread,” Var-
court. The parties made a financial slate.” ricchio said. “The hood system, which
agreement. Baker would pay $3,000 is designed to suppress a kitchen fire,
Lt. Sandy Seeley, a fire inspector
with the Indian River County Emer- CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

8 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Citrus Grillhouse “Thank God the damage didn’t go complish by re-configuring the dining “It’s a life-changing event,” Varric-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 beyond the confines of the restaurant,” room and interior bar area. chio said. “I don’t wish this on anybody.
Varricchio said. “It could have been When you’ve done this for so long and
did its job. The flames went up through much worse, but Bob McNally and Varricchio said the revamped restau- spend so much time with employees,
the hood and there really wasn’t much Palm Coast Development built a very rant will still embrace an open-kitchen they become your extended family. You
fire damage.” safe building.” concept, but the design will be more don’t want to see them hurting.”
“functional” for the staff and more “vi-
The main damage was done by wa- Now, Varricchio and Gaston are sually pleasing” to diners. Employees said restaurant managers
ter – some from the sprinkler system, planning to build a lighter, brighter have been helpful in providing them
most from PVC water pipes in the ceil- restaurant with a number of upgrades. He said the new kitchen equipment with leads for other jobs in the area.
ing that burst when exposed to the is expected to arrive this summer and
fire’s extreme heat for several hours. “We’ll get a new kitchen out of it, he hopes to have a kitchen, bar and “It’s a net negative for us,” Varric-
one with new equipment, a new hood wait staff in place a month before the chio said of the fire that will force
“The fire was contained to a relative- system and a totally new layout,” said restaurant reopens. the restaurant to remain closed for
ly small area, but it got hot, hot, hot in Varricchio, the restaurant’s chef. “And the next six months. “But with the
here,” Gaston said, pointing to charred- we’ll fix some things that we, as restau- “We were having a good season, so changes and improvements we’re go-
black interior of the stainless steel rateurs, have noticed over the years. this definitely hurts,” Varricchio said, ing to make, it’ll be a positive for our
hood. “Eventually, the pipes cracked We’ll also address some of the sugges- adding that the restaurant’s busi- customers.”
and the water kept pouring in.” tions made by our customers.” est stretch is usually from Halloween
through Mother’s Day. “We’re fortunate Some of those customers have ex-
Varricchio said the steps at the en- To create a fresh new feel, the owners that the fire didn’t happen in October.” pressed their sorrow and support in
trance of the restaurant, located at 1050 say they will install a new, light-green, phone calls, cards and letters, Varric-
Easter Lily Lane, resembled a “water- epoxy concrete floor with a non-skid, The owners also are fortunate to be chio said.
fall” when he opened the front door. slip-resistant coating, a new acousti- well-insured: Varricchio said the res-
cally designed ceiling and LED lighting. taurant is covered by Lloyd’s of Lon- The partners also received a gift
There was no significant damage to don against fire loss and business in- from Drew Noel Marin, a Sarasota art-
the restaurant’s exterior dining area, The city building code prevents the terruption. ist whose paintings adorned the res-
the owners said, or to the apartments owners from expanding the restau- taurant’s walls. Having heard about
that share the building – except for rant’s seating capacity, but they plan The coverage, though, won’t make the fire, she presented them with her
some smoke seepage along 2 feet of a to remove a wall and add a six-seat up for the wages lost by the restau- latest work – a painting of a single
baseboard in a vestibule. dining bar just inside the front door rant’s 60 employees – some of whom flower bud sprouting from the ground
– something they say they can ac- have helped with the cleanup, others entitled “Rebirth.” 
who’ve been forced to search for new jobs.

Stealing Cache Cay construction worker gets sentence cut

BY BETH WALTON while he was working on a 5-bedroom them to pay the vendors directly. The When he was released on bond pend-
Staff Writer island home off the bank of Bethel Creek. defendant would then keep the funds ing appeal, he helped recruit compa-
given to him by his company. nies from more than a dozen states
A Vero Beach construction worker Jones made purchases at Home De- to assist in construction recovery af-
found guilty of stealing from his employ- pot for the construction job using a Jones had opened a checking account ter Hurricane Irma, Ponall explained.
er while working on Cache Cay Drive company credit card, but then submit- using a former employer’s name to fun- “We have substantial testimony from
had his sentence reduced last week de- ted the receipts to the homeowner for nel the money, court documents claim. family and friends of Mr. Jones’ good
spite the objection of his former boss. reimbursement pocketing the cash, ac- He would alter the checks written to John character,” he said.
cording to a complaint and request for Wayne Construction to say U.S. Building
William Jones, 42, had no comment investigation made by Wayne Griner, Consultants Inc., or USBCI, an account It is important to note that witnesses
as he stood somberly in front of Cir- owner of John Wayne Construction. only he had access to and one his former were not called on Jones’ behalf at his
cuit Court Judge Cynthia Cox Wednes- employer knew nothing about. original sentencing hearing, the attor-
day wearing a jail-issued jumpsuit and He also diverted funds that had been ney argued in the motion for review.
handcuffs. A jury found Jones guilty of given to him by John Wayne Construc- Judge Cox shaved four months off
felony second-degree grand theft in tion to pay contractors, according to Jones’ incarceration and seven years off Assistant State Attorney Brian Work-
March 2016 after a three-day trial. a warrant affidavit filed by Detective his probation term last week. She sen- man objected to the change in sen-
Joseph Abollo with the Indian River tenced him to eight months in the coun- tence. The victim whose company was
Police say Jones stole and defrauded County Sheriff’s Office. Instead of pay- ty jail with credit for 164 days served after scammed does not want a reduction
John Wayne Construction of nearly ing the bills, Jones would present the defense attorney William Ponall asked in the prison term, he said. “His po-
$27,000 from May through August 2014 invoices to the homeowner asking that his client’s sentence be reviewed. sition is that the defendant stole tens
of thousands of dollars from him and
After serving his remaining time in a sentence of 164 days for that crime
jail – another 10 or 11 weeks – he will isn’t a sufficient punishment.”
have to serve one year of house arrest
and then be on probation for six years. Construction company owner Griner
did not appear in court last week, nor did
Jones had no prior criminal record he respond to a request for comment.
and was eligible to avoid prison all to-
gether, Ponall argued in the motion for Court records show he contacted his
a sentence reduction. A presentence former employee about the theft in June
investigation recommended house ar- 2014. He told police that Jones admitted
rest and probation, not incarceration, wrongdoing, apologized and offered to
the attorney said. pay the money back. Jones didn’t want
law enforcement involved, he said. The
Jones has served the majority of plea for mercy did not work.
his sentence and paid a restitution of
nearly $40,000, he added. The defen- “Following the meeting, Griner was
dant holds a bachelor’s degree from determined to pursue further with
Florida Atlantic University and main- the investigation and the impending
tains a positive employment history, prosecution,” Abollo wrote. A warrant
supporting his wife and child. for Jones’ arrest was issued that Sep-
tember. 
He volunteers. He goes to church.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 9


Palm Island Plantation finds sweet spot in housing market

BY STEVEN M. THOMAS market stays strong, the entire com- McFarland was right and prices feet of living space with 3,400 square
munity will be sold out in another 18 have crept up as they typically do in a feet under roof. The interior courtyard
Staff Writer months.” fast-selling development. The remain- is approximately 22 feet by 47 feet. It
ing six units are listed for $885,000 to floods the homes with light and can
The final phase of development in The first seven courtyard units built $910,000 – still a bargain for new, lux- accommodate a pool and optional
Palm Island Plantation, 20 courtyard by Westmark Development are com- ury construction on the island. summer kitchen.
homes each priced around $900,000, plete and occupied, and roof trusses
will hopefully be sold out by Decem- were set on a 4-unit building the first “A lot of people want to stay under Both models come with a long list of
ber less than two years after construc- week in April. At the same time, footings a million,” Owen says, “and what they upgraded features and luxury finishes,
tion began on the enclave, according were being dug for another 4-unit struc- find under a million for resale is not and the entire home can be finished
to broker Steven Owen. ture, and the final 5-unit building will that appealing.” and decorated to the buyer’s taste dur-
be underway by the end of the month. ing the construction process.
“We started in January 2017 and Two floor plans are available in
we’ve already sold 14,” Owen says. “I’d “The market is very strong right now the courtyard homes, both including Along with some of the most ap-
be very surprised if we don’t sell anoth- and we decided to go ahead and build three bedrooms and three bathrooms pealing architecture on the island and
er three or four in the next six weeks or all the remaining buildings on spec, with two-car garages and – no surprise fine-quality craftsmanship, courtyard
so before everyone goes back north, instead of waiting till we had all the – spacious private courtyards. home buyers get great community
and I am certain we will sell out by the units sold. It is paying off.” amenities, including complete yard
end of the year.” End units include 2,642 square feet care and exterior maintenance – in-
Owen says the price point, an ap- of air-conditioned space with an- cluding roofs and pools – and mem-
The 58-acre Palm Island Plantation pealing set of community amenities other 858 square feet under roof, for bership in the Palm Island Beach
ocean-to-river community contains a and a maintenance-free lifestyle are a total of 3,500 square feet. A court- Club. There is also a marina with
mix of estate homes, carriage homes, the top features attracting the buyers. yard approximately 28 feet by 31 feet docks, a fitness club and two commu-
townhomes, condominiums and court- that is open on one side is set into the nity pools.
yard homes, ranging from 2,300 to 6,000 A year ago, the West Indies-style home, so that residents can access
square feet. homes, which have about 3,500 it from the great room, the dining Westmark Development acquired
square feet under roof, were offered room, the leisure room and the mas- the Palm Island Plantation property
“There will be only 131 units here for $840,000 for interior units and ter bedroom. An optional courtyard in 2000. Construction began in 2002,
at build-out,” says Palm Island Owen. $870,000 for end units. swimming pool can be added for ap- with the first sales in 2003. Activity
“Other communities our size don’t proximately $30,000 and Owen says slowed during the 2007-11 real estate
have a beautiful beach club like ours. “That is a good range,” Grier Mc- most buyers are including a pool. downturn but has accelerated in the
It is an exceptional amenity for a com- Farland, an agent with Dale Sorensen past several years. 
munity this size.” Real Estate who sells homes in the Interior units include 2,325 square
community, said at the time. “The
“We only have 18 single-family lots price is right in there with what is sell-
left and we are building spec homes ing. Anything under $900,000 is very
on some of those,” Owen says. “If the popular. So those should do well.”


BY RAY MCNULTY "While we are continuing to review
Staff Writer the list of 106 products," he added, "giv-
en the current information available to
Piper Aircraft CEO Simon Caldecott us, we do not believe that Piper prod-
said last week he does not expect the ucts will be subject to the described du-
Vero Beach-based company to be hurt ties should China decide move forward
by the tariffs threatened by Beijing in with implementing the tariffs.”
response to President Trump's trade-
war rhetoric targeting Chinese exports Two months ago, Piper announced
to the United States. that it had received an order for 152
airplanes – 100 Archer single-engine
He said the planes Piper is building trainers, 50 multi-engine Seminoles,
for a Chinese aviation company, which one Seneca and one M350 – from
ordered 150 training aircraft in Febru- Fanmei Aviation Technologies, a sub-
ary, are well below the weight range cit- sidiary of Sichuan Fanmei Education
ed by China's commerce ministry on its Group, the leading provider of aviation
list of U.S. imports that could be subject education in China.
to duties.
The seven-year purchase agree-
The list of American-made products ment was the largest single training-
that could be hit with retaliatory Chinese aircraft order in Piper's 80-year his-
tariffs includes small aircraft, but only tory. Deliveries are scheduled to begin
those weighing over 15,000 kilograms. this spring.

"Currently, Piper Aircraft manu- Jackie Carlon, Piper's marketing di-
factures eight different models of air- rector, said the company is continuing
craft with the largest weighing signif- to monitor the tariff talk coming out of
icantly less than 15,000 kilograms," Washington and Beijing as the war of
Caldecott said in a statement. words escalates. 

10 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Bicyclist and driver both at fault in fatal accident

BY RAY MCNULTY In a statement released last week, the driver, 33-year-old Alton Gilstrap Currey said that both the bicyclist
Staff Writer Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey Jr. of Indian River County, was trav- and driver of the car had green lights
said there were "two factors that di- eling at 61 mph in a 45-mph speed when the crash occurred at 12:38
They both were at fault. rectly contributed" to the crash. zone. p.m. on Feb. 2.
That's what police and prosecutors
determined after a two-month inves- One, he said, was that the bicyclist, Despite braking, Gilstrap was un- He said that bicyclist Hannon
tigation of a fatal car-versus-bicycle 58-year-old Christopher Hannon of able to stop his 1998 Chevy Cavalier "rode past at least one vehicle" that
crash at the intersection of Indian Riv- Melbourne Beach, failed to yield the quickly enough to avoid colliding was stopped in the left-turn lane, and
er Boulevard and the Barber Bridge in right-of-way to oncoming traffic and with the bicycle. was waiting for oncoming traffic to
February that created the worst traffic made an illegal left turn into the in- clear.
jam in memory on the barrier island. tersection. "Had either of these two traffic viola-
tions not occurred," Currey said, "this A retired Air Force colonel with
At the same time, Currey added, crash would not have happened." a passion for cycling, Hannon was
pedaling south on the boulevard
and attempting to turn left onto the
bridge when he was struck by Gil-
strap's northbound car.

Hannon, a decorated combat pilot
and operations group commander
who retired in 2016, was transported
by paramedics to the Indian River
Medical Center, where he was later
pronounced dead.

Shortly after the crash, police said
Gilstrap showed no signs of impair-
ment at the scene.

He was cited for speeding and
fined $238.

Police conducted a traffic-homi-
cide investigation that Currey said
included "analysis of evidence from
the roadway, inspections of both ve-
hicles, interviews with multiple eye-
witnesses and lab reports."

The results of the investigation
were reviewed by the State Attorney's
Office, which found no probable
cause to file criminal charges.

The lunch-hour crash forced po-
lice to close the bridge in both direc-
tions for more than five hours on a
Friday afternoon at the height of the
busy winter season.

Combined with construction and
secondary accidents that impeded
traffic flow on the 17th Street bridge
and caused the closure of Indian Riv-
er Boulevard between 37th Street and
Royal Palm Pointe, the fatal crash in-
duced gridlock on the island’s main
roads that lasted until early evening.

Bumper-to-bumper backups were
reported on State Road A1A, Ocean
Drive and other local roadways, in-
cluding State Road 510 from the is-
land to U.S. 1.

Many longtime residents, in fact,
described the congestion as the worst
traffic mess in Vero Beach history.

"It was the perfect storm," Currey
said at the time.

"We did the best we could, but
there was only so much we could do.
There are only two ways on and off
the island – unless you go up to 510
or down to St. Lucie County – and one
of the two ways was [closed while the
other was] down to one lane in one
direction." 

Jeff and Patti Hall with Peanut.


12 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Inspiration’s the word at Learning Alliance gala


Lucinda Gedeon and Ray Oglethorpe. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF mother, Shelby Ginn, gave an emo-
tional testimonial relating that
Samantha Knauer and Tedd Macera. Mark Rendell and Liz Remington. Staff Writer when Tyler had difficulties in the
second and third grade he was un-
Barbara Hammond with Bruce and Julie Green. A key group of literacy-minded sup- able to receive any type of support
porters gathered at the Vero Beach because he “didn’t fit into the box.”
Museum of Art last Wednesday eve-
ning for the annual gala of the Learn- “It was like trying to read another
ing Alliance to celebrate “The Power language or learn something that
of the Community’s Moonshot Story makes no sense,” recalled Tyler,
to Change the World.” who today is on the A/B honor roll
and has aspirations of studying eco-
Members of the Indian River Char- nomics. “I feel like I finally fit in. I’m
ter High School Theater Department not afraid to go to school anymore.
posed as familiar storybook charac-
ters – the Wild Thing, Mary Poppins, Successes include that there are
Dorothy and the Scarecrow and oth- no F-rated schools in the district,
ers – greeting guests and reminding literacy scores are the highest in
them of the power of the written word. county history and six schools have
improved letter grades. This de-
The Learning Alliance began when spite, as Oglethorpe noted, that the
Liz Remington and Barbara Ham- school district is one of the poorest
mond united over a shared experience in the state with 68 percent of third-
– their children were failing kinder- graders on free and reduced lunch
garten. “Liz and I were failing as par- and a student turnover rate of more
ents. It was heart-wrenching,” shared than 35 percent.
“We are really onto something
Unwilling to let other students fall here in Vero Beach. This story is
behind, they fostered a grassroots lit- real, is continuing to grow and In-
eracy movement that has been fully dian River County is going to be-
embraced by the community and has come a model for this nation,” said
garnered national attention for its Oglethorpe, reaffirming their com-
progressive approach and successful mitment to partner with schools
outcomes. and provide extended learning op-
Ray Oglethorpe, TLA board chair-
man and former president of AOL, Remington said that another crit-
shared that through great teachers ical component of the Moonshot
and a good education he was able to Moment mission is professional de-
take his life in a direction different velopment.
from that of others where he lived,
where folks either worked the farm or “Teachers have received and are
in the coal mines. “Education gave me still receiving professional develop-
everything,” he said. “My security be- ment to better support the needs of
came my own mind.” our students,” she said. “We know
that we have the youngest citizens
Brief videos provided a firsthand in our charge and are committed to
look at efforts by community leaders, helping them grow and develop into
educators and volunteers to reach the being the best whole humans they
Moonshot goal of having 90 percent of can be.”
all third-graders read at grade level.
For more information, visit the-
Tyler Ginn, a 14-year-old at the 
Freshman Learning Center, and his

14 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 Janie Hoover, Fran Adams and Nikki Barrett. Don Riefler with Kjestine and Peter Bijur.
Carissa Marques, Jean and Jim Kelly, and Micah Nalzaro.

Jacquie Kelley, Adelle Begazo and Liz Crowther. Charles and Barbara Gulino with Rae and David Kelly. Don Roberts, Al and Joan DeCrane, and Ann Jones.

Susan Roberts, Sue Curtis and Deborah Dillon.

John and Marilyn McConnell with Jayne and Paul Becker.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 15


Jessica Schmitt, Anali Vieyra and Elida Gomez. Lon and Marianne Chaikin, Chuck and Mary Susan Lyon, and Jim and Janet Field.

Shanti Sanchez, Sara Klein, Pam Sommers and Shannon Bowman.

Fantasia Brown and Sharon Stewart. Jeffrey and Stephanie Pickering.

Bill and Sara Shankland with Wickie and George Jett.

16 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Children are big winners at HCC’s Blue Ribbon event

BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF Patricia Shockency and Sandy Devine. tics are staggering,” she said. “Every (Read more in our Style Section).
Staff Writer day, six children will die from child As the women prepared to de-
insights into the dark reality of abuse and every six minutes a child
A large coterie of fashionistas child abuse, noting that supporting is abused; that’s 240 kids each day.” part, visions of fashion show out-
gathered at the Oak Harbor Club Hibiscus and its vision to eliminate fits dancing in their heads, Henri-
last Thursday afternoon for the 19th child abuse was the ideal way to Vinyard spoke of children being ette Churney, event co-chair with
annual Blue Ribbon Luncheon and commemorate Child Abuse Preven- subjected to physical and sexual Tanya Belkin reminded them that
Fashion Show in support of the Hi- tion Month. abuse and noted that more often the pearl bracelets used as napkin
biscus Children’s Center. than not, nobody listened to their holders served a greater purpose.
“It’s easier to live in denial that pleas for help. She stressed that “It’s a little bracelet that you can
Rooms were elegantly adorned in child abuse is happening, but we while it’s a heavy topic, it is neces- take home and when you see it, re-
Tiffany Blue, accented with center- know it’s happening and the statis- sary to talk about the reality that member the children.”
pieces of white tulips and pearls, these children face.
the perfect setting for the Pas- The vision of the organization,
sion for Fashion themed event to “If there’s any way we can prevent founded by LaVaughn Tilton in 1985,
bloom. As mistress of ceremonies it, we’re going to do that,” said Vin- is to eliminate child abuse, neglect
Sue Sharpe remarked, the beautiful yard, adding that their goal is to end and abandonment through preven-
spring day was a welcome contrast the cycle of abuse. tion, intervention and advocacy,
to the drenching rains guests en- and to provide counseling, support
dured during last year’s monsoon. During the fashion show, the ad- and structure to abused children in
dition of a male model this year a safe, secure environment.
A crew of Blue Ribbon Men greet- raised quite a stir. The handsome
ed arrivals and served mimosas to fellow, wearing fashions from Ver- This year’s event programs were
the ladies as they perused a wide non Scott, was greeted with good- created by teens working in the
variety of silent-auction items, natured cheers and catcalls as he Graphic Design Impact Center at
shopping guilt-free in the knowl- escorted and posed with the first Vero’s Hibiscus Village, just one ex-
edge that every bid was for a good model from each of the partici- ample of the types of programs they
cause. pating boutiques – Pineapples, J. offer to help “throw away” children
McLaughlin, Sara Campbell Ltd., make better lives for themselves.
During a delicious lunch, Caro- Cashmere Beach, Frances Brewster,
line Vinyard, Hibiscus COO, shared Sassy Boutique and Cooper & Co. For more information, visit hibis- 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 17


Carole Casey, Diane Wilhelm, Sue Sharpe and Betty Nielsen. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
Marta Schneider, Marie Ek and Barbara Cosgrove.

Sharon Kramer, Sue Post and Kelli Martin Jan Harrell, Henriette Churney and Pam Huber. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF

Maya Peterson and Suzanne Bertman. Brenda Lloyd and Trudie Rainone.

Debbie Bell, Susan Smith and Susan Ball.

18 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 Laura Moss and MaryLou Peters. Leslie Bergstrom and Susan Clay.
Barbara Crosby and Holly Harmon.

Rebecca Emmons, Kathy Starr, Tiffany Padgett and Lexi Parker. Ed Smith, Larry Wilhelm and Bill Churney.

Mackie and Richard Duch with Elke Fetterolf.

Lisa Becker, Deana Marchant and Cathy Curley.

20 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Community spirit flourishes at Hibiscus Festival

Gerrica Lamothe, Katie Toperzer and Grace Carlon.

Jillian Lombardo and Baylee Niles. Miss Hibiscus 2018 Katie Toperzer. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF Kytiana Williams and Alicia Maneiro.

Morgan Hall, Gerrica Lamothe and Jenah Laviolette.

The two-day Hibiscus Festival tertainment that included a dog
hosted by Main Street Vero Beach circus, puppeteer and magician,
blossomed once again along the and various musical groups, a Hi-
streets of historic Vero Beach biscus Festival Fine Art and Fine
this past weekend, bringing the Craft Show that featured more
community together while rais- than 50 artists, a Children’s Art
ing awareness and funds to pre- Show, and of course, lots of great
serve the historic downtown area. food. On Saturday, even a passing
Things had kicked off Thursday storm didn’t deter participants
evening at the Heritage Center in the ninth annual Shopping
with the crowning of Katie Toper- Cart Parade that featured cre-
zer as Miss Hibiscus 2018. There atively decorated carts delivering
was something for everyone at cartloads of canned and boxed
the festival – pony rides, bounce food items to benefit the United
houses, balloon clowns and face Against Poverty Member Share
painting for the little ones, en- Grocery Program. 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 21


Meg Sweetland, Madeline Brewer and Elie Paugh with Christopher. Elaine Jones, Bob McCabe, Ken and Kathy Klein (front); Kas Jamal, Daniel Fourmont, Pam O’Donnell and Marc Gingras (front);
Deb Avery and Todd Darress (back). Steve Kepley and Kimberly Jones (back).

Heather Middleton with Tyler and Brendan Alderman. Erin Graul, Crystal Lemley and Nicole Dugan. PHOTOS: MARY SCHENKEL PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
2-year-old Kiliey enjoys the festival.

22 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 Hazelle Quigley and Ahnolah Quigley. Jill Tench and Kevin Moree.
Katie Toperzer, Jillian Lombardo and Melanie Coppola.

Colleen and Joe Burnell. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF

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24 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Museum’s ‘Rock & Brew’ shakes things up for Health Sake

Staff Writer

The Vero Beach Museum of Art was Briana King and Mark Williams with Mark and Leigh Peterson. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF
overrun with rock stars last Saturday
night, raising the roof and rockin’ on we also use the exhibits to expand the ing needs, but centered on docent-led & Parkinson’s Association to help im-
at an inaugural Rock & Brew event to definition of art to all of the expressive viewing of the exhibits, music and prove balance and flexibility through
benefit the museum’s Art for Health arts: music, movement, writing and movement and creative art-making structured movement and dance.
Sake programs. the contemplative arts (visualization, projects.
meditation and yoga).” “I’m so proud of the museum for
The evening was inspired by the A + Art is an exhibitions-based pro- opening up and expanding the con-
exhibit, Medieval to Metal: The Art An artist herself, Miller said art fo- gram for teens and young adults on cept of how to serve the community
and Evolution of the Guitar, a touring cuses on relationships, explaining, “In the autism spectrum; Artful Engage- through art. They have really grabbed
exhibition of 40 instruments that cel- the art world, it’s about relationships ments brings the creative process to hold of the Art for Health Sake content
ebrates the artistic development of the between shape and color. In the work people experiencing cognitive impair- and process. I think our museum is
guitar through the ages. that we do in the Art for Health Sake ment; the Intergenerational Program one of the few museums in the country
program, it’s about relationships be- partners middle-school-aged Boys and who have such a comprehensive pro-
Guests were encouraged to dress as tween people.” Girls Club members with adults to fos- gram,” said Miller.
their favorite rockers from the ’50s all ter relationships; and Movement and
the way to today, and many took their The programs offer a wide range Music partners with the Alzheimer’s For more information, visit vero-
costumes to a whole new level. As they of experiences geared toward vary- 
walked the red carpet, revelers posed
for Polaroids and posted their happy
snaps on a Wall of Fame, most without
ever having played a note on a guitar or

Later, after taking a turn through the
exhibit, attendees enjoyed brews from
Walking Tree Brewery and nibbled on
bar snacks, while being taken on a mu-
sical journey with entertainment by

The Art for Health Sake programs
utilize the arts to improve health and
wellbeing by emphasizing the process
of creative expression to improve emo-
tional, physical, spiritual and social

“It’s a unique way for museums to
expand the interpretation of art,” ex-
plained Dawn Miller, program man-
ager. “Art on the wall is important, but

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 25


Mark Kirby and Dawn Miller. Mary Pitman. Patricia and Mark Ashdown.

Rick and Annetta Heller. Mary Ellen McCarthy and Amy Patterson. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 26
Ed Cortez and Karen Loeffler.

26 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 Diane and Don Jellie with Elizabeth Jellie.
Laura Moss and Natalie Boulton.

Carol and Hank Ross. Jonathan and Hope Lusk. Leah and Arlen Tompkins with Cindy Binder.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 27


Joe and Marky Carter. Diana Mrotek and Wendy Ward.

Nancy and Larry Leach. Glenn and Pam Gordinier. Jessica Schmitt and James Michael.

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28 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Yes, ‘Sir’! ELC honors visionary Branson at 30th gala

BY KERRY FIRTH ish Virgin Islands to accept the En-
Correspondent vironmental Learning Center’s very
first Environmental Visionary in
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Action Award at the ELC’s 30th An-
Branson, knighted at Buckingham niversary Gala last Saturday at the
Palace in March 2000 for his service Bent Pine Golf Club.
to entrepreneurship and the envi-
ronment, has a new trophy to add The honor is given to an indi-
to his collection. Branson sent his vidual doing outstanding work that
personal emissaries from the Brit- focuses on enabling humans to live
in a positive way with the rest of na-

Rock The Boat Gala

Thank You For Your Support

America’s Cup Premiere Sponsor John and Genevieve Reitano with Jennifer and Chip Watson. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE

Friends of Youth Sailing Foundation ture. Allington “Gumption” Creque Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneur
from Virgin Gorda and Angela Bur- Caribbean, and gave me 13 tips to
Admiral Sponsor nett Penn from Tortola addressed follow. Three of those were trust,
the audience of 150 with a message communication and fun.”
Bill & Kate Antle of hope and resilience.
Creque said he followed them all
Commodore Sponsors “It is with great honor that we and was able to repay the loan in six
accept this award for Sir Richard months. “Sir Richard is a man who
New Vision Eye Center Branson,” said Penn, an Environ- continually works with businesses
Sandman Family Fund  Bruce & Jane Burton mental Officer with the Ministry of around the world to solve problems
Natural Resources and Labour. “As related to pollution and sustain-
Captain Sponsors you know, we were hit by Hurricane ability. He is truly honored and de-
Irma last year and the Category 5 serving of this award.”
George E Warren Corporation  Sandy Hook Yacht Sales - Vero Beach hurricane decimated much of our
John & Christine Luca  Offutt Barton Schlitt CPA’s island. But nature is an unstoppable In addition to mingling, bidding
Charlie & Chris Pope  Schlitt Brothers Painting force and we are recovering. We are on auction items, dinner and danc-
experiencing climate change chal- ing, guests at the event discussed
Tocqueville Asset Management  CARP Coastal Marine lenges that need to be addressed ELC expansion plans.
Barth Construction  The Reserve at Vero Beach with innovative experimental pro-
grams and it is up to every one of us “We have a 10-year build-out plan
Mr. & Mrs. James Fuller  Mr. & Mrs. Robert Prosser to act as stewards of our environ- which will include new buildings,
Mr. and Mrs. David Elwell  Mr. & Mrs. Ross McConnell ment.” boardwalks, butterfly gardens,
Mr. & Mrs. Peter Brinckerhoff  Mr. & Mrs. Nelson Cover touch tanks, educational facilities
Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Schaus  Mr. & Mrs. George Hinman She added that after touring the and nature trails” said Tim Buhl,
ELC, they were “overwhelmingly event co-chair. “Our 64-acre cam-
Mr. & Mrs. George Fetterolf impressed with the passion and re- pus gives us plenty of room to ex-
spect that this community has for pand and update our center with
First Mates nature.” the purpose of connecting people
with nature.”
ABCO Garage Door Company, Inc.  GHO Homes  Schlitt Services Creque related that after multiple
Mr. & Mrs. Mark Bobseine  Mrs. Herman Becker banks had turned down his loan re- The Environmental Learning
quest to begin an educational boat Center offers adults and children
Mr. & Mrs. Alan Ebstein  Mr. & Mrs. Jon P Larrick  Windsor Properties business, he was working at a resort a retreat from the digital world
when he first met Branson. of smartphones and computers
Valet Parking through its guided canoe and walk-
Delray Motor Cars “I told him about my dream of pro- ing tours, educational lectures and
tecting our environment through programs. Summer day camps of-
In-Kind Donations education. I wanted to buy a glass- fer children fun-filled days where
Dale Sorensen Real Estate bottom boat and take people out they can learn about nature and our
Minuteman Press to see the life beneath the water’s environment.
surface,” said Creque. “He believed  [email protected]  772-492-3243 in me, loaned me $50,000 through For more information, visit discov- 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 29



Kathleen and Bob Prindiville. Angela Burnett Penn and Maryam Ghadiri. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 30
Grace Hagerty with Richard Boga and Cindy O’Dare.

Tom Tierney and Lisa Kahle.

Carol and Tim Buhl. Vanessa and Jason Orzechowski.

Erin and C.J. Rich. Jerry and Robin Servilla.

30 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Dr. Jack Wilkenfeld and Gina Ganz with Molly Teter Webb and Luke Webb.

Allington “Gumption” Creque and Angela Burnett Penn.

Drs. Mickey and Suzanne Conway with Sharon and Joe Young.

Dan Chappel with Morgan and Blake Smith and Ron Baliton.

32 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Relay for Lifers raise $91K and run circles around cancer

Staff Writer

The Citrus Bowl at Vero Beach High Michael Hyde. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF Jeremy Schwibner and Dr. Jenna Schwibner with son Ari.
School glowed with hope last Friday
night during the 22nd annual Relay for Robert Kirrie and Theresa Woodson. cancer during their lifetime. And, Then, to make things more exciting,
Life Indian River, with proceeds sup- while two out of three are now surviv- team members played a variety of
porting American Cancer Society re- day cancer will be eliminated.” ing, she added, “It’s amazing, but not games as they took turns circling the
search and patient care programs. Rose shared that statistically, one in enough. We have to finish the fight.” track. Games included tossing beach
balls, Red Light/Green Light, a FitBit
This was one of the biggest relays three people will be diagnosed with Bagpiper Michael Hyde blessed the Challenge and even a poker lap with
held in the county, according to Jenny track before the opening ceremony individuals earning playing cards to-
Davis, ACS community development and later, during the Luminaria Cere- ward winning hands. Various other
manager, the result of merging the mony, shared his personal experience games kept everyone amused off the
Beaches, North County and Indian as a survivor. Each light along the track track as well.
River relays. offered a beacon of hope and repre-
sented a life: survivors, those battling Theresa Woodson, ACS senior mar-
Roughly 60 teams and 500 people the disease and lives lost to cancer. keting manager, said Vero Beach High
laced up for the community-based School students really stepped up this
effort to raise more than $91,000, cel- Nicole Grice-Noll, event leader, ad- year, giving manicures on the side-
ebrate cancer survivors and honor dressed survivors, family members lines, donating proceeds from the
those lost. and caregivers, saying “we are all here business students’ Coffee Bean enter-
for the same reason, to finish the fight prise from the week prior to the relay,
“Tonight we relay for everyone against cancer. By walking this track, and having ROTC students organize
touched by cancer, and we are going to you are joining forces with millions of the HOPE message spelled out in lights
continue that fight,” said emcee Chel- people worldwide who want to save in the stadium.
sea Rose, 93.7 GYL. “The American lives.”
Cancer Society Relay for Life repre- As the clock struck midnight, relay
sents the hope that those lost to cancer Survivors, cheered on by family participants packed up and headed
will never be forgotten and those who members and caregivers, kicked off home with a renewed resolve to aid in
face cancer will be supported, and one the celebration of life and hope with the fight against cancer. 
a victory lap at the start of the relay.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 33


Maureen Leu and Mary Helen Sullivan. Laurie Hoover, Beth Dunton, Emily Addis, Lisa Segroves, Steve Wert and Kim Garcia.

Patti Martin, Pilar Rose and Camille Yates. Ron Gunnarson, Darby Dickerson and Simon Caldecott. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 34
Anita Henggeler, Jennifer Howell and Carol Franz.

34 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 Sandi Goding, Lori Veber, Lin Reading, Donna Noel and Lynn McIntosh.
Jennifer Quach, Esther Cadet and Isis LeTolbert.

Karen Barbato, Brandy Hisle and Cindy Creech. Nalani Keen and Kawena Keen. Michal Pollack with Dan and Mindy Pollack.

A Night of Hope

You are invited to join us for a night of music,
food & enjoyment with special guest
Oscar Roan

retired NFL player for the Cleveland Browns.

Thursday April 19th, 2018 at 6:30pm
First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach
520 Royal Palm Boulevard, Vero Beach, Florida 32960

No ticket is necessary - please RSVP for a seat by calling 772.978.0265 ext. 104
~ There will be an opportunity for a donation at the event ~

Proceeds from this evening will benefit


A bold new approach to help families
leave poverty behind... for good.

Special Guest Oscar Roan Dinner sponsored by:

An inner city kid raised in a rough area of Dallas, Oscar
Roan — dreamed of success in athletics as the road to
fullfillment in life. In his rookie year with the Browns
he caught 41 passes for 463 yards and 3 touchdowns.
However, Oscar learned that true fullfillment came off
the football field. Come hear his story...

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 35


Paws-ing to honor many at ‘Dogs for Life’ awards fete

packing the organization’s Training we’re doing here is 100 percent by the
Center, noting that the estimated cost book. We would not be accredited by
varies but averages $18,000 for one year Assistance Dogs International if we did
of training. not do it right,” said Ferger. “When you
have a dedicated person and you have
Service team graduates were pre- the right dog, it works out to be a beau-
sented with ID cards, certificates of tiful thing.”
training and Service Dog vests, which
were swapped out for the dogs’ previ- At the conclusion of the gradua-
ous ‘in-training’ vests. tion ceremony, Devon Williams and

“I want to assure you that everything CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

Mark and Lindsey Eaker. PHOTOS: MARY SCHENKEL

BY MARY SCHENKEL one year, applicants learn to commu-
Staff Writer nicate with their dog, they learn how to
obedience-train and to task-train their
“Today is a very special day for us at dog,” said Ferger.
Dogs for Life,” said Shelly Ferger, DFL
founder. “It’s a special day to recog- The dogs are eventually certified to
nize the devoted dogs, the dedicated perform an extensive variety of tasks,
donors, the valued volunteers and our all geared toward helping people live
special veterans, men and women who independently. Examples include:
have given a part of themselves away alerting to a door knock, smoke alarm,
fighting for our freedom.” alarm clock or telephone ringing; help-
ing people balance on their feet or
Ferger said that the number of Indi- pulling them from a chair; tapping 911
an River County veterans applying for emergency canine phones and handi-
service dogs has increased from 19 in cap door buttons; helping owners suf-
2015 to 59 in 2017. Since 2002 DFL has fering from anxiety, depression or pan-
trained 133 service dogs; 44 of those for ic attacks to feel safe in unpredictable
veterans. They are currently support- environments; and waking owners
ing 34 teams, 10 more than last year, from nightmares.
and have a wait-list of 19; 13 who are
veterans. “Because of you there has never been
a charge to our clients,” Ferger told
“Over a period from six months to the roomful of donors and supporters

36 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Devon Williams and Christal Dedmon.

Richie Keller and GiGi with Casey Taksa and daughter Lilly.

Christal Dedmon of the nationwide Jacobs and River – Service/Hearing
Quilts of Valor Foundation, which Dog Team Award; Richie Keller and
has donated close to 184,000 quilts GiGi and Perry Martin and Sassy –
to active service members and veter- Veterans Dog Team Awards; and the
ans since its 2003 founding, present- Chris Taylor Family – Volunteer of the
ed hand-made quilts to the veteran Year Award.
graduates and their dogs.
The 2018 Team Graduates were:
2017 DFL Awards were presented Al Cabral, U.S. Army and Coco; Mark
to: Richard and Jane Manoogian – Eaker, U.S. Marine Corps and Shad-
Kathi G. Schumann Award; Kathi ow; Tracey Higginbotham, U.S. Ma-
Schumann – Individual Philanthro- rine Corps and Tucker; Jessica Jacobs
pist Award; Jeff and Suzi Gomez – and River; Richie Keller, U.S. Marine
Corporate Philanthropist Award; Corps and GiGi; Perry Martin, U.S.
Curtis Carpenter & Dustin Tackett Air Force and Sassy; and Joe Sperry,
– Media Marketing Award; Jessica U.S. Army and Chlowie. 

1460 Club Drive

Enjoy this gorgeous 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath
home on a lush and peaceful 1/4 +/- acre
corner lot. Situated in a centrally locat-
ed enclave of estate homes and majestic
oaks with no HOA. Just a short stroll to
the beach and dining. Close to the best
schools, parks, the museum, theater and
bridge. Lots of upgrades…new accor-
dion shutters and impact glass, master
bath, floors, appliances, landscaping,
sprinkler system and circular driveway.

O: 772.538.1111
E: [email protected]


Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 37


Larry Ingham and Lola, Tracey Higginbotham and Tucker, Al Cabral and Coco, Perry Martin and Sassy, Jessica Jacobs with River, Mark Poziomek, Kathi Schumann and Shelly Ferger.
and Harry Taylor and Good Girl (who will get her real name when she gets a partner).

Sheri and Chris Taylor with son Harry. Col. (Ret.) Darryle “Sam” Kouns, Linda Liss and Kyndell and Kynlee with Good Girl.
City Councilman Tony Young.



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40 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Piano man: Spotlight on Flores at Chamber concert

Marcos Flores.


BY MICHELLE GENZ The beautiful thing
Staff Writer about Vero is that it’s
a small town and we
It’s been 30 years since Marcos Dan- musicians can create our
iel Flores has performed Saint-Saens’ own little world here.
Concerto No. 2.
– Marcos Flores
The last time he played it, he was a
music major at the University of Puerto Maria passing over the family home in
Rico and his parents were likely in the Juncos, Puerto Rico, last fall, when, af-
audience. “They were always so sup- ter extraordinary efforts by her family,
portive,” he recalls. she and her husband were evacuated
on a mercy flight to Vero Beach. Her
His performance of the well-known first day here – her 80th birthday – she
piece at Sunday’s Vero Beach Chamber
Orchestra concert comes at an emo-
tional time for Flores. It’s been only a
few months since he played at a me-
morial service for his mother Diana.
She had survived the eye of Hurricane

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 41


saw an oncologist hoping to resume can play and you can come to rehears- him by dressing up as Beethoven, with nity orchestra, he founded the Indian
the cancer treatment that the hurri- als,” says Tom Fritz, who founded the the help of the costume department of River public school orchestra program
cane had interrupted. It all proved too orchestra with Paul and Linda Spiwak. Vero Beach Opera. Flores played the currently run by Stott. It is in the spirit
much for her, though – she died 10 days role to the max, donning a wig and of community that he is donating his
after her arrival. All three had played with Treasure pretending to be deaf when they called time and talent to the community or-
Coast Symphony, a Martin and St. Lucie him to the podium. chestra’s concert – two rehearsals plus
Diana Caraballo-Flores was the ma- County-based community orchestra, the performance, after two months of
triarch of a remarkable family that has and were looking to establish an inter- These days, it is his family that pre- practicing on his own.
woven itself into Vero’s classical music generational orchestra in Vero. The new tends not to hear as Flores finally sits
scene, with two of her three sons be- orchestra would make classical music down at the piano at 11 p.m. to practice The concert takes place 2 p.m. April 15
coming church music directors here. “accessible and affordable to everyone,” the Saint-Saens concerto. “This has at the Vero Beach High School Perform-
Diana herself served as judge when, Fritz says. Today only a donation is been a very challenging year to get my ing Arts Center. And that too is a cause
over the years, her sons held mock taken at the door, and that money goes regular practice in,” he says. “My fam- close to Flores’ heart: His two children
competitions to determine which is to buy the sheet music for the concert, ily, they don’t even hear the piano. It’s have both participated in the school’s
king of the keyboards – organ or piano. which then goes into the Vero Beach just ambiance.” music programs. Son Marcus plays
High School music department’s per- drums in the school band and daughter
Both Marcos and Jose Daniel Flores manent library. So far, the orchestra has Fritz, a retired Naval commander Diana sings in the choir and intends to
played at a packed memorial service donated an estimated $15,000 in music. (CK), is another stalwart in the Vero major in voice in college next fall. 
in Vero. A similar service was held in music scene: Along with the commu-
Puerto Rico, where Diana’s husband is The orchestra also raises funds to
a well-known retired Baptist minister. help student musicians travel to larger 18TH ANNUAL
venues to play. Last year, it donated
While Jose Daniel Flores moved on $7,900 toward the school orchestra’s END OF SEASON SALE
from his post at Community Church trip to Vienna, Austria. “If we have a
and now leads a large choir in Albany, particularly successful year, we give Enjoy spectacular savings
N.Y., Marcos Flores has stayed – as he scholarships to the seniors who have on select items from our collection
promised he would, not only lead- given their time to play with us, as a
ing the very active music program at thank-you for their dedicated service.” all sales final
Christ by the Sea Methodist Church,
but performing in concerts there and Flores joins a distinguished list of so- SEE THESE AND OTHER FINE THINGS AT VERO’S FINEST
around town. He teaches piano to stu- loists who have played with the orches- COLLECTION OF AMERICAN-MADE ART AND JEWELRY
dents from high school to well into re- tra – all of them with ties to Vero. They
tirement, and to the young winners of include Linda Spiwak, a violinist and THEL AUGHINGDOGGALLERY.COM 2910 CARDINAL DR.
a long-established piano scholarship teacher of 30 years who was assistant VERO BEACH, FL
through Vero Beach Opera. concertmaster of the Utica Symphony; 7 72 . 2 3 4 . 6711
Michèle Witt, who studied piano at
“The beautiful thing about Vero is Mannes College of Music and later
that it’s a small town and we musicians earned a performance certificate from
can create our own little world here,” the Guildhall School of Music and Dra-
says Flores. “We help each other. We ma in London (while running the U.S.
all love kids and we want them to suc- equities division of Donaldson, Lufkin
ceed. This creates a sense of unity.” and Jenrette); and cellist Joe Loehnis,
formerly with the Green Bay Symphony
That world of music yields benefits for Orchestra who for a time worked as a
Flores as well. With those contacts, twice golf pro in Vero. He is now earning an
a year, at Christmas and Easter, he casts MBA at the University of Wisconsin.
up to 100 people in a choir and orchestra
for cantatas at Christ by the Sea. Jacob Craig, who leads the extensive
music program at First Presbyterian
What he can’t find locally, he recruits Church in Vero, played harpsicord and
regionally. Musicians and vocal soloists piano in two different concerts with the
drove from as far away as Stetson Uni- orchestra. St. Edward’s School gradu-
versity and Miami on the Saturday be- ate Eric Willet studied flute in Vero
fore Easter to join voices recruited from with Vera Guimaraes before graduating
Christ by the Sea as well as church and magna cum laude from Yale University
community choirs, including the Vero in economics; he is currently working
Beach Choral Society; Flores spent a in Los Angeles. Judi Lampert, who has a
year conducting that group as well. master’s in music performance from Il-
linois State University, played flute with
Now, for the first time, Flores is the the Illinois Symphony for 20 years and
featured soloist with the town’s com- currently teaches flute at First Presbyte-
munity orchestra. In a concert that rian’s Primo music school.
wraps up the Vero Chamber Orchestra’s
10th season, he will join no fewer than And finally, Matt Stott, director of
50 musicians on stage. Those perform- the Indian River County School or-
ers, conducted by Vero Beach High’s chestra program who teaches at both
band director, Page Howell, are divided Vero High and Gifford Middle School.
evenly between top high school orches- Stott, a violinist, played with Flores in
tra members, music professionals and a January concert at Christ by the Sea.
semi-professionals including teach-
ers and adult amateurs, some of whom “Matt and I are colleagues, but we’re
have dusted off their old violins or clari- also good friends. I arrived in Vero 13
nets from their own high school days. years ago and we’ve been playing to-
gether ever since. We have always tried
“What is beautiful to watch is the in- to help each other,” says Flores.
tergenerational aspect. We have high
school kids next to college people next He recalls the time Stott invited him
to professionals and even retired people. to conduct the high school orchestra in
It’s beautiful chemistry,” says Flores. a Beethoven overture. Flores obliged

“Our only requirement is that you

42 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Wander and wonder at Attas’ artistic retrospective

BY ELLEN FISCHER On view through April 30, “Ancient/ Quantum Fluctuations series
Columnist Future: Exploring the Wonders of the Throughout his fine-art career, Attas
Universe” includes color digital pho-
Aric Attas’ retrospective exhibition tos from his current A Glimpse of has continuously returned to the same
of photographs, video and recorded Infinity series. There are also pho- source for inspiration, one that com-
sound succeeds in transforming Raw tos from 2013’s Seeking the Light, as ingles the waters of physics and meta-
Space, Vero’s downtown alternative well as a video and soundscape com- physics, filtered through the mysticism
cultural venue, into a retreat for the pleted in 2015. And there are cam- of Kabbalah. The study of any one of
seeker of transcendence. “I want to era-less photograms on paper and those disciplines does not necessarily
create a sense of floating and moving metal plates from Attas’ 1996 gradu- exclude the other two; all try to or make
through space with my art,” says Attas. ate school thesis show and his 1997 sense of the world, and humanity’s
place in it.
The resulting artworks do not com-
pel the viewer’s attention. Instead, they starry sky seen through the oculus of a
quietly invite it. Attas considers his space age dome. Conversely, they also
work to be meditative rather than de- resemble gem-like planets – blue with
scriptive in nature. Rather than being a the promise of life-sustaining atmo-
wall on which images are drawn, each sphere – surrounded by a regimented
artwork is a door through which the nimbus of stars. Varying subtly from
spiritual pilgrim can pass into a limit- one to the next throughout the series,
less realm. the imagery was inspired by the idea of
the mandala, says Attas.
Attas “very much” uses the images he
produces as targets for his own medita- A mandala (the Sanskrit word for
tive journey. On display is an airy blue “circle”) is a painting that represents
40-by-60-inch photo from his Seek- the universe in Hindu and some Bud-
ing the Light series; that work was his dhist religious practices. In meditation,
meditative go-to place during a dif- gazing upon the concentric lines and
ficult course of medical treatments he repeating patterns and colors of a man-
underwent five years ago. dala can help a practitioner focus on
something other than the disruptions
He mentions the large canvases of and worries of everyday life.
painter Mark Rothko as inspiration for
the shifting, amorphous colors Attas The 16 photos in Glimpse of Infinity
used in Seeking the Light. He admits to measure 30 inches by 20 inches; they
a tad of envy of the painter, whose larg- are hung in a straight line on the south
est paintings, some 7 feet tall and near- and east walls of the gallery. A second
ly 6 feet wide, overwhelm not only their series of these prints in a 6-by-4-inch
viewers’ sense of scale, but also their format is arranged in a spiral configu-
emotional composure. For some, tears ration in the gallery’s southwest corner.
are a natural response to the Rothko
experience. Attas says that his fascination with
scientific cosmology began in boy-
The non-subject matter of Attas’ hood, when his imagination took flight
photographs is as boundless as that of by means of an astronaut action figure.
Rothko’s canvases; Attas’ work plays His spiritual search for meaning in the
hard to get. universe was kindled by his grandpar-
ents, Holocaust survivors who prac-
It is not just their smaller size; after ticed the Scriptural prayers and rituals
all, in art as in love, size doesn’t matter of Judaism.
to the devotee. If Rothko’s largest works
were painted to be seen in that mod- As for photography, Attas got hooked
ern temple of art – the museum gallery during seventh grade, in a summer-
– Attas’ work is sized to the intimate school program. At that time photogra-
sanctuary of the home. phy involved learning darkroom skills,
including how to develop film and pa-
The emotional problem with photo per prints with chemicals. Watching an
prints is that their slick surfaces – the image exposed onto sensitized paper
result of glossy paper or being shown magically appear in the developer tray
under glass – tend to add an intellectu- was a revelation to Attas. Although he
al coolness to their presentation. That subsequently earned a B.S. with honors
reflective layer makes of them artifacts in psychology, he turned to commer-
to be dutifully viewed rather than in- cial photography to make a living after
stigators of experience. It is a form of graduation. Six years later, he entered
crystal gazing: you can remotely expe- graduate school for the study of pho-
rience what is going on, but you cannot tography as a fine art, graduating in
jump into the action.

The strong imagery of Attas’ latest
series, A Glimpse of Infinity, does over-
come the potentially distracting gloss
of their surfaces. Digitally printed on
aluminum substrates, the sharply-fo-
cused pictures seem to be glimpses of

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 43


1996 with a master’s degree from Hart- shadowy lines of an object place on sen-
ford Art School in Connecticut. sitized paper with a flashlight’s beam.

The current exhibition contains Raw Space is located at 1795 Old Di-
works from Attas’ graduate thesis show, xie Highway in Vero Beach. The exhibi-
“Ions in the Ether.” Based on photo- tion is open to the public from Wednes-
grams (camera-less prints made in the day through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7
darkroom by selectively exposing sen- p.m., and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2
sitized paper to light and developing p.m., through April 30. Additionally, At-
it in chemicals), these include framed tas will give an artist talk there at 6:30
photogram prints on paper and free- p.m. Thursday April 26. 
standing constructions featuring small
photoengraved rectangles of zinc and acid, selectively stopped by a resistant
copper. Of the latter, one is displayed coating, left two crescent-shaped holes
float-mounted in a shadow-box frame, in the plate, each rimmed with lacey
while two other others are presented eye lashes of copper.
atop pedestals.
The mesmerizing quality of those two
As photographic objects, the pedes- exhibits will cause you to sidle around
tal-mounted works have great appeal. their pedestals for a better look at of the
The undecipherable imagery on the plates in all their 3-D glory, from their
plates were deeply etched in an acid etched faces and industrially-coated
bath, and the bas reliefs on the front of backs to their corporeal thickness.
the plates are only part of their dimen-
sionality. One of the pedestals bears A group of photograms on silver foil-
two etched plates that rest within two surfaced photographic paper in the
empty beakers, a reference to their show represents the artist’s 1977 series,
transformation through immersion in “Quantum Fluctuations.” The largest
nitric acid. The other pedestal holds resembles a geodesic dome made of spi-
a copper plate mounted under a glass der web and stars. The imagery was cre-
dome. The destructive action of the ated in the darkroom by exposing the

44 Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Coming Up: Vero serves a musical mélange

BY SAMANTHA BAITA za, 884 17th St., when the Treasure Park series. On the 19th you can en-
Staff Writer Coast Jazz Society presents the John joy “spirits,” the museum says, while
DePaola Quintet, paying tribute to listening to live music by Don Bestor,
1 The week is filled with music. the Cannonball Adderly Quintet. amidst “a landscape of monumental
A concert sure to stir your heart Adderly was a jazz alto sax man in sculpture, trees and flowers” – that’s
the hard bop era of the ’50s and ’60s, three of your five senses right there.
is set for this Sunday, when the mighty according to Wikipedia, best known Concert time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ad-
for his 1966 soul jazz single “Mercy, mission: $10 for museum members;
Rodgers organ of St. John of the Cross Mercy, Mercy,” a big crossover hit on $12, general. P.S.: It’s rain or shine.
the pop charts. DePaola has toured 772-231-0707.
comes alive under the masterful with Broadway musicals and sym-
phony orchestras in the company of
hands of one of the Treasure Coast’s Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra Jr., Tony
Bennett and others, says the TCJS.
most respected concert organists, Leading off on the jazz bill at 11:30
a.m. is the ever-smooth Vero Beach
Ryan Kasten, St. John’s director of High School JazzTrio. The DePaola
Quintet takes over at 12:30 p.m. A
music ministries. The concert is part cool two-fer for a (probably) warm 4 When well-known concert pia-
Saturday. 772-234-4600. nist and teacher Dr. Marcos
of the church’s Fine Arts Series, and 3 Jazz at Concerts in the Park
on Thursday.
will include works by Vierne, Widor, Flores performs Saint-Saens’ “Piano
has performed in numerous venues,
Elgar, Franck and Dupre. According Concerto No. 2” in the final concert including Carnegie Hall, and with
such renowned artists as interna-
to, Kasten has performed of the Vero Beach Chamber Orches- tional opera diva Deborah Voigt and
Pagano himself, and as soloist with
with the Rockford Symphony Or- tra’s 10th anniversary season, he the Atlantic Symphonic Orches-
tra. He currently serves as direc-
chestra and the Bach Chamber Choir won’t be playing just any old piano. tor of worship arts for Christ by the
Sea United Methodist Church. (For
and Orchestra in Rockford, Illinois; As befitting Saint-Saens’ most popu- more, read Michelle Genz’s feature
on Flores’ upcoming performance
has presented solo recitals through- lar piano concerto and Flores’ ex- on Page 40.) The concert begins at
2 p.m. Admission is free. 772-562-
out the U.S.; and debuted at Carnegie ceptional artistry, a 7-foot grand 6125. 

Hall as accompanist for the Rock-Val- 3 Jazz galore: On Thursday, April piano will be brought to the VBHS
19, there will be cool jazz for a
ley Community Chorale. The concert Performing Arts Center (through

begins at 4 p.m. and is free. 772-584- warm evening in, of all places, the a partnership with Atlantic Music

9744. Vero Beach Museum of Art’s Beck- in Melbourne) specifically for the

with Sculpture Garden. Perhaps not Sunday, April 15 performance. Now

2 Jazz at the Plaza. If you’re in a where you’d expect a concert, but that’s classy. Flores will also perform
jazz frame of mind, the place to
that’s precisely where you’ll find the “Pavane” by Gabriel Fauré, and Men-

be midday this Saturday is the Pla- museum’s popular Concerts in the delssohn’s “Symphony No. 1.” Flores

Brady Girardi smiles as the next fan in line hands tender Seoul Dynasty kicked off the closing week The league’s sponsors include not just Intel Corp.
him a poster to sign. “You were so good tonight!” the of the first stage of contests in the inaugural Over- and Hewlett-Packard Co., but also nontech power-
woman gushes as Girardi scrawls his name across the watch League – a pioneering global tournament that houses such as Toyota and T-Mobile. Team owners,
page. He murmurs a thank-you and poses with her brought together 12 teams from Asia, Europe, and who include the likes of New England Patriots own-
for a selfie. the United States to compete for $3.5 million in prize er Robert Kraft, had to commit to providing players
money. The league’s goal: to raise competitive gam- such as Girardi with housing benefits, health insur-
The fan, whose shock of yellow-green hair matches ing to a level of professionalism and recognition that ance and retirement plans, and a salary of no less
Girardi’s jersey, walks away with a wide grin. Girardi may one day rival that of baseball or football. than $50,000 a year.
resumes his place with his eight teammates around a
marker-strewn table set up in the middle of the same “The vision here is that someday it’ll be no differ- And the Overwatch League represents just the
arena in Burbank, California where earlier that night ent to come home and grab the family to watch an first click of the mouse. Investors, the news media,
they pulled a spectacular upset against a league front- Overwatch game than it is today to grab the fam- and academia are all beginning to recognize that
runner. The line of fans waiting for photos and auto- ily and watch a Major League Baseball game,” says interactive gaming lies at a confluence of evolving
graphs winds all the way up into the stands. league commissioner Nate Nanzer, an executive for technology and shifting demographics that is trans-
Overwatch publisher Blizzard Entertainment. forming entertainment. Consider: In 1995, about
The trappings of the postgame meet-and-greet 100 million people worldwide played interactive
might sound familiar to the average sports fan. But Skeptics might scoff, but it’s not a far-fetched idea. video games. By 2016, it was 2.6 billion.
Girardi and his team, the Los Angeles Valiant, proba- Already the Overwatch League looks more like a tra-
bly won’t. That’s because the Valiant isn’t a basketball ditional sports conference than any esports tourna- As gaming’s competitive arm, esports seems
or baseball team. It’s an esports team whose players ment in history. Matches are broadcast live from the poised to extend that transformation into the realms
compete at the world’s highest levels in a video game Blizzard Arena, a 530-seat amphitheater with an el- of sport and spectacle. The night the Valiant won,
called Overwatch. evated stage that features two banks of gaming com- hundreds of fans came to cheer their favorite teams
puters and six massive high-resolution screens. at the arena. Never mind that it was a Wednesday
The match they had just won against top con-

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / April 12, 2018 47


and that the games weren’t even part of the season- in the industry by interpreting English and Korean Esports tournaments have since sold out venues
ending playoffs. matches for broadcast in the mid-2000s. “It was a such as the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Madison
hobby thing. It wasn’t a job.” Square Garden in New York, and KeyArena in Seattle.
Eventually, esports could even change what it Dedicated esports arenas are being built in Las Vegas
means to be an athlete. The sports stars of tomor- The launch in 2011 of Twitch – a streaming service and Oakland, Calif. By 2016, worldwide revenues for
row may no longer be chiseled home run hitters or and live chat forum dedicated to gaming – brought esports stood at $660 million – still a fraction of what
deft three-point shooters. They may be gaming gurus players and esports fans together online in a way the National Football League makes, but the figure is
with quick thumbs and a cunning virtual sense. that allowed for real community building. expected to swell as advertisers and investors catch on.

“The digital revolution has changed everything Los Angeles Valiant player Brady Girardi (center) works on his gaming Monthly esports viewership also more than dou-
out there, and now it’s changing competition,” says skills at an esports training facility in Burbank, California. bled between 2013 and 2016, from less than 80 mil-
Mark Deppe, acting director of the esports program lion to more than 160 million. The majority of that
at the University of California, Irvine. “Esports is the Valiant players (from left) Young-seo Park, Brady Girardi, and Ted audience was 35 or younger. The average NFL view-
future.” Wang greet fans and sign autographs after the team’s win. er is about 50.

In his 2011 novel “Ready Player One” (the film ad- Esports Tournament in the Blizzard Arena. Below: Players on the La Even with sports betting illegal in the vast majority
aptation is hitting theaters this month), Ernest Cline Habra (Calif.) High School esports team set up computers for practice. of the United States, global wagering on esports was
depicts a dystopian future in which unemployment projected at $6.7 billion for 2018 in a report by soft-
and energy shortages push just about everyone with ware analytics company Narus and research firm Ei-
a computer to seek escape in a virtual-reality video lers & Krejcik Gaming. That same report expected the
game called OASIS. Experiencing the Overwatch total to approach $13 billion by 2020.
universe beamed in 4K resolution on the screens
around the Blizzard Arena here makes it easy to Sitting in the stands at an Overwatch match with
imagine how large swaths of humanity might some- Noah Whinston is like sitting in the stands with any
day immerse themselves in a game. other dedicated 23-year-old esports fan: He groans
when one of his team’s characters gets killed, frets ner-
Players such as Girardi – known to fans and in- vously when the players maneuver a difficult play, and
siders by his online tag, “Agilities” – approach their cheers madly when they win a round. The difference is
profession with seriousness. The 18-year-old would that this particular fan also happens to be chief execu-
be the first to say he’s fortunate to get to play video tive officer of one of the teams battling it out onstage.
games for a living. He also talks about his professional
gaming career the way a talented teenage basketball “I know I said I’m not emotionally invested in my
player might have viewed getting a shot at playing in team’s success and failure,” he says after the Valiant
the National Basketball Association (NBA) a genera- narrowly escapes attack, “but I am very emotionally
tion ago: as improbable but not inconceivable. invested in my team’s success and failure.”

“I did want to go to college and figure out what I Whinston’s career began in college, where he was
wanted to do with the rest of my life after I was done a casual gamer and fan who made a name for him-
with high school. But I never got to that point,” says self winning prize pools in fantasy esports leagues.
Girardi, who was 16 when he moved to Los Angeles The way that tournaments were structured, however,
from his hometown in Lethbridge, Alberta, after sign- bothered him. “No team was earning my loyalty or
ing on with Immortals, the Valiant’s parent company. earning my lifetime fandom,” Whinston says.
“Video games happened, so this is my job now.”
He decided to try to fix that. In 2015, he bailed on
Girardi’s teammate and fellow Canadian Stefano his senior year as a political science major at North-
“Verbo” Disalvo went a step further. As soon as he western University in Evanston, Ill., to start Immortals
realized that top players could make millions in tour- in San Francisco. It was perfect timing: Just months
naments such as the championship series for League after Whinston launched the company, Sacramento
of Legends – the most played PC game in the world Kings co-owner Andy Miller and retired NBA player
– he decided that gaming was his calling. Rick Fox, among others, started investing in the sport.

When Overwatch was released in early 2016, Disal- Yet Whinston’s vibe – with his college dropout cred,
vo devoted countless hours to the game, improving metal-frame glasses, and unassuming grin – is more
his skill. Playing became a source of friction with his start-up geek than sports executive. And in many ways
mother. But it paid off: In the fall of that year, Immor- the same is true for esports in general: Its essence has
tals offered him a yearlong contract on its Overwatch always been more Comic Con than Super Bowl.
roster. “My dream came true right there,” Disalvo says.
“We’re all still kind of nerds at heart,” Whinston says.
Just a decade ago, the idea of making a reliable In managing his teams, he blends that techie spirit
living in esports would have been laughable. Big- with Blizzard’s vision of professionalism and stabil-
name investors were scarce. Tournament organiz- ity. The Valiant, along with two other esports teams
ers struggled to muster prize pools. Almost every- under the Immortals brand, practices at a convert-
one who ventured into the scene – whether players, ed apartment complex in Culver City, Calif., where
tournament coordinators, or commentators (known Whinston moved the team in late 2015.
in esports as “shoutcasters”) – did it out of love for Each team has its own training room outfitted with
gaming with little guarantee of a payout. state-of-the-art PCs and gaming chairs. Coaching
staff includes a sports psychologist in charge of play-
“Back in the day, you’d pay your own way [to tour- er performance. Meals, designed with both taste and
naments]. You’d bring your own computer,” says Su-
sie “lilkim” Kim, an esports veteran who got her start STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 50

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nutrition in mind, are catered for staff and players. city. “We root for the people that we can find kinship among students to engage them in campus activities.
Immortals is also the first to move away from the with,” Whinston says. “The idea is if you find your The league’s organizers also aim to use esports as
people, your community, through L.A. Valiant, you’re
conventional esports housing model, in which play- going to be L.A. Valiant fans for the rest of your lives.” a framework to teach students marketable skills in
ers live and work together in one space. In the early engineering, computer science, game design, and
days of esports that meant cramped apartments with Esports innovation isn’t limited to multimillion- even English language arts.
mattresses in one room and computers in another. dollar stadiums or platinum training facilities. At the
Today professional gamers either live and work in University of California, Irvine (UCI), Loc Tran staffs Some students, not to mention faculty and par-
lavish complexes, with amenities such as basketball the counter at the campus’s esports arena, a renovat- ents, are skeptical. But others are eager to see au-
courts and swimming pools, or commute to separate ed rec room where, for $4 an hour, gamers can come thority figures finally support their passion. “I always
work sites altogether. in to play online and console games. thought gaming was a nerdy thing,” says Maddy
Schremp, a junior at Laguna Hills High School in
What Whinston takes most to heart, however, is In one corner, two banks of computers are reserved southern California who has been organizing local
Blizzard’s ambition to turn the Overwatch League for the scholarship players at the university, who – like tournaments since she was 12. She’s hopeful that the
into the first successful esports conference. He traditional college athletes – receive a subsidy to com- high school league will prompt more people to see
wants it to operate similarly to a traditional sports pete against other collegiate teams in League of Leg- the value of esports as a business and a career.
league with local franchises, each with its own arena, ends and Overwatch.
that draw loyal fans to watch competitions. Teams “It’s not only creating gamers, but a community:
would eventually play matches in true “home-and- The first U.S. varsity esports team was launched in an audience for streaming [online], stream modera-
away” fashion, traveling to Boston, Dallas, or London 2014 at Robert Morris University Illinois, a liberal arts tors, tournament organizers, game designers,” Mad-
to take on other competitors. school in Chicago. Today dozens of universities have dy says. “I get choked up thinking about it.”
similar programs, and hundreds more participate in
Only one other league has ever tried to establish League of Legends and other collegiate gaming circuits. Esports, however, faces challenges. Blizzard is out
a local following: The Championship Gaming Series to prove that it can create a game that fans will invest
in 2007, which, despite its $50 million budget, ended UCI, however, wants to go beyond just support- time and money in over the long term. If the venture
in disaster in the face of a global economic crisis. ing competitive gaming. Constance Steinkuehler, a falls apart,“Will the developers be willing to try again?”
professor of informatics there, believes gaming and asks Kathy Chiang, who as a student served as presi-
So far, Blizzard’s Nanzer says, the Overwatch League esports research can do everything from improving dent of The Association of Gamers at UCI and is now
has exceeded expectations, with 10 million viewers student educational performance to fostering a cul- coordinator of its esports arena. “I’m still cautious.”
tuning in via online streaming services within four days ture of teamwork. She says that competing in high-
of opening. Blizzard Arena also sold out seats through level esports takes sophisticated communication Questions persist about the legitimacy of esports in
that first week, and dozens of viewing parties took and mastery of complex schemes. the eyes of the general public as well. While traditional
place around the world, including 62 in Europe alone. sports have long been viewed as beneficial for young
That view of gaming led UCI to collaborate with people’s bodies and minds, video games have, almost
Until a league with many different city franchises the Orange County Department of Education, the since their inception, struggled to overcome associa-
can be established, Whinston sees a chance for the Samueli Foundation, and other partners to launch a tions with laziness, antisocial tendencies, and violence.
Valiant – as one of two L.A. teams – to boost local sup- local high school league in January. Like its collegiate
port by holding fan events, showcasing players’ per- counterparts, the Orange County High School Es- Could society really support a potential national
sonalities, and emphasizing the team’s ties to its home ports League hopes to leverage gaming’s popularity obsession that encourages future generations to sit
in front of computer screens all day?

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