Recent stories published by Indian River Magazine
Campaigning For Conservation
The Running Man
The Drama of Trauma
Dr. Father & Dr. Sons
Birds & Birdies
The Bright Hour
Getcha Some
The Harmony

Tie Up and Dine
Academy of Golf
The Art Teacher
Twin Force
The Holiday Volunteer
The Future Flyer
The Scholar Athlete
The Field-Trip School

The Party Boat
The Sailing School Sloop
The Traveling Trawler
The Ocean Guy
Going Digital
Fuel From The Sun
50 Years of Freedom
Our Own South Beach



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When a patient is rushed through the doors of a Treasure Coast emergency room, the ability of doctors to instantly access medical records in Seattle or Boston might well save a life.

The technology is already here, and there will be no place to hide from the federal government's requirement that all hospitals and doctors meet its "meaningful use criteria." By 2015 doctors' orders and progress notes must be entered electronically. The government is counting on receiving money from fines to those who do not meet the deadline.

Most hospitals on the Treasure Coast are moving swiftly to comply, despite resistance from doctors unfamiliar with the digital age. "I have heard doctors say they won't practice in a [paperless] hospital, but this is going to happen everywhere," says Dr. Fernando Petry, medical director of the Hospitalist Group at St. Lucie Medical Center.

Locally, St. Lucie Medical Center was the first hospital to go live, but Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, Martin Memorial Hospital and Indian River Medical Center are not far behind.

For some doctors and other health professionals, the switch will not be easy. "It is difficult to transition from paper to electronic," says Petry. "[Having] no computer experience is difficult. The younger guys can get on board and it's kind of easy. We are still training doctors. It took a long time to get this implemented. It has been a long and arduous journey since January. In a doctor's office he can customize his system. In the hospital, it is one size fits all and it has to be accessible to everyone. It is the hardest message to get across to the doctors."

Petry does not know how much the switch has cost St. Lucie Medical, but he says the number is in the millions for hardware, software, programming, overtime and technical support. But he is quick to add that the federal government has put up about $20 billion to pay for its mandate. Doctors are eligible for up to $100,000 and hospitals as much as $10 million to meet the meaningful use criteria.

St. Lucie has set a short-range goal of 80 percent compliance for doctors' orders and 100 percent for progress notes. Those numbers last month were 40-50 percent for orders and 50-60 percent for notes, according to Petry.

"We're about halfway there," says Randy King, head of the division of information systems at Indian River Medical Center. "Moving away from paper will reduce medication errors and provide better quality care and safety for patients. I don't see a downside to this. Most hospitals had this in their strategic plans."

Security for patients' records is not a concern as long as there are adequate systems in place to prevent unauthorized release of files, King says. "You have to keep the records secure. Patients should feel secure in the news that the hospitals are regulated. The government can fine hospitals and it is banking on hospitals not making it [2015 deadline] so they can recoup some of this money."

King says the cost to convert Indian River Medical Center will be $7 million to $8 million — "kind of a wash" due to grants; stimulus money. "This will definitely stimulate the economy to provide jobs, vendors' jobs, IT jobs. Ourselves, we are looking at five new jobs. This is one of the best things to come out of the health care plan."

For the past 18 years Dale Poston has operated Archives Management Centers Inc. in Palm City, storing records for the legal and medical professions among others. "To store electronic records is more expensive than storing paper," Poston says. "You have to store the data. It has to be backed up. Even electronic records produce paper. It's expensive and formats are going to be changing."

Poston puts the cost of going paperless for the sole practitioner office at a minimum of $15,000 to start, followed by a monthly fee after that.

"The Obama administration came into play and put some meat into this," says Ed Collins, vice president and chief information officer at Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart. "As part of the stimulus bill, a subset was the highlighted money on the table for both hospitals and doctors. We spent last year putting together a strategy for this. It (stimulus money) doesn't cover our costs. It will be more than what the government is giving us. We will be ready to meet the requirements by 2012. We have a great plan.

"Overall, it is a good thing. We are going to be required to share information between doctors and hospitals. It will be safer, cheaper and better. It is the right direction with less opportunity for error. And it is the right thing to do for our patients," says Collins.

As chief of staff at St. Lucie Medical, Dr. Michael Paul sees a more ominous side effect of the government's push for digital records. "On the negative side it gives the government opportunity to exert more control over medicine," Paul says. "It will interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. The government is already mandating how we treat certain cases. They are telling us how to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients as well as patients with private insurance."

Despite those misgivings, Paul sees positive aspects for the paperless push. "It's working well and the support from the hospital has been great," Paul says. "I can submit orders and documentation from anywhere in the hospital. "Soon I will be able to do it from my office and also from home — from anywhere I can get online. It is good for patients' safety and it reduces medical errors. And it will improve communication between doctors."

On a recent Wednesday at St. Lucie Medical, caregivers from medical assistants to doctors were receiving training in the new system for computer records.

There won't be much impact on Dr. Walter DeVault's general practice in Stuart because he has had computerized records for the past 10 years.

"It is more difficult for individuals than it is for large corporations," he says. "There is always a learning curve. Lightning, hurricanes and power outages can cause havoc. And computers can get in their own way."

Still, says DeVault, the new systems are a necessary step forward.

"I've been waiting for everyone to catch up," he says. "It is the wave of the future. It's coming, so you might as well embrace it."



Saving the St. Lucie Estuary from destruction is Mark Perry's No. 1 mission in life.

And he uses his position as executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society to help educate people on the importance of saving our waterways from death by pollution.

"The St. Lucie Estuary is the most biodiverse ecosystem in North America with 750 fish species and 4,300 plant and animal species," said Perry. The 50-year Stuart resident was smiling the day after the South Florida Water Management District voted to purchase the U.S. Sugar property for use in restoring the Everglades to its original state.

"We have made a major decision to move forward with the purchase of 180,000 acres to revive the river of grass," said Perry. "There's been a lot of debate about the $7,400 an acre. Those of us in the environmental community see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. We never thought they [U.S. Sugar] would sell. Is it expensive? Yes. Are we paying too much? Maybe. We could pick this apart but the district has spent five months in negotiations. You have to take advantage. Now is the time to step up. Otherwise, saving the estuary is not going to happen," he said.

Releases from Lake Okeechobee are the major source of distress for both the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. The current plan calls for Lake Okeechobee water to filter through the land to the south and into the Everglades, taking away the need for harmful discharges that have plagued the St. Lucie River.

"Oysters are being used as an indicator of water quality," Perry said. He has set up a program where 100 volunteers with waterfront property grow oysters. Through the efforts of Society members, there has been a push to restore the oyster beds once found all over the St. Lucie River.

"We inoculated the reefs and we have grown 750,000 oysters," Perry said. Adult oysters can only survive 28 days in total freshwater and juveniles only 14 days, he said.

"The big challenge is how we can best manage the water. 1.7 billion gallons a day is being dumped into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico – about the same amount of water used by the 8 million people in South Florida."

Perry said mandatory development rules have eased urban runoff, but the rules are still voluntary for agriculture. Baffle systems in the Warner and Haney Creeks in Martin County are good examples of how to filter dirty stormwater before it flows into the St. Lucie Estuary, he said.

The goal of the Florida Oceanographic Society Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island is to educate people on the importance of "conservation and being a steward of our environment, understanding the natural resources and being able to preserve them for future generations," Perry said. Originally founded in 1964 by Perry's father, the FOS today boasts 2,800 members.

During a lonely night at sea off the Yucatan Peninsula, the idea came to Perry in 1985 to come back to Stuart and work for FOS. "I grew up here," he said. "I was always very aquatic-oriented with surfing, swimming and boating. FOS had no activity and the membership had dwindled to five board members. I began writing grants and we realized we needed a new location."

With a 99-year lease from Martin County, FOS moved its operations in 1987 from the old Rand house in Stuart to its current 40-acre site. The Coastal Center opened in 1995 and last year hosted more than 55,000 visitors. "We have 20 staff people and 250 active volunteers," Perry said. "They put in 20,000 hours last year. We couldn't afford to do it without them. They provide a great interactive personal experience for the people and they help us with research."

The Coastal Center features a 750,000 gallon lagoon that receives sand-filtered salt water pumped from nearby Stuart Beach through a pipe that runs under State Road A1A. The water then makes its way through 20 acres of former mosquito impoundments into the Indian River, helping to keep the salinity levels in the area at proper levels to nurture juvenile species of snook, tarpon and snapper. A variety of native fish can be seen from the walkways that circle the lagoon and snake through the marshes.

"We don't want to be an attraction," Perry said. "We want people to come and learn about our environment and want to be good stewards of our environment. They do come and have fun, but we need to make it a learning experience."

Name: Mark Perry
Age: 57
Family: Wife, Nancy; one son, David, 32; three daughters, Julie, 30; Nicole, 29; and Sarah, 13
Education: B.S. Marine Science and Applied Oceanography, Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach.
What most people don't know about me: "I live on a ranch, have two Appaloosa horses and I wear cowboy boots and a cowboy hat once in a while. Yeehaw! Most people think of me as the ocean guy."
Greatest achievement: "Getting the Florida Oceanographic Society Coastal Center started. It was an inspiration my dad had years ago. I didn't know that. It was great to see his dream come true. We've got it started, but it has a ways to go to finish it. It will carry on beyond my lifetime."
What inspires me: "Watching water move around our planet. Everything from a rushing mountain stream to huge waves crashing in the ocean. Sunrises and sunsets are nice, but I like huge thunderstorms and even snow."



As a snowboater, David Childs enjoys the best of both worlds – summers on the water in Mystic, Conn., and winters at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart.

The former owner of Edenlawn Plantation, north of Jensen Beach, knew just what he wanted to do when he retired: work summers at the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum and sail south to Florida ahead of the approaching cold weather.

As a singlehander, Childs has only one companion: Sailor, his adorable, tiny Yorkshire terrier, who is happy to snuggle up next to a visitor seated on a comfortable chair on the afterdeck. "Sailor has never slept ashore other than nights with the groomer," Childs says. "He's never lived in a house, and he doesn't know what a yard is. Sailor has never been seasick."

The 42-foot trawler Calypso is spotless with ornate woodwork, leather couches and flat-screen TVs. "I don't say this very often, but this is the prettiest boat in the marina," Childs says.

A tall man with a quiet voice, Childs cradles his tiny dog in his huge hands as he describes the many features that make Calypso perfect for a solo mariner. "Having autopilot and a bow thruster are like having a crew," he says.

Even though he could steer from the flying bridge, he rarely does, preferring the comfort of his $2,000 Stidd captain's chair in the enclosed bridge. "The stabilizer allows me to drink coffee in six-foot seas. With the autopilot you can dash down to the galley and grab a fresh cup of coffee," he says. "You can go below, grab a knife and slap a sandwich together while on autopilot. Visitors are offered a sandwich, either peanut butter and jelly or sardine, but it's not prepared on autopilot.

Typically, Childs takes about six weeks to get to Mystic, stopping for a week in Savannah, Ga., and again in Charleston, S.C., before heading to Philadelphia for a week's visit with his daughter, Eden. The first summer in Mystic, Childs volunteered at the largest maritime museum in the world. "I painted four historic landmarks just like the House of Refuge," he says.

No stranger to handyman work, Childs maintained the 27 cottages at Edenlawn for much of the 38 years he lived there. Today, his dream job pays him to pilot boats that shuttle 17,000 visitors annually around the 45-acre museum in Connecticut.

"I drive a 103-year-old steamboat, which is the oldest coal-fired ship in the world, on a regular schedule," says Childs. "It burns 1,000 pounds of coal a day."

When Calypso returns to Stuart in the fall, Childs checks it into Whiticar Boatworks for a week of maintenance. It is the same place he used to ride his bicycle as a child as he hung around after school.

Childs rides a bicycle around Stuart, but he also has a cherry red Vespa scooter he uses for longer shopping trips. Using the boat's boom, he lifts the scooter onto the boat, mounting it on brackets for the voyage to Connecticut. Also on board are a dinghy and a Hobe pedaling kayak.

Operating under the theory of 100 percent redundancy, Childs has two radios, two global positioning systems and two radars. "I'm functional," Childs says. "There are so many people who are smarter than me, but I can safely get from point A to point B. You have to be able to read the water and weather and know your ability and the ability of your boat."

Calypso has many comforts you wouldn't find on a sailboat. Childs prefers being high above the water to enjoy the view rather than the down-below lifestyle common for most sailboats.

The galley has deep refrigeration, two stoves, a microwave oven and a coffeemaker. "You couldn't have all this on a sailboat," Childs says. Calypso also boasts a two-zone air conditioning system, a washer/dryer and a 50-gallon-per-day watermaker. Fourteen batteries and a generator allow him to anchor just about anywhere and be self-sufficient.

"This boat has long legs, and it will go a great distance independent of anything," Child says. At 38 tons, Calypso's 750-gallon capacity gives it a range of 3,000 miles. He estimates he sails 5,000 miles each year between Stuart and Connecticut.

"The trip is beautiful," says Childs. "I've seen deer swimming in front of me, eagles feeding their young, white pelicans and all kinds of waterfowl. The porpoises love this boat. They have ridden the bow wake for 45 minutes. The cruising is amazing. I love the trip."


Name: Calypso
Where name came from: "It means tropical dance."
Brand and type of boat: Krogen 42
Home port: Jensen Beach (Eden), Fla.
Length: 42 feet
Beam: 16 feet
Draft: 4.5 feet
Power: 135 horsepower natural Ford Lehman diesel engine
Features: 3,000 mile range, stabilized hull, bow thruster, watermaker, enclosed *bleep*pit.
Best day on boat: "Leaving Mystic Seaport for Nantucket for the first time. It was a great adventure going on waters to a place I hadn't been before. I was rendezvousing with my girlfriend in a historic place. Nantucket is unbelievable, a great boating destination."
Worst day on boat: "I was caught in the Abacos [Bahamas] with a late-season hurricane bearing down on me. I went to Marsh Harbor to ride out the storm. I set my anchors and they dragged. I pulled them up and reset them in the middle of the fleet. It was quite a feat."


Owner/Captain: David Childs
Age: 58
Occupation: Retired property manager
Family: Daughter, Eden; son, Roger.
How I got interested in boating: "I was 10 years old when I started racing Sunfish sailboats in Stuart. I have been on the water ever since. I always dreamed of living on a boat."
What I like about boating: "The freedom, independence and natural beauty."



It was Bahamas 101 for the four Hudson children every summer as they explored the northern islands with their parents on the family's 38-foot sailboat, Galatea.

Dennis "Cork" Hudson is responsible for training dozens of Stuart children — including three groups of Boy Scouts — on the basics of sailing during trips to and from the Bahamas every summer. "It was a big part of my life growing up in the Abacos during the summer," says son Denny Hudson. "We discovered the Bahamas together. It was a special time for our family on the boat. We learned how to sail, navigate, fish, dive and how to read the wind, the waves and the clouds. It was hours of sun, fun and boredom punctuated by moments of terror."

Denny recalls storms that came up from nowhere and the time he was checking out the top of the mast when he was hit by St. Elmo's Fire. Fortunately, it was a slow lightning discharge and he was able to climb back down with his hair standing straight up.

"It was pretty adventurous and there were a lot of storms," says daughter Dana Houck. "There was no AC. It was really roughing it. You took sun showers and there is only so much freshwater on the boat. There were the six of us and a couple of friends. There was not a lot of room and you had to pack lightly. When someone would get seasick and feed the fish, my dad would say in his pirate accent, 'Them's that dies are the lucky ones.'

" Every day at 3 p.m., the Hudson crew would tie up the Galatea and set out to catch that evening's dinner. "We ate fish and my mother made the best conch fritters, conch salad and lobster salad," says daughter Dana.

"They learned how to spearfish and scuba dive," says Cork Hudson. "We ate fish every night until the kids didn't want anymore seafood. We had some good times. I wanted them (the children) to see the islands before they changed too much. In 1970 it was still pretty primitive. Not many outboards, not a whole lot of cars. No ice. Freshwater was scarce; there were very few groceries available. We lived off the sea."

The adults also used the Galatea many times. For three years the boat stayed in the Bahamas while everyone flew back and forth to enjoy the islands. Many a bottle of rum was emptied, says Cork.

"If this boat could talk we would have to sink her," says the former chairman of Seacoast National Bank. "If I told you the truth you wouldn't believe it. The more we sailed, the safer we became. In our early years we did some foolish things such as going to sea with a worn-out battery or having too much sail up in heavy winds."

He remembers being anchored one afternoon at Great Sail Cay and noticing a good-sized open boat with the word pirate crudely painted on the side. "I went below and [my wife] Ann said, 'You better come up here quick. We have company.' They were fearful looking and they said they needed a jump start. We got them started and gave them some sandwiches and beer. They were most grateful. They turned out to be real nice people. They thanked us profusely and headed to their homeport."

He still has a hand-carved turtle shell bracelet that carries a story of coming to the aid of a vessel in distress. "We were near Cooperstown and a Bahamian fishing boat signaled us," says Cork. "We towed them to Fire Road and the captain said, 'What do I owe you?' I told him nothing. He threw me the bracelet."

"When we were young it was the thrill of sailing," says Cork. Today his favorite spot in the Abacos is Albury Dock in Man O' War Cay. "It is a clean, quiet place. No drugs, no liquor, no bikinis on the dock."

Galatea has been largely docked for the past five years, since Ann Hudson became ill with cancer. She died in January, but Cork says he is planning to sail to the Bahamas in July "with my children."

"I enjoy working on the boat as much as sailing," says Cork. The work includes painting, varnishing, electrical and fiberglass work, polishing and bottom cleaning. "I used to come out of the water covered in blue. I got arsenic poison from scrubbing the bottom. It (maintenance) used to cost about $10,000 a year in the old days," he says. "I would hate to see what it would be these days.

"If you don't keep up the maintenance on a boat, it will get away from you. It never ends. When you go to sea, you don't want any surprises," he says.

It was anything but smooth sailing one night when Galatea began taking on water on the way to the Bahamas. "When you have three inches of water over the cabin sole in the middle of the Gulf Stream in the middle of the night, you might have a problem. It got my attention. I got out a Mayday and got everyone in life preservers. We were bailing water and I started looking for the leak. Had we not corrected it pretty quickly we would have sank."

Says daughter Dana: "That boat has had some wear and tear."


Name: Dennis "Cork" Hudson
Age: 82
Occupation: Retired banker
Family: Sons Dennis III and Andrew; Daughters Dana and Suzanne; 12 grandchildren.
How I got interested in boating: "I have been interested in boating since we moved to Stuart in 1933. I started at age 8 with a seven-foot rowboat, which I rowed around the St. Lucie River."
What I like about boating: "The physics of sailing. Sailing a boat straight up into the wind would be a great accomplishment if it were possible. All sailors work toward this. It is a pleasure and a challenge, but never a complete success."


Name: Galatea
Where name came from: "In Greek mythology, the King of Cypress chiseled out this beautiful girl in pure white marble and fell in love with her. Aphrodite brought Galatea to life. They fell in love and lived happily ever after. When we first saw the boat it was in the cradle and the bottom was pure white. My wife, Ann, thought it looked like white marble and thought of Galatea."
Brand and type of boat: 1969 Morgan sling keel sloop
Home port: Sewall's Point
Length: 38 feet
Beam: 12 feet
Draft: 3 feet, 9 inches to 8 feet
Power: three-cylinder, 30-horsepower Yamaha auxiliary
Features: Custom-made stainless steel bowsprit and teak cabinets, 30-year-old alcohol stove with oven, automatic steering, watermaker, completely rebuilt interior, one stateroom (sleeps five adults).
Best day on boat: "Sailing with the young children was always a lot of fun. In the Bahamas we anchored every day by 3 p.m. so we could spear some fish and have a nice supper. When we took third place in the Green Turtle Cay race and won two cases of Beck's beer."
Worst day on boat: "It was 3 o'clock in the morning. We were telling lies and I was aware of a ketch circling us. They told us they were going to board us. One of my friends showed them his pistol and they sheared off and disappeared."



Rather than suffer from "10-foot-itis," Gordon Stewart went from a 65-foot boat to the custom built 105-foot Serenity.

The Vero Beach owner of car dealerships explains that if you want a bigger boat but build it only 10 feet longer than the last one you will wish you had made it even 10 feet longer than that.

Although it is nine years old, the boat looks brand new and the engine room floor looks good enough to eat off. Serenity was built by Burger Boat Co. over 18 months in Manitowoc, Wis. The company is world renowned for its fourth- and fifth-generation woodworking craftsmen, who recently refused to move when the company wanted to relocate its operations. Management was forced to rescind its decision.

"We looked at a lot of boat builders, but we chose Burger because of the woodworking," says Stewart. "They are the best in the industry. I didn't understand how much work is involved once construction started. That is where all the fun begins: material selections, colors, fabrics. Where are the walls going? There are a lot of decisions to be made and options as to where to put equipment."

Stewart says he is happy with the way Serenity turned out except for one small design change he wishes he had made. "If I had it to do over again, I would have built another crew stateroom and added more room for ease of maintenance," he says. "It would have added a foot and a half of beam and another million dollars. I thought it was absurd. You always want more space and that's expensive."

The boat requires a captain, a mate, a cook and a stewardess. When the Stewarts hosted parties of 50 or so at Fisher Island off Miami, Nantucket, Mass., and Mackinac Island, Mich., a chef was brought in. "You have to have a chef," Stewart says. "It is too much work."

Serenity so far has been through the Bahamas, as far north as Newfoundland and through the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Welland and Erie canals and Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. The next trip is being planned for the Caribbean and eventually the Mediterranean Sea.

"We're content cruising in the U.S. It is a real commitment to go to Europe. You have to put the boat on a freighter and we haven't been able to do it," Stewart says.

Moored at Harbour Isle Marina in Fort Pierce, the impressive yacht has a unique design element, especially for cruising in Europe where boats are always backed in, not parked alongside docks. The passerelle is a telescoping walkway that can be swiveled at any angle to disembark off the stern. "It's a blessing and a very civilized way for a lady to get on and off the boat," Stewart says.

Serenity is not designed for fishing, so the Stewarts use a 19-foot Zodiac tender when the grandchildren want to drop lines into the water. "It is the best of both worlds. We occasionally fish for blues from the tender off Nantucket," Stewart says.

Nantucket, he says, "is our favorite destination to cruise, a world of its own. It has beautiful shops, wonderful restaurants, spectacular art galleries and jewelry stores. The shopping is world class, approaching Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue in New York City, but on a more casual scale."

Although Serenity is the largest of the five boats he has run as captain, Eric Adams says it is an easy boat to drive. With all of the major licenses and 18 years as a captain, Adams is responsible for arranging travel, logistics and boat maintenance. "The woodwork by Burger is far superior to most boats built in America. They take pride in their work," he says.

"The whole boat is aluminum," Adams says. "It takes a lot more care and effort to take care of a boat like this. I know this boat can handle a lot of different situations. It takes the seas less violently than most vessels. It is one of the most pristine boats. We'll go into Nantucket and everyone notices us. A Burger is like a Mercedes. It is not a cookie-cutter boat. You design it. Serenity is timeless green, painted three parts black and one part green. Every time you see the boat it changes color. The boat is always prim and proper. That's what makes us different. It has the most beautiful lines of any boat. People who know boats see that."


Name: Serenity
Where name came from: My wife was reading a novel by Nora Roberts with the line "It was solitude she sought, but serenity she found. And that is where the name came from."
Brand and type of boat: Burger raised pilothouse
Home port: Georgetown, Cayman Islands
Length: 105 feet
Beam: 22 feet
Draft: 6.5 feet
Power: Two 1,400 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engines
Features: Four staterooms, two crew staterooms, 9,000-gallon fuel capacity, 150 gallon-per-hour desalination system, internal waste management system, two kilo-pak generators
Best day on boat: "Watching white Beluga whales jumping in the St. Lawrence Seaway."
Worst day on boat: "We almost got run over by a freighter in the 10-mile-per-hour channel in Nova Scotia. He was going 17 knots. He would have killed us if we hadn't seen him. The Coast Guard saw the whole thing and boarded the freighter."
Captain: Eric Adams


Name: Gordon Stewart
Age: 65
Occupation: President of Stewart Management Group
Family: Wife, Linda; children Gordie, Andrew and Tarah; seven grandchildren.
How I got interested in boating: "I have been boating since I was a little kid. My father introduced me to small boats when I was a child."
What I like about boating: "It's the Robinson Crusoe attitude. The exciting part is when you can't see land and the only way you can get back is using your navigational skills. We use the boat to entertain family and friends. It's definitely a mobile home. The fun you have seeing new cities and places you wouldn't have seen otherwise."



A school just for field trips? That's what the Environmental Studies Center in Jensen Beach has been to Martin County students for the past 37 years. Since its opening, generations of schoolchildren have walked through its doors to learn more about the Indian River Lagoon and other South Florida habitats.

While the center has several aquariums with a variety of fish, the students always spend part of their ultimate field trip at the beach or on the Indian River. The various sights, sounds and smells generate plenty of oohs and aahs during the day as the children get up close with an alligator, turtles, fish and, if they're lucky, gopher tortoises that nest on the property.

"This should be typical of all education processes so kids can get hands-on lessons in math, science and art," says V. James Navitsky, Martin County school superintendent for 21 years and a strong ESC supporter. "It's been outstanding for the school system. The kids learn about quality of life and the things that give us that quality of life."

One of the special assets of the center, which is part of the Martin County school system, is the staff, including the four teachers, all of whom have been named teacher of the year at other schools. "It's fun to go to work because the kids want to be there," says John Wakeman, a 24-year teacher at the center. "I taught science in middle school and the kids didn't always want to be there. It's a much easier sell at the Environmental Studies Center. Kids today get very few field trips, so it's a unique experience."

Wakeman is at the top of his game whether he is mesmerizing first-graders or seventh-graders. They hang on his every word because he asks them questions to keep their minds whirring. By the end of a typical session, almost every student has either been called on for a question or has come to the front of the class to help with visual props.

"Being a baby sea turtle is dangerous and hard work," Wakeman says as the first- graders from Pinewood Elementary School guess at the top 10 killers of baby turtles.

While he loves his work and it shows, Wakeman says there is one drawback to what many teachers would consider a dream job. "It's difficult having students for just one day because you can't develop long-term relationships," he says. But, he says, "Most days when they get on the bus, it's been a good day for both the teacher and the students who have had fun learning together."

"It's my second time here," says 7-year-old first-grader Camryn Bowser. "It's cool because I like all the animals around this place. I like seeing the turtles. They are nice to me."

Abby Singh, a 9-year-old fourth-grader from The Pine School, understands the center's mission. "It's really fun," she says. There's lots of animals and they (ESC staff) are helping the environment." Students from private schools usually visit the center when county students are taking FCAT tests or have been dismissed early.

"I've been bringing kindergarten children here for 35 years," says Pinewood teacher Maurine Prokop. "The paint changes and they get some new things, but the overall program stays the same. The kids all want to come here. Some kids beg their parents to bring them here on Saturdays. It's hands-on. No one tells them 'Don't touch.' "

Art is an integral part of the center's curriculum and the walls are a visual candy store with colorful murals of various seascapes and underwater vistas.

The program is an extremely organized effort with no student returning the next year to a rerun of the previous year's activities.

Kindergarten children focus on land and sea turtles, their different habitats and endangerment while first-graders study manatees and other mammals, including man's effect on them.

Second-graders learn about birds, food chains and animals' adaptations to survive in their environment. Third-grade students use seine nets in the saltwater grass flats of the Indian River Lagoon. Fourth-graders visit the mangrove communities in the river in search of the plants and animals that live there.

Fifth-graders travel by boat to explore a spoil island. Sixth-grade students spend a half-day boating and a half-day at the center, studying water quality and the types of river bottom. Seventh-graders examine wetlands and their native plants.

As if the staff didn't have enough responsibility shepherding more than 12,000 students through the center each year, two summer camps are open to the public.

Also making the yearly field trip are environmental science and marine biology students from Martin County's high schools.

The center's supporters have always stepped up in tough times to make sure it stays open. They see the Environmental Studies Center as an example of the best education money can buy in the fight to save our natural resources.

"The Martin County School District invests $500,000 annually to keep the center running, but the benefits to the community, the children and the future far outweigh the costs," says ESC coordinator Diane Pierce. In addition, the Environmental Studies Council typically donates about $100,000 yearly.

"When we need things, they come through for us," says Pierce. "The council raises money to buy equipment, supplies and fish food. Last year it was two new engines for our boat and a pickup truck."



Hard work — and not the luck of the Irish — is responsible for the success of Crystal Durham as a student, athlete and dancer.

Winner of the 2009 Bright Futures Academic Top Scholar Award for St. Lucie County, Durham was also named Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year at Lincoln Park Academy last year.

"I've always been one of those students who like to do my best," says Durham. "I don't like to disappoint people. I bring home my grades and show my parents and they are super proud. Even before I was in school, when I was a toddler, my dad would read to me. My parents were always buying educational games."

Durham, thanks to dual enrollment classes in high school, is in her first year at the University of Florida as a sophomore. "Going through the IB [International Baccalaureate] program made the adjustment a lot easier," says Durham. "I had to write a 10-page term paper. I wrote it in three nights and it didn't even phase me. I'm the biggest procrastinator in the world. Weirdly enough, I'm not even a little bit organized. When I know something is due, I get it done. I think I work well under pressure."

Also contributing to Durham's transition to college life was a summer of classes at Indian River State College, where her mother is an instructor. "It boosted my GPA, gave me more credits and gave me a taste of what to expect, but IB was harder than dual enrollment," Durham says.

Even while juggling a full course load at UF, Durham finds time to play intramural indoor and beach volleyball. Her four-year career on the varsity Lincoln Park team included two years honorable mention on the all-area media team. She also played two years junior varsity softball at first base and two years varsity in the outfield.

Irish step dancing — after a thirst to learn — was Durham's first passion before she entered organized sports. "Crystal is a bundle of energy," says Chanda Newman, her dance instructor for 12 years at The Rondeau School of Irish Dance. "She wants to please everybody. She's a perfectionist. She does everything — school, dance, softball, volleyball. She has a great ear for music, rhythm and muscle tone."

This past Christmas, Crystal came home from college and danced in a show with the Rondeau dance students. "She's always there for me," says Newman. "She is good with the little kids. I miss her."

"She's a fantastic person and you would want her to come back here after college," says Rick Gray, who teaches IB History of the Americas. "I've had IB students forever and I would put her in the top 5 percent. She came to school every single day motivated. IB is very demanding because you go beyond the educational part of it. Crystal wanted to get everything she could out of the program."

Durham, as part of her extracurricular requirements of the IB program, played volleyball in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as a sports ambassador through the People to People organization. When she was 12, Durham became the first "Kids' Jeopardy" winner from St. Lucie County, winning $15,700 on the final question. For the artistic contribution to IB she danced for senior citizens and at local events.

"She's personable and always ready to go," says Jamie Spooner, IB English teacher. "She was in the top 10 percent of all my students. Crystal put a lot of effort into her studies, although she struggled at times. She accepted criticism and always applied it to the next scenario."

How did she do so well in high school? Durham's answer is simple. "The hardest part is managing my time well," she says. "I never got home until 6 p.m. because of practice and games. And then there is two hours of homework. You try and get things done and still get some sleep at the end of the day. I would say work hard because in the end it really does pay off."

And the secret value of high school sports, according to Durham: "It taught me how not to be a sore loser and play well with others. And it kept me in shape."

Name: Crystal Durham
Age: 18
School: University of Florida
GPA: 4.84 weighted
Family: father, Rusty; mother, Patricia; sister, Mary
Greatest athletic accomplishment: "We had our five-game curse in volleyball against Centennial High School where we always had to play five games whether we won or lost. When you have a five-game match it lasts two and a half hours and it is exhausting. And we beat them in four games."
What inspires me: "Volleyball, softball and even dance are team sports. Knowing that how hard I work also benefits my teammates inspires me to persevere and work harder."
Plans after high school: "I am going to major in athletic training and enjoy college with my friends."



Ever since he was a child, Brandon Cespedes knew he wanted to go to a U.S. military academy. Now he has two to choose from.

The senior from South Fork High in Martin County will soon decide whether he will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy or the Naval Academy. He was accepted by both.

"My father graduated from the Air Force Academy, and he was a search and rescue pilot," says Cespedes. "Ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to go to an academy. My parents have always pushed me. They knew what it takes to get into the academy. I'm not sure where I want to go, but I am leaning toward the U.S. Naval Academy. I'm hoping for a spot as a Navy SEAL or marine aviator. I'd love to fly the (F-18A) Super Hornet."

It is very rare when a student is accepted to two military academies. Cespedes may have greatly increased his chances of acceptance when he spent a week at special summer programs in Annapolis, Md., and Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Navy and Air Force colleges are located.

"All of the academies have summer programs, and a lot of the time it's harder to get into them than the academy itself," says Cespedes. "There are seminars. You take the physical fitness test. You live in the dorms, eat at the cafeteria. Some kids went and realized it wasn't for them. It's a great way to tell whether you're up for the difficulty of life at the academy."

If his father's career is any indication, Brandon will be up to the challenges. George Cespedes flew helicopters and C130 cargo planes. He still flies in the Air Force Reserve when he is not flying for American Airlines.

"As a military officer, he will be outstanding," says Chad Headman, who coaches track and field and teaches International Baccalaureate history at South Fork. "He's not afraid to ask questions and that's important in history. He always seems to want to know more and more. He's impressive, his natural (track) ability. I will miss him terribly, not having him on my team or in my classroom. He is a well-rounded young man. He's ready for the next step."

Cespedes hopes this year to fly over the hurdles in the 300-meter races to break the school track and field record. "He missed the school record last year by a tenth of a second and ever since that last race, that is all he has talked about, coming back his last year and breaking it," says Headman.

Dr. Paula Hall, a past teacher of the year, is the swim team coach and teaches IB Biology. Having taught Cespedes for three years, she believes he has the right stuff. "He can be a leader, but he can step back and let others lead, which is rare for IB students," says Hall. "He is in the top 2 percent of my class. I've only known of one other student who has been accepted to two academies. He will do well in anything he wants."

Despite missing four days of track practice due to shin splints, Cespedes cheerfully showed up to help capture some pictures of his hurdles technique. Ever gracious, he apologized for a couple of retakes to get it just right. Cespedes runs four miles a day.

At the carefully considered request of Hall, Cespedes has participated in the Envirothon competiton for the past four years. He is a member of the Science Club, where his area of interest is forestry. "He's the kind of kid, whatever needs to be done, gets done," says Hall.

After his sophomore year, Cespedes found out Hall was the swim team coach. "I watched Michael Phelps at the Olympics, so I tried it," Cespedes says.

"He was at the state competition after seven months in the pool," says Hall. "He's one of my swim captains. A lot of times you put a kid in charge and they will make it easy. He didn't make it easy. The kids also really respect him."

His peers showed him that respect when they elected him 2010 class treasurer. As part of his commitment to the IB program, Cespedes has volunteered his time at Treasure Coast Hospice. "I've had family members who have had cancer," he says.

It would seem to be onward and upward for Brandon Cespedes.

"He is an organized and focused kid with good follow-through," says Kelly George, IB and Advanced Placement coordinator at South Fork. "Brandon is honest, loyal and well-liked by other kids. He has a foot out the door."

Name: Brandon Cespedes
Age: 17
School: South Fork High School, Martin County
GPA: 3.76 unweighted
Family: father, George; mother, Dawn
Greatest athletic accomplishment: "Going to the state finals competition in swimming and our relay team broke a school record along the way."
What inspires me: "The men and women in the military and the soldiers we have lost overseas inspire me because it's really amazing how they are willing to sacrifice and put their lives on the line in the defense of our country."
Plans after high school: "I will graduate from either the Air Force or Naval Academy and receive my commission as an officer in the U.S. military and serve my country as either a Navy SEAL or as an aviator."



As a battle-tested general in the war to save the environment, Karl Wickstrom knows the strategies necessary to bring about meaningful change in public policy.

"It was a war," Wickstrom says of the drive for the 1995 constitutional amendment banning gill net fishing. "Entanglement nets are an indiscriminate killer. It was a huge effort. The government was coddling the gill net industry. They had strong lobbyists and the government wouldn't take the steps to adequately regulate or eliminate them. Everyone was astounded when 72 percent of the people voted for it."

As founder of Florida Sportsman magazine and its editor in chief for the past 40 years, Wickstrom has used his hundreds of columns and scores of television fishing shows to push for conservation. Before his leap into magazines, Wickstrom was an investigative reporter for the Miami Herald. His beat was public corruption.

The first time Wickstrom went to war was against the Cross Florida Barge Canal., a plan to dig a shipping canal across the state. "We were one of the major players in getting that stopped by then-President Richard Nixon," he recalls.

"We realized early on that overfishing was depleting the fish stocks mainly through large gill nets used by commercial fishermen," says Wickstrom. "Early on we could see the philosophy of everyone having equal limits, bag limits. Commercial fishermen could thumb their noses at the bag limits and take tons. And that just doesn't work. We had a certain compassion for them. It was that method of fishing. It wasn't personal."

The next Florida conservation campaign was against the overfishing of redfish. "Redfish were beaten down by commercial fishermen," says Wickstrom. "We campaigned to get them off the commercial market. That finally succeed in 1989, but it was a big war too. It was approved by the Cabinet with 500 people spilling outside the Capitol. It was an exciting hearing."

The lobby of Florida Sportsman in Stuart has a floor-to-ceiling case with awards given both to Wickstrom and the magazine. In 1995 he was named Conservationist of the Year by the Florida Wildlife Federation. Wickstrom is also one of fewer than 100 people in the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.

But what really puts a smile on Wickstrom's face as he sits in his office piled high with books is the news that fish stocks are coming back. "The net ban is our best-known reform. We're told that it's had a big impact," says Wickstrom. "Pompano came back. They hadn't been around for years. Sea trout made great comebacks. That was exciting to see. We coupled (the net ban) with strict limits on recreational fishermen. It resulted in a spectacular increase in abundance which affects everyone — not just fishermen."

Wickstrom was also behind another reform that created the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We argued for unification to combine the marine and freshwater management systems for enforcement. The FWC is more conservation minded. They all now have the same radios, methods and training."

Another strategy to seize power for recreational fishermen was to push for a saltwater fishing license. "It gave us money to use for saltwater enforcement and political power and federal matching money," Wickstrom says.

One of his current missions is to clean out what he says are the federal foxes guarding the fish house. "I talked to four different governors and persuaded them not to appoint people (to fishery commissions) with financial personal interests in the wildlife industry, especially selling it," says Wickstrom. "In 1983 you had people who were catching and selling fish. They were conflicted. On the state level today we have a pretty solid system with mostly good people. The federal system is still in enemy hands with undue commercial influence that results in overfishing."

For the past eight years, Wickstrom has been a member of the Rivers Coalition, which is charged with helping save the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon from death by pollution. The current effort involves a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop discharges from Lake Okeechobee that have damaged rivers on the Treasure Coast.

Wickstrom was a member of a local delegation that traveled to Washington, D.C., Dec. 4 to hear arguments before a federal judge. "It was an important hearing," says Wickstrom. "We've spotlighted the horrors of the discharges. We're saying these discharges take riparian rights from waterfront owners. If we get relief for those owners it will automatically clean up the river if the discharges are stopped. I thought our case was really strong and the government was admitting the key points as far as discharging. They were resting on technicalities such as the statute of limitations and that stopping the discharges would stop navigation. We have a motion for summary judgment. There will certainly be appeals."

The Rivers Coalition is anxiously awaiting the ruling by the federal judge in Washington.

Kevin Henderson, an engineer who has been involved in efforts to cleanup the river from the beginning, marvels at Wickstrom's abilities. "He has this stellar history of having championed the net ban," says Henderson. "It was an extraordinary achievement. That experience and background enabled him to be an extraordinarily effective member of the Rivers Coalition. He is a charismatic leader who is connected to other leaders around the state from all walks of life. He just knows everybody."

"There is a lot of clean-up duty left," says Wickstrom. A major goal is rehabilitation of the Everglades. "The purchase of the U.S. Sugar property would allow the restoration of the river of grass south from Lake Okeechobee."

For any general fighting a battle, losing the war is not an option. Ask Karl Wickstrom.

Name: Karl Wickstrom
Age: 74
Family: Wife, Sheila; sons, Eric, 50; Blair, 48; Drew, 46; and daughter, Holly, 44. Education: University of Florida, B.S., Journalism
What most people don't know about me: "People think I'm obsessed with boating and fishing, but I am also a tennis nut as well, which has been good to me physically."
Greatest achievement: "It was satisfying to work as an investigative reporter for the Miami Herald in the 1960s. We uncovered organized crime and government corruption which led to a number of reforms, including the creation of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. I am probably best known for the gill net ban in 1995, which stopped the commercial slaughter of fish and had a huge effect on the abundance of marine life."
What inspires me: "When truly dedicated and honest people take leadership positions. Advancements in education that lead to the betterment of society."

The Running Man


As a runner, Dale Ruby is the Forrest Gump of the Treasure Coast. The 47-year-old Stuart medical professional just won't stop, even after being hit by a truck during a Miami triathlon five years ago.
"It was a life-changing moment for me," Ruby said. "I had a broken femur, separated shoulder and a concussion. I have permanent hip problems, so I can't do the long distances anymore. I had doubts that I would walk again, but I have run 50 races since then."

Ruby's office at the Ocala Heart Institute in Stuart boasts a shelf full of first-place trophies. While he almost always wins in his age group, Ruby's goal is to outrun as many of the younger runners as he can.

Just about any day of the week, he can be seen running the bridges of Stuart or riding his bicycle as cross-training for mini-triathlons. Every day Ruby runs, cycles or swims. Ruby counts as one of his greatest accomplishments his placing 823rd out of 1,500 competitors in the 1996 Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon — a 2.4-mile swim and a 112-mile bike ride followed by a 26.2-mile marathon run. He also ran the Boston Marathon in the same year.

But Ruby takes more pride in the results of his annual world travel. For the past eight years, he has taken his two weeks of vacation and accompanied Ocala heart surgeons who perform instructional surgeries in China, Inner Mongolia, India and Tanzania. Ruby operates the heart-lung bypass machine that supports a patient's organs while surgery is being performed. He also assists the surgeons.

"It's purely voluntary," Ruby said. "We donate time and supplies. We show them more advanced techniques. I feel like when we leave our work is continuing."

A slender, quiet man, Ruby is not shy about his Christian faith.

"Our group is Christian-based," he said. "The trips are an outreach. We share the medicine and we share the faith. We tell them God loves them and give them Bibles in Chinese. You have to use discretion in places like China. We talk to people one on one, and we don't talk to crowds. We are actually invited by the government.

"The areas we go to don't have the caliber of care we have. We train their doctors. The people feel isolated from the rest of the world. The most rewarding experience is seeing how grateful the people are. They appreciate that we are showing an interest in trying to help them." Ruby said.

The Ocala Heart Institute teams typically perform up to three surgeries a day for more than a week. A U.S. hospital recently donated a bypass machine to the hospital in Tanzania, and Ruby and his team members arrived shortly after to educate the local doctors. "In Tanzania they had never done heart surgery before. I feel like God called us to go there. We worked on young patients with large families. You just pray for a good outcome," he said.

"Being in heart surgery has given me the opportunity to help people with physical and spiritual needs," Ruby said. "I wanted to go into an area where I could help people in life and death situations. Even though you can minimize the risks, it's still life and death every time we try to fix someone's heart. The operating room is a very exciting place to be," he said.

Just like Forrest Gump, Dale Ruby never looks back, preferring to concentrate on catching and passing the runners in front of him. "I try to win every time," he said. "God has been good to me and given me the ability to compete. I feel close to God when I run."

Name: Dale Ruby
Born: Philadelphia, Pa.
Birth Date: April 5, 1962
Occupation: Operator of heart-lung bypass machine and assistant for major vascular and thoracic surgeries.
Education: Master's degree in cardiovascular physiology, Ohio State University; Bachelor of Science in biology, minor in chemistry, Oral Roberts University
Family: Wife, Valerie; daughter, Lauren, 12
What inspires me: The Bible and Jesus' call to help people both physically and spiritually
Proudest achievement: Being a good husband and father to my family.
What most people don't know about me: I survived a truck versus bicycle accident and was able to recover and lead a normal life.



Your chances of surviving a major accident have increased dramatically with the opening of the Treasure Coast Trauma Center in Fort Pierce.

Since its opening on May 1, it has chalked up a 96 percent save rate, one of the highest in the nation.

Located at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute, the center has attracted some of the best trauma nurses and surgeons to the area.

"The quality and complexity of care here is like going from a Cessna to an F-18," says Dr. Danny Jazarevic, trauma medical director. "It's become an elite tertiary care center. The entire concept of trauma medicine upgrades the whole hospital."

A towering man with a booming voice and a slight accent from his native Croatia, "Dr. J" is a legend in trauma medicine.

As a U.S. Army colonel he spent three years in Baghdad, was wounded by an insurgent mortar round and once donated blood while operating on a soldier. Jazarevic also set up the receiving hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where wounded U.S. soldiers are flown from Iraq. While on call, he sleeps in an Airstream trailer in the hospital parking lot.


Recently eight people came in at once after multiple rollover accidents. "When eight people come in it looks impossible, but we can do it," says Jazarevic. "Everyone is going home."

When a 19-year-old man came in after a motorcycle accident, nurses couldn't find his face. "Anthony would not have survived transport," says Lisa Sharot, nursing supervisor for the trauma intensive care unit. "He had such facial fractures we didn't think he would make it. Dr. J saved him with a pair of scissors." Jazarevic immediately cut open the man's throat, inserted a breathing tube and stabilized him.

"Anthony was so sick," Sharot says. "There were a couple of days when I left and I thought I would come back and he would be gone. Four weeks later he was walking around and two weeks after that he left."

Another man got caught on top of a fence. When paramedics brought him in, a piece of the fence was imbedded in him. He, too, went home.


Lawnwood officials expected about 40 patients a month, but the rate turned out to be double that estimate. More than 320 came through the center in its first four months.

"This facility will be the powerhouse of the Treasure Coast," says Jana Eschbach, Lawnwood director of media relations. "If you break your arm, you can go to another hospital. If you get run over by a bulldozer, you are coming here. They do an amazing job here."

The helipad can handle two incoming flights at once, and the trauma unit is prepared for mass casualties. The 160-member trauma team includes more than 100 nurses and dozens of specialists that range from a critical care traumatologist who can put your organs back in your body to a plastic surgeon who can put your face together again. Three trauma surgeons are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This has given us really good care," says Dicey Jones, director of the emergency department at Lawnwood. "The halo effect of all the specialty physicians has elevated the care in the area. We have a team that is synchronized. They just perform. They know what needs to be done."


When the call comes in that a trauma patient is on the way, at least 20 team members are ready for those doors to swing open and a patient to be rolled into the operating room next to the entrance.

"We never know what is coming through the door, and if the patient is at death's door," says Sharot. "It's humbling to see the mass numbers of people it takes to do this."

Vital to the trauma system are the paramedics who know that time is not on their side as they race to stabilize patients and transport them to Lawnwood.

"For EMS the platinum period is the first 10 minutes after the accident," says Matt Amato, a four-year paramedic with St. Lucie County Fire Rescue. "Our goal is to get the patient to surgical care," Amato says. "Now we don't have to wait for a helicopter. We have less scene time and transport time is less. People are getting here quicker. Surgery done in the first golden hour is even bigger for the positive outcome."

The boundary for the trauma center, is from Bridge Road in Hobe Sound north to County Road 510 north of Vero Beach and west to eastern Okeechobee County. Martin County has sent 49 patients to the trauma center with 45 of them arriving by helicopter.

"It (the trauma center) improves the level of service we provide," says John Belding, chief of special operations for Martin County Rescue. "It improves survivability and it is a great asset for us."


St. Lucie County voters didn't see it that way two years ago when they voted down a referendum for a tax to build the trauma center, but Lawnwood's parent company, Hospital Corporation of America, decided to build it anyway. So far it is operating at a loss of $18 million a year, including $2 million for training, says Lawnwood spokesman Eschbach.

"People were dying in transport. We knew the need was here. You have a 50 percent better chance of surviving a traumatic injury if you come to a trauma center because of the specialists and the equipment that are here," Eschbach says.

The best and brightest want to work at the new trauma center and many nurses from Palm Beach County have offered applications. "The opportunity to be on the ground floor with this program, to help craft the program is why I came here, to help build a trauma department in an area of which there is an obvious need," says Dr. Anjan Shah, an orthopedic trauma surgeon, who came to Lawnwood from the renowned trauma center at Tampa General Hospital.

"In the first 72 hours of my job here, I am seeing some of the most complex injuries of my career," Shah says during a seven-hour operation to repair a shattered pelvis.

The Treasure Coast's Dr. Father & Dr. Sons


Vascular surgery runs like blood through the veins of the Sanguily family.

Dr. Julio Sanguily Jr. and his two sons, Julio III and Mario, respected surgeons on the Treasure Coast who practice at Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart, have more than 100 years of experience in the operating room.

"My dad was a force in developing modern medicine in Cuba," Julio Jr. said of his father who inspired him and his sons to follow in his footsteps and become surgeons. Although he no longer performs surgery, the 78-years-old still spends three days a week supervising Martin Memorial's hyperbaric chamber, which provides pure oxygen to help patients heal.

When Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, Julio Jr. was studying surgery in Ohio where his son Julio III was born. He has never returned to his native country.

"I am proud of my Cuban heritage, but I have no desire to go back to Cuba until it is right," Julio Jr. said. "I want to remember my country and how it was before Castro came. He was a rabble rouser at the university. Everyone knew who he was and he carried a gun."

Julio Jr. also vividly recalls the morning in 1948 when he sat down to breakfast with novelist Ernest Hemingway during the author's famous marlin fishing tournament in Havana.

"He was grumpy and he may have already had something to drink that morning," he said. Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt came up to the table to talk to Hemingway.

What happened next is the Hemingway of legend as Julio Jr. tells the story with a gleam in his piercing blue eyes. Eisenstaedt told Hemingway he wanted to get a picture of him fighting a blue marlin. Hemingway stood up from the table and told Eisenstaedt, "Look, if you get near my boat while I am catching a blue marlin, I will go into the cabin and get my gun and shoot you."

And that is exactly what happened. according to Julio Jr. Eisenstaedt, camera at the ready, showed up in a speedboat at an inopportune moment and fled after Hemingway fired several shotgun blasts, missing his target. Julio Jr., just 17, won second place in the tournament, catching 20 white marlin over three days.

"I started fishing at a very young age," he said. "Today, we fish for dolphin, cobia and yellowtail, anything that will bend the pole."

Along with fishing, Latin music and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Julio Jr. still enjoys practicing medicine.

"My mind is still good and the work is not strenuous. I'll work as long as they'll have me. My father worked to the last day of his life. He was 89."

Just like his father and grandfather before him, 51-year-old Julio III brings the same work ethic to his practice of surgery and supervision of the wound medicine center at Martin Memorial. "I will stay in touch with the medical profession as long as I am mentally and physically capable," he said. Fishing, snow skiing, surfing and tennis four to five times a week are his hobbies when he is not in surgery, consulting with patients or on call. "I do what my kids do. I wasn't a surfer until my son wanted to learn."

Born in Ohio, Julio III often thinks of Cuba. "It was a salvaging grace I was born here because American citizens were allowed to leave (Cuba) as a priority. I have a lot of passion for Cuba even though I wasn't raised there, but I am an American. Yet inside of me I am Cuban. When I hear Cuban music it makes me wish I could have experienced that lifestyle and flavor of the island. I would like to go back and visit a non-communist or free Cuba."

Brother Mario, 50, shares his brother's love of family, fishing and the practice of vascular surgery.

"I am a family man," he said. "I don't do anything [besides medicine] but hang with my wife and kids. Raising two teenagers consumes your life."

Mario's office walls are adorned with his children's trophies and photos of large fish reeled in over the years.

"I am enamored by my profession," Mario said. "If you are able to put aside the nuisances and get down to the basics, you feed on that on a day-to-day basis. One of my passions is how vascular surgery has evolved. To be able to repair an abdominal aneurysm with two small incisions was unfathomable just two years ago. It keeps the level of excitement high for me."

Mario is an associate professor of surgery at Florida State University College of Medicine, with students rotating through his operating room at Martin Memorial. "I'm expected to teach them and help them score well on their surgical boards," he said. "It is particularly amusing being a UF graduate to watch those FSU students wearing University of Florida scrub caps during surgery."

With four Sanguily children in high school, it is a little too early to know if they will enter the profession chosen by their great-grandfather, grandfather and fathers.

"My wife is an OR nurse," Mario said. "They hear stories at the dinner table, and I think they get the same positive feedback that I did as a child. As a child, my father was the perfect father."

Birds & Birdies


Critters and golfers get along just fine at the Indian River Club golf course in Vero Beach where many bird species chirp with excitement.

As the third Audubon International Signature Sanctuary in the world, Indian River Club management takes pride in making the expensive efforts to maintain that designation each year.

"We prepare a report each year that includes which chemicals we use and do not use," said Joe Kern, head golf professional. The 18-hole Indian River Club has a distinctly Carolina look rarely seen in South Florida. There are very few paved cart paths and different birds can be heard and seen at each hole on the course.

During a recent tour of Indian River Club a scrub jay could be heard and there was a good explanation for that. Each hole has a name. No. 6, for example, is Scrub Jay because it borders a 13-acre preserve maintained to attract the rare birds.

Besides the members, also enjoying the course are eagles, ospreys, roseate spoonbills, blue herons, wood storks, egrets and a host of small birds. Once a month the course is opened up for expeditions by thrilled birders from the local Audubon Society.

"The membership here takes pride in their surroundings," said Kern. "They like their birds. You see a lot of species. There are only two holes that run side by side. It's like you are in your own little world. The course is challenging and appealing to the eye. It is a good layout."

Indeed, most of the homes in the development are around the outside edge of the property with the golf course and preserve in the center. The homes are set back so that they are not obtrusive to the golfer, said club member Hank Moran. "They don't ruin the sightline for the player," he said. "The homes are kind of camouflaged."

Out in the open around the course are numerous purple martin houses and duck nesting boxes. Many people came here for the environmental awareness, said developer G. Jeffrey Reynolds. "We were green long before it was trendy," he said. "We recycle paper, glass and plastic. Our cultural practices are geared toward maintaining the environment, keeping it beautiful. We want the environment here to be conducive to a beautiful walk in the park and home for as many species as possible."

Reynolds is especially proud of the tree-planting program in which members can sponsor the planting of a tree. "Over the past 13 years hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent moving 150 oak trees 10 inches in caliber or greater. It costs three to four thousand dollars to move a larger tree. You can put a price tag on these old oaks on the property, he said. So far, the members have donated $50,000 for more trees to replace some of the more than 700 trees that were destroyed by Hurricane Wilma."

Other green practices at Indian River Club include eliminating exotic plants, carefully controlling the use of pesticides and water, and wherever possible, planting native drought tolerant grasses to minimize water use, Reynolds said.

With only 325 memberships, Indian River Club is certainly not an overplayed course. The course is private, but there are three ways non-members can enjoy a round of golf. The course hosts 10 or so charity events each year; the course has reciprocity agreements with 20 other private and semi-private courses in the area; and guests can play with resident members.

Carol Prezioso, membership director, said this is the best course in Indian River County comparable only to John's Island West. "Golf works hand in hand with nature," she said. "We are a Carolina community with low country architecture. The homes have front porches and none have barrel tile roofs. It's that kind of neighborhood, kind of an oasis in the Vero Highlands."

With four different types of terrain, the Indian River Club track has a lot of hills — a rare sight in largely flat South Florida. "It has such a great natural feel to it with pinelands, oak hammocks, the [Atlantic] Ridge and natural lakes," said Ron Garl, who designed the course along with 214 others now open for play worldwide.

Asked how the course rates for addressing environmental concerns compared to his other projects, Garl said, Indian River Club ranks right at the very top. "It was first in the world to have Audubon Signature status on opening day. That was the goal for the project. If you do things right from the start, it will be sustainable from an environmental point of view," Garl said.

The Bright Hour


The Bright Hour is the only 90-foot boat on the Treasure Coast that mixes sportfishing with the luxury of a yacht that comfortably sleeps 12.

Built in New Zealand and shipped by freighter to Jacksonville, the custom catamaran is one of only three in the world built with the same hull, said Captain Glen Warwick. The other two are in Dubai and Seattle.

"Most boats have a center hallway," said Warwick. "We have two separate hulls. The guests have more privacy and they are not bumping into each other."

In addition to the owner's stateroom, the boat has four guest staterooms, crew's quarters, and 4 1/2 bathrooms. The full galley has all German-made appliances including a Sub-Zero refrigerator and dishwasher.

The Bright Hour has a reverse osmosis system that can convert 1,400 gallons of salt water per day to freshwater. "I make more water than 12 people can use in one day," Warwick said. "That's showering, washing clothes, dishes and rinsing off the boat. I run the water maker non-stop as soon as we leave."

Although only six people fish at any one time, there is twice the room at the back of the boat than typical sportfishers and not one, but three fighting chairs. Calvin Houghland Jr. recently landed a thousand-pound blue marlin in the Bahamas. "We rotate in a new crew every 30 minutes," said Warwick." The boat is for the owner and his guests, but we do fish the local tournaments out of Sailfish Point. Mary Ann [Houghland] does all the meal planning and she is the Bright Hour's number one angler."

With a fuel capacity of 3,900 gallons and a range of 400 miles at cruising speed, the Bright Hour has sailed non-stop from Key West to Cancun, Mexico. Other trips have seen the boat dock in Cuba, Honduras and the Bahamas. Recently, Warwick steered the boat through locks up the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway from Mobile to the Cumberland River to Nashville and on to Old Hickory Lake.

"There's always something to do," Warwick said. "I'm on here almost every day. It's a full-time job. When we have 12 guests, I have to make sure the guests are taken care of and all the systems are operational. I've had the opportunity to visit foreign ports and see things the average person wouldn't be able to."
Calvin Houghland

Age: 91
Occupation: Cattle, citrus and investments
Family: Two sons, two daughters, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren.
How I got interested in boating: "I bought a waterfront home in Fort Lauderdale that came with a 26-foot Chris Craft." What I like about boating: "Exciting trips to the waters of Central America and the Caribbean."

Name: Bright Hour

Reason for name: Named for a steeplechase horse and is also the name of a farm in Brentwood, Tenn., and a ranch in Arcadia, Fla.
Type of boat: Custom Mares catamaran
Home port: Sailfish Point, Stuart
Length: 90 feet
Beam: 26 feet
Draft: 5 feet, 9 inches
Power: Two Detroit Diesel V-16 2000 engines, 1,800 horsepower each
Features: Sleeps 12, cruises at 22 knots, maximum speed of 27 knots.
Best day on the boat: "Crossing the Panama Canal in almost record-breaking time."
Worst Day on the boat: "In all of my Bright Hours of sea time, there has never been a dark moment."

Getcha Some


In the rough waters of competitive kingfishing, few women dare to fish much less field a team that places second out of 300 boats in the invitation-only nationals.

The four Fort Pierce women fishers aboard Getcha Some are lifelong friends who along with Captain Robbie Yancy brought home the trophy and a 21-foot Contender last year from Biloxi, Miss.

The most important piece of equipment in their efforts was a 31-foot Contender fully loaded with all "the bells and whistles," said Melissa Blandford. "This boat is special because we're the only boat in the SKA [Southern Kingfish Association] that has an all-female crew," she said. "We're not out there for a suntan. We're out there to fish."

"The boat is bad to the bone and it is fast," said Christy Blandford. "And Robbie is a great captain. I've done all kinds of fishing, but kingfishing is my favorite. It's so exciting when you catch that big fish."

After nine years on the SKA tour spending too much time and money fishing, Robbie Yancy sat down with his wife and asked how they could keep going. Joy Yancy suggested forming a team with her friends and Team Getcha Some was born.

"The first tournament they were hooked," said Captain Yancy of his crew. "They ate it up and loved every minute of it. They pay attention and they listen. We have a great time."

Yancy also has a few tricks to get that extra competitive edge from his boat. "I have a different T-top which has less resistance. I carry my rods on the side using special clips so they don't get a beat up. We have two separate bait wells and beanbag chairs for the girls."

"I chose this boat myself because it is a fishing machine," said Yancy. "We drove 90 miles offshore and back three days in a row at 45-55 miles per hour. I wasn't the least bit worried about equipment failure. When the seas are 5 to 7 feet we still fish."

"When the weather is rough we get to the fishing spot fast," said Dina Hicks. "It rides great and fast in rough water when you have to check in at a certain time. That boat and the way it handles. We have a unique crew," she said.

"We're all lifelong friends and sometimes it's stressful and dangerous," said Blandford. "For us to be able to get off the boat at the end of the day and still be friends is pretty special in itself."
Robbie Yancy

Age: 33
Occupation: Marine construction company owner
Family: Wife, Joy, and son, Robbie
Crew: Anglers Melissa Blandford, Christy Dobrea, Dina Hicks and Joy Yancy.
How I got interested in boating: "When I was 4 or 5, my grandfather was a guide on Lake Okeechobee. We would go over there every weekend and go fishing."
What I like about boating: "I like everything about it. There's something special in being out on the water. There's no limit to what you can do, vacations, diving, fishing. You get away from the everyday grind."

Name: Getcha Some

Type: Contender sport fisher
Where name came from: "A discussion when names were being tossed about. Little Robbie Yancy liked the name so we went with it."
Home port: Fort Pierce
Length: 31 feet
Beam: 9 feet, 4 inches
Draft: 20 inches
Power: Two 250-horsepower Yamahas
Features: Fresh water rinse; fully set up for competitive sport fishing.
Best day on the boat: "Placing second at the Southern Kingfish Association Nationals against the men in Biloxi, Miss."
Worst day on the boat: "When you come to the dock with no fish to weigh."

The Harmony


While many sailboats spend a large amount of time sitting around with sails in storage, Paul Rubin's Harmony has logged more than 75,000 miles from the South Pacific to the Caribbean.

You would never know it to look at the Harmony today, but the racing schooner sustained $180,000 damage after Hurricane Wilma. "I was tied up at the Pelican Yacht Club when a motor yacht broke loose and totaled four boats," Rubin said. "Mine was the only one that survived. There was no structural damage, but it takes forever to repair."

Today the boat looks spotless with shiny metal and teak from stem to stern. Rubin keeps the boat at Harbour Isle in Fort Pierce, where he said the marina offers perfect protection from hurricanes with the surrounding buildings blocking heavy winds.

When his business transferred him to Hong Kong, Rubin took Harmony apart, and shipped it to its new home on the South China Sea. After putting it back together again, he would log thousands of miles in the South Pacific. "The Philippines is the nicest place," he said. "You put into a harbor, go ashore and meet the most friendly people. There are some really beautiful islands. It is like going back in time."

At the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, where Rubin is still a member, "there was always a conversation about what to do about pirates. You can't carry a gun. In some countries it is penalty of death. So if you surrender the gun, then you have to worry about whether you will get it back. Most sailors don't carry guns. We decided you unhook your propane tank, heave it onto the pirate boat and shoot a flare into the boat. They don't really bother sailboats. They want cargo ships or small tankers."

The highlight of Rubin's sailing adventures in Asia was winning the 1996 China Sea Race with a crew of eight including sailors with five different nationalities. "It's the biggest race in Southeast Asia, from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, Philippines — 800 miles. It is the equivalent of the Newport to Bermuda race."

Rubin plans to enter the 2009 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. "It's nice to get out there and race with the other classic schooners. It's more about the fun, but it is serious racing. It's a great big party."

The Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race and the New York City Mayor's Classic are two other regattas Rubin has raced as captain of Harmony. Lately, he takes the boat out for day sailing every other week and three or four times a year to the Bahamas.

"I'm not ready to give it up yet," Rubin said. "I enjoy just working on it. I was varnishing all day today. I will keep it up as long as I can raise the main sail."
Paul Rubin

Age: 61
Occupation: Retired apparel executive
Family: Wife, Stephanie; three children; one grandchild
How I got interested in boating: "I grew up in Fort Pierce on Indian River Drive. I've been boating all my life."
What I like about boating: "The feeling of being free."

Name: Harmony

Where name came from: "A lot of sailors are superstitious. It was a nice name so I left it."
Home port: Harbour Isle, Fort Pierce
Length: 48-foot Cherubini Schooner
Beam: 13 feet
Draft: 5 feet, 2 inches
Power: 90 horsepower Mercedes diesel
Features: Hull No. 5 of with no two alike. Deck and interior are custom designed. Eight berths.
Best Day on the boat: "A four-hour watch from midnight to 4 a.m. in the 1996 China Sea Race from Hong Kong to Subic Bay in the Philippines. We had 30 to 40 knots apparent wind and made 11 to 13 knots continuous speed."
Worst day on boat: "Calm wind in the South China Sea and 98-degree heat."

Tie Up and Dine


Taking the boat out each weekend to try a new place for lunch will take you almost six months to tie up at the two dozen waterfront restaurants on the Treasure Coast.

That doesn't include the restaurants in downtown Stuart, Fort Pierce and Sebastian within walking distance of public docks. Martin County boasts a dozen riverfront locations, St. Lucie County has seven and there are five scenic eateries in Indian River County.

"We have 26 boat slips to accommodate up to 70 feet with a 5-foot draft," said Frank Kilian, general manager of Finz Waterfront Grille. "On weekends about 25 percent of our business is boat traffic. We keep the slips open."

Kilian said one couple rides up three or four times a month and order food they eat on their boat. Food yes, but alcohol, no. "We can't sell alcohol to go," he said.

The Manatee Pocket in Stuart is popular on sunny weekends with Shrimper's, Finz, Bare Bones Grill and Brewery and Pirate's Cove Resort and Marina all almost within sight of each other. Pirate's Loft Restaurant offers poolside dining and a place to cool off after a day at the Stuart sandbar off Sailfish Point. "The weather is a big factor," said Bones Maxson from the Pirate's Cove Marina. "On the nice weekends people are off and they come in here. We have a pool and reggae."

Two especially picturesque spots are next to the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart, the Pelican Cafe and Fiji's. Both are accessible from the city docks, which fill up quickly once a month for the Sunday jazz concert. Within a half-mile are a dozen restaurants in downtown Stuart.

Another popular riverfront destination is the Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House, one of the oldest locations in Martin County. Formerly Frances Langford's Outrigger Restaurant, The Dolphin has retained its Polynesian feel and has an interesting shrine to Langford. Its boat slips, which were recently renovated, are again open for boating diners.

Another rustic building is Conchy Joe's Seafood just north of the Jensen Beach Bridge to Hutchinson Island. It was heavily damaged by the two hurricanes, but recent renovations shored up the main building, which dates back to the 1920s.

A quiet restaurant west of the old Roosevelt Bridge is The Deck. A little farther north on the east side of the new bridge is Wahoo's on the Waterfront. Warm weather and live music draw people to the outside tiki bar.

Port St. Lucie's boating destinations are both on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, Club Med Sandpiper and Hurricane Grill and Wings. On the way to Fort Pierce is the Landing Restaurant at the Nettles Island Marina.

In downtown Fort Pierce there are a dozen restaurants within walking distance including Cobb's Landing and The Original Tiki Bar of Fort Pierce. Boaters who prefer a location near the South Bridge can stop at 22 Fisherman's Wharf and those north of the North Bridge can stop in at Harbor Cove, 1930 Harbortown Drive.

In Indian River County, Vero Beach's most popular place on the water is the Riverside Café under the north bridge. But for sheer size Captain Hiram's in Sebastian is the king with huge crowds jamming the riverfront each weekend.

Bob Litchfield has been boating local waters since 1965. Every week or so he heads out for food and drink at a different spot. "We go out to eat and we like to fish at night," said Litchfield. "We keep live bait in the well. I've caught a lot of snook off the dock at Conchy Joe's. I don't keep many of them. We eat at the restaurant and let the fish go. Your game fish are nocturnal. Dock lights attract predators and bait," he said.

Bob Henderson of Palm City likes to take his 46-foot Sea Ray for lunch with his friends. As he prepared to shove off from Finz in Port Salerno, Henderson said he likes to get out once a month usually to the Manatee Pocket where he has four choices to dine. "The Waterway Cafe (in Palm Beach Gardens) was my favorite spot, but now it costs too much to go there," he said.

Steve Bohner likes to take one of his two boats out each weekend to enjoy dinner on the water. "It's a nice way to go by water," he said. "You can go anywhere. There is no traffic. It's a nice leisurely cruise. We're blessed to be able to go around Stuart by boat."

Academy of Golf


In just five years, more than 2,700 students from all over the world have gone through the Jensen Beach Golf Academy, the first program of its kind on the Treasure Coast.

"I'm the initiator, not the imitator," said Robert Petelinkar, director of golf at the academy, which is accredited by the PGA and staffed with four other teachers. "There was no structured program on the Treasure Coast. I decided to do it because I wanted to grow the game of golf."

Watching the 43-year-old Petelinkar, known as "Bobby P," at work is a lesson in patience and enthusiasm. He is always upbeat as he eggs his students on with humor and encouragement. A recent class had a retired couple, a high school freshman and a couple of other golfers in between.

"He's funny. He's more like a kid," said Jimmy Pembroke, who hopes to make the golf team next year at Jensen Beach High School. "He's one of the greatest teachers for golf. People at my school say he is the best. If I make a bad shot, he fixes it. He has tools to help keep your arm straight, show you the right swing plane and a mirror to show you your body's alignment."

While students have ranged in age from 3 1/2 years to 93, Petelinkar relates especially well to teenagers. "His real forte is the kids," said Paul Howley, an occasional fill-in instructor and owner of Eagle Marsh Golf Club, where the academy is based. "He's very patient. He's good at transmitting the message in a fun manner. He's pleasant and energetic. He enjoys working with kids. He's forming them more than just teaching them golf. He teaches them manners and respect. And he's got a pretty good success rate."

Petelinkar said his most successful students are twins Daryl and Derek Fathauer, whom he taught during his first academy class. The two college seniors are nationally ranked and are No. 1 and 2 on the University of Louisville golf team. "Their work effort and internal drive not only to beat each other but be the best they can be is what motivates them to become PGA tour players. They help me teach the kids during the summer. They are always willing to chip in."

Petelinkar said another student of his to follow is Maria Castellanos. "She is a senior at Jensen Beach High and she is going to the University of Louisville," said Petelinkar, who has been her mentor over the past few years. Another academy graduate, 7-year-old Sean Gardner, is ranked 82nd in U.S. Kids Golf.

Yet even older golfers show up at the academy for lessons. Pierre and Christine Desbiens, a snowbird couple from Montreal, are in the third year of instruction with Petelinkar, but their experience isn't just about golf. "We come here for golf lessons, but it's part social, part golf," said Christine Desbiens. "He corrects our bad habits and gives us confidence. He changed my swing, but it took two years. I had bad technique. With Bobby we are not stressed. We like to learn."

"It's a group of people having a supervised practice. One on one is pressure," said Pierre Desbiens. "If you practice by yourself, you practice your mistakes. When you practice in a group you correct your flaws. I have been teaching flying all my life. One of the first qualities of an instructor is you have to love what you do and be able to transfer your knowledge in an enthusiastic way."

Justin Ferraro, 7, sees his lessons a bit differently. "It's almost the best thing I have ever done. Whenever I step out of the car here it changes my life. He gives us nicknames and we learn. Mine is 'just in time.' I want to be a golf champ," Ferraro said.

Petelinkar said the hardest thing is to teach someone who doesn't have the drive to be a student of the game or the physical ability. "When a father or a husband pushes them, the defense mechanisms are up and you can't penetrate that."

Although he teaches six to seven days a week from morning until dark, Petelinkar manages to play 18 holes twice a month. The first day he arrived at the first tee at Eagle Marsh he was running late. He loves to tell the story of how he hit two huge shots to the green and drained the putt for what he thought was birdie three, only to find out he had made an eagle on the par five. He's been a fixture at Eagle Marsh ever since.

"I can express my passion for the game of golf and the people I meet. I teach people from all over the globe. I have been given the ability by Paul Howley to fulfill a dream, play golf and get paid for it," Petelinkar said. "When a student can square up the clubface and hit the ball with distance, it's a good feeling. The money is a great attribute of my efforts. If I was independently wealthy, I would do it for free."

The ART Teacher


As the only art teacher at Felix A. Williams Elementary School in Jensen Beach, Kathy Kernan can't event count all the different hats she wears each week.

During a recent early dismissal day, Kernan was manning a bullhorn following the students' walk around the school's track. Amid a cacophony of energetic, bubbling kids, she showed the skill of an experienced cowhand in rounding them up before they headed back to class.

"I teach every child in the school," said Kernan, a 21-year art teacher in Martin County. "All 660 of them pass through my doors once a week. It's fast paced. It's hectic. It's exciting. There is a lot of prep for six shows a day."

In addition to her six classes a day, and each class certainly gets a show, Kernan serves on several schoolwide committees, annually makes the school teacher of the year banner, prepares the school's art display for the Martin County Fair, and finds time to volunteer as mentor for a small fifth-grader named Riley.

"He gets that one on one," Kernan said. "I help him with his other classes. Mostly I'm there to ask him if everything is OK. I try to be there for him."

Howard Marder, assistant principal at Williams, said Kernan is eager to pitch in to do what's needed for the school. "She facilitates schoolwide events and is a valuable staff member to Felix Williams," Marder said. "She's a team player. It's very easy to give her accolades," Marder said.

And her peers have three times recognized Kernan's commitment to inspiring her students. She was named Teacher of the Year at J.D. Parker Elementary in 1989 and again in 2002 at Felix Williams. But the biggest recognition came later in 2002 when Kernan was named Martin County Teacher of the Year.

"There is a good feeling about getting kids to work from the inside of their thoughts and ideas and bring that to the outside in the form of expression through visual arts," Kernan said. "The hardest thing is stopping after 45 minutes when they are really into it and they don't want to go and I don't want them to go. When I see the parts of what I do displayed as a whole and when I see the variety and talent I say, 'Wow. Look at what they are doing.' It's cool. They inspire me."

Kernan's influence lingers long after the kids leave Felix Williams. "Every day I teach I hear her name all day long," said colleague Kathleen Bartemes. "She entertained them. They love Miss Kernan."

Despite her love for her students and her work, Kernan worries about the future of teaching and the arts. "I worry about budget cuts and the arts getting put on the chopping block. I feel passionate that it's important that we keep art in public education. The kids love it. They need it. They benefit from it."

Created on 12/27/2007 08:25 PM by ind1an
Updated on 02/25/2008 11:11 PM by ind1an
Name: Kathy Kernan

Age: 54

Place of Birth: Newark, N.J.

Occupation: Art teacher

Education: B.A. Rutgers University; national board certification in early middle childhood art

Family: Sons, Zachary, 28, and Justin, 25

What people don't know about me: "I'm an ardent music lover and I have met some famous people such as Yoko Ono, Salvador Dali and Lenny Kravitz. I have a secret desire to learn to play the congas."

What inspires me: "Simple things, nature, light on the water, blue skies and happy people."

Proudest achievement: "Having the love and respect of my two sons. Having the respect of my fellow teachers."

Twin Force


In 10 short years, twin brothers from Jensen Beach have gone from their first golf lessons to being among the best collegiate players in the country.

Derek and Daryl Fathauer, 21, are in their last semester of eligibility at the University of Louisville and are almost certain to make the PGA Tour as pro golfers, according to their coaches and mentors.

"They've really progressed. They have the ability," said Frank Dobbs, golf pro at Eagle Marsh Golf Club in Jensen Beach. Dobbs, a player in two U.S. Opens and three PGA championships, said he mentored the boys, giving them little tips and bits of advice during the hundreds of skins games they played together at Eagle Marsh.

"If they choose to, they will make it," Dobbs said. "When they came here, their swings were all over the place, heads moving. They were out here seven days a week every moment until dark. They kept working at it."

The red-haired identical twins are both very modest and say they are equally matched as golfers. "We both want each other to do well," Daryl said. "We always root for each other. One day one of us is better. The next day the other."

Both young men are quick to credit their grandmother for pushing them into golf. And both are equally grateful for all of the golf courses that opened up their links for them to sharpen their skills.

"We were 10 and our grandmother bought us clubs and gave us lessons," Derek said. "We used to watch golf with her and talk golf, eat dinner. It was fun. Eagle Marsh and Pine Lakes. If it weren't for the people there we would have given up on it."

Bruce Yeates, manager at Pine Lakes Golf Club, remembers their perseverance. "They would rush home after school, get their bikes and clubs and come to the course," he said. "They would clean up for me and then they would play, sometimes 54 holes. They would play until dark. They would practice all the time. They didn't want to go to the beach. They were a pleasure to have around."

John Sweeney, who works at Pine Lakes, also remembers their work ethic. "They weren't afraid to work and they loved to golf," he said. "They lived golf. They were little tots when they came. Now they're grown up. They did whatever you asked them to do. No questions. No problems. Nice boys, very polite. Something we need on the pro tour are boys like them. I hope they have a lot of success and they get on the pro tour. I know that's what they want."

The twins' first goal is to finish school and get their degrees in sports administration. "There's no way we will skip out on our degrees," Daryl said. "We owe it to the school and our parents to finish school. We are not all-star students because our main focus is on golf."

The Fathauers have been on full scholarship since their freshman year and have been No. 1 and 2 on the University of Louisville golf team since they arrived. "After our freshman year we could have transferred somewhere else, but they gave us the opportunity and it wouldn't have been right to leave," Derek said.

Both brothers have shot 11-under par 61. Derek has had three holes-in-one while Daryl has had two. Their father, Jay, said his sons want to market themselves after college as a team. "They want to do it together," he said. "They would be a team for a sponsorship package."

"Two years ago Derek won the big East Championship. This year Daryl won it. Two years ago Daryl was No. 1 on the (Louisville) team. Derek was No. 1 this year. It's been great watching them grow up and playing golf. I'm not a golfer. It's been a godsend. They found this sport golf at age 11 and they're still doing it. They'll probably do it until they die. Golf is like a lifetime sport."

Growing up as twins and learning the game of golf together has given them an advantage, he said. "They each have someone to play with all the time. They practice together. They share a car, live in the same house. Twins are unique. They tend to know what each other is doing. They kind of move together. Twins have a special bond."

Derek said his parents have also been a large part in their golf success. "They played a really big role in it," he said. "We couldn't have done it without them. They signed us up and took us to the tournaments."

Their four years at college has brought maturity to the Fathauers, according to University of Louisville Men's Golf head Coach Mark Crabtree. "They're great young men. It's been a great experience for them and for me personally to develop a relationship with them, to watch them improve, watch them accomplish some of their goals and watch their excitement grow for the game of golf."

"They are very coachable young men. Today, a lot of young kids believe they are coachable, but they really don't want to be coached. They have a real passion for the game. A lot of young men think they have a passion for the game, but they don't. The next three to five years will test the waters to see if they have what it takes," Crabtree said.

Asked where Derek and Daryl Fathauer rank among the golfers he has coached over the past 21 years, Crabtree said without a split-second's hesitation, "One and two."

Created on 12/07/2007 09:14 PM by ind1an
Updated on 01/20/2008 11:27 AM by ind1an

The Holiday Volunteer


Jeanette Mueller's volunteer spirit has no limits. She is highly contagious as she infects others with the drive to help those less fortunate.

A petite woman with a radiant smile, Mueller is passionate about her public service as she juggles her daily routine to support the organizations dear to her heart.

The Big Heart Brigade of the Treasure Coast, Take Stock in Children, the Arts Council of Martin County, and Soroptimist International of Stuart all benefit from Mueller's seemingly endless enthusiasm. But she sees the big picture, always looking to the future and how the next group of volunteers will be in place to continue carrying the torch.

"When I see the younger generation get involved at the next level, volunteering for these charities, I get jazzed about that," Mueller says. "You have to provide a system that will give the organization a plan for succession. Who's up next? Who's on first? Who's coming behind me?"

For the past 10 years Mueller has served on the Big Heart Brigade board of directors, including four years as chairman. Currently, she is fund development chairman. "Last year we served 30,000 meals and we will serve 30,000 again this year," Mueller says. "We come to the rescue of those in need, particularly at Thanksgiving. We also provide scholarships and help people pay medical bills."

Local firefighters and emergency personnel are the backbone of the Big Heart Brigade. Last year, volunteers cooked 100 turkeys at a time in a huge cooker known as "Mondo."

Steve Wolfberg, vice president of the Big Heart Brigade and former director of emergency services for Martin County, marvels at Mueller's ability to rally the troops. "She's a dynamo with energy, ideas and follow-through and she looks way beyond what is immediate," Wolfberg says. "That translates into providing more Thanksgiving dinners, fundraising and special events. She's a joy to be around, always positive. There's an awful lot you can learn from her. Sit back, watch and hold on for the ride. Rarely do you find an individual like Jeanette who has that passion, drive and commitment.

Martin Fire Lt. Scott Schlawiedt sits on the Big Heart board and serves on the cooking staff. "She (Mueller) is always trying to get people involved through volunteering to better our community," says Schlawiedt. "She is one of the vertebrae. She keeps this organization going."

Mueller has been active in the Arts Council for the past 18 years. Currently she is chairman of its board of directors. "She's chaired just about every committee we have," says Nancy Turrell, Arts Council executive director. "She has enthusiasm, energy, dedication, and a passion that the arts matter in our community. She is one of those people who gives 150 percent. She has taken the lead to bring in much-needed funds. It doesn't get any better than Jeanette."

Joe Catrambone, president and chief executive officer for the Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce, has seen firsthand Mueller's ability to turn around a charity in trouble. "Our Martin County Youth Leadership program was floundering," he says. "Jeanette took over as chairman and she had it running like an organization should. She knows how to run a meeting. She's very organized. She can multitask better than anyone I have ever known. Her presence demands attention. I have never seen her use a gavel. She has always had excessive energy," says Catrambone.

But last May the community nearly lost Mueller's energy when she went into cardiac arrest at her Palm City home. Her husband happened to be there and was able to revive her until paramedics arrived and shocked her back to life again. "My husband interestingly enough had played in a golf tournament to raise money for the cold blanket therapy called Arctic Sun," Mueller says. "I was one of the first people to use it. It was real touch and go. I was gone and they were able to jumpstart me. I was in a coma for several days."

Mueller believes her years of dancing and working as a fitness instructor probably saved her life. "I teach seven to ten fitness classes a week," she says of her only paying job. "I've always been interested in fitness."

Another of Mueller's interests is the mental fitness of at-risk children. She has mentored a half-dozen children for the Take Stock in Children program through Indian River State College, giving them guidance during their four years of high school before they go on to college.

"Jeanette has been a fantastic mentor," says Erin Cox, program coordinator for Take Stock in Children. "She guides the students and motivates them. She keeps them on track and focused. We certainly appreciate her and she is an asset to our program."

"She has been there for me emotionally and financially," says IRSC student Nicole Durham. "She is my mentor. I am in college and we talk all the time. She is always helping someone else. I'm thankful that she's in my life."

"I like working with at-risk kids," Mueller says, "someone who really needs help. They need someone who can be a consistent part of their lives, to be there and to listen to them. These kids are for the most part not overachievers. They won't have the scholarship opportunities that other students do.

"It's easy to sit with younger kids who are cute and who are doing well. Working with kids who have issues and challenges is a more interesting choice for my time."

Since the day her heart stopped, Mueller has slowed down some, but she still puts in a full-time effort week in and week out.

"Juggling all of this coming off my health issues while I'm still recovering is hard," she says. "Family, my health and volunteer organizations, I thrive on that. It's hard not to work at my full capacity, but I'm not complaining."

And neither are the thousands of people on the Treasure Coast who benefit each year from Mueller's dedication to her fellow man.

Name: Jeanette Mueller
Age: 58
Family: Husband, Larry; sons, Beau, 27, and Kyle, 22; daughter, Steffanie, 25.
Background: Graduate of Key West High School. Father was a U.S. Navy chief petty officer.
What most people don't know about me: "Probably that I do have a musical background. I sang in a girl's barbershop quartet that won many honors around the state."
Favorite holiday memory: "Christmas with family and all the preparation for the annual Christmas card photo. When our daughter was 15 we gave her a cell phone, wrapped as a present and placed under the tree. We then called the number as she was opening presents and she realized the phone was for her."

Fuel From The Sun


Solar power is now being generated on a huge scale in Indiantown at the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, the largest of three solar fields operated by Florida Power & Light. With 500 sprawling acres that provide space for 192,000 rotating mirrors, the solar plant creates steam for turbines at a natural gas plant, generating power whenever the sun is shining. The hybrid-solar thermal facility is the world's first tied to an existing natural gas plant. "The project continues to progress ahead of schedule," said Greg Brostowicz, lead media relations specialist for FPL, on a recent slow drive around the solar field. "The facility is producing electricity for our customers with free fuel from the sun, directly reducing fossil fuel usage, and right now we are fine-tuning the systems to optimize performance." Aside from the wind, the massive array of glass, steel and aluminum is eerily silent except for a "tink, tink, tink" every few minutes as the frames follow the sun across the sky. The mirrors were manufactured in Spain at the only kiln large enough to handle the job. The German-made pipes carry 700-degree fluid to heat water, making steam to power the turbines. The 7,100 steel pylons support 6,800 aluminum frames that hold the mirrors as they follow the sun from east to west. Lauren Engineers and Constructors from Abilene, Texas, supervised the project, which provided 1,100 jobs over two years. It was originally projected to cost $476 million, but FPL now estimates the price tag to be $400 million. As solar power's popularity worldwide has grown over the past three years, so has the volume of production, driving prices down. FPL estimates the plant will avoid the emission of 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gases that would have been produced from fossil fuels over its estimated 30-year lifespan. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that is the same as taking 18,700 vehicles off the road every year. Electricity for 11,000 homes will be added to the power grid now in use by the existing oil and natural gas plants on the site. "It's definitely an advantage to be right up against the existing infrastructure," says Brostowicz. FPL's DeSoto County solar field is in a rural area and the Brevard County voltaic cell solar project is under construction near Kennedy Space Center. When complete, the Indiantown plant will employ just a handful of people. FPL's goal is to spray every mirror down once a day using a truck to drive the 52 miles of aisles between the rows of 30-foot-tall shiny glass. At 75 megawatts, the Martin County plant is the largest thermal solar field outside of California. Adjacent land could be used for future expansion. When FPL's three plants are online, Florida will be the nation's second-largest supplier of utility-size solar power.

Created on 01/26/2011

Our Own South Beach


South Beach in Fort Pierce in the 1930s was a collection of ramshackle houses with a sole destination spot known as the Casino, where folks from the mainland came to gamble, drink, dance and swat mosquitoes.

Today, South Beach is almost heavily developed with the Ocean Village, Harbor Isles and condominium complexes surrounding single-family homes.

The place locals call South Beach runs from the Peter P. Cobb South Bridge north to the Fort Pierce Inlet and south to Ocean Village. South Beach is part of Hutchinson Island, a long island between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River that extends from the St. Lucie Inlet in Stuart north to a small pass near Queen's Cove on North Beach in Fort Pierce known as the Indian River Inlet. It was named Hutchinson Island, after James Hutchinson, who received a homestead from the Florida Spanish governor.

For years, the land was simply a stretch of uninterrupted beach but inhospitable terrain that deterred development. But that changed in 1927, with the creation of the Fort Pierce Inlet separating the island and providing a deep-water port for ocean-going vessels. Edwin Binney, inventor of the Crayola crayon, was instrumental in the financial efforts to build the Port of Fort Pierce and the new inlet.

In those early years, folks would travel by ferry and then later over a rickety wooden bridge to go to the beach and visit the Casino, just west of the present jetty at the end of Seaway Drive. It was a kind of beach bar where folks could clean up from the beach, have a drink and dance to the jukebox.

"From the time I was a little shaver my mother and father used to stop in for a drink and a dance," said Bill O'Dell, 82, one of the earliest residents of South Beach. "There were slot machines there in the 1930s. We would come by ferry to South Beach and land at Jaycee Park."

Eighty-year-old Fort Pierce native Spencer Gilbert, who has lived on South Beach for the last quarter century, also remembers trips to the casino as a child.

"When I was a boy I would play in the park in front of the Casino with my sister," Gilbert said. "There was nothing exciting about it, but it was the only place on South Beach."

That was until 1943, when the U.S. military invasion of South Beach in 1943 changed Fort Pierce forever, bringing 140,000 troops over three years to train for amphibious landings during World War II.

A gate was set up on Jan. 26, 1943, at the east end of the bridge to South Beach to bar civilians from the U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Center Fort Pierce. Barracks, a hospital and dozens of other facilities were built as soldiers trained for beach invasions while sharing tents with swarming mosquitoes.

"The coming of the military changed the lives of the people in Fort Pierce and the aspect of a small town," 83-year-old native Charles Kroghan said. "As your patriotic duty you were asked to rent out rooms. We were willing to accommodate these men, with wives and children, who were headed to the battlefront. We thought they were going to the Pacific and their days were numbered. It turned out most of them went to Normandy or the invasion of Italy."

"Our girls loved them," 80-year-old native H.B. Moore said. "The dances were once a week. A lot of those boys married Fort Pierce girls," he said.

As a teenager, Moore worked at a citrus packing plant with a refrigeration unit the Navy had secured for its use. "I wore my brother's Navy fatigues and the military guys used to take me to lunch in their landing craft," Moore said. "They smuggled me in like I was one of them. They took care of me because I took care of their food."

Moore was learning to fly with friends in J-3 Cubs and one day they decided to spiral down and buzz one of the landing crafts loaded with troops. "When we came back, they took our licenses. They told us if we did it again, they would shoot us down," he said.

Spencer Gilbert's father owned the Burston Hotel in Fort Pierce that was taken over by base commander Capt. Clarence Gulbranson. Gilbert remembers the commander asking his driver to take Gilbert for a ride around the base. "It was impressive," he said.

But it was not all fun and games for the troops who came through South Beach. Men died, but no one really knows how many.

"There were a lot of deaths that people didn't know about," said O'Dell. "I don't know how God himself could have lived there with the sand flies and mosquitoes. A Navy guard committed suicide. They used to run out and jump in the water. A hell of a lot of them went AWOL. They had the toughest training. They would drop them off with full packs and they would have to come to shore. We were fishing and one guy was yelling. He was going to drown. We rescued his butt," said O'Dell, who worked as a civilian during the base construction.

More than 3,500 underwater demolition divers trained on North Beach and they literally rocked Fort Pierce. "The whole town would shake from the explosions," Gilbert said.

There were many instances off the coast of German submarines attacking merchant ships. During one 48-hour period three ships were sunk off South Beach, including the Amazon.

"They made mattresses out of newspapers in the halls of the hospital on Seventh Street for the sailors who were covered in oil," O'Dell said. "I later found enough Maxwell coffee cans to last my family through the war."

The closing of the base after World War II was a classic case of dump and run.

"They put trucks and tanks on barges and barges and dumped them in the Gulfstream," South Beach resident and Fort Pierce Mayor Bob Benton said. "Tons and tons of Army hardware, hand grenades and bombs."

"When they decommissioned the base, the sailors would give us engines and a lot of stuff. I knew a guy who found a buried Jeep. He dug it out, cleaned it up and drove it around for years," said O'Dell. "Paint, ropes, ammo — they were all dumped out to sea in the Gulfstream. They didn't want it to get into civilian hands."

To this day, ordnance washes up on Hutchinson Island beaches several times a year after heavy surf.

Only one building built by the Navy on South Beach is left, the old Days Inn just west of the jetty. Now set for demolition, at the time it was the hospital with the best view in the area. The oldest building from before the war is just west of the old hospital on Seaway Drive. Also set for demolition, the two-story Mediterranean style building was converted into a dental clinic for the base.

The first estate on South Beach was built in the 1930s by an eccentric Ohio man named Eric Scwartz who kept a lion on the property. Because of DDT contamination, the house on Faber Cove was carefully dismantled with pieces of the unique construction integrated into the clubhouse for the 18-unit Coconut Cove Marina condominium community.

The Pelican Yacht Club was built with land bought from the Navy and donations from businesses. After extensive remodeling over the years, the club has become the second largest waterfront facility in St. Lucie County with the capacity to host large civic and social functions. Rebuilt after a 1988 fire, it has three dining rooms, a swimming pool and full-service marina.

While other barrier islands became known as luxury seaside resorts, South Beach is better known for its rustic charm, with places like Archie's Seabreeze, which originated in 1947 as a shack that sold beer and was later bought and expanded in the 1960s by Archie Summerlin. Today, the eclectic restaurant on State Road A1A still offers outside dining and music on the weekends.

Chuck and Elodie Tabor opened another landmark South Beach restaurant, Chuck's Seafood, in 1961. "It was about the only place you could get anything decent to eat," said Elodie Tabor McCready. "It was a bar and we kept the bar open. We served fresh fish and shrimp. People would come for lunch from the hospital in their uniforms. People came by boat and canoe. We had a bigger menu than anyone else. We really stayed busy."

Like much of the rest of Florida in the 1950s, the advent of air conditioning opened up South Beach for development. And people began to build houses. With the 1970s came the beginnings of the large Ocean Village development. In the 1980s, residents began to discover treasure from the 1715 Spanish Fleet that sank in a hurricane off the coast. The professional salvagers were soon in the water bringing up everything from precious stones to cannons to gold and silver coins. Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties have since been referred to as the Treasure Coast.

"We found 5,000 silver coins in two days," said treasure salver George Biggles. "We were pulling them up by the sandbags. We didn't have metal detectors then. We found a lot more back then than we do now. Beach renourishment has covered a lot of it up. These wrecks have been worked, he said. One wreck from 1815 lies due east of Archie's Seabreeze restaurant while another from the 1715 hurricane is a couple of miles south of Ocean Village, Biggles said.

The biggest change to South Beach has come with the construction of the 864-unit condominium complex Harbour Isle.

Even with its development, South Beach has been transformed from a haven for mosquitoes to a quiet, peaceful waterfront community. "I would call it paradise," Mayor Benton said.

South Beach at a Glance
Boundaries are from the east end of the South (P.P. Cobb) Bridge to the Atlantic Ocean, south to Ocean Village and west to the Indian River.

Two square miles are within the city limits of Fort Pierce

Home to:
A U.S. Coast Guard Station
900 single-family homes
180 duplexes
68 multi-family buildings
11 restaurants
More than two dozen businesses
Five parks

St. Lucie County Historical Museum
St. Lucie County Marine Center/Smithsonian Marine
Ecosystem Exhibit

Approximate population: 4,145

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