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Published by Vero Beach 32963 Media, 2018-12-20 11:08:07

12/20/2018 ISSUE 51


County gets no bids on building
new courtroom. P9
Right whales
on the brink. P10

Seaside development
opportunity in Shores. P12

MY VERO For breaking news visit

BY RAY MCNULTY bfVoeorraolradhsotmstpeiimetatesl

Dodgertown deal is best Vero to FPL: ‘It’s finally all yours’ BY MICHELLE GENZ
thing that could happen Staff Writer
For those of us who were Staff Writer If hugs seemed more ap-
here when Dodgertown was propriate than hellos as mem-
our slice of baseball heaven, It was mid-morning Mon- Vero’s Jim O’Connor presents a symbolic key to FPL’s CEO Eric Silagy. PHOTOS BY LEIGH GREEN bers of the board of directors
when Vero Beach was Amer- day when Vero City Manager of Indian River Medical Cen-
ica’s quintessential spring- Jim O’Connor had a mo- key card no longer worked richer. A wire transfer from ter entered the hospital con-
training town, the nostalgic ment of epiphany: He no on the automatic gate. FPL represented, approxi- ference room last week, it was
images are forever embedded longer operated an electric mately, the net proceeds of because the meeting to come
in our memories. utility. The second “aha mo- the sale after Vero meets all was at its essence a goodbye.
ment” came when O’Connor its long-term obligations
For many of us, the park- Before heading to the saw that the city’s bank Convened by chairman
like confines of Dodgertown power plant to symbolically account was $39 million CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 Wayne Hockmeyer, the last
remain hallowed ground, our hand the keys over to Florida coming to order of the board
field of dreams, a magical place Power & Light President and of directors of the 80-year-old
where, if we close our eyes, we CEO Eric Silagy, O’Connor hospital was for the purpose
still can see and feel the Dodg- chuckled and said, “I can’t of disbanding.
ers of yesteryear – from Brook- get in there anymore.”
lyn to Los Angeles, from Jackie With pedigrees from cor-
Robinson and Duke Snider to As of the preceding mid- porate America worthy of a
Sandy Koufax to Mike Piazza. night, Big Blue and the se- major metropolitan board,
cure area around it had it’s likely IRMC’s volunteer
Even now, more than a de- become FPL territory, and directors never enjoyed ced-
cade after the Dodgers divorced O’Connor’s all-access city ing power as much as they did
us and moved their preseason last week. Their dream of the
headquarters to the Arizona hospital becoming part of the
desert, we drive past the aging
complex and still sense a con- CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
nection, still take comfort in
knowing it’s there. School finance chief —
suspended, demoted,
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 then reinstated — quits

Opposition to island BY KATHLEEN SLOAN
Publix grows; flat Staff Writer
roof now seen as issue
After accusing Assistant Su-
BY RAY MCNULTY perintendent of Finance Carter
Staff Writer Morrison of wrongdoing, put-
ting him on paid leave for five
Local opposition to Publix’s months and unsuccessfully
plans to build a supermarket- trying to demote him, School
anchored shopping center in
the southeastern corner of CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
Orchid continued to grow last
week, and one town resident


December 20, 2018 Volume 11, Issue 51 Newsstand Price $1.00 Awash in magic
at Christmas
News 1-12 Editorial 46 People 13-34 TO ADVERTISE CALL boat parade. P14
Arts 35-38 Faith 72-73 Pets 52 772-559-4187
Books 48 Games 53-55 Real Estate 75-88
Calendar 74 Health 57-62 St. Ed’s 51 FOR CIRCULATION
Dining 66 Insight 39-56 Style 63-65 CALL 772-226-7925

2 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

My Vero being shuttered after the previous ten- the property,” he said in the state- will spend $4.9 million over the next
ant, Minor League Baseball Inc., failed ment, adding, “This long-term part- three years to do maintenance work
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 to turn a profit there. nership is good news for the county that had been deferred because of a
and Vero Beach.” funding shortage during the Great Re-
And for those selfish reasons, as And it was O’Malley who served as a cession: replacing the roofs on most of
much as for the positive impact its matchmaker between the county and After nearly a year of negotiations, the buildings, removing mold through-
sports-related businesses have on our MLB last year. He turned 81 last week county officials and MLB representa- out the facility, and making repairs to
local economy, we celebrate the news and wanted to find a fitting succes- tives last week agreed on a long-term the press box and concession stands.
that Major League Baseball will take sor at Historic Dodgertown, where his lease that will bring much-needed re-
over the operations of what is now group’s lease was set to expire April 30. pairs, desired improvements and even The county also will spend up to
“Historic Dodgertown.” expansion of the campus’ facilities, $800,000 the first five years and up
With a deal finally in place, O’Malley, with the costs shared by both parties. to $400,000 in subsequent years to
The complex had been run by Peter whose lifelong affection for Dodger- With three five-year options, the cur- match an estimated $10 million in
O’Malley since 2011, when the former town and Vero Beach is legend, issued rent lease could extend for more than improvements MLB is required to
Dodgers owner put together a five- a statement to express his delight. 25 years. make through the first 10 years and 8
way partnership to prevent the once- months of the lease.
iconic, county-owned facility from “MLB’s plans are impressive for According to Brown’s staff report to
continuing year-round activity, while the County Commission, the county The most significant of those im-
further developing and investing in provements are the construction of
an indoor training facility – with an
artificial-turf infield, batting cages,
classrooms and office space – and a
renovation of Holman Stadium that
includes replacing the entire seating
bowl and upgrading the dugouts; in-
stalling an NCAA-approved turf base-
ball field; and adding outfield fences
and erecting a new scoreboard.

MLB also will upgrade the on-cam-
pus hotel rooms, replacing carpet
and beds, and will totally revamp the
kitchen and dining areas.

“We’re going to transition to Vero
Beach a number of our programs that
existed elsewhere, so enhancing the
facility is important to us,” said Tony
Reagins, MLB’s senior vice president
for youth programs. “We also plan
to run some larger events there, and
we’re committing the resources neces-
sary to make that happen.

“We’re not looking to make money
on this deal,” he added. “We’re working
with the county to make Dodgertown
a world-class facility for baseball and
softball development, one that will be
run at a high level and service as many
groups as we can.

“For us, it’s not just a matter of
bringing the MLB brand to Dodger-
town. We also want to involve the local
community in what we’re doing.”

Partnering with MLB was, really,
the best outcome we could’ve hoped
for. Certainly, it beat the alternative,
which almost certainly involved shut-
ting down a facility sorely in need of
maintenance and eventually putting
up a “For Sale” sign.

“There are only so many potential op-
erators of a facility of this type,” Brown
said. “Without this deal, there was a
good chance we’d have seen the end of
Dodgertown as a baseball complex.”

So, yeah, we got lucky.
We got lucky that we had some-
one like O’Malley, who cared enough
about Dodgertown to rescue the fa-
cility and keep it viable the past eight
years, so that there was a chance this
could happen.
We got lucky that O’Malley, who
used his baseball clout to acquire the
more-marketable Historic Dodger-

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 3

town moniker and then transformed members, Rendell attempted to slip Rosario and Teri Barenborg said they nations. In response, Rendell merely
the complex into a multi-sport facility, Morrison’s demotion from CFO to trans- had not received the investigative re- stated that returning the CFO to his
cared enough about the place to make portation coordinator through in a way port until an hour before the meeting, position was in the best interest of the
sure it stayed in good hands. that would not draw scrutiny. and had not had time to study it. district.

We got lucky that MLB cared enough But new board member Mara Schiff Just before the Dec. 11 meeting, Ren- There was no explanation of how that
about Dodgertown’s history – Reagins pulled it from the consent agenda dell pulled discussion of Morrison’s de- action jibed with Rendell’s prior accusa-
said the spring-training legacy of the and made it a separate item to be dis- motion from the agenda. New School tion of wrongdoing.
Dodgers and especially Jackie Robin- cussed by the board in public. Board Chair Laura Zorc said “in the
son, baseball’s first black player, con- interest of transparency” the agenda So far, there has been no comment
tributed mightily to MLB’s interest in But the discussion was put off until change should be addressed, after or explanation regarding the sudden
the deal – to want to come here. the Dec. 11 meeting after Schiff and members of the public requested expla- resignation of the district’s two top fi-
fellow new board members Jacqueline nance managers. 
County officials said Historic Dodg-
ertown’s operations have contributed
$15 million annually to the local econ-
omy each of the past four years, and we
can expect that number to increase now
that MLB, with all its resources and a
renovated campus, is running the place.

That, more than anything else, is a
reason to thank O’Malley, applaud the
efforts of our county officials and cel-
ebrate the arrival of MLB.

For most of us, Dodgertown is a place
we go to only in our memories – but
knowing baseball is still played there
makes for a more pleasant trip. 

School finance chief

Superintendent Mark Rendell rein-
stated Morrison to his former position,
announcing it under public pressure at
the Dec. 11 School Board meeting.

Morrison, chief financial officer for
12 years, was not present at the meet-
ing, but resigned the next day, although
neither the school district nor School
Board would confirm the resignation.

Julianne Pelletier, director of finance,
the second-ranking position in the fi-
nance department whom Morrison
hired in April, also resigned at the same
time, according to sources close to them.

The school district is now advertis-
ing the CFO and director of finance
positions on its website.

Rendell accused Morrison of trans-
ferring $2.3 million out of the general
fund and into 12 school salary ac-
counts without his permission. He
made the accusation at the July 31
public hearing on the tentative bud-
get, after suspending Morrison.

The transfer left the general fund
short of cash, in violation of School
Board policy, which requires a 5 per-
cent cash reserve.

Rendell and School Board Attorney
Suzanne D’Agresta hired a law firm to
both represent the accuser, Rendell,
and to investigate the accused, Mor-
rison, an arrangement one member of
the public called a conflict of interest
at a later meeting.

The outside attorney’s report con-
cluded that Morrison was guilty of “very
poor judgment” and a “breach of trust.”

At the Nov. 20 School Board meeting,
after the report was released to board

4 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

Electric mer of 2009 to 58 percent higher than That vote brought FPL’s Regional Di- ries, and that was the case for efforts
FPL rates. Tempers flared in the swel- rector of External Affairs Amy Brunjes to sell Vero electric. The Florida Mu-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 tering heat when city officials arrogant- into the drama. When Wilson and nicipal Power Agency seemed utterly
ly told customers to “open a window” if Heady left the cast, Brunjes served as recalcitrant about allowing Vero Beach
to its bondholders, its employee pen- they didn’t want high power bills. the glue that held the pro-sale team to exit the statewide electric co-op.
sion plan and its two former whole- together and kept FPL committed to Without that exit, the sale was dead.
sale power providers, the Florida Mu- In Season Three, Charlie Wilson overcoming any political or econom-
nicipal Power Agency and the Orlando came on board. Wilson, who in his ic obstacle to acquiring Vero’s nearly With the council back in the hands
Utilities Commission. short tenure on the City Council before 35,000 electric customers. of an anti-sale majority, everything
being removed over a residency dis- stalled for two long years. But the In-
The ceremonial closing Monday pute, used his decades of experience as Season Four brought more charac- dian River Board of County Commis-
morning at Vero Beach City Hall was a political strategist to bring some heart ters into the show, as Wilson in 2010 sioners and the Town of Indian River
part reunion, part rally. It brought to- – and occasionally some heat – to the engineered a slate of candidates run- Shores began working political and
gether many of the people without sometimes dry and weedy financial ar- ning on an unstoppable pro-sale plat- regulatory angles to put pressure on
whom the $183 million transaction guments that Faherty and Heran were form. Operation Clean Sweep did in- the FMPA acquiesce.
might not have happened. making at every club and homeowner deed sweep the opposition to the sale
association meeting where there was a off the dais, paving the way for an April The county hired lobbyists who man-
If the efforts to sell Vero Beach elec- podium and a microphone. 2011 bona fide offer from FPL to pur- aged to get the FMPA audited, bringing
tric were a television series, this would chase the utility for $100 million cash. public shame to their financial and in-
be Season 11 – and Monday was the Wilson took the numbers Heran had vestment practices. Legislators includ-
season finale. generated about savings to schools and Former Mayor Pilar Turner and for- ing then-Rep. Debbie Mayfield kept
hospitals, theaters and museums, and mer Vice Mayor Tracy Carroll brought the municipal electric utilities and their
The two main characters from Sea- pitched it out with passion. Wilson was a dynamo factor to the sale effort when lobbyists over at the Florida Municipal
sons One and Two were there on Mon- there Monday morning, inches from Si- Vero needed it the most. They were like Electric Association busy fending off
day, Moorings resident Dr. Stephen Fa- lagy and currentVero Beach Mayor Har- fire and ice, a deadly combination. With annual efforts at regulation.
herty and local CPA Glenn Heran. Heran ry Howle as the final closing documents the steady hand of the consummate
and Faherty were the first two guys to were signed. Silagy even mentioned him fiscal conservative, Turner brought her The Shores, under the leadership of
channel the general angst ofVero electric by name in his litany of thank-yous, and experience in finance and in the oil and then-mayor Brian Barefoot, also hired
customers over soaring rates into a sa- later gave him the pen he signed with. gas industry where she held top posi- lawyers to beat on Vero in court and at
lient argument and a spreadsheet mod- tions as an engineer and an executive. the Florida Public Service Commission.
el, famously showing that even if Vero Days after being elected in Novem- Carroll was fearless, high-energy and The war of attrition continued for four
gave away the utility, ratepayers would ber 2009, Wilson made a motion to in- brought significant sales experience, years, wearing down the FMPA and
be better off getting power from FPL. vite FPL to a City Council meeting to plus deep connections to the business FMEA and its leaders until they either
begin negotiating a potential purchase. and nonprofit community. retired or found someplace else to work.
It sounded absurd, but it got the con- One-term Councilman Brian Heady
versation started. Then the issue took also played a key role, casting one of In any good show, characters from the In the meantime, pro-sale candidates
on a life of its own in the off-season as three votes to launch talks with FPL. past are introduced, and in Season Five, began to re-emerge inVero city elections.
Vero electric rates soared in the sum- former mayor Craig Fletcher felt called
to run for office again to help usher Vero Finally in Season Nine, new key char-
out of the electric business in November acters came on the scene who could ac-
2011. Vero voters overwhelmingly gave tually work together toward getting Vero
the city permission to lease the power Beach electric out of FMPA’s clutches,
plant property and, for plot purposes, and to get a deal that would finally bring
things were going too smoothly. low FPL rates toVero’s electric customers.

By 2012, one of the Operation Clean As mayor, Laura Moss worked closely
Sweep crew, Mayor Jay Kramer, went with FPL and with incoming FMPA chief
rogue, turning his back on his col- Jacob Williams throughout Season Ten
leagues. Kramer found new friends who to hammer out terms by which Vero
convinced him that municipal-owned could buy its way out of the co-op for
utilities were a good thing, and openly $108 million. But that meant the pur-
opposed the sale. But he was re-elected chase price that had been offered by FPL
and joined by DickWinger. The Kramer- had to go way up to make ends meet.
Winger subplot would turn out to be a
troublesome buddy story. Vero brought seasoned negotiator,
attorney Nat Doliner of the Carlton
Season Six is typically when things Fields law firm, in to make sure the
fly off the rails in a long-running se- city did not squander this latest op-
portunity to close the sale.

FPL came back with a plan to pay

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 5

$185 million for the system, a deal that naysayers at the Florida Public Service a packed house in the Vero council pointed to O’Connor especially.
would relieve Vero of all its long-term Commission. Finally three weeks ago, chambers, camera shutters snapping “He rolled up his sleeves and was al-
contracts and commitments plus pro- the PSC solidified its decision to ap- among a crowd grateful that FPL’s top
vide between $30 million and $40 mil- prove the terms of the deal. guy wanted to personally mark the oc- ways about finding a way to get to yes,”
lion cash at closing. casion. Silagy credited the momentous Silagy said of the city manager, who
That’s the deal that Howle and Si- event to a team of people within his took the helm in July 2011 and vowed
Most of Season Eleven was spent lagy signed on Monday, something company, and in the Vero community, to get the utility sold in his tenure. “It’s
on a subplot, with the city and FPL Howle called “a miracle.” whom he said “never, ever gave up.” He a big difference when you have leaders
fighting it out with the last remaining
Silagy was beaming as he addressed CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

6 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

Electric at the phrase “pending regulatory ap- There were misty eyes as interim dose of bubble wrap. “This is the greatest
proval,” which found its way into a half- CEO Karen Davis accepted thanks for challenge I’ve had all year,” she joked.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 dozen remarks about the all-but-final- what Hockmeyer and others called an
ized merger. incredible effort at the helm of a hos- And there was rousing applause for
who don’t start with no.” pital in transition. the man who was named to be the first
Rep. Erin Grall, who came onto the There was also back-slapping and president of Cleveland Clinic Indian
praise for the work done under the While assisting Cleveland Clinic’s River, Dr. Gregory Rosencrance, who
scene late but made an impact at the gun of the impending deal. That in- attorneys and accountants as they arrived four days earlier with his wife
state level when it counted, said, “I am cluded a $7 million swing in operating combed through financial records, Da- Jackie. Both are natives of Charleston,
so proud to be part of a community that revenues over expenses, from a $2.5 vis managed to improve patient care, West Virginia, and share Davis’ South-
takes on obstacles together.” Grall called million loss in 2016-17 to $4.5 million they said, raising safety scores, easing ern accent; Rosencrance joked it will
the FPL takeover “transformational.” in black ink in 2017-18 – though much the strain at the emergency room, and ease the transition because the staff
of that was eaten up in attorneys’ fees, coping with a steep rise in patient visits has already grown used to Davis’ drawl.
The coming year, 2019 is Vero’s cen- added insurance and other costs asso- in a particularly bad year of the flu.
tennial, a detail Howle reflected on in his ciated with the Cleveland deal. The personable Rosencrance made
remarks about the gravity of the electric Davis, who has been widely praised a strong impression: “He’s wonderful,”
sale as a turning point in Vero’s history. But those were one-time charges, fi- through her year here, will return to her sighed one hospital leader, as if with
“This will lead us into the next 100 years nance chairman Jack Weisbaum report- prior employer, the national health care relief. Along with a warm manner, he
stronger, happier and healthier.”  ed to the board as one contiguous smile consulting firm of Alvarez and Marsel, boasts a strong resume.
seemed to circle the table. “It’s a very, where she was a senior director.
Hospital very positive result,” he said, something “This is a momentous thing for Indi-
resembling joy breeching his ever-som- “I know the board gave Karen some an River County and the ability of our
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ber tone. It seemed the once-struggling guidance – directions, maybe even, people to get the kind of healthcare
hospital had buffed itself up and done because we knew what we were in the they’re going to have access to,” said
prestigious Cleveland Clinic was at them proud, selling itself to the one of middle of,” said Hockmeyer. “We want- Hockmeyer.
the cusp of becoming reality. the highest-regarded health systems in ed to make sure the performance of the
America, if not the world. hospital not only stayed the way it was, As Hockmeyer tried to gavel the fi-
The chief item on Wednesday’s but that it got better. And it got better nal meeting to a close, director Don
agenda was to approve a handful of “We are about to embark on an ex- – it got better financially, it got better Laurie interrupted to get a word in
their ranks to join the brand-new traordinary journey,” Hockmeyer told in patient care, it got better in terms about the chairman himself.
board that will govern Cleveland Clinic the board. “This has been about as good of safety metrics, and it got better in
Indian River. a board as I think you could find: dedi- terms of service to the community.” “To observe what Wayne and Ma-
cated, knowledgeable, and pretty much rybeth [Cunningham, the Hospital
There were clear symptoms of slap- unflappable. You brought a lot of talent As Davis unwrapped her going-away District chairwoman] have guided us
happy – how else to explain belly laughs to the performance of this hospital.” gift – a crystal vase from a beachside shop through was just an extraordinary act
– she was nearly undone by a double- of leadership,” he said. “Hear, hear, to
Wayne and Marybeth.” 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 7

New Cleveland Clinic board begins to take shape Orchid Island Publix

BY MICHELLE GENZ Woodruff will also be joining the new in the deal, expected to be approved in raised a legal issue that could derail
Staff Writer Cleveland board. a matter of weeks by state and federal the project.
regulatory agencies. That includes a
For at least six people seated around Besides those six, two other mem- promise to spend $250 million in capi- Not only did a neighboring home-
the IRMC conference table lastWednes- bers of the disbanding IRMC board tal improvements as well as a vow to owners association unanimously ap-
day, the meeting confirmed prestigious will have important posts, serving on retain certain medical services at the prove a resolution opposing the pro-
posts for them with the new Cleveland the commitment integrity committee, hospital for the coming decade. posed development, but a member of
Clinic Indian River. established to review any disputes in- the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club’s
volving commitments made by Cleve- IRMC, the Indian River County Hospi- board of governors and chairman of its
Board chairman Wayne Hockmeyer, land Clinic regarding its first decade tal District and Cleveland Clinic all agreed long-term planning committee chal-
founder of a vaccine research firm; Dr. operating the publicly-owned hospital. to waive a county residency requirement lenged the Town Council’s authority to
Juliette Lomax-Homier, dean of the for Lomax-Homier so that she can serve grant one of the more significant build-
Fort Pierce campus of Florida State Chet Kaletkowski, former CEO of the on the new Cleveland board. ing-code waivers Publix has requested.
University’s College of Medicine; and 700-bed Inspira Health Network in New
Michael Hammes, a retired banker Jersey, serves on the board of the VNA in Lomax-Homier, who lives in St. Lu- In a Dec. 10 letter to the Orchid’s
and CPA, were approved by unanimous Vero in addition to his work on IRMC’s cie County, is expected to play a key Town Council and Local Planning
voice vote to join the new Cleveland board. Jack Weisbaum, former CEO of role in IRMC’s plans to expand medi- Agency, retired attorney Robert Haus-
Clinic board of directors. the business advisory firm BDO USA and cal education at the hospital under en wrote that the Town Code prohibits
the current IRMC board’s finance com- Cleveland Clinic. the construction of buildings with flat
Those three will join current IRMC mittee chairman, was the second person roofs in commercially zoned areas and
chief of staff Dr. Hal Brown, a primary named to the integrity committee. A seventh IRMC board member, provides town officials with no means
care physician, and medical staff rep- Matt Reiser, was also chosen by Cleve- of overriding that restriction.
resentative Dr. Pranay Ramdev, a vas- The two will join Hospital District land Clinic to serve on the new board
cular surgeon. Trustee Karen Deigl and attorney John from a slate of three candidates sub- Calling it a “threshold issue,” Hau-
Moore on the committee. Deigl and mitted by the Hospital District. sen argued the council “lacks the au-
Both doctors were elected by IRMC Moore were chosen last month by the thority under the Town Code to grant a
physicians and will be ex-officio mem- Hospital District Board. Reiser, cofounder and president of waiver to Publix” that would allow the
bers of the new board, serving by virtue Data Base Management, later served flat-roof construction the supermar-
of their posts. The integrity committee is charged for nearly two decades on the board of a ket company seeks.
with ensuring that Cleveland Clinic large healthcare system in Connecticut.
IRMC Foundation chairman Tony comes through on the terms laid out Hausen sent his letter the same week
He moved to Vero in 2004. 

8 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

Orchid Island Publix club’s board or planning committee. the authority to waive that restriction.” The Old Orchid HOA’s letter con-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 In his letter, Hausen targeted the Town Manager Noah Powers con- tained a list of potential traffic issues,
as well as the community’s concerns
that the Old Orchid Homeowners As- “very large flat roofs” he described as firmed that Orchid officials had re- about the development’s impact on the
sociation’s board of directors penned “defining features” of the two build- ceived Hausen’s letter and said it surrounding neighborhoods’ “tranquil-
a four-page letter detailing its reasons ings included in Publix’s proposal. would be forwarded to the town’s ity, beauty and safety,” all of which resi-
for opposing the Publix project. professional planner, the Fort Lauder- dents claim will be “irretrievably lost.”
“In essence, they are warehouse struc- dale-based Mellgren Planning Group,
The letter from Old Orchid – the com- tures with minimal ornamentation in- which is reviewing the application and The letter states there are “well
munity immediately east of the seven- tended to somewhat disguise the rather site plan Publix submitted in October. over 300 homes ranging in value from
acre site on which Publix wants to build pedestrian nature of the buildings,” $400,000 to $3 million are within 2,000
a 31,000-square-foot supermarket and he wrote. “Together, the two buildings “I honestly don’t know enough feet of the Publix site boundaries” that
a 6,000-square-foot retail building con- have flat roofs of approximately 35,000 about this issue to comment,” Powers will be affected.
taining five stores – raised the same is- square feet, equal to an area about two- said last week, adding that he needed
sues mentioned by other opponents of thirds the size of a football field. to consult with the town’s attorney. “As residents and visitors travel
the proposed development. “We’ll take a look at it. We certainly eastward on State Road 510 over the
“Under the Town Code, the Town want to do the right thing.” Wabasso Causeway Bridge,” the HOA
Those issues include increased traf- Council has no authority to approve wrote, “the huge, incongruous com-
fic, noise and crime; the intrusive glow such structures.” Hausen authored his letter amid an mercial Publix complex will ruin the
from parking-lot lights; aesthetic and email campaign launched recently by otherwise beautiful vista of Orchid Is-
environmental damage; and even rat To support his argument, Hausen residents of the Seasons at Orchid, an- land’s beachside communities.”
infestation. attached to his letter a memorandum other community adjacent to the town.
that cited the applicable chapters and The letter also stated that the waiv-
Old Orchid, which is located outside sections of the code. Hausen’s letter A group that identified itself as the ers requested by Publix are “inharmo-
the town limits, also questioned the particularly focused on Chapter 71, Sec- “Seasons 32963 Committee” has dis- nious to the character of the commu-
need for a large supermarket when tion 11, which he claimed “specifically tributed fliers in the mailboxes of nity and injurious to the area.”
there’s a Publix only 3.8 miles away. enumerates” the zoning restrictions the homeowners of nearby communities,
Town Council has authority to waive. including Summerplace and Oceanaire Orchid’s LPA and Town Council both
The letter, addressed to all the rel- Heights, in an organized effort to stir up are legally required to conduct quasi-
evant town and company officials, “This section does not specify the opposition to the Publix development. judicial hearings before voting on Pub-
attacked the Publix proposal, stating flat roof prohibition as a zoning re- lix’s proposal. Powers said he expects
it “fails every required community striction that may be waived by the Many Old Orchid residents, worried the LPA hearing to be held in January
standard” and “violates everything the Town Council,” he wrote, adding, “nor also about the negative impact the with the council hearing in February.
town’s building code exists to protect.” does any other section of Chapter 71.” shopping center might have on their
property values, individually began “It’s already almost Christmas, so we
Hausen, meanwhile, made clear he Therefore, Hausen argued: “The in- expressing their opposition shortly af- could get pushed back a bit,” Powers
was expressing his personal views – not escapable conclusion is that the Town ter Publix representatives introduced said, “but we certainly want to get this
necessarily those of the Orchid Island Code explicitly prohibits flat roofs in their initial plan at an Orchid Town done before April, when a lot of our
commercial zones and no other provi- Council meeting in April. residents leave for the summer.” 
sion of the Code gives the Town Council




772.562.7922 : 12 R7o7y2a.5l 6P2a.l7m92P2oi:n1t2e R• oVyearloPaBlmeaPcohin:tew•

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 9


BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ trate, grand jury and senior judge all
trying to share courtroom one.”
Staff Writer
No additional square footage will be
Construction of a new $1.7 million added to the courthouse. Instead the
courtroom at the Indian River County new courtroom will be built where the
Courthouse has been pushed back and current Probate/Juvenile/Public Re-
now is tentatively scheduled to begin cords offices are located.
in March, according to county officials.
Those offices will be moved to space
The county had hoped to start once occupied by the county law li-
building the new courtroom in Janu- brary. The law library has been moved
ary, but did not receive any bids on across the street to the main branch of
the project by the original deadline the county library and the space has
of Dec. 5, County Administrator Jason been renovated for Probate/Juvenile/
Brown said. Public Records operations.

The county will re-advertise the “The clerk’s division has been burst-
project for bidding in mid-January ing at the seems for some time now,”
with bid opening scheduled for the said Judge David Morgan, who serves
end of February 2019. as chairman of the county’s court-
house planning committee. “This has
“We received feedback from some been a long-term effort. Fortunately,
potential bidders, and some were just the courthouse was designed to build
too busy to bid,” Brown said. “Some out so we can adapt to future use.”
did not bid because there was no es-
timated cost provided, and some just The courthouse, located at 2000
were not interested.” 16th Avenue between 20th and 21st
streets, was built in 1998 and currently
The additional courtroom is needed houses seven courtrooms. It replaced
to handle the county’s growing case- what is now designated as the Old In-
load, Judge Cynthia Cox said. dian River County Courthouse, which
was added to the U.S. National Regis-
“When we have senior judges or ter of Historic Places on July 19, 1999.
bar referees covering cases, there is
no courtroom when all the judges and The original courthouse, a hand-
magistrates are on the bench,” Cox some brick structure constructed in
said. “We had a family magistrate, child 1937, is located at 2145 14th Ave. 
support hearing officer, traffic magis-

New Vero Beach planning director focused
on development of Cultural Arts Village

BY RAY MCNULTY wife, ‘I found this beautiful place down
Staff Writer south that I didn’t know was there.’

For years, Jason Jeffries would drive “When they offered me the job and
past the Vero Beach exit on I-95 with- I accepted, my wife and I drove down
out giving much thought to the seaside to look for a place to live, and we both
community to the east. fell in love with Vero Beach,” he added.
“My job now is to preserve the char-
“I’m a baseball fan and I knew about acter of the community while, at the
Dodgertown, but the Dodgers have same time, encouraging strategic in-
been gone for quite a while, so I never vestment through controlled growth.”
came down for spring training,” Jeffries
said. “Really, I didn’t know much about Jeffries, 44, replaced Tim McGarry,
Vero Beach until I came in for the in- who served as planning director for 12
terview.” years, overseeing Vero Beach’s commu-
nity development and, more recently,
That was in October. guiding the Planning & Zoning Com-
Three weeks later, Jeffries was at mission through the grueling process of
City Hall, starting his new job as Vero updating the city’s comprehensive plan.
Beach’s planning director and looking
forward to moving his family to a com- McGarry died Oct. 28 after a long ill-
munity that caught him by surprise. ness. He was 72.
“I came down for the interview and
was immediately blown away by the Jeffries came to Vero Beach from
beauty and character of Vero Beach Daytona Beach, where he spent 12
and the surrounding community,” years as the city’s redevelopment proj-
Jeffries said. “I remember telling my ect manager, overseeing the revitaliza-
tion of the downtown area.


10 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

New Vero planning director in Youngstown, I wasn’t stuck in an of- Main StreetVero Beach and the Oceans- members of the city’s Planning & Zon-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 fice doing a bureaucratic job. From ide Business Association, as well as the ing and Historic Preservation commis-
the get-go, I was working with people, Vero Beach Cultural Arts Village team. sions, but he’s just beginning to meet
He previously worked as a planner finding ways to resolve issues. with community leaders and neigh-
and senior planner in Houston, after “Starting off,” Jeffries said, “the Cultur- borhood groups to learn about their
starting his career as an associate plan- “When dealing with a community,” al ArtsVillage will be a big part of the job.” issues and discuss possible solutions.
ner in Youngstown, Ohio. He received he added,“relationships are important.”
a bachelor’s degree in city, community So will developing a plan for the city- “I want to get around and meet with
and regional planning from the Uni- City Manager Jim O’Connor shares owned property at the intersection people, get the lay of the land,” he said.
versity of Cincinnati, then earned his that philosophy, and he believes Jef- of Indian River Boulevard and 17th “Once I get a sense of different issues in
MBA at the University of Houston. fries possesses both the experience and Street – site of the now-closed munici- community, I can put together a work
personality needed to succeed in Vero pal power plant, sewer plant and for- plan for the department.
Jeffries said his background in com- Beach. In fact, he described the new di- mer postal annex. Jeffries said the City
munity development and experience rector as a“younger version” of McGarry. Council wants the planning staff to get “My predecessor already updated the
working with neighborhood groups public input and create a plan for the comp plan, based on the city’s vision plan,
made the job here a perfect fit. “Jason has a history of working well property as soon as possible. so this is a great time to be coming in,” he
with people, especially neighbor- added. “Now it’s just a matter of imple-
“It’s a good match with the type of hood groups and business owners,” “That’s going to be a balancing act,” menting and executing those policies,
work I’ve done throughout my career,” O’Connor said. “That should help him Jeffries said, “because I haven’t been here and make sure the code fits the plan.”
Jeffries said. “Even when I was just out relate to people in a small community long, but I’ve been here long enough to
of college, working as a young planner like ours.” know some people want to develop it Jeffries’ wife, Christie, is an elemen-
and some want to keep it public.” tary school teacher. They have two
Among Jeffries’ first tasks, O’Connor daughters: Ryleigh, 7, and Abby, 6. 
said, will be to work with members of Jeffries said he’s already met with

Right whales on the brink of extinction despite protection

BY SUE COCKING – is on the brink of extinction. And lo- Resources Council's North Atlantic live up to 70 years, take about 10 years
Staff Writer cal whale conservationists are calling Right Whale Conservation Program. to reach sexual maturity and females
for help from beachside residents to have a gestation period of about a year.
Despite more than 80 years of pro- monitor the tanking population. For the past 20 years, Albert has
tection, the endangered North Atlan- trained and managed a loose cadre of Most calves are born off Florida and
tic right whale – often spotted off Vero "Only 411 animals are left. In less than about 150 volunteers – based mostly Georgia. Last year, Albert trained some
Beach and the Space Coast in winter 22 years, they could be extinct," warned on the beach but also at sea and in the 37 members of the U.S. Coast Guard
Julie Albert, coordinator of the Marine air – who keep a lookout for the huge Auxiliary to spot and identify whales
marine mammals as they migrate during their regular air and sea pa-
south from New England and Canada trols. But surveillance from land is very
to their calving area between North important because the animals often
Carolina and Sebastian Inlet from No- swim very close to the beach where they
vember through April. can easily be seen from condo decks.

Sightings are reported to a 24-hour "When citizens in Vero call and send
hotline and the information is entered us pictures, they need to understand
into a national database used to esti- this helps us," Albert said. "The more
mate the size of the population and eyes on the water, the better."
protect it from manmade threats.
Albert conducts regular training
Right now, things are looking grim. classes for anyone who's interested.
So far this year, no calves have been
born and three whales died. In 2017, Right whales are distinctive for their
17 whales died – the highest number black skin, lack of a dorsal fin, high jaw
on record – and five calves were born. line, black tail, black paddle-shaped
Albert said the two main causes of pectoral flippers, two blowholes which
mortality are entanglements in fish- create a V-shaped spray, and white,
ing gear and ship strikes. The animals, raised rough patches of skin on their
which can grow to 55 feet long and heads called callosities that are unique
to each animal. 

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

Unusual development opportunity on Shores oceanfront

BY STEVEN M. THOMAS large enough to permit one of the big- older home overlooking the beach, one you have Shores emergency services
Staff Writer gest houses on the island if a buyer built in the 1960s, one in the 1970s, but and it is close to everything." The prop-
wanted to build on a grand scale. the owner has secured a permit from erty is a mile from the Village Shops and
An unusual development opportu- the Florida Department of Environ- less than two miles from Vero's central
nity has popped up in a prime loca- "We allow homes in that neighbor- mental Protection that allows the two beach shopping and dining district.
tion in Indian River Shores, where a hood to occupy up to 30 percent of the lots to be combined. Perry says the
1.83-acre oceanfront parcel has gone property," says Indian River Shores Shores, too, would permit the lots to be "For the right end-user, this can be
on the market for $4,990,000. Building Official Rob Perry, which replated as single property. an exceptional oceanfront paradise
means a 24,000-square-foot house very close to town," says island devel-
The 80,000-square-foot property, could conceivably be built on the site. "It is a fantastic location," says real es- oper Yane Zana, of Coastmark Com-
which stretches for 200 feet along the tate broker Beth Ann Rardin, who listed panies. "It is a unique [opportunity]
ocean and extends 400 feet inland, is Right now, the property is divided the parcel in October. "There is no HOA, ... in that there are only a handful of
into two lots, each with a modest-sized remaining oceanfront properties that
encompass 200 linear feet."

"For that location, with a very wide
beach, the property is a reasonable
value for someone who wants to build
a large estate," says Treasure Coast So-
theby's broker Michael Thorpe.

Two recent oceanfront sales, one in
2016 and one in 2017, make the price
indeed seem reasonable.

A similar-size, 1.72-acre property
at 2310 Ocean Drive in Old Riomar,
three miles south of Reef Lane, sold
for $8,875,000 in May 2016. A year lat-
er, the 1.71-acre property next door at
2300 Ocean Drive sold for $7 million.

Oceanfront property prices typi-
cally are calculated by price per lin-
ear foot of oceanfront. By that metric,
2310 Ocean sold for $43,500 a foot and
2300 Ocean sold for $35,000 a foot.

At $4,990,000, the Reef Lane parcel
is being offered for $25,000 per foot.

There are caveats to the compari-
son, of course.

Contrasting the Reef Lane and Ocean
Drive properties, Zana says, "Old Rio-
mar oceanfront is the most exclusive
oceanfront property Vero Beach has to
offer. [The location] is right in town and
overlooks the reef and golf course. In
Old Riomar proper, there are only six or
seven properties on the ocean that will
ultimately represent some of the largest
and finest homes [on the island]."

Reef Lane also lacks the unique his-
torical charm and architectural ambi-
ance of Old Riomar, and many of the
oceanfront properties near Rardin's
listing are smaller, older homes. Their
presence could make it harder for a
buyer to justify spending $5 million for
land and then investing millions more
in a 15,000 or 20,000 square foot home.

Nevertheless, the Reef Lane offer-
ing would seem an interesting option
for someone who wants a very large
oceanfront lot and is willing to lead
the way in an area renaissance.

"It is an excellent central location
that has been overlooked that will
catch up quickly," says Zana. "When
you purchase 200 feet of oceanfront,
you can create your Shangri-La and
the homes next door no longer have
to enter the equation." 


14 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Ho-ho-ahoy! Awash in Christmas magic at boat parade

Ari Schwibner, Carlyle Bruce and Matty Hauf with Santa. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE Shirley Becker, Dorcas Beatty and Ellen Renuart.

Richard and Melissa Marcus and Moosey, with John and Ailene Maxon. Anna Brooks with John and Terri Hutchins and Steven Brooks.
BY MARY SCHENKEL explaining that he made a pact many
years ago with Ross that “when he
Staff Writer gives up, I’ll give up.”

Despite dire forecasts that the “It’s wonderful to see you all here;
weather would be frightful, it turned it’s fun to be here,” said Ross, after
out quite delightful, as roughly 300 being invited to the podium. “Merry
Moorings residents and friends Christmas everybody!”
gathered by the water at Compass
Cove last Friday evening for the 2018 This year’s lead boat was a United
Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, pre- States Coast Guard 900-horsepower
sented by the Moorings Yacht Club, chase boat, followed by a fleet of fes-
Moorings Realty Sales Company and tively bedecked pleasure boats, be-
Moorings of Vero Property Owners ginning with a magnificently deco-
Association. rated 67-foot McKinna, boasting a 10
1/2-foot-tall lighted reindeer at the
Attendees enjoyed refreshments very top.
and camaraderie before sitting along
the waterside viewing area where As DeTurris introduced and provid-
they were entertained by members of ed commentary about each boat and
the Indian River Charter High School owner, friends in the crowd waved
Choir while waiting for the sun to set. and called out their appreciation.
Even those on board were bedecked
Little ones looked on in awe at an in elaborate lights, competing with
authentic-looking Santa Claus, a few the decor on decks festooned with
of the braver ones enticed to pull twinkling lights from bow to stern to
gently on his beard to the delight outriggers, augmented with Christ-
of the jolly old fellow, before he led mas trees, Santas, snowmen, rein-
the countdown to the lighting of the deer, snowflakes and, of course, Flor-
Moorings Christmas tree. ida-centric dolphins and flamingos.

Parade organizer Vince DeTurris In addition to the Coast Guard, an
noted that for the first time in many Indian River County Fire Rescue and
years, 95-year-old Peter Ross was not the Indian River County Sheriff’s Of-
leading the parade. DeTurris said this fice boat each lent a hand for the eve-
was his own last year as organizer, ning’s festivities. 

16 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™



Established 18 Years in Indian River County

(772) 562-2288 |
3920 US Hwy 1, Vero Beach FL 32960

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 17


Vince DeTurris and Craig Lopes. Diane DeFrancesci and Raynor Reavis. George and Barbara Bryant.

Samuel and Carlyle Bruce with Jeremy and Ari Schwibner. Santa with Michele Mackett, Christophe Cagniart and Kendra Cagniart. Inga and Gordon Canning.

Jazelle Valdez.

18 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


St. Lucia Celebration befits this home, Swede home

Staff Writer

The Hallstrom House was alive with Elisabeth White, Maddie McCain, Mollie McCain, Sara White and Isaac Tannery. PHOTOS: LEIGH GREEN
holiday spirit during the historic prop-
erty’s annual St. Lucia Celebration, Many of the ornaments were made tree in the living room and miniature Refreshments were served in the
hosted by the Indian River County His- of straw, as a reminder that Jesus was trees spread holiday cheer throughout carriage house, which the Historical
torical Society. born in a manger. Straw hearts, Ju- the rest of the house. Society eventually hopes to revamp for
block (yule goats) and tomtes (gnomes) use as a kaffe butik (coffee shop). Good-
Ruth Hallstrom bequeathed the graced the large sand-pine Christmas Before the festivities commenced, ies such as Lussekatter/Julgalt (St. Lu-
century-old homestead to the Histori- Ruth Stanbridge, IRCHS board presi- cia saffron buns), kardemumma kaka
cal Society in 1999. Located on the site dent and county historian, shared a (coffee cake), mazarin (almond tarts),
of the pineapple plantation established brief history of the property, before toscakaka (almond cake) muskotsnittar
by her father, Axel Hallstrom, the mag- unveiling a recently erected historical (nutmeg slice cookies) and pepparka-
nificent home has become a beacon of marker. kor (gingersnaps) sweetened every-
cultural preservation. one’s mood before they gathered inside
“This house is on the National Reg- the house for the St. Lucia procession.
The Historical Society has restored ister of Historic Places and, with this
the property and preserved artifacts, marker, we became a Florida Land- Wearing a wreath of lingonberry
photographs, documents, furniture mark,” Stanbridge explained. branches with seven lighted candles
and memorabilia collected by the upon her head, Maddie McCain posed
Swedish settlers to save, preserve and Nels Hallstrom, cousin to the late as St. Lucia and led her handmaidens
restore its historical and environmen- Ruth Hallstrom, thanked the Histori- and a gingerbread boy in a procession
tal resources. cal Society for their efforts in preserv- through the house. The ceremony is
ing the property. meant to bring light to the world on the
The house was festooned with Scan- shortest day of the year, the Winter Sol-
dinavian Christmas decorations for “They do such a great job of taking stice.
visitors to marvel over as they toured care of this house and actually using
the property, soaking in the nuances of it for many fine functions,” said Hall- For more information, visit irchistori-
a Swedish culture mixed with a decid- strom. “The way they use it to con- 
edly Florida flair. tinue the Swedish heritage and for the
people of Vero brings the history of the
community closer together.”

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 19


Ann Sodergren and Cindy Johann. Victoria Bayless and Carolyn Bayless.

Mark Holt and Diane Smith. Kristina Hofmann. Suzanne and Nels Hallstrom.

Nels Hallstrom, Ruth Stanbridge and Suzanne Hallstrom.

20 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Fundraising in style at Friends of Library Fashion Show

Staff Writer

Friends of the Indian River County Jenny Hancock, Esther McAfee and Jane Dawe. PHOTOS: STEPHANIE LABAFF models appeared in slippered feet,
Library, a nonprofit organization, each toting cuddly stuffed animals.
hosted a real page-turner with its “With the assistance of Irene plus two lovely models from the Liter-
fourth annual Friends of the Library (Moretti), library staff and gift shop acy Services of Indian River County.” During wardrobe changes, guests
Fashion Show at the Indian River volunteers, we have a wonderful show enjoyed snacks, claimed raffle prizes,
County Main Library. planned for you today,” said event The models showed that they were bid on silent-auction items and, of
emcee Hollie McDougall, Brackett more than just book smart, strolling course, did a little holiday shopping.
For more than 30 years, the all-vol- Library branch manager, before in- about to offer attendees a look at Gift
unteer Friends group has raised mon- troducing the models and giving in- Shop items that ranged from palazzo For more information visit irclibrary.
ey to provide library equipment and formative descriptions of each of the pants and sweaters to scarves, jew- org, call the Library Friends Gift Shop
supplies not covered in the budget outfits. “We didn’t have to look very elry, handbags and accessories. The at 772-770-9184, the Used Book Depot
through proceeds from the Used Book far for our models in today’s show. All ladies showcased 30 outfits in total, at 772-562-2047 or visit the Used Book
Depot and the Library Friends Gift the ladies work in our library system, including casual wear and evening at- Depot at 492 Old Dixie Hwy. 
Shop. Last year the nonprofit was able tire. For the grand finale, pajama-clad
to donate $90,000 to supplement the
Indian River County Library System’s
adult and children’s programming.

Prior funding has provided such
items as a 3D printer and software,
laminator, poster maker, comput-
ers, copiers, laptops, printers, mobile
carts, continuing education for library
staff, books, music CDs, special col-
lections, audiobooks, E-Books, online
databases, new services for library pa-
trons, book and DVD leases, addition-
al copies of best sellers, special guests
and events, decorations, virtual real-
ity equipment, software, display cases
and the digitization of documents.

Several years ago Irene Moretti,
who this year will retire as Gift Shop
manager, had the idea to host a fash-
ion show to showcase their impressive
selection of ladies apparel and acces-
sories. It has become a valued addi-
tion to their fundraising efforts ever

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 21


Irene Moretti and Hollie McDougall. Mary Lou Rethman. Ginger Davis and Deanna Spangler.

Heather Helton. Jessica Matthews. Nancy Ioannidis. Benita Eliff.

22 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Cup full of holiday spirit at ‘Tea Up for the Nutcracker’

BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF opened the fashion show, giving view- artistic director/CEO. enmeshed in the community. New
Staff Writer ers a sneak peek of the upcoming Nut- “We’ve strengthened the partner- outreach partnerships include being
cracker on the Indian River perfor- part of the City of Vero Beach Centen-
In what has become a much-antic- mances. ships we had on the production and nial Celebration. After all, this Nut-
ipated holiday tradition, the third an- we’re working on new ones. The Land cracker version is set in the same year
nual Ballet Vero Beach Tea Up for the Thanking supporters, Linda Trust has really stepped up, and the Vero was chartered. Also, an adopt-
Nutcracker Luncheon and Fashion Downey, BVB board chair, said “it’s information about the lagoon that able Humane Society dog, dubbed
Show at the Oak Harbor Club conjured Adam’s [Schnell] vision along with the adorns the hallways will be like wait- ‘Muttcracker’ by Schnell, will make
up visions of sugar plums to usher in board, but it’s incredible what we’ve ing in line at Disney World.” a guest appearance during the show,
the holiday season. accomplished in five years.” and 16 students from Fellsmere and
He added that in addition to present- Dodgertown elementary schools will
Delightful dancing manatees “I am still basking in the glow of last ing beautiful, professional ballet, Bal- perform with the professional danc-
year’s reception,” said Adam Schnell, let Vero Beach is working to become ers and young dance students.

“We are the only professional arts
organization in the area that donates
free tickets and educational outreach
initiatives to 14 local, social service
nonprofits,” said Schnell, adding they
also host a free student matinee series
for third- and fourth-graders.

BVB has teamed up with the Learn-
ing Alliance to create a dance and
literacy component, and a one-hour
Nutcracker on the Indian River ver-
sion will debut next year geared to-
ward the 20 percent of local students
defined as differently abled.

“These are the kids that can’t come
to our show because either they can’t
sit the entire time or their parents
can’t afford it,” he explains.

During the luncheon, a stream of
hometown models showcased sea-
sonal attire from local boutiques and
student performers from the upcom-
ing ballet presented a preview of cos-
tumes designed by Travis Halsey.
Closing out the show was an appear-
ance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The Vero Beach version of the be-
loved Nutcracker follows Marie and
her family as they travel from New
York to Vero Beach in 1919, so flora-
and fauna-themed centerpieces were
designed to hearken memories of that
era, resplendent with citrus trees;
sandhill cranes and vintage suitcases
overflowing with Nutcracker para-

After the show, children played
mini-golf, decorated cookies and
sat with Santa, while adults enjoyed
champagne and gourmet desserts and
perused items from the silent auction
and Boutique.

Nutcracker on the Indian River per-
formances will take place at 8 p.m.
Dec. 30 and 2 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Vero
Beach High School Performing Arts
Center. Then, on Jan. 4 and 5, BVB Pro-
gram 2 presents Premiers, showcasing
works spanning from classical to con-
temporary, also at the VBHS PAC.

For more information, visit ballet- 


24 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 Madeline Chavers, Trinity Marsh and Amelia Weber. Rita Chanfrau, Cindy O’Dare and Patty Casale.
Adam Schnell, Linda Downey and Camilo Rodriguez. PHOTOS: LEIGH GREEN

Riley Puerner, Kim McAuliffe, Sydney Jones and Courtney Jones. Ginger Smith, Tiffany Starr and Kathy Starr. Lucinda Gedeon, Martha Phelps and Sherry Cauley.

Stephanie MacWilliam, Mrs. Claus, Santa Claus and Tammy Theoharis.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 25


Dan and Elli McElroy with Marie Healy.

Angela Waldrop and Elizabeth Sorensen. Annie Casale with Juniper and Coral.

Maddie Chambers. Lexi Parker and Gradie Mae.

Debbie Wykoff and Barbara Leigh.

26 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Gifford Youth Orchestra: A classical success story

BY KERRY FIRTH PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 sheet music are all provided through explained John Young, GYO board
Correspondent generous donations from the commu- chairman. “The children learn so
Harry Hurst and Alma Lee Loy. PHOTOS: LEIGH GREEN nity. “We have learned from experi- much more than just how to play an
The sparkling eyes of the children ence that music enriches lives,” said instrument. They learn social skills
who serenaded guests with assorted Bujol. “Literally 100 percent of our stu- that enable them to perform in front
stringed instruments outshined even dents who have graduated high school of large audiences at banquets and
the twinkling lights strewn through- are either in college or have graduated celebrations and on stage.”
out the beautiful grounds of the Gar- from college.”
den Club of Indian River County at a He added that they also learn that
recent fundraiser to benefit the Gif- It was those statistics that enticed they can benefit financially from the
ford Youth Orchestra. beloved community activist Alma Lee efforts they put forth.
Loy to join the leadership of the GYO.
“We celebrated our 15th anniver- “The children here tonight will re-
sary last month,” said Crystal Bujol, “I saw them perform a few times ceive a small portion of the funds
GYO founder and artistic director. and I was very impressed with their raised as payment for their service,”
“We found that young children in grace and professionalism,” said Loy. said Young. “This builds self-esteem
Gifford had little access to music and “There is such talent in this room, and and self-reliance.”
were often overlooked because they I believe the gift of music is a gift of
didn’t have artist and cultural oppor- life.” In addition to great music, guests
tunities in their early school years. It at the event enjoyed conversing with
wasn’t until high school that they had The nonprofit performing arts or- the young musical stars, who not only
an opportunity to learn to play an in- ganization teaches children to play filled the air with sweet melody but
strument.” the violin, viola, cello and piano, while also answered questions with poise
also imparting how to use their voices and confidence.
That has all changed. GYO students to”Build Bridges for Better Tomor-
ranging in age from 4 to 18 currently rows.” The orchestra presents at least When asked what she liked best
relish the opportunity to learn how one concert each year, and smaller about playing with the orchestra,
to play classical music. Students are groups of students are often invited to 8-year-old DeAnna Henderson, who
asked to pay a small monthly fee, but play at special events. has been playing the violin for two
their instruments, instruction and months, grinned and said, “I love
“Music is a universal language that making music and seeing people
unlocks countless opportunities,” smile.” 

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28 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Iva Powell-Perry and Manny Moreira.

Donna and Horace Lindsay.

Jim and Phyllis Parks.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 29


Members of the Gifford Youth Orchestra at a fundraiser held at the Garden Club of Indian River County.
Lydia Silvestry and Robert Plummer.
John Young, GYO board chairman.

Crystal Bujol and Floyd Jones.

30 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Seasonal songs of ‘Hope’ and joy at ‘Wreaths and Wine’

BY MARY SCHENKEL PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 32 a dazzling red-and-gold motif, aug- tennis court are enabling even greater
Staff Writer Suzan Williams and Rita Grimshaw. mented by Christmas decorations and opportunities for future success.
The Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center As in the past, guests were encour-
was festively transformed recently for Dasie Hope was founded by Verna aged to bid on a large assortment of do-
its annual Wreaths and Wine fundrais- Wright in 2001 in memory of her moth- nated silent-auction items and to pur-
ing event. Organizers opted to host a er, Dasie Bridgewater, who recognized chase beautifully decorated wreaths
delicious sit-down dinner this year, that a good education is the key to donated by local florists. In the kitch-
so the tables where students regularly breaking the cycle of poverty. The re- en, Emily Duval and Megan Beath, un-
buckle down for some serious study- cent addition of four more classrooms, der the supervision of Kenny Porazzo
ing were bedecked for the evening in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engi- from Quail Valley Golf Club, were busy
neering, Math) Lab and a basketball/ preparing a delectable dinner fea-
turing New York strip steak, shrimp
scampi, chicken piccata and, of course,
scrumptious desserts.

In his welcome address, board
member Glenn DeSimone thanked
everyone for their support of the Wa-
basso-based nonprofit organization,
which provides quality afterschool and
summer academic and recreational
programs to roughly 100 children in
grades K to 12.

“It’s a wonderful organization,” said
DeSimone. “There’s going to be a spe-
cial treat. We have 10 choir singers
tonight that are going to entertain us
with two Christmas carols. They have
done a wonderful job under the tute-
lage of Rachel Carter from the Commu-
nity Church (where Carter is assistant
director of Music and Arts), working
with these kids two days a week since

Earlier he had noted that the Dasie
Hope Children’s Choir had recently
performed at the John’s Island Christ-
mas tree lighting ceremony and had
been very well received.

Guests also heard stirring solo ren-
ditions of “Silent Night” and “Destiny”
performed a capella by Courtney God-
win, youth director at Mount Zion Mis-
sionary Baptist Church.

Wright said that proceeds from the
event will help provide funding for
various student programming, as well
as for a festive Christmas party for
the children, where they will receive
presents donated by the Community
Church, Syngenta and other generous

“For some children it will be the only
gift they get,” said Wright. “During the
year we have parent meetings and this
year we’re also giving a certificate to a
parent who has come to all the meet-
ings and has volunteered. It’s a way to
encourage other parents to do it too.”

The board recently launched an
awareness and fundraising campaign,
branding Dasie Hope as: “The Miracle
on 64th Avenue: A safe place for chil-
dren to envision their future and create
a productive life for themselves.”

For more information, visit dasie- 

32 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 Cynthia Douglas, Julianne Price, Constance Morgan and Verna Wright. Carol Pinder with Bill and Jean Borduin. PHOTOS: MARY SCHENKEL
Glenn DeSimone and Maj. Eric Flowers with Warren and Virginia Schwerin.

Kimberly Wright, Jane Faraco, Dasie Hope Children’s Choir with music director Rachel Carter. Selby Strickland, Rosemary Jones, Vanette Jones and Mathieu Zincir.
Ted and Michael Hauser, and Jim Faraco.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 33


Barking up the right tree at H.A.L.O. Gala fundraiser

on finding homes for them, spaying or Canine Good Citizens Ready Training,
neutering animals, and educating the Underdog Socialization, Ambassador
public. Foster Homes, Working Barn Cats, and
the Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Pro-
Auctioneer Larry Flynn sparked a gram.
bidding frenzy for a variety of live-auc-
tion items and, during the paddle raise, H.A.L.O. will host the second annual
supporters were asked to “raise your Chase Your Tail 5K Run/Walk on Jan. 5
paws and donate your tails off.” in Sebastian.

Proceeds from the event will support For more information, visit halores-
the Angel Medical Emergency Fund, 

Kathy Arton, Elizabeth Arton and Tricia Arton. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 34


BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF for dogs and cats needing behavioral
and emotional training prior to adop-
Staff Writer tion.

For guests at a recent H.A.L.O. Gala, “The indoor training center will
it was quite simply “Love at First Bite.” allow our volunteers, handlers and
A sold-out crowd enjoyed a cool, crisp trainers to spend more one-on-one
evening as they dined at Magnolia time working with the rescues and get-
Manor to benefit the H.A.L.O. No-Kill ting them up for adoption,” Petrone
Rescue, whose mission is to create a explained. “We will also offer a free to
safe haven for abused and abandoned low-cost veterinary clinic for our com-
animals. munity.”

Arriving guests visited with several Petrone said the shelter has received
H.A.L.O. dogs, nibbled on tidbits from funding to offer emergency veterinary
a charcuterie-laden table, gathered care to senior citizens unable to pay for
around the rustic bar to chat, and pe- their pets’ treatments.
rused silent-auction items around the
fire pit, before sauntering down the “We’re trying to reduce shelter in-
path to sup in the open-air dining area, take so that they don’t have to surren-
while entertained by Jerzi Olivia Music der their pets,” she added.
on the ukulele.
Guest speaker Steven Hirano, co-
Chef Travis Beckett of Wild Thyme founder of Best Friends Utah, began
Catering served a sumptuous five- rescuing animals 34 years ago. He de-
course, farm-to-table dinner that fea- scribed the growing no-kill mentality,
tured butternut squash bisque, herb- saying that the reduction in unneces-
roasted beet salad, sweet potato ravioli sary euthanasia is due in large part to
and wine-braised short ribs. shelter collaboration.

“This year we are on track to save “When we started, there were 17 mil-
over 2,000 lives,” said Jacque Petrone, lion animals being killed every year.
who founded the sanctuary in 2006. Now it’s under 2 million. Still too many
Through a brief video, she took guests but we’re at the tipping point,” said
on a “virtual” tour of the H.A.L.O. facil- Hirano. “We want to end the killing of
ity, enabling them to see firsthand the animals in shelters by 2025. By open-
work being done. ing up communication between the
shelters and joining forces, we can save
Petrone was excited to share that the more lives. Up until recently, the shel-
shelter is in the pre-construction stage ters were very territorial – like dogs.”
of realizing her dream of building a
3,000-square-foot enrichment center Hirano said that rather than put
animals to sleep, the focus should be

34 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 Neka and Blue. Clay and Pam Price with Aaron Johnson.
Beth Turek and Graham Phillips. Nicole Tarasavage and Jennifer Sartori.






Fleetwood Mac


Note for Note Cut for Cut


Fleetwood Mac

Note for Note
Cut for Cut

Visit for more information. Live!VEROFROBMEA FRIDAY Barbara Titus and Elaine Wielins.
Note for Note Cut for Cut AND


EARLY ELTONVisit for more information. JIMMY WEBB


Concerts are at 7 pm at The Emerson Center
SE corner of 16th Street and 27th Avenue in Vero Beach

LIVE! From Vero BeachSM is a production of MusicWorks, Inc. & Paris Productions


Led Zeppelin II

Note for Note
Cut for Cut

Presenting Sponsors: CINDY O’DARE & RICHARD BOGA

Sponsors: Alex MacWFillelieatwPmeorfoorRmdseMalacEstate · The Audiohouse · CenterState
Charles Schwab · Joe andRuDmeonuisrse Corr · Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown

New Vision Eye Center · OceanNote for Note Cut for Cut Grill · Springhill Suites by Marriott
Non-profit Partners: City of Vero Beach Centennial · Cultural Council of IRC

Indian River Land Trust · Quail Valley Charities · The Emerson Center
Veterans Council of Indian River County

Printing Sponsor: ABC Printing Screen Sponsor: The Majestic 11
Visit for more information.


36 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Merry potters hail creation of Indian River Clay studio

Staff Writer

Wheelers, slabbers, coilers and Susan Scarola, Maria Sparsis, Ginny Piech Street and Jim Cohoe. PHOTOS BY DENISE RITCHIE
pinchers can now get their hands dirty
at the recently opened Indian River
Clay community studio. It’s the perfect
place to roll up your sleeves when you
want to throw some mud.

Local potters are ‘hand building’ a
space where they can create, connect and
foster the arts. The collaborative features
a membership studio with shared
workspace and communal equipment,
and it is also a teaching facility for the
whole community, providing support for
all levels of potters.

The collaborative has applied for
approval to incorporate as a Florida not-
for-profit corporation and, upon receipt
of that approval, the Becker Foundation
has generously committed to a $25,000
donation to help fund the studio.

Members enjoy studio access and
equipment, including wheels and
kilns, unlimited firings and use of stu-
dio dipping glazes, dedicated storage
space and class discounts. The collab-
orative’s founders and members seek

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 37


to promote the development of pottery found it was a way that I could do some- someone with no experience or natural develop programs for cancer patients,
skills among those already hooked on thing tangible and express myself in a talent can do it. teachers, veterans and their families,
clay art, while also fostering curiosity way that I never had, and be with people and clay-based summer camps.
about the craft within the community. who were encouraging.” “There’s something about the
The goal is to draw together students, tactile nature of clay that you can lose Beginner, intermediate and
artists and an engaged public in an ef- This wasn’t the first community clay yourself in. There’s an intimacy with advanced classes are ever-changing,
fort to help them discover that clay is venture for Ginny Piech Street, co- the medium. If you learn how to follow but will include such instruction as
the perfect medium through which to founder and studio manager. She had the rules and do what you’re told, you hand-building with coils and slabs,
explore artistic talents. been involved with Peacock Clay in will be able to make something. You wheel throwing, vessel and figurative
Fort Pierce, before a fire in an adjacent don’t have to be creative,” says Sparsis. sculpture, and glazing. In addition to
“You can be involved at the level you storefront forced it to close. “We are trying to think in a way that Sparsis, Scarola and Street, the other co-
want. Full membership at the studio will allow this to become a bigger founders of Indian River Clay are Leah
entitles a member to access the studio “Vero already has a big clay presence collaborative over time, a place that Cady, Jim Cohoe and Joan Cortright.
at any time of the day or night. Each with the museum. I think this is just an will allow us to expand.”
member gets a key so they can work extension of the possibilities to get your Indian River Clay is located at 1174 South
when they want to and for as long as hands in the mud,” says Street. The hope is to have that expansion
they need to,” explains Maria Sparsis, include partnerships with other U.S. 1 in Vero Beach. For class schedules,
studio founder and resident artist. “There’s just something about it that nonprofits. Plans are in the works to hours, membership costs and additional
is soothing; it’s therapeutic. It’s good for information, visit 
Indian River Clay is the creation of the soul. Maybe because it comes from
several local clay artists who wished to the ground and it’s grounding. It just The Dog really is
form a shared space where they could does something for me. And it seems Man’s Best Friend.
create their own works while cultivating to do something for everybody that I
interest within the broader community. come in contact with who messes with Last-minute shoppers,
Sparsis says that Vero’s ever-growing the clay. It’s just a pile of mud. What’s we’re here for you.
community of potters had been batting there to be precious about? You mess
around the concept of forming a up, you start over again.”
community studio for at least 15 years.
As they began to develop a blueprint
“Most everybody in town involved for the studio, the board did their
in clay took classes at the museum research. They looked to several of
[Vero Beach Museum of Art],” notes the large community studios across
Sparsis. After “outgrowing” museum the country as examples of what they
classes, the potters began establishing were hoping to become – a regional
their own home studios or shared resource that could bring in big names
workspaces. for lectures and workshops.

“But there’s always been this buzz “We’d like to create a place that is
about town that one day we would have open-minded, present and hospitable,
our own pottery place where we could and a place where creative energy
have master workshops, where we could can grow. A place where everybody
have alternative firings; a collaborative can share what they know, so that
of some sort,” says Sparsis. “Many of everybody can grow creatively and
them have home studios, but there is a express themselves creatively,” says
difference between working in a solitary Street. “Every artist has their own
fashion and being around people. There method of working, but I think a lot of
is a sense of community with clay people need or appreciate interaction
people; they feed off of each other.” with other makers.”

Susan Scarola, board chair, co- “People go out of town and take
founder and resident artist, says she classes and bring information back and
got the mudbug after she retired and they share it,” says Sparsis in agreement.
moved to Vero Beach permanently. She “One of the things that I found with
was looking for a way to get to know the potters is they’re extremely generous
community and try new things. with information. If you’re working in
a studio with other people, you get the
“Working with clay was not intimidat- benefit of everybody else’s experience.”
ing for someone who comes with very lit-
tle artistic background,” says Scarola. “I As to why so many people are drawn
to pottery, Sparsis explains that even

Shop Sunday, Dec. 23 • Noon - 4pm
Shop Monday, Dec. 24 • 10am - 2pm


38 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Coming Up: Holiday musical merriment at magical McKee

BY SAMANTHA ROHLFING BAITA Imagine School Tangerines Music 2 Dec. 22 at Sebastian Inlet the voice of Cat Stevens.” His shows
Staff Writer Group will float out across the Gar- State Park at 7pm. are called “beachball and Hawaiian
den. Saturday brings musical enter- lei-filled and (no surprise) nautical-
1 Holidays at McKee absolutely tainment by McKee’s (own) Melody themed.” Then, on Saturday, 1 p.m.
deserve a spot on your Christ- Makers. Sunday it’ll be dynamic to 4 p.m., it’s Dave and the Wave,
vocals by April French of the Lady bringing a range of musical genres
mas to-do list: This weekend, live Sings the Blues Band. Time: 6 p.m. from classic rock to Motown to R&B
to 8 p.m. General admission rates to smooth jazz, and billed as “one of
music of the season will provide a apply: Adult, $12; seniors and ages the premiere entertainment groups
3-12, $8; members and under 3, free. in South Florida.” Sunday afternoon,
festive soundtrack for the always 772-794-0601. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., you’ll hear Pretty
Ruthless, musicians from the Trea-
magical Garden, decked out in sure Coast who lay down a variety of
new country, classic rock and “much
its sparkling holiday best. On Fri- more.” P.S. Google Waldo’s. The his-
tory’s fascinating.
day, Dec. 21, the clear voices of the

2 While somewhere Up North,
with three days till Christmas,

they’ll be shivering and shoveling

snow, you can spend this Saturday

night, Dec. 22 (aka Christmas Eve- 4 A beloved musical favorite
comes to the Kravis Center in
Eve-Eve) at the beach listening to

jazz under the moon and stars. It’s West Palm this Friday, Dec. 21: a

the Sebastian Inlet State Park’s popu- brand-new production of Rodgers

lar Night Sounds Concert Series De- and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of

cember version, this month bringing Music.” Lose yourself in this Tony-,

to the Inlet’s Coconut Point Pavilion Grammy- and Oscar-winning mu-

the 20th Street Jazz Band, a truly fun- sical, based on the heartwarming,

loving 15-piece band that plays jazz, real-life story of the Von Trapp Fam-

swing and dance tunes – Big Band- ily singers, who became one of the

era faves and newer tunes with Big world’s best-known concert groups

Band-friendly arrangements. You can in the era immediately preceding

bring folding chairs or blankets. Food World War II. While deciding wheth-

is available nearby. Enter from A1A, er she wants to become a nun, Maria,

north side of the Inlet. Time: 7 p.m. to a tomboyish postulant at an Austrian

9 p.m. Admission: free concert with abbey, becomes a governess in the

regular park fees. 772-388-2750. home of widowed naval Capt. Georg

von Trapp and his seven children,

3 If you’re tired of boring straight and brings a new love of life and mu-
walls, even floors and Serious
sic into the home. According to Wiki-

Decor, and are also looking for a su- pedia, von Trapp is ordered to accept

per cool, laid- back watering hole – a commission in the German navy,

with foodstuffs and music – where but he opposes the Nazis, so he and

you can escape the Holiday Crazy for Maria devise a plan to flee Austria

a couple of hours, check out Waldo’s with the children. Many songs from

at the Driftwood Resort. The live mu- the musical have become standards

sic on the oceanside deck this week- such as “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite

end starts Friday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m. to Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,”

11 p.m., with singer/songwriter Brad “Do-Re-Mi,” and the title song, “The

Brock who, says his promo, com- Sound of Music.” Show time: 8 p.m.

bines “the soul of Jimmy Buffett with Tickets: start at $42. 561-832-7469. 


Experience • Grieg
• Sibelius
THE ACO • Copland
• Beethoven and more!

January 15, February 12, March 14, & April 2

Community Church of Vero Beach

CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA Reserve your Tickets

DAVID AMADO Call Box Office : 772.460.0850

Music Director & Conductor Visit:

40 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Hocwolalenctoibosncumraeclehginael dthoacut’ms cehnetwtuinrngeudpNsemwaYllobruk’ssincoesusretssaycsrtoemss

BY ZACHARY R. MIDER AND ZEKE FAUX | BLOOMBERG thing he predicted came true. The following Monday, stool at a Starbucks and recounting the events that
Doug logged in at the office to discover he no lon- killed the Duncans’ business. After a long day spent
Look out, the stranger on the phone warned.They’re ger had access to his bank accounts. A few days on, selling houses for another company, the name tag
coming for you. $52,886.93 disappeared from one of them. The loss pinned to his shirt had flipped upside down like a
set off a chain of events that culminated a month distress signal. “It’s cannibalized our whole life.”
The caller had Janelle Duncan’s attention. Perpet- later in financial ruin. Not long after her agency went
ually peppy at 53, with sparkly jewelry and a glittery bankrupt, Janelle collapsed and was rushed to the Confessions of judgment have been part of Eng-
manicure, Duncan was running a struggling Florida hospital, vomiting bile. lish common law since the Middle Ages, intended as
real estate agency with her husband, Doug. She be- a way to enforce debts without the fuss and expense
gan each day in prayer, a vanilla latte in her hand and As the Duncans soon learned, tens of thousands of of trial. Concerns about their potential abuse are al-
her Maltese Shih Tzu, Coco, on her lap, asking God contractors, florists, and other small-business own- most as old.
for business to pick up. She’d answered the phone ers nationwide were being chewed up by the same
that Friday morning in January hoping it would be a legal process. Behind it all was a group of financiers In Charles Dickens’s 1837 novel The Pickwick Pa-
new client looking for a home in the Tampa suburbs. who lend money at interest rates higher than those pers, a landlady who’s tricked into signing one ends
once demanded by Mafia loan sharks. up in debtors’ prison. Some U.S. states outlawed con-
The man identified himself as a debt counselor. fessions in the middle of the 20th century, and federal
He described a bizarre legal proceeding that he said Rather than breaking legs, these lenders have co- regulators banned them for consumer loans in 1985.
was targeting Duncan without her knowledge. A opted New York’s court system and turned it into a But New York still allows them for business loans.
lender called ABC had filed a court judgment against high-speed debt-collection machine. Government
her in the state of New York and was planning to seize officials enable the whole scheme. A few are even get- For David Glass, they were the solution to a prob-
her possessions. ting rich doing it. lem: People were stealing his money. Among the
hustlers and con men who work the bottom rungs of
“I’m not sure if they already froze your bank ac- The lenders’ weapon of choice is an arcane legal Wall Street, Glass is a legend. Before he was 30, he’d
counts, but they are RIGHT NOW moving to do just document called a confession of judgment. Before inspired the stock-scam movie Boiler Room. Later
that,” he’d written in an email earlier that day. He de- borrowers get a loan, they have to sign a statement busted by the FBI for insider trading, he avoided
scribed the lender as “EXTREMLY AGGRESSIVE.” Her giving up their right to defend themselves if the lend- prison by recording incriminating tapes of his old col-
only hope, the man said, was to pull all her money er takes them to court. It’s like an arbitration agree- leagues. Even his enemies say Glass, who declined to
out of the bank immediately. ment, except the borrower always loses. comment for this story, is one of the sharpest opera-
tors they’ve ever dealt with.
His story sounded fishy to the Duncans. They had Armed with a confession, a lender can, without
borrowed $36,762 from a company called ABC Mer- proof, accuse borrowers of not paying and legally In 2009, while still on probation, Glass and a friend
chant Solutions LLC, but as far as they knew they seize their assets before they know what’s happened. named Isaac Stern started a company called Yel-
were paying the money back on schedule. Doug di- Not surprisingly, some lenders have abused this pow- lowstone Capital LLC. (ABC, the firm that wiped out
aled his contact there and was assured all was well. er. In dozens of interviews and court pleadings, bor- the Duncans, is one of more than a dozen corporate
They checked with a lawyer; he was skeptical, too. rowers describe lenders who’ve forged documents, names used by Yellowstone’s sales force.) Operating
What kind of legal system would allow all that to hap- lied about how much they were owed, or fabricated out of a red-walled office above an Irish bar in New
pen 1,000 miles away without notice or a hearing? defaults out of thin air. York’s financial district, these salespeople phoned
They shrugged off the warning as a scam. bodegas and pizzerias and pitched their owners on
“Somebody just comes in and rips everything loans. The rates sometimes exceeded 400 percent a
But the caller was who he said he was, and every- out,” Doug said one evening in August, pulling up a

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 41


year, and daily payments were required, but borrow- Now, even if a borrower defaulted, a company stood Cash-advance companies have secured more than
ers were desperate. a chance of making a full recovery. By tacking on extra 25,000 judgments in New York since 2012, mostly in
fees, it might even make more money, and faster, than the past two years, according to data on more than
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, banks were if the borrower had never missed a payment. In some 350 lenders compiled by Bloomberg Businessweek.
cutting back on lending just when small businesses cases, the collections process became a profit engine. Those judgments are worth an estimated $1.5 billion.
most needed cash. Companies such as Yellowstone The biggest filer by far, with a quarter of the cases: Yel-
stepped in. They got around lending regulations by Confessions aren’t enforceable in Florida, where the lowstone Capital.
calling what they did “merchant cash advances,” not Duncans signed theirs. But New York’s courts are es-
loans – a distinction judges recognize though there’s pecially friendly to confessions and will accept them The Duncans’ ordeal began in November 2017
little practical difference. from anywhere, so lenders require customers to sign with an unsolicited fax from a broker promising term
documents allowing them to file there. That’s turned loans of as much as $1 million at a cheap rate. The
The same people who’d pushed stock swindles in the state into the industry’s collections department. couple had owned their agency, a Re/Max franchise,
the 1990s and subprime mortgages a decade later for three years and now had 50 employees, but they
started talking small businesses into taking on costly JANELLE AND still weren’t turning a profit. A planned entry into the
debt. The profits were huge, and the industry grew. DOUG DUNCAN mortgage business was proving more expensive than
Last year it extended about $15 billion in credit, ac- expected. Doing some quick math, Doug figured he
cording to an estimate by investment bank Bryant could borrow $800,000 to fund the expansion, pay off
Park Capital. some debt, and come out with a lower monthly pay-
ment. The spam fax felt like a gift from God.
Yellowstone would hire anyone who could sell. A
nightclub bouncer sat next to ultra-Orthodox Jews On the phone, the broker said that to qualify for a big
fresh out of religious school. The best brokers earned loan, Doug would first have to accept a smaller amount
tens of thousands of dollars a month, former employ- and make a few payments as a tryout. He sent over the
ees say; others slept at the office, fought, sold loose paperwork for a cash advance, not a term loan – and in-
cigarettes, and stole from each other. A video posted cluded confessions for both Doug and Janelle to sign.
on YouTube shows Glass firing an employee. “Why Without talking to a lawyer, they did. Why not? Doug
are you still sitting there, fat ass?” he yells. “Get out of thought.They intended to pay the money back on time.
my company!” To keep the troops focused, manage-
ment would stack a pile of cash on a table and hold a The advance turned out to be for $36,762, repaid
drawing for closers. in $800 daily debits from their bank account starting
the day after they got the money. This would continue
Glass’s problem was that some borrowers took Yel- for about three months, until they’d repaid $59,960,
lowstone’s money with no intention of paying it back. amounting to an annualized interest rate of more
Lawsuits against deadbeats proved pointless, dragging than 350 percent. A small price to pay, Doug figured
on for months or years. Then a lawyer who worked for – soon he’d have all the money he needed in cheaper,
Yellowstone and other cash-advance outfits came up longer-term debt. But when he followed up the next
with the idea of requiring borrowers to sign confes- month to inquire about the status of the bigger loan,
sions of judgment before receiving their loans. That he got no response. The trouble started soon after.
way, at the first sign of trouble, lenders could start seiz-
ing assets, catching borrowers unawares. A few hours after learning that their bank accounts
had been frozen, the Duncans met with a local attor-
In May 2012, Yellowstone became what appears to ney, Jeffrey Dowd, in a law office squeezed between a
be the first company in the industry to file a confes- nail salon and a transmission shop. Their bank, Sun-
sion in court. Others copied the trick. The innovation Trust, refused to tell them who was behind the freeze. It
didn’t just make collections easier; it upended the in- wasn’t clear why Yellowstone would target them. Their
dustry’s economics. contact there was still pleading ignorance; the lender
had collected its $800 payment as recently as the pre-
vious business day. Janelle was on the verge of tears.

A broad-shouldered man with a white goatee, Dowd
handles everything from wills to lawsuits for small-
business owners in the Tampa suburbs. After assuring
the Duncans he’d get to the bottom of it, he logged on
to his computer. He soon found a legal website show-
ing that Yellowstone had won a judgment against the
Duncans a few hours after Janelle received the warn-
ing phone call. The lender had gone to a court in the
village of Goshen, 60 miles north of New York City.

“I hereby confess judgment,” read the documents
Doug and Janelle had signed. Attached was a state-
ment signed by the same person at Yellowstone
who’d assured Doug everything was fine. It said the
Duncans had stopped making payments.

That wasn’t true. The Duncans’ bank records show
that Yellowstone had continued to get its daily $800
even after going to court. The company’s sworn state-
ment also inflated the size of the couple’s debt. But
by the time Dowd found the case, it was already over.
A clerk had approved the judgment less than a day
after Yellowstone’s lawyer asked for it. No proof was
demanded, no judge was involved, and the Duncans
didn’t have a chance to present their side in court.

Beau Phillips, a Yellowstone spokesman, said in
an email to Bloomberg that the company was within
its rights, because the Duncans had blocked one
payment and never made up for it. The Duncans re-


42 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


spond that if a block had taken place, it must have overturn. Borrowers rarely try. Few lawyers will take to help them. He told the bank that one of the couple’s
been a computer error. Why stop paying and then re- on a client whose money is already gone, and getting accounts held funds that didn’t belong to them because
sume the next day? a ruling can take months – too long to save a desper- it was used to collect rent on behalf of landlords. Dowd
ate business. It’s a trap with no escape. says a banker at the local branch wanted to help but was
The court papers revealed the name of Yellow- overruled by higher-ups. The account remained frozen.
stone’s lawyer, and on a whim, Dowd searched for Clicking around a database of New York state court A spokesman for SunTrust declined to comment.
her other cases and found more than 1,500 results. records, Dowd did find some cases in which cash-ad-
The Duncans’ predicament was no aberration. “It vance borrowers had sought to overturn judgments. When Dowd finally reached Yellowstone’s lawyer,
was like a rabbit hole,” Dowd says. He dove in, click- They’d almost always failed. New York judges took she referred him to a marshal who she said was han-
ing on case after case after case. the view that debtors waived their rights when they dling the case. Dowd was confused. Why would a U.S.
signed the papers. Dowd concluded it would proba- marshal be involved? His clients weren’t fugitives. He
Goshen, N.Y., is a bucolic stop on the harness-rac- bly cost the Duncans $5,000 to retain a lawyer to trav- called the phone number, and somebody with a Rus-
ing circuit, just west of the Hudson River. Not far from el to Orange County. He advised them not to bother. sian accent answered.
the track, in the Orange County Clerk’s office, women
with ID lanyards around their necks sit behind Plexi- It’s possible that if the Duncans had tried to over- The person on the phone wasn’t a federal official.
glas windows, processing pistol permits and record- turn the judgment, they would have discovered that Dowd had reached the Brooklyn office of Vadim Bar-
ing deeds. One clerk prints out proposed judgments the confessions they’d signed were later altered. The barovich, who holds the title of New York City mar-
sent electronically by cash-advance companies and signed originals contain an apparent drafting error, shal. He’d stumbled onto an arcane feature of the
makes them official with three rubber stamps. failing to identify the Duncans’ company as subject to city’s government that’s become another powerful
the judgment, a flaw that might have prevented Yel- tool for cash-advance companies.
Orange is one of a handful of counties in upstate lowstone from seizing their money.
New York that together handle an outsize share of the NewYork’s 35 marshals are government officers, ap-
nation’s cash-advance collections. Industry lawyers In the version filed in court, someone had replaced pointed by the mayor, who collect private debts. They
pick offices known to sign judgments quickly; there’s the first two pages of each confession with the mis- evict tenants and tow cars, city badges dangling from
no need for the borrower or lender to have a connec- take corrected. Asked about the discrepancy, Phillips their necks. When they recover money, they get a fee
tion to the area. didn’t provide an explanation. of 5 percent. The office dates to Dutch colonial days,
formed by a decree of Peter Stuyvesant’s council. Fees
In even smaller Ontario County, cash-advance fil- Borrowers have accused Yellowstone of forgery be- for the biggest jobs were initially set at a dozen stivers,
ings make up about three-quarters of the civil casel- fore. Just in the past year, a Georgia contractor present- less than one-tenth the price of a beaver pelt.
oad. No matter how abusive the confessions might be, ed evidence in court that a confession used against him
clerks have no choice but to continue processing them, was a complete fabrication, and a Maryland trucker Barbarovich’s office is in the immigrant enclave of
says Kelly Eskew, a deputy clerk in Orange County. complained toYellowstone that a key term in his confes- Sheepshead Bay. Before he was appointed in 2013,
sion had been changed after the fact, as had happened he’d tracked inventory at a Brooklyn hospital and vol-
To obtain a judgment, a lawyer for a cash-advance with the Duncans. The company backed off from those unteered as a Russian translator. He’s now the go-to
company must send in the confession along with a borrowers but faced no further consequences. Phillips marshal for the cash-advance business and has got-
sworn affidavit explaining the default and how much declined to comment on the accusations. ten rich in the process. Last year, city records show,
is still owed. The clerk accepts the statement as fact he cleared $1.7 million after expenses.
and enters a judgment without additional review. While Dowd didn’t challenge the ruling against the
Duncans in court, he did think he could get SunTrust As soon as Yellowstone had obtained its judgment
Once signed, this judgment is almost impossible to

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 43


against the Duncans, it had sent a copy to Barbarov- as long as the bank has an office in the city, as SunTrust all of it was rent money the Duncans were holding for
ich, who issued legal orders demanding money from does. A few big banks refuse to comply with the orders, landlords, not their own funds.
Atlanta-based SunTrust and another bank in Ala- but most just hand over their customers’ money.
bama where the couple kept their personal funds. Barbarovich didn’t respond to questions about
SunTrust proved accommodating. Three days af- the couple’s case but said in an email that he follows
By law, NewYork marshals’ authority is limited to the ter freezing the Duncans’ accounts, it took $52,886.93 the rules when issuing a demand for money. Phil-
city’s five boroughs, but a loophole vastly extends their and mailed a check to Barbarovich, enough to satisfy lips, the Yellowstone spokesman, said no one told the
reach: They’re allowed to demand out-of-state funds the judgment plus the 5 percent marshal’s fee. Almost

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‘Forever’problems divide us. ‘Now’problems bring us together.

Shortly after dawn on a recent morning, a friend people have hardly any money; others have unimagi- the cause or even the definition of a problem, we’re
of mine donned a red apron and began ringing a nable mountains of it.Versions of this reality have per- not on the brink of a solution. There’s a reason we can
handbell next to a Salvation Army kettle. plexed the world for ages, and it remains a defining read of this problem on papyrus scrolls and in me-
political question for 21st-century Americans. Some dieval libraries, in Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens and
Millions do this every year, and like most of them, see it primarily as a problem of educational opportu- Toni Morrison: It is a forever problem. In Matthew’s
my friend is not a member of the Salvation Army, nity. Some see it as a matter of taxation. Some see it as account of his ministry, Jesus said: “The poor you will
nor does he require any of the services the venerable a question of corporate control. Some see it as a mat- always have with you.” Despite centuries of thought
charity provides to people around the world. It was a ter of family structure. Some see it as a manifestation and hard work, of debate and revolutions, that fore-
chance to be of service, and he seized it. of greed – a moral failing. Some see it as a manifesta- cast remains accurate.
tion of slow growth – an economic question.
Ho hum, you might say. And that’s precisely the Timely access to effective and affordable health
point. I record this scene because it is perfectly ordi- It is safe to say that when the public can’t agree on care seems to be another forever problem. So, too,
nary. This land is a hive of helpers. You see them ev- is the education young people need to build happy,
erywhere this time of year, at their red kettles and food productive lives. Much of what we hear our politi-
banks, their coat drives and collection bins, shovel- cians and pundits arguing about week in and week
ing their neighbors’ driveways and delivering Toys for out is entangled in forever problems. They are
Tots. But the sharing impulse is year-round, so much thorny and frustrating and often divisive. Their very
a part of our communities that it’s background noise. complexity invites oversimplified answers and lines
in the sand. The politics of forever problems give us
People are tutoring in schools, cleaning up parks the feeling that the nation is hopelessly divided, im-
and rivers, building playgrounds, running PTAs, potent and helpless in the grip of our challenges.
guiding museum tours, comforting folks at hos-
pitals, mentoring young adults, visiting nursing But as much as forever problems push us apart,
homes, coaching Special Olympians. They serve on right-now problems tend to bring us together. These
school boards and town councils and on boards of are the human-scaled, ground-level vicissitudes of
charitable organizations. life, and though we cannot erase them, we routinely
pitch in to soften their edges without a moment’s
People are riding bicycles, running 10Ks, walking thought about political differences. We may not be
long distances to fight disease and suffering. People able to agree on the future of health care, but give us
are carrying lasagna to the grief-stricken and haul- a family down the street with cancer in their midst,
ing outgrown clothes to nonprofit thrift stores. Peo- and we’ll figure out how to get meals to them during
ple are building houses, planting trees, fighting fires. chemo.
And they are opening their checkbooks, their PayPal
accounts, their Google Wallets: Last year, Americans As the man said: There are a thousand points of
donated a record $410 billion to charities, according light. So let us not be discouraged by the difficulty of
to Giving USA. forever problems, but in seeking their solutions, may
we draw on the goodwill of the bellringers, the child
This urge to pitch in knows no age, no race, no comforters, the feeders of the hungry, the soothers
gender, no income level. And refreshingly, no poli- of the sick. They aren’t the noisy ones, but you can
tics. find them on every boulevard and in every burg. Ad
hoc and undirected, they face the right-now prob-
I think we face two kinds of problems in this world: lems with a unifying resolve. They are the glue, and
forever problems and right-now problems. Forever the glory, of our persistently imperfect human soci-
problems are those persistent challenges, vast and ety, the better angels of our nature taking wing. 
complex, that humans confront but seldom solve.
They touch so many facets of our nature and the so- This column by David Von Drehle originally ap-
cial order, and are so entangled with one another, peared in The Washington Post.
that they transcend the personal to become political.

Take, for example, the distribution of wealth. Some


Part V, Staging and Grading Measures aggressiveness, how fast
the cancer is likely to spread and grow
Once the diagnosis of prostate cancer has been confirmed While staging looks at where the prostate cancer is present in
through a pathologist’s microscopic analysis of biopsy or surgi- the body – how it is behaving overall – grading describes what
cal tissue, an assessment of the stage and grade of the cancer the actual cancerous tissue and gland structure look like under
helps determine treatment options. a microscope.
STAGE Currently, most prostate cancer grading is described according
to the Gleason Score, which scores cancerous tissue from 1 to
Measures if and how far the cancer has spread 5 as it changes from normal to tumor tissue. Tissue classified
The most widely used staging system for prostate cancer is closest to 1 is considered “low-grade” and tends to look similar
the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) TNM system, to normal cells. Tissues closest to 5 are considered “high-grade,”
which was most recently updated in January 2018. having mutated so much they barely resemble normal cells.
TNM stands for tumor, nodes and metastasis: The pathologist looking at the biopsy sample assigns a Gleason
T The extent of the main (primary) tumor grade to the most predominant pattern in the patient’s biopsy
N Whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph and a second Gleason grade to the second most predominant
nodes pattern. For example: 3 + 4. The two grades are added together
M Whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to to determine the Gleason score (between 2 and 10). Generally
other parts of the body speaking, cancers with lower Gleason scores (2–4) tend to be
Staging also includes the PSA level at the time of diagnosis, if less aggressive, while cancers with higher Gleason scores (7–10)
available, and the grade group (explained below). tend to be more aggressive. For example, a score of 9 is an ag-
The “T” stage is determined through a digital rectal exam and gressive cancer; a score of 6 can possibly be followed.
imaging tests such as an ultrasound scan, CT scan and MRI. The Gleason Score is reported on a biopsy pathology report.
Staging imaging tests show if and where the cancer has spread Grading quantifies the aggressiveness of the tumor. Low-
to lymph nodes, bones or other parts of the body. Imaging grade, or low-risk, prostate cancer usually grows slowly and
tests are generally ordered for men with a Gleason grade of is less likely to spread. Higher grade prostate cancer may be
7 or higher and a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test more likely to grow quickly and spread to other body parts. 
level higher than 10 (4 is usually considered normal). Your comments and suggestions for future topics are always
Staging describes the location of the prostate cancer in the welcome. Email us at [email protected].

48 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


Since 2014, Nathaniel Philbrick has IN THE HURRICANE'S EYE fleet was headed to the Chesapeake; it Mariot Arbuthnot, the bloodthirsty
been narrating the story of America’s was now up to the combined American cavalry commander Banastre Tarleton,
struggle for independence. In “Bun- THE GENIUS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON and French ground forces to cover by the genial Marquis de Lafayette and the
ker Hill,” he focused on the earliest AND THE VICTORY AT YORKTOWN foot the 550 miles from White Plains, callous Lord Cornwallis, but the central
confrontation between the British N.Y., to rendezvous with Adm. Comte figure – the man who overshadows all
and American armies, and in “Valiant BY NATHANIEL PHILBRICK | VIKING. 366 PP. $30 de Grasse. The Comte de Rochambeau, others – is Gen. George Washington.
Ambition,” he reconstructed Benedict REVIEW BY CAROL BERKIN, THE WASHINGTON POST commander of the French troops trav-
Arnold’s path to treason. In his lat- eling with Washington’s Continental As commander in chief, Washing-
est book, “In the Hurricane’s Eye: The one captured militia officer declared to soldiers, was not optimistic about their ton knew he must live up to the image
Genius of George Washington and the Arnold, if he had fallen into the hands success. As Washington’s translator, the of a man whose “brow is sometimes
Victory at Yorktown,” he picks up this of the Americans, they “would first cut Marquis de Chastellux, put it, Rocham- marked with thought, but never with
saga in 1780, as Washington and his off that lame leg, which was wounded beau “sees everything darkly … never inquietude.” In the face of mounting
Continental Army, low on supplies, in the cause of freedom and virtue, and foreseeing anything but a total defec- frustration with the French, intense dis-
idle and restless, wait anxiously for the bury it with the honors of the war, and tion on the part of the Americans.” appointment with the American pub-
French navy to come to their aid. What afterwards hang the remainder of your lic’s response to the Army’s needs and a
follows is a tension-filled and riveting body in gibbets.” Rochambeau would prove wrong. growing fear the American cause would
account of the alliance that assured Ragged and driven beyond endurance, be lost, Washington struggled to main-
American independence. But the loss of Arnold was far from Washington’s men persevered, and tain his equanimity. His victory over his
the only thing troubling Washington. together, the revolution’s military and temper, Philbrick suggests, was as im-
Philbrick is a master of narrative, and For many months, he had nurtured a naval forces would bring Cornwallis portant as his victory over Cornwallis.
he does not disappoint as he provides fervent wish that the French navy would to his knees. This is the moment Phil-
a meticulous and often hair-raising ac- mount a joint effort with his army to brick has been building to, and he re- To his credit, Philbrick resists the
count of a naval war between France recapture New York City. The French, creates the battle between de Grasse’s temptation to descend into hagiogra-
and England and a land war that pitted however, had other plans: an assault on navy and Adm. Thomas Graves’ British phy. Washington, he admits, defended
American and French troops against Lord Charles Cornwallis’ army at York- warships and the military siege of Yor- slavery and was not free of racial bias.
British regulars and Loyalist volun- town. A bitter Washington knew he was ktown with all the drama they deserve. But the contrast with Lord Cornwal-
teers. The French government, Phil- in no position to argue. In late July 1781, lis on the treatment of black refugees
brick reminds us, was driven less by a Washington received word that a French Not everyone will find Philbrick’s is illuminating. In the final days of the
commitment to American liberty than detailed coverage of naval and military Yorktown siege, Cornwallis summarily
by a desire for revenge against its impe- engagements easy to follow or fully exiled the African-American refugees
rial rival, England. This explains why its engaging. This should not deter read- in his encampment, sending them into
navy expended much of its energy in ers, however, for despite the author’s the woods without weapons or sup-
1779 and early 1780 on thwarted hopes obvious relish in recounting the battles plies. An American soldier recalled the
to invade England. on sea and land, those engagements result of this decision. “We saw in the
are not the entire focus of the book. woods herds of Negroes which Lord
With no navy of their own, the Amer- Philbrick has a second, perhaps more Cornwallis … had turned adrift with
icans remained confined to land op- compelling theme: how the character no other recompense for their confi-
erations in 1780 and 1781, as they had of men shapes the history they make. dence in his humanity than the small-
been throughout the war. By the win- pox for their bounty and starvation
ter of 1780, Continental Army morale Hurricanes may destroy ships as if and death for their wages. They might
was low – and it would sink even deep- they were matchsticks; the sea may be seen scattered about in every direc-
er in early 1781 when news reached swallow up men; the topography of the tion, dead and dying with pieces of ears
Washington that Benedict Arnold had land may defeat armies. Yet how men of burnt Indian corn in the hands and
escaped capture after pillaging Rich- respond to the man-made hurricanes mouths, even of those that were dead.”
mond. Although the British soldiers that whirl around them lies at the heart Washington was willing to let masters
serving under Arnold viewed him with of the story. In developing this theme, reclaim enslaved men and women, but
disdain, their feelings paled before the Philbrick offers finely drawn portraits of he was never willing to send them di-
hatred nurtured in American hearts. As men whose characters shaped history. rectly to their doom. 
These include the self-absorbed Adm.

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50 Vero Beach 32963 / December 20, 2018 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™


company that the money belonged to by cash-advance judgments that he’s One sunny day that month, he walked ahead of schedule and tack on $9,990
third parties until seven weeks after it had to sell furniture to buy food. to a wooded area near his home, swal- in extra legal fees, payable to a law
was seized. Even then, Yellowstone re- lowed a bottle of an oxycodone painkill- firm in which it owns a stake. In about
fused to return it. He’s one of many borrowers who’ve er, and began streaming video to Face- three months, the company and its af-
received nasty threats from debt col- book. To anyone who might have been filiates almost doubled their money. At
The Duncans scrambled to make up lectors. A Yellowstone executive named watching, he explained that he’d taken that rate of return, one dollar could be
the shortfall. Doug got another, larger Steve Davis texted one borrower: “I out cash advances in a failed attempt to turned into 10 in less than a year.
cash advance from a different company will watch you crash and burn.” Asked save his business. Now the lenders had
to keep afloat.The daily payments on that about the messages, Davis says, “Peo- seized his accounts, Bush said, his voice Everyone else involved in the collec-
loan were too much for them to handle, ple defraud us. When that happens we wavering. One had even grabbed his fa- tion process got a slice, too. SunTrust
though, and they were soon short of cash have to do what’s best for us.” ther’s retirement money. got a $100 processing fee. Barbarovich’s
again. Sensing trouble, employees fled. office got approximately $2,700, with
Jerry Bush, who ran a plumbing busi- “I signed ’em, I take the blame for it,” about $120 of that passed along to the
One evening, Janelle thought she ness with his father in Roanoke, Va., he said. “This will be my last video. I am city. The Orange County Clerk’s office
was having a heart attack. Her pulse signed confessions for at least six cash taking this on me.” He asked his friends got $41 for its rubber stamps. The New
raced, her limbs went numb, and she advances from companies including Yel- to take care of his family, then sobbed York state court system got $184.
grew nauseous. An ambulance rushed lowstone, taking one loan after another as as he told his wife and teenage son he
her to the hospital. Her heart was fine. his payments mounted to $18,000 a day. loved them. To date, no state or federal regulator
Her insurance claim was denied. has tried to police the merchant-cash-
In January, Davis called him while Someone who saw the video alerted advance industry. Its lawyers designed
Unlike the Duncans, most of the doz- he was accompanying his wife to the police. They found Bush uncon- it to avoid scrutiny, sidestepping usury
ens of borrowers interviewed by Bloom- a chemotherapy appointment and scious in the woods a few hours later laws and state licensing requirements
berg really did fall behind on their debt threatened him with the confession in – he credits them with saving his life. by keeping the word“loan” out of paper-
payments. Their experiences were no a dispute over payment terms. Davis But the pressure from his confessions work and describing the deals as cash
less wrenching. They spoke of divorce, of denies menacing Bush, but according of judgment hasn’t relented. “I wake advances against future revenue. And
lost friendships, of unpaid medical bills. to Bush’s account of their conversation, up every morning afraid what else they because the customers are technically
Davis said he would pursue Bush un- will take,” he says. “And every morning businesses, not individuals, consumer
“You can’t defend yourself,” says til his death and take all of his money, I throw up blood.” protection laws don’t apply, either.
Richard Schilg, the owner of a human leaving nothing to pay for his wife’s
resources company in Ohio who bor- treatment. Bush also says Davis then Bush’s contracts with Yellowstone With regulators sidelined and law-
rowed hundreds of thousands of dol- offered to send flowers to Bush’s wife. show that the company advanced him a makers oblivious, Yellowstone and its
lars with at least six advances. “As long total of about $250,000 and that he paid peers keep growing. After Glass stepped
as you still have a business, as long In August, Bush closed his business, them back more than $600,000. Davis, back a couple of years ago from day-to-
you have a personal checking account, laid off his 20 employees, and stopped who parted ways with Yellowstone in day operations – his criminal record
they’re going to hound you. Your life is making payments on his loans. Yellow- August, says he didn’t mistreat Bush or was making it harder to find investors
ruined by their contract.” Schilg says he stone never filed its signed confession other borrowers and always followed the – Wall Street investment bankers ar-
always tried to honor his debts. But his in court, but other lenders went after company’s protocols. “You know why ranged a $120 million line of credit to
access to money has been so restricted him over theirs. people put the blame on me is because finance more advances.
I’m successful,” he says. “It’s just haters.”
In 2016 the company moved from its
As for the Duncans, each morning grimy downtown Manhattan offices to
at their house still begins with a prayer a shiny building in Jersey City, pocket-
and a Bible verse. Their retirement sav- ing $3 million in state tax incentives.
ings evaporated with their agency, but On Instagram, a top salesman shows
they’ve been able to keep their house. off flights on private jets, a diamond-
They continue to believe God has a encrusted watch, and a Lamborghini.
plan for every one of his children, but Yellowstone advanced $553 million last
they’ve learned to trust some of those year, its highest total ever.
children less. “If we don’t have peace
from God, and we live in outrage, it de- In April, on the same day Janelle Dun-
stroys us,” Janelle says. “So I’m choos- can was selling the last of her office fur-
ing to have hope to start again, and niture, Yellowstone executives marked
we’re relying on the Lord to replace the company’s ninth anniversary with a
what the enemy has stolen and turn it luncheon in Jersey City. In a celebratory
around for good.” email marking the occasion, Stern, the
co-founder, wrote, “I am continually
By seizing their bank deposits,Yellow- blown away at the success and achieve-
stone had managed to collect its money ments we continue to have.” 

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