How to help Vero Beach, Sebastian, Port St. Lucie, Indian River Lagoon; pass plastic law

Want to prevent algae blooms? Stop using fertilizer on lawns during rainy season

People are always asking, “What can we do to help the lagoon?”

Observing the upcoming fertilizer ban is one opportunity to do so. All residents of Indian River County, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores and Orchid are subject to a local ban that starts June 1 and ends Sept. 30. It coincides with the start of our rainy season, when more nutrients, such as the nitrogen and phosphorous in fertilizer, are likely to be washed from our lawns, driveways and roads into the stormwater system and, ultimately, into our local waters such as the Indian River Lagoon.

These excess nutrients are the fuel for toxic algae blooms that impair marine life and human health.

No fertilizer containing phosphorous is to be used anytime. All fertilizers must contain at least 50% slow-release nitrogen. If your community uses reuse water for irrigation, no fertilizer is ever necessary as there are ample nutrients already in the reuse water. Finally, no fertilizer is to be applied within 10 feet of any water body, and grass clippings are not to be blown into storm drains, canals, the lagoon or onto roadways.

If you or your association uses a lawn care provider, please discuss these regulations with them. For details regarding the ordinance and fertilizing tips, please see or email Alexis Peralta, the county’s stormwater educator and fertilizer enforcement officer, at

Complying with the fertilizer ordinance and reporting any violators is one way we can all personally contribute to cleaning up our local waters.

Jean Catchpole, Vero Beach, is secretary of the Indian River Neighborhood Association and the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County.

Jim Moir, the Indian Riverkeeper executive director, uses his compost while giving a tour of his fertilizer-free yard, Thursday, July 20, 2023, in the Rocky Point community of Port Salerno. "I haven't used fertilizers in a long time, there's no reason to here in Florida," said Moir. "We've got a surplus phosphate in the soil and we get lots of nitrogen from the sky. I chose not to pollute my community, I chose not to pollute my backyard, I chose not to pollute the place that I love."

Stop water pollution by getting elected officials to serve us

I just returned home from attending a very informative gathering at the local Kane Center. The panelists included Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades; Gil Smart, executive director of VoteWater, and Ed Killer, TCPalm outdoors columnist.

All three of the panelists extensively described the ongoing situation of the Lake Okeechobee horrid releases that imperil the St. Lucie River and its environs, as well as our local population. Algae kills.

I wish that more concerned citizens had been in attendance.

If you are horrified by these continued disastrous releases, information may be obtained by connecting online with Friends of the Everglades or VoteWater.

In the meantime, contact the offices of our local representatives and senators ― Gayle Harrell, Toby Overdorf, John Snyder and Brian Mast — to make your concerns and anger known to them. The first three politicians listed all accept Big Sugar dollars, if not directly, then from political action committees supported by the Florida sugar industry. They have not seemed to be interested in assisting our community in our fight with the two biggest abusers that have caused these devasting issues.

Big Sugar has owned Florida politicians for years; consequently, they receive much government help in support of their industry. Note that Mast does not receive money from Big Sugar; good on him.

It's time to say no more to Florida's cane sugar industry. No more financial support, no more land that was paid for through our taxes for their sole usage for water drainage and no more political favors by Florida politicians.

Dirty money to dirty politicians equals dirty and poisonous water releases on the east and west coasts of Florida.

Sharon E. Garland, Hobe Sound

The interactive turtle sculpture is at the Venice Beach pavilion, near the north walkway to the beach. A nearby sign explains the purpose of the sculpture. Beachgoers can deposit plastic bottles and cans in a nearby recycling station to be added to the interior of the sculpture.
The interactive turtle sculpture is at the Venice Beach pavilion, near the north walkway to the beach. A nearby sign explains the purpose of the sculpture. Beachgoers can deposit plastic bottles and cans in a nearby recycling station to be added to the interior of the sculpture.

Require deposits for plastic bottles

Plastic bottles litter our road and waterways.

Currently, 10 states have deposit on all single-use plastic bottles. The amount of microplastics has increased in our environment, showing up in fish we consume.

I think it is time to implement a nationwide law for a deposit on all single-use plastics. The monetary value placed on plastic bottles is an incentive for the end users to return the bottles to a secure holding area for collection and recycling. It also makes collecting roadside litter of plastic bottles more than just a civic duty and one of financial gain.

Having plastic collected in this manner should reduce the overall cost of recycling plastics. It may just put a dent in the plastic pollution problem.

I frequently ride my bike along St. Lucie Boulevard in Martin County and most days I fill my basket with plastic trash. Please make sure that items will not blow out of your trash cans or boats.

Sharon McGinnis, Stuart

Real estate challenges of supply, demand beat Ponzi schemes anytime

Buying or selling real estate is often the biggest financial transaction a person or family will make. This is why consumer groups and the state of Florida strive to be sure that real estate agents have some education on the subject.

The government also wants to protect the public from inadvertently dealing with criminals, so a fingerprint and background check is done on anyone applying for a real estate license.

This is why I found it amazing when I saw the column, "Don’t count on the brutal housing market to get better soon," by Scott Lincicome in the newspaper April 28. Lincicome is vice president of general economics and trade at the Cato Institute, which advocates diminished government intervention in domestic, social and economic policies.

He blames the high prices of housing on "state-sanctioned Realtor cartels with a witches’ brew of federal, state and local regulation." He advocates for little or no local zoning and land-use regulations.

He then claims that requiring real estate agents to be licensed and have a basic knowledge of real estate and laws contributes to higher home prices. He says anybody should be able to offer any service at whatever price they want.

Although I'm sure most people understand how flawed his thinking is, it did provide a good laugh. What Lincicome advocates is what once made Florida famous. Thanks to no licensing and no regulations, Florida became known for real estate scams, like selling swampland. The term "Ponzi scheme" was named after Charles Ponzi, one of the first notable con men in U.S. history to swindle people looking for their slice of the American Dream by selling Florida swampland.

If anyone wonders why housing prices are going up, read articles about supply and demand. It's pretty basic.

Jim Weix, Palm City

Run against Port St. Lucie council members who hiked taxes

Many of your readers are struggling to make ends meet. Many costs are out of our control, such as home and car insurance, fuel and food.

One thing that was clearly in the control of our elected officials was our local taxes.

The Port St. Lucie City Council voted last fall to raise our taxes. Mine rose 5.5%.

I told them not to do this, but they chose to do so anyway.

It is time to hold them accountable for their actions.

David Pickett and Jolien Caraballo are up for election this year. Caraballo does not have any opposition.

I plead with residents of District 4 to step up and file for her seat. Time is running out. The city clerk has all the information needed.

In this time of high inflation, they chose to add to it when they could have helped to control it. They must go!

William Dean, Port St. Lucie

Democrats should fight GOP bullying: Register Republican

There is a big push to scrutinize the voter rolls by the Republican Party.

Will they comb through the Republican voter rolls or just the Democrats, to try to eliminate voters? My guess is they will concentrate on the Dems and non-partisan voters. Therefore, I suggest Democratic voters and independents change their registration to Republican.

Florida has "closed" primaries and there are few positions for registered Democrats to vote for in the primary. If you register Republican, you can vote against the "radicals" in the Republican primary. In November, you can vote for whomever you wish from either party.

You will also avoid the Republican scrutiny of the voter rolls, that may invalidate your vote.

Best of all, it will distort the polls by having a large number of Republicans (really Democrats) favoring Joe Biden. It would give the Reps a false sense of Republican strength to have such an increase in registered Republicans.

Let's do it!

Fran Oldach, Vero Beach

At 21, she had stroke. Learn from her

Signs of a stroke? Call 911 F.A.S.T.

When I was 21, I had a stroke at my college graduation. I remember walking across the stage, accepting my diploma, and a few days later, I woke up in the hospital.

While stroke is most common in people above age 65, it can affect anyone at any age. It’s the No. 5 cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. At 21, I was a healthy, lifelong athlete and having a stroke was the furthest thing from my mind.

Quick medical action saved my life. It’s critical for everyone to understand the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty so they know when it’s Time to call 911.

Time is brain during a stroke — the faster you can get to the hospital, the more likely it is that doctors can intervene and save your life, your speech, your mobility and more.

Today, nearly 11 years since my stroke, I am a strong and healthy survivor because the people around me acted F.A.S.T. Be that person for someone else. Know the stroke symptoms.

Marissa Fattore, Vero Beach, is a member of the 2024 Go Red for Women Class of Survivors.

Critical to report on local crime by undocumented immigrants

Why no mention about growing crime committed by illegal immigrants right here?

Our Martin County sheriff sent us notice to protect ourselves against Colombian gangs. Yes, gangs.

They are mugging people at ATMs and crashing cars to enable robbery. The targets are mainly seniors.

This seems far more important than shilling for Brightline or other puff pieces you publish.

Art DeMartini, Palm City

Why do Democrat leaders support bigotry 100 years later?

In 1924, the Democratic Party held its national convention in New York City and refused to pass a party platform provision condemning the Ku Klux Klan. Its membership consisted mostly of Democrats who terrorized African-Americans, Catholics and Jews, and covered their faces, usually with pillowcases, often with pointed white sheets.

It is now 2024 and the Democratic Party is at it again, refusing to condemn, in too many cases encouraging, much of its rank and file to cover their faces and carry out acts of violence against Jews and Christians who support them in their struggle against bigotry.

Perhaps elected Democrats, whom the media avoids asking, might want to answer about a reason for their cowardice in standing up to the bigots in their ranks. Perhaps as Tevya the milkman put it in "Fiddler on the Roof," it's a party tradition.

David Levine, Hobe Sound

Bird flu, 1918 Spanish flu long forgotten

Recent articles state the current bird flu scare has only resulted in just an eye infection.

I learned about the 1918 Spanish Flu at an animal welfare conference. Book author Michael Greger, MD, "Bird Flu, A Virus of Our Own Hatching," was a guest speaker.

Astoundingly, I and others had never heard about this pandemic in which he said: "In 1918, half the world became infected and 25% of all Americans fell ill. Unlike regular seasonal flu, which tends to kill only the elderly and infirm, the flu virus killed those in the prime of life."

An estimated 50 million to 100 million people dead is considered the "best estimate," according to historians, yet I don't remember ever being taught about it, but was taught about other historic plagues.

Just an eye infection? The following is a description of the 1918 Purple Death:

"What started for millions around the globe as muscle aches and a fever, days later with many victims bleeding from their nostrils, ears and eye sockets. Some bled inside their eyes, some bled around them. They vomited blood and coughed it up. Purple blood blisters appeared on their skin.

"According to historians, the first reaction of most authorities during 1918 was just flat-out denial."

So what are we to think of the recent numerous articles about the bird flu? "I had a little bird, it's name was Enza. I opened the window and in-flu-enza."

This was the jump rope rhyme of 1918 children.

This book is about much more than the bird flu, but about our relationship in the world with animals and what we sow and reap and tells a truly frightening story of a past event that is hard to believe it's been forgotten.

Does anyone remember those days and have a story to tell?

Susan M. Parry, Fort Pierce 

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Laws would help Treasure Coast, Indian River Lagoon; Democrats to GOP?