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Published by Vero Beach 32963 Media, 2016-03-10 15:46:33



Last-ditch maneuver almost
kills diesel plant deal. P11
Finalists named for
Impact 100 grants. P38
Shores to vote Tuesday on

changing town elections to fall. P9

For breaking news visit

MY VERO Big Bucks Battle

BY RAY MCNULTY Candidates vie for seat in Legislature

Why is School District Attorney Erin Grall PHOTOS BY DENISE RITCHIE BY LISA ZAHNER Realtor and environmental activist Lange Sykes
out to get Coach Joe? Staff Writer

I’m told by people who ought Candidates for the Florida House seat be-
to know that some members of ing vacated by Rep. Debbie Mayfield – all of
the Indian River County School whom have never held public office – have
Board and their administrative raised an amazing $350,000 in campaign con-
henchman want us to forget tributions as of the last reporting period, with
about their wrongheaded-but- local Republicans pretty evenly split between
ongoing efforts to fire a trusted attorney Erin Grall and beachside Realtor, art-
and beloved teacher. ist and environmental activist Lange Sykes.

These school officials don’t In the August primary game, where almost
want to talk about what they’re all of the big state and county races in pre-
doing to Joe Nathaniel, the Se- dominantly Republican Indian River County
bastian River High School crim- are decided, now is the time to raise the final
inal justice teacher and former
assistant football coach, who CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
was removed from his class-
room in the wake of a Nov. 17 Shores tries new approach to getting out from under Vero electric
altercation involving a misbe-
having, 18-year-old student. BY LISA ZAHNER Service Commission to open franchise agreement with the getting Florida Power & Light
Staff Writer up Vero’s electric service ter- Shores expires on Nov. 6. as its sole electric provider,
They don’t want you to talk ritory for review based on the despite running into road-
about it. They certainly don’t Indian River Shores, filing legal doctrine of “changed cir- This latest move by the blocks so far at the Circuit
want me to write about it. They not as the Town but as a cus- cumstances” since the Town Shores – filed creatively to give Court and getting nowhere
want this smells-bad-from-the- tomer of Vero Beach Utilities, says Vero will be in violation of the Town standing as a utility with Vero on FPL’s $13 million
start story to go away. has asked the Florida Public Florida’s constitution after its customer – shows that Shores
officials are not giving up on CONTINUED ON PAGE 8
I’m not going to let that hap-

Especially now.
Just the other day, I acquired
the Dec. 15 letter Assistant State


School District makes it tough to check Grand Harbor once
on mold problem in elementary school again on the move

BY KATHLEEN SLOAN reprisal, said Fellsmere Ele- Construction starting to resume at Grand Harbor. PHOTO BY PHIL SUNKEL BY SAMANTHA ROHLFING BAITA
Staff Writers mentary has mold, cracks and Staff Writer
other signs of neglect. Her ac-
It could have been simple, count was backed up by two After years of no growth fol-
but the Indian River School additional sources, including lowing the real estate down-
District chose to make it hard. a parent who has two children turn, Grand Harbor is springing
at the school. Whether there is back to life with construction of
A source, who requested
anonymity because she fears CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

March 10, 2016 Volume 9, Issue 10 Newsstand Price $1.00 Vero Ice Age gala
draws enthusiastic
News 1-12 Faith 87 Pets 86 TO ADVERTISE CALL crowd. Page 22
Arts 41-48 Games 63-65 Real Estate 89-104 772-559-4187
Books 58-59 Health 67-72 St Ed’s 62
Dining 80 Insight 49-66 Style 74-79 FOR CIRCULATION
Editorial 56 People 13-40
Wine 81 CALL 772-226-7925

© 2016 Vero Beach 32963 Media LLC. All rights reserved.

2 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


School mold problems Board member Charles Searcy com- who came forward about conditions too exhausted from long work hours
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 plained about poor conditions dis- at Fellsmere Elementary was fearful to be vocal or powerful advocates for
trict-wide during a meeting at Beach- and asked for anonymity; the other their children.
mold at the school or not could easily land Elementary two weeks ago. spoke on the record. Their stories are
have been determined this week – if in stark contrast with school district This source also claimed Principal
access to the facility had been pro- At that meeting, the school district claims. Ramon Cheverria is not a strong lead-
vided. announced it is finally going ahead er and avoids raising problem issues.
with a multimillion-dollar renovation The initial source said black and
But that didn’t happen. of the island’s only elementary school, green mold had been discovered in a The second anonymous source,
Instead of proving the problems where parents have complained bit- new section of the school built in 2014, a parent, said she had successfully
don’t exist, the school district proved terly for years about dilapidated con- and that the janitor had been tasked avoided placing her child in the school
it uses delaying tactics and squelches ditions making children ill. with removing it until a teacher insist- until third grade. She said both the
press contact, which is anti-sunshine ed a professional be brought in. new two-story building and the older
and a good culture for growing mold But Searcy said the district is fac- buildings had mold. She too, indepen-
and many varieties of neglect. ing $100 million worth of additional She said the 85-percent Hispanic dently said the “custodian” and not a
Vero Beach 32963 began investi- “health and safety issues” at other population attending the school com- “qualified person” did the mold re-
gating school conditions after School schools. “We’re missing the boat,” he pounded the problem because many moval. She was unaware that a profes-
said. parents don’t speak English, are wary sional was finally brought in.
of rousing the ire of authority and are
One of the two additional sources “The staff won’t tell the school
board,” she said. “This is the most ne-
glected school in the district. I’ve nev-
er seen anything as poorly run. The
whole school needs to be shut down
until they get competent teachers and

The third source, also a parent,
Elizabeth Candanosa, said one of her
daughters attends pre-K in an older
building and she has another attend-
ing third grade in the new building.
The third grader is not suffering from
allergic mold reactions, but her pre-K
daughter “comes home each day with
a runny nose, sneezing and coughing
and with her eyes watering,” which
stops soon after she’s home.

She said she complained to Vice
Principal Kimberly Garcia in October,
who oddly said a humidifier would be
installed in her daughter’s classroom.
Candanosa said her request for a mold
test has been ignored.

During a particularly intense cough-
ing and sneezing period, Candanosa
said, the school insisted her daughter
remain home for three days instead of
investigating for mold.

Independently, Candanosa also at-
tributed the lack of advocacy for bet-
ter building conditions to the school’s
predominately Hispanic population.
“They don’t like to complain and they
don’t speak English,” she said.

Her daughter’s teacher has asked
her to voice concerns at PTA meetings,
Candanosa said, “because none of the
other parents ever say anything.”

Trying to obtain information from
the school and school district to ver-
ify or refute these allegations proved
difficult. The information portal was
choked down to the district’s mouth-
piece, Flynn Fidgeon, who came
through with no information until Fri-
day, after days of delay.

The first delay was Fidgeon’s claim
he never got an email sent Tuesday,
which he needed to fulfill a records re-
quest. It took two days for him to com-
pose and shoot his own email through
the district firewall and another day
for it to land in this reporter’s inbox.
The reply-records-request got through
Friday, but providing the requested

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 3


documents will take time, Fidgeon ed two weeks ago and is no longer an Earman and Sanders said mold Sanders admitted there have been
said, and staff costs and payment need issue. A professional had been called needs three things – heat, moisture sporadic breakdowns of the air condi-
to be determined. in, with chemical sprays applied and and food – and the school monitors tioning, but said the longest, in both
air exchange vents tested for air qual- for moisture 24 hours a day, seven old and new buildings, has been no
The second delay found Fidgeon ity, he said. It’s true there are pock- days a week. If humidity rises above longer than six hours. Therefore, no
running interference between this re- ets between the stucco and concrete 60 percent, mold is investigated. If the mold tests have been performed this
porter and school code compliance brick, but mold needs food to grow air conditioning is off for more than 48 year, Sanders said.
inspector Scott Granger, who was and “concrete block and stucco have hours, the window necessary for mold
willing to quickly provide the latest no nitrogen,” he said, so no mold tests to take hold, a mold investigation is The second anonymous source,
building inspections documents on have been conducted. done. however, said the AC has not worked
Wednesday. Granger said the school
did have mold in the new building, CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
but the contractor had come back and
fixed the problem. Exclusively John’s Island

Asked about Granger’s statement, Nestled along picturesque Indian Lake is this exquisitely redesigned 4BR retreat
Fidgeon said, “Perhaps Mr. Granger with cabana. Serene pool and lake views, custom millwork and hardwood floors
misspoke.” grace the open concept 4,028± GSF home. Mahogany accents compliment the
soothing, light color palette, including the gourmet center island kitchen with
It should be noted that although premium appliances, custom cabinetry, breakfast nook and side garden. Additional
state law requires school districts to features include a spacious living room with fireplace adjoining the kitchen, private
inspect buildings yearly, the inspec- master suite, large yard and 2-car garage. 601 Indian Harbor Road : $2,300,000
tion is done by school district building
inspectors, not county or state inspec- three championship golf courses : 17 har-tru courts : beach club : squash
tors. health & fitness center : pickleball : croquet : vertical equity membership

Before he was silenced, Granger 772.231.0900 : Vero Beach, FL :
said the stucco hadn’t adhered to the
concrete block understructure of the
new building, leaving pockets that let
in moisture. There was also a white-
board that had been wrongly installed
without spacers, growing mold, which
was discovered after it was moved to
another location, but that too had
been cured, he said.

In the third delay, Fidgeon insisted
that Director of Facilities Scott Sand-
ers was the definitive authority on the
school’s condition, not Granger, but
said even a phone call with Sanders
had to be scheduled by him.

In the fourth delay, Fidgeon ran in-
terference with Fellsmere Elementary
staff. Principal Cheverria returned a
call requesting a tour Wednesday or
Thursday, sounding cooperative. He
left a message to call his assistant,
who would get him wherever he was
and to please call again. But Fidg-
eon quashed Cheverria’s and all other
school staff’s communication with the
media, insisting all information go
through him.

The original tipster informed this
reporter of the memo instructing staff
not to speak to the media. She also
said another situation had developed:
“X’s” had been taped on walls where
hollow pockets had been identified.

Fidgeon said Sanders had to be
present for any school tour “to answer
questions” and Sanders “couldn’t just
drop everything.” On Friday, Fidgeon
said no tour would be possible be-
cause Sanders “was taking a personal

Told a story would run with or with-
out the school district’s response, Fid-
geon arranged a brief conference call
with Sanders late Friday afternoon,
also pulling in John Earman, director
of the physical plant, to answer ques-

Fellsmere had mold behind a white-
board, Sanders said, which was treat-

4 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


School mold problem still being identified, Sanders said. Searcy all said they were not aware of a cess between maintenance and capi-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 Sanders and Earman said a facili- mold problem at Fellsmere Elementary. tal projects expenses.

in part of one building since school ties person is at the school each day, At the Beachland meeting between He said he keeps asking how the
started. making it easy for school staff to find concerned parents and the board, school district had amassed a $100 mil-
him and report any problems. Parents Searcy complained about the district lion backlog of needed health and safety
Sanders said they initially discovered can report concerns, which should be allowing buildings to fall into the kind fixes, “but I don’t get any good answers.”
problems with moisture on the first emailed to various email addresses to of disrepair seen at Beachland before
floor of the new two-story classroom be found on the school district’s web- repairing or replacing them. Jimenez said, “We have $100 million
building about two months ago. Since site, Sanders said. They have received in work that needs to be done because
it was a warranty issue, the contrac- no such complaints, he said. “Where have we been? These people our capital outlay budget keeps get-
tor was called. The window seals were have been crying out like in the wil- ting cut.”
tightened and cracks were patched, but A Friday email seeking information derness,” he said.
still moisture was a problem, he said. about conditions at the school sent to She said the legislature is pressuring
That’s what led to further investigation the Fellsmere PTA president, Alex Al- Searcy said he feels “the capital im- school districts to give more to char-
of voids behind the stucco, which are varado, got no response. provements plan isn’t vetted enough,” ter schools, and unforeseen expenses,
and “the finance guy and staff put it to- such as the breakdown of Vero Beach
School Board members Claudia gether and can move projects around,” High School’s HVAC system, are further
Jimenez, Shawn Frost and Charles further obscuring the weighting pro- stressing the district’s limited funds. 

My Vero classroom, given Speights’ defiance,” past responses have fostered further ment complex, said Speights and his
Robinson wrote. “The safety of Ms. Brad- defiance on the part of this student and friend chased Glispy on foot and, after
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 shaw and the other students in the class- has brought us to where we are today.” Glispy fell to the ground, his pursuers
room would have been put in jeopardy.” “began to punch and kick Glispy” for
Attorney Nikki Robinson wrote to the And where is that? about 20 seconds until he was able to
Sheriff’s Office after she concluded a She also pointed out that Speights has, As of Monday, Speights, who has get up and run away.
review of the incident, which resulted for some time, been a disruptive force at been arrested four times since mid-De-
in the Dec. 29 arrest of the teen, Isaiah Sebastian River, which provided her with cember, was being held without bond “They picked the wrong kid,” Na-
Speights, who was charged with a pair of 34 pages of disciplinary reports detailing at the Indian River County Jail. He was thaniel said, “to try to get rid of me.”
misdemeanors. his bad behavior. At the time she wrote arrested once before the Nathaniel in-
the letter, nearly three months ago, he al- cident and twice since. Or so you would think.
Robinson, responding to a request by ready had been cited for four classroom According to the Sheriff’s Office, Somehow, though – and this is what
Speights’ mother to criminally charge incidents this school year. Speights was arrested Dec. 20 for “loi- has raised so many suspicions about
Nathaniel for his role in the classroom tering or prowling,” then was arrested the motives behind the district’s over-
clash, read the Sheriff’s Office reports Robinson wrote that Speights, who again Feb. 25 for violating the condi- the-top reaction to the Nov. 17 incident
– including witness statements – and was not injured in the altercation with tions of his probation stemming from – Schools Superintendent Mark Rendell
studied videos of the scuffle before de- Nathaniel but violently punched lockers the loitering/prowling case. embarked on an unnecessary and irre-
ciding there were no grounds to issue a and kicked a water fountain off the wall In between, there were the Dec. 29 sponsible rush to judgment and arrived
warrant for the teacher’s arrest. on his way to the principal’s office, has charges connected to the classroom at a far different conclusion.
been “belligerent and disrespectful” to tussle with Nathaniel – disruption of a In his Dec. 18 charging letter, which
Instead, Robinson’s letter praised Na- teachers and other students in the past. school function and criminal mischief was hand-delivered to Nathaniel, Ren-
thaniel for taking control of a potentially resulting in damage from $200 to $1,000 dell accused the 6-foot-4, 300-pound
dangerous situation, noting Speights She stated that Speights “provoked – and a Feb. 22 arrest on a warrant for teacher of escalating the incident by
was “being disruptive and disrespectful” the teacher’s response with his defi- misdemeanor battery after Speights taunting Speights, continuing to move
and that the classroom teacher, Cathy ance” and the “physical aspect of this and a juvenile allegedly beat up 18-year- toward the student in an aggressive
Bradshaw,“was not capable of physically incident began with the student.” old Quintravius Glispy on Feb. 12 at the manner, and physically abusing and
dealing” with the 6-foot-1 teenager who Taylor Pointe Apartments in Gifford. yelling at him.
refused to follow her directions. Robinson deemed the school’s efforts The incident report, which cited vid- Rendell, basing his decision at least
to address Speights’ behavior problems eo surveillance provided by the apart- partially on an incomplete video, also
“It would have been negligent on the through detention, parental outreach alleged that Nathaniel violated School
part of Joe Nathaniel to have left the and “self-reflection” to be ineffective,
writing, “Unfortunately, the school’s

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 5


Board policies requiring teachers to trol of your own words and actions, and student’s physical and mental health, Board chairman Dale Simchick and
protect students from harmful condi- you were responsible to de-escalate the caused unnecessary embarrassment to board member Claudia Jimenez at the
tions and prohibiting teachers from in- situation,” Rendell wrote. “Conversely, the student and disparaged the student.” School Board’s Jan. 12 meeting.
tentionally embarrassing students. you escalated the situation, both ver-
bally and physically. He then recommended that the dis- It didn’t matter that the Sheriff’s Of-
“As the teacher in this situation, you trict terminate Nathaniel’s employ- fice arrested only Speights and absolved
were responsible to be the one in con- “Your actions were harmful to the ment – a move supported by School


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6 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


My Vero olations of the code of conduct” to the Nathaniel’s career is driven by anything was removed from the popular website
OPP, school district spokesman Flynn other than the facts of the case and a once the district became aware of it.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 Fidgeon wrote in an email that includ- desire to protect students – then we
ed a link to the relevant Florida Statute. need to take a hard look at the people Fidgeon said Rendell and his staff
Nathaniel of any criminal wrongdoing, running the district. reviewed the Racine incident and con-
or that the teacher had worked for the I didn’t know that. Probably, you cluded that the principal was not guilty
district since 2003 and compiled an didn’t, either. I have no doubt Nathaniel, who has of any misconduct.
otherwise unblemished record. hired West Palm Beach attorney Mark
Know this, though: Rendell was fully Wilensky, will do exactly that. Searcy said he didn’t know “what’s fu-
It didn’t matter that the Sebastian aware of the district’s obligation to the eling the passion” behind the district’s
River community packed the School Department of Education when he au- Wilensky already has challenged drive to dump Nathaniel, nor could he
Board chamber for that Jan. 12 meet- thored his charging letter. Rendell’s charging letter and the legiti- explain why Rendell immediately opt-
ing, where a parade of students, par- macy of the district’s investigation, al- ed for termination – not suspension –
ents and colleagues filled the room And based on the remarks made at leging at the Jan. 12 board meeting that for what would be a first-time offense.
with an often-emotional outpouring of the Jan. 12 meeting by Simchick and a decision to terminate his client was
support for Nathaniel. Jimenez, I’m guessing he wasn’t alone. made “long before” Nathaniel was of- At the Jan. 12 meeting, however,
Both board members blamed Nathan- fered an opportunity to respond to the Searcy successfully pressed Rendell
Rendell was determined to impose iel for the incident, and demanded he accusations. into admitting “there are various lev-
the professional equivalent of the death be held accountable for his actions. els of progressive discipline” and that
penalty. Wilensky also told the board that wit- School Board rules and the district’s
But which actions? nesses employed by the district were contract with its teachers don’t man-
And despite the board’s cowardly ac- “Joe has been outspoken about differ- “warned not to speak to us” and told “their date termination for the violations al-
tions in the face of a potentially hostile ent things in the past, and they see him jobs would be in jeopardy if they did.” legedly committed by Nathaniel.
crowd on Jan. 12 – it voted 4-1 to punt as a threat,” a source close to Nathaniel
the case to the state’s Division of Ad- said, speaking on the condition of ano- The only board member to oppose “Thing is, I’m not sure the teacher did
ministrative Hearings in Tallahassee, nymity. “If they can hurt him and get Rendell’s recommendation that Na- anything wrong,” Searcy said last week-
then voted 3-2 to suspend the teacher him out of education, which is some- thaniel be fired was Charles Searcy, end. “I wasn’t aware of that letter from
with pay until his fate is determined – thing he loves, they’ll use this as an ex- who questioned why the superin- Nikki Robinson, but she’s one of the bet-
Rendell hasn’t backed off. ample to keep other teachers in line.” tendent didn’t seek the same remedy ter attorneys in town and I have a lot of
Nathaniel, whose state hearing is when, earlier this school year, Sebas- respect for her. For me, anyway, that let-
In fact, Rendell forwarded his charg- scheduled for June 27 at the Indian Riv- tian River principal Todd Racine broke ter sheds a different light on the subject.
ing letter to the state Department of er County Courthouse, didn’t want to up an on-campus fight by chasing
Education’s Office of Professional Prac- comment about the district’s motiva- down, tackling and using a headlock to “I can promise you this,” he added.
tices, which has the power to suspend tion for its ridiculously harsh response restrain one of the students. “It’s something I’m going to bring up at
or permanently revoke Nathaniel’s to the incident, but he said he believes our next meeting, because it appears
teaching certification. it goes beyond the events of that day. That incident, too, was caught on video that what we’re on the verge of doing is
If that’s true – if this attempt to ruin and posted on YouTube. Unlike the Na- wrong.”
“The district is obligated to report vi- thaniel video, however, the Racine video
It is wrong. 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 7


Big Bucks Battle reporting cycle ending Feb. 29. brightest business minds in the country materials, promising to make Florida’s
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Sykes’ rise into public life began right here in our Treasure Coast commu- government more efficient. “Most im-
nity. I look forward to working with them portantly, we need to safeguard our eco-
scraps of cash from seasonal residents with his work to rally local residents to form the bedrock of the legislation nomic freedoms and get government
before they head back north. Key en- on Indian River Lagoon issues and to that we will promote in Tallahassee.” out of the way of small businesses.”
dorsements should also begin rolling oppose the Oslo River Boat Ramp, and
in soon to give one of the two candi- that environmental bent is reflected in Grall, 38, who serves as managing This is Grall’s second time up to bat.
dates an edge among the still unde- Sykes’ ability to reach across the po- partner at the family law firm her father, She ran for a House seat in 2010 when
cided Republican voters and donors. litical divide and attract what might Bernie Grall, founded in 1979, enjoys a western Indian River County shared a
be seen as a more liberal base of sup- base of support that centers on the legal seat with parts of Brevard County, and
First-time candidate and Riomar port than the typical GOP candidate community, Vero’s professional class, lost to Cocoa paving contractor Tom
resident Sykes, 30, is winning the mon- – a factor that could work in his favor agricultural interests and the core of the Goodson by less than 300 votes. Grall
ey race so far, with more than $175,000 should no Democrats or non-party af- Republican party establishment. won 65 percent of Indian River Coun-
raised, including loans to himself and filiated candidates step up and the Au- ty’s vote in that election.
in-kind donations – nearly all of that gust primary remain open. Some well-known Vero family names
local except for a couple of politi- on her donor list include Brackett, Glading’s endorsements come most-
cal action committees and $8,000 in Though possibly better known for Sexton, Block, McCrystal, Hill, Zorc, ly from local Protestant clergy mem-
$1,000 chunks from various Disney his work on lagoon issues or even his Schact, Rennick, Sullivan and Vocelle. bers, and his platform runs heavily
corporations. artwork, Sykes’ day job is as a Realtor Grall also has picked up key endorse- toward Conservative Christian rheto-
at Alex MacWilliam Inc., where he is ments from people like Indian River ric and values. His campaign motto is
Grall, however, is not far behind teamed up with his mother, longtime County Tax Collector Carole Jean Jor- “Conservative to the Core.”
in the fund-raising derby, nearly Vero Beach resident Carolyn Lange. dan, state Sen. Joe Negron and Indian
$156,000, including loans and in-kind River County Clerk of Court Jeff Smith. Glading lists among his professional
donations. Nearly half of Grall’s sup- Among the easily recognized sur- accomplishments two unsuccessful
port comes from the legal and medi- names on Sykes’ donor list from the Grall’s biggest supporter is Vero bids for Congress in 2008 and 2010
cal communities, including the nearly business community are Curtis, Ma- resident Robert Stork, an entrepre- while living in New Jersey. Barring a
$20,000 she either loaned herself or rine, MacWilliam, Busch, Corr, Tripson, neur and backer of Gov. Rick Scott, miracle, Glading would not seem to
donated in in-kind goods and cam- Croom, Kahle, Corrigan, Norris, Sexton, who through various companies and have a campaign war chest sufficient
paign materials. Dyer, Linus, Collins, Tozzollo and Hi- names has given her $5,000. Grall’s to compete with Sykes and Grall.
assen. Many of these people make up platform offers up lots of standard
Rounding out the Republican field what Sykes calls his “Business Coali- conservative fare decrying big govern- By comparison, Mayfield in 2010 as
is ordained minister and author tion,” upon which he’s built his support. ment and over-regulation. an incumbent raised $229,000. In 2012
Dale Glading, who had raised nearly when she was unopposed, she raised
$32,000 – mostly from small donations “Business leaders, not politicians, “Our state is leading the nation’s finan- $146,000, and in 2014, with no Repub-
of $50 or less – at the close of the last know how to fix our economy,” said Sykes cial recovery. By removing the barriers to lican challenger, she raised $226,000.
in campaign materials. “Our campaign job creation, we will continue to grow Much of those amounts came from
is blessed to have some of the best and the economy,” Grall says in campaign Tallahassee lobbyists. 

8 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Shores tries new approach cause once the franchise agreement point is currently in Vero’s territory, Vero Beach’s electric utility.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 expires, Vero will no longer have per- creating a situation where 75 percent The PSC last week cautioned May and
mission to operate inside the Town. of the Town’s residents are paying rates
cash offer to purchase the portion of about 30 percent higher than their Mayor Brian Barefoot about continuing
the Shores system it does not already “Modification of the Order is also con- neighbors for the same electricity. to use PSC staff time and resources to
own from the city. sistent with the public interest because fight the Town’s battle with Vero Beach.
it will allow the entire Town to be served Vero Beach City Manager Jim That apparently did not dissuade the
But whatever the PSC decides to do, by a single electric utility whose rates O’Connor said he expects the city’s Town from following up within days
it’s sure to be appealed to the Florida Su- are professionally and neutrally regu- legal team to counter the complaint. with this new complaint, re-framing
preme Court, either byVero or the Shores. lated by the Commission rather than “Not sure what happens next oth- the Town’s long-standing argument that
place the Town and its residents at the er than the City will file a response Vero cannot legally operate its utility
The last time the PSC fully reviewed mercy of the City’s unregulated utility which has not been written as of now,” within the borders of a sovereign mu-
Vero’s service boundaries was more with which they have no recourse since O’Connor said Monday. nicipality like the Shores without the
than 28 years ago, according to the they cannot vote in City elections,” May Town’s formal written consent.
54-page petition filed last Friday. The stated in the complaint. The issue landed in the PSC’s lap af-
Shores’ lead utility attorney wrote in ter PSC legal counsel told Judge Cyn- The Shores notified Vero by certified
the complaint that modification of Everything north of Old Winter thia Cox that the Circuit Court did not letter in July 2014 that it did not intend
the city’s territory is now required, be- Beach Road in the Town is served by have jurisdiction to rule on matters to renew the city’s franchise agreement
FPL, where everything south of that related to Vero’s service territory. Cox with the Town for electric service.
dismissed that count in a Shores law-
suit against Vero, referring the Shores The PSC on Monday sent the Shores
up to the five-person regulatory body a boilerplate acknowledgement letter
in Tallahassee for relief. in response to the complaint filed on
Friday. The letter mentions that me-
When the Shores posed its constitu- diation may be available to resolve the
tional questions to the PSC last week in dispute. May said he hopes to have
a public hearing, the PSC failed to di- part of the open, public proceedings
rectly answer the Shores’ questions, but hosted locally to give as many Vero
instead offered suggestions on what the electric customers as possible the
Town might do to get resolution. chance to address the PSC members.

One of the options listed was to open “We’ve requested that the PSC con-
up a territorial dispute. Knowing that duct a service hearing in the Shores to
the Town would not have standing to hear directly from the residents and
file a complaint as the Town, since the other electric consumers in the Shores
Town is not a utility, the decision was who are directly affected by the City’s
made to file instead on the basis that implementation of, and actions un-
the Town Hall and other town facilities der, the territorial agreement,” May
are a bona fide customer of the City of said Monday. 

Richard Harrison Gwinn

Richard Harrison Gwinn, 77, of Philadelphia and
Vero Beach, died Saturday, February 27 at the Vero
Beach VNA Hospice House. He was loving husband
to Brita Patten Gwinn, devoted father to Christian,
Ryder, Elizabeth and David and joyous grandfather
to Louis, Claudia, Madison, Cate, Ryder, Jr., Rowyn
and Piper.

Richard, or “Dick,” Gwinn was born on July 2,
1938 to David Marshall Gwinn and Elizabeth
Bechtold Gwinn in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in Gladwyne, Pa. with siblings
John Gwinn, Nancy Huggins and Martha Gwinn. A 1956 graduate of the St. Georges
School, then entered Yale University in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps,
graduating in 1960. He served aboard the USS Douglass H. Fox and USS Leahy from
1960-1963 and later attended the Wharton School. He joined Pennbrook Foods in
1964, became CEO in 1972, acquiring Abbott’s Dairies in 1981. He served on the
Board of the Hahnemann Hospital, ECRI Institute and worked with the Citizens
Democracy Corps and USAID in Kenya, the former Soviet Republics, Young
Presidents’ Organization, World Presidents’ Organization.
Dick had old-fashioned good manners, saw people as equals and had an irreverent
sense of fun. He was a member at Gulph Mills Golf Club, Pine Valley Golf Club
and Riomar Country Club. He loved to do “The Twist” and be-bopped with his
whole being. When he sailed, he experienced a form of grace. Captaining his boat
Shadowfax, he treasured the solitude as well as the camaraderie of being at sea.
He reveled in the moment of fishing with his children or long bike rides with his
Perhaps the greatest challenge Richard faced yielded the richest reward. The birth
of his daughter Elizabeth with Cystic Fibrosis. He worked tirelessly as a National
Trustee of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to raise resources for a cure and provide
From his St. Georges high yearbook, of the 17-year-old Richard Gwinn, “Dick will
always be remembered as the one to whom anybody could talk to in confidence; he
left us with the feeling that if everyone were as civil and tactful, there would be no
more strife”.
He was a good man.
Please consider the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Vero Beach VNA Hospice
House. Anyone wanting to share memories, photos or experiences please join us on
Facebook/Remembering Richard Gwinn.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 9


Shores to vote Tuesday on changing elections to fall

BY LISA ZAHNER municipal race, but on the final read- term. Haverland will be term-limited the issue on the ballot anyway.
ing of the ordinance in December, he in 2018. The Town of Orchid changed its
Staff Writer changed his vote, with the caveat that
town staff should “widely publicize” Fellsmere changed its election date election date to November in 1996.
Over the years, every city and town the proposed change. to November in 2007, when, accord- Non-partisan voters who are not
in Indian River County has shifted its ing to City Clerk Debbie Krages, the
council elections from March to No- Weick is term-limited, as council- State of Florida offered a window for participating in either of the presiden-
vember – except Indian River Shores. members can only serve two consecu- municipalities to make the change tial preference primaries can still vote
Next Tuesday, Shores voters will de- tive four-year terms, so at least one without having to put a referendum in the Shores referendum, as they will
cide whether they want to change the seat in November would be open if the on the ballot. receive a ballot with only the ballot
town’s date as well when they vote in change is approved by voters. question on it.
the presidential primary election. The City of Vero Beach also
Barefoot and Councilmember Tom switched at the same time, as did the Sample ballots are posted on the In-
The referendum addresses seven Slater could run for another four-year City of Sebastian, but Sebastian put dian River Shores town website www.
different items; all but two are house- 
keeping items intended to clean up or
clarify charter language to match state
law or reflect current policy.

The question of changing elec-
tion dates would push the scheduled
March 2017 Shores election up to this
November, also changing Town Coun-
cil terms in the charter.

Currently, Shores Town Council
members serve four-year terms that
expire in March of odd-numbered
years, meaning that Shores residents
usually are voting that day only for

Proponents of this schedule say it
allows Town residents to focus on the
municipal election instead of hav-
ing the Town Council race as just one
more item on a very long November

But Councilman Dick Haverland
has argued it would be better to have
Town elections in November of even-
numbered years, when voter turnout
is greater for state and federal elec-

The move could also save the Town
roughly $5,000 every other year. But
the extra cost is only incurred if the
Shores must actually hold an election,
which often is not the case. Except for
the past few election cycles, the Town
frequently has had the same number
candidates as seats and no election
has been needed.

The change would shorten the terms
of all the incumbents by four months.

“Three seats on the council are set
to expire in March 2017, and two in
March 2019,” Town Clerk Laura Al-
drich told local residents in a memo
about the referendum.

If the referendum passes, the terms
will expire in November 2016 and No-
vember 2018 instead.

The issue has divided the Town
Council. Councilmember Jerry Weick
opposed the change in three separate
votes last fall, saying he didn’t want the
Town Council race “at the end of a long

Councilmember Brian Barefoot ini-
tially opposed the change, saying he’d
rather town residents focus just on the

10 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Grand Harbor months and a number of homes are al- summer. In January, he selected Dale So- square feet. The courtyard model’s
ready under construction. rensen Real Estate as the exclusive listing views of pool and fountain upon entry
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 broker for all the new properties. are especially eye-popping.
Still in the planning and permitting
more than 200 new homes – condomini- phase is a fifth development called “Sorensen is the big dog,” Cleary Cleary says he will be building inven-
ums, courtyard homes, single-family Spoonbill, a 413-acre behemoth that said. “If you look at the way they go tory homes in all the communities, and
homes and luxury waterfront properties, will encompass another four villages about their business with the brand- there are furnished models and move-
with prices ranging from about $400,000 totaling 800 homes. ing and marketing and number of in ready homes in The Falls II, priced
to $2 million – in four new villages. sales, we think it is a good partnership from $472,000. Reservations are being
The bulk of the new building will be for us. Also, there is a wealth of experi- taken for the 37 Falls III homesites,
Christopher Cleary, developer’s at or near the northern end of Indian ence there with Dale Sr. He came out of which will complete the Falls enclave.
agent and construction manager for River Boulevard with the Spoonbill the history of John’s Island and for-sale
GH Vero Beach Development, LLC, development extending all the way to housing in that era, so he is aware of The Reserve – located north of 53rd
says all four communities will be built 63rd Street. But Laguna Village – 23 what this takes.” Street along an extension of Indian
simultaneously. He expects infrastruc- luxury homes on the river – will be River Boulevard – will consist of single-
ture – roads, sewers, water lines and built within the confines of the existing Sorensen’ onsite sales manager Stacey family estate homes, with four mod-
electric lines – to be complete in three Grand Harbor community. Morabito brings tremendous real estate els offered. Furnished models will be
of the communities within the next few experience to the project. Before selling complete by the end of the year and
Cleary says the decision to move her business and moving to Vero, she Morabito is taking reservations from
ahead with the expansion was made last owned a brokerage in Fort Lauderdale interested buyers.
with 200 agents, according to Sorensen
managing partner Dale Sorensen Jr. She With several reservations already
says the new villages are off to a strong booked, Osprey Village will be a 3-story,
start, with numerous homes reserved 56-condo project with garages below, lo-
since the first of the year. cated on a small lake east of Indian River
Boulevard. Construction is expected to
The Falls II – a new phase of the ex- get underway by the end of the year.
isting, partially-built Falls community
– lies between Indian River Boulevard Morabito says Laguna Village will be
and U.S. 1, across from the main en- “the most exciting” enclave in Grand
trance to Grand Harbor. Morabito says Harbor, with 23 riverfront 2- and 3-sto-
five of the 28 homesites are already ry homes with elevators, double garag-
reserved and she expects the develop- es, rooftop decks and top-of-the-line
ment to sell out by the end of the year. customization. These homes start at
Three design plans are offered: 2- and $1.6 million, reservations are open and
3-bedroom courtyard, and 2-bedroom Laguna Village is already 25 percent
plus den, ranging from 2,900 to 3,600 sold out. Construction of furnished
model homes will get underway in

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 11


April and be complete by the end of 120-foot boat, two 18-hole champion- and Realtor, with more than 28 years ceeded the previous three years com-
the year. ship golf courses, a big golf and social in luxury sales, I am confident we have bined in The Falls alone. While these
club house, dining venues, 10 Har-Tru the best new projects in production, first two months have been spent or-
A golf course and driving range rede- tennis courts, a tennis pro shop and an the best construction management ganizing our marketing efforts, our
sign is part of the project, intended to oceanfront beach club on the island team and a premiere location that will expectations continue to be extremely
better serve players who, with increas- with a resort-style pool and indoor and please the most discriminating buyer,” high as we begin to roll out our com-
ingly high-tech equipment, are hitting outdoor dining. Other perks include says Morabito. “This, coupled with the prehensive marketing plans for all of
farther. The redesign will be done by two driving ranges, a concierge, a fitness Grand Harbor lifestyle is a sure winner.” the projects.”
internationally renowned golf course center with on-site trainers, community
designer Ron Garl. pools and clubhouses in many neighbor- “We are so excited to be exclusively Cleary says, “We believe Vero has re-
hoods and such abundant birdlife that marketing the new projects at Grand turned to some normalcy, therefore, we
Grand Harbor opened in 1988. It the master-planned development has Harbor,” says Dale Sorensen Jr. “The have elected to build. DRSE has a world
was developed by Richard Schaub, been designated an Audubon Sanctuary. partnership between DSRE and Grand of experience and has been selected to
who also developed Baytree and The Harbor Development has gotten off to spearhead the resurgence and comple-
Shores. At Grand Harbor, Schaub “As a Grand Harbor member, resident a quick start with sales that have ex- tion of Grand Harbor.” 
Communities built both golf courses
and the neighborhoods of Harmony Diesel plant deal almost killed at last minute
Island, Wood Duck Island and St. Da-
vid’s, and parts of Newport Island be- BY MICHELLE GENZ Judging by the faces of city officials, suit over a lease on the plant. “We’ve
fore the project went into receivership. Staff Writer it was like tugging at a single brick in got more attorneys involved in that
the 90-year-old plant’s towering walls than anything else,” City Manager Jim
Two other developers came and went The Vero Beach City Council has when at last week’s City Council meet- O’Connor pointed out.
before current owner Bayswater Devel- voted unanimously to begin negotia- ing an increasingly emotional Ross
opment LLC took over and brought sta- tions with developer Michael Rechter Power pleaded with the council to de- Power’s idea had been ranked last
bility to the community in 2004. on the sale of the historic diesel plant lay its decision. Then, suddenly, he of- by a city-appointed review committee,
downtown, but not before a last-min- fered to withdraw his bid. largely because it required financing.
Bayswater is the real estate and con- ute pull-out by a competitor threat- That is potentially a problem in the
struction arm of Icahn Enterprises, LP, ened to topple the whole carefully Litigation over the bid process, or face of newly re-surfaced environ-
which is controlled by billionaire in- structured, state-regulated bidding RFP (request for proposals), was the mental contamination.
vestor Carl Icahn. He is credited with process. last thing they needed, since the city
making continuous improvements in is already deep into a pernicious law- Rechter’s proposal ranked first. He
Grand Harbor, which is widely consid-
ered the premier mainland commu- CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
nity in Vero Beach.

Amenities – which will be shared by
residents in the new villages – include
a picturesque, deep-water marina with
144 boat slips that can handle up to a

12 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Diesel plant deal ing. “The city sent out an email the Rechter had offered two sums: beers after legendary figures, is “like a
night before, but it went to spam,” he $500,000 to do the clean-up himself; theme park. That belongs in Orlando,
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 says. $650,000 to let the city do the clean- not as the cornerstone of the new bur-
up. The city has estimated that cost at geoning art village.”
says his $2.5 million commercial craft D’Amico offered $660,000 – the high $30,000, but pending test results could
brewery is fully funded, and will in- bid – to turn the plant into Treasure change that. What charged the meeting most
clude a restaurant and a biergarten. Coast Distilleries. Like Rechter, he’d was Power’s strong and vocal backing
made a cash offer. Unlike Rechter, he Either way, Rechter’s stature as a de- of the Cultural Council, whose persis-
In a last-ditch effort to stay in the was not willing to take on the remain- veloper and the professionalism of his tent lobbying included going before
running, Power said he would merge ing environmental cleanup of the plant presentation seemed to fit the city’s the review committee as well as the
his art center idea with the small- which only recently resurfaced, though criteria of both deep pockets and sus- City Council last week. Its leaders had
batch spirits distillery proposed by the he offered to put $150,000 of that sum tainability. seen their own arts center proposal
second-ranked bidder, Guy D’Amico. in escrow to pay for the cleanup, letting falter for financial reasons, long before
the city have whatever remained. “It’s a mistake,” pleaded Power. the bidding process began. They say
D’Amico’s was a crucial voice that “This is a huge mistake, taking that Power’s proposal of private ownership,
was missing at the meeting; he was Asked by the committee what would historical landmark and turning it into with its combination of a for-profit
at his job in Fort Lauderdale, having happen if the cleanup ran higher a glorified sports bar.” gallery and film location, fit in well
learned only that morning that bid- than $150,000, D’Amico told officials, with the group’s proposed arts village
ders would be speaking at the meet- “Then we’d have to talk.” He said Rechter’s American Icon in the area.
Brewery, with its theme of naming
Now their dual strategy was to at
least delay the city’s vote.

“You’re hard-pressed to delay on
this RFP,” warned Turner.

“This is a hard one,” said Council-
member Randy Old. “Your heart goes
one way and your pencil goes the other

Finally, Councilmember Harry Howle
tried to put an end to the heated back-
and-forth pleadings by Rechter and
Power, and made a motion to begin ne-
gotiations with Rechter. Councilmem-
ber Pilar Turner seconded the motion.

Then before a vote could be taken,
Mayor Jay Kramer started to vacillate.
“There’s a part of me that wants to give
it to Treasure Coast with the stipula-
tion that for a week or two, you get
your finances in order.”

Kramer turned to Power.
“My impression is you don’t have
your finances in order.”
“Treasure Coast does, and I would
work through them,” Power replied.
“Then you’re manipulating the bid-
ding process,” Turner cautioned again.
Rechter returned to the lectern.
The turn of events left him disap-
pointed, and feeling things had got-
ten personal. “I thought what Guy
proposed was a serious proposal. But
at this point in time, for Ross Power
to team up with a distillery, when he
made all these negative comments
about a sports bar?”
That apparently got to Kramer. He
reached across the dais toward Rechter.
“I definitely prefer your proposal
over theirs, believe me, I do.”
The voice vote, in the end, was
unanimous. Now Kramer reached out
to Power.
“My apologies, but we have to
abide by the RFP. Otherwise our cred-
ibility comes into question.”

“As cantankerous as things got,
I could see a lawsuit coming,” said
Kramer, days after the meeting. “I
thought we better stick to the RFP.”

And there is still a chance negotia-
tions with Rechter may fall through.
In that case, D’Amico says he’s still in-
terested. 

14 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Making the world a better place through education

Barclay and Dennis Kass, Mary Silva, Jim Ziolkowski and Don Mann. Joanne and Bob Quaile. PHOTOS: LEAH DUBOIS

BY MARY SCHENKEL Danna Swarovski, Susan and Jeff Zimmer and Helmut Swarovski. held at the Windsor Beach Club.
Staff Writer “We’ve known Jim Ziolkowski at

Jim Ziolkowski, founder, president least 15 years through our involve-
and CEO of buildOn, a nonprofit orga- ment with the organization he en-
nization working to break the cycles visioned and founded. My husband
of poverty, illiteracy and low expecta- was on the board of buildOn. When
tions through service and education, we were asked to chair this, my hus-
was the guest speaker at last Wednes- band Dennis immediately thought of
day evening’s Love of Literacy Author Jim. Everything he’s doing is about
Series to benefit Literacy Services of improving literacy,” said Barclay Kass.
Indian River County. “He builds schools in third world
countries with students from America
Before his lecture, roughly 100 living in underserved areas such as
guests enjoyed cocktails and hors the south Bronx. We’re showing the
d’oeuvres and perused an array of si- kids here who think they have nothing
lent auction items at the elegant affair,

16 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 come a movement. Kids are united
behind service; they’re stepping up,”
that they have everything.” said Ziolkowski, noting that the stu-
“Jim’s philosophy is that each one of dents have contributed 1.7 million
hours of service to date. “Ninety-three
us is empowered to change the world,” percent of kids that get involved grad-
said Dennis Kass before introducing uate high school and go to college; it’s
Ziolkowski, who spoke about the re- a proven link.”
markable organization he founded in
1991 to address illiteracy, both in im- Similar to buildOn, Literacy Ser-
poverished areas of the United States vices is working to eradicate illiteracy
as well as in some of the world’s poor- on our doorstep, said Dennis Kass.
est countries. Literacy Services provides free, con-
fidential, one-to-one tutoring to any-
In this country, buildOn runs pro- one 16 or older and, when requested,
grams in 50 high schools in under- group or family literacy tutoring. De-
resourced urban areas of Boston, spite little support for adult literacy
Chicago, Detroit, New York, the Bay and no government funding, stud-
Area and southern Connecticut, mo- ies stress that in order to improve a
bilizing students there to improve child’s academic success, the literacy
their communities through intensive skills of the parent or caregiver must
service. also be developed.

Still other students have helped Literacy Services executive direc-
buildOn construct close to 900 schools tor Mary Silva said that their students
in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali, Malawi, and teachers have the same tenacious
Nepal, Nicaragua and Senegal. attitude as Ziolkowski, quoting from
his book, "Walk in Their Shoes": “I will
“We’re taking urban youth out of never give up; I will never give up; I
the most economically depressed ar- will never give up.”
eas of the United States, and taking
them to impoverished nations to help Guests also heard from model Lit-
provide education by building schools eracy Services student Flor DeLeon.
within the villages,” said Ziolkowski. After diligently working with her tutor
He stressed that they require the en- Julia Whelan, DeLeon said she now
tire village be invested in the effort reads for fun and can help her daugh-
and must all agree that half the stu- ter with her school work. 
dents will be girls.

“BuildOn is not a charity; it has be-


Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 17




1. Sandy Mann, Fran Mellett and Sheryl
Dowd. 2. Don Mayerson, Peter Walker,
Evelyn Mayerson and Joan Mayerson.
3. Julia Whelan, Flor DeLeon, Areli
Damaris. 4. Linda Beardslee, Nat Jackson,
Carol Fennell and Mary Graves. 5. Sheila
McDonough and Joan Cook. 6. Hildegard
Borgers with George and Marlen Higgs.
7. David Lyons, George Higgs, Joan
Maddy and Lori Lyons. 8. Frank Brosens,
Stacey Lewis, Sheryl Dowd and Barbara
Greene. 9. Carol McCoy and Tena Boehm.

18 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Angel donors help children achieve their full potential

BY MARY SCHENKEL the all-American themed event before
Staff Writer passing them through a Mock Club
where other bright-eyed youngsters
The Corporate Air Hangar took on described the many engaging after-
a decidedly patriotic flair at the 15th school programs.
annual Angels Help Our Kids Take
Flight fundraising dinner last Tuesday “I just think people are really seeing
to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the value of the Boys and Girls Club,”
Indian River County. Polite members said Bill Munn, BGC board co-chair-
of the Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fells- man with Sherm Hotchkiss, of the
mere clubs greeted the 440 guests at record-breaking crowd. “They can see
how effectively it runs and that their

Raliyah Dawson and Ed Mellett. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE

money is well spent. We serve 1,500 Year. Dawson is president of the BGC
kids a year, and when we open up the Keystone Club, president of the VBHS
new addition it will be 125 more.” HOSA (Health Occupational Students
of America) club and an honor student
In keeping with the Americana mo- with a 4.3 GPA.
tif, the hangar was festooned with
dramatic red, white and blue balloon “The club staff always goes above
centerpieces. After the cocktail hour, and beyond in meeting the needs of the
children sang a rousing rendition of kids who attend the club,” said Daw-
"Yankee Doodle Dandy" before their son, adding that staff often provide the
signature song, "I Believe in Angels." paternal support missing in her life.
Also befitting the theme, guests dined “Staff makes it their mission to show
on juicy hamburgers and shoestring just how much they truly care about
fries, prepared by Elizabeth Kennedy our well-being. They always say it takes
Catering, with mini cupcakes by Frost- a village to raise a child, and Boys and
ing for dessert. Girls Club has been my village. I could
never repay them for all they’ve done,
“The Angels Dinner is the most im- but I owe it to them to never give up
portant fundraiser we have for the when things get hard and to never stop
Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Hotchkiss. believing in my dreams.”
“All scholarship money raised makes
it possible for hundreds of kids in our Introducing Windsor resident Ed
community to spend their summer in Mellett, former president of Coca
a safe and educational environment.” Cola, North America and European
divisions and this year’s Angel of the
Generous funding from last year’s Year, the emcee trio led a unique toast
dinner provided scholarships to well – with guests simultaneously pop-
more than half the 600 children who ping the tabs on mini cans of Coke. A
attended the 12-hour-a-day, 10-week board member from 2001-2015, Mellett
summer camp. chaired the $6 million Capital Cam-
paign to fund the Vero Beach Club and
“You are the angels; the kids are the currently serves on the BGC Founda-
stars,” added Hotchkiss, before turn- tion board.
ing the microphone over to dapper
bow-tied emcees Davion, Jaquan and “Without the Boys and Girls Club,
David. these kids would have no chance,” said
Mellett. “I have to put on my shades be-
Raliya Dawson, a two-year mem- cause the future looks so damn bright
ber of the Vero Beach Club and a se- for this organization.” 
nior at Vero Beach High School, was
recognized as the 2016 Youth of the

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 19






1. Fran Mellett, Nancy Zeuthen and Jean
Shropshire. 2. Elizabeth Thomason with
John and Lee Moore. 3. Georgia and
George Davala with Wheatie and Bob Gibb.
4. Michelle Rosco with Rodger and Diana
Pridgeon. 5. Members of the Fellsmere
BGC baseball team, undefeated last year.
6. Jazmine and Kailani creatively paint
rocks for attendees.

20 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™



10 11 12

14 15

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 21


16 17




7. Lynn Wiksten and Trudie Rainone. 8. Susan
McConnell, Mary Jane Somers and Sally Dussing.
9. Judy and Bill Munn with Ileana, Natalia and
Alaysia. 10. Gerry and John York with Jim Johnson.
11. Dana Boykin and Justin Harrison. 12. Cathy
Padgett with Dale and Matilde Sorensen. 13. Roger
Lynch, Destiny, Camille and Rasheedah, Sherm
Hotchkiss, Nancy Lynch and Sandy Johnson.
14. Diana, Kiara, and Lizbeth. 15. Event
emcees Davion, David and Jaquan from
the Vero Beach BGC. 16. Frank and Carol
DiFazio with Evelyn and Don Mayerson.
17. Lindy Thomas, Gail O’Leary, Glenda Floyd
and Fran Mellett. 18. Rachel and Trent Leyda,
Janie Binnion, Father Chris and Kathy Rodriguez.
19. Ray and Jean Oglethorpe with Babs and Tony
Tremaine. 20. Charles and Ellen McGovern with
Joe Pappalardo

22 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Vero’s Ice Age fundraising gala draws enthusiastic crowd

BY CHRISTINA TASCON they dined on filet mignon followed Patty Rennick, Helen Post, and Connie Pitcher. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE
by a surprise dessert by Executive
Staff Writer Chef Joe Faria - a sumptuous mousse
cake atop an illuminated ice block.
Scientists, volunteers, supporters
and field technicians packed Quail Lead archeologist James Adovasio
Valley River Club last Monday eve- and site archeologist Andy Hemmings
ning for “We're Solving the Mystery,” along with 13 field technicians from
a gala fundraising dinner to benefit seven colleges were on hand to an-
the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee swer questions about their progress,
(OVIASC). The event was co-chaired which has been documented and
by Patty Rennick and Connie Pitcher, photographed in meticulous detail.
with Helen Post, who has been instru-
mental in leading philanthropic en- Adovasio said having the students
deavors for the organization, chosen interact with patrons and supporters
as honorary chairwoman. was an important aspect of their over-
all education. Each is working toward
“My husband was tremendously in- master’s degrees in archeological sci-
terested in archeology,” said Post, re- ences, and will one day have to inter-
ferring to the late Richard Post. “We act with donors on future projects.
had a farm that had lots of Indian rel-
ics on it in New Jersey on the Delaware “The actual tedium of archeology
River and he used to have many con- is such that you savor moments like
versations about it. Because it was so this,” said Adovasio. “Not only are
dear to him, it was dear to me.” they rarely exposed to something like
this, but adjusting to the social cir-
Guests enjoyed a beautiful sun- cumstances is part of their education-
set over the Indian River lagoon be- al process. If we cannot translate what
fore entering the dining room, where we do to the public, whose tax money
beautiful tables had been designed we are spending, we should not be do-
by William Bainbridge Steele. After a ing it.”
short video about the noteworthy dig,
“I think this is a very fascinating

Sarah Majors, Mary Lewallen, Jenny Wolfgram, Jess Higley.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 23


site, mostly because of the communi- many times as you want, in archaeol- joyed the change of atmosphere and is meticulously documented and we
ty involvement,” said field tech Sarah ogy you have one chance to run an ex- the chance to dress up. know where it comes from.”
Majors. “That is unusual and it’s a re- periment,” explained lead field tech-
ally special aspect.” nician John Duggan, who has been “If you look at our hands there are Hemming said that actual excava-
with the dig for the past two years. still calluses and dirt on our fingers,” tions would be the last part of the puz-
“Archaeology is a destructive sci- joked Rosencrance. “It takes a few zle, perhaps 15 to 20 years from now.
ence so unlike other hard sciences, He and fellow techs Ryan Gerstner days to wash off that dirt … it is Pleis- Everything will first be scanned long
where you can run the experiments as and Richie Rosencrance said they en- tocene dirt. We call this clean dirt. It

24 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™





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Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 25




1. Ryan Gerstner, John Duggan and

Richie Rosencrance. 2. Rody Johnson,

Nancy Inman, Patty and Jack Hamerski.

3. Kevin Given, with Karen and Bill

Penney. 4. Jody Old, Catherine Walker

and Cynthia Casner. 5. Todd Fennell

with daughter, Kaley, Susan and Bobby

Pratt, Peggy Lyon and John McCoy. 6.

Pete Justi, Gale Gillespie, Helen Justi

and Bruce GIllespie. 7. Anna and Bill

Brady with Nat Jackson. 8. Sue and

7 Kit Barrow.


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 too reiterated that the amount of com- the last two years, and about 800 who sponsorship and the partnership with
munity involvement is unprecedented. have come to volunteer – some every not just the Old Vero Ice Age site com-
before the site is physically excavated. day for eight or nine hours – that com- mittee but also the broader communi-
“We will probably see things exact- “People in general are interested in munity support is unparalleled. The ty is fundamentally unlike any site we
archeology, but in this case the thou- level of hands-on involvement, the have ever worked on.” 
ly in their place before one object has sands who have come out to the site in
been dug for,” predicted Hemming. He

26 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


International Women’s Day marked at walking event

BY MARY SCHENKEL Robin Dapp, chapter president, ex-
Staff Writer plaining that the organization works
to educate, empower and support
Members and supporters of the women globally, especially those un-
East Florida Chapter of the U.S. Na- able to speak up for themselves about
tional Committee for UN Women their needs and their rights. “We lift
met Saturday afternoon at Riverside each other and support each other.”
Park for their annual Walk With Me
event in observance of International “We rely on the chapters to support
Women's Day, officially celebrated the cause,” said Janke. “UN Women
around the world on March 8 to raise is the only organization that focuses
awareness of gender equality and solely on uplifting women, educating
women’s rights issues. women and stopping the violence.
For the first time, the United Nations
“By walking, talking and work- has made women one of their sus-
ing together, we can strengthen the tainable goals.”
women’s movement. In each coun-
try, women’s needs are different,” Shotsi Lajoie was there represent-
said USNC for UN Women President ing the six women artists at Tiger
Lalita Janke of the global initiatives. Lily Art Studio and Gallery. Paying
She cited areas such as empower- tribute to March as Women’s Histo-
ment through equal pay parity, job ry Month, the artists are donating a
opportunities and gender equality, percentage of sales from their March
and putting an end to human traf- show, Joie de Vivre to USNC for UN
ficking, child marriages and violence Women.
against women, including genital
mutilation, as examples of the issues. "Each of the Tiger Lily artists had
created works of art depicting the
“Today we gather simply to cel- joys of living as a woman, as well as
ebrate women and all you do,” said works exploring personal and global
issues that interfere with a women's





1137 Old Dixie Hwy. • Vero Beach, FL 32960

772-569-0240 •

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 27


Dr. Walter and Lalita Janke with Elke Fetterolf.

joy of living in support of the United conditions impacted them person-
Nation's 17 sustainable development ally. It was so supportive of them,”
goals,” said Lajoie. said Janke. “That's one of the reasons
I love Vero – the people are caring
"Our local artists produced art and giving to non-profits." 
from the heart to spotlight how wom-
en's bodies, loves, restrictions and PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

28 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


WOMEN’S DAY PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 Meredith Jones, Richard Baptiste and Robin Dapp.
Gail French, Arthur Green and Barb Spelman. Lauren DeFalco, Christina DeFalco and Jolene Southwick.

Sherry Todd Green, Alet Filmalter and Shotsi Lajoie.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 29


Fundraiser helps Haiti change through education

Haiti, and $100 will pay a teacher’s spoke of a rambunctious young boy
sa la r y. from a difficult family whose moth-
er advised them to beat him when
Attorney John Moore led a spir- he became disorderly. Instead,
ited live auction of artwork and through the gentle, loving tutelage
must-have donated items, includ- of Haiti Partners' teachers, the little
ing a lovely diamond necklace do- boy has become a better student.
nated by Ingrid Biesaart.
“He is just one of all the diamonds
Before the bidding for that item in the rough who are now finding
began, Engle said it reminded him their beauty,” said Engle. 
that much of their work is trans-
forming diamonds in the rough. He PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

John Engle, Suzanne Bolinger, Shelly Satran and Kent Annan. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE

BY CHRISTINA TASCON better for their children through
Staff Writer
“I’m very proud of my wife’s dedi-
“We’re celebrating the education cation to helping the Haitian peo-
that you are making possible in ple by leading this annual event,”
Haiti. Haiti Partners' mission is to said Adam Bolinger.
help Haitians change Haiti through
education,” said John Engle at the Engle told attendees that through
fourth annual Educate and Cele- Haiti Partners’ collaborative ef-
brate fundraiser last Friday evening forts, more than 1,200 children are
at Northern Trust Bank to benefit attending seven primary schools,
the organization he co-founded 35 Micah scholars are on full schol-
with Kent Annan. arship at three Haitian seminaries
toward eventually becoming com-
The sold-out event featured daz- munity leaders while also appren-
zling Haitian art and artifacts, ticing with the some of the 1,500
which guests perused while sipping pastors trained in children’s rights.
a superb selection of 10 wines from
Varietals and More paired with a Engle also spoke about their so-
delicious assortment of tapas dish- cial business entrepreneurship
es catered by Chive. program, which straddles the edu-
cation and church programs with a
Event chair Suzanne Bolinger, goal to “inspire and equip Haitians
wife of Haiti Partners board presi- to be successful change makers.
dent Adam Bolinger, had again We celebrate what we are accom-
traveled to Haiti to select the vi- plishing together.”
brant artwork, craft pieces, jewelry
and other artifacts. “There are children who will have
education because of this evening,
“Being able to purchase from the who will have better lives because
local artist and seeing the exten- of this evening,” added Annan,
sive needs of the Haitian people whose latest book, "Slow Kingdom
keeps me going back each year,” Coming: Practices for Doing Jus-
said Suzanne Bolinger, adding that tice, Loving Mercy and Walking
she sees her affiliation with Haiti Humbly in the World," is due out
Partners as a way to help Haitians in May. He showed a short video
improve their country. “The Hai- highlighting that while $30 might
tian people have great pride in their pay for a tank of gas in the U.S., it is
country and strive to make things a month’s scholarship for a child in

30 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


HAITIAN ART PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29 John Engle, Suzanne BoRichard Leffew, Gene Craven, Al Sammartino and John Moore.
Adam Bolinger with Elke and George Fetterolf.

Ray Comparetta and Lindsay Candler.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 31


Cynthia Rountree, Allene Moorehead and Charlene Tardi. Charlotte Terry and Gretchen Hibbard. John and Lee Moore.

Roz Allen, Rick Appel and Carol DeRenzo.
Leslie Tilley and Luchy Turati.

Shawn and Vanessa Heins.

32 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


EcoFest: Thousands Unplug. Explore. Discover.




Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 33





1. Zoey, Camille, Adrien and Vivian Taylor. 2. Kristi, Charlie, Matt and Archie Challenor. 3. Peter Benincasa,

Andrea Smith, Vanessa Larson and Kim Kofke with the Indian River County Health Department.

4. Jeremy, Malia, Kawena and Nalani Keen. 5. Molly Steinwald, executive director of the ELC, with Rob

Tench. 6. Bill and Kay Horne with Charles and Susan McFadden. 7. Linda Clerch with Walter and Patty Garrard.

8. Linda Weisner with Brad and Janice Marx. 9. Kelly, Amy and Sam Speak. 10. Gabriela Gonzalez

makes a giant bubble. PHOTOS: PHIL SUNKEL



The Environmental Learning Center challenged everyone to “Unplug.
Explore. Discover.” And so they did; coming in droves to the ELC’s 20th an-
nual EcoFest to enjoy a picture-perfect day, a host of activities, live enter-
tainment and the very best nature has to offer all throughout the beautiful
64-acre campus. Numerous local nonprofits and governmental agencies
were on hand with educational exhibits and interactive games. Little ones
could get up close and personal with sea creatures at the Discovery Sta-
tion Interactive Museum & Touch Tank and dip-netting in the pond, and
kept their tiny hands busy with eco-arts and crafts, while adults enjoyed
workshops in nature photography, container gardening and nature jour-
naling. Colorful entries in the annual Making a Difference in MY World
school contest and Chalk Art contest attested that the environment is in
very good hands with an invested younger generation. 

34 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Hoedown raises roof to help build, repair homes

Andy Bowler, Sara Mayo, Peggy Gibbs, and Dave Taylor. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE Gary and Jeni Housley, with Georgia and Bob Irish.

BY CHRISTINA TASCON had everything a country barn dance
Staff Writer should have. Roughly 325 cowpokes
kicked up their heels and two-stepped
The 11th annual Florida Cracker to the band Dreamer, chowed down
Hoedown to benefit Indian River Hab- on barbecue prepared by Elizabeth
itat for Humanity last Saturday night D. Kennedy Catering and bent an el-

THE 2016 Spring Luncheon


Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 Mary Margaret Hatch and Steve Barnhouse. Eric Flowers and Tom Raulen.
Don’t get nervous, call Scott Tree Services
4755 S Harbor Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32967
11:30a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Viewing of Tablescapes SCOTT TREE BILL BARRY
12:30 p.m. Luncheon & Presentation CERTIFIED ARBORIST
CELL: 772-473-7150
An Artfully Inspired Afternoon
Area designers, event planners and florists will present unique OFFICE: 772-569-3874
interpretations of table decor certain to engage and inspire. OAK TREE SPECIALIST
Delightful luncheon fare prepared by two - time Vero’s TREE CARE, MOVING & CLEARING
Top Chef Challenge Winner Chef Dean Evans. LANDSCAPE & DESIGN SERVICES

Guest Speaker Celebrity
Designer Chris Madden

Chris Madden who has created
homes for such notables as Katie
Couric, Oprah Winfrey, Gayle
King and Nobel Prize winning
author Toni Morrison will be
highlighting some visual excerpts
and tips from her best -selling
book; Women’s Personal Spaces
at the luncheon.

$65 per person • Please RSVP by March 16th • (772) 567-5537
or make reservations online at

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 35

Nancy and Bill Curtis. PEOPLE

when you realize that at 8 o’clock this your dollar buys and, if you choose,
morning there used to be three planes you can also hammer that board and
in here. We came in with a mass of work alongside the young lady or man
volunteers and had it set up by lunch and be a part of the process all the way
time,” Bowler said. through.”

He also stated the importance of Poppell added that she was grate-
having future homeowners work ful to all the people who support
alongside the committee and volun- their mission to build decent, afford-
teers, whether at an event or in the able housing for the low to moderate
construction of the houses. income individuals in Indian River
“That is one of the neat things about
Habitat as a charity,” said Bowler. “Not only do we build homes but we
“There are about 182 charities in this help build lives and help them achieve
community and you can write a check their dreams,” said Poppell. “I guess
and mail it in. But this is one where you you could call this event a dream
can give a dollar, see the 2-by-4 that builder and not just a fundraiser.” 


Ralph and Connie Poppell.

bow to wash it all down at the Sun and fellowship,” said board chair Con-
Aviation hangar, creatively decorated nie Poppell. “We have many events all
in barnyard kitsch and bales of hay. year to raise money but this is our sig-
Game booths circled the perimeter of nature event and major fundraiser. I
the room and the air was filled with am just so proud to see all the people
crack of a Florida cowboy slicing palm who showed up and supported us to-
fronds out of guests' hands with one night.”
swipe of his whip.
“We’re hoping that we will raise over
Easily one of the season’s favorite $50,000 tonight after expenses,” said
events, the sold-out crowd relished Habitat president/CEO Andy Bowl-
ditching their formal attire in favor of er. “It is sold out, and with our silent
jeans and western wear, cowboy hats auction items, raffles and all the fun
and boots. Reveling in the casual at- games here I think we are going to do
mosphere, guest relaxed and snacked it.”
on hors d’oeuvres before feasting on
a country dinner buffet. The light- Bowler said he planned to have a
hearted night of hometown fun pro- little fun and brave a ride on the me-
vides much needed funds to help chanical bull after fulfilling his host-
build, renovate and repair homes for ing and speech making duties, adding
families and individuals in need. with a laugh, “Since I write the check
for the bull handlers over there I hope
Habitat future and current home- they will be kind to me.”
owners helped out by serving as wait
staff, hosts, ushers and game assistants The design and planning commit-
throughout the night; appreciating tee did an impressive decorating job,
a fun way to earn the required sweat dressing up the tables with bright red
equity hours needed to complete the cloths, horseshoes and pots of baby
program before they can receive keys daisies, as well as chocolate, cowboy
to their new or renovated home. boot-shaped lollipops for each guest.

“This is just a great night to let our “We have a fabulous committee that
hair down, dance, relax and have fun puts all this together with at least 15 to
20 people. You really appreciate that

36 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


HOEDOWN PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 Ray Camparetta and Lindsay Candler. Dana and Austin McNally, with Jim Beindorf.
Richard and Tami Waters, Julie Cullen, Debbie Houston and Tony Loudermilk.

Homebuyers and volunteers Monique Hart, Victoria Horskin, Ruby Harris, Barbara Prince and Shaquenna Nelson. Alice and Rene Donars. Karen and Don Franke, with Kerry Firth.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 37


George Blythe, Mark and Patricia Ashdown, with Judy and Larry Gibson. Jon and Hollie Buldo. Renee Bireley, with Tim and Anne Burklew.

Jackie Sabell and Tim Girard, with Melody Ipolito and Rusty Vincent. Joe Faebion draws a crowd at the corn toss. Sharon Morris and Susan Crabtree.

38 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Seven finalists named for Impact 100 nonprofit grants

Chalmers Morse and Russ Isaac. Camille Yates and Molly Steinwald. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE

BY CHRISTINA TASCON for four $100,000 grants, which will be amount over $400,000 will be split River Community Foundation.
Staff Writer awarded in April. equally among the three finalists This year’s finalists are:
who do not receive a $100,000 grant. A Environmental Learning Center –
The Indian River Impact 100 leader- More than 400 women in the 2016 number of women have also contrib-
ship team on Friday announced at a Impact 100 membership have each uted additional funding to help offset Using nature therapy to improve hu-
presentation at the Vero Beach Yacht contributed $1,000 toward the grants administrative costs for the all-volun- man wellness and the environment;
Club that seven non-profit agencies for projects focused on family; edu- teer organization. Impact 100 funds
are finalists in the selection process cation; health & wellness, and en- are administered through the Indian Humane Society of Vero Beach &
richment & environment. The dollar Indian River County – Project SNIP, a
spay/neuter intervention program;

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 39


Susie Calender, Suzanne Bertman, Judy Peschio and Denise Battaglia. Andy Bowler and Diana Mancini. that the grants cover so many varied
topics,” said president-elect Suzanne
Indian River Habitat for Human- Bertman, a former grant chair. “If you
ity – Meadows Field, a recreation area, were just doing all mental health or all
soccer field and walking trail in Fells- educational grants, it might be easier
mere. to evaluate them side by side. You have
to wear a lot of different hats to figure
New Horizons of the Treasure Coast out how this is going to affect our com-
– Indian River Learning Center to im- munity.”
prove clients’ life skills, mental health
and physical wellness; Emmons said that Impact 100 mem-
bers have provided more than $3 mil-
Pelican Island Audubon Society – lion in total grants since its inception,
Expanding after-school nature pro- thanks to donations by women of In-
grams and fund transportation for dian River County – $1,000 at a time. 
underserved children in the south

The Learning Alliance – Moonshot
Institute Literacy Learning Lab for

United Against Poverty (former
Harvest Food and Outreach Center) –
Jump starting job opportunities in In-
dian River County.

Finalists were given an opportunity
to meet with the press and discuss
their projects, an important step in
getting the word out about their orga-
nizations’ needs before the final vote
on April 20.

Impact president Rebecca Emmons
and grant chair Wanda Lincoln ac-
knowledged that the application pro-
cess, which began in September, was
a difficult one. Applying for the grants
takes patience, dogged perseverance
and plenty of guidance from those
previously involved.

The Impact 100 leadership commit-
tee was tasked with thoroughly vetting
each applicant, a task they did not take
lightly. They realized that projects
have the potential not only to aid each
organization, but also to shape the fu-
ture of Indian River County.

“It’s no small task and these are some
very courageous women,” said Lincoln
to good natured laughter. “I think the
biggest initial responsibility we have is
to look at that grant and ask how that
will impact our community and then
after the grants are given to follow up
and make sure that impact happens.
I am very proud to be associated with
Impact 100. There are very few people
who can afford to give $100,000 but a
$1,000 donation combined with others
has a powerful effect.”

“I think the most difficult aspect is

40 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


IMPACT 100 PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 Amy Acker, Wanda Lincoln and Rebecca Emmons.
Annabel Robertson, Barbara Lowry and Brenda Lloyd.

Barbara Hammond, Dace Stubbs, Sandy Rolf and Liz Woody.

Dr. Richard Baker and Bonnie Swanson.

Pat Austin and John Romano.

42 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Coming Up: Opera stars, fiddle music, ballet and theater

Staff Writer

1 If Dolly Levi is glowin’ and crowin’
in Riverside’s “Hello, Dolly!” the

Vero Beach Opera deserves to crow a

little too. It staged three Marcello Gior-

dani International Vocal Competitions

in the past three years. Sunday after-

noon, we all have the chance to take

another look at the talent that came

out for those competitions. Three of

the winners of the week-long events,

and another from a competition in

New York, are coming to Vero to give a

concert they’re calling “Remember Me

Then – See Me Now.”

Opera-goers may remember the

names, especially those who were Viktor Antipenko, J'nai Bridges, Jonathan Beyer and Jan Cornelius are coming to theVero Beach Opera.

keeping tabs of their favorites on their

programs: Viktor Antipenko is one I

remember, not only for his melodious Mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges just fin- place in Vero’s competition in 2015. bum of American folk standards that’ll
ished a three-year residency at the Baritone Jonathan Beyer, who was feature a roster of stars, including a few
name but for his gorgeous voice. The Opera Center of the Lyric Opera of from the Vero camp’s faculty. This sum-
Chicago. In December, she sang in a finalist in the 2014 competition in mer, along with the camp here, he’ll be
Russian-born tenor came back to Vero “Bel Canto,” an opera by Jimmy Lopez Vero, has sung the role of Figaro for playing in a cello ensemble with Yo-yo
based on the novel by Ann Patchett, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Theater Ma at Symphony Hall in Chicago, and
a year ago to perform as Luigi in Puc- and the first commission of the Lyric of St. Louis and Pittsburgh Opera. He he’ll be directing Ma’s Global Music
Opera in 11 years. Bridges took second sang Marcello in “La Boheme” in Dal- Project with guest artist Béla Fleck.
cini’s “Il Tabarro.” Since then, he’s sung las and this season with Boston Lyric
Opera, and debuted at Florida Grand The concert this weekend is a chance
in France, Russia and Brazil. He took Opera as Guglielmo in “Cosi fan tutti.” to get a sense of why his Vero students
are so wildly responsive. If the audi-
third prize in the 2013 Giordani com- And soprano Jan Cornelius, a gradu- ence Saturday seems particularly riled
ate of Philadelphia’s Academy of Vo- up, it’s because Block and Cassel have
petition here. cal Arts (which supplied the roster for been giving workshops in Vero’s public
VBO’s last concert), won Giordani’s schools this week – all at no charge, just
first competition in 2012, which took as Block has since 2009.
place in New York City. The Texas native
most recently sang the role of Tatiana in The concert in Vero is at First Presby-
“Eugene Onegin” with the Des Moines terian Church Saturday night. Admis-
Metro Opera. sion is free, but donations to the Mike
Block String Camp scholarship fund
2 Saturday night, the First Couple of are taken at the door. The music starts
Vero’s summer fiddling camp, the at 7 p.m. in the church’s sanctuary, 512
Royal Palm Blvd.
now-wed Mike Block and Hanneke Cas-
And if you have kids attending the
sel, are returning to Vero Beach as part University of Florida, let them know
that Block and Cassel are playing at
of a Florida tour that includes Tampa Gainesville’s historic Thomas Center

and Gainesville. Block has been busy

recording music for his upcoming al-

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 43

Stacey Logan


The Joffrey Ballet is coming to the Kravis Center.

Hanneke Cassel and Mike Block are coming to the First Presbyteran Church.

next Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day. “Guys All-Star Shoe Band,” winner of a
National Finger-picking Guitar Cham-
3 Here in Vero, we’ve got equally pionship, performs at 7 p.m.
fitting music for St. Paddy’s – Ed

Shanaphy and Friends are playing an 4 The Joffrey Ballet is making a
stop on Saturday night at the Kra-
all-Irish set from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the

Vero Beach Museum of Art’s Concert in vis Center in West Palm Beach. Apart

the Park series. The concert takes place from the Kennedy Center, where the

outside in the sculpture garden and company performed the Nutcracker in

typically draws a crowd of 200 or so. November, the Joffrey’s tour is limited

And if you want to get even more to Florida, and only three cities – Na-

homespun, Pat Donohue, a fixture on ples, Sarasota and West Palm, all with

public radio’s “A Prairie Home Com- tried and true audiences for ballet.

panion,” is coming to the Lyric Theatre Closer to home – and yet so far away

in Stuart on St. Patrick’s Day. The Gram- – the Bolshoi Ballet’s “Spartacus” plays

my Award-winning guitarist with the at the Majestic Theatre Sunday after-

noon. It’s a recording from 2013 of a

ballet that has become a staple in the

company’s repertoire, choreographed

by Yuri Grigorovich in 1968. The ballet

begins at 12:55. Tickets are only $20.

5 And the Vero Beach Theatre
Guild offers affordable tickets for

its big musical, “The King and I,” which

runs through March 20. Even more af-

fordable is Henegar Center’s Gershwin-

filled, goofball musical comedy “Nice

Work if You Can Get It.” It’s a great way

to anchor an evening along New Haven

Avenue in Melbourne, where there’s a

string of lively bars and restaurants –

last week, Vero’s favorite flamenco gui-

Pat Donahue is coming to the Lyric Theater. tarist Don Soledad was playing on the

terrace at Matt’s Casbah. 

44 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Okeechobee Music Festival transforms central Florida

Staff Writer

It was a sell-out before it even started, The Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival was a huge success with 30,000 tickets sold. PHOTOS BY LEAH DUBOIS
30,000 three-day passes that started at
$279 and went up to $17,500 for VIPs. was a theme park of premium-grade hammocks. Strung from those oaks, and
fun. The acres of campsites that includ- about everything else, were hammocks
By the time the 800 acres of Central ed space for a car were a good stroll away to lie on, and they stayed up all weekend
Florida ranchland cleared out on Mon- from three main stages, encircled by oak for random napping.
day, spewing exhausted throngs into an
hours-long traffic jam, hopes were high The offerings of several dozen food
that the first-ever Okeechobee Music trucks drew high praise for everything
and Arts Festival was bound to happen from barbecue and coffee to vegetarian
again. food. The man-made beach had a full-
size Ferris wheel, and art works were set
It was that good. up throughout the grounds, with a scat-
The festival it has most often been tering of chairs from which to rest and
compared to, Bonnaroo, can now be contemplate.
safely called the South’s “other” music
marathon, which similarly transforms And just beyond the stages in a
a tiny patch of Tennessee at the start of woodsy area, a “tea lounge” decorated in
every summer since 2002. Bonnaroo 1950s lamps and tables allowed another
draws 80,000; with one of Okeechobee’s chance to pause and refresh.
founders an important producer there,
it provided a blueprint for the Florida Everywhere, there was a pervasive
festival’s add-ons: yoga, art galleries, sense of festival camaraderie. With
meditation and massage. abundant sunshine during the day and
For the crowd of almost exclusively camping weather at night, 72-hour
20-somethings – our photographer friendships were cemented over boxed
spotted a lone man who appeared over wine, the beverage of choice and broad-
65, and another half-dozen over 40 – it ly shared. The official costume, for the

women at least, was a hand-decorated
tutu and bikini top (late in the game, a
few tops came off in another festival
tradition, the shoulder-surf). The de ri-
gueur festival accessory was a totem – a
pole rigged with an LED-lit image like a
cloud or a smiley face, to illuminate the
audience while the bands play.

There were $7 hot showers – water
pressure got a solid B-plus! – and porta-

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 45


that campers sleeping on thin mat- plenty give it a shot – there are 800 annu-
tresses could feel the ground vibrating ally in the U.S., and in Florida they have
beneath them. mostly flopped.

Shuttles brought travelers from air- At the root of Okeechobee’s success
ports in Orlando and West Palm to the was, of course, the music. Kendrick La-
festival spot 10 miles north of the town mar, Skrillex, Mumford and Sons, Pres-
of Okeechobee. Rickshaws moved them ervation Hall Jazz Band, Hall and Oates,
once they got there. the Meters, the Avett Brothers, Jason Is-
bell and Soulive drew raves from Tampa
And before anyone went anywhere, a Bay Times pop music critic Jay Cridlin,
staff of 300 pummeled college campuses who chronicled the event practically
promoting the fest as a spring break des- beat by beat.
tination. A planning staff of 100 worked
a year to make the festival happen, and Cridlin wrapped up his final review
another 3,000 volunteers, vendors and by throwing down the gauntlet: “There’s
security staff kept it up and running. your first testimonial, Okeechobee. Start
printing those 2017 flyers now.” 
Festivals aren’t a sure bet, though

lets aplenty, purged and restocked every through a late-night use.
morning though they took a pounding Nor did the noise abate at bedtime.
by the end of a beer-fueled evening and
it took sensory obliteration to make it A fourth stage near the beach area
continued until dawn, to the degree

46 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Role-reversing partnership drives Gershwin musical

Actors during a scene in "Nice Work if You Can Get It". PHOTOS BY PHIL SUNKEL

BY MICHELLE GENZ in a play Rion was directing at River- earn a degree in theatre at the Uni- Melbourne’s Henegar Center.
Staff Writer side Children’s Theatre. versity of Tampa, taught high school Rion is playing the lead role in “Nice
drama and has a spot on the board of
The last time Hank Rion and Ben Sixteen years later, the tables are the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, is now Work if You Can Get It,” a spoofishly
Earman worked together, Ben was 12, turned – and had moved 40 miles to directing Rion, the artistic director of lavish, loveable show filled with the
the north. Earman, who went on to songs of George and Ira Gershwin.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 47


Rion plays a witless and unsuspect- Hank Rion when their strong suit takes center
ing playboy who falls for a bootleg- stage. The show has considerable
ging tomboy who has stashed cases of earnest volunteers create the theater skillful dancing, some gorgeous sing-
booze in his basement. equivalent of comfort food. ing, and enough physical comedy to
plant smiles on faces.
Rion, a veteran tapper at 45, seems Of late, though, the Henegar has
born to the role of Jimmy Winter, and become a hybrid of community and This time, though, Earman gets
that probably made things easier for professional theater. Not only does it some credit; he auditioned the cast.
Earman, who is 28. Nevertheless, Ear- from draw from Melbourne’s much
man had to rein in his one-time supe- larger talent pool, Rion has started Rion’s role, of course, was already
rior in rehearsals, who not only wanted paying those actors with a theater de- set. A St. Augustine native who moved
to correct the cast but cut up with it. gree or professional experience. to New York to act, he won roles in
several national tours before going
“Of course!” Rion freely admits. “Are Earman too is being paid, his first into teaching and earning a graduate
you kidding?” income from directing since leaving degree.
his teaching job at a Port St. Lucie high
It’s Rion’s first break from direct- school drama department. He works At Riverside Children’s Theatre, he
ing in three years. And they have full-time helping to manage the box cast Ben, then in middle school, in
been intense years: Henegar Center office of Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce. “The Beloved Dearly,” a comedy about
has moved to the fore of Melbourne’s kids building a pet burial business, for
community theater scene (there are Paid or unpaid, Rion’s recruits are which Ken Clifton, Riverside’s now
three in Brevard County), drawing strikingly talented, and even those full-time music director, wrote the
particularly positive notice with its without “triple threat” stature shine
community theater premiere of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 48
musical version of John Waters' “Cry-
Baby” last season.

This time, the show is a Florida pre-
miere. Rights for “Nice Work” were
only released last season.

Packed with playful, pun-filled
tunes, the musical’s book is written by
Joe DiPietro, who won a Tony Award
for “Memphis.”

After fits and starts dating back to
2001, the show opened on Broadway
in spring of 2012 with Matthew Brod-
erick as Jimmy.

Like its smaller neighbor to the
south, Vero’s Theatre Guild, Henegar’s
success relies in part on the charm
of community theater, where hum-
bler surroundings, familiar faces and

48 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


music. “We were the first ones to do Ben Earman and Hank Rion. ferent side of the brain when you’re
it with actual kids playing the roles,” looking at the big picture,” he says.
says Rion. might have said no,” said Earman. director, and has to stop himself from “When you’re acting, you’re looking
“It’s a natural fit,” Rion went on. “I’m making corrections. at what’s in front of you. You have to
By then, Earman was a fixture at not be worried about the minutia all
RCT, having taken classes since the glad I had somebody like Ben, who “It’s so hard to change your brain around you and just be very focused.
age of seven. A graduate of Indian knows me. If I was going to audition, and not be in charge and to let some- It was hard for me in the beginning to
River Charter, he worked at Busch it would have to be for somebody who body else be,” says Rion. find my field of vision.”
Gardens during and after college. At knew about how insecure I feel on stage
22, he was teaching drama at Treasure again, and knows how neurotic I am.” “And the daunting task is when Then there’s filling the nimble role of
Coast High School when members of you’re an artistic director and you de- the do-nothing playboy Jimmy, which
the Theatre Guild saw one of his stu- Earman nodded. “You’ve chilled a cided to (be in) a show, there’s a thing along with delivering a daffy sex ap-
dent plays. They invited him to direct little bit.” where people are, ‘Well, can you do it?’ peal, requires Rion to sing, dance and
a two-act play at the Guild in the sum- Like, ‘those who can’t, teach.’ ” giggle while climbing over couches,
mer of 2010. Maybe. But even Rion admits to racing up the stairs, jumping into bed,
cutting up more than most. Worse, Acting takes an entirely different and being carried out horizontally by
Rion went on to become fine arts he has held on to his own instincts as skill set, he says. “It’s a completely dif- the tap-dancing chorus line.
department chair at a college in North
Carolina, and helped found the fine arts “You realize your knees don’t act
academy of Brevard’s Satellite High. like they’re 20,” he says. “And at 45,
your memory isn’t like it used to be.
The two ran into each other at a Jimmy’s in every page of the script.
Florida teachers conference, and
stayed in touch on Facebook. In No- “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever
vember 2014, Earman directed his done.”
first big musical at the Theatre Guild,
“Sweet Charity.” For Earman, the challenge has been
taking charge of a production in total-
“That got a lot of attention,” says ly unfamiliar territory.
Rion. “We used one or two of the peo-
ple in ‘Cry-baby.’" “I had to adjust to a different venue
and different people,” says Earman. “I
Earman directed the Guild’s “Hair- was born and raised in Vero. Most of
spray” last fall, another musical ver- the people at the Guild I’ve known for
sion of a John Waters film. years. I know how to handle them. It’s
hard for me to know how to handle
When Rion realized he wanted to take people here. And it’s a shorter process;
a break from directing for one show this it’s only six weeks of rehearsal. For
season, Earman came to mind. ‘Hairspray,’ we had two-and-a-half
months. And I’m such a perfectionist.”
“After a while your eyes blur,” he re-
called last week, as the two sat in the Earman, who describes his direct-
men’s dressing room at Henegar, an ing style as “very stern,” may be doing
hour before the final dress rehearsal. his cast a favor by softening up Rion
“I just called Ben and said do you want for his next directing role.
to do this?”
“I’m seeing how hard it is for the ac-
The two shared a knowing look. “No tors,” Rion says. “I found myself as a
pressure,” said Rion with irony. “It’s director starting to take the process
the most coveted slot of the season, for granted. To go from bark and yell
then I decide to audition, so he’s di- and get your lines quicker, to this –
recting me. No pressure there.” boy, it opened my eyes.” 

“If I’d slept on it one more night, I

50 Vero Beach 32963 / March 10, 2016 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Inside a fifth-floor lab at the Massachusetts In- Neuroscientist cesses in identifying depression biomarkers. Scien-
stitute of Technology, a 76-year-old neuroscientist Susumu Tonegawa tists at Duke University found that the stress response
is helping to reinvent psychiatry by hot-wiring the of the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the
brains of mice. the agency was refocusing its research to intensify brain that is linked to fear and pleasure, can predict
the hunt for the physiological signs of mental dis- a person’s vulnerability to developing depression as
Susumu Tonegawa has figured out how to reverse eases and disorders: the biomarkers, or concrete much as four years into the future.
symptoms of depression in moody male rodents by re- measurements of mental illness that many expect
activating the happy memories they created days earli- will move the field into the 21st century. After four And Northwestern University researchers were
er during a bit of sexual frolicking with female mice. decades of virtually no major advances in the treat- able to pinpoint 11 genetic blood markers that
ment of mental illness, a profound shift was imper- distinguished teenagers who were depressed from
He injects a modified, light-sensitive gene into ative, Insel thought. those who weren’t.
those happy-memory cells, then uses fiber optics to
switch on the memories with a stream of blue light. There have already been small but significant suc- Then in 2014, neurobiologist Eva Redei used mo-
The depressed mice perk up in seconds. When he lecular markers in RNA – the messengers that carry
turns the light off, their lethargy rapidly returns. An- out the DNA’s instructions – to develop a blood
other flip of the switch, and they’re active again. test for depression in adults that would confirm a
physiological basis for patients’ symptoms.
“We cured their depression,” he says.
Tonegawa’s approach in creating and manipulat- “The thinking is changing as the technology
ing memory cells has drawn praise from a normally changes. . . . This test brings mental health diagno-
staid academic community. Beyond those institu- sis into the 21st century and offers the first person-
tional confines, the potential of a radical new tool alized medicine approach to people suffering from
to treat one of the most complex mental illnesses depression,” said Redei, a professor of psychiatry
could be a game-changer in psychiatry. and behavioral sciences at Northwestern’s Fein-
This is where Thomas Insel, the former director berg School of Medicine.
of the National Institute of Mental Health, hoped
to push scientists when he announced in 2013 that “Depressed patients, they don't seek pleasure.
That's a hallmark of depression. Enjoyable experi-

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