Tom Campenni

Friends & Neighbors is designed to give you the information that is happening within our County. My goal is to inspire you to get involved and make a change to make Martin County the best it can be. There is lot’s to do! – Tom

News And Views










Clement Clarke Moore grew up on his mother’s estate in Manhattan named Chelsea in the late 18th century.


He donated a square block which was his apple orchard to the Episcopal Church for their theological seminary between today’s 9th and 10th Avenues from 20th to 21st Street. When I lived in Chelsea, it was a poor neighborhood made up of the families of seamen, longshoremen, and other working men and women. It is far cry from what is today a trendy and ultra-expensive place.

The seminary was an oasis of tranquility with huge trees and neo-gothic buildings that was open to the neighborhood at times. They had a great library of original documents where I sometimes did research. I never forgot how beautiful it was.


Moore was very similar to many of the old Martin County families. He made his fortune by subdividing and platting his inherited Chelsea estate. Moore also was a philanthropist, Greek and Latin scholar, and writer. Though there has been some controversy over authorship, I am going to credit him with writing “A Visit From St. Nicholas” or as it is sometimes known “Twas The Night Before Christmas.”


Supposedly written for his children, it had a profound impact on our modern idea of Santa Claus or St. Nicholas. Generations have read that poem to their children, and I have been doing the same for over 40 years. I still do read it to this day when we gather for dinner sometimes for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


Over the years sound effects have been added to the recitation by the people around the table, and my New York accent has evolved to those of the denizens of the Chelsea I remember…Archie Bunker with a little “dead-end kid” for emphasis.


So, as you are having your holiday celebration, peek at the words to the poem and maybe say a verse or two for your children or grandchildren. The poem is approaching its 200th birthday, and I hope it continues being a tradition well into the future.


Have a Merry Christmas!


You can find the test of the poem here






When do we begin to be concerned with the number of shootings in Stuart?


Shootings in East Stuart are not new, but until recently we have been very lucky that the perpetrators are not very good shots. In the last Friends & Neighbors, I wrote about the two shooting deaths in East Stuart…one a teenager several weeks ago and another of a long-time resident sitting in her living room watching tv on Thanksgiving evening.

Then this past weekend (December 3rd to 5th), there were several shootings including two more deaths. A Fort Pierce man entered an apartment at The Crossings on Indian Street and shot another in the leg. The shooter is a felon and has been in trouble since he was a youth.


An apparent homeowner’s association disagreement led to a neighbor shooting and killing a couple at Cedar Pointe Condominiums. Cedar Pointe is an over 55 community that has buildings both in the county and the city. This happened to have taken place in the city portion. Even though it is in the city, Stuart PD agreed to have the Sheriff handle the matter.


Lastly, a 14-year-old in Windemere shot and wounded a friend. The kid found the key to his dad’s locked cabinet where the firearm was kept. Whether he was showing off the gun or there was some sort of fight is not clear at this point. Nevertheless, the victim could easily have died.


So, I go back to my original question…should we be concerned with the number of shootings?


I think we should be concerned. If someone carries a gun for whatever reason, the person may be more likely to use it there is a heated argument or there is a dispute with another person. People have the belief that they are better protected. But knowing when to use deadly force is another matter. Individuals in law enforcement spend countless hours having instruction and incident simulations to know the answer to that question.


This is not a 2nd Amendment argument. Individuals absolutely have a right to lawfully carry a weapon. With rights come responsibilities. And one of those responsibilities is not to lose control over your emotions or try to settle disputes using deadly force.


Drug dealing plays a prominent role in some of these incidents. We can’t overlook that when addressing the problem. Would there be turf wars between gangs without the sale of drugs? To some extent there would, but nothing like the gun violence that is seen when there is money to be made or lost.


Yet there are policing strategies that work to help curb gun violence. Any police action can’t protect us from ourselves. Individuals are responsible.


The police need to do a better job of being part of the community. This happened for a little while when we had more community policing. It is time to go back to a full-on effort in East Stuart and other areas of the city. Not just occasional barbeques but assigned officers who do more than ride in patrol cars.


Vulnerable populations and neighborhoods need to know that cops are there to help. Officers should be riding on segways and bikes downtown and in East Stuart. Officers should attend a scout meeting, school assemblies, the YMCA, fraternal organizations, homeowner’s association meetings and anywhere people gather. Not as guards but as members of our community.


Even when these crimes are solved (and they will be solved), the police have done their police work. There is more to policing than just the solving of crimes. It is a wholistic approach to making communities safe. That is what will always be needed, and Stuart’s geographical size, size of police force, and city personality makes community policing ideal.


Do we wait until we have more shootings, or do we do something now?


(As Published In Martin County Moment)






December was once a quiet month in local government. That is not true anymore.


There now are multiple government meetings with no respite. The one December meeting held in the past was usually fluff and reserved for wishing seasons’ greetings to each other. Now there is just more of everything but is any of it that important.


Local elected officials have become more self-indulgent and more self-important. Before getting down to business, each commissioner and member needs to make a statement. They all have their pet projects and peeves to report on with their real work being left to the end of the meeting.


In many cases, the real purposes of each board meeting are passing ordinances, development projects, and making policy decisions, but these are left to the bitter end. Politicians have ample opportunity during comments, presentations, and proclamations, sometimes for hours of time and delaying the real work to be done. And for what purpose?


I have a secret for commissioners, board members, council members and all government officials…less is more. That you spoke at some local club is part of your job, you don’t need to tell everyone from the dais that you did it. A meeting lasting five hours should happen once or twice a year when a big decision needs to be made. Now, in many places, it is routine.


It doesn’t make you smarter or more consequential to comment and speak ad nauseum. In truth, it lessens your impact and influence. Meet with groups and constituents. Read your agenda packet. Speak to the manager and attorney about things. Go to your committees. And keep the business meeting for what it was intended. And that wasn’t another opportunity to politic.






We hear all the time that someone or someplace or an entire culture is special. I don’t know if I buy that uniqueness argument.


To me, it is the same philosophy as every kid should receive a trophy. No student should receive an “F.” All police, firefighters and military personnel are heroes.  The United States is exceptional. And Martin County is special.

There is a grain of truth in each of those statements although to believe each as unvarnished truth would be wrong. I am a believer in allowing failure. Failure is a great teacher and the acceptance by individuals of fallibility builds a better person and society.


In life, learning to take a punch both literally and figuratively gives a person a great ability to bounce back from adversity. Once a child has lost a fight or two to a classmate or another child, he may have a bloody nose, but he is not really hurt. Getting fired from a job feels awful, but eventually the person finds another job hopefully having learned something from the experience. Failing a time or two in a business is a good teacher as well.


For most of us, we use any experience as a lesson in what not or to do. We are humbled and made a better person because of adversity. The problem comes when there are too many fights, too many firings, or too many failed businesses.


There is a happy medium using both good and bad experiences to do better next time. We adjust attitudes, beliefs, and ways of doing things to avoid a repeat. We become stronger and more compassionate human beings.


Failure teaches us to be more open and respectful to others and allows acceptance of the foibles that we all have and forgiveness of the imperfections of the human condition. It allows us to understand that while not all first responders and members of the military are heroes, by choosing those occupations when called to do heroic deeds, most step up and do so.


I don’t know if the United States is more exceptional than most other nations. The U.S. has the luxury of being richly endowed with natural resources, protected by water, and fortunate to have a tradition of democracy. Some of us know that tradition may be imperiled because of our own doing.


Martin County is a great place to live though it is not necessarily more special when compared to other places in the state. We have chosen policies that are different than other counties. At the same time, we don’t need to demonize localities that see their futures differently.





Other Opinions





By Keith Fletcher CEO & President of

Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County


It’s not yet Christmas and we’ve already received a wonderful gift.


We’re deeply appreciative of the Business Development Board of Martin County (BDB) for designating Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County (BGC) as the 2022 Nonprofit of the Year.

Left to right: Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, Meghan Shirey, Sarah Torres, Jeronda Hill, Kathy Parsons, Jennifer Durrant, Keith Goldstein, Denise Ehrich, Arati Hammond and Andrea Economus.


The annual Martin County Business Awards ceremony showcases the variety, creativity, and incredible capabilities of local employers. Some of this year’s examples included a broadband provider that specializes in delivering internet service to underserved areas (Blue Stream Fiber), a manufacturer of parts for motocross racers (WMR Competition Performance), and an entrepreneur whose technological inventions equip the US Navy to wage electronic warfare (John Justak of Advanced Technologies Group).


Learning more about the ingenuity and achievements of such private sector standouts made me especially grateful that the BDB devotes an award category to nonprofits. Doing so recognizes the robust local nonprofit industry, which fortunately reflects the immense generosity of our community as well as, sadly, its persistent need.


As many as one in five young people (under age 18) in Martin County live in poverty. More than 8,000 children live in households with incomes below the federal poverty level. As much as 25 percent of children have endured the hunger pangs of food insecurity. Nearly 44 percent of the more than 18,000 students in the Martin County School District qualify for free and reduced lunch.


Thankfully, organizations such as Banner Lake Club, House of Hope, Hobe Sound Community Chest, Elev8Hope, Martin County Police Athletic League and so many more labor alongside BGC in our shared commitment to improving the present-days lives and futures of local children in need.


At BGC, 90 percent of the kids in our care qualify for free and reduced lunch. So, while we feed each one multiple times a day and send them home every weekend and holiday with backpacks full of food, we also want them to be strong, independent and self-sustaining. That’s why we’re preparing them to bring knowledge, poise, and marketable skills to the workforce.


A professionally administered culinary program, food truck enterprise, drone-certification courses and skills training comprise just some of the ways in which BGC is developing our future workforce. Not unlike the BDB, whose motto states, “A stronger economy is everyone’s business,” we believe encouraging the cultivation of more capable and prepared young people is in everyone’s best interest.


In addition to strengthening our economy, every child who realizes their potential and escapes the cycle of poverty for possibility and productivity represents a future contributor to our community. Who knows? They just might one day become the next great entrepreneur who enables immense employment opportunities and transformative charitable giving.


Or, more simply but just as powerful and meaningful—they might also become the next trustworthy employee, loving spouse, devoted parent, and reliable neighbor.


In either case, the result of such prioritization and investment in young people is the gift that keeps on giving.


Keith Fletcher’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint



By Darlene VanRiper



I was going to write a piece about when my purse was stolen from my car.


Specifically, to females please refrain from getting out of your car just before Christmas and leaving your purse on the passenger seat.  Thieves hungry for Christmas presents are noticing this!  You will return to a broken passenger window and a missing purse. Insurance only covers the windshield, by the way.


Now, having gotten that out of the way, Tom has been harassing me to write about the Holiday Season.  To avoid getting the reputation of Scrooge, I will oblige him.


I will divulge that I grew up on my grandpa’s farm in Northern Pennsylvania. I call it “cow country”.  Truly the description to use is “bucolic”. While it may not have compared to the Alps, the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounded us like arms coming in for a great big hug.  As children we nervously explored forests where wild dogs lived, even though I never saw one. There were streams and dirt roads and picturesque dilapidated barns everywhere.  Often when driving “down the hill” to fetch some groceries at the nearest store 15 miles away, we’d be held up by the Russell’s cows crossing over the road from the field to the barn.  That was our “rush hour”.


Everything was “down the hill” because we lived atop a 5-mile trek made in low gear much of the time.  My grandmother could handle the decent and curves at 50 miles an hour with a cigarette hanging out the window.  Of course, we knew everyone in town.

Darlene on the farm

Conversing with other farmers and friends took much longer than shopping at the only grocery store.  I used to get so bored wondering when Grandpa, who had perfected the gift of gab, would finally call me to the forest green 1960 Willys Jeep.  If it was dusk, we’d have to keep a sharp look out for the many deer forging near the road.  Grandpa used to save the fawns (baby deer) when their mothers got shot during doe (female deer) hunting season.  We’d raise them in the basement until they were old enough to return to the woods. Yes, I have fed baby deer with a bottle.

Grandpa would take us out into the woods to cut down the perfect Christmas tree every year.  The smell still lingers in my memory.  Christmas morning, we would wake up early eager with anticipation.  Grandpa would already be downstairs making pancakes shaped like bunnies or squirrels.  He had those down.  Then, still in pajamas, we would open presents.  It seemed to last for hours.


Now watching my grandsons open presents, it seems hardly worth wrapping them because the paper is torn to shreds so quickly.  An experience we so want to savor seems to be over in 5 minutes!  Hardley time to take the thousand pictures that my daughter-in-law so automatically snaps (or clicks).  I think there exists 1 picture of us somewhere opening presents sometime in the early 1960s.


After playing with the new toy gun or Barbie (once I got a pogo stick and there was no stopping me!), we would go sledding.  It would snow at least a foot every Christmas day, seemed like.  Right outside the backdoor was the perfect hill always covered with fresh snow.


I’ll be returning to the farm for a visit next week.  It is now owned by my uncle Keith, my grandpa’s son.  He will pick me up at the airport and we will ascend “the hill”.  If it’s just the right time, I might get lucky enough to encounter the Russell’s cows.


My uncle will have cut down the perfect Christmas tree and there will be a fire in the fireplace.  The next day he will tell me to “get in the truck”.  And he, knowing how much I love to ride around that countryside will drive me around the entire day.  Generously obliging my every wish to “Stop, so I can take a picture”.   We will pause somewhere to have lunch or a “pile of food” as Keith calls it.  He’s a big boy, a mountain of a man…like Grandpa was.   After consuming the pile of food, he will patiently drive me down every dirt road he knows.


That day will be better than any present I could ever unwrap.  Certainly, because I will be with my Uncle Keith, but also because I grew up in a painting.


Darlene VanRiper’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.




Nicki’s Place

By Nicki van Vonno



Carrots and roses


The rose bush is in bloom.

In the morning the bud begins to open.

It says breathe me. I am life.

I inhale its perfume.

By late afternoon it is fully open and already turning.

Petals drop.

A day it lasts.

We flower too.

Giving off our scent.


The carrots are old. Past their prime.

The expiration date was three months ago.

I never met an old carrot before.

It looks like me.

Spotty with age,

Whiskers sprouting on my chin and neck.

Takes a magnifying glass to see the damned white chin hairs.

Life roars with abandon.

I am here for this moment of eternity.

Let’s live it up, chin hairs and all!

Nicki van Vonno’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.





By David Hafner



As my wife and I were discussing our Christmas plans we decided we would go to church on Christmas morning. My 9-year-old overheard and innocently asked why we are going to church instead of staying home to open presents. What I said to him I will say to you as well:

Christmas has taken on many meanings over the years. To some it is a celebration of lights, to others a chance to gather and exchange gifts, and for businesses it’s a profit gaining opportunity through the commercialization of the holiday.


However, most still hold on to the true reason for the holiday: the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus was born in the lineage of Noah, Abraham, and David- all men with whom God made promises that He kept. The birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel’s King David that David’s offspring would establish the throne of God’s kingdom forever. 2 Samuel 7:8-16


John the Baptist says in John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” With “He” being a reference to God, and with Christmas being set aside as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, we should turn from our own wants and instead take time to celebrate Him. Where else, then, should we find ourselves on Christmas Day than in His house to celebrate?


After church, my family will return home to our holiday traditions. My children will open their presents while my wife and I watch. I will assemble their new toys while watching White Christmas. Together we will enjoy festive dishes and desserts. We will tend to our livestock and give them some holiday treats. We will drive around and look at the festive lights and displays.

But above all we will keep in mind the words that Linus Van Pelt spoke in A Charlie Brown Christmas:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” Luke 2:8-14


Jesus was a gift given to all people. No matter how you celebrate He was given to you.


Merry Christmas to you and your family. I wish you peace, joy, and prosperity in the coming year.


David Hafner’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.





Rob Ranieri

CEO for House of Hope



Rob is enjoying the holiday.


Rob Ranieri’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint




By Michele Libman M.D.




Are we in a tripledemic?

So it appears there is a new kid in town.  Everyone knows that wintertime has always been “flu season”.  For the past two years it has been “flu and Covid season” … but not to be outdone 2022 has added a third virus to the mix… RSV.


RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common respiratory virus that infects the lungs and respiratory tract.  Symptoms usually range from mild cold symptoms to a more severe cough and even trouble breathing. Case numbers are rising in the US and scientists feel that it is because children were shielded from common infections during Covid lockdowns.  Most people recover from the virus in a week or two, but RSV can cause serious health complications in infants and older adults.


In addition to seeing an early start to RSV season the CDC has also reported early increases in seasonal influenza cases.  The southeastern and southern parts of the country have had the highest levels of activity followed by the mid-Atlantic and the south-central west coast regions.  We are seeing the highest influenza hospital admission rates in the past decade!! Some states are also starting to see an uptick in Covid -19 infections as well.


RSV is especially dangerous for premature infants, infants younger than 6 months, and children who have chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease.  In addition, children with weakened immune systems or neuromuscular diseases (like cystic fibrosis) are also at increased risk.  RSV can cause severe illness such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the smaller airways) and pneumonia.  The CDC said that up to 2% of children younger than 6 months with RSV infection may need to be admitted to a hospital which amounts to 80,000 children a year!


The US healthcare system is currently under enormous strain as millions of health care providers left the work force during the Covid pandemic.  This surge in RSV cases has caused several hospitals to exceed capacity.  There are stories of very sick children waiting hours to days to be transferred to a hospital with an open bed that has the capability of treating the child.  There are currently numerous hospitals setting up pop up tents outside the ER to help keep up with the volume of sick children presenting to their facilities.


Another surprising twist is that more adults have come down with RSV as well!  While most adults who have RSV have symptoms of a minor cold some adults are becoming very ill and requiring hospitalization.  According to the CDC the rate of adult hospitalizations for RSV is 10 times that for previous years!!


There is currently no vaccine for RSV, but several are in development.  The best way to protect against RSV is to avoid close contact with sick people. Wash your hands often.  Cover your coughs and sneezes.  Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and stay home when you are sick.


Michele Libman’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint





By John Gonzalez



The real estate market has had an interesting year. As we come to the end of 2022, I have a few observations and thoughts. I am not an economist, attorney, or legislator. I am simply a local Realtor that tries to keep his eye on the pulse of the market and conditions.


To describe the last two years in one word – historic. The rapid post Covid run up in real estate prices and demand was remarkable. I suspect it will never repeat itself. A form of “free” money fueled the voracious appetite of consumers looking to leave other areas and establish their home in Florida led to double digit price increases. There are still buyers looking to move to our state despite hurricanes and higher interest rates. In the 2nd quarter of this year the sales abruptly halted when interest rates went up nearly 5%. Buyers stopped buying and sellers held firm on their prices. Today, we see our real estate life returning to normal.

The home prices in our area will continue to be strong and I do not expect significant changes to valuations in 2023. There has already been some correction to pricing and sellers are selling for less than the asking price which is different from the beginning of the year when full asking price and selling price were generally identical. Every transaction is negotiated by the Realtors with their clients with each side making some concessions. It is the real estate market in which I began my career


I fully expect (before this is even published) that the Florida legislature and the governor will sign an insurance reform bill that is intended to help Florida consumers. The legislation will attempt to shore up the reinsurance market, cap attorney’s fees on certain types of claims and provide avenues for insurance companies to return to Florida.  I warn you this will not be a quick fix and I do not expect the rates to go down (if ever), in the near future. If our market becomes healthier then maybe the competition will return, and rates will improve.


The insurance industry will put additional pressure on homeowners to make roof replacement sooner than the manufacturers guidelines suggest. I expect to see a lot more metal roofs and a lot less asphalt shingle roofs in our neighborhoods. Sadly, I think the average roof is strong and durable and the only beneficiary of new roofs is the insurer and the roofer, in many cases.


In closing, I enjoy authoring these articles for you. I hope I added some value to your knowledge of the local real estate industry and market conditions. I want to thank you, the reader, for reading my articles and supporting Friends and Neighbors of Martin County.  I especially want to thank Tom Campenni for his hard work and dedication.


I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you have a prosperous and joyous New Year. Cheers to 2023!!!


John Gonzalez’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint





By Missi Campbell

Executive Director of the Palm City Chamber



December to me is the happiest month of the year.

I love to be out shopping or walking around town and people greet you with a smile and a “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.”  It doesn’t seem to matter where you are in your life, the joy of the holiday season brings out the best in all of us.


This year has been very difficult for many of us, but I see resilience and community support all around Martin County. In my opinion, the most attractive and distinctive feature of Martin County is the amazing philanthropy of so many of our residents. We have a variety of non-profits in our community to help those in need, and this time of year, I see the true meaning of the season, in the giving by so many. No one wants to see a child, veteran, animal, or victim of abuse, go without a wonderful holiday and our community steps up each year.


The best part about giving is that it doesn’t have to be financial.  You can give of your time by volunteering with an organization that shares your beliefs. The biggest gift sometimes is sharing the message of what our community wants and needs. We have a gigantic support base for this in Martin County.

I love the saying, “Just be kind, you never know what someone else may be going through.” As you do your shopping, pick up and extra gift and donate it.  Call your local non-profit and see if you can donate some time. Bring your young adults and children to donate too, so that the wonderful giving community that is Martin County continues into the next generation.


My family enjoys celebrating together each year.  As our family grows, I am excited for what the future holds for my children and my granddaughter.  Remember, the best gift we can give is from the heart.


Our children and parents want to spend time with their families, so give them the gift of your time. Give the gift of an experience to your family members. It can be as simple as a walk on one of our fabulous beaches, a trip to the park, a trip to the local museums, or a lunch date.  Whatever you choose to share with your loved ones, make sure that you are present. Sometimes the best present is to be present. Put your phone in another room and focus on what is most important, the people in our lives.


I wish you all a fabulous holiday season with your loved ones. I look forward to 2023 and what the future holds for Palm City and Martin County.


Missi Campbell’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint




BY Capt. Paul Sperco


Hard to believe we are already into the holiday season and Hanukkah and Christmas are fast approaching.


The holiday lights and decorations are up all around us and I am sure everyone who has come down into our beautiful Martin County area from the north are happy to be out of the 30-degree weather and enjoying the 80-degree temperatures and sunshine here on the Treasure Coast.


As far as the fishing is concerned the surf action has been less than spectacular primarily due to the continual easterly winds and the big swells that have been hitting our beaches. The pompano, bluefish, and mackerel bite were showing signs of starting to develop before this latest surf event and according to the latest forecast, as of today, December 11, the waves should start to lay down by the end of the week. The pompano action that we have had so far has been dominated by two baits that were on fire before the conditions fell apart.

Three Amigos

Fishbites Powerlime Crab and EZ Flea colors and scents were accounting for most of the bites by myself and other anglers that were using them. Along with the pompano big whiting were also being put into the coolers using the same baits. All the action was coming on the long rods, 75 to 100 yards from shore and the prime time was the hour before high tide to 2 hours after. Look for this action to pick right back up along with a good bluefish and Spanish mackerel bite, The majority of the bluefish will be taken on cut mullet fished on a bait rig like a fishfinder set up or casting a 3/4- or 1-ounce spoon early in the morning or late in the afternoon.


Those of you who want to target the mackerel, casting the same spoons , mackerel trees, bobber rigs with small Clark spoons, shiny lures like Gotcha plugs or bright mackerel jigs . The key to catching the Spanish will be a super-fast retrieve. You cannot reel fast enough to entice a mackerel to bite. The mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and jacks are a ball to catch as a 7 foot rod with a 3000 or 4000 size spinning reel is all you need.

Permit 2022

The Indian River lagoon and the St Lucie River has seen some decent action for croaker, drum, jacks, and snook. Capt. John Young from Bites On Fishing charters and Capt. Justin Rieger from Just In Time charters have been catching lots of snook , big jacks, and a few catch and release redfish. Please remember by the time this report is available the snook fishing will be a catch and release season.


Our season is closed from December 15 to January 31 so if you are lucky enough to do battle with this great gamefish, please take your pictures quickly and return them to the water in good shape. The holiday season is just a great time to be in our beautiful state and with 80-degree temperatures, low humidity, and beautiful blue skies. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.


I look forward to posting the first fishing report of 2023 next month. Good luck and catch em up.


Paul Sperco’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint








Other Government Notices

And from our Supervisor of Elections:




From the Property Appraiser

Tax Collector


Clerk Of The Court



Village of Indiantown









I urge those who are reading this newsletter to send an email expressing their opinions on subjects. When a reader sends one, it will be included if I find it relevant and I have adequate space. I may edit the letter because of length and clarity. You don’t have to agree with me to have your letter in Friends & Neighbors. All you must do is send it to or fill out the form on the website.



Chris Englund


Why nothing about Stuart’s gun violence?


My Answer:


Did you not see the front cover referring to the piece about the shooting deaths in East Stuart?


His response:


Ok, sorry, i missed the small headline on the shooting.  Speaking from 18 years volunteer work in E. Stuart , there is strong anti-gun violence sentiment in the neighborhood .  


Gun violence is a problem with 3 dimensions – hardware (too many guns) , software ( disarming the hearts ) and economics ( poverty ) .


I work with kids at 10th Street Community Center making musical instruments .  Guitars not guns .


As a member of, I also support gun buybacks . We can help Stuart get some of the guns off the street.


We can help with the software part too, the hearts and minds .


Make America Kind Again





I urge those who are reading this newsletter to send an email expressing their opinions on subjects. When a reader sends one, it will be included if I find it relevant and I have adequate space. I may edit the letter because of length and clarity. You don’t have to agree with me to have your letter in Friends & Neighbors. All you must do is send it to or fill out the form on the website.



Thomas Kenny


Agree golf course restaurant should not compete with tax paying restaurants; the golf course should not have either, unlimited capital and no taxes!





MartinCounty Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Commission




Most of the meeting focused on the housing shortage.


Chair Ciampi has made this issue the centerpiece of his chairmanship. Assistant County Administrator George Stokus gave the county’s presentation. His presentation showed the limited tools they have to work with.


The state has constrained the ability of places like Martin County and Stuart from requiring developers to include affordable housing in their projects as part of the approval process. If you can’t mandate 10 or 20% of units to fall within that category without paying a subsidy to the developer in perpetuity, then a valuable tool has been removed.


If you look at the chart attached here


You will see there is not much of an opportunity for the county to have rental subsidies. There is less than $3 million in funds that the county has for both rental and home fix up projects from the state.


When asked about whether to pursue rental or home ownership, the commission was all over the place. Jenkins wants to focus on the ownership piece as part of the plan to build “generational wealth.” Ciampi saw it as a three-tier approach: homelessness, doing something about rental forces, and home ownership.

Hetherington is in favor of home ownership but, given current circumstances, more people could be helped in the rental market. She believes it should be high on the legislative priority list. The entire country is having these problems and, according to Heatherington, it needs a national solution. She is not for any type of rent control which had been brought up as an option in the presentation.


Smith said the state will be doing something with building codes because of the devastation by Ian, especially on the west coast. If the codes are tightened, the result will be higher building and remodeling costs. He wants more study perhaps using the Treasure Coast Planning Council.


Jenkins also brought up a county land trust. They are fleshing out that idea in Banner Lake with a group of citizens. He is thinking the county would give excess property to the trust to build housing. The board unanimously approved the study of the idea.


Hetherington also said that the ideas tossed around are good ones. But it all means nothing when, even under current code, when accessible dwelling units are included projects, the commission often restricts them in the approval process.


Rob Ranieri, Nick Blount, and other advocates spoke. The commission decided to make this a permanent part of the meeting once a month.


Staff will now begin working on land trusts, and CRAs and ADUs will be explored. Perhaps using funding to do more infrastructure projects will also be included. That allows more density because there are sewers instead of septic systems. It makes lower cost development more palatable.


Until both state and national government view this as a priority, nothing localities do will come close to solving the problem. Perhaps places like Cleveland Clinic or IRSC could build housing for their employees with the county and Stuart waiving impact fees to make it less expensive. But these are only minor as compared to the entire problem.


You can find the entire presentation here




Sometimes commissioners cannot get out of their own way and sometimes they can. The agenda item regarding the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits exhibits both.


The commission originally directed the Animal Care & Control Oversight Board (ACCOB) to draft an ordinance regarding the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits after two pet stores opened that sold those animals.


ACCOB was formed in 2017 to provide oversight of the contract between the county and the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast (HSTC) and to rewrite the entire Martin County animal ordinance. Part of the revised animal ordinance created a TNVR program (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return) to reduce the size of feral communities by eliminating their reproductive capabilities.  This program, currently administered by HSTC, has dramatically reduced their euthanasia rate as they are no longer required to euthanize feral cats as the earlier ordinance required.


The ACCOB has been meeting every six months to monitor the HSTC contract and any other business having to do with the welfare of animals. The commission asking the board to draft a proposed ordinance about pet sales was in keeping with its mission.


The ACCOB investigated the matter and unanimously voted to recommend that the commission prohibit the sale of those animals while giving the two existing stores the ability to continue the sales until June 30, 2023. This would give the businesses time to retool providing only pet supplies and services like all of the other Martin County pet stores. When approving the proposed ordinance, the commission decided to reduce the ACCOB-recommended grace period for the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits and banned such sales after December 31, 2022. The motion passed 5-0.


A few months ago, the two stores and their supporters decided to threaten legal action if they were closed. Supporters spoke during public comment. The commission, instead of just listening, did what politicians do and that is back pedal.


There are 85 governments in Florida that ban such sales. Martin County had followed in their footsteps. But when trying to please everyone, the commissioners, in my opinion, threw their staff and the ACCOB volunteer board under the bus. Commissioners, because they didn’t want to just do nothing and allow the ordinance to stay in place, came up with a ridiculous charge to the ACCOB to have a workshop with all interested parties to work out the differences.


These are not differences about things such as store hours. There is two diametrically opposed views on the matter. When the workshop was started, it quickly degenerated and became raucous to the point that a recess was called. There wasn’t even a deputy in attendance. A few weeks later, the ACCOB met for their regularly scheduled meeting and again unanimously voted to recommend the same original ordinance including their original grace period until June 30, 2023.


Those who were against the ordinance were in opposition for two reasons. The first was “the being unfriendly to business” bunch. They claim that government regulation is wrong. Yet government regulates businesses all the time defining what can and cannot be done. And 85 other Florida governments have banned these sales not to mention entire states throughout the nation.


The pet store owners affected have more than just a libertarian argument to make. They opened stores that sold a product that was legal in Martin County at the time they entered business. The argument of the animal advocates is that at least some of the puppies are being acquired from out-of-state puppy mills. The two store owners vehemently deny this, but the evidence presented states otherwise. The agenda item is attached here


One of the pet store owners pleaded no contest to a felony regarding the forging of documents related to the sale of animals while owning his local store. This is not an old charge. It was adjudicated March 2022 in Martin County. Neither he nor his attorney appeared at this commission meeting.


The commission listened to several speakers including the other pet store owner and her attorney who was allowed extra time to make his comments. They then voted to accept the recommended ordinance from ACCOB. The vote was 4-0 with Hetherington absent.


Willis Custom Yachts had final site plan approval for their continued expansion.


This is a targeted industry in Martin County. They will more than double the number of employees. These are high paying jobs. The company is working with both the school district and IRSC to have training programs.


It passed 4-0. You can see the presentation here



By Kyla Shay

Trailside HOA President




Nothing has changed with PalMar.


The engines roar over across the canal in PalMar daily. The destruction continues day by day.  The shots are still fired.  Fertilizer bombs are shot off destroying native areas. The quiet is gone.

Over the past months, I’ve met with Martin County Staff. I have spoken twice at SFWMD board meetings in West Palm Beach.  We’ve alerted Martin County Commissioners to the difficulties presented to Trailside with the unchecked activities at PalMar.

Where we understand that the wheels of government move slowly, HOW LONG SHALL WE WAIT to not be shot at? How long shall we wait to not hear the destruction of what are precious Florida native areas. Native vegetation is torn up and destroyed. The animals have left PalMar, either by death or fleeing for their survival.  Alligators are shot within PalMar and left for the vultures to feed on.  The alligators are being poached.  No tags are attached. FWC has on one occasion that we know of found a deceased poached alligator being removed from PalMar.


South Florida Water Management District under the Preservation 2000 Florida Forever does mention PalMar under the FY 99 Objectives. Management agreements need to be done with DEP immediately. DEP was contacted by SFWMD over six months ago. To date, Trailside’s board has had no response from repeated requests to DEP for a status update on their plans going forward.


Most of the lots that were sold within Pal-Mar on a title search show there is no ingress and egress into the lot. Why is the PalMar Water Management District allowing their works i.e. canal banks, to be used for ingress and egress? In the past, those who hunted the PalMar area, enjoyed a quiet, native Florida wildlife and fauna within PalMar, walked or biked into their lot. There’s a lot to be said about leaving only footprints when in native areas. This is not the case in PalMar.  There is no legal recorded easement for ingress and egress. FWC, MCSO, Martin County Administration, DEP, PalMar Water Management District and SFWMD need to put a stop to the nonsense.


On an article published by the Stuart news, the reporter felt residents of Trailside should not have purchased land in a Martin County approved development next to hunting. It has never been the hunting we are objecting to. We are objecting to dangerous behavior resulting in shots being fired into our neighborhood. We are told by the Sheriff’s Department that there is nothing they can do to stop it. We are objecting to native Florida lands including wetlands being destroyed by ATV’s, side-by-sides, and hunting buggies. We are objecting to the blatant destruction of the wildlife. We object to the poaching. We object to being shot at. We object to not being able to utilize our bridle paths and common areas without the fear of being shot.


Where we understand there are differing opinions, we LIVE here.  How would you feel about what we are simply enduring if you were living here.


Hoping for resolution and repair within PalMar within the coming year of 2023.


Kyla Shay’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint








Troy McDonald was elected mayor and Beckie Bruner vice-mayor unanimously. Congratulations to both.


There was a presentation by Kevin Crowder of BusinessFlair on the city’s industrial space.

There currently is 1.1 million sq. feet of such space within the city. That is 25% of the total in the county. Most of that space is older and in logistical industries. There is little turnover of tenants.


Stuart’s best course of action regarding these industries is to continue working with Martin County with the Innovation Hub on Commerce Drive in South Stuart. The more that Stuart and Martin County can do to have infrastructure in place the more that can be accomplished in keeping and attracting industrial industries.


The city is less than 7 square miles which is about 1% of Martin County’s total area. Stuart has fallen into the trap of thinking that it needs to be everything for business, industry, and population. The city cannot.


Years ago, any opportunity to be larger through annexation was stopped, and so Stuart did not develop into a population center. Where the city was once the center of the county, it is now an afterthought with only a little over 10% of Martin County’s population. In years to come, Indiantown will probably be larger. Pineland Prairie could also be.


And where would this expanded work force live if Stuart did attract it? Unless the city goes vertical and builds more housing, no new employer is going to locate here. Cleveland Clinic has or will hire 600 new employees…they have nowhere to live according to their CEO.


Thousands already come to Stuart every day to work, shop, and eat. The crowded roads that people complain about are the result of commuting not new residents. Most of the building approved has not happened yet. Those who fear building anything, but single-family residences go against all good planning principles. Besides, the city doesn’t have enough zoned and vacant property to build enough single-family homes to have the occupants of those homes even fill the Blake Library auditorium.


You can see the presentation here


It appears that some commissioners had a change of heart over the invocation issue.

Before the item was introduced, Vice-Mayor Bruner stated that she had changed her mind about mandating an invocation. Bruner is, in fact, an ardent believer and I know she attends the church where her son is a pastor.


Commissioner Clarke who had seconded the motion to bring back an ordinance for an invocation also said that she couldn’t support it after speaking to constituents. Commissioner Clarke is also a believer and attends St. Monica’s. I have worshipped with Clarke at the church and have seen her devotion.


McDonald and Rich had been no votes from the beginning. When Dr. Collins made a motion to pass the ordinance, it quickly died for lack of a second. Collins then stated all the things he had said before regarding constitutionality and how Stuart is not in keeping with the school board or the BOCC.


It is true that there is no constitutional prohibition about having a prayer. Both the school board and county do have an invocation by a clergyman prior to their meetings. Yet the school board had stopped having an invocation many years ago and only recently reinstated it. Except for Indiantown, no other Martin County municipality has one.


Prayer and beliefs are very personal and should be kept that way. During the moment of silence an attendee could pray, contemplate, or just think about dinner. And the commissioners were quite right to reject the mandating of something that belongs in your heart not for public consumption.








The workshop was three hours of going through school board policy changes. While necessary it was not anything that would warrant any interest. The board did not finish and will have to do so at a subsequent meeting.


If you care to see the changes you can do here




There was very little of substance discussed at the meeting.


Several presentations were made by staff. One was from the human resource department on hiring and other departmental issues. You can find it here


What struck me was the utter fluff of this meeting. Although last week’s workshop was boring, it was about passing new policies which is what the board should be doing.


It seemed that the information that the board was receiving at this meeting was not the entire picture. While the district is making progress there is still a lack of both teachers and support staff for Martin County schools. What is causing a shortage? There was no discussion about that.


On December 9th, the Martin County Sheriff’s office arrested a school employee for soliciting nude photos from female students for money. He had been a coach and security guard at Martin County High School since 2013 when he was 17. How is that even possible?


Why is the district hiring a 17-year-old boy to coach 17-year-old children? Didn’t that strike anyone as unusual and odd. How did this criminal behavior go on for almost a decade? How many vulnerable girls ended up sending him photos for money? What does that tell us about so many things?


Staff and the board can have dog and pony shows outlining “all the good things happening” but is there any wonder why parents are upset. At the same time, are the parents completely blameless in the behavior of their children when these situations arise? How about this as a discussion item.


I can just hear board attorneys, district staff, and the board members themselves stating that they cannot comment on a pending matter before them. They have not yet voted to accept the alleged perpetrator’s resignation. The board should do that at the next meeting. Then they can have a discussion not about this specific case but whether this case is emblematic of the district and what can be done to stop such behavior in the future.   



Town of Sewall's Point Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Sewalls-Point




This was an evening when the LPA met before the commission to pass changes to the Land Development Regulations.


The changes were precipitated by the re-write of the comp plan. The board, which is made up of the commissioners, needed to vote to recommend the changes to the commission. The LPA tonight had to accept those changes before they could go to the commission.


During the LPA portion of the meeting, both Campo and Fender said they would like to see volunteers be appointed to this board. I believe it would be a great idea. This would allow more residents to be involved with their town.


Both LPA and the commission voted to accept the LDR changes. The commission will have a second reading of the ordinances in January.

Then came the never-ending septic to sewer discussion. Campo went to the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) to obtain a quote about conducting a vote on the septic to sewer matter on South Sewall’s Point. The quote was between $1800 and $2300. Kurzman likes the idea, but the language would need to be fleshed out with costs to do the work and what type of system it would be.


Fender believes a formal election is not a good idea. He wants to provide the basic underpinnings of a system and then the homeowner can decide. Fender believes there is a silent majority who wants sewer capability.


Mayfield stated that there have been discussions for years. She noted that Capra has done a thorough study that was presented to the commission and there was a special meeting for citizens. The study is also available online.


Campo wants to see an MOU with the county outlining what they will do first. For some time now, the county’s stated policy is that for subdivisions of 300 homes or less they will allow individual grinder systems. Anything more needs a vacuum system. Both the manager and Capra have been to several meetings with the county regarding this.


Mayfield made a motion seconded by Fender to move ahead with obtaining grants to do 300 homes in South Sewall’s Point and at the same time see if the county will entertain a MOU. It passed 3-2 with Campo and Kurzman voting no. The SOE-conducted election failed 3-2.


If the commission cannot come together on what to do, they should do nothing. At some point, Martin County Utilities will run the infrastructure and assess homeowners. Will it be more expensive to residents? Absolutely…but then the town commission will not be responsible, nor will town funds be expended for seeking grants or paying for any work not covered by grants.



Village-Of-Indiantown Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Indiantown-Village





Politics has become a rougher business in the past decade.


It started at the national level and has gone right downhill to encompass local government. Councilmember Dipaolo a few meetings back mentioned a letter that was sent by an anonymous source to the village when he was running last summer. He was incensed that it had been sent.

The letter clearly is a hit job. It is full of invective and aspersions that had nothing whatsoever to do with his ability to be on the council. I usually ask for public records which I include in my reporting to you. I am not going to do that here because it serves no purpose except to malign the guy.


The letter states he was a deputy for 30 years which is true, and he calls himself the “Sheriff of Indiantown.” A little political puffery though he was assigned there for a good portion of his career. It wasn’t as if he said he was Sheriff Snyder’s right-hand man. The rest of the letter was about a supposed contentious divorce. None of which should have any bearing on whether he is fit to be elected.


Dipaolo racked up a 20-point win over his opponent Anthony Dowling. Apparently, a majority of voters felt that Carmine Dipaolo was the right person for the job. And if the letter writer had anything to back up his claim, he would have written a letter to TC Palm, or this publication or even posted to Facebook with his name attached instead of doing so  anonymously.


Dipaolo may turn out to be a good, elected official. He has the capability. He must also have supporters across racial and ethnic lines to have won by such a large margin.


He sometimes comes across as being confrontational. This was demonstrated during public comment at the December 8th meeting when a speaker used strong words to convey disappointment at Brown leaving, and Dipaolo asked if that was a threat. No council member should say anything during public comment. That is the public’s chance to speak.


Dipaolo is no longer in law enforcement. Being an elected official demands a different skill set. Carmine can develop into a real leader in Indiantown for all segments. I hope that he does just that.




Technically Howard Brown will depart the Village of Indiantown as of January 31st.

Howard Brown

Last night at a packed council meeting, Mr. Brown offered his resignation which includes staying on to help with the transition until January 31st, receiving his severance as outlined in his agreement, mutual releases, and medical insurance. The council voted unanimously to accept.


Those are the facts. But Brown’s demise after four years was a long time coming. The oust Brown movement received impetus with the overwhelming election of new council members Carmine Dipaolo and Angelina Perez over Anthony Dowling and Jackie Clarke earlier this year. The Brown majority council was swept from office and the writing was on the wall.


Was Howard Brown the manager from hell as portrayed by some? Or was he the consummate professional, others believed he was. I think the truth lies somewhere in between. Brown’s tenure showed a village with deep racial and ethnic divides some would say. Other believe there is no animosity between groups only the fermenting of dissension caused by Brown himself.


At the same time, the old Indiantown power structure felt left out of the governing of the village. Most of the power structure owns businesses and land there but are not residents and therefore not voters. They were the ones who paid for the studies and used their political muscle in Tallahassee to have the village created. In my view, many of them projected onto Brown the then-council’s desire to call their own shots free of the past.


There was a speaker that “hypothetically” spoke about Howard Brown’s ethics and business dealings. I don’t know whether true or not, but if there is wrongdoing it should be reported to law enforcement.


Brown may have become too involved and was identified with the last council’s politics of the Dowling and Clarke joined by Stone, and Hernandez faction. Susan Gibbs-Thomas, always the outsider, was not part of this.


Brown’s ouster has become fraught with racial overtones. One speaker at the meeting said that his demise was because some can’t stand to see a Black man in a position of power. Voicing such a sentiment is also part of the Brown legacy.


Council member Hernandez has become quite adept at wearing the minority badge when outvoted. She completely ignores the fact that Angelina Perez who is often on the other side of an issue and beat Clarke, is Hispanic. Is Hernandez more Hispanic than Perez?


This past election should not be looked at as a vote on race but rather a referendum on competency and vision. The council members who were defeated happened to be Black. They had a much more expansive view of Indiantown government and were adamant supporters of Brown. That viewpoint was not shared with the voting majority as seen by the overwhelming election of both Dipaolo and Perez.


Brown benefits from running a larger government. Clarke, Dowling, and Hernandez want just that. Stone has been smart enough to be in that camp but not be as vocal about it or race.


What comes next will be crucial. It is not apparent that the new council wants smaller government. Just look at another motion by Dipaolo to spend $26,000 which is unbudgeted on 20-minute fireworks display at an Independence Day celebration. It was passed 4-1 by the council with Stone voting no not because of the money but because the event date is July 1st instead of the 4th. He said he was even willing to spend more to have it then.


Whoever comes next to fill Brown’s shoes not only needs to be a competent administrator but someone who can bridge the now-strained relations between the ethnic and racial communities. The first government employees were all Stuart retreads. I knew them all and no group of individuals was more competent in government. But they were thought of as outsiders by the council and the community except for the old power structure who embraced them.


If the council again attempts to bring a manger perceived that way, the village could be permanently divided. No manager will be successful until the council decides what direction they want to go with the full buy-in of the residents. It cannot be selective based on whose proposal it is but needs to conform to a governing philosophy.


Another speaker last night said that the council should beware in what they sow by accepting Brown’s resignation. Brown was not a martyr nor a savior. He was a manager that had a good run and is leaving. Indiantown should not make the same mistakes as they have in the past when choosing his replacement.


You can see the resignation letter, separation agreement, and original employment agreement here




The purpose of the meeting was to select an interim manager and begin the process of finding a permanent one.


At their weekly meeting, department heads discussed which of them should be the interim manager from internal candidates. At the last council meeting, Susan Owens was named interim until this special council meeting could be held to determine who the interim manager would be.

Mayor Gibbs-Thomas asked staff to consider who among the existing department heads they would like to see. They named Parks Director Debbie Resos.  Her resume can be found here


Vice-Mayor Stone stated that by the mayor going directly to staff, she was attempting to go behind the rest of the council’s back and that she should apologize. Gibbs-Thomas stated that she made a request of staff just like any other member could. This was backed up by the village attorney.


Stone then wanted Paul Nicoletti to be contacted to see if he was interested in the open position. He had been the first attorney for the village and is the current magistrate. (Paul was Stuart City Manager for several years.)


Hernandez concurred with that. She stated the village should not pick Resos since she had no experience, and they could not afford to trust someone that had not been a manager before. By that reasoning then Owens should not be interim either. Perez also said they need someone with experience.


It was noted that ICMA has an interim manager list.


Dipaolo asked the clerk what had happened to Howard Brown’s laptop. She said she had brought it to Blue Stream and that it was accidently scrubbed. Dipaolo then said why had she taken it to Blue Stream and allowed them to scrub it. Owens answered it was a mistake. She also said she spoke to Brown and all his work was on the village system so nothing should be lost. Dipaolo left it at that. The conversation must have a deeper meaning. It was not relevant to the subject under discussion.


Councilmember Dipaolo also said that they need to move quickly. He believed that the village was getting ready to be sued for failure to issue permits in a timely manner. Dipaolo said he had complete trust in Resos. A motion was made by him for Resos to be interim manager that died for a lack of a second.


Stone made a motion to bring Nicoletti in for an interview. It was asked if anyone had spoken to him. Before seconding the motion, Hernandez said she had spoken with him and that he was willing. Perez asked why can’t others also apply? Hernandez’s response was it can’t wait and that Nicoletti was willing to help.

After more discussion, Perez asked Owens if she wanted to stay as interim and she said yes. During the discussion about Nicoletti it was also stated that it was a different village now than in the past. The motion failed 3-2 with Hernandez and Stone voting in favor.


Perez then made a motion that they solicit interim candidates with resumes to be received by December 29th and an agenda item added to the January 12th meeting. Owens would remain interim until then. The motion passed 3-2 with Dipaolo and Gibbs-Thomas voting no.


To fill the permanent position, Hernandez wanted to use CCMA as they had last time. Dipaolo responded that he believed you get what you pay for. Hernandez wanted to know where the money was coming from if an outside firm was used and asked if they take it from the $26,000, they had voted to spend for July 4th fireworks.


Thomas prefers a headhunter to keep it more businesslike. She also asked that they have an update from the finance director on where possible funds can be found for a headhunter at the January 12th meeting.


Stone made a motion to use CCMA that was seconded by Hernandez. That failed 3-2 with Hernandez and Stone voting yes. It was then decided by consensus that an item be brought back on the January 12th agenda about how to recruit a permanent manager.


If you are looking to be the interim manager, contact the clerk was the message they wanted to get out.





Town of Ocean Breeze


The Next Meeting Is October 10, 2022





After two years of trying to accomplish changing the meeting time, Kevin Docherty introduced a motion that was seconded by Elizabeth Reese to change the time of the meetings from 10:30 am to 6 pm.


When the subject was brought up, both Reese and Sandy Keblbeck said that the residents of the Sea Walk neighborhood thought having the budget meetings in the evening was important but that the existing time for the regular meeting was fine. However, when it came time to vote Reese, Keblbeck, and Gina Kent, all newly elected, voted with Docherty to begin the process to change the meeting times. Arnold and De Angeles voted no.


Since it is part of the charter, staff will bring back an ordinance for first reading in January changing the time. If it passes in January and again on 2nd reading in February, it will be part of the charter. The March meeting would be at 6 pm on the 2nd Monday.


There was also discussion about the Christmas golf cart parade going into Sea Walk. It was pointed out by former council member Gerold that the parade was a resort event and not Ocean Breeze’s. Deputy Sheriff Adams stated that if the parade travels on Jensen Beach Blvd, it becomes more complicated and county permits would be needed.


There are no roads within the town or, for that matter, any existing town infrastructure. There should be a discussion by council and perhaps a town meeting about why Ocean Breeze is an incorporated municipality. Do the residents and the shopping center derive any benefit from continuing to pay more taxes?




Jupiter Island Jupiter Island Sky View


The next meeting will be December 19, 2022




In The Spotlight

by Jackie Holfelder




Jackie is always looking for a good story…you may reach her at:


Jackie is enjoying the holiday.



Final Thoughts




This is the last column I will write for 2022.


Putting out this newsletter is mostly about meeting deadlines. For many of us, that is what our life is…one deadline after another.


As a younger person working in restaurant kitchens, the deadline was having the customers’ meals prepared and plated as soon as possible. Some places I was a cog in a wheel, and at other times I was the only one in the back of the house. It didn’t matter. I still had to do my job or be fired. That was what I would call a hard deadline.


When I became a property managing agent, there was always the monthly calendar of rent bills, paying bills, and preparing management statements. Any business I was ever involved with had deadlines.  Some deadlines were hard and fast while others were much more flexible.

I discovered early on when I was a kid working as a short order cook that I thrived and loved working with the pressure. I still remember now, more than 50 years later, that one Sunday morning when the dishwasher and the other cook failed to show for work, I prepared 360 tickets myself. I loved the feeling of accomplishment when it was done.


Now doing this newsletter is my deadline issue after issue. I am not complaining. I adore every minute of it. It is my adrenaline. It keeps me young. Getting you the facts and stories about our governments and community is worth the effort.


This is a long-winded way to say I hope you will have a great Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanza and a Happy New Year! I will see you in 2023.







Friends and Neighbors of Martin County is your eyes and ears so that you know what is going on in Martin County’s municipal and county governments. I attempt to be informative and timely so that you may understand how your tax money is being spent. Though I go to the meetings and report back, I am no substitute for your attending meetings. Your elected officials should know what is on your mind.

Tom Campenni 772-341-7455 (c) Email:



Articles Tom wrote:


From Martin County Moment:


“A Deal In The Works”




“The Emperor Has No Clothes”




From Medium


“School Vouchers Can Prevent School Censorship”




“Christian Nationalism For America Is A Fallacy”




Other Articles:


The Capitolist: “Jeff Brandes’ think tank: Live Local Bill will help, but bigger changes needed to fix affordable housing crisis”




The New York Times: “How To Clear 500,000 Ferel Cats From New York Streets”




Trump’s Indictment




Florida Phoenix: “Statehouses debate who should build EV charging networks”




The Washington Post: “Tracing the power of Casey DeSantis”







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