Out2News Human Interest & Opinions

Fore Sistas Golf Tournament Set for March 3-4

Participants in 2022 Tournament

In Photo: Participants at 2002 Fore Sistas Golf Tournament

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photo provided by Martha Clark
Last year’s inaugural Fore Sistas of Fairview Golf Club, Inc. Women’s Golf Tournament offered a weekend of great golf, important symposiums and outstanding food and entertainment – is it any wonder that the popular event is coming back for a return engagement the weekend of March 3-4?
While it is a women’s golfing event, this year, mixed foursomes (maximum of two men) and men’s foursomes are invited to participate.

The two-day event will kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 3 with a Golf Clinic, followed by a Women’s Health Symposium with a panel of dynamic health professionals, and Welcome Reception featuring hors d’oeuvres, spirit tasting and a deejay.

On Saturday, March 4 access to the practice facility starts at 7 a.m. (subject to availability), Group Photos and Breakfast are scheduled for 8 a.m., followed by the 9 a.m. start of the Shotgun-style Tournament and a Luncheon and Awards Ceremony at 2 p.m.

Cost for the entire weekend is $175 per person with a non-golfing option that includes everything but play for $60 per person.

Fairview Golf Club, Inc, located in West Palm Beach, was established 56 years ago to provide a facility at which African Americans could play the sport, and is currently led by Martha Clark. Fairview Golf Club, Inc., was gracious in allowing Fore Sistas to affiliate with it.

Fore Sistas of Fairview Golf Club, Inc. is now a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit volunteer service organization of women committed to the expansion and inclusion of talented women in the sport and business of golf through linked friendship, financial support, equity and inclusion.

Organizations supporting African American female youth and collegiate golfers aspiring to reach the next level of play will be recipients of the 75-percent of the net proceeds raised at the tournament.
Members of the event committee are Phyllis M. Gillespie, Martha Clark, Stanley Campbell, Jr., G. Sean Schley, Earnie Ellison, Jean Laws Scott, Claire Nash, Synthia Snow, Tishunda Tullis, Michelle Jerger, Lynn Solomon, Debra Williams and Raelyn Holmes

Sponsorship opportunities are available at all levels.

For information on Fore Sistas Golf, contact Phyllis Gillespie, Esq. at pmgillespie1@gmail.com; Register at martindownscountryclub.com, Events/ForeSistas; or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fore-sistas-of-fairview-golf-club-inc-2nd-annual-womens-golf-tournament-tickets-534436121827

IRSC Accounting Students Offer Free Tax Return Assistance

Matthew Boucher, Master Instructor of Accounting at IRSC, looks over tax documents with student Coral Pinto during a volunteer income tax assistance program on February 2.

Fort Pierce - Indian River State College (IRSC) Accounting students are volunteering during February and March to offer free help to community members preparing their 2022 federal income tax returns.

The IRSC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is for individuals and families with an income of $66,000 or less in 2022. VITA services are available on Thursday afternoons from 1:30-6:30 p.m. on February 9, 16, and 23 and on March 2, 9, and 23 in Room 102 of the Brown Center For Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Building Y) at the IRSC Massey Campus, 3209 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce. The assistance sessions are overseen by tax professionals. No appointment is necessary.

Assistance will be provided for those filing:
• Form 1040-A
• Form 1040-EZ
• Form 1040-V 1040-ES
• Form 1040 (A, B, C-EZ, D, EIC, R, SE)
• Form 2441 (Dependent Care Expenses)
• Schedule 8812 (Additional Child Tax Credit)
• Form 8863 (Education Credit)

Assistance WILL NOT be provided for those filing:
• Schedule C (with loss, depreciation or use of home)
• Complicated Schedule D (capital gains and losses)
• Form SS-5 (request for Social Security Number)
• Form 8606 (non-deductible IRA)
• Form 8814 (child taxed at parent's tax rate)
• Form SS-8 (determination of worker status for taxes)
• Parts 4 & 5 of Form 8962 (Premium Tax Credits)

Participants must bring the following items to the sessions:
• Proof of identification (photo ID)
• Social Security cards (or ITINs) for you, your spouse and dependents
• Birth dates for you, your spouse and all dependents on the tax return
• Wage statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc) from all employers
• Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
• Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
• A copy of last year's federal and state returns (if available)
• Proof of bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
• Total paid for day care and the day care provider's tax identifying number (EIN or SSN)
• Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements
• Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable
• Charitable contribution letters from recipients (church or other 501(c)(3) organizations)

Those who are married and filing jointly must both be present to electronically file the return.

For more information about eligibility and services, contact Matthew Boucher at 772-462-7489.

Veterans, Share Your Stories with Veterans History Project Video Recordings Will Be Archived in the Library of Congress

The 2nd Annual DoYouGiveARuck Family Fun Ruck was held at IRSC Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie on September 10, 2022.

Fort Pierce - Operation Sacred Legacy, a project to record and preserve the oral histories of local military veterans, is seeking veterans residing in St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee and northern Palm Beach counties who would like to have their stories archived as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

Appointments are being taken for Tuesday, March 9, from 1-4 p.m. in the Wolf High Technology Center, Building C, at the Indian River State College Chastain Campus in Stuart. Veterans interested in sharing their stories should visit https://mast.house.gov/vhp to sign up for an interview slot. The Campus is located at 2400 S.E. Salerno Road.

Operation Sacred Legacy is a joint effort by the Office of U.S. Congressman Brian Mast and IRSC to provide opportunities for veterans from World War I to the present to share their stories for posterity. Interview sessions will be scheduled monthly, occurring at either the IRSC campus in Port St. Lucie or Stuart.

Individuals interested in training to become volunteer interviewers and scribes can sign up at irsc.edu/veterans-services/osl.

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2023 Spring Banquet Pre-Event

CareNet Logo

Article by: LeAnn Muscanera
Help make the TREASURE COAST a place where LIFE is defended, protected, and TREASURED! Please join Care Net Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast for their 34th Annual two-night Fundraiser Banquet taking place on Thursday, March 9th and Friday, March 10th in the Emerald Ballroom at the MIDFLORIDA Event Center in Port St Lucie. Seating begins at 6:30pm. Dinner and program begin at 7pm.

There is no cost to attend this event; however, an opportunity to partner financially with Care Net will be presented during the program. The purpose of the Annual Banquet is to raise much-needed operating funds for Care Net Treasure Coast, a 100% donor-supported, faith-based, non-profit, pregnancy resource center providing free and confidential life-affirming services and pregnancy support to individuals and families facing unexpected pregnancy on the Treasure Coast of Florida since 1989. Choose which night you’ll attend, invite friends to join you, RSVP, and prepare to enjoy an elegant evening featuring a delicious meal and program that will include a ministry and mission update from Executive Director, Sue Chess, the opportunity to meet and hear the moving testimony of Care Net’s 2023 Baby of the Year and his family, and an opportunity for you to support the mission and ministry of Care Net Treasure Coast financially.

In addition, you will be challenged and inspired by a powerful message delivered by keynote speaker, Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, whose mother courageously chose life after he was conceived in rape. Opportunities to serve as a Table Host or to promote your business or service by underwriting the cost of this event are still available.
To RSVP or donate online, scan the QR code, visit: https://www.carenetbanquet.com or call (772) 828-3168 on or before Monday, February 27.

Indian River State College to Host FCS Electric Vehicle Convening

Electric Vehicle outside of Brown Center

Fort Pierce - Indian River State College (IRSC), home to the National Electric Vehicle Consortium (NEVC), will host a statewide convening on Friday, February 10, to identify opportunities for training, electric vehicle (EV) installation and other EV-related economic development possibilities across the Florida College System (FCS).

The invitation-only gathering of educational institutions, state agencies and industry representatives will consider Florida’s energy infrastructure and discuss opportunities for the FCS to help address workforce development and training needs. Colleges from every region in the FCS system will be on hand.

“The growth of Florida’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure means a need for more skilled workers,” said Henry Mack, Senior Chancellor of the Florida Department of Education. “The Florida College System is uniquely poised to efficiently and effectively deliver educational support and training for the many types of workers necessary for this emerging sector. This convening brings the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Department of Transportation, industry, our State colleges and other stakeholders together to discuss and plan for those evolving workforce needs.”

According to international business consulting services firm PwC, the number of electric vehicle charge points in the United States will need to grow nearly tenfold to satisfy the charging needs of an estimated 27 million EVs on the road by 2030.

The development of a widespread EV charging infrastructure is likely to generate thousands of new jobs. Several types of workers with specific competencies are necessary for building an EV charging infrastructure. The stages of development include site planning and permitting, site preparation, electrical work, construction, the connection of chargers, testing and deployment, and maintenance.

At Indian River State College, National Electric Vehicle Consortium members are developing curriculum and standards for EV workforce certifications. The Consortium, established last spring, documents workforce needs, skills and competencies; collects data on academic programs and curricular resources; aligns academic programs and courses with the industry sector needs and; supports institutions of higher education in adapting and establishing new EV programs.

“We are proud of the leading-edge work we are doing here at IRSC through our NEVC to support broad-scale outreach and community-building among educational institutions; industry, professional, trade, and regulatory associations; educators; and practicing technicians within the EV ecosystem,” adds IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “Hosting the first-ever FCS Electric Vehicle Convening at IRSC is a natural extension of this work.”

HANDS Clinic of St. Lucie County Launches Mobile Healthcare Van

23 Jan Mobile Health

In Photo: The HANDS Clinic mobile van, Health on Wheels, is bringing free primary health care to uninsured residents of St. Lucie County right in their own neighborhoods

St. Lucie County - The HANDS Clinic of St. Lucie County is taking free health care on the road. A mobile van, called Health on Wheels, has been outfitted as a primary care office that can bring staff and equipment to vulnerable neighborhoods in St. Lucie County. “We know that many of the uninsured St. Lucie residents who are eligible for free care face transportation hurdles.

They may have difficulty in getting to our main office in Fort Pierce, and so may go without the services they need,” said HANDS Executive Director Lisa Hatch. “Our HANDS Clinic volunteers are now able to bring our quality care to these individuals right in their own neighborhoods.” The mobile van is a partnership of the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners, the St. Lucie Health Department, and the HANDS Clinic. Funding for the purchase of the van was made possible through CARE Act funds administered by St. Lucie County. It is staffed by three HANDS Clinic nurse practitioners. To launch the mobile van, the HANDS Clinic is holding a ribbon cutting in partnership with the St. Lucie Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, February 16 at 11 a.m. at In the Image of Christ on 7th Street in Fort Pierce. The community is invited. “This Lincoln Park neighborhood is the van’s first outreach location,” Hatch said, “so it seems the most appropriate site to celebrate its launch.” Health on Wheels will be at this location from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the option to expand the schedule as demand increases. Other neighborhoods will be added over time.

Celebrating a New Restoration Project in Everglades National Park

23 Jan SFWM

L-R: Kelly Cox, Mark Perry, Dr. Wes Brooks, Superintendent Pedro Ramos, Governing Board Chairman Chauncey Goss, Asst. Secretary Shannon Estenoz, Governing Board Member Cheryl Meads, Director Drew Bartlett, Governing Board Member Charlette Roman, Eric Eikenberg, and Lt. Col. Todd Polk.

Everglades National Park - Today, the South Florida Water Management District along with the National Park Service broke ground on the Taylor Slough Flow Improvement Project within Everglades National Park. This environmental restoration project will allow more clean, freshwater to flow south through Taylor Slough and onto Florida Bay, where it is needed to balance salinity levels and promote ecological health.

"The South Florida Water Management District remains focused on expediting Everglades restoration and water quality projects to protect Florida's natural resources for future generations," said South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member Cheryl Meads. "As we work to reconnect the water flow in the historic Everglades and send more water south, we celebrate this groundbreaking--another step forward for Florida Bay and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. In the Florida Keys, our economies and communities are built around Florida Bay. Each additional drop of water that moves south nourishes the bay and supports our community. Thank you to our local, state and federal partners including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Everglades National Park, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Interior, and more who work hand-in-hand with us to advance restoration projects across the region. This is what doing even more now looks like."

“Bringing more water to Florida Bay is an essential piece of Everglades Restoration efforts,” said Superintendent Pedro Ramos of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park. “We are grateful for the collaboration and ongoing partnership with the South Florida Water Management District to accomplish this vital project.”

Taylor Slough is located in the southeastern part of Everglades National Park and was historically a major contributor of freshwater to Florida Bay. The duration, timing and extent of wetland inundation of Taylor Slough’s interconnected wetlands and freshwater flows through Florida Bay are a critical component of the Everglades ecosystem.

In the early 1920’s, surface flow was substantially reduced by the construction of Old Ingraham Highway, which was opened as the first motorway to Flamingo, a small fishing village on the edge of Florida Bay. Old Ingraham Highway acted as a dam, cutting off and redirecting freshwater flow away from Taylor Slough. Additional infrastructure changes, including the building of the regional flood control system known as the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project, have also reduced the flow of water to this important ecological resource.

The Taylor Slough Flow Improvement Project will install up to 18 culverts at nine locations along a 3.2 mile section of Old Ingraham Highway in Everglades National Park to improve the distribution of freshwater flows and restore natural plant communities and wetlands. The project is expected to be complete in Summer 2023.

The project also supports the overall restoration goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)-the world's largest and most ambitious ecosystem restoration effort. CERP is led by the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and implementing CERP involves important partners at the local, state, federal, and Tribal levels.
Record State funding for Everglades restoration has allowed the South Florida Water Management District and our federal partners to expedite the completion of projects that improve water management across South Florida, reduce harmful estuary discharges, and allow more clean, freshwater water to be moved south to Everglades National Park and onto Florida Bay.

Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing Wins Two Coveted Awards

21 Oct MC Tourism

Stuart - The Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing was recently honored with two esteemed industry awards for their ongoing destination marketing efforts.

The first was a gold MarCom Award presented by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals for the team’s “Mood for Martin” campaign created in partnership with Medium Giant. The overall aesthetic was mysterious and nostalgic with tactile elements that seem as if they’ve fallen from a scrapbook — remnants from a previous family vacation or another world. The multimedia campaign aspired to show people that no matter their mood, they’re “always in the mood for Martin.”

Each year, the MarCom Awards honor excellence in global marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work, and generosity of industry professionals. More than 6,500 print and digital competing entries were submitted from countries around the world.

The second win was a coveted Content Marketing Award presented by PR Daily. The organization is the preeminent brand for public relations professionals focusing on news, advice, opinions, and industry benchmarking.

Their recent “Martin Memories” campaign earned the top honor in the “Travel, Hospitality and Tourism” category. The campaign encouraged people to “swap stuff for memories” during the holiday season, inspiring them to create new traditions together in Martin County. Additional winners in other categories included powerhouse organizations such as Pfizer, Intel, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It is always a tremendous honor to see our strategic work recognized alongside such influential brands across the globe,” says Nerissa Okiye, Tourism Director of Martin County. “We are extremely grateful, and these awards would not be possible without the unwavering support of our phenomenal partners.”

Contact: Ian Centrone
Tourism Program Manager
Office: (772) 320-3157 | Mobile: (772) 361-2276 | icentrone@martin.fl.us

Friends in Pink, Fundraising Soiree

Photo 1 a

In Photo: Robyn Young, Steve & Karen Beth Hairfield

Article by: Nina Kis / Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham
On Saturday, January 14th, Friends in Pink hosted an incredible fundraiser at The Motor Coach Resort in Port St. Lucie. This event raised over $59,000!!!
The idea behind this fabulous night started with a golf cart from Wildar Golf Carts and Trailers in Ft Pierce, which was raffled off in October 2022 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month/ Friends in Pink. The winners of this golf cart were Steve and Karen Beth Hairfield.

Thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of this couple, an idea of a grand fundraiser was born!
There were over 300 guests who attended a fabulous night out of dancing and donating held at the Motor Coach Resort Club House.
The entertainment was the main attraction with the popular 14-piece Inside Out Band, who had the crowd dancing from their first song.
Tasty Hors D'oeurves were provided by Tutto Fresco.

A live auction by Hawk Levy, Bering Auctions/ St. Lucie Jewelry and Coin had the crowd feeling generous, which helped the main financial contributions toward the total donations raised. And yes, another hot red shiny golf cart from Wildar was the prize to win!

Thanks to the generosity of other local small businesses in our great community, the silent auction also was a huge success bringing in a significant amount of dollars to the donation pot.
Special mentions and appreciation to Costa D'este, Kyle G's, MLM Food Group/ Boat House Restaurant/ Hudsons on the River, St. Lucie Mets, Total Wine and More, Oasis Pavers, Paradise Home and Patio, Jewelry by Design, Black Sheep Salon, Sunrise Surf Shop, Lily Pads Pressure Cleaning, Pie Hole Wood Pizza and Tutto Fresco and many others!

A beautiful quilt was hand sewn by Bonnie Powell a resident at the Motor Coach Park drew great donations from the Park members who are planning to display it at the Club House.
Friends in Pink is a local non-profit organization that raises money to help families with financial hardships pay for medical treatments and health insurance while undergoing treatments for breast cancer. Recipients must live in Martin, St Lucie, or Indian River counties.

Photo 2 a

In Photo: City Councilman Anthony Bonna & Tara, SLC Commissioner Jamie Fowler, PSL Councilwoman Jolien Caraballo & Benjamin and Developer John Richardson

Photo 3 a

In Photo: The Inside Out Band

Photo 4 a

In Photo: Dennis & Yvonne Beach, Steve & Karen Beth Hairfield, Mike & Alice Sponsler, Obie & Buddy Pigg

Photo 5 a

In Photo: Hawk Levy and Tara Roomes

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In Photo: Bonnie Powell, donated a quilt

Photo 7 a

In Photo: Mimi Levy shows auction items

23 Jan Voters

New Year, New Business – Why You Need a Lawyer That Do-It-Yourself Legal Form May Be A Costly Mistake

23 Jan 22 New Business

If you’ve decided that 2023 is your year to launch your new business venture, CONGRATULATIONS! Opening that new business involves lots details to arrange and decisions to make: choosing the best organizational structure, arranging financing, locating office space, hiring your staff or consultants, and contracting for supplies, inventory, or services.

For each of these, there are legal issues and considerations – and (unfortunately) serious consequences if you get it wrong.

So your first – and perhaps most important – decision is about whether and when you should seek legal help.

Many entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed when they are just starting out. They worry there is not enough initial capital to get the business up and running and also to pay legal fees. They decide that a do-it-yourself approach will work well enough in the short term, especially with the help of the many online legal-form sites.

At our firm, we often say that if you are going into business with someone else (or someone else’s money) you had better have clearly written, rock-solid legal documents prepared for you and your partners. It’s much more expensive to clean up a legal mess than to prevent it by getting it right in the first place.

So, What’s the Problem with Online Legal-Form Sites?

The internet has been a great tool for individuals and businesses; it’s a quick and free – or relatively inexpensive – source of information and help. It may be tempting to save some valuable dollars by using these sites for the legal documents to form a corporation, or a limited liability company, or a partnership.

However, there’s much more to creating the appropriate legal structure for a business than downloading an online form or cutting and pasting parts of several generalized templates.

The decision about which type of organizational format to use is a complex one that depends on a careful analysis of the type of business involved, the financial situation and needs of the key people, the availability of start-up money or the need to raise capital, and many other factors (like taxes) dependent on the unique circumstances of that business.

Online forms are, by their very nature, one-size-fits-all. Even sites that let you customize a template to some degree are still working within a very generalized framework that may apply to many businesses, but not necessarily to yours.

There’s also no way for you to know whether the forms are complete and correct. You don’t know the credentials of the individuals who drafted them, whether the templates have been updated regularly, and if the forms meet all of the requirements of your state’s laws. Many of the sites are designed for nationwide audiences, although every single state has its own business-formation laws specific to that state alone.

Consider an example. If you want to draft an Operating Agreement for your Florida limited liability company (LLC), but you access an online template, it will likely not include each and every clause necessary to protect you under Florida’s LLC laws. One particularly thorny part of the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act, (Chapter 605, Florida Statutes) grants LLC members certain rights if they elect to leave the company. If your document isn’t carefully written to anticipate this event, then a disgruntled business partner might be able (legally) to blow up your otherwise rock-solid business on their way out.

In the Long Run, Hiring a Competent Attorney is the Best Choice

Each business needs specialized advice, so it makes business and financial sense to spend some money up-front for competent legal advice from an experienced attorney who handles business clients, knows the ins-and-outs of your state’s laws, and can advise you on how business really gets done in your community. You don’t get that kind of advice from the internet.

Minimize future problems and disputes: Have your counsel help you make appropriate decisions about the proper legal structure for your venture and then draft custom documents to meet all of your business, financial, and tax needs.

19 Nov Woodward Logo
23 jAN PAL Programs

CareBag, Inc., Brunch at Tiffany's Extravaganza

Photo 1a

In Photo: Miles McGrath, Amber Woods, Roxy Brown and Kathryn Hensley

Article & Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham
Some of the best events result from thinking outside of the box. For CareBag, it was a Tiiffany's® box.
From the moment guests arrived at the elegant ballroom of the Wyndham Grand Jupiter for CareBag's Brunch at Tiffany's Extravaganza, they were swaddled in elegance. From the red carpet entry to the paparazzi to the impeccable décor, the stage was set for a morning of high-society schmoozing, dining, and, most importantly, fundraising.

Nathalie Pozo, a morning anchor at WPBF, served as Emcee, warmly introducing CareBag's Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Roxy Brown.
Brown explained that CareBag is a grassroots organization that provides access to hygiene for homeless individuals and families on the Treasure Coast and into the Palm Beaches. She then introduced Stephanie, a client, who shared her struggles and expressed her gratitude for the help she received in the form of diapers for her children.
"Stephanie is the face of who you help and serve," said Brown.

Founded as a 501C3 in 2017, CareBag gradually acquired two mobile shower units, a mobile hygiene pantry, a brick-and-mortar operations center, the Careology Radio Show (WPSL, Tuesdays from 6:05-7:00 pm), and a crew of dedicated volunteers. CareBag is an all-volunteer organization.

While there is much to celebrate, such as the receipt of Impact 100 St. Lucie's $70,000 grant (2022) for expanding the mobile pantry and its 6th birthday, the need for hygiene items and services continues to grow.

In 2022 alone, CareBag distributed nearly 70,000 hygiene items, provided over 8,500 showers, and helped over 200 kids with back-to-school supplies and haircuts. Its impact was even felt on Florida's west coast as they helped with relief efforts after Hurricane Ian.

Thanks to the dedicated crowd, and auctioneer/sponsor Hawk Levy, many brilliant jewelry items were bid upon in the energetic live auction, helping to raise funds so CareBag can continue to expand.
A silent auction, which included several high-end vacation packages, also helped with this effort!

Event sponsors included St. Lucie Jewelry & Coins, Elite Electric, Florida Weekly, WPBF Channel 25 News, Design A Sign, St. Lucie Draft House, Treasure Coast Lexus, Groza Builders, Inc., Sam's Club, Lowes of Stuart, and Heartz Unfold Events.

Wish CareBag a Happy Birthday- text the word Dignity to 772 934-9911. Please also visit CareBagFl.org to see how you can help.

"Access to proper hygiene is a right, not a privilege."

Photo 2 a

In Photo: Roxy Brown and Impact 100 St. Lucie

Photo 3 a

In Photo: Lorna Day, Cher Fisher and Rio Ratermanis

Photo 4 a

In Photo: Auctioneer and Sponsor Hawk & Mimi Levy

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In Photo: Roxy Brown and Nathalie Pozo of WPBF

Photo 6 a

In Photo: Kelly Hadley, Tami Miller (St. Lucie Draft House) and Jennifer Nunes

Photo 8 a

In Photo: Tony & Deborah Groza and Cheryl & Emmett Dempsey

Photo 9 a

In Photo: Hobe Sound Woman's Club

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In Photo: Silent auction winners Kathy & Tim McManus

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In Photo: Kathryn & Carl Hensley

Lets Keep it Safe & Fun!

23 Jan Ruth

St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce Presents the 37th Annual Business and Industry Awards

23 Jan 27 Awards a

Port St. Lucie - The St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce and the MID FLORIDA Credit Union will present the 37th Annual Business and Industry Awards, taking place at MID FLORIDA Event Center on January 27th 2023, and featuring a performances, cocktail hour, dinner, award ceremony followed by pictures.

The St. Lucie Chamber is proud to bring The Business and Industry Awards to MID FLORIDA Event Center. The Business and Industry Awards will highlight the best of the best in St. Lucie County, with winners announced the night of the event.

To RSVP to attend, please go to https://stluciechamber.org/event/business-and-industry-awards/

There are still sponsorship opportunities for the Business and Industry Awards, please call the Chamber at 772-595-9999 to get more information on how you can be a sponsor.

AT&T Full STEAM Ahead Grant Awarded to Bessey Creek Elementary School


In Photo: Kate Cotner, EFMC President; Stacy Schmit, Principal, Bessey Creek Elementary School; Kendra Remian, Science Lab Teacher, Bessey Creek Elementary School and Ian Cotner, Regional Director of External & Legislative Affairs at AT&T and EFMC Board Member

Article by: Jackie Holfelder /Photo by: Education Foundation of Martin
Holiday magic came early to Bessey Creek Elementary School in Palm City when principal Stacy Schmidt and science lab teacher Kendra Remian received some great news.

The school was awarded an AT&T Full STEAM Ahead Grant which will be used to provide hands-on science lab experiments for all third, fourth and fifth grade standards.

The Education Foundation of Martin County (EFMC) presented the grant on a surprise visit to the school.
Schmidt was delighted with the news. “Being awarded the AT&T Full STEAM Ahead grant means we will be able to connect our students’ concepts of science to hands-on learning. This will make a lasting impression for all our fifth-grade students and afford them a learning opportunity to build a solid science foundation to keep them learning and growing for years to come,” she said.

Lisa Rhodes, Executive Director of EFMC, reached out to all Martin County public schools when she learned about the one-time grant and immediately heard back from Schmit.

Said Rhodes, “Ms. Schmit had a plan to re-engage students in science who may have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic, but just needed the funds to make it happen.”

Rhodes applied on behalf of Bessey Creek and the school was awarded $5,000, part of a $100,000 statewide grant offered by AT&T.

Bessey Creek Elementary students will now have an opportunity to experiment in real-time with a scientist, at their own lab station while using all the materials the scientist is using. The goal is to foster a love of science and boost science scores on the fifth grade Florida Standards Science Assessment.

“We can't wait to see the end results of this generous award from our longtime partner, AT&T," said Rhodes.

To learn more about the Education Foundation of Martin County, visit www.educationfoundationmc.org.

IRSC to Host Membership Meeting of Florida Energy Workforce Consortium 

Chris Calas (right) is a lead electrician for substations for Florida Power & Light.  Calas is a graduate of IRSC and gives first year students hands-on electrical training on the main campus in Fort Pierce on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

Fort Pierce - Indian River State College (IRSC) will host the membership meeting of the Florida Energy Workforce Consortium (FEWC) from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, at IRSC’s Massey Campus in Fort Pierce.

The Florida Energy Workforce Consortium is a group of energy and energy-related companies and educational institutions that have joined together to inform Floridians about stable, rewarding careers in the energy industry. The meeting takes place in Room 102 in the Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Building Y) and will feature panel discussions and networking opportunities.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:
8:30 a.m. Breakfast sponsored by the Florida Natural Gas Association

9:00 a.m. Welcome and introductions
IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore and IRSC Provost and
Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Heather Belmont

9:30 a.m. “Building Career Readiness Skills Through Youth Programs”
Presented by FIRST Robotics

10:00 a.m. FEWC Updates

10:30 a.m. Indian River State College Tour:
Florida Power and Light Flow Loop
Alternative Energies Lab
Solar Car Race
Bill Solomon, IRSC’s Dean of Workforce Education & Advanced Technology Division

12:00 p.m. Lunch

12:45 p.m. CEWD Update

1:00 p.m. “Changing Utility, Changing Needs: Reaching a New Generation of Power Industry Workers”
Scott Bishop, Manager of Emerging Technologies, Lakeland Electric

1:45 p.m. Panel Discussion: “Supporting Students Through the Energy Workforce Pipeline”

2:45 p.m. Breakout Discussion: “Building and Sustaining Engagement with Scholarships as a Focus”

3:30 p.m. Adjourn

Indian River State College’s flagship Massey Campus is located at 3209 Virginia Ave. in Fort Pierce. FEWC members will be admitted to the meeting for free. There is a $50 fee for nonmembers. For details about this meeting, or to learn about sponsoring the meeting, email fewc.exec@gmail.com.

Clark Advanced Learning Center Student Named Sunshine State Scholar

Jasmine Nunez a

In Photo: Jasmine Nunez

Stuart - Jasmine Nunez, a student at the Clark Advanced Learning Center, has been named Martin County’s 2023 Sunshine State Scholar. The Florida Department of Education program seeks to identify the top high school juniors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The program asks each school district in Florida to select its top 11th graders in STEM, based on established criteria. These students, along with their parents, will convene on April 13-15 in Orlando to receive recognition for their achievements. While there, the scholars also meet with representatives from Florida’s colleges and universities and learn about STEM-related programs of study and internships.

Nunez will be recognized at the Martin County School Board meeting on January 17.

“We were thrilled to learn of Jasmine earning this well-deserved recognition,” said Dr. Leslie Judd, Executive Director and Principal of Clark Advanced Learning Center. “She is a stellar all-around student and has proven to be among the best in advanced science and math courses.”

For more information about the Sunshine State Scholar program, visit https://www.sunstatescholars.com.

Clark Advanced Learning Center is a public charter high school located on the Chastain Campus of Indian River State College, partnered with the Martin County School District. In 2022, the school earned an “A” rating for the 13th consecutive year and is designated as a School of Excellence by the Florida Department of Education. For more information, visit http://www.clarkadvancedlearningcenter.org/.

Operation Sacred Legacy Volunteer Training Scheduled for January 12 & 13 Help Record Veterans’ Stories for Library of Congress Archives

The Veterans Center of Excellence (VCE) at the IRSC Pruitt Campus will be a hub for Indian River State College student veterans, connecting them with academic, financial, physical, and social support services. Photographed on the Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie on Friday, January 21, 2022.

Port St. Lucie - Volunteers are greatly needed to help with Operation Sacred Legacy—a joint effort by the Office of U.S. Congressman Brian Mast and Indian River State College (IRSC) to record oral histories of local veterans for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Training sessions are scheduled for January 12 and 13 at IRSC campuses in Stuart and Port St. Lucie.

More than 60,000 veterans reside on the Treasure Coast and in northern Palm Beach Counties, and others in the IRSC service district. IRSC has dedicated space to conduct the interviews at its Pruitt Campus Veterans Center of Excellence (VCE) in Port St. Lucie and at its Chastain Campus in Stuart. Veterans, volunteers, and staff will meet there monthly to record videos.

No prior experience is necessary to volunteer. However, you must be at least 16 years old and complete a two-hour training session. Training sessions are scheduled for:

• Thursday, January 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the IRSC Chastain Campus, Wolf High-Tech Center, Room C-101, 2400 S.E. Salerno Road, in Stuart
• Friday, January 13, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Veterans Center of Excellence on the IRSC Pruitt Campus, 500 N.W. California Blvd., in Port St. Lucie
To sign up for a training session, visit www.irsc.edu/veterans-services/osl.

Veterans interested in adding their story to the Veterans History Project should visit https://mast.house.gov/vhp to reserve a time for an upcoming filming session.

22 Dec MCPA Senior FLyer
22 Dec Tax Collector 1

Helping People Succeed’s 2023 Art for Living Calendars now on Sale

Cover Page - 2023 Calendar a

Article by: Jackie Holfelder /Photo by: Helping People Succeed’s Art for Living Calendar

It’s the time of year when Helping People Succeed distributes its popular Art for Living Calendar for residents and visitors at local businesses, including Barnes & Noble Book Store in Jensen Beach. Looking for that perfect gift? Helping People Succeed's 2023 Art for Living Calendar reflects the beauty found right here on the Treasure Coast. Each month is represented by the work of a talented local artist. Calendars sell for $25 each.

The featured artists this year include: Alene Sirott-Cope, Yolanda Luce, Kirsty Innis, Janet Kipp Tribus, Marta Elena Gonzalez, Susan Roberts, Susan Clifford, Pam Patterson, Christine Grosso, Julia Kelly, Diane Raymond, Dan Mackin and Patrice Scott.

Helping People Succeed is also thankful for underwriters Water Pointe Realty, Stuart Business Systems, Green Design, Sandhill Cove Retirement Living, All Creatures Animal Hospital, NisAir Air Conditioning & Heating, Leonardo and Company, EW Consultants, Ross Mixing, Mary Kay Buckridge, Ashley Capital, Oral-Facial Surgical Associates and Dale Forbes.

The calendars are available for purchase at the Helping People Succeed offices, 1601 NE Braille Place, off Savanna Road in Jensen Beach, as well as throughout the Treasure Coast. For a complete list of locations where you can find them, visit www.hpsfl.org.

Back by popular demand is the Art for Living Gallery. Not only can you view and/or purchase the artwork that is featured in the 2023 Art for Living Calendar, you can also see artists’ additional works, which are for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Helping People Succeed. The gallery can be found at www.hpsfl.org. This state-of-the-art exhibit is currently available for viewing through November, 2023.

View the original works that appear on the Art for Living Calendar at the Elliott Museum in the Second Floor Art Gallery from mid-December, 2022 April, 2023. The Museum is located at 825 NE Ocean Boulevard and is open daily.

Serving the Treasure Coast for over 58 years, Helping People Succeed helps develop healthy families in Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River counties by providing numerous parenting, mental health and behavioral support programs. Helping People Succeed also provides support services designed to enable adults with special needs to fully participate in volunteer and employment roles in our community.

For more information, visit www.hpsfl.org or call Glenna Parris at 772-320-0778.

IRSC Joins Congressman Brian Mast in Operation Sacred Legacy Project

19 Oct IRSC Logo

Port St. Lucie - Today, Indian River State College and the Office of U.S. Congressman Brian Mast announced Operation Sacred Legacy, an effort to provide as many local veteran interviews as possible for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The initiative seeks to attract oral histories from the more than 60,000 veterans residing in St. Lucie, Martin and northern Palm Beach counties, and others in the IRSC service district, including veteran residents of Indian River and Okeechobee counties.

The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center collects and preserves the firsthand interviews and narratives of United States military veterans from World War I through the present. The national archive contains submissions from every state and the U.S. territories. It is accessible at https://www.loc.gov/vets/index.html.

“Our nation is built on a proud tradition of military service, and that’s a legacy that must be passed on to future generations,” Rep. Mast said. “Participating in the Veterans’ History Project is an excellent way to make sure your story can inspire those who follow in your footsteps and choose to serve. I hope that every veteran in our community will take advantage of this opportunity.”

IRSC will dedicate space in its Pruitt Campus Veterans Center of Excellence (VCE) in Port St. Lucie as the permanent home for Operation Sacred Legacy. Veterans, volunteers, and staff will meet here monthly to record the military service video histories. The College will also provide opportunities for veterans to record oral histories at its Chastain Campus in Stuart.

“Our Veterans Center of Excellence is a permanent expression of gratitude for those who served and continue to serve our great nation with pride and dignity,” said IRSC President and Army Veteran Dr. Timothy Moore. “We are honored to join with Congressman Mast to unveil Operation Sacred Legacy and be a partner in this critical initiative to preserve our nation’s history through the stories of these brave men and women.”
The Veterans History Project is seeking volunteers to help conduct interviews with veterans from across the community. Individuals interested in serving as volunteer interviewers and scribes must be at least 16 years old and attend a training session. Volunteer training sessions are scheduled for January in Stuart and Port St. Lucie. To sign up, visit www.irsc.edu/veterans-services/osl.

• Thursday, January 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the IRSC Chastain Campus, Wolf High-Tech Center, Room C-101, 2400 S.E. Salerno Road, in Stuart
• Friday, January 13, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Veterans Center of Excellence on the IRSC Pruitt Campus, 500 N.W. California Blvd., in Port St. Lucie
Veterans interested in adding their story to the Veterans History Project should visit https://mast.house.gov/vhp to reserve a time for an upcoming filming session.

New Program Shows Anything is Possible with a Little Creativity and a Flying Pig or Two

22 Nov Communities

CCKids will partner with Motivational Edge and Fort Pierce's Flying Pig Ranch
to provide specialized skills training and daycare drop-in services to
young people in the local community of care, particularly teens
and young adults receiving Independent Living services.

Article by: Christina Kaiser

The phrase, "When Pigs Fly," could be a mantra for Motivational Edge, a nonprofit organization that offers specialized skills training to children and young

people. Because the group, new to Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast, is making creative dreams come true at Fort Pierce's Flying Pig Ranch.

Communities Connected for Kids is finalizing a contract with the group this week, making specialized skills training like music production, the arts and creative writing available to teens in its local community of care.

The service will be offered at Flying Pig Ranch, a stretch of rural property in Fort Pierce ranch that takes in abused and unwanted farm animals.

Although the program will include drop-in day camp services, "we're going to use it to help kids explore their creative sides in a safe and therapeutic environment," said Andi Poli, CCKids Contracts Director.

The program, which Motivational Edge offers in multiple locations throughout Florida, including Miami, also will be available for the general community, Poli said.

CCKids contract with the Motivational Edge is valued at $76,000. It's unclear how many clients that will serve because every skills camp has its own cost and schedule. For example, the creative writing course is an eight-week program, while day camp is a daily activity.

"It's hard to say how many kids we'll be able to serve yet, but we expect to reach quite a few," said Christina Kaiser, CCKids Community Relations Director.
"This puts the 'well being' in our mission to ensure safety, permanency and well-being to children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected."

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Florida Department of Health addresses Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Florida

20 Oct MC Health Logo

Martin County – The Florida Department of Health is monitoring an above average number of cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Florida communities. This common respiratory virus may cause a higher number of pediatric emergency department visits compared to previous years.

RSV is an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract with symptoms similar to a common cold. Mild case symptoms can include congested or runny nose, dry cough, low-grade fever, sore throat, sneezing, and headache. In severe cases, RSV symptoms may include fever, cough, wheezing, rapid or difficulty breathing, or bluish skin color.

Follow these important steps to protect yourself and others from respiratory illness:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
4. Stay home if you are sick and keep children home if they are sick.
5. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

Infants are the most affected by RSV. Symptoms of severe cases in infants are short, shallow, and rapid breathing, struggling to breathe, cough, poor feeding, unusual tiredness, or irritability.

Most children and adults recover in one to two weeks, although some might have repeated wheezing. Severe or life-threatening infection requiring a hospital stay may occur in premature infants or in anyone who has chronic heart or lung problems.
For more information, please visit the Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Renay Rouse Renay.Rouse@FLHealth.gov 772-631-6008

We Love to Offer Choices! Make the Right Choice for You!!

Ruth 2

People come from all walks of life and have all different types of lifestyles. We try to help our constituents have a better quality of life by offering different payment options to accommodate their lifestyle, relieving their stress and lessening the financial burden. Let’s talk about property tax, since usually that is an individual’s largest bill. Over $5 million in net income was earned this year above our operating costs by our office through effective management, increased efficiencies, and motivated teamwork. The funds were distributed to the taxing authorities of Martin County to help keep the burden of the taxes off our roof tops.

The option that gives you the lowest cost is to pay your entire property tax bill in the 4% discount period in one lump sum; however, some people are unable to come up with that large amount of money at one time. We have added PAYPAL as a new payment option to online property tax payments.

The best alternative if the individual needs to make payments is the installment plan. This plan almost gives you the same cost as paying the entire bill at one time, except you are paying your taxes in advance. The first year installments may be a little difficult, unless you are a new property owner and choose this option for your first tax bill, but once the property is put on the installment cycle, this option really gives you almost the same value as paying one lump sum, while you make four smaller payments instead of one large lump payment.

For individuals who are self-employed or live on straight commission, we offer a partial payment plan. On this plan the tax payer may make as many payments and any amount they can afford, as long as the entire amount is paid in full by April 1st. If unable to pay the full amount on time, by making a partial payment, the required delinquent penalty will be computed on a lower amount. If unable to pay the full amount plus the penalties before the tax certificate sale, the amount of the certificate sold on the property will be lower; therefore, the taxpayer will be paying interest to a certificate holder on a lower amount. The downside to this plan is that the individual loses all discounts and each payment made requires an additional $10 fee.

We also offer several different payment options. The quickest, easiest, and cheapest is online. Scanning the QR code on your tax bill will take you directly to YOUR own tax bill on our website to make a payment or sign up for an email bill for next year. For your protection, we have automated emails that alert the taxpayer if any change has been made to their ownership since the last tax year. If you’ve lost or misplaced your bill, just go to our home page on https://martintaxcollector.com, click on PAYMENT MENU, and our pay hub will come up with a page where you can easily pay any of our online services, or just call #TAX or 288-5600 and request your tax bill to be e-mailed or mailed to you. E-checks are FREE. Credit cards are also offered online; however, the credit card processing company charges a 2.5% convenience fee, which we get no part of. We also offer a private personal link for “Confidential” taxpayers.

Payment may be made by mail (postmark determines the discount period), dropped off at our drive-thru window at the Palm City branch, dropped off in our convenient drop boxes at all of our four locations or in our after- hours 24/7/365 lock box at our drive-thru window at the Palm City location.

For those taxpayers who like to walk-in and hand deliver their tax payment, we are ready and staffed to take your payments quickly and efficiently. We have a “TAX PAYMENT EXPRESS” office set- up in our business collections department at our Willoughby location.

Treasure Coast Food Bank Receives Grant From Publix Super Markets Charities

20 Sept TC Food Bank
2022 Publix Serves a

Grant will ensure more Florida-grown produce gets to those in need
Treasure Coast Food Bank has received a grant from Publix Super Markets Charities that will help to bring in an additional 2 million pounds of nutritious fruits and vegetables - the equivalent of 1.6 million meals - for people in need of food.

The $130,000 grant will help Treasure Coast Food Bank to acquire fresh produce from local and regional Florida farmers and growers and be able to provide both the fresh produce and products made from it year-round to individuals facing hunger.

“We believe it’s important to provide food that is nutritious and healthy, and there’s no better way to do that than by providing fresh fruits and vegetables straight from our Florida growers,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “This grant will help us bring in significantly more produce so that we can continue to distribute it year-round, and we are very grateful to Publix Super Markets Charities for helping us alleviate hunger on the Treasure Coast.”

More than half of all the food distributed by Treasure Coast Food Bank is fresh produce. It is a vital part of ensuring that the meals it provides are not only filling, but healthy. Treasure Coast Food Bank provides produce through several direct service programs, including Mobile Pantries, Order Ahead, Market Fresh on the Move, and Home Delivery. In addition, it provides fruits and vegetables to its 300 partner agencies to distribute to people in need of food throughout Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties.

With the grant, Treasure Coast Food Bank plans to work with local and regional farmers, growers, packers, and retailers to obtain an additional 2 million pounds of produce – the equivalent of 1.6 million meals – to ensure produce and value-added products such as soups and sauces made in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Food Production Kitchen, are available throughout the year.

“Hunger relief continues to be a cornerstone of our community efforts, and it’s our privilege to support organizations throughout the Southeast,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support Treasure Coast Food Bank and to alleviate hunger in the communities we serve and put food on the tables of our neighbors in need.”

The $130,000 donation from Publix Charities to Treasure Coast Food Bank is one of several donations made this year to help provide food and other essential support to people facing hunger. In all, Publix Charities has donated $5.65 million to Feeding America member food banks and other nonprofit partners in 2022.

Publix is a longtime supporter of Treasure Coast Food Bank, and during Hunger Action Month, more than 100 Publix associates volunteered their time. They painted the warehouse and offices, sorted food donations, and built senior food boxes at Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Fort Pierce warehouse.

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2022 Publix Serves3a

Wild Roses Foundation, Workshop & Social Dance Fundraiser

Photo 1 a

In Photo: Rachel Clark, Christa Dempsy, Wendie Smith, Dawn Musgrave, DeeDee and Casey French

Article & Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham

St. Lucie County - The Wild Roses seem to blossom all over St. Lucie County, lending their talents, teaching their skills, and sharing proceeds of their classes and events to worthy causes.

As a dance team that serves as the face of its Foundation, these seven-time World Champion competitors host a fundraising Workshop & Social Dance each year. This year’s Roses in Wonderland-themed event occurred at the River Walk Center in Fort Pierce and featured instructors Niels Poulson of Denmark and Cody Flowers of Tampa. They taught all the right moves, engaging the dancers, including some that traveled hours to participate.

Flowers even created and pre-sold t-shirts to help raise additional funding for the Foundation.

Some of the events that the Wild Roses recently participated in by dancing or donating include the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie, The Inner Truth Project, Treasure Coast Hospice, GraceWay Village, and St. Lucie County 4H clubs. And they line-danced their way through the recent Wild Gamette event in Fort Pierce, stepping up the entertainment level by encouraging everyone to participate!

The Wild Roses Foundation also sponsored the Arline Winerman Memorial ProAm and Riptide Gymnastics.

“People come to line dancing looking to find a place to fit in, where they can be themselves,” said Founder Wendie Smith. “They find a family that spans the globe, that accepts everyone exactly as they are. We are a hodgepodge of characters from all walks of life. We dance, laugh, and support one another through good times and bad. We are family!”

The Wild Roses are looking forward to heading to the World Dance Masters Competition in Black Poole, England. They are one of just two U.S. teams.

Join the Wild Roses Foundation at their upcoming Cornhole Tournament on November 19th at Islamorada Brewing Company, 3200 St. Lucie Blvd, Fort Pierce. Please register at WildRosesFoundation.org. Sponsorship opportunities are available!

Photo 2 a

In Photo: Christine Neese, Dawn Musgrave, Lora Locke and Juan Gualda

Photo 3 a

In Photo: Instructor Niels Poulsen

Photo 5 a

In Photo: Melita Harris, Barbara Monnett, Mick McGovern and Pam Bellingham

Photo 6 a

In Photo: Lori Reyes, Jen Garrity and Nicole McDougal

Our Kids' Success is Our Country's Success

22 Oct Property Appraiser Oct Art

Finding Cybersecurity in a Digital World

22 Oct AAA Security

A problem that’s becoming more common

With each passing year, more and more people fall victim to identity theft and credit card fraud. One of the most common ways is through the tricks criminals use to get people to give them access to personal information on their browsers or the sites they use every day. The best way you can protect yourself against cyberthreats is by familiarizing yourself with some simple security tips to help keep you safe.

What’s phishing?

Phishing is when someone pretends to be a trusted source and tricks their victim into clicking a link in a message, email or text that then downloads malicious software known as malware. To deceive you, the cybercriminal may use an email address or a URL that appears authentic but has a changed letter, symbol or number. Never click on an unsolicited or suspicious link, and always check the email address of the sender. If you suspect your computer has been infected with malware (it’s sluggish, for example, and bombards you with pop-up ads), take it to an IT professional as soon as possible to resolve the problem. Don’t make any purchases or visit password-protected sites until you do.

What are warning signs of identity theft?

Unfamiliar transactions appearing on your credit card accounts
Denied credit or loan applications
Missing mail
Debt collectors calling you about purchases you didn’t make

How to create a more secure password

You may have heard that all your online passwords should be different, and all should be hard to guess. You probably also know to never use your pet’s name, your child’s name or anything else that a fraudster could easily find, like your address, phone number or birthdate.

Illustration of user name and password / Illustration of fishing line and hook
Here are more password creation strategies, recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

Don’t rely on passwords alone to protect anything you value. Turn on multifactor authentication wherever possible.
Use a phrase with multiple words that you can picture in your head so it’s difficult to guess but easy to remember.
Protect your most important accounts—such as your bank accounts and primary email account—by giving each a unique passphrase. An online password manager can help.

What’s multifactor authentication?

Also called strong authentication, banking and financial institutions often use this technology to protect sensitive data. It requires two or more methods of authentication from independent sources to verify a user’s identity—typically a password as well as a call, email or text containing a code. The three authentication factors are something you know (such as a password or PIN), something you have (such as an authenticator on a smartphone) and something you are (such as your biometric fingerprint or face).

What’s a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) adds a layer of security and privacy to your online activity. It creates an encrypted path for your data and hides your IP address, allowing you to use public Wi-Fi hot spots safely. A VPN extension can protect data in your browser and the privacy of all your devices’ traffic. Most VPNs can be installed and set up in a few minutes, but make sure the VPN you use is from a trusted provider.

Protect your credit card online.

According to research group Security.org, a typical year sees thieves hack into more than 150,000 U.S.-based credit card accounts, whether in a phishing scam, via a data breach or even by rifling through people’s trash. Here are some ways to protect your credit card information when doing business online:

Make sure you’re dealing with a verified merchant. Before you make a purchase or provide any information, do a quick online search. Check the Better Business Bureau and reviews on social media.
Illustration of hacker taking credit card. Use a safe, private connection.

Just as you should hesitate to join a low-security Wi-Fi network, you should also think twice before using your credit card on one. Keep your devices and Wi-Fi secure by using tools such as a virtual private network (VPN) and multifactor authentication. Before entering your credit card data, look for “https” and the lock symbol at the top of the browser window.

Use a third-party payment system. You can avoid entering your credit card information altogether by paying with a third-party app such as PayPal or Venmo.

Hallstrom Planetarium Now Accepting Reservations for Student Field Trips

22 Oct Photo Hall Storl a

Fort Pierce - Attention teachers and home school group leaders looking for ideas for fun, educational field trips—at the Indian River State College (IRSC) Hallstrom Planetarium, the sky is literally the limit.

The Planetarium is now accepting reservations from school groups and home school student groups to visit the region’s only planetarium, now celebrating its 30th anniversary at the IRSC Massey Campus in Fort Pierce. These exciting programs are 45 minutes long, including a question and answer session, and cover a variety of current and timely topics in astronomy, including outer space survey programs, night sky talks, planets, black holes, and more.

A field trip to the Hallstrom Planetarium dovetails nicely into the classroom science curriculum. It inspires students to locate constellations, planets and stars in the night sky on their own, with or without the aid of a telescope.

Best of all, visits are free to K-12 students in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties. Groups should include a minimum of 40 students and up to a maximum of 65 students. (The minimum size may be adjusted for special needs groups.) Student shows are offered at 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays from October through May on a first-come, first-served basis.

We ask that your group include one adult supervisor for every 10 students and that groups book their visits at least two weeks in advance and arrive at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time to get everyone organized and seated. No food, beverages, gum or use of mobile phones will be permitted. Bottled water is allowed. Planetarium staff will do their best to accommodate special needs students.

The Hallstrom Planetarium features a 360-degree immersive digital full-dome projection system and a state-of-the-art Spitz automated planetarium projector to recreate the sky, sun, moon and planets among the stars on a 40-foot domed ceiling.

Make sure to allow time for students and supervising adults to visit the new Planetarium gift shop, featuring interesting and collectible items such as T-shirts, caps, tumblers, astronomy trading cards, star finders and, of course, astronaut ice cream.

To schedule a visit, teachers or administrators should call reservation coordinator Lindi Perry at 772-462-7503 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or email her at lperry@irsc.edu. For additional questions about the student programs, contact Planetarium Director Jon U. Bell at jbell@irsc.edu or by calling 772-462-7515.

Children ages 4 to 12 are also encouraged to attend Kid Space programs on select Saturdays at 11 a.m. to take scientific voyages of discovery to learn about stars, constellations, the moon, planets, and the exploration of outer space. Adults must be accompanied by at least one child for these 60-minute programs. The cost is $5 per person. Kid Space programs take place on  Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 11, April 22, May 13, and May 27, 2023.

Faster, Easier, and More Convenient! ONLINE PAYMENTS for AMBULANCE BILLS

MC Fire
22 Sept Fire Truck

Visit Tax Collector’s office https://govhub.com/fl-martin/fl-martin or
Martin County Fire Rescue https://govhub.com/fl-martin/fire-rescue

Support Your Local Firefighters by Making a Prompt Payment
E-Checks are FREE.
We accept all types of credit/debit cards, samsung pay, apple pay, google pay; however, the credit card vendor receives a 2.5% convenience fee which we get no part of.
Ruth Pietruszewski, Martin County Tax Collector, is proud to offer ambulance payments online NOW! Visit our GOV HUB by clicking on the red payment button on the home page of our website. For information call (772) 419-4543 or (772) 288-5740

21 Oct MC Tax Collectors
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Ruth “Ski” Pietruszewski, Martin County Tax Collector, proudly announces the Tax Collector office’s recent partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to offer “fast-track” intake services for new concealed weapons license applications and printing of renewal licenses on the spot. Both the fingerprinting and photo will be done on site to offer “one-stop fast-track” service.” The license is good for 7 years.

We serve any Florida resident from any Florida county, U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. (Does NOT include work permit status) No appointments are needed. Walk-ins are welcomed.

We place a high value on public service by providing our constituents with a better, more efficient, convenient, easier, and speedier service. We are strongly committed to finding the best ways to serve the public.

The main office at 3485 S.E. Willoughby Blvd, Stuart, FL 34994 and our Hobe Sound branch at 11734 S. E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, FL 33455 offer this service. For more information on our services visit our website: https://martintaxcollector.com or CONTACT US: 288-5600 OR #TAX

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Hit By a Car While Walking? What You Should Do Next

Zweben Final

Article by: Zweben Law
What Should You Do After a Car-Pedestrian Accident?
A car accident involving pedestrians can have severe consequences and legal fallout. You’ll want to act quickly and correctly to protect yourself both physically and legally. If you get struck by a car while walking, if possible, we recommend following these steps right after the incident:
1. Call 911. Seek medical attention immediately. Human life and personal safety should be your number one priority.
2. Exchange insurance and contact info. You’ll need the vehicle driver/owner’s information, and they’ll need yours. It’s important to note that the driver might not be the owner of the vehicle.
3. Contact local authorities. Law enforcement should always come to investigate the incident and file a police report.
4. Take pictures. You never know what may play a key role in your injury claim, so take plenty of pictures for proof. Take photos of the car, your injuries, and the location.
5. Collect names and numbers from bystanders. If someone witnessed the collision, you should get their name and contact info. They may help your case.
6. Contact your car insurance company. If you have car insurance, you’ll want to contact the provider.
We recommend not discussing who caused the incident and their legal obligations. This can be done later after you have had time to seek medical attention and think about what happened.
Who Pays Your Medical Bills?
In Florida, if you own a vehicle, your vehicle’s insurance will cover your medical bills under the personal injury protection portion of the policy. This will cover up to $10,000 in medical bills. If you don’t own a vehicle and aren’t otherwise covered, the vehicle that hit you will provide this benefit.
What If the Incident Is Partially Your Fault?
If a car runs into you, the fault doesn’t necessarily lie with the driver. Pedestrians don’t have legal rights to walk wherever they please and then blame it on motor vehicles when they get hit. For example, you may be partially responsible for an incident if you’re dangerously walking along a highway or jaywalking. Even if the incident is partially your fault, you may still have reasonable grounds to build a case and file a claim. It is important not to automatically assume that you don’t have a claim if you believe you had some fault for the accident. The law in Florida may still allow you to recover at least some of your damages.
What Compensation Can You Expect?
Being hit by a car while walking doesn’t mean you should demand compensation right away. It is important to know exactly how badly you are hurt prior to settling a claim. If the driver is at fault, you may get compensation for the following:
• Past, current, and future medical expenses
• Mental and emotional trauma and pain and suffering
• Reimbursement for damaged property
• Lost income
Get Professional Help from Our Florida Legal Team
Being involved in an accident can be scary and confusing. Fortunately, our auto accident lawyers at Zweben Law Group can help you face the road ahead. Don’t worry about fees—you’ll only have to pay us if we successfully get you money. Call us at 772-223-5454 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.