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Shedding Light on the News and Events of Titusville, Mims, Scottsmoor, Port St. John and Bellwood commu ities ...
County Commission election draws near
North Brevard voters to choose District 1 Commissioner during Universal Primary Contest August 31
From STAFF REPORTS
Brevard County election officials are getting ready for what could be a heavier-than-normal turnout for the August 31 primary election, particularly in North Brevard. This is because voters in District 1-whether they be Republican, Democrat, with a minor party or with no party affiliation-will be electing their County Commissioner in a Universal Primary Contest (UPC).
Experience: County Commissioner (Incumbent), Mayor of Titusville
Residence: Titusville, 44 years
Married to Barbara Jean, and has two children, Truman and Mary Catherine
Occupation: Business Rep
Experience: Two term City Council member for the City of Titusville.
Residence: Titusville, 41 years
Married to wife, Teresa, and has a son, Jonathan
The UPC works like this: If the only candidates in a race are of the same party and there is no other opposition for the General Election, then all voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in that contest during the primary.
The District 1, Brevard County Commission seat up for election is currently held by Republican Truman Scarborough, Jr. His only opponent is Jeff Rainey, a challenger from his own party. Because they are the only two candidates, and are both Republicans, the August 31st election will be the only election held to determine who wins the District 1 County Commission seat.
Striving to keep our readers better informed, The Beacon recently submitted to the County Commissioner, District 1, candidates questions regarding current issues residents of North Brevard are concerned about. We hope this survey gives you a better perspective on the candidates' views on the important issues facing us in North Brevard.
We would urge every registered voter to get out and vote August 31 for the County Commission District 1 candidate of your choice, but first, some words from our candidates...
Why are you running for Brevard County Commissioner, District 1?
RAINEY: As a Council member for six years, I have worked hard to make the North area of the County a better place to live and would like to continue that on the County level. I want to be a Commissioner that will serve all of the people all of the time. This is a serious deficiency in the present commissioner.
SCARBOROUGH: In addition to helping with individual constituent problems, the desire to improve our community drives my need to serve. Some projects we are currently working on are: New Alzheimer center for North Brevard; High rise Max Brewer bridge; New Community Center in Mims / Scottsmoor: New federal lobbying for KSC; Stopping air pollution from power plants; Chain of Lakes Complex; Redevelopment of other parks including Marina and Sand Point; "Rails to Trails" Titusville through Volusia County; and, Economic development using regional resources.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities and how, as Commissioner, would you address them ?
RAINEY: There are several issues facing District 1-taxes, water, and growth are but a few. We need to take a regional approach to all these issues. We need a commissioner that will listen to his constituents. I will listen to everyone, not just the few that have the ear of the present commissioner. For too long, the North part of the County has funded projects after projects in the South. This has to change, and it will if the voters so choose to elect me. We need to change how our current commission operates.
SCARBOROUGH: My priorities relate to providing the best community in which to live, not just the physical attributes, but in the overall quality of life. Since "poorly planned" growth will be addressed in Question #3, it is not to be included here.
Beyond specific projects mentioned above under question #1, there are some trends which can impact the quality of our lives. They are: 1) The aging of our population; 2) Changing mission of NASA as it impacts KSC; 3) Regional opportunities, as explained below:
What do you see as North Brevard's biggest problem and how, as a Commissioner, would you solve it?
- Our Aging Population: In the United States, the age of our population make our County the 24th oldest county in the nation. Our aging population is increasing more rapidly than adjoining counties. From 1990 to 2000, our population over 85 increased by more than 100%, while in adjoining counties a 30% increase was typical. This change in demographics not only creates problems but also opportunities. At age 65, many individuals are at their peak economically and intellectually. They are not tied to any particular job, but may continue earning income from other activities, like consulting. With fewer responsibilities, they are available to apply their creative skills to creating a better community. We must make a special effort to include them. We may need to restructure our county's services. Rather than having a Park and Recreational Department, it should become the Leisure Services Department with a broader scope of service addressing the interests of the elderly. BCC may need to add courses in areas of interest to the elderly. The elderly are vulnerable to fraud. The elderly will need additional transportation assistance. They need help with shopping and banking. Support groups will need to be established throughout the community to assist. To the greatest degree possible, we should help the elderly live in the community where they need not be placed in nursing homes. Programs like Meals on Wheels and Alzheimer Day Care Centers can help. We will be building a new Alzheimer Day Care Center in Titusville. This will allow the spouse or child to drop off the Alzheimer patient so they can go about their affairs or merely have a respite. Without these facilities many of the Alzheimer patients would burn-out the caregiver forcing them to place their loved one in a nursing home. Providing an Alzheimer Center is not only humane, it makes good business sense. Next year Brevard County will contribute an additional $800,000 in Medicaid payments. Brevard County's one-time contribution to the Alzheimer Center will be the land and $140,000, but result in a net saving of millions of general revenue dollars.
- Operations at the Kennedy Space Center: In addition to the immediate concerns of launching the shuttle, we need to ask what will happen when the shuttle is phased out. There is no replacement vehicle. What happens with employment at KSC during this period? We hoped that KSC would develop more of a research role in NASA. With uncertainty at NASA, is appears less likely that KSC can expand into research. We need to increase our lobbying in Washington through the Economic Development Commission and the county's Federal Lobbyist. As a community, we need to recognize and support our major employer showing a commitment similar to Huntsville and Houston to support our center.
- Regional Opportunities: North Brevard fails to see itself as part of a very dynamic global region. We are within an hours drive of the Kennedy Space Center, a National Seashore, a major sea port, an international airport, and the 9th largest university in the nation-UCF. We need to see ourselves as the world sees us-as a very desirable place to work and live.
RAINEY: In 2000, the voters of Brevard voted by an overwhelming majority-85%, to limit government's ability to raise your taxes by no more than 3%. This current commission had your vote overturned when it asked a judge to throw out this cap on taxes. We must stop the runaway arrogance of this commission. Over the past three years your property taxes have been raised a whopping 20%. I want to put an end to escalating taxes and begin looking at ways to cut spending.
SCARBOROUGH: Poorly Planned Development. In North Brevard, we are facing challenges we have never seen before.
How do I plan to address it? Please see my response to question #4, which follows.
Recent surveys strongly indicate that local residents are concerned about the North part of the county's spiraling growth, specifically in the City of Titusville. What are the challenges of our continued growth and development, and what are your priorities in addressing them? Give specifics on your proposals for managing growth, while protecting our quality of life.
RAINEY: To begin with, there is no "spiraling growth" in the City of Titusville. The fact is the City has had a 3.6 % growth the last two years, and this is expected to remain steadily below 4% per year for the next 5 years. This should be slow enough growth to give everyone involved plenty of time to address any challenges that may arise.
In order to manage growth, one must first be prepared for it before a request is made. The Commissioner must have a working knowledge of what is currently being requested, and what future requests may be coming.
District 1 is very diverse. Titusville and Port St. John's needs are very different than, say, Scottsmoor and Mims. Titusville has needed the vitality that smart growth brings. More roads in the past four years have been paved in the city than in many years combined. The downtown area businesses have suffered for many years, but this is about to change for them with the building of the three condominiums nearby. The city is in the black, and has a strong emergence fund to use in case of disasters like we recently experienced. The five City Council members have done very well working together to insure that the growth being experienced is managed effectively.
SCARBOROUGH: While growth can vitalize a community, it also places stress on our roads, water and schools. We need to: 1) plan in advance, and 2) assure the costs associated with development are fully paid by the development.
Planning-Proper and full planning requires frequent review of our comprehensive plan to keep it current. Close cooperation between the city and the county is needed to protect residents. Through proper planning, we can try to direct growth in a way that it can benefit the community and will not adversely affect our resources.
Developers have been requesting annexation into Titusville to accomplish what they cannot in the county. This may be justified if the reason is to obtain city water and sewer. However, sometimes it is to obtain a greater density without full consideration of the impact on infrastructure, environment and the rights of adjoining property owners in the county.
COSTS-Current residents should not have to pay for the cost of growth through higher taxes or deterioration of the quality of their lives. An extensive economic analysis prepared for the Commission by Economist Hank Fishkind, Ph.D., showed that growth may not pay for itself and can result in a reduction in the quality of services or increased taxes.
Growth can impact our budget in two ways:
First, by consuming infrastructure capacity so that we have to expand roads, schools, etc. Theoretically we can respond to the infrastructure needs with impact fees. However, impact fees are developed based on countywide studies. The impact of a development on a particular road may be significantly higher, and the fees collected can easily be inadequate to pay for the cost of the specific road impacted.
Second, it may negatively impact the operating budget by eroding the tax base. This happens when new construction does not have a high enough value to generate sufficient taxes to cover the services it consumes.
As commissioner, how would you suggest that we plan now for areas such as Mims and Scottsmoor that will soon be facing similar development pressures?
RAINEY: Scottsmoor and Mims are mostly rural, and the citizens there covet the easy, carefree, country life that they have enjoyed all their lives. Developments are planned-and some actually approved-by the present Commissioner for these two communities. We must be careful to ensure that the ratio of homes to acres stays low and consistent to the surrounding area. It must be smart growth, and it must be managed properly.
Currently, the commission is looking at taking 50% of your property to use as environmentally sensitive land if you live in unincorporated Brevard and own five acres or more. According to their plan, you will be forced to pay taxes on it, and you will be responsible for the upkeep of it, but you cannot use it. This is not Russia, and we are not a socialist nation. This is clearly government out of control! The District 1 Commissioner needs to know what is taking place in his district and prepare for it accordingly. He needs to be easily accessible and have a listening ear to the community, not just the extreme environmentalists.
SCARBOROUGH: The county comprehensive plan covering the Mims and Scottsmoor area was adopted in 1991. With a high probability of new development, it is critical that we update the comprehensive plan in this area. The comprehensive plan sets the stage for all development in an area. The comprehensive plan amendments are developed by working with a citizens' group to review all elements-transportation, schools, water, etc.
While the comprehensive plan sets the stage, the rezoning reviews specific requests for changes in land use. Rezoning requests must meet the comprehensive plan requirements. When we receive a Rezoning request, adjacent property owners are notified of the public meetings. We also personally notify anyone who has requested notice of development activities in the area. Call your commission office at 264-6750 to be placed on the list.
Recently impact fees on new homes were voted in by the County Commission. What is your position on them?
RAINEY: I believe that it was too early to react by voting in an impact tax. There was clearly not enough thought taken on this issue. For example, the study included home school students. There are thousands of home school students that will not be attending public schools. This number is only growing, and should have been taken into account in the study.
Those in favor of this tax also stated that the vast majority of new home buyers will be new to the area. This simply is not true. This tax will affect young couples purchasing a new home, elderly couples that are moving from a larger home to a smaller home that they have built, and others who have been renting and now want to have the home that they have been saving up for. This is just another way to raise taxes on us again.
SCARBOROUGH: Not only do I agree we need impact fees, at the August 10th commission meeting, I made the motion for School Impact Fees. We had a choice: 1) Suffer a deterioration in education, 2) Have current residences pay, or 3) Have new development pay for the impact. Impact fees were the best of the three options.
How do you think property along the Indian River Lagoon should be developed, and what specific actions would you propose to protect and defend the Indian River Lagoon?
RAINEY: The Indian River is very important to all of us, and developments along it must be chosen carefully. The Indian River Lagoon was designated in 1987 in the Surface Water Improvement act a priority water body in need of restoration and protection. Much of the river's salt marsh has been lost. Algae growth has increased greatly, and sediment from storm water runoff is a great danger.
I am excited about the tremendous results from the baffle boxes that have been placed in different areas to catch this runoff. I would like to see this increased. The Titusville Storm Water Department is now building a storm water park that will clean up the freshwater discharge before draining into the lagoon. This needs to be done elsewhere.
I am also highly in favor of financing a study to see if opening the inlet North of Playalinda would result in the river self cleaning itself, and what would happen with the increase of selenium.
SCARBOROUGH: To the greatest extent possible, we need to reduce rather than increase density directly along the lagoon. In the county, from Titusville to Cocoa, through "Small Area Plans Amendments," we are protecting the lagoon with very low density housing. While this may appear to reduce property values, we observed just the reverse-where a reduction in density has lead to higher quality development.
While building density along the lagoon is harmful, storm water runoff also plays a role. The lagoon is adversely impacted by 1) heavy metals, 2) suspended sediment, 3) fresh water, and 4) nutrients.
Heavy Metals do not play a major role in the lagoon's problems since we do not have a great deal of manufacturing. Nevertheless, by removing muck from ditches and canals where heavy metals settle, we can eliminate the potential of them being carried into the lagoon in major storm events.
Suspended Sediment cloud the lagoon, preventing sunlight from reaching the grass beds. Fresh water from storms can adversely affect the lagoon by changing the salinity. But it is Excess Nutrients that are the greatest culprit causing algae blooms and the killing of fish.
It has been suggested that some of the best solutions are the least expensive. Acquisition of land for water retention along U.S. 1 is expensive. While it may work during the first few rains, once it is full, we have a release of fresh water-full of nutrients and sediment-into the lagoon.
If we could have retention at its source, by the homeowner, we would not only lessen the flow to the lagoon, but recharge our shallow aquifer. This could be accomplished by diverting water off the roof to a small area in the back yard filled with rocks and sodded over.
If homeowners would purchase slow release fertilizer, there would be a significant decrease in nutrients to the lagoon. Jim Egan, Director of the Marine Resource Council, estimates that the use of slow release fertilizer would be equivalent to an additional $20 million in storm water improvements.
What is your position on using submerged lands to calculate upland density for development?
RAINEY: Chapters 373, 403, and 120 of the Florida Statues clearly state any governmental entity that restricts development solely on submerged lands, while taxing that same property, is endanger of violating the 1995 Bert J. Harris Act. Even more, the entity may face future land development litigation under the Private Property Rights Protection Act.
SCARBOROUGH: I don't believe submerged lands should be used to increase density of the upland portion. The using of submerged lands in the calculation was expressly prohibited until deleted with amendments in the early '90s. However, the changes did not expressly grant developers the right to use submerged lands in the calculation. When there is a question of intent, the normal practice is to find the "legislative intent" of the city council members who originally voted on the ordinance.
There is now being processed by the City of Titusville a request by developers for annexation of over 2,600 acres between I-95 and the St. John's River along Fox Lake Road. Do you believe there should be a master plan agreed to between the City and the County and drawn up by an outside, independent consultant for that area before annexations occur, or not? Please explain why.
RAINEY: I am not in favor of a master plan drawn up by an outsider. I am committed to make sure that the wishes of the people in this area are heard. There is nothing better in our system of government than our freedom to speak and be heard by our elected leaders. As a council member for six years, there were times the five Titusville council members differed in their beliefs on how to accomplish growth and annexations. We always discussed and worked for the common good of North Brevard. We have not enjoyed that relationship with the present Commissioner for District 1. I have seen meetings where the citizens were up in arms and very frustrated. We made available to them avenues to voice their concerns...all of their concerns. We asked if they were willing to make reasonable concessions, and we almost always received them. We, in turn, made reasonable concessions as well. After many meetings and much discussions, most people involved were very satisfied with the process. We saw that recently with the annexations on Carpenter Road. Nearly all the residents affected were satisfied with the results. The unknown usually produces fear, frustration, and sometimes even anger. Discussions, concessions, and understanding on both sides usually remedies the unknown.
SCARBOROUGH: YES. While the city and the county is developing a Joint Planning Agreement, it will be a totally voluntary arrangement where either party can decide to terminate the agreement at any time. Even smaller city annexations are causing problems. Titusville has proceeded with annexations without considering the impact of a new, more intense zoning on adjacent county property owners, roads, schools, water, etc. The development of 2500 + acres is a very major project and requires comprehensive review and planning prior to proceeding with the annexation.
Development in Certain areas throughout North Brevard is expected to tax the current roadway capacities. How do expect to deal with that issue?
RAINEY: Besides the jail overcrowding, no other issue is a better example of poor planning. This should not be a problem in an area with a commissioner that was in office for 16 years. In Titusville, we paved more roads than have been paved in years and years. Many of those roads were not paved since the Apollo days. We freed up the gas taxes that were first raised for roads, but were being used to supplement the general revenue. They are again going to pave the roads.
I have served on the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the six years. I have served on council. I know the ins and outs of our present problems, and believe they can be, at least, made better. I learned how to negotiate with officials from Melbourne and Palm Bay. They supported projects in the north area that were not funded before.
SCARBOROUGH: If these costs are not paid by the development, current residents will have to pay or suffer a deterioration in their roads. These roads are being impacted by the development in the city.
When a possible sales tax was recently discussed by the commission, Florida Today reported that $ 6.5 million would be spent on Sisson Road in Titusville. We received an outcry since the road currently has more than sufficient capacity. It is only the new development in the city along Sisson that requires this expenditure.
Development in Titusville, north of Port St. John, on Grissom, which is a county road, is a another example. While the commercial development approaches Development of Regional Impact thresholds, we have a request for 22 curb cuts. This is like stringing a Merritt Square Mall along both sides of SR 520, knowing that it creates a traffic congestion nightmare.
We need to respond to this problem by:
PLANNING-Through planning, we need to direct development where it least impacts our current road problems and does not lead to new problems. Most of the road problems are being created by development in the city, with impacts on county roads like Grissom and Sisson. The city needs to work closely with the county to see that development is responsible and pays for the cost.
IMPACT FEES-Through impact fees, we need to assure that development pays for the impact it has on our roads.
Once in office, what interactions will you promote with your constituents?
RAINEY: I believe this is one of our District's most serious problems. There is not enough interaction between our current Commissioner and the citizens of District 1. Certainly, he has been busy the last couple of months during the campaign, but what about the last four years?
I will be accessible to the entire District. Right now, just a select few are conferred with before he makes decisions; I will have town meetings in order to be able to listen to the whole community. Everywhere I have gone, I have heard over and over that the citizens want to be heard and see their Commissioner more often. I will make this a strong priority.
SCARBOROUGH: I try to bring as many people into the decision making process as possible. I appoint over 100 people to boards and commissions, and work with homeowner association presidents, youth sports officers, etc. We keep mailing lists of who is interested in particular projects, rezonings, etc., and contact them with information as it is available.
For the convenience of the people, we hold all our meetings in North Brevard. The staff comes to the people, rather than having our residences going to Viera.
Why are you more qualified to serve than your opponent?
RAINEY: I believe I am more qualified than my opponent for the District 1 Commission seat because of what I answered in the last few questions. I am easier to reach, and have more of a desire to hear from those in our District. I have even given out my personal cell phone to everyone that has asked for it.
I have certainly served on several boards listed before and have served 6 years on the Titusville City Council but I believe my strongest qualification is my common sense and my abilities to listen and communicate with people.
Hurricane Charley blows through North Brevard
From STAFF REPORTSHurricane Charley left the coast of Florida in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning, August 14, but not before leaving his calling card in the Titusville/Mims area.
By the time Charley had passed through Brevard County, countless trees were uprooted from the ground-many taking power lines with them on their way down-and over 75,000 homes were left without power.
But, for the most part, we should consider ourselves lucky. "Overall, we're certainly more fortunate than our neighbors to the west and southwest of us," stated Fire Chief Rick Talbert.
Most structural damage in Titusville caused by Charley was limited to roof coverings, accessory buildings and commercial signs. Richard Wheeler, Deputy Building Official for the City of Titusville, stated that the city's Building Department has initially assessed the damage of private and commercial structures in Titusville at $250,000 or less, but says that figure may rise as time goes on and additional incidents are reported.
Chief Talbert spent time this weekend getting a first-hand look at the impact Charley had on our community in an effort to assess damages. "I was extremely impressed by the presence of our team members out there that were removing debris, and especially our citizens in their yards. Neighbors helping one another...helping each other out in a time of need, which is extremely encouraging when your faced with a crisis like that. It speaks volumes of our community, and what we're all about," he said.
Such was the case at Barbara Nardone's house on War Eagle Boulevard in Titusville (pictured above), where many people gathered-with chain saws-to help clear out the over 40 trees that fell on her property...and car...and RV...and home. Nardone couldn't say enough nice things about the people who came to her rescue. "Everyone's been out here for hours, and I'm just so appreciative. They're all so great," she stated.
Recovery efforts have been going on around the clock to get things back to normal in our community. To date, all of the city's traffic signals are working, all city facilities are open, and the power should be back on by now to the 1,000 homes that were still left without power Tuesday.
City of Titusville's Solid Waste Superintendent Hillary Arena stressed that cooperation and assistance is needed to help speed cleanup efforts by containerizing your yard debris, such as leaves, grass, pine cones and small branches. A special truck and route has been established for picking up containers of yard debris.
Chuck Taylor, the city's Streets Division Superintendent, expects street clean up to continue for the next three to four weeks, and asks citizens of Titusville to please be patient, as there is an extreme amount of debris.
Boat stored at Nelson's Marina tips over from Hurricane Charley's high winds.
Hundreds and hundreds of power crews , like this one from Atlanta, GA, came down to help get the power back on in North Brevard.
Mobile home in Mims loses part of roof, front addition-and front door.
Workers from the City of Titusville's Street Maintenance Department get ready to put street sign back where it belongs.
Tree topples over, missing this house off Carpenter Road by inches.
Billboard on Cheney Hwy. couldn't withstand Charley's ferocious winds.
Damage to this motorhome and pole barn were just two of the structures affected by Hurricane Charley Friday night at Barbara Nardone's property on War Eagle Blvd.
Air conditioning unit hangs by cords at Washington Plaza.
Effects of smokestacks to be studied
From STAFF REPORTS
Anyone driving along U.S. 1 in Port St. John, can attest to the fact that the two power plants there expel huge clouds of exhaust that darken the sky, and usually drift west, over residential areas.
For years, residents have complained about those exhaust gasses and smoke ruining their health, their lungs, their laundry hanging out to dry, and even the paint on their cars. But no actual measurements of the air pollution were ever taken and submitted to any local government agency.
The sulfur in some exhaust gases can combine with water vapor in the atmosphere and forms sulfuric acid. Smoke from steel plants in Pittsburgh have been blamed for acid rain as far away as Vermont. But what worries local residents is what's happening right here.
On August 10, The Brevard County Commission approved a $160,000 study, by the Environmental Health and Engineering firm, to measure soot, chemicals and metals falling on Brevard from the two plants.
These oil-burning plants, one owned by FPL, the other by Reliant Energy, are exempt from many EPA regulations because they are so old. They were already existing when many Clean Air Act regulations were passed, and, so, they were "grand-fathered in" as acceptable.
County officials hope that when the study is completed, in February 2005, the results can be used to sue FPL and Reliant under public nuisance laws, to force upgrades at the plants to reduce emissions.
Friday the 13th: A Night Most Foul
By FRED KRUPSKIHow did those stories begin..."It was a dark and stormy night..."?
The date was true to its posthumous fame this past Friday the Thirteenth, and will be remembered as the night of roaring wind and rain, courtesy of nature's elemental din. Call it roid rage-not to be confused with road rage.
There will be hundreds of stories, told and retold for years to come, about how we dodged the big bullet in Brevard County. One story that was dispelled is that, by virtue of living near the "False Cape" (why the government decided to build the Space Center here was that we were immune from hurricanes), we were safe. Not so. We were lucky. End of urban myth.
Living in or near Hurricane Alley for the past 34 years, I've seen all of them-and many were too close for comfort. Frederick passed over my cottage at Bear Lake (northwest Orange County) with winds of 70 miles per hour, jumped around a bit, then destroyed a trailer park a mile away near Rosemont Country Club. The lake cottage, built in 1930, survived without a scratch-all 57 windows intact. They knew how to build in them thar days.
Then that thing that came by here about nine years ago knocked down a tree which fell on my roof over on Garden Street. It skipped across U.S. 1 and headed straight for Sand Point Inn (then Steamers) and knocked out the windows. Customers were jumping from their stools over the bar for protection from flying glass, tables and chairs, then later demanding free drinks for those that flew out the window.
Later, when I lived on the river below the Holiday Inn, I watched as chimneys were blown down from the roofs of the condos next door, with shingles flying all around. It looked like something Dorothy and Toto would have seen in Kansas.
Over 42 years ago, I escaped being clobbered by falling trees when Donna (then called the worst on record) hit the Northeast, and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway resembled Central Park, and fallen trees kept visitors from entering the art museum. And, by the way, there were no reports of looting.
Just a few days before Charley arrived in town, I watched a documentary about the no-name hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935, in which almost all of the men working on the railroad were killed. But the grand daddy of all hurricanes in the United States was in 1900, when Galveston, Texas, was hit with 15 to 20-foot waves that swept over the island and drowned 6,000 people.
We were lucky. We've been lucky for 40 years. Now we learn that our luck may have run out-and to expect more to come.
Sue and I were particularly lucky this time. The loser was Sony. The only thing of any real value that I lost were my dentures. What I do know is that almost every home in our sub-division lost power, but those on our side of the street. What did happen almost defies description, but I'll try to tell it-you'll just have to visualize it.
Our master bedroom and patio-bar is on the south side of the house, connected by a sliding glass door(s). The patio measures about 12 by 17 feet. One side contains a fully stocked bar with framed pictures and nick knacks on the walls. Another side contains a small lounge table and three stools. On the third side sits the rattan sofa and end table (glass), surrounded by plants. The last side (corner) sits a heavy metal bookcase with glass shelves on which sits a large TV, books, golf awards and the stuff I keep for no good reason other than it fills space and allows me to brag about some of the mementoes and trophies I've been given over the years. To complete setting the scene, just a foot outside the screened patio-bar is a lightweight patio table and chairs, potted plants and other items that weigh almost nothing.
We were lying in bed at 9 p.m. watching the event on Channel 13 (the foot of our king-size bed is 5 feet from the corner of the patio that contained the 250-pound bookcase and TV). At 9:45 were heard an outburst that we believed was outside the house. The cracking, humming sound exploded-and the lights went out in Georgia.
When they briefly returned, I slipped into my sneaks and was headed through the sliding glass doors to the patio to see what the hell happened in the back yard.
Right! It wasn't out back.
I took one step and stopped in my tracks. Directing my flashlight toward the door all I saw was the bookcase (36"wide by 72'' high) that contained all my goodies, including the TV, on the floor, smashed and broken, half inch glass shelves everywhere. I assumed the entire room was in shambles. Going out the front door, I headed to the rear of the house when I saw our 16-ft. papaya tree (planted 2 feet from the corner of the patio) stretched out for the count.
I came back inside and told Sue what I saw. When the fickle power again returned, I decided to take another look at the carnage and couldn't believe what I saw. For the first time in my life, I was speechless.
Looking around the room, I found that the only area affected was the one 5-by-5 foot corner. Every thing else was untouched, including the paper cups and plastic on the bar. Also not moved an inch were the table and chairs, sofa, plants, and wall mountings. The screen window behind the bookcase was not touched by the winds. The patio tables and chairs had not moved a hair. Nor was any other item inside, or just outside the room touched. The hanging plants, only inches from the heavy metal bookcase, still hung and swung-not a leaf was moved.
So go figure this one out.
Could it have been a mini-twister? If so, why were all the screens intact? If it was only the force of the wind, then why wasn't anything inches away untouched? Go figure!
If you have any stores like mine, send the publisher a letter and tell her about it. I'd like to know.
Boy, would I like to know...
P.S. A bit of trivia for you. The origin of the word hurricane: European voyagers first encountered the swirling winds of the hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, and they borrowed a local word to name it-Carib huracan. This found its way into English via Spanish. (An early alternative form was furacano, which came from a Carib variant furacan.)
See what you learn when The Beacon shines on it?
IT'S MY TURN
By BOB SOCKSGoodbye Charley-and don't come back!
It was a difficult weekend for all of Central Florida, particularly Orlando and the Winter Park area, but Titusville felt the effects of Charley, and will continue to for weeks to come.
According to authorities, all power is to be turned on by this evening (Wednesday) here in Brevard County. That's the good news. The bad news is the huge amount of debris that has to be picked up, and that's what will take the time.
I understand the City of Titusville's Waste Department had 10 trucks operating on Sunday, picking up yard debris. I saw Titusville city workers on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. going around picking up large debris or sawing limbs that protruded into the streets. La Cita was hard hit with trees and limb debris all over the country club area. San Mateo Mobile Home Village on Sisson had a mobile home with its roof peeled back, one with siding ripped away and other damage here and there.
Yesterday I met folks who drove to Titusville for gas and ice, as it was not available in Orange County. As you may have heard, when gas and ice was available in Orlando, the lines were three hours long.
Charley was an incredible storm. First time since Donna, 44 years ago, that Orlando was touched by a storm of that magnitude. It will be weeks, if not months before some form of normalcy returns to Central Florida. Southwest Florida is another story, it will take years.
Just A Note...when re-construction begins, think about burying the power lines. It may be more expensive, but when the big storms come, trees cannot knock down power lines that are buried below the ground.
Food For Thought...according to the National Weather Service, hurricanes over the next few years will be getting bigger and stronger. So, please, be prepared.
The worst may be yet to come...
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The ant and the grasshopperOLD VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
Moral of the Story: Be responsible for yourself!
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on "Oprah" with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house, where the news stations film the group singing, "We Shall Overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
Tom Daschle and John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share."
Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.
The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food, while the government house he is in-which just happens to be the ant's old house-crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.
Moral of the Story: Vote Republican!
John Kuntz, Titusville
We should get to see Kerry's recordsJohn Kerry served in Vietnam in 1966. So did I. However, Kerry's experience in Vietnam was vastly different from mine.
Kerry saw all American military personnel as "war criminals" who wantonly killed and tortured thousands of innocent civilians-with official approval.
This is simply not true. I was in Vietnam for 12 months, and traveled widely across the country. Kerry served only four months and was on a river boat the whole time. He could not have seen what he claims he saw. Maybe his pal, Jane Fonda, told him what to say and believe.
Kerry got three Purple Hearts-in less than four months! He nominated himself for the awards. In my book, mosquito bites and briar scratches do not qualify for receiving the medal. Disgusting!
I hope that the media will ask, under the Freedom of Information Act, for all of Kerry's Navy records. Publish the record, and let the American voting public decide if he's a hero or a slick opportunist.
John D. Williams, Colonel, USAF (Ret), Titusville
By BOB SOCKS
Think about this!If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people-with all human ratios remaining the same-the world would look like this:
- 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 North & South Americans, and 8 Africans
- 52 females, 48 males, 70 people of color, 30 people of European descent
- 89 would consider themselves heterosexual; 11 would consider themselves gay or lesbian
- 50% of the world's wealth would be in the hands of 6 people, and all 6 would be in the U.S.
- 70 would be unable to read, 50 would be malnourished, 80 would live in substandard housing conditions, 1 would have a college education, and 1 would own a computer.
Up 'N' Coming...Following is the City of Titusville's "Up and Coming" quarterly building report. As you go through all the listings, you will see the mix of residential, commercial, retail and speciality building.
Special thanks to the City's Building Department, and Karen Steil at the Space Coast Economic Development Commission.
3rd Quarter Building ReportCompiled in July 2004 by the City of Titusville's Building Department
Many of these projects are well underway, if not completed. For up-to-date revisions/additions, contact the Building Dept.
Hampton Inn - Construction is complete on the new 4-story, 86-room hotel, Helen Hauser Boulevard off Cheney Highway. The new hotel offers banquet/meeting rooms. The outdoor swimming pool is still under construction. The contractor is MFS of Georgia Corp. of Marietta, GA.
Summerwood Villas - Construction has begun on a 82-lot patio home subdivision on an 18.82-acre site, located at the southeast corner of Sisson Road and Little League Lane. The developer is Clark Development Co. of Melbourne. The engineering firm for the project was Canaveral Engineering of Titusville.
Sterling Forest - The site work nears completion on the new 120-lot patio home subdivision at the northeast corner of Sisson Road and Little League Lane, and the first four homes have been permitted. The developer is Forte Macaulay Development Consultants, Inc. of Melbourne.
Hidden Oaks - Plans are currently in review for a new 15-lot subdivision located on Knox Mc Rae Drive, west of The Sanctuary Subdivision. The developer is Jen Lee Development of Titusville. The engineering firm is CCEI of Titusville.
Plantation Oaks - New homes by Maronda Corp. are currently being constructed in Phase One, and Phase Two has been approved for the 454-lot subdivision located on Harrison Street, at the corner of S. De Leon Avenue.
The Oaks @ Meadow Woods - New homes by Damar Homes are under construction in 101-lot residential subdivision on a 58.47-acre site, north of American Village off Holder Road in north Titusville. The developer is The Oaks Development Group of Merritt Island. The engineering firm for the project is R.K. Engineering of Melbourne.
Fairways Edge - Plans have been approved for 8-lot residential subdivision off Muirfield Drive in the LaCita Country Club development. The developer is EKS of Cocoa. The engineering firm for the project is Allen's Engineering of Cocoa Beach.
Veteran's Memorial Pier - Construction has begun on the reconstruction of the piers concession stand and bait shop at the Veteran's Memorial Pier. The restoration project will bring a new kitchen area for the concession stand, new sales area for the bait shop, new restrooms, and a new weather enclosure for outside dining. The contractor is ABBA Construction of Jacksonville.
Country Club Estates - Plans have been submitted for a proposed 75-lot residential subdivision on Country Club Drive, near Barna Avenue. The developer is Clark Development Co. of Melbourne. The engineering firm for the project is B.S.E. Consultants of Melbourne.
Swan Lake Estates - Plans are in for review for Phase Three of this manufactured home park. The remaining 30.76 acres will consist of 108 additional lots, making the total for the development: 307 lots. The engineering firm for the project is Zev Choen & Associates of Ormond Beach.
Harbor Pointe - Construction on the first of three, 70-unit buildings has started at the 9.85-acre site at the corner of Indian River Avenue and A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway. The contractor is Benko Construction Co. of Cocoa Beach.
Willow Creek - Plans have been approved for the proposed commercial and industrial subdivision off Grissom Parkway, southwest of the airport. The proposed subdivision will consist of 31 lots and open areas, totaling 229.89 acres. The owner/developer is Willow Creek Development of Palm Bay. The engineering firm for the project is Honeycutt & Associates of Titusville.
Sisson Meadows - Plans are currently in review for a 260-lot Patio Home subdivision on a 74.6-acre site on Sisson Road, between Pine Tree Gardens and San Mateo Village. The developers are Don Simms and Roger Molitor. The engineering firm for the project is Bussen-Mayer Engineering Group of Merritt Island.
Kiddie Kove - Site work has started for the new childcare center located on Sisson Road, north of the BP Convenience Store at Columbia Boulevard. Phase One for the center will include a 7,000 square-foot facility and outdoor playground. A future phase will include an additional 4,085 square feet. The developer is Jen Lee Development of Titusville. The contractor is Messer Construction of Sharpes.
Bent Oak @ Meadowridge - Plans have been approved for the Condev subdivision in south Titusville. This phase will bring an additional 54 residential lots on a 15.30-acre site. Future phases will include a multi-family development on 15.95 acres, and an industrial development on 33.66 acres.
Sereno Pointe - Plans are currently in review for a new 24-lot residential subdivision, on a 42.2-acre tract at the NW corner of S. Singleton Avenue and South Street. The developer is Sereno Pointe of Titusville. The engineering firm is Soyka Engineering & Associates of Indialantic.
Villas at Sawgrass - Plans are currently in review for a new 4-unit, two-story, townhouse project in the La Cita Country Club development. The new townhouses will sit on lot #102 in Section Five of La Cita. The owner/developer is The Watauga Company of Titusville. The engineering firm for the project is CCEI of Titusville.
Rio Del Sol - Plans have been submitted for a 13-lot subdivision, on S. Washington Avenue, opposite Coquina Avenue. The owner/developer is Gryphon Ventures of Titusville. The engineering firm for the project is Canaveral Engineering of Titusville.
Shuttle Carwash - The site work and building construction has started on the new 5-bay, self-service carwash, soon to be providing suds on Cheney Highway. The contractor is Gene Loyd Contracting of Titusville.
SR West Office/Warehouse - A site plan has been submitted for review an office/warehouse project located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Bobbi Lane and SR 405.
Somerset Condominiums - Permits have been issued and construction has started for the new condominium project on S. Washington Avenue, across from St. Teresa's Catholic Church. The project will consist of two-10 story 12,814 square-foot buildings, accommodating 54 units. The site will also host two parking garages, and a 1,200 square-foot retail building. The developer/contractor is Tricon Development of Cocoa.
Rex TV & Stereo - Plans have been submitted for a new location for the retail store. The 11,979 square-foot store is proposed on a 1.68-acre site on Cheney Highway next to Sonny's BBQ. The engineering firm for the project is Honeycutt & Associates of Titusville.
Walgreens - Plans are currently in review for a new store on Harrison Street. The proposed 14,550 square-foot store will reside on the current site of the Riverside Bank, at the SE corner of Harrison Street and Barna Avenue. The engineering firm for the project is Burkett Engineering of Orlando.
Riverside National Bank - Plans are currently in review for a new 6,767 square-foot bank on a 2.44-acre site on Cheney Highway, west of Walgreens at the corner of Washington Avenue and Cheney Highway. The engineering firm for the project is Honeycutt & Associates of Titusville.
Vector Consulting - Plans have been approved for a 5,000 square-foot additional building at the current site of the consulting firm, previously the home of Perkins Restaurant on Washington Avenue. The engineering firm for the project is CCEI of Titusville.
Waterside @ La Cita - Plans have been approved and site work has begun for the 50-lot residential subdivision in the La Cita development. The proposed subdivision will be located off of Oakhill Drive, west of Belle Arbor. The developer is Condev Corporation of Winter Park. The engineering firm for the project is Honeycutt & Associates of Titusville.
SR 405 Mini-Warehouses - Plans are currently in review for a proposed mini-warehouse development on the east side of South Street (SR 405), west of the Hickory Forest subdivision. Plans indicate 12 buildings, totally 78,500 square feet. The project also includes two office buildings on site. The developer is Jerry Spangler of Titusville. The engineering firm for the project is CCEI of Titusville.
Pinebrook - Plans are currently in review for a proposed 76-lot residential subdivision on 24 acres on Sisson Road, north of Wendy Lee Drive. The developer is Jen Lee Development of Titusville. The engineering firm for the project is CCEI of Titusville.
Space Coast Regional Airport - Plans have been submitted for a proposed corporate aviation terminal complex at the south Titusville airport. The plans indicate a two-story office and terminal building for the airport. The engineering firm for the project is Avcon of Orlando.
Downtown Stormwater Park - A preliminary plan has been submitted by the city's Storm Water Division, for the development of the vacant land previously the home of McCotter Ford downtown, at Orange Avenue, S. Washington Avenue, and Indian River Avenue. The park will consist of a stormwater retention/treatment pond incorporated into a new city park hosting space shuttle exhibits.
Tropical Breeze Carwash - Plans are currently in review for a proposed 6-bay self-service carwash facility on South Street located on the out-parcel at the south side of the Lowe's entrance. The developer is Tropical Breeze Carwash of Titusville of Rockledge. The engineering firm for the project is Honeycutt & Associates of Titusville.
Cumberland Farms - Plans have been submitted for the re-development of the Cumberland Farms site on South Street and Satterfield Road. The engineering firm for the project is CoreStates, Inc. of Norcross, Georgia.
Mercedes Townhomes - A preliminary plat has been submitted for the development of the vacant property on Christian Court off of Garden Street, behind Blockbuster and McDonald's. The 7.17 acre site will host 72 lots. The engineering firm is Canaveral Engineering Group of Titusville.
Itani Plaza - Plans are currently in review for a multi-development project on S. Washington Avenue (U.S. 1) near the Vector Space Industrial Park. The proposed project will consist of a 9,500 square foot office building, and a 4,700 square foot convenience store/restaurant building. The developer is Basil Itani of Mims. The engineering firm for the project is CCEI of Titusville.
The Salvation Army, Titusville Community Center - A preliminary site plan has been submitted for review for 2-phase project proposed for a site on the east side of SR 405, north of Harrison St. on 5.45 acres. Phase 1 is to be a retail Thrift Store and Warehouse. Phase II proposes a 2,460 square foot office area, 2,945 square foot sanctuary, 3, 716 square foot of classrooms, a 1,553 square foot fellowship hall and a 8,410 square foot gymnasium. The contractor is CDMA Inc. The engineer is Frank Plata.
Gas Mart - Plans for a new 4,800 square foot convenience store/gas station at the corner of Coquina Ave and US 1. The existing building will be demolished to allow redevelopment of the site. Engineer of record is Honeycutt and Associates, Inc.
Forest Trace - Plans have been submitted for preliminary plat review from CCEI of Titusville for a subdivision to be located at the southeast corner of Knox McRae and Park Ave.
Lands @ Aura Pointe - Plans have been submitted for courtesy review of a minor division of property at the southwest corner of the intersection of I-95 and Fox Lake Rd. Eight one-acre-plus lots are proposed by Canaveral Engineering.
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