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.
‘The river’ flows on, continuing its teaching ways
When I was a child, I had the good fortune of growing up on the Indian River.
It was the playground of my childhood. My best times were spent on the river, whether it was fishing, motor boating, skiing or, my favorite, sailing. Back then we called it the Indian River or simply “the river.”
A golden mission
As Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute turns 50, its team of researchers is focused on the critical issues facing the Earth’s oceans, near-shore bodies of water, its water supply and how these impact human health and well-being.
Harbor Branch’s mission is simple: Ocean Science for a Better World.
Facing down death
Along the Treasure Coast, new COVID-19 cases were reasonably low in the spring. More people were eligible for vaccinations. Schools had reopened on time in the fall and by then were looking forward to summer break. Travel plans, even cruises, were back in the picture.
And then the numbers took a dramatic turn.
Beginning in late May into June, a surge in cases still has hospitals and doctors’ offices scrambling. Due to the delta variant — more infectious than the 2020 strain — the increase from week to week has sometimes been as much as 20%. Misinformation and resistance on the part of many to get vaccinated have also been contributing factors.
When looking around Dr. Denise Sanderson’s reception room, it doesn’t take long to see where her passion lies. The Think Pink sign, the iconic stiletto heels representing breast cancer walks, and a plaque celebrating her chairing those fundraisers all point to her desire to fight breast cancer.
Sanderson, a breast cancer surgery specialist, treats all diseases of the breast. Her mission, she says, is to put her patients first, giving them a sense of calm through very trying circumstances.
“When they come in, I expect that they’re scared — that they’re here for me to guide them, and that’s my role,” she says. “My role is to help them to feel like they can have some control back because cancer takes away your control. And I like to let them know that it’s OK, and that we have this, and they’re going to be all right.”
Vision for the future
New Vision Eye Center is putting Vero Beach on the map with its world-class Glaucoma Institute that draws patients from far beyond its borders. The doors of the Glaucoma Institute at New Vision Eye Center opened in March, showcasing the most advanced equipment and two new, fellowship trained glaucoma surgeons, Dr. Mohamed Sayed and Dr. Sarah Khodadadeh.
“Our goal was to build a practice where folks would have all the ophthalmology subspecialty needs served in one place,” Dr. Paul Minnotti, founder of New Vision Eye Center, said. “That goal came to fruition with the addition of Dr. Sayed and Dr. Khodadadeh, and the subsequent opening of the new Glaucoma Institute.”
Stuart preservationist gives new life to historical downtown buildings
When Steven Vitale first laid eyes on downtown Stuart in the 1990s, it was love at first sight. His father, Otto, who lived in the area couldn’t wait to show the town to him while he was visiting from Miami.
“I remember driving in the car and he said, ‘You’re not going to believe this downtown Stuart — it’s so charming,’” he recalls. “He loved this downtown so much and he was so proud to show it off.”
Perfect day on the beach
Corrine and Michael Bernard — July 18, 2020
Leading up to our beautiful wedding at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa in Jensen Beach, we faced many difficult obstacles due to COVID-19. Our wedding planner, Cindy Morley from Eventful Moments, was our rock throughout the entire process. She had set us up with her A-team vendors and we were so excited for our big day.
But when the pandemic hit, our guest list significantly dropped and we were left with a lot of unknowns, including the possibility of the venue being closed. As if that were not enough, when Tom, the banquet manager we had been dealing with since we first toured the resort a year ago furloughed, we began to lose all hope of having our dream wedding on the beach.
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 ...
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.