Fort Pierce police are investigating a violent robbery

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – A shooting is under investigation by the Fort Pierce Police.

Officers say that just after 9:30 p-m, they were called to the 1600 Block of North 29th Street.

They say a 22-year-old city resident was found and taken to a medical facility for a gunshot wound.

Police say that a preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was robbed with a firearm while inside his vehicle at the 1600 Block of North 29th Street.

Police are asking the community’s help solving this case. If you have any information please contact Detective Diego Palacio at 772-467-6888.

Tipsters who want to remain anonymous can call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-8477.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/fort-pierce-police-are-investigating-a-violent-robbery

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Football: Fort Pierce Central, Westwood both hungry for win in Showdown 35 | Poll

FORT PIERCE — The first thing Fort Pierce Central High School football players see when they walk into coach Josh Shaffer’s office is a visual reminder that the number one goal is beating their rivals.

Sitting atop a filing cabinet just a few feet from the door is the Sunrise City Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Central-Fort Pierce Westwood game — better known as the Showdown.

Showdown 35 is 7 p.m. Friday at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. Central has dominated the past three games in the series, outscoring Westwood by a combined score of 146-0.

“Anytime we play them, it’s big,” Shaffer said. “It’s a rival team and winning those games is part of our goals. Regardless of what happened last year, we have to compete and put our best effort forward to win.

“These are the kids they played together with in Pop Warner growing up. They want to win and compete and put forth a good effort in front of Fort Pierce (Westwood).”

Both Central and Westwood are coming off losses in the Kickoff Classic. Central allowed three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and fell to Royal Palm Beach 35-28 and Westwood lost to Forest Hill 37-0.

Westwood coach John Lima said the Panthers properly executed only one offensive play against Forest Hill, so the emphasis in practice this week is internal — not external.

“We have a lot of things we have to focus on with ourselves before we can focus on Central,” Lima said. “I can’t worry about what people think or people expect. The only thing I can focus on is the coaches and players I work with and get them prepared as best we can.”

Central had won nine consecutive Kickoff Classics before this season. After only losing five games in his first three seasons, Shaffer said starting off his fourth with a loss — albeit one that doesn’t count in the standings — could be a blessing in disguise.

“I think this team is going to be much more hungry,” Shaffer said. “They’ve already lost one. Now, we’re going to go back to hunting down opponents instead of waiting to be hunted. That’s helped us in the past — when we were the one seeking out opponents.”

Week 1: Fort Pierce Central vs. Fort Pierce Westwood

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/football-fort-pierce-central-westwood-both-hungry-for-win-in-showdown-35_81331856

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FORT PIERCE — Fort Pierce City Commissioner Tom Perona may be facing …

FORT PIERCE — Fort Pierce City Commissioner Tom Perona may be facing challenger Mazella Smith for his seat in the District 2 race, but they have found common ground in opposing a proposed high-speed passenger train linking Miami to Orlando.

Florida East Coast Industries is proposing to build All Aboard Florida, a 235-mile passenger-rail service, linking Orlando to Miami, with 32 trains a day passing through the Treasure Coast without stopping.

“If you look at Indian River Drive, specifically the area at Savannah Road, there isn’t a direct way for people who live there to get out. They will be blocked by the train. That’s unacceptable,” Perona said.

Smith said she is concerned vehicle traffic could increase on side streets, such as A.E. Backus Avenue and the Citrus Avenue overpass, because motorists would find ways to avoid getting stuck at the train tracks.

“That would create other problems for the city because now we would have to devote more resources to improving those streets to handle traffic volume, it was never meant to handle,” Smith said.

Currently, the county’s Transportation Planning Organization graded both roads a “B” for adequately handling traffic.

However, both Perona and Smith said they aren’t sure what power city officials have to stop the train from rolling.

Perona, however, continues to hope a stop will be placed in the Sunrise City.

“Fort Pierce is the most centralized location on the Treasure Coast when you are considering a stop,” said, Perona, who represents the city on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. “If we can’t 100 percent stop it, then we may get some economic benefit out of it in the future.”

Smith said she would like to see an economic benefit but safety concerns must first be addressed.

“We have to make sure the intersections near the train tracks won’t provide a threat to the public,” she said.

Perona and Smith aren’t strangers to each other. Perona, in 2010, accused Smith of participating in a scheme to bribe him, which she denied. Former City Manager David Recor fired Smith because of the allegation. However, in 2012, Smith filed lawsuits against Perona individually and the city about her termination. The lawsuits were settled June 30 in exchange for the city paying Smith $34,128 for sick leave she accrued from 20 years of service.

Registered Fort Pierce voters will go to the polls Nov. 4. The winner serves a four-year term, starting Dec. 1, and receives a $23,000 annual salary.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/franchise/shaping-our-future/our-roads/opponents-in-fort-pierce-city-commission-race-find-common-ground_34607056

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Fort Pierce neighborhood focus of ‘Common Good Initiative’

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Article source: http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2014/08/28/fort-pierce-neighborhood-focus-of-common-good-initiative-a-549535.html

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Football: Central shuts out Westwood in Showdown

FORT PIERCE — Fort Pierce Central first-year quarterback Jake Celidonio fired three touchdown passes and rushed for another on the final play of the first half as the Cobras zipped past Fort Pierce Westwood 51-0 to win Showdown 35 on Friday night at Calvin R. Triplett Field at Lawnwood Stadium.

“It’s fun all the time (to win) no matter who you’re playing, but this is a rivalry game,” Central head coach Josh Shaffer said.

Celidonio, a junior transfer from John Carroll Catholic, looked sharp in an impressive showing in his first start.

He fired first-quarter strikes to Antonio Hadden and Mike McInnis, from five and 23 yards, respectively, as the Cobras (1-0) rebounded from last week’s Kickoff Classic loss by putting early pressure on their crosstown rivals.

The Cobras, who lead the series 19-16 and have claimed four consecutive wins, scored three touchdowns in the final 3:29 of the half.

Hadden registered his second touchdown on a short run before defensive end Cecil Rolle, in pass coverage, intercepted a pass by Westwood quarterback Raheem Lewis in the flats and returned it 37 yards. Celidonio ended a 10-play, 66-yard drive, which included two fourth-down conversions, by plunging in from two yards out on the half’s final play and a 37-0 advantage.

“This is a good first game, and there were some things I liked. We got some turnovers,” Shaffer said. “I’m happy to see the kids find success again after coming up short last week.”

Celidonio finished 13 of 21 passing for 150 yards for the three touchdowns. Martavis Brown and Jawan Boswell added scores in the final quarter.

Westwood struggled to move the ball offensively and recorded only four first downs. Head coach John Lima said his team is behind offensively and needs more reps to improve.

“We had a horrible first two weeks of practice but a good week this last week,” Lima said. “The problems we’re having are all self-made. We’re having bad snaps, and timing is off. … We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Twitter: @BillWhiteheadFL

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/football-central-shuts-out-westwood-in-showdown_41972671

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Opponents in Fort Pierce City Commission race find common ground

FORT PIERCE — Fort Pierce City Commissioner Tom Perona may be facing challenger Mazella Smith for his seat in the District 2 race, but they have found common ground in opposing a proposed high-speed passenger train linking Miami to Orlando.

Florida East Coast Industries is proposing to build All Aboard Florida, a 235-mile passenger-rail service, linking Orlando to Miami, with 32 trains a day passing through the Treasure Coast without stopping.

“If you look at Indian River Drive, specifically the area at Savannah Road, there isn’t a direct way for people who live there to get out. They will be blocked by the train. That’s unacceptable,” Perona said.

Smith said she is concerned vehicle traffic could increase on side streets, such as A.E. Backus Avenue and the Citrus Avenue overpass, because motorists would find ways to avoid getting stuck at the train tracks.

“That would create other problems for the city because now we would have to devote more resources to improving those streets to handle traffic volume, it was never meant to handle,” Smith said.

Currently, the county’s Transportation Planning Organization graded both roads a “B” for adequately handling traffic.

However, both Perona and Smith said they aren’t sure what power city officials have to stop the train from rolling.

Perona, however, continues to hope a stop will be placed in the Sunrise City.

“Fort Pierce is the most centralized location on the Treasure Coast when you are considering a stop,” said, Perona, who represents the city on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. “If we can’t 100 percent stop it, then we may get some economic benefit out of it in the future.”

Smith said she would like to see an economic benefit but safety concerns must first be addressed.

“We have to make sure the intersections near the train tracks won’t provide a threat to the public,” she said.

Perona and Smith aren’t strangers to each other. Perona, in 2010, accused Smith of participating in a scheme to bribe him, which she denied. Former City Manager David Recor fired Smith because of the allegation. However, in 2012, Smith filed lawsuits against Perona individually and the city about her termination. The lawsuits were settled June 30 in exchange for the city paying Smith $34,128 for sick leave she accrued from 20 years of service.

Registered Fort Pierce voters will go to the polls Nov. 4. The winner serves a four-year term, starting Dec. 1, and receives a $23,000 annual salary.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/franchise/shaping-our-future/our-roads/opponents-in-fort-pierce-city-commission-race-find-common-ground_34607056

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Follow Friday night football with PrepZone

FORT PIERCE — The first thing Fort Pierce Central High School football players see when they walk into coach Josh Shaffer’s office is a visual reminder that the number one goal is beating their rivals.

Sitting atop a filing cabinet just a few feet from the door is the Sunrise City Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Central-Fort Pierce Westwood game — better known as the Showdown.

Showdown 35 is 7 p.m. Friday at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. Central has dominated the past three games in the series, outscoring Westwood by a combined score of 146-0.

“Anytime we play them, it’s big,” Shaffer said. “It’s a rival team and winning those games is part of our goals. Regardless of what happened last year, we have to compete and put our best effort forward to win.

“These are the kids they played together with in Pop Warner growing up. They want to win and compete and put forth a good effort in front of Fort Pierce (Westwood).”

Both Central and Westwood are coming off losses in the Kickoff Classic. Central allowed three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and fell to Royal Palm Beach 35-28 and Westwood lost to Forest Hill 37-0.

Westwood coach John Lima said the Panthers properly executed only one offensive play against Forest Hill, so the emphasis in practice this week is internal — not external.

“We have a lot of things we have to focus on with ourselves before we can focus on Central,” Lima said. “I can’t worry about what people think or people expect. The only thing I can focus on is the coaches and players I work with and get them prepared as best we can.”

Central had won nine consecutive Kickoff Classics before this season. After only losing five games in his first three seasons, Shaffer said starting off his fourth with a loss — albeit one that doesn’t count in the standings — could be a blessing in disguise.

“I think this team is going to be much more hungry,” Shaffer said. “They’ve already lost one. Now, we’re going to go back to hunting down opponents instead of waiting to be hunted. That’s helped us in the past — when we were the one seeking out opponents.”

Week 1: Fort Pierce Central vs. Fort Pierce Westwood

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/football-fort-pierce-central-westwood-both-hungry-for-win-in-showdown-35_81331856

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Fort Pierce neighborhood focus of ‘Common Good Initiative’

FORT PIERCE — A Catholic-based charity is committing up to $4 million to community improvements in northwest Fort Pierce over the next five to seven years, but only if the community gets involved in deciding those improvements.

“It appears the community is willing and excited about it,” said Shabazz-Phillips, a regional vice president of Allegany Franciscan Ministries of South Florida.

The city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood is the target of the ministries’ new Common Good Initiative in South Florida “because it had a clear identity and showed a readiness to change,” Shabazz-Phillips said.

The area of focus is Orange Avenue to the south and Avenue Q to the north. Martin Luther King Boulevard splits the area in half.

Now her organization is talking with community groups about what they want done.

A public town hall meeting is being planned for late September to urge community involvement in formulating what Common Good will do. A date is not final.

“(We) don’t have preconceived notions about what we will fund or invest (in Fort Pierce),” she said on Aug. 20 in Fort Pierce during a presentation to 60 representatives of nonprofit groups and community leaders who may play a role in what is done.

A similar community initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in other parts of the United States led to a medical clinic for the uninsured, a center for introducing youth to job opportunities, preschool education and medical technicians going into homes.

Shabazz-Phillips said those sorts of things could be done in Fort Pierce.

Common Good strives to foment citizen involvement through neighborhood activities that help the community.

Lincoln Park has been on edge.

Last year, repeated gunfire and shootings caused a community outcry and a Restore the Village movement in the area.

It’s the same part of the city where police and others are beginning to integrate a nationally tested anti-gang plan for steering youth and young men away from crime. That Restore the Village plan includes social intervention in a community with low income and low educational levels, according to U.S. Census figures.

Allegany Franciscan Ministries’ efforts “could complement (the anti-gang initiative),” said Police Chief Sean Baldwin.

State Rep. Larry Lee Jr. said the convergence of the efforts is unprecedented.

Lincoln Park faces “some heavy objects that need to be lifted together and together we can and will make a difference,” said Lee, who is a leader in Restore the Village.

This fall the city expects to learn if its gets a federal grant to bolster plans done in conjunction with groups Common Good also is working with, including the county health department and the Executive Roundtable of St. Lucie County that sets priorities for social service spending, especially on youths.

An Allegany Franciscan Ministries commissioner is the public health department’s public information officer, Arlease Hall. The Executive Roundtable is starting to develop a new long-range plan and its new executive director, Shaniek Maynard, is a Fort Pierce native whose brother was fatally shot in the city. Her mother, Donna Mills, serves on the St. Lucie County School Board and is following the Common Good Initiative.

“We’re excited to partner with others who care about Lincoln Park to create a healthier, safer and more prosperous place in which our most vulnerable residents can live, learn work and play,” Shabazz-Phillips said.

Common Good may set up an office in Fort Pierce to help monitor what is done. Initially it will start out small, and expand initiatives as time goes on.

Both she and people involved with the anti-gang initiative acknowledge that change will take many years.

“We recognize that systematic community change often takes decades” she said.

LINCOLN PARK

A 2 1/2-square-mile residential area in northwest Fort Pierce that has had disproportionate low income, education and crime. Its origins date back to the late 1800s and racial segregation.

Population: 9,961

Per capita income: $9,555 (It’s $23,062 throughout St. Lucie County)

Families with incomes in excess of $75,000: 7.34 percent (It’s 42.58 percent nationally).

Children in poverty: 2,281 of 3,265 children, which is three times the national average.

Lacking high school diplomas: 40.1 percent (14.2 percent nationally)

People without health insurance: 30.5 percent.

SOURCE: U.S. Census and the Fort Pierce Housing Authority.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/fort-pierce-neighborhood-focus-of-common-good-initiative_27463701

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal Academy unveils upper school campus

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – A new high school on the Treasure Coast plans to take advantage of its natural environment by offering something new.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Academy unveiled its new upper school campus on the riverfront in downtown Fort Pierce Wednesday.

The school took over an old law firm and is remodeling it to create classrooms and laboratories.

The curriculum will focus on the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.

“This is the first time we have a high school built and designed to do authentic research and our research will be based on the lagoon and the river,” said St. Andrew’s Head of Schools, Trina Angelone.

 The school is already creating partnerships with the Smithsonian and other area environmental groups.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/st-andrews-episcopal-academy-unveils-upper-school-campus

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Fort Pierce man charged with assault in driveway incident

FORT PIERCE — A Fort Pierce man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly pulled a gun on a man who had blocked in his vehicle on a driveway.

Gary Gapinski, 59, who lives in the 2700 block of Twin Oaks Trail, was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, according to a Fort Pierce police arrest affidavit. He was released from the St. Lucie County Jail after posting a $3,750 bond.

Gapinski left his office in the 900 block of Seaway Drive at about 5 p.m. and found a vehicle blocking his way, according to the arrest affidavit. He asked his secretary to call the real estate office that occupies the other half of the building and find the driver, it said.

A real estate employee told her they had directed a client to park in the driveway and then asked that man to move his vehicle. When he got to the driveway, Gapinski allegedly pulled a gun from his vehicle and aimed it at the man’s face, telling him he would shoot out his tires next time.

Police went to Gapinski’s home, arrested him and seized the gun, a .40-caliber Glock 27. Gapinski told officers he had a license to carry the weapon, the affidavit said.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/crime/fort-pierce-man-charged-with-assault-in-driveway-incident_70556106

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