Tag Archives: River

Martin Health’s C.E.O. Rob Lord, A Hometown “Game Changer” for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Robert Lord is President and C.E.O. of Martin Health Systems, formally known as Martin Memorial Hospital. “MHS” as it is known for short, is the long time top-employer for Martin County, and a respected and expanding health system.  It has been located in Martin County for 75 years. (https://www.martinhealth.org) The origianl institution sits along the shores of the St Lucie River, near downtown Stuart and has grown into both south Stuart and St Lucie County. It is a literal “lifeblood” of our communtiy.

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I have known and admired the Lord family since my childhood. Bobby Lord, Robert Lord’s father was a local celebrity in Stuart’s early days as he is a County & Western legend. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Lord )I attended both elementary and middle school, and graduated from Martin County High School in 1982 with Robert’s younger brother, Cabot.

I cannot express how much it meant to me last Thursday to see “Robby” Lord, accomplished attorney, now President and C.E.O. of  Martin Health Systems, in his position of leadership and influence, speak in support for Senate President Joe Negron and Senate Bill 10. A bill intended to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee for a reservoir to begin what must happen to save our river: “clean and send more water south.”

Having known the Lord family all these years, I have followed Rob’s career, especially as my sister, Jenny,  is physician recruiter, and has served the hospital loyally for almost 20 years.

So, Bravo Rob Lord! You have created a “hometown game-change,” and as we all know, it is not easy to speak up. There are tremendous pressures to conform and accept things as they are. Over the past few years, outside powers have moved into our area influencing and blurring the lines.

I believe that Rob’s speaking out will clear the blurred lines and change the playing field forever. There is no mistaking it. Lake Okeechobee’s discharges are a health issue and must be stopped. Our state and federal government can ignore this no longer in spite of the influences of power.

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2016, 239 sq. miles algae bloom in Lake O at S-308 entrance to C-44 and St Lucie River
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St Lucie River 2016 toxic algae bloom brought on by Lake O discharges into SLR

Excerpt from speech:

“…Good morning, my name is Rob Lord. I am President and C.E.O of Martin Health System .. I care deeply about the impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges on the estuaries. I grew up on the Indian River Lagoon. My family moved here in 1969. I have fished these water with my father, my grandfather, and my brother and nephews and nieces. No one values this eco-system more than my family. We watched it change. As CEO of Martin Health System this has been a significant challenge for us. This past year blue-green algae came to our community. We needed to post this sign in our emergency room. We treated this very much like we needed to treat the Ebola situation….”

Dr. Steven Parr, Director of Emergency Medicine at Tradition Medical Center noted  there are studies occurring now to determine whether the toxins trigger certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS also known as Lou Gherig’s disease.

You can view the entire speech here:

MHS: https://www.martinhealth.org/martin-health-system-takes-stand-on-senate-bill-10-for-the-health-of-the-community

Rob Lord, CEO MHS
Rob Lord and Dr Parr of MHS
Rob Lord and Dr Steven Parr

Former blog on Senate Bill 10 explaining intension: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2017/01/29/presidient-negrons-memorandum-to-the-florida-senate-senate-bill-10protecting-coastal-counties-from-polluted-discharges-slrirl/

Kait Parker’s “Toxic Lake, The Untold Story of Lake Okeechobee,” SLR/IRL

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Kait Parker’s website: https://kaitparker.com

Vimeo video link: (https://vimeo.com/194372466)
Website Toxic Lake video and article : (http://www.toxiclake.com)

On May 10th, 2016 there was a knock on my front door. I was expecting somebody. Kait Parker and her team from the Weather Channel had arrived via New York to do a story on the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

The group was upbeat and friendly. They interviewed Ed and me in our kitchen, and later we took them up in both the Cub and the Baron to shoot footage and to get “the view.” –The aerial view of the discharges from Lake Okeechobee that had started this year on January 29th.

What really struck me about Kait was that although this Texas girl’s beauty, talent, and ambition had moved her beyond the Treasure Coast to Atlanta’s Weather Channel, (Kait had been a well-known and loved meteorologist for three years at WPTV, the West Palm Beach/Treasure Coast NBC affiliate), she had come “home” to see what the heck was going on. She, as so many others, had heard the horrible stories of destruction facing the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

I commend Kait for coming back to see for herself and for using her fame to share our story with others. This gesture will not be forgotten and “Toxic Lake” is already making waves! Waves of change.

Thank you Kait.

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With Kait Parker
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Getting camera and barf bag ready just in case
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Ed explaining something.
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Smile

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Discharges from Lake O through the St Lucie Inlet 5-10-16
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Plume rounding Jupiter Island through St Lucie Inlet 5-10-16
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St Luice Inlet 5-10-16
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Crossroads and SL Inlet 5-10-16

*Thank you Kait Parker,Spenser Wilking,and Andy Bowley.

The Spirit of a House; the Spirit of a River; the Spirit of the Holidays, SLR/IRL

Sewall's Point Post Office ca. 1892. Photo courtesy of Historic Society of Martin County and Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Sewall’s Point Post Office ca. 1890s. Photo courtesy of Historic Society of Martin County and Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

Certain photographs become imprinted in our minds, affecting us on an emotional level–conjuring up images and memories again and again….

One such photo for me is this late 1800s image of Captain Henry Sewall’s Post Office and home. The picture graces the cover of my mother’s book “Sewall’s Point, A History of a Peninsular Community on Florida’s Treasure Coast.” This photograph was often laid out on our family dining room table and we kids listened to mom tell stories of the house and the people from that era of history.

The first time I ever saw the photo it was like I was walking along the long, crooked dock myself to say “hello” or go pick up the mail. I could imagine a gentle breeze blowing, the sun shining, the birds flying over, the fish jumping,  and yes, maybe a mosquito or two….

In my imagination, I also thought about how happy I would be to say “hi” to the Sewalls and to maybe get some mail…My mother in her years of writing the books repeatedly pointed out how “lonely” it was for the pioneers, and that the  post office played a social role in the community as well as one of function.

With no roads, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon—were the roads—the only means of transportation to greet a neighbor, get supplies, or pick up the mail. The river brought  people tougher, just like it does today.

Yesterday, when I drove to today’s Stuart Post Office from Sewall’s Point to drop off Ed and my Christmas cards, I thought about how much things have changed.

But I have to say, that even though I did not recognize anyone at the post office, the holiday mood and bustle of mail led to many smiles just as it must have in the days of Captain Henry  Sewall. The post office, even with all of the world’s changes, still holds the heart of “greetings and hellos,” especially during the holidays.

SEWALL POST OFFICE/HOUSE TIMELINE

1889: Capt. Henry Sewall builds a house on Sewall’s Point

1891: Sewall’s Point post office established in the house

1913: The house is moved by barge to Port Sewall

2006: The house is moved by barge to Indian RiverSide Park with unanimous support from the Martin County Commission and advocacy of historian Sandra Thurlow, Stuart Heritage,  the Historical Society of Martin County and others. A large donation is made to support the move by Mr. Fred Ayers.

2012: Restoration of the house is completed/the house is listed as one of 11 properties on the Martin County Local Historic Register of Historic Places.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Jacqui

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Sewall House and Post Office tip of South Sewall's Point, ca 1892. HSMC
Sewall House and Post Office tip of South Sewall’s Point, ca 1890s. HSMC

All of Sandra Thurlow’s books can be purchased at the Stuart Heritage Museum (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com) on Flagler Avenue, the Elliott Museum, or ordered on Amazon.

Official Seals of Martin County and Stuart, Both Sailfish–where’s the River? SLR/IRL

Martin County seal.
Official seal of Martin County, sailfish and sun.

Official seals are as ancient as Mesopotamia. Whether ancient or modern, seals symbolize what is important to us and  how we see ourselves. Throughout history, seals are often recreated to represent new perceptions and values. All seals, of every era, hold great historic importance. Let’s take a look at the seals of Martin County, Florida, and its surrounding municipalities.

Recently my mother, historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow, gave a presentation at Indian River State College. I was intrigued by the early seal of Stuart and its changes throughout the years.

I was also struck that the St Lucie River, the original reason people moved to our area, was removed in favor of the sailfish and ocean sometime in the 1970s or 80s. I was also struck that the Railroad was so prominent, and today we are fighting it. —-Today the prominent symbol is a sailfish. A sailfish is certainly a wonderful and attractive symbol, however, it seems repetitive in that both Martin County and the City of Stuart use the sailfish.  View both seals below.

Martin County sailfish.
Martin County sailfish.
City of Stuart sailfish.
City of Stuart sailfish.

Let’ s reflect. Stuart became the sailfish capital of the world in the 1930s and 40s, very cool,  but Stuart was originally named “Stuart on the St Lucie ” for the river….Stuart became a city if 1914; Martin became a county in 1925.

In any case, how much do we promote sports fishing since it is the symbol of both the city and the county? The sports fishing industry a huge money-maker and is directly related to the health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. If the river is sick, and the polluted canal plume waters from C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44 and Lake Okeechobee are belching off our inlet, it is more difficult for the sailfish to have a successful spawning season.

Why isn’t the river at all represented anymore?

It’s all tied together— the river and the inlet ocean area…partially due to the degradation of our waterways we are really no longer truly the “Sailfish Capital of the World.” How can we become the sailfish capital of the world again?

How can we honor our sailfish history and have an eye for a better water future? Is it time for updated seals? Should Stuart and Marin County both be sailfish? What do you think? I  suppose the most important questions are: “What is most important to us today, and what do we really stand for?”

Stuart City seal 1914 with East Coast Railroad Bridge over the St Lucie and docks. (Image shared by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
Stuart City seal 1914 with East Coast Railroad Bridge over the St Lucie River and docks. No auto bridge. Image shared by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
City of Stuart seal showed the railroad and an auto bridge in 1978. Seal taken from city stationary. Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
City of Stuart seal showed the railroad and an auto bridge over the St Lucie River in 1978. Seal taken from city stationary. Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
City of Stuart seal changed to sailfish sometime after 1978. (SHT)
City of Stuart seal changed to sailfish sometime after 1978. (Sandra Henderson Thurlow)

Here are some other seals of Martin County’s incorporated cities and towns:

Town of Jupiter Island, palm tree and wavy waters.
Town of Jupiter Island, palm tree and wavy waters, 2015.
Town of Sewall's Point seal brown pelican and satin leaf, 2015.
Town of Sewall’s Point seal brown pelican and satin leaf plant unique to its hammock, 2015.
The Town of Ocean Breeze does not appear to have an official seal but this image is displayed often, 2015.
The Town of Ocean Breeze does not appear to have an official seal that I could find, but this image is displayed often, 2015.

 

 

Seals, Emblems, History: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(emblem))

A 10 Year Olds’ Winning “Save Our River” Toilet Seat, Visionary School of the Arts, SLR/IRL

Winning art by 10 year old Aiden Serafica, Save the River toilet seat, Visionary School of the Arts, 2015.
Winning art by 10-year-old Aiden Serafica, “Save the River” toilet seat in acrylics, Visionary School of the Arts, 2015.

Art has always been political. It is by nature. It makes us think. It makes us feel—whether we want to or not. Our reaction to art is ancient and deeply programmed into our innermost being….

Today, I  say “Kudos!” to 10-year-old Aiden Serafica, a student at Lynn Barletta’s “Visionary School of the Arts,” in Stuart. As you probably know, the school is doing a wide range of amazing things with area youth. (http://www.visionaryschoolof-arts.org)

So this past Sunday, I was at Carson’s Tavern having dinner with my husband, Ed,  and friends Anne and Peter Schmidt, when an adorable ten-year old boy walks up to me and says: “My grandmother told me I should show you this…”—he was smiling from ear to ear! He reaches out and shows me a phone, and this is what I saw:

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“Aiden Serafica age 10 is in Miss Robyn’s Thursday class. Aiden was commissioned to paint a toilet seat in a “SAVE OUR RIVER” theme by local business owner Susan of Palm City Farms. Aiden received $100.00 for his beautiful rendition in acrylics. In addition this piece won first place in a contest at Martin County Fairgrounds as part of the best booth of the fairgrounds! Congratulations to Aiden on a completely unique and daring project of creativity. Art is indeed everywhere!”

I was so excited by what I saw and read, and that this young man, Aiden, would share this with me.

“This is wonderful Aiden! Congratulations! Very powerful! So proud of your artwork and expression. Thank you for speaking out on behalf of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon! ” Aiden and I  shook hands. He was beaming; he even winked…

I think the Army Corp, the South Florida Water Management District, the state legislature and the Governor’s office are going to have to have a lot of pressure from future generations to  “get the water right….” —-perhaps they too, if they see Aiden’s toilet art, will come up with some daring and creative ways to speed up fixing our rivers.

Robin Mendez's phone image.
Robin Mendez’s phone image.

You can learn more about Visionary School of the Arts on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Visionary-School-of-Arts-231642403558562/ or on their website:
http://www.visionaryschoolof-arts.org

The Power of Public Comment, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

River Kidz member Hannah Angelo Walker speaks before the Stuart City Commission, 2015. (Photo JTL)
River Kidz member Hannah Angelo-Walker speaks before the Stuart City Commission, 2015. (Photo JTL)

As seven-year small-town commissioner of the Town of  Sewall’s Point, one forum I have come to love and appreciate, although it is sometimes quite “painful,” is “public comment”—-the time set aside during a public meeting, for the public to speak…

Time set aside is usually three minutes. This may seem short, but it is HUGE. When one really thinks about it, public comment, of any length, is a remarkable and powerful distinction of American politics.

*”The basis for “public comment” is found in general political theory of constitutional democracy and originated during and after the “French Enlightenment.” This basis was elaborated during the American Revolution, and various thinkers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson,  and Thomas Paine are associated with the rejection of tyrannical, closed government decision-making in favor of open government.”

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the United States. (Public image.)
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the United States as was the idea of “public comment.” (Public image.)

I just love this!

This Thursday, at 9AM, the South Florida Water Management District is holding its Governing Board Meeting at 3301 Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach, 33406. Many from the public will be attending.  The SFWMD is a public body, just as is a town, city or county commission. Public comment is part of the agenda. This is a great opportunity to influence the board…

Flyer for meeting at SFWMD. (Facebook)
Flyer for meeting at SFWMD. (Facebook)
Great Seal of the Untied States.
Great Seal of the Untied States.

Today,  I would like to tell a story of my worst experience with”pubic comment” and encourage those who speak on Thursday to use some of the principles we teach for the kids…River Kidz that is. Kidz trying to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon…

Here’s my story….

I have participated on both sides of public comment. I respect it, but it is not always easy.

In 2013,  I experienced the greatest “lashing” I have ever received in my life during pubic comment at the Town of Sewall’s Point.  I can still recall the entire episode: the older distinguished gentleman waving his finger in the air, yelling, saliva flying, red-faced, furious with me….tunnel vision set in, and I just sat there, in disbelief really, saying to myself: “just keep looking him in the eye.”  I was being berated for supporting the firing of our town manager and how that came to be… When I went home that night, I really felt awful. In fact, it was hard to sleep. Being yelled at in public in front of all of those people was quite humiliating. That three minutes felt like eternity.

Public comment is part of having "freedom"....
Public comment is part of having “freedom”….

Later, when I told the gentleman’s wife in the grocery store, that I was hurt by her husband’s words she coolly replied: “You asked for it….” She was implying that I ran for public office, and this was part of the “responsibility” of being an elected official….listening to the public…good or bad….

Although that wasn’t the compassion I was looking for, she was right.

Over time, I can’t say that I feel any better about that experience, but I did learn a lot and thankfully, most of the time, public comment is not so difficult. In fact, most of the time, it is my favorite part of the meeting.

I am proud of America. I am proud that we are allowed to “speak up.” I am proud that tyranny has obstacles, although sometimes it seems it reigns here too.

Did the man achieve success by yelling at me? Maybe, but I don’t think so….let me explain. “People do business with people they like and trust.” No matter who you are, it is not human nature to trust those who yell at you.

River Kidz teaches public speaking, and was born of kids here in the Town of Sewall’s Point.  Over the past four years, it has  grown to encompass St Lucie County as well as Martin County. Their self-created mission statement reads:

“Our mission is to speak out, get involved, and raise awareness because we believe kids should have a voice in the future of our rivers.”

Encouraging  the kids to speak in public is one of the “pillars” of the grassroots organization:

River Kidz co-founder, Evie Flaugh sits with her mother, Jenny, preparing to speak before the Martin County Commission, 2011.
River Kidz co-founder, Evie Flaugh sits with her mother, Jenny, preparing to speak before the Martin County Commission, 2011.

We do not teach “yelling at the board” as part of River Kidz, we teach respect, projection, confident body language, sharing personal antidotes about how the river affects your life, doing one’s homework, and finishing before your 3 minutes is up…”

Simple, successful, rules of public comment….

So God Bless America! Where we are free to speak out! Where we are free to exercise our constitutional right to assemble and petition our government!

Speak boldly! Speak wisely! Speak with passion and dignity! The river is “turning course,” “buy the land!”—Our voices can be  the current of the future….

Rivre Kidz teaches public speaking and speaking before public bodies.
Rivre Kidz teaches public speaking and speaking before public bodies.
River Kidz member, Keile Mader, 10, speaks in Tallahassee for the "Clean Water and Amd. 1 Rally." She wrote her own speech. (Cyndi Lenz, 2015)
River Kidz member, Keile Mader, 10, speaks in Tallahassee for the “Clean Water and Amd. 1 Rally.” She wrote her own speech. (Cyndi Lenz, 2015)
Me with River Kidz member Victoria Dalton who was honored the year at the Environmental Stewardship Awards for her public speaking before the Senate Hearing on the IRL and in other public arenas. (Photo friend on Facebook.)
Me with River Kidz member Victoria Dalton who was honored this year at the Environmental Stewardship Awards for her public speaking before the Senate Hearing on the IRL and in other public arenas. (Photo friend on Facebook, 2014.)

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History of Public Comment in USA: (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_comment)

Town  of Sewall’s Point: (http://www.sewallspoint.org) 

River Kidz/Rivers Coalition, (see tab RK): (http://riverscoalition.org)

The River Doesn’t Belong to a Political Party; It Belongs to All of Us, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

A newly elected Congressman Partick Murphy holding recycled FDOT signs painted by the River Kidz. The flag sign was taken to Washington DC and displayed in the front office, 2012.
Newly elected Congressman Partick Murphy holding recycled FDOT signs painted by the River Kidz. The flag sign was taken to Washington DC and displayed in the front office, 2012.

I support politicians that work in the interests of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. The river doesn’t belong to a political party; it belongs to all of us.

The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon doesn't belong to a political party; it belongs to all of us.
Image 2014, bullsugar.org.

Just over a month ago, I wrote a blog entitled, “Why I Support Senator Joe Negron,” a Republican, (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/08/26/why-i-am-such-a-big-supporter-of-senator-joe-negron-indian-river-lagoon/),  and today I am writing in support of Congressman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat.

I am a registered republican.

To me, people are more important than their political affiliations.

From the beginning Patrick Murphy displayed that he wanted to work with everyone. After winning Florida US House District 18, he came to Martin County and met with leaders of all municipalities and the county, together.  He introduced  himself and ask us what issues were most important to us. The health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon was the top agreed choice and Patrick got to work.

Looking back, little things say a lot.

I recall I was impressed that he wasn’t afraid to get his “hands dirty.” He immediately participated in an oyster restoration event in Ft Pierce with St Lucie County Commissioner, Chris Dzadovsky. Dzadovsky ended up suffering from a skin infection due to an oyster cut during the oyster deployment….Congressman Murphy quickly caught on to the seriousness and the extent of the Martin, St Lucie river problem and how much the river’s improvement meant to the local people.

Another plus for me was that he quickly befriended the River Kidz and took their call for “getting involved, speaking out, and raising awareness”seriously. Some members even went to Washington DC to participate in his IRL meeting with congressional leaders. Now that’s a first!

Patrick’s list of accomplishments is broad including pushing hard for monies for the C-44 Storm Water Treatment and Reservoir for C-44 basin runoff; and CEPP, the Central Everglades Planning Project that if ever approved will divert about 12% of Lake Okeechobee’s water south, and monies for the National Estuary Program’s revamping. The list goes on, please see image below.

Flyer on front desk inPatrick Murph's Stuart office.
Flyer of Murphy’s IRL “Action and Advocacy.”(Click to enlarge.)
Side 2 of flyer
Side two of flyer.
Congressman Murphy in Washington DC with River Warriors, River Kidz and others, for session on IRL., 2013. (Photo Nicole Mader.)
Congressman Murphy in Washington DC with River Warriors, River Kidz and commissioners, and others, for session on IRL.  In spite of a government shutdown,  many congressional leaders met with the group. (Photo Nicole Mader, 2013.)

I know over time there is a lot more to do. But the young congressman is off to a great start and most important, we have developed a relationship with him. We must keep this relationships going.  For in the end, no political party will save the river; it is only people and their relationships that can do that. 

Patrick at fundraiser held in the Town of Sewall's Point, 2013.
Patrick at fundraiser held in the Town of Sewall’s Point by Karen Cahan. Sewall’s Point is known as a “republican enclave,”  2013.
Speaking on behalf of Congressman Murphy at his campaign headquarter in Stuart, 2014.
Speaking on behalf of Congressman Murphy at his campaign headquarter in Stuart, 2014.

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Campaign commercials I have done in support of Congressman Patrick Murphy, Democrat and Senator Joe Negron, Republican, 2014.

Congressman Patrick Murphy commercial IRL: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdODyl-tFE0&feature=youtu.be)

Senator Joe Negron commercial IRL(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLDSi4EsPJU)