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Indian River Neighborhood Association Presents our Winter News Magazine!

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Published by IRNA, 2019-12-07 12:42:11

IRNA News Magazine Winter 2019/20

Indian River Neighborhood Association Presents our Winter News Magazine!

Keywords: Lagoon,water,indian river county,vero beach,news,sebastian




Blue Cypress Lake
By Bob Bruce

Differences in Annexations
Susan Adams and George Glenn, Jr.

Florida: #1 Tourist Destination
Paul Fafeita

Birds are telling us to take action
Richard Baker, Ph.D
...and more

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Preserving our Quality of Life
3 Chart of Term Limits
We are pleased to bring you a new issue of our popular news magazine. And Elected Officials
There is no advertising to grab your attention because it is more
important to have your attention directed to the information contained 4 Adrift in Our Waters:
in these publications. Drift Cards in the IRL

The articles printed here are written by local people who are well- 5 Florida: #1 Tourist Destination
respected for their work. We are extremely grateful for their by Paul Fafeita
contributions both to this magazine and to our many local interests.
6-7 Blue Cypress Lake, Middleton Fish Camp
These authors have in large part been successful in their efforts by Bob Bruce
because of their non-partisan approach to problem solving. They are
fine examples of what can be done when we work together. 8 How Fellsmere Annexed
by Susan Adams
Facing a national election next year with a fierce political environment
in front of us, we encourage civility in our local community. We have 9 Sebastian Annexation
many local issues impacting our lives and we must find solutions to by George Glenn, Jr.
10 Birds Are Telling Us to Take Action
It is when we are well-mannered and respectful, when we work together by Dr. Richard Baker
and actually listen to each other, when we put aside partisan politics
and preconceived notions that we will find solutions to those issues. 11 Issue Quiz. Test your knowledge!

We bring you these fact-filled articles for your information. You live IRNA News Magazine
here, visit here, work here, pay taxes here or are otherwise connected PO Box 643868
to our community. We know you care about the quality of life here.
That is why we publish this news magazine and why you are reading it. Vero Beach, FL 32964
Chair, Board of Directors
This magazine is designed for you so you will have accurate information
when you discuss these issues with your family, friends and neighbors. Honey Minuse
Executive Director and Editor
If you require more information please do not hesitate to contact us at
[email protected] or online at Dan Lamson
Assistant Editor
This news magazine is made possible by the financial support of our
members. Kindly consider making a donation using the enclosed Sharon Gorry
envelope to the Indian River Neighborhood Association (IRNA). Cover photo of Sexton Plaza in Vero
Beach provided by photographer
And, don’t forget to take the Quiz on page 11.
Jim Wilson.
Honey Minuse, Chair
Board of Directors This communication is a solicitation
Indian River Neighborhood Association of non-voting membership dues and
voluntary contributions, and will be used
IRNA NEWS MAGAZINE - 2 for general corporate and association
STATE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or
by visiting http://www.freshfromflorida.
FDACS Registration Number CH52284.

The Florida Statehouse

How Long Can They Serve?

Indian River County residents have many elected officials representing them. The below list is not exhaustive.
For example, City Council terms for Fellsmere, Sebastian, and Vero Beach are two years each with no term limits,
with two or three seats open in each election year. This means there is a council election every year. The towns
of Indian River Shores and Orchid elect their council people for four year terms. The mayor and vice mayor are
elected by the council members. School board members are elected to four year terms as well.

Office Currently Serving Term Limit Term Length Term Expires

County County Commission District 1 Susan Adams n/a 4 years 2020
County Commission District 2 Joe Flescher n/a 4 years 2022
State County Commission District 3 n/a 4 years 2020
County Commission District 4 Tim Zorc n/a 4 years 2022
National County Commission District 5 Peter O'Bryan n/a 4 years 2020
n/a 4 years 2020
Clerk of Courts Bob Solari n/a 4 years 2020
Supervisor of Elections Jeffery Smith n/a 4 years 2020
Leslie Swan n/a 4 years 2020
Sheriff n/a 4 years 2020
Tax Collector Deryl Loar 2 terms 4 years 2022
Property Appraiser Carol Jean Jordan 2 terms 4 years 2022
Attorney General Wesley Davis (appointed) 2 terms 4 years 2022
4 terms 2 years 2020
CFO Ashley Moody 2 terms 4 years 2020
Commissioner of Agriculture Jimmy Patronis 2 terms 4 years 2022
2 terms 4 years 2022
State House District 54 Nikki Fried n/a 2 years 2020
State Senate District 17 Erin Grall n/a 6 years 2024
Lieutenant Governor Debbie Mayfield n/a 6 years 2022
Jeanette Nunez
Governor Ron DeSantis
US House Bill Posey
US Senate Rick Scott
US Senate Marco Rubio



On November 2, a group of local children set

afloat in our Lagoon something called a Drift Card.

Similar to when people placed messages in bottles
and set them free in the world’s oceans to be
discovered at some distant time and place, these
cards are intended to be found and the location
to be reported.

The cards are orange in color, made from
biodegradable untreated plywood, designed
to float and have contact information on them.
Some cards have been decorated with artwork
done by the children.

Each set of cards has a hole drilled in a specific pattern so they can identify Where these cards are found is important because
where it was released from. The cards were made by volunteers and are it will lead to a better understanding of how
the water flows in our Lagoon; how the winds
untreated wood, painted with non-toxic, low VOC interior paint. influence the flow, and how the incoming and
outgoing tides at our inlets also affect the current.

This study of the Indian River Lagoon is but the
latest effort to understand the waters of this very unique water body.
The Lagoon Drift project originated in Biscayne Bay in 2016 and
then expanded to the Lake Worth Lagoon. This year the Indian River
Lagoon was added.

Four organizations in their respective counties are involved in this
latest Drift release: The Barrier Island Sanctuary (Brevard), The
Environmental Learning Center (Indian River), ORCA (St. Lucie) and
Florida Oceanographic Society (Martin). Each group set 40 cards adrift.

So why is this important? If our waters didn’t move, it would not
matter if something entered that didn’t belong there. But the waters
do move and it is a problem when harmful nutrients, pollution, and
trash enter and flow away from the point of entry. It poses a threat
to all that is important to us.

Many of the cards have artwork and messages This latest effort comes from the Florida Department of Environmental
on the back from visitors to the IRL Science Protection, Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection, Indian River
Festival. If you find one, maybe it will have a Lagoon Aquatic Preserves. The Angari Foundation, a charitable
organization in West Palm Beach dedicated to support science and
nice message for you! education in troubled waters, helps make this possible.

Another Drift Card release will soon be scheduled. Stay tuned.



By Paul Fafeita
Paul Fafeita is President of the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County. He is also the President of the
Treasure Coast Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Assoc. Currently he is retired after serving 30+ years with the

Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. He is the Owner/Operator of Just Bumminit Guide Service.

Florida is the number one sports fishing capital in the

world according to many. Sports Fishing TV calls the
Indian River Lagoon “World Famous” and the home of
every Saltwater Species.

It’s been reported that the Indian River Lagoon has an
annual economic impact of $7.64 billion. So why are we
talking? Because, “you can’t treat your State like a toilet
bowl and then get surprised when it backs up” as stated
in the Orlando Sentinel.

The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most diverse shallow
water estuaries in North America. It’s dying. We have a

Some experts say the Indian River Lagoon has lost 90%
of its shellfish and 80% of its sea grasses. Why are we
allowing this to occur in our lagoon, in Blue Cypress
Lake, and in our clean water?

Florida is chronically overcrowded and chronically
polluted. Florida’s human population (900 new residents
a day) has exponentially increased.

The use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are
damaging our clean water. Nutrients from old sewage
systems, old septic tanks, and illegal discharges from
vessels enter the Lagoon and waterways in dangerous
amounts affecting our health, our businesses, our property
values, and our way of life.

This is why we have joined together and started the
Clean Water Coalition (CWC) of Indian River County.
Our difference is collective impact. There are 700+ non-
profit organizations in this community, many doing the
same things, often competing rather than cooperating.
Despite this division, it was a collective impact that saved
the Oslo Road Boat Ramp from being killed. This is why
the coalition is vital.

It has been said that unabated growth is not a sustainable The above picture was taken by Dan Lamson on the Jungle
option with the limited resources the state has to offer. Trail in Northern Indian River County after Hurricane Irma
Clean water will be the rate limiting factor for any hit us in 2017. The dock was very unstable and it is a metaphor
population control. Surface water contamination can
be caused due to agriculture, rural, and urban runoff for the current status of our water and lagoon.
entering into our ground water. Eventually the pollution
will seep into the aquifer. It will be the cause of great
harm if not taken seriously by all – now and forever.




By Bob Bruce Another beautiful sunrise over Blue Cypress Lake.
Photo credit Karen & Don Schuster
Bob Bruce is a retired Electrical Engineer who invented and
designed heart monitors, has spent many years taking people Minimal human impacts exist along the
out in his boat to see the spectacular sites at Blue Cypress Lake. western shoreline: Blue Cypress Lake
Blue Cypress Lake, the headwater to St. John’s River, is Ranch (originally, the Holman Ranch),
an often-overlooked treasure in western Indian River Blue Cypress Village (about 70 lots), and
County. The lake is fed by several creeks - Mudfish the County owned Middleton’s Fish Camp
Slough, Padgett Branch, Holman Canal, and Fisher Creek Park.
from the south; Trim Creek and Blue Cypress Creek from
the west; and Moonshine Bay from the north. It is a little Blue Cypress Lake supports the highest
over 10 square miles in area and is part of the much concentration of Osprey nests in the US.
larger Blue Cypress Conservation Area managed by St Pelican Island Audubon Society began
Johns Water Management District. monitoring Osprey nests in 2014, funded
in part by a grant from Audubon Florida.
A Black bellied whistling duck enjoying a quite day at Blue The number of nests has fluctuated,
Cypress Lake. Photo credit Karen & Don Schuster with sometimes as many as 300+ active
nests. Nesting season runs roughly from
November through early May.

Recently, a sudden growth of harmful algae
appeared in the lake so Indian River County
temporarily prohibited use of biosolids on
ranches west of the lake. That action has
curtailed the growth of harmful algae.
Let’s hope this prohibition will be made
permanent in our County.

To learn more about Blue Cypress Lake,
please read the excellent book “Reflections
of Blue Cypress,” 2nd Edition by Richard and
Juanita Baker, who spent years canoeing
around the lake. The book includes a
detailed description of the lake’s history
along with many stunning photographs.


Above: A tribute to Joe Middleton and to former
Representative Charlie Sembler. Charlie created the
cross on the tree. Joe Middleton’s ashes were spread at
the tree during a wonderful celebration of life in memory
of Joe. There were about 20 boats full of people out there
that day. Photo credit Karen & Don Schuster.

Right: A photographer capturing a beautiful sunrise at
Blue Cypress Lake at Middleton Fish Camp. Photo credit
Karen & Don Schuster.



Fellsmere’s Philosophy
By Susan Adams
Raised in Fellsmere, Susan Adams received her Juris Doctorate from FSU College
of Law. She returned to her hometown to assume a management position with
her family business, Marsh Landing Restaurant. Susan joined the Fellsmere City
Council in 2007 and served as Mayor from 2008-2015. Susan was elected to the
Indian River County Commission in 2016.

Annexations should be governed by policies and vision. How can you incorporate new
properties into a city’s identity if you do not talk about what you want and what you need?
This was the question asked by the community when Fellsmere undertook its first major

Fellsmere didn’t understand why. There was a plan and a vision, why wasn’t there trust? We
knew what we were doing but we failed to let the residents and community partners know.
The City of Fellsmere decided to slow down and work with the community, county and
neighboring cities. The final package had widespread support, but it required hard work.

Knowing there would be significant impacts from the annexation, Fellsmere created a “wish
list” of extractions to offset the impacts. The property owner came to the City asking to be
annexed, but the City was not obligated to do so unless the deal was one that benefited more
than it cost. We negotiated for our priorities, balancing the property owners’ rights with the
wants and needs of the city. Green space, future road right of way, Regional Employment
Activity Centers, public park space and thresholds and triggers to ensure the development
was organized and sustainable were all negotiated.

Once a property is annexed, it has the same rights as any other property within the city limits
and you lose your ability to negotiate a deal that is better than the norm. Isn’t that the whole
point of annexation? To get something better than you currently have.



On Sebastian’s Recent Actions
By George Glenn, Jr.
George Glenn Jr. is a fourth generation Vero Beach resident. He spent
his early legal career working in the Indian River County Attorney’s
Office before entering private practice. He now works with his father at
the Law Offices of George Glenn.

On August 28, 2019, Sebastian’s City Council annexed over 1,100 acres of agriculture land south
of the city’s existing boundaries. The land is owned by the Graves Brothers’ Inc. The annexation
ordinance approved by the city also includes an effort to change the property’s agriculture
land use designation into several designations permitting intense development for residential,
commercial, and industrial purposes. Notably, the city sets aside only 43 acres for conservation.

These development “entitlements” allow the construction of up to 3,699 residential units.
Conservation is kept to a bare minimum despite the presence of the headwaters to the St. Sebastian
River running through the property. Traffic studies produced by the landowner’s consultant show
that the change in land use designations would lead to an additional 37,000 daily traffic trips on
local roads.

This is not Sebastian’s first annexation of Graves Brothers’ property. Last year the city annexed ~70
acres of the landowner’s property. This 1,100-acre annexation connects to that 70-acre annexation.
The landowner has another ~600+ acres of land that connects to this 1,100-acre annexed property.

Both Indian River County and environmental groups brought legal and administrative challenges
to the annexation. These challenges are not taken lightly. Going back to April of this year,
environmental groups wrote to the Sebastian City Council requesting that they coordinate with
the county to create a development plan for the Graves Brothers’ property that would protect
natural resources and minimize harmful impacts to the environment and existing residents.
Unfortunately, that plea went ignored. There are presently legal and ongoing administrative


The endangered Florida Snail Kite
photographed by Mac Stone.


By Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.

Audubon’s 2019 report, “Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink,” is the most detailed look at
the impact of climate change on birds using the latest climate models and bird data available. The report
includes a first-of-its-kind zip code-based climate tool, Audubon’s Birds and Climate Visualizer, which
shows how climate change will impact local birds and your community—and ways you can help. Read
the dynamic interactive report (put in your zip code) to learn what birds have been telling us for years:
it is time to act.1

Over the last five years, more than 140 million bird records including data collected from bird lovers
like you via, have been gathered to create a new, ground-breaking report forecasting the dire
straights of North American birds through the end of the century in extraordinary detail.

Our science shows that 65% of North American bird species are at severe risk of extinction from climate
change. Even common birds like the American Robin, Northern Flicker, and even our endangered
Florida Snail Kite (photographed by Mac Stone, and found in our new Audubon book publication Florida
Birds Exposed by Juanita N. Baker) will experience declining populations and radically different ranges
in the near future. If the birds are in trouble, we humans too are in trouble. Copies of this book can be
purchased at our Audubon office or on our website.2

But as the threat of climate change grows, so does Pelican Island Audubon’s work. This report not only
illustrates how our warming planet will impact the birds we all love, but also shows that if we act, there
is still time to create a brighter future for birds and people. We already have a lot of the tools we need to
reduce the effects of global warming. Planting trees is one of them.

We can work together to reduce climate change. Pelican Island Audubon has started our Trees for
Life project in Indian River County.3 Live oaks support 401 insect species, which many birds need to
reproduce and survive. Please contact our office 772-567-3520 for a free live oak and bald cypress tree.

1. See the study here: Richard H. Baker, Ph.D, University of Florida
2. PIAS Website is Professor Emeritus, is president of the Pelican
3. Tress for Life Website: Island Audubon Society. He has written over 100
scientific papers and is co-author on a book with
Dr. Juanita N. Baker Reflections of Blue Cypress-
Photographs, History and Poems.

Test Your Knowledge

1. Where was the cover photo of this
magazine taken?
2. How many terms can a statehouse
representative have?
3. How many Drift Cards were released in
Indian River County?
4. How many new residents move to Florida
each day?
5. How large is Blue Cypress Lake?
6. TRUE or FALSE: A City is not obligated to
annex land if they do not want to annex.
7. The Graves Bros. Annexation in Sebastian
could allow for the construction of up to
how many residential units?
8. TRUE or FALSE: You can get a free tree
from Pelican Island Audubon.

Thank you for reading our news magazine! We hope you learned new and valuable
information and encourage you to share it with your friends and neighbors. If you would like

additional copies for yourself or others, please email us at [email protected]
This magazine could not have been produced ad-free and at no cost to you without support

from people like you. Please consider making a contribution to help the Indian River
Neighborhood Association (IRNA) defray the cost of design, production, and distribution.

Answer Key:
1- Sexton Plaza in Vero Beach | 2- 4 terms | 3 - 40 | 4 - About 900 | 5- A little over 10 miles | 6- True | 7 - 3,699 | 8 -True

NAeIsisngodhciaibanotirRohinvoe, roincd.

P.O. Box 643868, Vero Beach, FL 32964

We represent non-partisan volunteer residents in neighborhoods throughout Indian River County with
a common vision of pro-business and managed growth to preserve Indian River County’s quality of life.

We have no self-interest, no land ownership or profit motives. Our solitary purpose is to protect our
community for the enjoyment of future generations. - [email protected] -

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