Treasure Coast Essay

I never heard or saw Vero Beach referred to as “Velcro Beach” until a few weeks ago.  And it was in Connecticut, of all places.  I was talking with an experienced big-boat sailor named Scott and told him about living in Vero Beach.  “Oh, yes, Velcro Beach,” he said with a smile.  “Velcro Beach?”  I responded.  “What does that mean?”  It’s a compliment, he assured me, and means you get stuck on it.  Velcro, of course, is the fabric fastener made of tiny hooks and loops.  Scott explained that boaters who cruise the Intracoastal Waterway call Vero Beach “Velcro Beach” because they feel attache


Jul 15, 2013

When Dan Bakkedahl was a student at Martin County High School, an exasperated biology teacher told him, “Go be an actor.”  And he did.  He’s no hunk.  He’s balding.  But he’s very successful.   You can see him on the big screen as a DEA agent in “The Heat,” a law-enforcement comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.  You could also see him on the small screen as a sharp-tongued congressman in “Veep” on HBO and as the best buddy in “Legit” on FX.  Both comedy series have been renewed for next season.  Dan, 43, was born in Rochester, Minnesota, and grew up in Stuart.  He and his wi

“Killing Zone”

Jul 8, 2013

It’s worse than I thought.  Back in April, I commented on the alarming number of manatees found dead of shock in the Indian River Lagoon, mostly in Brevard County just above the Treasure Coast.  Now we know that dolphins and brown pelicans are also dying prematurely in the lagoon.  According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, from the start of the year to the middle of June, this is the grim toll: 111 manatees, at least 250 brown pelicans and 46 bottlenose dolphins.  Usually, the dead creatures look under-nourished – sometimes emaciated.  Some naturalists call the nor

On July 4th, 1776, 13 British colonies on the Atlantic Coast (of North America) declared their independence.  But to the south, two other colonies remained loyal to King George III.  They were East Florida and West Florida.  What is now Florida did not join the American Revolution and, in fact, became a haven for loyalists from rebel colonies.  Great Britain had acquired Florida from Spain in 1763 at the conclusion of the French and Indian War.  Florida then stretched from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.  The British divided it into East Florida and West Florida, separated by the Apalachic

This year is shaping up to be a good one for sea turtle nesting on the Treasure Coast – not great, but good.  The season began March 1 and lasts until the fall.  Erik Martin, scientific director at Ecological Associates of Jensen Beach, which counts nests in portions of Indian River, St.

Honoring a shark-attack hero

Jun 17, 2013

Recently, Vero Beach lifeguard Erik Toomsoo received the Medal of Valor from the United States Lifesaving Association.  It was hung around his neck in a ceremony at Vero Beach City Hall.  The audience in the packed chamber gave him a standing ovation.  The tribute was richly deserved.  At about 11 a.m.

(Singing) “Don’t go near the water.” That tune by the Beach Boys in the early 1970s comes to my mind when I read and hear about the rip currents along Florida’s Atlantic shoreline, including the Treasure Coast.  We need not follow the Beach Boys’ advice literally.  But we should be careful.  In Florida, rip currents kill more people than thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornados, according to the National Weather Service.  A rip current is a channel of water rushing away from the shore.  Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when going to the beach.  Swim where lifeguards are on duty.  If

The elephants are here!

Jun 3, 2013

The new National Elephant Center north of Fellsmere in Indian River County recently welcomed its first residents – a family of four African pachyderms.   The group consists of 10-year-old Tufani, his 5-year-old brother Tsavo, their mother Moyo and their Aunt Thandi, the matriarch.  They were sent from Disney’s Animal Kingdom near Orlando because Tufani is entering adolescence.  Like any typical adolescent male, he may become rambunctious, in which case he will have to be separated from the rest of the family.  But he can remain at the center and need not be moved to another facility.  The f

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts Saturday, June 1st, and continues through November 30th.  Are we ready?  Or have we become complacent?  A direct hurricane hit on Florida has not occurred since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.   This season, forecasters at Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project.

At the Florida State University College of Medicine graduation Saturday, 17 of the students spent their third and fourth years on or near the Treasure Coast.  They served at the side of experienced physicians, treating real patients.  Maybe one of them helped to treat YOU.  The FSU College of Medicine’s philosophy is: hands-on, patient-centered and community-based.  The students spend their first two years at the main campus in Tallahassee.  For years three and four, they are based at one of six regional campuses.  One is at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.  The Fort Pierce progra