Fort Pierce, FL – In its annual "Best of Florida" issue, Florida Monthly Magazine designated Vero Beach as the state's "Friendliest Small Town." In fact, Indian River County really cleaned up. Also named "Best of" were the McKee Botanical Garden, the Environmental Learning Center, Vero Beach High School athletics, a book store, a water-sports store, the Vero Beach Museum of Art and Sebastian River Inlet State Park. I was not surprised that readers of the magazine picked Vero Beach as Florida's friendliest small town. I have been coming to Vero Beach since the early 70s and have been a home owner here since the 90s. I can confirm that Vero Beach is friendly. Our condo neighbors are friendly. The building's maintenance manager is friendly. The people where I go to church are friendly. The pharmacist is friendly. The woman at the dry cleaner's is friendly. The bank teller is friendly. The police officer is friendly, even while writing me a ticket for speeding. My wife Gail wanted snow ice to make mint juleps for a Kentucky Derby party. She went to the fish department at a Vero Beach supermarket and asked the man behind the counter if she could buy some. "Lady," he said, "You come by that morning with a cooler, and we will fill it up for free." Now THAT'S friendly. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.
Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.