Vero's Voice Magazine Issue 131 December 2021

Page 1




welcoming Dr. Zudans to the Center for Please Eye joinCare us in Advanced team!

welcoming Dr. Zudans to the Center for Advanced Eye Care team! Val Zudans, M.D. is Board Certified by the Val Zudans, M.D. is Board Certified by the AMERICAN OF OPHTHALMOLOGY AMERICAN BOARDBOARD OF OPHTHALMOLOGY. Dr. Zudans completed his ophthalmology residency at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Mi-

ami, consistently ranked theresidency number one ophthalmology program in the country for over 15 years by US Dr. Zudans completed his ophthalmology at the pres-tigious Bascom and World his residency, his Bachelor Palmer Eye News Institute in Report. Miami, Before consistently rankedhe earned the number one of Science degree in Chemistry from ophthalmology the program in theofcoun-try overhe15was years by US News and World University Florida for where an Anderson scholar and elected Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Report. Before Doctorate his residency, he earneddegree his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemisin Medicine from the University of Florida College of Medicine and was elected to the try from the University of Florida where he was an Anderson scholar and elected the top 10% of his class. national medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha representing Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Doctorate in Medicine degree from the University Cataract Surgery of Florida College of Medicine andCertified was elected to American the national medical honor Dr. Zudans is Board by the Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American society Alpha Omega Alpha representing thestudy top 10% of his class. College of Surgeons. His for MACS related to HDOculofacial lens implants was published Plastic Surgery in the Journal of

Dr. Zudans completed his ophthalmology residency at the pres-tigious Basc Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, consistently ranked the number ophthalmology program in the coun-try for over 15 years by US News and Wo Report. Before his residency, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chem Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the preeminent peer-reviewed journal for cataract surgeons. He is a local Macular Degeneration Treatment tryBoard from the University of ofFlorida where Dr. Zudans is Board Certified by the American of Ophthalmology and a Fellow the American College he was an Anderson scholar and elec speaker and maintains active memberships in the Florida Diabetic Society ofEye Ophthalmology, American Academy • Optical of Surgeons. His study for MACS related to HD lens implants was published in the Journal of Cataract and Beta Kappa. He Society received his Doctorate in Care Medicine degree from the Univer ofPhi Ophthalmology, ofHeCataract Refractive Surgery, Florida Medical Association, Refractive Surgery, the preeminent peer-reviewed journal forAmerican cataract surgeons. isBroad a localand speaker and Band Light and Halo Laser Skin Resurfacing and Indian River County Medical Society. maintains active memberships in theofFlorida Society College of Ophthalmology, Ameri-can Academy of Florida of Medicine and was elected to the national medical ho Hydrafacial and RF Microneedling • Botox and Filler Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Florida Medical Association, and Indian The Entire Team at Center for Advanced Eye Care is available for new consultations and would society Alpha Omega Alpha representing the toppatient 10% of his class. River County Medical Society. Onsite Medication Dispensary William J. Mallon, M.D.

Adam M. Katz, M.D.

Alexander D. Blanford, M.D.

very much like to help you see your best. Please call 772-299-1404 to schedule your next appointment.

The Entire Team at Center for Advanced Eye Care is available for new patient consultations and would very much like to help you see your best. Please call 772-299-1404 to schedule your next appointment.

Dr. Zudans is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American Coll of Surgeons. His study for MACS related to HD lens implants wasCataract published in the Journal of Cataract Surgery Refractive Surgery, the preeminent peer-reviewed journal for Oculofacial cataract surgeons. He is a local speaker Plastic Surgery Degeneration Treatment maintains active memberships in the Florida Society Macular of Ophthalmology, Ameri-can Academy Diabetic Eye Care • Optical Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Florida Medical Association, and Ind Broad Band Light and Halo Laser Skin Resurfacing River County Medical Society. Dominick A. Benedetto, M.D.

Edward S. Branigan III, M.D.

J. Michael Schnell, M.D.

Derek Ohlstein, M.D.

Hydrafacial and RF Microneedling • Botox and Filler

Center for Advanced Eye Care • (772) 299-1404 Onsite Medication Dispensary The Entire Team at Center for Advanced Eye Care is available for new patient consultations and would v much like to help you seeUS yourHwy best. Please call 772-299-1404 to schedule your next appointment. 3500 1, Vero Beach, FL 32960 William J. Mallon, M.D.

Dominick A. Benedetto, M.D.

Adam M. Katz, M.D.

Edward S. Branigan III, M.D.

Alexander D. Blanford, M.D.

J. Michael Schnell, M.D.

Derek Ohlstein, M.D.

Cataract Surgery Oculofacial Plastic Surgery Macular Degeneration Treatment Diabetic Eye Care • Optical Broad Band Light and Halo Laser Skin Resurfacing Hydrafacial and RF Microneedling • Botox and Filler Onsite Medication Dispensary

Center for Advanced Eye Care • (772) 299-1404 3500 US Hwy 1, Vero Beach, FL 32960

William J. Mallon, M.D.


Adam M. Katz, M.D.

December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

Alexander D. Blanford, M.D.

December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice




6 Autism in the Rear View Window: Wyatt Falardeau’s touching story 11 The Life Journey of Dr. Edith Widder – Part 3 14 Voices of Vero: What is the strangest or ugliest Christmas decoration you or someone you know has ever owned? 16 Treasure Coast Stylist: Jump Start 2022

95 Royal Palm Pointe, Vero Beach, Fl 32960 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

ON THE COVER: Wyatt Falardeau, age 9, going over his Christmas list with Santa. Please see his story on page 6.

18 Travels by Steven: Christmas in the Big Apple 20 Chuck’s Review: Squid Game 22 Recipes: Christmas cookies 28 Encouraging Words



131 DEC. 2021



Glenn Swift

CLIENT ADVISOR/ CONTRIBUTING WRITER Wyatt with NFL Linebacker Shaquem Griffin, the first person with one hand to be drafted into the NFL


hristmas. A promise of light in a dark world with the birth of our Savior. It can be a time of great cheer connecting with family and friends; for others it can also be a hollow cavern where every Christmas carol reminds you of someone who is no longer with us. Last Christmas was the first for me in 12 years where every song didn’t make me long for the past. The river flows and the best we can do is jump back in to the center of life and try to duplicate the greatest Servant of all. When we are in a state of giving, self focus melts away. It’s nice that hope eternal slips up cozily next to us as we are grieving, whispering “This is the season where grieving can be turned over to hope in the promised Messiah.” The angel did not reveal His immaculate birth to a king or royalty but appeared to lowly shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Behold, I bring good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. The King of Kings, the King of love and redemption. Warmest Christmas wishes to you and your loved ones. Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours! -Rhett Palmer


Barbara Freund 772-538-2718

December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

Doolin Dalton 772-321-8432,







Rhett Palmer 772-473-7777

The friendly publication where friendly people advertise! To Advertise Please call Rhett Palmer at

772.473.7777 or email us at advertising@verosvoice. com. Space deadline is the 1st of each month. Camera Ready deadline is the 10th. Number of copies printed varies with time of year.

Like us on Facebook Vero's Voice Magazine is published monthly. Copyright © Vero's Voice Magazine 2010 - 2021, all rights reserved. Reproduction of contents in print or electronic transmission in whole or in part in any language or format must be by express written permission of the publisher. All articles, descriptions and suggestions in this magazine are merely expression of opinions from contributors and advertisers and do not constitute the opinion of the publisher, editor or staff of Vero's Voice Magazine, and under no circumstances constitutes assurances or guarantees concerning the quality of any service or product. Vero's Voice Magazine specifically disclaims any liability related to these expressions and opinions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability.


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December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


This is the college essay written by a most remarkable young man who has far exceeded the expectations of his doctors. Meet Wyatt Falardeau, a senior at Vero Beach High School.

Autism in the

Rear View Mirror by Wyatt Falardeau

Wyatt's first Christmas


put autism in the rear-view mirror in fifth grade. But it wasn’t so easy before that. I didn’t talk until I was seven years old. Until then, I could understand but couldn’t speak. I felt I couldn’t breathe. Yet I believe this verbal imprisonment helped me become who I am today. Beginning on January 9, 2003, my birthday, life treated me like a bully. Not only did I experience a difficult birth, but also doctors told my parents I would never function with normal cognitive abilities. What’s more, just after birth, surgeons removed my right forearm which had been strangled by amniotic bands and was completely dead. But by far the most disturbing scene in this R-rated movie was that before I emerged from the womb, doctors wanted to abort me! Screaming from the top of her lungs, my mother cried “No!” These events mark the beginning of a journey that has enabled me to clear every obstacle that might prevent me from becoming a great man. But my road has been hard. Until age 12, I had therapy for everything: speech, occupational, and physical. Gradually, I developed language skills and learned to become lefthand dominant. But as I grew, though my mind grasped everything, sometimes my mouth didn’t follow. Once, at age three, while sitting in the back seat of our car, I noticed my mom was driving down the wrong side of the highway. In my head I shouted, “You’re going the wrong way!” But words wouldn’t emerge from my mouth. All I could do was grunt and shake wildly back and forth in the car seat. Seconds later, my mom got the message and pulled into the right lane. Because of my disability, I was incorrectly placed in a Pre-K program for toddlers with special needs. The kids screamed, threw furniture, and ran around the room. All was noise, noise, noise! (Pardon, my reference to the Grinch.) Yet I couldn’t escape. At age four, I was finally diagnosed with autism. That meant I was eligible for the school district’s new autism program which focused on kids like me with trained, dedicated teachers. When I reached third grade, I was mainstreamed into a general-education class with an aide. By second semester of third grade, I


December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

was fully independent. But upon entering fourth grade with regular academic classes, I struggled a bit because I was behind in math and reading. But I poured myself into my studies, and teachers loved my work ethic. In fifth grade, I went to the University of Central Florida (UCF) to meet a group of engineering students who were printing 3-D prosthetic arms. My hope was to receive one myself. They asked me, “What type of arm would you like?” I replied that I wanted a “Blue Man” arm because I loved Blue Man musical artists. I came away not only with an appointment to get a prosthetic arm, but something much bigger – a vision of myself as a college graduate who could make a difference. rom that moment on I took off like a rocket. At the end of fifth grade, I earned the Presidential Silver Award for making the greatest academic gains of any student in the entire grade. In sixth grade, I was named to the AB Honor Roll and the National Junior Honor Society. I also served for a week as a Florida Senate Page, an honor I repeated the following year. Now a high-school senior, I reflect with satisfaction on my achievements, including being ranked in the top ten percent of my class of more than 650 students every year since freshman year. I know I have what it takes to succeed in life. I also know I have something to give: I want to be a special education teacher and help kids like me catch a vision that will transform their lives.


James “Wyatt” Falardeau is a senior at Vero Beach High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society and an active member of the school’s International Thespian Society. As of this writing, he’s been accepted to several colleges and received major merit scholarship awards.

James Wyatt Falardeau

The Bells of Christmas Past – The Gifts of the Present by Cynthia Falardeau


Wyatt recieving his Blue Man Group inspired prosthetic arm

Family photo Christmas 2013

Wyatt receiving Silver Presidents Award with Bill Kolesnik Beachland Elementary

St Pauls - Jon Robbins, Wyatt Deacon, Jon Day, Jeff Lockhart

n December 25, 1864, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the Christmas poem, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and the famous words gave birth to one of our most familiar Christmas carols. On December 25, 2009, my husband and I heard the sweetest sound of Christmas: our six-year-old son’s emerging voice. To most, the joyous shout of, “Mama! Daddy! Santa was here!” are words that parents take for granted. For us and other families of children with speech delays, it was pure manna! It is ironic that when Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee’s surrender. His poem reflected the prior years of the war’s despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace. My husband and I feel like we have been through a different kind of battle, one to unlock the voice of our child, Wyatt. Just months before this point, we purchased an expensive communication device, a Dynavox, to unlock his voice. This minicomputer functioned like a touch screen to produce sentences. Without hesitation, we spent nearly $5,000 to reveal our son’s thoughts, wants and dreams. That investment created a desire for Wyatt to communicate. He went from producing less than ten words to expressing himself in three- to five-word sentences by the age of seven. Wyatt’s language was understood by few. The Dynavox device revealed something special: our son loved to tell jokes. It started with him finding a fart button on the device and led to telling knock-knock jokes. As anyone knows, humor is a sign of intelligence. During that Christmas season we relished the most precious gift of our son’s voice and a glimmer of hope for who he might become.

I can remember praying at the altar and giving thanks for the tremendous strides Wyatt made. I also said a prayer Cynthia Falardeau every night and in the presence of my church family, “Lord, please keep me and my husband safe to care for Wyatt. Wyatt needs us and will be with us his entire life.” You see, I believed Wyatt could never be independent. The goal of our son attending college was unimaginable. Through my advocacy, I developed a mobile caravan of friends, family, and unicorns to help support the development of Wyatt. There were some more eager to join our bus and others who proved to be speed bumps along the way. Eventually, as educators saw Wyatt’s potential, they got on board. With each challenge came new opportunities to push barriers and to challenge the status quo. It was not just about our child but about helping all children like Wyatt to have a chance to prove that they possessed intelligence and were differently-abled. In time, Wyatt progressed from selfcontained classrooms to general education, to receiving academic awards, to being accepted to highly-accredited colleges and universities. yatt is now a senior at Vero Beach High School. He has been in the top ten percent of his class each year. He is an active member of St. Paul’s Church as an acolyte, intercessor, and healing team member. In addition, Wyatt will serve as a Senate Page for the third time during the opening 2022 legislative session, as appointed by Senator Debbie Mayfield. This Christmas, Wyatt’s current reality is the most precious gift of all. The gift of hope is always in our midst. In the same spirit of Longfellow’s poem, we have come through great despair and now are filled with a hope of triumphant peace.


Cynthia Falardeau lives in Vero Beach with her husband, Jim, and their son, Wyatt. She is the Senior Director of Membership for the Women Corporate Directors Education and Development Foundation. December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


General, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry


hether you are in search of a new family dentist or need a complete smile makeover, our practice is prepared to serve you with the utmost care and attention.

Every day, we help turn dream smiles into a reality. As one of the most soughtafter Vero Beach cosmetic dentists, Dr. Planes and the team here at Planes Dental Arts have transformed the teeth of countless patients. We know how important a beautiful smile is and enjoy watching our patients gain renewed confidence in their appearance. We also know how important good health is to maintaining a new smile. From fillings and cleanings to implants and straightening, we offer preventive, restorative, and cosmetic solutions to fit the needs of the whole family. Our team is highly trained and experienced in a wide range of dental services. With years of combined advanced education and an office equipped with stateof-the-art technology, it is easy to see why so many people choose Planes Dental Arts and Dr. Alex Planes as their Vero Beach cosmetic dentist. Whether you need general dental care or feel embarrassed or unhappy with the appearance of your smile, we are prepared and ready to address your concerns. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and find out how dental care at Planes Dental Arts can meet and exceed your expectations.

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December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

Holidays For Heroes “MAILING KIT” PICK-UP LOCATIONS (All venues are in Vero Beach unless otherwise indicated)

Through December 15 American Icon Brewery, 1133 19th Place Barefoot Café, 2036 14th Ave. Barker Air Conditioning & Heating, 1936 Commerce Ave. Barker Air Conditioning & Heating, 825 U.S. 1, Sebastian BigShots Golf, 3456 U.S. 1 Busy Bee Lawn & Garden Center, 7445 U.S. 1, Winter Beach Charlotte Terry Real Estate Group, 2911 Ocean Drive Christ by the Sea United Methodist Church, 3755, A1A Christ Church Vero Beach, 667 20th Street (corner 6th Ave.) Community Tire & Auto Service, 10435 U.S. 1, Sebastian Cravings, 3149 Ocean Drive CW Willis Family Farms, 3700 9th St. SW Direct Sales & Leasing, 855 U.S. 1 Do It Yourself Pest Control, 827 8th Street elle 7 twenty salon + spa, 2083 Indian River Blvd. (behind Panera) Eye Clinic of Vero & Optical Boutique, 634 21st St. (Miracle Mile) Nail Art, 1355 US 1 (near Five Guys) Office of Dr. James Presley, 1000 37th Place, Ste. 105 Pack Mart, U.S. 1, Sebastian Pak Mail Beachside, 505 Beachland Blvd. Pareidolia Brewing Co., 712 Cleveland St., Sebastian Postal Connections, 1275 U.S. 1, 12th St. Plaza (behind Carrabba’s) Sebastian Municipal Golf Course, 100 Brush Foot Drive, Sebastian Studio 14/Zumba Works, 1962 14th Avenue Sturgis Lumber, 4645 U.S. 1, Gifford Temp Control, 1946 Wilbur Avenue The UPS Store, Treasure Coast Plaza (Miracle Mile) Vero Beach Book Center, 392 21st Street Vero Fitness, 1060 Sixth Avenue Vero Strength & Conditioning, 760 8th Court, Ste. #4 Victory Center Military Store, Indian River Mall (near JC Penney) Vittorio’s Pizza, 2980 Oslo Road Vittorio’s Pizza, 9615 U.S. 1, Sebastian

Call 772-473-0288




(772) 979-GOLF December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


• Delivery service available

Now Offering

• Personalized compounding • We accept most insurance plans and Worker’s Comp


• Free delivery and Free flavoring for pediatric medications • Download our mobile app RX 2 Go to request refills and more!

You’re not just a number. You’re our neighbor. – Edwin Perkins, Owner/Pharmacist

(772) 978-6470 • 4015 20th Street • Vero Beach HOURS: MON-FRI 8AM - 6PM, SAT 9AM - 2PM

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4 RECYCLE RIGHT this holiday season:

Wrapping Paper

Packing Peanuts

Packaging Materials

Recycle in your blue cart.

Return to any Pak Mail or UPS Store.

Styrofoam, bubble wrap, air pillows and wraps may be recycled at any of the 5 Convenience Centers or Main Landfill.

Old Electronics

Recycle at any of the Trees (free of decorations) 5 Convenience Centers will be picked up curbside with or the Main Landfill. regular paid yard services or can be taken to any of the 5 Convenience (Residents Only) Centers or the Main Landfill.

All locations will be closed on Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

Confusion at your cart?

Download the CARTer’s Corner app to see what goes where, visit or call 226-3212. 10 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

Christmas Trees

LANDFILL & CONVENIENCE CENTER LOCATIONS: Indian River County Landfill 1325 74th Ave SW, Vero Beach Open 7 days a week Roseland 7860 130th Street Closed Tues. & Wed. Fellsmere 12510 CR 512 Closed Wed.& Thurs.

Winter Beach 3955 65th Street Closed Tues. & Wed. Oslo 950 1st Place Closed Wed. & Thurs. Gifford 4901 41st Street Closed Tues. & Wed.


The Life Journey of Dr. Edith Widder Founder/CEO of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA)



ess than a year after founding the Oceanographic Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), Edie was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of the new organization’s mission to apply cutting-edge scientific methods to furthering marine conservation efforts. The grant couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. “After the release of the Pew and U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s reports, I realized that ocean conservation efforts were losing ground. Our waters were besieged by an endless wave of unseen pollutants, toxic algae, and invading species. Traditional conservation strategies used on land, like buying acreage or posting ‘No Trespassing’ signs just don’t work for saving bodies of water,” Edie joked. ORCA, as the nation’s first technology-based marine conservation association, embraced a fundamentally new approach to ocean conservation. “Our niche in responding to large-scale deterioration of the marine environment is to begin by collecting accurate and scientifically defensible data on water quality and its impact on marine ecosystems. We provide that information to the public and decision makers in an easily accessible and understandable format. Then we engage communities in marine conservation action with positive reinforcement for their efforts through feedback involving easily understandable scientific data.” ORCA doesn’t just talk the talk. By combining innovative technology, applied science and community outreach, ORCA’s team of immensely talented and dedicated individuals is leading the way in protection and conservation of our valuable coast, estuaries and oceans—saving these precious habitats for the generations of tomorrow.

Citizen Scientists from the Sunrise Rotary collect samples from the Indian River Lagoon

Pollution Maps show the Lagoon’s toxicity levels in red

Integral to the organization’s mission is the ORCA Citizen Science Program. “We wanted to educate and engage all members of the community, regardless of age, gender, education, race or religion in solving the problems that are leading to the degradation of the Indian River Lagoon and connecting waterways.” Through a series of workshops and trainings, ORCA’s highly trained and experienced staff rigorously prepares community volunteers to actively participate

in the organization’s Citizen Science Projects. “Our citizen scientists measure and monitor local environmental conditions to help identify sources of pollution entering the lagoon by conducting various field sampling and laboratory analyses.” ORCA’s hands-on approach is a far cry from the way science has been taught for generations. “If we taught baseball like we taught science, we wouldn’t start playing until we’re 22,” laughed Edie. The great news is that Team ORCA is making a difference. “We are acquiring the data needed to drive change and be a part of the solution.” CONTINUED NEXT PAGE December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


CONTINUED from page 11

“We have arrived at a tipping point for the Indian River Lagoon.”


–Dr. Edith Widder

die also stressed the urgency of the situation. “We have arrived at a tipping point for the Indian River Lagoon.” How bad is it? “We face the lagoon collapsing into an algaedominated, pollution-laden system, unhealthy not just for marine animals but humans as well. Toxins are getting into the food web, and we’re discovering all sorts of serious links between algae and pollution levels to severe health problems…including liver cancer… We are working with the local medical community to inform them of the dangers.” Edie also pointed out that if serious action is not undertaken to minimize toxic algae blooms the area’s economy will also suffer significantly, along with potential declines in property values. “There’s no time to waste…action is needed right now.” The urgency of the situation is strikingly clear through the use of “Kilroys”—real-time, state-of-the-art water monitoring devices developed by ORCA that are deployed at 18 locations along the 156mile Indian River Lagoon. “We continuously monitor water speed, direction, temperature, salinity, depth, turbidity and prevalence of key micro-organisms. You can go to the Kilroy Live Feed on our website and monitor the information in real-time.” To realize the full potential of the Kilroys, ORCA has organized the Kilroy Academy for teachers to provide hands-on activities and lesson plans to analyze the real-time data. “We have hundreds of students and community members involved in our projects,” said Missy Weiss, Director of Citizen Science & Education, who spearheads several programs for ORCA: pollution mapping, living shorelines (growing native plant species to replace bulkheads), harvesting oysters in cages to test for pollutants and fish monitoring. One of sixteen Kilroy water quality monitoring stations

Citizen scientists from Walking Tree Brewery

“All of our volunteers receive rigorous training and come from all ages and walks of life. We often talk about starting early with our students, but we have people in their 70s and 80s who are viable members of our team,” Missy added. f course, for any organization to be sustainable requires more than just labor and human ingenuity. And while Kilroys might not be the biggest tickets on the marine conservation short list, they’re not cheap either. “Each Kilroy costs about $80,000 to install and $30,000 a year to maintain,” Edie said. Needless to say, seeking funding is an ongoing component of ORCA’s mission. “But we don’t have a choice if we want to save the Indian River Lagoon,” Edie added. What can you do? Well, there are a number of ways you can help clean up our waters. Go to and join the team now! Just one more thing… “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead (1978)

O 12 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

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Buy tickets: 772-231- 6990 • See more of what’s happening at: December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice 13


What is the


Strangest or Ugliest

by Doolin Dalton

Christmas Decoration

you or someone you know has ever owned?


I owned a three-foot tall Yoda but it was discolored by the sun so it looked like a tiny albino Santa Claus.


My great aunt had the ugliest life-sized Santa Claus that moved and sang. It was motion activated so on the nights we stayed over for Christmas, it would scare me any time I walked into the living room.


The strangest one I have is a light-up unicorn for the yard. My daughter and I like unicorns, so I thought why not have a unicorn Christmas decoration!


14 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

Okay, this is super old school, but I’ve got this dancing Santa that plays “Jingle Bells” while his hips sway back and forth.


I have this painting that I had the kids made a couple of years ago with their hand and footprints on it, I hang it up every year. But it’s been stepped on, spilled on, and it looks hideous now. I still hang it up every year, though!

-Alison Lynn, NURSE

I remember my aunt and uncle had these Santa Claus candlesticks. They looked like Santa Claus, but they were tall and skinny. They looked like what Santa would look like if he lost all his weight, but in an unhealthy way! They’d put those ugly things on the dinner table every year and I was like…. Why??

-Tiffany Chichanski, HAIRDRESSER

The ugliest decoration had to be my childhood Christmas tree. It was fake tree that you put together with yarn disco ball ornaments. Hey, it was the late 70’s or early 80’s, so what can you say??


c hi any C

o K el l y B r




u David P



ia Joe Ch







For me, this one is easy. When I was 12, my aunt and uncle bought my parents a musical cowboy Santa—the most ridiculous looking thing I’ve ever seen. It was a guitarholding, cowboy hat wearing Santa on a rocking horse wearing full white leather cowboy duds that would strum the guitar. It was hideous, but likely cost well over $100. It was the size of a danged washing machine and the music was awful. It was motion activated, so any friends that walked in the front door would trigger this atrocity. My parents loved it, but to me it was a crime against Christmas.



ith Jo W





C o tt s


















o Kat H







When I was a kid, the neighbors next door had I had this one Korean ornament that Master a nativity scene they’d put on display. Only Kim, my first martial arts instructor, awarded the instead of a baby Jesus, there was a baby sheep. class. It was awful looking with off-Christmas Everything else was human, but Jesus for some colors and symbols. Ugliest ornament ever! reason or another had been replaced by a baby -Matthew Cotts, PARTS MANAGER sheep. For a time, I legitimately thought that Jesus was supposed to be a sheep. My parents have this animatronics Santa -Jo Witherington, on their porch, but its motor is dying. He’s COMPUTER TECHNICIAN supposed to be motion activated and sing and dance when you walk past. Nowadays, when you The best/worst one I can think of is my ugly walk past him, Santa sounds possessed and Christmas sweater. It’s a Christmas fireplace sings slow and creepy. They don’t unplug him sweater with three Velcro stockings. Very classy! because they think it’s hilarious.

-Kat Hopper, EVENTS HOST


December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice 15


by Marianne Howell


Add these Fashionable Activewear items to your Christmas list to get a jump (start) on those New Year’s resolutions! B




























Marianne Howell is a wardrobe consultant & personal stylist based on the Treasure Coast. She is drawn to simplicity and believes that less is more. Her goal is to help clients love their wardrobes and achieve an effortlessly stylish look that suits them best. You can see more of her current fashion finds at Find her online:; instagram, facebook, pinterest @treasurecoaststylist

16 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


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Wishing you Happy Holidays and celebrating Elite Airways return to Vero Beach Airport March 25, 2022 Enjoy direct and nonstop service from MLB to Newark, White Plains and Portland ME and VRB to Newark resuming Friday, March 25 on sale now!

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*Starting fares for a one-way ticket. For Elite Airways flights, the first checked bag and carry-on will be free, $50.00 for a second checked bag, and $75.00 for the third checked bag per person. Each checked bag weighing between 51 and 70 pounds will be assessed a fee of $25 in addition to the checked bag fee. Each checked bag weighing between 71 and 100 pounds will be assessed a fee of $100. All fares are quoted in U.S. Dollars ($USD) unless otherwise specified. **Except emergency exit seating. Visit for more details on our standard baggage service fee schedule. Dates of the advertised flights are subject to change in accordance with re regulatory requirements. See the TSA website for a list of prohibited items. Route dates/times subject to FAA approval.

December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice



a m t s s t i i m r h e C


by Steven Eidelberg


Rockefeller Center Tree




’ve been to various places around the world during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, but I never tire of Christmas in New York City. Now, I may be a little biased. I did grow up in New York City so I must give top priority to my hometown. If you are looking for last minute travel plans, New York City is THE place to go! A little-known secret…while prices are super high (even now) during the first two weeks of December, there are bargains to be found from the week before Christmas until New Year’s Eve at hotels throughout the city, as well as great bargain shopping whether you are in Prada or the Gap. There are convenient flights, and another bargain tip...if you fly on Christmas and on New Year’s you can score fantastic flights. It is a great time to avoid the large crowds and enjoy all that the city has to offer during the season. Plaza Hotel Christmas Tree


December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


f course, Christmas lights are found at the famous tree in Rockefeller Center, where you will also enjoy the light performance by the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, and all the window displays of 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue, but for the best show of Christmas lights in the world head to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. It has become so popular with the locals and those “in the know” that I recommend taking the subway and walking along the streets where each house competes for the most outrageous display of lights you have ever seen. If ice skating is your thing, leave the rink at Rockefeller Center to the tourists and head to the Wolman Rink in Central Park. It’s larger, and the setting is lovely amongst the trees. Before skating, why not stop in the Plaza Hotel ($$$$) before heading into the park, and enjoy their tree and a hot chocolate in the Palm Court. Other hotels for various budgets depend on the area you wish to visit. In the middle of it all near Times Square at a budget is Row Hotel ($$). For rooms with a view of Times Square at a reasonable rate (for NYC) is Novotel ($$$). While the rooms with a view of Times Square come at a premium, many have great views of the Hudson River and their rooftop terrace is a great place for a drink with a view of Times Square. All hotels have covid-19 protocols for sanitizing rooms as well as social distancing, so there is nothing to worry about. I like to stay on the Upper West Side near Central Park, at The Arthouse Hotel ($$$) near the Museum of Natural History and New York Historical Society, convenient for a brisk walk into Central Park for dinner at the refurbished Tavern on the Green. No visit for a first timer could go without seeing The Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, with tickets easily available the last two weeks in December, and for a touch of class, The Nutcracker in Lincoln Center is fine, but also a visit to The Brooklyn Academy of Music will take you off the beaten path to enjoy Christmas music like a local, and BROADWAY IS BACK, so be sure to check out your favorite Broadway show.

Saks Fifth Avenue

We’ll end with last minute shopping and the amazing sales after Christmas at Macy’s Herald Square, but don’t forget to stop by Century 21 (both uptown and downtown) for amazing bargains to bring home for those “late” presents that will impress. I love this time in my hometown, and it is the one time of the year I don’t mind acting like a tourist since magic is in the air and Steven Eidelberg at the end of December some great bargains for a visit are to be had as well!! Be advised of the vaccination proof requirement in place for indoor spaces. People 12 and older are required to show identification and proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor activities: dining, museums, performing arts theaters, nightclubs, movie theaters, music and concert venues – to name a few. If you dine outside you won’t need to show a card and many restaurants now have outdoor seating with heaters. For details, visit, Covid 19 Information. Dyker Heights

Steve Eidelberg is the owner of Cousu Main Travel, an affiliate of Cruise Brothers Travel 401-369-8477, December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice


REVIEWS Squid Game: TV MA Netflix by Chuck Cannon


ince Squid Game has taken over the world these last few weeks, I thought I had to watch it – nine episodes in this first season. I have now finished it and here is my review. South Korean actor Lee Jung-Jae plays the lead character Gi-Hun on the show and he is fantastic. At first he seems like this arrogant lowlife, but as you get to know him you see that he has just been really unfortunate and made some poor decisions. As he faces the games, his character starts to grow and he becomes an interesting protagonist and one you can support. It’s a story of people who fail at life for various reasons, but suddenly receive a mysterious invitation to participate in a survival game to win more than $38 million USD. The game takes place at an isolated island where the participants are locked up until there is a final winner. The story will incorporate popular Korean children’s games from the 1970s and ‘80s, such as Squid Game, the literal translation of its Korean name. It’s a type of tag where offense and defense use a squid-shaped board drawn in the dirt. Supporting characters. There’s a huge cast of people and everybody plays their role well. Oh Yeong-soo stands out as an old man involved with the game and the relationship between him and Lee Jung-Jae is superb. I really grew to care about this dynamic and for me they were the best

characters on the show. There are so many other amazing characters that I think you just need to watch and experience them for yourself and the great writing done for each person. The story is fascinating. Seeing all these personalities forced into these games causes natural conflict and tension. The different games are great in their own unique ways and do a really brilliant job of pacing them out. The only issue I had was a big twist that happens towards the end of the show; it just didn’t work for me and I think it could have been handled better. The script is fantastic. That is, if you watch it in Korean with English subtitles. For the love of everything holy, don’t watch it with English dubbing; it is bad and nowhere near as effective and just feels unnatural for the performances. There’s some nice humor and the drama is ramped up ten-fold, the chemistry between the performers is really good and drives you to keep watching. The show is brutal, the violence is graphic, but feels appropriate for the show as a whole. It is shot beautifully and feels epic in scale. The pacing is effective and you will want to binge this for sure with each episode feeling different and great in its own way. Overall, Squid Game is a truly fantastic show. It’s a low-budget, quirky, poorly-dubbed show...kind of like the old Godzilla movies. Cheaply done compared to our standards, but has an addictiveness to it. I found myself wanting more at the end of each episode.

SQUID GAME: This year’s “Tiger King”

20 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

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(772) 569-3336 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice 21



by Barbara Freund

DOUBLE-GINGER MOLASSES CRISPS The double ginger–both fresh and ground.


These delicately flavored soft cookies can be dressed up with colored sugar or nonpareils. INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup ricotta, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup sugar 1 egg 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda Colored sugar or nonpareils (optional) Confectioners sugar for dusting (optional) INSTRUCTIONS • Preheat oven to 350. • Cream together butter, ricotta, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer, or by hand. • Beat in egg until thoroughly blended. • Stir together flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into the creamed mixture until combined. • Drop by tablespoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet leaving 2-3" in between. (Sprinkle with colored sugar or nonpareils if using.) • Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just starting to brown on the bottom. Dust with confectioners sugar while warm if not using colored sugar or nonpareils. 22 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/4 cup dark molasses 1 egg white 1 tablespoon grated pared fresh ginger 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon around cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoon, baking soda 1/4 cup granulated sugar INSTRUCTIONS:

• Preheat oven to moderate (375°). • Beat butter in small bowl until creamy. Gradually beat In brown sugar and molasses until fluffy. Add egg white, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt; beat to blend. • Combine flour and baking soda in small bowl. Slowly add to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. • Place sugar in small dish. Drop dough by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls into sugar; toss to coat. Place 1 ½ Inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. • Bake in preheated moderate oven (375°) for 7 minutes for chewy cookies, or 8 minutes for crispy cookies, cookies from sheets to racks to cool.

100-CALORIE PUMPKIN PIE TARTLETS No, they’re not cookies, but they’re so good we couldn’t resist including them. INGREDIENTS: Nonstick cooking spray 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 large egg whites 1 can (8-oz) pumpkin puree 1 can (12-oz) evaporated fat free milk Fat-free whipped topping 12 small gingersnap cookies, broken into 1/4 pieces INSTRUCTIONS • Preheat oven to 350. • Place 18 (2 ½-inch) foil baking cups on a baking sheet with sides. Spray each cup with cooking spray. • Combine sugar, cornstarch and seasonings in a small bowl. • Beat egg whites in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and the sugar mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. • Spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup mixture into each prepared cup. • Bake 25-28 minutes or until knife inserted near centers comes out clean. • Cool on baking sheet for 20 minutes. • Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top each with whipped topping and gingersnap crumbs. Adapted from Libby’s

CREAM CHEESE MINTS MAPLE NUT RUGELACH These are worth the extra bit of work and look so pretty on the dessert table! DOUGH: 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 egg yolk 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour FILLING: 1 cup finely ground walnuts, almonds or pecans 1/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon WASH: 1 egg white 1 teaspoon water sugar for dusting INSTRUCTIONS: • Beat together cream cheese, butter, sugar, maple syrup, salt and egg yolk in large bowl until smooth. Beat in flour just until blended. Shape dough into 2 balls. Refrigerate, wrapped, until firm, about 2 hours. • Stir together wal­nuts, the 1/3 cup sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon in small bowl. • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 large baking sheets or line with parchment paper. • Roll one ball of dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 10-inch cir­cle. Sprinkle circle with half of the wal­nut mixture, pressing it very lightly into the dough. Cut circle into 16 equal pie-shaped wedges. Starting with wide edge, roll up each wedge, jelly-roll fash­ion. Place cookies, point side down, on baking sheets. Repeat with remaining half of dough and filling. • Lightly beat egg white with water; brush over cookies. Sprinkle cookies with the sugar. • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

These homemade mints evoke memories of childhood holiday gatherings. INGREDIENTS: 4 oz cream cheese, softened 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus additional as needed. Food coloring, optional INSTRUCTIONS: • Combine cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. • Beat in 1 cup of powdered sugar and then beat in extracts til throughly combined. • Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Dough should be stiff and not sticky. • Mix in food coloring if using. • Line baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper and dust with powdered sugar. • Form into 1 inch balls and flatten with fork tines. Use extra powdered sugar on hands and work surface if dough sticks. • Let stand, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or until the mints are firm. If the bottoms have any moisture, flip over and let stand again until the bottoms of the mints are also firm. • Mints can be refrigerated or frozen if desired.


A crispy sophisticated version of gingerbread men. INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup light (mild) molasses 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 1 large egg 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 large egg white, beaten Colored decorating sugar, edible glitter and sprinkles for decorating INSTRUCTIONS • Preheat oven to 325°. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper. • In 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar, molasses, pumpkin pie spice and black pepper. Heat to boiling on medium, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda, then butter. With fork, stir in egg, then flour until combined. • On floured surface, knead dough until smooth; divide in half. Wrap 1 piece dough in plastic and set aside. • With lightly floured rolling pin, roll remaining half of dough into 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle (a scant 1/4-inch thick). With pizza cutter and ruler, cut dough into 1/4-inch-wide, 8-inchlong strips. Transfer to prepared cookie sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. • Lightly brush strips with egg white. Sprinkle with desired decorations. • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool on cookie sheet on wire rack. • Meanwhile, repeat rolling, cutting and decorating with remaining dough. • Makes about 7 dozen wands. Adapted from

CONTINUED NEXT PAGE December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice 23


Continued • Sprinkle the chopped nuts evenly over the chocolate, followed by the dried fruit. If you’re adding flaky salt, crush it between your fingers as you sprinkle it over the chocolate. Lightly use your palms to press the toppings into the chocolate. • Let the chocolate cool at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, until completely hardened. • Once the chocolate is completely hardened, use your hands to break it into about 25 pieces. Serve immediately, or cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 week. VARIATION:

HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE BARK Makes a great holiday gift! Yields about 25 pieces.

INGREDIENTS: • 12 ounces quality chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (try bittersweet/60% cocao content) • 3/4 cup raw nuts or seeds (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios and/or pepitas) • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (dried cherries, apricots and/or candied ginger— chopped if large) • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, optional INSTRUCTIONS: • Optional: Toast the nuts and seeds in a preheated 350° oven until lightly golden on the edges, 6-9 minutes. Transfer nuts to a cutting board and roughly chop. • Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. • Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments, stirring after each one. The chocolate is done when it’s about 90% melted—keep stirring off the heat until the pieces are completely dissolved and it’s smooth. • Using a rubber spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the center area of the baking sheet, about 1/4-inch thickness. (It won’t reach the edges.)

WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK INGREDIENTS: • 2 11-ounce packages white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli) • 12 peppermint candy canes, crushed and broken into pieces • 1/4 teaspoon food grade peppermint oil * INSTRUCTIONS: • Cover a 11 x 7-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. • Melt the chocolate as in Step 3 above. • Stir in candy canes and peppermint oil until well combined. • Spread onto prepared baking sheet using a rubber spatula. • Refrigerate until set, 30 minutes to overnight. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. * Note: According to, you can replace peppermint oil with about three times the amount of peppermint extract.

SALTED CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup salted butter, softened 1/3 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon water 1 egg room temperature 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar Salted Caramel Icing (See below) INSTRUCTIONS: • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine butter, oil, sugars, water and vanilla until smooth. • Add egg and mix until just combined. • In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. • Gradually blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. • Refrigerate dough 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. • On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop golf ball size dough balls (use a cookie scoop to get consistent sizes). Press the back of the cookie scoop or a spoon to create a pool for the icing. Dough will crack on edges which is normal. • Bake 8-10 minutes or til starting to brown on edges. • Cook on wire rack and fill centers with a teaspoon of icing. FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL ICING: 1/2 cup salted butter 1 cup packed brown sugar 5 – 6 Tablespoons heavy cream, divided 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved. Allow to bubble for about 2 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof mixing bowl, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. • With a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat in 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Add rest of confectioners suger to desired consistency. It should be pourable from a teaspoon but not runny. If too thick, add a little more cream. Adapted from julie & sallysbaking

24 December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice

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by Beth Walsh Stewart

Tree O

n my front lawn, she dominates. Monstrous in size, home to many, and able to protect the front portion of my home by blocking sun and storms, the stately live oak stands proudly decades after her planting. We count on her size and stature, though we rarely reflect on her with gratitude. She just is. She is a fixture. In season, we may become more focused on her grandeur as we try to string Christmas lights or deliver tired orchids to her limbs for homecoming and renewal. In general, though, she is part of the periphery, counted on, but not considered with intention. Today, she dropped a limb. Weighty and massive, it fell as if it had been sawed off. A visit from a tree specialist told us the sad truth. The live oak has been under attack by a predatory beetle for years. Eating her from the inside, she is on her “last limb” and close to death. The news has rocked my world. How shall we get along without her? This dance with nature made me look around at the people that stand in the periphery of my world, protecting me from storms, offering me relief-giving shade by their constancy, making me feel safe and at home without saying a word. Caught up in my own life, jumping the hurdles before me in my own race, I may not ponder their importance in my day-in, day-out existence. Yet, without them, life would be more difficult, and I would have more struggles. Though I only turn to them in specific seasons of my life, I count on them each and every day without consciously realizing it. If you are one of those who stand firm in my life, or in the lives of others, I say thank you for being a constant that sets us up for success. If we have missed your internal struggles because we were concerned only with our personal trifles, forgive us. It took a tree to bring this awareness, but then, that makes perfect sense. This Christmas let’s look at our trees and see the real gifts God has placed in our lives. Blessings of the Season from all of us at BethWe. Beth Walsh Stewart, MTh, is best-known for her work with BethWe, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing the stragglers lost in the shadows of the road of life. Her weekly blogs, regular articles in Vero’s Voice, and wellbeing workshops help people live their priorities. A professor at New Covenant Bible College, you can find more of her work at

Beth Walsh Stewart December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice 29


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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! by Pastor Alex Pappas

Pastor Rich Ienuso

His Name is Jesus by Pastor Rich Ienuso


uke 1:31: “…bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.” In Hebrew Jesus’ name is Yeshua or Joshua which means “salvation.”

Luke 1:32 states that “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” Yeshua is the promised Jewish Messiah. He is King, Savior and Messiah all in one (Isaiah 53). This Christ-mas season let us continue to celebrate the birth of the King of the Jews. The Savior of the world. The Anointed One sent to save us from our sins. Have you acknowledge Him as your personal Savior and Messiah?

Merry Christ-mas to all, and to all a good life in Jesus. - Pastor Rich


t is hard to believe how quickly a year has come and gone. December is one of my favorite months of the year. It finally cools down in Florida, and we get the opportunity to put some of our winter clothes on. The nights are absolutely beautiful. As a family we decorate our house and put up the Christmas tree. Some nights we sit around the fire and enjoy a delicious cup of hot cocoa, roast some s’mores and tell stories. This is the time that everyone seems to be a little calmer and a little nicer and most people seem to have what they call the “Christmas spirit.” This is all wonderful and truly a lot of fun, but we should never forget the real reason for the season. God in all His splendor and majesty sent His only Son to save the world from sin. To give us a future and a hope. Jesus truly is the greatest gift we could ever have! Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Let us always remember the goodness of God and give thanks to Him for giving Jesus to us, His only begotten Son. Always keep this in remembrance while stringing the lights and decorating your Christmas tree. When you give gifts to your loved ones, remember we celebrate Christmas because of the greatest gift of all. I pray you all have a peaceful joyful Christmas and that you never forget the real reason for the season. May Jesus’ light and love shine brightly this Christmas in your home.

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Alex Pappas

Pastor Alex Pappas is Senior Pastor at Oceans Unite Christian Center located in the Indian River Mall. Live broadcasts and podcasts are available at

December 2021 / ISSUE 131 / Vero’s Voice 31

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