Aerial views of the Port of Fort Pierce from 1937

A coastal freighter docks at the port of Fort Pierce in May 1937. The years before World War II were the heyday of the port, which was kept busy shipping citrus products to East Coast cities. City and county officials met recently with a consultant to discuss options about revitalizing the port, which has been underused for many years. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO FROM CROOKS FARMS)

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Football: Fort Pierce Central impressive in spring victory | Social media

FORT PIERCE — Fort Pierce Central High School quarterback Jake Celidonio showed the kind of improvement Thursday night that Cobras coaches expected him to make.

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Fort Pierce Police Officer Keith Holmes recounts beach rescue

FORT PIERCE, Fla–  On July 1, 2014, Officer Keith Holmes, Deputy Shawn Kane and USCG Wesley Samosuk were dispatched to the Fort Pierce Inlet.  NewsChannel 5’s cameras had captured the unbelievable rescue as it unfolded. 

Five girls had been out surfing when they were suddenly swept out to a rocky jetty.  A tropical storm was rolling in. The waves were churning, slamming against the barnacle-covered rocks and spraying the water against the powerful wind.  A bystander on the jetty just to the south had heard their cries for help and dialed 911. 

Holmes, Kane and Samosuk raced to the site in a boat.

“The currents were bad,” explained Holmes.

Holmes leapt into the water with a rope and lifesaver in hand.  He had to physically pull each girl to the boat against the currents and waves.

“It was actually pretty hard for the actual operator of the boat to get close enough for me to actually get off to the rocks.  And then they had to pull off,” he explained.

The girlfriends, now all 13 and 14-years-old, credit Holmes and the other officers for saving their lives.

“I just remember thinking, I don’t know what we’re going to do, I didn’t know help was coming,” explained Margaux Schiffeleers.

“We were all, like, bleeding, and we had cuts all over,” said Isabella Patrick.

“He physically had to jump in the water and come to us one by one.  Go back, go out, and back like out in the boat to us,” said Alex Jugenheimer.

“He is like, literally our hero,” said Jasmine Murray.

Officer Holmes says it feels nice to be thanked, and he’s appreciated the warm response from the girls’ families.

“We are out here to do a job, and that’s part of our job.  If we weren’t out here, they probably would have died,” he said.

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Fort Pierce teacher arrested for pulling student’s hair

An hour’s drive from Oahu’s famous and often-crowded Waikiki Beach is a local’s delight.

With miles of white sand and turquoise waters perfect for swimming, body boarding and sailing, Hawaii’s Waimanalo Bay Beach Park topped Dr. Beach’s 25th annual top 10 list of U.S. beaches.

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Garden Club of Ft. Pierce Awards Two Scholarships

FORT PIERCE — Two researchers have been awarded scholarships by the Garden Club of Fort Pierce this year.

Congratulations to Cristina Pisani and Anita Neal.

Pisani is pursuing her Ph.D. at the U. of Florida focusing on the emerging disease, Laurel Wilt, that is threatening the avocado industry in Florida.

She is developing a screening process to identify resistant cultivars.

Neal continues her studies of the cold tolerance of the Sri Lankan Weevil. She anticipates completion of her Doctorate Program at the University of Florida in 2016. Both candidates will be providing significant horticultural information for our area. Many thanks to the Treasure Coast Newspapers for helping publicize the fundraisers held by the Garden Club this year.

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Fort Pierce teacher charged with child abuse

FORT PIERCE — A 59-year-old elementary school teacher accused of pulling the hair of an unruly student during an argument has been charged with child abuse, according to an arrest affidavit.

Teacher Avril Nesmith, of Fort Pierce, was removed from the classroom at Lawnwood Elementary School. The St. Lucie County School District declined to comment, citing the police investigation. Nesmith is out of the county jail under a $30,000 bail.

She was arrested Tuesday after Principal D’Jion Jackson-Harris told officers of getting a child abuse complaint at the end of the school day Monday.

Another teacher, who witnessed the incident, told police that Nesmith argued with a student Monday who had “returned to …(a) classroom without permission after stealing candy.”

Nesmith and the student became verbally aggressive toward each other and “in the heat of the moment … Nesmith grabbed the student by her hair and pulled her toward her.”

As the student walked away, the other teacher quoted Nesmith as saying, “You messed with the wrong teacher,” the affidavit states.

The student started to go toward Nesmith, but stopped when told to halt.

School officials haven’t disclosed whether any disciplinary action is being taken against the student.

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Traffic stop in Fort Pierce nets cache of drugs, cash

FORT PIERCE — A late-night routine traffic stop for improperly turning right on red led to police finding a load of street drugs, a stolen pistol, cash and a felon whose license was revoked for fleeing from a police officer, according to an arrest affidavit.

Driver Tantalus Toussaint, 34, of the 2500 block of Avenue R, Fort Pierce, is being held in the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of a $123,700 bail on seven felony charges including possession of a firearm by a felon.

The arrest comes as both police and sheriff’s deputies have been increasing street patrols to curb crime, including ongoing gunfire and drug dealing.

According to court records, Toussaint was previously convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon, grand theft and sale of marijuana. He was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer and giving a false name to a pawnbroker.

In the car that police stopped at 11 p.m. Monday, was a gun near the driver’s seat, $1,436 in cash and an assortment of illegal drugs. There were 34 small bags of marijuana in a black briefcase, 33 pieces of crack cocaine, 19 hydromorphone pills and 84 tramadol pills. Tramadol is a narcotic-like pain reliever.

Also in the car was a scale, which police officials said usually is for weighing drugs.

The pistol was reported stolen May 10 from a car parked at a boxing academy in Vero Beach, a police report shows. The car’s owner discovered the pistol missing after returning to the car and finding that the two strangers he gave a ride to from Fort Pierce were gone.

Toussaint’s arrest Monday started when a police officer saw a car turn south on U.S. 1, from Virginia Avenue, where a sign says no right turn on red, the affidavit states. A check of Toussaint’s driving record showed that his license had been twice been revoked, the first time for failing to pay financial obligations from 2007 to 2014.

According to the arrest affidavit, his occupation is unknown.

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Woman injured in Fort Pierce shooting

A 19-year-old woman was shot Saturday in Fort Pierce, police said.

The woman was found with a gunshot wound on North 29th Street. She was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

No one has been arrested.

Police are investigating the shooting.

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2 Fort Pierce shootings teens blamed on violence turn out to be self-inflicted …

FORT PIERCE — This month, two teens accidentally shot themselves in separate incidents while handling guns, according to recently released police documents.

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Fort Pierce named worst city in Florida

A city ranking blog has named Ft. Pierce the worst city in Florida, but critics are questioning the credibility of the list and the website it appears on.

Click here to watch report claims they used “scientific analysis” of various statistics, including unemployment and crime, to rank the worst, avoid-at-all-cost cities in Florida.

Ft. Pierce earned the top spot on the list because of crime, a high unemployment rate, and low teacher-to-student ratio, according to the website. called Ft. Pierce a “sunny town where it’s dangerous.”

Ft. Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson told WPBF 25 News the bloggers used old data that shows a narrow, inaccurate picture of the city.

“One of the curses of the Internet is that somebody can put something out there and it can be seen as truth and based on fact,” Hudson said.

Online commenters have called the list ridiculous, false and ignorant.

“Ft. Pierce is a beautiful place with beautiful beaches,” Hudson said. “[The bloggers] have not been here.”

Hudson admitted parts of Ft. Pierce have had a fair share of challenges, including crime and shootings, but the city does not belong on a worst of the worst list and is on an upswing.

Ft. Pierce was recently called a small town gem with one of the country’s most idyllic and historic main streets by USA Today.

The 10 worst places to live in Florida

1 of 13

The website HomeSnacks has published a new report determining the worst places to live in Florida. See which city makes number one on their list in this slideshow.

Gallery Endcap

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