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Published by Vero Beach 32963 Media, 2019-12-20 11:49:57

12/19/2019 ISSUE 51

VB32963_ISSUE51_121919_OPT

St. Ed’s students keep aid
flowing to Bahamas. P4
Lagoon health seen
slightly better. P8
Homeowners worry

about new rail bridge. P10

For breaking news visit

MY VERO Was accused killer
too drunk to waive
BY RAY MCNULTY his Miranda rights?

Island man, inspired by
‘Superman,’ gets award

As John McConnell stood at School Superintendent Moore sharing unhappiness over desegregation report with Equity Committee Chair Merchon Green. PHOTOS BY KAILA JONES BY LISA ZAHNER
the podium at a gala in New Staff Writer
York last month, the longtime School attorney rapped for rogue desegregation filing
radio executive shared the How drunk is too drunk to
story of how a 2005 bicycle ac- BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ by School Board attorney Su- a 52-year-old federal deseg- understand the right to re-
cident that left him temporar- Staff Writer zanne D’Agresta has damaged regation order, included false main silent in police custody?
ily paralyzed motivated him the school district’s credibil- and misleading information And does it matter if it’s the de-
to embrace the mission of the Newly appointed School ity and undermined relations and was not authorized by the fendant’s eighth arrest and he
Christopher & Dana Reeve Superintendent David Moore with the NAACP and the dis- Indian River County School presumably knows the drill?
Foundation. says a rogue desegregation trict’s Equity Committee. Board, Moore and the board
“progress” report written and acknowledged. Accused killer Asbury Lee
“Like many others in the submitted to a federal judge The report, which claims Perkins’ new court-appointed
room tonight, this cause found the district is complying with CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 defense attorney says he was
me,” McConnell, who moved sloppy drunk – stumbling,
to Indian River Shores in 2017, slow to respond and slurring
told the audience. his words – the night in No-
vember 2015 when he was
He went on to recall, in vivid found in his boxer shorts with
detail, his journey from lying the dead body of his estranged
motionless on a Long Island wife, Cynthia Betts, in a house
roadway – with two fractured on Seagrape Drive in Floralton
vertebrae in his neck – to jog- Beach.
ging across the finish line of
the New York City Marathon Betts had been shot twice
exactly one year later. and her body had been rolled
up in a rug.
He then explained how run-
ning in that 2006 marathon to West Palm Beach-based at-
raise money for the founda- torney Valerie Masters says
tion spawned a lasting bond Perkins likely did not under-
with the cause promoted by stand the two times his Mi-
Reeve, an actor best known randa rights were read to him

CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

County’s new weapon against invasive plants: A goat herd Vero balks at county’s wastewater terms but
still exploring pros and cons of partnership
per is friendly, cute, cuddly
BY SUE COCKING – and effective. BY NICOLE RODRIGUEZ members are not happy with
Staff Writer Staff Writer the county’s preconditions
It has managed to devour for continued talks – which
Indian River County's lat- most of a dense forest of The Vero Beach City Coun- include some that would be
est weapon in its longstand- pepper trees covering five cil hasn’t slammed the door on costly for the city.
ing war to reclaim conser- acres of former citrus grove the idea of a wastewater ser-
vation lands from invasive west of Vero Beach just vices partnership with Indian “The offer is not favorable
plants like Brazilian pep- River County, but council- to the city,” Vice Mayor Laura
CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

December 19, 2019 Volume 12, Issue 51 Newsstand Price $1.00 Holiday Nights
of Lights at
News 1-10 Editorial 44 People 11-32 TO ADVERTISE CALL McKee. Page 16
Arts 33-36 Faith 47-48 Pets 67 772-559-4187
Books 46 Games 49-51 Real Estate 69-80
Calendar 68 Health 53-56 Style 57-59 FOR CIRCULATION
Dining 60 Insight 37-52 Wine 61 CALL 772-226-7925

2 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

School attorney’s rogue report may not renew her contract, which ex- Meanwhile, the School Board was amended since then to make the
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 pires in March. not aware its attorney had gone ahead NAACP the plaintiff in the lawsuit that
and written the report independently resulted in the order.
“We can’t undo what’s been done,” During an Oct. 30 meeting, the until it was informed of that by the
Moore said at the board’s Dec. 10 School Board, NAACP and the Equity NAACP. Seeing little progress in improving
meeting. “But we can take steps to Committee agreed all three would African-American student academic
make sure it doesn’t happen again. collaborate on the report, which had The NAACP and the Equity Com- performance and graduation rates and
to be submitted to U.S District Judge mittee last week submitted a sepa- increasing the number of African-Amer-
Neither the School Board or Moore Kathleen Williams by Dec. 14. rate progress report to Williams that ican teachers in county schools, the
would say what, if any actions would is critical of the school district. Brown NAACP sued the district several years
be taken against D’Agresta for writing After learning that D’Agresta had al- said the report informs the judge that ago to force compliance with the order.
and submitting the report without the ready written the report without col- D’Agresta’s report was not a collabora-
board’s knowledge or permission. laboration, the NAACP and the Equity tion and had been submitted without That led to, among other things, cre-
Committee submitted an addendum the knowledge of the NAACP – a viola- ation of the five-member Equity Com-
The board, which has been increas- with additional information, but tion of the judge’s orders. mittee made up of people chosen by
ingly critical of D’Agresta’s counsel, D’Agresta refused to include it in her re- the school district and the NAACP.
has previously indicated publicly it port, Equity Committee Chairman Mer- The desegregation order was put
chon Green told the board on Dec. 10. in place in the 1960s and has been After a year-long investigation, the
Equity Committee concluded the
school district was failing to comply in
nine of 11 areas specified by the court
as needing improvement.

The School Board accepted and
concurred with those findings and
agreed to write the collaborative re-
port to update Williams about the dis-
trict’s progress.

Under the leadership of former su-
perintendent Mark Rendell, the school
district spent more than $750,000 in
legal fees to make the case that Indian
River County schools were compliant
with the federal desegregation order
and get the district out from under
court supervision.

After Rendell was ousted, a school
board with new members elected in
2018 and Interim Superintendent Su-
san Moxley reversed courses dramati-
cally, and committed to work with the
NAACP and Equity Committee to im-
prove the situation.

That new era of cooperation and
determination to help African-Amer-
ican students be more successful in
school was affirmed by Moore when
he was hired earlier this month, but
D’Agresta’s actions have thrown a
wrench in the works, renewing old
doubts about the district’s good faith.

Green told the board that D’Agresta’s
report was “misleading,” and vague-
ly worded to give the false impres-
sion that the district was complying
with the desegregation order. It did
not make any reference to the Equity
Committee’s report finding the school
district non-complaint with most of
the federal order.

“I was presented with Ms. D’Agresta’s
draft of the annual report and it was
extremely flawed,” Green told the
School Board. “The report outlined
the areas being monitored, but did not
state the progress, or lack of progress
in those areas.

“The proposed draft appeared to
inundate the court with unnecessary
information without being precise or
specific about the district’s progress.
It lacked transparency and it negated
everything the Equity Committee
worked so diligently to accomplish.”

Moore said D’Agresta’s actions had
damaged the school district’s credibil-

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 3

ity and undermined relations with the He was out until 4:30 a.m. the night his eyes at 7 and immediately scram- normally a 15-minute ride, he noticed
NAACP and the district’s Equity Com- before, because the Country Music bled get ready to meet his friends for his shoes sliding toward the front fork
mittee. Association Awards show was in New their 7:30 excursion. of his bike and getting dangerously
York and he was “doing business” close to the wheel. So he reached
“This is a critical issue,” he said at the with Kix Brooks – of Brooks & Dunn He quickly donned his biking outfit down intending to pull them back but
Dec. 10 meeting. “There has been some fame – who was to become the host and grabbed his running shoes, but, inadvertently pushed one of the shoes
great work done and we’re going to have of the “American Country Count- unable to find the backpack in which forward, where it became wedged be-
to develop a plan to keep the lines of down” radio show. he usually carried them, he tied the tween the fork and wheel and brought
communication open with the NAACP laces together and draped them over the bicycle to a sudden stop, throwing
and the Equity Committee.” After his alarm clock failed to wake the crossbar of his bicycle.
him at 6:30 a.m., McConnell opened CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
School Board member Mara Schiff About 10 minutes into what was
seconded Moore’s comment: “It’s clear
we need to move forward and collabo-
rate better with the NAACP,” she said,
but Green and NAACP President Tony
Brown, angered by the rogue report,
called Schiff’s comments “rhetoric
without substance.”

Brown said the NAACP is consider-
ing additional legal action against the
district because of D’Agresta’s actions.

D’Agresta did not respond to an
email query from Vero Beach 32963
sent after the Dec. 10 meeting seeking

comment about the controversy. 

My Vero

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

for playing Superman who was left
quadriplegic after an equestrian acci-
dent in 1995. Reeve died in 2004.

McConnell, who spent nearly 20
years as the head of programming for
ABC Radio in New York before leav-
ing in 2008 to become a partner in the
Workhorse Media talent agency, con-
tinues to serve as vice chairman of the
foundation’s board.

“It’s a wonderful foundation that does
amazing things,” said McConnell, 65,
who received the foundation’s Arnold
H. Snider Visionary Leadership Award
at the New York gala. “I really didn’t
know anything about it until I read an
article about Christopher Reeve while I
was recovering from my accident.

“The more I read, the more I wanted
to be a part of what they were doing.”

First, McConnell convinced a few
friends to join him in walking the New
York City Marathon to raise money for
the foundation.

“The plan was to walk, but by the
time the marathon came around, I was
feeling good enough to run it,” he said.
“So that’s what we did, all 26.2 miles.”

A bigger opportunity came in 2007,
when the foundation’s brass invited
him to join the board, where he since
has helped raise millions of dollars
and contributed to efforts to improve
paralysis victims’ quality of life, speed
the development of treatments and
find cures for spinal-cord injuries.

And it all began on one fateful No-
vember morning in 2005, when he
slept through his alarm and, hurrying
to meet his friends for a “bike ride and
run,” had a life-altering accident.

As McConnell tells it . . .

4 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

My Vero extent of the damage, but, experienc- St. Ed’s students keep aid flowing to
ing severe claustrophobia, a frantic Bahamas in colorful cargo container
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 McConnell begged them to not put
him inside the machine. BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ wanted to do something to help their
him over the handlebars. Staff Writer friends on the islands and it has trans-
He flew 15 feet through the air before At one point, seemingly motivated formed into a community effort.”
by fear, McConnell reached out with his Three months after Hurricane
the top-right side of his head crashed hand and grabbed the attendant’s arm. Dorian devastated the northern Ba- The effort got underway in Septem-
into the road, cracking his helmet. hamas, the headlines that focused ber when a group of students – sup-
He wasn’t completely paralyzed. attention on the plight of our island ported by their families, friends and
“I knew immediately that I was in Dr. Jeff Silber, the orthopedic sur- neighbors have faded – but students at teachers – raised more than $6,000 to
trouble,” McConnell said. “I couldn’t geon on call, took charge of the case, St. Edward’s School are keeping the aid purchase the cargo container in early
move, and the back of my neck felt like nixed the MRI exam and, instead, opt- flowing. September.
someone had hit it with a sledgeham- ed for a CAT scan, which confirmed
mer. It was terrifying.” that McConnell had fractured his C1 Every couple of weeks, a large steel Student artists Catalina Pratt and
and C2 vertebrae at the top of his neck. cargo container goes back and forth Chris Maguire used 200 cans of spray
Then it got scarier. Less than three hours after the ac- between Fort Pierce Inlet and the is- paint to decorate the container with
“There I am in the street, lying on cident, McConnell began to notice lands on various barges, carrying colorful island images, and added the
my side and unable to move, and I feeling and movement returning to his needed supplies and equipment to school’s flag to the design, transform-
look back to see a car coming right at extremities, prompting Silber to post- Bahamian communities trying to re- ing it into a functional work of art.
me,” McConnell said. “All I could think pone any thoughts of surgery. build after the monster storm.
was, ‘This is it. This is how I’m going “No doctor I know would make this “My family goes to the Bahamas a
out.’ Fortunately, the car stopped.” call, but I’m not going to operate,” Sil- “Many of our families spend their lot, and I have close friends there,”
The driver got out of the car and, at ber told McConnell. “I’m going to let summers in the Bahamas, and have said Pratt, who jumped at the oppor-
McConnell’s request, called 911 and you be for a while. No halo. No surgery. friends and loved ones over there,” tunity to be involved.
requested an ambulance, which ar- But don’t move.” said St. Edward’s Director of Commu-
rived within minutes. Silber punctuated their conversa- nications Monica Jennings. “Students Maguire, who was born on Grand
As the paramedics tended to him, tion by saying, “You might be the luck- Cayman, said working on the project
though, McConnell began to drift to- iest patient I’ve ever seen.” was very gratifying for her.
ward unconsciousness. It was then Three days later, McConnell was re-
that he began to think the worst. leased from the hospital. He said it was
“My first thought was: I’m screwed,” a “miracle” that he was able to do so
McConnell said. “And then all these requiring only a neck brace – and that
questions raced through my mind: he was able to resume an active life.
What if I can never walk again? What McConnell, who played tennis at
if I can never hug my wife and kids Pepperdine University, continues to
again? How am I going to do this? How play here. He also enjoys playing golf
is my family going to handle this? and, yes, even riding his bicycle. He
“It was at that moment – and for the travels regularly from his Sea Forest
next couple of hours – that I started to Court neighborhood to New York and
understand what it would be like to be Los Angeles on business, and he has
paralyzed.” no plans to retire anytime soon.
His fears only grew at the hospital, As for the Reeve Foundation, McCo-
where one doctor said he probably nnell’s commitment remains strong.
had broken his neck and a second told “I was very lucky,” he said. “And if
McConnell’s wife, Marie, that her hus- you have an experience like I had and
band might not ever walk again. don’t pay it forward, what’s your life
The emergency-room doctors or-
dered an MRI exam to determine the about?” 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 5

“This was near and dear to my large warehouse he owns in Fort Pierce, from roads and tackle other infra- basics, like food and diapers,” Mc-
heart,” she said. “When I was very where he operates a bio-diesel plant. structure needs have flowed through Guire said. Now that most of the im-
young a hurricane struck my island the warehouse, said Scott McGuire, a mediate survival needs have been
and it was devastating. I just wanted Donations ranging from non- local civil engineer who volunteered taken care of, the emphasis has shift-
to make a small contribution.” perishable foods and student desks to oversee and coordinate donations ed to repairing damage done to struc-
donated by St. Edwards School to delivered to the warehouse. tures and infrastructure.
As donations began arriving, Cata- large tractors and other machinery
lina’s father Rip Pratt offered the use of a needed by islanders to clear debris “At first the goal was to deliver the CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

6 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

Relief aid to Bahamas ditions laid out by the county com- wastewater customer base and rev- Miranda rights
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 mission. enue. Vero currently provides waste-
water services to about 6,800 custom- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
“Right now, we’re in the rebuilding Councilmembers want to com- ers within the city, 1,450 customers in
stage, so most of our shipments include pare the cost of the county’s require- the county and 1,900 in Indian River by Indian River County Sheriff’s Dep-
building materials, tools and heavy ma- ments to the cost of building a new Shores, according to city data. uties.
chinery,” McGuire said, adding that the city wastewater treatment plant to
most urgent need is for cash donations. replace the worn-out facility by the With that customer base, the city “Since the Defendant’s waiver of
17th Street Bridge. expects to turn a $1.3 million profit his Miranda warning was not freely
“It’s expensive,” he said of the ongo- from its water and sewer utility in the and voluntarily made, his statement,
ing relief effort. “We have to rent the To keep its options open, the City current fiscal year, money that will and evidence located, developed or
barges, which cost $40,000-$50,000 per Council also voted to proceed with flow into and bolster the general fund. otherwise seized by law enforcement
round-trip.” design plans for a new plant, which because of the statement, must also
would be built near the airport and is If a partnership is joined, the city like- be suppressed,” Masters argued in an
McGuire coordinates efforts with projected to cost $50 million. ly would maintain its existing wastewa- Oct. 12 motion filed with the court.
government leaders in the Bahamas, ter collection system and its city ac-
as well as other relief groups. The county commission last month counts, while the county would be the Assistant State Attorney Chris Tay-
gave staff a green light to continue talks wholesaler providing direct bulk waste- lor and two law enforcement officers
“It’s been a lot of work for every- with the city about taking over some of water service to all customers on the who dealt with Perkins the night Cyn-
body,” said Rip Pratt. “But we’ve all the city’s wastewater treatment respon- city system, county officials have said. thia Betts was found dead say Perkins
been able to enjoy the Bahamas and sibilities – if Vero Beach agreed to pay was inebriated, but that he knew ex-
it feels good to have the ability to help for extending lines to and from county If the city ultimately decides to build actly what was going on.
wastewater facilities, and to cover the a new $50 million plant near the air-
and make a difference.”  cost of expanding county wastewater port, it would likely take more than Defense and prosecution attorneys
processing capacity to handle the extra two years to construct, becoming op- questioned the two deputies about
Wastewater partnership load. erational in 2024 or 2025. The exist- their interactions with Perkins. Both
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ing plant, designed to treat 4.5 mil- said that Perkins smelled of alcohol and
The commission also stipulated lion gallons per day, was built in 1977 appeared to have been drinking, but
Moss said last Tuesday, echoing the county customers who currently pay to replace an obsolete 1958 plant that that he was acting rationally and was
sentiment of fellow board members. for city wastewater services – in In- treated 2.2 million gallons a day. fully conscious of what was happening.
dian River Shores and unincorporated
Despite getting its hackles up, the parts of the county – must be allowed The county’s three wastewater plants Deputies say Perkins asked for a
City Council directed staff to provide to become county customers. have the capacity to treat 12 million cup of water and while an officer’s
a cost estimate for meeting the con- gallons per day and would likely need back was turned, managed to catch
Allowing current customers outside to be expanded at some point in the the door to the interview room before
Vero city limits to drop city water ser- it could close and used that chance to
vices would cost the city nearly half its future. 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 7

exit the room and hide in a conference Though they had split as a couple, Goat herd plant – to stop the spread of plants
room in a different part of the detec- Betts and Perkins were still business from other parts of the world that
tive bureau. partners as Perkins was the technical CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 crowd out native species.
mind of the business. One deputy said
Masters said the allegation that Per- Perkins even discussed the economy since August. At the same time, it has "It does have some potential to re-
kins thought he could escape police with him, saying that the semiconduc- done a number on other exotic veg- duce herbicide use and improve habi-
custody while wearing only his boxer tor market had tanked and affected his etation at the county-owned site, gob- tat quality," Powell said of the goat
shorts and crouched behind a wall in bottom line. Taylor offered these state- bling up guinea grass, Caesar weed, herd.
a conference room was “an impulsive ments as evidence that Perkins was Peruvian primrose willow, and a bush
act while drunk.” not drunk out of his mind to the point called Turk's Turban. Brazilian pepper – the chief invader
of “mania.” on county lands and throughout Flor-
Taylor argued that case law sets“a very The secret weapon is a herd of goats ida – was introduced to the Sunshine
high standard” in describing how im- “He’s not thinking he’s picking daisies tended by goatherder Steven Slatem, State in the late 1800s as an ornamen-
paired or intoxicated a defendant must on the surface of Mars,” Taylor said. who recently started a company in tal plant. It now covers more than
be to not be able to understand his or Melbourne that deploys the animals 700,000 acres across the state, com-
her Miranda rights. He cited rulings that Masters countered that the more wherever needed to chow down on peting for food and water with native
say “intoxication must be to the level of reasonable statements Perkins made pesky plants. Indian River County is plants.
mania” for the defense’s motion to toss were several hours after his arrest, “af- one of Slatem's first customers.
out Perkins’ statements to prevail. ter he’s sobered up,” but the Miranda Recently, biologists from the Uni-
warnings were delivered hours earlier "It's a pilot project for us," said Beth versity of Florida Institute of Food and
Perkins was far from manic though, when he was obviously impaired. Powell, the county's conservation Agricultural Sciences released tiny in-
Taylor said. He knew where he was, lands manager. "We don't have any- sects called thrips at the sprawling Ad-
knew what he had done, how serious Perkins blood alcohol level was not thing to lose here. Can we tip the bal- ams Ranch in St. Lucie County to feed
his acts were and what the likely con- tested at the crime scene so there is ance from non-native to native with on stems and flowers of the pepper
sequences would be. Taylor, through no objective measure of his chemical the goats' help? We don't know the trees as another means of controlling
the deputies’ testimony, showed that impairment. But photos Masters in- answer yet. They've done a great job, the aggressive plant. Powell said plans
Perkins was worried about his dog and troduced into evidence showed two and their herder is a good part of their call for a thrip release soon in Indian
who would care for the animal, and liquor bottles plus loose tablets of an success." River County, on county-owned land
that he asked if he would be wearing unknown drug in the room where Per- next to the goats' foraging site.
a red suit – in the jail, only violent of- kins was found by police. Powell said the goats are one part
fenders wear a red suit. of the county's integrated approach "The goats are getting a head start
Vaughn told the attorneys he would to controlling invasive species; it on the thrips," Powell said – chewing
Deputies testified that Perkins spoke take everything presented into con- also employs herbicides, mechanical the pepper in their fenced pen down
to them about his multimillion-dollar sideration and issue a written ruling equipment and biological controls to the roots under Slatem's watchful
semiconductor business and demon- about the use of Perkins’ statements – like insects that only eat a specific and affectionate gaze.
strated an educated vocabulary.
as evidence.  CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

8 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

sOligvehrtalyllihmeparlotvheodfolvaegroloanstsyeeeanr

BY SUE COCKING Jupiter, were calculated by measuring
Staff Writer water clarity, the amount of nitrogen
and phosphorous in the water, and the
The Indian River Lagoon’s overall amount of algae present.
health has improved a little bit since
a baseline was established last year, Habitat scores were based on sea-
and the Vero Beach area has some of grass cover because seagrass provides
the cleanest water along the estuary’s the foundation for the lagoon’s food
156-mile-long length, but water qual- chain and ecology.
ity and seagrass cover remain poor in
much of the waterway. Possible scores for water quality and
habitat condition range from zero to
That’s the gist of the Marine Re- 100. A score below 70 is deemed poor;
sources Council’s latest health report below 60, very poor; and below 50, ex-
card for the lagoon, which incorpo- tremely poor.
rates data collected by state and local
regulatory agencies. The worst water quality scores were
found in the Banana River and in
“It got a little better from how it was southern Brevard County, while the
. . . but when you hit rock bottom you best scores came in Indian River and
have nowhere to go but up,” said Dr. St. Lucie counties, in the stretch of the
Leesa Souto, MRC executive director. waterway between the Sebastian Inlet
and the Martin County line.
Conditions revealed by the coun-
cil’s inaugural health assessment were The Banana River got a 66, “poor,”
“abysmal,” Souto said when that re- while the Indian River and St. Lu-
port was released a year ago. cie county region scored an 87. That
“good” number was up 9 points from
Water quality scores for each of the last year when the same area scored 78.
lagoon’s 10 regions, which together
stretch from New Smyrna Beach to Habitat scores ranged from a low
of 16 in the northern half of Martin

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 9

County to a 69. No portion of the la- Park that uses algae to pull pollutants Despite improvements in water qual- quality measurements from both the
goon scored better than poor when it out of canal water before it flows into ity in the Vero area, however, seagrass St. Johns River and South Florida water
came to seagrass cover. lagoon, and also to living shorelines of cover here remained “very poor,” with a management districts.
mangroves and oyster mats put in place score of 58, up two points from last year.
Souto attributed the improvement by the county and conservation groups. Souto added that no segment of the
in Indian River County waters in part “Still a failing grade,” Souto said. lagoon has “met the regulatory tar-
to the county’s innovative, new algal- “They’ve done a lot of things right,” The new report card includes more gets” for reducing pollution and im-
scrubbing Osprey Acres Stormwater Souto said of the county. data than the first – including water
proving habitat. 

10 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

Homeowners worry about new bridge for Virgin Trains

BY GEORGE ANDREASSI crete-block home on 133rd Court in mine whether pile driving operations tion inspections find structural dam-
Staff Writer Roseland sits about 100 feet from the cause any structural damage. Many of age in homes caused by construction.
train tracks. her neighbors got a similar letter.
Homeowners near the 93-year-old Work on the new railroad bridge
St. Sebastian River Railroad Bridge “My biggest concern is the house “This is being done to protect the linking Brevard and Indian River coun-
fear pile driving during construction being shook and damaged,” Leclair interests of property owners, Virgin ties is expected to start in 2020 and last
of a new bridge for the Virgin Trains said last week. “If they do cause dam- Trains and its contractors in the rare 30 months, VTUSA officials said.
USA passenger rail project could dam- age, are they going to fix our houses?” instance any damage may result from
age their homes. vibratory or impact driving of sheet Virgin Trains anticipates providing
Leclair has received a certified letter wall elements,” the letter says. passenger rail service between Orlan-
“I’m worried about the foundation,” from Virgin Trains asking permission to do and Miami in late 2022 after com-
said Maria Leclair, whose small, con- inspect her house before and after the But the letter did not explain what pleting new railroad tracks from Orlan-
railroad bridge construction to deter- VTUSA intends to do if post-construc- do to West Palm Beach, a date that has
repeatedly been pushed back and still
seems optimistic to some observers.

A new railroad bridge across the St.
Sebastian River is needed to handle the
addition of 34 VTUSA passenger trains
per day expected to use the tracks
owned by Florida East Coast Railways.
FECR operates about 20 freight trains
per day that rumble north and south
across the existing bridge.

The planned construction includes
installing sheet pile wall elements. Piles
will also be driven into the riverbed to
anchor columns that will support a
construction trestle, a new western

bridge and a new eastern bridge. 

Goat herd

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7

The goats are sleek, healthy and
friendly – taking a break from gobbling
down pepper leaves to follow and nuz-
zle several visitors at the site last week.
The males sometimes butt each other
with their horns in mock combat, then
go right back to eating.

Powell said a second herd is slated
to occupy 25 acres of county conser-
vation land off Roseland Road north of
Sebastian; their primary job will be to
clear pepper trees away from the bur-
rows of protected gopher tortoises,
avoiding the use of mechanical equip-
ment that might harm the reptiles.

"Can the goats come in and do the
work of the bush hog?" Powell asked,
and then answered her own question:
"We think the goats can improve the
quality of the habitat out there."

Right now, the county is keeping the
goats' exact locations under wraps to
protect their health and prevent hu-
man interference with their work. But
Powell said a public education pro-
gram may be mounted later to intro-
duce local residents to the goats and
demonstrate the services they provide.

The total cost of "Goatland" – as
some county employees call the pi-
lot project – is about $24,000, with a
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission grant covering $7,500 and

the rest coming from county funds. 

Learsi, Isabella
and Joel Carrasco.

AWE, YES! IT’S McKEE’S
‘HOLIDAY NIGHTS OF LIGHTS’ P. 16

12 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

Moorings builds on something special with Habitat

Rita Register, Kimeria Colley and Justine Johnson. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
Ursula Gunter, Craig Lopes and Noelle Cashman.

BY MARY SCHENKEL Sheryl Vittitoe, Shirley Becker and Eve Kyomya. mortgage, that money is recycled to
fund additional homes.
Staff Writer John Larsen with Phyllis and Pat Schulke.
“Thank you each for helping us
Major donors and Moorings parenting and self-advancement. now, had been unable to find safe, to understand better how we can
Habitat Partnership Committee They strive, and often fail, to pro- affordable housing. Like other Hab- help you and the Habitat home buy-
members were recognized at a re- vide their children a place to learn itat homebuyers, they must each ers who are coming behind you, to
cent Appreciation Luncheon at the and grow; a place to call home.” contribute hundreds of ‘sweat eq- achieve the future that you envi-
Moorings Yacht and Country Club uity’ hours and attend classes on sion,” said Sommers, adding that a
to thank them for their efforts in He introduced several Habitat budgeting and home maintenance. goal of Habitat is to break the cycle
amassing close to $560,000 this past homebuyers, each of whom is a As they repay their zero-interest of poverty.
year to support Indian River Habitat hardworking individual who, until
for Humanity. Sommers introduced Randy
and Karen Sones, who assumed
Funding was derived through the the mantel of Classic Weekend co-
2019 Habitat Classic Weekend and a chairs from last year’s hugely suc-
direct appeal, and included a record cessful co-chairs, Jean Hyde and Pat
$170,000 contributed by the Moor- Allex, and who spoke a little about
ings Club through the Community the full slate of events planned Feb.
Contribution Tax Credit Program, a 14-17, 2020.
sales tax incentive program target-
ing affordable housing organiza- “Habitat has been the Moorings
tions. Club’s signature charity for over
two decades,” said Craig Lopes,
Over the past 20 years, the Moor- Moorings Club General Manager
ings community has raised $9 mil- and CEO. “Habitat is the largest and
lion for Habitat; of that, close to longest standing of the charities
$2 million has come from the club that the Moorings Club supports,
through that program. Residents and we’re committed to the Moor-
and Moorings staff also contribute ings Habitat partnership.”
hundreds of volunteer hours at the
ReStore, building sites and fund- “When I think about all of us who
raising events. are in this room this afternoon, we
do have at least one thing in com-
“With that funding, we are build- mon, and that is this partnership.
ing four new homes for families,” It’s been extremely successful all
said David Sommers, chair of the these years,” said Sheryl Vittitoe,
committee, noting that the Moor- Indian River Habitat CEO, thanking
ings has sponsored 72 homes to Moorings residents and staff alike.
date. “In addition, your contribu- “I’m also grateful for our families.
tions will repair six homes and pro- Right now, in our pipeline, we’ve
vide full-year scholarships to 10 got more than 25 families that we’re
students from Habitat homes.” working with very closely so that
they can receive their own Habitat
“There are many versions of pov- home in the very near future. So
erty, but the most pernicious is the thank you for your generous giving
poverty of the working poor. De- – giving of your time and your talent
spite long hours at low pay, many and your treasure to support Indian
are unable to improve their lives,” River Habitat.”
said Sommers. “They often endure
unstable home living conditions, For more information, visit irch-
which leave insufficient time for abitat.org. 



14 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 Sheila and George Marshall.
David Sommers and Fritzi Byrnes.

Sharon and Jim Kendall with Marsha Sherry. Judy and John O’Steen. Pam Delaney and Jeff Francisco.

Katie Nelson with Dick and Ginger Winkler.

Randy Sones, Chris Smith and Jeb Bittner.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 15

PEOPLE

Santa makes ‘Open House’ call at VB Book Center

As he has done for more than four parents snapped photos to com-
decades, Santa made a quick trip memorate the occasion. The chil-
south recently to hear the Christ- dren’s book section on the second
mas wishes of good little boys and floor was a hubbub of activity, as
girls at the Vero Beach Book Cen- the ever patient staff members
ter’s annual Holiday Open House. kept everyone busy with holiday
Jolly St. Nick held court from his stories, songs and crafts. 
hand-carved throne and listened
patiently to the awestruck little
ones, as proud parents and grand-

Isabella and Michelle Isaacson. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE Scarlett and Cheyenne Clohessy.

Kaya and Oliver Ortiz with Santa. Marshall Swedlund, Mica Swedlund and Logan Brake.

16 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

Awe, yes! It’s McKee’s ‘Holiday Nights of Lights’

BY STEPHANIE LABAFF Christine Hobart and Deborah Downs with Paul Landry and Roz Allen. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE what we’re all about.”
Staff Writer Pandas frolicked, goldfish jumped
son Education Building beginning director, said that in an effort to make
McKee Botanical Garden twinkled Dec. 19. it a more inclusive community event, and flowers bloomed amid illumi-
brightly during its members-only Holiday Nights of Lights will run for 16 nated hanging meteors, starbursts,
Holiday Nights of Lights, which is pre- Sealantro offered a special holiday evenings this year. snowflakes, dripping icicle luminaries,
senting a slightly “re-wired” version of menu in the Garden Cafe, where at- holiday-themed lanterns and spiral-
its previous event. Holiday Nights of tendees could fortify themselves be- “By expanding the timeframe, peo- wrapped trees, and up-lighting could
Lights runs through Dec. 29. fore strolling through the garden amid ple with family and friends in town be seen throughout the pathways.
thousands of twinkling lights. Many looking for something to do will be
Both young and old waited with paused in awe at the entrance of the able to visit,” said Hobart. It was also an opportunity for many
gleeful expectations, lining up well Royal Palm Grove, taking in the path- to get a first glimpse at the new ‘Ocean
before the gates opened, before be- way with its dramatic spiral-wrapped Additionally, to take things to anoth- Sole Africa’ exhibition, which will run
ing welcomed into a beautiful tunnel palm trees. er level and better highlight the land- through May. Members of Ocean Sole
of animated lights. Discussions of fa- scape, Hobart said they added profes- Africa recycle more than 500,000 flip-
vored past displays peppered the line Christine Hobart, McKee executive sional LED lighting this year. “That’s flops each year, cleaning, compressing
until Santa’s helpers hit the switch to and carving them into colorful sculp-
light up the night. tures. The artists used 5,486 flip-flops
to complete McKee’s entire exhibi-
After battling a faux snowstorm, tion, which includes turtles, dolphins,
children warmed up inside the Hall of crabs, an 8-foot-long great white shark,
Giants, making last-minute requests as seahorses, a 6 ½-foot-tall octopus, reef
they visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus, fish, starfish, stingrays, a manatee and
and taking in the spectacular minia- two giant dragonflies.
ture village display.
In the New Year, look for Patrick
The McKee Express metaphorically Dougherty as he returns to create an-
chugged down the world’s largest ma- other Stickwork Sculpture Buildout
hogany table in the Hall of Giants – a from Jan. 8 to Jan. 26.
teaser for the large-scale model trains
that will be on display in the Richard- For more information, visit mck-
eegarden.org. 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 17

PEOPLE

Brenda Hieronymus and Bob Dunnington. Connie Cotherman and Triana Romero. Spencer Simionie with Santa and Mrs Claus.

Len and Michele Schiraldi with Ed and Holly Riozzi. Donna Starck and Denise Cleerdin. Tammy Michalak and Tina Ganton.

18 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

Noteworthy party: 30 cheers for ‘Vero’s own orchestra’

BY MARY SCHENKEL Atlantic Classical Orchestra is cel-
Staff Writer ebrating its 30th anniversary.

Just over three decades ago, the The orchestra has expanded since
late Andrew McMullan, with his its Vero debut and now, under the
wife Jean, had a dream to create direction of Music Director David
a professional orchestra in Vero Amado, also presents concerts in
Beach. With the support of gener- Palm Beach Gardens and Stuart.
ous donors and dedicated volun-
teers, that dream soon became a ACO supporters gathered at the
reality, and this coming season, the Orchid Island Beach Club recently
for a ‘Cheers to 30 Years Pearl Anni-
versary Benefit Concert’ featuring

Lindsay Garritson, David Amado and Sirena Huang. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE

renowned violinist Sirena Huang, but we were the first,” said Jean
accompanied by pianist Lindsay Beckert, Vero Friends of the ACO
Garritson. board president.

“We’re Vero’s own orchestra. We “The Atlantic Classical Orchestra
were also the first orchestra in Vero has now become a cultural gem.”
Beach; there are many others now,
Amado paid tribute to the three

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 19

PEOPLE

Cindy Roden with Steve and Bonnie Fishman. Janet and Robert Hoffman. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 20
Georgia Wells with Warren and Virginia Schwerin.

ACO Anniversary sponsor couples – just came back from Carnegie Hall for this event. I think this is a rare said Huang.
Robert and Janet Hoffman, Michael where she had her debut a couple opportunity to have two musicians Of the Violin Sonata by Maurice
and Sally LaPorta, and Warren and of weeks ago. She is a musical force, of this caliber exploring the music
Virginia Schwerin – presenting con- and I think you will hear that to- that we’re going to hear tonight.” Ravel that they would be perform-
ductor batons to each of them, be- night as she plays with Sirena.” ing, she noted that Ravel actually
fore providing some background on The duo launched to a graceful thought that the piano and violin
the guest artists. Noting that he has only known Tempo di Munuetto by Fritz Kre- were incompatible, adding that she
Huang a few years, he added, “Sire- isler before Huang spoke to the au- was leaving it up to the audience to
“I’ve known Lindsay for a re- na was the first winner of the Elmar dience. decide whether he was correct. He
ally, really long time,” said Amado. Oliveira Violin Competition, and wasn’t – at least not the way it was
“Lindsay played the violin in the a deserving winner she is. She’s an “Having a chance to come back played by Huang and Garritson. The
youth orchestra and comes from extraordinary player; an extraordi- here is so special for me, because pair also delighted the audience with
an extraordinarily talented musical nary musician, and a wonderful hu- every time I’ve had a chance to two pieces by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and
family. She plays the violin incred- man being. She is so charming and perform with the ACO has been so one by Pablo de Sarasate.
ibly well, she also plays the piano such an insightful, natural musi- memorable for me. And so today, I
incredibly well and she sings. She cian that I was thrilled that we were get to play some shorter works that I For information on the 30th Anni-
does it all; she’s unbelievable. She able to get her and Lindsay together really love, and I’m really excited to versary season, visit AtlanticClassi-
share these works with all of you,” calOrchestra.com. 

20 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 Christine Barry, Marion de Vogel, Lee Venturini del Greco and Kate Freeman. Vaugh Bryson with Marion and Dr. Alistair Kennedy.
Ann Wheeler, Jane Garr and Dr. Bill McHugh.

Mike and Sally LaPorta with Evelyn and Frank McGowan.

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Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 21

PEOPLE

Joanne Wickstrand, Joanne Johnson and Elaine Morse. Sandy and Randy Rolf with Lynn Merrell.

Michael Brenner and Beth Thomas.
Colette Shvil and Judith Bairstow.

22 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

H.A.L.O. Fur Ball fetes pets’ ‘little piece of heaven’

BY STEPHANIE LABAFF Margaret Wall, Jacque Petrone and Jan Howington. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE of heaven in the chaos,” she said.
Staff Writer “Tonight I want to thank everybody
Further enhancing the evening, 10 percent since the shelter opened in that has supported H.A.L.O. and cre-
H.A.L.O. supporters had a tail wag- guests posed for photos, purchased 2006. ated that little piece of heaven for the
gin’ good time at their recent Fur Ball raffle tickets and perused silent-auc- animals. It matters.”
– a gala for pet people to celebrate tion items, while listening to the re- Among their services, H.A.L.O. of-
their love of animals – held at Cobalt laxing sounds of the Shanaphy Fam- fers vouchers for reduced-cost spay Proceeds from the Fur Ball will
Restaurant at the Vero Beach Hotel ily Band and sipping on signature and neutering, has a program that support the construction of a new
and Spa. cocktails – ‘Let’s Get Slobbered’ and places cats in barns, and provides be- Enrichment Center, a 5,000-square-
‘Let’s Get Licked’ – before settling in havior training and pet fostering. foot facility that will enable them to
Adorable balls of fur worked the for dinner and the live auction. provide expanded quality care and
room, warming hearts with their wet “There’s so much devastation in meet the behavioral and medical
little noses. Dressed to impress, pups Jacque Petrone, H.A.L.O. founder the world, sometimes it seems fu- needs of their furry wards.
clad in tuxedos and ball gowns ea- and executive director, said they have tile,” said Petrone, adding that while
gerly relented to cuddles and tummy much to celebrate, including that the it weighs heavily on her heart, there The dual-purpose facility will hold
rubs, while the lone feline deigned county euthanasia numbers have de- is still much work to be done. training classes and a low-cost medi-
to just have her royal ears scratched creased from 50 percent to less than cal clinic for microchipping and vac-
from the safety of her handler’s arms. “The world is in suffering, but our cinations, and spay and neutering for
gift is that we can create a little piece low-income residents.
These pet ambassadors represent
the often abandoned and abused “This facility is going to keep ani-
dogs that have found a reprieve at mals in their homes and reduce in-
H.A.L.O. No-Kill Rescue while they take numbers in our county shelter,”
wait for caring adoptive parents. explained Allyson Bootes, director of
development. “We’re fighting both
Their stories tell ‘tails’ of neglect, battles – getting them adopted and
such as the blind feline found tied reducing intake numbers.”
to a tree, and the potcake puppy in
need of physical therapy after being Get ready to bark with the dogs dur-
rescued amid the debris in the Hur- ing the Chase Your Tail 5K on Jan. 25.
ricane Dorian-ravaged Bahamas. For more information, visit halores-
cuefl.org. 

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 23

PEOPLE

Cindy Galant, Pam Harmon, Diane Langevin, Page Franzel and Trudie See. Maddi Hite and Maria Hart Kristen Eisele and Hailey Nottage Corey and Brittany Madon with Brittney Bryant and Ryan Young.
with Betty Crocker. with Chinook.

Doug Pietrafetta with Dorian.
Heather and Harry Howle.
Rob Kyzer and Anij Indigo.

24 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

‘Art Trail’ blazes with glorious works by talented locals

BY STEPHANIE LaBAFF PHOTOS & STORY CONTINUED ON PAGES 26-27 works in various stages of comple- nature through a combination of fau-
Staff Writer tion. vism, impressionism and realism,
Emily Palmer. PHOTOS: DENISE RITCHIE and to Susan Gancher, who creates
The streets of Vero Beach were vir- “I like meeting people. The Art unique silver and gold jewelry de-
tually paved with artwork recently Closets were filled with bins of found Trail gives you exposure, and maybe signs.
during the 12th annual Art Trail objects and broken antiques, and the you can even sell a piece or two,” said
hosted by the Vero Beach Art Club. walls and surfaces of every room held Earnhart, who considers herself a John Wartman has always been in-
The “X” marked the spot at 10 studios creative storyteller. terested in photography, but became
about town, where treasure hunters more serious and mindful about it
could explore the wondrous artistic At Rae Marie Crisel’s clay studio, after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, seeing
talents of 16 local creatives. she and Peggy Thomas showcased photography as a means to capture
their functional and aesthetic works. singular moments in time through
Art dilettantes and aficionados Crisel dabbles in oil, watercolor and the intersection of light and form.
alike discovered a treasure trove of clay, while Thomas has turned her
creativity and talent as they traveled hand to Florida flora and fauna in- In addition to her favored oils and
from studio to studio to view the art spired clay pieces. Visitors were treat- acrylics, Rosemary Cotnoir also dab-
and interact with the artists. ed to a pottery wheel demonstration bles in stone carving in her McAnsh
as the artists got their hands dirty Park studio, where she works to cap-
“It’s an opportunity for people to creating art. ture the abstract patterns organic to
see the exceptional art of local art- trees, stones, plants and reflections.
ists that they might not get to see Just a few miles down the road,
otherwise,” said Eileen Lovre, event Judy Rixom was thrilled to showcase An old hand at raku pottery and
chair. “It’s a great way for people that more than 100 of her oil pieces and the Art Trail, Dorinda Walker’s tour
would like to see the art being cre- connect with fellow art enthusiasts. included a video explaining the pro-
ated to learn more about the artists’ “I haven’t had my animals out in a cess, to provide attendees with a
process.” long time; I’ve been doing the ocean deeper appreciation of the work.
and birds for a while now.”
Guests strolled through assem- Merana Cadorette utilizes varied
blage artist Joan Earnhart’s home in Evan Schwarze didn’t participate mediums, from acrylics and water-
the River Club at Carlton, which of- this year, but he opened up his home color to ceramics and mixed me-
fers a veritable museum of her work. studio to watercolorist Emily Palmer, dia, in her Indian River Aerodrome
who captures Florida wildlife and studio. Her “flights of fancy” can be

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26 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 Judy and Bob Rixom. Peggy Thomas and Rae Marie Crisel.
Jennifer Edwards and Susan Gancher.

Joan Earnhart. Stephanie and Evan Blake.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 27

PEOPLE

evidenced by the hand-made tile and ed photography and also delves into Economou showcased a wide range financial support of community art
murals integrated into her home. furniture and wood sculpture. of pottery styles in the community- programs.
based studio.
Sherry and Chuck Haaland share a The tour’s final destination, In- Next up, the 32nd annual Art by the
love of art, with both agreeing that it dian River Clay Potters, packed the Proceeds from the Art Trail help Sea Fine Arts & Crafts Show takes place
makes life worth living. Sherry’s pastel house with clay works by four artists. the VBAC provide exhibitions of art Jan. 17-19 at the Vero Beach Museum of
portrait subjects lean toward the four- Mud-lovers Maria Sparsis, Jim Co- in public spaces, scholarships to stu- Art. For more information, visit vero-
legged kind. Chuck enjoys manipulat- hoe, Myrna Renkert and Karen “Keko” dents interested in the arts and the beachartclub.org. 

28 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

Winter Gala rings up valuable funds for Hibiscus Village

BY MARY SCHENKEL Helen Robertson and Dennis Hunt. often in the middle of the night, he because of its compassionate staff and
Staff Writer added, “When they go to bed the next in-house ancillary services.
“I am blown away by this event. Isn’t night, they are far better off than they
Jugglers tossing lighted clubs near this fantastic?” said Matt Markley, were the day before.” In addition to its therapists, medical
the Moorings Yacht and Country Club HCC President/CEO, as guests feasted staff and school district educational
entryway were an indication that on a delicious surf and turf dinner. Markley said that fundraisers are liaison, Hibiscus offers such programs
guests were in for a treat at the Cirque important as the state funding Hibis- as Career Pathways, where teens learn
D’Elegance Winter Gala to benefit Commenting that he sees the daily cus receives does not cover the cost of about scholarships, career opportuni-
the Hibiscus Children’s Center’s Vero impact the organization makes on daily operations. ties and internships, a Graphic Design
Beach-based Hibiscus Village. the lives of the abused, abandoned Center and a new culinary program
and neglected youngsters who arrive, “You’re not providing fluff; you’re with Chef Leanne Kelleher.
The circus-themed gala, co-chaired providing care for kids,” said Markley.
by Mackie Duch and Roni Fuster, in- He shared the story of one girl who,
cluded twirling acrobats who put on Markley thanked the co-chairs and like many of their residents, entered
a show in the center of the bar area, Henriette Churney, president of the Hibiscus four grade levels behind.
where guests enjoyed cocktails and Indian River Guild, which received Rather than attending school, she had
perused the large selection of silent- the Outstanding Group Supporting been taking care of her siblings while
auction items amassed by members of Philanthropy Award at the recent Na- her drug-addicted mother roamed the
the committee. tional Philanthropy Day Awards Cel- streets. Today, thanks to the impact
ebration. the staff and volunteers at Hibiscus
To lure them into the dramatically made on her life, she is attending the
decorated dining room, Ringmaster Lou Boccabella, Hibiscus chief ad- University of Miami with a goal of be-
Jacob Craig, director of music and arts ministration officer, spoke about the coming a therapist.
at First Presbyterian Church, hopped roughly 40 teens, ages 13 to 18, at the
up onto the bar to sing an Emerson Village, many of whom have suffered “That’s what I mean when I say
Lake and Palmer song that began: severe trauma. we’re transforming lives here to-
“Welcome back, my friends; To the night,” said John Moore, master of
show that never ends. We’re so glad “What we try to do on a daily basis ceremonies and auctioneer extraor-
you could attend; Come inside! Come is reduce that trauma. We work with dinaire. “That’s why this charity is so
inside!” them to give them a sense of normalcy important; that’s why the activities
and love,” said Boccabella, noting that here mean so much.” 
Hibiscus is recognized as the premier
residential home in the state of Florida

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 29

PEOPLE

Claudia Arens with Armund and Marie Ek and Leanne Kelleher. PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

PHOTOS: MARY SCHENKEL

Anthony DeMeo and Roni Fuster with Mackie and Richard Duch.

30 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

PEOPLE

PHOTOS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29 Shirley Becker and Rich Zawislak.
Bill King with Linda and Mel Teetz.

Barry Paddington, Henriette Churney and Todd Seth.

Clay and Pam Price. George Fetterolf with Karen and Matt Markley.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 31

PEOPLE

Diane and Larry Wilhelm. Raquel Tilton with Michael and Kimberly Thorpe. Lee and Suzanne Bertman with Donna and Gary Dulac.

Micah Nalzaro with Ed and Susan Smith and Maggie McNabb. Drs. Anand and Divya Haryani. Jordan King, Petra King and Brittany King.



YOUTH IS SERVED IN BALLET VERO’S
INCLUSIVE ‘NUTCRACKER’

34 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

ARTS & THEATRE

Youth is served in Ballet Vero’s inclusive ‘Nutcracker’

BY MARY SCHENKEL Adam Schnell and Camilo A. as well as eight teacher-selected stu- look for dancers, you don’t have to look
Staff Writer Rodriguez at rehearsal with dents each from Fellsmere and Dodg- for the most focused children, the most
some of the youth dancers. ertown Elementary Schools through well-behaved, that get straight A’s. We
When “The Nutcracker” first de- an outreach partnership with the IRC want you to identify kids that will ben-
buted in Saint Petersburg in 1892, au- PHOTOS BY KAILIA JONES School District. efit from the process.”
diences were not entirely pleased that
children were so prominently featured. American Midwest Ballet and 15 from Schnell says when selecting danc- “The Nutcracker, for Adam, is really
Fortunately, the concept of young Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami. ers for the 12-week-long process, they about the story itself, not just the cho-
dancers has continued, leading many advise the teachers, “You don’t have to reography. So Adam will emphasize
a budding ballet dancer to have visions Adam Schnell, BVB founding artis- what each movement means, and why
of playing Sugar Plum Fairies or Nut- tic director/CEO, and Camilo A. Rodri- it’s eight of us and not six,” Rodriguez
cracker Princes in their heads. guez, ballet master, are instructing au- explains.
ditioned students from their Riverside
Locally, Ballet Vero Beach has fully Theatre Dance Programs and com- “Fellsmere students are playing toy
embraced the use of young dancers in munity Outreach nonprofit partners, soldiers this year. In the beginning of
its “Nutcracker on the Indian River,” a the ballet, the heroine’s older brother
unique production that sets the stage gets a gift from his parents and it’s a box
on Christmas Eve 1919, Vero Beach’s of eight toy soldiers. So we try to make
Centennial year, utilizing costumes these little connections,” says Schnell.
and scenery that highlight our Indian Dodgertown students will be playing
River Lagoon. Full-length performanc- pelicans and sea turtles.
es take place at the Vero Beach High
School Performing Arts Center Dec. 30- He says they try to distill the dance
31, with a new one-hour “Nutcracker so that students get more out of it than
for All” production (more about that just learning the steps.
below) on Dec. 29.
“We’ll talk about, when you’re a sol-
This third annual production will dier and you’re marching, what does
feature 40 student dancers sharing the that feel like? And they have to come
stage with professional dancers from up with the adjectives. So it’s less dance
BVB sister companies; seven from steps and more about giving them
mental references, social references,”
says Schnell.

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Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini of Vero Beach
Gabriela Martinez, piano

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Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 35

ARTS & THEATRE

“The goal is never to try and fit the kids playing Marie for the third year, and Se- here; cannot engage with our program- Schnell. “We are really trying to capi-
in any of our productions into a specific renity Marsh, who will again play Fritz, ming because of something.” talize on that trend here with our orga-
mold. Yes, they have costumes and yes, are the epitome of working alongside nization, because honestly, that fits in
they’re going to have to learn the steps, children who have never danced before. Among other modifications, there with why we started this. The tagline
but we want them to get to the level that will be a section where people will be is ‘Dance is a universal language.’ If
is best for them,” Schnell explains. “They are definitely of that quality allowed to move about during the show you’re not reaching out to everyone and
that we look for in some of the bigger and another reserved for people who really getting that universal language
“The other side of that coin is that roles. They’re thoughtful and they will prefer to sit quietly. to them, then we are not doing our job.”
we’re going to play as a team,” adds take something you say to them and
Rodriguez. “You have to be respon- make it even better. Whether it’s a char- The production is open to individu- The full-length “Nutcracker on the In-
sible for yourself and for the collective. acter or a step, they have the ability to als of all ages who identify as different- dian River” performs Dec.30 at 8 p.m.
Those skills are actually quite difficult. go beyond,” says Schnell. “That’s what ly-abled and, thanks to Quail’s grant, and Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 to
There’s larger skills and problem solv- we really strive for with all the kids. To all seats are $10; or free for those with a $75. “Nutcracker for All” debuts for one
ing that we’re working with.” make it their own, and give them the financial need. performance Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are
confidence to hear what we are say- $10. For more information visit ballet-
Although they have no hard data on ing and to trust us enough to just let it “There’s really a trend nationally for verobeach.org or call the VBHS box office
whether the experience has filtered out. We make them responsible. Even arts organizations to think about what at 772-564-5537. 
into the school classrooms, Schnell the youngest ones from Dodgertown; they are doing with the art form that
says that teachers have noticed an im- they’re responsible for themselves.” goes beyond that perfect show,” says
proved sense of accomplishment in the
students that immediately translated “We’re very clear about what the
into the classroom. expectations are and what we think
they’re going to be able to fulfill,” says
While the teaching approach and ex- Rodriguez.
pectations for prior dancers and new-
bies is different, they try to impart a New this year is a one-hour long
little of the same to each, because even- “Nutcracker for All” initiative funded
tually all have to come together as part through a grant from Quail Valley
of the production. Charities. “It’s the next step for us in
terms of our work to include all mem-
“This year, we actually have one or bers of the community in our pro-
two places where we have dancers and gramming,” says Schnell.
non-dancers together,” says Rodriguez.
There is a nationwide trend in profes-
“We have a young man who came sional dance, theater productions and
to us this year from Dasie Hope, who symphonic concerts to have autism-
hopefully will be getting in to dance friendly performances; including such
classes very soon,” says Schnell. “But changes as modified sound and light-
because he’s so natural and so ener- ing, no strobe effects and break areas.
getic, he got cast into some roles where
he’s standing beside kids who have “So there was a big trend in that else-
been taking dance with us for five or where, but not here. We are on the fore-
eight years.” front here,” says Schnell. “None of the
other arts organizations are doing this
Regardless of where the students, for the specifically differently-abled
who range in age from 7 to 18, come members of our community.”
from, all are taught to be good citizens
of the world. Having met with the school district,
they learned that one in five students
“We expect the kids that see us for do not necessarily follow a standard
dance classes to participate in these classroom day.
things, to be leaders and mentors to
the kids just coming into this,” says “That’s 20 percent of the district that
Schnell. “We’ve been really lucky; they is either on a behavior or an individual
take on that role really, really well.” plan to excel them forward with their
academic studies,” says Schnell. “So I
Eventually, these young dancers thought, I don’t want this to just be au-
from a variety of backgrounds must be tism-friendly. I want this to be friendly
ready to cohesively share the stage with for all the members of the community
the professional company. that can’t sit through a performance

They say Gina Marie Saxton, who is

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36 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

ARTS & THEATRE

COMING UP! ‘Live!’ it up at the Emerson with ‘Sgt. Pepper’

BY SAMANTHA ROHLFING BAITA great music and nostalgia. I wonder are animated and colorful hanging atre of Odessa, showcasing, according
Staff Writer what song you’ll be singing on the way spheres, meteors, starbursts, snow- to the King Center promo, “its superb
home. You know you’ll be humming flakes, dripping icicle luminaries, spi- troupe of 55 of the brightest ballet
1 I know you will enjoy The Show: something. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $30 to ral wrapped palm trees, illuminated stars of Ukraine, under the artistic
for one thing, it’s Beatles music. $75. www.MusicWorksconcerts.com walkways and historical structures direction of the company’s Honored
or call 800-595-4849. throughout the garden; McKee’s tra- Artist of Ukraine Garri Sevoyan”; and
For another thing, it’s a Classic Albums ditional large-scale model train and the Satellite Symphonic Orchestra.
miniature holiday village, all certain Composed in 1875, “Swan Lake” was
Live production. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely to make your season bright. Time: 6 not well received when it debuted at
p.m. to 8 p.m. (The garden will close the Bolshoi in Moscow but, after being
Hearts Club Band” – the Fab Four’s 2 Definitely do make time in your at 5 p.m., then re-open for the evening reworked for the St. Petersburg perfor-
crazy busy holiday schedule to events. The Children’s Garden won’t mance, it has become, more than 100
eighth studio album, which spent 27 be open during the evening events.) years later, a favorite with ballet com-
General admission rates apply: adults, panies and performed throughout the
weeks at the top of the U.K. albums enjoy one of the most beautiful trea- $15; seniors, $13; children 2-12, $10; world. Combining magic, romance
McKee members and under 2, free. and tragedy, “Swan Lake” is the tale of
chart and 15 weeks at No. 1 in the U.S. sures on the Treasure Coast – Vero’s 772-794-0601. Prince Siegfried and Odette, a beauti-
ful swan princess who swims in a lake
– is coming to the Emerson Center McKee Botanical Garden, dressed gor- of tears. They fall in love, of course,
and, as in many fairytales, there is a
next Friday, Dec. 27, to kick off LIVE! geously for its annual “Holiday Nights dastardly sorcerer and some evil spells
involved, so things do not go smooth-
From Vero Beach’s 7th season of bring- of Lights.” This very special holiday ly. After confusion and forgiveness,
there is, at last, a happy ending for the
ing classic folk and rock music to local tradition for families and all ages is young lovers. If you are a balletomane
and/or a patron of the arts, this is a
audiences. Classic Albums Live is vir- happening now through Dec. 22, then holiday “must-see.” Curtain: Friday, 7
p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. Tickets: start at
tually unsurpassed in bringing to the next weekend as well, Dec. 27-29. The $25.50. 321-242-2219. 

stage, and faithfully (“word-for-word, already magical garden will glow with

cut-for-cut”) reproducing the best of yet more holiday magic. Look around 3 Among the most beloved and
mesmerizing of classical ballets:
the best albums, as authentic as it gets. in wonder as you enter through the

The show promo reminds us of some beautiful Tunnel of Lights, then take That’s what Aaron Green in liveabout.

of the iconic album’s most recognized a leisurely stroll in the glittering gar- com calls Tchaikovsky’s first and argu-

songs: “A Day in the Life,” “With A Lit- den, under the stars. As McKee de- ably most famous ballet, “Swan Lake.”

tle Help From My Friends,” “Lucy in scribes its holiday decorations: a tun- This timeless, magical masterpiece

the Sky With Diamonds,” “When “I’m nel of lights, with animation, greets comes to the King Center Saturday,

Sixty Four” and (of course) the title visitors in the garden entrance; there Dec. 27, fully staged and performed in

track. And that’s not all: After the break are large, illuminated spheres and all its glory by the Melbourne City Bal-

you’ll hear several other Beatles faves, an assortment of colorful animated let Theatre, for the first time collabo-

perfectly rounding out an evening of trees in the main greeting area; there rating with the National Ballet The-



38 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

INSIGHT COVER STORY Afghan army recruits attend a
graduation ceremony on the
outskirts of Kabul in 2006.

For almost two decades, U.S. military command- as a U.S. combat adviser from 2007 to 2008, called obtained by The Post contain new insights into what
ers have assured the public they are making prog- the soldiers “stealing fools” who habitually looted went wrong and expose gaping contradictions be-
ress on the cornerstone of their war strategy: to equipment supplied by the Pentagon. tween what U.S. officials said in public and what they
build a strong Afghan army and police force that believed in private as the war unfolded.
can defend the country on their own. Since 2002, the United States has allocated more
than $83 billion in security assistance to Afghani- On paper, the Afghan security forces look robust,
“We’re on the right track now,” Marine Gen. Jim stan, a sum that dwarfs the defense budgets of oth- with 352,000 soldiers and police officers. But the
Mattis told Congress in 2010. er developing nations. Afghan government can prove only that 254,000 of
them serve in the ranks.
“The Afghan forces are better than we thought they Two Afghan soldiers wounded
were,” Marine Gen. John Allen told Congress in 2012. in an IED explosion are carried For years, Afghan commanders inflated the num-
“The Afghan national security forces are winning,” to a U.S. helicopter in Kandahar bers so they could pocket salaries – paid by U.S.
Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson told reporters in 2014. province in 2010. taxpayers – for no-show or imaginary personnel,
according to U.S. government audits. As a result,
But in a trove of confidential government interviews Yet after almost two decades of help from Wash- Washington now asks the Afghans to produce bio-
obtained by The Washington Post, U.S., NATO and Af- ington, the Afghan army and police are still too metric data, including fingerprints and face scans,
ghan officials described their efforts to create an Af- weak to fend off the Taliban, the Islamic State and to verify the existence of people in uniform.
ghan proxy force as a long-running calamity.With most other insurgents without U.S. military backup.
speaking on the assumption that their remarks would The army and police have suffered so many casu-
remain private, they depicted the Afghan security forc- Government watchdogs and journalists have alties that the Afghan government keeps the exact
es as incompetent, unmotivated, poorly trained, cor- chronicled severe shortcomings with the Afghan numbers a secret to avoid destroying morale. Esti-
rupt and riddled with deserters and infiltrators. security forces over the years. But interview records mates are that more than 60,000 members of Afghan
security forces have been killed.
In one interview, Thomas Johnson, a Navy official
who served as a counterinsurgency adviser in Kanda- The national army accounts for most of the Af-
har province, said Afghans viewed the police as preda- ghan security forces, with about 162,000 troops. It
tory bandits, calling them “the most hated institution” reports to the Defense Ministry and includes the Af-
in Afghanistan. An unnamed Norwegian official told ghan air force and other units.
interviewers that he estimated 30 percent of Afghan
police recruits deserted with their government-is- The national police number about 91,000. They re-
sued weapons so they could “set up their own private port to the Interior Ministry and are more of a para-
checkpoints” and extort payments from travelers. military force than a crime-fighting agency. The police
guard the border, staff security checkpoints and try to
Victor Glaviano, who worked with the Afghan army hold territory that the army has cleared of insurgents.

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 39

INSIGHT COVER STORY

With the Afghan security forces lagging in quantity Afghan soldiers patrol in they said in public became ingrained during the ear-
and quality, the U.S. military has been unable to ex- Konar province in 2006. ly stages of the war.
tricate itself from the faraway conflict. Although the
number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has dwindled Afghan policemen after their In October 2004, the Pentagon distributed a set of
from 100,000 eight years ago to 13,000 today, the graduation ceremony in talking points that bragged about the Afghan army
Trump administration has had to escalate the war Marja in 2010. and police. The document praised the 15,000 soldiers
from the skies to prevent the Taliban from taking over. in the nascent Afghan army as “a highly professional,
multi-ethnic force, which is rapidly becoming a pillar
During Trump’s presidency, U.S. military aircraft of the country’s security.”
have pounded Afghanistan each month with three
times as many bombs and missiles, on average, as they It also touted how the Afghan national police –
dropped per month during President Barack Obama’s partly under the tutelage of NATO ally Germany –
second term, according to Air Force statistics. had 25,000 newly trained officers.

In interview documents obtained by The Post, But internally, Bush administration officials shared
U.S. and NATO officials partially blamed themselves anxieties and sounded alarms. In February 2005,
for the predicament. They said they moved too Rumsfeld forwarded a confidential report to Secretary
slowly to build up the Afghan forces during the first of State Condoleezza Rice about the Afghan National
few years of the war when the Taliban presented a Police, or ANP. The report was titled, “ANP Horror Sto-
minimal threat. Then, after the Taliban rebounded, ries” and described how most of the police were illit-
they rushed and tried to train too many Afghans too erate, underequipped and barely trained.
quickly.
“Please take a look,” Rumsfeld wrote in a memo,
Marin Strmecki, a civilian adviser to former De- accompanying the report. “This is the Afghan Na-
fense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, told govern- tional Police situation. It is a serious problem.”

U.S. Army advisers train Afghan police One month later, Rumsfeld sent another confiden-
in close-quarters battle techniques in tial memo to national security adviser Stephen Hadley.

2010 in Kandahar province. Saying he was “ready to toss in the towel,” Rumsfeld
added: “I don’t think it is responsible to the American
Afghan and American taxpayers to leave it like it is. We need a way forward.
soldiers return from a patrol I’ve worked on it and worked on it. I am about to con-
in Kandahar province’s Zhari clude that it is not possible for the U.S. Government
district in 2010. bureaucracy to do the only sensible thing.”

ment interviewers in 2015 that the poor timing and Rumsfeld disclosed the two memos about the Af-
inept planning were mortal setbacks. ghan police when he published a memoir in 2011.
The memos and other documents show that Rums-
“These are strategic consequences to this,” Strmecki feld pushed to train the Afghan forces quickly yet
said. “This is not just doing good or it would be nice to wanted to keep them small so the U.S. government
be able to operate better.You succeed or fail on wheth- would not get stuck with the expense of sustaining a
er you can do these things in a timely manner.” massive foreign army and police force.

The interviews were conducted by the Office of Afghan police trainees
the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Re- at the Kabul academy
construction, or SIGAR, an agency created by Con- in 2004.
gress. In 2014, SIGAR launched a special project
titled “Lessons Learned” to examine policy failings Afghan National Police cadets at the Kabul academy in 2012. In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, oth-
from the war. It interviewed more than 600 people er Bush administration officials said Rumsfeld was
who played a direct role in the conflict, from military Arrested Afghan police stingy and shortsighted. They said Washington
commanders to aid workers. personnel board a V-22 would have saved money in the long run – and per-
Osprey to be shipped out haps even subdued the Taliban – if it had built a big-
Drawing partly on the interviews but largely on after being caught smoking ger Afghan army and police force sooner.
other government documents, SIGAR published two narcotics at a Marine base
Lessons Learned reports in 2017 and 2019 that high- in Marja in 2010. Strmecki said the dispute dragged on even as it
lighted an array of problems with the Afghan security became clearer in 2004 and 2005 that the Afghan
forces. forces needed to expand quickly to fight a resurgent
Taliban. “The way it gets resolved is the way every-
But the Lessons Learned reports omitted the thing gets resolved in Washington – by not getting
names of the vast majority of those interviewed for resolved,” he said.
the project, as well as their most biting critiques.
The Post obtained notes and transcripts of the inter- In his Lessons Learned interview, Strmecki said
views under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) another fundamental problem was that the U.S.
after a three-year legal battle. government lacked the capacity to train and equip
large foreign armies from scratch.
“We got the [Afghan forces] we deserve,” Douglas
Lute, an Army lieutenant general who served as the “You wouldn’t invent how to do infantry opera-
White House’s Afghan war czar under Presidents George tions at the start of a war. You wouldn’t invent how
W. Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. to do artillery at the start of a war,” Strmecki said.
“Right now, it is all ad hoc.”
If the U.S. government had ramped up training
between 2002 and 2006, “when the Taliban was weak CONTINUED ON PAGE 42
and disorganized, things may have been different,”
Lute added.

The disconnect between what U.S. officials really
thought about the Afghan security forces and what

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42 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 INSIGHT COVER STORY Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 staged withdrawal of U.S. troops. With
fewer Americans in the fight, setbacks
When Obama took office in January began piling up for the Afghan securi-
2009, the war was going badly. He un- ty forces, and the Taliban slowly seized
veiled a new counterinsurgency strat- more territory. But U.S. commanders
egy and nearly tripled the number of kept telling the public everything was
U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 100,000. going according to plan.

Obama told the American people “This army and this police force have
that the surge in U.S. troops was tem- been very, very effective in combat
porary. He later promised to bring against the insurgents every single day,”
home all U.S. troops by the end of his then-Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley said
presidency in January 2017. during a 2013 press briefing from Kabul.

His war strategy hinged on imple- Today, Milley is a four-star general
menting a huge expansion of the Af-
ghan security forces, from 200,000 sol- Quick Reaction Force officers training in 2012.
diers and police to 350,000. The idea
was for U.S. and NATO troops to train Five months later, at a White House
and advise the Afghans until they could news conference, Defense Secretary
take over the fight on their own. Robert Gates said the Afghan security
forces were progressing“ahead of sched-
Despite a persistent shortage of ule,” adding, “They are performing well
trainers and recruits, U.S. military in partnership with coalition troops and
commanders and other senior officials will continue to improve with the right
assured the public time and again that training, equipment and support.”
the Afghan security forces were con-
stantly improving and that U.S. troops Members of Congress from both par-
would eventually no longer need to ties also lavished praise on the Afghans.
serve in combat.
In 2011, Obama ordered a partial,
“This is the worst nightmare for the
Taliban, that the Afghan army is in-
creasingly effective, partnered with
our forces and moving against an en-
emy that they know better than any-
one,” Mattis, the Marine general who
later served as Trump’s defense secre-
tary, told a Senate panel in July 2010. “I
think this is very heartening.”

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 43

INSIGHT COVER STORY

and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. said the security forces were making promised, Obama left 8,400 U.S. troops vice members remain in the country.
As the war continued, news reports progress but acknowledged that maybe in Afghanistan. In the Lessons Learned interviews,
they had overstated the Afghans’ abili-
from the front made clear that the Af- ties in the past. Less than a year later, his succes- U.S. and NATO officials said the glow-
ghan security forces were struggling to sor in the White House decided that ing progress reports delivered to the
hold back the Taliban. By the time Obama left office in was not enough and sent back several public were largely an illusion and
January 2017, his plan had fallen short. thousand more U.S. troops to help the glossed over major deficiencies that
In public, Pentagon officials started Instead of ending the war as he had Afghans. Today, about 13,000 U.S. ser- were visible from the outset. 
to revise their assessments. They still

44 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

INSIGHT OPINION

When Bri Cawsey began running in 2008, she out,” says Adrienne Langelier, a sports psychology ativity surrounding performance, which can hurt
quickly got hooked on the sport and wanted to consultant from the Dallas area. “Running watches outcomes.
get faster. So she did what many runners do and are now easily available and have more functional-
bought a GPS watch that would give her real-time ity than ever, creating a new norm surrounding run A small 2015 study from the journal Medicine
feedback on her pace, mileage and other metrics. efforts.” and Science in Sports and Exercise found that
when cyclists in the study group were hyper-fo-
First, she enjoyed the data readout. Before long, “Technology is great when used appropriately,” cused on hitting a certain measurement – such as
she connected her watch to an app that helped says Jennifer Harrison, a Chicago-based running the pace on a watch – their perceived exertion was
her track calories, as well. Then she added a sec- and triathlon coach. “It gives us objective measure high. Conversely, when letting go of specific met-
ond watch, more sophisticated than the first, and points and, as a coach, I can use that feedback to rics and focusing instead on factors such as form,
began comparing the data from the two for better track and monitor my athletes’ progress. But it is breathing or even nothing at all, athletes tended to
accuracy. too easy to become too dependent on it.” achieve results as much as 10 percent better.

By 2012, Cawsey found she couldn’t do anything Harrison estimates that 95 percent of the ath- This is no surprise to Hollie Sick. Since reducing
without a tracking watch on her wrist. letes she works with rely on technology. her reliance on a GPS watch, she has felt happier
with her running and also healthier.
The obsessiveness all the data spurred turned The ones who don’t generally are older, more sea-
out to be bad for Cawsey’s running and for her life: soned runners and triathletes. While experienced “I’m actually running more miles and doing it in-
her times stopped improving but beyond that, she athletes who use technology can certainly suffer its jury free, because I am listening to my body instead
said, “I realized I was hurting my body and that the pitfalls, it tends to be the new-to-the-sport athletes of my watch,” she says. “I’ve got loops mapped out
data was running my life.” who tend to have the most trouble. so I know their distances and I just go run them
without technology and feedback.”
Hollie Sick also developed an overdependence “There’s an entire generation of athletes for
on technology, the data on her GPS sports watch whom, if it’s not tracked, it didn’t happen,” Har- Harrison subscribes to this approach and asks
driving her to do more and faster. In 2011, the run- rison says. “As a coach, it’s my job to manage the all her athletes to spend several workouts per week
ner wound up with a stress fracture in her tibia that data behind the scenes, but also to teach athletes without a watch.
forced her to lay off all sports for two months. “I to tap into their effort levels.”
became fixated on my pace,” she says. “Instead of “I definitely have data hoarders who will fight me
running my easy runs easy, I ran too fast on every When athletes rely too much on technology, they on this,” she says. “But I will have heart-to-heart
run.” often lose the ability to understand what is best for conversations about the downsides and then ask
their bodies, trusting the data readout over how that they give me subjective feedback from their
Today, she often leaves the watch at home. “I will they feel. workouts, rather than the data points.”
only use my GPS for specific workouts or races,”
says Sick, who is now 29. “I have no real idea of Technology cannot measure such factors as Most athletes will generally fall in line with this
what I’m running on my easy days – I let my body stress, lack of sleep, fatigue, overtraining or on- approach once they’ve tried it, she says.
decide instead of my watch.” coming illness, which are important consider-
ations both for interpreting training results and for Cawsey, now 34, admits that weaning herself off
The paradox is real: Runners (along with cyclists balancing training with staying healthy. the feedback was difficult.
and other athletes eager to track their mileage and
time) can get all the data they want these days and “If it’s 90 degrees out, you aren’t going to be able “It took me a few tries to get it right,” she says.
use it to get faster. to keep your normal pace on a run,” Harrison says. “But every time I returned to the data, I felt myself
“Yet I have athletes who fall apart when they see slipping back into old habits.”
Yet, for many, that feedback can lead to over- their pace slowing in these circumstances.”
training, poor results and unhealthy behaviors. Today, as the mother of an 8-week-old infant,
The bottom line, many experts say, is that far too A 2016 analysis, published in Frontiers in Physi- Cawsey is looking forward to returning to running
many athletes are overdependent on their devices. ology that focused on self-regulation in endurance – without a data watch. “I’m excited to simply run
sports, found that sticking to a specific pace or ex- for pleasure,” she says. “I feel like I lost a piece of
“We are increasingly becoming a visual and data- ertion level can lead to a dip in performance. The myself because I was so focused on the data.” 
driven society – many of us tend to get validation study concluded that excessively relying on tech-
and comfort from numbers surrounding a work- nology to dictate pace can lead to anxiety and neg- This column by Amanda Loudin first appeared in
The Washington Post. It does not necessarily reflect
the views of Vero Beach 32963.

STRESSEDSPELLED upset stomach, stomach ulcers, sleep problems, tiredness,
BACKWARDSISDESSERTS accidents and other aforementioned issues.

The holidays are here. Along with the joy of being with FIGHTING THE HOLIDAY BLUES
family and friends comes the hustle-bustle stress of bak-
ing, entertaining, parties and shopping. For some, the holidays can be depressing. Feelings of sad-
Stress is not always a bad thing. Good stress, “eustress,” is ness, loneliness and anger intensify, especially for those
getting a new job, taking on more responsibility or waiting who have unresolved family issues, had a painful child-
to open Christmas presents. Negative stress, “distress,” hood or have lost a loved one. Financial concerns can also
is a natural part of living. But when you face continuous be worrisome.
challenge after challenge without relaxation or relief be-
tween trials, stress-related tensions build up that can af- 10 TIPS FOR A JOYFUL HOLIDAY
fect your body, thoughts and behavior.
1. Don’t expect too much. Everything doesn’t have to
COMMON EFFECTS OF STRESS be perfect. Don’t worry about things that are out of
your control.
On your body include: 2. Learn to say no. Prioritize and choose to do things you
 Fatigue want to do.
 Headache 3. Don’t let people push your buttons. If conversation
 Muscle tension or pain becomes uncomfortable with relatives or friends
 Sleep problems staying with you, go for a drive or out to a movie to
 Upset stomach help adjust your attitude.
 Chest pain 4. Prepare as much as you can as early as you can.
On your mood include: 5. Be good to yourself. Only then can you be
 Anger or irritability available for others.
 Feeling overwhelmed 6. Don’t overspend. It’s OK to tell children Santa is on a
 Inability to focus; lack of motivation budget. He has a lot of children on his list.
 Anxiety 7. If you are mourning the loss of or break-up with a
 Restlessness loved one, give yourself freedom to not participate in
 Depression and sadness some of the festivities. Ask those around you to be un-
On your behavior include: derstanding if you decline their invitation. But be
 Angry outbursts careful not to isolate.
 Exercising less often 8. Limit sugar and fat-laden sweets and food – which
 Overeating or undereating lower energy levels and can add to your stress level.
 Social withdrawal Take walks, especially before and/or after the big
 Tobacco use holiday meal.
 Drug or alcohol abuse 9. Help others. Do something to help the underpriv
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leged. Do something unexpected. “Pay-forward”
estimates the signs and symptoms of stress and its con- something for someone you don’t know, or do know.
sequences account for approximately 75% of all doctor’s Surprise someone and make their day.
visits. This includes headaches, back pain, heart problems, 10. Be thankful. Appreciate all you have – friends, family,
religious freedom and ample, if not abundant,
resources. 
Your comments and suggestions for future topics are
always welcome. Email us at [email protected]

© 2019 VERO BEACH 32963 MEDIA, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

46 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

INSIGHT BOOKS

The rise of the Islamic portrait of the People’s Ras al-Ayn and al-Yarubiyah, two strategic border cit-
State has haunted headlines Protection Units, com- ies in northeast Syria, and that he witnessed firsthand
throughout the world for the monly known as the the activities of the YPG. However, he does not explain
better part of a decade and has YPG, a Syrian Kurdish- that in both these cities the YPG worked closely with
disrupted American plans to majority force that Arab allies to defeat the Islamic State and other radical
pivot to its intensifying com- includes Arabs and militant Sunni Islamist groups, and that the alliances
petition with China and Rus- other groups. The YPG built between the YPG and Arab allies in these areas
sia. In “Shatter the Nations: ISIS became the backbone endure today. As I have seen over the past five years
and the War for the Caliphate,” on field trips to northeast Syria, the SDF (including the
Mike Giglio, an intelligence and of the larger, multi- YPG) is building a multiethnic, multisectarian politi-
national security correspondent ethnic, multisectar- cal, administrative and security organization to stabi-
for the Atlantic, tracks the growth ian Syrian Democratic lize post-Islamic State areas, placing women and mi-
and decline of the terrorist group Forces (SDF) coali- norities into decision-making positions. Perhaps most
in Iraq and Syria at the ground tion, which emerged important, at least hundreds of members of the Syrian
level, among local Syrians, Iraqis, as a close U.S. partner opposition, mostly Arabs, have returned to northeast
Turks and others who experienced against the Islamic Syria after they were forced into exile by the Islamic
the war firsthand. State in Syria. It was State and are now working to help build SDF-led gov-
ernance operations.
Giglio, who was previously the YPG’s work with
based in Istanbul for BuzzFeed, Arabs that caught That is why, while by no means perfect, the YPG (and
draws heavily from his experiences the eye of the U.S. the SDF) is much more than the caricature that Giglio
mingling with the smugglers, spies, military as it sought presents in “Shatter the Nations.” Unfortunately, Giglio
refugees, aid workers, journalists to open a front missed an opportunity to help the reader understand
and jihadists on Turkey’s southern against the Islamic why the United States chose to partner with this group.
frontier with Syria. Giglio even trav- State in Syria. Over
els into the heart of darkness itself, time – and with the Nevertheless, “Shatter the Nations” mostly suc-
the Islamic State’s so-called capital ceeds as both a firsthand account of the war against
– the northwestern Iraqi city of Mo- encouragement the Islamic State and as something of a philosophical
sul – where he chronicles the battle to wrest the city and support of the rumination on the larger “forever war” that the United
away from the terrorists, a grinding, bloody endeavor United States and its allies – the YPG built States launched after al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
waged by various barely coordinated Iraqi security up the SDF into a force numbering tens of thousands Giglio has written an engaging and valuable account of
forces (Kurds, Arabs and others), all backed by the that remains the key U.S. partner against the Islamic the battle against the Islamic State and its regional and
United States and its allies. State. international effects. He captures, better than most
Giglio casts the YPG in a somewhat negative light, any other author, the gritty, confusing and often cyni-
“Shatter the Nations” is not a comprehensive re- describing it as a group that sided with Syrian Presi- cal nature of this war fought by local actors on behalf
pository of all things related to the Islamic State, in dent Bashar al-Assad, is hated by fellow Syrians and is of the United States. Readers who embark with Giglio
Syria and Iraq or globally. Instead, readers should ex- a proxy for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is list- on his harrowing adventures will gain much from his
pect quirky and important discoveries about the war ed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the Unit- eye for the details that humanize his tale. Readers also
and its transnational impact on oil smuggling, the ed States. Giglio characterizes the YPG as “of another will come away with a strong understanding of why the
running of refugees into Europe and the black mar- place and time, a throwback to leftist radical groups uprisings in Syria and Iraq metastasized into a multi-
ket for antiquities. These activities helped support the that flourished across Europe during the presiden- national conflict that will reverberate for generations
Islamic State’s war machine, and Giglio is in his ele- cies of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan” and one that to come. 
ment explaining how they fit together as the militant “killed or kidnapped” Syrians, causing some family
group started to grow into a monster force. He rolled members to join the Islamic State. SHATTER THE NATIONS
into battle with members of America’s local counter- It is true that a significant part of the YPG has been
Islamic State partners, and he captures the makeup of influenced by the social movement led by Abdullah ISIS AND THE WAR FOR THE CALIPHATE
this motley crew. Ocalan, whom the Kurdistan Workers’ Party considers
a spiritual father, and that some Syrian veterans of the BY MIKE GIGLIO | 303 PP. $28
But Giglio might have provided a more nuanced party joined the YPG. Giglio notes that he traveled to REVIEW BY NICHOLAS A. HERAS, THE WASHINGTON POST

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Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 47

ON FAITH

Can Christmas story inspire us to change our own story?

BY REV. DRS. CASEY AND BOB BAGGOTT self, Jenny closed the Bible, laid it down, STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 48
Columnists and confidently asked her family, “Now,
isn’t that better?”
Author Emil Brunner tells a story of
9-year-old Jenny, who had heard the It’s charming to think of a child’s
Christmas story many times, but could revision of the old story in ways that
never get over the injustice of the ex- make it neater, kinder, fairer, and in
pectant couple left without lodging be- her view, better. There is something
cause the inn at Bethlehem was already about that impulse to change what-
filled. So the next Christmas Eve, when ever we can for the better that Christ-
her family traditionally read the Nativ- mas seems to draw out of many of us,
ity story, she asked if she could be the isn’t there? While we cannot literally
reader. Jenny took the scriptures in her change the Christmas story, of course,
hands and read the old, old story aloud, we hope its poignancy, its innocence
but with a new twist. When she came to and its wonder may be a stimulus for
the part about the inn, she ad-libbed. us all this year. Perhaps this amazing
Jenny had Joseph say to the innkeeper: story will help us to take note of injus-
“Good evening, sir. My wife is expecting tice, unfairness or unkindness wher-
a baby any minute now and we need a ever we encounter them, and consider
place to stay. Could you help us?” Then how we might “make it better.”
Jenny had the innkeeper respond:
“Well, as you see, we are quite crowded. Perhaps the Christmas story will
But, there’s always room for one more. also inspire us to change our own life
Please do come in.” Pleased with her- stories. Are there places in need of re-
vision in your life? Perhaps a relation-
ship with a co-worker or a friend needs

48 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™

ON FAITH

STORY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47

repair. Maybe an old quarrel could be this during this wondrous season which
mended, or an old grudge laid to rest. It has so much to tell us and teach us. We
could be that family stresses and mis- hope you will look anew at the old, old
understandings could be ironed out. Nativity story, and considering how it
Or maybe you know of another’s need has impacted your own story, say with
and have a way to help meet it. Some- gratitude for the Christ child’s birth –
times reviewing our own stories, with “Now, isn’t that better?” 
an eye to the Christmas story, helps
us to see where lives could, in fact, be
made better.

After all God, the Author of all of our
lives, seems to have looked at the world’s
story with a critical but loving eye, and
decided that it could it improved. And
sending a tiny, helpless child to be born
in Bethlehem was just the spark to be-
gin the needed improvement. We hope
you will thoughtfully reflect upon all

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™ Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 49

INSIGHT BRIDGE

NORTH

IF YOU MUST HOPE, ASSUME GOOD FORTUNE J2

By Phillip Alder - Bridge Columnist AQJ53

Mae West said, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” 10 7

Sometimes at the bridge table, you will need to be fortunate to make — or break — the K875
contract. Then just assume the censors are placing the cards where you require them to be.
WEST EAST
In this deal, for example, how should South play in five clubs after West leads a low spade? K976
K964 Q 10 5 4
South’s two-club rebid promised at least a six-card suit and minimum opening values. It also AQ984
denied three hearts because he had not made a support double. Then North bid what he — 10 8 2
hoped his side could make.
KJ3
South saw that he had only eight top tricks: one spade, one heart and six clubs. After losing
two diamonds, he could have gained a ruff on the board for an extra trick. But that still left 632
him two short. He needed three heart winners. Who had the heart king?
SOUTH
Since West had not led a diamond or spade honor, he presumably did not have touching
honors in those suits (except perhaps ace-queen-jack of diamonds). This made it almost A83
censor-proof that West had the heart king.
7
South won with his spade ace, cashed his club ace and played a heart to dummy’s jack.
When the finesse worked, declarer ruffed a heart high in his hand, overtook the club queen 652
with dummy’s king and ruffed another heart high. Then, he returned to the board by leading
his carefully conserved club four to dummy’s seven and discarded his remaining spades on A Q J 10 9 4
the heart ace (which swallowed West’s king) and heart queen. Finally, South pointed out that
he would ruff his third diamond on the board. Dealer: South; Vulnerable: Both

The Bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST OPENING
1 Clubs Dbl. 1 Hearts 1 Spades
2 Clubs 2 Spades 5 Clubs All Pass LEAD:
6 Hearts

50 Vero Beach 32963 / December 19, 2019 Your Vero Beach Newsweekly ™
SOLUTIONS TO PREVIOUS ISSUE (DECEMBER 12) ON PAGE 68
INSIGHT GAMES

ACROSS DOWN
1 Harvester (6) 1 Make payment to (10)
4 Debris (6) 2 Independent (10)
7 Part of bed (8) 3 Channel link (8)
9 Hunting dog (7) 4 Got up (4)
12 Forbidden actions (23) 5 Haze (4)
13 Root (5) 6 Mineral vein (4)
15 Cuban dance (5) 8 Impale; attempt (4)
16 The cream (5) 10 Unbeatable (10)
17 Mad; raging (5) 11 Inexorable (10)
19 Racecourse (5) 14 Urgent warning (3,5)
20 Bliss (7) 18 Purchases (4)
24 Gather (8) 21 Bivouac (4)
25 Field; globe (6) 22 Steal (4)
26 Tension (6) 23 Strongbox (4)

The Telegraph

How to do Sudoku:

Fill in the grid so the
numbers one through
nine appear just once
in every column, row
and three-by-three
square.

The Telegraph


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