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Published by Vero Beach 32963 Media, 2017-05-18 12:12:36

05/18/2017 ISSUE 20


Zany-thing goes! P14 Vitamin ‘D’-fense. P28 Wheels in motion

Not Quite Right improv troupe Study says it can help prevent Cycle Jam benefits Space Coast
keeps audiences in stitches. ulcerative colitis flare-ups. Early Intervention Center. PAGE 10


Mom-and-pop A heartbreaking
stores still find tribute to their
favor beachside beloved teacher

STORY BY BILL SOKOLIC STAFF WRITER Students honor popular teacher Aimee Greenberg Phillips, 40, who died suddenly last week. PHOTO: BENJAMIN THACKER STORY BY STACI DONOVAN Correspondent
[email protected] [email protected]

Tom Fletcher lives in the Herbert J. Hoover Middle
southern part of Melbourne School students were in a state
Beach. The Publix market on of shock last week after popular
South A1A is a few miles away. teacher Aimee Greenberg Phil-
But he frequents Melbourne lips, 40, died suddenly from an
Beach Market on Ocean Av- undiagnosed brain tumor.
enue, the primary retail drag
in a town with far fewer shops Phillips taught eighth-grade
than its neighbors to the north. English, chaired the yearbook
committee and coached cheer,
“I like the diversity of the track and dance. Students de-
store,” said Fletcher as he scribed her as funny, inspi-
shopped with his 3-year-old rational and caring. “She was
son, Jack, on May 13, citing the teacher everyone always
the selections of wine and wanted and wished they got,”
beer, and the deli, among oth- said Savannah Smith. “If any of
er attractions. “This store also the students needed to talk to


Possibility of 1,300 more Air Force Track backers sought–and got–unanimous support
jobs has fingers crossed in Brevard
STORY BY GEORGE WHITE STAFF WRITER ists for the unit, which will [email protected] Upgrades are on the way for the Satellite Beach High School track. PHOTO: BENJAMIN THACKER
[email protected] train battlefield airmen in res-
cue operations, combat con- Satellite Beach residents
A cautious excitement trol, tactical air control and who want the Satellite
about big-time economic ben- Beach High School track
efit is building among Brevard CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 upgraded and opened to
County officials as they await the public do not take the
an Air Force decision about matter lightly. At all.
the location of its Battlefield
Airman Training Center, which Even after getting a 4-1
could bring as many as 1,300 vote from the City Council
additional Air Force personnel on April 5 approving the
to the area. track renovations, support-
ers of the plan showed up
The Air Force announced in force at a town hall meet-
in July that Patrick Air Force
Base was among eight final- CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

ADVERTISING: 772-559-4187 | CIRCULATION: 772-226-7925 All in for Casablanca

NEWS 1-8 FAITH 22 PEOPLE 9-12 Casino night fundraiser
ARTS 13-16 GAMES 23-25 PETS 33 cashes in for ‘Streets to Home
DINING 31 INSIGHT 17-26 Movement.’ PAGE 8


2 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


AIR FORCE BASE delighted when they heard about Pat- man, president of the Florida’s Space center, the effort to win the program
rick being short-listed for the training Coast Economic Development Com- has been worthwhile, according to
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 program because “the economic im- mission have traveled to Washington, Capote.
pact of this project is huge and we are D.C. to lobby for Patrick AFB as the lo-
special operations. The final deci- excited to be in the running, or Patrick cation of the new program. “Most [military bases] are down-
sion was expected this spring but is. We happen to be the city that has sizing and moving training facilities
that date has now slipped to sum- the facility they are going to utilize. “Over the years the value of the EDC to different areas or shutting them
mer, partly due to the change of ad- This annex has been sitting idle for a visiting with Pentagon leadership has down completely. Here, you are in
ministrations in Washington. while and gets minimal use by the Air proven to be worthwhile,” Weather- a unique situation because the De-
Force but now it could really become man said. “From the Pentagon per- partment of Defense wants to build
While Patrick AFB would host the an asset for the strategic plans Patrick spective it provides the opportunity to somewhere and your city is men-
unit, a 650-acre Air Force Annex in has in store,’’ Capote said. learn about the culture here and get a tioned in the discussion. That’s huge.
Palm Bay, located on Minton Road sense of the commitment we have for That puts us, Brevard County and
between Palm Bay and Malabar Brevard County Commissioner Curt our installations,” Weatherman said. Palm Bay, on the map. I’m optimis-
roads, is key to the bid, said Palm Bay Smith, former County Commissioner tic. We’re down to the finalists. We got
Mayor William Capote. Andy Anderson, and Lynda Weather- Whether or not the Patrick/Palm this far, and that’s huge,” he said. 
Bay location is selected for the training
He said Palm Bay officials were

TEACHER MEMORIAL and expressing their disbelief that her
life was over so quickly.
Mackenzie Quirarte, a high school
someone, she would always be the per- friend, set up a table with stones that peo-
son they would go to,” said Olivia Gaff- ple could paint with special messages for
ney. Her classroom door is locked for the family. “My plan is to place them in
now and covered with flowers and notes our back yard and when she (Charlotte)
from Hoover students and staff. is older she can read how important her
mother was to all of us,” Brandon wrote
Meanwhile, Phillips’ loved ones have on Phillips’ memorial page.
been dressed in purple, using purple
pens and wearing purple ribbons, and Scrapbooking was one of Phillips’ pas-
sporting dragonflies in various forms, in sions, so her sister Stacey is putting to-
her memory. gether a memory book, asking for loved
ones to submit written recollections on
“Aimee’s favorite color is purple,” her the Aimee Greenberg Phillips Memo-
sister Stacey Greenberg said, adding that rial Facebook page by June 18 to be in-
dragonflies also came to signify a good cluded in the book. Friends also set up
omen to Aimee. “When my father passed a Go Fund Me Page to help with raising
in 2004, my sister had many dragonflies Charlotte.
around her and we took it as a sign my
dad is OK. She then picked the dragonfly Born in Orlando to Donald Greenberg,
theme when decorating her daughter’s a veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and
room. For her baby shower, the theme the Navy, and Loretta Greenberg, Phillips
was dragonflies with lavender and silver- moved with her family to Satellite Beach
gray.” in 1991. She graduated from Satellite
High School and went on to earn a degree
Phillips, a Satellite Beach resident, left in organizational management from Rol-
behind her husband Branden Phillips, a lins College. Throughout college, Phillips
firefighter for the City of Melbourne, and served as a clerk in the human resources
their infant daughter Charlotte, just 1 department for the 920th Rescue Squad-
year old. ron at Patrick Air Force Base.

More than 200 people showed up for Aimee married Branden Phillips on
a Friday evening celebration of Phillips’ Valentine’s Day 2004, and after 10 years
life at Pelican Beach House in Satellite of trying to start a family, they finally
Beach. Her friends and family dressed welcomed Charlotte in 2016 – a dream
in purple and spent the bittersweet eve- come true.
ning sharing their fondest memories

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 3


Though Phillips had only been with present smile whose sense of fun was the hospital – but a CT scan showed a Her heart was donated for medical re-
Brevard Schools since 2013, and taught contagious. blockage in her brain and it was, tragi- search.
at Melbourne High School before com- cally, too late.
ing to Hoover, she bonded with the Complaining of a headache, Phillips As the Hoover family and the commu-
entire beachside school community. went to Urgent Care on May 5. Later Aimee Greenberg Phillips was an nity begin to heal from their stunning loss,
Countless friends and colleagues re- that night, she passed out. Her husband organ donor and her death report- Branden told friends on his social media,
member her as a person with an ever- worked to revive her until the ambu- edly provided a new life for four very appropriately in purple letters – “Feeling
lance rushed arrived and rushed her to sick people on transplant waiting lists. peaceful – I got my dragonfly today.” 

4 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


RETAIL STORES space Realty, said Melbourne Beach gas station. “The pool supply business, Businesses with a connection to the
is a throwback to a generation when surf shop, pharmacy, jewelry, bait and beach are especially popular beach-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 mom-and-pop stores ruled retail, be- tackle and grocery stores seem to be side. Hence, the presence of surf shops
fore the rise of malls and mega-stores. solid, stable businesses,” Simmons up and down the coast. Nothing spells
has a unique feel to it. They carry this That model is working in the close-knit said. “They have each been in their beach more than a surf shop.
great hot sauce that’s hard to find.” beachside town. locations quite a while and have ad-
justed their products and services as Even with a preponderance of brick-
There’s another reason Fletcher pre- “There are no vacancies in Mel- needed to fit their markets.” and-mortar stores, the e-commerce
fers the market. “I appreciate local busi- bourne Beach,” Romano said. “The revolution has still made inroads. Most
nesses.” economy is good.” “There are way more retail areas in small local businesses on the island
Indialantic so there is more opportu- have websites and Facebook pages.
In an age of ever increasing inter- Retail is also thriving in neighbor- nity for franchises to come in and pay Savers Drug Mart in Melbourne Beach
net shopping when even many big box ing towns to the north like Indialantic, a higher dollar amount to lease,” said allows refills online as major chains do.
stores like HH Gregg and Sports Author- Indian Harbour Beach and Satellite Anthony Romero, who handles com-
ity can’t survive and department-store Beach. But these towns have elected to mercial accounts at Dale Sorensen “Logically all businesses are affected
chains struggle to keep afloat, the small include in their retail mix chain stores Real Estate in Indialantic. by the online phenomenon,” Cudmore
businesses that form the business back- such as CVS, Walmart, Lowe’s Home said.“But such a local business has some
bone of beachside towns succeed by of- Improvement, Bealls Department Romero said while a handful of va- sort of protection from online sales.”
fering something larger markets don’t Store and Publix, most along A1A. You cancies exist in Indialantic, it certainly
and tapping into the “buy local” men- won’t find such establishments in Mel- doesn’t spell a downward trend. Nationwide, 8.1 percent of sales last
tality of residents and visitors. bourne Beach and that’s just the way year came from e-commerce, accord-
the town likes it. “This is a great retail environment and ing to the National Retail Federation.
“I carry stuff the competition does doing better. Indialantic – and the other That is a dramatic increase from 2012
not,” said Charlie Zubi, who owns “Melbourne Beach’s Town Charter island communities – have become when just 5 percent of retail sales took
Melbourne Beach Market and stocks says we are a residential community more and more desirable,” he said. place online, but it isn’t about to push
a wide selection of wine from Greece, with limited businesses to serve the physical stores off the map altogether.
India and similar locales. The store in- needs of the residents,” Mayor Jim The common thread running up
cludes a fresh meat counter, New York- Simmons said. Zoning limits retail to and down A1A is that beachside resi- “While the fastest growth is online,
style pizza and almost any tea or soft Ocean Avenue east of Oak Street plus a dents seek a respite from the main- this is not us versus them,” said Na-
drink imaginable. few other small areas. land when it comes to shopping. tional Retail Federation CEO Matthew
Shay. “A sale is a sale. Seven out of the
Zubi said the diversity attracts clien- “We can’t accommodate a lot of re- “When you cross the bridge it’s like go- top 10 and 21 of the top 25 largest e-
tele from all over, not just Melbourne tail and have no locations that would ing on vacation; you don’t want to ven- commerce platforms are operated by
Beach. “With the competition from easily accommodate a big chain,” ture out from there,” said Dr. B. Andrews brick-and-mortar retailers. The most
the big boys, I have to be different,” he Simmons said. Cudmore, professor at the Nathan Bisk successful retailers are figuring out
said. College of Business at Florida Institute how to use all channels, creating a
Many Melbourne Beach business- of Technology. “People go to places they seamless shopping experience for their
For the most part, the appeal is as es are service oriented – restaurants, relate to. They want to have coffee or customers.” 
much nostalgic as is it convenient. bars, hair salons/barbers, real estate, a food and hang out on the island.”
Realtor Lee Romano, of Re/Max Aero-

VERO BEACH 32963 Media LLC HIGH SCHOOL TRACK the high school track team.
PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER: MILTON R. BENJAMIN Because the town hall meeting held
772-559-4187, [email protected] at Montecito was strictly informa-
ing last week to confront Councilman tional, Brimer said he would officially
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: DAN ALEXANDER Mark Brimer – the sole no vote – and reverse his vote at the next city coun-
772-539-2700, [email protected] pressure him to change his stance and cil meeting.
get behind the plan.
MANAGING EDITOR: STEVEN M. THOMAS “I was just wanting to make sure it
772-453-1196, [email protected] Brimer, who was asked at the meet- wasn’t going to be vandalized,” he said.
ing why he was reluctant to endorse
To learn about the cost-effective advertising rates being offered in the plan, agreed to change his vote With the planned improvements,
The Melbourne Beachsider, please contact our advertising from no to yes after being assured ear- the track is expected to become a des-
representatives listed below: lier that day by school officials that tination for regional high school track
DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: JUDY DAVIS the track would still be secure if it was meets and a favorite training place for
772-633-1115, [email protected] opened to the public. community runners who will benefit
ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES from a new high-tech rubberized sur-
His surprise announcement face that protects runners’ bodies by
LILLIAN BELMONT, 321-604-7833, [email protected] prompted a cheer by the group, cushioning the shock of heels pound-
WILL GARDNER, 407-361-2150, [email protected] which included several stars from ing the ground.
KATHLEEN MACGLENNON, 772-633-0753, [email protected]
To talk about stories, or invite us to cover social and charitable events, MAY OWE YOU A CHECK!
call 772-453-1196 or email us at [email protected].

Call now for a free inspection and claim review.

Marilyn J Dummitt (License P165201)

This is a solicitation for business. If you have had a claim for an insured property loss or damage,
and you are satisfied with the payment by your insurer, you may disregard this advertisement.

Katee and Mike Cerqua.

‘Casablanca’ casino
night cashes in
to help homeless

8 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Tara Pariso and Joseph Kline. PHOTOS: BENJAMIN THACKER Keri Donald and Greg Pallone. Anthony and Arlene Palermo.

Melanie Schrader and Louise McLean. Joe Skeen, James Kaczinski and Mike Wilson. Jarin Eisenberg, Gary Johnston and Iris Graham. Sam and Corrine Rathjen.

‘Casablanca’ casino night cashes in to help homeless

STORY BY CYNTHIA VAN GAASBECK CORRESPONDENT chances for the cause at authentic According to Joe Kline, executive to Home, Arthur was given a place to
[email protected] gaming tables offering blackjack, director of the SBSC, the initiative has live and the help to make it perma-
roulette, craps and poker as they helped put roofs over the heads of 103 nent.
Gambling and luck go hand in hand, sampled Hell ’N Blazes’ craft beers adults and 21 children since 2016, a
as do big hearts and open wallets. and hors d’oeuvres from downtown very real indicator of its success. “He still goes out there every day;
With so many worthy causes seeking restaurants. For the high rollers, a that’s how he supports himself. So
support, it doesn’t hurt to make dona- room in the back offered a poker tour- “I want to thank every single one of buy a card from Arthur,” Kline en-
tion pitches fun for philanthropists. nament with a Las Vegas getaway for you here tonight for coming out and treated.
The South Brevard Sharing Center two among the grand prizes. More supporting the Street to Home and
did just that last Thursday when or- than $35,000 in donated prizes were its mission to transform lives and Securing housing is only one facet
ganizers rolled back time to A Night offered in raffles and silent-auction change our community,” said Kline. of service to their clients, explained
in Casablanca to benefit its Street to baskets. SBSC board member and event co-
Home Movement. Kline pointed out one raffle item chair Brandy Mammay.
Luck, the bad kind, often is a fac- that was especially significant to the
Hell ’N Blazes Brewing Co. in His- tor in homelessness. It has been said organizers, a piece of art created by “We have case managers that are
toric Downtown Melbourne played that many Americans are just one downtown artist Arthur. Regulars ensuring their success in their tran-
its part for this fourth annual casino paycheck away from the being on the of the shopping and dining district sition. They are educating them on
fundraiser by transforming into a streets. One needn’t look very hard know him as the man who draws and things like budgets and how to pay
gambling den and watering hole for to see signs of homelessness in our colors cards on a park bench for do- bills,” she said. “We ensure our cli-
the desperate and dangerous inhab- own back yard. With an estimated nations. But what many do not know ents’ overall health. So whether that
itants of a World War II-era North Af- 125 homeless people living in South is that Arthur was for years homeless. is medical, mental health or addic-
rica. Brevard, it is a quiet crisis. And that’s At nightfall, Arthur would pack up tion, we make sure that they are con-
where Street to Home comes into play. his art supplies and bed down rough, nected with the right resources.”
Roughly 200 ladies and gentlemen whatever the weather. Through Street
dressed in 1940s attire took their Their work, she said, is about break-
ing cycles. 

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 9


Brenda and Lawrence Popritkin. Joyce and Larry Boudrie. Jordan Farrell and Molly Stroud.




Justin Cercone and Andrea Neilson.

Virginia and Juan Cearra.

Gemi and Alexander Weaver. AT DISCOUNTS UP TO $20,000!


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All prices plus tax, tag, title and dealer fee of $599.50. Vehicles subject to prior sale. Discounts may include loyalty or conquest rebates. See dealer for details.

10 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Morris Richardson and Jim Clemons. PHOTOS: RYAN CLAPPER

Steven Lavoie. Fred Mendiola and Junny. Mary and David Grider. Zyad Hajo and Matt Tremmel.

Marcus Ingeldsen, Erik Sandberg and Doug Emerick. Terri Clark. Roz Weiss and Amar Patel from the Brevard Achievement Center.

Wheels turn for early intervention at Cycle Jam

STORY BY CYNTHIA VAN GAASBECK CORRESPONDENT perused tables of information and as an astronaut, foxes, pups, skunks has become one of the SCEIC’s most
[email protected] services about nonprofit and child- and raccoons invaded the party. prolific fundraisers. From the time
friendly for-profit organizations. he began fundraising as a 7-year-old,
Bright and early, on what was like- Since opening in 1987 the Early White has raised more than $30,000
ly the last cool morning for months, “This year, we invited all the non- Intervention Center, which offers a for the school.
groups of cyclists headed out from profits out because we are integral to program of full inclusion in the class-
Space Coast Field of Dreams in West each other. And having it here is pretty room, has grown steadily. Roughly 150 “Ever since I was little, I role-
Melbourne for rides ranging from 10 amazing,” said SCEIC Executive Di- students are enrolled for the fall. modeled for special needs kids,” said
miles to 100 miles. rector Terri Clark. White of his motivation. “I went to
“‘Why should I send my child to your Space Coast Early Intervention and I
In all, about 128 sponsored cyclists She was referencing the Space Coast school if he doesn’t have a disability?’ had friends who had special needs.”
astride all manner of bikes hit the Field of Dreams, which is like no other That’s the most common question I
road as participants in the eighth an- park in Brevard. Open since January am asked,” Clark said, while taking a His words echo those of event orga-
nual Cycle Jam for the Kids on May 7 2016, the five-acre, $5.2 million Field quick break. “I tell them you get three nizer Morris Richardson, SCEIC board
to benefit the Space Coast Early In- of Dreams is an all-accessible, multi- teachers in each classroom, and your chairman and the father of three
tervention Center. And, while the rid- sport complex. children will learn leadership and em- bright children who have attended the
ers were out pedaling for donations, a pathy.” school.
lively Family Fun Fest got underway. At one point, a bus pulled up and out
piled a small mob of colorful cosplay- Such qualities learned early make “The skills my kids have learned are
Timmy Vee, one of Brevard’s most ers from The Agents of Mirth, sent to an impression and can shape young empathy and teamwork,” said Rich-
popular DJs, put the jam in the Cycle stir up merriment. The Merritt Island people’s lives. Case in point, one of the ardson. “They can do anything. And
Jam while supporters and the com- nonprofit’s moto – “dedicated to sup- first riders to return was 14-year-old they see friends, not differences or
munity at large bought raffle tickets porting charities, fighting gloom and Carson White, a student at Stone Mag- disabilities. Kids who role-model ma-
for prize baskets, sampled foods and promoting goodwill” – was in full gear net Middle School in Melbourne, who ture into leaders.” 

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 11


Mickey and Jan Hill Dean Kuenstler, Ben Elliot and Marty Merkt. Randy Raczak and Murray Lilley finish the 100-mile race.

Gwinney the mini pony and Patti Bryan.

Gary Lutchansky and Tanya Balker.

Bill Debusk and Chad Davis. Shelley and Joshua Williams.

Bonnie Dow with Hooch the dog, Chris Schumacher, Ginger Rymer with Cicelia,
Rhonda Huckabee with Indie for the Brevard County Sheriffs Office Animal Services.

Dr. Haig John The power that made the body, heals the body.

Ella Hood and Debbie Phillips from Mutley Animal Rescue.

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Teens play a video game that teaches driver safety. DJ Timmy Vee.


14 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Zany-thing goes for Not Quite Right improv troupe

Jessica Taylor, Glen ‘Kraze’ Krasy, Aaron Karnes, Holly Karnes, Jon Emmerich, Pete Jacobsen COLLEEN MERCHANT PHOTOGRAPHY

STORY BY PAM HARBAUGH CORRESPONDENT got some of the original become a light saber or dipstick. Jon Emmerich getting suggestions
[email protected] members back togeth- The only limitations are the players’ from the audience.
er about five years ago, imaginations.
They only make it look easy. teamed up with Derek COLLEEN MERCHANT PHOTOGRAPHY
However, done right, improvisa- Gores, who generously “Everything is completely made up,”
tional comedy or theater, called simply makes his gallery avail- Taylor said. “A lot of folks have trouble – improvised on the spot. Actors go
“improv,” is one heck of a sophisticated able for our shows and believing that we don’t have a script. We onto the stage, follow their impulses.
performance technique. It takes tal- classes, and we’ve been really do not have a theme or an outline Et voilà! A play is born.
ent, training, practice and confidence playing and growing ever or anything preplanned.”
galore to take an audience suggestion since.” “It’s really improvised theater, which
and there, on the spot, turn it into The long form, which takes place at is our favorite kind to play,” Taylor said.
comic skits. The performances are 8 p.m. on the third Saturday of each “Once again, you have to experience it
One such improv troupe showing divided into two loose month, is an hour-long improvised to really get it. So you should come see
how it’s done is the Not Quite Right structures: short form and play. With the rules of improv thor- for yourself – shameless plug.”
Players. long form. oughly upheld, those shows become
Based in Melbourne, the troupe has giddy with nuttiness and filled with Rehearsals, if you can call them that,
regular rehearsals, which are more The short form, which silly characters reappearing through- are more like improv “games,” with
like practice sessions. NQR Players takes place 8 p.m. on the out. While audiences may not believe warm-ups that get rid of inhibition and
perform twice a month to sold-out au- first Saturday of every it, the improvised plays are exactly that connect actors to their impulses. The
diences gathered in the spacious sur- month, gets the audi- games also establish trust among the
rounds of the Derek Gores Gallery in ence calling out sugges- players and sharpen listening skills.
Melbourne’s Eau Gallie Arts District. tions. Those might be a
In fact, their success is so stunning location, a profession or “It’s a wild comedic ride through
that they no longer suggest that audi- something silly in nature. If you’ve characters and scenarios that are
ence members bring their own chairs. ever seen “Whose Line Is It, Any- completely improvised on the spot,”
Jessica Taylor, the group’s fearless way?” you know what to expect.
leader, founded NQR Players in 2012.
She got her start in this unusual art The players huddle for a quick mo-
form in 1998 while participating in ment, then hit the stage, incorporating
Theatre Strike Force at the University the audience suggestions and build-
of Florida’s theater department. ing upon each nutty twist and turn the
In 2002, she began teaching improv performers can dish out.
and held regular improv performances
at the Henegar Center. A cardinal rule in improv: Never
“We performed at the Henegar for a deny what a teammate might suddenly
few years, then quit for several years, do or say. Go along with everything,
as life and jobs and families all took support everything. When a teammate
precedence,” she said. “Then I decided points a finger at you and says, “Stick
I missed playing with my friends, and ’em up,” you never say, “But that’s just
your finger.” You always “stick ’em up.”

A folding chair might become a car
or a dentist’s chair. A yardstick might

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 15


said NQR member Holly McFarland Coming Up: Slide into the summer
Karnes. “For me personally, as some- with some soothing beachside music
one who has performed for the entirety
of their life, being a part of this troupe STORY BY SAMANTHA BAITA STAFF WRITER 3 Down the road a piece, on Se- featuring three female vocalists,
has made me fall in love with theater [email protected] bastian’s riverfront, you can al- with hits from Motown, disco, dance
and improvisation all over again.” classics, R&B and contemporary, 8:30
‘Galaxy.’ ways find a good time and kickin’ live p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Saturday it’s Nasty
In addition to Karnes, about half Habits, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by
the players are well-known actors in music on the Tiki Hut stage at Earl’s Umbrella Thieves, 8:30 p.m. to 12:30
Brevard’s community theater scene.
Taylor has been on many stages, as Hideaway, whether you arrive on a CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
have Aaron Karnes, Glenn Krasny
and Pete Jacobsen. Harley or not. This Friday, you’ll hear

Other members have gone through Ladies of Soul, a seven-piece band
the NQR classes and workshops and
are known primarily for their work DON’T MISS THE
with the improv troupe. They are: DOUBLE-HEADER!
Mike Williams, Tom Gale, Ed John-
son, Andy McIlwraith, Erick Terhune, COME WATCH
Jolie Kivler and Erin Walters.
Oh, and not to forget Taylor’s hus-
band, Jon Emmerich. 1 This weekend, as usual, you Free Preakness Racing
can kick back at the Sebastian program redeemed with
“My husband got in through nepo-
tism,” Taylor said. “It was just super Beach Inn in Melbourne Beach. En- this Ad. (No copies)
awkward to rehearse in our living
room with him watching.” joy a little food and drink and a lot DOORS OPEN AT 11:00 AM ON FRIDAY MAY 19TH
Taylor holds classes in begin- of live music on the oceanfront deck
ning and advanced improv. She also $599 HIGH HANDS
holds corporate training sessions Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5
that help build teamwork and lead- EVERY 20 MINS, 10AM-MIDNIGHT
ership skills. p.m., weather permitting. This Sat- SATURDAY, MAY 20TH

Those attending a NQR Players im- urday it’s Galaxy, a classic rock band POKER ROOM OPENS @ 9:45
prov show definitely get something
different. from Melbourne; Sunday it’ll be Mojo THE ONLY POKER ROOM IN BREVARD COUNTY

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hanging on the bare brick walls.
2 Fun and funky Lou’s Blues, on
As a member of the audience, the waterfront in Indialantic,
typically, you can purchase wine or
beer. It’s best to get there a bit early always serves up a musical week-
because it’s a party atmosphere the
moment you arrive. And, getting end: 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Friday
there early will get you seats closer to
the front, which is what you want. it’ll be the rock quartet Spanks, with

At that point, you put on your own rock, alternative and dance tunes;
silly hat and shout out some fun sug-
gestions, then sit back and watch the Saturday, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., you’ll
fun begin.
hear Absolute Blue, a five-man band
“You come and see one of our
shows, I guarantee you won’t believe founded in 1983 that plays all kinds
what we come up with – in a good
way,” Karnes said. of music and likes to call themselves

The next Not Quite Right Players “cougar bait” and “the worst band
performance is Saturday night, and
it’s a long form show. Called “Long you’ll ever love”; Sunday, 2 p.m. to 6
Story Short,” it starts at 8 p.m. with
tickets costing $12. p.m., “Big” Jim Adams and “Mighty”

Following that, NQR’s next short Steve Rinker, aka Big Blues Machine,
form show, called the “Improv Show,”
is June 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets to that are $15 promise to crank out “Foot-stompin,’
for general admission and $12 students.
Handling fees apply for all tickets. down-home, back porch blues, with

Although tickets may be available a heapin’ helping of slide guitar, and
at the door, you are encouraged to
purchase them ahead of time by vis- big, big, big vocals!”

All performances are held at the Derek
Gores Gallery, 587 W. Eau Gallie Blvd.,
Melbourne. 

16 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


‘Ladies of Soul.’ 4 Deborah Butterfield’s love of seum of American Art in New York, the period between 1919 and 1979.
horses and her amazing talent the Neuberger Museum of Art, and Included are paintings, sculpture,
a.m., a high-energy band that covers the Israeli Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, works on paper, photography and
all genres of music from Led Zeppe- as a sculptor are on full display at among others, and her many honors mixed media.
lin to Adele to Gretchen Wilson, and include a National Endowment for
plays music from yesterday, the day the Vero Beach Museum of Art now the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship
before, and songs that are popular and a Guggenheim Memorial Fel-
right this minute. On Sunday electric through June 4. Whether or not her lowship.
blues guitarist Tommy Z, and Katy G
and the Girls, an “authentic, authori- birth date, on the same day as the 6 “Next to Normal,” the rock mu-
tative rock band,” will entertain from sical by Brian Yorkey and Tom
2 p.m. to 6 p.m. 1949 Kentucky Derby, had some mys-

Deborah Butterfield. tical influence on her artistic focus, Kitt, is currently on the boards at the

she has mastered a style wherein she Titusville Play-

employs found items such as wood house, in its 52nd

and scrap metal to fashion 3-dimen- year as a cultural

sional images of horses, forming and live-enter-

them, without sketches or models, tainment hub in

into life-size creatures imbued with North Brevard.

an amazing sense off animation. “Next to Nor-

When you look at one of the horses, mal” tells the

even close up and squinting, you’d story of a mother

swear it was made out of branches. struggling with

Butterfield studied at the University bipolar disor-

of California under Manuel Neri, der, and the im-

known for his life-sized figurative pact her efforts

sculptures, and his association with to deal with it

the Bay Area Figurative Movement in have on her fam-

the 1960’s. Butterfield’s horses have ily – her archi-

found homes in the Whitney Mu- tect husband

and two teenage

children. The

show also ex-

plores suicide,

drug abuse, grief

and the darkness

that often lies

beneath the sur-

face of a seem-

ingly happy, nor-

mal suburban

family. “Next to

Normal” opened

‘Pan American Modernism.’ on Broadway in

April 2009. It was

nominated for

5 Avant Garde Art in the Americas 11 Tony Awards and won three: Best
is the intriguing focus of an ex-
Original Score, Best Orchestration

hibition currently under way at FIT’s and Best Performance by a Leading

Foosaner Art Museum in Melbourne. Actress in a Musical, for Alice Ripley.

“Pan American Modernism” opened It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for

last month and highlights more than Drama, only the eighth musical in

70 works produced by artists in 13 history to receive that honor. “Next

North, South and Central American to Normal” is rated PG and runs

countries and the Caribbean during through June 4. 

18 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly

From a military helicopter high INSIGHT COVER STORY
above the rolling hills of southern
Colombia, the green rows of hearty
plants look a bit like the vineyards of

But that’s not zinfandel down there.
Bushy fields of illegal coca blanket
the countryside, ripe with the raw in-
gredients of the biggest cocaine boom
in history.
Seventeen years and $10 billion af-
ter the U.S. government launched the
counternarcotics and security package
known as Plan Colombia, America’s
closest drug-war ally is covered with
more than 460,000 acres of coca. Co-
lombian farmers have never grown so
much, not even when Pablo Escobar
ruled the drug trade.
The peace accord signed last year by
the Colombian government and leftist
FARC rebels to end their 52-year war
committed the guerrillas to quit the
narcotics business and help rural fami-
lies switch to legal crops. But the cash
benefits available through the peace
deal appear to have created a perverse
incentive for farmers to stuff their fields
with as many illegal plants as possible.
The result is a cocaine market so
saturated that prices have crashed
and unpicked coca leaves are rotting
in the fields, according to Luis Carlos
Villegas, Colombia’s defense minister.
“We’ve never seen anything like it be-
fore,” he said.
He and other top officials con-
cede that the end of the war with the
FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forc-
es of Colombia, has made the drug
fight more difficult, not less. The
days when U.S.-funded aircraft could
douse coca plantations with herbi-
cide are over. A problem that could
once be attacked with blunt military
force has morphed into a sociologi-
cal, state-building challenge.
“Frankly, we don’t believe violence
is the right instrument to rid Colom-
bia of coca,” Villegas said.
He and other Colombian officials
have developed what is perhaps the
most comprehensive, well-researched
anti-narcotics strategy ever attempted,
offering cash incentives for entire com-
munities to switch to alternative crops,
while sending eradication crews to rip
up the plants of those who refuse.
But the government says its strategy
needs more time to succeed. U.S. law-
makers are growing impatient. Colom-
bia produced a whopping 710 metric
tons of cocaine last year, according to
U.S. government estimates, up from
235 metric tons in 2013.
Colombia’s coca binge is certain to
be a sore point during President Juan
Manuel Santos meeting with President
Trump this week. Trump has cited drug
smuggling as a growing national secu-
rity threat and a justification for a wall
along the border with Mexico.

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 19


At a time when much of the nation’s that this sort of peer-pressure method up to $12,000 over a two-year period – the official payments, they are likely to
drug fight has shifted to the opioid- is the only one that works, because if a considerable sum in rural Colombia keep planting coca.
abuse crisis, U.S. cocaine use is soar- there is coca around, the trafficking calculated to be at least as remunera-
ing. U.S. officials say the flood of cheap gangs will never leave. tive as growing coca. But enthusiasm Eduardo Diaz, who heads the crop
Colombian product is so large that it for the program also presents a threat substitution program, says an expen-
has quietly created its own demand. Bo Mathiasen, who leads the U.N. to its success. sive plan is still better than continuing
Office on Drugs and Crime in Colom- the drug war.
U.S. cocaine overdose deaths are at bia, said the government has a narrow In areas where some farmers grow
a 10-year high, and between 2013 and window of opportunity to prevent new coca but others do not, the program “How many billions have we spent
2015 the number of young Americans armed groups from muscling in to ar- will make payments to every house- on eradication over the past 15 years?”
who said they used cocaine for the first eas where the FARC has withdrawn. hold, to avoid sowing jealousy or cre- he said. “And the end result is that we
time increased by 61 percent, accord- ating the appearance of a reward for still ended up as the world’s biggest co-
ing to the latest report from the U.S. “The challenge is for the state to criminal behavior. caine producer.”
Substance Abuse and Mental Health have a permanent presence in rural
Services Administration. areas,” Mathiasen said. But it might be too late to avoid that The government stopped aerial
impression. spraying of coca in 2015 amid fears of
“What is happening is the counterar- The government will pay families elevated cancer risk from the popu-
gument to the suggestion that demand lar herbicide glyphosate. U.S. officials
always drives supply,” said William COCA CULTIVATION IN COLOMBIA 188,000 believe the tactic should remain part
Brownfield, the State Department’s top 2016 of the overall strategy, but Colombia’s
anti-narcotics official. “In this case, any (HECTARES) highest court last month essentially
rational observer would say the supply formalized the ban.
of the product right now is dramatically 150,000 78,000
greater than the demand.” 119,000 The problem is too big for weed
killer anyway, said Kevin Whitaker, the
The FARC funded its half-century in- 100,000 U.S. ambassador to Colombia.
surgency partly on drug profits. It taxed
coca growers and traffickers, or it sold 50,000 “Even if we had the same number
cocaine directly to the Mexican cartels of planes we had before, spraying at
that control access to the world’s big- 0 2008 2012 the same pace as before, it would take
gest drug market, the United States. a couple years to turn that curve,” he
Source: White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said, while warning that the coca num-
But with the vast majority of the WASHINGTON POST bers “are probably going to get worse.”
FARC’s 7,000 fighters ready to lay down
their weapons, the guerrilla group has For the first time, Colombia’s peace The government says it can elimi- Colombian authorities say they will
essentially gotten out of the drug trade, accord has formally recognized grow- nate more than 120,000 acres of coca hold the line this year by using more
top U.S. and Colombian officials say. ing coca as a rational response by this year through the voluntary pro- forceful methods in places such as Tu-
farmers to poverty and a weak gov- gram. But if the estimated 70,000 fami- maco, where they say criminal gangs,
The FARC’s demobilization has set ernment presence. That has had the lies sign up – and many more may be not humble peasants, are mounting
off a deadly scramble for control of subtle, inadvertent effect of shifting eager to do so – the cost will exceed “industrial-scale” coca operations.
Colombia’s multibillion-dollar co- responsibly for eliminating coca from $500 million a year. With public funds Those farms are too big to be eligible
caine business, pitting trafficking the farmers to the government. squeezed by slowing growth, it’s un- for crop substitution programs.
gangs against one another and the clear how authorities will be able to
country’s smaller communist rebel Rural communities know that the afford an oversubscribed crop substi- Local growers are resisting the gov-
group, the ELN, or National Libera- best way to get the government’s at- tution program. If farmers don’t get ernment anyway, sending women
tion Army. tention and ensure it follows through and children to block roads, encircle
on development promises is to have eradication crews or worse. A police
Under the terms of Colombia’s coca in the ground, so they are plant- officer in Tumaco was shot dead at
peace accord, the FARC has pledged to ing more and more in anticipation of a roadblock in March, and 12 others
work with coca farmers in the remote qualifying for official payments. were captured and held captive by an
communities long under its control, angry mob last month.
helping them to plant alternative cash
crops such as coffee, bananas and On a recent morning, the head of
cacao. But it’s likely to be at least sev- Colombia’s anti-narcotics police, Maj.
eral months before ex-combatants are Gen. Jose Mendoza, invited a group of
ready to join those programs. reporters to see the eradication work
and the scale of the new coca fields.
In the meantime, the Colombian Riot police with pepper spray and
government insists that it is fighting body armor were sent to protect them,
the coca boom on all fronts. Colom- in case of violent protests.
bian security agencies that work close-
ly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement The Black Hawk helicopters took
Agency are seizing record amounts of off over the Pacific, banked south and
cocaine – 115 metric tons through the flew over vast palm oil plantations.
first four months of 2017. Soon the coca fields appeared, right up
the border with Ecuador.
Persuading farmers to stop growing so
much coca might be a bigger challenge. Mendoza and his troops scattered
Colombian officials have begun show- leaflets into the air, each one printed
ing up in their communities with cash to resemble high-denomination peso
payments for those who voluntarily pull bank notes. On the flip side was a cash
up their coca and enter a two-year pro- offer for confidential information lead-
gram to transition to legal crops. ing to drug busts.

Areas that faithfully comply will re- It was too dangerous to land on the
ceive technical and commercial sup- farms, the commanders said, so the
port, and funding for public works such helicopters flew in a sweeping arc over
as roads, clinics and athletic fields. miles and miles of coca. After awhile,
one of the general’s crews appeared
The catch? The entire community below, hacking at the plants with ma-
has to be coca-free for families to get chetes in the hot sun. From above, they
their monthly payments. Experts say looked like tiny black specks in a great
green sea. 

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 21


The Internet revolution has a hu- A few years ago, Taplin had isn’t helping much, either. Spotify, the economics of ‘more’ is drowning
man cost. A case in point: Levon a public debate with Reddit for example, doesn’t pay artists very us in a sea of mediocrity?”
Helm was a member of the Band, a founder Alexis Ohanian, ap- much. In 2015, Taplin notes, “vinyl
country-rock group that played with parently a proud download- record sales generated more income Taplin offers various prescriptions
Bob Dylan. He once made a good er of free music and movies. for music creators than the billions to help artists survive in the Internet
income from royalties, but then the Ohanian said musicians like of music streams on YouTube and its age. Right now, it’s too easy for peo-
money dried up. People still liked his Helm should make money ad-supported competitors.” ple to post pirated clips on YouTube.
music, but now they listened to it on from touring, not old record- Taplin recommends that the Library
the Internet. After Helm was diag- ings. Taplin was appalled. In Not everyone would agree with Ta- of Congress issue a precise definition
nosed with throat cancer, he strug- an attempt to make amends, plin’s gloomy assessment. In a recent of fair use, and YouTube clips that
gled to pay his medical bills. When the Reddit founder wrote an New York Times article, technology do not fit this definition should stay
he died in 2012, his friends held a open letter to Taplin, offer- columnist Farhad Manjoo argued blocked. He suggests that artists run
benefit concert so his wife wouldn’t ing to “make right what the that the Internet is saving culture, a video and audio streaming site as
lose their house. music industry did to mem- not killing it. “Digital technology is a nonprofit cooperative, giving art-
bers of The Band.” Ohanian letting in new voices, creating new ists a lion’s share of the revenue. He
Jonathan Taplin tells this story in suggested honoring Helm formats for exploration, and allow- also advocates for the creation of a
his impassioned new book, “Move with a new album that would ing fans and other creators to par- good public media system, in part to
Fast and Break Things.” Taplin is a be funded on Kickstarter and ticipate in a glorious remixing of become less dependent on advertis-
former tour manager for Dylan and launched on Reddit. the work,” Manjoo wrote. People are ers that avoid edgy material. As Tap-
the Band as well as a film producer. starting to pay for music, movies and lin writes, “Imagine Picasso having
He has had a front-row seat to the Taplin did not like this even news. Manjoo acknowledged to persuade an executive at Pernod
digital disruption of the music and idea, to put it mildly. In an that it has been hard to make a liv- to support his earliest cubist paint-
film industries, and he is furious open letter of his own, he ac- ing off of streaming, but some artists ings.” He offers other recommenda-
about it. cused Ohanian of celebrat- are finding a workaround. “Thanks tions as well.
ing the bloodsucking pirates to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,
who made millions off of artists can now establish close rela- “Move Fast and Break Things”
musicians’ labor. He called tionships with their fans. They can aims to be a corrective to the tech-
Kickstarter a “virtual beg- sell merchandise and offer special no-utopian belief that the Internet is
ging bowl.” Taplin conclud- fan-only promotions and content,” fundamentally a liberating and de-
ed: “Take your charity and shove it. Manjoo wrote. They can use sites like mocratizing force. But if the techno-
Just let us get paid for our work and Patreon, which allow fans to directly utopians get carried away in their
stop deciding that you can unilater- subscribe to artists. exuberance, Taplin sometimes veers
ally make it free.” Ohanian did not too far in the other direction.
respond. Taplin paints a far more dystopi-
This exchange, detailed in Taplin’s an picture of technology’s effect on He is at his strongest when he pulls
book, provides a good illustration of culture. The Internet might create back the curtain on vague and lofty
the author’s arguing style. His prose breakout stars, but they are far from terms such as “digital disruption”
is bold, entertaining and occasional- the norm. In some cases, we’d be bet- to reveal the effects on individual
ly over the top. But his overall point is ter off without them. Taplin points to artists. Let’s hope this book makes
an important one. Many hoped that PewDiePie, a since-disgraced You- people think twice about how their
the Internet would have a democra- Tube celebrity who racked up bil- behavior shapes digital culture. We
tizing and decentralizing effect. In- lions of views with posts of himself don’t have to click on clickbait. We
stead, Taplin argues, power became playing video games. “The Internet can choose not to download pirated
concentrated in a small number of revolution was supposed to usher content, and we can choose to buy
digital giants, such as Amazon, Face- in a new age of digital democracy, music from sites that pay artists
book and Google. opening up distribution pipelines to fairly. The Internet is not inherently
This “winner take all” scenario anyone with talent,” Taplin argues. good or bad. The Internet is us. 
also applies to artists. People may be “But what are we to make of a teenage
consuming more content than ever, phenom whose sole talent is playing MOVE FAST AND BREAK THINGS
but most creators aren’t reaping the a video game? … Have the four hun- How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered
gains. Part of the problem is piracy, dred hours of video uploaded to You-
but the streaming music business Tube every minute produced the new Culture and Undermined Democracy
Scorsese or Coppola? Could it be that By Jonathan Taplin

Little, Brown. 308 pp. $29
Review by Emily Parker,
The Washington Post


1. Slightly South of Simple
1. Portraits of Courage 1. The Wandmaker BY ED MASESSA
BY GEORGE W. BUSH 2. Dragons Love Tacos 2: The
3. The Woman in Cabin 10 2. Make Your Bed Sequel BY ADAM RUBIN


4. Pioneering Sebastian and 3. Strangers Tend to Tell Me BY PETER RAYMUNDO
Things BY AMY DICKINSON 4. Keep Curious and Carry a
5. The Night the Lights Went

5. Option B BY SHERYL SANDBERG 5. The Girl Who Drank the Moon


Monday, May 22nd at 6 pm 392 Miracle Mile (21st Street), Vero Beach | 772.569.2050 |

Craig Johnson



A Longmire Story

22 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Bonz gabs with Gabby, a Southern bulldog belle

Hi Dog Buddies! ALL. Ah’m a total girl. I wear blue bun-
ny ears at Easter and I have the cool-
This week I had a great yap with a Gabby TaylPoHrO,TSOtGaOfRfoDrOdNsRhAirDeF/ObRuDlldog mix. stare. est pink sunnies. Ah would nevah, ever
Southern girl, very sociable – Gabby THINK of biting your face off. It simply
Taylor – big brown eyes, bee-oo-tiful I knew she’d had a wouldn’t be civilized.
walnut-colored coat (that for some
reason) humans call blue), an full of really pawful former life. “So Momma and Daddy officially
Southern Hospitality. Gabby’s a res- adopted me. Ah walked through that
cue Staffordshire/bulldog mix who hear your story.” “At some point,” she continued, “a very door (she pointed a paw) for good
has one of those hackles-raising, on Thanksgiving Day 2013. Wooff! did
close-call stories with, thank Lassie, a “Ah still get a little emotional when buncha us got arrested by the Dog I have a lot to be thankful for. I got this
happy ending. totally fun family: at first, it was Cletus,
ah talk about it, but ah’m happy to Catcher and, because we were breeds Biscuit, Foots and Rascal – all Beagles.
Soon as my assistant rang the bell, They took me in right away. To tell the
we heard lotsa toenail clickity-clicks share, to remind all pooches with good that humans call pit bulls, we were truth, ah akshully feel like ah’m a Bea-
and excited barking. A lady opened the gle, too, an Momma and Daddy nevah
door and two pooches bounced over homes and Forevah Families how for- put in cages and scheduled to go tell me ah’m not. Ah like doin’ Beagle-
for the Wag-and-Sniff, woofing and y stuff, like sniffin’, climbin’, diggin’,
wiggling, in a frenly way. Along with tunate we are. Ah don’t remember through The Door That Dogs Never and woofin’.
Gabby was a black and white pooch,
same look as Gabby but a little shorter. much about mah puppyhood, ’cept Come Back From.” “Biscuit, Foots an Rascal are in Dog
The lady was telling them to “be polite Heaven now, so it’s jus me, Smiley and
and don’t jump up!” bein’ scared all the time. Even now, I shivered. Every dog knows about Cletus. We play all the time. We walk in
the woods with Momma and Daddy, an
“Welcome to our home, Mistah ah’m scared of men, ’tiI ah get to know The Door. play on the beach down in Fort Pierce.
Bonzo! Ah’m Gabby Taylor. This heah’s People always stop to talk to me and
mah Momma Debra, and mah little ’em. Ah kept havin’ puppies and more “Well, thank Lassie, mah Momma give me pats on the head. There’s even
sistah Smiley, she’s a Pocket Pit. Mah one gentleman, from Ireland, who
Daddy’s Scott.” puppies that always got taken away had friends who worked with a place writes me PO-ems.

It was easy to see why Smiley got from me. An I had my ears totally cut called Furever Bully Love Rescue. “I guess you could say mah Official
her name: her face was white and her Mission is to be an amBASSador for
mouth was outlined with black all off. Ah have lotsa scars all over but ah They swooped in and rescued us Just us nice frenly, loving pits, an show
around, which gave her a nice smiley humans not all of us are mean. Like
face all the time. She was bouncing don’t remembuh how I got ’em. I do re- In Time. After that, ah was in a few me, for example: Momma says ah’m a
about, trying to snuggle into her Mom- Perfect Southern Girl. I always greet
ma’s lap. membuh bein’ around other pooches foster homes. Mah Momma agreed to visitors at the door. Ah’ve NEVah met
a strange-ah. When our human niece
“It’s a pleasure, ladies,” I said, as we who were always real mad at each oth- foster me just till ah finished my heart- and nephew, Haley and Jarrod, come
got settled in the living room. Gabby visit, we have the BEST time! At Hal-
was giving my assistant lotsa frenly er. It was like a bad dream that went on worm treatment. WELL, turns out mah loween, they were Zombies an ah was
slurps, hoping to share the comfy a Stegosaurus with a caveman on my
chair, till her Momma reminded her and on forevah.” Momma was a Foster Failure. See, Mis- back.
about the interview.
I had already noticed Gabby didn’t tah Bonzo, even though ah’m called a “I sleep with ’em, too.” She giggled.
“Oh, right! ’Scuse me. Ah jus LOVE “They don’t even mind that ah snore.
humans. Ah wanna make sure y’all feel have any real ear flaps, just holes with pit bull, and humans think I’m awful But THEN, Momma told EVrybody on
welcome. Are y’all comf-tubble? Can I mah FACEbook page, and I was SO em-
get ya’ll anything? You’ll have to for- a little fluff around ’em. I tried not to cuzza how ah look, I’m not mean at barrassed.”
give Smiley, she’s only been with us a
coupla weeks. She just wants to make Don’t be shy! “Your own Facebook page! That’s
sure she doesn’t hafta go back.” Cool Kibbles!” I interjected.
We are always looking for pets with interesting stories. To set up
“I totally understand. I think we’re an interview, please email [email protected]. “Ah KNOW, right? Ah have, like, a
all set, Miss Gabby. I’m very eager to thousand followers, from all ovah the
world – Argentina, Scotland, Australia,
Solutions from Games Pages ACROSS DOWN Russia even. There’s Sebastian Cabot,
in May 11, 2017 Edition 7 CAVE 1 GAZEBO he’s a Beagle. An Titus and Haley,
8 SYMMETRY 2 RELEVANT they’re pit mixes, like me. Ah try to
9 DELETE 3 USHER spread the word about myself an mah
10 TANDEM 4 SMITTEN fellow pits. Plus, ah find it broadening
11 TODAY 5 FERN to learn about other canine cultures.”
15 CANTEEN 13 TOASTERS Heading home, I was feeling glad
17 CAKES 14 TEXTILE that so many humans adopt rescue
20 STRAIT 16 ACTUAL pooches. And thinkin’ that Gabby’s
22 RETIRE 18 ERRAND teeny little earflaps are actually kin-
23 MAGNOLIA 19 GREAT da adorable. They sorta remind me of
24 RING 21 AUNT Princess Leia.

Sudoku PPaaggee4284 Sudoku Paggee4295 Crossword PPaaggee4284 Crossword PPaaggee4295(TAXING YOUR ABILITIES) -The Bonz

26 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


This wedding plus-one conundrum doesn’t add up

STORY BY CAROLYN HAX THE WASHINGTON POST Of course, for the best friend not to just say, “Hey, Yet you’ve presented this as Drama. As something
bring Boyfriend in my place, I totally understand” that isn’t silly and that you can’t just figure out –
Dear Carolyn: I am getting also is silly. Unless there are airfares involved, I sup- and that’s my problem with your “standing firm.”
married this July. My fiance and pose. It should never have mushroomed into a standing-
I at some point told my younger firm standoff kind of event.
sister she would get a plus-one. That I’m now four contingencies into an analysis
She said she was going to bring of one extra guest to a wedding is making the college So, why did it?
her best friend from college, and I degree I earned to qualify for this job feel silly. This: “My parents and fiance already have a
cautioned her at the time that she somewhat rocky relationship and this is threaten-
might want to wait in case she gets The thing about silly expectations and silly con- ing to make it worse.”
a serious boyfriend between then cessions and silly rule-following, though, is that it’s Assuming my between-line reading skills are suf-
and the wedding. all so easy to fix. You add a guest, someone bows out, ficiently sharp, your fiance is digging in, in part if
Now my sister is in a serious relationship, and my someone chips in extra – meaning, you figure it out not entirely based on resentment of your parents. Or
parents are pressuring my fiance and me to allow her and Drama stays in its dressing room oblivious to all sister. Or both. And your parents are pushing back
to bring both the boyfriend and her best friend, say- the fuss. hard.
ing I might regret not inviting him if my sister and Yes, no, close enough?
her boyfriend get married. If so, then you need to stop treating this as a “My
My parents and fiance already have a somewhat knucklehead sister invited her bestie!” problem and
rocky relationship and this is threatening to make it see it for what it is: a power struggle between your
worse. Am I wrong for standing firm and saying she family of origin and family of choice. One that’s tak-
needs to still bring just one? en a turn for the petty.
– C. A bigger problem still is that you’re not calling it
what is: You’re neither agreeing with your fiance
C.: Probably, but not for the reason you might and telling your parents to back off – not with con-
think. viction – nor agreeing with your parents and telling
your fiance to back off. Instead you’re peacekeeping
A guest with a plus-one-plus-one is silly. – backing your fiance because it’s harder not to and
But, the idea that a sister qualifies as merely a asking me if that’s right.
guest is silly, too. It’s not, because “right” is about peace of mind:
And the idea that you’d either disinvite the best Consult your values and gut, do what those say, then
friend or exclude the serious boyfriend (just because take the heat for it.
you don’t, what, want one extra plate?) is silly. Espe- Easier said than done, but easier done than
cially since your parents could cover the cost, given dodged. 
how invested they are.

‘D’-fense! Vitamin
can help prevent
colitis flare-ups P. 29

28 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Team effort: Patient-safety push working at IRMC

STORY BY TOM LLOYD STAFF WRITER goals and drive future improvements
[email protected] and innovations.

Hospitals are among the most While all that is certainly conve-
nient for patients, it might be fair to
watched and regulated entities in ask what it has to do with safety.

the country. Dozens of federal, state Grichnik jumps in to explain.
When nature calls, she points out,
and local agencies are involved in some patients – who should not be
getting out of bed on their own for any
hospital regulation and oversight. reason – will very often try anyway
and statistics show that far too many
Together they poke, prod and oth- of them will immediately fall and very
possibly injure themselves.
erwise examine every aspect of ev- Patient falls are clearly a hot-button
issue with Grichnik.
ery hospital’s day-to-day operations “We view falls as a preventable is-
sue,” Grichnik says, “and we analyze
including the broad topic of patient every single fall. Every. Single. Fall.
That is a part of a rapid cycle improve-
safety. ment program that I think we really
started in January.”
Almost all those various agen- Meanwhile, borrowing from the
best in the business, Grichnik adds
cies then rate or rank each hospital that IRMC is now using the Johns
Hopkins fall-risk safety score. Every
based on their findings. patient is scored on it almost as soon
as they come into the hospital.
That is just fine with Dr. Kather- “We’ve also developed [another]
program,” Grichnik adds. “Should the
ine Grichnik, who took over as chief patient’s fall risk get to a certain level,
my office, the supervisor’s office and
medical officer for the Indian River housekeeping all get a notification
saying, ‘Room 425 needs a lowboy
Medical Center in January, and reg- bed.’”
The lowboys are much closer to the
istered nurse Barbara Sills, a 24-year ground and padding can be provided
around it on the floor to further re-
veteran of the Vero healthcare facil- duce any injury risk from a fall.
Medication errors and infections
ity who serves as nursing adminis- Registered nurses Barbara Sills and Crystal Golightly also pose problems for every hospital
trative supervisor for the hospital. with Dr. Katherine Grichnik. PHOTO: DENISE RITCHIE in the country and Grichnik’s team is
tackling both those issues head-on.
In April 2016, before she took the “Our [computerized] medication
reconciliation system leaves very,
IRMC post, Becker’s Hospital Review very little chance for error,” boasts
Grichnik, though she does admit
named Grichnik “one of 50 top ex- passion is the culture of safety.” has had some time together, Grich- “there are never 100-percent error-
free guarantees in anything.”
perts in the field of patient safety,” Now that her new team – and nik and Sills sat down to talk about As far as infections are concerned,
the chief medical officer adds, “We
and in her first interview in Vero in teamwork is a recurring theme in some of the ways they help keep have also had a huge focus since the
beginning of the year to help prevent
January, Grichnik said her “absolute almost all of Grichnik’s comments – patients safer than ever during an infections” in the first place.
Something seems to be working.
IRMC hospital stay. In April, IRMC received an “A”
rating for patient safety from the
New safety measures include an nonprofit Leapfrog hospital safety
study. But with other – and some
Experience the fusion of impressive “nurse call” system, pro- say tougher – rankings coming up,
traditional values and cedures to prevent patient falls, a Grichnik, Sills and their IRMC team
medication management program are working to set new and even
modern dentistry. and infection prevention. higher standards for the Vero hos-
This nurse call system, says Sills, With a chief medical officer at the
helm whose “absolute passion is
“is new to us” and she calls it both the culture of safety,” that probably
shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. 
“patient and staff-friendly.”

“Most of our patients,” Sills con-

tinues, “have the ability to differen-

tiate their needs. Is it pain or is it a

need to go to the bathroom or just a

straw for their tea?”

This system, she says, allows the

patient to ask for what they want or

need just by pressing a button with

easy-to-see images on it.

As Sills explains, “If I’m a patient

DENTISTRYCollins & Montz COSMETIC & FAMILY having some pain and I would like
my nurse to give me some pain med-
ication, I would press for the nurse
and it would ring through to the

At Collins & Montz, DMD, we will nurse’s phone. If the patient in, say,
focus on improving every aspect of room 326 is calling for pain medica-
your smile for optimal appearance, tions, the system is set to say that to

function, and comfort through the nurse – and he or she would see

that their patient needed pain medi-

our general family dentistry, and cation.

restorative procedures such as dental “And if, say, my nurse is busy with

implants. Our comprehensive range another patient, the system auto-
of services and dedication of quality matically defaults to the charge
set us apart. Call today to schedule nurse or the manager, so … [the pa-
your appointment. tient’s call] will never be ignored.”

The system also tracks each indi-

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may well help foster new ways of
(321) 725-6565 • MELBOURNEBEACHDENTISTRY.COM meeting and exceeding the hospitals

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 29


‘D’-fense! Vitamin can help prevent colitis flare-ups

STORY BY MARIA CANFIELD CORRESPONDENT doctor or pharmacist, that level is gen- can be helpful: Getting plenty of high- medication. “We can get the condition
[email protected] erally considered very safe.) quality sleep, exercising regularly, and under control for the vast majority of
meditating and engaging in breathing patients,” he says, “and improve their
A new study led by researchers from In other advice for UC sufferers, Dr. exercises are other protective factors. quality of life.”
Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medi- MacKay says, “It’s important to main-
cal Center has concluded that lower tain a balanced diet, with fruits, veg- There are a number of medications He adds that additional studies are
levels of vitamin D in the blood in- etables and a good source of protein. designed to treat UC – including anti- needed to clarify the cause-and-effect
crease the risk of flare-ups in patients And unnecessary antibiotics should inflammatory drugs such as corticoste- connection between vitamin D levels
with ulcerative colitis. The study was be avoided, as those drugs disrupt the roids, immune system suppressors, and and UC flare-ups.
published in the February 2017 issue good bacteria in our gut.” biologics – medications derived from
of the journal Clinical Gastroenterol- living organisms rather than chemicals. Dr. MacKay’s practice is in the IRMC
ogy and Hepatology. It’s also known that stress can af- Dr. McKay says it’s critical that patients Health and Wellness Center, located at
fect the immune system, so reducing are diligent in taking their prescribed 3450 11th Court, Suite 206. The office
Through blood tests and biopsies, stress levels to whatever degree possible phone number is 772-299-3511. 
the researchers took “baseline” mea-
surements of study participants’ vi-
tamin D levels and levels of inflam-
mation while they were in remission
(not having a flare-up). The research-
ers then followed the participants for
12 months, and compared data from
those who remained well and those
who experienced flare-ups. The re-
searchers found that people who had
higher vitamin D levels when their
disease was in remission were less
likely to experience a flare-up in the

UC, a type of inflammatory bowel
disorder in which the innermost lin-
ing of the large intestine becomes in-
flamed, causes symptoms including
abdominal pain, fever, weight loss
and fatigue. It’s an often miserable
condition for its 700,000 American
sufferers, having a significant impact
on their quality of life. UC is believed
to result from an interplay between
environmental and genetic factors
that affect the body’s immune system.

Dr. Gregory MacKay, a gastroen-
terologist associated with the Indian
River Medical Center, says ulcerative
colitis is a very complex condition,
and is not well understood. “We’re
learning more all of the time. We do
believe an imbalance in the immune
system is the primary culprit. This im-
balance might result in the gut bacte-
ria – the good kind – being attacked,
when the immune system should be
ignoring it.”

The minimum level of blood vitamin
D found to protect against UC flare-ups
is at least 35 nanograms per milliliter
(ng/mL). Patients with UC should be
closely monitored for levels of vitamin
D as part of their maintenance therapy;
deficiencies will likely result in their
doctor recommending a supplement,
as there aren’t many foods which have
enough vitamin D to make a difference.

Dr. MacKay says that people with
UC or Crohn’s disease (another type of
inflammatory bowel disorder) are at a
higher risk for a vitamin D deficiency,
and he will often suggest they take a
supplement of 800 milligrams a day.
(While patients should check with their

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 31


Ocean 302 Bar & Grill: Interesting tastes in Melbourne Beach

[email protected]

The appearance of Ocean 302 Bar Day Boat Seared Scallops. Gin n’ Juice Beef N Blue
and Grill – set in a strip mall in Mel- Pan Roasted Colorado Brick Oven Pizza.
bourne Beach – does not instantly PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN THACKER
shout “fine dining.” But we’ve heard Venison Loin. cou-
raves about the chef’s creative approach Nutty Spicy Tuna. ple of
with fresh farm-to-table ingredients, so me-crazy” ($10) – New York-style wahoo burgers or
last Thursday, we paid a visit. our dog was a vegetarian.) coffee cheesecake plus graham, plus a pizza from
For dessert, we were handed a third cocoa powder, plus duck fat, plus brown the brick oven and
Ushered to a table in the corner of butter, plus 12-year Appleton rum foam, spend less than $50.
the large dining room, we were handed complex menu and wound up sharing a plus dark chocolate yum-yums.
both regular menus and a list of spe- dish called “camp fire” ($10) – chocolate So what’s our verdict: The
cials of the day. pumpernickel cake plus dark chocolate Dinner for two at Ocean 302, with a food here is indeed very interest-
mousse, plus torched marshmallow, couple of glasses of wine, can easily run ing, combining lots of different flavors.
You really want to tackle these menus plus milk chocolate feuilletine, plus $120 to $130 before tax and tip – but this Some dishes are more successful than
before you start drinking. The descrip- salted caramel sauce, plus cocoa soil is also a place where you could grab a others. But it is on the whole good, very
tion of the dishes was among the most – and a second dessert called “jamoka- much worth a visit – and, my husband
complex I have ever seen. says, be sure to try the veal chop.

Take the “Goose Island calamari” I welcome your comments, and en-
($11), which our companion ordered courage you to send feedback to me at
as an appetizer. It was described as [email protected].
hopped, marinated bean town cala-
mari, plus watermelon radish, plus her- The reviewer is a beachside resident
bed feta, plus wood roasted spicy green who dines anonymously at restaurants
tomato marinara, plus micro tops. at the expense of this newspaper. 

Or the “nutty spicy tuna” ($14), which HOURS
my husband chose. It was described Daily, 4 pm to 10 pm
as Georgia peanut and Carolina cay- Brunch, Saturday & Sunday,
enne pepper crusted tuna, pan-seared
and sliced, plus mango red pepper and 10 am to 3 pm
sea bean salad, plus guava and papaya BEVERAGES
poppy seed coulis, plus sunburst farms
trout roe plus mustard blossoms. Whew! Full bar
Both turned out to be successful ap- 302 Ocean Avenue,
petizers (through I didn’t think the feta Melbourne Beach
did much for the calamari). But I decid- PHONE
ed to go for something that seemed rel- (321) 802-5728
atively uncomplicated – the “wild and
fun guy soup.” This turned out to be a
delicious mushroom soup, though our
server – unable to explain the “wild and
fun guy” name – also had no idea why
the price was $6.23. Got to be a story
there somewhere!

Then for entrees, I picked the day
boat scallops ($28), my husband chose
the 16-ounce veal chop ($36), and our
companion opted for the 10-ounce fi-
let mignon.

My beautifully seared scallops were
arrayed around a crispy hominy grit
cake and were topped by collards and
crispy leeks. Our companion’s filet
was topped with Béarnaise sauce and
crunchy toasted onions (a delicious
combination of textures, she said), and
was surrounded by roasted potatoes
and assorted veggies.

But the star of the evening was my
husband’s veal chop. “One of the best
veal chops I have ever had,” my hus-
band said. (A side note: My husband
asked the young man clearing dishes
to box the veal bone for our dog. He re-
turned with a Styrofoam box, and we
took it home – only to find that he had
boxed the left-over mashed potatoes
instead. Guess he must have thought

32 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Family dream home in
heart of Melbourne Beach

408 S. Anchor Key in Melbourne Beach: 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2,549-square-foot waterfront home with pool,
offered for $750,000 by Treasure Coast Sotheby’s agents Greg Zimmerman and Gibbs Baum: 321-432-2009

34 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


Family dream home in heart of Melbourne Beach


Staff Writer

The ideal family dream home in
Melbourne Beach is ready for another
family to enjoy watching kids grow
up from its oversized patio with pool
overlooking a dock on a canal with
easy access to the Indian River.

Alan and Vickie Freece, who had an
offshore fishing boat and two wave
runners, designed and built the Med-
iterranean-style home 28 years ago to
raise their now adult children within
walking distance of Atlantic Ocean
beaches and blue-ribbon Gemini El-
ementary School.

Now that their adult children are
busy with lives of their own, the
Freeces are selling and moving to a
golf course development in the inte-
rior of the state.

“What am I going to miss most?”
said Vickie Freece. “My friends and
the place itself – the location, the wa-
ter, watching rocket launches from
the patio and that ocean breeze we
always get. It’s the memories here.
This was the perfect house for us and
still is.”

The two-story, four-bedroom home
has several family-friendly design
features including that the three chil-
dren’s rooms are all upstairs. Along
those lines, there’s a laundry shoot to
help get clothes down to the ground
f loor.

For water safety during the early
years, the downstairs is laid out with
windows and sliding glass doors over-
looking the water from every room.

“It was designed so when the kids
were swimming I could see the pool
from the kitchen,” Vickie said.

“To me that was important. We
started building when the youngest
was 6.”

Many of the neighbors in Harbor

TOP 1% OF BREVARD “Todd is highly motivated, very ambitious
and receptive to your needs. He always
has your best interest at heart!”
RE/MAX OLYMPIC REALTY Todd moved here from Minnesota and has been serving the citizens of
Brevard County for 20 years with high energy, hard work and his unique way
321-749-8405 with people. His vast knowledge of the many neighborhoods and communi-
ties in the area, interest in real estate and willingness to go above and beyond
[email protected] for his clients is a winning combination for either buyers or sellers!
WWW.DOORTOTHEEASTSHORE.COM He specializes in marketing unique properties and water properties by using
a professional photographer to capture the most beautiful pictures that at-
tract buyers from all around the world. He also has the experience and knowl-
edge to help ANY seller that wants an agent that is hardworking, trustworthy
and goes the extra mile to handle each of his clients on a “one on one” basis.
Overall he has single handedly closed over 300 transactions which equals
well over 125 Million Dollars of Real Estate since starting in 2007/2008. This
stature has made him one of the preferred agents in the area and landed him
in the “Top 1% of Brevard County agents!” but the most important thing is
that all his clients are happy!

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 35



East had children of similar age to school and we’re right here at the still meticulously maintained yard. Neighborhood: Harbor East
the Freece kids and they all grew up ballfields and the beach is not far Another family-friendly feature is Year built: 1989
together. away,’’ Vickie said.
the 1,500-square-foot patio and pool Architectural style:
“This is a wonderful place for kids She remembers her kids as teens enclosure that is linked to the house Mediterranean
and Gemini Elementary is a great spending time congregating in their via pocket sliding glass doors.
Construction: Frame, stucco
Home size: 2,549 square feet
under air; 3,101 square feet

under roof
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2 full baths;
1 half-bath
Lot size: 0.24 acres
Additional features: New tile
roof, dock with boat lift, gas
range, large screened lanai and
pool area equipped with drop
down awnings, solar-heated
pool, wood-burning fireplace,
oversized master suite, over-
sized attached two-car garage,
additional insulation, attic over
garage with shelving for storage.
Listing agency: Treasure Coast
Sotheby’s International Realty
Listing agents:
Gibbs Baum, 321-432-2009, and
Greg Zimmerman, 321-704-3025
Listing price: $750,000.

36 Thursday, May 18, 2017 THE MELBOURNE Barrier Island Newsweekly


“If you are having get-togethers, and an oversized, 552-square-foot at- and a 10,000-pound boat lift. the rehearsal dinner here at the
you open it up and it just makes the tached garage. “We have had a wedding on the house. We had 85 people with the fur-
house so much bigger. This patio is a niture moved and with tents in the
living area and we have awnings for Another focal point of the home is dock,” Vickie said. “For another wed- yard.”
wintertime or when it’s raining,’’ she the dock, equipped with water, power ding, one of our sons wanted to have
said. The Freeces will take many fond
memories of 408 Anchor Key with
“We didn’t put in a living room be- them as they begin their latest ad-
cause that’s formal and this is where venture.
we lived,” she said.
“We sold the boat for an RV and
The home does have a formal din- went all over for six years, all the way
ing room, a kitchen with gas range to Alaska, in it. Now we’re trading
and abundant cabinets, and wood- living on the water for living on the
burning fireplace. Another highlight 18th hole of golf course in Kissim-
is an elegant master bathroom re- mee. I hope the family that buys the
modeled in 2007 with his and hers house gets as much happiness as we
walk-in closets, oversized tub and have had,’’ said Vickie Freece.
walk in shower.
The home is being offered for
There also is a small home office $750,000. 

Random, online ‘credit scores’ are not always reliable

BY KENNETH R. HARNEY that virtually no lenders use to make credit decisions. and, as well as
Washington Post Experian’s promotions appeared on third-party

When is your “credit score” irrelevant in buying websites, banner and display ads, direct mailings As part of the settlement, Experian was fined
a house or refinancing a mortgage? A new federal and sites such as, FreeCre- $3 million. The case follows Consumer Financial
legal settlement with a major credit bureau has
the answer: The only score that matters is the one Protection Bureau settlements in Jan-
your lender uses to evaluate you, not some ran- uary over similar allegations with the
dom score you got on a website. other national credit bureaus – Equi-
fax and TransUnion – in which they
All the others you might buy or see – there are
dozens of them hawked on the Internet – may were required to make $17.6 mil-
be interesting, but they won’t affect the interest lion in restitution to consumers
rates you’re quoted, the fees you’re charged and pay $5.5 million in fines.
or whether your application gets approved or TransUnion and Equifax were
rejected. accused not only of falsely rep-
resenting the usefulness of their
The new legal settlement from the Consum- in-house educational scores but
er Financial Protection Bureau alleges that also luring consumers into “costly
Experian, one of the big three credit-reporting recurring payments for credit-
bureaus, “deceptively marketed credit scores related products with false prom-
to consumers by misrepresenting” them as ises.” All three bureaus denied any
“the same” as what their lender would use in wrongdoing.
determining whether and on what terms to Which brings us back to mort-
offer them a loan. gages. If you’re like many home buy-
ers and owners, you’ve seen online
In fact, said the bureau, the scores Ex- pitches and ordered your scores, often
perian advertised extensively were its free. They may have come with tie-ins to
own proprietary “educational” scores credit card offers or credit monitoring and

Barrier Island Newsweekly THE MELBOURNE Thursday, May 18, 2017 37


identity-theft-protection services. Zillow’s house-value tool provokes lawsuit
One site may have said your score
BY KENNETH R. HARNEY age sell for $100,000 more, accord- years about the valuation tool, citing
is 788, ranking you as “excellent” on Washington Post ing to her court filing. But Zillow’s estimates that too often are far off
their scale. Another may have said automated valuation system has the mark – sometimes 20 percent or
you look even better – your credit It was bound to happen: A home- apparently used sales of newly con- 30 percent too low or too high – and
score is 801 and you’re among the owner has filed suit against online structed houses from a different and misleading to consumers. Zillow
credit elite. realty giant Zillow, claiming the com- less costly part of town as compa- itself acknowledges errors. Nation-
pany’s controversial “Zestimate” tool rables in valuing her townhouse, she wide, according to Heffter, it has a
Armed with these seemingly ster- repeatedly undervalued her house, says. The most recent Zestimate is median error rate of 5 percent. Zesti-
ling scores, you start checking out creating a “tremendous road block” for $562,000. Andersen is seeking an mates are within 5 percent of the sale
mortgage company offers. With an to its sale. injunction against Zillow and wants price 53.9 percent of the time, within
801, you figure, hey, I’m bulletproof. the company to either remove her 10 percent 75.6 percent of the time
I’m a prime candidate for the best The suit, which may be the first of Zestimate or amend it. For the time and within 20 percent 89.7 percent of
mortgage deals out there. its kind, was filed in Cook County being, she is not seeking monetary the time, Zillow claims.
Circuit Court by a Glenview, Ill., real damages, she told me.
Then you apply to a lender for estate lawyer, Barbara Andersen. A Zestimate “is not an appraisal,”
a preapproval and get the sober- The suit alleges that despite Zillow’s Emily Heffter, a spokeswoman for the company says on its website, but
ing news: Your middle FICO score denial that Zestimates constitute Zillow, dismissed Andersen’s litiga- instead is “Zillow’s estimated market
– lenders often pull scores from all “appraisals,” the fact that they of- tion as “without merit.” A publicly value” using its proprietary formula.
three bureaus – is a 716, and that’s
what we’ve got to use to price your fer market-value estimates and “are traded real estate marketing com- Another way of looking at the Zesti-
loan. The score is okay, but it’s 85 promoted as a tool for potential buy- pany based in Seattle, Zillow has mate error rate: Roughly one quarter
points below where you thought you ers to use in assessing market value been offering Zestimates since 2006. of the time, the value estimate is off
were and below the cutoff point for of a given property,” shows they At present, it provides them for up- by 10 percent or more of the selling
the best mortgage interest rates and meet the definition of an appraisal wards of 110 million houses, whether price, and wrong by 20 percent or
terms. under state law. Not only should Zil- for sale or not. Type in almost any more 10 percent of the time.
low be licensed to perform apprais- house’s street address and you’ll
FICO scores, which are predomi- als before offering such estimates, probably get a property description The 5 percent median error rate
nant in the mortgage market and the suit argues, but it also should and a Zestimate. The value estimates may sound modest, but when com-
mandated by giant investors Fan- obtain “the consent of the home- are based on public records and oth- puted against median sales prices,
nie Mae and Freddie Mac, run from owner” before posting them online er data using “a proprietary formula,” the errors can translate into tens of
300 to 850. Higher scores mean low- for everyone to see. according to Zillow. thousands of dollars – hundreds of
er risk to the lender. Lower scores thousands in high-cost areas. Also,
can cost you a lot. According to a In an interview, Andersen told me The Zestimate feature is the cor- in some counties, error rates zoom
March 23 national survey for FICO she is considering bringing the is- nerstone of Zillow’s business model beyond the 5 percent median: 33.9
by Informa Research Services, a sue to the Illinois attorney general because it pulls in millions of house percent, for example, in Ogle Coun-
mortgage applicant with a 765 FICO because it affects all property own- shoppers, allowing the company to ty, Ill., and 10 percent to 20 percent
would get an average quote of 3.8 ers in the state. She has also been ap- sell advertising space to realty agents. in a handful of counties in Ohio,
percent on a $300,000 loan with a proached about turning the matter Zillow makes big money with the help Maryland, Florida, Oklahoma and
monthly principal and interest pay- into a class action, which could touch of its Zestimates: In the first quarter of Illinois.
ment of $1,405. The same applicant millions of owners across the country. this year, it reported $245.8 million in
with a 650 FICO would be quoted revenue – a 32 percent jump over the Some appraisers are cheering An-
an average rate of 4.9 percent with In the suit, Andersen said that year before – including $175 million dersen’s suit and welcomed the idea
a monthly payment of $1,589 – $184 she has been trying to sell her in payments from “premier” agents, of state-by-state legal challenges.
more a month. townhouse, which overlooks a golf who pay for advertising. “They’ve been playing appraiser
course and is in a prime location, for without being licensed for years, and
But here’s a little complication: $626,000 – roughly what she paid for But there’s a flip side to Zesti- doing a bad job,” said Pat Turner, a
The FICO score your lender pulls for it in 2009. Houses directly across the mates. Homeowners, realty agents Richmond appraiser. “It’s about time
your mortgage application might not street but with greater square foot- and appraisers have been critical for they got called on it.” 
be the same as the FICO score your
credit card company might be send-
ing you every month online. Or, per-
plexingly, it might even be different
from the FICO score you get on My-

That’s because FICO has intro-
duced multiple models over the
years, each with what the company
describes as consumer-friendly im-
provements. The latest is FICO 9. The
most widely used is FICO 8.

But most mortgage lenders use the
older models specified by Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac. The differ-
ences in scores from older to newer
may be modest for many applicants,
but could be significant for some.
Fannie and Freddie are considering
updating their scoring models but
have not done so yet.

Bottom line: Ask your loan officer
which model was used to generate your
FICO scores. And never depend on ge-
neric scores available online as part of
your mortgage planning process. 

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