Out2News Local

County Highlights 2020 Accomplishments in State of the County Address Focus on Strength, Resilience, Service

19 July MC Commissioners logo

Stuart - Last week, Martin County Administrator Taryn Kryzda presented the State of the County Address to a limited audience, following COVID protocols. In her speech, she shared challenges of navigating the pandemic, but primarily focused on an abundance of county accomplishments from 2020. Attendees received an advance copy of the 2020 Annual Report. Residents can view an electronic copy of the report on the county website at 2020 Annual Report or pick up a copy at any county library. For library locations, visit www.martin.fl.us/Libraries.

Highlighting accomplishments during her speech, Ms. Kryzda used videos to shine a light on successful roadway and bridge completions, improvements made to park facilities, distribution of CARES Act grant funds, an important water quality project built to remove high nutrient levels being deposited in our waterways and the county's Office of Tourism and Marketing's Martin Together campaign, which was designed to support local businesses and raise awareness about traveling safely amid COVID-19.

Additional accomplishments highlighted critical focus areas including improving quality of life, investing in infrastructure, enhancing neighborhoods, ensuring public safety, creating a sense of community, connecting with residents and governing effectively.

Ms. Kryzda said, "the strength and resiliency of our people was evident in every corner of the county," ...and chose "not to focus on the challenges but the response, not the struggles but the spirit and strength of our community." Wrapping up her speech, she stated "when we work together, projects move forward, policies are stronger and together we build community - strong and resilient. Martin Together."

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Treasure Coast Food Bank Seeks Partners for Sit-down & Grab-n-go Summer Meals for Kids

20 Sept TC Food Bank

Treasure Coast - Stay for a meal – or grab-n-go. This summer, Treasure Coast Food Bank will be providing summer meals for kids in both formats, and it’s seeking partners who can help.

For several years, Treasure Coast Food Bank has worked with partners across Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin counties to provide meals to children during summer when school cafeterias are closed. This year, the program will include the option to provide them “grab-n-go” style meals, opening the opportunity for more partners to participate.

Each year, Treasure Coast Food Bank partners with organizations like social service agencies, churches and summer camps that feed children at their sites during summer. This year, other organizations that might not offer a summer program or have enough space for sit-down meals will be able to participate as well.

“This change will allow us to bring on partners who may have the desire to help, but not have room for kids to eat at their location,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “It also will help families who might have a parent working remotely at home or who feel more comfortable with their children eating meals at home.”

Treasure Coast Food Bank provides all the meals to partner locations at no charge. The nutritious food is made daily, and typically includes fresh-made sandwiches and wraps, salads, and fresh cut fruits and vegetables.

To become a Summer Meals site, you must:

• Complete Treasure Coast Food Bank’s online training
• Provide a sheltered, supervised area for eating or a grab-n-go style distribution
• Use social distancing measures
• Serve meals to children
• Supervise meal service
• Keep daily records of meals served

For more information, visit www.stophunger.org/sfsp or contact Program Coordinator Jade Alexander at 561-771-6213 or ealexander@tcfoodbank.org.

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21 Mar Skin Serenity Ad

A Financial Wellness Plan Can Help Pave the Road to Retirement

21 Mar Financial

If we've learned any lesson over the past year, it's that no matter how carefully we plan and prepare, we'll likely encounter unexpected hurdles. While a global pandemic has certainly underscored the need to pay close attention to our physical wellness, it has also revealed the need to shore up our financial wellness.

According to PwC's 9th Annual Financial Wellness Survey conducted in January 2020, financial matters were the top cause of stress for employees even well before the pandemic hit in earnest. More than one-third of full-time employed millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers had less than $1,000 in emergency savings. Only 29% of women said they would be able to cover their basic necessities if they found themselves out of work for an extended period, compared with 55% of men. And more than half of millennials and Gen Xers and 35% of baby boomers said they would likely use their retirement funds for something other than retirement, with most noting it would be for an unexpected expense or medical bills.1

Although tapping your retirement savings can help you get through a crisis, it can hinder your ability to afford a comfortable retirement. Having a plan to guard your financial wellness throughout your working years can help you avoid putting your retirement at risk.

What Is Financial Wellness?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) defines financial well-being as:2

1) Having control over day-to-day and month-to-month finances. In order to achieve this, your expenses need to be lower than your income.

2) Maintaining the capacity to absorb a financial shock. This typically refers to having adequate emergency savings and insurance.

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3) Being on track to meet financial goals, meaning you have either a formal or informal plan to meet your goals and you are actively pursuing them.

4) Having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life, such as a splurge vacation.

The CFPB has identified several key factors that contribute to an individual's ability to achieve financial well-being. Among them are: (1) having the skills needed to find, process, and use relevant financial information when it's needed; and (2) exhibiting day-to-day financial behaviors and saving habits.

Assistance Is Available
Many employers have begun offering financial wellness benefits over the past decade. These programs have evolved from a focus on basic retirement readiness to those addressing broader financial challenges as health-care costs, general finance and budgeting, and credit/debt management.3

If you have access to work-based financial wellness benefits, be sure to take time and explore all that is offered. The education and services can provide valuable information and help you build the skills to make sound decisions in challenging circumstances.

In addition, a financial professional can become a trusted coach throughout your life. A qualified financial professional can provide an objective third-party view during tough times, while helping you anticipate and manage challenges and risks and, most important, stay on course toward a comfortable retirement.


21 Feb Tourism

Stuart - Earlier this month, The Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing announced the launch of the Martin County Arts & Culture Trail with an innovative scavenger hunt program leading up to ArtsFest 2021.

After signing up for the free trail, participants could visit the featured points of interest for a chance to find a limited edition gold or teal sea turtle commissioned by local glass artist Dot Galfond. More than 365 people signed up for the program, igniting an impassioned quest across Martin County to find the exclusive keepsakes.

The scavenger hunt successfully generated interest in Martin County's dynamic arts and culture attractions and all 55 of the hidden turtle sculptures were claimed over the span of 10 days-but don't fret if you weren't one of the lucky participants who found one.

The Office of Tourism & Marketing is officially expanding the scavenger hunt program with a second wave of sea turtles. Galfond has created a new batch of 20 cobalt-colored glass sea turtles, which will only be hidden at the Art in Public Places locations specifically listed in the Arts & Culture Trail. The week-long expansion begins today and will continue through Tuesday, March 2.

"We were delighted that the original sea turtle scavenger hunt resonated with so many people and we are so excited to build upon that momentum while continuing to showcase our vibrant Arts in Public Places Program," says Susan Kores, Martin County Office of Community Development Manager. "It's a fun and engaging way to get people of all ages excited in the arts and encourage them to explore the beauty right here in their own backyard."

As part of the initiative, Galfond also created two larger sea turtle bowl sculptures-one teal Turtle Bowl and one cobalt Turtle Bowl. The community is invited to purchase raffle tickets ($5 each or $10 for three tickets) to be entered to win one of the bowls. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Arts Council of Martin County office located in the Court House Cultural Center (80 SE Ocean Blvd, Stuart) and at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center (890 NE Ocean Blvd, Stuart), or through this online portal. The two winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 3. All proceeds from the raffle ticket donations will benefit the Florida Oceanographic Society and The Arts Foundation for Martin County.

"Each year, thousands of sea turtles return to Martin County beaches to nest, making our region one of the more vital nesting destinations in the U.S.," says Dr. Zack Jud, Director of Education at Florida Oceanographic Society. "We are thrilled that this program is bringing awareness to these threatened and endangered species, and we plan to dedicate raffle proceeds to support our ongoing sea turtle education and advocacy programming. With nesting season 'officially' beginning on March 1, we want to remind our community to keep Martin County's beaches dark, flat, and clean so visiting momma sea turtles can nest without being disturbed."

Drive-Thru Food Distributions at Clover Park Made Possible by the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation

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In Photo: Family Church Volunteers Marie Brown and Warren White

As new Mets owner, Cohen supports Spring Training hometown

Fort Pierce – The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has partnered with Treasure Coast Food Bank to provide additional opportunities for people who are struggling to obtain food.

With support from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Treasure Coast Food Bank has held two drive-thru mobile food distributions in recent weeks at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Fresh produce, meat, and shelf-stable food items were distributed to 1,000 families in need.

At a distribution on Feb. 13, Mets Outfielder Brandon Nimmo greeted families and lent a hand distributing food. Mets President Sandy Alderson and several local officials pitched in as well.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to help families impacted by COVID-19 here in Port St. Lucie,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with the Mets organization, and we’re looking forward to growing those partnerships under the Cohen’s ownership of the Mets.”

In November, Steven Cohen became the owner of the Mets, whose Spring Training home is Clover Park. The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation was launched in 2001, and has given more than $675 million to organizations that improve children’s healthcare and education, serve the underserved, support the arts, protect the environment, and further Lyme and tick-borne disease research.

“Hunger relief is such an important and central focus for our giving, and we’ve seen the need increase dramatically during the pandemic,” said Alex Cohen, President, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “We also care deeply about our communities, which have expanded recently due to our involvement with the Mets. We are happy to partner with the Treasure Coast Food Bank to support our neighbors during this difficult time.”

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In Photo: Volunteers Shelly McEwen and Carol Shiff

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In Photo: Mets staff and Mets Left fielder Brandon Nimmo

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In Photo: SLC Sheriff Chief of Staff Garry Wilson and Traer Van Allen of the Mets Organization

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In Photo: TC Food Bank CEO Judith Cruz and Mets Left Fielder Brandon Nimmo

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St. Lucie Public Schools Awarded Grant for $391,638 Expanding Marine Training programs

21 Feb Marine Boatlines

St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) was just awarded the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunity Grant in the full amount requested, $391,638. This coveted grant award, follows other recently obtained, large grants. This time, the grant award, fully funded by the Florida Department of Education, will allow SLPS to expand the pre-apprenticeship programs in Outboard Marine Service Technology at St. Lucie West Centennial High School, the Pharmacy Technician Program at Ft. Pierce Westwood Academy and the Technical Design Program at Port St. Lucie High School.

In addition to supporting the expansion of these pre-apprenticeship programs, the grant will also provide funds for teacher professional development, curriculum for students and industry certification tests. The grant will also allow for a redesign of industry specific, technical workstations for students and will support the District’s efforts in enrolling underrepresented student populations in these programs.

Aliesha Seitz, Director of Career and Technical Education added, “St. Lucie Public Schools is excited to be able to bolster these thriving programs through this grant. The longstanding partnership with the Economic Development Council and CareerSource Research Coast, who both support the connection we have to local industries, will continue to be a major factor in the future success of these pre-apprenticeship programs.”

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Treasure Coast Night to Shine

21 Feb Night to Shine

Port St Lucie - With 126 registered guests and 18 last-minute attendees, the 2021 drive-thru/virtual Tim Tebow Foundation's Treasure Coast Night to Shine, organized locally by Genesis Community Church, provided a COVID-friendly alternative to the traditional, annual prom experience for individuals with special needs.

Although the format changed, necessitating guests remain in their vehicles, attendees tuned into a designated radio station that played DJ Evan Nine's music.  Driving through the vast parking field at Clover Park, home of the Mets, they visited various stations.

The sunny but breezy February evening helped establish a festive mood for all those involved, including individual volunteers, the Treasure Coast Jeep Club, St. Lucie County Fire Department, 501st Legion Everglades Squad, plus more than 40 members of St. Lucie County Sheriff's Department.

Each stop along the way brought a new experience.  Photos of vehicles with the Night to Shine sign, painted messages on car windows, and swag bags that included bobblehead figures of NY Mets players are a few of the surprises received.

Other stations offered swag bags containing giant glow-sticks and popcorn.  And, what would the experience be without corsages, and boutonnieres, red carpet photos, the crowning of the Kings and Queens with crowns and tiaras?

Volunteers supplied loud cheers, applause, and festive greetings at the announcement of each special guest of honor!

Upon their return home, the kings and queens tuned in to a pre-recorded virtual experience featuring an introduction by Tim Tebow and wife Demi, music, dancing, karaoke, a VIP red carpet virtual entry into the party, and thoughtful greetings by country music star Carrie Underwood, professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and many others!

Local sponsors include Colorado Pawn, St. Lucie Mets, Lloyd Allen Jewelry, Genesis Community Church, and Evan Nine Entertainment.

For more information, please visit TimTebowFoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine.

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21 Feb Guardians for new Future

Port St Lucie - GUARDIANS FOR NEW FUTURES, a Port St. Lucie based 501c3 non-profit organization, is
hosting a fundraising event to celebrate the new home of GFNF4kids Child Advocacy Center.
The event will take place on Saturday, March 6, 2021 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the future home
of the Child Advocacy Center located at the Baron Real Estate Complex, 8555 Commerce
Centre Drive, Port St. Lucie.

Tours of the future CAC will be available at the event as well as opportunities to become an
integral part of this much needed center for maltreated children here on the Treasure Coast
and Okeechobee. There are many different levels of sponsorship opportunities for the CAC for
private individuals and/or corporations. Carrie Morgridge of the Morgridge Family Foundation
and Jeremiah Baron of Baron & Company will serve as guest speakers and the event is open
to the public. Contact Debbie Butler at 772-359-2824 to learn more about sponsorship

The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) will serve abused and neglected children from St. Lucie,
Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee counties which makes up Florida’s 19th Judicial Circuit.
Simply put, the CAC is one location that will provide all needed resources for a maltreated child
- everything from the initial forensic interview, physical exam to mental health resources and
more. Currently in our judicial circuit, a child is required to go to multiple locations to tell their
story of abuse and receive needed resources, which creates even more trauma for the child.
With a CAC, a child will only tell their story one time and will receive all the needed resources in
one location to begin their healing process.
Our Judicial Circuit is one of three Judicial Circuits in Florida without an advocacy center, and
GFNF4kids is committed to helping to change that for the Treasure Coast and surrounding

Contact: Debbie Butler, DButler@gfnf4kids.org
Please visit GFNF4kids website for more information at www.gfnf4kids.org

Project LIFT Celebrates Women in Construction With Chair Building Competition

20 June Project Lift Logo

Palm City - In celebration of Women in Construction Week, Project LIFT has selected four exceptional local business leaders as "Chairwomen" who will compete to raise funds for the non-profit's Girls Program. The women will each design and build a chair with the assistance of a team of girls in the Project LIFT program. The competitor who raises the most funds for her team's chair will be named the official Project LIFT 2021 "Chairwoman".

If you've visited Project LIFT headquarters in Palm City, you've likely seen the oversized Adirondack chairs that the teens build as part of the vocational training component of the program. In addition to carpentry and construction, at risk teens learn welding, auto repair, HVAC, screen printing and graphic design, all while receiving evidence based mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment at no cost. The organization refers to this innovative treatment model as "Therapy Under the Hood of a Car."

This innovation and disruption are key to the program's phenomenal outcomes, recognizing that therapy doesn't have to happen in the confines of a traditional counseling office. Combining skilled trades with mental health and substance abuse treatment is the secret to the success of the non-profit, allowing teens to replace negative behaviors with marketable job skills and hope for the future. The program has locations in both Martin and Palm Beach Counties.

The women selected to compete in the inaugural event are: Tami Karol of Tami Karol Insurance, Evie Klaassen of Colorado Pawn & Jewelry, Candace Lopes of Skin Serenity Spa, and Niki Norton of n2 architecture + design. The winning chair will be auctioned off at the Project LIFT Clambake on April 3rd.

To learn more, or to donate to Project LIFT in support of one of the "Chairwomen", visit www.projectliftmc.com/happenings or call 772-221-2244

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In Photo: Young women at Project LIFT learn construction and carpentry skills as part of an innovative program combining skilled trades with mental health and substance abuse treatment.

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In Photo: Project LIFT staff members sit in an oversized Adirondack chair constructed and painted by teens in the program. Back Row- Licensed Psychotherapist Amanda Bramlett, LMFT, Pathway Academy Teacher Alies Kelly, and Girls Program Coordinator Autumn Thomas, BSW. Front Row- Therapist Rain Coira

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In Photo: Nicole Rojas and Niki Norton of Team n2 architecture + design, are pictured here with one of their team members from the Project LIFT Girls Program and Autumn Thomas, Project LIFT Girls Program Coordinator. Select local business women will design and build oversized Adirondack chairs with the help of teens in the Project LIFT Girls Program, and the team who raises the most money for their chair will be named the winner.

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Treasure Coast Hospice, Lakeside Stroll - A Walk for Hope & Healing

21 Feb Lakeside Stroll 1

Photos & Article by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Breathing deep the crisp, fresh air of the early January morning, supporters of Treasure Coast Hospice and those grieving the loss of a cherished love one strolled the 1.2-mile pathway around the scenic lake at Tradition in Port St. Lucie. Each exhale providing a means of releasing some of that pain, taking the first steps of a journey to hope and healing.

With strict COVID-19 safety protocols in place, the 3rd Annual Lakeside Stroll offered a bevy of therapeutic methodologies to express love and fond remembrances. These included opportunities to place a memorial sign along the walkway, pen a handwritten message and, together with a photo, post it on the memory wall, and pay a visit to the pet pampering station. Many chose to write messages on fabric strips, contributing to the ongoing weave of a special memorial tapestry.

“We are so appreciative of the community’s support of the Lakeside Stroll,” said Jacki Nardone, Director of Grief Support and Pediatric Services. “This event offers hope and healing to those who are grieving, especially those who are experiencing more complex grief due to the pandemic. Our team understands the challenges that the bereaved have faced this past year and we are dedicated to continuing to provide the services and support that our community needs to cope with the loss of a loved one.”

A plentiful array of raffle items were up for grabs and helped raise additional funds to support Treasure Coast Hospice Grief Support Services. Among the many services available, Treasure Coast Hospice grief counselors offer individual and group counseling, youth and family programs, crisis response, educational workshops, and Camp Good Grief, a youth bereavement camp, to all those in need in our community.

Participant Jane Gerlica, who suffered the loss of her beloved mother, said, "Hospice is a gift that you don't think you need until you do. The caring and assistance hospice provided to my mom and my family was such a blessing. To be able to support this organization means so much to me!"

Presenting Sponsor Dignity Memorial Aycock Funeral Homes was joined by OxyPros Plus, The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, FPL, Remnant Construction, MIS Consulting, Martin Funeral Home & Crematory, Haisley Funeral & Cremation Service, VIP America Home Health Resources, and many others.

Treasure Coast High School's Air Force JROTC came out in force, assisting as needed.

Toni Szparaga and her True Crew Dance Group, who began the event with light-hearted warm-up exercises to the tunes of DJ T-Bone, concluded the event with a poignant memorial dance.

To donate, volunteer, or for more information about Treasure Coast Hospice, please visit TreasureHealth.org.

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21 Feb ARC photo

"Friends are angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."

Martin County - The ARC of Martin County (ARC) recently received a delightful surprise. Unbeknownst to ARC, the Martin County Professional Firefighters & Paramedics Local 2959 dropped by one sunny January day to present a $10,000 donation! Their kindness and the kindness of our community is the generosity that keeps the children and adults of ARC thriving.

Once a year, these outstanding men and women send out a request by mail, called their Fundrive, to raise funds that support lifesaving initiatives and other community outreach programs in our area. These are the men and women who respond to our 911 emergencies 24/7. In addition to saving lives and putting out fires, they give of themselves in multiple ways to their community.

With 2020 being an extremely challenging year for ARC and all nonprofits, with lost revenues from canceled, yet relied upon, fundraisers, the donation was truly a gift from angels, one that will assist the ARC in their ability to provide much needed services to over 400 children and adults across the Treasure Coast with intellectual & developmental disabilities.

The ARC of Martin County, (Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged) is a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their fullest potential through residential, vocational, educational, behavioral, and other healthcare services.

“Our goal”, said ARC President & CEO Keith Muniz, “is to provide support, assistance and training that will enhance the abilities for children and adults with disabilities to thrive each day and achieve their fullest potential. Without the support from our many wonderful partners and individuals, we would not be able to provide many of the supports that we currently do.” Muniz said.

Find out how you can support and empower these amazing children and adults today, visit our website at https://www.arcmc.org ; and follow us on Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn. We are all angels… just learning how to fly.

Out2News.com LLC. is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

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The Fort Pierce Woman’s Club, Inaugural Appreciation Night

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In Photo: Jennifer Picardi

Written by Carolyn Wilkins, Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham
On January 28, members of the Woman’s Club of Fort Pierce gathered to celebrate the growth and progress of the club during 2020 at their first Annual Appreciation Night. While the pandemic seemed to paralyze many, it energized the members of this club to take action. This determined group held fundraisers and continued to grow throughout the year.

They were faced with some challenges but nothing seemed to be an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. When they were faced with a leaking roof, club first Vice President Jennifer Picardi recruited Richie Colletti, owner of Leak Busters, to replace the roof. Mr. Colletti was honored for his generosity at the Appreciation Night. Others honored included Flamin Hot Ads for donating take out boxes and Small Cakes bakery for cupcake donations, both for the Drive-thru Feeding program that the fifty-five member club held to feed thousands of community members every Monday and Friday from March through October. Many in the room were recognized for their efforts cooking, packing and distributing the food. Still others included donors of a stove, people who came to help paint the clubhouse, create decorations, and a wide variety of other volunteer efforts.

In a year of change and hardship for most, the FPWC had a year of triumph. Michele Bakus, President of the club, expressed her heart felt gratitude by sharing how the oldest civic and social organization in St. Lucie County brought so many people’s talent, treasure, and time together to raise the community up during a very difficult time. At the club, Mrs. Bakus coordinates a monthly networking breakfast where a St. Lucie County firefighter is recognized for their heroic efforts. Other events organized by this group include collecting Christmas gifts for children in foster care, hosting a Trunk or Treat event when most Halloween events were canceled, and donating books to schools and nursing homes. The Woman’s Club of Fort Pierce, founded in 1913, is open to woman and men throughout St. Lucie County.

They meet the first Thursday of the month and are open to new members. More information can be found on their website https://www.fpwclub.org/

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In Photo: Rich Colletti and Stephanie Ankiel

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In Photo: Michelle Backus

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In Photo: Rhett & Nikita Lloyd

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In Photo: Maddie Williams, Nikita Lloyd and Crystal Barker-King

Florida PAL Girl of the Year

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Article by: Noel DelValle - Executive Director Martin County Police Athletic League

Stuart - Second chances are a reality when it comes to the youth in Martin County. Just look at what happened to Sandra Graham. This young lady came to the Martin County PAL Leadership program as a result of some bad decisions she made. She entered as a hesitant young adult and grew into an amazing peer leader within the PAL program. Her notoriety quickly gained steam, from speaking at the County Commissioners meeting to being recognized by the Florida State Police Athletic League association as a possible applicant for scholarship grants. She applied and was chosen from amongst 15 other applicants in the state.

“Before starting PAL it was hard for me to keep my head up when I faced adversity, but now I have the skills they taught me to get past my challenges,” Sandra wrote. “PAL’s leaders have helped guide me through some tough situations and I am truly grateful for them and everything they taught me.” She calls PAL her “second home”, a “safe place with a judgment free environment.”

Martin County PAL has successfully been delivering their iLEad…iCHoose…ME Leadership program for over 2 years with a 95% success rate. This stimulating 16-week course gives youth tools that they can use now and for the rest of their lives.

About PAL: Martin County PAL is a registered 501c3 that provides athletics, mentorship and leadership to at risk youth in martin county. Our mission is to develop the youth in martin county to become well round leaders of the future. Through the mentorship of its coaches and the assistance of the Martin County Sheriffs office. This relationship between Law Enforcement and youth is an important one that has long lasting impact on our community.
For more information, or to donate in support of Martin County PAL, visit martincountypal.org or call 772-919-2441.

Treasure Coast Hospice Founding Friends - Eat, Sip & Stay Raises $125,000 for Grief Support

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Article & Photos by: Mary Ann Ketcham

Guests and sponsors supported the Founding Friends of Treasure Coast Hospice's Food and Wine from Around the World - Eat, Sip & Stay event. The annual fundraiser, traditionally hosted in the luxurious Harbour Ridge Yacht and Country Club Riverview Dining Room, transformed into a virtual extravaganza, raising $125,000 for Grief Support Youth and Family Programs.

Keeping its community safe from the risk of COVID-19 is of paramount importance to those at Treasure Coast Hospice. After careful consideration, a cautious yet effective way to proceed with the event soon emerged.

The event combined a drive-thru pick-up of Harbour Ridge Chef Robert Goodhue's inspired creations that included menu items representative of Italy, Spain, France, and Germany with four specially chosen wines supplied by Kling Gallery, Wine & Décor of Stuart. Participants then enjoyed a virtual pairing event featuring wine sommelier Bill Kling and a cooking demo from Chef Goodhue as they enjoyed their meal from the safety of home.

A specially designed program booklet helped the supporters follow along and gave recognition to the event sponsors. An online silent auction helped boost fundraising efforts with items such as a post-COVID progressive dinner for eight, several golf foursomes, a basket of cheer, and more up for bid.

Funds raised benefit Treasure Coast Hospice Grief Support Youth and Family Programs, which offer grief support services free of charge to any family or child in the community who has lost a loved one.

For example, Camp Good Grief is a weekend program where approximately 40 children and teens who have experienced a loss of a parent, sibling or grandparent, attend a camp to have fun, canoe, hike, design arts and crafts, and connect with other peers who are also grieving. With the help of Treasure Coast Hospice counselors, they learn how to process their grief and leave better prepared to cope with their loss. Due to the pandemic, last year's Camp Good Grief went virtual, highlighting the ingenuity of the Grief Support Team and their dedication to ensuring that compassionate care is available to the community.

“It is inspiring to see how the Founding Friends of Treasure Coast Hospice adapted during this pandemic and came together to produce such a successful virtual event,” said Treasure Coast Hospice CEO Jackie Kendrick. “It is because of the Founding Friends’ continued support over the years that Treasure Coast Hospice has been able to expand its counseling programs to help more children, teens, and families cope with grief and loss in our community.”

Event sponsors include Alice F. & Cortland J. Knipe Charitable Trust, Bill Lichtenberger, Dick & Denise Boyle, Andrea Lutz, Joan Cutting, Bob & Carol Weissman, Gordon & Anita Lamb through the Jefferson Family Foundation, and many more.

For more information, please visit TreasureHealth.org.

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In Photo: Craig Perry, Jacki Nardone and Agnes Palmer

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In Photo: Checking in participants is Chris Kaufman

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In Photo: Founding Friends Chris Kaufman, Lisa O'Neill, Kathy Kenny and Denise Boyle

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In Photo: CEO Jackie Kendrick

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In Photo: Patti & Ken Hunzeker

21 Jan Hospice 7

In Photo: Denise Boyle and Jody Braskamp

21 Jan United Way Tax Flyer

Drive-Thru Food Distribution at Clover Park Made Possible by the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation As new Mets owner, Cohen supports Spring Training Hometown

20 Sept TC Food Bank

Fort Pierce– The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is partnering with Treasure Coast Food Bank to provide an additional opportunity for people who are struggling to obtain food.

With support from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Treasure Coast Food Bank will hold a drive-thru mobile food distribution on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida. There will be fresh produce, meat, and shelf-stable food items distributed to 500 families in need.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to help families impacted by COVID-19 here in Port St. Lucie,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with the Mets organization, and we’re looking forward to growing those partnerships under the Cohen’s ownership of the Mets.”

In November, Steven Cohen became the owner of the Mets, whose Spring Training home is Clover Park. The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation was launched in 2001, and has given more than $675 million to organizations that improve children’s healthcare and education, serve the underserved, support the arts, protect the environment, and further Lyme and tick-borne disease research.

“Hunger relief is such an important and central focus for our giving, and we’ve seen the need increase dramatically during the pandemic,” said Alex Cohen, President, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “We also care deeply about our communities, which have expanded recently due to our involvement with the Mets. We are happy to partner with the Treasure Coast Food Bank to support our neighbors during this difficult time.”

The drive-through distribution begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday and will go until 10:30 a.m. or until all products are distributed.

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Plans in the Works for a Bow-Wow-Meow Luau to Help Shelter Pets

2021 Paws and Claws Committee members a

Palm City - Expect to see leis and straw skirts at this year’s Paws & Claws gala, which benefits the shelter animals at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast. That is because the gala theme is the Bow-Wow-Meow Luau. Slated for March 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, this outdoor, open-air, and free-roaming venue will allow for social distancing and masking to add to the guests’ safety. All details are being carefully planned and executed with the health and safety of guests being top priority.

Guests will be treated to an authentic island revue performed by professional entertainers from the Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant and Show, a South Florida landmark. In flavorful fashion, Little Moir’s Hibiscus Street Catering (same owners as Little Moir’s Food Shack and Little Moir’s Leftovers in Jupiter) will serve a taste of the tropics with a variety of mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres. Island cocktail attire is suggested.

Afterwards, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., guests may opt to take in a VIP experience, which includes a starlight cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway aboard The Island Princess, cocktails, and musical entertainment. Tickets are $185 per person and $225 per person for the VIP experience.

“The success of our shelter and our programs depends entirely upon community support,” said HSTC President & CEO Frank Valente. “We’re not affiliated with any other humane society, nor funded by the Humane Society of the United States. We look to the community to help us in achieving our mission: To provide compassionate care and nurture the bond between people and pets.”

Dedicated volunteers Kit Haas and Shaun Kelly are leading the committee in organizing the event. They are joined by committee members Katie Astras, Barb Bucci, Jennifer Campbell, Dixie Church, Diane Coakley, Dana Coates, Carol Dippy, Tracy Ferguson, Cindy Greenspan, Debbie Hansen, Cindi Hobbs, Dr. Linda Kardos, Bev Mauermann, Allola McGraw, Eileen Morris, Jennifer Renfro and Kay Ziegler.

The presenting sponsor is Stryker Electric & Air. Major sponsors are Carl’s Buick GMC and the Samuel M. and Alma Catsman Foundation. Additional event sponsors include Apex Pavers & Pools, Saelzer Atlas Wealth Management Group of Raymond James, JetLoan Capital, Rick Carroll Insurance, Camp Bow Wow, and Wagnolia’s.

The annual Paws & Claws gala is the most prestigious and successful shelter animal fundraiser on the Treasure Coast benefiting Martin County’s only open-access, no-kill, nonprofit animal welfare organization. Like-minded individuals come together for an enchanting and memorable evening as friends of the animals join forces to raise critical funds for shelter pets in need.

Funds raised also help support the pet adoption program, a low-cost spay/neuter surgical program, a multitude of humane education programs and its lifesaving Emergency Medical Fund. All combined, these programs have continued to allow the HSTC to provide life-saving care and essential services to more than 6,000 animals each year.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and/or to make a reservation, call Courtney Zanetti at 772-600-3211 or email her at czanetti@hstc1.org.

Paws & Claws committee co-chairs a

Honor Flight, Pull! For Our Veterans Sporting Clay Tournament 2021

21 Jan Honor Flight Photo

Article by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Take your best shot! Join the excitement and thrill of a Sporting Clay Tournament supporting Southeast Honor Flight and POW-MIA-OREE (Prisoner of War-Missing in Action-Outdoor Remembrance Educational Events.)

Save the Date, Saturday, Feb. 27th, and aim for the South Florida Shooting Club located at 500 SW Long Drive in Palm City, beginning at 8 am. Admission includes a BBQ lunch, raffles, and an awards ceremony.

Sponsored by prominent St. Lucie County dermatologist and philanthropist Dr. Shamsher Singh, who recently presented a $10,000 check to the organization, the event honors the memory of Vietnam Veteran John Knox Bailey.

Bailey, the husband of Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson, served in the U.S. Navy, working as part of the 'Brown Water' Navy that patrolled the waterways inside Vietnam. Honorably discharged in 1966 with a ranking of Seaman Apprentice E-2, the South Carolina native moved to the Treasure Coast.

"He rarely spoke of his military service," said Hudson. "But he credited his service as the basis for his many successes in life."

Like many other young Vietnam Veterans, Bailey returned home to a seemingly ungrateful populace and tended to keep his experiences to himself.

He retired from the US Postal Service in 2003 and was an avid fan of clay shooting.

Sadly, Bailey did not have the opportunity to experience an Honor Flight for which he qualified and where he would have received the heroes welcome he so vastly deserved.

Southeast Honor Flight is a 100% volunteer organization that currently flies Veterans from WWII, the Korean, and Vietnam Wars to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

Funds raised ensure that local Veterans from St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Indian River, and Palm Beach Counties fly entirely free of charge.

Paired with a volunteer guardian, each Veteran can rest assured that someone is there to assist them throughout the day-long journey. The pairing is mutually gratifying for the guardian, who learns a bit of history through the Veteran's stories, and has the opportunity to establish a deep-seated friendship.

The POW-MIA-OREE component helps ensure that "No Soldier Will Ever Be Forgotten." Each year, this nonprofit organization live reads the names of Veterans interred in National Cemeteries. Custom Challenge Coins, later placed on the headstones, serve as keepsakes for the families.

Help honor our Nation's Veterans, present and past, with a sponsorship. Or, grab some fellow enthusiasts and sign-up for this unforgettable event.

Please visit, HonorFlightSELF.org for additional information.


20 Dec St Lucie Big Brothers

This is my 21st year in education and non-profit management and crisis is no stranger to any professional in this field. In a pre-pandemic world our daily efforts faced the realities of every societal weight our community carries. Even so, Covid-19 has amplified and exacerbated these issues while simultaneously requiring operational and program pivots to ensure safety and sustainability. Tentacles of emotional and economic havoc have reached into every home and agency, but the quilt of passionate community helpers is a source of immense hope for the Treasure Coast.

The most poignant moment of this crisis hit for me in June. My husband works in healthcare and was at home recovering from Covid-19. I could hear his heavy coughing in the next room while on a Zoom meeting with the entire Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) team. Our COO Debbie Hawley and I were sharing that along with our Board of Directors we had made a bold and proactive financial decision. BBBS elected to proactively cut overhead by eliminating our large headquarters in exchange for a collaborative workspace and increased usage of our two other offices. We acknowledged this was a different way of working but assured our team it was in the best interests of serving our children. On a screen of familiar faces, I could see their concern about such an enormous change and an unfamiliar feeling crept into my heart. . .fear. Upon finishing the meeting, I shut my laptop, heard my husband cough again and cried. For a moment, the frustration of how just a few short months earlier Debbie and I had been planning for our
strongest year yet, and the “what ifs” of a spouse with Covid-19 became overwhelming.

The vast ways organizations are adapting is rewiring the entire non-profit eco-system in real time. From altering instantaneously irrelevant procedural practices to engaging in new emergency response efforts, it has all evolved quickly. We are in the midst of what will be reflected on as the year that changed everything. True to form, the non-profit sector and our supporters have responded with fierce love and collaborative determination.

There will come a moment when the changes we have made, the tools we have gained and the resilience we have built will be a platform for celebration. The creativity and collaboration of this moment will better equip the nonprofit sector for an even more efficient network of services in the future. Programs and fundraising efforts will be more flexible and ready to meet people where they are. Our young leaders will be even more capable and adaptable. Our local community will feel more secure. My own mentor Susan has reminded me for the entirety of my career, “Stacey, leadership means progress, not perfection.” This experience has been collective progress boot-camp, so essentially it IS the strongest year yet.

It is an incredible honor to serve our community alongside a network of incredible non-profit leaders on the Treasure Coast who together have found grace between the fear and the fierce of 2020. We are always Bigger Together. ▪

Stacey Watson-Mesley, Chief Executive Officer

Welcome Jim Ferrare Incoming Car Curator!


The Historical Society of Martin County welcomes Jim Ferrare as its new car curator of the Elliott Museum, one of two museums that the nonprofit organization oversees.

Ferrare’s responsibilities include managing the Elliott’s antique car collection of some 100 cars dating back to the early 1900s and utilizing the museum’s car assets to involve the community by participating in car shows and other car-related activities.

“This will allow us to bring membership and donors into the museum forefront, and to let the community know we have an excellent car collection and other activities so we can grow the museum and participate in community activities,” said Ferrare.

Ferrare has had a lifelong interest in cars and motorcycles and has volunteered as a docent at the Elliott Museum for over five years.

His interest in high performance cars has included driving them on the track, which evolved into a teaching job and teaching high performance driving at different race tracks and teaching at professional driving schools qualified by Motorsports Safety Foundation, level 1.

“I’ve always had an interest in cars … actually raced motorcycles when I was younger, but I moved away from that and started doing the tracks with cars, which is significantly safer,” said Ferrare.

His personal car collection features a 1966 Corvette Coupe, a 2018 McLaren, a 2020 McLaren 600 LT Spyder, and a 2017 Audi R8.

Ferrare’s career spans 35 years working for FPL at its Turkey Point Nuclear station where he served as an engineering supervisor for 25 years and a maintenance department head for five years. He also spent 10 years in the United States Navy on a nuclear submarine.

$45 Million Donation is Single Largest in College History

20 Dec IRSC New Resized

Fort Pierce — Today, on the day of its 2020 Commencement Ceremony, Indian River State College (IRSC) announced that it has received the largest single donation in its 60-year history from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

“We are especially grateful for Ms. Scott’s generosity and her confidence in IRSC’s critical mission,” said IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “The magnitude of this gift will positively transform lives for generations of IRSC students. It accelerates our ability to redefine our College and reframe the narrative on how American community colleges can better serve all of our constituencies.”

Equity and economic mobility for students is at the forefront of the College’s agenda under President Moore. The donation will allow IRSC to more quickly expand and grow strategic initiatives that support access and outreach to low-income, first-generation and historically underrepresented populations; expand essential career training and degree programs that put students into in-demand jobs and encourage entrepreneurism; embark on capital projects, like the Advanced Workforce Training Complex, that are vital for building workforces for the future; and develop critical partnerships that bring new opportunities and ideas to our region and nation.

IRSC is among 384 organizations selected after Scott’s team of advisors considered some 6,500 organizations along with data analysis on community needs, program outcomes, and each non-profit’s capacity to absorb and make effective use of funding. The announcement was made yesterday on Scott’s blog. Donations were focused on those “operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”

In 2019 Scott pledged to give away her entire fortune, and in July 2020 actively accelerated her giving. In the past four months, she has donated $4,158,500,000. IRSC is grateful to be among the most recent recipients.

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Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Senior CARE-a-Van Delivers Food for Seniors When They Need it Most

Joyce_Riskovitch_at Senior CARE-a-Van a

Fort Pierce ‒ Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Senior CARE-a-Van rolled out Thursday, carrying 3,000 boxes of food for seniors in need across Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties.

The CARE-a-Van departed with an escort by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office to raise awareness of the growing issue of senior hunger and to deliver direct relief – nutritious food tailored to a healthy diet for seniors.

“Across the country ten percent of our seniors over 60 are food-insecure,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “In our community, we have about 25,000 seniors who struggle, and the pandemic has amplified that situation. We’re delivering boxes to 32 sites today, and hopefully, they will provide some feeling of security for the seniors during the holidays.”

This is the 6th time for the event that delivers food boxes to low-income seniors during the time of year when it is most needed. It is one of several programs focused on seniors, along with monthly food box deliveries, curbside pick-up, and home delivery, which was begun with the onset of the pandemic to help seniors with no other way to access food.

“These are angels. You have no idea,” said Joyce Riskovitch, who spoke Thursday about receiving help from Treasure Coast Food Bank. “For almost three years I’ve been taking care of my parents. I’ve never asked for help from anybody,” said the 60-year-old Riskovitch. When other members of the family lost their jobs as the pandemic worsened, she made a call to Treasure Coast Food Bank. She picks up food from the Curbside Delivery program about once every six weeks. “I don’t know how to say ‘thank you’ enough,” she said.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic seniors were the fastest-growing group of food-insecure people on the Treasure Coast, and Florida’s seniors had a higher rate of food insecurity than the national average. One in 12 seniors across the state is food-insecure, including the 25,000 on the Treasure Coast.

In addition to seniors taking care of older parents, other seniors are raising grandchildren, and many who are food-insecure suffer with poor health, including diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Each box contains food that seniors can prepare easily for themselves and that contribute to a healthy diet for seniors. Those foods include beans, pasta, canned vegetables, canned fruit, apple juice, peanut butter, and low-sugar snacks. The boxes also contain some nutrition education and recipes.

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Holiday Tour Bringing Cheer to the Season

20 Dec Paddle Board Article Photo

Article & Photo by: Kara Grace Muzia 

Stuart, FL- Stuart Paddle Tours is hosting a Holiday Cheer paddle tour December 12 and 19 at Sandsprit park.

The local eco tour company is offering holiday-themed beginner friendly paddle tours to bring fun to the holiday season. Tours will include festive attire and post paddle cider and cookies.

“It’s been quite the year for all of us,” says Stuart Paddle Tours owner Kara Muzia, “and so many of the usual holiday events are cancelled, I wanted to provide a way for people to get out and get into the holiday spirit in a safe manner.”

Paddlers are encouraged to wear Santa hats, bring their jingle bells, and to sing their favorite Christmas carols. They can also expect to learn a fun ocean-themed holiday fact or two.

Borrow a board or bring your own paddle craft for a discounted price. Tickets are to be purchased in advance as there are limited spaces available.

For more information and online booking, please visit stuartpaddletours.com or call (772) 324-9394

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Mayor Karen M. Ostrand Honored with 2020 Home Rule Hero Award

20 Nov Ocean Breeze Mayor

Town of Ocean Breeze official recognized for advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session

The Florida League of Cities recently recognized Karen M. Ostrand, Mayor, with a 2020 Home Rule Hero Award. Mayor Ostrand earned this prestigious award for her tireless efforts throughout the legislative session to promote local voices making local choices, protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advance the League’s legislative agenda.

Home Rule is the ability for a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials, both elected and nonelected, who consistently responded to the League’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue.

Thank you for joining us in celebrating Mayor Ostrand!

Paddle Tour Company Offers Experiences During Time of Pandemic

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In Photo: Owner - Kara Muzia leads tour
Stuart - There’s a new eco-tour company in town. Started by a local marine biologist, Stuart Paddle Tours is making a splash with beginner-friendly tours of Martin County’s waterways.

“I wanted to offer a way for people to get out and experience our amazing watery trails,” says owner Kara Muzia, “it’s a bonus that paddling is inherently a physically distant activity.”

Stuart Paddle Tours offers a variety of tours to choose from, and all tours are led by a knowledgeable guide. Discover the sandbar flats, take a step back in time in the backwater, or wind through the mangroves and out to a secluded beach.

On tour, guests can expect to learn about some of the incredible creatures that call Martin County home such as sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, and a myriad of birds and fish. There’s always a good chance you’ll see at least a couple of these characters while paddling. All equipment is provided, including complimentary photos of your group while on tour. Just show up ready to have a great time!

Contactless booking and gift certificates are available. For more information, please call (772) 324-9394 or visit stuartpaddletours.com

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In Photo: Private group enjoying the signature mangrove tour


Southeast Florida Honor Flight

Southeast Florida Honor Flight to Recommence Honor Flights Fall 2021

Stuart - In another precautionary measure, Southeast Florida Honor Flight announces the cancellation of their scheduled 2021 Honor Flights for April 10th and May 15th to Washington, DC. Both of the one-day trips of honor, each scheduled for 80 local WWII, Korean & Vietnam War veterans, will be postponed due to a myriad of factors stemming from the COVID-19 virus.

With the November 19th determination by the National Honor Flight Board of Directors to suspend all Honor Flight-related travel through April 30, 2021, the Southeast Florida Honor Flight Board made the decision to cancel the May flight, as well. This decision was based upon many factors including, but not limited to: Current CDC guidelines and information regarding the timing considerations of the federal rollout of possible vaccines; Washington, DC’s current visitor requirements for testing and group gatherings; and the fact that the National Park Service is not currently issuing group gathering permits and there is no indication when NPS will resume permitting for group gatherings for the memorials that are the cornerstone of the program.

After cancelling their two Spring 2020 and their two Fall 2020 Honor Flights, the Southeast Florida Honor Flight Board of Directors also made the weighty call to cancel the Spring 2021 flights based on risk assessment and the possibility of exposing the older veterans to the virus, as well as no allowed crowd gatherings to welcome the veterans at the airports, another key component of the program. As much as the decision displeases the organization to again forego honoring awaiting veterans, the health and safety of the veterans, guardians and volunteers is paramount.

Veterans and guardians who were scheduled for the Spring 2021 flights will be contacted and transferred to the organization’s Fall 2021 Honor Flights, with exact dates forthcoming.

Southeast Florida Honor Flight is again heartbroken to have to make this third flight postponement decision, yet are as revved as ever to honor the deserving, local veterans when it is possible to fly again, anticipated to be in the Fall of 2021.

Southeast Florida Honor Flight, part of the National Honor Flight Network, is one of nine Honor Flight chapters/hubs in Florida. Based in Stuart, FL, this hub serves veterans in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach Counties. Southeast Florida Honor Flight is dedicated to flying local WWII, Korean and Vietnam War veterans to their respective memorials in Washington, DC, free of charge to the veteran. For more information, to get involved or donate, please visit: www.honorflightsefl.org, or www.facebook.com/honorflight ,

or call 1-855-FLYAVET (855-359-2838).

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Treasure Coast Food Bank Establishes Program to Help People Still Recovering from Hurricane Irma

20 Nov Food Bank Mulit

Although Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, some families have yet to recover from the storm now considered the costliest in Florida history – including damages of more than $220 million on the Treasure Coast.

Treasure Coast Food Bank has established a program to help people still struggling to recover from the destruction left in Irma’s wake, thanks to assistance from the Volunteer Florida Foundation’s Florida Disaster Fund.

The program is designed to provide people with comprehensive support. Beyond offering food assistance, people can obtain home appliances, household necessities like cleaning and hygiene supplies, and financial assistance for home repairs, utilities, and moving expenses.

“Hurricane Irma caused devastation to many residents on the Treasure Coast, including many who have yet to fully recover,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “For people struggling to make ends meet, the hurricane compounded already difficult circumstances and left many families with damage, costly repairs, and in some cases, total displacement from their homes. Because of this assistance from the Volunteer Florida Foundation, we’re prepared to help people with low income who were impacted by Irma and still need help today.”

In addition to providing household items, each family will get a tailored household action plan and one-on-one mentoring to guide them on a path to full recovery. There will be opportunities for them to attend monthly workshops to improve health, wellness, nutrition and financial literacy. And families who qualify will be given assistance in applying for benefits, including SNAP, Medicare and Florida KidCare.

The program is expected to help about 200 families. People who suffered damage from Hurricane Irma can see if they qualify for assistance by visiting stophunger.org/irmarelief/ and completing an eligibility survey.

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A Woman of Distinction

20 Nov Elliott Multi

Give her a mission—and Joan Murphy is relentless in pursuit! So when the Soroptimists of Stuart put out an invitation for nominees for the prestigious 2020 Women of Distinction Awards, the Elliott Museum was delighted to honor Joan for her dedicated service on a number of fronts.

As a former teacher, Joan was an entertaining and knowledgeable docent, and also served in a leadership role as a member of the Board of Directors for the Historical Society of Martin County. President & CEO Rob Steele tapped Joan to “lend a hand” to give lagging sales a boost in the Elliott’s Museum Store.

Despite no previous experience in retail sales, Joan jumped in and worked tirelessly to learn all she could about successful museum stores. From changing the name to redirecting the marketing, she revamped the entire retail operation — reorganizing the layout and merchandise display, expanding inventory to correlate with current exhibits, and establishing the “Sterling Art Studio” featuring original art for sale by local artists.

She also trained, scheduled and oversaw 14 volunteers to operate the shop. Thanks to Joan, sales were up a whopping 65% in 2019! Our gratitude is immeasurable for Joan’s significant accomplishments to help make the Elliott Museum a richly engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

Martin County Partners with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

Martin Together

Stuart - The Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing and the Martin County Tourist Development Council are teaming up with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) to bring FRLA's numerous benefits, including COVID-19-specific training and other programs, to our small locally-owned restaurants and hotel properties.

This is an exciting addition to the tourism office's COVID-19 rebound program, designed to assist Martin County businesses in recovery efforts. "Working together with FRLA, Martin County restaurants and hotels will have access to the official FRLA Seal of Commitment certification program. This recognized safety program will help businesses demonstrate their dedication to meeting safety standards and ensuring staff is properly trained," said Nerissa Okiye, Tourism Director.

"The safety of our employees and guests is paramount for Florida's hospitality industry," said Carol Dover, FRLA President and CEO. "We are thrilled to partner with Martin County to bring the FRLA Seal of Commitment to local establishments and highlight their adherence to rigorous safety and sanitation standards and training. Restoring consumer confidence is essential to bring back our guests and rebuild our industry and economy, and FRLA is proud to lead these efforts."

Utilizing CARES Act funding allocated to tourism rebound efforts, Martin County will cover the cost for the certification for current FRLA members. Businesses that are not current members will also be eligible for funding to cover the membership portion, which would enable them to participate in the Seal of Commitment certification and training program.
Martin County is on the road to recovery, and all businesses with a tourism component are encouraged to sign up at www.Martintogether.com to be involved with additional rebound efforts. "The more we work together, the faster we'll emerge on the other side of this monumental challenge, united as a community and more resilient than ever," said Ms. Okiye.
The Tourism Office is requiring businesses follow similar criteria already established for the Martin County Business Renewal program, with the following requirements:
• has been operating since October 1, 2019 and still operating as of date of application
• is located in Martin County
• is not a publicly traded company
• is not a franchised location
• was subject to emergency orders at the state and/or local level requiring closure or limiting service
• has an active Martin County Business Tax Receipt or is exempt from filing a Business Tax Receipt with the Martin County Tax Collector
• has filed IRS Income Tax Returns for 2019 or 2018
• has payroll forms submitted to the IRS for 2020 (if applying for reimbursement of salaries/payroll)
• does not exceed $5 million in total gross receipts or sales

Businesses interested in participating should contact Nerissa Okiye, with the Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing at nokiye@martin.fl.us or Jodi Cross with FRLA at jcross@FRLA.org. Businesses with questions about the criteria or that do not meet the above criteria are encouraged to reach out as other programs may be available.

About FRLA
FRLA is Florida's premier hospitality industry trade association. Their mission is to Protect, Educate & Promote Florida's hospitality industry which represent 23% of Florida's economy and more than 1.5 million employees-making it the state's number one industry and employer.

The association offers regulatory compliance and food safety training through SafeStaff® and FRLA's subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.

Seal of Commitment
FRLA's highest designation for hospitality safety and sanitation standards, Seal of Commitment is a promise that your restaurant or hotel meets safety and sanitation standards as designated by FRLA. Awarded establishments have invested resources to ensure that the location, staff, and guests remain safe and healthy. In a post COVID-19 atmosphere, when guests see an FRLA Seal of Commitment decal on an establishment's door, they have confidence the business is sanitary and safe, and that staff are well trained.

Colorado Pawn & Jew Final

Soroptimist International of Stuart’s Women of Distinction Rising Star Award

20 Nov Soropomist Logo
Abbie Nauss

Martin Youth LEADERship extends its congratulations to Abbie Nauss, the most recent winner of the Soroptimist International of Stuart’s Women of Distinction Rising Star Award. The prestigious awards have been given annually since 1992, with the Rising Star category added in 2003.

Abbie is a graduate of Martin Youth LEADERship’s Class 22. Additionally, she maintained a 4.0 while a student at Clark Advanced Learning Center. During her years at Clark, Abbie was Vice President of her school’s chapter of UNICEF, President of Clark’s chapter of Best Buddies International, and volunteered at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech, majoring in Clinical Neuroscience, with a double minor in Women & Gender Studies and Medicine & Society.

Abbie personifies some of the many ideals of Martin Youth LEADERship, which is an exciting program designed for sophomores and juniors from local high schools to learn all about their community and to develop leadership skills. This is accomplished through participation in a nine-month, structured, experiential program that meets one day a month. The mission of Martin Youth LEADERship is to inform, challenge and stimulate students to develop the qualities necessary to become the next generation of leaders.”

The objectives of MYL are to identify potential high school leaders, to nurture young people’s leadership skills, to provide opportunities to practice leadership skills, to give young leaders opportunities to establish effective dialogue in peer group relationships and in relationships with local leaders, to promote leadership in the participants’ schools, to raise awareness of critical community issues, to promote involvement as young citizens, to provide opportunities for students from different areas to interact and develop a level of mutual trust and respect , to offer programs that will acquaint the participants with community needs, opportunities, issues and resources and will allow interaction with community leaders and decision makers, and to promote mentoring of young people with current LEADERship Martin County class members.

MYL readily recognized Abbie’s academic and civic potential, awarding her with the Nancy Sailer Youth LEADERship scholarship this spring. This four year scholarship is available only to those who graduate from the MYL program. For more information about MYL, please go to http://leadershipmcalumni.com/youth-leadership/ or email Jeanne Dunn at martinyouthleadership@gmail.com.

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Martin County Expands Eligibility for Business Renewal Program

19 July MC Commissioners logo

Martin County is pleased to announce expanded eligibility requirements for the Business Renewal Program. Local businesses that previously did not meet requirements, may now be eligible for grant funds.

George M. Stokus, Assistant County Administrator said, "As we continue to adapt to the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to strengthening our community through the support of local businesses. Small business owners in particular, are facing extremely difficult circumstances, and we are fortunate to have the ability to offer this opportunity to more business owners."

Businesses that had ongoing expenses while closed may be eligible to apply for a grant of up to $20,000. Eligible reimbursements include wages, spoiled inventories, mortgage or rent payments, or other expenses directly related to the virus.

The Business Renewal Program opened its doors August 3 to help Martin County businesses that suffered financial hardship resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. In the two months since opening, program staff has worked with over 200 businesses and distributed $1.4 million in grants funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

For more information and to apply, visit www.martin.fl.us/BusinessRenewal. For questions or additional information, please call the Business Renewal Program at 772-288-5951 or email sbrc@martin.fl.us.

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The Stuart Air Show is returning to the skies Nov. 7 and 8. Celebrating our delayed 30th anniversary, the beloved regional event—sidelined last year by heavy flooding, which proceeded the tragic pre-show crash of a performer—will highlight performances from more elite military fighter jets than ever before.

Not all the action will take place exclusively in the air. The event will debut a freestyle motocross performance in which one rider jumps over a biplane—in flight! And one of the static aircraft gives festivalgoers the chance to sit in the replica cockpit of the Top Gun Maverick F-18 Hornet popularized by Tom Cruise in the famous film.

This year we will be assembling aerial military performers generally so in-demand they’ve not appeared together in North America in nearly a decade; crafting and coordinating with leading health professionals comprehensive COVID-19 safety and sanitization protocols; and honoring the memory of Dr. Joseph Masessa, the pilot set to perform last year, who died Nov. 1 when his plane crashed at Witham Field hours before the show was set to start. The Stuart Air Show is also paying homage to Masessa through our logo, which was redesigned to include his 1968 Grumman OV-1 Mohawk.

As the scope of the COVID-19 virus threat emerged, air-show leadership consulted closely with other event organizers. Incorporating multiple safety measures—including encouraging pre-event ticket sales, going cashless, installing numerous personal sanitization stations, requiring masks in select covered areas, frequent cleaning of key high-touch areas and regular temperature and wellness checks for volunteers—the Stuart Air Show team also met with health professionals from the Martin County Health Department and other health-industry experts to review our procedures which can be viewed here: stuartairshow.com/safety.PERFORMERS

In addition to the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight and USASOC Black Daggers Parachute Team, the featured fighter jets—air combat aircraft that have not performed at the same event in the United States before —include:
· A10 “Thunderbolt II” Demo Team
· F16 “Viper” Demo Team
· F22 “Raptor” Demo Team
· F35 “Lightning II” Demo Team

The freestyle motocross show features acclaimed riders from across the country, including:
· Cody Elkins
· TJ Tiffany
· Jerad LaRue
Static displays of aircraft include:
· DreamBig Top Gun exhibit of the Maverick F-18 Hornet Experience—an exact replica of the fighter jet featured in the famous movie—invites guest to pose for pictures in the cockpit.
· C-47 Tico Belle is a memorial to the aircraft that 75 years ago took part in the D-Day invasion.
· TBM Avenger, a Grumman designed torpedo bomber like the aircraft flown by George H.W. Bush when he was shot down by the Japanese during World War II.
· M*A*S*H helicopter
· Douglas DC-3, which served as a wartime transport in the 1940s and deemed vital by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower for winning World War II.Calling all businesses!

Air Shows are the second most popular spectator sport in North America. Annually, millions of people attend nearly 350 air shows nationwide. The award-winning Stuart Air Show has become the largest event on the Treasure Coast. Last year’s air show attracted over 30,000 people making it the single most significant marketing opportunity in the region. Become a friend of the Stuart Air Show to promote your business to the attendees of the 2020 show - November 7 & 8.

Stuart Air Show Board of Directors
Amy Bottegal, President
Nick Blount, Vice President
Chuck Cleaver, Treasurer
Doug Davis, Secretary
Lee Potter
Desiree Bonnie
Susan O'Rourke
Angela Clarke
Deanna Usidek

Executive Director:Skylar Gorman
The Stuart Air Show proudly supports the community. Past proceeds have benefited non-profit organizations including United Way of Martin County, Special Olympics, Civil Air Patrol, J.D. Parker S.T.E.M program and many other deserving community charities. Stuart Air Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Appoints 2020-2021 Advisory Council

Mar Quit Doc
20 Sept Quit Doc Photo

Stuart - The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County, a coalition of community members focused on the prevention of tobacco use, has appointed its 2020-2021 Advisory Council. Advisory Council members assume a leadership role regarding tobacco control and advocacy, education, and prevention and policy change in Martin County.

This year’s advisory council members include Dawn Cabrera and Nicole Scrivani of Tykes and Teens, Emily Gregory of American Cancer Society, Ellie Nicholas, Laura McBride of the Martin County Health Department, Adolfo Diaz of the Martin County School District, Samantha Suffich of Martin County Healthy Start, Pat Szcesny of Sandhill Cove and Jennifer Ahern of the Children’s Services Council.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County is dedicated to the creation of tobacco-free social norms through a combination of community education, youth advocacy and changes in local tobacco policies. The mission of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County reflects the goals of the CDC Best Practices. They primarily work towards changes in local tobacco policies to create and promote tobacco-free social norms.

Currently, the partnership focuses on tobacco free environments, tobacco free workplace policies, tobacco free multi-unit housing policies, counteracting tobacco marketing at the point of sale, and Students Working Against Tobacco ((SWAT) Clubs for middle and high school youth.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County is facilitated by the QuitDoc Foundation. Learn more at www.quitdoc.com. To learn more about the partnership or to get involved, visit www.tfp-martin.org.

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#MyMoneyStaysLocal Launches on the Treasure Coast & Nationwide To Jump-Start Small Business Recovery

20 Sept Seashell Digital Logo 1
By local top

Article by: Linda Horstmyer - SeaShell Digital

Stuart -SeaShell Digital is joining other local business owners in support of the new #MyMoneyStaysLocal movement.#MyMoneyStaysLocal is a grassroots movement encouraging business owners and community members alike to spend more money on purchases close to home. The movement was created by Alignable.com, the largest online referral network for small businesses with 5 million+ members, to raise awareness for how spending our money locally has a direct impact on how quickly and completely our community recovers.

Local businesses really need support from each other and the members of our community to survive the devastating effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has already forced several businesses in our area and thousands nationwide to close for good. The first step everyone should take is to become more aware of where they buy products and services and how their spending habits directly impact the ability of our community to rebuild and eventually prosper again.

During the first couple of months of the Coronavirus Outbreak, businesses and consumers went into survival mode, altering purchasing behavior and shifting to major online providers who could deliver purchases to their doors with little to no personal contact.

While this behavior was necessary to slow the spread of the virus, it had a disastrous impact on our local economy. In short, a vast amount of money left our community and ended up at Amazon in Seattle. And now we all need to switch back to shopping locally to recover. Why? Because, on average our local businesses spend 50% or more right here in our community, injecting much-needed cash back into our local economy. We at SeaShell Digital are also big supporters of local businesses. In our case, last month 78% of what my business spent went to locally-owned businesses. And sadly, as a consumer, I spent only 49% on local purchases. My goal is to raise that number to 70%.

20 Sept My Money photo 3

Members of our community hold the key to Rebuilding and Recovering from this crisis in their wallets. Whenever we get ready to buy something, we should think how #MyMoneyStaysLocal. We hope you’ll do the same for the sake of our community’s future. Tools are available at the Treasure Coast Reboot website. For more information or help with graphics and messaging on our local campaign, please contact me, Linda Horstmyer, at Linda@seashelldigital.com and 772-214-1048

For more details about the national movement, contact Chuck Casto at Alignable.com via email:chuck@alignable.com or text (508-314-3284).