Paul Janensch

Treasure Coast Essayist

Ways To Connect

  Let’s keep our fingers – or our flippers – crossed.  So far this year, only a few dolphins infected with a deadly virus have ventured down the Indian River Lagoon as far as Vero Beach.  That is what I was told by Adam Schaefer, an epidemiologist at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute north of Fort Pierce.   But this past summer, enough dolphins in the northern part of the lagoon showed signs of the virus to worry scientists.  Lesions were on the dolphins’ skin.  They were skinny, swam erratically and made coughing sounds through their blow holes.  The virus

  Ninety years ago -- on November 1st, 1924 -- the notorious Ashley Gang was wiped out at the south end of the bridge that carried Dixie Highway over the St. Sebastian River.  I wonder if ghosts of the gang members will come back on Halloween to haunt places on the Treasure Coast.  One of the gang's first crimes was the robbery of the Bank of Stuart in 1915.  The bank was at the corner of Southwest St.

Mullet time

Oct 20, 2014

  Once again, the mullet are running.  Every year at this time, these little fish migrate by the millions down the Indian River Lagoon, grazing on all sorts if vegetation including algae, which choke up our sea grass.  The mullet, in turn, are food for a wide variety of birds and fish, including sea trout, jack, red drum, flounder and tarpon.  And these fish, in turn, are food for us.  Where mullet are jumping you often see humans fishing.  Which brings up a question asked on the Treasure Coast.  Why do mullet jump?  When I go out in a kayak in September or October, they jump all around me.

When I started coming to the Treasure Coast in the mid-1970s I got hooked on kayaking.  I don’t own a kayak.  I rent them and go by myself or with a group on an excursion put together by a commercial outfit or a nature center.  My typical kayak adventure lasts three hours.  On a group excursion, I stay close to the guide so to hear about the flora and fauna we encounter.  I’ve kayaked on the Indian River Lagoon north and south of Vero Beach.  I’ve been up the Sebastian River and around Pelican Island.  I want to explore the waters farther south on the Treasure Coast.  Once when I was paddli

Best and most

Oct 6, 2014

I’m a sucker for lists of places designated as “the best” or “the most.”  You know, like “the best places to retire.”  USA Today recently named downtown Fort Pierce as one of the most “idyllic and historic main streets in the country.”  The newspaper said: “Swaying palm trees line the sidewalks, and the atmosphere evokes the early 1900s when the city came into its own.”  The article noted that in 2011 Fort Pierce won a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Of course, there is no Main Street in downtown Fort Pierce.  “Main Street” is meant as a

  Reading about mold in a Martin County government building reminded me that mold can be a serious problem on the Treasure Coast and throughout Florida.  Mold was discovered in the Martin County General Services Field Operations building near Witham Field.  Patches of yellow mold were on the ceiling and a cabinet.  Black mold was oozing from behind a wall-mounted map.  In the early 1990s, the entire Martin County Courthouse was infected with mold.  Mold is a fungus that requires moisture.  Mold spores are in the air all around us.  That is normal.  But we should not let mold accumulate indo

  I propose a toast to Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company on its 25th year of producing fresh-squeezed juice made from Florida citrus.  It was in 1989 that Robert “Bobby” Sexton – grandson of Vero Beach pioneer Waldo Sexton – came up with the idea of turning out a gourmet orange juice, freshly squeezed for each order.  His wife Marygrace Sexton joined him in setting the company up in Vero Beach.  They named the juice after their baby daughter Natalie and put a young woman’s picture on the containers.

Prime time for sharks

Sep 15, 2014

  As the newspaper USA Today recently noted, Shark Week on television is over, but it is still prime time for sharks off east central Florida, including the Treasure Coast.  This is the time of the year when large schools of bait fish are migrating from north to south.  They like to spend the winter where it is warmer, just like humans.  Close behind the mullet, anchovies and herring are hungry sharks – black tip, spinner and sandbar.  The small fish like to swim in the warm shallow water near the shore line.  The sharks follow them.  Unfortunately, that is where humans like to swim and sur

Ri-o, Ri-o, Ri-o.  Will the peacocks leave our Ri-o?  The small and sleepy patch of Martin County called Rio may be in for major development in the coming years.   The post office that opened there in 1893 was called Rio San Lucie.  I assume it was pronounced the Spanish way.  It means St. Lucie River.  Later, people just called the place Rio.

Our busy summer

Sep 1, 2014

Today is Labor Day.  No matter what the calendar says, this is the end of summer.  Kids are back in school.  Parents are back at work.

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