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Treasure Coast News
WEEKEND EDITION MAY 25 & 26
Another group of Treasure Coast World War 2 veterans left early Saturday
morning on an Honor Flight to Washington. Hundreds of veterans
have been flown there over the years to see the World War 2 Memorial.
Each veteran is escorted by a volunteer spending the day in Washington.
Dozens of volunteers showed up to see them off and will welcome them
back home tonight. Their bus will be escorted back into town by
Martin County fire trucks from I-95.
Two people were take to hospitals after a bad crash on US One in Jensen
Beach Friday night. One had life-threatening injuries. The
crash happened around 10:30 pm.
For investigative reasons the St Lucie County Sheriff's office is not
releasing any information about Thomas J Alexander, who was found shot
to death early Friday morning on South 7th Street.
Two Port St Lucie brothers were arrested on marijuana charges after a
traffic stop on Midway Road. St Lucie deputies say 25 year old
Christopher Williams and his 20 year old brother Austin were speeding
when pulled over Thursday afternoon. The driver was extremely
nervous and a search of their car turned up 719 grams or 25 ounces of
FRIDAY MAY 24
Martin County students scored
above the state average in the FCAT tests. St Lucie County
students scored at or a little below the state average.
Just 15% of Martin County Third graders failed to scored at
proficiency levels, meaning they may have to repeat. 4th, 8th &
10th graders scored at or above the state average on the writing tests.
In St Lucie about 22% of the Third graders failed to pass the FCAT.
4th, 8th & 10th graders scored below the state average in writing.
FCAT scores at some St Lucie County schools were 10 to 15% higher than
Kaitlyn Hunt has turned down a
plea bargain in the criminal charges filed in her relationship with a 14
year old classmate in Indian River County. This means Treasure
Coast Prosecutors will proceed to trial on more serious charges that
could result in prison time if convicted.
A man was flown to a trauma
center after a crash on I-95 near the Martin-St Lucie County line this
morning. He was trapped inside his pick up after a crash with a
semi around 6am. It took 40 minutes to get him out.
A man was murdered in
the Ft Pierce area earlier this morning. St Lucie County deputies
found 24 year old Thomas J Alexander of Ft Pierce dead of gunshot wounds
near Glenview Dr and South 7th St. Ft Pierce Police set up a
perimeter and search with K-9s but found no suspect. Investigators
say there was a short confrontation before the shooting.
Kaitlyn Hunt has to decide
today whether to take a plea deal offered by Treasure Coast prosecutors
to charges she had an improper relationship with a younger friend. A
social media campaign supporting her and bashing the 14 year old’s
family has them speaking out exclusively to news partner CBS 12s
Treasure Coast Bureau Chief Jana Eschbach telling her they don't hate
gays and that social media and special interest groups are making things
up about them. There have been threats against them and they've
had to take down their own Facebook pages. They also have security
at their home because of the threats.
To watch Jana's report, click here
Another state swimming and diving tournament is coming to SailFish
Splash water park. The Florida Swimming Pool Association’s State High
School Invitational Swimming and Diving championships will be held at
SailFish Splash. It will bring in about 2 thousand competitors from 80
Florida high schools. Another 3 thousand fans and parents will come
watch too. It’s an event sanctioned by the Florida High School Athletic
Association and will boost our local economy by close to a million
dollars. The Pines School is the host school.
Former south Florida congressman Allen West’s wife spoke at last
night’s St Lucie County Republican Club. Dr Angela West told them
Republican’s should not compromise their values, but they should stop
treating minorities as if they are all alike saying not all black, not
all Hispanics are alike. She said Republicans have got to take the
Treasure Coast congressional seat back from the Democrats.
The first of the new FCAT test results come out today. These will
be scores from the writing FCAT. The tests were made harder this year,
but Treasure Coast school officials are optimistic students did well.
More cases of Parvo are being seen in St Lucie County. Parvo is highly
contagious and almost always fatal for dogs who get it from the feces of
other animals and are not treated. Parvo is preventable with
Port St Lucie Police Chief John Buldoc has been named the police
chief of the year by a local security chiefs group. The Palm Beach
Chapter of the American Society of Industrial Security. They cited his
trust and leadership during the reorganization of the Port St Lucie
Police department where more than 20 commanders and officers were let
go. Chief Buldoc credit’s the support of officers and the city council
for it have gone as well as it did.
Memorial Day beach-goers will find Treasure Coast beaches looks a lot
nicer than a few weeks ago. Beaches from Bathtub Reef to Waveland Beach
have all been restored with new sand. CBS 12’s meteorologist Chris
Farrell says the weather this weekend will be good, but windy.
Marine advisories and rip current warnings are expected to be in effect
during part of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
With the Memorial holiday weekend state and local law officers
worry about drunk drivers. They’ll be watching for that. Drunk boaters
too. This Memorial day many agencies will be doing the Click It or
Ticket campaign, writing citations for not wearing a seat belt. Stuart
Police are participating and say a seat belt ticket goes for $113, and a
child safety seat ticket costs $163.
A lot of things will be closed Monday for Memorial Day. All local
city county, state and US government offices will be closed Monday. So
will the schools in Martin & St Lucie county. IRSC will be closed along
with all the post offices and libraries. Most banks will be closed too.
Not the Malls, shopping centers and big box stores. Many will be holding
special Memorial Day sales.
THURSDAY MAY 23
Three suspects in the stabbing
and beating of a cab driver in Jensen Beach last week have been
arrested. Martin County Sheriff's officials say they lured the cab
driver to the parking lot outside a Jensen Beach business on a call for
a cab, then jumped him, beat him viciously and stabbed him. The
victim is clinging to life. Arrested was
Lawrence Flood Jr of Orlando who was taken into custody just as he was
about to board the monorail to Disney World. He is charged with
1st degree Attempted Murder. Earlier 21 year old Nicholas Monaco
of Ft. Pierce, and 25-year old John Cilluffo of Jensen Beach were
arrested and charged with Aggravated Battery and Armed Robbery.
NOAA expects a more active than
average hurricane season this year. NOAA says there could be 13 to
20 tropical storms. They expect 7 to 11 to become a
hurricane and 3 to 6 of those turning into big ones. NOAA says we
are in an 20 year active hurricane cycle, and cite warm ocean
temperatures and a lack of el nino conditions that normally work to
hinder the development of storms as reasons why they expect an active
The water main that broke along Bayshore yesterday afternoon flooding the major Port St Lucie road has
been fixed. All the lanes south of the Crosstown Parkway are now
open and water service to businesses has been restored.
Port St Lucie Police are asking
the public to help identify a burglar who broke into the St Lucie Car
Wash at Village Green Dr & Huffman Rd early Wednesday morning. He
got in thru the employee lounge area, then crawled across the ceiling to
where the money was kept. He also fired a shot while inside.
Police found a .32 gun hidden in some nearby bushes.
Watch video of car wash burglar click here
More cases of Parvo are
being seen in St Lucie County. Parvo is highly contagious and
almost always fatal for dogs who get it from the feces of other animals
and are not treated. Parvo is preventable with vaccinations.
Florida's ACLU is supporting the Sebastian teen who is facing
criminal charges for having a sexual relationship with a younger fellow
female student. The civil rights group called Kaitlyn Hunt's behavior
"fairly innocuous" and "extremely common." Hunt is charged with two
counts of lewd and lascivious behavior for having a relationship with
another juvenile late last year. The alleged victim's parents went to
the sheriff to file a complaint after Hunt turned 18. A Free Kate
movement has spread on social media. Hunt made her first comments to the
media Wednesday saying the whole thing has been overwhelming and the
reaction on social media to her situation has been unexpected. She
has until Friday to accept a plea deal and avoid prosecution. Treasure
Coast State Attorney Bruce Colton has said a crime was committed and his
office can’t ignore it.
It isn’t just miles of Martin County roads that need repaired of
replaced. So do fire trucks and even the jail’s security system. County
Commission Chair Sarah Heard recently questioned why Fire Chief Joe
Ferrara needed to spend so much on fire trucks and ambulances in the
next few years. The Chief said the trucks wear out and there are several
fire trucks that are 15 years old. There were questions too about
spending more money on the Martin County Jail. General Services
Director Harold Markey says the jail’s security system is 20 years old
and impossible to find parts when it fails.Martin County faces spending
millions of delayed projects that have been put off due to budget cuts
brought on by the economy.
Treasure Coast home sales were up in April. The Florida
Association of Realtors reports single family sales were up 23% in the
Martin-St Lucie County area from April 2012. Condo sales were also up
26% in April from the year before. Median prices were also
significantly higher in both categories from last year. The price of a
home was $133,000 and $132,000 for a condo.
Port St Lucie Police had to direct Wednesday afternoon rush hour
traffic around a water main break on Bayshore. The break between
Whitmore and the Crosstown Parkway closed the busy Bayshore overnight
too until city workers could fix it.
The first of the local high school graduations was last night. John
Carroll graduated 93 seniors during commencement held at the Sunrise
Theatre. The Clark Advanced Learning Center in Martin County holds its
graduation Saturday. St Lucie and Martin County’s other high schools
hold commencements next week.
The community swimming pool at Martin County High will probably be
closed to the public next year to save money. The Martin County School
Board needs to make $2.6 million in budget cuts, and closing the pool to
the public would save several hundred thousand. The pool would still be
open for the swim team. Other ideas to cut the budget include cutting
custodians, not renewing some staff contracts at Spectrum Junior &
Senior high, not hiring people to replace retirees and making teachers
take two unpaid days off.
The only principal Jensen Beach High has ever had will be leaving
after the school year. Ginger Featherstone will be the new director of
secondary, adult & community education next year. She’s been at Jensen
Beach since it opened. Mary White, principal at JD Parker will be taking
a new position too. She’ll be new director of elementary programs and
Florida ranks 42nd for per-pupil student spending. The US Census
reports an average of $8,887 per student was spent for elementary and
secondary schools in Florida for the 2011 fiscal year. This year per
pupil spending will go up $458 in Martin County and up by $393 in St
Lucie with the legislature passing Gov Rick Scotts education budget.
The 4 mile long Martin County beach restoration project has been
completed. They replaced sand eroded away the past year from Indian
River Plantation to the Martin-St Lucie County line. They put 700
thousand cubic yards of sand dredged up off shore on the beaches. The
project cost $9.5 million.
The state has been practicing for a hurricane this week. The
scenario has two hurricanes named Kirk & Lay hitting Florida within ten
days of each other. There are other states and federal officials and
agencies taking part in the drill. They want practice responding to a
worst case scenario this year. Back in 2004, this happened when
Hurricane Francis came ashore on the Treasure Coast only to be followed
two weeks later by Hurricane Jean which came in just about the same
It's been five days since a winning Powerball Lottery ticket was
sold in Zephyrhills, and people are waiting for that lucky ticket holder
to come forward. The winning 590-point-five million dollar ticket was
sold at a Publix Grocery Store. Secretary of the Florida Lottery, Cindy
O'Connell says they are excited to see who that winner is. Media crews
have been anxiously waiting for the winning person to come forward at
the Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee. This is the sixth time
there has been a Powerball winner in the state since Floridians were
able to play.
WEDNESDAY MAY 22
Treasure Coast home sales were
up in April. The Florida Association of Realtors reports single
family sales were up 23% in the Martin-St Lucie County area from April
2012. Condo sales were also up 26% in April from the year before.
Median prices were also significantly higher in both categories from
The 4 mile long Martin County
beach restoration project has been completed. They replaced sand
eroded away the past year from Indian River Plantation to the Martin-St
Lucie County line.
Florida ranks 42nd for per-pupil
student spending. The US Census reports an average of $8,887 per
student was spent for elementary and secondary schools in Florida for
the 2011 fiscal year.
The SFWMD's Executive Director
Melissa Meeker has turned in her letter of resignation. It does
not give a date for when she wants to leave. Meeker, who lives in
Stuart, says she wants to pursue international issues important to her.
Treasure Coast environmentalists had hoped Meeker would be more
effective in getting the US Army Corps of Engineers to stop water
discharges from Lake Okeechobee than they believe she has been.
Florida will have another back
to school sales tax fee days in August. This time computers and
tablets up to $750 will be eligible for the sales tax free days.
Clothes and many school supplies will also be exempt.
Not everyone has paid their
Treasure Coast property taxes by the end of March. Tax Collectors says
millions are owed and are delinquent. In Martin County almost $8 million
in hasn’t been paid on 4,561 properties. Willie Gary for example hasn’t
paid his yet. In St Lucie County, more than 13 thousand properties are
delinquent on more than $25 million in property taxes. Technically, Port
St Lucie owes almost a half million in unpaid property taxes on the old
Digital Domain Studios since its bankruptcy. That’s the biggest unpaid
tax bill in the county. Tax certificate auctions will be held the end of
the month on properties.
The Business Development Board may have turned the corner in its
deteriorating relationship with Martin County. Commissioner Ed Fielding
told his colleagues Tuesday they have a good chance to resolve their
issues now that Jeff Sabine and Terry McCarthy are involved in
negotiating a new contract. Sabin, who runs Waste Management, is the new
president of the BDB and McCarthy is a respected lawyer. Commissioner
Sarah Heard is still cautious and wants to meet one-on-one with them to
make sure the BDB understands how the commission feels and what the
county wants. The county is currently looking for a consultant to
help them develop a specific set of economic development goals. County
commissioners will wait until those proposals come in.
A 60 year old man was
arrested after Port St Lucie Police found 4 marijuana plants growing in
his yard. The plants were enclosed in special fencing, so it was obvious
they were being cultivated. Lee Debell reportedly admitted to police it
was stupid to grow them out in the open.
A 19 year old Port St Lucie man is in jail charged with at least 3
home burglaries. Mauricio Huerta got caught when a man who said he got a
camera he pawned from him. Bond is set at $109,000.
Miami didn’t get Super Bowl 50 or 51. The NFL owners gave them to San
Francisco and Houston. The Miami Dolphins had said if the Florida
Legislature didn’t help out with hundreds of millions in renovations to
SunLife Stadium, south Florida would not get another Super Bowl.
98 years ago today St Lucie County Sheriff Daniel Carlton was killed in
a gunfight with another lawman in downtown Ft Pierce. He was the brand
new county’s first elected sheriff. He died in a shootout with Ft
Pierce’s Night Marshal James Disney. Disney was shot three times and an
angry mob beat him until other deputies rescued him. He was convicted in
Orlando of manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years. Sheriff Carlton was
the first of 6 with the St Lucie County Sheriff’s office to die in the
line of duty. The most recent was Sgt Gary Morales this past spring.
The City of Port St. Lucie will host a public information meetings on
ways to improve the Biltmore Street and Macedo Boulevard business
district. Topics include maintaining the business district, code
compliance issues, on-street parking, beautification efforts, Florida
Turnpike buffer area and drainage. The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30
p.m. in the Community Center. Public participation is encouraged,
particularly from people with an interest in the businesses between
Bayshore Boulevard and Biltmore Street, from Prima Vista Boulevard to
TUESDAY MAY 21
St Lucie County is interested in
buying the Port St Lucie Police substation annex building on Rosser.
County Commissioners voted to have staff negotiate with the city,
spending no more than $2.3 million. 75,000 people live in southwest Port
St Lucie, but the nearest library is small branch in St Lucie West.
The other two libraries are east of the Turnpike. There are two
high schools and several elementary and K-8 schools west of the Turnpike
but no public library.
Martin County and the city of
Stuart have agreed to accept a transportation grant to eventually extend
Willoughby Blvd between US 1 & Monterey Road. The $1 million grant
will be used to buy 20 parcels of land where the road will be built.
Martin County Commissioners voted to approve the grant today and
promised to pay 24% of the project's $2.1 million total cost. Stuart
City Commissioners voted Monday night to send the county a check to
help. FDOT & local officials say it will help take traffic off US One.
A raccoon that bit a man in
southern Martin County last week tested positive for rabies. The
raccoon bit the man in the 18000 block of South US 1 in the Martin
County part of the Jupiter area. He is getting rabies shots.
It's the second case of wild animal rabies in Martin County this year.
There have also been a couple cases of rabies in northern Palm Beach
County this year.
The 18 year old Sebastian high
school student facing charges for having a lesbian love affair with a
consenting 14 year old had been listed as a witness in an earlier,
similar case. CBS 12 reports in that case, charges were later dropped
against an 18 year old for her relationship with a 15 year old.
Treasure Coast prosecutors have offered Katie Hunt a plea bargain deal
lowering a Lewd & Lascivious act on a minor to child abuse, but charges
will not be dropped. Social media and CNN are covering the story
as a gay rights issue.
The South Florida Water
Management District is pretending there's a category 4 hurricane today.
The pretend hurricane scenario has it crossing southwest Florida across
to the Kissimmee River basin. The drill will hone skills of moving
water around their system to minimize flooding while quickly draining
off rainwater from the Treasure Coast and other counties.
In earlier morning rush hour news....
A Port St Lucie Red Cross volunteer heads to Oklahoma today to
help with the tornado relief. Mike Molyneux is a retired contractor and
realtor and will oversee disaster damage assessments in the area,
determining which areas need what. The Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Red
Cross’ Rob Levine says it’s a major disaster and that some 20 Treasure
Coast Red Cross volunteers have been told they may have to fly to
Oklahoma to help. The local Red Cross won’t have to send their emergency
response trucks to Oklahoma, but specially trained volunteers probably
will be sent. You can help by making a donation to the Red Cross.
Most of the Treasure Coast got about a half inch of rain during
the day Monday. There was more rain overnight with heavy rains and hail
reported around 10:30 last night in Hobe Sound. Parts of Palm Beach
County got 6 inches of rain and there was street flooding down there.
Parts of Palm Beach County will be under a flood watch today.
The governor has vetoed almost $370 million worth of spending projects
from the new $74 billion state budget. Some of those were Treasure Coast
projects. Even with the cuts, it‘s a record budget, the largest budget
in Florida history. But Governor Rick Scott vetoed about $5 million in
funding Treasure Coast projects when he cut money out of the new state
budget. He vetoed $2 million for Harbor Branch scientists to study
the Indian River Lagoon. He also cut out another $2 million to rennovate
the IRSC St Lucie West campus which IRSC took over when FAU closed its
part of the building last fall. He also cut $200,000 to restore the
inside of the historic Golden Gate building in Stuart. The outside was
restored several years ago, but Martin County didn’t have the money to
do the inside. $274,000 for new equipment for New Horizons and $131,000
for several drainage improvement projects in Port St Lucie were also
part of the budget cuts made by the governor.
In Indian River County an 18 year old high school senior is in
jail charged with lewd and lascivious assault for having a consensual
sexual affair with her 14 year old freshman lover. The younger teen and
her parents filed a criminal complaint. Gay rights groups and the
national media have picked up the story as a gay rights issue. Treasure
Coast prosecutors under Florida law a 14 year old cannot legally consent
to sex. They say it’s a sexual assault on a minor case, nothing more.
The 18 year old Katie Hunt could be labeled a sexual predator the rest
of her life if she takes a plea deal or up to 15 years in prison if
convicted at a trial.
The Elliott Museum has agreed to merge with the Maritime and Classic
Boat Museum. The boat museum was begun about 20 years ago but had
troubles finding a permanent location and is now housed at Indian
Riverside Park. The Elliott Museum just opened their new facility on
Ft Pierce Police have a new contract that gives them their first pay
raise in 5 years. The city commission last night approved the contract
with the police union. Chief Sean Baldwin says Ft Pierce Police have
lost 13 officers to higher paying jobs. 9 of them joined Port St Lucie
Police and the Martin County Sheriff’s office. Two of them had been Ft
Pierce Officer of the Year.
A record breaking Burmese python was caught and killed in Miami Dade
County earlier this month. It was 18 feet 8 inches and weighed 128
pounds. The old record was 17 feet 7 inches. It was a female, but had no
eggs. Two men were driving and spotted the tail sticking out of the
bushes along the road, stopped and killed it.
MONDAY MAY 20
Gov Rick Scott today vetoed $2
million to rennovate the IRSC St Lucie West campus. IRSC took over
the FAU part of the campus they shared for years when FAU closed its
part of the building last fall. $200,000 to restore the inside of
the Golden Gate building, $274,000 for new equipment for New Horizons
and $131,000 for several drainage improvement projects in Port St Lucie
were also vetoed by the Governor. It was part of the $368
million Gov Scott vetoed from the new $74 billion state budget.
The Elliott Museum has agreed to
merge with the Maritime and Classic Boat Museum. The boat museum
was begun about 20 years ago and is now housed at Indian Riverside Park.
The Elliott Museum just opened their new facility on Hutchinson Island.
A Miami man was charged after a
road rage incident in Port St Lucie Friday night. A pickup truck
that spun its tires at the light at Port St Lucie Blvd and Veterans
Memorial Parkway then allegedly tailgated and then purposefully rammed
into the side of the car. The victims, parents with their two
children, pulled over as did the pick ups driver. He allegedly
screamed for them to get out of their car, but drove off when the
husband, who is on crutches, did. Port St Lucie Police tracked
down and arrested 30 year old Andrew Santana who was staying in town.
Details about a man found
stabbed in Jensen Beach early last Friday morning. Martin County
Sheriff's officials say 49 year old Timothy Bowker of Port St Lucie had
been severely beaten and stabbed. He apparently drove to the
Cumberland Farms Store on Savanna Road after it happened and was
airlifted to Lawnwood's Trauma Center. Bowker is known to give
people rides home from local bars for a fee.
It's been pouring in West Palm
Beach. 3 to 5 inches of rain may fall in southern Palm Beach
County today. Some street flooding has been reported in the
central part of Palm Beach County and a Flash Flood advisory has been
issued. Much less rain has fallen so far in the Martin & St Lucie
The Florida and the Treasure
Coast county’s unemployment rate is down. The Martin County has dropped
below 7%, the lowest in 5 years. The state says the Martin County rate
dropped 2-tenths of a point in April to just 6.7%. The March rate was
also revised and adjusted downward to 6.9% making two months in a row
the Martin County rate has been below 7%. The St Lucie County
unemployment rate stayed the same from March to April at 8.9%. Jesse
Punucchio with the state’s Economic Opportunity agency says Florida’s
unemployment rate continues to drop too. It's now at 7.2%, the
lowest since 2008.
Governor Rick Scott has signed a law eliminating the 2% manufacturing
tax a lot of small business had to pay. Scott says the tax was outdated
and hurting the state’s economy. Governor Scott says cutting the
manufacturing tax will help make things easier for small Florida
Businesses to compete and all the elements are in place to have a
booming Florida economy. The Governor promised when he ran for
office three years ago his policies would create 700 thousand jobs in
seven years. More than half that number of new jobs have been.
Long-time Treasure Coast car dealer Ron Shultz died last Thursday.
He owned Bill Shutltz Chevrolet for years and was known for his
integrity and running an honest car dealership and for his charitable
work and support of community causes. Visitation is Tuesday from 4 to 7
at the Yates Funeral home. His funeral is Wednesday at 11am at Indian
River Presbyterian Church in Ft Pierce. Ron Shutlz was 67.
Here’s what happened at last week’s Martin County Business Development
Board meeting. Executive Director Tim Dougher listened to criticism
including suggestions by some that he resign. BDB Board member Don
Cuozzo said he likes Dougher personally, but never thought he was the
right man for the job. But the Economic Development Council’s Tom
McNichols said they, the EDC, support Dougher. Incoming BDB President
Jeff Sabin said their top priority is the re-establish their credibility
with the public. Martin County Commissioners want to renegotiate the
$625 thousand a year contract it has with the Business Development
Two incidents of crime violence at a Ft Pierce apartment complex. A
family was robbed at gunpoint as their 2 year old watched. Police say 21
year old Albert Smith of Ft Pierce is one of two men who robbed a man
and wife outside their Live Oaks Village apartment while their 2 year
old watched. One of the gunman pistol-whipped the husband. Smith’s bond
is set at $550,000. Just hours later a 24 year old man was shot in the
head at the same apartment complex. A man pointed a gun at the victim’s
head and said “you weren’t expecting this.” The man shot was taken to
Lawnwood’s Trauma Center in critical condition.
A Ft Pierce woman was hit and killed by a charter bus at the Ft
Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport Saturday afternoon. 68 year
old Cheryl Bazilius had gone there to pick up her husband. She was hit
by the bus in the middle lane while going back to her parked SUV. The
bus what taking passengers to a cruise ship in Miami. Nobody on the bus
was hurt. The bus driver is 61.
The big $590.5 million PowerBall jackpot winning ticket for
Saturday night’s drawing was sold at a Publix store in Zepherhills.
Whoever has it can take a one-time lump sum payment of $370 million.
Port St Lucie had one of Saturday night’s Fantasy 5 big winning tickets.
Two tickets matched all the numbers. One was sold at a Chevron Station
at Port St Lucie Blvd and Cameo and is worth more than $140 thousand.
Treasure Coast law enforcement will be running the Click It or
Ticket seat belt enforcement this week through Memorial Day. They’ll be
watching for those not buckled up and for kids not in child safety
seats. This weekend they’ll also be watching for drunk drivers and
boaters over the holiday period.
FRIDAY MAY 17
Martin County's unemployment
rate has dropped below 7%. The state says the rate dropped
2-tenths of a point in April to just 6.7%. The March rate was also
adjusted downward to 6.9%. The St Lucie County unemployment rate
stayed the same from March to April at 8.9%. The Florida rate
dropped to 7.2%, the lowest since 2008.
The PowerBall jackpot has been
increased again. It's now at $600 million and officials say ticket
sales are so strong in Florida and other states that it could be raised
again before Saturday night's drawing.
A man was taken from Jensen
Beach to the hospital with apparent stab wounds early this morning.
Martin County Fire-Rescue was called to a Cumberland Farms store on
Savanna Road just after midnight. The Jensen Beach Fire station is
close by. He was airlifted to Lawnwood's Trauma Center.
An Indiantown man has been
charged with preying on a child via Facebook. 26 year old Israel
Juan is suspected of trying to lure a child for pornography using a
computer. He is suspected of being a Gang Sur 13 affiliate.
Israel Juan booking photo
Martin County deputies pulled
dozens of cars over as they got off I-95 at Kanner Hwy Thursday for
having too darkly tinted windows. Sheriff William Snyder tells CBS 12
they are trying to catch the pillowcase bandits that use I-95. The
pillowcase bandits use vehicles with extremely dark windows. There were
a lot of angry motorists. Some said it was a waste of law
enforcement resources, others an infringement on rights. Sheriff Snyder
believes it’s the right thing to do. A ticket for having too dark
windows is $113. Operation Tint Check will continue throughout the year.
There have been 108 pillowcase-type home burglaries in recent months,
but none the past three weeks.
Floridians are buying PowerBall tickets for Saturday’s big jackpot.
Ticket sales here and more than 40 other states have raised the jackpot
from $475 million yesterday to $550 million today. Don’t be surprised if
it gets even bigger before Saturday night’s drawing. Floridians are
buying tickets for the Mega Millions lottery for the first time this
week. Mega Millions will bring bigger jackpots, like the Powerball
games ... and longer odds of winning. But, the news is absolutely great
for education dollars. Tonight the Mega Millions jackpot is $190
The Treasure Coast crime rate was down last year. The FDLE says
crime dropped 15% in St Lucie and dropped 10.4% in Martin county. The
overall crime rate in Florida was down 5.7% from 2011. St Lucie had 19
murders in 2011 and just 7 last year. Martin County had 4 murders last
year compared to 3 in 2011. There were fewer burglaries and robberies in
Martin County and Stuart but more in Sewalls Point. Port St Lucie saw a
19% drop in burglaries too. One reason for that may be due to new state
laws making it harder to sell stolen metal like copper tubing to
Honesty and fairness are the main qualities those who took a
survey say they want most in the new St Lucie County School
Superintendent. The survey by a consultant had 600 people respond. Most
of them, 64%, said they worked for the St Lucie County School District.
7 finalist for the job will be in town for school board interviews June
3 to the 5th.
The former chief of the Jensen Beach Volunteer Fire Department has
died. 84 year old Donald Wilke Sr passed away earlier this month. He was
chief when the volunteers merged with Martin County’s paid fire
department. Wilke ran the 4th of July fireworks at the Jensen
Causeway for many years. He was a past president of the Jensen Beach
Chamber and coached little league. There will be no service.
Retired educator and coach Lewis Rice Jr died this week after a
long illness. He was football coach at Lincoln Park and Ft Pierce
Central for many years. Before that he had been teacher and football
coach at the old Stuart Training School which is now Murray Middle when
it was Martin County’s black high school in the late 50s and early 60s,
and an assistant coach at Martin County High after integration. He is
remembered as being tough on discipline and building good character.
Visitation is today from 3 to 7pm at Stone Brothers Funeral Home in Ft
Two women have been charged with making meth at a Ft Pierce motel
room. Police saw them cutting thru some bushes and stopped to question
them. He saw meth making items in one of their purses. 24 year old
Samantha Cannova, who is homeless and 39 year old Michelle Perkins or
Port St Lucie were arrested. Cannova told police they were on their way
to dump the meth making materials in the woods. More meth making items
were later found in a room at the
THURSDAY MAY 16
A diver has been taken to Lawnwood Regional with the bends. He was 6.5 miles off the Ft
Pierce Inlet when he was stricken.
Florida and the Treasure Coast
crime rate was down last year. The FDLE says the overall crime
rate in Florida was down 5.7% from 2011. The overall crime rate
dropped 15% in St Lucie and dropped 10.4% in Martin County. St
Lucie had 19 murders in 2011 and just 7 last year. Martin County
had 4 murders last year compared to 3 in 2011.
Martin County deputies are
pulling dozens of cars over as they get off I-95 at Kanner Hwy for
having too darkly tinted windows. Sheriff William Snyder is trying
to catch the pillowcase bandits that use vehicles with dark windows.
As of noon, no bad guys but a lot of angry motorists. A ticket for
having too dark windows is $113. Operation Tint Check will continue
throughout the year.
The Treasure Coast is in good
shape when it comes to water supplies. The SFWMD & National
Weather Service says the water levels in the 16 south Florida counties
are right where they should be heading into the summer rainy season.
Meteorologists expect an average summer for rain with perhaps slightly
higher than average temperatures.
Florida’s Attorney General Pam
Bondi met with law enforcement officials on the Treasure Coast Wednesday
at the St Lucie County Sheriff‘s office. They talked about the dangers
from so-called synthetic marijuana sold on the streets and some
convenience stores. Bondi says sellers can change the name and call it
whatever….but it still illegal and dangerous, causing hallucinations
similar to LSD. Bondi also spoke at the Martin County Republican
lunch at Monarch Country Club and attended the Law Enforcement Memorial
Service at the Martin County Sheriff’s office.
The first three months of 2013 have been great for Florida
tourism. Will Secomb with Visit Florida says a new record of 26 million
was set. All those visitors should help Florida in the future too by
talking about what fun they had. Treasure Coast tourism officials
recently announced tourism was up here too.
A large alligator was seen walking along Australian Blvd near Palm
Beach International Airport early this morning. The gator was gone by
time trapper Darlene Tyson got there. She says large male alligators
force smaller males out of their territory during mating season.
Officials say the alligator made it to a canal which feeds a lake near
PBIA. People water and jet ski on that lake. Officials say the 8
foot alligator attacked a pickup truck's bumper when the driver stopped.
Martin County High has lost one of it’s most respected teachers. Walter
Jschombach died Tuesday, just days after suffering a medical issue at
school. He was affectionately known as Sarge and could be tough, but was
loved by students and fellow teachers. A student had saved his life by
doing CPR right after he was stricken. He was a retired Air Force
sergeant and had taught at Martin County High for some 20 years. He ran
the Junior ROTC program and was boys track team coach. A celebration of
his life will be next Wednesday at The Grace Place.
The Business Development Board of Martin County has a meeting today. The
proposed changes to the contract they have with Martin County will be
discussed. The new county commission majority wants an audit of the BDB
and wants money left over at the end of a fiscal year returned to the
county. The BDB gets $625,000 in county money to attract new business,
industry and jobs and help already existing businesses expand.
Stuart Police say they've arrested a suspect in a violent purse
snatching that injured an 83 year old women in the East Ocean Blvd
Walgreen's parking lot earlier this week. 31 year old Heather Scherrer
lives nearby. Her bond is set at $22,500.
The last of this weeks Treasure Coast Law Enforcement Memorial services
is tonight in St Lucie County. It’s a county-wide service including Port
St Lucie and Ft Pierce Police along with the sheriff’s office. It’s at
7pm at St Bernadette Catholic Church in St Lucie West.
It turns out Stuart has had a law officer killed in the line of duty. It
was back in 1913, before Stuart was a legal city and was part of Palm
Beach County. 22 year old Stuart Constable Walter Ball was killed in a
bar fight. This week his name was added to the national Law Enforcement
Memorial in Washington.
Nobody won the $360 million PowerBall jackpot last night. That
means an even bigger top prize for Saturday’s drawing…$475 million. 26
tickets nationwide had all 5 of the regular numbers, but not the
Powerball itself. They all won $1 million.
WEDNESDAY MAY 15
Florida Atlantic University President Mary Jane Saunders has resigned.
She cites intensely negative media reporting as the reason. There
has been the controversy over naming rights to FAU's stadium, a
professor who had students stomp on the name Jesus on pieces of paper
and another professors claims that the Newtown, Conn shootings and the
Boston Marathon bombings may have been a hoax.
Stuart Police say they've arrested a suspect in a violent purse
snatching that injured an 83 year old women in the East Ocean Blvd
Walgreen's parking lot earlier this week. 31 year old Heather
Scherrer's bond is set at $22,500.
A Ft Pierce woman went to jail after throwing her baby down into a
stretcher. 22 year old Brittany D Cobb was charged with cruelty to
a child. She was reportedly upset that nurses at Lawnwood's ER
wanted to examine her 8 month old baby after she threw him on the table.
She also allegedly gave police a false name and had a warrant out on
Martin County is millions
behind in resurfacing roads. County Engineer Don Donaldson told county
commissioners Tuesday they’re behind because they’ve been deferring
projects to save money. He says Martin County has $15 million in
roads to do, $5 million of which are critical and need to be done right
away. While some blame the budget cuts on 5 years of a bad local
economy, Martin County Commission Chair Sarah Heard blames the county
seed money used to jump start the new Indian St Bridge. She says
money has been tied up for the next 25 years by that. Martin County
Commissioners will have to decide how to pay for roads that are reaching
their end and need resurfaced.
The St Lucie County School Board has picked 7 finalists for the
Superintendent's job. Only one of them, Mark Rendell is local. He's
already an Assistant Superintendent in St Lucie County. The other
finalists are from as far away as Reno Nevada and Boulder Colorado. The
St Lucie County School Board members will interview each and hold meet
the public type events the week of June 3 to 5th. Mike Lannon
will retire the end of July.
Another man has been charged in that marijuana grow operation and
gun manufacturing case a couple weeks ago in Port St Lucie. Fingerprints
reportedly have connected 44 year old Jon S Meritt. The ATF searched his
home this week and found firearms, pills and pot. Antoine Sparks was the
first arrested after a traffic stop in Martin County.
A Port St Lucie father was charged with child neglect. Police say
he left his 9 month old and 2 year old inside a running car in the
Wal-mart parking lot. Dane Benoit told them he just ran in to exchange a
pair of shoes.
Treasure Coast lottery retailers expect some long lines today as
people buy Powerball tickets. The estimated jackpot is up to $360
million, the third biggest in Powerball’s history. The drawing is
The Quit Doc, Dr Barry Hummell and high school students have created a
new set of radio and video public service announcements to get kids and
people to quit smoking. Martin County Sheriff William Snyder is featured
in the PSAs selected by the Orlando Magic broadcast announcers as the
very best created by students. They will be played at Magic games on
their giant video scoreboard. Dr Hummell founded the Tobacco Free
Partnership of Martin County.
Florida’s Attorney General Pam Biondi will be in town today. She
will meet with law enforcement from the Treasure Coast about human
trafficking, synthetic drugs and organized shoplifting rings. They will
all meet at the St Lucie County Sheriff’s office.
They plan a proscribed burn in the Savannahs today, weather permitting.
They want to burn about an acre east of Green River Parkway and south of
TUESDAY MAY 14
The St Lucie County School Board has picked 7 finalists for the
Superintendent's job. Only one of them, Mark Rendell is local.
He's already an Assistant Superintendent in St Lucie County. The
school board will interview the finalists June 3 to 5.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy is calling for an
investigation of the IRS over their extra scrutiny of conservative
groups like the Tea Party. He also wants an investigation of the
US Justice Department's secret seizure of Associated Press reporters
phone calls and records. Murphy says the people must be assured
the government is not abusing its powers.
Two armed men robbed the La Quinta Inn on Okeechobee Rd in Ft Pierce
early this morning. The desk clerk hid in a closet. A
security guard exchanged gunfire with the robbers who got away. It's the
5th hotel hold up on the Treasure Coast this year.
Martin County firefighters had to put out a house fire in Jensen Beach
this afternoon. A dozen units were sent along with several
deputies. The fire started in the front, outside the home in the
2100 block of NE Pinecrest Lakes Dr and spread inside. Nobody was
hurt and the cause is under investigation.
Stuart Police are looking for a blonde female in her 20s who knocked
down an 83 year old woman and stole her purse in the parking lot of the
Walgreen's on East Ocean Blvd Monday afternoon. The suspect
followed the victim out of the store. The victim suffered a head
injury and had to be treated at Martin Memorial.
(Pursesnatching suspect is on the left)
Rick Ankiel wasn’t out of a major league job very long. Last Thursday
the Houston Astros released him. Monday the New York Mets signed him.
It’s the Port St Lucie High graduate’s sixth major league team in eleven
years in the majors.
The mother of a Port St
Lucie High School student hit and killed by a car while riding his
bicycle to school earlier this year pleaded for more sidewalks at last
night’s city council meeting. Wendy Henry brought a photo of her son
Hunter in making her case. Wendy Henry also wants the community to help
get sidewalks built. Port St Lucie has build miles of sidewalks
near schools and parks in recent years, but only has so much money due
to budget cuts.
The first of this week’s Law Enforcement Memorial Week services
was held at the St Lucie County Sheriff's office Monday. The service
honoring those killed in the line of duty included a wreath laying and
taps. Sgt Gary Morales, who was shot to death during a traffic stop a
few months ago was remembered. His brother Brian, who is also a deputy,
says their sorrow has turned to fond memories. Port St Lucie's law
enforcement memorial is this morning in front of the police station at
9:30. The Martin County Sheriff's service is Wednesday at 2pm and the
St Lucie County-wide service is Thursday at St Bernadette's church in
Port St Lucie at 7pm.
The 11 skin & bone horses and donkey’s rescued more than a week
ago in Palm City are recovering at the Equine Rescue and Adoption
Foundation site. But they have too many animals to care for and they
have to move to a bigger site. You can help by donating to the group
website. Sheriff William Snyder says they would have had no place
to take the emaciated horses and donkeys is ERAF wasn’t there
There could be big changes coming to Palm City Road. It’s used as
a shortcut by traffic between US 1 and the Palm City Bridge. During rush
hour the traffic waiting to turn onto the bridge at Monterey Road backs
up blocking entrances to a marina and several condominiums. Engineers
say the city could block traffic turning onto the Palm City Bridge or
put in traffic circles at several small streets to slow traffic
discouraging drivers from using Palm City Road. The Florida Department
of Transportation does not like to eliminate turns off of US 1 and
Martin County actually owns the road, not Stuart.
Lawnwood Regional's CEO Rodney Smith announces he is going to
retire. A press release says he will officially retire the end of July
after being there the past five years. Lawnwood has expanded into a
level 2 trauma care center, pediatric intensive care unit, level 3
neonatal intensive care unit and heart institute and other services
under his leadership.
Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron will have an opponent in
next year’s elections. 26 year old Brandon Cannon intends to run. He
owns a now-closed arcade in Port St Lucie that shut down when the
legislature passed and the governor signed a bill outlawing internet
cafes. Cannon is angry over that and is part of a group suing the state
over it. He is a licensed pilot and studies aeronautical engineering.
Cannon says Tallahassee needs a younger generation of political leaders.
A fire in Spanish Lakes Country Club in northern St Lucie County
sent two to the hospital Monday afternoon. One of them was airlifted. A
man was working on a vehicle in the carport of the mobile home on
Octavio when the vehicle, then the man’s cloths caught fire.
A Martin County High student probably saved his teacher’s life
last Friday by doing CPR. Ian Annase was on his way to a class when a
custodian shouted for help. The ROTC instructor Walter Jschombach was in
apparent cardiac arrest. Annase knows CPR and performed it on “Sarge”
until fire rescue got there. They also used a portable defibrillator on
him. He learned CPR at the Red Cross and works summers as a lifeguard at
Sailfish Splash Waterpark. Jschombach is still in the hospital.
MONDAY MAY 13
A bicyclist was hit by a vehicle on Martin Downs Blvd late this
afternoon. The victim was hit at the entrance to Martin Downs
Country Club around 4 pm. The victim was airlifted to Lawnwood's
Lawnwood Regional's CEO Rodney Smith announces he is going to retire.
A press release says he will officially retire the end of July after
being there the past five years. Lawnwood has expanded into trauma
care and other services under his leadership.
Liberty Medical in Port St Lucie plans to lay off another 200+
employees. The company filed required paperwork with the state
giving notice of their intention to lay off 211 employees in July.
Earlier this year Liberty Medical announced it would lay off 260
employees this past spring. The company sells and ships diabetic
supplies nationwide and was once the biggest private employer in St
This is National Law Enforcement Memorial Week and there are services
set on the Treasure Coast to remember law officers killed in the line of
duty. The St Lucie County Sheriff's service including a wreath
laying was held this morning at the sheriff's office on Midway Rd.
Port St Lucie's is Tuesday morning in front of the police station at
9:30. The Martin County Sheriff's service is Wednesday at 2pm and
the St Lucie County-wide service is Thursday at St Bernadette's church
in Port St Lucie at 7pm.
The Santa Fe Cafe in Stuart has closed at it's location on US One just a
block south of the Roosevelt Bridges. A sign covers the regular
sign and reads for sale or lease. The business has been there for
years and was mostly known as Dos Amigos.
Port St Lucie City Council members meet tonight. One thing on the
agenda is a new impact fee schedule designed to lower fees to encourage
new construction. The meeting starts at 7pm at city hall.
The FAA now says it will keep
the control tower at Witham Field open for several more months. The FAA
now has the okay from congress to move money around to pay for control
tower operations. The county staff told Martin County Commissioners last
week because the money the FAA is using to keep control towers open is
from the fund used for small airport improvements which may affect
future needs. The FAA says this is a for sure thing only until
September 30th, when the special funding runs out and the FAA
technically goes back to the budget sequester cuts.
The story about the emaciated horses and donkeys found at a Palm
City property more than a week ago isn’t over. Martin County Sheriff
William Snyder will hold a press conference this morning at the Equine
Rescue and Adoption center. There may or may not be some sort of charges
against the owner announced. The Sheriff will speak on the need for an
additional location to house the animals and nurse them back to health.
Port St Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella said there is reason for residents to
be optimistic. In the annual State of the City address Friday, the Mayor
said the city’s economy is getting better and property values are
beginning to go up. Port St Luce has also issued 13 hundred building
permits so far this year including building permits for 61 new homes.
Mayor Fiaella also said Bass Pro will bring new jobs to the city and
that tax revenues are the highest they’ve been in years.
There was a fatal hit & run in St Lucie County Friday. 37 year old
Rachel Robels was hit by a vehicle along Angle Road near Goodwin Road
sometime between11:30 Friday night and 2am Saturday morning when her
body was found by two others. St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara is
asking for the public’s help by calling Treasure Coast Crimestoppers at
A Palm City man is going to prison for three years for putting a
cellphone camera in the ceiling of the Pine School girl’s locker room
last year. 25 year old Michael Girard was a custodian at the Stuart
school and recorded video of 6th grade girls. Students found
the cell phone. After three years, Girard will be on sex offender
probation for 5 years.
Democrat candidate for Florida Governor Nann Rich was in town
recently speaking to the Martin County Democratic Women’s Club. She was
in the Florida Legislature until term limited out of office. She
criticized Governor Rick Scott for turning down Federal money to expand
Medicaid and not taking money to build a high speed rail system. She
says Florida Democrats are suspicious of former Florida Governor Charlie
Crist who just switched parties to become a democrat.
The East Stuart community looks a little nicer and be cleaner today.
Saturday, volunteers organized by the city went thru East Stuart in
another neighborhood clean up day. The Hazardous Waste collection truck
was at the East 10th St Rec Center.
FRIDAY MAY 10
Martin County firefighter Jahwann McIntyre has been released from a
Miami Hospital where he's been since being severly burned over half of
his body just after Christmas. He said he's actually grateful to
have been burned because it has put his life in perspective. He
told reporters as he left that he realizes somebody always has it worse
that you. He said he also hopes to resume his career as a
firefighter when he's completely healed. The Miami-Dade Fire Department
is bringing McIntyre back to Martin County in one of their fire trucks.
A derelict boat at the Jensen Beach anchorage area has finally been
removed. The houseboat known as Jungle Jim's was finally towed
away thanks to the efforts of Martin County deputy Justin Lundstedt.
There are still a number of derelict boats in the Indian River Lagoon.
Many have been abandoned since the 2004 hurricanes. The main problem is
who has jurisdiction and funding.
A long-lost Chihuahua is back home with its owners in Port St Lucie.
Yesterday a man found the dog in his garage and Animal Control scanned
it and found an ID chip. They were able to find the owners, who
said the dog had gotten out an open door last July and hadn't been seen
I-95's northbound lanes are now open in Indian River County. The
FHP had shut them down around 3:30 for the second straight morning due
to a brush fire. The lanes were reopened around 8am.
Earlier Treasure Coast News from this morning.
Martin County firefighter Jahwann
McIntyre gets out of the hospital today, nearly 5 months after being
severely burned searching a home that was burning near Kanner Highway
and I-95 just two days after Christmas. He’s had 8 surgeries and lots of
therapy since. Friends say his positive outlook on life is what got him
through it all. His mother Ann McIntyre says it’s the best Mothers Day
present she could every get.
This is National Tourism Awareness week. Treasure Coast tourism has
rebounded since the worst of the recession. St Lucie County’s Tourism
Director Charlotte Bireley says St Lucie County tourist bed-tax revenues
are up 27% from the where they were during the low point of the
recession. Martin County’s Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Rozeta
Maboubi agrees, local tourism is up. Martin County had more than 287
thousand visitors during 2012. They spend more than $1 million and
helped sustain 7,900 jobs.
A 12 year old boy brought an unloaded gun to CA Moore Elementary
Thursday. It was in the 5th grader’s backpack. Other students
saw it and told adults. The boy was taken to the Ft Pierce Juvenile
Port St Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella gives the 2013 State of the City
speech this morning. She will go over the key issues and talk about the
challenges and successes Port St Lucie faces in coming months and years.
The Mayor will also discuss efforts to encourage economic development,
maintaining the city’s quality of life and saving the environment. The
speech is at 9am at the Civic Center.
Saturday is the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. You should
have found a plastic bag in your mail box which they ask you to put
non-perishable food in and leave out at the mail box for Saturday pick
up by your postal carrier. The food collected will be given to the
Treasure Coast Food Bank in St Lucie County and House of Hope in Martin
Treasure Coast major leaguers Scott Proctor and Rick Ankiel have
both been released. Proctor, who lives in Jensen Beach and played at
Martin County High, was pitching for the Baltimore Oriole’s AAA team in
Norfolk and had an 8.59 ERA. Ankiel, from Ft Pierce and played at Port
St Lucie High, had hit 5 home runs for the Houston Astros including a
game-winner opening day, but was hitting just .195 and had struck out 35
THURSDAY MAY 9
Now the water being released thru the St Lucie Locks is Lake Okeechobee
water. The Army Corps of Engineers began letting water down the St
Lucie Canal from the Lake Wednesday night. Earlier they had been
releasing water in the canal behind the locks because the canal was
filling up. That was rain water runoff from last week. Now
that that water has been let go, the water in the canal is too low, so
they are refilling it with water from Lake Okeechobee. The
releases are minimal and will probably continue thru the weekend.
The FAA says they are looking at eliminating the overnight air traffic
control shift at Palm Beach International. PBIA is on the list of
airports nationwide where there aren't many flights coming in overnight.
Ft Lauderdale Executive, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach airports are
also on the list. Meanwhile the FAA has not yet announced if they
will keep Stuart's Witham Field control tower open, though county
officials believe they will since Congress gave them permission to move
money around after the sequestration budget cuts.
Another Treasure Coast meth lab has been found. This one is off
State Road 60 in Vero Beach. A nursing home is nearby. 4
people have been arrested and investigators wore hazmat suits while
going through the home.
A 27 year old Port St Lucie man has been arrested for allegedly stalking
a 14 year old girl. Police say Daniel A Reeves followed the girl
home several times, telling her she was "rockin' in those pants" and
promising to do her homework if she'd come home with him.
The St Lucie County Sheriff's office is offering a new 21st Century tool
to identify stolen property. The CopDots system uses tiny discs
the size of a grain of sand that the owner can glue on property then
imprint a personalized bar code on it. That can then be read by a
The state Fire Marshals final
report on last December’s fire that critically burned a Martin County
firefighter says the fire started in an upstairs bedroom near a baby
diaper changing table, then spread throughout the rest of the home. The
report says the flames were so hot that it melted metal and glass. Three
Martin County firefighters were injured including Jawahn McIntyre who
was burned over 40% of his body. He gets out of the hospital Friday.
Joseph Haas, who lost the home to a bank foreclosure, has been charged
with setting the fire. He’s being held at the Martin County jail on $1.5
St Lucie Mets manager Ryan Ellis was one of the original members of the
BairFind Foundation in Pittsburgh which worked to find two of the three
missing teens and women rescued from ten years captivity this week.
He calls their rescue a miracle and says the Foundation has helped find
18 missing children. His friend Dennis Bair founded
the organization. Ellis & Bair played pro baseball together years
CBS 12 reports more photos have turned up of the Martin County High
teacher who resigned after modeling photos of her were found on
Facebook. These new photos found on the internet are of her posing
completely nude. Donna Sprauer, who uses the name Victoria James while
modeling, told CBS 12 earlier in the week that her photos were
revealing, but not nude.
A benefit softball game set for this weekend at Tradition Field
has been canceled after pro football player Corey McIntyre was arrested
on misdemeanor battery charges after a domestic dispute with a woman at
his home over cell phone calls. He was scheduled to play in a game
between pro football players and St Lucie County deputies and
firefighters. Ticket refunds are available thru the
website. McIntyre lives in Port St Lucie but played his high school ball
at South Fork. Proceeds from the game were to have benefited McIntyre’s
Foundation and the Van Duzer Foundation.
They had a ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of the
Colorado Avenue beautification project last night. Stuart city officials
says the traffic circle at 5th Street is getting more traffic
thru the area now that most drivers have gotten used to it. There are
several building rennovations going on now and the city hopes to make
Colorado a gateway to the downtown.
There’s a meeting in Ft Pierce this afternoon on the possibility
of adding high speed passenger train service from Miami to Orlando. The
All Aboard Florida is a private partnership between the state and FEC
railroad and the service would make 16 trips a day but have limited
stops, just one in West Palm Beach. None would initially be on the
Treasure Coast. Today’s public hearing is at the Havert Fenn Center from
3:30 to 7pm.
WEDNESDAY MAY 8
A 60 year old man jumped off the big Roosevelt Bridge this morning
around 10am. A boated rescued him and was bringing him in when
police and fire rescue arrived.
CORRECTION: The extra water being let out
of the St Lucie Canal down the St Lucie River is NOT from Lake
Okeechobee. It is rain water runoff. The Army Corps of
Engineers will at some future date begin letting water out of the Lake
to keep it at safe levels for the hurricane season. They are
letting 250 cfs water out of the canal down the River.
Coca-Cola has faith in Florida’s citrus
industry. They are investing in planting 25 thousand acres of citrus
groves in Polk, Hendry and Desoto counties in coming years. Peace River
Citrus of Vero Beach is one of the groves that will be planted. Florida
has been losing productive orange groves for years and it takes about 15
years for an orange tree to become commercially productive. Coca-Cola
owns Minute Maid and other orange juice brands. Most of the Treasure
Coast’s citrus crop is grapefruit.
Students at St Lucie West Centennial got a lesson in the dangers of
texting & driving today. AT&T brought their texting while driving
simulator which is designed to show students just how quickly a crash
can happen while they are distracted by texting.
The ITS Fiber Data Center had its grand opening this morning in
Indiantown. It is an SOC Type 2 certified data storage facility,
the first of its kind in Martin County. The company provides data
storage and high-speed completely underground fiber optic internet
There are a lot of horse owners upset that Martin County has
decided not to include horse riding trails at a new park they plan to
build next to Citrus Grove Elementary in Palm City. Two weeks ago county
commissioners approved building 4 ball fields and a multi-purpose field
and picnic area, but not horse trails fearing liability issues. A half
dozen horse owners showed up at Tuesday’s county commission meeting to
tell them so. They told Martin County Commissioners horses and
little leaguers can share the park. Others to Martin County
Commissioners the original deed and platt given to Martin County
specifically requires the horse trails be part of any park built there.
The county’s legal staff is looking into that.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy has heard about the Lake
Okeechobee releases, and he doesn’t like it. Murphy says in a statement
he’s concerned about the damaging impact it will have on the health of
the St Lucie River and on the community and local economy. He promises
to fight to stop the Lake Okeechobee discharges.
The Martin County High English teacher who says she was forced to resign
after officials found modeling photos of her on Facebook says she did
nothing wrong. Donna Sprauer, who uses the name Victoria James as a
model admits the photos may be revealing but tasteful, telling CBS 12
she makes as much money modeling in one weekend as she made during two
weeks of teaching. She also says the Martin County Schools need a better
defined policy of what is and is not permitted.
Sunday night’s crash on Indian River Drive was indeed deadly. The
FHP says 25 year old Devin Herndon of Ft Pierce died at the scene.
Herndon tried to pass several other vehicles in a no-passing zone. He
lost control of his car two miles south of Savannah Road and hit some
trees and a boat dock. He was not wearing a seat belt.
A Port St Lucie man went to jail for trying to buy stolen jewelry.
Police set up the buy with an undercover cop who sold what 47 year old
David Nelson thought was a stolen ring for $950. Nelson told the
undercover cop he would melt the ring down so it couldn’t be traced.
Waveland Beach reopens today. It’s been closed the past month to replace
lost sand and repair the lifeguard station. Waveland is just north of
the St Lucie-Martin County Line. It has restrooms, shower and a paved
parking lot. Lifeguards will be on duty from 9 to 5.
Happy birthday to Jessie Curry of Stuart. She celebrated her 108th
birthday Tuesday at Parkway Health, the nursing home were she lives. She
is Martin County’s oldest resident.
TUESDAY MAY 7
In the high school baseball playoffs American Heritage knocked Jensen
Beach out with a 10-0 win. The Falcons got just 5 hits off American
Heritage pitching. They haven’t allowed a run in 22 innings. Jensen
Beach finishes their season with a 16-9 record. Lincoln Park was knocked
out of the playoffs by Bishop Verot 2-0. LPA finishes with their season
A Port Salerno man was arrested Monday for allegedly breaking into cars
at the beach. Martin County deputies have been watching beach parking
lots after a rash of vehicle burglaries. They have charged Carl
Burkey who they saw breaking into a car at Tiger Shores Beach.
Juno Beach Vice Mayor Ellen Andel is running for the Treasure Coast
Congressional seat. She's the second to announce she's running for the
seat now held by Patrick Murphy. Others interested in running
include State Representative Gayle Harrell and St Lucie County
Commissioner Tod Mowery.
A Ft Pierce was pronounced dead at the scene after a Sunday night
traffic crash on Indian River Drive. 25 year old Devin Herndon
tried to pass several other vehicles in a no-passing zone. He lost
control of his car two miles south of Savannah Road and hit some trees
and a boat dock. He was not wearing a seat belt.
South Martin County is experiencing smoky conditions today due to a
controlled 93 acre burn at Jonathan Dickenson State Park.
The Treasure Coast has four of
America’s top high schools. They’ve made the 2013 Newsweek magazine’s
Best High Schools in the nation list. Newsweek ranks St Lurue County’s
Lincoln Park Academy number 639. Jensen Beach is ranked at 969, Martin
County 1273 and South Fork 1322. Other area school ranked are Jupiter
High at 1523 and Palm Beach Gardens 1604
The Equine Rescue &
Adoption Foundation that took those skin & bone horses and donkeys in
Palm City is worried how they are going to find the money to care for
them and nurse them back to health. It will cost $400 a month to feed
the emaciated horses and donkeys. You can make a donation at the
A Port St Lucie veterinarian is treating an injured raccoon a
concern citizen saw with an illegal trap on its front paw. Animal
control caught the raccoon which was in considerable pain and took it to
the Animal Kindness Hospital where Dr Rose Eger had to amputate the paw.
It isn't known who set the illegal trap. The concern is what if a
child had found the trap?
There are just two locals who have applied to be St Lucie County
School Superintendent. One of them is principal at Lincoln Park Academy
Keith Cox. The other is Assistant Superintendent Mark Rendell. 15 people
from as far away as Maine has applied. Superintendent Mike Lannon is
retiring in June.
They are searching for a Port St Lucie fugitive in the Hutchinson Island
area. Brian Pustover was seen in Jensen Beach last night, but was gone
by time deputies arrived. He’s wanted for felony battery.
Port St Lucie Police & the DEA have arrested 32 suspects in an
alleged prescription pain killing drug ring. 14 had been arrested last
week, and the other's since then. They have confiscated 24 vehicles,
239 pills of hydromorphone (Dilaudid), 16 morphine pills, 126 oxycodone
pills, 2.7 grams cocaine, 7 grams marijuana, $1,382.00 and two guns.
There was a stabbing at SunFest Sunday. West Palm Beach Police
have no suspect and the Chief told city commissioners Monday he has a
lot of safety concerns with the festival and wants to discuss them with
organizers. The stabbing reportedly occurred during a rap artist
A Martin County High School teacher says she was fired last week
after some modeling photos of her were found on her Facebook page. Donna
Paxton Sprauer says she was called to the principal’s office, admitted
the photos under the name Victoria Valentine James were her and forced
to resign, then escorted off campus.
Stuart’s Community Redevelopment Board meets today and will
discuss the old Triangle Bar property. It is one of several properties
the city would like to have for redevelopment, perhaps for a parking
garage, to enhance the downtown. The CRB meets at 4pm at Stuart City
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder presents his first budget to
Martin County Commissioners today. Snyder is asking for a $55.8 million
budget. That would be an increase of $1.5 million. The Sheriff’s budgets
have been going down since 2007. The new proposed budget includes money
for pay raises and new vehicles and equipment.
An injury crash closed the northbound lanes and the off-ramp at
the Kanner Highway interchange during the Monday lunch. Lifestar was
called in to transport a Port St Lucie man to Lawnwood’s Trauma Center.
The crash was reported at 11:24am.
There are public hearings on changing some of the Treasure Coast
Connector bus routes today. The proposal is to eliminate routes that
hardly anybody rides, and change other routes that lots of people use,
making them shorter and more direct. They’d like to make routes to
Wal-mart and the Mall in Jensen Beach more direct shortening the ride
times. The same for government buildings and the Social Security office.
Routes that could be eliminated include those to and from St Lucie West.
The first public hearing is at the Coco Vista Centre on Port St Lucie
Blvd at 10am and the second is at the St Lucie Council on Aging office
in Ft Pierce at 2:30.
MONDAY MAY 6
Martin County, South Fork & Jensen Beach high's have made the 2013
Newsweek Best High Schools in America list. So did Lincoln Park
Port St Lucie Police & the DEA have arrested 32 suspects in an alleged
prescription pain killing drug ring. 14 had been arrested last
week, and the other's since then. They have confiscated
24 vehicles, 239
pills of hydromorphone (Dilaudid), 16 morphine pills, 126 oxycodone
pills, 2.7 grams cocaine, 7 grams marijuana, $1,382.00 and two guns.
The annual Governor's Hurricane Conference is this week in Ft
Lauderdale. Experts told attendees which include emergency
officials from the Treasure Coast there is no way to predict how many or
even if a hurricane will hit Florida. Scientists can predict where
a storm is headed days before it hits, but they have to wait until after
a storm to determine what steering currents were at work. It's
been seven years since a hurricane hit Florida.
There was a stabbing at SunFest Sunday. West Palm Beach Police
have no suspect and the Chief told city commissioners today he has a lot
of safety concerns with the festival and wants to discuss them with
4,500 FPL customers lost power this morning in Port St Lucie.
There was a problem at a substation and the outage primarily effected
customers from Prima Vista to the south. A few dozen customers
were still without power as of 11:30am.
An injury crash closed the northbound off-ramp at the Kanner Highway
interchange during the lunch hour today. Lifestar was called in to
transport some of the injured. The crash was reported at 11:24am.
A Port St Lucie veterinarian is treating an injured raccoon a concern
citizen saw with an illegal trap on its front paw. Animal control
caught the raccoon which was in considerable pain and took it to the
Animal Kindness Hospital. It isn't known who set the illegal trap.
Weather on the Treasure Coast
will be a lot different this week than it was the end of last week. It
will be cooler and a lot drier this week. The area is drying out after
last week’s rains. The South Florida Water Management District’s Gabe
Margasak the rain was a mixed blessing. We need it as the area is
below normal rainfall since the dry season began. The rains all at one
time is not so good for some of the wildlife, especially wading birds in
the Everglades. Most of the Treasure Coast got 1 to 3 inches last
The Florida Legislature has finished its 2013 session in
Here’s what’ in the new state budget for the Treasure Coast. School
districts will get between 6 and 7% more state money. That should help
St Lucie County school avoid some, but not all budget cuts. Teachers
will get an across the board pay raise of up to $3,500 for the most
effective teachers. There’s money to restore beaches including Bathtub
Reef Beach. Torrey Pines gets $3 million for research. There’s $2
million to help dredge the St Lucie and Sebastian Inlet. Harbor Branch
gets money to help clean up the Indian River Lagoon and there’s $70
million for Everglades restoration projects. There is also money for New
Horzions, the St Lucie County Alzheimer’s Coalition and more money for
Martin County’s Health Start programs. Port St Lucie gets extra state
funding for some drainage canal projects. The state will also use
$500,000 to get some of the $20 million in state incentive money for
Digital Domain back. The Legislature also set up a special fund local
governments can use to help build new spring training camps in Florida.
That paves the way for the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays to get a
new two=team stadium in Palm Beach Gardens. The state did not put up any
money to rennovate SunLife stadium so Miami gets Super Bowl 50.
The legislature did try to fix the state’s election problems.
Treasure Coast State Representative Gayle Harrell thinks this new law
will fix the problem. The new election law gives more days to early vote
and gives Elections Supervisors more flexibility in choosing early
voting locations. It also gives voters more time to come in and sign an
Vote By Mail ballot envelope in case they forgot
Indian River Drive was closed for several hours north of Midway
Road Sunday night. A crash closed the road between Midway and Savanna
Road south of Ft Pierce The FHP website indicated a possible fatal crash
at 7:20 pm.
3 people were rescued in the St Lucie Inlet Saturday after their
boat capsized. The Martin County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol brought the
three men, ages 20-19 and 18 in to Sandsprit Park. They were clinging to
the side of their 15 foot boat that was overturned by the rough seas.
At least 14 people were arrested in Port St Lucie late last week
for allegedly being part of a prescription pain killer drug ring. They
were allegedly selling or buying large quantities of oxycodone and
Diladid. The kingpin, 45 year old Kevin Piscottano and his wife
Christine were arrested in early April and police have been building a
case against the others ever since using wiretaps, traffic stops and
7 horses and 4 donkeys were rescued Saturday from a 10 acre farm
in Palm City. They were all emaciated….skin & bones. Scripps Newspapers
reports the dominant stallion in the coral would not allow them to eat
after he impregnated several others. The owner was not cruel, just
irresponsible. The horses were taken by the Equine Rescue and Adoption
In the high school baseball playoffs, Jensen Beach beat Pompano Beach
5-1 in their regional quarterfinal. Adam Hockensmith gave up just 2 hits
in more than 6 innings pitched. Terry Blatch had an RBI double and
struck out the last two batters with bases loaded. Lincoln Park beat
LaBelle 4-3 on a game winning sacrifice fly by Jeff Gerlica in the
bottom of the 7th. Sarasota knocked South Fork out of the
playoffs with a 6-1 win. The Bulldogs managed just 5 hits against
Sarasota pitching. John Carroll scored two runs in the bottom of the 7th
to tie the game, then a run in the bottom of the 8th to beach
Orangewood Christian 4-3.
FRIDAY MAY 3
Investors are buying Florida homes at low prices, renting them, and
seeing the value of the properties increase making big profits when they
flip. RealtyTrac says the average investor made $51 thousand
profit house flipping when the value went up this past year. The
average home flipper is making 16% profit.
Port St Lucie Police say they found horrible conditions when they went
to check a home on SW Franklin St. The home was filthy with
cockroaches and trash, urine and feces throughout. A 50 year old
woman who is a hoarder was Baker Acted and her 93 year old mother who
owns and lives in the home was hospitalized.
A rabid raccoon has been confirmed in Jupiter Farms. It was found
foaming at the mouth last Saturday. A dog that was exposed to it
will be monitored for 45 days to be on the safe side.
A crash closed the Pomeroy-Willoughby Blvd intersection in Stuart for a
time around 11am. At least one person was seriously injured when
two trucks collided.
Parts of the Treasure Coast
has gotten a good soaking yesterday. CBS 12 reported Jensen Beach got
more than 5 inches. Most of the Martin-St Lucie County area had 2 to 4
inches of rain.. Vero Beach set a new record with almost 2 ½ inches of
rain. There were traffic crashes in Stuart, Palm City and Jensen Beach.
While there was standing water on the side of some roads, there were no
reports of street flooding 100 FPL customers lost power.
It rained even more in parts of Palm Beach County. Delray Beach
got more than 8 inches. The Delray Beach Medical Center had to move
patients when part of the first floor flooded. Many vehicles stalled in
flooded roads in the south county area. A tornado may have touched down
in Boca Raton.
Treasure Coast Business Summit is today at the Port St Lucie Civic
Center. Congressman Patrick Murphy will be the main speaker. There will
be panel discussions on how local business and the economy is doing. St
Lucie County Property Appraiser Ken Pruitt is one the panelists. So is
CPA Gordon Proctor and car dealer Jim Arrigo. Seacoast National’s VP
Eric Shifer will speak on information security. Port St Lucie and St
Lucie County will present Economic Recovery & Job Creation awards. WPSL
AM 1590 is one of the Business Summit sponsors.
The bill that would ban texting while driving passed the Florida Senate
last night and it will be up to the governor whether it becomes law.
Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron was the only Senator to vote no.
Negron says cops can already give you a ticket for texting using
distracted driving laws already on the books.
Tonight is Indian River State College graduation.
IRSCs Michelle Abaldo says 3,200 2 year and 4 year degrees will be
awarded, the 11th straight record graduation. Commencement is set
for 7pm at Tradition Field, weather permitting. If they have to postpone
it, it will be Saturday afternoon.
A home break-in in Jensen Beach may have been a pillowcase
burglary Wednesday. Somebody broke into a home in Pinecrest Lakes thru a
back door, took jewelry & cash and fled. A pillowcase was found outside.
This week Martin County Sheriff Will Snyder said the pillowcase bandit
ring was venturing further into town and away from their preferred areas
along their presumed I-95 escape route.
Scientists will be collecting samples of thousands of dead fish that
washed up along the banks of the Indian River Lagoon Thursday. The dead
fish were found along a mile of the river just north of the Martin-St
Lucie County line.
In the boys high school baseball playoffs….they had to postpone
last nights games because of the rain. They will try to play the Lincoln
Park-LaBelle quarterfinal game today in Ft Pierce at 3pm. Pompano Beach
plays at Jensen Beach Saturday afternoon at 2, South Fork hosts Sarasota
Saturday night at 6pm
THURSDAY MAY 2
Parts of the Treasure Coast has gotten a good soaking from today's rain.
CBS 12 reported Jensen Beach got more than 5 inches. There has been a
rash of traffic crashes in Stuart, Palm City and Jensen Beach. 100
FPL customers lost power.
It rained even more in parts of Palm Beach County. The
Delray Beach Medical Center had to move patients when part of the first
floor flooded. Many vehicles stalled in flooded roads in the south
county area. A tornado may have touched down in Boca Raton.
Florida Power & Light is holding a hurricane drill today at their new
storm center in Riviera Beach. They are testing their response to
an imaginary category 3 storm and testing their new mobile command
vehicle. FPL's president also announced today they are speeding up
the hardening of their power grid over the next three years.
Parkway Elementary went on lockdown and the SWAT team called in this
morning around 10am after students said they saw a man in a mask run
down the hall. Nobody was found and the lockdown was lifted about
40 minutes later.
Today is the 2nd Annual Treasure Coast Day of Prayer, and several events
emphasizing the end of abortions held in St Lucie and Martin County.
Protesters were out this morning at 12th St & Delaware in Ft Pierce and
at 2410 SE Westmoreland in Port St Lucie. At noon they were at the
downtown Ft Pierce Gazebo and the downtown Stuart Gazebo praying for an
end of abortion. Tonight they will be at US One & Bridge Rd in
Hobe Sound at 6:30.
Florida’s US Senator Marco
Rubio spoke at last night’s St Lucie County Lincoln Day Dinner in Port
St Lucie. He said the party needs to define itself to voters telling
them what they stand for, not let the Democrats do it. Rubio said
Republicans are the party that wants individuals to succeed and the
party of opportunity. He also pushed for immigration reform but noted
America isn’t going to round up 11 million illegal aliens. About a
dozen protesters on Rubio’s immigration ideas picketed outside the Port
St Lucie Civic Center last night.
The St Lucie County Republicans are worried about the US and
Florida losing control of its future to other nations and world
bureaucrats. They object to the 7-Fifty program which Martin and St
Lucie Counties are a part of. It’s regional planning for 7 south Florida
counties for the next 50 years. Bill Patterson is Chairman of the St
Lucie County Republican Party. He told the Port St Lucie City Council
recently the real goal of the 7-Fifty program is to take away people’s
rights, expecially private property rights to save the planet. 7-Fifty
is part of the UN’s Agenda 21 for environmental and sustainable
development. Republican’s want St Lucie County to withdraw from the
program. Vero Beach already has. Martin County is in the program with
county commissioner Ed Fielding a big supporter.
It has been a drier than normal dry season since last November,
but April was one of the wetter months in south Florida history. The
South Florida Water Management District reports the 16 county area had
the second wettest April since 1997 last month. An average of 4.35
inches of rain fell from Orlando and south. The Treasure Coast was drier
than that. The Martin-St Lucie county area received an average of 3.38
inches of rain, but that was still more than a half inch more than the
It’s a high bond set for a Port St Lucie woman arrested this week
for causing a crash that killed 4 people on I-95 in Martin County a year
ago. Carolyn Ramos was driving the wrong way and is believed to have
been drunk at the time. Wednesday Martin County Judge Curtis Disque
refused to lower her $280 thousand bond.
Hobe Sound Elementary won first place in the Top 10 Green Schools
awards. The school received $2,000 for use in future green environmental
projects. Citrus Grove Elementary received $750 from the FDOT for its
School Pool Program for carpooling, walking or bicycling to school. The
awards were handed out during a luncheon at the West Palm Beach Marriot.
St Lucie County unveils it’s $5.3 million airport terminal
rennovations today. The 50 year old building looks new and is outfitted
will all sorts of green, energy saving equipment. The ceremony starts at
In the Florida high school baseball playoffs, Winter Park beat St
Lucie West Centennial 7-1 in the Regional quarter finals, knocking the
Eagles out of the playoffs. A couple of bloop singles scored runs early
for Winter Park. The Lincoln Park-LaBelle game in Ft Pierce was
postponed by rain. It will be played today at 3pm. Tonight Sarasota
plays at South Fork Pompano Beach plays at Jensen Beach
WEDNESDAY MAY 1
A new report says south Florida home prices are up from a year ago.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index says prices are up 14.5%, the
highest price increase since 2006.
A judge says a new hospital isn't needed in northern Palm Beach County
across from the Scripps Research. Tenant Healthcare had gotten
permission from the state and Gov Scott supported the plan to build a
200 bed hospital. A Palm Beach Circuit Judge disagreed saying more
hospitals are not needed in the area. Jupiter Medical Center and
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center are both just a few miles away.
Port St Lucie Police have caught some more burglary suspects.
A neighbor saw several young men break a rear window of a home on SW
Escarole St Tuesday and called 911. Police say they dropped stolen
items and ran and jumped into a canal and into a heavily wooded area
where a K9 tracked them down. They arrested a 19 year old Ft
Lauderdale man and two teens from Port St Lucie. Police say one of
them served as a lookout and they do not believe they are part of the
pillow case burglary ring.
Ft Pierce Police tasered a woman who had thrown a brick at a man during
an argument over who owned some puppies. Reports say 33 year old
Damaris Hernandez was headed to the kitchen sink of the home on North
13th St where there was a knife. They had to wrestle her to the
floor and finally tasered her twice to subdue her.
The Florida high school baseball playoffs continue tonight.
Labelle plays Lincoln Park at the Bob Gladwin Complex in Ft Pierce while
Winter Park plays St Lucie West Centennial at Tradition Field.
Both quarter regional games start at 7pm. South Fork and Jensen
Beach play their games Thursday.
The number of pillow case
burglaries has dropped off since Martin County Sheriff William Snyder
has been holding town hall meetings about it. He held another last night
in Hobe Sound. Sheriff Snyder says people have really been keeping a
close eye on neighbors homes for pillow case bandits. There has
been a big increase in the calls about suspicious activities and
vehicles. The pillowcase bandits used to hit homes close to I-95, but
the pressure has forced them further inland. Two of the pillow case
suspects caught by Port St Lucie Police last week have already made
bail. On finding the Port Salerno rapist, Sheriff Snyder says just
because they haven’t made an arrest yet, it doesn’t mean they’re not
close to finding the suspect.
The Witham Field airport control tower will stay open. US
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says in a letter to congress that a
new law allowing the FAA to shift money around despite the
sequestratation budget cuts will let them keep air traffic control
towers at 149 smaller airports like Witham Field to be staffed.
An update on the college-level swimming and diving events coming up
later this year at Sailfish Splash water park. The College Swimming
Coaches Association of America is bring 15 to 20 NCAA college swimming
teams here for winter training in December and January. That will draw
thousands of athletes, coaches and fans to Martin County and the
Treasure Coast. It’s a three year partnership with an option for two
more. It should mean a half million dollar boost to the Martin County
economy each year. Sailfish Splash will also host the state high school
swimming and diving championships this November.
Florida’s citrus harvest wasn’t a big as predicted this season.
The USDA first predicted 154 million ninety pound boxes of oranges and
20.3 million boxes of grapefruit would be harvested. It now looks like
Florida will harvest just 138 million boxes of oranges and 17 million
boxes of grapefruit. The Treasure Coast produces almost all the
grapefruit in Florida. Citrus officials blame citrus greening and the
loss of farm land for a continuous reduction in the harvest in recent
years. Back in the 1980s Florida produced more than 220 million boxes of
oranges a year. The final report on Florida’s citrus harvest comes out
Florida Power and Light's profits were up 20% the first quarter of
this year compared to a year ago even though they sold less
electricity. FPL's parent company NextEra Energy saw a 12.5% increase
in profits. FPL made $228 million even despite selling 3.5% less power
because of a mild winter. They have 33,000 more customers than a year
ago. FPL credits the use of more energy efficient power plants in Cape
Canaveral and the upgrades at the St Lucie & Turkey Point nuclear
plants. FPL customers are paying a couple dollars more each month to FPL
for the improvements made. Higher customer rates also kicked in this
A Port St Lucie teen was arrested Monday for allegedly pointing a BB gun
at cars in traffic. Police at first thought they were looking for
someone with a real gun. They found the teen walking along SW Leisure
Florida’s US Senator Marco Rubio will be the keynote speaker at
tonight’s St Lucie County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. A crowd of 300
is expected at the Polish American Club on Prima Vista at 6pm
Sunfest opens tonight in West Palm Beach. It features dozens of
big-name entertainers along with an art show and other activities.
Tonight Smashing Pumpkins perform. Other performers include Boz Scaggs,
Cheap Trick and the Black Crows. Tickets at the gate are $35. Sunfest
runs thru the weekend in downtown West Palm Beach. There is a good
chance of afternoon and early evening rain today thru Friday with better
weather this weekend.
TUESDAY APRIL 30
A Port St Lucie woman has been arrested for a fatal crash on I-95 last
year in Martin County. Investigators say 41 year old Carolyn Ramos
was drunk and driving the wrong way last May when she hit another
vehicle killing 4 members of a Tennessee family. Their pickup burst into
flames after the crash about a mile north of 714 Martin Hwy. US
Marshalls arrested Ramos in Lake Worth this morning. She is expected to
be booked into the Martin County jail.
Martin County Commissioner John Haddox has resigned from the Business
Development Board. Haddox and Commissioner Doug Smith voted last
week not to end payments to the BDB saying there were honorable people
on it that the county could negotiate a new contract with. In an
email to fellow commissioners, Haddox said he was resigning to be able
to talk with BDB members without breaking the state's Sunshine Law.
He also does not believe the BDB can keep any unspent county funds.
The commission majority voted to demand any unspent county funds be
given back. Martin County Commissioners have the right to a board seat
under the current contract. The BDB gets $625,000 a year in county
funds to attract new business and help current business expand.
Florida Power and Light's profits were up 20% the first quarter of this
year compared to a year ago. FPL's parent company NextEra Energy
saw a 12.5% increase in profits. FPL credits the use of more
energy efficient power plants in Cape Canaveral and the upgrades at the
St Lucie & Turkey Point nuclear plants.
A Port St Lucie teen was arrested Monday for allegedly pointing a BB gun
at cars in traffic. Police at first thought they were looking for
someone with a real gun. They found the teen walking along SW
In Tallahassee House and
Senate negotiators have agreed on a new $74 billion state budget.
Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron says while not everybody may be
happy with the details, the budget process was fair. There is money in
the new budget to give every teacher a $2 thousand raise with the best
teachers getting $3,500. There is also $2 million in the budget so
Indian River State College can rennovate the FAU part of the St Lucie
West campus in time for the 2014-15 school year.
A bill designed to speed up the execution process in Florida
passed the legislature and is headed to the governor. It takes an
average of about 13 years to carry out the death penalty and some
inmates have been locked up for more than 35 years. Treasure Coast State
Senator Joe Negron says it making a mockery of the court system. He
wants to step up the pace and Negron believes they can do it without
infringing on anyone's rights to appeal. Senator Joe Negron says
this law won't stop inmates from filing legitimate claims of innocence.
Critics of the bill say a faster death penalty doesn't mean a fair death
A 76 year old Hobe Sound man has died after being bit by a
diamondback rattle snake last Thursday. Richard Flora was trying to hit
the snake with a brick near his front door. He arm was black by time he
was taken to Jupiter Medical Center. He suffered from Alzheimer's and
his family elected not to have anti-snake venom medication given to him.
Calls to St Lucie County 911 had to go thru Martin County Monday after a
construction crew cut the 911 lines at Okeechobee and I-95. St Lucie
County sent some of its dispatchers to Martin County’s Emergency
Operation Center to help handle the extra call load. Callers to 911
didn’t notice a thing.
Another big swimming and diving event is coming to Sailfish Splash
Water Park. Today Martin County and officials with the College Swim
Coaches Association of America will announce more than 20 NCAA caliber
college teams will be here in December and January for a national meet.
In November, the State high school swimming and diving championships
will be held at Sailfish Splash.
A dog was rescued from a well in Jensen Beach Monday by Martin
County Firefighters. The 5 foot well off Palmer St is usually covered.
The dog may have pulled the cover off and fell in.
A semi truck driver from Port St Lucie caused a couple of crashes
on I-95 in southern Brevard County Monday morning. The FHP says he
drifted off the highway and his rig overturned spilling a load of
granite slabs all over. Two vehicles behind him crashed trying to avoid
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder holds another crime victim
prevention and pillowcase burglary town hall tonight. Two pillow case
bandit suspects that hit a Palm City home were caught in Port St Lucie
just last week. Tonight’s town hall meeting is from 6 to 8pm at The Pine
School in Hobe Sound.
MONDAY APRIL 29
A 76 year old Hobe Sound man has reportedly died after being bit by a
diamondback rattle snake last Thursday. He was trying to hit the
snake with a brick near his front door. His arm was black by time
he was taken to Jupiter Medical Center. He suffered from
A Ft Pierce man drowned Sunday afternoon at Pepper Park. 56 year
old Jose Duran Castanon was swimming with friends when a big wave hit
him and a friend and pulled them away from shore. A passing boat
stopped and Castanon tried to climb aboard but fell back into the water.
A swimmer brought him to shore, but he was pronounced dead at Lawnwood
Port St Lucie Police have a clear photo of the SUV used by two men who
robbed a Radio Shack last Friday. Two gunmen held several
employees and customers hostage for an hour as they waited for the
manager to get back from lunch with the keys. The SUV is a black
Nissan with a Florida tag of BGFF95.
Martin County's Business Development Board is going out for bids for an
audit of their books. This comes after last week's Martin County
Commission vote to suspend monthly payments to the BDB and a demand to
get all unspent taxpayer money back. The BDB is funded partly by
private money but mostly by the county.
The building housing Florida's Department of Highway Safety & Motor
Vehicles in Tallahassee has reopened after being evacuated this morning.
They got a letter claiming to contain a biological weapon this morning.
Security did a sweep and found nothing.
Treasure Coast law enforcement agencies say Saturday's old prescription
drug take back was successful. St Lucie County sheriff's office
says 10 boxes of old drugs were collected and 320 gallons of old
syringes. Port St Lucie police say almost 239 pounds of old drugs
and needles were turned in. Martin County sheriff and Sewalls
Point police have not yet released information on how much was turned
Port St Lucie Police need your
help finding two gunmen who held several employees and customers hostage
at a Radio Shack store Friday afternoon. They waited in the store at
10941 S US One for an hour for a manager to get back from lunch with
keys to a cabinet that had pricey merchandise they wanted. As a
customer came in, they'd jump them and force them back to a storage
room. They emptied the cabinet, stuffing merchandise into a pillow
case, once the manager came back and got away in a black SUV. The
suspects were black males between 25-30. One was 5-6 the other 5-9.
Both wore cloth or shirts across their face. One even talked with
customers about how tough economic times are.
As expected, the Florida House has adopted an alternative to
ObamaCare. Instead of accepting billions of dollars from the feds to
provide health care for more than a million Floridians, Treasure Coast
State Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Port St Lucie) says the house
voted for vouchers to help poor people purchase private insurance. The
House refused to go along with the governor and the senate and accept
billions of dollars in federal funding to cover more than a million
Floridians who don't have insurance. This will have to be ironed out
this week between the Florida House and Senate. Treasure Coast State
Senator Joe Negron chairs the Budget Committee and will be a key player.
8 swimmers had to be rescued from the high surf and rip currents
at Jupiter's Ocean Cay Park Sunday. There were two incidents just north
of Juno Pier, one around 2pm and the other before 5pm. The second
one involved six children who were being baptized by a local church.
They were pulled out by time fire-rescue arrived. One woman swimmer was
taken to the hospital in critical condition, and one child taken to the
hospital more as a precaution. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue says there
were 14 near drowning incidents over the weekend. There are no reports
of close calls in Martin or St Lucie County despite rip currents here
Congress voted last Friday to let the FAA move money around to
bring their air traffic controllers back on the job. Many were
furloughed with the Obama administration blaming it on the sequestered
budget cuts. Martin County officials hope this means the FAA will keep
the control tower at Witham Field staffed through the end of September,
though they have not yet received official word on that yet. Treasure
Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy’s staff says he will write the FAA a
letter encouraging them to use the money to keep Witham Field and 149
smaller airport control towers manned.
Martin County Republicans had their annual Lincoln Day Dinner Sunday
night. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater was keynote
speaker. He told the audience the party has to stick to its principal of
a smaller federal government to win. He also said the Dodd-Frank Wall
Street and bank regulation law passed in 2010 has wrecked small
community banks who were not the reason why Wall Street collapsed. He
noted that right after America’s credit rating was downgraded, Florida’s
credit rating was increased to Triple-A status, one of just nine states
to hold the highest rating. Atwater says that’s because Florida cut
spending and cut taxes. The Lincoln Day Dinner was held at Willoughby
The Florida House has changed Treasure Coast State Senator Joe
Negron's bill that would have reduced vehicle tag fees back to $12 by
eliminating a $230 million tax break insurance companies get to pay
their executives. The House plan does reduce tag fees $2.40 a year each
year until it gets back down to $12 by 2018. Negron says there is no
justification to give the insurance industry a quarter-billion a year to
help them meet payroll.
A Stuart couple has been charged with stealing and selling $2,000
worth of copper plumbing pipe. Billie Joe Kinzer, 26, and Leah Moore,
25, who live in Golden Gate were picked up after a custom piece of the
copper tubing was found at a recycling center where it had been sold for
$60. Moore said she went with Kinzer to sell it because she had a
driver’s license. Kinzer said he found it along side the road. The
copper had been stolen from a duplex under construction.
A Port St Lucie Police officer was involved in a crash Friday night.
Officer Peter Chun was taking a man to jail for possession when another
car turned in front of his on St Lucie West Blvd. The officer wasn’t
hurt but his prisoner was checked out at Martin Memorial.
The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that would end life-time
alimony. It would allow alimony for half the number a years a couple is
married. Gov Rick Scott hasn’t said whether he will sign it into law.
Supporters say there are thousands of cases where the divorcee getting
alimony remarries, gets a high-paying job making more than the one
paying alimony, but must continue to pay alimony. That, they say, isn’t
A controlled burn is set for today at Jonathan Dickenson State
Park weather permitting. They play to burn 578 acres of pine flatwoods
near Trapper John’s cabin.
SUNDAY APRIL 28
8 swimmers had to be rescued from the high surf and rip currents at
Jupiter's Ocean Cay Park today. There were two incidents,
one around 2pm and the other before 5pm. One swimmer was taken to
the hospital in critical condition.
Port St Lucie Police are looking for two gunmen who held several
employees and customers at a Radio Shack store Friday afternoon.
They waited in the store at 10941 S US One for an hour for a manager to
get back from lunch with keys to a cabinet that had pricey merchandise
they wanted. As a customer came in, they'd jump them and force
them back to a storage room. They emptied the cabinet, stuffing
merchandise into a pillow case, once the manager came back and got away
in a black SUV. The suspects were black males between 25-30.
One was 5-6 the other 5-9. Both wore cloth or shirts across their
face. One even talked with customers about how tough economic
FRIDAY APRIL 26
The courts have thrown out a $1.6 million fine against a Jupiter couple
who illegally cut down mangroves to improve their view of the
Loxahatchee River. A Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge says the town
of Jupiter does not have jurisdiction to levy a penalty. Roger and
Myrna Byrd rejected a $109,000 compromise with Jupiter. They will
still have to pay a $15,000 fine for putting sand down without a permit.
The town of Jupiter could appeal.
Harbor Community Bank will merge with the Bank of St Augustine.
Harbor Community is the old First Bank of Indiantown that was bought by
Mike Brown and Hal Roberts. They have been buying small banks
since then. This is their 4th bank acquisition. Roberts says
there's a great opportunity for community banking in Florida.
The Florida House has changed Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron's
bill that would have reduced vehicle tag fees back to $12 by eliminating
a $230 million tax break insurance companies get to pay their
executives. The House plan does reduce tag fees $2.40 a year each
year until it gets back down to $12 by 2018. Negron says there is
no justification to give the insurance industry a quarter-billion a year
to help them meet payroll.
Lawyers for Tyler Hadley
intend to use the insanity defense when he is tried for murdering his
own parents and throwing a party later that night in their Port St Lucie
home. Paperwork filed in St Lucie Circuit Court say Hadley was
suffering under a mental illness and depression and under the influence
of ecstasy at the time. A trial date of October 21st has been set. He
was 17 when the murders occurred in July 2011. If convicted Hadley faces
life in prison with no parole
No charges will be filed against a St Lucie County teacher who is
alleged to have told students at Northport K-8 to beat a 13 year old
student who had mouthed off. The Sheriff's office says they can't tell
from a security video if she did or did not. 6 other students face
charges for assault. The lawyer for the beaten boy and his mother
have not said if they intend to sue the St Lucie County School District.
The teacher has been reassigned to other duties while the district
In Tallassee the Florida House has voted to change Florida’s death
penalty. They voted to speed it up. Treasure Coast State Representative
Gayle Harrell argued it takes too long to put someone to death.
There are several Treasure Coast residents who have been on death row
for 30 years including two involved in the kidnap and murder of Francis
Langford’s grand daughter Francis Slater who was killed in 1982.
Gov Rick Scott Thursday signed Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron's
bill banning the use of drones by law enforcement except in special
cases. Florida is the first state to do this. The governor says he
believes in privacy. Senator Negron says he is trying to keep the
government from spying on people by using drones.The new law banning
drones except during a manhunt, emergency situation or missing person
search takes effect July 1st.
The Miami Dolphins traded up in the NFL draft to strengthen their
defense with their first round pick. The took Oregon Defensive End
Dion Jordan. Jordan says he is excited to join a great group of
pass rushers in Miami. Jordan could be turned into a linebacker
and has been compared to Jason Taylor.
Somebody broke in to a Jensen Beach home Tuesday night and stole
jewelry, cash and credit cards while a 70 year old woman slept. They
removed the back sliding glass door at the home on NE Quinn Place. She
told Martin County deputies she awoke several times during the night but
never heard anything.
Thieves broke into a duplex that was being built in Stuart and stole
about $2,000 worth of copper plumbing pipe. It happened sometime between
Monday and Wednesday at the duplex in the 3000 block of SE Durant.
Thieves will recycle the copper for money.
Martin County high star basketball player Jermon Queen has signed
to attend and play college ball at Brevard Community College. He
averaged almost 22 points and 5 assists a game as he led the Tigers to a
Final Four appearance. Queen scored 1,500 points during his 4 years in
high school including a year playing for Jensen Beach.
Here’s who won their high school baseball district championships
this week. South Fork, Jensen Beach, St Lucie West Centennial, Lincoln
Park and John Carroll.
THURSDAY APRIL 25
Lawyers for Tyler Hadley intend to use the insanity defense when he is
tried for murdering his own parents and throwing a party later that
night in their Port St Lucie home. Paperwork filed in St Lucie
Circuit Court say Hadley was suffering under a mental illness and
depression and under the influence of ecstasy at the time. A trial
date of October 21st has been set. He was 17 when the murders
occurred in July 2011.
No charges will be filed against a St Lucie County teacher who is
alleged to have told students at Northport K-8 to beat a 13 year old
student who had mouthed off. The Sheriff's office says they can't
tell from a security video if she did or did not. 6 other students
face charges for assault.
Gov Rick Scott today signed Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron's
bill banning the use of drones by law enforcement except in special
cases. Florida is the first state to do this. Senator Negron says
he is trying to keep the government from spying on people by using
Indian River State College is celebrating its Power Plant Technology
Institute being named one of the nation's best public-private
partnerships. The Institute helps train power plant operators with
the help of FPL and the IBEW union. The Institute has trained
nuclear and non-nuclear power plant operators who have found jobs across
Martin County is replanting oysters in the St Lucie River. They
began replanting 4 acres of oyster beds near the Roosevelt Bridges this
week, replacing ones that died off last fall when the Army Corps of
Engineers released more fresh water out of Lake Okeechobee.
Oysters prefer salty water and many of them died during the month-long
discharges. Oysters naturally filter pollution from the River
A traffic stop in Martin
County has led to the discover of a big marijuana grow house & gun
manufacturing operation in Port St Lucie. Martin County deputies
stopped Antoine Sparks for speeding Tuesday and found 4 ounces of pot
inside his vehicle. He told them he had more growing at home. Port St
Lucie Police then searched his home and several warehouse bays finding
marijuana growing upstairs and gun manufacturing on the first floor at
the warehouse near PGA. Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says it was
a dangerous mix of guns, drugs and cash. Port St Lucie Police Lt
Scott Beck says it was a sophisticated grow house operation Lt
Scott Beck says the gun manufacturing was like a professional gun smith
operation. Sparks wife was also arrested.
Something is killing off marine life in the northern part of the
Indian River Lagoon. Wednesday experts and scientists met in Vero Beach
to discuss it. 300 dolphins, pelicans and manatees have died in the
river this year, apparently by a toxin they cannot identify. Scientists
can’t be sure, but they don’t think what ever is killing marine life in
the Indian River Lagoon up north will move down to the Stuart area.
Three Port St Lucie residents want the city to stop installing
smart water meters. The meters send out a radio signal so utilities
employees don’t have to get out of their trucks to read them. They use a
special receiver that tells them how much water a home has used. Some
claim the electronic pulse causes all sorts of medical issues. Sheri
Anchor is one of them. She quoted from a scientific report, the 2012
Bio-initiative report that reviewed scientific studies on the effects of
power lines and radio frequency emissions, The Bio-Initiative report by
14 scientists, public policy makers and health officials has been
heavily criticized by most other scientists world-wide for its selective
editing and lack of balance. Anchor wants Port St Lucie to use a wired
fiber optic water meter system instead. The city has tried to
accommodate people who have fears about the wireless smart meters by
moving them away from homes.
The Florida Legislature is passing a bill to punish Elections
Supervisors who don’t do a good job. The bill would deny a $2,000 bonus
to those who don’t. They’d also have to take extra classes in how to run
elections. The measure has passed the Florida Senate and is being
sponsored in the House by Treasure Coast State Representative Gayle
Harrell. Five Florida Elections Supervisor’s, including St Lucie
County’s Gertrude Walker, had troubles with last November’s elections.
A 61 year old Stuart man is in jail after allegedly smothering an 88
year old woman with a pillow. Stuart Police records say Daniel Weslar
eventually let her go but then threatened to come back during the night
and kill her. He had reportedly threatened to kill her in the past. She
eventually got to a neighbor friend’s home with him chasing her and was
able to report the alleged incident. Weslar is charged with attempted
murder. His bail was set at $750,000.
One of the Treasure Coast’s oldest residents has died. 100 year
old Kathryn Wasserman Davis of Hobe Sound died Tuesday. She was a
graduate of Wellesley College where she studied international relations.
Her husband Shelby Collum Davis had been a career diplomat. She had
given $50 million to the college over the years. She knew Ronald Reagan
and Margret Thatcher. Mikail Gorbachev attended her 95th
birthday. She was the second oldest voter in Martin County.
The final report on mass graves after the 1928 hurricanes is out.
Researchers say Ground Penetrating Radar found 3 areas of the Port Myaca
Cemetery that may be mass graves. It’s impossible for the radar to
determine how many may be buried there. No records were kept back then,
but it’s believed 1,600 people were quickly buried in Port Myaca after
the deadly hurricane. The radar found the ground had been dug up and
refilled sometime in the past.
Spotto’s Oyster Bar has opened in downtown Stuart. They opened in
the old Arthur’s Dockside building next to Stuart City Hall. The city
owns the building and has been looking to lease it out for more than a
Two St Lucie County nature preserves have reopened after that big
brush fire along Indrio Road that burned for almost three weeks. Parts
of the Indrio Savannahs and the Indrio Scrub Preserves were burned and
crews had to go in to clean things up and repair nature trails.
Officials still want hikers to stay on the trails because of danger from
The City of Stuart has a big anniversary in 2014. The city will be 100
years old. They plan a big celebration. The Stuart Centennial Task Force
meets this afternoon to continue planning for it. The meeting starts at
4:30 at Stuart City Hall.
A controlled burn is planned today at Jonathan Dickenson State
Park weather permitting. 270 acres will be burned off to prevent a real
out-of-control brush fire in the future. The burn will be east of the
power lines and north of Park Drive.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 24
A traffic stop in Martin County has led to the discover of two marijuana
grow houses & weapons charges in Port St Lucie. Martin County
deputies stopped Antoine Sparks for speeding and found 4 ounces of pot
inside his vehicle. He told them he had more growing at home.
Port St Lucie Police then searched his home and warehouse bays finding
grow houses upstairs and what officials say was a weapons manufacturing
operation on the ground floor. It was set up like a professional
gunsmith shop where Sparks allegedly was making parts for AK 47s.
The serial numbers on several guns had been filed off. $7,000 cash
was also found. Sparks wife was also arrested.
There was a weekend fire at the Ft
Pierce Kmart store Saturday night. Officials say it did $250,000
damage including water damage to merchandise. Officials say it was
A Ft Pierce apartment fire
sent two people to the hospital early this morning. The fire
started around 1am in a laundry room of the one of the units in the 400
block of south 32nd Street. Two dogs died in the fire.
Two pillowcase burglary suspects have
been arrested in Palm City and the search is on for a third. Around
4pm, a woman living along Wood Creek in Crane Creek saw them coming out
of a window of her home. He hopped in a car, but she got a description
of their get-a-way vehicle and called 911. Lbee Jonah Evans, 22, and
Emil Solomon Porter, 21, were arrested. Port St Lucie had 11 home
burglaries on Monday, all of them matching the pillowcase-style
burglaries. There have been 106 pillowcase burglaries on the Treasure
Coast this year.
Martin County Commissioners voted to build a baseball complex next
to Citrus Grove Elementary. It will have 4 ball fields, a multi-purpose
field and picnic area. The $3.8 million complex will be funded by the
sales tax and construction should begin this summer.
The brush fire in northern St Lucie County that's been smoldering for
three weeks is finally out. The recent rains did it. The fire started
with a lightning strike at the airport and flared up three days later
into a brush fire that forced evacuations and threatened homes, damaging
9 and destroying two of them in the Indrio Road area. They had been
putting out flare-ups ever since.
Two semi tractor trailers crashed on I-95 in Indian River County earlier
this morning. The crash spilled a truck load of tomatoes all over the
highway closing the northbound lanes at the 144 mile marker. It’s the
second time in 12 hours to close I-95 in that general area. A semi
tractor trailer fire closed the northbound I-95 lanes north of Orange
Avenue for about an hour Tuesday afternoon. The fire was reported
around 2pm. The FHP reopened I-95 about an hour later.
There’s a public meeting tonight on ways to fund continued dredging the
St Lucie Inlet. They could adopt a half-cent sales tax, set up a special
taxing district, get St Lucie County to chip in money, or raise the
franchise fee on everyone’s Florida Power & Light bill. The meeting
starts at 5:30 at the Blake Library.
A South Fork High School student has discovered a new insect. 18
year old Laurie Jean Scott discovered a new species of whitefly while
working as a student volunteer at the USDA lab in Ft Pierce. She’s also
been named one of Florida’s most promising young scientists by Gov
An FAU professor is again making waves for suggesting that a national
tragedy never happened. James Tracy first gained notoriety last year
when he questioned if the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut
happened at all. Now, Tracy is asking if the Boston Marathon bombing was
real or just a drill. Tracy says the evidence and the narrative don't
match and says some of the injured may have been what he called "play
actors" taking part in a mass-casualty drill. Although Tracy teaches
courses on conspiracy theories at FAU, he says his opinions are his own
and not supported by the university.
The South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee can only wait after
making its presentation to NFL executives on Tuesday. Miami and San
Francisco are competing to host Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and Dolphins
executives made their case for why South Florida would be the perfect
host community. Winning the chance to host the game will depend on the
outcome of next month's referendum to spend more than
350-million-dollars upgrading Sun Life Stadium. The NFL will select the
host city on May 22nd.
Martin County High students will get a lesson in dangers of
drinking and driving on Prom night today. They’ll see a mock DUI crash
simulation with victims. Martin County High has its prom this weekend.
TUESDAY APRIL 23
The northbound I-95 lanes north of Orange Avenue have reopened after
being closed for about an hour due to a semi tractor trailer fire.
The northbound exit ramp to the St Lucie County rest area is still
closed as of 5pm. The fire was reported around 2pm.
Two pillowcase burglary suspects have been arrested in Palm City.
Around 4pm, a woman along Wood Creek saw them coming out of a window of
her home. She got a description of their get-a-way vehicle and
called 911. There have been 106 pillowcase burglaries on the
Treasure Coast this year.
The brush fire in northern St Lucie County that's been smoldering for
three weeks is finally out. The recent rains did it. The
fire started with a lightning strike at the airport and flared up three
days later into a brush fire that forced evacuations and threatened
homes. They had been putting out flare-ups ever since.
Martin County Commissioners voted today to end payments to the Business
Development Board. They will also demand the BDB give back any
unspent county funding. Commissioners also want reimbursed for the
money the county spent fighting a Sunshine Law lawsuit the county and
the BDB lost.
A Vero Beach man who sped away from Port St Lucie Police over the
weekend was finally caught. Early Saturday morning police checked
out a suspicious car on SW Consolada Ave where the driver was asleep or
pretending to be. He drove off when officers tried to wake him.
They called off their pursuit. Police then heard a shot in the SW
Calder St area and found a resident had fired a warning shot in the air
after seeing a man dressed only in his underwear in the back yard.
34 year old Torey Howard was finally caught along SW Dania St near
Gatlin & Savona. He was charged with burglary.
The Port St Lucie City Council approved a new arts in public
places ordinance last night. It requires bigger developments pay up to
1% to support putting art in public. Medium size developments would pay
one-half percent and small ones nothing. Some in the arts community
wanted development to contribute more. City council member Shannon
Martin supports the arts buts worries requiring more would hurt business
and jobs. Martin says they don’t want to choke off a Port St Lucie
economic recovery by adding to costs The city council approved the
first of two readings of the new arts in public places ordinance noting
they can always fine tune it when the city’s economy does improve.
Treasure Coast home sales were up in March. Florida Realtors say
sales were up 15% in March from the year before. The price of homes is
also up 20% from a year ago, with the median sales price at $135
thousand. Condo sales were up almost 29% in the Martin-St Lucie County
area from a year ago.
The city of Stuart faces a million dollar budget shortfall this next
budget year. There are a lot of ideas on ways to make up the difference.
One way suggested at last night’s city commission meeting is charging a
$125 fire tax to make sure all properties pay at least something. Some
properties don’t pay property taxes due to the low value and various
Today could be judgment day for the Martin County Business
Development Board. Martin County Commissioners will review the county
contract giving the BDB $625 thousand a year to recruit new business and
industry and help local business expand. Several county commissioners
have been critical of the contract saying they question whether the
county has gotten its money’s worth from the contract approved by the
previous commission which was more business friendly.
A former computer specialist at a Port St Lucie charter school
faces charges for allegedly deleting emails on the schools computer
system. Students and staff could not log on to their email accounts.
Those emails must be kept under the St Lucie County school district
policy. Police say 24 year old Kieth Montalvo deleted the emails before
he quit at College Prepatory Academy. His mother had worked at the
school and felt the schools principal was retaliating against him for
her quitting earlier by making custodian work as part of his job.
MONDAY APRIL 22
Treasure Coast home sales were up in March. Florida Realtors say
sales were up 15% in March from the year before. Condo sales were
up almost 29% in the Martin-St Lucie County area.
Picketers were out at the Martin County Courthouse during lunch today in
support of Victim Rights Week. They carried signs that read Commit
the Crime, Do the Time and other messages of support for making
criminals do as much time in jail and prison as possible.
Port St Lucie Police say they've broken up a shoplifting ring with the
arrest of 5 people last Friday afternoon. Wal-mart security called
them about a group of shoplifters who had gotten away with $1,800 worth
of merchandise. Police stopped their vehicle and arrested 3 men
and two women out of Merritt Island and Rocklege. They are also
suspected of shoplifting in Martin, St Lucie, Indian River & Brevard
A Port St Lucie man went to jail after allegedly getting into a fight
with police last Friday. They responded to a 911 call from a woman
who said 35 year old Adam L Janocha hit her in the face with a beer
bottle. He refused to answer the door, but officers saw him go to
a back room and feared he had armed himself. When he did answer
the door, police say he refused to take his hand out of his pocket.
He allegedly began punching and kicking the four officers and even
grabbed one of their batons and hit one officer in the face. They
had to taser him. Bond was set at $75,000.
The Stuart Sailfish Regatta
went well over the weekend. Some races were canceled Saturday due to the
winds, but they were able to run those on Sunday when the winds died
down. They had to stop the races briefly for manatees and for green sea
turtles. Some local power boat racers won their heats. Palm City’s Duff
Daily won the Pro Stock while 19 year old Phil Marney of Jensen Beach
won his very first race, the Jersey Skiff class. Other racers followed a
long-time power boat tradition and tossed him in the water. Organizers
were pleased with how it all went. They were hoping 10 to 12 thousand in
Volunteers cleared out the brush around Manatee Creek community park
Sunday. It was in the brush where a 10 year old girl was raped two weeks
ago. Several dozen volunteers showed up hoping to make sure nobody can
ever sexually assault a child at or near the park. Meanwhile the
investigation into the assault continues with Martin County Sheriff’s
investigators working to catch the suspect.
Treasure Coast unemployment continues to drop. The state says the St
Lucie County rate fell almost a full percentage point, going from 9.6%
in February to just 8.8% in March. The Martin County rate dropped a half
point to just 7% in March. A year ago St Lucie County had an
unemployment rate of almost 11% while Martin County had a rate of almost
9%. The Florida rate was also lower in March.
Two Martin County brothers have been charged with investment
fraud. Officials say Robert Dahn of Stuart and Donald Dahn of Palm City
ripped clients of their Estate Planning and Investment Concepts off for
$310 thousand including an 81 year old woman who was promised 6%
interest after six months. Back in 2007 Robert Dahn plead guilty to
diverting more than $700 thousand in insurance funds and got five years
5 people were arrested last week after St Lucie deputies checked
out a report someone was making meth in a Port St Lucie hotel. The day
after they found meth making items in the parking lot of the Best
Western, a woman called Martin County to say they might find meth making
equipment at the Port St Lucie hotel room. She ended up being arrested
along with 4 others.
In Stuart, 3 people were charged with child abuse last week after
police found cocaine and other drugs inside a home near the 10th
Street Recreation Center. Three children were inside the home at the
time and one of the adults was a convicted felon with a gun.
The high school baseball district playoffs start this week on the
Treasure Coast. There are games tonight. Ft Pierce Central plays Port St
Lucie and Okeechobee plays Sebastian River. The other district games
SUNDAY APRIL 21
Sunday is day two of the Stuart Sailfish Regatta power boat races at the
Stuart Causeway. Some of the races Saturday were canceled due to
the winds but other heats were held.
FRIDAY APRIL 19
The FDIC is suing a group of former Riverside National Bank executives
for losses when they took the bank over in 2010. The FDIC alleges
former CEO Vernon Smith and 7 others at the bank approved bad loans that
should not have been made. The FDIC wants $8 million. The
FDIC took the bank over and eventually sold its assets to TD Bank.
A Port St Lucie woman is being called a Good Samaritan for stopping to
help a 2 year old girl wandering the street. Deneen Colosi stopped
her car Thursday morning after noticing the little girl standing in a
swale along SW Devera Ave. Police searched the area and after an
hour found the grandmother. Police are investigating to see if
child neglect charges are warranted.
Two Port St Lucie teens were arrested for a home burglary Thursday
morning. A man woke up to find them inside his Addie St home.
They took off and he chased, but lost them. He found one of their
cell phones left behind and went thru the photos and contacts finding
one labeled "Mom". Police contacted the mother and they were able
to track down and arrest Jerome Moss and Ronald Beabout.
There was a bad crash late
last night on the Florida Turnpike near the Stuart-Palm City toll plaza.
Two semi trucks were involved in the crash that happened around 11 pm.
A semi parked along side the highway pulled back out into traffic and
was hit by a truck from behind. The passenger in that truck was
seriously injured. The southbound lanes were closed overnight, finally
reopening just before 5am.
Six Martin County schools are being honored by Florida Atlantic
University for being green. The schools have worked to conserve
energy, made campus enhancements, been involved in the community
promoting green, been innovative in being energy efficiency. The
six school are: Hobe Sound, Port Salerno, Jensen Beach, Felix
Williams, Citrus Grove and Warfield Elementaries.
There were two bad crashes on I-95 in the Ft Pierce area in less than 12
hours this week. At least one of them fatal. Tuesday night a 65 year
old Ft Pierce man was hit and killed while riding his bicycle on the
highway. The FHP says Terry Melton was in one of the northbound lanes
when hit from behind by a car just south of the Okeechobee Road
interchange. Then at 8 Wednesday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol’s
website indicated there was a fatal crash on I-95 near the Orange Avenue
Treasure Coast runners gathered at Stuart Beach last night to honor
those killed and wounded in the Boston Marathon Monday. The Runners
United to Remember began a short run on Hutchinson Island with 26.2
seconds of silence. The Boston Marathon was 26.2 miles long.
The Burt Reynolds Ranch in Jupiter will be sold. The Palm Beach County
School Board approved the sale of the 153 acre ranch to K Hovnanian
Homes for $5 million. The sale depends on the builder getting Palm Beach
County to rezone the site to allow them to build more homes per acre. If
they can’t get rezoned, the land goes back to the Palm Beach County
School District. The district bought the ranch in 1999 and planned to
build a new middle school there. But school enrollment in Jupiter has
declined in recent years, so a new school isn’t needed now.
Remember the assistant Port St Lucie City Attorney who got fired
after being pulled over for allegedly driving drunk last year? She is
suing the city. Gabrielle Taylor says in the lawsuit she was wrongfully
terminated and wants $250,000 and her old job back. Her federal lawsuit
says Taylor is not an alcoholic and only admitted it because she was
forced to by the city. She says city Attorney Roger Orr and Mayor JoAnn
Faiella conspired in secret to fire her which, she alleges, is a
violation of Florida’s open meetings law.
Florida Power and Light has finished it’s upgrades at the St Lucie
Nuclear Power Plant. They spent $3 billion upgrading the St Lucie and
Turkey Point reactors. The five year project added another 500 megawatts
of generating capacity. Customers are paying for the expansion on each
monthly bill. FPL says customers will end of saving money over the long
run because nuclear is cheaper than using oil or gas to generate
A bill going to Governor Scott's desk would require better
record-keeping by animal shelters across Florida. The House followed the
Senate in passing the bill that would require euthanasia records be made
available to the public. Last year animal rights activists criticized
the St Lucie County Humane Society for needlessly euthanizing strays
brought in. The governor has not yet said if he'll sign the bill into
Port St. Lucie city officials tour the Indian Street Bridge
project today to learn more about the how the Crosstown Parkway bridge
might be built over sensitive wetlands. The City Council and other city
officials will bus down to the bridge at 9am and talk with engineers and
construction company officials.
THURSDAY APRIL 18
A 65 year old Ft Pierce man was hit and killed on I-95 Wednesday night.
The FHP says Terry Melton was riding a bicycle on the highway and was in
one of the northbound lanes when hit from behind by a car just south of
the Okeechobee Road interchange.
Treasure Coast runners will gather at Stuart Beach tonight to honor
those killed and wounded in the Boston Marathon Monday. The
Runners United to Remember Facebook page says a run will begin after
26.2 seconds of silence. The Boston Marathon was 26.2 miles long.
They will meet at 6:30.
A new non-profit is taking
over the annual 4th of July fireworks show in Stuart. Star Spangled
Stuart, LLC is headed by CPA Mark Brechbill who is a former President of
Stuart Main Street which has handled the fireworks festival and show for
years. Brechbill says the 4th of July fireworks just took up
too much time for Main Street and the Downtown Business Association.
Main Street and the Downtown Business Association will continue to help
with fundraising and manpower, but Star Spangled Stuart is looking for
your help. Brechbill says they hope to raise enough money the next
couple months to have the 4th of July fireworks this year,
but if they cannot they will definitely hold it next year.
The lines were long as thousands attended a job fair at the Fenn
Center in Ft Pierce Wednesday. More than 50 companies and
non-profits were there interviewing potential hires. St Lucie
County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron’s bill to ban the use of
drones in Florida has passed the legislature, and just needs the
governor’s signature to become law. Gov Rick Scott says he will sign the
Ft Pierce City Commissioners this week approved spending about $100
thousand to study the feasibility of a railroad station near the parking
garage on Orange Avenue. Could a train station be added to the
structure? Amtrak and All Aboard Florida plan to run passenger train
service up Florida‘s East Coast. Stuart is also trying to find a good
place for a station.
Former south Florida Congressman Allen West is warning protesters
at Florida Atlantic University to leave his wife alone. Angela West is
on the FAU Board of Trustees. Protesters who wanted the $6 million
football stadium naming rights deal with GEO Group canceled came to her
office at Raymond James and demanded she side with them. When she
refused, they accused her of wanting to bring back Jim Crowe laws and
derided her for thinking she was a tough as her husband. Allen West says
on his Facebook page the protesters would see a side of him they don’t’
want to see if they continue to harass his wife.
An 18 year old man got arrested in Ft Pierce after allegedly
attacking a child and his adult sister in an argument over who was going
to sit in a chair on the front porch of a home on South 29th
St. Police say Lavontae Roberts sat down when the boy got up and choked
the boy when he came back to the porch and wanted his seat back. The
older sister was punched in the face when she intervened.
The president of Learn to Read in St Lucie County has resigned. Patti
Tobin had been with the program for 25 years. Before that, she was the
first full time Port St Lucie City Planner who had to deal with the
city‘s first growth spurt in the 1980s. The Board, tutors and volunteers
wish her well.
Two Martin County High pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter
against Jensen Beach High Wednesday as the Tigers beat the Falcons 6-1.
Mark Savarese and Chris Fasig threw the no-hitter in the annual Ryan
Johansen Memorial game. Savarese had two hits himself and three RBIs.
Jensen Beach’s Taylor Blatch gave up just 5 hits and struck out 8 Martin
County batters. The Falcons scored their only run on three walks and a
WEDNESDAY APRIL 17
A new non-profit is taking over the annual 4th of July fireworks show in
Stuart. Star Spangled Stuart, LLC is headed by CPA Mark Brechbill
who is a former President of Stuart Main Street which has handled the
fireworks festival and show for years. Main Street and the
Downtown Business Association will continue to help with fundraising and
Tips from a neighbor this morning led to the arrest of two burglary
suspects wanted in Martin County. The neighbor heard the home's
alarm system and saw a suspicious car in the driveway of the Coral
Garden's home and took down the tag number. Martin County put out
an area-wide Be On The Lookout alert and the car was stopped on I-95
near Gatlin Blvd in Port St Lucie. Gloves, a window punch tool and
mask were found. Two suspects from Broward County were
arrested. Sheriff William Snyder & Port St Lucie Police believe
they are part of the pillowcase burglary ring.
Martin Health Systems has a new Chairman of the Board. Dwight
Denny has been involved in community causes for years and was first
elected Martin Health System's Board in 2004. He has been an
executive with Ryder Systems and was on the FIU Board of Trustees.
He was a naval officer during Vietnam. Denny and his wife live in
A student at the Pines school in Hobe Sound is one of just 24 student
athletes named to the Florida High School Activities Association
Academic All-State Team. Matthew Edwards carries a 4.0 GPA and is
valedictorian of this year's graduating class. He runs track and
cross country. His parents are Michael and Laurie Edwards.
The Treasure Coast has had another jackpot-winning Fantasy 5 ticket.
A ticket sold at the Chevron Station near Kanner Hwy & I-95 is one of
seven sold across Florida that matched all five numbers in last night's
drawing. It's worth less than $31,000. Three of the other
winning tickets were sold in Palm Beach County.
The search for the suspect in
the rape of a 10 year old Port Salerno girl continues. It’s been ten
days since it happened. Sheriff William Snyder tells CBS 12 they have
interviewed potential suspects and continue to work the case. Detectives
have narrowed the list of potential suspects and forensic test results
on DNA and other evidence found at the scene should be back the end of
the week. People in the area are still on edge knowing a rapist is still
on the loose.
The Stuart Sailfish Regatta power boat races are this weekend.
Regatta president Toby Overdorf told Martin County Commissioners Tuesday
the races are a boost to the local economy. Three hotels are already
fully booked and a fourth is close to being fully booked. He told
commissioners they have worked out concerns with a group of Hutchinson
Island residents about parking issued along McArthur Blvd. Overdorf says
they want the Sailfish Regatta to bring the community together, not be
divisive. The Stuart Causeway will be closed to traffic this weekend
starting Friday night.
St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara has sent a letter to arcade
operators noticing them he will begin enforcing the new state law
outlawing them on May 15th. The sheriff has sent them a copy
of the new law and cautions that other law enforcement agencies may
enforce the ban before mid-May.
Winn-Dixie is voluntarily recalling some of its organic apple
juice. There could be higher-than-recommended levels of patulin which is
a natural byproduct of molds than grow on fruits and vegetables. The
recall covers only Winn-Dixie Organic 100 Percent Apple Juice with
expiration dates of January 15th and March 25th of 2014.
TUESDAY APRIL 16
Martin County Commissioners approved a series of Comprehensive Plan
changes today designed to protect the environment and prevent urban
sprawl by making it harder to build big developments. Former
County Commissioner Maggie Hurchella headed the effort to strengthen the
plan by being more specific about what can and cannot be done. She
says none of the changes were arbitrary and capricious and there was
nothing that had not been in the comp plan before. Commissioner
Doug Smith voted against the changes saying property owners did not know
the effects of the changes.
The Florida Senate today voted to ban texting while driving. It
would be a secondary traffic offense meaning a driver would have to be
pulled over for some other violation before getting a $30 ticket for
texting. Treasure Coast State Senator Joe Negron missed today's
vote being busy with the budget but says he will enter a NO vote on
this. The Florida House may vote on it Wednesday.
Martin Health Systems has received a high rating for its electronic
record keeping. HIMSS Analytics, a not-for-profit organization,
has named them a Stage 6 hospital system for advances made in
implementing electronic medical record keeping. This, the say,
gives MHS a competitive advantage. Less than 10% of all US
hospitals have attained a Stage 6 recognition. There are 8 stages
that can be attained.
Port St Lucie police caught 3 teenagers who they say burglarized the
concession stand at Sportsman's Park last Saturday. They saw 4
teens walking nearby after somebody reported the burglary. They
took off running in different directions. Three of them, including
18 year old Jnodrick Strobridge were caught. Police say they took
Gatorade, Skittles and Pixy Stix candies.
Martin County Sheriff William
Snyder quickly commented on the Boston Marathon attack. Within two hours
of the bombings, Sheriff Snyder posted onn the sheriff’s Facebook page
that his thoughts and prayers go out to those affected. He says it shows
the importance of public safety and community awareness. Sheriff Snyder
says our spirit must never be broken. There were also two dozen Treasure
Coast residents who ran in the Boston Marathon. None of them are
believed to be injured and some returned late last night to Palm Beach
Monday felt like summer….hot in the early afternoon and
thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Stuart hit 90 degrees as of 2 pm,
but when the humidity is figured in, the heat index made it feel like
96. Then strong afternoon thunderstorms developed over Ft Pierce and
the Hobe Sound area. Pea-sized hail was reported in Hobe Sound along
with 70 mph winds. 60 mph winds were also reported in the Midway
Road/I-95 area. 2 inches of rain fell in Jensen Beach.
A new brush fire broke
out in northern St Lucie County. It was only 4 acres near the the
earlier fire that’s been burning for several weeks. It was near the
Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall on Kings Hwy. Forestry’s Melissa
Yunas says earlier fire that started with a lightning strike at the St
Lucie International airport the end of March still isn’t completely out.
Yunas says the weekend rains failed to penetrate deep enough reach the
roots of the burning vegetation
Weather permitting, they plan a prescribed burn at Jonathan
Dickenson State Park today. They plan to burn 278 acres east of the
power lines and north of Park Drive to prevent a real brush fire later.
The Ocean Breeze shareholders have voted to sell the park near
Jensen Beach to Carefree RV Resorts. This gives the company time to do
their due diligence and the closing should be by July 1st.
Carefree will make a $15 million down payment to the heirs of the
trailer park’s founder, the Hoke family and pay $1.5 million a year for
three years. The company has promised to keep Ocean Breeze a mobile home
park for residents.
The search for a new St Lucie County school superintendent has
begun. The search committee met for the first time Monday night. Members
say they want a visionary and effective person with experience and good
communication skills. One committee member said they want someone who
can leap tall buildings. They want your input on what sort of school
superintendent you’d like. You can fill out an on-line survey at
The top five executives at Liberty Medical will keep their
contracts and pay. Their pay had been cut when the Port St Lucie-based
company filed bankruptcy, but the bankruptcy court has reinstated them.
The company says these five, including CEO Frank Harvey, are critical to
the survival of the company and need to be kept.
MONDAY APRIL 15
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder and the Crime Prevention team have
another town hall tonight on the recent pillowcase burglaries in our
area. It’s from 6 to 8pm at the Jensen Beach Library.
The girl’s high school district softball playoffs start today. St Lucie
West Centennial plays Treasure Coast High is District 6, class 8A. In
District 12 class 7A, Port St Lucie is at Martin County, Sebastian River
is at Ft Pierce Central, In District 5,class 5A Suncoast is at Ft Pierce
Westwood with the winner playing Jensen Beach for the championship on
Thursday. Jensen Beach was undefeated in district play this year. In
District 12, class 4A Lincoln Park plays Glades Central.
A new brush fire has broken out in northern St Lucie County. It's
only a couple of acres near the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall on Kings
Hwy. St Lucie County firefighters are defending several homes and
the church from the flames. It is close to the earlier Heather
fire that's been burning for more than two weeks. That fire
continues to smolder since the weekend rains failed to penetrate deep
enough into the soil to put the fire out that's been burning in the
roots of vegetation.
Weather permitting, they plan a prescribed burn at Jonathan Dickenson
State Park tomorrow. They plan to burn 278 acres east of the power
lines and north of Park Drive to prevent a real brush fire later.
Felt like summer. The temperature was 90 degrees in Stuart as of 2
this afternoon. But when the humidity is figured in, the heat
index made it feel like 96. Then strong afternoon thunderstorms
developed over Ft Pierce and the Hobe Sound area. Pea-sized hail
was reported in Hobe Sound along with 60 mph winds. 60 mph winds
were also reported in the Midway Road/I-95 area.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers are riding bicycles today to the
Treasure Coast. The annual Tour de Force fundraising bike ride
started Sunday in North Miami Beach. They will finish today's leg
at the Martin County Sheriff's office around 5pm. Tuesday, they
ride from Port St Lucie to Palm Bay. They will finish up Thursday
in Daytona Beach. Money raised will benefit the families of fallen
law officers. Over the years, the Tour de Force has raised
Treasure Coast students start
taking the FCATs this week. Students in third grade up to 10 grade will
take them. First is the reading and math tests. 5th and 8th
grades also take the science FCATs. 3rd graders that don’t
pass the FCAT risk repeating the 3rd grade next year. The
FCAT is being replaced by the on-line CORE Curriculum tests that will be
used by most states in two years. The FCATs aren’t the only big tests.
In a few weeks high school & middle school students take the end of the
year tests in geometry, algebra, biology, history and civics. Students
have to pass them to get credit to graduate.
A fatal plane crash west of Port St Lucie Sunday morning killed
the pilot. The small plane, made from a kit, nose-dived into the ground
near the entrance to the Treasure Coast Air Park west of Range Line Road
around 9am killing the pilot identified as John D Schoonover of Davie,
Martin County deputies had to run a burglary suspect down Friday
morning. They found 23 year old Joseph N Johnson breaking into a home
on Salerno Road. He ran from the scene and was caught after a brief
foot chase. Johnson has admited to six home break-ins recently.
There are 25 Treasure Coast residents running in today’s Boston
Marathon. They are among the 27 thousand runners participating in the
117th Boston Marathon. No American man has won the race since
1983 and the last American woman to win was back in 1985.
WEEKEND EDITION APRIL 13 &14
A fatal plane crash west of Port St Lucie around 9 this morning.
The small plane nose-dived into the ground near the entrance to the
Treasure Coast Air Park west of Range Line Road killing the pilot.
He is 62 year old John D Schoonover of Davie.
Fire damaged a home in Port St Lucie Saturday afternoon. The fire
on Airoso Blvd damaged the home enough to bring in the Red Cross to help
the family of five.
Martin County Fire Rescue was called to Dr David Anderson Middle School
where a gas leak was reported just before 9am. 10 units were
initially sent to the scene including the HazMat unit. By 10am
they had cleared the scene.
Port St Lucie woke up this morning to a thunderstorm. A narrow
band of rain, thunder and lightning formed around 7am and swept west to
east. Friday as much as 6 inches of rain fell in the Hobe Sound
area. A flood advisory was even issued by the weather service.
Five people died in a crash on Blue Heron Blvd in Riviera Beach early
this morning. A Lexus involved in the crash rolled, ejecting 4
A raccoon has tested positive for rabies in Stuart. It attacked a
dog on Bay Colony Drive this week. The dog had been vaccinated but
will be quarantined for 45 days.
FRIDAY APRIL 12
There were two attempted child abduction's in Okeechobee County
Thursday. An Hispanic man tried to lure a 4 year old boy into his
van in the morning, and followed an 11 year old girl from her bus stop
to her home in the afternoon. He even pulled his blue van into the
driveway. Okeechobee County authorities are checking with
Martin County authorities who are looking for a man who raped a 10 year
old girl to see if there's a connection.
Martin County deputies had to run a burglary suspect down this morning.
They responded to a burglary in progress on Salerno Road call to 911.
A man ran from the scene and was caught after a brief foot chase.
He may be responsible for several other home breakins recently.
A disabled Port St Lucie veteran is getting a new house thanks to the
Florida Association of Realtors. Retired Army Sgt Michael Burke
was wounded in Baghdad in 2006 and despite trying to continue after
healing, was unable to because of seizures. This week the
Realtors, Chase Bank and the Military Warriors Support Foundation
presented Burke, a Ft Pierce native, his wife and two small children a
newly remodeled, mortgage free home.
On-line ticket sales for next week's Stuart Sailfish Regatta power boat
races have already surpassed last year's sales. At least 75 boats
will compete and a group from Canada will attend to see how the races
are organized and run. Organizers also say at least 3 Martin
County hotels are completely booked for the races. A group on
Hutchinson Island has formed to oppose the races and commissioners Sarah
Heard and Ed Fielding have expressed reservations about the boat races
in recent months. Word is that commissioners will discuss the
races at Tuesday's meeting, though there is nothing specific about the
races on their meeting agenda. It could come up during
In earlier Treasure Coast news.....
Martin County deputies are going door to door passing out flyers of the
artists sketch of the man suspected of raping a ten year old Port
Salerno girl. Port St Lucie Police have helping. They came
up with the sketch using their state-of-the-art software and talking
with the girl and other witnesses.
Winds and brush fires don’t mix. It was a windy Thursday on the
Treasure Coast. Winds gusted to 32 mph in Ft Pierce and 27 mph in
Stuart. Those winds caused the brush fire in northern St Lucie County
to rekindle again. It’s been burning and smoldering for three weeks now.
20 more acres burned Thursday. With more wind expected today, there‘s a
chance the fire will flare up again, Officials hope the rains today and
Saturday will help control or even put the brush fire out completely.
Sandy has been retired from the list of hurricane names. It’s the
77th name to be retired because of their impact on people,
countries, cities and states. Sandy did $50 billion damage and killed
147. It did millions of dollars damage along the Treasure Coast and
didn’t even come close as it headed to the northeast US. Hurricane names
come around again every six years. Sandy will be replaced by Sara on the
Hunter Henry’s funeral is today. He’s the 16 year old Port St
Lucie High student killed last week when a car hit him from behind as he
bicycled to school. The service is at 2pm at the First United Methodist
Church in Port St Lucie.
A St Lucie County teacher has been put on leave and 6 teens
arrested after a 7th grader at NorthPort K-8 was beaten. The
boy had a verbal altercation with the teacher and the other students are
seen on security video beating him in a hallway as the teacher stood by.
The beaten boy’s parents have hired a lawyer and allege the teacher told
the 6 other teens to go teach him a lesson.
Florida’s two US Senators split on whether to debate gun control.
Republican Marco Rubio voted not to, Democrat Bill Nelson voted to. The
entire US Senate voted to allow gun control legislation be debated.
Insurance rates for some customers of Citizens Property Insurance
could skyrocket if a bill moving through the state legislature becomes
law. Citizens President Barry Gilway said some coastal homeowners could
see rates climb more than 85-percent and sinkhole coverage could triple
in places like Hernando County. Supporters of the bill say the changes
are needed to improve the finances of the taxpayer-backed Citizens.
THURSDAY APRIL 11
CBS 12's Jana Eschbach reports new details in the rape of a 10 year old
Port Salerno girl. She did not go into the woods to help look for
a lost dog. The suspect asked her to, but she refused. He
lured her in with promises of $50 if he could take pictures. Port
St Lucie Police have helped by using their state-of-the-art software to
develop the sketches of the man they're after. Martin County
deputies will be going door-to-door tonight passing out flyers of the
The pillowcase burglars have struck again. There were two of them
this morning in Port St Lucie. Martin County Sheriff William
Snyder is warning people living close to I-95 to be on the lookout for
anything suspicious. The pillowcase bandits target homes close to
I-95. They break in if nobody is home, grab a pillowcase and stuff
it full of what ever valuables they can find and leave after just
48 arrests were made during a 5 week long operation to protect youth
from alcohol, tobacco and drugs in St Lucie County. Sheriff
Ken Mascara says 28% of the convenience stores, gas stations and bars
sold alcohol to minors during Operation Dry Spring. Just 5% sold
tobacco. None of the businesses checked sold synthetic marijuana.
It's been a windy, warm day on the Treasure Coast so far. As of
noon, the winds had gusted to 32 mph in Ft Pierce and 27 mph in Stuart.
Temperatures had reached the lower 80s.
Betty Mulligan, a volunteer at Stuart's JD Paker School, has been named
the Regional winner of the state school volunteer of the year award
award. The competition included the Treasure Coast, Brevard,
Orange, Osceola and Lake County. Mulligan implemented a literacy
tutoring program and supervises 50 volunteers at JD Parker.
The experts at Colorado State University expect an above average
hurricane season. They think there will be 18 named storms, 9
hurricanes and 4 major ones. They average season has 12 named
storms, 7 hurricanes and just 2 major ones. They don't think el
Nino will develop this year. El Nino winds from the Pacific blow
the tops off storms in the Atlantic stifling hurricane development.
Caribbean water temperatures are already warm enough to support
Two composite artist sketches of the man who raped a 10 year old
Port Salerno girl Sunday. The sketchs are different based on witness
descriptions. What all witnesses seem to agree on is that he is a white
male in his 20s, 5 foot 9 weighing 150 pounds with dirty blond hair who
was wearing a two-color blue shirt and had a bandage or cast on his
hand. The girls mother tells Scripps Newspapers the child believes she
saved her younger sisters from being hurt. The mother says it’s tough
reading blog comments that blame her for not watching her children
closely. She says she has told her children not to go with strangers and
says her daughter is afraid the man will find her.
A child fell off a roof of a home in Martin Downs Wednesday afternoon.
The child was airlifted to St Mary's Trauma Center. The home is on Crane
Garden City Early Learning Academy is one of 8 St Lucie County
School named a Model School by the University of South Florida’s
Positive Behavior Support Project. Under the project students get
positive feedback for good behavior and the schools all have low student
suspension rates. The other schools are Weatherbee, St Lucie & Bayshore
Elementary, CA Moore, Allapattah Flats, Parkway and the Delaware Avenue
Martin County holds a public meeting tonight on the closure of the
Air Traffic Control Tower at Witham Field. The FAA wants to close the
tower due to budget cuts in Washington. Martin County wants to keep the
control tower operational. Tonight‘s meeting will be held at the Airport
Maintenance Conference Room on Flying Fortress Way. That’s the airport
gate off Monterey Road used during the Stuart Air Show. Ironically, the
control tower is on that side of the airport close to the Monterey Road
gate. The meeting is from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Former Martin County Commissioner Marshall “Bud” Wilcox’s funeral
is today. He served on the commission from 1992 to 2000 and was
instrumental in upgrades to Witham Field that made the airport safer.
The memorial service is at 11:30 am at St Mary’s Episcopal Church on
They broke ground Wednesday for an expansion of the St Lucie Medical
Center. The $9 million expansion will add 11 more emergency room beds
including 3 more trauma rooms. More private rooms will be added. They
only have 7 now, but will have 35 after the expansion is completed next
Indiantown broke ground Wednesday for it’s first McDonalds and a
Dollar General store. They’ll be on Warfield Blvd across from Rines
Supermarket. Indiantown already has a Burger King.
The St Lucie Mets are off to a fast start. They lost their first
game of the new Florida State League season last night in a 1-0 loss to
the Palm Beach Cardinals. The Little Mets had started the season with 5
Artist sketches of Port Salerno rape suspect.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 10
Storm experts are predicting another above-average hurricane season.
Doctors Phil Klotzbach and William Gray from Colorado State University
estimate 18 named storms will form in the Atlantic this year with nine
of them reaching hurricane strength. Of those nine, Klotzbach and
Gray believe four will become major storms of Category 3 strength or
higher with maximum sustained winds topping 111 miles-per-hour.
The six-month hurricane season starts on June 1st.
A child fell off a roof of a home in Martin Downs this afternoon.
The child was airlifted to St Mary's Trauma Center. The home is on
Crane Creek Avenue.
A composite artist sketch of the suspect in Sunday's rape of a 10 year
old girl in Port Salerno has been released to the public. He's
described as a white male in his 20s with a buzz-style haircut and
wearing a cast of splint on one hand. Anyone with information
should call the Martin County Sheriff's office.
Governor Rick Scott today signed the bill outlawing internet cafes into
law. That outlaws internet hot spots used for casino slot machine
gambling. It may also ban arcade centers, which use slot machine
type gaming devices but do not allow gambling per se. It may end
up forcing arcades, popular with Florida seniors, to close which would
eliminated hundreds of Treasure Coast jobs.
The Florida Senate passed one of Treasure Coast State Senator Joe
Negron's bills today. It limits how and when unmanned aerial
drones are used by law enforcement. Negron does not want the
government to be able to spy on people from above. Some, but not
all law enforcement officials are against limits on drones.
Palm City accounting firm owner Joseph Rizzuti has agreed to plead
guilty to federal charges he interfered with a federal investigation and
defrauded clients out of $265,000 they thought was going to pay the IRS.
The money was sent out of country thru a New Mexico company that listed
him as a manager. Rizzuti will be sentenced in Ft Pierce federal
court in May. He owned Beacon Accounting Services in Palm City and
was once involved in trying to get Treasure Coast citrus concentrate
into China. That company went bust and dozens of local investors
lost millions. The founder of that company, Henry Clements was
forced out by Rizzuti and the board before it failed. Clements
said at the time and ever since he thought the money was stolen by
NEW: One of the four jackpot-winning
Fantasy 5 tickets sold for last night's drawing was sold in Stuart.
It was bought at the Sunoco station on south US 1 and is worth more than
$54,000. The only jackpot-winning Mega Money ticket for Tuesday
night's drawing was sold in Okeechobee and is worth $880,000.
The door to door search for
the suspect in the rape of a ten year old Port Salerno girl continues.
Deputies have been canvassing the neighborhood and beyond looking for
clues to the suspect’s identity. They hope to get a composite sketch out
today. Meanwhile we are hearing the 911 call tape made Sunday
night by the girl’s mother. Deputies were on scene within minutes
and detectives have been working overtime ever since trying to identify
The start of the school
year could move up to early August under legislation now being debated
in Tallahassee. The proposed law would allow school districts to start
school three weeks before Labor Day. If passed, the law would reverse an
earlier law that was meant to protect the traditional summer vacation
schedule. St Lucie County school officials want to start school earlier
this next fall. Martin County schools are already permitted to start
school earlier than most because of high student performance.
Hunter Henry’s funeral will be Friday. He’s the 16 year old Port
St Lucie High student hit by a car while riding his bicycle to school
last week. His parents say matches for his organs that he wished donated
were found all across the nation. The funeral will be at the First
United Methodist Church in Port St Lucie this Friday.
Martin County is going to spend some money to keep their legal
right to sue the FAA to keep the Witham Field control tower open. County
commissioners Tuesday agreed to spend $15 thousand to preserve the right
to join a lawsuit filed by other small Florida airports that are going
to lose their control towers to the sequestration budget cuts in
The St Lucie Medical Center breaks ground today to expand their
emergency room. The $9.3 million expansion will increase the number of
ER beds from 24 beds now to 35. 15 thousand square feet will be added
along with new medical equipment. The outside will have two new
canopies. The new ER should be ready by the spring of 2014.
Legislation that would ban texting while driving needs just one
more vote to move to Governor Scott's desk for signature. The proposed
law makes texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning police
would have to pull you over for something else first in order to get a
ticket. Violators would receive a 30-dollar fine and a second violation
would cost 60-dollars and add three points to your license.
Free testing today in Martin County for STDs, sexually transmitted
disease, including HIV-AIDS. April is STD Awareness month. The Martin
County Health Department will be testing from 1 to 4pm today. Friday
they’ll be doing tests in Indiantown.
Treasure Coast law enforcements runs the Special Olympics Torch
thru the area starting today. the Torch run starts at the Cove Road
Publix at 8 this morning. teams of law officers will run the Torch north
on US One to the downtown Stuart Publix. Friday the Special Olympics
Torch will be run thru Port St Lucie.
TUESDAY APRIL 9
Florida Power & Light will be allowed to buy electricity from a company
that plans to build biomass facilities in Martin & Okeechobee County.
The state Public Service Commission today approved the contract between
FPL and US EcoGen which plans facilities that will produce 180 megawatts
of power by 2019. The will grow eucalyptus trees, turning them
into fuel pellets that will be burned to create heat to turn water into
steam that will generate power. Eucalyptus trees can be planted
and harvested in two years.
A Port St Lucie man was arrested after pulling a gun during road rage.
Police say 46 year old Dean Bair pulled a gun and yelled a racial slur
at two black males who admit they accidentally cut him off in traffic on
Port St Lucie Blvd. The argument continues to the parking lot of a
bar. A customer at the bar came out and started fighting with one
of the two men. He was charged too.
Martin County, the city of Stuart and the School district today kicked
around the idea of building a joint fleet maintenance and repair
facility on Monterey Road near the sheriff's office. The 62 acre
site was once an old landfill and has been leased for a mini golf course
in the past. Building a joint fleet maintenance facility would
free up land in the city and along Old Dixie Hwy that could be sold for
private development or used for something else. How to fund it is
the big problem. They agreed to continue studying the idea.
The idea came up at today's joint meeting of Martin County
commissioners, Stuart city commissioners and Martin County school board.
They are still searching for a
rapist who attacked a 10 year old girl in a park near the Manatee Creek
community in Port Salerno Sunday afternoon. The girl was at the
community park with her 3 and 5 year old sisters when the suspect asked
her to help find his lost dog. Because of the brazen nature of the
attack, Sheriff William Snyder says the girl is lucky to be alive and he
fears he may strike again.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says the attack lasted 5
minutes and ended when the girl started to fight back. The suspect was
last seen running along the railroad tracks toward Port Salerno.
Sheriff Snyder says they’ve been working non-stop since it
happened. They are interviewing homeless people who live in the area and
known sex offenders. There are about 15 sex offenders who live within a
mile of the park. Sheriff Snyder says they will catch this rapist.
He says parents have got to teach personal safety to their children,
that they should never go with anyone they don't know.
The suspect is a man in his 20s with short dirty blonde buzz
cut hair wearing a two colored blue striped shirt. He had a cast, splint
or a brace on one hand.
There are 1,155 brush fires burning in Florida right now. More
than 22,000 acres has burned state-wide since the first of the year.
Last week’s rains did not put the northern St Lucie County brush fire
out. It wetted the surface, but didn’t get all the way through to
smoldering embers underneath. This is said by the Forest Service it’s
the second biggest brush fire in St Lucie County history. About 460
acres has burned.
8 year old Demetrius Golette is back home in Ft Pierce after being
treated in Ohio for burns. Two St Lucie County firefighters dove thru a
window of a burning home to rescue the boy. His grandmother died after
being badly burned. He goes back to Ohio next week for more burn
Stuart City Commissioners took a look at extending the popular
Riverwalk east of the city hall area last night. Proponents say
extending the Riverwalk to Colorado Avenue will benefit the downtown
area. Almost every property owner and business people that spoke
supported the plan. It would cost $500 thousand, but the city should be
able to get a grant to pay for half of it. Stuart will continue to work
on the Riverwalk extension.
Port St Lucie City Council members last night got a presentation
on the city's financial condition as of the end of the last budget
year. The report says the city is in good financial shape and that Port
St Lucie saw an increase in revenues as the economy improves. The
report does not address the Digital Domain bankruptcy and its effects on
the city finances since that happened after the 2012 Fiscal Year ended
Port St Lucie Little League is looking for ways to come up with $5
thousand dollars. That’s what’s missing after the League fired Scott
Schmidtt as president last year after he could not account for the
money. The Treasure Coast State’s Attorney office says it will not
prosecute due to a lack of evidence.
Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s law firm boss supports medical
marijuana. Attorney John Morgan says he’s willing to put his own money
into the cause to get it on the 2014 ballot for Floridians to vote on.
Morgan says he hasn’t talked to Crist about the issue. Crist used to be
a republican but is expected to run for governor next year as a
democrat. A recent poll finds 73% of Floridians favor medical marijuana.
Martin County will hold a public meeting Thursday night on the
Witham Field control tower. Various options on funding the control tower
operations will be discussed. It’s from 6 to 8pm at the
Airport Maintenance Conference Room,
1895 Flying Fortress Way
Lindsee High threw a no-hitter for the South Fork High girl’s
softball team Monday. She struck out 5 Ft Pierce Westwood batters as the
Bulldogs beat the Panthers 15-0.
Its one of the tastiest fundraisers of the year. The 17th
annual Taste of Martin County is tonight in Stuart.It’s from 5 to 8pm at
Memorial Park next to the Courthouse. Some of the Treasure Coast’s most
popular restaurants will serve sample of their specialties.
Tickets are $60 at the gate. The Taste of Martin County benefit’s the
Big Brothers-Big Sisters program.
MONDAY APRIL 8
The search continues for a rapist who attacked a 10 year old girl in a
park near the Manatee Creek community in Port Salerno Sunday afternoon.
Because of the brazen nature of the attack, Sheriff William Snyder says
the girl is lucky to be alive and he fears he may strike again.
The attacker was last seen running along the railroad tracks.
There are extra patrols, undercover deputies and deputies on bicycles
combing the area. Port Salerno Elementary and Murray Middle
schools are not affected by the search. Sheriff Snyder says they
will not rest until they have the rapist under arrest.
The suspect is a man in his
20s with short dirty blonde buzz cut hair wearing a two colored blue
striped shirt. He had a cast or a brace on one hand.
There are 1,155 brush fires
burning in Florida today. More than 22,000 acres has burned
state-wide since the first of the year.
Port St Lucie City Council members will get a presentation on the city's
financial condition as of the end of the last budget year tonight.
The report says the city is seeing an increase in revenues as the
economy improves. The report does not address the Digital Domain
bankruptcy and its effects on the city finances since that happened
after the 2012 Fiscal Year ended. The meeting starts at 7pm at
Martin county deputies are
looking for a man who assaulted a ten year old girl Sunday afternoon.
Around 5pm the girl says the man asked her to help look for his dog in a
woods in the Manatee Creek area near Cove Road and Dixie Hwy where the
assault took place. At least 3 people saw the suspect running northeast
from the scene. The suspect is a man in his 20s with short dirty blonde
buzz cut hair wearing a two colored blue striped shirt. He had a cast or
a brace on one hand.
A 50 year old man got bit on the hand last week by a shark at Jensen
Beach. It happened at the south end of the beach and lifeguards helped
get him to shore. It’s the 7th shark bite at Treasure Coast
Beaches since last year. 5 of them have been in Martin County
Weather permitting, they’ll be doing a controlled burn at Jonathan
Dickenson State Park today. They’ll be burning off the undergrowth on
120 acres north of Hobe Mountain between the railroad tracks and US One.
SUNDAY APRIL 7
There were two shootings overnight
north of Ft Pierce. The St Lucie County sheriff's office says two
men and a woman were standing in the driveway of a home on Kingsley
Drive Saturday night when shoots were fired from two vehicles that drove
by. All three were hit, but with non life-threatening wounds.
In the second shooting early Sunday morning, a house on North 42nd St,
about a mile away from the first shooting, was hit by gunfire.
The Elliott Museum has its 17th annual Classics at the Beach car show
today. It features classic Corvettes on display. People
should park at Witham Field and ride the free shuttle busses. It's
from 10am to 3pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children.
Sailfish Brewing Co has opened in Ft Pierce. The company was
started three years ago by three friends who brewed beer in the garage.
They thought it was tasty enough to go commercial. Saturday they
opened on Second St. Their brand will be available at the brewery
itself and at local outlets soon.
Two men were arrested in Palm City Friday and may be involved in the
pillow case burglaries. Deputies found stolen credit cards, stolen
checkbooks and stolen IDs in their vehicle during a traffic stop.
Ingram Harper, 25, and Charleston Williams were taken to the Martin
County jail. Both are from Ft Lauderdale. The pillow case
burglar ring is believed to be operating out of Broward County.
FRIDAY APRIL 5
Stuart's Witham Field's control tower will remain open until at least
mid-June. The FAA announced today it was postponing the closing of
149 smaller airport control towers that was supposed to begin Sunday.
The FAA says a number of the airports want to fund operations and the
delay gives them that chance to come up with a plan. Martin County
Commissioners want the Witham Field tower to stay operational and are
looking into ways to fund it if the FAA follows through with budget
cuts. Witham Field's tower was scheduled to close May 5th.
As many as a thousand people showed up at a fundraiser for St Lucie
County Sheriff's Sgt Gary Morales' family in Port St Lucie today.
The event featured meals and the sale of Tshirts and other items to help
the family of the murdered law officer at the Civic Center. It
continues a string of special benefits for Sgt Morales' wife and two
Florida's US Senator Bill Nelson now supports gay marriage. He
opposed it last fall while he was up for reelection. Nelson says
"to discriminate against one class and not another is wrong."
Nelson had previously supported gay civil unions.
The Federal government says Florida owes Uncle Sam more than $12 million
in overpayments to the Medicaid program. The Feds say they
reimbursed DCF $22 million between 2007 & 2010 but the state has not
provided the proof required to verify the payments were justified.
Last year DCF said Martin & St Lucie County owed them tens of millions
for Medicaid claims. Both counties fought that and settled for a
fraction of the original amount.
Port St Lucie Mayor JoAnn Fiaella presented a Golden Apple Award to West
Gate K-8 today. The award is given to schools who show excellence
or significant improvement in academics. Mayor Faiella plans to
present the Golden Apple to three more Port St Lucie schools in coming
The Treasure Coast and Palm
Beaches had to deal with some rough weather Thursday afternoon. There
were gusty winds, lightning, heavy rains and hail. A Tornado warning was
issued after radar spotted on near Jonathan Dickenson State Park. The
Martin County Sheriff’s office’s Steve Leighton says the weather was
worse in Hobe Sound which had hail and Jensen Beach which had 50-60 mph
winds. Port St Lucie also had some bad weather. Rainfall at
backyard on-line weather stations showed many received more than an inch
of rain in a short time. More than a dozen after-school events and
sports were canceled by the weather. Several flights to Palm Beach
International were diverted to Ft Myers and other airports during the
worst of the weather Thursday afternoon.
Hunter Henry was taken off life support Thursday morning and died
of injuries he received when a car hit him while he was riding his
bicycle to school. The 16 year old Port St Lucie High School student
wanted his organs donated and his wish was honored. His friends held a
road side candle light vigil last night where he was hit.
The name of the 13 year old Georgia boy hit and killed by a car on
Hutchinson Island Wednesday night has been released. The FHP says it was
James McHenry who was hit while trying to cross A-1-A near the Courtyard
Port St Lucie Police raided three homes and arrested 9 on drug
charges this week. Police say 45 year old Kevin Piscottano ran the big
drug ring that specialized in prescription drugs. His wife Christine was
Martin County deputies helped seize things from attorney Willie Gary’s
home in Sewalls Point Thursday. Iberra Bank recently won a $4.2 million
judgment against Gary and his wife and the things seized were done under
court order to satisfy the judgment. Whatever it was they took filled up
The Martin County school board is being sued by the wife of one of
its members. Pamela Busha filed a federal lawsuit claiming she is owed
overtime for work while she was a secretary for three years in
then-Superintendent Nancy Klines office and that she was illegally moved
to Murray Middle School by current Superintendent Laurie Gaylord.
Busha’s husband Michael is on the school board.
1,221 people braved the weather to watch the St Lucie Mets beat
the Jupiter Hammerheads 7-2 in last night’s home opener. The Little Mets
scored 3 runs in the first and 3 in the 7th. Matt Reynolds
and Cam Maron each had two hits for the Mets. The two teams play again
tonight. Fans who bring a can of food will get in free. The food will be
given to the Treasure Coast Food Bank.
THURSDAY APRIL 4
A tornado watch has now been dropped for the Martin-St Lucie County area
as the worst of severe weather appears to have blown out to sea.
More storms are expected tonight and Friday, but the worst is over.
Earlier this afternoon a tornado warning was issued for
eastern Martin County after radar indicated one near Jonathan Dickenson
State Park around 3:38. It was moving east at 25 mph and it has
since moved out to sea. There are numerous reports of pea to
dime-size hail in the Hobe Sound area this afternoon. The worst
weather was from Bridge Rd to JD State Park. The Jensen Beach area
had 50-60 mph winds. No damage reported. Palm Beach County
experienced severe weather with lots of lightning and heavy rains during
the afternoon rush hour.
Hunter Henry died this morning of injuries he received when a car hit
him while he was riding his bicycle to school. The 16 year old
Port St Lucie High School student had reportedly been on life support
for the past few days.
A Port St Lucie couple was terrorized overnight by two men. Police
say the male victim was ambushed in the parking lot of his apartment on
SE Wild Meadow Circle, forced inside at gunpoint. The gunman was
joined by a second man who tied up the wife. A 2 year old child
was sleeping in a bedroom. The victim was ordered to the The
Dollar Store on Old Dixie in Stuart and get money. One gunman
followed in a second vehicle. After getting money from the store,
the gunman ordered him to go to an employee's home to get more cash.
The victim intentionally crashed his vehicle on the way there to get a
Martin County deputy's attention. The deputy immediately notified
Port St Lucie Police. They found the wife still tied up and her 2
year old child still asleep and unharmed. The second gunman was
not there. The other gunman escaped.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy is giving 5% of his pay to a
variety of worthy causes while the budget sequestration mess
continues in Washington. His first $8,700 donation will be to Sgt
Gary Morales' family.
A teenager was hit and killed
on Hutchinson Island last night. The preliminary report is that the 13
year old from Georgia and a friend were trying to cross A-1-A at South
Ocean and Aqua Ra Drive across from the Courtyard by Mariott Inn at 7:25
last night where the family was staying. The friend made it across, he
did not. He was airlifted to Martin Memorial North where he was
16 year old Hunter Henry remains on life support after being hit by a
car while riding his bicycle to Port St Lucie High. His friends have set
up an impromptu memorial along Lennard Road where he was hit. Henry is a
member of JROTC and his mother says he’s always wanted to join the
military. Students at PSLHS will wear orange today as a tribute to
Henry. Orange was his favorite color.
Treasure Coast residents who like to play games at Arcades were
part of a big turnout of people in Tallahassee Wednesday to lobby the
Florida legislature to keep arcades legal and not ban them like they are
internet cafes. Gail Fontaine is with the Florida Arcade Association.
She says penny arcades are popular with seniors. Penny arcades are
one of the largest private business employers in St Lucie County, which
has one of the highest unemployment rates in Florida. Hundreds would
lose their jobs if the arcade ban goes through.
Ft Pierce Police founds a bunch of guns while investigating recent
shootings in the Avenue F area. Several people fled out the back as they
got there, but they did arrest some. They found 5 guns inside the home.
Ft Pierce Police are cross checking to see where the guns came from and
who had possession of them and if they‘ve been used recently in crimes.
Ft Pierce Police arrested a man for allegedly setting fires at the
Days Inn Hotel early Wednesday morning. Security video shows 46 year old
Robert Powers setting fire to some bushes in the parking lot, then
putting it out. There were two other fires set at the motel the same
Home prices in South Florida are up almost eleven-percent compared to
one year ago, beating the national average. The numbers from the
Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index now show prices in Palm
Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties are where they were before the
housing bubble first started to inflate in 2003. Nationally, prices
climbed eight-point-one-percent in the 20 largest markets measured by
The people living in Mariner Sands have raised and given $350
thousand to a variety of non-profits and good causes. The House of Hope,
Boys & Girls Clubs and Hospice are among those receiving critical
funding help. Over the years, Mariner Sands residents have donated $10
million to worthy causes.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 3
Martin County school financial reserves are in worse shape than first
thought. School officials first told the school board last month
reserves have dropped below the 3% required by state law. They
were told last night reserves are even smaller than first thought.
Martin County Schools still have $3.5 million even though that's just
2.64%. Officials blame mistakes by the previous administration.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy has raised $550,000 during the
first quarter of the year for his reelection campaign. That brings
his total campaign fund to $660,000. Republicans are expected to
spend a lot of money to try and take the seat in the 2014 elections.
A year old Port St Lucie boy hit by a car Tuesday morning is on
life-support to give doctors time to harvest his organs. Hunter
Henry was hit from behind while riding his bicycle to school near
Lennard Road and Tiffany. The 82 year driver told news partner CBS
12 he had been praying for the boy and would trade places if he could.
The Martin County School Board
held a public workshop on the new Common CORE curriculum last night at
Stuart Middle School. It will replace the Florida Sunshine State
testing standards and the FCATs. Some parents had serious doubts
about the new program. They worry about the collection of personal
student information on-line and a loss of local control over education.
Parents also wondered why there was no local input before the new plan
was approved. Meanwhile, protesters were at Palm Beach Road near
JD Parker school Tuesday morning objecting to the Common CORE
Curriculum. One sign read "Keep Bill Gates Out of our Schools", and
apparent reference to the on-line testing CORE requires.
The Toronto Blue Jays are one team interested in moving spring
training to a new stadium in Palm Beach Gardens. Jim Crain who owns the
Houston Astros and the Floridian in Palm City told MLB.com this week is
one of several teams he’s talked to about moving and sharing a spring
training facility with the Astros. The New York Mets and St Lucie County
are also looking for a second team to share Tradition Field.
A private company is looking at the Port of Ft Pierce as a place
to set up a fuel distribution center. The St Lucie County Economic
Council won’t say who it is, but say they are ready to make $130 million
in Port improvements brining in $3 million a year in tax revenues and
create some, but not a lot of good paying jobs. The facility would
handle gas, diesel and even jet fuel. The fuel would be brought in on
tankers, offloaded at the Port into trains for transport all over
Florida. Environmentalists, worried about the Indian River Lagoon, are
already organizing to oppose it.
A Stuart woman will be going on a shopping spree downtown.
Christie Donn won a $500 shopping spree during the recent Stuart Main
Street, Downtown Business Association’s Spring Stroll thru the downtown
TUESDAY APRIL 2
Florida Gulf Coast University basketball coach Andy Enfield has taken
the head coaching job at Southern California.
A 16 year old boy was hit by a car in Port St Lucie earlier this
morning. He was riding his bicycle to PSLHS when hit from behind
by an 82 year old driver around 7am at Tiffany and Lennard. The
boy was knocked off his bike and across the hood of the car. He
was transported in critical condition to Lawnwood's Trauma Center.
Protesters were at Palm Beach Road near JD Parker school this morning
objecting to the CORE Curriculum Florida is moving to replacing the
state education and FCAT testing. One sign read "Keep Bill Gates
Out of our Schools", and apparent reference to the on-line testing CORE
requires. The Martin County School Board holds a public workshop
on CORE tonight at Stuart Middle School.
Martin County airport and legal staff will meet with residents, groups
and airport interests to see if they want to keep the control tower at
Witham Field open after the FAA shuts it down in May. Should the
control tower be under county or state control and how it should be
funded are two questions to be answered before County Commissioners
decide what they want to do. The public's wishes will be presented
at a county commission meeting later this month.
Martin County Commissioners voted today not to buy the old Rio
Village Mobile Home Park after all. The Commission majority felt
they had accomplished their main goal to clean the park up during the
pending sale by demolishing and removing the old trailers.
Commissioners were warned by staff if they back out of the purchase,
which they have to right to do, they may be sued which would cost Martin
County much more than just buying the 20 acres. Doug Smith and
Anne Scott voted against canceling the deal.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant
operated in a safe manner during 2012. Unit 1 was watched more
closely the first 9 months of last year after several shutdowns the year
before. The NRC was satisfied with the corrective measures taken
by FPL and the entire plant returned to normal oversight the end of last
They were out all day Monday
putting out hot spots from the northern St Lucie County brush fire that
just won’t go out. About 480 acres have burned. It’s been burning for
more than a week. Officials says there’s a 2 inch buildup of dead pine
needles on the ground that makes for perfect brush fire fuel. Every time
they think it’s out, it flares back up thanks to the winds. The Florida
Forest Service’s Melissa Yunas says with the winds picking up each
afternoon, they’re not confident they have the fire out. 9 homes
have been damaged and several buildings like sheds have been destroyed.
Smoke has been a health concern for people living in the area.
This week the state is marking the 500th anniversary of Ponce de
Leon's arrival in Florida. Secretary of State Ken Detzner officially
launched the Viva Florida 500 celebration as events take place across
the state to recognize the milestone. Detzner says the Seminoles do have
reason to share in the celebrations because no other state has the
diversity of cultures, races and religions as Florida. Rare
documents maintained in the state archives will be on display, including
the state's original constitution from 1838 and a map of Sir Francis
Drake's voyage to the West Indies made in 1586. An exact replica of a
Spanish ship that made the voyage from Puerto Rico to Florida set sail
Monday for Florida retracing Ponce de Leon's voyage.
There’s an important Martin County School Board workshop tonight
on how new education standards called Common Core. It replaces Florida’s
Sunshine State Standards to the national standard by the 2014 school
year. That means new on-lline tests replacing the FCAT. There’s been a
lot of questions by parents. Those will be explained tonight. The
meeting is at 7pm at Stuart Middle School.
Martin County Commissioners have to deal with fallout from the budget
sequestration cuts made that will close the Witham Field control tower.
Today’s they will review the options that include taking over paying the
contract control tower operators to keep them on duty. There’s a concern
about safety if the control tower shuts down.
Former Martin County Commissioner Bud Wilcox has died. He was 88.
He was elected in 1992 and was on the commission until 2000. His
campaign slogan was “this Bud’s for you.” He was a strong supporter of
the comprehensive plan but supported development if it meshed with the
comp plan. Bud Wilcox was a pilot. His wife Joan was involved in
politics too. A memorial service will be held April 11th.
A Ft Pierce man plead no contest to charges he robbed a
convenience store and hijacked an ice cream truck in 2009. 28 year old
Charles R Boudah took the plea just before his trial was scheduled to
begin. He was sentenced on the spot by the judge to 5 years in prison.
Port St Lucie Police say he robbed a convenience store on Airoso and Ft
Pierce Police say he hijacked an ice cream truck about an hour later in
There two more pillowcase type home burglaries last week in Palm
City. Theives broke in thru the back sliding doors of home in the Fox
Meadows development, and took jewelry and valuables. Pillowcases were
missing off the beds. The Martin County Sheriff’s office will have s
series of town hall meetings next week to give homeowners tips on
fighting burglaries and other crimes.
A Miami man was arrested on a variety of drug charges after he threw
cocaine out the car window after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper tried
to stop him for speeding on I-95 near Ft Pierce. 34 year old Patrick
Anthony Peter Romeo was clocked doing 82 mph thru the low-speed
construction zone. He got off I-95 and drove to Jenkins Road, allegedly
tossing cocaine out the window as he went. His bond is set at more than
The Martin County school district’s SPAM Robotics team has taken
first place in the Regional science fair. This year, they had to design
a robot that could throw a Frisbee among other things. The SPAM Robotics
team is students from all of Martin County’s high schools mentored by
Pratt-Whitney engineers. Last year they won a the world robotics
championship with their robot that shot basketballs.
MONDAY APRIL 1
Firefighters spent the day trying to contain the brush fire that flared
up again on Sunday in northern St Lucie County. It has now burned
480 acres since starting with a lightning strike ten days ago.
The FAU football stadium won't be named after the GEO company. The
GEO Foundation today withdrew its $6 million offer for the naming rights
saying it was best for the university. A few students had objected
because GEO runs prisons nationwide, and have had allegations of civil
rights violations at some of them.
St Lucie County's Rick Ankiel made the Houston Astro's roster during
spring training. Sunday night he belted a 3 run home run late in
the game to win it. Martin County's Scott Proctor tried out for
the San Francisco Giants. He was sold to the Baltimore Orioles and
will start the season with their AAA ball team in Norfolk.
That big brush fire in
northern St Lucie County a week ago rekindled Sunday due to strong
gusting winds. 80 acres in the Indrio Road-Kings Hwy burned and is
almost contained this morning. At one point the winds pushed the flames
toward some mobile homes, but they were stopped in time Roads in the
area were closed Sunday but are now open. The only road still closed is
the Turnpike Feeder Road. Forestry brought in a helicopter that made 49
water drops. St Lucie County had ten brush trucks and fire engines on
scene while Forestry had also had a fire truck and 7 bulldozers there
cutting fire lines. Crews stayed on scene overnight and will be there
again today watching for hot spots. It’s still smoky in the area. 200
acres burned in this same area last Sunday.
The Red Cross was called in Saturday night to help 4 adults after
a house fire on Hillmore Drive in Port St Lucie.
There were several shootings in Ft Pierce and the Vero Beach area over
the weekend. In Vero Beach 5 people were hurt in a shooting Sunday night
near the Smith Grocery store. Officials believe a group got into a
fight, and guns were pulled and shots fired. 4 were hit by gunfire and a
baby was hit by flying glass. One of those shot was airlifted to a
trauma center. Saturday, another man was shot in the same area, 29 year
old John Ross later died. Two men where shot in two separate incidents
in Ft Pierce. A 27 year old told police someone fired several shots at
him as he stood outside his home on Colonial avenue Saturday night. Then
an 18 year old was found shot in the 2200 block of Avenue G. He was
transported to the hospital.
Easter sunrise services at the beach were popular Sunday. More
than 500 attended the sunrise service at the Jensen Beach concession
stand area. Other, smaller services were held at other beachs in Martin,
St Lucie and Indian River counties. The government offices and
courthouses that were closed for Good Friday are open today. Martin
County schools are closed today and there’s no classes at FAU. There is
school today in St Lucie County.
Ken Pruitt has signed on to lobby for big sugar in Tallahassee. Scripps
Treasure Coast Newspapers reported Sunday Pruitt has been hired to lobby
for Florida Crystals. Pruitt has been a lobbyist the past couple years
and made twice the money doing that as he did as St Lucie County
Property Appraiser. Some Treasure Coast environmentalist are
disappointed that Pruitt is now with Florida Crystals. They view big
sugar as the main reason the Florida Everglades and the St Lucie River
are in the shape they are in. The River Coalition’s Len Abood is one of
them. He tells Scripps Pruitt was a huge advocate for the river early in
his political career, but now has gone for the money.
Saturday was Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy’s birthday.
He turned 30 and is the youngest member of congress. On his birthday,
his campaign sent out an email asking for campaign donations for the
2014 elections. Several local Republicans are thinking of running
against him and the national Republican party has targeted Murphy’s seat
as one they think they can win.
WEEKEND EDITION MARCH 30 & 31
7:30 pm BRUSH FIRE UPDATE: Last
weekend's brush fire in northern St Lucie County rekindled today due to
strong gusting winds. 80 acres in the Indrio Road-Kings Hwy are
burning and 50% contained as of 7pm. At one point some mobile
homes were threatened, but not so much now. Roads in the area are
closed. 200 acres burned in this same area last Sunday.
A warming trend begins this weekend. After an unusually cool
Spring Break week for local students, temperatures will begin to rise to
the mid to upper 80s early next week.
Dozens of Easter egg hunts are being held this weekend on the Treasure
Coast. Two of the biggest are at Port St Lucie's Whispering Pines
Park and another at Pineapple Park in Jensen Beach Saturday.
Two Palm City burglary suspects were caught after a short chase Friday.
The Martin County sheriff's office says
27-year old David Weingrad, 27, of Port St. Lucie, and 30-year
old Georgia Scordamaglia, 30, went inside a home where two children were
playing and pushed them around before taking a box of money and fleeing.
Neighbors got a description of the vehicle and a deputy saw it and gave
chase and made the arrest. Sheriff William Snyder credits quick
action and a detailed description of the get-a-way car by neighbors.
FRIDAY MARCH 29
A St Lucie County school bus aide has been charged with harassing a
disabled 5 year old student on the bus. 37 year old Daneta
McPherson was arrested after a three month investigation. Port St
Lucie Police say she harassed the boy both on the way to and from school
by yelling at him and threatening to take him home with her.
Police say the boy was left in tears on multiple occasions.
Treasure Coast unemployment was down in February. The state says
the jobless rate dropped 6-tenths of a point in Martin County to just
7.6%. The St Lucie County rate is below double digits for the
first time in years, having dropped 7-tenths of a point to 9.5% in
February. The Florida unemployment rate had dropped too, to 7.7%.
More charges were filed against Eriese Tisdale today for the murder of
St Lucie County Sheriff's Sgt Gary Morales. The weapons and
fleeing charges are not as important as the first degree murder charges.
A Judge did grant bond on some of the lesser charges today, but there is
no bond for the murder charges. No date has been set for the trial
Tisdale has asked for. Meanwhile a fundraiser for the Morales
family will be held Saturday afternoon at the Jensen Beach Shucker's.
This is Good Friday. Most
everything is open today. Years ago most businesses, banks and
government offices closed in the afternoon, but not now. All Treasure
Coast government offices will be open all day except Sewalls Point and
Jupiter Island Town Hall….they are closed all day. The Martin County
Courthouse is closed as is the Property Appraiser's and the Elections
office. The rest of the Martin County offices are open. The
St Lucie County Courthouse and the Adams Federal Courthouse in Ft Pierce
are closed today. So is the St Lucie County Tax Collector and the
the Elections office. Many Treasure Coast churches have Good
Friday services this afternoon.
The Ocean Breeze Homeowners Association members will vote April 15th
on selling their trailer park to a Colorado RV park operator. 80% of the
HOA shareholders must vote to sell for the deal with Carefree RV Resorts
to go thru. Many residents appear to favor the plan which would get them
out of the $25 million debt they owe the heirs of the park’s founder.
Two cell phone stores were broken into early Thursday morning. The
AT&T store on Martin Downs Blvd was broken into by a man with a sledge
hammer. Less than an hour later an AT&T store on Village Drive in Port
St Lucie had its front door smashed and it was burgled. Two weeks ago
another cell phone store in Port St Lucie was cleaned out after thieves
smashed their way in.
Gov Rick Scott wants Washington to reimburse the millions the
state has spent upgrading Florida deep water ports. The state has spent
$77 million at the Port of Miami and will spend another $36 million
improving the Port of Jacksonville. Gov Scott want the Obama
administration to pay for it. Today the President will talk about jobs
during a tour of the Port of Miami.
Ft Pierce Westwood has a new head football coach. John Lima was
defensive coordinator at Tampa Leto High and was head coach at Bradenton
where he led the Manatees to the playoffs 4 out of 6 years. He was also
named the Hillsborough County Coach of the Year. Lima replaces Gene
Clemons. Westwood hasn’t been very good the past two year with only a
St Lucie County’s Rick Ankiel has made the Houston Astro’s regular team
roster. He was invited to try out and has had a good spring training so
far. He’s hitting .415. Martin County’s Scott Proctor is trying to make
the San Francisco Giant’s regular season roster. He has a 4.50 ERA in 12
spring training camp games.
THURSDAY MARCH 28
A Ft Pierce woman, Sharon Smith, won this year's YMCA Easter House.
The winning ticket was picked by CBS 12 Morning News anchor Eric Roby.
A last-minute push of ticket sales brought in another $213 thousand.
Ten days ago the Y was $250,000 short of their goal. This year's
Easter House is in Palm City.
A jet ski accident in the Intercoastal in Tequesta sent a man to the
hospital this afternoon. His jet ski hit a sandbar, sending him
flying just south of the Martin-Palm Beach County line. He was
airlifted to St Mary's Medical Center.
Stuart Main Street wants the city to extend the river boardwalk.
Right now it starts at the River Stage near city hall and goes under the
Roosevelt Bridge. Main Street wants it to run the other way, from
the Stage to a small park at the end of Colorado Avenue as a way to
attract more people downtown.
Two Port St Lucie men were arrested early this morning on burglary
charges. Police say one was seen inside a car on SE Manth Lane
while the other stood lookout. The victim chased one, and got his
stolen radio back. Port St Lucie Police searched the area and a K9
tracked and found suspects Robert Lewis, 27, and Zachary Janiszewski in
a home on SE Carvalho. They were arrested after the victim
Port St Lucie Police have identified three suspects in the theft of a
gumball machine from the lobby of St Lucie Medical Center last weekend.
They are 20 year old Travis J White and 19 year olds Gabrielle Ortiz and
Desmond Humes, all from Port St Lucie. Tips from the public helped
identify them after hospital lobby security video was shown on TV. If
you know where they are, call Treasure Coast Crimestoppers.
Sailfish Splash water park is closed again today due to the
colder-than-normal temperatures. Temperatures will steadily rise the
next few days which should let them open for the weekend.
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers has started restricting its free,
on-line access to much of its TCPalm.com material. Everything is
available on-line if you subscribe. The least expensive option is
$9.99 a month for the first three months. It's almost three times
that if you sign up for the hardcopy newspaper too.
A 73 year old missing St Lucie County man has been found safe & sound.
Joseph Ryan was reported missing Tuesday morning and was found just
before midnight last night in Port St Lucie.
The St Lucie County grand jury
indicted Eriese Tisdale for first degree murder for the death of Sgt
Gary Morales. The indictment was read in court around 3:45 Wednesday
afternoon after less than a full day’s testimony. Tisdale has said he
wants a trial. Treasure Coast State Attorney Bruce Colton says he will
pursue the death penalty.
May 5th is when the Witham Field Airport traffic
control tower is scheduled to shut down unless congress comes up with a
budget sequestration fix. 14 control towers at smaller Florida airports
will be shutting down starting next month. Martin County Commissioners
are scheduled to discuss possibly taking over the control tower at next
week’s meeting. The control tower at St Lucie International will stay
Tom Maher is leaving the Hibiscus Children’s Center. He’s been the CEO
the past 6 years. Maher will leave the end of May for another
opportunity. The Hibiscus Children’s Center began 25 years ago and cares
for abused and neglected kids in Martin, St Lucie & Indian River County.
Wednesday’s extra Day of Giving worked. The Martin County
Community Foundation took in an extra $100 thousand in donations that
will be matched with another $40 thousand by the Foundation and
distributed to dozens of charities and non-profits. The total two day
donations hit $250 thousand.
The Treasure Coast Y gives away the Easter House today. It’s their
biggest fundraiser of the year, and at last word the Y was $100 thousand
short on ticket sales. You can still get a $10 tour ticket until 3pm
today. You can do than on-line or at the Y itself on Monterey Road.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 27
The St Lucie County grand jury today indicted Eriese Tisdale for first
degree murder for the death of Sgt Gary Morales.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy says the Army Corps of
Engineers has begun the design work to dredge the St Lucie and Ft Pierce
Inlet. The projects would repair shoaling caused by Hurricane
Sandy. The dredging would be done by the end of the year. So
far though there is no money to actually do the work, only enough to
design and plan for it. Congressman Murphy says he's working on
Former Governor Charlie Crist side-stepped the normal process to give
the now-bankrupt Digital Domain $20 million in state incentives to come
to Port St Lucie. The Inspector General's report says no laws were
broken, but it was outside the normal process and despite reservations
by Enterprise Florida, the state agency usually charged with vetting and
offering incentives to business. The report also says the same
thing could happen again under current law.
Governor Rick Scott has written Frank Brogan a letter wanting more
answers on a professor at FAU who had students stomp on the name Jesus
as a class assignment. Brogan is Chancellor of Florida's
university system and used to be president of FAU.
A Port St Lucie mother was charged with child neglect after police found
3 young children at home alone. Police arrested Ingrid Hector.
She said the children's uncle was supposed to be watching them, but they
found out he left the home before she did. The children are ages
2,3 and 5. Port St Lucie Police went to the home after a 911
Sailfish Splash water park is closed again today due to the cold
weather. Martin County had opened the park early this year to give
kids and families something to do during spring break, but the weather
has gotten in the way.
A series of crashes brought Florida Turnpike traffic going south in
Martin County to almost a standstill during this morning's rush hour.
The first crash at 6:14 am was a semi that rolled over on the guardrail
at the 119 mile marker just north of the Martin-Palm Beach County line.
Later, two more semi's were in a crash in the same area. The
HazMat team was brought in to check the cargo before it was off-loaded.
The CEO of Martin Health
Systems was charged with a DUI last weekend by Stuart Police. They
pulled Mark Robitaiile over Saturday night after seeing him speeding and
weaving on the Roosevelt Bridge. Stuart Police dash cam recorded what
he told the officer The video shows Robitaiile had trouble saying
the alphabet and say he had a blood alcohol level almost twice the legal
limit. Robitaille told police he had been at a wedding at Willoughby
Country Club. In a statement by Robitaiile and Board Chairman George
Lehach. Robitaiile apologizes for what happened and says he’s profoundly
grateful no one was hurt. Lehach says the Board is disappointed but says
Martin Health Systems will continue to move forward under Robitaiile’s
The Florida High School Athletic Association continues to push back
against proposed laws that would limit their authority to set and
enforce eligibility rules for playing high school sports. Executive
Director Roger Dearing told reporters on a conference call the problem
with the bills. Dearing says the bills would allow sports agents too
much influence. Dearing says it’s not fair for student athletes to
compete against those who are not eligible. The FHSAA has held the state
high school baseball championships on the Treasure Coast in recent years
and will hold the state swimming and diving championships at Sailfish
Splash water park in Stuart the next three years.
The St Lucie County grand jury meets today to hear evidence in the
Eriese Tisdale murder case. He’s already plead not guilty in the murder
of St Lucie County sheriff’s Sgt Gary Morales during a traffic stop.
Prosecutors hope the grand jury indicts him for first degree murder as a
step toward asking for the death penalty if Tisdale is convicted.
An elderly Stuart man was killed in an I-95 traffic crash in Palm
Beach Gardens Tuesday morning. 79 year old Donald E Quint was a
passenger in the car driven by his 56 year old son. The car was
northbound when is suddenly went out of control, spun around and was hit
by a Stanley Steemer truck.
If the weather permits, they plan a controlled burn at the Savannahs
Preserve east of Port St Lucie today. The winds can’t be too high and
humidity levels cant be too low. They want to burn 50 acres of pine
flatwoods and grasses to prevent a real out of control brush fire in the
There’s been so many people wanting to donate money to their
favorite charity thru the Martin County Community Foundation, the
Foundation has extended the Day of Giving thru later this afternoon. The
Foundation will match the smaller donations.
Remaining tickets go on sale this morning for the Sweet 16 game
that pits the underdog Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles against the
Florida Gators. FGCU has a total of 12-hundred-50 tickets to sell for
Friday's game in Dallas and students and season ticket holders get first
dibs. Fans started lining up to get tickets Tuesday.
TUESDAY MARCH 26
You'll need the blanket on the bed the next few nights. Lows will
drop into the low 40s for most of the Treasure Coast tonight. In
western areas like Indiantown and Okeechobee City it will drop into the
upper 30s. The Red Cross has opened a cold weather shelter in Vero
Beach tonight. The normal high this time of year is 80 and the
normal low is 63.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy says he's secured funding to
repair Treasure Coast beaches damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Murphy
says the Army Corps of Engineers is awarding funding to restore beaches
in Ft Pierce and is in the process of releasing funding for Martin
The CEO of Martin Health Systems was charged with a DUI last weekend by
Stuart Police. They pulled Mark Robitaiile over after seeing him
weaving on the Roosevelt Bridge. Stuart Police say he had a blood
alcohol level almost twice the legal limit. Physicians with
privileges at Martin Memorial were notified by email on Monday.
Read statements by Mark
Robitaiile and Chair of Martin Health System's Board George Lehach
It was a lightning strike last Friday that caused Sunday's brush fire in
St Lucie County. The Forestry Service says a lightning strike at
10:53 pm hit a tree in a wooded area at the St Lucie International
Airport. The fire smoldered for a day and a half before flaring up
Port St Lucie Police are looking for a group of bubblegum bandits.
Three men took a gumball machine from the lobby of St Lucie Medical
Center Saturday night. Security video shows them posing with the
gumball machine out in the parking lot.
CORRECTION: Today is the Day of
Giving, not Monday as previously reported. Donors & foundations
working with the Martin County Community Foundation will match your
smaller donation to the favorite local non-profits of your choosing
Information click here yourMCCF.org
In earlier local news....
The St Lucie County brush
fire that broke out Sunday continues to smolder and burn in a marshy
area. It is mostly contained. Officials now say 200 acres
burned. Crews continue putting out hot spots and watching for
flare-ups. The cool temperatures and low humidity concern firefighters.
Two St Lucie County nature areas that had sections burned by Sunday’s
brush fire are closed. The Indrio Savannahs and Indrio Scrub Preserve
will be closed while crews clean them up.
The price of gas is down again in Florida. AAA says it’s averaging
$3.67 a gallon. That’s down another 5 cents from a week ago. AAAs Janice
Brady says gas should go down a little more before starting to go up
again in April. Again this week, West Palm Beach has the highest
gas prices in Florida at $3.80.
This is the week the Treasure Coast YMCA has its annual Easter
House give-a-way. The Ys Robyn Southerland says there’s still time
to tour the house. Southerland says the Easter House is beautiful.
The 1,766 square foot three bedroom home is built by DR Horton in the
Murano community in Palm City. On Thursday one person who toured
the house will win it. The winner can opt to take $125 thousand cash
Stuart is changing its residential parking laws that would allow people
to park a boat, RV or smaller commercial truck in the driveway. Some
would still have to be hidden by a hedge from the neighbors view, but
overall loosens tight regulations. The city is also trying to find a way
to handle irregularly shaped lots and where and how parking is regulated
on them. Vehicles still will not be permitted to park in the grass part
of a lot. The proposed changes will be refined in coming weeks before
final changes are approved.
A Jensen Beach man was arrested over the weekend after allegedly
putting his girlfriend in a choke hold to keep her from calling 911.
Martin County deputies say 46 year old John T Rheaume and the victim had
been arguing when she says he hit her and slammed her into a wall. He
then put the choke hold on for an hour before she got away.
Comcast says it’s increasing its internet speeds on the Blast and
Extreme 50 plans. They will also increase the speed of their Performance
plan. The higher speeds should be up and running in April.
Two St Lucie County firefighters have been awarded the Chief’s
Award for Excellence. Lt Steven Burns and Lt Chris Longo dove in thru
the window of a burning home a few weeks ago to rescue an 8 year old boy
from a Ft Pierce house fire. The boy’s grandmother died and his
grandfather badly burned.
MONDAY MARCH 25
The St Lucie County brush fire that broke out Sunday continues to burn
in a marshy area that is mostly contained. Officials now say 200
acres burned. No homes are threatened. Crews remain on scene
putting out hot spots and waiting for flare-ups. Getting
firefighting equipment back to the heart of the fire is an issue.
The winds are today's biggest concern because they can spread the fire.
A Port St Lucie man was arrested last Friday after police found his 4
year old daughter had been left home, alone for 8 hours while he went to
work. Police say the house was filthy and smelled of cat urine.
Power tools were left out the child had easy access to the pool.
26 year old Curtis L Larmore told them he'd been leaving the girl
unsupervised every-other week Monday thru Friday due to his work
schedule since January.
A man was killed while walking in Indiantown Sunday night.
Officials say 46 year old
Montejo stepped out in front of an SUV near Warfield Blvd &
Jackson Ave just past 8pm.
Treasure Coast Jews begin Passover tonight at sundown. Treasure
Coast Christians begin Holy Week observances today, continuing with Good
Friday and concluding with Easter on Sunday.
St Lucie County had its first
big brush fire this season. 125 acres burned near the St Lucie
International Airport. Nine homes were damaged, but only two of them had
severe damage. Several outbuildings like sheds, barns and garages were
destroyed. Officials say they saved 1,000 homes.
As many as 2,500 people were evacuated for several
hours at the Heatherway apartments, and homes in Indian Pines, Tree Top,
Slash Pines and Southwind developments 100 firefighters were on scene
battling flames. Winds Sunday afternoon gusted up to 40 mph which kept
spreading the fire.
Martin County, Indian River and Okeechobee County all
sent fire crews to help. The Red Cross set up a relief station at Indrio
Crossings for those evacuated and they kept firefighters hydrated.
People were allowed to go back home around 7:30 last night. There were
still hot spots firefighters were putting out and many found now power
and lots of lingering smoke. Firefighters were out there all night and
will stay out there watching for hot spots to flare up.
There’s no school this week on the Treasure Coast. It’s Spring
Break for students in Martin & St Lucie County. The Parks and Recreation
departments in both counties and cities have special programs this week
to keep the kids occupied. The library systems also have special
children’s programs and activities this week.
A missing 87 year old Port St Lucie woman has been found safe.
The sheriff's office says Bernadette Fedoriuk was located in
Hillsborough County after last being heard from around midnight Saturday
night. She called her daughter saying she was on Gatlin Blvd but was
lost. She made a credit card purchase Sunday morning around 6:30 in
You can make your donation to charity go further today by donating
to the Martin County Community Foundation. Several of their biggest
donors promise to match smaller donations to specific non-profits on
this Day of Giving. For more information go to the MCCF.org website.
Florida’s 3 teams are still in the men’s college basketball
tournament. The biggest surprise in Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft
Myers. They beat number two seed Georgetown Friday, then beat San Diego
State 81-71 Sunday to advance to the sweet 16. FGCU shot 56% from the
field. The Miami Hurricanes beat Illinois 63-59 on a clutch 3 point shot
and a controversial call that gave them the ball with less than a minute
to play. The Hurricanes play Marquette Thursday. The Florida Gators
mauled Minnesota 78-64. The Gators play Florida Gulf Coast on Friday.
WEEKEND EDITION MARCH 23 & 24
10 pm Update: A 125 acre brush fire
burning near the St Lucie International Airport is 90% contained.
Nine homes were damaged in the Heatherway community; two with
substantial damage. Several outbuildings like garages, barns and
sheds were destroyed. Forestry figures they saved 1,000 homes.
2,500 people evacuated from Heatherway, Indian Pines,
Tree Tops, Slash Pines and Southwind developments have been allowed to
go home, though there are hot spots and many will find no power.
Smoke will also be a problem.
Winds gusted to 40 mph Sunday afternoon. A heavy rain storm came
thru the area which did help, but it also brought lightning.
Forestry has called in a water-drop helicopter. The Red Cross has set up
a relief station at Indrio Crossings. Martin, Indian River &
Okeechobee County all sent firefighters to help.
SILVER ALERT UPDATE: A missing
87 year old Port St Lucie woman has been found safe. The sheriff's
office says Bernadette Fedoriuk was located in Hillsborough County after
last being heard from around midnight Saturday night. She called
her daughter saying she was on Gatlin Blvd but was lost. She made
a credit card purchase Sunday morning around 6:30 in Indiantown.
It's going to be hot today, and cold again in just a couple. The
Nation Weather Service forecasts high's on the Treasure Coast of 90
today. Another late-season cold front will go thru Florida on
Monday, dropping overnight lows into the 40s Monday, Tuesday and
The FAA will close the control tower at Stuart's Witham Field airport.
The closing is part of the mandatory budget cuts in Washington.
The closing of 149 small airport control towers will begin April 7th and
take a month to complete them all. Control towers in several other
small Florida airports will be closed too, including Titusville and
Naples. Martin County Commissioners announced Friday they will
discuss options of taking over control tower operations at their meeting
on April 2nd. Those options may include asking for contributions
from airport users.
A jury found Freddie Lee "Trouble" McLawhorn guilty of murdering a Port
St Lucie mom in 2010. The jury took 3 hours to convict the Ft
Pierce man. Prosecutors say he went to the home of an alleged drug
dealer in Port St Lucie to steal cash and drugs and shot Melanie
Henningsen during the break-in as her 2 year old son watched. An
accomplice was convicted earlier.
Bathtub Reef Beach reopens this weekend. It's been closed since
severe beach erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy last October.
It's time to celebrate the arts this weekend in Stuart. ArtsFest
features more than 100 local artists featuring their works in a variety
of media such as painting, sculpting and woodworking. Plenty of
entertainment including local school choral groups and jazz bands.
ArtsFest is 10-5 Saturday & Sunday at Memorial Park.
There’s a big flower show this weekend at the Martin County
Fairgrounds. The Garden Club puts the Flower Show and Garden Fest as a
gift to the community. The theme of this year’s show is “Music Music
Music.” There is no admission charge. The flower show is Saturday and
Sunday from 9 to 4.
FRIDAY MARCH 22
They have begun tearing down the old trailers at the Rio Village Mobile
Home Park which Martin County is in the process of buying. Crews
have gone in to dismantle the trailers, salvaging metals for recycling.
People have wanted to get rid of the eyesore for years, and the county
hopes to use the 2 acres on Old Dixie Hwy for the redevelopment of the
People have seen a big crane
at the St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. Here’s why it’s there. The 120 ton
crane will be used to replace a valve at Unit 1. The faulty valve
tripped breakers that took the unit off line March 12th. The
valve is in the steam generation part of the plant, not the reactor
The Port St Lucie Blockbuster Video store will close tomorrow. The
Stuart one will close April 7th. Both are among the 300
Blockbuster Video’s nationwide that are closing. The Port St Lucie store
manager says they are not getting any severance pay.
In earlier Treasure Coast news....
There's no school for Martin County students today as they begin spring
break. Teachers will be at work for a teacher work day.
The former Digital Domain studios are costing Port St Lucie millions,
and will until somebody buys or leases it. Even with that, the city will
pay millions in other costs. The construction bonds cost the city $3.5
million a year. Interim City Manager Jeff Bremer told the city council
Thursday the city has this year’s costs covered. Even if they find a
buyer, Port St Lucie will have to pay out $1.7 million a year in design
and other legacy costs that could go on until 2031. He worries the city
will burn through its reserves if a buyer isn’t found. He said there’s
been plenty of interest, but no serious buyers. The Port St Lucie City
Council ordered Bremer to find a national or international broker to
help sell the studios.
A long-time Martin County businesswoman has bought about 2 acres
near the Old Dixie-Green River Parkway intersection. Frank Wacha Jr put
several parcels at the Avonlea development site up for auction
Wednesday, and Gay Timon won the bid on one of them. She plans a green
market and a convenience store there. Timon owned several ‘Lil Saints
convenience stores in Martin County for years and her family owns SPS.
It was a Wellington woman that died in Wednesday’s crash in Hobe
Sound. The FHP says 22 year old Jessica Marie Timm veered across the US
One median and hit a car going the other way. Timm was pronounced dead
at Martin Memorial South and the other driver, 79 year old Phylis
Harrison of Hobe Sound was airlifted in critical condition to St Mary’s
A long stretch of coral reef off the coast of Palm Beach County
has been severely damaged. Divers say it looks like something was
dragged along the reef, slicing thru it, killing reef that’s hundreds or
even thousands of years old. The best guess is that a tow line towing a
dredge owned by Great Lakes Dredging did the damage. That company is
used to dredge the St Lucie Inlet.
A new poll finds Hillary Clinton would beat both Jeb Bush and
Marco Rubio in Florida in a presidential election. The poll shows her
with an 11 point lead over both. The Qunnipiac University poll also
finds 91% of Florida voters favor background checks on those wanting to
buy a gun.
THURSDAY MARCH 21
Sailfish Splash water park has been selected to host the FHSAA State
High School Swimming & Diving Championships this year thru 2016.
More than 1,500 athletes, coaches and trainers will participate.
5,000 fans are expected to watch the competition in November.
Sailfish Splash opens for its new season Friday.
Treasure Coast home sales were up in February from a year ago. The
Florida Association of Realtors says 507 single family homes were closed
on last month. That's 19.6% more than sold in February 2012.
The median price was $121,500 which is just about the same as a year
Martin County deputies jumped into Lake Okeechobee last night to save an
elderly man and his son whose boat was sinking. They had run out
of gas, and hit some rocks near Port Myaca causing the boat to take on
water. The deputies jumped in as the boat began breaking up.
The elderly man is 84 and suffered broken ribs. Earlier Wednesday
afternoon the Martin County Sheriff's Marine Patrol rescued two other
men who were lost and stranded in their boat.
$7 thousand in a money bag was stolen from a delivery van in Port St
Lucie Tuesday morning. The van was left unlocked as the driver
made a delivery to a liquor store at the Bridge Plaza.
The Treasure Coast has had another jackpot-winning Fantasy 5 lottery
ticket. A ticket in the town of Micco on the Indian
River-Brevard County line matched all the numbers in last night's
drawing. It is worth $83 thousand. Winning Fantasy 5s were
sold the past week or so in Port Salerno and Hobe Sound.
(I know, technically Micco is not on the Treasure Coast, but I
figured...what the heck)
In earlier local news.....
Martin County is just about
the healthiest place to live in Florida. St Lucie County is
healthier too. The University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation looked at factors like the environment, crime rate, healthy
lifestyles of all 67 Florida counties, ranking them for overall healthy
places to live. The Health Department’s Rene Rouse says the report ranks
Martin County second healthiest in Florida. St Lucie County is
also healthier. The county moved up in the rankings, going from #30 last
year to 22nd this year. Health Department officials in both counties are
pleased with the improvements, though say more can always been done.
Palm Beach is 14th & Indian River County 15th healthiest. St Johns
County was ranked first.
A head-on crash killed a person in Hobe Sound late Wednesday afternoon.
The crash was on US One just south of Osprey. One person had to be
extricated with the jaws of life and was airlifted to a trauma center. A
second person was seriously injured. Lanes of US One were closed for 2 ½
hours by the 5pm crash.
Florida is getting into the heart of the brush fire season. There
were more than 860 brush fires burning in Florida as of Wednesday
afternoon. Okeechobee County had a ten acre one that briefly threatened
homes. It began an as illegal trash burn. Most of the brush fires now
burning in Florida are small, but more than 12 thousand acres have
burned across the state since the first of the year. To prevent really a
big brush fire, the controlled burn is planned for today (Thursday) at
the Savannahs Preserve in eastern Port St Lucie.
The South Florida Water Management District is staring 8 water
projects designed to help the Indian River Lagoon. They are things like
retrofits to clean rain water runoff, restoring natural tidal flows,
monitoring sea grass and fertilizers in the water. The SFWMD will spend
about a million dollars on these projects.
Photos of the crime scene of the Tyler Hadley double-murder from
two years ago will not be made public. A judge has agreed the photos of
Blake and MaryJo Hadley might hurt chances that their son will get a
fair trial. Hadley is accused of killing his parents in their Port St
Lucie home, then throwing a party with their bodies still in the
Prosecutors hit Eriese Tisdale with more charges to go with the second
degree murder charge for allegedly killing St Lucie County Sheriff’s Sgt
Gary Morales. They filed weapons and more drug charges this week.
Prosecutors intend to go to the grand jury next week to get an
indictment for first degree murder.
A woman was knocked down and robbed while buying a newspaper in Port St
Lucie Tuesday morning. The 52 year old had stopped to buy a paper at
Floresta and the Crosstown Parkway when she was attacked by a man with a
Another Treasure Coast biotech is partnering with others to expand
their research. VGTI is partnering with Martin Health Systems and
Jupiter Medical Center to do test new medicines and treatments. VGTI
will do the research and Martin Health Systems and Jupiter Medical
Center will do the clinical trials to see if they work.
So far, Treasure Coast schools have been able to spare athletic
programs from budget cuts. But there’s a bill in Tallahassee that would
affect high school sports even more. The bill would allow schools to
recruit student athletes like college sports does. The Florida High
School Activities Association is against that. They say all students
should have the right to play sports and say the kids need to be
protected from unscrupulous, win-at-all-cost recruiters. The bill has
been approved by at least one House committee. Almost all Florida high
schools are members of the FHSAA.
Everything is set for Friday’s opening of Sailfish Splash water
park in Stuart. Last year the new park turned a $389 thousand profit,
and they’ve already sold 3,500 season passes. You can buy a season pass
on line through the Martin County government website.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 20
A head-on crash killed a person in Hobe Sound late Wednesday afternoon.
The crash was on US One just south of Osprey. One person had to be
extricated with the jaws of life. US One was closed for 2 ½ hours by the
A new report says Martin County is the second healthiest in Florida.
The University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had
ranked Martin County #5 last year. St Lucie County moved up in the
rankings, going from #30 last year to 22nd this year. Health
Department officials in both counties are pleased with the improvements.
Palm Beach is 14th & Indian River County 15th healthiest. The
report looked at factors like the environment, crime rate, health
County. St Johns County was ranked first.
Florida is getting into the heart of the brush fire season. There
are 859 brush fires burning in Florida. Most are small, but more
than 12 thousand acres have burned across the state since the first of
the year. To prevent really a big brush fire, the controlled burn
is planned for Thursday at the Savannahs Preserve in eastern Port St
Martin County has approved an increase in impact fees. The County
Commission Tuesday voted 3-2 for a 10% increase in fees on new
construction. Commissioners rejected a consultants other
recommendations to increase them even more. Impact fees were
lowered a couple years ago as Martin County looked for ways to stimulate
the local economy. Impact fees are used to pay for increased need
for government services and schools that growth and development cause.
Dense fog was a problem earlier this morning for Palm Beach and other
counties to the south. Visibility at PBIA down to 1/16th of a mile
and a quarter mile in Ft Pierce.
The power is back on in the St Lucie West area. FPL says
2,543 customers mostly west of I-95 in Tradition lost power for about an
hour. The power outage was reported at 6:13.
The Gardens City Early
Learning Academy will close to help the St Lucie County Schools make the
new budget balance. That’s just one decision the St Lucie County School
Board made last night to close a $15 million gap. The school board
also wants to make changes at several schools. Dan McCarty will become a
middle school again and all middle schools will go to block scheduling.
Each K-8 school will lose a school resource teachers. The district’s
health insurance program will have to be changed too. That alone will
save $7 million. The St Lucie County school board refused to close the
Ft Pierce Magnet School for the Arts and decided not to lay off any
school librarians. St Lucie County School Superintendent Mike
Lannon says none of the cuts made will hurt students
Martin County schools will hold back hundreds of thousands of dollars
meant for special programs just in case the sequestration of the federal
budget gets worse. The school board went along with the state education
department’s recommendation to hold off spending federal grant money.
Martin County schools will keep hold of $646 thousand to deal with any
federal budget cuts.
Water levels on the Treasure Coast and south Florida have begun to
drop due to the dry season. March historically begins the driest part of
the dry season. The SFWMD says rainfall over the 16 counties area is
below normal from the first of the year. The Martin-St Lucie co area has
averaged just 3.75 inches of rain, which is just 54% of he historic
norm. other parts of South Florida are even drier. Experts say this is
not yet a big problem since the summer rainy season is just 3 months
The Treasure Coast States Attorney office will present the Eriese
Tisdale case to the St Lucie County grand jury next week. They hope to
indict Tisdale for first degree murder for shooting St Lucie County
Sheriff’s Sgt Gary Morales. That would allow the death penalty if he’s
convicted. The grand jury will hear the evidence beginning March 27th.
A Ft Pierce man charged with murder during a home invasion went on
trial Tuesday. Police say 30 year old Freddy Lee “Trouble” McClawhorn
broke into a Port St Lucie home in March 2009, and during the break in
to steal drugs and money, the alleged drug dealer’s girlfriend Melanie
Henningsen was shot and killed as her 2 year old daughter looked on. The
second person involved Lamont Davis has already been convicted.
Scientists at the Max Planck institute in Jupiter say they’ve
discovered the role a protein plays in Alzheimer’s. That may…just may
lead to a cure they say. The protein they’ve found seems to cause brain
degeneration. Turning off the brain’s production of the protein
centaurin then allows the brain to recover.
Torrey Pines in Port St Lucie is working with another biotech firm
to develop new cardiac medicines. Torrey Pines President and CEO Dr
Richard Houghton announced they have agreed to partner with
InvivoScience which will do the actual development of new medicines
using Torrey Pines vast biotech library system while Torrey Pines will
do the confirmation testing to see if they work.
A mix-up with deposit slips caused a million-dollar check to be
deposited into the personal bank account of Jupiter Inlet District
Director Mike Grella. Grella tells the "Palm Beach Post" that it took
two months before he even noticed the extra million had been deposited
into his account. Grella says he accidentally used his personal checking
account number on a direct deposit authorization form but all the money
has been put in the right account now. Grella is married to Jupiter
Mayor Karen Golonka.
TUESDAY MARCH 19
Indian River State College
boosts the Treasure Coast economy by more than a billion a year. IRSC
President Dr Ed Massey says an educated workforce is key to the area's
economic well-being. Dr Massey says an IRSC education dollar is a good
investment. For every dollar IRSC gets in government funding, the
Treasure Coast get a $2.40 return to the economy. Dr Massey says IRSC is
proud of their contribution, but better things are ahead. The
study measured the impact of student and college spending and the
benefits of skills and productivity of an educated workforce.
More people are finding work in Florida and the Treasure Coast.
The Florida statewide unemployment rate dropped to 7.8% in January. Gov
Rick Scott says that’s the lowest it’s been in years. Gov Scott
says his economic plan for Florida is working. Treasure Coast
unemployment was at 9.4% in January. Preliminary figures show St Lucie
County had a 10.1% jobless rate which was tied for fourth highest in
Florida. The final figures for last December has the Martin County rate
at 8.4%. The January rate will be released in a couple weeks.
A man's body was found in the St Lucie Inlet near the Stuart Causeway
Monday. The body of 67 year old Mario Hudson was found face down just
north of the causeway. He and a friend had rented standup paddleboards,
but got separated. The body was brought in by the Martin County
Sheriff's Marine Patrol unit 3.
Three people were shot in Ft Pierce Sunday. The first shooting was early
Sunday morning when a man inside a home on North 21st St was
hit by bullets fired at the home. The second shooting was around 9pm
Sunday when a man says he was shot in the hip as he walked to a car
North 32nd St. The last shooting around 10pm, a man was shot
in the head while in a car on Bethany Court. The bullet did not
penetrate the skull, and the victim told police he couldn’t remember
anything. Ft Pierce Police do not think the shooting are related.
The St Lucie County School Board will talk about budget cuts at
tonight’s meeting. They have to find $15 million in cuts by July and
most of the possible cuts are going to be hard and hurt somebody. The
school board meeting starts at 5pm at the school board meeting room in
St Lucie County Schools report they have been able to slash energy costs
so much the past ten years, the school district has gone from being 61st
on the state's energy cost list to 19th. St Lucie County schools now
have the 6th lowest energy consumption per student by schools in
The director of Martin County school’s adult, secondary and
virtual education has been named Superintendent of the Hernando County
Schools. 41 year old Lori Romano had alleged her job was threatened
because she did not actively support former Superintendent Nancy Kline
during last year’s election. She’ll start with Hernando County schools
Annmarie Sperger is this year’s Martin County School-Related
Employee of the Year. She is an ESE Paraprofessional at Hidden Oaks
Middle. She has been with the school district for 22 years and beat out
22 others nominated by each school and several programs to win the
MONDAY MARCH 18
A man's body was found in the St Lucie Inlet near the Stuart Causeway
this afternoon. The body was brought in by the Martin County
Sheriff's Marine Patrol unit 3. The body is a 67 year old paddle
Martin County firefighters put out a fire at a shopping plaza at 1333 NE
Jensen Beach Blvd. The HazMat team was also been called in.
There several shops including a frame business, law office in that
plaza. The fire was reported at 12:30 pm.
Treasure Coast unemployment was at 9.4% in January. Preliminary
figures show St Lucie County had a 10.1% jobless rate which was tied for
fourth highest in Florida. The final figures for last December has
the Martin County rate at 8.4%. The January rate will be released
in a couple weeks. The Martin & St Lucie County rates are combined
to come up with the Treasure Coast rate. The Florida statewide
unemployment rate dropped to 7.8% in January, the lowest since 2008.
St Lucie County Schools report they have been able to slash energy costs
so much the past ten years, the school district has gone from being 61st
on the state's energy cost list to 19th. St Lucie County schools
now have the 6th lowest energy consumption per student by schools in
Indian River State College boosts the Treasure Coast economy by a
billion a year, according to a new study. The study measured the
impact of student and college spending and the benefits of skills and
productivity of an educated workforce.
Classes at the University of Central Florida have been canceled after a
student was found dead in a dorm room, which also had explosives inside.
The dorm's 500 students were evacuated. Officials found a handgun
and a rifle in the room along with IEDs.
A 19 year old Lake Worth woman was seriously hurt in a Port St Lucie
traffic crash around 6:30 this morning. Police say Cathryn
Stalmaker was trying to turn west on Port St Lucie Blvd at Seafury Lane
when her car was t-boned by another vehicle going east. Stalmaker
had to be extricated with the jaws of life. She was taken to
Lawnwood's Trauma Center with life-threatening injuries.
A Port St Lucie teen has been charged with breaking into 4 vehicles
Sunday. Police found a wallet while investigating reports of
burglarized vehicles on the city's west side. The wallet belonged
to a 17 year old who admitted he was bored and burgled the vehicle in a
Another jackpot-winning Fantasy 5 lottery ticket has been sold in Martin
County. A ticket sold at the Publix store on US One in Port
Salerno is one of 7 tickets that matched all the numbers. Each is
worth just $26,711. Last week another jackpot-winning ticket was
sold at a Hobe Sound convenience store.
A 9 year old child died and 3
adults were critically hurt in an I-95 crash in Martin County Sunday
afternoon. Martin County Fire-Rescue says they were all ejected in the
crash at the 112 mile marker around 2:30 pm. Their vehicle swerved to
avoid furniture that fell off the back of a pick up going north. The
vehicle rolled several times. The child was flown to St Mary’s Trauma
Center where the child died. The adults were taken to Lawnwood’s Trauma
A 6 acre brush fire broke out in the Abacoa area of Jupiter Sunday
afternoon. It burned in a preserve off of Morning Dew Circle. The brush
fire index numbers continue to climb. The number is 589 in St Lucie
County, 520 in Martin County and 573 in Indian River County. Officials
begin to worry when it hits 500. There hasn’t been a big brush fire yet
this winter dry season in Martin or St Lucie County. Indian River County
had a big brush fire a couple weeks ago that closed I-95 for about six
Boca Raton Police have arrested a suspect in several bank robberies,
including one in Ft Pierce. Police arrested Rodney Verbeck after
comparing back video from the Ft Pierce robbery with video from a Boca
Missing Port St Lucie brothers were found safe and sound in Sebring
Sunday. 79 year old Leonard B Sparks, Sr and his 61 year old brother
Carl H Hill were last seen at their SE Burning Lane home Saturday
morning around 7:30. . Sparks suffers from dementia and Hill is
developmentally challenged and unable to take care of himself. Mr Sparks
flagged down a Sebring officer Sunday morning.
There’s a target date for the new Bass Pro Shops store to open in Port
St Lucie. In January, Mayor JoAnn Faiella said the outdoor, hunting,
fishing store was coming to town. The company said at the time no final
decision had been made. Mayor Faiella now says the chain is definitely
going to open in an empty shopping plaza on Gatlin Blvd in September and
hire about 150.
Port St Lucie Police need your help finding 79 year old
Leonard B Sparks, Sr and his 61 year old brother Carl H Hill. Sparks
suffers from demintia and Hill is developmentally challenged and unable
to take car of himself. They were last seen at their SE Burning Lane
around 7:30 Saturday morning. They should be in a
silver 2007 Kia Optima 4-door with a tag L146BU with a
cross hanging from the rearview mirror.
A Wells Fargo Bank was held up in Port St Lucie Saturday afternoon.
A man in a yellow hard hat and yellow reflective vest came into the
branch on Village Center Drive just past 1pm. He pulled a gun and
demanded money from a teller and ran out the door. He's described
as black, 5-6, muscular, weighing 170-180 pounds.
A successful fundraiser was held for the Gary Morales family at the YMCA
Sportsworld Saturday night. Morales' wife, two daughters, brother
and other family members were there to skate with others raising money
for the family of the St Lucie County Sheriff's Sergeant killed during a
traffic stop a couple weeks ago.
FRIDAY MARCH 15
St Lucie County beaches are getting rebuilt. A $13 million beach
renourishment project started this week from Normandy Beach south to the
St Lucie-Martin County line. The beach has not been rebuilt since
the hurricanes of 2004 & 2005, though some emergency beach repairs have
been done. A 4 mile stretch of Martin County beaches to the St
Lucie Inlet are also being rebuilt.
Stuart Police served two search warrants last night, arresting one on
cocaine charges, the other for possession of pot and paraphernalia.
22 year old Latoya Jolly was charged with cocaine possession with intent
to sell when they searched her home on ML King Blvd. Her bond was
set at $58 thousand. !8 year old Deojahwann Kelly was arrested on
Murray Middle School's boys basketball team has won the Martin County
Athletic Association's Championship. The Lions beat Doc Anderson
Middle School's Stallions 51-47 to win the Championship for the fourth
South Florida leads the nation in
foreclosures. RealtyTrac says the Palm Beach-Broward-Miami Dade county
area had the most foreclosure activity in the nation in February.
Florida as a whole had a 13% increase in foreclosures from a year ago
with one in every 232 homes receiving a foreclosure notice of some kind.
The man accused of killing St Lucie County sheriff’s Sgt Gary Morales
won’t be formally charged with the crime until next week. The Treasure
Coast States Attorney office had planned to charge Eriese Tisdale with
murder yesterday, but still have witnesses to interview.
The pillow case bandits have hit Martin County again. At least 7
homes in the Palm City area have been broken into the past week. An
organized ring sends burglars here in a rented vehicle. They break into
homes during the day when residents are at work, and stuff jewelry and
other valuables inside pillow cases and leave. They are in and out in
just minutes, getting back on I-95 and head south. 29 burglars suspected
of being part of the pillow case ring have been arrested in Martin
County the past year.
Six Port St Lucie area schools will be getting a visit from Mayor
JoAnn Faiella today. The mayor will present them with the Golden Apple
award for education excellence. The mayor will visit Parkway Elementary,
Palm Pointe Elementary, Westgate and St Lucie West K-8 and St Lucie West
Centennial and Port St Lucie High.
The Miami Dolphins are one step closer to getting a
big tax break from the state to help renovate their stadium. Treasure
Coast State Senator Joe Negron chairs the Budget committee that passed
the tax breaks for the Dolphins.
This could be a record-breaking season for Florida stone crabs, but not
in a good way. Fishermen say they keep finding empty traps and the
harvest is way down. Some have reported their catch is a little over
half what it was just a year ago. Because of the small harvests the
prices of stone crab claws have been skyrocketing. The Florida crab
season runs through May 15th.
Huge changes are coming to the dining and shopping district known
as Downtown Disney. The company previously announced plans to renovate
the attraction and call it "Hyperion Wharf" but new plans show a
complete redesign is in the works. Called Disney Springs, the new venue
will double the number of existing stores and restaurants and will open
in phases though 2016. The expanded property will have
one-point-one-million-square-feet of space and employ four-thousand
There are St Patrick’s Day parades and festivals this weekend.
Saturday the Jensen Beach Chamber has it’s St Patrick’s Day festival
from 11am to 7pm. The parade between 3 and 4pm downtown. In Port St
Lucie, St Patrick's Day Festival starts tonight and runs Saturday and
Sunday at the Civic Center. Plenty of music, food, Irish beer and family
fun things. The Parade is Saturday at 11am.
THURSDAY MARCH 14
4 miles of Martin County beaches will be restored starting this week.
The project will start at the Martin-St Lucie County line south to
Indian River Plantation. The beach will get new sand dredged from
off shore over the next two months. These beaches were last
renourished after the hurricanes of 2005.
A group of Treasure Coast business & community leaders is in Tallahassee
today meeting with state officials and legislative leaders. This
year the locals have wish lists, but no pressing, top priority issue
they are pushing. The annual event is organized by the
Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce.
The Holy Cross Catholic Church in Indiantown holds a special mass for
the new Pope tonight. It begins at 7pm. The congregation is
overwhelmingly Hispanic as is Pope Francis. Other Catholic
churches plan special masses next week and many will be draped in yellow
and white, the papal colors.
News partner CBS 12 reports the
Houston Astros are looking at Palm Beach Gardens for a future spring
training facility. Scripps Newspapers reports they are looking at a 52
acre site about 5 miles south of Roger Dean Stadium where the Marlins
and Cardinals train. The Astros reportedly want to share a spring
training facility with another team. That’s what the New York Mets and
St Lucie County are trying to do. Expand and share Tradition Field.
Astros owner Jim Crane owns the Floridian Golf Club where President
Obama played golf with Tiger Woods. The Astros almost came to Jensen
Beach in 1984, but Martin County voters rejected a bed tax that would
have financed a stadium where the Home Depot store is now.
Prosecutors expect to formally charge Eriese Tisdale with the
murder of St Lucie County sheriff’s Sgt Gary Morales today. Witnesses
were scheduled to be interviewed yesterday and Tisdale is to be charged
with second degree murder. Prosecutors also expect to go to the grand
jury in the future asking for a first degree murder indictment later.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy voted to keep the work
requirements in federal welfare. He was one of 18 Democrats to vote for
it. President Clinton signed the work requirement into law in 1996.
A Florida Senate committee approved Joe Negron's bill that would
limit how local law enforcement agencies can use drones. The Judiciary
Committee unanimously passed the bill that would limit drone use to
active terrorist threats, in so-called "exigent circumstances" like
hostage situations or a missing person case, and when a judge signs a
search warrant. The bill will move on to the full Senate.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 13
Many Treasure Coast Catholics have special reason to celebrate the
election of the new Pope from Argentina. Like Francis I, most
parishioners at Holy Cross in Indiantown and many at St Elizabeth Seton
Church in Port St Lucie are from Latin America. St Martin de
Porres in Jensen Beach is named in honor of a Saint born in Lima Peru.
He is the Patron Saint of those who seek racial harmony. St
Joseph's in Stuart has two Spanish masses each week to serve its growing
Fire broke out at a home in Indiantown this afternoon. The fire at
15384 Seminole Drive was reported at 1:25 and firefighters found fire in
two rooms. The blaze was quickly put out. The cause is under
investigation and no injuries were reported.
Florida Lt Governor Jennifer Carroll has resigned. It comes during
an investigation of an internet cafe company and after the arrest of
company officials. Carroll had sponsored legislation that would
have benefited such companies when she was in the state legislature.
The non-profit Allied Veterans of the World had several officials
charged with racketeering for allegedly profiting by supplying illegal
gambling software to veteran's groups. The Vero Beach Internet
Cafe is among those being investigated.
Port St Lucie Police are looking for a man who tried to rob a man
Tuesday. The suspect walked into the side of a victim's car at
Tuffy Auto, then pretended he was run into. He opened the driver's
door and grabbed his cell phone. The victim did not let go a put
the car in reverse and the suspect left. A nearby gun shop owner
said the same suspect, acting nervous, tried to handle a couple of
handguns, but left when asked for a drivers license.
One of two jackpot-winning Fantasy 5 lottery tickets for last night's
drawing was sold in Hobe Sound. It was sold at the Kwik Stop on
Bridge Road. It's worth more than $105,000. The other ticket
was sold in Largo.
It isn’t just Port St Lucie and
Florida that may have lost out when Digital Domain closed and went bust.
The entire digital animation industry may be moving overseas. CBS 12
reports two former Digital Domain employees, Jonathan Stone & Lisa
Zusper, have started a petition drive asking the President to help keep
digital animation jobs in the US by changing tax breaks rewarding visual
effects studios for moving projects overseas. They say thousands of jobs
are moving to China and other countries.
The link to sign the petition to President Obama is
The proposed calendar for
the next St Lucie County school year is out. it has the new school year
starting August 19th. Thanksgiving would be just a three day break, not
a full week like now. The draft calendar also has the first semester
exams before the Christmas break. Right now St Lucie County students
take about two weeks off at Christmas, then have to come back and take
their finals in January.
New stats show tourism was down in 2012. Martin County hotel
occupancy was down 2.3% last year from 2011. The St Lucie County hotel
occupancy was down about 1%. The Martin County Tourist Development
Council meets today with several new members. Steven Vitale with the Old
Colorado Inn, Suzanne O’Toole with Clarion Inn and Martin County
Commissioner Anne Scott. Sewell’s Point Mayor Tom Bausch is this year’s
chair of the Tourist Development Council Board.
The Martin County School Board has approved a $20 thousand
settlement with Citizens for Sunshine. The nonprofit group sued during
last fall's election claiming three board members broke the state's
Sunshine Law by showing up unannounced at a school district program they
had received complaints about. One of those board members, Laurie
Gaylord, is now Superintendent.
Port St Lucie city council member Michelle Berger will get a little help
with legal fees if she is charged with a Sunshine Law violation during
the events that led to city manager Greg Oravec’s termination. The city
council Monday night approved paying for legal bills up to $1 thousand.
Martin County firefighters collected about $58 thousand during last
weekend's Boot Drive. The money raised will help fly WWII veterans
to Washington to see the World War Two Memorial under the Honor Flights
program. By the way, Monday was firefighter Jahwann McIntyre's
23rd birthday. He is still recovering from severe burns he
suffered two days after Christmas searching a burning home for victims.
A Ft Pierce woman went to jail after allegedly attacking another
woman with a high-heel shoe. Officials say 23 year old Decarta Russell
had had an argument with the other woman three years ago, but just
recently ran across her again which lead to the high-heel attack. Bail
was set at more than $15 thousand.
In high school baseball…Martin County beat Ft Pierce Cental 11-2
last night. Matt Reardon had three hits including a double and triple
and 3 RBIs. South Fork shut out Sebastian River 7-0 as pitchers Jason
Popovich and Ryan Nolan combined on a three hitter. Port St Lucie is off
to a 7-1 start after shutting out John Carroll 5-0. South Fork plays
Martin County Friday night.
TUESDAY MARCH 12
Patrick E. Murphy doesn't like the
budget Republican Paul Ryan came out with. Murphy says it's not a
serious plan and criticizes because it would repeal Obamacare and end
the Medicare program for seniors. He says the
Ryan Budget falls well short of a balanced or serious solution to
address spending, deficit reduction, job creation, and economic growth.
Congressman Murphy called on both parties to work together on a
A Port St Lucie Police officer has been fired for allegedly having sex
while on duty. An Internal Affairs investigation says officer
Charles Green III had sex with a woman during a "lunch break" last
October. He had taken a burglary report from the woman the night
before. The woman's husband was an inmate at the St Lucie County
Jail at the time.
A pedestrian was hit & killed by a train in northern Indian River County
around 2am. Officials consider the death of the 60 year old
Sebastian man a suicide.
The Martin County School Board approved a $20 thousand settlement with
Citizens for Sunshine last night. The nonprofit group sued during
last fall's election claiming three board members broke the state's
Sunshine Law by showing up unannounced at a school district program they
had received complaints about. One of those board members,
Laurie Gaylord, is now Superintendent.
An injury crash reported at Colorado & US One at 6:50 this morning.
Two of the three lanes of US One were closed by the crash snarling rush
Strong storms, winds and high surf
for the Treasure Coast today. A high wind advisory has been issued for
the us. Winds will be gusting higher than 25 mph as a cold front comes
through later today. Seas will be 7 to 10 feet pounding away at Treasure
Coast beaches which may cause more beach erosion, a problem we’ve been
dealing with since last summer. The heavy seas are making it
tricky at best getting thru the St Lucie Inlet.
Gov Rick Scott helped cut the
ribbon at TurboCombustor’s Stuart plant expansion Monday. The company
expects to hire 200 people at an average salary of $45 thousand by 2016.
Company president Gregg Bennett hopes to hire even more people. In
exchange TurboCombustors is getting almost $4 million in state and local
incentives. The governor used the TurboCombusters celebration to push
his plan to end the sales tax on manufacturing in Florida as a good way
to stimulate the state’s economy.
A Florida Senate committee chaired by Treasure Coast State Senator
Joe Negron has basically killed Gov Rick Scotts plan to expand
Medicaid. The governor agreed to expand Medicaid as long as the federal
government agreed to pay for it for three years. Senator Negron prefers
a state solution Negron says it’s better to use the money to help
the poor buy their own medical insurance. By a 7-4 vote they
decided to replace the governor's plan with a managed- care plan with a
copay. The Florida House is also against the Medicaid expansion plan.
We now know what Erise Tisdale had in his car the day he allegedly
shot and killed St Lucie County Sheriff’s Sgt Gary Morales. He had two
handguns, ammunition and marijuana. A search of the car turned up a .45
handgun, a Glock 30 and a clip of ammunition. They also found a woman’s
wallet and a food stamp card. Prosecutors expect to meet with witnesses
Wednesday and file formal murder charges as early at Thursday.
You can now park as long as you want closer to downtown Stuart. The city
commission voted last night to allow longer parking on streets except in
the immediate downtown area, which will still have a three hour limit.
This will allow people who work downtown to park all day while freeing
up more parking for customers closer to stores and restaurants.
The head of Martin County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau Rozeta
Mahboubi is staying here. She didn’t get the job running the Palm Beach
County Tourism Development Council. They promoted in house.
The kids at Palm City Elementary are going to have some
educational fun tonight. It’s the school’s Super Science Family Night
and Book Fair. Students should have a great time learning about
science. The Martin County School District’s World Champion SPAM
Robotics team will have their basketball-shooting robot there. The event
is from 5 to 8pm and is open to Palm City Elementary students and
Starting today part of the Indian Riverside Park Pier will be
closed during the day. They will replace old, broken and missing planks.
The pier will be open at night and on weekends. The work will take
MONDAY MARCH 11
A Florida Senate committee chaired by the Treasure Coast's Joe Negron
has basically killed Gov Rick Scotts plan to expand Medicaid. By a
7-4 vote they decided to replace the governor's plan with a managed-
care plan with a copay. The Florida House is also against the
Medicaid expansion plan.
Florida gas prices have dropped again. AAA says gas is selling at
an average of $3.76. That's 5 cents less than last week, and about
ten cents lower than two weeks ago. It is 13 cents higher than a
An 18 year old was shot in Ft Pierce Sunday night. Officials say
he was shot in the chest outside the Madison Cay apartments on North
29th Street around 10pm. Witnesses heard about ten shots fired.
The victim said his shooters were three males with red bandanas.
He was in serious condition when taken to Lawnwood's Trauma Center.
A Jupiter man was critically hurt in a motorcycle crash Sunday night.
Robert Gabrick, 48, lost control of his motorcycle on Congress Ave near
West Palm Beach and hit a metal pole in the median.
Martin County High's newly rebuilt auditorium reopens tonight. The
Wanda K Yarboro Center was damaged by a fire more than a year ago, and
took longer to rebuild after insurance companies objected to the higher
costs to bring the auditorium up to modern building and safety codes.
The Gala Reopening is at 7pm. Proceeds will benefit MCHSs
performing arts programs.
Gov Rick Scott will be in town
this afternoon. He will help cut the ribbon at TurboCombustor’s Stuart
plant expansion at 2pm. Last October, Martin County approved a $900,000
economic development fund grant and the governor approved $3 million to
help the company expand into a 120 thousand square foot facility and
hire up to 200 new employees by 2016. They already employ almost 400
workers, most at their Stuart plants. TurboCombustor makes and assembles
complex parts like heat shields for turbo jet engines.
The Treasure Coast continues to support Sgt Gary Morales’ family. The
fitness gym where he used to workout and taught self defense classes
held a fundraiser Saturday. Pro football player Jamar Cheney of the
Eagles and former pro Yamon Figurs of the Titans and Jaguars came by to
show support. Sgt Morales’ wife told reporters how much it meant to the
family to see all the people lined up along the highways and roads when
the funeral procession passed by last week. The non-profit The Royal
Palms of St Lucie, which helps women and children, raised $10 thousand
for the Morales family last week.
The suspect in the shooting death of St Lucie County Sheriff’s Sgt Gary
Morales was arrested almost three years ago during a traffic stop in
Port St Lucie. Police have released dash cam video of their arrest of
Eriese Tisdale in 2010 during that traffic stop. It may shed light on
the motive in the Sgt Morales shooting. His comments recorded as
he was being taken to jail indicated he didn’t like police
A Bahamian man was arrested off the coast of Palm Beach County
recently for trying to smuggle something out of country, not in.
Officials say they found $1.2 million in cash hidden inside luggage,
household good and stereo speakers on Rohan Spicer’s boat. The cash was
wrapped in bundles of $50 thousand.
They celebrated the restoration of the New Monrovia school house
over the weekend. The 800 square foot one-room school house in Hobe
Sound was where many Martin County blacks got an education. It was one
of several built sometime in the 1930s, but the only one left standing.
Three of the school’s original walls were saved and South Fork High
students built replicas of student desks.
Publix employees and managers raised $421 thousand for the Martin
County United Way campaign this year. To say thank you, United way
volunteers did a friendly picket recently outside all 11 Publix stores
thanking them, letting shoppers know what Publix had done.
The person who runs Martin County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau
want to run tourism in Palm Beach County. Rozita Mahboui is one of three
finalists being interviewed for the Palm Beach County Tourist
Development Council’s Executive Directors position.
Both the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators slipped in the new
men’s college basketball rankings. The Hurricanes are #6 this week. They
were 5th last week. The Gators fell from 8th last
week to 11th this week. Gonzaga is top ranked again this week
followed by Indiana, Duke, Kansas and Georgetown. The teams that make
the March Madness Tournament will be announced this next weekend.
SUNDAY MARCH 10
A 17 year old fell off a boat and his arm was badly slashed by the
propeller Saturday morning. After the 10:30am accident, the boy
was brought to Sandsprit Park where he was flown to Lawnwood's Trauma
Center in critical condition.
Tarun Neelavannan won the Treasure Coast Spelling Bee Saturday.
The 11 year old sixth grade student at Anderson Middle outlasted 65
other students from Martin, St Lucie and Indian River County to win the
right to compete in the national bee in Washington. Shantanu
Jakhete, 12, of Murray Middle came in second while his 10 year old
brother Rohan Jakhete of Port Salerno Elementary came in third.
The bee went 22 rounds. The winning word was "rubicellle."
FRIDAY MARCH 8
This weekend may not be the best time to hit the beach. Waves
kicked up by that storm that's bringing snow to New England will be
increasing throughout the weekend eventually getting to 7 to 10 feet.
That will make it dangerous to swim and boat and will cause beach
erosion. Turtle nesting season just started a week ago.
The Jensen Beach Blues & BBQ Festival starts this afternoon and
continues Saturday. Seven different musical groups will
perform and there will be a Best BBQ competition. It's at Indian
Riverside Park from 4pm to 10pm today and 11am to 10pm Saturday.
Brian Hartline and the Miami Dolphins have a contract deal. He
will be paid $12.5 million guaranteed over the next 5 years, and it
could be as much as $31 million. Hartline is a dependable clutch
receiver, but has just 7 touchdowns in his career. He caught 74
passes and 6 TDs this past season.
Indian River County has had 4 brushfires this week that burned 103
acres. The big one Wednesday closed I-95. Neither Martin or
St Lucie County have seen a big brush fire yet during this winter dry
Brush Fire Index numbers:
Martin 488, St Lucie 569, Indian River 551. Anything above 500 and
they start to worry.
There was a house fire earlier this morning on South 15th St in Ft
Pierce. The Red Cross is helping the man who lived there.
A vehicle hit a power pole around 5am on Gomez east of US 1 in Hobe
Sound. There were injuries and FPL had to be called in to repair
In earlier local news....
A US Mail carrier died
Thursday of injuries suffered in a Wednesday afternoon crash on Indian
River Drive. Juan Carlos Riestra was delivering mail south of Walton
Road when a car driven by a 16 year old Jensen Beach girl crossed the
centerline when the road curved slightly, sideswiping the mail truck. It
spun around, ejecting Riestra. The mail truck then flipped over on top
Fire damaged a Palm City home Thursday afternoon. Martin County Fire
Rescue says heavy smoke was pouring from the home in the 4800 block of
SW Lake Grove Circle when they arrived around 2:45 pm. Nobody got hurt
and the cause is under investigation.
Three Stuart men were arrested for making crack cocaine in local motel
room. A confidential informant told Martin County deputies about it and
they got a search warrant. They found 13 grams of cocaine and some crack
that had already been made. The arrested Willie Lee Hogan, 40,
Christopher L kee, 38, and 34 year old Wayne C Graham.
A Port St Lucie man was busted after allegedly selling crack to an
informant in Stuart. 23 year old Richard “Ricky” Allen allegedly did the
deal behind a bar in the 700 block of south US One.
Alan O Frost, a longtime Palm City attorney, was picked by the
governor to be on the 4th District County of Appeals in West
Palm Beach. Frost is a past president of the Martin County Bar
Association and has spent most of his legal career working for
government agencies and commissions. He was a partner in the
Crary-Buchannan law firm in stuart for a time. Another Appeals Court
vacancy comes up in April when another judge retires.
THURSDAY MARCH 7
Basketball legend Michael Jordan and his fiance filed for a marriage
license today at the Palm Beach County Courthouse. Jordan divorced
his first wife of 17 years in 2006 and has reportedly been engaged to
his fiance more than a year. Jordan has a 38 thousand square foot
home in The Bears Club in Jupiter. He is also a member of The
Medalist Club in Hobe Sound.
The St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant is on the NRC's list of top performing
plants nationally. 81 of the 99 nuclear power plants are on the
list as meeting all safety and security requirements and require no
extra monitoring. The 18 other plants have issues that need to be
The Treasure Coast Red Cross has been busy the past few days.
They've had to open a cold weather shelter in Ft Pierce, helped keep
Indian River County firefighters hydrated during yesterday's I-95 brush
fire, and they've helped a family of 7 burned out overnight by a fire in
Vero Beach. Since December, the Red Cross has been called in to
help about two dozen families displaced by fires. All this
takes money. You can donate to the local disaster relief fund and it
will stay on the Treasure Coast to help next time.
The brother of St Lucie County
Sheriffs Sgt Gary Morales has written an open letter to the community
thanking them for their support. In the letter, Brad Morales, also a St
Lucie County deputy, writes “To see all the people lined up in the
highways and residential streets with their signs and hand gestures on
their heart and the salutes was an awesome sight to see to say the
least. Thank you for your continued prayers, blessings and donations.
You don’t know how much that has helped us.” To Sgt Morales’ accused
killer Eirese Tisdale, Brad Morales writes“ I would be a liar if I did
not say I wanted you to suffer for the rest of your life, but in the
name of Jesus Christ who has a permanent dwelling in my heart, I forgive
you for your thoughtless and cowardly act. May God have mercy on your
Read letter here
The Treasure Coast had its
first big brush fire Wednesday. It was big and smoky enough to shut down
I-95 for 6 hours in Indian River County, burning near Olso Road, near
the St Lucie-Indian River County line No homes were threatened by the 60
acre fire even though it kept spreading across I-95 to the east side.
Traffic was a mess on Kings Hwy and Indrio road as motorists tried to
detour. Firefighters and Forestry got help by helicopter water drops.
The brush fire was first reported around 1pm. Firefighters have been
watching for hot spots and there was concerns the winds would pick up
again overnight and cause it to flare up again. The brush fire-draught
index is at 579 in St Lucie, 566 in Indian River and 484 in Martin
County. Anything above 500 is considered a serious brush fire danger.
New details about the FCAT security breach by dozens of St Lucie County
10th graders. They were inadvertently given the topic they would
have to write to by a teacher. FCAT test scores for 78 students
will be thrown out. Students will not have to retake the test and
it will not affect their graduation.
A big crowd of parents and teachers is expected to be at tonight’s
St Lucie County School Board budget workshop. They have to find about
$15 million in cuts. The idea of a four day school week is off the
table. Other possible budget cuts include closing a magnet school,
having employees take an unpaid day off, arts and other teacher layoffs.
The meeting is at the Ft Pierce Central Auditorium starting at 6pm. The
auditorium only seats 750.
A small sales tax increase to pay for dredging the St Lucie Inlet
when it’s needed is the top recommendation the St Lucie Inlet Advisory
Committee has at the best way to fund it. Other options include setting
up a special taxing district that would include both Martin and St Lucie
County, or increasing the franchise fee FPL pays to the county. Martin
County Commissioners will discuss the recommendations at their March 19th
meeting. It costs $7 to $8 million every time they dredge the St Lucie
Shark sightings forced Palm Beach County to shut down some beaches this
week. There have been sharks sightings off Treasure Coast beaches too.
Lifeguards are keeping an eye out for sharks that have moved closer to
shore to find bait fish as they migrate north. Guards say the annual
migration usually runs through April.
It’s siren test day at the St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. All 90
sirens within ten miles of the plant will sound for one minute at noon.
The big PA speakers at each siren will announce before and after the
sirens sound that it is only a test. The St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant
was the first in the nation to have an emergency siren system as a
requirement after the confusion at Three Mile Island.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 6
I-95 is back open thru Indian River County after a brush fire this
afternoon. At least 60 acres have burned near Olso Road,
near the St Lucie-Indian River county line. No homes are
threatened by the 75 acre brush fire. Firefighters and Forestry got help
earlier by helicopter water drops. Winds gusted above 30 mph which
keep spreading embers. Several times the fire jumped from west to
east over I-95, but firefighters quickly put those out.
Delays on Indrio Road and Kings Hwy are were miles long as motorists try
to find a way around. The brush fire was first reported around
All northbound lanes of I-95 are now open at the Okeechobee Road
interchange. They were closed for a time due to an injury crash at
There was an FCAT security breach at Ft Pierce Westwood's Marine &
Oceanographic Academy during last month's writing test. The
Academy is actually located at FAU's Harbor Branch facility. The
breach occurred before the tests were given to 10th grade students.
Superintendent Mike Lannon says they have procedures in place to ensure
there's no cheating. St Lucie County school district reported the breach
to the state. This will invalidate 78 student tests.
Treasure Coast boat builder Pursuit Boats has gotten a contract to build
fast police boat for the African nation of Uganda. The 31 foot
boats will be built at their Ft Pierce plant and be used to patrol Lake
Victoria. The boats can hit 50 mph and retail for $280,000.
Pursuit Boats is headquartered in Stuart by the Roosevelt Bridges.
A bad crash early this morning in Port St Lucie sent a man to the
hospital in critical condition. The crash happened in the 2200
block of Veterans Memorial Parkway when 26 year old Thomas D Murray lost
control of his car and it ran into some trees at 1:45am. A
passenger suffered minor injuries.
Cold weather expected tonight has prompted the American Red Cross and
its local partner to provide a cold weather shelter at The Image of
Christ, located at 707 N. 7th St., in Fort Pierce. The shelter
will be open this afternoon at 4 and will close tomorrow morning at 7
am. Local Red Cross volunteers trained in nursing, mental health
services, feeding and mass care/sheltering will be on-site or on-call
throughout the evening to support our community.
Parts of west Jupiter had a power outage that started just after 9:30
this morning. 1,300 FPL customers between the Turnpike and the Bee
Line Hwy were affected for about 90 minutes.
In earlier local news.....
NuCo2 of Stuart has been sold to a California company Praxair for $1.1
billion. NuCo2 is the worlds largest seller of carbonation used by
restaurants and fast food chains. Praxair plans to grow NuCo2 by
expanding both domestic and international markets.
Martin County Commissioners voted Tuesday to clear away 25 old
trailers at the Rio Village Mobile Home Park. The county has a pending
deal to buy the park, and that pending contract gives Martin County the
right to clear the eyesore as a health and safety issue. The ownership
of the park isn’t certain since the feds are investigating the listed
owners in a Ponzi scheme. Martin County Commissioners have until April
25 to decide whether to go through with the purchase. The County can
back out any time. The Rio Village park is one of the key pieces to
renovating Rio and 707.
An international investment company plans to buy one thousand
homes in Florida. Colony Capitol will target hard-hit housing markets
including St Lucie, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade county and the Tampa and
Orlando areas. They will buy homes through foreclosure and short sales
as well as traditional sales. They plan to spend $25 thousand each
fixing them up. Last year more than 5.300 Florida homes were bought by
international investors and hedge funds.
There appears to be lots of support by people for renaming Midway Road
the Sgt Gary Morales highway an on-line petition drive that began just
last weekend already has more than 9 thousand signatures.
Ft Pierce Police are searching for the man who robbed a Chase
Bank. Police say around 1 pm Tuesday they responded to the Chase Bank at
601 Virginia Avenue for a robbery. The robber entered the bank,
presented the teller with a note demanding money and left with an
undisclosed amount of case. Anyone with information should call Treasure
Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273- TIPS (8477)
St Lucie County Commissioner Todd Mowery is thinking about running for
Congress next year. He’s one of only three elected Republican office
holders in St Lucie County. Also considering a run to challenge Democrat
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy is Republican State
Representative Gayle Harrell. Murphy’s campaign is already raising money
for 2014, and this week sent an email saying national Republican groups
have already starting running negative ads against him.
A packed Martin County High audience enjoyed the 39th Annual Music
In Our Schools concert last night. It includes performances by
approximately 700 students in 4th through 12th grade from schools across
the District. The county-wide chorus, “Friends,” also performed.
TUESDAY MARCH 5
CORRECTION & APOLOGY: I have
sometimes reported Sgt Morales would be buried in Fernhill Memorial
Gardens in Palm City. It's Forrest Hills, not Fernhill which is on
Kanner Hwy. I know the difference between the two and knew it was
Forest Hills. The mistake just slipped by me as I wrote the news
copy. I apologize for the mistake and the confusion.
Gov Rick Scott helped open the 2013 legislative session in Tallahassee
today with his third State of the State address. The governor said
the Florida economy has been pulled back from a disaster and said his
plan to revive it is working. The governor also asked the
legislature for more money for teachers & schools, more tax breaks for
manufacturing and the expansion of Medicaid.
Temperatures hit the 70s for the
first time in four days on the Treasure Coast today. The high at
Stuart Witham Field was 73. More cold weather is on the way
though. Temps in the 40s are predicted again Wednesday night.
CBS 12 reported earlier this morning more than 8,000 have signed an
on-line petition asking St Lucie County to rename Midway Rd after Sgt
Gary Morales. As of 11am that had grown to 8,685. There were
5,000 as of last Saturday.
Sign petition, click here
South Florida farmers were hit by the unexpected below-freezing
temperatures early Monday morning. Some farms in western Palm Beach
County and the Belle Glade area got down to 29 degrees for a couple
hours. Damage especially to sweet corn was already showing up in
wilting leaves by the afternoon. Farmers say about 25% of the crop
was killed off. The sweet corn was going to be ready to pick in
April. Now a new crop will have to quickly be planted for harvest
A Port St Lucie man faces animal cruelty charges for allegedly abusing
the family cat. Police say they have video of 43 year old James
Feingo squeezing the cat Joey's head and pulling its ears and video
showing him holding Joey upside down hitting it in the head. A
veterinarian's exam shows chronic trauma to the cats tail and injury to
The FBI searched the headquarters of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club today
in suburban West Palm Beach. The FBI only says they are doing an
investigation. A couple years ago other Outlaws clubs were raided
in Florida with officials saying the club was involved in criminal
The 39th Annual Music In Our Schools
concert performance will be held Tuesday, March 5th at 7:00 p.m., in the
Martin County High School Gymnasium (Don Wallen Sports Complex). The
event includes performances by approximately 700 students in 4th through
12th grade from schools across the District. The county-wide chorus,
“Friends,” will also be performing.
The Treasure Coast honored a
hero Monday as St Lucie County Sheriff’s Sgt Gary Morales was laid to
rest after an emotional funeral service. Morales was gunned down last
Thursday during a traffic stop last Thursday. As many as three thousand
people came to the service at Westside Baptist and a TV hookup to a
nearby gym handled the overflow crowd. Gov Rick Scott and Florida
Attorney General Pam Biondi came to pay their respects. Law enforcement
personnel from as far away as Chicago and Maine were there.
The funeral procession of police motorcycle and patrol cars escorting
the hearse was more than a mile long as they traveled down I-95. People
stood on overpasses at the St Lucie West and Crosstown Parkway
interchanges. A giant American flag was draped over the side at St Lucie
CBS12s Treasure Coast Bureau Chief Jana Eschbach was at the
graveside services at Forest Hills Memorial Gardens. She reports the
Morales family and St Lucie deputies were overwhelmed with the support
of everyday people who lined Becker and Murphy Roads
The man charged with killing Sgt Morales is in the Martin County
Jail. Eriese Tisdale was transferred from the St Lucie County Jail last
Friday for his safety and the safety of the jail staff. Since he is a
high-profile inmate, he’s being kept in his own cell away from other
inmates. He is under constant monitoring and officials say every
precaution is being taken.
Florida gas prices have dropped 5 cents from last week. AAA South says
gas is averaging $3.82 a gallon today compared with $3.87 a week ago. A
month ago it was just $3.52. AAAs Janice Brady expects prices to
continue dropping during March. Again this week the West Palm Beach area
has the highest prices in Florida at $3.92 a gallon. Pensacola has the
cheapest prices at just $3.72.
The Florida Legislature begins its new session today in Tallahassee. Gov
Rick Scott will give his third State of the State speech to help start
things. In it the governor will take credit for lower unemployment and a
stronger economy than when he took office. The Treasure Coast
legislative delegation is a mix of experience and new faces. Treasure
Coast State Senator Joe Negron has been there for 8 years and is
chairman of the powerful Senate Budget Committee. State Representative
Gayle Harrell is a veteran lawmaker. They are joined by freshmen State
Representative’s MaryLyn Mager of Martin County and Larry Lee Jr of St
Monday morning's cold weather almost broke a record in Palm Beach
County. The National Weather Service says the 38-degree reading in West
Palm Beach was just above the record low of 37-degrees set back in 1927.
there was freeze damage to farm crops in western Palm Beach County.
There will be a brief warm-up starting today but colder temperatures
will return by Thursday morning before another gradual warm-up.
An aircraft manufacturer is coming to Ft Pierce. Renegade Light
Sport makes two passenger small aircraft. They have a 70 thousand square
foot facility at St Lucie International and will make $1.7 million in
capitol improvements. They plan to hire 75 people at wages above $15 an
hour within three years in exchange for tax breaks. It will be up to St
Lucie County Commissioners to give the final approval to the deal.
A small fire at a commercial bakery at the MarketPlace Plaza at
Bridge Road & US 1 in Hobe Sound just before 5pm. The overhead
sprinklers put it out by time Martin County firefighters got there. They
forced their way inside and checked to make sure the fire had not
The owners of the Miami
Heat and the Miami Dolphins are among the 100 Richest Americans,
according to "Forbes Magazine." The annual survey puts Micky Arison in
68th place, thanks to his ownership of Carnival Cruise Lines. Coming in
at number 83 is Dolphins owner Stephen Ross with an estimated net worth
of four-point-four-billion-dollars. Two other South Florida billionaires
cracking the top 100 include Dirk Ziff and William Koch.
MONDAY MARCH 4
Sgt Gary Morales was laid to rest today after an emotional funeral
service. Morales was gunned down last Thursday during a traffic
More than a thousand people came to the service at Westside
Baptist and a TV hookup to a nearby gym handled the overflow crowd.
Gov Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Biondi came to pay their
respects. Law enforcement personnel from as far away as
Chicago and Maine were there.
During the service, Sheriff Ken Mascara told the
audience "we have lost a true hero." Mascara also said he wanted
to make it a celebration of Gary's life. He said Sgt Morales was
committed to excellence and won people over with his smile. He was
remembered by two close friends in the Sheriff's office for his sense of
humor and practical jokes. They also talked about the love he had
for his family and two daughters. The sheriff's weapons training
complex is being renamed in his honor.
A miles long law enforcement procession of motorcycles and squad
cars escorted the remains to Palm City where Morales was buried.
The procession passed the St Lucie West I-95 interchange where a number
of people stood on the overpass with an American flag draped over the
side. There people on the Crosstown Parkway overpass and along
Murphy Road in Palm city, all paying their respects. Martin County
Fire-rescue had a special detail on Murphy Road to honor Morales.
People started showing up for visitation at Westside Baptist
Church well before the start. Outside two St Lucie County fire
trucks had their ladders extended with a huge American Flag hanging
A small fire at a commercial bakery at the MarketPlace Plaza at Bridge
Road & US 1 just before 5pm. The overhead sprinklers put it out by
time Martin County firefighters got there.
Florida gas prices have dropped 5 cents from last week. AAA South
says gas is averaging $3.82 a gallon today compared with $3.87 a week
ago. A month ago it was just $3.52.
The pygmy sperm whales that beached themselves on Hutchinson Island
Sunday were euthanized Sunday night at Harbor Branch. Scientists
found the mother whale and her calf had a heart disease that usually is
fatal, so the decision was made to end their suffering.
The Tequesta Town Council
holds a workshop later today on possibly annexing several parcels of
land along North Riverside Drive. That road runs from County Line Road
in southern Martin County along the north fork of the Loxahatchee River
to Tequesta Drive. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m
In early local news...
St Lucie County Sheriff’s Sgt
Gary Morales will be buried today. He was gunned down last week during a
routine traffic stop. The family had a private service Sunday. Governor
Rick Scott will attend the funeral today and has ordered all American
and State Flags in St Lucie County lowered to half-mast as a tribute to
Sgt Morales. Visitation is today at 10 at the Westside Baptist Church on
Jenkins Road. A service begins at noon. Both are open to the public.
Burial will be at Palm City’s Fernhill Memorial Gardens. The long
funeral procession with law enforcement officers from all over Florida
will go from Jenkins Road to Okeechobee Rd then south on I-95 to Becker
Rd. From Becker road the procession will proceed along Murphy Rd to
Friends want to rename Midway Road the Gerald Morales Memorial
Highway. They have a Facebook page where people can sign an on-line
petition. They first wanted to have Oleander in Ft Pierce renamed.
Morales’ brother Ken wrote on the Facebook page “I love and miss
brother, always and forever.” The change to rename Midway Road comes at
the request of his family.
A pygmy sperm whale and her calf were found beached near Waveland
Beach Sunday afternoon. Scientists from Harbor Branch were called in to
assess their condition. Plans were to transport them to Harbor Branch.
The new Elliott Museum opened Sunday to the public. The cut the
ribbon at 9:30 and a steady crowd toured the Elliott all day. The three
story tall, $20 million, 48 thousand square foot building will be home
to the the museum's classic car collection and its impressive baseball
memorabilia collection. There’s a reproduction of the old Francis
Langford Outrigger restaurant that serves meals. They are featuring a
hands-on exhibit of 40 of Leonardo DaVinci inventions
The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators both dropped in the men’s
college basketball polls following losses this past week. The Hurricanes
dropped from second last week to 5th this week The Gators
were ranked 5th last week, and rank 8th this week.
WEEKEND EDITION MARCH 2 & 3
Friends want to rename Midway Road the Gary Morales Memorial Highway.
They have a Facebook page where people can sign an on-line petition.
They first wanted to have Oleander in Ft Pierce renamed in honor of the
St Lucie County Sheriff's Sergeant who was gunned down last week during
a traffic stop. The change to rename Midway Road comes at the
request of his family.
The new Elliott Museum opens to the public today. The $20 million
48 thousand square foot building will be home to the the museum's
classic car collection.
One person was burned during a gas explosion on a boat at the Jensen
Causeway Friday night. Martin County Fire Rescue was called to the
scene around 7:30 and transported a patient with burns to the
extremities to Miami. The boat itself was not damaged.
Scripps Newspapers reports a major league team is looking at possibly
relocating spring training to northern Palm Beach County south of Roger
Dean Stadium. One site is 82 acres near Palm Beach Gardens between
I-95 and Central Blvd. Officials won't say which team(s) are
interested. St Lucie County and the NY Mets are trying to
get a second team to share Tradition Field for spring training.
Jim Crain, owner of the Houston Astros, owns the Floridian in Palm City.
He has expressed interest in sharing Tradition Field.
A Miami man was found guilty Friday of murder during the attempted
robbery of a grow house in Palm City three years ago. The Stuart
jury took an hour to find Yunior Galvas Casanas responsible for the
death of co-burglar Juan Mesa Sanchez who was shot during the break-in.
Prosecutors say Casanas, Sanchez and a third suspect went to the home in
rural Palm City to steal 106 marijuana plants growing on the property.
Florida law allows a murder charge if someone dies during the commission
of some crimes even if someone else did the actual shooting.
FRIDAY MARCH 1
Orlando Evans 53-Martin County 50 in the semi final game of the Florida
high school basketball Final 4 tournament in Lakeland this afternoon.
Jermon Queen got in early foul trouble costing the Tigers their
offensive key. Martin County's bench stepped up with a fine
performance to keep the game neck-and-neck close with a much taller team
until the last 15 seconds.
A judge this morning ordered Eriese Tisdale held without bond to face
charges he murdered St Lucie County Sheriff's Sgt Gerald Morales.
Judge Thomas Walsh told Tisdale "no amount of bond will assure your
appearance" in future court proceedings. Tisdale has several
failure to appear incidents in the Palm Beach County court system in
recent years. A search of his apartment turned up guns and
ammunition leading investigators to suspect he had something bigger
Robert Frey ll has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly
shooting a Port St Lucie Police Lieutenant in the leg during the early
Thursday morning standoff. His bond was set at $2.2 million by
Judge Walsh because Frey shot low to avoid aiming at Lt Ronald Caudell's
Defending Honda Classic champion Rory McElroy withdrew from the
tournament after 8 holes in this morning's second round. McElroy
says a wisdom tooth that he will have pulled began hurting last night
and again this morning. His second round play was not good and he
may have missed the cut anyway.
Traffic was stopped for a time this morning when a power line fell along
McArthur Blvd on Hutchinson Island. Martin County firefighters
were sent to secure the scene until FPL crews got there to make repairs.
It happened around 8:45 am.
The man charged with murdering
St Lucie County Sheriff’s Sgt Gerald Morales yesterday makes his first
court appearance this morning. Eriese Tisdale allegedly shot Sgt Morales
during a routine traffic stop. Tisdale got out of his car as Morales was
radioing in his tag, and shot him before he even got out of his patrol
car. Morales never even had a chance to draw his weapon. A backup deputy
exchanged gunfire with Tisdale. Tisdale will appear in front of Judge
Tom Walsh at 8:30 this morning. A makeshift memorial to Sgt Morales has
been set up at the St Lucie County Sheriff’s office. Public events to
honor him will be held Monday.
Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy expressed sorrow at the
murder of Sgt Morales:
"My thoughts and prayers are with Sgt. Morales' family during this
most difficult time. I also want to express my deepest condolences to
his extended family at the Sheriff's Office and those in the St. Lucie
community, who today lost a hero well before his time to a senseless act
"Not only did Sgt. Morales valiantly serve his
community through his 13 years of service with the St. Lucie County
Sheriff's Office, but he also proudly served our country as a member of
the United States Air Force. Today, we are deeply saddened by the loss
of such a true community hero."
You can help the Morales family thru the 100 Club. it’s a group of
retired law officers and firefighters who financially help the families
of Treasure Coast law enforcement and first responders killed in the
line of duty. Donations can be made at the St Lucie County Sheriffs
Office on Midway Road.
The Martin County Tigers boys basketball play their final 4 game
today. They play Orlando Evans It’s Martin County High’s 6th
appearance in the state championship tournament. They made their first
one in 1971 under Don Wallen, but lost. They went back again in 1972 &
73 and won the state championship. The Tigers won another state
championship in 1979. Their last state final 4 was in 1986, where they
got beat in the semi finals. The game will be broadcast live on WSTU at
2:15 this afternoon. The other semi final features Pompano Beach Ely and
The automatic budget cuts have kicked in on paper. Treasure Coast
schools stand to lose money if the cut actually happen. Officials say if
it drags on it will not cancel the Stuart Air Show in November even if
the close the control tower at Witham Field. Treasure Coast Congressman
Patrick Murphy agrees that congress should not be taking a break this
week while they should be working to reach an agreement.
Sea turtle nesting season starts today. Work on any beach
construction or restoration projects will have to stop in a few weeks.
The peak is during the summer months with the number of new nests
tapering off until November. The number of turtle nests on Treasure
Coast beaches has been trending up the past couple of years.
Our news partner CBS 12’ is still on DirecTV satellite service.
They had been in negotiations over how much DirecTV would pay to carry
CBS 12. DirecTV had threatened to pull CBS 12 off their system as of
today, but Thursday they announced an agreement.
It’s the last few days of the St Lucie County Fair. The weather
has been nice so far which has helped attendance, though it will be
turning colder tonight and be cool for the last couple days.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28
A suspect in this morning's murder of St Lucie County Sheriff Sgt Gary
Morales has now been charged. Eriese Tisdale was arrest just
blocks from the murder scene. The 24 year old Ft Pierce resident
has a number of priors including drug and traffic charges. He's
facing a variety of charges and will make a court appearance Friday.
Around 9:30 am Sgt Gary Morales made a traffic stop on Naylor
Terrace just south of Edwards Road. A second deputy arrived as
backup, but before St Morales could get out of his patrol car, Tisdale
got out of his and shot Sgt Morales. Tisdale drove off and stopped
in an industrial area about a quarter mile away. He ran but did
surrender and was taken into custody.
Sgt Morales Photo supplied
Sgt Morales is from the Bronx, served in the US Air Force. He was
a 13 year veteran of the St Lucie Co Sheriff's office and was promoted
to sergeant last month. He had also been a School Resource
Officer, member of the SWAT team and a trainer. He had a Masters
degree. He has a wife and two children, ages 8 & 6. His
father is a retired police officer. His brother is a St Lucie Deputy and
was at work himself when Morales was shot.
A Port St Lucie Police officer was shot last night during a domestic
dispute. The officer suffered a non life-threatening wound, shot
in the leg.
Just past 11pm, police say family members told them Robert L
Frey ll was inside the home in the 1100 block SW Estaugh Avenue, armed
with a shotgun. He refused to come out and threatened suicide.
At 1:10 this morning Frey came outside. Police fired
two non-lethal rounds, hitting Frey twice. He fired back as he
retreated, and Lt Ronald Caudell was hit in the leg. Frey
barricaded himself inside.
The SWAT team was called in, but negotiators were able to get
Frey to surrender around 5am. Lt Caudell was treated and released
at a local hospital.
The Elliott Museum is getting
a $10 million donation. It comes from the E R Donnelley family. The
family has the biggest printing company in North America. It’s the
largest donation ever made to the Elliott Museum and the biggest
charitable donation in Martin County history. Some of the money is
earmarked for the classic cars the Elliott owns. The new Elliott Museum
opens this Sunday.
Treasure Coast and Palm Beach Catholics say goodbye to Pope Benedict 16th
today as he retires. Special Masses will be held at several local
churches. St Martin de Porres in Jensen Beach holds a Mass at 8:30 this
morning and another on Friday. Holy Cross in Indiantown has a special
Mass at 7 tonight.
Two Port St Lucie residents, ages 86 and 71, were rescued off Florida a
week after their boat lost power as they sailed to St Thomas in the
Virgin Islands. 86-year-old Francis Saunders, 71-year-old Jerry
Willis, and their dog Alphie arrived in Ponte Vedra Beach worn out and
weathered, but otherwise okay. Saunders has sailed across the Atlantic
before. A friend suspects the boats fuel filters got clogged which cut
power to the motor.
Today’s the last day to pay your Treasure Coast Property taxes and
still get a discount for paying early. If you pay today, you get a 1%
discount. Property taxes are due in full starting Friday and will be
considered delinquent if not paid by the end of March.
25 Martin County students were awarded the Joe Kordick Youth
Character Award last night at the Character County ceremony. They have
shown a commitment to the six pillars of good character….respect,
caring, fairness, trustworthiness, responsibility and good citizenship.
The had to write an essay and submit a resume outlining their community
involvement. Along with the awards, ten of the 25 who are high school
seniors also received $1,000. Character Counts is a Martin County United
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 27
Governor Rick Scott said today he wants the Legislature to come up with
$5 million this year that can be used to keep spring training teams in
Florida. A number of teams have left Florida in recent years to
spring train in Arizona, including the Los Angeles Dodgers which left
Vero Beach. Meanwhile the New York Mets and St Lucie County are
trying to get a second team to relocate spring training camp here.
The man Port St Lucie Police say bribed a city Code Enforcement officer
has now been arrested. 56 year old Gary D Herrington complained to
Code Enforcement saying the $215 he gave Chick Hendrickson to make code
violations go away did not end with the violations being dismissed.
Hendrickson was arrested last week for taking the bribe, Herrington was
charged with making a bribe this week.
The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast needs cat and kitten food.
They are out of canned cat food. They recommend Science Diet
brand, but any brand of canned cat food will do. You can donate at
the main HSTC offices in Palm City or either of their two thrift stores
The first of a series of expected cold fronts the next week never quite
made in thru the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches this morning. It
will eventually push thru and bring lows tonight in the 50s. A low
in the upper 30s is expected Sunday night-Monday morning.
South Florida Congressman Tom Rooney and two other congressmen who are
also veterans have managed to stop a bill that would have award medals
to the operators of remote-controlled drones that would rank higher than
the Purple Heart medal. The Purple Heart is a medal earned on the
battlefield, whereas the other medal is awarded for work done off the
battlefield. Congressman Rooney didn't think that was right.
Martin County has hired a new county attorney. County
commissioners voted 5-0 to approve a renegotiated contract with Michael
Durham Tuesday evening. They had voted 3-2 to hire him two weeks
ago, but Durham said he would not take the job unless there was at least
4 county commissioners that supported him. Changes were made
reducing the term of the contract which is what several commissioners
originally balked at. The will also let him continue to work part
time for his long-time friend, the Highlands County Sheriff.
One of the two jackpot-winning Fantasy 5 lottery tickets sold for last
night's drawing was sold in Ft Pierce. It's worth more than
$107,000. The other was sold in Miramar.
Martin County will continue looking at building a mooring field in
Jensen Beach. County commissioners voted 4-1 late Tuesday
afternoon to have staff go back and look at alternative locations
further south of the causeway. They will also talk with several
marinas about locating there with the marina's operating a dock masters
office, laundry, showers and small store. The locations must also
have minimal effect on sea grass beds. They could yet decide not
to do the mooring field at all.
There’s a murder trial this week at the Martin
County Courthouse. Yunior Galvez Casanas is accused of murder because
Juan Mesa Sanchez, 43, was shot with a shotgun by the homeowner while
breaking into a home in rural Palm City. The two, along with a third
suspect, went there to steal 106 marijuana plants they knew were growing
on the property. The law says that if somebody dies while you are
committing a felony, you get charged with murder. That third suspect,
Osmaidy Gonzalez Cala, 33, also faces murder charges. He is expected to
testify against Sanchez.
7 people have gotten prison sentences in Ft Pierce for insurance
fraud. They ran or worked for a call center in Ft Pierce that handled
state insurance claims in Georgia. Prosecutors say Erica Gilmore-Grier
was a manager who authorized payments to people not in the state covered
low-income medical program. Prosecutors say the fraud took in $210,000.
She got 2 years 9 months. The 6 others are all St Lucie County residents
and were also sentenced to lesser terms.
It costs Treasure Coast law enforcement $78 thousand to help protect
President Obama when he had his golf weekend at the Floridian. Scripps
Newspapers tallied it all up and report St Lucie County Sheriff’s office
spent the most…$58 thousand for the 83 people it assigned to the
Presidential detail. Martin County Sheriff’s office had 30 on duty at a
cost of nearly $18 thousand. Port St Lucie Police spent $2,300 for 7
people that worked that weekend.
A poll by a pro-medical marijuana group says 70% of Florida voters favor
legalizing marijuana for medical treatment. People United for
Medical Marijuana says just 24% oppose it. Voters in Orlando and Miami
favor it the most. The group is trying to get it on the Florida ballot
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 26
Two and maybe even three cold fronts will be pushing through the
Treasure Coast the next 5 days. The first is today and CBS 12
meteorologist Chris Farrell is predicting heavy rains, winds and even
thunderstorms are possible overnight. Indian River, Okeechobee and
Brevard counties are under a tornado watch. Lows in the 40s are
expected this weekend. It might get down to 35 Sunday night-Monday
Indian River State College is going to take over the FAU part of the St
Lucie West campus. FAU ended classes at the campus to save money.
IRSC has the other half of the complex. The campus will be named
after St Lucie County Property Appraiser Ken Pruitt. Pruitt was
Treasure Coast State Senator and President of the Florida Senate.
The announcement came during this afternoon's dedication of the new
science, technology, engineering and math Thomas STEM Center.
Stuart is interested in buying the old Triangle Lounge site in downtown
Stuart. The city commission last night approved spending $30,000
on an appraisal of the site. The city could use it as a new city
hall site, parking garage or whatever. The site is west of the
railroad tracks along Sailfish Circle. Gulfstream Bank owns it now
and says it's worth $1.6 million. The bank would take $1.3
The Lake Point Phase 1 LLC has filed a SLAPP lawsuit against former
Martin County Commissioner Maggie Hurchella over her communications with
current county commissioners, according to her friends. They claim
false statements made by Hurchella against their mining operation hurts
business. SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuit against public
participation. SLAPP lawsuits are increasingly used by developers
and big business to punish and silence critics for opinions expressed
during local governmental reviews and approvals. The idea is to
make critics spend money on legal fees to deter others from speaking
out. The lawsuits allege that some sort of economic damage were suffered
due to criticisms. Lake Point is also suing Martin County which
has cited the mining operation south of Port Mayaca for code violations.
Fire did $10,000 damage to a Port St Lucie home early this morning.
The fire was in one of the home's bedrooms. Everyone got out of
the burning home on SE Gaskin Circle, though a senior citizen was
treated for minor burns.
The first of this school
year’s FCATs is today. 4th-8th & 10th
graders in St Lucie and Martin County take the writing test today with
make-ups on Wednesday. Scores have been trending up in recent years.
Martin County School Superintendent Gaylord says the writing test has
been changed so she’s cautiously optimistic. Last year there was a
problem with scoring the FCATs in Tallahassee. This year the FCAT
writing test is different. Students have a full hour to write their
essay. They’ll be judged a little more strictly for grammar and spelling
and how well they make their point.
There was a fire in Port St Lucie early this morning. The fire was at a
home on Gaskin Circle. Details about the fire are not yet available, but
the damage was bad enough to call in the Red Cross to help the people
Indian River State College will dedicate its new Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math Center today. The President of the Florida Senate
will be there and IRSC President Ed Massey promises to make a major
announcement. The Thomas STEM Center is at the IRSC St Lucie West
campus. The dedication is at 1 pm with public tours after that.
St Lucie Election Supervisor Gertrude Walker and some of her staff
are in Hillsborough County today to see how they run elections and count
ballots. Hillsborough uses the same voting machines St Lucie does and
they have lots of experience with multi-page ballots. St Lucie County
had its first-even multi-page ballot last November and we know there
were problems counting them.
Martin County Commissioners will discuss the Jensen Beach Mooring Field
project at today’s meeting. Commissioners effectively killed the project
that environmentalists opposed last December when they took it out of
the county’s capital improvement budget. Supporters were angry saying
the mooring field wasn’t on the agenda and the commission majority
decided on a spur of the moment to remove the $970 thousand project from
the budget. Martin County has $1.1 million in grants to pay for it. The
item is set for discussion at 2pm.
Port St Lucie Police arrested two men last Friday after finding
drugs and a gun in their car. Police stopped the car on Gatlin Blvd for
a routine traffic violation…windows tinted too dark and a license tag
you couldn’t see. A searched turned up a quarter pounds of meth, a
little marijuana and a loaded gun. Eugene Ingram of Ft Pierce and
Jovorious King were charged.
Martin County’s new State representative MaryLynn Magar has been named
one of the House Majority Deputy Whips by the House Majority leader Rep.
Steve Precourt. In announcing the appointment he praised the new
members, saying that “they have shown great promise as future leaders of
the Florida House” and would help lead innovative ideas through the
Two Martin County high students were big winners of a vocal
competition held in Palm Beach County. Senior Brianna Scully was named
the winner of the 11th Annual Watch A Rising Star vocal
completion sponsored by Junior Achievement. Janell Gray, who is home
schooled, but sings at Martin County High took second.
MONDAY FEBRUARY 25
Martin Health System's two hospitals have been named Top 100 hospitals
nationwide by Truven Health Analytics. They look at things like
mortality rates, medical complications and readmission rates. It's
the 4th year in a row and the 8th time overall Martin Health Systems has
been named a Top 100 hospital. Just 1% of all hospitals have done
Florida gas prices have dropped a tiny fraction. AAA says the
price is down 3-tenths of one cent from Sunday. The prices is
averaging $3.869 a gallon. Sunday it was $3.872. It has
risen 7 cents the past week. West Palm Beach has the highest
prices in the state at $3.96. Orlando and St Petersburg-Tampa have
the cheapest prices at $3.80.
Stuart City Commissioners talk about helping business go green at
today's meeting. They will discuss joining the PACE program which
gives out low-interest loans to help small businesses put in
energy-efficient AC, water heaters and other green ideas. The
program won't be available to residents, just businesses. The
meeting starts at 5:30pm at Stuart City Hall.
The Port St Lucie City Council meets tonight. At the end of the
meeting, they are scheduled to go into private session to be updated by
the legal staff on the Digital Domain bankruptcy. The regular part
of the meeting begins at 7pm at Port St Lucie City Hall.
The White House says Florida will be impacted if the automatic
spending cuts take effect if Congress doesn’t agree to up the debt limit
by Friday. The White House wants more taxes to help cut the debt while
republicans say they raised taxes two months ago and won’t do it again.
The White Houses says 31 thousand Defense Department employees could be
furloughed at various Florida military bases, 1,600 children lose their
day care, 750 teachers and teachers aides could lose their job and
nearly $4 million in funding for meals for Florida seniors would be cut.
The White House also says air traffic control facilities at Stuart’s
Witham Field and the Boca Raton Airport would be closed.
The Miami man who led police on a four county high speed chase on
I-95 last Friday night & Saturday morning is still in the Martin County
jail where he was taken after the chase ended. After his van was
stopped by stop-sticks there was a stand off with police and deputies
for about 45 minutes before he surrendered. It's not clear if Samal
Hammond will be sent back to Miami-Dade County or faces charges here
Looking ahead for this week on the Treasure Coast. The FCAT
writing test will be given to 4th-8th & 10th graders tomorrow.
Thursday is the last day to pay your property taxes and get a 1%
discount. Practice rounds begin today for The Honda Classic with
Tiger Woods that begins Thursday. Turtle nesting season begins Friday
and the St Lucie County Fair continues all week long. Saturday the
Martin County Tigers play in the boy's state high school basketball
championship tournament in Lakeland.
Indian River State College men’s basketball team begins its playoffs for
Florida community college’s state championship. IRSC has had
back-to-back 20 game winning seasons. The Pioneers host Broward
Community College tonight at 7.