Jury finds Ashlyn Salomon guilty of second-degree murder of neighbor in Fort Pierce

FORT PIERCE – Ashlyn Salomon’s claim of self-defense in a fatal shooting was rejected Friday by a Circuit Court jury, which found him guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm.

Salomon, 26, fatally shot neighbor Jonathan Maciel, 34, after the two men scuffled at dusk on the evening of Aug. 23, 2016, outside their apartments in the 2900 block of Avenue D.

Salomon had been the first Treasure Coast defendant to test Florida’s new Stand Your Ground law that made it easier for defendants to successfully claim they were protecting themselves when they commit violence.

More: More details emerge on fatal shooting in Fort Pierce

Though Florida enacted in June a new Stand Your Ground law that shifts the burden of proof in pretrial hearings from defendants to prosecutors to prove whether force was used lawfully, there is disagreement in the courts whether it should be applied retroactively.

Before rejecting the Stand Your Ground argument in a ruling in November, Circuit Judge Steven Levin allowed Salomon’s attorney, Lance Richard of Stuart, to argue for dismissal under both versions of the law.

After six days of evidence and testimony, the jury of four women and two men deliberated more than five hours over two days to find Salomon guilty as charged.

“I’m glad the jury was able to look at all the facts,” said Assistant State Attorney Bernard Romero.

More: Port St. Lucie man charged with second-degree murder after shooting in Fort Pierce

Richard said he thinks there are issues for appeal in both the trial and the Stand Your Ground hearing.

Salomon faces a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence for using a firearm and up to life in prison from Levin, who set sentencing for Feb. 22.

Salomon had told Fort Pierce police, and reiterated during testimony at trial, that he was on break at his job at a nearby Walmart when his girlfriend called him because there was an argument between her mother and Maciel over another woman.

When Salomon arrived minutes later, he and Maciel briefly scuffled before Maciel dashed into his apartment.

Salomon, who had a concealed weapons permit, said he feared for his life because Maciel had boasted previously about owning guns, so he retreated to his car, where he had his gun holstered.

He said he opened fire as Maciel walked toward him with one hand behind his back, as though hiding a weapon.

“The only person who saw Mr. Maciel walking in that awkward, silly manner was the defendant,” Romero said. “Even from those who loved and cared about him (Salomon) had a contrary view.”

Romero also noted Salomon appeared to contradict himself in his interview with Fort Pierce detectives when he told them he had the only firearm.

Maciel was shot seven times, mostly in his back as he fled Salomon, who fired 17 shots, emptying his magazine.

Jurors had to sort through conflicting testimony from use-of-force experts presented by each side.

They were not allowed to give an opinion on whether the shooting was justified, but Fort Pierce Police Sgt. Don Christman and Port Salerno-based Dennis Root, a former Martin County Sheriff’s deputy, gave their analysis of the circumstances.

 

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2018/01/22/jury-finds-ashlyn-salomon-guilty-second-degree-murder-neighbor-fort-pierce/1054993001/

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Fort Pierce hosts job fair Jan. 31

Learn how to contact your Fort Pierce City Commissioners.
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Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/2018/01/22/fort-pierce-hosts-job-fair-jan-31/1054429001/

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LATEST: Infections concern doctors of badly burned Fort Pierce girl

“Well, with good news comes bad news too,” according to a post by Leigh Ann Wirz Chesney, Layne’s mother, on the Prayers for Layne Chesney Facebook page. “The doctor just informed me we were beginning to get into trouble with Layne’s infections. Her white blood cell count keeps climbing. He will be consulting other physicians at different hospitals to get help in battling these life threatening infections. Please pray that doctors can find a way to keep her here with us.

Article source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/local/latest-infections-concern-doctors-badly-burned-fort-pierce-girl/m39rKRCjL7dziTdElfc3SK/

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Can Fort Pierce offer Vero Beach lesson on old power plant site?

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Fort Pierce officials would like to partner with a developer to build a hotel on the 8-acre site of the former H.D. King Power Plant in the heart of downtown. KEONA GARDNER/TCPALM
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Lord only knows how many times I’ve driven past the empty lot that was Fort Pierce’s power plant until 2008.

It’s a picturesque 7-acre site downtown just across Indian River Drive from the Indian River Lagoon, city marina and waterfront park.

Several developers have unsuccessfully proposed projects for the site over the years so it remains vacant. On Wednesday, city officials reviewed developer proposals for the property, including one from Indian River County’s Keith Kite.

Why care what Fort Pierce is doing on the site of its old power plant? The proposals offer a glimpse into what could happen to the site of Vero Beach’s power plant on the northeast corner of 17th Street and Indian River Boulevard.

Vero Beach Mayor Harry Howle knows what he doesn’t want. He rattled a few chains last month when he gave his two cents to TCPalm reporter Colleen Wixon.

“I’m not ready to say what I do want to see,” Howle said. “What I don’t want to see is another park. We have 42 parks in the county. I think we’re pretty good on parks.”

MORE: Envision a new future for three corners in Vero Beach

Who, beside Howle, wouldn’t want to see a huge park running from the power plant south to the city’s sewer plant, which eventually could be razed? The reality is the city might not be able to afford such a massive park. But that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t have access to the lagoon.

Vero Beach’s old power plant sits on 17 acres. Take a walk on the north side of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge, look down and you’ll see how massive the site looks.

In reality, it’s more than twice the size of Fort Pierce’s site. That means, theoretically, any project proposed in Fort Pierce could fit on seven acres adjacent to Indian River Boulevard in Vero Beach, leaving 10 acres for public use along the lagoon.

Three developers are bullish about the Fort Pierce site. Kite, who has developed several hotels including the attractive Hampton Inn near Vero Beach’s Miracle Mile, has the most conservative idea.

He plans a four-story, 100-bed quality brand-name hotel. It would have meeting rooms to seat up to 250 people, 150 more than the Hampton Inn in Vero Beach.

Other buildings would include high-quality restaurants and shops in a village-type atmosphere. The plan would extend the city’s waterfront park west along a canal and south to a large area for community gatherings.

Ultimately, Kite said, King Station (namesake of the former power plant) potentially could connect to a stop for Brightline passenger train service running from Miami to Orlando.

But Kite’s project might not be bodacious enough for some city officials who want to pack downtown with people.

The Framework Group of Tampa proposes a three-story, 200-unit apartment complex; six-story, 120-room hotel; conference center; coffee shop; restaurant and a four-level parking garage.

Redevelopment Management Associates of Pompano Beach proposes a craft brewery with dining on the north side of the property near Moore’s Creek, an 84-room hotel, about 95 apartments facing east toward the marina, 40 town homes along Second Street and a parking garage with a rooftop pool.

I’m not pitching any of these projects for Vero Beach. At least one would require a referendum asking city residents for permission to exceed building height limits. But the proposals should give locals an idea of what could be done.

Vero Beach officials should follow the process closely in Fort Pierce. Will the city lease land to developers or will they sell it? Will there be some kind of partnership?

MORE: Your ideas key to what happens at Three Corners

Regardless of the interest in the property and proposals, there will be a lot of details to be hammered out before any decision is made, perhaps as early as April.

Vero Beach has been discussing what to do with the property at the power plant, sewer and old postal annex across the street for more than two years. Thankfully, the city rejected the idea of putting a gasoline station where the postal annex was.

Lord only knows how long it will take Vero Beach to come up with a plausible plan. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as Fort Pierce has waited.

This column reflects the opinion of Laurence Reisman. Contact him via email at larry.reisman@tcpalm.com, phone at 772-978-2223, Facebook.com/larryreisman or Twitter @LaurenceReisman.

Have an idea?

What do you think should happen with the old power plant site in Vero Beach? Email Tammy Vock, Vero Beach’s clerk, at cityclrk@covb.org.

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/laurence-reisman/2018/01/19/can-fort-pierce-offer-lesson-what-do-vero-power-plant-site-laurence-reisman/1042190001/

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Martin County, Fort Pierce Central boys combine for 24 3-point goals

A District 8-9A boys basketball game turned into an impromptu 3-point shooting contest Saturday night.

Martin County and Fort Pierce Central combined for 24 3-point goals in the Tigers’ 90-83 win in Fort Pierce.

Martin County (13-5, 2-3 district) had 14 treys to Fort Pierce Central’s 10 and finished with 53 second-half points to overcome a 43-37 halftime deficit.

Matt Davis had six 3-point goals and finished with a season-high 34 points. Jero Brown added 18 and Jordan Kitchen had 15 for the Tigers, who have won four consecutive games.

Darvion Blackshear hit five 3-pointers and finished with 29 points and four rebounds for Fort Pierce Central (13-6, 2-3).

EARLIER STORY: Fort Pierce Central boys top rival Westwood for 3rd straight win

Vincent Ventulan added 20 points and five assists while Malik Lindsey had 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks for the Cobras.

Dylan Torello had 10 points and five rebounds. He also drew three charging fouls.

Fort Pierce Central plays Tuesday at Treasure Coast.

Covenant Christian 63, Morningside Academy 33 (Friday): The Lions won a District 6-2A game at Palm Bay.

Covenant Christian is 7-5, 5-3 district. Morningside is 6-12, 5-7.

Florida Prep Academy 120, St. Andrew’s Episcopal 11 (Friday): The Falcons (16-4) won a District 6-2A game in Melbourne.

St. Andrew’s is 0-11, 0-9 district.

Girls basketball

Lincoln Park Academy 49, Suncoast 30: Leroyeisha Thomas had a double-double with 11 points, 10 assists and six steals as the Greyhounds finished 6-0 in District 15-6A.

Christen McCann had 17 points, four steals and two assists for Lincoln Park (16-5), which will be the top seed in next month’s district tournament.

Deborah Reese had 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals.

Jamia Moore scored 11 points for Suncoast (7-9, 3-2).

More: Lincoln Park Academy gets 23 points from Christen McCann, wins opener vs. Sebastian River

Berean Christian 60, John Carroll Catholic 52 (Friday): Jenna Brannon scored a game-high 22 points as the Bulldogs won at West Palm Beach.

Zoe Baumeier had 15 points and Rachel Perez scored 10 for Berean Christian.

Madison Miller had 17 points, six rebounds and five steals for John Carroll (9-7). CeCe Altenor had 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals.

Latoya Tanelus grabbed eight rebounds and Cami Bates had seven points and three assists.

John Carroll hosts Westminster Academy at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Vero Beach 50, Martin County 47 (Friday): Kiara Smith had 22 points, seven steals, six rebounds and three assists in the Tigers’ District 8-9A loss in Stuart.

Vero Beach is 9-6, 4-3 district. Martin County is 4-12, 1-6.

Highlands Christian 53, St. Edward’s 37 (Friday): Ciara Huntley scored 16 points and Bianca Francis had 12 to lead the Knights (9-8) at Pompano Beach.

St. Edward’s (5-6) has lost three consecutive games.

Boys soccer

Master’s Academy (Oviedo) 3, St. Edward’s 2: Master’s won the Sunshine State Athletic Conference championship on the seventh round of a penalty kick shootout at Central Florida Christian Academy in Orlando.

Juan Torres and Allan Ross scored the goals for St. Edward’s (11-3-1). Will Sternberg had one assist and Britt Reisman made nine saves.

Girls soccer

Jupiter 3, South Fork 0 (Friday): Kaylee Magruder made 18 saves in the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale at Jupiter.

South Fork is 14-2.

Summaries

BOYS BASKETBALL

MARTIN COUNTY 90,
FORT PIERCE CENTRAL 83

Martin County: Brown 6 2-3 18, Solomon 1 0-4 2, Rohe 0 2-2 2, Davis 12 4-4 34, Garcia 1 0-0 2, Johnson 3 2-4 9, Charles 1 1-2 3, Klaus 2 1-2 5, Kitchen 5 2-4 15. Totals 31 14-24 90.

Fort Pierce Central: Dotson 1 0-2 2, Ventulan 7 3-4 20, Pierre-Louis 3 0-1 7, Paul 1 0-0 2, Lindsey 5 2-4 12, Kelly 0 1-2 1, Torello 4 1-5 10, Blackshear 8 8-9 29. Totals 31 15-26 83.

Martin County    24    13    27    26—90

Fort Pierce Central    23    20    17    23—83

3-point goals: Martin County 14 (Davis 6, Brown 4, Kitchen 3, Johnson 1), Fort Pierce Central 10 (Blackshear 5, Ventulan 3, Pierre-Louis 1, Torello 1). Records: Martin County 13-5, Fort Pierce Central 13-6.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

LINCOLN PARK ACADEMY 49,
SUNCOAST 30

Lincoln Park Academy: Williams 3 1-4 7, Thomas 5 0-1 11, McCann 7 1-2 17, Marrero 2 0-0 4, McIntosh 0, Gordon 0, Paschal 0, Duncan 0, Reese 5 0-0 10, Ayala 0. Totals 22 2-7 49.

Suncoast: Williams 1 1-1 3, Jenkins 2 1-2 5, Pastore 1 3-4 5, Whalen 0, Moore 5 1-2 11, Brown 2 0-2 4, Jones 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 6-11 30.

Suncoast    6    7    8    9—30

Lincoln Park    15    11    17    6—49

3-point goals: Lincoln Park 3 (McCann 2, Thomas 1), Suncoast 0. Records: Lincoln Park Academy 16-5, Suncoast 7-9.

BEREAN CHRISTIAN 60,
JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC 52

John Carroll Catholic: Bates 2 3-4 7, Altenor 6 2-3 14, K. Capezza 1 0-0 2, Tanelus 2 1-2 5, Miller 6 3-7 17, A. Capezza 0 1-2 1, Anderson 2 2-2 6. Totals 19 12-20 52.

Berean Christian: Baumeier 6 2-4 15, Perez 4 0-4 10, Brannon 7 8-10 22, Graham 2 3-5 7, Mercurio 0 1-2 1, Doege 0 5-6 5. Totals 19 19-31 60.

John Carroll    14    7    11    20—52

Berean Christian     13    13    18    16—60

3-point goals: John Carroll 2 (Miller 2), Berean Christian 3 (Perez 2, Baumeier 2). Records: Berean Christian 10-7, John Carroll Catholic 9-7

 

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/sports/high-school/2018/01/21/martin-county-fort-pierce-central-boys-combine-24-3-point-goals/1051611001/

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In Fort Pierce death penalty resentencing, prosecutors no longer seeking execution

After more than a decade on death row, convicted killer Steven Douglas Hayward will instead be given a life sentence when he returns to court Jan. 24.

Though prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty again for Hayward, Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl said they will not follow through.

“We’re no longer seeking the death penalty, at the request of the victim’s family,” said Bakkedahl, of the 19th Judicial Circuit that includes the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee County.

Hayward is one of six death penalty cases from the Treasure Coast returning to court for a sentencing do-over after rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court invalidated death sentences that followed less-than-unanimous jury recommendations.

He was convicted and sentenced to death in June 2007 for robbing and shooting in the chest and thigh Daniel DeStefano, a 32-year-old Fort Pierce Tribune newspaper carrier. DeStefano was delivering newspapers to convenience stores along Avenue D in Fort Pierce about 4 a.m. Feb. 1, 2005.

Before DeStefano died a day after the shooting, he told a Fort Pierce police officer he had shot back at his attacker with a gun he carried. He had a concealed weapon permit. 

Hayward was arrested a few days later. His blood was found on DeStefano’s faded blue jeans, where he had reached into the fallen man’s pockets to remove $10 in cash.

In the sentencing phase of Hayward’s trial, the jury voted 8-4 for a death sentence. The state’s new death penalty law, enacted in March, requires a jury to reach a unanimous decision in recommending death.

 “We reached out to the family, and they were extremely distraught and upset about the Supreme Court ruling,” Bakkedahl said.

The family has been more than 12 years into the process, Bakkedahl said, and was expecting about another five years for when the death sentence would be executed.

“Recognizing that they would have to start that process all over again, they quite frankly just couldn’t handle it,” he said. “It was too much for them.”

Bakkedahl said he and State Attorney Bruce Colton decided to honor the wishes of DeStefano’s family.

“I don’t think I can put into words the emotions that they’re feeling,” Bakkedahl said.

So, Circuit Judge James McCann, who issued the original death sentence in 2007, will have no choice but to sentence Hayward to life in prison.

The DeStefano killing was Hayward’s second murder conviction. In February 1988, he fatally shot Sebien DeRoche outside a Fort Pierce bar. He pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and armed robbery. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but was given early release after 16 years because of state laws in effect at the time.

Bakkedahl said notices of intent to seek the death penalty have been filed in each of the remaining five death penalty cases from the Treasure Coast that must have a sentencing do-over. But no decisions have been made on how prosecutors will proceed, he said.

More: Juvenile killer Victor Brancaccio apologizes in court for committing murder at age 16

“Each case is different,” Bakkedahl said. “The victims’ families in each case are going to take a different position.

“We will consult with the families in each of those, and then make a decision based on the facts, the new law and the family’s wishes.” 

Had DiStefano’s family been adamant that they wanted to continue to pursue the death penalty, Bakkedahl said, “that’s exactly what we would have done.”

DeStefano’s family recognized they would have to go through this entire process, he said, and that one of two things would happen.

“The jury would recommend death, and then they would have to live with the incessant litigation over the next 17 years again,” Bakkedahl said, ”or two, the jury would not recommend death, and they would have gone through all of this for nothing.”

Bakkedahl said victims’ families are “completely left out of this equation” when courts rule on how the death penalty can be given.

“The system has treated them (DeStefano’s family) so poorly as a result of this ruling that they have no faith that they’d get justice in the form of the death penalty, and they would just rather not go through this process all over again,” he said.

More: New laws require Florida judges to resentence juvenile murderers who got life in prison

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Florida judges are resentencing nearly 600 people convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison as teenagers. TCPalm compiled these local cases.
MELISSA E. HOLSMAN/TCPALM

Death penalty cases

Remaining death penalty cases on Treasure Coast bound for sentencing do-over because jury decisions were not unanimous:

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Paul Evans, 45, of Vero Beach

Crime: He was hired by Connie Pfeiffer to execute her estranged husband, Vero Beach resident Alan Pfeiffer, in a trailer near the Vero Beach Regional Airport on March 23, 1991. Connie Pfeiffer received life in prison.

Punishment: Evans was found guilty in the murder-for-hire plot and was sentenced to death. The sentence was overturned in 2011, but a year later a federal appeals court reinstated his capital punishment. In 1999, he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. In June, prosecutors put the court on notice the state intends to seek the death penalty again. 

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Richard Johnson, 40, of Port St. Lucie

Crime: Raped and murdered 35-year-old Vero Beach waitress Tammy Hagin and dumped her body in Savannas State Park in February 2001.

Punishment: In 2004, a jury convicted him of first-degree murder, kidnapping, sexual battery and theft and recommended execution voting 11-1. In June, prosecutors put the court on notice the state intends to seek the death penalty again.

Andrew Gosciminski, 64, of Fort Pierce

Crime:  Bludgeoned, stabbed and cut to death 55-year-old Joan Loughman of Connecticut, who came to Fort Pierce to care for her ailing father in September 2002.

Punishment: He was convicted of murder in 2005 and again in 2009 and both times a jury voted 9-3 to recommend the death penalty.

Eriese Tisdale, 30, of Fort Pierce

Crime: On Feb. 28, 2013, Tisdale, then 25, was armed with a Glock handgun when he fired seven times at Sgt. Gary Morales, 35, during a traffic stop in Fort Pierce, killing the veteran sergeant nearly instantly.

Punishment: In October 2015, a jury voted 9-3 to recommend he be sentenced to death.  His conviction and sentence has been appealed to the Florida Supreme Court and is pending. But because the jury vote was not unanimous, he’s expected to receive a new penalty phase, pending the outcome of his appeal.

MARTIN COUNTY

J.B. “Pig” Parker, 55, of Fort Pierce

Crime: Stuart resident Frances Julia Slater, 18, was kidnapped from a convenience store and killed April 28, 1982. Her body was dumped on the side of the road after she had been stabbed and shot to death execution-style.

Punishment: Four men were convicted of Slater’s kidnapping and murder. Parker has been sentenced to death twice and remains on Death Row along with co-defendant Alphonso Cave. Co-defendant James Earl Bush was executed in 1996. In June, prosecutors put the court on notice the state intends to seek the death penalty again.

Staff writer Melissa E. Holsman contributed to this report.

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2018/01/19/fort-pierce-death-penalty-resentencing-prosecutors-no-longer-seeking-execution/1047943001/

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Fort Pierce police search for missing man, 71

Fort Pierce police are searching for 71-year-old Carlos Faneite.

Police said he left his apartment on 29th Street on Friday morning and hasn’t been seen since. His family is concerned about a medical condition, police said.

More: Missing Indian River County resident Karen Borchardt found safe

More: Fort Pierce police search for missing 15-year-old

Faneite left in a black 2006 Ford Ranger with a Maryland license plate. He is 5-foot-6 and about 150 pounds, and was wearing a camouflage jacket, military boots and a Vietnam War veteran hat.

Anyone with knowledge of Faneite’s whereabouts should call 911.

 

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/st-lucie-county/2018/01/19/fort-pierce-police-search-missing-man-71/1050245001/

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Can Fort Pierce offer lesson on what to do with Vero power plant site? | Laurence Reisman

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Fort Pierce officials would like to partner with a developer to build a hotel on the 8-acre site of the former H.D. King Power Plant in the heart of downtown. KEONA GARDNER/TCPALM
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Lord only knows how many times I’ve driven past the empty lot that was Fort Pierce’s power plant until 2008.

It’s a picturesque 7-acre site downtown just across Indian River Drive from the Indian River Lagoon, city marina and waterfront park.

Several developers have unsuccessfully proposed projects for the site over the years so it remains vacant. On Wednesday, city officials reviewed developer proposals for the property, including one from Indian River County’s Keith Kite.

Why care what Fort Pierce is doing on the site of its old power plant? The proposals offer a glimpse into what could happen to the site of Vero Beach’s power plant on the northeast corner of 17th Street and Indian River Boulevard.

Vero Beach Mayor Harry Howle knows what he doesn’t want. He rattled a few chains last month when he gave his two cents to TCPalm reporter Colleen Wixon.

“I’m not ready to say what I do want to see,” Howle said. “What I don’t want to see is another park. We have 42 parks in the county. I think we’re pretty good on parks.”

MORE: Envision a new future for three corners in Vero Beach

Who, beside Howle, wouldn’t want to see a huge park running from the power plant south to the city’s sewer plant, which eventually could be razed? The reality is the city might not be able to afford such a massive park. But that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t have access to the lagoon.

Vero Beach’s old power plant sits on 17 acres. Take a walk on the north side of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge, look down and you’ll see how massive the site looks.

In reality, it’s more than twice the size of Fort Pierce’s site. That means, theoretically, any project proposed in Fort Pierce could fit on seven acres adjacent to Indian River Boulevard in Vero Beach, leaving 10 acres for public use along the lagoon.

Three developers are bullish about the Fort Pierce site. Kite, who has developed several hotels including the attractive Hampton Inn near Vero Beach’s Miracle Mile, has the most conservative idea.

He plans a four-story, 100-bed quality brand-name hotel. It would have meeting rooms to seat up to 250 people, 150 more than the Hampton Inn in Vero Beach.

Other buildings would include high-quality restaurants and shops in a village-type atmosphere. The plan would extend the city’s waterfront park west along a canal and south to a large area for community gatherings.

Ultimately, Kite said, King Station (namesake of the former power plant) potentially could connect to a stop for Brightline passenger train service running from Miami to Orlando.

But Kite’s project might not be bodacious enough for some city officials who want to pack downtown with people.

The Framework Group of Tampa proposes a three-story, 200-unit apartment complex; six-story, 120-room hotel; conference center; coffee shop; restaurant and a four-level parking garage.

Redevelopment Management Associates of Pompano Beach proposes a craft brewery with dining on the north side of the property near Moore’s Creek, an 84-room hotel, about 95 apartments facing east toward the marina, 40 town homes along Second Street and a parking garage with a rooftop pool.

I’m not pitching any of these projects for Vero Beach. At least one would require a referendum asking city residents for permission to exceed building height limits. But the proposals should give locals an idea of what could be done.

Vero Beach officials should follow the process closely in Fort Pierce. Will the city lease land to developers or will they sell it? Will there be some kind of partnership?

MORE: Your ideas key to what happens at Three Corners

Regardless of the interest in the property and proposals, there will be a lot of details to be hammered out before any decision is made, perhaps as early as April.

Vero Beach has been discussing what to do with the property at the power plant, sewer and old postal annex across the street for more than two years. Thankfully, the city rejected the idea of putting a gasoline station where the postal annex was.

Lord only knows how long it will take Vero Beach to come up with a plausible plan. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as Fort Pierce has waited.

This column reflects the opinion of Laurence Reisman. Contact him via email at larry.reisman@tcpalm.com, phone at 772-978-2223, Facebook.com/larryreisman or Twitter @LaurenceReisman.

Have an idea?

What do you think should happen with the old power plant site in Vero Beach? Email Tammy Vock, Vero Beach’s clerk, at cityclrk@covb.org.

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/laurence-reisman/2018/01/19/can-fort-pierce-offer-lesson-what-do-vero-power-plant-site-laurence-reisman/1042190001/

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Blood drive, fundraiser organized in Fort Pierce for Layne Chesney as burn treatments continue

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14-year-old Layne Chesney suffered third-degree burns Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, over 95 percent of her body.
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Little by little, Layne Chesney continues to give her family, her doctors and the dozens of strangers who now know her name hope as she shows signs of recovery from her Miami hospital bed.

Layne, who was burned severely in a bonfire accident on New Year’s Eve, remains in critical but stable condition at Kendall Regional Medical Center.

“The doctor is pleased with her conditions and the little progress we do see every day,” said Layne’s grandmother, Carol Forbes. “We are blessed with that.”

More: 14-year-old Layne Chesney burned over 95 percent of her body at New Year’s Eve bonfire

Layne’s heartbeat and blood pressure now fluctuates and her eyelids flutter when family and friends talk to her. Forbes said she is still heavily sedated, but the acknowledgement Layne now shows for her surroundings keeps her family in good spirits. 

“You can tell she’s trying,” Forbes said.


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Layne Chesney (left) with her sister Lauryn Chesney,Layne Chesney (left) with her sister Lauryn Chesney,Layne Chesney (left) with her sister Lauryn Chesney,Layne Chesney (middle) with her sister Lauryn ChesneyLayne Chesney (left) with her mother Leigh Chesney.Layne Chesney, 14, was severely burned in a bonfireLayne Chesney was a stand-out softball player, according

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Layne Chesney has hard road ahead, but full recovery possible, say burn experts, survivors

Layne continues to undergo surgeries about every three days to remove damaged skin in a process called debridement. This boosts the healing of healthy skin and helps prevent infection, Forbes said. Her next procedure is Monday.

“Vitals are good. Internal organs are functioning well,” Forbes said. “No answer except great doctors and lots of prayers.”

More: Singer Billie Eilish sends video of encouragement to burn victim Layne Chesney

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Billie Eilish sent a video with words of encouragement to Layne Chesney.
VIDEO CONTRIBUTED BY LAURYN CHESNEY

Fundraiser, blood drive

Five thousand people are expected to attend a blood drive and fundraiser Wednesday at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce for Layne, who may require additional transfusions in her treatment process.

The drive is organized by Scott Van Duzer, president of the Van Duzer Foundation and owner of Big Apple Pizza.

The Van Duzer Foundation is a non-profit that organizes fundraisers and community events to help families in St. Lucie County who have been struck with tragedy. 

The event will be part blood drive, part fundraiser, and will include live music and raffles. 

More: Van Duzer Foundation plans Jan. 24 benefit for burn victim Layne Chesney

“The road to recovery will be long, but Layne is a fighter, and her teammates, classmates, family, friends and community are standing behind her to help,” Van Duzer said in an article for Luminaries and TCPalm.

Layne is a freshman at Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce, where she plays short stop on the varsity softball team. In her school’s off season, she plays travel softball with the Jensen Beach Wildcats.

Blood donated that matches Layne’s will be sent to the hospital specifically for her. The rest will help other patients in need of blood transfusions. 

GoFundMe pages set up have garnered more than $90,000 for Layne’s family — a sum Forbes said has been an “overwhelming” cornerstone in helping foot medical and hotel expenses as Layne enters her fourth week at the burn center. 

“It is still growing. It’s amazing,” Forbes said. “She’s a little fighter.”

Blood drive details

When: Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018

4  –10 p.m.

Where: Big Apple Pizza

2311 35th St., Fort Pierce


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Layne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softballLayne Chesney, #6 on the Lincoln Park Academy softball

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Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/st-lucie-county/2018/01/19/blood-drive-fundraiser-organized-fort-pierce-layne-chesney-burn-treatments-continue/1047714001/

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Jon Santucci: Quick thoughts on Fort Pierce Westwood hiring Chris Hutchings

Quick thoughts on Fort Pierce Westwood hiring Chris Hutchings as its new football coach …

More: Fort Pierce Westwood announces new football coach

1. This is a solid selection for the Panthers.

Hutchings has a proven track record, winning four district titles at Fort Pierce Central and guiding the team to the regional semifinals in his first two seasons. He’s a local guy, so he understands the community much better than most. I don’t put much stock in John Carroll Catholic’s 2-7 record in 2017. The Golden Rams already were in rebuilding mode, then suffered a big loss when wide receiver Myles Youngblood tore his ACL before the start of the regular season. John Carroll also didn’t play in a spring game or Kickoff Classic for various reasons. That’s like starting a race three seconds after everyone else. Hutchings’ win-loss record last season isn’t a reflection on his coaching ability.

2. Sometimes you’re applying for a job without realizing it.

Hutchings likely made quite the impression on Westwood’s administration during the season when the Panthers beat the Golden Rams 21-19. John Carroll lost, but played well above its talent level in that game — especially considering Westwood is a Class 5A team and John Carroll was playing in 5A district with the enrollment of a 3A team. Westwood snuffed out John Carroll’s fake field goal in the final minute to hold on for the win, but Hutchings and his staff managed to get every ounce of ability from his players just for the Golden Rams to be in that position.

3. Westwood should be in a good position for 2018. 

Even with a coaching change and star running back Marques Burgess graduating, the Panthers likely will be the preseason favorite to win the District 15-5A title. Quarterback Coy Gray and defensive backs Willie Lewis and Deandre Gardner earned all-area honors as underclassmen last season and Burgess’ younger brother, Jenard Jones,  likely will be the starting running back. Some growing pains with a new coaching staff and scheme are to be expected, but don’t expect this team to slip in the fall. 

4. Now, John Carroll is looking for a new coach.

While Westwood’s coaching search is over, John Carroll’s is just beginning. The Golden Rams are in rebuilding mode right now — especially since outside linebacker/defensive end Jahfari Harvey and Youngblood both transferred after the season. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as the next coach will be able to implement his vision from Day 1 — something Hutchings really wasn’t able to do. Since 2000, John Carroll’s two best hires have been Lenny Jankowski and Mike Watkins. Both were John Carroll graduates. Both were first-time coaches who had a strong offensive background and were mentored by successful high school coaches (Jankowski by Dwyer’s Jack Daniels and Watkins by Jankowski). John Carroll could look to repeat that trend with its next hire.

5. Who could be in the mix for the Golden Rams?

Athletic director Nancy Hopper could go with a broad search, but three local names that immediately come to mind are John Carroll offensive coordinator Jeff Cameron, St. Lucie West Centennial offensive coordinator Josh Watkins and former John Carroll defensive coordinator Jeff Miret. Cameron is a good play caller and has worked under solid coaches — Dennis Lavelle at South Fork, Hutchings and Josh Shaffer at Fort Pierce Central and Mike Watkins and Hutchings at John Carroll. Josh Watkins impressed in his first year running Centennial’s offense and is a former John Carroll assistant coach. Miret is a John Carroll graduate, earned national honors as a Pop Warner coach and did a good job with the Golden Rams defense under Mike Watkins.

Article source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/sports/columnists/jon-santucci/2018/01/18/jon-santucci-quick-thoughts-fort-pierce-westwood-hiring-chris-hutchings/1046051001/

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