Treasure Coast Essay

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

This is getting boring.  I’m just kidding, of course.  Far from boring, it’s exciting that the Vero Beach High School girls lacrosse team won its eighth consecutive state final.  The Indians clobbered St.

The new movie “42” tells the story of how Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier.  The number 42 was on his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform.  The movie ends before the conversion of a naval air station in Vero Beach into Dodgertown – the team’s spring training camp for 60 years.  In the exhibition game played at Dodgertown’s dedication in 1948, Robinson hit a home run.  Then the future Hall of Famer trained here until he retired in 1956.  When Dodgertown opened, segregation was the rule in Florida and throughout the South.  Vero Beach, with a population of about 3,000, was vi

In the Indian River Lagoon, manatees are dying prematurely.  Maybe because they are not getting enough sea grass to eat.  Maybe sea grass acreage is down because brown algae is blocking sunlight.  Maybe the brown algae can be blamed on us.  Let me explain.  From last July until April 1, some 80 manatees were found dead of shock in the lagoon, mostly in Brevard County.  Manatees on the Treasure Coast may also be at risk.  Up to four or five thousand manatees spend time each year on Florida’s two coasts.  About three or four hundred stay along the Treasure Coast all year long.  The big, gentl

The new Elliott Museum on Hutchinson Island in Stuart has opened.  The old museum, a 53-year-old Martin County fixture, was fun.  The rebuilt $20 million Elliott is fun AND impressive.  I recently spent an enjoyable and instructive two hours there.  In a short essay, I can only give you some highlights.  Vintage motor vehicles were an important part of the old Elliott, and they still are.  But with a difference.  At the Wheels of Change Exhibit, 55 classic cars and trucks are parked in a three-story structure.  You decide which one you want to see close up.  With the touch of a finger on a


Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the wildfire along Indrio Road in north St.

“I’m in the mood for love.”  I will always associate that song with Frances Langford – singer, actress and probably Martin County’s most generous benefactor ever.  She was born in Lakeland, Florida, on April 4th, 1913 – 100 years ago.   In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the five-foot 1-inch contralto was a star on radio, in the movies and with Bob Hope’s USO tours.  She moved to Martin County in 1945.  Over the years, she and three husbands – actor Jon Hall, outboard motor executive Ralph Evinrude and attorney Harold Stuart – gave to scores of local organizations, from the Florida Oceanographic In

Where did Ponce de Leon land?

Mar 25, 2013

Five hundred years ago, on April 3rd, 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon stepped ashore on what he thought was an island and claimed it as a possession of Spain.  He named it La Florida because of the colorful plants he saw growing beyond the beach and because it was the Easter season, known in Spain as the Festival of the Flowers.  Legend has it that he was in search of “rejuvenating waters” otherwise known as the Fountain of Youth.  This happened on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.  But exactly where?  Until recently, most history books said it was near what became St.