NASA announces robotics student competition
NASA is continuing its strong support for the annual FIRST Robotics Competition, which inspires student interest in science, technology and mathematics through a challenge to design and build a robot. The agency is awarding grants totaling $1,386,500 for student teams in 37 states to participate in FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
FIRST inspires students to pursue the technical careers of the future - careers that will help America send humans to Mars and reveal the unknown.
Each FIRST team receives an identical kit of parts and has six weeks to design and build a robot. Other than dimension and weight limitations and other technical restrictions, the look and function of the robot is up to each team. NASA volunteers support many teams throughout the process.
The competition is structured like a professional athletic event, and teams compete in an arena the size of a small basketball court.
This year, 45 regional competitions will take place in the U.S., along with four additional international competitions in March and April.
For more information, visit http://robotics.nasa.gov or http://robotics.arc.nasa.gov/events/2012_sponsorship.php.
The Melting Pot awarded Chamber's 'Best Martini on the Melbourne Coast'
The Melbourne Regional Chamber's annual Martinis & Mistletoe event, held in early December, and presented by PNC Bank, was the setting for the "Best Martini on the Melbourne Coast" competition.
Each year this holiday event features restaurants and bars engaged in a competition to see who can create the most exotic-looking and best-tasting martini.
Once guests had sampled all of the creative variations of the traditional martini recipe from all 12 contestants, the ballots were cast and revealed that The Melting Pot's "Love Martini" was the hands-down favorite.
More than 250 attendees were also treated to a holiday buffet, a Fox Janitorial dessert bar, coffees by Sunshine Coffee Service and presented with their own Twin Rivers Insurance souvenir specialty martini glass, etched with the Martinis and Mistletoe logo.
In addition to the martini competition, contenders put their creative talents into decorating their individual serving stations to vie for the Best Decorated award.
Set against a background of hot pink, the Hilton Melbourne Oceanfront's Atlantic Blue Beach Bar's iridescent white tree and sparkling décor created a holiday winter wonderland that took the prize.
The Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida, with offices in Melbourne and Viera, was established in 1925 and is one of less than 70 chambers awarded the five-star accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber serves the business communities of Melbourne, Palm Bay, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Malabar, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village, Palm Shores, Patrick Air Force Base, Satellite Beach, Suntree, Viera, West Melbourne, Harmony and the unincorporated areas of South Brevard County.
For more information, call (321) 724-5400.
Daily Bread is also a food bank
Many in the community don't realize that Daily Bread is not only a soup kitchen, it is also a food bank.
The site on Morningside Drive is the warehouse where food is collected and then issued to 21 nonprofit agencies and pantries, which, in turn, provide the food to the hungry.
The food is shared among the following partners: Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, South Brevard Sharing Center, Ascension Social Concerns Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Brevard Senior Nutrition Program, His Place Ministries Food Pantry, Genesis House, Project Response Pantry, Church of Christ Oceanside Food Pantry, Reddick Street Church of God Food Pantry, Holy Name St. Vincent DePaul Society Food Pantry, Our Lady of Grace St. Vincent DePaul Society Food Pantry, Melbourne Church of Christ Food Pantry, Church on the Rock Food Pantry, New Life Assembly of God Food Pantry, Master's Workshop Food Pantry, St. Paul's Methodist Food Pantry, Seventh Dan Adventist Food Pantry, Viet Nam and Veteran's Food Pantry, Zion Church Food Pantry and Johnson Outreach Food Pantry.
Partners are added to the list throughout the year.
For more information, call (321) 773-2783, Ext. 124.
Atlantic Inclusive Academy - learn about Brevard
The students of Atlantic Inclusive Academy in Cocoa recently completed their "Exploring Brevard County" semester-long project.
Since the start of the school year, the AiA students have been studying various aspects of Brevard County cities through individual research, class discussion and field trips.
"Exploring Brevard County" exemplifies AiA's use of the project approach to teaching.
The approach enables the teachers to guide students through in-depth studies of real world topics, in this case, learning about their community.
Working with their teachers, each student developed an individualized research plan, including setting and ultimately achieving their research goals.
A field trip to the Cocoa Historical Society in Cocoa Village included presentations from an anthropologist, an archeologist and a long-time local resident.
As the students learned about the development of Brevard, they were introduced to whip cracking, mosquito beaters and early maps of the area.
The students also had the opportunity to explore the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science in Cocoa.
While at the museum, the students traveled through Brevard history learning about the changes in the county since the start of the 20th century.
Using a Christian-based curriculum, students work daily to master five or six subjects per school year.
The 2011-12 second semester begins Jan. 13.
Applications are now being accepted. To learn more, please visit www.atlanticinclusiveacademy.com, call Danielle Langlois at (321) 638-0040 or email aia-Langlois@cfl.rr.com.
Annual 'Shop With a Cop' program
Recently, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and the Brevard County Police Athletic League hosted the Fifth Annual "Shop with a Cop" program at the Merritt Island Wal-Mart and Merritt Island Target.
"Shop with a Cop" is an outreach program to benefit underprivileged children between the ages of three and 15 who are at risk due to their current economic situation, their environment and other factors.
Each year, Brevard County Sheriff's Office deputies and employees volunteer to shop with the children who are provided with a Wal-Mart or Target gift card.
Nearly $6,000 was donated by community supporters for the event that enables children to buy gifts for themselves and their families.
This year 61 children had the opportunity to participate in the program and interact with law enforcement in a positive setting.
For more information, visit the Brevard County Sheriff's Office at www.brevardsheriff.com.
NASA Mars-bound rover begins research in space
NASA's car-sized Curiosity rover has begun monitoring space radiation during its eight-month trip from Earth to Mars.
The research will aid in planning for future human missions to the "Red Planet."
Curiosity launched on Nov. 26 from Cape Canaveral, aboard the Mars Science Laboratory.
The rover carries an instrument called the Radiation Assessment Detector that monitors high-energy atomic and subatomic particles from the sun, distant supernovas and other sources.
These particles constitute radiation that could be harmful to any microbes or astronauts in space or on Mars.
The rover also will monitor radiation on the surface of Mars after its August 2012 landing.
These first measurements mark the start of the science return from a mission that will use 10 instruments on Curiosity to assess whether Mars' Gale Crater could be or has been favorable for microbial life.
Information about the mission is available at http://www.nasa.gov/msl.
You can also follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity or http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity.
Brevard County unveils new Website
While the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners website was already filled with information that citizens want and need from their local government - in fact, the site has won Sunny Awards for the past two years from the national Sunshine Review for its transparency - the Website has now been revamped to include beautiful photos of the area, a more user-friendly interface and a calendar with easily viewable differences between meetings and events.
When users first arrive at the website, they will see the tabs across the top that let them select which category they belong to.
If they are Brevard County residents, the topics and services that they are likely seeking will be listed under that tab.
If they are visitors, whether tourists or someone seeking to relocate, the common topics of interest to that group are listed under that section.
Business representatives will find the services and information most appropriate to them under that category.
The e-government tab provides access to services which can be requested, paid for or reserved online; as well as opportunities to provide feedback or report a problem.
The Contact tab offers the traditional list of departments, for those who are familiar with the previous website, as well as links to various ways to communicate with the county: email, telephone numbers, Facebook and Twitter.
This is Phase One of the new website, as just a half-dozen county departments have been upgraded to the new look.
Phase Two, moving the remaining departments to the new design as quickly as resources allow, will be completed next year.
The design and development was all done in-house by Information Technology Department employees using a database-driven content management software, Sitefinity by Telerik.
Library Services had an immediate need to move their externally hosted website at www.brev.org because it was outdated and difficult to maintain, so they assisted with the purchase of an upgrade to the software, at a cost of $20,000, enabling the entire county to transition more quickly and easily.
The website URL is www.brevardcounty.us.
BPS students to participate in student survey
All Brevard Public School students in grades 3-12 will be taking an anonymous computer-based survey during the month of January.
The survey questions were developed by Brevard County educators and focus on curriculum, instruction, bullying and school safety.
The survey is completely anonymous, and there is no personally identifiable information in the survey.
If you have questions or wish to see a copy of the survey, please contact the school.
The results of this survey will help BPS to better serve all students.
For more information, call (321) 633-1000, Ext. 796 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florida Tech student-athletes earn degrees
Florida Tech President Anthony J. Catanese presented degrees to 20 student-athletes during a recent fall commencement ceremony at the Clemente Center.
The graduates represented 10 separate athletic programs. A list of FIT's newest student-athlete alumni can be found below.
About 1,340 candidates earned degrees at the commencement.
The graduates came from 45 countries - from Antigua to Zimbabwe - and from 27 states in the United States.
Founded at the dawn of the "Space Race" in 1958, Florida Tech is the only independent, technological university in the Southeast.
Fall 2011 student-athlete graduates:
. Baseball: Michael
John Fouchet, business
. Women's basketball:
Lynisha Nelson, business
. Men's cross
country/track and field:
Erik Mackay, meteorology
. Women's cross
country/track and field:
Suzi Gordon, space
. Men's rowing: Casey
. Men's soccer: Chris
management with flight;
. Women's soccer: Kelsey
management with flight;
Mist Eliasdottir, marine
biology and aquaculture;
Paula Lillsjo, psychology
. Softball: Lani Ankiel,
. Men's tennis: Alfonso
sciences; Cory Hodes,
James McLane, software
. Volleyball: Shelby
DeNeice, marine biology
For more information, contact Ryan Jones, athletic communications director, at (321) 674-8250 or visit www.floridatechsports.com.
Donations needed for Humane Society's thrift shops
The Central Brevard Humane Society's four Molly Mutt Thrift Shops, located in downtown Melbourne, Merritt Island, Palm Bay and Rockledge, are in need of donations.
The donated items can be sofas, dining sets, love seats, recliners, vanity sets, dresser drawers, beds (any size) with frames, headboards, dinette sets, ottomans, patio sets, sectionals, coffee and end tables and bedroom sets.
The Central Brevard Humane Society is at 1020 Cox Road, Cocoa.
For more information, call (321) 636-3343 or visit www.crittersavers.com.
Local authors recognized in national book contest
The 2011 Stars and Flags Book Award Program has announced that authors Lee and Vista Boyland of Melbourne were awarded the gold medal in General Fiction for their book, "Pirates and Cartels."
In the book, drug cartels have invaded America's southern border states and are attempting to take over Mexico, gangs in the U.S. are out of control and Somali pirates team with Jihadists to take a small ocean liner.
The new U.S. president is faced with these difficult tasks. See how he deals with his country in this adventurist thriller.
A national contest, the Stars and Flags Book Awards program, was established four years ago with the task of promoting books which have a connection to the military.
Many of the judges are veterans themselves, including historians, teachers and avid readers.
Anyone interested in the program can find more information at www.starsandflags.com or by emailing email@example.com.
NASA Commercial Crew Program agreements
NASA has announced a modified competitive procurement strategy to keep on track the agency's plan to have U.S. companies transport American astronauts into space instead of outsourcing this work to foreign governments.
Instead of awarding contracts for the next phase of the Commercial Crew Program, the agency plans to use multiple, competitively awarded Space Act Agreements.
Using competitive Space Act Agreements instead of contracts will allow NASA to maintain a larger number of partners during this phase of the program, with the flexibility to adjust technical direction, milestones and funding.
This competitive Space Act solicitation is separate from the work being carried out under existing Space Act Agreements.
The new competition will focus on an overall system design rather than single technology activities.
For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, call (321) 867-2497, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.
Viera East Ladies 9-Hole Golf Association Christmas luncheon
On Dec. 8, the Viera East Ladies 9-Hole Golf Association celebrated its annual Christmas luncheon at the Black Tulip restaurant in Cocoa Village.
In lieu of grab bag gifts, the ladies contributed a donation of $135 to Toys for Tots.
The "singing golfers" entertained the 28 members who attended with Sue Buttner at the piano. Sue helped substitute golf lingo to some Christmas carols such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to "We Wish You'd Take Some Golf Lessons, We Wish You'd Take Some Lessons."
For more information, email email@example.com.
Wuesthoff hosts Brevard's first orthopedic robotic arm total hip surgery
Wuesthoff Health System has announced that its Melbourne hospital is once again the first in Brevard County to offer an innovative robotic surgical option.
This time it's with MAKOplasty Hip, total hip replacement surgery performed using the RIO system, a highly advanced, surgeon-controlled robotic arm that enables the accurate alignment and positioning of implants.
The surgery was performed on Friday, Dec. 16, at Wuesthoff Medical Center-Melbourne by orthopedic surgeon Daniel L. King, M.D.
The goal of using robotic arm technology to perform hip replacement is to attain consistent precision in surgery. Accurate placement and alignment of implant components are a critical factor in hip replacement.
Like other total hip replacement procedures, MAKOplasty Hip may be a treatment option for people who suffer from either non-inflammatory or inflammatory degenerative joint disease.
For more information about MAKOplasty please call (800) 522-6363.
BPS announces Preferred Health Centers partnership
Brevard Public Schools has announced its own network of Preferred Health Centers for employees, retirees and covered dependents effective Jan. 1.
This partnership allows members who participate in the BPS Health Plan, administered by Cigna, to access high-quality, affordable medical care for illnesses, injuries or accidents that are not life threatening but require prompt medical attention.
This network of PHCs saves participating members time and money while keeping emergency rooms free to handle more serious situations.
Brevard Public Schools employs more than 9,000 employees and provides health benefits for more than 13,000 employees, retirees and dependents.
More information on the Preferred Health Centers may be found at http://benefits.brevard.k12.fl.us/Benefits.htm.
Sheriff's Office "Bikes for Tykes" program
On Dec. 19, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office held its sixth annual "Bikes for Tykes" holiday donation program.
This event was established in 2006 at the Sheriff's Inmate Work Farm and uses inmate labor to refurbish donated, abandoned or unclaimed bicycles.
Titusville and Melbourne Wal-Mart stores also donated an additional 114 new bicycles.
This year, 280 bicycles were donated to the Brevard County Sharing Centers and the National Veterans Homeless Support program.
The bicycles were also presented to parents who otherwise could not afford one for their children over the holiday season.
To date, more than 3,372 bicycles have been donated to charities from this program.
In partnership with Waste Management, "Bikes for Tykes" also receives discarded bicycles that would otherwise be taken to the county landfill.
Any citizen who would like to participate in this Waste Management service can place unwanted bicycles by the curb on their scheduled trash pick-up day. The bicycles will be transferred to the Sheriff's Work Farm to be refurbished.
Donations can also be made directly to the program by dropping off unwanted bicycles at any of the Sheriff's Office Precincts or the Sheriff's Work Farm.
For more information, visit www.revardsheriff.com.
Outstanding staff honored by Crosswinds Youth Services
At its annual Staff Awards Luncheon, Crosswinds Youth Services recognized staff members for their outstanding achievements throughout 2011.
Titilope "Miss Titi" Aina, staff member in the Robert E. Lehton Children's Shelter, received the Tortoise Award in recognition of her dedication, loyalty, perseverance and commitment to quality.
Lawrence McCalla, counselor for the Transitional Living Program, received Crosswinds' Dale Carnegie Award, given to an employee who exemplifies the Dale Carnegie approach to professionalism and positive thinking.
Tammy Bousquet received the Employee of the Year Award in recognition of her excellent work as a case manager for Independent Living Services.
A record number of staff members were recognized this year for milestones reached in length of service with Crosswinds Youth Services.
Those with five years of service are Wendy Keighley, Erika King-Youmans, Karen Locke, Verna Salis, Joanetta Waller-Davis, Christine Barker, Sam Esposito and Rita Dickerson. Suzanne Beacham was honored for 10 years of service.
Independent Living Services was honored by Crosswinds as its Program of the Year.
The award recognizes the outstanding work of staff members Christine Barker, Tammy Bousquet, Michele Cassel, Stevette Dukes, Ann Fosburr, and Detrish Roberts in this program that works with youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood.
The President's Award for Excellence was presented to the Transitional Living Program by Crosswinds President and CEO Jan Lokay.
This program provides housing, support and skill development for young people, ages 16-21, to prepare for adulthood. Honored for their excellence were staff members Christine Barker, Rita Dickerson and Lawrence McCalla.
Crosswinds Youth Services is a nonprofit organization offering programs and services for children, youth and families in crisis since 1974.
For more information visit www.crosswindsyouthservices.org or call (321) 452-0800.
Sponsors sought for 'Shiver Me Timbers 5K and Fun Walk'
Brevard County Parks and Recreation is now accepting sponsors for the "Shiver Me Timbers 5K and Fun Walk," to be held Saturday, Jan. 14 at the South Beach Community Park and Center, 500 Old Florida Trail, Melbourne Beach.
This race is the second of the Brevard County Parks & Recreation "Run Brevard, ReCreate Your Life" Race Series. There are four additional upcoming races in this series at other County Parks through June.
Sponsorships are divided into four categories: Series sponsor: $5,000 for all media releases, Race sponsors for $1,000 for all race flyers, Sleeve sponsors for $350 for race T-shirt logo on sleeves and T-shirt sponsor for $100.
All sponsors include the sponsor name listed on the back of the race T-shirts and a vendor space at each race sponsored.
The "Shiver Me Timbers 5k and Fun Walk" starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14.
All activities are conducted and supervised by Brevard County Parks and Recreation staff.
Please call (321)952-3210 or visit www.brevardparks.com for more information.
Sponsorships and tickets now available for 'Cattle Barons' Ball'
The American Cancer Society's annual "Cattle Barons' Ball," presented by Lexus of Melbourne, is Saturday, March 10, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto in Melbourne.
The event raises funds to support "Reaching Out to Cancer Kids" camp. This year's theme is "Diamond and Sapphire Ball" and is expected to raise $115,000 to fund cancer-related programs nationally in Brevard County.
Sponsorships begin at $500 ,and individual tickets are $125.
Guests can enjoy gourmet Western chow, live music by The Last Chance Band, a chance to bid on live and silent auctions, participate in midway games, enjoy line dancing and more. The event is black-tie Western.
Volunteers are also needed to provide their time and talent to ensure this year's Cattle Barons' Ball is a success.
Space is limited at the Cattle Barons' Ball, so purchase tickets today.
To register or to learn more, please contact Marty Eyster at (321) 253-0361, Ext. 5755, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynda L. Weatherman reappointed to board of directors
Lynda L. Weatherman, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, Rockledge, has been re-appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Jacksonville Branch. Her terms began Jan. 1 and run through Dec. 31, 2014.
Ms. Weatherman has served in her current position since 1994.
From 1991 to 1994, she served as executive director of the city of Titusville's Economic Development Department, and in 1991 was an independent contractor for the Hong Kong Trade Fair Group.
She is a member of the boards of directors of the Brevard Workforce Development Board and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.
Other affiliations include Enterprise Florida Partner Council and National Space Club Florida Committee.
She is also an active member of CivMil, which raises funds for military and civilian causes.
Ms. Weatherman received a bachelor's degree in social sciences/education from the University of South Florida, a master's degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master's degree in international and urban planning from the University of Hong Kong, the later under a Rotarian scholarship.
She received the 2011 Eunice Sullivan Economic Development Professional of the Year, the 2007 NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and the 2006 Palm Bay Business Leader of the Year awards.
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta branch directors provide economic information on their industry and the branch territory to the district bank's president and head office directors, who use the information in formulating monetary policy and making discount rate recommendations.
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., appoints three of the Jacksonville Branch directors, and the Atlanta head office directors appoint four.
Ms. Weatherman was re-appointed by the Board of Governors.
For more information, call (404) 498-8035.
- For Hometown News