Serving St. Lucie, Martin, Brevard and Indian River counties.
Covering Stuart, Jensen Beach, Palm City, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Sebastian, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Rockledge, Palm Bay, Viera and Eau Gallie.
A monthlong celebration to commemorate the opening of the Fort Pierce Inlet 100 years ago is being planned for May.
The opening of the inlet on May 8, 1921, and subsequent dredging projects led to the creation of the Port of Fort Pierce and created one of the safest inlet’s on Florida’s east coast, attracting both commercial vessels and recreational boaters and pumping millions each year into the Treasure Coast economy.
A centennial committee headed by Charles Hayek of Fort Pierce and including Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson has been formed to... read more
100 years and counting
It was the biggest party the young city had ever seen.
Almost the entire population of Fort Pierce [fewer than 2,000 people] took to the streets on May 12, 1921, to celebrate an achievement that had been more than 10 years in the making: the cutting of a new inlet that “married the ocean and the Indian River.”
The daylong celebration included the city’s first parachute jump, boat rides, parades and ... read more >>
Fort Pierce daredevil thrilled crowd at inlet celebration a century ago
While the new inlet was supposed to be the center of attention on May 12, 1921, 24-year-old Madeline Davis stole the show.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of locals gathered to watch the daring young woman board a seaplane at Cobb’s Dock and take to the air over the water, gradually reaching a height of about 1,400 feet. Davis then slipped off the wing and floated gently to earth, tethered to her canvas chute only by a circus trapeze.
Acquisition enhances coverage of intertwined communities
Before 1905, St. Lucie County and what is now Indian River County, and much of Martin County were part of Brevard County, which was named after the early settler Theodorus W. Brevard.
At the turn of the century, Brevard ran more than the length of the 126-mile Indian River, which stretches from just above Brevard at the Ponce Inlet in the north to the St. Lucie Inlet in the south. In the early days, people reached this part of Florida on foot or by boat. By 1877, commercial steamships were ferrying passengers up and down the shallow Indian River, increasing access to Fort Pierce, a former Seminole War fort, and places that later became Vero Beach and Stuart.
Ocean EcoCenter tells the story of Florida’s water
If you’re looking for a fun and educational outing this summer, drive to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on South Hutchinson Island in Stuart. The marine life nature center is a popular destination that is designed to inspire visitors to appreciate and take care of the environment. The 57-acre site provides a variety of displays, aquariums, live animal exhibits and nature trails that educate and entertain people of all ages.
And this month, the Florida Oceanographic Society will offer more exciting opportunities when its new Ocean EcoCenter opens. Visitors to the 27,000-square-foot center can learn about protecting Florida’s coastal ecosystems through interactive exhibits, play-based learning activities and...
Mark Castlow is a man who, by his own admission, has never had a job. He’s the quintessential entrepreneur who started making and selling surf boards at age 16 and has lived his dream building and selling boats and boards for his entire life. Now, at age 70, he owns and operates Dragonfly Boatworks in Vero Beach, which specializes in building near-shore fishing boats for people who...
As a youngster living on a chicken farm in Pennsylvania, Ronnie Rohm chopped down a hemlock tree to fashion a wooden raft a la Davy Crockett so he could float on the stream that ran through the farm. After moving to Florida in the 1950s, he spent all of his spare hours in or on the Indian River Lagoon...
Less is best
The Indian River Lagoon is a fisherman’s paradise. It’s the most biodiverse estuary in North America, with nearly 700 species of fish. If you ask me my favorite fish to catch or eat, I’ll probably give you a different answer every time. Right now, it’s pompano.
Catching bait is often my favorite part of fishing, and that’s especially true when it comes to pompano. They like to eat sand fleas, which are little crustaceans you find at the beach. When the tide is right, you can spot them along the shoreline, burrowing in the sand between the waves. Many fishermen use a special rake to scoop and sift them, but as kids we caught them just digging around at the water’s edge, and I still think...
Grounds for communication
John Ruskin, the Victorian era’s most prominent art and architecture critic, believed that buildings should deliver two kinds of goodness: doing their practical duty and being graceful and pleasing in doing it. Kim and Bob Gibson’s home in Vero Beach would fulfill Ruskin’s expectations.
The Gibsons chose Banov Architects to build a new home from the ground up, at the western end of Vero Beach in the Polo Grounds. Amy and Robert Banov are the principal owners and architects in their firm, and both are also general contractors, an unusual circumstance for architects.
A small White Peacock Butterfly [Anartia jatrophae] perches on a Matchstick weed as it eats nectar from the little flowers. This species stays low to the ground because its favorite plants are found near the ground. It is identified by the three black spots on each wing and is found in southern states. The Matchstick weed has tiny purple flowers around the top of a seed stalk that resemble a matchstick, hence its name.
Indian River Media Group buys Space Coast Living Magazine
Indian River Media Group, publisher of Indian River Magazine and six other publications, has purchased Space Coast Living Magazine and will relaunch it in Brevard County in June.
The asset purchase agreement between Indian River Media Group and Space Coast Magazines LLC and principals Joe Duda and Eric Wright was executed on April 8. Terms were...
Signs of the times
Just the name Indian River citrus brings back a flood of childhood memories for me. As a child growing up in South Florida and spending a lot of time at my grandmother’s house in Palm Beach, one of my fondest memories is piling the entire family into our old Ford station wagon and heading up the coast to Vero Beach where we would buy only the sweetest citrus for my grandmother to make her fabulous marmalades.
Beauty and brains
It’s a house with brains, beauty and talent. In Seagrove West, Max and Judith Thyssen acquired a home of conventional style on an expansive section of the Indian River Lagoon and in 2016 began transforming the residence into a modern, technology-savvy oasis.
The sleek interior of the house replaced what Max Thyssen describes as “a very traditional décor with lots of gold and beige tones.” Now, a clean design dominated by a palate of white, gray and black perfectly accompanies the smart-tech features the Thyssens built into the house.
Spreading new roots
As people settle into the new year, many are trying to be healthier versions of themselves. Some may incorporate a new exercise routine while others drop a serious television-watching habit. But one of the most popular things Americans are doing is to switch to vegetarian and vegan-based diets to lose weight, diminish chronic disease or lessen damage done to the environment.
When Amber Eichling was a teenager, she made...
In March of last year, local schools shut down for the remainder of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, disrupting end-of-year plans. With school buses once more visible weekday mornings, it’s hard to tell how many students are actually attending area brick-and-mortar facilities.
Unlike some areas, Treasure Coast schools opened in the fall with changes that ...
Katie Enns, the first speech therapist in the St. Lucie County School District, died early Wednesday at her home with her family at her side.
Her charmed life began on July 22, 1930, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was born Catherine Ann Duster, the third child of grocer Charles H. Duster and his wife, the former Cleo Handley, a conservatory-trained pianist.
The family lived in a rambling house on what was then the outskirts of Cedar Rapids in a household that also included older sister Margaret (b. 1924), older brother William (b. 1925), and younger brother Chuck (b. 1934) and became an Iowa headquarters for various extended relatives in the Duster and Handley families.
Backus turns 60
From hurricanes to recessions, the A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery has weathered many storms in its 60-year history. But perhaps nothing has challenged its survival more than the pandemic.
As the oldest continually operating art institution on the Treasure Coast, the museum depends on community support and its popular events like the Backus Brunch for fundraising. That was all jeopardized when the museum, like everything else, closed to the public on March 16.
As a young photographer on his first big newspaper assignment, Jon Kral knew what he had to do to get the shot. He strapped himself to the outside of a Stearman Double crop duster plane while his subject skimmed over orange trees in a plume of chemicals.
That photograph of the colorful Fort Pierce crop duster Harold Williams sealed Kral’s fate. From then on, the camera would always be with him and he would always go the extra mile to get the shot he wanted.
The right prescription
If the walls of Corey’s Pharmacy could talk, oh, the stories they would tell. They’d tell of days of old when the quintessential corner drug store was the hub for island visitors and residents. And they’d tell of all the secrets that unfolded at the soda fountain when area businessmen met for lunch. Some came for the fresh sandwiches, but others were there to catch the eye of the beautiful young waitress by the name of Vangie Smith.
Vero’s elite from John’s Island sat on stools next to barefoot kids stopping in for a soda after a day on the beach. Cartoonist Fontaine Fox whose comic strip, Toonerville Fox, ran in hundreds of newspapers nationwide, often sketched on a napkin while enjoying a cup of coffee and a pastry.
When the Dignity Food Truck rolls out of its home base, The Source in Vero Beach, it does so stocked with all the fundamental ingredients to cook-up the sweet and savory taste of success. The Source, a nonprofit, Christian outreach ministry, serves the poor and homeless population by inspiring hope and providing the necessary resources that offer recovery and promise. Thanks to a grant from Impact 100 of Indian River County,
The Source has been able to broaden its signature Dining With Dignity Program with the addition of a food truck.
Nuts about pie
Ask anyone who either grew up in or visited Fort Pierce in the 1950s through the late 1980s, and they will know of The Peanut Butter Pie. While there may be a couple of variations of it, the heart of this inimitable recipe remains the same. The delicious dessert has been circulating among local families for several decades, but many wonder where the recipe originated from.
“Rumor has it that Mrs. Simonsen’s Peanut Butter Pie recipe was come upon purely by accident,” says Nancy Bennett, a Fort Pierce native and director of the St. Lucie County Regional History Center. “She was trying to make her coconut custard pie but ran out of the coconut and replaced that with peanut butter instead.”
To Each His Own
Using advanced technology, the 2nd Street Bistro in downtown Fort Pierce is one of the busiest and most modern restaurants on the Treasure Coast — serving more than 20,000 people a month.
Servers save as many as 2,000 steps a day using hand-held computers to transmit orders and cut down on unneeded trips to and from the restaurant’s three kitchens. With more than 75 employees, the 300-seat restaurant is open every day except Christmas.
In 1970, a University of Florida Ph.D. student found the location of The Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the sister ship Santa Margarita, The Spanish galleons carried over $400 million in gold, silver, and emeralds and had succumbed to a vicious hurricane in the Dry Tortugas. The Ph.D. student became the foremost international authority on Spanish Colonial history. Without Dr. Eugene Lyon’s contributions, there would be an empty spot in our history.
Lyon, an international expert on Spanish Colonial Florida and the Spanish maritime system, died May 3 at the age of 91 in Vero Beach.
I first spoke with Dr. Lyon in the summer of 1987. He was a professor at Indian River State College. A true gentleman, he was gracious and unassuming. I told him where we were in the hunt for the Spanish galleon, Urca de Lima, south of the Stuart Inlet. He assured me the State of Florida was wrong about the location of the Urca being at Pepper Park in Fort Pierce and that I was either very close to or on top of it. His words, ...
Treasure Coast Business Magazine, a publication of Indian River Magazine Inc., has been named the best new magazine in the state by the Florida Magazine Association.
The general excellence award was announced July 24 during the FMA’s annual awards ceremony. Treasure Coast Business Magazine, which launched in July 2019, is produced through a unique partnership between Indian River Magazine Inc. and the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College. The magazine is published quarterly: in January, April, July and October.
In each issue, the professional writers ...
Female pilots performing flyover for esteemed woman aviator, 99, in assisted living
She’s among the most accomplished women in aviation but now 99 years old, in assisted living and far removed from her favored pastime of piloting planes. Sunday, her spirits are sure to soar as more than 20 female pilots perform a “flyover” in her honor.
Dr. Bernice “Bee” Falk Haydu will watch from Water’s Edge Extended Care in Palm City as women pilots with the Treasure Coast Ninety-Nines do a flyover to recognize her service to the country, the military and aviation. Read more >>
Saluting a man and his cause
On the Fourth of July, an American flag will seemingly rise from the depths of the ocean just offshore from Vero Beach’s popular Sexton Plaza and fly proudly above the crest of the waves. Its origin and purpose are often questioned by oceanfront diners and hotel guests and locals who walk the beach daily. But few know that the history and legacy of the mysterious flag is just as spellbinding as what is resting on the ocean floor.
Beginning in the spring and lasting through autumn, Mother Nature puts on an awe-inspiring spectacle along our coastline. Under dark, starry skies mother sea turtles emerge from the ocean so they can carry on their species. During this ancient ritual, the marine reptile slowly lumbers her way onto the beach to find a safe location to lay her eggs.
It is a difficult and delicate venture, where nesting conditions must be just right. If the setting is favorable, she meticulously builds her nest, lays her eggs, buries and disguises them with utmost care. Then she disappears back into the deep, not knowing if her young will survive.
The Treasure Coast is one of the leading hot spots for sea turtle nesting in the United States. Last year, around 26,382 nests were recorded. Seven species of sea turtles swim in the oceans today and three of those beach along our shores to lay their eggs.
St. Lucie pioneer family loses patriarch
Fisherman. Father. Friend. Herman Roy Summerlin Sr. was all of these and more.
Son of Richard R. “Dick” Summerlin Sr. and Claudia Ramsey Summerlin, he was born May 4, 1938, in St. Lucie Village and raised along the shores of the Indian River where his father worked as a fishing guide. A proud member of a pioneering family, he was a third-generation resident of St. Lucie County. He died March 20.
Summerlin, 81, spent most of his life fishing on the water or running one of his many businesses. He opened his first business, Summerlin’s Seafood, in 1963. Three years later, he bought a seafood market on the South Causeway, renaming it Summerlin’s Baywood Fisheries. His brother, Astor, joined him in the venture.
Vero Beach remembers its most vocal advocate
Alma Lee Loy, known as the First Lady of Vero Beach because of her standing as a community advocate, died peacefully on April 10. A native Floridian, she was born June 10, 1929, in Vero Beach.
Loy, who co-owned Alma Lee’s Children’s Clothing Center for 42 years, will be fondly remembered for her commitment to Vero Beach projects and love of people equally.
“Honesty was an asset she learned from her parents; they were very positive people,” lifelong friend Harry Hurst recalled. “Even when she was a teenager, she always made every person feel like the most important person. She did that her whole life.”
Snowbirds aren’t the only ones who love Florida. Migrating birds love it, too. The Treasure Coast can be a birding haven, especially as our migratory birds pass through and our year-round feathered friends congregate at feeders and their favorite natural settings. As spring migration happens, many birds are in their colorful breeding plumage. We’ve compiled a list here of some of our favorite locations at which to see them this spring on the Treasure Coast — along with some tips for creating a haven for birds in your own backyard.
Enriching our culture
Indian River State College serves as a vital community resource that offers enrichment opportunities of all kinds for all ages. With performances, programs, and events that range from theater, to lectures on timely topics, to summer camps and activities for children, IRSC campuses welcome thousands of residents each year who enjoy all that the college offers.
Taking the lead role in more than 30 performances annually, IRSC students who major in theatre, dance or music demonstrate their talents in the McAlpin OnStage series, which fosters a comprehensive foundation for future educational and professional pursuits. Facilities utilized by the performing and visual arts programs — such as the Fee Dance Studio, art studio space, classrooms and rehearsal rooms — all emphasize the college’s commitment to the development of a well-rounded student.
Kathleen Carbonara says she knew since kindergarten that she wanted to be an artist. One look at the “pink carnation” in the Crayola box and she was smitten.
“It looked so good to me, I ate it,” she recalls.
But it wasn’t until decades later that she began painting, making a successful career as a portrait artist with works in more than 40 private collections, including the University of Notre Dame, along with pursuing a number of other subjects and themes, such as still lifes, that interest her.
Legendary folksinger, songwriter and Sebastian resident Arlo Guthrie says he will continue to go on the road with his band and family until his voice won’t allow him to sing.
“Nobody retires in folk music,”Guthrie says in the dining room of his home overlooking the Indian River. “Pete Seeger died at 94 and we did a show together three months before he passed away.”
Guthrie, at 72, has slowed down somewhat but still spends eight to nine months a year touring with band members who’ve been with him since the 1970s. The days are long gone when Guthrie actually drove the tour bus to a different venue every night.
It has been nearly 50 years since a young black man was shot and later died on a hot August night in a modest little bar on Avenue D in Fort Pierce. He might have been forgotten, except that he left a curious legacy that was to live on long after his death.
Alfred Hair was an artist, and his paintings of turquoise seas, peach clouds and scarlet royal poinciana trees, along with the thousands more created by his friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances, became the signature works of the 26 African-American artists who were later called the Florida Highwaymen.
Power of healing
Travel changes people by opening their eyes to new cultures and ways of life. But Fred Grimm, who was just a year out of high school in April 1969, did not choose to visit the distant and exotic country of Vietnam. Yet after being drafted to serve in the Army during the undeclared war there, he remembers being pleasantly surprised for the first day or two by the country’s lush greenery and friendly people. That first impression might be what changed his life — and the lives of many others — for the better.
The honeymoon phase of his deployment with the 39th Combat Engineer Battalion American Division (where his unit constructed a bridge and guarded a landing zone) was brief as he was wounded by shrapnel just four months later. After recovering in a Japanese hospital he returned home to Minster, Ohio, and into the arms of his childhood sweetheart, Jill. They were married within months, but he says he thought of Vietnam thousands of times in the years that followed as the couple raised their family in Ohio and joined the Harbour Ridge community in Palm City in 1990. Both retired (she from her interior design business) in 2016.
It Takes a Village
Even though mass demonstrations have shut down Haiti’s government and kept virtually all schools closed for months, it’s been business as usual for one small primary school in the Haitian countryside that has strong ties to the Treasure Coast.
The Children’s Academy and Learning Center, supported by Vero Beach-based Haiti Partners, has remained open in a village five miles from the capital, Port-Au-Prince, despite anti-government protests that have paralyzed the country. The demonstrators, angered by rising gas prices and severe food shortages, have blocked roads in major cities, set fires and even harassed children wearing school uniforms to frighten them into staying home.
Former Fort Pierce woman joins global voyage to fight plastic pollution
Growing up on Hutchinson Island with the Indian River as a playground, Rikki Grober Eriksen relished long sails with her father, the late and loved orthopeadic surgeon Ron Grober, and developed a love of all things marine.
Little wonder that she became a marine scientist, earning her phD and going on to hold her current position of marine ecologist at the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation. And next week she will embark on a leg of a journey, leaving the Azores Oct. 27 and arriving in Antigua Nov. 18, that is taking women on a voyage around the world to raise awareness of plastic pollution and its effect women’s health.
It’s a remarkable journey for a woman who, as a Florida State University student at age 19,survived a kidnapping ordeal in Tallahassee in early 1984 at the hands of Chris Wilder, who was known as the Beauty Queen Killer and was successful at killing at least eight women.
For people who are homeless in the tri-county area, there are a variety of places to receive immediate care for their physical and mental well-being. Non-profit organizations with hundreds of volunteers support efforts to provide medical treatment, mental health counseling and services that include meals, clothing and rides to doctors’ appointments.
Cancer. The word alone sends chills up and down the spine. Images of sitting in a room for hours at a time, worrying about the outcome, run through the mind. It’s part of the treatment process, but it doesn’t have to be as miserable as some think. What if one could pass that time by creating a work of art or by listening to some cool jazz? It might just make the treatment a little more tolerable.
Indian River Magazine took home two top statewide awards during the annual Florida Magazine Association’s Charlie Awards banquet held Friday at the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg.
The magazine won a Charlie Award for general excellence in the best custom publication division for Vero at 100, a 128-page special edition on the history of Vero Beach from prehistoric times to today. The magazine was produced as part of the celebration of Vero Beach’s 100th anniversary as a city and in conjunction with the Vero Beach Centennial Committee.
Beacon of romance
In Martin County, there is a historic, scenic, coastal setting that has been a beacon to lovers for more than a hundred years. Situated on a bluff of strikingly picturesque rocks at the southerly end of Hutchinson Island, the Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge looks out over a vast expanse of aquamarine water that melts into the horizon. A soothing rhythm of white-foamed waves splashing is heard on the rocky coast, while a cool sea breeze calms the senses.
When pirates scoured the Treasure Coast
One man. One crew. One ship can take on the entire British Empire without a hiccough or regret. However grandiose Bellamy’s assertion may sound today, it was not without sincerity.
Engaging as their legends are, the true story of the pirates of the Treasure Coast was even more captivating; it is a long-lost tale of tyranny and resistance, a maritime revolt on the seas. The foundation of the British Empire was shaken by these rogues.
'Our Soldier Boy’ of World War I'
The name Stephen N. Gladwin was a familiar one to me growing up in Fort Pierce. I first saw the name etched in the World War I memorial monument on the grounds of the St. Lucie County Courthouse, undoubtedly after seeing a movie at the Sunrise Theatre across the street.
Treasure Coast History
We Hardly Knew Ye
As Vero Beach prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019, no one figure stands taller in the city’s history than Waldo Sexton. He is Vero Beach’s most iconic figure celebrated and written about more than any other.