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Now browsing: Hometown News > Community > Brevard County

Community notes - Palm Bay
Rating: 3.5 / 5 (10 votes)  
Posted: 2013 Mar 15 - 06:24

About the sea turtle society

The Sea Turtle Preservation Society is a registered 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization. The society relies on the donations from the public, its membership and the efforts of its dedicated volunteers.

Contributions are tax-deductible, as allowable by law.

Active volunteers are permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bureau of Imperiled Species and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work with endangered and threatened sea turtles. The STPS is not, however, an enforcement agency.

The purpose of the organization is to educate the public about marine turtles.

STPS reaches thousands of people each year through public presentations, exhibits at area events and by turtle watches during the sea turtle nesting season.

The society's goal is to help maintain the current sea turtle population and to prevent a potentially irreversible decline in that population through:

Reducing disturbances and harassment of nesting sea turtles by public education about the hazards of nighttime beach activities, habitat destruction and beach lighting.

Increasing the hatchling survival rate by educating the public about the impact of lighting, beach debris, habitat destruction and marine pollution.

Supporting the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge Fund.

Rescuing hatchlings, post-hatchlings and adult sea turtles and transporting them to permitted rehabilitation facilities.

Contributing data to the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network.

Participating in Keep Brevard Beautiful.

Helping the animal shelters

A special event took place at the Satellite Beach Moose Lodge, No. 2367, recently.

Kitty Virnig, chairwoman for rescued/displaced animals, was in charge of the event.

Many supplies, such as food, blankets and money, were donated. Baskets of many things were auctioned off.

All proceeds were donated to the North and South Brevard Animal Shelters, Lab Rescue of Brevard and Space Coast Kibble Kitchen.

Several animals were also adopted.

The next event will take place in the spring.

Thank you, Ms. Virnig, for a job well done - from the members of the lodge and the community.

If you care to donate food, blankets, money or anything that can be used for animals, drop them off at the Moose Lodge, 1811-15 S. Patrick Drive, Indian Harbour Beach.

For more information, call (321) 779-5796.

New director of community kitchen

Aging Matters in Brevard has announced that Tom Kammerdener has been appointed the director of The Brevard Community Kitchen.

Mr. Kammerdener comes with a wealth of experience within the food services industry, having spent the last 19 years at Health First Corporation, where he was instrumental in providing food services for Holmes Regional Medical Center, including inpatient, cafeteria, employee daycare and catering.

He joins Aging Matters in Brevard as the director of The Brevard Community Kitchen to continue Aging Matters success in providing hot nutritious meals for Meals on Wheels, Seniors at Lunch, adult and child day care centers, charter schools and the parks and recreation summer lunch program.

The kitchen also operates a catering service for corporate banquets, annual picnics and community events, as well as providing meals during times of disasters for first responders and special needs shelters.

Located in Rockledge, the kitchen produces in excess of 500,000 meals a year.

Established in 1965, Aging Matters in Brevard is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, recognized by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Area Agency on Aging as the lead agency for senior services in Brevard County.

Aging Matters in Brevard services is funded by federal, state, and local grants (Eligibility requirements may apply). Private pay services are also available. Aging Matters in Brevard offers a wide variety of services to enable seniors to live safely and independently in their own homes.

For more information, call (321) 806-3767, email jhakkila@agingmattersbrevard.org or visit http://agingmattersbrevard.org/.

Supermarket donates to hunger project

Winn-Dixie recently presented The Children's Hunger Project with a check, representing $2,500 to benefit the nonprofit's backpack program, which ensures that elementary school-aged children have weekend meals in order to provide a healthy foundation for the school week ahead.

Immediately following the presentation, seven Winn-Dixie store directors, along with their district director, went straight to work. The donation was used to purchase necessary items for weekend food packs the Project regularly provides. Then, the directors assembled them at stations set up inside the Palm Bay Winn-Dixie location and delivered the food packs to the project's warehouse.

These efforts will help feed 625 Brevard County children in need.

This donation would not be possible without Winn-Dixie team members of 16 area stores participating in their "My Dollar Makes a Difference" campaign this past holiday season.

Winn-Dixie's partnership with The Children's Hunger Project has led to 10 stores regularly assembling and selling $5 and $10 bags of food, as a simple solution for shoppers to donate.

For more information, visit www.bi-lo.com and www.winn-dixie.com.

Economic benefit in expanding tourism

 

A recent TaxWatch study indicates that the Florida tourism industry reaching the milestone of 100 million annual visitors would create 121,298 jobs and increase overall personal income for Floridians by $5.3 billion.

Results from a dynamic econometric model indicate that reaching the milestone of 100 million annual visitors would create 121,298 jobs, of which 114,318 would be private non-farm jobs. Direct tourism jobs make up 50.7 percent of the total, with indirect and induced jobs accounting for the other 49.3 percent. The estimated average salary of these newly created jobs is $43,751.75. Personal income for Floridians would increase by $5.3 billion.

TaxWatch is a statewide, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institution devoted to protecting and promoting the political and economic freedoms of Floridians.

For more information, email cbarry@floridataxwatch.org.

Animal guardians in the county

 

On behalf of Animal Guardians of Brevard, thank you: 6,000 spays and neuters and counting!

Animal Guardians of Brevard would like to express its sincerest thanks to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of North Brevard and to Brevard Community Animal Hospital for the work with Animal Guardians in providing affordable sterilization services.

Without the surgery, these outstanding clinics provide to those seeking assistance from Animal Guardians, many cats would have probably remained intact to breed uncontrollably. The sterilization of all these cats will ultimately prevent the births of hundreds or thousands of kittens doomed to die in shelters or on our streets.

Animal Guardians is the only organization in Brevard County whose primary purpose is to provide financial assistance to people who cannot afford this procedure.

For more information, visit www.animalguardiansofbrevard.org.

Gator Club gets new name, logo and website

The Space Coast Gator Club (formerly Brevard County Gator Club) has a new name, logo and website.

The club has all new contact information listed below.

The new website is www.spacecoastgatorclub.com.

The email is spacecoastgatorclub@gmail.com.

The phone number is (321) 890-7754.

Local charity distributes 10,000 packages of food

David Cohen, president of the board of directors for The Children's Hunger Project, has announced a major milestone for the local charity.

The Children's Hunger Project has distributed more than 10,000 packages of food to local elementary school children during the current school year.

The Children's Hunger Project was founded in 2010 and began operations during the 2011-12 school year. Founders include Jean-Yves Clerc, Sam Jordan and Bob Barnes.

The charity is currently providing packages of food to 700 kids each week at 18 local elementary schools.

For more information, email bob@thechildrenshungerproject.org, call (321) 373-7083 or visit http://thechildrenshungerproject.org/.

Women support veterans and soldiers

 

Brevard Federated Republican Women is involved in many ways to support the veterans and soldiers.

They send the troops cards and phone cards and provide them with coffee, through the program called "Cup of Joe," provided by the Green Beans Coffee Company.

The past two years, the BFRW has donated funds and items to Bridges in support of its transition home in Melbourne, called the Patriot House.

For many years, the organization has supported the Veterans Transition Facility with food, clothes, funds and gift cards.

For the past two years, it has donated to Honor Flight Society to enable veterans from WWII to go to Washington to visit the WWII memorial.

This year, on Nov. 2, The Brevard Federated Republican Women will hold a dinner honoring the veterans, and also conduct a fundraising auction to support the soldiers and veterans.

The Brevard Federated Republican Women meet the first Wednesday of each month at the Holiday Inn Hotel in north Melbourne. All registered Republicans are invited to attend.

Visit www.brevardfederatedrepublicanwomen.org or call (321) 727-1212 for more information.

Relive Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame banquet

 

Florida Tech celebrated the induction of four individuals and one team into its Sports Hall of Fame recently in the Hartley Room at the Denius Student Center.

The class of 2013 features former women's rower Valerie Barber, men's soccer players Eddie Enders and Fidgi Haig, men's tennis player Khalid Outaleb and the 1992 baseball team.

Phantom Productions of Florida produced highlight videos for each inductee.

The videos can now be watched at Florida Tech Athletics' YouTube page, YouTube.com/FTPanthers.

Amanda Stratford Photography snapped nearly 200 pictures of the reception and induction ceremony. The photos can be viewed and purchased at FloridaTechPhotos.com.

The Class of 2013 joined 37 individuals and four teams in the Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

For more information, call (321) 674-8250.

Safety council recognizes utilities department

The United Safety Council hosted its 60th annual safety awards recently, and Palm Bay Utilities Department was among those honored at the event.

The local water and wastewater utility received a Silver Corporate Safety Award in the small company category, which includes private and public companies from across the nation with 500 employees or less.

Utilities inspector Brian Rickert also received honorable mention for the Certified Occupational Safety Specialist Excellence in Safety Award.

Each year, USC recognizes companies that excel in the following areas: safety committee activity, senior management commitment, employee involvement, written safety and health programs, inspection programs and mishap investigation.

Palm Bay Utilities Department was also recognized with a Gold Corporate Safety Award in 2011 and 2012.

The USC is a nonprofit, non-governmental, safety and health training organization dedicated to improving quality of life. The organization is headquartered in Orlando and has become an international safety training agency working to promote safety in homes, on the road, in schools, businesses and industrial facilities.

For more information about the Palm Bay Utilities Department and its safety program, visit www.pbud.org or contact Dan Roberts, utilities director, at (321) 952-3410.

Sponsors needed for kayak festival

Brevard C.A.R.E.S. is seeking sponsors for its inaugural Brevard Family Kayak Festival - Kayaking for Kids, a family-friendly event to raise awareness about child abuse prevention efforts on the Space Coast and to raise funds to support family-strengthening programs provided to families at risk of abuse or neglect by Brevard C.A.R.E.S.

Taking place on Saturday, April 13 at Kiwanis Island Park on Merritt Island, the festival will feature kayaking lessons and tours for novices, provided by A Day Away Kayak Tours and tours and games of skill for seasoned kayakers, sponsored by Space Coast Paddlers.

Those with kayaks are welcome to bring them to participate. Land-based activities include games for children and families, animal displays and education by the Brevard Zoo and local nature and conservation organizations, booths featuring information about child-serving organizations in the area, a tour of Palm Bay Police Department's new mobile emergency response command center, and displays and demonstrations by local law enforcement and fire/rescue agencies. Lunch will be provided and everyone attending will be entered to win door prizes.

Sponsorships include recognition in event promotional material and advertising, including the festival website and social media pages, and recognition and display space during the festival. Sponsorships range in price from $200 to $1,500. Brevard C.A.R.E.S. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

For more information, contact Stephanie Strodtman at (321) 752-4650, Ext. 3047, or email Stephanie.Strodtman@BrevardFP.org.

'No boundaries' emergency services agreement

Fire and emergency medical response services in Palm Bay and South Brevard County will benefit from a mutual agreement between city and county providers that will significantly improve emergency response to the public.

Under an inter-local agreement, all fire and emergency medical calls will be handled by the closest unit, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.

The agreement creates an Automatic Aid Response Area from U.S. Highway 192 south to the county line, west to the Brevard County border, and east to the Indian River Lagoon, excluding the city of Melbourne and the town of Malabar; and allows fire-rescue personnel within this geographic boundary from both city and county jurisdictions to respond if they are the closest units to the emergency. 

The parameters of the so-called "auto-aid" agreement are defined in a six-page document that includes pre-defined unit response assignments, command structure, service standards, non-required responses, and other legal definitions that ultimately facilitate the sharing of resources between the city and county.

The geographic boundary includes five Palm Bay Fire-Rescue stations and seven Brevard County Fire Rescue stations.

It effectively doubles resource capabilities by joining 12 emergency response locations with shared resources that will maximize the use and efficiency of fire-rescue services in this area.

'DogFest' a success

Denni Burr is a dog lover and the driving force behind the recent DogFest at Indian River Colony Club in Viera.

The canine event kicked off with a dog parade, led by "Kelly," a 6-year old patrol and narcotic dog from Patrick Air Force Base. Accompanied by her military handlers, Kelly, a Belgian Malinois, later provided one of several exciting demonstrations of canine skill to the assembled crowd of onlookers.

Other activities during the recent sunny afternoon included a dog blessing and multi-class dog show.

Rescue groups, product vendors and trainers were in attendance for the "all things dog" event.

IRCC is a fully maintained and gated neighborhood of nearly 800 homes on 453 acres.

Call (877) 298-8124 for more information.

Public works wins award

The city of Palm Bay's Public Works Department has recently been awarded the prestigious American Public Works Association Re-Accreditation.

The APWA Re-Accreditation program recognizes public works agencies that go beyond the requirements of the management practices established nationally in the public works industry.

On a daily basis, accredited agencies meet or exceed standards of performance in areas, such as road and bridge repair and maintenance, engineering and construction services, stormwater management, utility coordination and vehicle maintenance.

Previously, the city's Public Works Department had received APWA Accreditation in July 2008.

For more information, call (321) 952-3438.

Volunteers respond to three sea turtles in distress

Recently, volunteers with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society responded to three calls involving live sea turtles that were in distress from illness and/or injury.

The first call came into the emergency number at (321) 206-0646 at 8:25 a.m. regarding a turtle in distress at Sea Gull Park in Satellite Beach. Kat Parks, a member of the stranding and salvage team, responded to the call. The turtle turned out to be a Green that was suffering from a tumor causing condition called fibropapilloma. It was transported to the store, located in Indialantic, to await transportation to a rehab facility.

Another call came in at 9:12 a.m. regarding an injured turtle in front of the Hilton Hotel in Indialantic. Standing and salvage team members Pat Rush and Debby Livingston responded to this injured Kemps Ridley turtle. Kemps Ridley turtles are not usually found in this part of the state, but could have been pushed up from the south due to strong winds. It, too, was taken to the store.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was contacted. FWC is responsible for contacting rehab facilities that can take care of injured and ill sea turtles. Because one of the turtles had fibropapilloma, there are only a few facilities in Florida that will take them. The closest one was Gumbo Limo in Palm Beach County.

A request went out to the STPS membership for a driver to make this five-hour round trip. Before noon, both turtles were on their way to rehab. Unfortunately the Green turtle died in transit.

The day was not over for the volunteers. Paul and Anne Lins, non-STPS members, contacted STPS regarding another Kemps Ridley that they had responded to at the Seashell Suites Resort in Melbourne Beach. They are volunteers with the Barrier Island Center. The turtle had been off shore for most of the day and finally beached itself at around 5:30 p.m. The Lins call the STPS emergency number and were instructed to take the turtle to the store, where they were met by Pat Rush. By this time it was too late to transport, and the turtle was transported the next day to Volusia County. The staff nicknamed this one "Valentine."

STPS, in Brevard County, reaches thousands of people each year through public presentations, exhibits at area events and via turtle watches during the sea turtle nesting season. The society's goal is to help maintain the current sea turtle population and to prevent a potentially irreversible decline in that population.

Local golfers in golf tournament

The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour ventured to Wellington to hold the Palm Beach Junior Challenge, the tour's second tournament of the month.

The tournament was hosted by the recently redesigned Binks Forest Golf Club. The weather couldn't have been better on Saturday, with a high of 79 and the sun shining throughout the day. Sunday proved to be a bit cloudier, but reached a high of 75, nonetheless. Both days saw average wind speeds of about 15 mph.

This tournament was ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard, and the top ten finishers in all divisions received points toward All-HJGT Teams and the Hurricane Cup. All winners also received an entry into the 2013 Tour Championship.

Jake Leffew took home the gold in the boy's 15-18 age division, after an exciting sudden-death playoff. Jake registered a 78 on Saturday, which left him two strokes ahead of his closest competitor. After shooting an 80 during the final round, he found himself in a sudden death playoff. Jake kicked it up a notch and finished the playoff after a dramatic par on the first hole. He registered the most pars among the boy's 15-18 age division with a total of 22.

Second place went to playoff runner-up, Ryan Lynch. Ryan managed to record a staggering six birdies throughout both rounds of the tournament.

Tied for third place were Andrew Chambers and Cole Sposato, who both finished only two strokes behind the leader.

Alexandra Papell won the girl's 15-18 age division in impressive fashion. Alexandra stayed consistent, firing a 78 and 79 in consecutive days to take home her second HJGT tournament win of the year. En route to her victory, she led the field in total birdies with three, and total pars with 18.

Megan Turnquest placed second, with a final score of 175. Megan scored par or better on 41.7 percent of the 36 holes she played this weekend.

Ashley Turnquest came in third, and finished only one stroke behind her sister.

Alberto Martinez was crowned champion in the boy's 15-18 division, after building a dominating lead on Saturday. Alberto shot par on Sunday, and tallied a total of five birdies throughout the tournament. He also led in par 4 and par 5 performance, registering average scores of 4.10 and 5.12, respectively.

In second place was Miles Castoro. Miles totaled a remarkable 20 pars during his tournament and led in par 3 performance with an average of 3.25.

Coming in third was Clay Gibbs, who scored par or better on 58.3 percent of his holes, including impressive birdies on the fourth and 11th holes.

Sabrina Hoskins continued, as she won her second consecutive and fourth HJGT tournament of the year in the girl's 11-14 age division. Sabrina led all players in total pars, racking up 23 in the duration of the tournament. She shot par or better on 66.7 percent of her holes and was really able to enforce her will on par 5s, where she averaged 5.12 strokes.

Sydney Jones came in second place, and did most of her damage on par 3s, where she averaged 3.25 strokes.

In third place was Sydney Hoskins, who tied for first in total birdies with three.

For more information, visit http://hjgt.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/hjgt13/event/hjgt137/index.htm.

Rescue wing office wins excellence awards

The results are in, and the 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs Office walked away with not one, but two, Air Force Reserve Command Communication Excellence Awards, the only wing in AFRC to achieve such a feat.

Each year, the reserve command evaluates public affairs offices throughout the command in 14 communication categories. The winner of each category then moves on to represent the command at the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs competition.

The 920th RQW PA Office earned the 2012 AFRC Best Integrated Communication Award for its outstanding support of the 2012 Cocoa Beach Air Show, the largest community outreach event on the Space Coast.

Additionally, the 920th RQW PA Office received the 2012 AFRC Best Innovative Communication Award for its How-to-Save-a-Life information campaign that highlighted the wing's unique combat search and rescue mission, to include a printed 100-page visual narrative of real-world lifesaving missions.

The 920th RQW has the most unique mission in the Air Force Reserve, combat search and rescue and also one of the most marketable missions.

Although, due to its overall small size in scope in relation to other military services' special operations troops, pararescue Airmen (combat rescue officers, pararescuemen and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists) have gotten little public recognition through the years.

Many people, even within the Air Force, know little about CSAR and Pararescue Airmen. The 920th PA Team created exciting visual masterpieces to create a buzz and get people's attention.

The awards didn't stop there. Master Sgt. Luke Johnson, 943rd Rescue Group, a geographically separated unit that falls under the 920th RQW, earned the 2012 AFRC Outstanding Communication Tactical-Level Civilian.

For a full list of AFRC Communication Excellence Awards winners, visit http://www.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123335632.

For more about the unit, visit http://www.920rqw.afrc.af.mil/index.asp, follow them on http://www.facebook.com/920thRescueWing and Twitter.

A Broadway baby finds her way

Mary Lee DeWitt Baker began her life in Atlanta, dreaming of the day that she would live a life of glitz and glamour in a big city. Her journey from dreamer to Broadway star is one that she renders with humor and heart in her newly released memoir, "All I Ever Wanted Was a B Cup."

While she was growing up in New Jersey, Ms. Baker dreams big dreams about moving to the "Big Apple." She falls hopelessly in love with theater as a high school student, and realizes that she is pretty good at it, too! With the support of family and the fire in her heart to pursue her dreams, she decided to take a stab at the stage.

After many years of paying her dues in the theater community, Ms. Baker finally makes it where she has always dreamed of being: the Broadway stage!

The only problem, she realizes, is that Broadway was not at all like she had imagined as a girl. Not everything was glamorous and glitzy. Theater people were oftentimes audacious, loud and even rude. The world of theater and the life of an actress, seem to be filled with negativity. It is the burden of the actor to be constantly rejected, something that she learns very quickly on the job.

In "All I Ever Wanted Was a B Cup," Ms. Baker spins yarn after yarn about her days on the Broadway stage.

But between all those stories, the real tale that emerges is of a young woman coming to understand that her happiness is in her own hands. When Ms. Baker understands that she doesn't need anyone else's permission to do the things that will truly make her happy, her life really begins to come to fruition.

Mary Lee DeWitt Baker was born in Atlanta and grew up in New Jersey. The youngest of five, she slowly, but surely, followed her dream of performing on Broadway. The biggest blessings of her life were born in 1993 and 1997. She happily segued from the stage to raising Garrett and Rachel, and cleaning cat litter. She is a certified theatre and dance teacher, choreographer and director turned author.

For more information, visit http://maryleedewittbaker.com/.

Grants to help sharing center, hunger project

The South Brevard Sharing Center and The Children's Hunger Project have each been awarded a $5,000 grant from the eBay Foundation Corporate Advised Fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Each of these grants was recommended by eBay Foundation's employee-volunteer-led Melbourne GIVE Team at GSI Commerce, an eBay Inc. company.

The GIVE Team program empowers employees of eBay Inc. to support their communities through volunteerism and employee-sponsored grants.

The South Brevard Sharing Center provides short-term basic needs assistance to low or no income families in order to fill large gaps that exist in various similar social programs that are available from different levels of local, county, state and federal governments.

The eBay grant allows the center to further its mission of providing emergency food, clothing, utility, rent, mortgage, transportation, health and hygiene, household goods, furnishings and employment referral assistance.

The Children's Hunger Project provides packages of food to elementary school age children who are undernourished and coming to school hungry on Monday mornings.

The food packages empower a child to feed him or herself no matter the family circumstances.

The charity raises mostly local money with all funds distributed only in Brevard County schools. More than 1,200 packages of food will be provided as a direct result of the eBay grant.

Attorney honored

The Brevard County Bar Association recently honored Assistant State Attorney Wayne Holmes as its recipient of the "Judge Clarence T. Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award."

The award, the pinnacle of the professionalism award luncheon, recognized Mr. Holmes' 34 years of service in his prosecutorial role with the State Attorney's Office.

Former State Attorney Norm Wolfinger introduced Mr. Holmes to the gathering, telling them that selecting Mr. Holmes as his chief of staff nearly two decades ago was one of his wisest moves ever.

 Mr. Holmes is a is a lifelong resident of Brevard County, who graduated from Melbourne High School in 1972, followed by Florida State University, then the Cumberland School of Law in 1979. He was formerly a certified Melbourne police officer before joining the state attorney's staff in 1979.

Currently, he is continuing his duties as Chief of Staff with State Attorney Phil Archer.

For more information, call (321) 617-7548 or email lhooper@sa18.state.fl.us.

Congress vs. lobbyists

Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) has reintroduced legislation aimed at stopping the revolving door between Congress and lucrative lobbying careers in order to curb influence peddling and keep members of Congress and senior Congressional Staff focused on serving the American public.  

Congressman Posey reintroduced H.R. 440, the Stop the Revolving Door in Washington Act, which extends the lobbying moratorium on members of Congress and Senators when they leave office to five years and up to two years for senior staff and other employees of the legislative branch.

The congressman also reintroduced H.R. 442 to require that any former member of Congress or senior staff that pursues a lucrative lobbying career give up federal retirement benefits if they choose to lobby. These bills would apply prospectively.

For more information, call (202) 225-3671 or visit www.posey.house.gov.

United Way fundraising

The single largest community fundraiser for Brevard County raised more than $6.5 million, approximately 4 percent over the goal of $6.3 million.

The campaign kicked off with the help of the Canaveral Port Authority at its new cruise terminal, topped off with a generous $10,000 gift from Carnival Cruise Lines.

The excitement carried through the fall with workplaces hosting creative activities to inspire teams and motivate giving.

Events, such as Brevard County's carnival and chili cook-off, Florida Tech's departmental Penny Wars and Parrish Medical Center's Cupcake Challenge and origami Crane Drop contest, all helped bring attention to the critical work United Way supports.

In addition to employees in 328 workplace campaigns, community leaders, retirees and others across the community pitched in to raise funds.

The largest campaign continues to be Harris Corporation, with more than $1.3 million in support this year.

Publix Supermarkets associates increased their giving by more than any other group, raising more than $840,000, a 13-percent increase over 2011.

A number of other organizations had significant increases from last year, including the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Florida Tech, Brevard Public Schools and the Engineering Services Contract Team (QNA, SGT, ai solutions, EASI, Craig Technologies, Sierra Lobo and Nelson).

Adrian Laffitte, the 2012 campaign chairman, and his daughter, Allie, who works for Publix, starred in the campaign video. They emphasized the message that no matter our age, income or job, we can all make a difference.

The funds raised will be invested by community volunteers this spring and are expected to touch hundreds of thousands of people in need.

United Way of Brevard mobilizes the caring power of the community by funding more than 60 programs at 43 agencies, focusing on basic needs/financial stability, childhood success, life services for persons with disabilities, and health, wellness and safety initiatives.

United Way of Brevard also facilitates tax preparation assistance, financial education, healthy families, partners in parenting, gifts in kind and the benefits connection programs.

United Way of Brevard has the lowest overhead cost of any United Way in Florida, at 8.5 percent.

'King' and 'Queen' of Mardi Gras Paws

"H.D. (Heavy Duty)," an English bulldog, owned by Kaleea Okerlind of Rockledge, was chosen "King of Mardi Gras Paws in the Park," and his "Queen" was "Ocean," a pit bull, owned by Sarah Gunther of Titusville, at the Central Brevard Humane Society's Seventh Annual Mardi Gras Paws in the Park, held recently at Riverfront Park in Cocoa Village.

More than 1,500 people attended the event.

Other awards presented were "Pet/Companion Look-a-Like." It went to "Hunter," a terrier mix, owned by Nina Richards of Cocoa. "Best Costume" was presented to "Simba,' a Bernese mountain, owned by Natalia Dougher of Cocoa; and "Best Pet Trick" was awarded to "Molly," a cockapoo, owned by Carol Terry of Minneapolis, Minn. 

All proceeds from the event will go toward the care of the abandoned and abused animals at the shelter in Cocoa.

The judges of this year's event were Deputy Mayor Tyler Furbish - District 4, Cocoa; Mike and Sherri Coppage, 2013 King & Queen of the Cocoa Village Mardi Gras; Donna Skattum, "Space Coast Living Magazine;" and Greg Pallone with Central Florida News 13 and his wife, Katie.

A special "thank you" to the major sponsors of the event: AT&T The Real Yellow Pages, Florida Today and Hometown News.

For more information, contact the Central Brevard Humane Society at (321) 636-3343 or visit www.crittersavers.com.

Local doctor/director wins award

Dr. Rosemary Laird, medical director of Health First Aging Services, was recently named Clinician of the Year by the American Geriatrics Society.

The American Geriatrics Society Clinician of the Year was established to recognize the great contributions of practitioners to the delivery of quality healthcare to older people, and the importance of the geriatrics clinician in the healthcare delivery system.

Health First Aging Services is dedicated to improving the health and well being of older adults living in Brevard County by increasing the availability of high-quality geriatric care services across the care continuum.

For more information, call Health First Aging Services in Melbourne at (321) 434-7611 or in Merritt Island at (321) 868-5815 or visit www.health-first.org/aging.

Trial offers should not be automatic subscriptions

Attorney General Pam Bondi has announced that her office has entered a multi-million-dollar settlement with CCH Incorporated, a law book publisher, over allegations of automatic subscription renewals, a practice referred to as a negative option plan, without adequate disclosures.

CCH will mail approximately 5,000 consumers refund notices and provide a total refund amount up to $5 million to the consumers. The Attorney General's Office will receive $1.4 million for investigative costs, attorney fees and future enforcement efforts.

CCH Incorporated, through the brands Wolters Kluwer, Aspen Publishers, Loislaw.com, and Kluwer International, allegedly used negative option plans in the sales of their products.

According to the Attorney General's Office investigation, CCH marketed its print products through trial offers and then placed customers in automatic shipment and automatic subscription renewal plans without clear and conspicuous disclosures of renewal terms.

As part of the settlement, CCH will also modify its business practices to ensure that automatic shipment plans and automatic renewal of subscriptions are entered into only after all appropriate disclosures have been provided to customers and the customers have provided affirmative consent to the terms.

Treasurer of Porsche club

Tom Kirk, president and CEO of FirstWave Financial in Satellite Beach, has been re-elected treasurer for the Space Coast Region Porsche Club of America for a second year-long term.

In this capacity, the wealth management firm founder will be responsible for overseeing the management and reporting of the organization's finances.

His considerable financial expertise will aid in his duties pertaining to bank account maintenance, financial policies and transaction oversight, as well as budgets and reporting.

A long-time enthusiast of the German-made high performance automobiles, Mr. Kirk owns a 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet.

For more information about FirstWave Financial, call (321) 773-7773 or visit the company website at www.FirstWaveFinancial.com.

NASA contributes to Jupiter study

NASA has selected key contributions to a 2022 European Space Agency mission that will study Jupiter and three of its largest moons in unprecedented detail. The moons are thought to harbor vast water oceans beneath their icy surfaces.

NASA's contribution will consist of one United States-led science instrument and hardware for two European instruments to fly on ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission. JUICE will carry 11 experiments developed by scientific teams from 15 European countries, the United States and Japan.

The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for three years and travel past its moons, Callisto and Europa, multiple times, then orbit Ganymede, a moon larger than the planet Mercury.

'Where the Garbage Goes'

The new 2013 Recycling and Brevard County Landfill education film, "Where the Garbage Goes," used by Keep Brevard Beautiful to educate fifth-grade classes throughout Brevard about recycling, the operation and the purpose of the county landfill, debuted in February at a red carpet event hosted by Enterprise Elementary School of Cocoa.

The red carpet premier was attended by representatives of the presenting sponsors of the film: The Boeing Company Employees Community Fund of Boeing, the city of Titusville, Brevard County Solid Waste Management Department, Waste Pro, East Coast Paperstock and Richards Paints.

Professional actor J.R. Fuller played the landfill manager, while Erin LeClair and Hillary Arena from Brevard County Solid Waste Management starred with four students from Enterprise Elementary in this updated video highlighting the new practices used by the county landfill for recycling and waste to energy technology.

For more information about Keep Brevard Beautiful, or the recycling and landfill educational video, call (321) 631-0501 or visit www.keepbrevardbeautiful.org.

Grant to help children and mothers

Brevard Rescue Mission, which provides transitional housing and support services for homeless women with children, was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank.

Funding will be used to establish the "Transformation Through Education Program," which meets the educational needs of both the mothers and their at-risk children by furnishing one-on-one tutoring in GED test preparation, homework assistance and reading proficiency.

Brevard Rescue Mission is privately funded by donations from individuals, civic organizations, foundations, churches and area businesses. Donated funds provide housing, education, transportation, counseling, medical care, parent training, household budgeting, tutoring, job training, food and clothing and case-manager support services.

Call (321) 480-9100 or visit www.BrevardRescueMission.org for more information. 

New director at community kitchen

Aging Matters in Brevard has announced that Tom Kammerdener has been appointed the director of The Brevard Community Kitchen.

Mr. Kammerdener comes with a wealth of experience within the food services industry, having spent the last 19 years at Health First Corporation, where he was instrumental in providing food services for Holmes Regional Medical Center, including inpatient, cafeteria, employee daycare and catering.

He joins Aging Matters in Brevard as the director of the community kitchen to continue Aging Matters success in providing hot nutritious meals for Meals on Wheels, Seniors at Lunch, adult and child day care centers, charter schools and the parks and recreation summer lunch program.

The kitchen also operates a catering service for corporate banquets, annual picnics and community events, as well as providing meals during times of disasters for first responders and special needs shelters.

Located in Rockledge, the kitchen produces in excess of 500,000 meals a year.

For more information, call (321) 806-3767, email jhakkila@

50 years membership

Recently, Sandra McCoy received the Golden Circle award, representing more than 50 years membership in Beta Sigma Phi.

Ms. McCoy is presently a member of Laureate Alpha Nu chapter; and, over the years, has held every office in the organization.

The celebration was held at her home in Indian Harbour Beach.

The ritual was performed by current president Sharon Mischker, assisted by Joan Coyer.

For more information, call (321) 693-2979.

United Way receives grant

Southeast Petro Distributors, one of Florida's largest wholesale motor fuels distributors recently presented a BP Fueling Communities grant donation of $20,000 to United Way of Brevard.

The funds from this grant will be used by United Way to help feed hungry families, protect children from abuse, provide shelter to those in need and more.

United Way was nominated for the grant by Mike Shah and Summit Shah of Southeast Petro Distributors.

United Way of Brevard funds more than 60 programs at 43 agencies, focusing on basic needs/financial stability, childhood success, life services for persons with disabilities, and health, wellness and safety initiatives.

United way of Brevard also facilitates tax preparation assistance, financial education, healthy families, Partners in Parenting, gifts in-kind and the benefits connection programs.

United way of Brevard has the lowest overhead cost of any United Way in Florida at 8.5 percent.

Community resource center opens

 

The grand opening of the Turnquest Community Resource Center was celebrated recently at the center in Shady Oaks Village, off Aurora Road in Melbourne.

The center is a joint project of the Housing Authority of Brevard County and the Melbourne Housing Authority.

It is named for Kathy Turnquest, an authority employee, who has distinguished herself in work with residents and community resources.  

The center houses the family self-sufficiency programs and includes resources, such as a computer lab and classes in various life skills, including computer proficiency, nutrition, managing money and home ownership.

It also will offer help in preparing for and finding employment through a partnership with Brevard Workforce.

Other partners include Action Youth Mentoring, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida Inc. and University of Florida-IFAS Extension.

Downward shift in kids going fishing

Every five years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Census Bureau conduct a survey of the nation's anglers, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Recently published results from the 2011 survey show there are less kids fishing in America.

Angling involvement among 16-17 year olds, the youngest ages to participate in the survey, is down almost 15 percent in the last five years.

The survey included interviews with heads of households, who provided data on fishing activities for 6-15 year olds.

Although the Fish and Wildlife Service cautions there is not strong statistical correlation due to variations in data collection methods, the results still suggest a general downward shift since 1995 in the number of kids who go fishing.

 The data shows a disturbing trend. Fishing is up against an ever-increasing array of activities competing for a child's time.

The latest USFWS survey confirms the need for youth fishing programs, like Hook Kids on Fishing. It's also a rallying cry for all of us to do our part to introduce the next generation to the joys of fishing.

Cancer center chosen to pilot breast cancer program

Space Coast Cancer Center was selected to collaborate with the American Society of Clinical Oncology in developing CancerLinQ, a ground-breaking information technology initiative that aims to achieve higher quality, higher value cancer care with better outcomes for patients.

Space Coast Cancer Center is one of four cancer centers in the United States, helping ASCO to pilot the breast cancer-specific prototype of the CancerLinQ system.

CancerLinQ is supported by the Cancer Care Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Susan G. Komen "For the Cure," Helsinn Group and Genentech.

Space Coast Cancer Center is the first practice in Florida, and the only cancer center in Brevard County, certified for quality by the ASCO's Quality Oncology Practice Initiative.

For more information regarding Space Coast Cancer Center, call toll-free (800) 894-HOPE (4673) or visit www.spacecoastcancer.com.

Hospice adds three directors

Hospice of Health First has announced the addition of three new associate medical directors to its staff.

Joining the Hospice of Health First team, led by Dr. Ruddy Ruiz, will be Dr. Mario E. Ruberte, Dr. Chris Cobbold and Dr. Govind Sriramineni.

Mario Ruberte, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine and hospice and palliative care medicine physician with Health First Medical Group. He is also associate professor at the University of Central Florida School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine. He is a graduate of Catholic University of Puerto Rico, the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara Medical School and the Fifth Pathway Program at New York Medical College. His residency was spent at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and he spent one year as a hospitalist at Sentara Health Systems in Virginia Beach.

Chris Cobbold, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine and hospice and palliative care medicine physician with Health First Medical Group. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His residency was completed in internal medicine at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio.

Govind Sriramineni, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician with Health First Medical Group. He came to Brevard from Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J., where he performed his residency in internal medicine. Before coming to the United States and gaining his citizenship, he worked in India as a primary care physician. He also attended medical school in India at Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College.

For more information, call (321) 952-0494 or visit www.health-first.org/hospice.

Local business donates to new Boy Scout troop

Boy Scout Troop No. 348 held its annual spaghetti dinner summer camp fundraising event recently at St. David's by the Sea Church in Cocoa Beach.

Vicky Zawadzki, a representative from Bob Dance Automotive Group/Bob Dance Kia/Payless Car Rental, presented Troop 348 Boy Scouts a check for $1,300 to assist the troop in its quest for a troop trailer.

Other local businesses that donated items for the dinner were: Branos Italian Grill and Sufrinista Cafe, both of Cocoa Beach; Publix Supermarket, Merritt Island; SYSCO Foods; and BJ's Wholesale Club on Merritt Island.

Attorney general helps consumers

During the recent Consumer Protection Week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi encouraged Florida's consumers to know their rights under Florida's motor vehicle "Lemon Law."

The law protects consumers by covering defects or conditions that substantially impair the use, value or safety of a new or demonstrator vehicle.

Florida law provides protection for Floridians, who buy a new or demonstrator vehicle and get stuck with a "lemon."

Consumers must report defects to the manufacturer or its authorized service agent during the first 24 months after the date of delivery of the vehicle. If the manufacturer fails to conform the vehicle to the warranty after a reasonable number of attempts to repair these defects, the law requires the manufacturer to buy back the defective vehicle and give the consumer a purchase price refund or a replacement vehicle.

Florida's "Lemon Law" applies to new or demonstrator vehicles sold or long-term leased in Florida.

Dealers are required by law to give consumers the "Consumer Guide to the Florida Lemon Law."

The publication, published by the Attorney General's office, explains consumer rights, gives steps to follow to resolve problems and contains contact information for the Lemon Law Hotline and a form the consumer can use to notify the manufacturer of the failure to repair chronic defects or time out of service for repairs.

To obtain a "Consumer Guide to the Florida Lemon Law," or to speak with someone about the Lemon Law, consumers can call the Lemon Law Hotline at (800) 321-5366.

Consumers can also visit myfloridalegal.com for more information on Florida's Lemon Law.

Schools recognized as 'model' schools

For the second consecutive year, schools in Brevard County have been recognized by the University of South Florida's Positive Behavior Support/Multi-Tiered System of Support Project as "Model Schools."

Two schools were named Gold Schools: Cape View Elementary in Cape Canaveral, and for the second consecutive year, Sabal Elementary in Melbourne.

Atlantis Elementary in Port St. John and Cambridge Elementary Magnet School in Cocoa both obtained Silver Model School Awards for the second year.

University Park Elementary Magnet School in Melbourne was awarded with a Bronze Model School for the first time.

These schools received these distinctions for their work during the 2011-12 school year. This marked the second full year of implementation of Positive Behavior Support in Brevard schools.

Model schools undergo a rigorous process in order to achieve one of these prestigious awards.

These schools will be receiving banners and certificates from the University of South Florida's Positive Behavior Support/Multi-Tiered System of Support Project and will be recognized at a School Board meeting this spring.

Positive Behavior Support is being implemented nationally in more than 18,000 schools and in approximately 1,500 schools across the state.

During the 2011-12 school year, only 144 Model School Awards were given out to schools in Florida.

Presently, there are 15 Brevard schools trained in positive behavior support. 

For more information about positive behavior support or these awards, contact Jayson Lobley, district coordinator for positive behavior support at lobley.jayson@brevardschools.org.

Humane Society receives award

The Central Chapter of Keep Brevard Beautiful recently presented the Central Brevard Humane Society with the "We Noticed" Award for its contribution to the beautification of the community at the organization's main location, 1020 Cox Road, in Cocoa.

During the last few years, the Humane Society has made various improvements to the shelter (inside and outside); built the Rainbow Bridge Chapel, that includes a memorial walkway and garden area, along with a "low cost" spay/neuter and wellness clinic; and created Ella's Walk, a beautiful and private walking area for individuals and their pets to come and enjoy a calming and tranquil place, while being surrounded by the natural beauty of Florida.

Keep Brevard Beautiful's "We Noticed" Award is a monthly recognition program for businesses and/or residences that have shown exceptional maintenance or beautification of their property.

Recipients of this award receive a "We Noticed" certificate and a sign to temporarily display on their property.

For more information, contact the Central Brevard Humane Society at (321) 636-3343 or visit www.crittersavers.com.

Have you been screened?

 

March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and Health First wants you to get screened, because the life you save may be your own.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, but Colon Cancer is 90 percent preventable through screening.

Colon cancer screening helps your physician find polyps or cancer before you have symptoms. This early detection can prevent polyps from becoming cancer and help you start treatment early when it's most effective.

It is recommended that men and women get screened at age 50, but there may be factors in your family history that could create a higher risk of colon cancer that may suggest you get screened earlier.

Health First Medical Group has highly-trained gastroenterologists, who can help you get the screening that's right for you.

Health First is at 6450 U.S. Highway 1, Rockledge.

For a Health First Medical Group physician, visit www.healthfirstmedicalgroup.org or call (321) 434-4335 for a physician referral.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

HIV/AIDS is a serious public health issue for women and girls.

In 2010, women and girls made up two-thirds of people who got the disease by having heterosexual sex.

What can you do?:

Understand your risk of HIV infection

Understand how to prevent HIV/AIDS

Get tested to find out your status

Encourage others to get tested, too

Get treated if you are living with HIV

Together, others can be educated, and behaviors can be changed to help shape the future for women and girls.

For more information, visit Until There's A Cure at http://www.until.org or www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/ and click on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

- For Hometown News




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