Home News Indian River Lagoon; Brightline; book bans; Costco & NIMBYism; growth & roads | April 2

Indian River Lagoon; Brightline; book bans; Costco & NIMBYism; growth & roads | April 2

Indian River Lagoon; Brightline; book bans; Costco & NIMBYism; growth & roads | April 2

Columnist right about lagoon’s demise

For part of the 30 years I’ve lived in Vero Beach, we lived on the river behind the Environmental Learning Center.

I and the kids fished off our dock after work and school almost daily. I had three crab traps hanging off the dock.

I remember my daughter remarking when she was about 5 years old that we should open a seafood restaurant because of all the fish we pulled out of the river.

My son, now 21, turned to me while fishing in the river when he was about 14 or 15 years old and said: “Dad, it’s not like the old days.”

Lspanrry Reismspann hit the nspanil on the hespand with his observspantions recently on the Indian River Lagoon.

The influx of people and the desire for green lawns (not the good “green”) with toxic fertilizer runoff and septic tanks leaching into the river has sped up the lagoon’s demise.

I fear the effort needed to really do what needs to done is not in the cards during my lifetime.

It may be too late already.

At least I have the memories.

Thankful daughters grew up on living lagoon

Thanks to Larry Reisman for his insightful observations about his recent trip on the lagoon.

It breaks my heart when I remember back when my girls were “young’uns” and we had 10 to 20 manatees sunbathing in the backyard, a family of otters playing on the bank, a flock of white pelicans herding fish into the bay, and we could dig clams with our toes off the spoil island a canoe ride away.  

I’m so thankful they had the opportunity to grow up appreciating that abundance.

Locals, both for and against a proposed Costco wholesale store with an 18-pump gas station, speak out during a Local Planning Agency meeting Thursday, April 29, 2021, at City Hall in Stuart. The project, located between South Kanner Highway and Southeast Willoughby Boulevard, also includes a 398-unit apartment complex and retail and restaurant space. Following the discussion, the project will come to the City Commission no sooner than May 24.

Palm City Costco victim of NIMBYism

I am referencing the letter sent by Jspann Bellwood of Palm City regarding the Costco to be built on Kanner Highway in Stuart. 

I pose a question to her: Why was the Costco rejected in Palm City? I believe it was something like NIMBY. It was voted down for the very same reasons I cited in my letter she seems to disdain.

But, not to worry, it will be very easy for the writer to drive over the bridge and go up the street and do her shopping at Costco, then leave and go back over the bridge to her quiet community in Palm City.

On another note, she references the massive Willoughby Golf Course on a small street. Why in the world would the community called the Willoughby Golf Club built on Willoughby Boulevard with all of its beautiful green fairways, neat streets and tree lines that beautify the boulevard concern her, especially since she lives in Palm City? 

I rest my case.

Residents should organize to battle book bans in schools

I’m writing in response to the recent book bans at Martin County schools. These book removals raise a simple yet essential question: What price do we pay when our community bans books? As a retired college professor and Martin County resident since 1952, I support the rights of our students to access library books without political interference.

Readers Digest, hardly a left-wing publication, stated that the national campaign to censor school library books is a “crusade to oppress already marginalized voices.” The problem is growing, and according to the Guardian, 2,500 book bans were enacted in U.S. schools from 2021 through 2022.

Our students will be better prepared to face a diversifying society if their First Amendment rights are returned. According to the Guardian: “Banned books are some of the best books for people to read because they offer new perspectives and insights from people with life experiences different from their own.”

How can we act?

Build a local network of citizens opposed to the book bans and appear in force at Martin County school board meetings. Bring students along and encourage them to talk about how school library books have made them more open minded and knowledgeable about controversial but essential subjects.

My family goes back to the founding of Martin County in 1925 when my great-uncle was appointed the first county judge by Gov. John Martin. My father served as Martin County’s school board architect in the 1950s and ’60s during a boom in school building construction. All of us have contributed our blood, sweat and tears to make Martin County a better place for the next generation.

To that end, let’s stop the politically driven removal of books from our schools.

Grace Linn, 100, of Jensen Beach, waves to an applauding crowd after she spoke about the 80 books that were removed last month from district school media centers during the Martin County School Board meeting, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 500 SE Ocean Blvd in Stuart. "My husband, Robert Nicoll, was killed in action in World War II, at a young age, defending our democracy, Constitution and freedoms," said Linn. "One of the freedoms the Nazis crushed was the freedom to read the books they banned. They stopped the free press, banned and burned books. The freedom to read, which is protected by the First Amendment is our essential right and duty of our democracy. Even so, it is continually under attack by both public and private groups who think they hold the truth." Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison and best-selling young-adult novelist Jodi Picoult are some of the writers whose works were removed from the Martin County School District's middle and high schools last month.

Wake up to overdevelopment or …

I have been reading Laurence Reisman’s columns on various topics as usual, but his most recent thoughts should wake up the readers on the Treasure Coast.

Overdevelopment will wipe out the small-town feel of much of Indian River County and make Vero Beach just like all the other towns that have been overwhelmed by the crush of too many people crammed into cookie-cutter subdivisions allowed to pop up.

I doubt the master planners see 43rd Avenue bumper to bumper from Oslo to State Road 60 in the morning. I am sure they never hit the water in the Indian River Lagoon and see waste from sailboats in the marina and surrounding area. MacWilliam Park’s boat ramp is overwhelmed since the Riverside Park ramp has been closed, and you can see the waste floating by. But the planners want to cram more boats in the marina area!

I have lived here for more than 10 years and have enjoyed patronizing every restaurant in and along 14th Avenue. I have NEVER had a parking issue, no matter what day or which restaurant we were going to. I think the city council should pony up the money needed to do the ridiculous traffic study. Why not put a three-story parking garage next to the railroad tracks, where the city has a nice lot that is always full?

The planning people plow ahead with giving OKs for new homes on postage stamp-sized lots that will eventually flood the streets, beaches and waterways with more unsustainable uses. I wonder what vision the planner has. Can you say Boca, Delray Beach?

Unless people wake up and demand controlled growth, we are doomed.

Florida roads dangerous, but governor looking elsewhere

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states Florida has the third most dangerous state in terms of numbers of fatal car accidents in the nation.

Miami-Dade County had the highest rate of fatal crashes, with 25 times more fatalities than the average county.

The NHTSA administrator said: “The most effective way to reduce fatalities is through a combination of engineering, education and ENFORCEMENT.”

Enforcement is the biggest problem Florida has on its interstates. There is virtually no Florida Highway Patrol working the interstates. This is due to a lack of manpower, which is due to underpaid troopers.

Why isn’t the governor doing anything? Is this the same person who wants to run this country?

An approach to children’s literature in public schools

As a retired elementary school teacher of more than 30 years of grades 3, 4 and 5, I would ask the parents of Martin County students to consider the following approach to children’s literature in our public schools:

I always encouraged the parents of my students to read the assigned books, whether fiction or nonfiction, with their children. Reading with children (when appropriate, perhaps the child would read a page aloud and the parent would read a page aloud) encourages a closeness between child and parent not otherwise obtainable. Aside from helping with the development of reading skills, it also offers the parent and child the opportunity to discuss the content of the material being read.

Most importantly, it emphasizes the importance a parent puts on reading and offers the opportunity for a child to develop a love of reading through following the parent’s example.

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One ‘dreaded’ phrase she’s tired of hearing

Every time I go into a store or restaurant I cringe at the thought of hearing that dreaded phrase being issued through someone’s mouth once again.

“Here you are, young lady.”

I know I am 82; they also know I am on or about 82 years of age. When they say that, it is almost worse than someone saying to you: “Here is the ground beef you ordered, you old hag.”

Please, please stop saying “young lady.” If it is meant to make me feel better, you are actually achieving the exact opposite effect!

Tired of being insulted,

With alcohol, dog park bar barking up wrong tree

There is a proposspanl to open span new business spant the Poppleton Creek Dog Pspanrk.

This will include a $25 monthly membership for the new business, adjacent to the current dog park. (People could continue to use the existing dog park for free.)

Here is the ridiculous part to this proposal: A concession stand with alcohol will be allowed. Children, dogs and alcohol. This does not make for a good mix and it is a problem in the making.

There is a school and church within a close distance and a residential community across the street. This therefore is against Florida statutes. Hundreds of residents are gathering to voice their opinion against this proposal. We urge all to voice their opinions against this dog park bar.

If you missed ‘Pippin’ at theater guild, that’s too bad

For over 65 years, the Vero  Beach Theatre Guild has been setting the standard for community theater greatness. Last Friday night, I saw  one of their best yet: “Pippin”!

Great acting, great music, great singing, great sets, great costumes and even audience involvement.

Wow, was I impressed not only in the performance, but also the great seating arrangements and decent ticket prices. I looked around and there were only 80 others joining in wild enthusiasm and standing applause. Unfortunately, it was around for only one more weekend.

If you missed this outstanding jewel of a show, you will missed a wonderful experience not to be forgotten.

Citrus show’s expansion should interest everyone

In 1946, leaders with the University of Florida and the Indian River Citrus League ascertained the need for an event where growers, the trade organization and researchers might network and attend educational sessions presented by scientists. So began the first-ever Indian River Citrus Seminar, or what would later become the Florida Citrus Show.

In the 1960s, Florida’s citrus industry was in its full glory. Indian River grapefruit became a sought-after delicacy in Europe, East Asia and the United States.

Over the next four decades, Florida became one of the world’s leaders in citrus production. It reached a pinnacle during the 2004 production year: 290 million boxes, contributing $7 billion to the state’s economy.

In the mid-2000s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s Horticultural Research Laboratory moved to Fort Pierce, adjacent to the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center. USDA scientists joined the Florida Citrus Show, and the number of educational sessions doubled.

The 2023 Florida Citrus Show will take place on April 13 at the UF/IFAS-IRREC and USDA facilities. New this year will be a tailgate-style trade show and vegetable production educational sessions. Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation to produce tomatoes, bell peppers, snap beans, watermelon and cucumbers.

We invite the growers and the public to come learn about meaningful work conducted by UF/IFAS and USDA. In addition to educational talks, there will be exhibitors and vendors displaying their products and technologies. On behalf of the UF/IFAS and USDA scientific community, I thank AgNetMedia for organizing the event and gaining show sponsors so that our local growers can attend at no cost.

Please remember our growers when you visit the grocery store or produce stand. You directly benefit their hard work and livelihoods by selecting Florida-grown produce.

What does air conditioning have to do with Brightline?

In response to the recent letter, “Time to tspanke spandvspanntspange or Brightline project:”

The writer says: “If you use air conditioning to cool you home, you should be in favor of the technology of traveling with high-speed rail.”

Am I missing something? What does air conditioning have to do with the Brightline train?


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