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Newspaper of Viera & Suntree...........BLUEWATER CREATIVE GROUP Renaissance Fair Page 6 2017 VOLUME 11 ISSUE 2 v ieravoic e.c om

Local teen’s project sheds light on earbuds, hearing issues BY CARL KOTALA

Noah Richter has a message for his fellow teenagers: Be careful how loud and how long you listen to your music. For his senior project at Edgewood Junior/Senior High School, the Viera resident is launching a campaign to coincide with National Hearing Day on March 3. Richter’s goal is to increase awareness of hearing loss in teenagers and young adults due to listening to music using earbuds at high volume levels and for a long period of time.

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“You don’t think of this as a serious problem, because most people think of hearing loss as something you don’t have to worry about until you’re 70 or 80”

Dance marathon supports good cause Page 2

— Noah Richter

Using various research sites and journals, Richter discovered that 1 in 5 teenagers in the United States (and 1 in 6 worldwide) have experienced hearing loss due to unsafe use of personal audio devices. That’s an increase of 31 percent during the past 20 years. What’s more, there are 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide who are at risk.


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VIERA VOICE 7630 N. Wickham Rd., #105 Viera, FL 32940


Viera resident and Edgewood High senior Noah Richter listens to music through over-the-ear headphones. As part of his senior project, Richter is warning fellow teens about the dangers of using earbuds.

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Dance marathon set for March 24 at Viera High The money raised by Viera students will go directly to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children


Viera High School will host HawkThon, a dance marathon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. March 24. Working in conjunction with UCF’s Knight-Thon, organizers are hoping to raise $5,000 by partnering with local businesses and from donations as well as

money raised the night of the Viera High event. “It’s more like a celebration, so we do a lot of fun stuff,” said Viera High senior Paige Pagano, a member of the executive



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board. “We have games going on and activities for everyone to partake in. And it also helps raise money as well.” The student executive board, which consists of Pagano, Sydney Patterson, Miriam Akram and president Jackie Lamm, has been holding fundraising activities throughout the year while also receiving partial proceeds from several local restaurants. The money raised by Viera students will go directly to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which has a special meaning to members of the student board. Not only was the life of one of Patterson’s best friends saved by the care they received at the hospital, but the group also had a chance to tour the facility and see the kind of impact their fundraising will have. “We got to go to the hospital and see exactly where our money goes, from machines to toys for the kids that they get to take with them to research-type stuff,” Lamm said. “We got to see all of that, so it definitely helped us (visualize where the money goes).”

Viera hosted its first dance marathon two years ago, and now that it’s back after a year’s hiatus, Lamm and the rest of the board hope the event will take off

and become an annual affair. For more information on HawkThon or to make a donation, go to events. vhshawkthon. VV





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Members of Viera High's Dance Marathon executive committee include Jackie Lamm, left, Paige Pagano, Miriam Akram and Sydney Patterson.

Viera Voice | March 2017

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Bluewater Creative Group 321-242-1235 7630 N. Wickham Rd. Suite 105, Viera, FL 32940

Publisher Bluewater Creative Group, Inc. Managing Editor Jill Blue-Gaines Office Manager Sylvia Montes

“I definitely want people to be more knowledgeable …” — Noah Richter

“But it’s becoming a lot more prevalent now. Most people, they might be somewhat aware of it, but it doesn’t really sink in until you realize, OK, if you get this when you’re 20 or 30, you can’t ever fix it, really.

“I definitely want people to be more knowledgeable … understanding you can’t listen to music for three

Viera Pediatrics

Design & Media Team Cory Davis Marc Rhodes Ana Barrios Copy Editors Jeff Navin, Diana VanDeMark

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•BUSINESS Fellow of American Academy of Pediatrics NETWORKING GROUP • Board Certified by American Academy of Pediatrics • Over 7 years of experience

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The entire contents of this newspaper are copyrighted by VIERA VOICE with all rights reserved. VIERA VOICE is not liable for errors or omissions in editorial, advertorial or advertising materials. Distribution of this newspaper does not constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. Reproduction or use without permission, of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited.


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hours at 90 percent volume and not experience damage.” Instead of using earbuds, you might consider over-theear headphones, which are generally safer because they are farther away from your inner ear. Noise canceling headphones are even better because you don’t have to turn up the volume as loud. But that’s not all Richter is

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Volume 11, Number 2 ©2017 Bluewater Creative Group, Inc. All rights reserved

“It’s one of those things you wouldn’t expect,” Richter said. “You don’t think of this as a serious problem, because most people think of hearing loss as something you don’t have to worry about until you’re 70 or 80.

promoting. “One of the biggest things I’ve focused on is the 60/60 rule, which is basically don’t listen to your music at no more than 60 percent volume for no more than 60 minutes,” he said. “It’s sort of a simple way to keep down dangerous levels of music consumption, because that’s definitely something very prevalent to teenagers my age.” In recognition of World Hearing Day, Richter has set up a website at He also has an Instagram page — @60sixty_hearing_ loss with a hashtag of #60/ sixtyrule — where he will encourage people to post selfies showing them following the 60/60 rule. He also plans to distribute posters and pamphlets, possibly to local doctor’s offices and might even do some speaking engagements. “I want the general community … at least my school and the area around there to be more aware of hearing loss as a problem,” Richter said. “I know for sure I wasn’t aware of how serious it is.” VV

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Viera Voice | March 2017

Family Fair highlights work of Viera Lions in area BY MARIA SONNENBERG

There will be lots of lions in an upcoming Viera fair, but they won’t be snarling big kitties, but rather the smiling members of the Viera Lions, hosts of the Family FaIr scheduled from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8 at the Holiday Inn, Viera. The free event, which combines fun with education, is representative of the Lions’ commitment to the community. “We wanted to showcase all that Viera has to offer,” said Carl Ott, chair of the fair committee. “There is so much here for families.” Co-sponsored by the Viera Company, the fair will highlight leisure events, as well as venues and providers of health, wellness and fitness products and services. The event includes a children’s area with a balloon artist and face painter, as well as special demonstrations from local dance and karate studios. The Viera Lions, a chapter of Lions International, also hope the fair draws attention to their well-earned reputation for community service. Lions International is the world’s largest service club organization, with 46,000 clubs around the world. The group takes pride in outreach efforts to help the young and old. 2017 is a particularly important year for all Lions, for it marks the 100th anniversary of the organization that Chicago businessman Melvin Jones launched in 1917 after he

eye surgery but cannot afford to pay for the procedure and make possible vision screenings for pre-school children. Additionally, the Lions have provided for blood screenings to diagnose diabetes and have helped the local environment by planting trees in Brevard wetlands. The 40 men and women who make up the Viera Lions, like their fellow 1.35 million Lions worldwide, walk the walk as far as community

service is concerned, so that whenever there is a need, there is a Lion. The Viera Lions meet at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Charlie and Jake’s restaurant. Both men and women are invited to join the group. For more information on the Viera Lions and their Family Fair, call 321-6104620 or go to e-clubhouse. org/sites/viera-page-10.php. VV



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Viera Charter School relives the Renaissance BY MARIA SONNENBERG

Travel to that most interesting of time periods, the Renaissance, without leaving Viera, thanks to the efforts of students and staff of Viera Charter School, where the age of da Vinci and Michelangelo will come alive, for a few hours, at least, beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 9, on the school grounds, 6206 Breslay Drive, Viera. “We are excited to celebrate our students’ interpretation of one of the most important time periods in world history,” said Thomas Armstrong, assistant principal and athletic director at the school. The event welcomes all in the community to join in the spirit of the Renaissance. “Kids will play games from the Middle Ages, observe knights competing and catapults destroying castles,” promised Armstrong. The fair is not just about knightly derring-do, for guests can enjoy the lowkey and pleasant pastime of petting creatures great and small at the fair’s farm area. Folks in the Renaissance

enjoyed great appetite for life … and for hearty food, so it is to be expected that Viera Charter’s Renaissance Fair should have an important culinary component. “Everyone will enjoy allyou-can-eat pork, turkey, chicken, roasted potatoes and carrots,” Armstrong said. Cost for the feast fit for a

“Kids will play games from the Middle Ages, observe knights competing and catapults destroying castles” — Thomas Armstrong king is only $10. While the emphasis is on fun, there is also an educational component to the event. The Renaissance nurtured giants in art and science, so the students will pay tribute to giants such as Galileo, Gutenberg,

Columbus, Magellan and, of course, immortal artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Viera Charter School, a tuition-free, open enrollment public charter school, is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school has been recognized by Florida Governor Rick Scott for its students’ outstanding performance in mathematics achievement. Viera Charter School scored in the top 9.3 percent in the state in math during the 2015-2016 school year. The student body has also earned kudos in both the gym and the classroom. The Panthers’ boys varsity basketball team recently won the Space Coast Christian Athletic Championship. Its robotics teams have qualified for state competition, and Viera Charter’s Science Olympiads and chess team also have distinguished themselves. Viera Charter School is located at 6206 Breslay Drive, Melbourne. For more information, call 321-633-8368 or go to VV

VIERA VOICE Jill Blue-Gaines

Viera Charter School assistant principal and athletic director Thomas Armstrong, second from left, is proud to bring the Renaissance Fair to the area.

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Viera Voice | March 2017

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Viera Voice | March 2017


p u p a SPORTSWr Tigers seeking to make more school history BY CARL KOTALA

Two years ago, they were part of the first Holy Trinity baseball team to win a district championship. This season, the Tigers want something else. “We want to win the first regional playoff game,” senior Joc Perry said. With returners like Perry, Tony Jenkins, junior Jack Szachacz and new catcher and co-captain Oscar Gonzalez, the Tigers certainly have the talent to do just that. “We are probably one of the most talented Holy Trinity teams I’ve ever had across the board,” Tigers coach Tracy Biggs said. With junior second baseman Jaden Smith at the top of the lineup, Szachacz in the No. 2 spot and a 3-45 combination of seniors Perry, Jenkins and Gonzalez, the Tigers will certainly have a potent lineup. In fact, Biggs joked that opposing pitchers aren’t the only ones who figure to have trouble with the senior-led heart of the order. Just try throwing batting practice. “Between (Oscar), Tony and Jacquel … trying to keep balls in this little park with those guys is a nightmare,” Biggs said. Jenkins, who has signed to play at the University of Miami, is expected to be selected at some point during the Major League Baseball Draft in June. The addition of Gonzalez, meanwhile, could have a major impact this season. Not only does the lefty give the Tigers another quality power bat, he provides a presence behind the plate they have been lacking. “If you know the catcher’s good, you’re going to think twice about sending a guy to second,” Perry said. “He gives you a chance to get double plays. He blocks balls. You feel more comfortable pitching to a guy when you know if you throw a bad pitch it’s going to get blocked up.” Another transfer, Zach Pfile, will strengthen the outfield. Senior Harvey Jenkins and junior lefty Ryan Shields will lead Holy Trinity on the mound along with Perry, who will see most of his


“… trying to keep the balls in this park with those guys is a nightmare” —Tracy Biggs


The Holy Trinity baseball team should be fun to watch this season as the Tigers not only try to win another district championship, but also the first regional playoff game in school history.

action at third base or first base. The team also will count

on some of its younger players such as eighthgraders Cole Teply and Liam

Samuels, who will pitch and play some outfield. Freshman Pedro Gonzalez will give the Tigers another left-hander on the mound. All of that could easily lead to another district title for the Tigers. “We know we have the team to win,” Perry said. “We’re all focused. We all push each other. And we’re close.” They also have a sense of urgency to get that first regional playoff victory this season. “We’ve got a sense of determination this year,” Szachacz said “We’ve got four seniors leaving and we don’t know who is coming in next, so it’s got to be this year. We all know that.”VV


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2017 SPORTS SCHEDULES VIERA HIGH VARSITY BASEBALL All home games played at Viera Regional Park * District game March 1 – at Sebastian River, 7 p.m. March 4 – vs. Atlantic Coast at Rockledge, 1 p.m. March 6 – Heritage, 7 p.m.* March 8 – Astronaut, 6 p.m. March 10 – Melbourne, 7 p.m.* March 14 – Christian Academy of Knoxville, 7 p.m. March 15 – Palm Bay, 6 p.m. March 17 – Sebastian River, 7 p.m.* March 20 – at Cocoa Beach, 6 p.m. March 22 – Bayside, 6 p.m. March 24 – at Harmony, 6 p.m.* March 27 – Satellite, 6 p.m. March 29 – at Melbourne, 7 p.m. March 31 – at Winter Park, 7 p.m. JV BASEBALL All home games played at Viera Regional Park March 2 – at Melbourne, 6 p.m. March 7 – Melbourne, 6 p.m. March 9 – Heritage, 6 p.m. March 14 – Christian Academy of Knoxville, 4 p.m. March 16 – Eau Gallie, 6 p.m. March 18 – at Sebastian River, 10 a.m./12:30 p.m. March 21 – at Satellite, 6 p.m. March 23 – at Titusville, 6 p.m. March 25 – at Harmony, 11 a.m./1:30 p.m. March 28 – Rockledge, 6 p.m. March 29 – at Merritt Island, 6 p.m. BOYS LACROSSE JV at 5:30 p.m., Varsity at 7 unless noted * District game March 3 – at Rockledge* March 8 – Merritt Island March 14 – at Cocoa Beach March 20 – TFA (varsity only), 6 p.m. March 24 – at Jensen Beach March 28 – at Satellite (varsity only) GIRLS LACROSSE JV at 5:30 p.m., Varsity at 7 unless noted * District game March 3 – Rockledge March 9 – at Merritt Island March 21 – at Cocoa Beach (varsity only), 6 p.m. March 23 – at Edgewood (varsity only), 6 p.m. March 24 – MCC (varsity only), 6 p.m. March 28 – at Satellite (varsity only), 5:30 p.m. March 30 – at Melbourne SOFTBALL All home games played at Viera Regional Park JV games at 5:15 p.m., varsity at 7 p.m. * District varsity game

Continued to page 9

Hawks have talent to get to state final four BY CARL KOTALA

The Viera High girls softball team is loaded … again. And just like the past two seasons, when the Hawks got as far as the regional finals, they have their eyes on getting to the state final four for the first time in school history. “It would be nice to be able to make it to states this year,” senior center fielder Haley Hinz said. “If we all work together, we’ll be able to. (We) just have each other’s back and (have to) be able to make the plays.” While the Hawks graduated two key players from last year’s team — pitcher Kiana East and shortstop Sydney Brooks — they have a roster chock full of playoffexperienced returners. Third baseman Kaitlyn Jensen, who hit 17 of Viera’s incredible 32 home runs last season, is back at third base with her younger sister, Taylor Jensen, taking over at shortstop. Kelly Bishop returns at second base with Carly Kish moving into the lineup at first base. Hinz will be bookended by Zoe Hatley in right field and slap-hitting Madison Headley in left. Aly Lloyd is back behind the plate and Viera’s new No. 1 pitcher will be sophomore Corrin Flajole with help from freshman Karyana Mitchell. The Hawks also have two solid bench players in sophomores Olivia Nimmo and Briana Hatley, who should benefit from the chance to get some playing time as well as learn from the veterans. “We have seven seniors

Continued from page 8 March 1 – Sebastian River* March 2 – at Heritage* March 7 – Palm Bay (varsity only) March 9 – at Eau Gallie March 14 – Bayside March 15 – at Melbourne* March 21 – Satellite March 24-25 – at Spruce Creek Tournament (varsity only), TBA March 27 – Cocoa March 28 – Titusville March 31 – at Harmony (varsity only)


Viera High softball senior captains Stephanie Vetrano, left, Aly Lloyd, Haley Hinz and Kaitlyn Jensen and junior captain Kelly Bishop have a lot of playoff experience after reaching the regional finals the past two years.

this year, so that’s a lot of leadership on the team,” Jensen said. “Just having older people, and all of us being together, will definitely help us have a solid year.” Viera coach Dale Pierce isn’t sure the Hawks will hit 32 home runs again this season, but he knows his offense has a chance to be special once again because of its overall depth. “I’m solid one through nine,” Pierce said. “You pitch around Kaitlyn and you’re going to be looking at Taylor Jensen coming up. You’re going to be looking at Kelly Bishop. And you’re going to be looking at Carly Kish. Any one of them can hit it out of the ballpark.” One of the big keys, of course, will be how well Flajole will be able to handle the No. 1 pitching role. Pierce didn’t sound like someone who was too worried about that.

“A lot of pitchers will say they’ve got five pitches,” the Hawks coach said. “She’s got at least five or six and she can throw every one of them pretty decent. She doesn’t

have a lot of power, but if she can get that first strike, you’d better hang on because you never know which way it’s going to go. “She’s going to be good.”VV

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VARSITY BOYS TENNIS All matches at 4 p.m. * District match March 2 – at West Shore March 7 – Titusville March 9 – at Cocoa Beach March 14 – at Satellite* March 21 – at Eau Gallie* March 28 – at Cape Coast Conference Tournament VARSITY GIRLS TENNIS All matches at 4 p.m. unless noted * District match March 1 – Cocoa Beach March 2 – West Shore March 3 – at Harmony March 7 – at Titusville March 14 – Satellite* March 21 – Eau Gallie* March 28 – Cape Coast Conference Tournament VARSITY TRACK & FIELD All meets at 4 p.m. unless noted March 3 – at Astronaut March 12 – at Bill Wilson Invitational, 9 a.m. March 21 – Rockledge, Heritage March 22 – MS County Meet March 24 – at Astronaut March 30 – Cape Coast Conference qualifier at MCC, TBD

HOLY TRINITY VARSITY BOYS BASKETBALL March 1 – Class 5A State Semifinals, at the Lakeland Center, 2 p.m. March 4 – Class 5A State Championships at the Lakeland Center, 10 a.m. BASEBALL * District game March 4 – Sebastian, 3 p.m. March 7 – Titusville, 4 p.m.* March 10 – at Cocoa, 6 p.m.* March 13 – Florida Prep, 4 p.m. March 20 – Lake Nona, 4 p.m. March 23 – at Cocoa Beach, 6 p.m.* March 24 – at Satellite, 6 p.m.* March 28 – at Astronaut, 6 p.m.* March 30 – Cocoa Beach, 4:15 p.m.* March 31 – Space Coast, 4:15 p.m.* VARSITY BOYS LACROSSE * District game March 3 – at Sebastian River, 6:30 p.m.* March 7 – MCC, 7 p.m.* March 9 – at Melbourne, 7 p.m.* March 14 – Father Lopez, 6 p.m. March 16 – at Viera, 7 p.m. March 21 – Eau Gallie, 7 p.m. March 24 – at West Shore, 5:30 p.m.* March 27 – Vero Beach, 5 p.m. March 30 – at St. Edward’s 4:30 p.m. VARSITY GIRLS LACROSSE * District game

Continued to page 10

Viera Voice | March 2017


Sports schedules

Continued from page 9

GIRLS LACROSSE continued March 1 – at Sebastian River, 7 p.m.* March 3 – John Carroll, 6 p.m. March 7 – MCC, 5 p.m.* March 9 – at Melbourne, 5:30 p.m.* March 16 – at Viera, 5:30 p.m. March 21 – Eau Gallie, 5:30 p.m. March 24 – at West Shore, 7 p.m.* VARSITY SOFTBALL * District game March 6 – at Sebastian River, 6 p.m. March 10 – at Space Coast, 6 p.m.* March 14 – MCC, 5:15 p.m.* March 16 – at Brevard Heat, 4 p.m. March 17 – at Titusville, 6 p.m.* March 20 – Merritt Island Christian, 5:15 p.m. March 21 – Covenant Christian, 5:15 p.m. March 24 – Cocoa, 5:15 p.m.* March 29 – Satellite, 5:15 p.m.*

VARSITY BOYS & GIRLS TENNIS March 2 – Cocoa Beach, 4 p.m. March 9 – Florida Prep, 4 p.m.* March 14 – Covenant Christian, 3:30 p.m.* March 16 – St. Edward’s, 3 p.m March 21 – Edgewood, 4 p.m.* March 22 – vs. MCC at Fee Avenue Courts, 4 p.m.* March 23 – MIC, 3:45 March 28 – vs. West Shore girls at Hoover Courts, 4 p.m.* March 29 – West Shore boys, 4 p.m.* March 30 – vs. Melbourne boys at Fee Avenue, 4 p.m.* VARSITY TRACK & FIELD March 3 – Phillip Dummer Elite March 10-11 – at New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York March 11 – at Bill Wilson Invitational, Sebastian River March 24-25 – at FSU Relays

Viera academies host ninth annual golf fundraiser at Baytree BY CARL KOTALA

A golf event to benefit Viera High’s Academy of Business and Finance and the Academy for Communication, Art + Design is set to take place March 18. The ninth Annual VHS Academy Classic will take place at the Baytree National Golf Links with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The cost is $80 a player or $300 per foursome, though the price will jump to $100

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a player and $375 per foursome two weeks prior to the event. Players will get breakfast, lunch, a raffle ticket and a goodie bag along with having their course fees covered. There will also be closest-to-the-pin and longest drive competitions during the round, which will be played in a scramble format. There also will be gifts and prizes. First place will receive four rounds of golf at Baytree and a gift card. There will be gift cards — and a surprise — for the second- and third-place finishers. And not that you should

tank the round, but there also is a surprise gift package for last place. A brochure put out by the school states that the academies are “designed to help students become better prepared to enter the job market, secondary education opportunities or continuing adult education. These goals are achieved by instilling a professional culture in the classroom, providing industry certification opportunities and projectbased curricula.” It goes on to say that community support through financial contributions, internship or volunteer opportunities in the student’s field of study, or even guest speaker appearances can play a crucial role in ensuring the future of success of VHS students. Sponsorship packages for the golf event are available. The early deadline for the event is March 3 (bring your check to the school), though registration forms will be accepted up to the day of the event.V V

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Duran Golf Club is honored to have one of the Top 50 practice ranges in the United States. For the fourth year in a row, the Duran Golf Club has received national recognition by the Golf Range Association of America (GRAA) as one of the Top 50 practice range facilities in the country. Award winners received recognition at the PGA show in January and were featured in the January issue of Golf Range Magazine as well as on “We are flattered to receive this recognition again this year. The award tells us that we are recognized as a facility that provides a world class experience for the locals and tourists that visit,” said Dave Tomczak, the PGA general manager of Duran Golf Club. “The word is getting out.” The annual GRAA award recognizes the country’s most outstanding golf courses and their operations. Duran Golf Club was selected for its wide range of amenities such as grass and artificial mat tee areas, a nine-hole par 3 practice course and a short game practice area. Best of all, the facility is illuminated at night

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The Viera High baseball team had its best season ever at the plate last season. This year won’t be too shabby, either. But the thing to get excited about for the Hawks this season should be the improvement on the mound. “I think this year, we’re going to have a better pitching staff,” Viera coach Bob Doty said. Viera graduated 10 players from last year’s 23-win team that had a batting average of .361, averaged 8.5 runs a game, but had to deal with a number of injuries to its pitching staff. A big reason for this year’s optimism is the addition of junior transfers Thomas Reed and Jordan Kaplan, who will add to a staff that already includes seniors

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Connor Scheer, Mike Rusnak, Christian Robinson and Tyler Sexton among others. “We lost a lot of seniors who pitched last year, but a lot of the young kids coming up are pretty good,” Rusnak said. In the field, the Hawks return five starters with Robinson in center field, Scheer in right, Andrew Brait at shortstop and Connor Leary at second base. Kyle Dentmon, who played third base last season, will shift to catcher. The team should also get a boost from transfer Alejandro Cortina, a first baseman/ pitcher. That experience should give Viera steady production both at the plate and in the field. “We’re not going to hit for as much power, but we’ll still hit for average,” Robinson said. “We should be able to score runs. I think the pitching and the defense are going to be the big things this year.” Robinson, a Stanford University commit, was ranked the 48th ranked high school player in the country by Baseball America prior to

the season and should have his name called during the Major League Baseball Draft in June. While that could lead to a big decision — go to college or go pro — the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Robinson made it clear that’s not on his mind right now. “I try not to think about it,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on the high school season. Once the season ends, I’ll start thinking about that stuff.” And from what Doty can see, Robinson is ready to have a very big year. “He’s probably the best high school player I’ve ever been around in my years of coaching,” Doty said. “He’s a special talent. He runs, he throws, he hits, he hits for power and he fields. We’re looking to him for leadership this year.” Despite a tough district and a loaded non-conference schedule, the Hawks are thinking big once again. “If we (reach) full potential, I think we can make it to states,” Rusnak said. “That’s the goal. Hopefully, it works out.” VV

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Holy Trinity softball bolstered by young additions BY CARL KOTALA

It didn’t take long for Holy Trinity senior co-captain Casey Cohen to notice there was something a little different about this year’s Tigers softball team. “I’m really impressed by this team so far,” Cohen said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a solid infield and the very first time we did infield practice, I could tell this year is going to be a lot different. “We have a really solid group of young girls that came out this year and they’re really going to round out the team.” Cohen, who will play third base, catcher or first base for the Tigers this season, has been playing varsity softball at Holy Trinity since the seventh grade. Another senior co-captain, shortstop Talia Douglas, has been on the varsity since the sixth grade and recently signed to play at Radford University But outside of pitcher and co-captain Allison Roach — the only junior on the team — and senior outfielders Danielle Farinella and Darby Dummer — the Tigers were badly in need of some young talent coming into this season. Fortunately for them, they got it. “We’ve had three young travel ball players arrive that are going to help strengthen the infield at catcher, third base and first base,” Holy Trinity

coach John Clarson said. “Things are looking up. I think we should finish above .500, assuming we don’t have any injuries.” Eighth-grade pitcher/first baseman Shea Dimmer gives the Tigers another arm and also will allow Roach to play second base. Ally Turner, a seventh-grade shortstop/third baseman, also should get playing time and could be the heir apparent to Douglas. Lisa Bain, a sophomore transfer from St. Louis, can play catcher, the outfield and both corner infield spots. Other young Tigers who should have big roles this season are eighth-grade second baseman Isabella Tomasura, freshman outfielder Amelia Anello and eighth-grade outfielder Sara Kimmerling. Like Cohen, Douglas and Roach have been impressed with the play of the young Tigers so far. “I feel more comfortable throwing my pitches — fastball, drop ball and changeup — knowing that we have a stronger infield this year,” Roach said. All that confidence has Cohen feeling good about the team’s chances to do well during the regular season and, most importantly, at the district tournament. “We have a big district, and a difficult district,” she said.

“But I don’t see why we can’t pull something out this year.” And with a roster of 22 players, made up of mostly seventh and eighth graders, the future doesn’t look so bad for the Tigers, either. “If they stick with the program, over the next couple of years we should be able to develop some good players,” Clarson said. “We’re looking VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala forward to doing Holy Trinity co-captains Talia Douglas, left, Casey Cohen and Allison Roach have liked that.”VV what they have seen from their younger teammates so far this season.

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Holy Trinity will host 25th annual Evening of Elegance BY CARL KOTALA

This year's Holy Trinity Evening of Elegance fundraising gala has got it all: Great food. Great music. A secluded waterfront location. And a worthy cause. The 25th Evening of Elegance will begin at 6 p.m. March 11 at Lotus Lake, the South Tropical Trail property of Ed and Cheryl Scott. This year's theme will be “A Night in Old Florida,” featuring gourmet Floridainspired cuisine provided by Florida Tech's assistant director of dining services, Evan Olsen, and Chef de Cuisine Jon Skoviera. There also will be bar service and live Top 40 hits played by the South Florida-based band Wonderama. There also will be a choice raffle drawing where, for a suggested $100 donation for a ticket, one lucky winner will choose between a prize of $10,000, a custom golf cart or one year of tuition to Holy Trinity. Proceeds from the event will go toward Holy Trinity's Academic Merit Scholarship program. Last year's event raised $130,000 and funded scholarships for 12 academically advanced

VIERA VOICE Courtesy Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

Holy Trinity will celebrate its 25th annual Evening of Elegance fundraising gala on March 11. Pictured are Michelle Shoultz (co-chair), left, Bino Campanini (master of ceremonies), Colleen Middlebrooks (co-chair) and headmaster, James Landi.

students in grades 7 to 12 who don't have the financial means to support a Holy Trinity education. This year's goal is to raise $150,000 and the school has extended the scholarship to include fifth and sixth graders. “The implementation of the Academic Merit Scholarship has provided a dozen extraordinarily bright young people with the opportunity to attend Holy Trinity and

to better their academic futures,” Holy Trinity headmaster James Landi said in a press release. “We are also keenly aware that in just a short time, these students have had a tremendously positive impact on our school as well. It is my sincere hope that we may meet and exceed our fundraising goal this year to be able to expand this worthwhile program to additional students who, like those

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selected last year, demonstrate strong moral character, outstanding academic ability and financial need.” Colleen Middlebrooks, a Holy Trinity parent and director of community relations for Home Health Care of Florida, is co-chairing the event with Michelle Shoultz. Shoultz, also a Holy Trinity parent, is a licensed professional engineer and president of Frazier Engineering, Inc., a construction and engineering firm. Bino Campanini, vice president of alumni affairs for Florida Tech and the executive director of the FIT Alumni Association, will serve as master of ceremonies. Campanini's son, Luca, is a

Holy Trinity graduate and his son, Carlo, is a junior. As Middlebrooks pointed out, this year's event will be more special because it's being hosted by the Scott family, who are well known for their philanthropic endeavors, including donations to fund the Scott Center for Worship & the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity's Upper School and the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech. “I am very excited to be the MC this year, not only because of my connection to Holy Trinity through my sons Luca and Carlo but also due to the involvement of my alma mater Florida Tech,” Campanini said. “Our trustee, Ed Scott, is hosting. Florida Tech's Evan Olsen is catering; and alumni Chad and Michelle Shoultz are sponsoring. “The event has a spectacular location, great auction items, and I promise those who attend that we will have a fun evening.” Tickets for the event are $200 per person. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the event and range from $1,000 to $10,000. Sponsor benefits include inclusion in all event promotions and advertising materials, including the Holy Trinity website, social media and sponsor banners at both Holy Trinity campuses. To purchase sponsorships, to register as a guest or to purchase a ticket for the choice raffle drawing, go to For questions, call 321-723-8323, ext. 365. VV

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Viera’s Barber gets appointment to Air Force Academy, chance to compete in gymnastics at collegiate level BY CARL KOTALA

It was a long journey filled with lots of hard work both in the classroom and the gym. But for Viera High senior Cameron Barber, well, the results were oh so sweet. On National Signing Day last month, Barber not only realized her dream of being

able to compete in gymnastics at the collegiate level, she also accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. “It was an incredible day,” Barber said. “I’d been looking forward to it for so long. I’ve wanted to be a college athlete for the longest time. I’ve been doing gymnastics for 12 years

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and it was always a dream of mine to be competing in college. “It was just special, officially being able to write it down that you had made it. It was an amazing experience.” Athletic director Chris Gallagher said Barber is the first Viera High student to receive a gymnastics scholarship. While the school has had other students attend the Air Force Academy, principal Mike Alba said Barber will be the first Hawk to go there as an athlete. And after going through a rigorous selection process, she also will be carrying on a family tradition. Her father, Dan Barber, retired in 2008 as a Chief Master Sergeant after 28 years in the Air Force. Her brother, Nathan McConahay, is an active duty Technical Sergeant and her sister, Courtney McConahay, is a Staff Sergeant in the Air National Guard. Barber will be the first officer in the family. Although she was looking at the possibility of attending a civilian university, Barber said the chance to go to the Air Force Academy ultimately seemed the best path.

Start Here. Go Anywhere.

VIERA VOICE photo courtesy of Angela Barber

Viera High senior Cameron Barber fulfilled a long-time dream when she accepted an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy where she will compete in gymnastics.

“I’ve been a military brat my whole life so it’s kind of like second nature to me,” she said. “It just seemed like the perfect fit and all the opportunities it has to offer are just amazing. You can’t pass it up.” After beginning her gymnastics career in Illinois, Barber moved to Florida in the eighth grade, where she began working at Harbor City Gymnastics with coaches Mark and Anne Weber. In 2014, she took first place in the all-around competition at the Level 9, Region 8 Championship. That qualified

her for the Eastern National Championship, where she finished second in the allaround and placed first on the uneven bars, making her the first gymnast from Harbor City to win a national title. “We couldn’t be more proud of one, athletically, what she’s endured for all of these years with her sights set on being a Division I gymnast and, two, taking a path that was more difficult than just going to any university,” Dan Barber said. “She’s going to realize her dream.””VV

“As a student at Holy Trinity from 1977 to 1986, I developed the skills and character traits that helped me to be successful in both my personal life and my professional life. Why would I not want this for my child, too? One of the most important aspects I wanted for my daughter, Miya, was to develop a positive selfesteem and a feeling of self-worth and empowerment. I truly believe Holy Trinity is helping Miya to: Start Here. Go Anywhere.” — Holly Stall Tanner, HT alumna and mom of Miya, grade 6 Licensed Physical Therapist (PT, CSCS); Co-Owner and President, L.H. Tanner Construction

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Events around Brevard March 4 • 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Celebration of Cars Participant judging for top 25 awards, door prizes, car corral, vendors, food, kids corner, DJ. free admission to the public. A portion of the proceeds benefit local charities. Wickham Park Pavilion 2500 Parkway Drive Melbourne 321-720-5928 March 5 • 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Historic Cocoa Village 2017 Spring Fine Art & Craft Fair The Historic Cocoa Village Association is hosting its 31st annual Spring Fine Art & Craft Fair. Many of the participating artists and crafters will compete for more than $6,000 in cash and awards. There will also be a showing of art competing for awards in the Cocoa Civic Center. Historic Cocoa Village 1 Oleander St., Cocoa 321-631-9075 March 5 • 12:30 - 6 p.m. Third annual Brewmaster’s Invitational Beer Festival The festival will feature

unlimited tastings of more than 150 beers from 50+ breweries, live music, local artists, lawn games, vendors and food trucks. The event is 21+ and pet-friendly. Pets must be leashed. Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral 670 Dave Nisbet Drive Cape Canaveral 321-613-4805 March 5 • 11 a.m. Chocolate Festival Zonta Club The Zonta Club of Melbourne’s annual Chocolate Festival will touch your heart and your sweet tooth. Brevard’s best chocolatiers, pastry chefs and restaurateurs come together with community volunteers to raise funds to support programs that improve the lives of women and girls. Melbourne Auditorium 625 E. Hibiscus Blvd. Melbourne 321-952-1443

Ralph Williams cafeteria manager wins BPS Employee of the Year award BY KATIE PARSONS

For Jamie Skinner, the role of cafeteria manager at Ralph Williams Elementary School is about more than planning the menu — she thinks that school cafeterias have a larger community responsibility. “It’s important to me that kids learn about food, and really how to take care of themselves,” Skinner said. “I want them to be healthy and safe.” In January, Skinner was one of five Brevard Public Schools employees to be honored with an Applauding Brevard’s Champions award. Skinner was named BPS Employee of the Year for her hard work and passion in the Ralph Williams kitchen. It was the first time a Food and Nutrition Services employee


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Jamie Skinner started the first Culinary Club at Williams Elementary School.

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I wanted to meet more of the demand for the club though so I split it into two separate semesters of 25 students each,” Skinner said. It’s not just her students

“It’s important to me that kids learn about food, and really how to take care of themselves. I want them to be healthy and safe.” — Jamie Skinner

who should thank her, though. When Hurricane Matthew hit the Space Coast in October, Skinner manned the food portion of the medical and special needs hurricane shelter at Ralph Williams Elementary for four days. In addition to managing breakfast, lunch and dinner alongside volunteers for the 300 evacuees, Skinner made sure hot coffee and warm cookies were available 24 hours per day. “I slept on a blow up mattress in the dry storage area,” Skinner said. “I tried to make it more bearable for people who left their home and belongings and didn’t know what they would return to find.” Skinner is hoping the Culinary Club at Ralph Williams can serve as a pilot program for other schools in the district. She’s already planning for next year and hoping to accommodate even more students in the club. For more information and to donate to Cranes Culinary Club, go to cranes-culinary-club. The school also accepts donations in the front office. VV

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Viera Voice | March 2017


Secret mission spreads hope, love throughout area SPECIAL TO VIERA VOICE

St. Mary’s School students have been on a secret mission this month spreading hope and love throughout Rockledge, Viera and Merritt Island. Project Cougar Kindness, named after the school mascot, had students placing more than 1,000 post it

notes in businesses and public spaces with unsigned messages inspiring joy, love and hope. The notes read: You are Amazing, You are Loved, You are one of a kind, You’re braver than you think, and God loves you among others. “The students wanted to spread some love during

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these times of negativity,” said eighth-grade teacher Nancy Potchka, who helped the students organize. Middle school students in the National Junior Honor Society led the effort, but students as young as first grade participated by creating the notes and sticking them everywhere from bathroom doors to store shelves. Police stations, fire stations and senior living communities weren’t left out either. More than 1,000 notes were delivered from Feb. 1 through Valentine’s Day. “I wrote the notes to make peoples' day, encourage many people, and to raise people's attitudes,” said sixth-grader Austin Munchbach. “The kids at St. Mary's Catholic School wrote a bunch of encouraging notes to spread love and joy to the people in our community,” she said. The students completed the notes with the help of their teachers. Students then asked parents to help with the deliveries. Kat Deane, a parent of two children at the school, set up a Facebook group to help parents organize and make sure the love notes were spread throughout the community and not just in


Students at St. Mary's School have spread good will through inspiring messages throughout the area.

one location. “We wanted everyone to know how amazing our community is and we did just that with kindness notes,” Deane said. “We are all children of God and this was a fantastic way to spread love to one another in honor of our Saint Valentine.” Denise Yelvington drove her children, second-grader Kate and fifth-grader Luke, to The Avenue Viera to make their secret deliveries. “We love the Cougar Kindness Project,” Yelvington said. “There's been so much negativity in the news lately and this has been a way to remind people that we should

be kind and love one another.” Principal Sandy Basinger said the project was a good one to help students see how they can make a difference in the community. “We not only teach our students about math, science and English,” Basinger said. “We teach the whole child and this wonderful project is an example of students learning a lesson and wanting to spread it around. We are all part of this community and we all need to take care of each other. Sometimes that’s as easy as a simple word of kindness. I couldn’t be more proud of our students.”VV

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Viera Voice | March 2017

Recycle Brevard invites public to join its cause This morning, I received an email from Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots (, a program founded by the Jane Goodall Institute in 1991 whose main objective is to inspire and assist young people to work on solutions to problems identified in their communities. The email was an invitation to share “what you’ve done to turn your hope for today into action for a better tomorrow.” My action for a better tomorrow really turned into a journey that started in 2011. At that time, my daughter was 6 years old and curious about what happened to garbage once garbage trucks took it away. We went to a landfill tour offered by the Brevard County Solid Waste Department to find out. That was an amazing experience not only for my daughter but also for me and I recommend everyone to take that tour.

BEYOND the CURB Marcia Booth

President & Founder, Recycle Brevard

It is a true eye opener as to what we are doing with our resources. The tour had such an impact on me and, since I was taking a Community Involvement class at the time, I felt compelled to do something. “Perhaps if there’s more information out there,” I thought, “more people will be inclined to embrace the 3Rs — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — and not send as much to the landfill.” So I created a Facebook page and a blog, both called Recycle Brevard ( The intention was to spring people to action — Recycle, Brevard! From that point on, I became increasingly involved in raising

awareness about the 3Rs. For two years, I volunteered in different parts of Brevard County with various organizations and, in March 2013, I decided it was time to incorporate as a not-for-profit to enable me to do more with the help of other volunteers and supporters. Fast forward four years — after many events, programs, projects, collections and continual training — I am ready to take another big step: open our first facility in the community. Located in Rockledge, the facility will serve as a drop-off location for hardto-recycle and Terracycle materials. We also will make reusable materials available for individuals and groups, and will offer collection of recyclables on a small scale. The facility itself will be a recycling project since we will furnish it with gently-used and second-hand items. We

posted a wish list of needed items on Facebook. If you have unwanted items that you would like to donate, please contact me. The goal of opening this location is to provide a way to divert even more items from the landfill and make it easier for our neighbors and local businesses to commit to the practice of the 3Rs while enabling us to invest in our educational programs and community projects. We will be counting on the support from individuals and other organizations, and on the assistance from our partners to make this initiative a remarkable success. I am happy to say that we have come a long way and to celebrate our anniversary this month, I would like to invite you to meet us from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 15 at Nature’s Table Suntree to chat about our plans. Besides giving us the chance

to meet local residents, the restaurant also will donate 20 percent of the value of receipts collected during that time back to Recycle Brevard. But in order to make that happen, we need at least 20 RSVPs recorded on their site. To help us with that, please RSVP by March 12 at events/22208/. It would be wonderful to meet every single one of you! Looking back at these six years, when I started, I was hoping that with more information I could change the hearts of residents to recycle. Through the years, I realized that only with action I would be able to do that. Would you care to join me? VV Sources Email Marcia Booth at

hand-eye coordination, and of course socialization, which makes it a great sport for older players, too.” On its website, the U.S.A. Table Tennis lists benefits to the sport that include increased mental fitness, lowimpact exercise, socialization and appropriateness for all ages. The sport has seen a resurgence during the past five years, with celebrities

such as Susan Sarandon opening table tennis clubs in major cities like New York. Mitcheson is proof that table tennis has longevity. He got his start playing table tennis more than 50 years ago when he lived in New England. When he would travel for work, he’d seek out U.S.A. Table Tennis affiliated locations to play. “I’ve really met a lot of great people through this sport.

Our club is so welcoming, too. The enthusiasm for all levels of play is really different here than in other parts of the country where I’ve played.’’ The club’s youngest regular member is 12, and its two eldest are 86 years old. The cost for playing at the Merritt Island location is $2 per day, and at Cocoa Beach it is $3. Children younger than 12 can play for free. VV

Space Coast Table Tennis offers exercise, camaderie for players of all ages


Are you looking for a low impact sport with a hefty dose of socialization? Space Coast Table Tennis is open to all levels of participants, from beginners to semi-professionals. There is even coaching available. The club meets on Monday and Wednesday nights at the Veteran’s Memorial Center at 400 Sykes Creek Boulevard on Merritt Island and on Sunday

mornings at the Cocoa Beach Recreation Center at 321 Ramp Road. Bill Mitcheson has been heading up Space Coast Table Tennis for 13 years. Along with Kevin Pollard, Mitcheson organizes regular play for members and evangelizes for the sport. “What many people don’t realize is that table tennis is the No. 1 indoor sport in the world. It’s really very active,” Mitcheson said. “It helps with

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Emerald City 5K fights homelessness through a different route BY JEFF NAVIN

Family Promise of Brevard’s inaugural Emerald City 5K should be a welcome addition to the local running calendar. It will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 10 with a start and finish at Church of Viera. “I know it’s a weird time for a race,’’ said Tara Pagliarini, the executive director for Family Promise of Brevard. “This frees up everyone’s weekend. People with kids have their weekends filled up with games and practices. With this time, there’s less competition. We’re not going up against another race. Plus, we might get some runners who don’t like to wake up early.’’ The switch to daylight saving time will not take place until 32 hours after the start of the race, but there should be plenty of sunshine for everyone to finish the race before nightfall. Live music and games for children will also highlight the eventing. “We’ll be running on Stadium Parkway to the Duran Golf Club and back,’’ Pagliarini said. “That route has really wide sidewalks and wide pathways. We’ll also have volunteers from the Sheriff’s Department to direct traffic. We hope that this race brings in a whole new demographic group of people who come for the race after work and then think that they’re glad that

VIERA VOICE/Shutterstock

The 5K will start at Church at Viera and continue to Duran Golf Club and back.

they came to help families.’’ For the past three years, Family Promise of Brevard conducted a Box City fundraiser to help fight homelessness in Brevard County. Participants would spend the night sleeping in a box to relate somewhat to the plight of the homeless in the area. Last year, rain and harsh weather made the plight a little more difficult. “I’m not sure the Box City message resonated with the community,’’ Pagliarini said. “Our goal is to bring about hope and change. The image of a box might not have been consistent with our message. That probably might be better in cities where it is colder. It didn’t translate as well here.’’ There are more than an estimated 2,200 homeless families in Brevard County. Pagliarini hopes that the

Emerald City link to the “Wizard of Oz” and the slogan of there’s no place like home can whittle that number. Family Promise of Brevard has been in existence for four years and the national organization has fought homelessness for 30 years. “We’ve grown from providing emergency shelter and aftercare to trying to help divert homelessness in the first place,’’ Pagliarini said. “The need is more critical than ever before. We are the only emergency shelter that takes in a family with a father or a male child over the age of 12. We think that all families matter, not just families with single women. We need families to stay together. We want to be more of a cure than a Band-Aid.’’ For more information on the organization or the race, call 321-209-3391. V V

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Mom who lost daughter to deadly disease on a mission to help others BY MIKE GAFFEY

For Aran Hissam of Suntree, the pain of losing her newborn daughter to a

deadly illness in 2012 hasn’t faded. But neither has her commitment to spare others the grief her family endured. In the five years since

Brianna Marie died 15 hours after birth, the foundation that Hissam and her husband, Patrick, named for their daughter has raised more than $200,000 for fetal illness research, surgeries and awareness. The fifth annual Brianna Marie Foundation 5K, the nonprofit’s chief fundraiser, starts at 7:30 a.m. March 11 at Wickham Park in Melbourne. The event will feature a silent auction with all proceeds benefiting the foundation, and a number of free activities for children, including a run for children 8 and younger. “Running turned into my escape, my way to think, strategize and pray so I knew that when a friend recommended let’s put together a 5K for the foundation, it was the way to go,” Hissam said in a statement. The mother of two boys, Hissam and her husband were preparing for the birth of their third child when a doctor told them after an ultrasound in November 2011 that their daughter had a fatal condition called fetal hydrops, a buildup of fluid that kept her lungs from developing. After several fetal surgeries to help her lungs grow,

Brianna Marie was born at 36 weeks on March 16, 2012, but succumbed to pulmonary hypertension hours later due to her lack of lung tissue. “To put into words what it is like to lose a child is very difficult and all I can say is if you haven’t experienced it — it is unimaginable,” Hissam stated. “Holding your baby as their heart stops beating, leaving the hospital empty and then being expected to return to your normal life is something no parent should ever experience.” The couple launched the foundation in September 2012 to raise money and awareness of fetal hydrops and fetal surgeries. “We felt that far too many people (and doctors) did not know that fetal surgeries were options for many patients when a negative diagnosis is given,” Hissam stated. “They can’t save all babies, but if we could help in just saving one, our journey would have even more meaning.” Partnering with the Fetal Health Foundation, the couple were honored when the foundation named one of their grants the Brianna Marie Memorial Grant and asked them to be on the selection committee. One of these grants funded the

purchase of a 3-D printer for John Hopkins University so that doctors can print out a fetal abnormality before surgery. Another grant went to the University College of London Institute for Women’s Health, where the lead investigator is studying how to prevent congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), an anomaly that disturbs fetal lung development. The Hissams also have used foundation funds to invest in the research of fetal surgeon Dr. Ruben Quintero, who performed surgeries on their daughter. For Hissam, who recently was named a board member of the Fetal Health Foundation and who wrote a book about her ordeal titled, “My Journey with an Angel,” her daughter is constantly on her mind. “As a parent, I still wonder many days what my daughter would look like or be doing five years later,” she stated. “Would she like dance or enjoy throwing a baseball — like her brothers? “Until that day when I meet her again I live each day to make her proud.” For more information, go to the briannamariefoundation. com. VV

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Suntree’s popular breakfast and lunch spot D.I.G. Bistro kicked the year off with new owners. On Jan. 4, new owners Jackie Roberts and Robin and Matt Kerr took over the farm-to-plate inspired establishment that had become a staple of health-conscious Suntree patrons. D.I.G. is popular with Suntree residents and workers for its healthboosting menu that includes signature items like vegan crab cakes, a sofrito bowl and grass-fed Angus burgers. The pleasant surprise buy happened just days after D.I.G’s original owner Gina Pierce announced that she was shuttering the bistro due to employee theft. Pierce also owns Tuscany Grill in the Boardwalk Plaza in Suntree. “My financial planner called me and told me that his friend Gina was selling the bistro and without knowing anything about it, I answered ‘Tell her I’ll buy it.’ A few days later, and after I learned more about it, I actually did,” Matt Kerr said. The move made sense for Matt Kerr, a self-described serial entrepreneur, and his wife Robin Kerr who is passionate about healthy eating. The third integral piece, though, was the addition of Jackie Roberts as


Jackie Roberts, Matt Kerr and Robin Kerr bought D.I.G. Bistro in early January and are expanding the restaurant's health-conscious offerings in 2017.

general manager and partowner. Before taking the D.I.G. plunge, Roberts was the general manager at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen in Melbourne. “I’ve never owned a restaurant before and I knew if I had a chance at success, it would be with Jackie here,” Matt Kerr said. Since the switch, Matt Kerr says the local reaction has been enthusiastic — and that the new owners are hoping to expand what is offered in the coming year. For one thing, D.I.G. will start offering dinner service on Friday and Saturday nights in March. D.I.G. also provides catering service now and has stayed busy so far with a steady stream of office and special event orders. “We see a trend healthwise of people eating better.

That’s why our motto is eat good, feel good. We want to offer that to all of our patrons,” he said. To see D.I.G.’s menu, go to V V

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Viera Voice | March 2017



Suntree-Viera gains one Mexican restaurant, loses another


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A new Mexican restaurant is coming to the SuntreeViera area, while another has closed. Construction has begun on El Leoncito Mexican & Cuban Restaurant at 5360 Stadium Parkway in the Stadium Corners shopping center. Owned by Michael Sanchez, the Viera location is the second El Leoncito in Brevard County and the Sanchez family’s third Mexican restaurant on the Space Coast. The popular El Leoncito opened with an added Cuban menu in 1995 at 4280 S. Washington Ave. in Titusville after Sanchez’s parents, Miguel and Bertha, relocated to Brevard from Whittier, Calif., where they CHRISTIAN OWNED COMPANY


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El Leoncito Mexican & Cuban Restaurant is under construction at 5360 Stadium Parkway in the Stadium Corners shopping center.

had operated the original El Leoncito since 1977. The Sanchez family also operates Chaparral Mexican Grill at 1341 N. Cocoa Blvd. in Cocoa. “We will have the same great menu, friendly staff and of course world-famous margarita” at the Viera restaurant, according to El Leoncito’s Facebook page. El Leoncito’s menu offers authentic Mexican fare, featuring such appetizers as quesadillas and stuffed jalapenos, as well as salads, soups and main courses that include combination plates, the wet burrito plate and steak, seafood and vegetarian specialties. Cuban dishes include ropa vieja and bistec de pollo. For dessert, there’s fried ice cream, flan and churros, among other choices. In Suntree, California

Tortilla closed suddenly in January, less than six months after it opened at 6375 N. Wickham Rd. in the Pineda Landings plaza. The 2,700-square-foot fastcasual franchise, the second in Florida, had offered free tortillas for a year to the first 10 people in line when it opened July 12. The state’s first California Tortilla, located in Kissimmee, apparently also has closed. Neither the Suntree nor the Kissimmee locations were featured on a map of California Tortilla restaurants at the Marylandbased company’s website, and no one answered the phone during business hours at either location. Both are owned by Lakeland resident Dale Warden, who was unavailable for comment at press time. VV

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BUSINESS Photos by MarcLamp Rhodes Jenny Walker, Cheryl

Viera Means Business The February Viera Means Business meeting was held at Brown & Brown in Suntree Towers. The Viera Means Business networking group meets at 7:55 a.m. the second Thursday of each month at member business locations. For an invitation to the March 9 VMB meeting, email

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BUSINESS Drew Wotton, Nina Salvaggio

Jenny Walker, Alan Ross Frisher Nina Salvaggio

A flurry of ideas were discussed at February's Viera Means Business.


On Feb. 7, Dr. Oluyemisi Sonoiki opened the Healthy Minors Pediatric Urgent Care facility in Rockledge. She has been a practicing pediatrician since 1997. On staff is Christa Kovachevich, a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner. Prior to opening her practice, Sonoiki served military families at Patrick Air Force Base. Kovachevich brings 24 years of N nursing experience from her service in the E Air Force. U United States TW O Sonoiki trained in Nigeria, New York OR G R on KShe and the United Kingdom. I NisGlicensed three continents. At Healthy Minors, no appointment is necessary and walk-ins are welcome. “We cater to all minors from the newborn to the college student,” Kovachevich said. “We are well equipped to deal with a variety of non-life threatening illness and are open late seven days a week to accommodate working parents.” Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. “I knew in my heart since age 8 that I would become a doctor,” Sonoiki said. “If you never chase your dreams, you will never catch them.” The practice is at the Riverview Tower, 6525 3rd St. Rockledge, Suite 106. For more information, call 321-307-9400. V V




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New Suntree Boulevard office complex touted as a bargain for businesses


the suddenly growing commercial strip between Wickham Road and U.S.1. Suntree Professional Business Park at Suntree Boulevard and Third Street

A new medical/office complex under construction along Suntree Boulevard is the latest addition to

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already has several buyers for its eight units, which range in size from 1,200 to 5,000 square feet. Construction on the undeveloped property started in late December and is expected to wrap up this summer, according to a spokesman with Tuscany Inc., the Melbournebased commercial general contractors building the 13,000-square-foot complex. Units will feature solid concrete walls, impact windows and doors, a 30year shingle roof and stone accent bottoms, said Donna Ellis, a commercial real estate agent with National Realty in Melbourne. Interior offices will be built to the owners’ specifications, she added. “It’s going to be very, very pretty,” Ellis said. “It’s going to be one of the nicest buildings on Suntree Boulevard.” The units are for sale, not for rent, Ellis said. With unit prices of $235 a square foot and impact fees already paid, “it’s the best deal around,” she said. “Right now with the interest rates the way they are, if someone who has an office has good credit, it’s cheaper to own at this price than it would be to rent,” she said.


Suntree Professional Business Park is under construction at Suntree Boulevard and Third Street.

A general practitioner, a dentist and a therapeutic massage business already are under contract, the Tuscany spokesman said. There’s still about 2,500 square feet of office space available along Suntree Boulevard and another 1,500 square feet along Third Street, the spokesman added. The business park is rising next to Riverview Tower at Suntree, a fivestory complex at 6525 Third St. The first Class 'A' retail and office building built in Brevard County since 2009, the 80,000-squarefoot tower at U.S. 1 and Suntree Boulevard is close to completion. Its anchor tenant is Merrill Lynch/ Bank of America.

Other tenants include the Economic Development Commission of Brevard County, Lyn Aerospace and a pediatric urgent care clinic. Tricon Development of Brevard, which developed and constructed the building, also moved its offices from Merritt Island to the tower. A doctor’s office, gym and restaurant also are planned at the complex. For more information about Suntree Professional Business Park, call Ellis at 321-480-9703 or Tuscany Inc. Vice president Gary Foleno at 321-242-3148 (office) or 321-615-5051 (cell) or email Foleno at tuscanycommercial@ VV

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Viera Voice | March 2017

Thursday April 13 Heritage Isles Ballroom

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AUTO DEALER/AUTO SERVICE/REPAIR Ron Norris Buick GMC 321-267-9200 BARBERS Clip Joint Barber Shop


CHURCH/WORSHIP Simchat Torah Beit Midrash 321-298-9965 Church at Viera 321-259-3454 CLEANING SERVICE/JANITORIAL Shine N Sparkle Window Cleaning 321-213-5751 eMaids of Brevard 321-677-2122 Sparkles 321-877-4577 COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Tuscany Inc.


COSMETIC SURGERY/DERMATOLOGY Brevard Cosmetic Surgery 321-622-8784 Brevard Skin & Cancer Ctr. 321-636-7780 Porter Dermatology 321-308-0659 COUNSELING Gloria Rivera King


DENTISTS/ORTHODONTISTS Dr. Cedric Chenet 321-622-3895 Christie Dental 877-290-2818 Dr. Claudia Pryszlak 321-255-7740 Dr. Roppa, Smile Viera 321-631-9395 Hibiscus Dental 321-319-3550 DRY CLEANERS Crest Cleaners


EYE CARE Dr. Ho, Ophthalmology 321-757-7272 Space Coast Opthalmology 321-267-0008 FINANCE Leonard Financial Sage Financial Stifel

321-259-6239 321-242-7526 321-253-7810



GOLF & EQUIPMENT Duran Golf Club Viera East Golf Club

321-504-7776 321-639-6500

HAIR/NAIL SALONS/DAY SPAS Fantastic Sams 321-433-0190 Hand & Stone 321-319-3550 SportClips 321-637-1553 Supercuts 321-425-4217 Tiffany’s Nail Spa 321-751-7077 HEALTH & EXERCISE Delta Fitness


HOME REMODEL/REPAIR Precision Garage Doors 321-254-4554 Stone Tile Gallery 321-610-4345 HOME/MAINTENANCE/PAINTING Johnson Aluminum 321-956-3102 Kevin Thier Painting 321-255-8323 Randy’s Pressure Wash 321-794-5168

INSURANCE State Farm, Dan Adovasio 321-454-4444 MOVING/STORAGE Dependable Deliveries Two Men and a Truck

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PHARMACY Lordoni Discount Walgreens

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PHYSICIANS & MEDICAL Dr. Kenneth Sands 321-725-2225 Premier Urgent Care 321-242-7425 Suntree Internal Medicine 321-259-9500 Wuesthoff Hospital 321-632-2211 Viera Pediatrics 321-241-6400 QUILTING SUPPLIES Quilts and Lace


REALTORS/REAL ESTATE Ellingson Properties 321-877-1607 Dale Sorensen 321-473-6001 Guettler Realty 321-355-9365 Joy Frankel 321-446-5826 Deb Tomczak, Viera Realty 321-604-8479 Viera Realty 321-254-4800 RESTAURANTS Bella Luna Cibo Hop Bo Kim Bo Olive Tree Palm Shores Bistro Pineda Crossing Pizza Gallery & Grill Tely's Tradewinds at Duran Viera Pizza

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RETIREMENT / 55+ LIVING Courtenay Springs Village 321-452-1233 Indian River Colony Club 888-224-2927 Market Street Residence 321-253-6321 REVERSE MORTGAGE Preferred Reverse 321-900-3929 SCHOOLS Holy Trinity Academy 321-723-8323 Montessori Rockledge/Suntree 321-777-1480 Viera Children’s Academy 321-433-2330 SHOES/CLOTHES Swanky Sole


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Homemade Happiness brings vintage flavor to Viera BY KATIE PARSONS

will feature vintage desserts that are reminiscent of a different era of baking. Hayes learned her own baking skills from her grandmother and has built a cult following throughout Brevard for her kitschy, throwback offerings. “Thanksgiving was a lot of fun this year. I had several people ask me to make mince meat pies,” Hayes said. She has a collection of recipes she makes and suggests, but also tries to fill every request when it comes in. She’s created desserts for weddings, corporate events, birthday parties and more.

If the feeling of Jennifer Hayes’ desserts could encapsulate a feeling, it would be of taking that first bite of your favorite childhood recipes from grandma’s house. That’s the aura Hayes recreates at her Homemade Happiness location in Cocoa Village — and one she plans to replicate at her new spot at The Avenue Viera, in the former Take a Bite Cupcake location near Planet Smoothie. Homemade Happiness opens in early March and

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Homemade Happiness opens its second vintage bakery location at The Avenue Viera this month. Owner Jennifer Hayes starts all recipes from scratch.

While the requests vary, she starts at the same place when creating them: the very beginning. “We make custom cheesecakes, custom desserts and more from scratch. If you crave it, we can create it,” she said. Homemade Happiness also offers full service catering and event planning services,

all with a vintage vibe. Her concept is catching on. The Cocoa Village location, connected to El Charro, opened less than a year ago. Expansion wasn’t necessarily part of her plan, but when The Avenue general manager Scott McCarthy approached her about the space, she seized the opportunity. “I’m looking forward to

Salute Africa Two-for-One Asia and Africa March 28 • 5:30 p.m.

A Cup of Joe with GO at Suntree Tuesdays, 9 - 10:30 a.m.

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Viera Voice | March 2017

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bringing these desserts to a different area of the county. I strive to give back to our home here on the Space Coast that has been so supportive of me,” Hayes, a Brevard County native, said. You can learn more about Homemade Happiness by looking at its Facebook page. For information, call 321-305-4426.

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Events around Brevard

Inside the ropes BY DAVID D. HORST

March 3 • 4 - 8 p.m. Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen This event is a come-and- go-as-you-please health expo. This family-friendly event will showcase how kids and their families can eat smart and make healthy lifestyle choices. Eau Gallie Civic Center 1551 Highland Ave. Melbourne 321-610-8950 March 4 • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Downtown Melbourne Botanical Fest More than 30 botanical vendors to the 1900 Building property, located at the southwest corner of U.S. 192 and U.S. 1. The event will feature vendors from across the state of Florida and the country, featuring rare orchids, palms, large-leafed plants, succulents, Florida-friendly landscaping and garden decor. Melbourne Main Street 1908 Municipal Lane Melbourne. 321-724-1741 March 4 • 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Cardboard Boat Regatta Teams compete to create the most sea-worthy watercraft

Parrots Cove Mall Cocoa Village’s Best Kept Secret

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out of only cardboard and duct tape. Your team can build a craft on-site or bring an amazing cardboard vessel with you. Then race around the Wickham Park swimming pond. Wickham Park 2500 Parkway Dr., Melbourne 321-255-4307 March 4 • 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. 51st annual Grant Seafood Festival Free admission, free parking, more than 100 crafters exhibiting, live continuous entertainment, along with a scrumptious menu of succulent seafood makes this a weekend no one wants to miss. Grant Community Center 4580 1st Street, Grant 321-723-8687 March 4 • 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Florida Space Coast Doll Club Show & Sale Florida Space Coast Doll Club Show & Sale. Proceeds from raffle will go to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital. $3 Space Coast convention Center Holiday Inn Express 301 Tucker Lane, Cocoa Children 5 and under free. 856-266-2518



The weather has been picture perfect for golf this year. The early-morning Viera East Men’s Golf Association golfers are able to wear the Christmas presents given to them by family members consisting of golfing vests, wind breakers, new hats and sweaters. Combining that with the magnificent condition of the Viera East Golf Course, with improved playability and challenging greens, makes for a golfers paradise. After each round, many of the golfers make their way to Divots Grill for a favorite beverage and lunch special. They can share stories about great shots, close misses, an almost shot and the famous should have been before the weekly winners are announced. The latest tournament utilized the Stableford scoring method to calculate

the winners and it had four flights consisting of almost 50 golfers. Jim Smith, Paul McCarthy, Dennis Lamb and Mike Piccininni won the first flight. Sam Speziale, Jim Benton, John Perino and Roger Harvie prevailed in the second flight. Tom Welters, John Gulla and Alan Pinette claimed the third flight. Lawrence Henris, Martin Gillette and Dick May won the fourth flight. Perino on No. 4, Lamb on No. 7, Terry Lamb on No. 13 and Gillette on No. 16 were the closest-to-the-pin winners. VEMA is open to all men 21 and older and has events scheduled every Thursday throughout the year. The events are played at Viera East Golf Course with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. One of the most favorite VEMA events is the Ryder Cup, where the course professional randomly picks the teams. For more information, call the pro shop at 321-639-6500.

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Viera Voice | March 2017









Spaghetti Dinner

Join Health First Plans as they raise awareness about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity for everyone in our community

Saturday, March 4 • 9 a.m. to noon Viera Regional Park Community Center 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera



The Avenue Viera Craft Festival


Choral Concert: The Genevans

March 4, 5; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 7:30 - 8:45 p.m. The Avenue Viera Advent Lutheran Church 813-962-0388 7550 N. Wickham Road Suntree, 321-426-9378

Variety: The Spice

NewFit Surgical Weight Loss Seminar

9 - 11 a.m. Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy 5625 Holy Trinity Drive Melbourne 321-723-8323

9 - 11 a.m. Suntree Montessori School 2990 Business Center Blvd. Melbourne 321-254-7500 Rockledge Montessori School 3260 S. Barnes Blvd. Rockledge 321-639-2266

6 p.m. Knockerball & inflatables, live bands, food trucks & vendors, race-themed costume contest & more. Church at Viera 9005 N. Wickham Road Viera, 321-259-3454

6 - 11 p.m., $200 “A Night in Old Florida” promises attendees a funfilled and relaxed evening in “Florida Formal” style. Property of Ed & Cheryl Scott Address to be announced 321-723-8323




IRCC Parkinson’s Support Group




7:30 a.m. - noon Viera High School 6103 Stadium Parkway Viera, 321-751-8890

6 - 8 p.m. Civics and government discussion about historic and current events. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

6 - 8 p.m. Have fun learning a few tips and creating stories. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

Story Artistry Brevard

Seabourn Cruise Seminar

5:30 p.m. Seabourn’s Lori Taylor describes venues and ships. GO Travel 7777 N. Wickham Road Suntree, 321-622-5955



Designed to help individuals retain their driving competencies. Cost is $20 per person or $15 for members of AARP. RSVP required. One Senior Place 8085 Spyglass Hill Road Viera Call Lou at 321-698-2311

3 - 5 p.m. Discussing “The Witches: Salem, 1692” by Stacy Schiff Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

Non-Fiction Book Club

Pacific Delight Tours

5:30 p.m. Asia and Africa tours information and seminar. GO Travel 7777 N. Wickham Road Suntree, 321-622-5955

Montessori Schools Open House

6:30 - 9 p.m. Holiday Inn Viera 8298 N. Wickham Road Viera, 321-254-0073

National Girl Scout Day


Noon - 5 p.m. Mondays & Wednesdays 11 a.m., $20 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Viera Regional Hosting Judge A.B. Majeed. Facilitated by Barbara Duran Golf Club Fradkin of One Senior Place. Community Center 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way 7032 Stadium Parkway Indian River Colony Club Viera, 321-433-4891 Viera, 321-727-1212 1936 Freedom Way Viera, 321-751-6771 Writer’s Workshop Books Are Always Better 1 - 3 p.m. Book Club Suntree/Viera Library 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. 902 Jordan Blass Drive Suntree/Viera Library Melbourne 902 Jordan Blass Drive 321-255-4404 Viera, 321-255-4404

Pizza Gallery & Grill

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Rockledge Gardens 2153 U.S. Highway 1 Rockledge, 321-636-7662

6 p.m. Hosted by the Brevard Zoo and Florida Institute of Technology. Tradewinds Restaurant at Duran Golf Club 7032 Stadium Parkway Viera, 321-254-9453, ext.236


AARP Driver Safety Class

Farm and Friends Market


Brevard Republican Executive Committee


9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Wickham Park 2500 Parkway Drive Melbourne, 321-255-4307

10 a.m. - noon Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404


10 & 11 a.m. Ages 2 & up. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

First Day of Spring Excalibur 10-Miler & Relay New Millenium

Cardboard Boat Regatta


Science Café

Story Time

10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sundays Tradewinds Restaurant at Duran Golf Club 7032 Stadium Parkway Viera, 321-504-7776


Brevard Antiques & Collectibles


Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Open House

6:30 p.m. An informative night with Joanne from Royal Caribbean. Expedia Cruise Ship Center 6375 N. Wickham Road Melbourne RSVP: 321-233-1400

Brevard Federated Republican Women

March 1 - 3 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Brevard Zoo 8225 N. Wickham Road Melbourne 321-254-9453



Cruise Night with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Sunday Brunch

Annual Interactive Arts Festival


6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Pizza Gallery and Grill The Avenue Viera RSVP 321-633-0397

Canvas and Cocktails

6 - 9 p.m., $25 All proceeds benefit the Adam T. Lee Endowed Scholarship in Digital Media Excellence at UCF. The Scott Center at Holy Trinity 5625 Holy Trinity Drive Melbourne, 321-253-9678


National Dr. Seuss Day


6 - 8 p.m. Prsented by Dr. Nathan Allison of Health First. Holiday Inn Viera 8298 N. Wickham Road Viera, 855-892-9003

Open to the public — Everyone is welcome National Oreo Cookie Day

6 - 8 p.m. Join Kennedy Middle School’s band students for a spaghetti dinner and jazz performance. Proceeds go to buying new instruments. Kennedy Middle School 2100 S. Fiske Blvd. Rockledge 321-633-3500



Get Active Brevard!

9 a.m. - noon Presented by Health First Viera Regional Park 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way Viera, 800-716-7737

National Johnny Appleseed Day

There’s No Place Like Home 5K

8th annual Casino Night 6 - 9 p.m. Lexus at Melbourne 3927 Bromley Drive Viera, 321-459-2200



2 - 4 p.m. Discussing “Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

11 a.m. Viera Elks Lodge #2817 5820 U.S. Highway 1 S. Rockledge 321-504-3111

Neighbors Book Club


St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Substance Use & Addiction presented by Wuesthoff 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Wuesthoff Medical Center 110 Longwood Ave. Rockledge 321-637-4701



9 - 11 a.m. Viera Hospital 8745 N. Wickham Road Viera, 321-434-4335

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Ages 9 & up. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

3:30 - 4 p.m. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404

National Puppy Day YS Young Authors Group


Space Coast Amateur Open March 18 -19 Duran Golf Club 7032 Stadium Parkway Viera, 321-504-7776

Second annual Brevard County Hugh O’Brian Youth Community Leadership Workshop 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (Pineda Campus) 5625 Holy Trinity Drive Melbourne, 321-723-8323


Total Joint Replacement Seminar by Health First

Holy Trinity’s 25th annual Evening of Elegance

Elementary Writers

Suntree/Viera Library Book Club


Singles/Couples Ballroom Dance

7 - 10 p.m. $6, $5 for members Martin Andersen Senior Center 1025 S. Florida Ave. Rockledge 321-631-7556

10 - 11:30 a.m. Discussing “The Nest” by Cynthia Sweeney. Suntree/Viera Library 902 Jordan Blass Drive Viera, 321-255-4404



6:30 p.m. A fun and informative night with Penny from Norwegian Cruise Line as we learn more about how you can be free at sea with their Freestyle Cruising. Expedia Cruise Ship Center 6375 N. Wickham Road Melbourne, RSVP 321-233-1400

Discover the complete approach to skincare. A Perfect Complexion 2328 Medico Lane Viera, 321-604-1333

Manatee Appreciation Day Cruise Night with The Science of Skin 5:45 - 7 p.m. Norwegian Cruise Line

Tiffany’s Nails Grand Opening


1 April

Quilts & Lace Open House

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Prizes, food, demonstrations and a special guest. Quilts and Lace, LLC. 7720 N. Wickham Road Suites 111, 112, 113 Melbourne, 321-622-8602

Tiffany’s Nail Spa & Salon 6559 N. Wickham Road Suntree, 321-425-5012

Boomer Buffet $6.99

Monday - Thursday 3:30-5:30pm In the Avenue Viera

Healthy Entrees, Light Pizzas, Salads, Soups, Desserts & More 321.633.0397


Suntree Elementary students learn lessons of life with ducks BY KATIE PARSONS

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, students at Suntree Elementary School got to experience the life cycle firsthand. Dozens of duckling and chick eggs hatched in 10 classrooms after weeks of students watching the eggs in incubation. “Hatching Week” culminated a larger Life Cycles learning module with grade-level appropriate science lessons in kindergarten, first-, fourthand sixth-grade rooms. Teacher Marta Griffiths heads up the chick and duckling incubation program at Suntree Elementary and has been doing so for 12 years. “When I started this program, only one class was involved and only six chicks hatched. Now, 10 classes and four different grade levels participate. This year, we’ve had 36 ducklings and 112 chicks,” Griffiths said. The fertile duck and chicken eggs were obtained from the 4-H Farm at Wickham Park. Other schools in Brevard, such as Surfside Elementary, run similar programs on campus. When the chicks and ducks

feeding, gardening and more. “I’ve really enjoyed watching my son learn through the hatching lessons. It’s so hands-on – the students are learning science and life right in front of them and then they get to witness the births,” said Aran Hissam, whose son Ryan is in Griffiths’ class. VV

VIERA VOICE Katie Parsons

Suntree Elementary students in 10 classrooms saw dozens of ducklings and chicks hatch in February as part of a Life Cycles project. The baby animals will live at the 4-H Coop at Wickham Park.

Viera Children’s Academy VIERA VOICE Katie Parsons

The chick life cycle starter demonstration kit provided a science lesson for Suntree Elementary students.

are large enough, they are moved from the campus to the Wickham Park Coop. Families volunteer time to clean and maintain the coops as part of 4-H learning projects. The Suntree students wrapped up their lesson segment by taking the ducklings and chicks to the 4-H Coop on Feb. 23. While there, the students participated in hands-on interactive stations on poultry care, baby goat

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Viera Voice | March 2017




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Emma Colllins toured Lucky's Market in West Melbourne.

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One little girl from Quest Elementary School will never look at grocery shopping the same way. Tanya Clark, a thirdgrade teacher at Quest Elementary, never knows what to expect when she gives an optional assignment to her students. A recent project had a suggestion of going to a business to understand sustainability and its interaction with the community. Emma Collins took a trip to Lucky’s Market in West Melbourne and came back with enough ideas to fuel a pleasant discussion in the classroom. Lucky’s is trying to establish itself in the organic food market place. “Emma came home with a donation of reusable shopping bags to bring into the classroom,’’ said Clark,

who is in her third school year at Quest Elementary and her 14th year of teaching in Brevard County. “Lucky’s uses reusable bags, but not just theirs. They will let you use any bag. They donate a percentage of their sales to local charities.’’ Mike Klenotich, the store director at Lucky’s who also is known as Big Mike, was generous with his time and Collins came back with a new understanding of how a supermarket conducts its business. “He (Klenotich) showed Emma the guts of the store,’’ Clark said. “We owe a big thank you to Lucky’s for setting such a good example. They told Emma how they use and promote responsible practices. When waste food expires, they don’t just throw it away. They will give it to homeless shelters. Emma was Continued to 38


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Solution on page 38 Newspaper of Viera & Suntree...........BLUEWATER CREATIVE GROUP

Spinning tales about ants

Pet of the Month

VIERA VOICE/Shutterstock

Carpenter ants often present problems for homeowners.

Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors. These black, brown or red creatures supposedly are as old as dinosaurs. Since they are social, ants can develop large colonies, possibly accommodating millions.  In Europe, the Argentine ant, native to South America, established the largest-known colony stretching 3,700 miles. Other super colonies are in California and Japan.  Researchers suggest these three colonies are genetically related, thus friendly when introduced — a global mega-colony. Highly organized, a colony is founded and headed by one or multiple queens or none. Usually large, a queen lays eggs all her life. Some live 30 years. Most ants are females. Sterile wingless females (workers and soldiers) forage and build, maintain and protect the nest. Some survive a year. Alates are reproductives — winged males (drones) and females. At maturity, they swarm (nuptial flight). After mating, males die and some females survive to become queens, shed their wings and establish new colonies. A nest (formicary) might descend 25 feet, with chambers connected by tunnels to hold food storage, nurseries and resting places. Ants possibly move 50 tons of soil in 1 square mile per year. Thus they aerate, increase water flow, redistribute nutrients (including food and waste) and disperse seeds.  Regrettably, trails of ants invade homes, seeking food or moisture. Outside species might prey upon insects, control agricultural pests and scavenge on decomposing organisms and nectar. Protected are such creatures as aphids, who secrete honeydew, a sweet liquid savored by ants in symbiosis.   In Florida, troublesome ants include the ghost ant which might nest in walls. It immediately devours sweet food and even penetrates packaged food. Detection is challenging due to its small size and milky white antennae, legs and abdomen. Incredibly, transparency reveals the color of ingested food. The sizable carpenter ant often nests in homes, tunneling wet and damaged wood. Supporting wood is weakened.  Sawdust is not eaten but left in

Charlotte’s WebSpinning Tales Charlotte A. Corbeil

small piles at the nest entrance. The raspberry crazy ant (named after a pest expert) is spreading in Florida. It impaired electrical circuitry at the Houston Johnson Space Center. Two fire-ant species exist in Florida. Variable in size is the invasive and aggressive red imported fire ant (RIFA).  Blisters and anaphylaxis may result when it grips and bites, then injects a fire venom from its abdomen — repeatedly. When disturbed, alarm pheromones (chemicals) are released commanding collective stinging all at once.  Mounds have no central opening and can each 18 inches high.  The nest below is entered by underground tunnels. During flooding, these ants form a raft with their bodies, protecting the queen in the middle. Yearly, in the United States, crop and livestock damage by RIFA costs millions. The native fire ant is less potent.

Meet Aurora Aurora is a 2-year-old Weimardoodle, which is a Weimaraner and poodle mix. She loves to play with her toys in the backyard in the beautiful Florida sunshine. Owners Gwen and Bert Layne Viera

Meet Snickers Snickers is a 11/2-year-old British short hair. He loves his four 100-pound Labrador Retriever brothers. They are his best friends.

Did you know?

• There are an estimated 1 million ants per human. • Ants problem solve.  • Touching antennae provides communication.  • Some Amazonian queens clone themselves — thus creating all-female colonies.  • Ants carry exceedingly more than their weight — strong necks are advantageous. • Some swim and hold their breath underwater. • Forager ants store food in a second stomach to feed workers performing other duties.   • Some species bite and spray acid on wounds. The bullet ant of Central and South America delivers the most painful sting of insects — similar to a bullet wound. Realistically, ants keep the ecosystem in balance. More than earthworms, they improve the soil. Nevertheless, keep the aloe vera handy for bites and stings! VV

Owners Kevin and Sara Gross Viera

Meet Jazzy Jazzy is an 111/2-year-old Brittany. Despite her age, Jazzy is crazy about chasing tennis balls, lizards and squirrels. She’s fast, too. She also loves to chase the particles she sees in the air as the sun comes through the windows. She growls and barks at them. Owners Beverly and Vince Allotta Viera

Do you have the cutest pet on the whole block? Or even just in your own eyes? Does your pet have an endearing quality, a funny habit, a favorite toy you’d like to share? Enter your pet in Viera Voice’s Pet of the Month. Email a photo of your pet along with your name, area you live, your pet’s name, breed, age and what makes it so special to

Viera Voice | March 2017


SENIORNews Solutions

Puzzle on page 29

Boomer Buffet doing booming business at Pizza Gallery & Grill


Psst! Want a tip on great food at great prices? The deal is right around the corner at Pizza Gallery & Grill, where, in January, owner Chris Conneen launched the Boomer Buffet. Admittedly, the hours — from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday — may not lure those who prefer dining on the late side, but for the early birds, an all-you-can-eat deal of gourmet pizza, pasta, salads, soups, desserts and Pizza Gallery’s legendary garlic knots for $6.99 is hard to beat. Add the 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour pricing on cocktails, wine and beer for an even better value. Conneen concocted the promotion to fill a traditionally “dead” time in restaurants and his plan is working. “It’s been well received because I don’t know of any other place around Check out the Q&L website for class schedule and website events. for class schedule and events. Check out the Q&L  We are an authorized, full line Lock®, full line retailer for Baby Lock®, retailer We arefor anBaby authorized, here where you can get this Brother®, Koala ®, Floriani ,® & Brother® Anita Goodesign® , Koala ®, Floriani ,® & Anita Goodesign® value,” he said. serviceon-site, engineer  Full-time, on-site, factory certified factory certified service engineer  Full-time, We try our best to ‘under-promise overbest deliver’ Weand try our to ‘under-promise and over deliver’ There is certainly a market 7720 N. Wickham Rd. in the area, Conneen added. 7720 N. Wickham Rd. Check out111the Q&L website for events. Suites & Opening 112 & 113 Suites 111April & 112class & 113 “Viera has a large boomer Grand 1stschedule and Melbourne, FL 32940 Melbourne, FL 32940 Check the Q&L website for class schedule and events.  We out are an authorized, full line retailer for Baby Lock® , and many of demographic, Prizes,Phone: food, demonstrations, (321) 622-8602, Fax: (321) 622-8574 Phone: (321) 622-8602, Fax: (321) 622-8574 M,W,Th,F: 10am - 5pm, Tue: 12N - 7pm, M,W,Th,F: 10am - 5pm, Tue: 12N - 7pm, them are retired and prefer Check out the website class schedule and events. and a guest Check out theQ&L Q&L website class schedule and events.  We are an authorized, full retailer for Baby , Check out the Q&L website forline class schedule and Lock® events. Sat: 10am - 2pm, Sun: CLOSED Brother® , Koala ®for ,for Floriani ,® & Anita Goodesign® Sat: 10amspecial - 2pm, Sun: CLOSED Check out the Q&L website for class schedule and events. to eat earlier,” he said.  We are an authorized, fullavailable line retailer for Baby Lock® ,, We We arean anauthorized, authorized, line retailer for Baby Lock® Repair and Service on site  are fullfull line retailer for Baby Lock® , for  We are an authorized, fullcertified line retailer Baby Lock®not , a boomer, Full-time, on-site, factory service engineer Brother® , Koala ® , Floriani , ® & Anita Goodesign® If you’re Brother® Koala Anita Goodesign® Brother® Koala ®,Floriani Floriani ,® && Anita Goodesign® Brother® ,,,Koala ®, ®,Floriani ,® ,®& Anita Goodesign® Sewing machines, accessories, fabrics Full-time, factory certified service engineer  We try our best tocertified ‘under-promise and over deliver’ Brother® , on-site, Koala ®,certified Floriani ,®and &engineer Anita Goodesign® don’t worry, because you can Full-time, on-site, factory service  Full-time, on-site, factory certified service engineer Full-time, on-site, factory service engineer  still partake of the bountiful Visit website for classes and events We try our best to ‘under-promise and over deliver’ We trytry ourbest best to ‘under-promise and over deliver’ We our tofactory ‘under-promise and over deliver’ Full-time, on-site, certified service engineer We try our tobest ‘under-promise and over deliver’ buffet. Although Conneen We try7720 our best to ‘under-promise 7720 N. Wickham Rd. 7720 N.Wickham Wickham Rd. and over deliver’ N. Rd. coined it the Boomer Buffet, Suites 111 112 113 Suites 113 Suites111 111&& &112 112&& & 113 he has made the special available to all ages, as long Melbourne, FL 32940 Melbourne, FL 32940 Melbourne, FL 32940 as you can make it to the Phone: (321) 622-8602, Fax:Fax: (321)(321) 622-8574 Phone: (321) 622-8602, 622-8574 Phone: (321) 622-8602, Fax: (321) 622-8574 artsy Avenue Viera pizzeria M,W,Th,F: 10am 5pm, Tue: 12N 7pm, M,W,Th,F: M,W,Th,F:10am 10am- -5pm, 5pm,Tue: Tue:12N 12N- -7pm, 7pm, Phone: (321) 622-8602, Fax: within (321) 622-8574 Sat: -- 2pm, CLOSED Sat: 10am Sun: CLOSED the allotted hours. Sat:10am 10am10am -2pm, 2pm,Sun: CLOSED M,W,Th,F: -Sun: 5pm, Tue: 12N - 7pm, Phone: (321) 622-8602, Fax: (321) 622-8574 “You don’t have to be Sat: 10am 2pm, Sun: CLOSED M,W,Th,F: 10am - 5pm, Tue: 12N - 7pm, retired or a boomer,” Phone: (321) 622-8602, Fax: (321) 622-8574 Sat: 10am - 2pm, Sun: CLOSED M,W,Th,F: 10am - 5pm, Tue: 12N - 7pm, Conneen said. Sat: 10am - 2pm, Sun: CLOSED “The kids may be off from school or you might want to leave work early.” The Hurri“cano” Solution to your pressure cleaning need. Mondays are not included

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Viera Voice | March 2017


Pizza Gallery & Grill now offers the Boomer Buffet between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

in the offer, because Pizza Gallery already offers a significant discount those days with half-off pricing on pizzas and calzones. “A lot of our customers for the Boomer Buffet are regulars on Mondays already,” Conneen said. It’s been a dozen years since Conneen relocated his pizzeria to the Avenue. He started his first restaurant at the 1900 Building in downtown Melbourne before moving it to Wickham Road across from Eastern Florida State College. From the beginning, Conneen envisioned a pizzeria that also an was art gallery with a menu inspired by the masters, such as the Mexican pizza, inspired by master of

Southwestern landscapes, Georgia O’Keeffe. He has always been a staunch supporter of his community, and many local organizations have benefited from his pizza-laden largesse at special events and promotions. Pizza Gallery’s weekly “Pizza with a Purpose” events, usually held on Tuesday nights, donate 15 percent of event sales to local community organizations, schools, churches and individuals in need. Pizza Gallery and Grill is at 2250 Town Center Ave., Viera. For more information, call 321-633-0397 or go to VV

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Smith, 91, to play in national clay court tournament BY CARL KOTALA

Martha Smith has a unique way of describing her tennis game. Serve-and-volley … meet hit-and-giggle. “To me, tennis is about the greatest sport that the average person can play,” the 91-year-old Satellite Beach resident said. “It takes a racket and a can of balls. And the friendships you create are long lasting. “It keeps you active. If you don’t stay active, you rust. The body was meant to stay in motion.” Whether it’s working in her garden, taking a painting class twice a week, or getting out on the court, Smith is definitely not rusty. And later this month, she will head to Houston to take part in the USTA National Women’s Clay Court Championships. She’ll be playing singles in the 90-yearold age bracket, which runs from March 27 to April 2 at the Houston Racquet Club. Smith, who took up tennis following her first retirement at age 55, has played in tennis leagues — including the Space Coast League — but now says she just plays for fun. “What I play now is called hit-and-giggle,” she said. “We don’t take anything really serious. It’s hit-and-giggle tennis.” It was Smith’s friend, Brenda Wickham, who suggested the trip to Texas after playing in last year’s tournament and seeing how well the 90-year-old players were treated. Now Smith will get to add another chapter into what has been quite a life. In addition to moving around the country with

Happy St. Patty’s Day! D OL



Heritage Isle • $379,900 VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Martha Smith, a 91-year-old resident of Satellite Beach, is heading to Houston to play in the USTA National Women's Clay Court Championships.

her husband, who was in the military, she worked for the government for more than 20 years — including a stint at Patrick Air Force Base. She also worked at the old Pines Tennis Club and then moved over to the Kiwi Tennis Club, where she still volunteers. Her beloved garden is well maintained and in her house hang some of the acrylic paintings she has done through the years. “I enjoy it,” Smith said of painting. “It’s one of the best stress relievers you can ever have because you don’t do much else when you’re concentrating on what you’re doing.” As for playing in the national tournament, Smith said she is going to Houston with one thing in mind. “Just a fun time,” she said. “You go down (with the idea) that you’d like to win, but it’s not going to be the end of the world if you don’t. It’s just the opportunity to go down there and compete with women that age. It will be fun.” V V



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EMERALD CITY 5K MARCH 10, 2017 6:00 PM

Live Bands Knockerball & Inflatables Race Themed Costume Contest Food Trucks Support homeless families in Brevard county by running or walking in the Emerald City 5K or come out and cheer for the participants and enjoy fun activities for the whole family!

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Viera Voice | March 2017



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continued from page 34 real excited about the project Quest also made Valentine’s and she got the other kids goodie bags and care excited too about about going packages for all the secondshopping with their parents.’’ grade students at Endeavour Kindergarten students at Elementary School. Each Quest Elementary showed package had a hand-made their generosity during a Valentine. program to celebrate both the “This was such an awesome 100th day of school and the experience for for our kids Valentine’s Day season. They and a great lesson in caring were asked to bring in 100 for others,’’ kindergarten cans of food to donate to the teacher Jordan Harder said. South Brevard Sharing Center. “The best part was seeing the Instead, they surpassed that giant smiles beaming as the request with a generous 389 students put them together canned food items. and talked about how happy “As we counted each can, the kids would be. the students kept saying they The theme of the project were helping so many people,’’ was to explain the difference kindergarten teacher Jenn between needing and McMahan said. wanting and the importance Kindergarten students at of being kind to others. V V


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Viera Voice March 2017  

Newspaper of Suntree and Viera Florida

Viera Voice March 2017  

Newspaper of Suntree and Viera Florida