Author: Melissa Karen Sances

Taking Wing

Eli Patel's, along with Windsor and Disney's goal, is to work with a variety of organizations and private landowners to develop butterfly gardens and begin to introduce species back where appropriate.

Finding Their Niche

Twenty-five years ago, Nat Jackson received a gift that would change the future of the Garden Club of Indian River County. It was an ornament from the Garden Club of Virginia, and instead of hanging it on the tree she took it straight to her club president, Mary Graves. Jackson thought their club could design their own ornaments and sell them as a fundraiser.

More Than Words

Wintley Phipps has sung for the last six presidents of the United States, as well as Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey. A YouTube video of his “Amazing Grace,” live from Carnegie Hall, has more than 15 million views. At 61 he still travels weekly to perform internationally. But Phipps isn’t so much a performer as he is a presence.

The Metalist

Always a sculptor at heart, [Casella] was introduced to the bronze process seven years ago while working as a high school art teacher in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. For a number of years, Casella taught sculpture, ceramics, metals, art essentials and advanced placement art history. Today she divides her time between New Hope, Pennsylvania and Vero Beach.

A Walk On The Wild Side

“Hi, how are you?” she asks as I settle into the seat beside her. “My name is Emily.” She points to the smiling woman next to her. “This is Grandma.” It’s a little after 9 p.m. on the first Saturday in June, and Emily and I and about 15 others are at the Sebastian Fishing Museum waiting and hoping to see a loggerhead sea turtle lay her eggs.

Down to a Science

After high school, Martel enrolled in a local junior college then transferred to the University of Miami to study biology. And a little art ... I was two weeks late getting into the class and the teacher wasn’t too happy about it, but I showed him a few pieces of my artwork. He said, ‘You’re a realist. Why don’t you think about medical illustration?’”

Finding Her Niche

Painting has always been something that I have to do,” says Katie Gastley, “just like you need to drink or eat.” And it’s worked wonders for her. Before the age of 30, the artist and owner of Idlewild Co. graduated from the Pratt Institute, worked for Martha Stewart, started her own business, and landed acclaimed clients like Urban Outfitters and West Elm.

Jeweled Impressions

Linda Drinkard didn’t realize what was coming when she walked into Shells & Things about seven years ago. She’d left her house wearing the first necklace she’d ever made – a simple shell coated in silver clay, accented with a starfish. When she walked into the beachside boutique, the owner wanted to know where her new customer had bought her necklace, and Linda shyly revealed that she’d made it.

Positive Outcomes

“For someone who is passionate about the water, Vero Beach is the ultimate playground for a kid,” says Lange Sykes, who has grown up to become President of the Coastal Conservation Association’s Treasure Coast chapter and Vice President of the Southeastern region of WISEarth Organics. A staunch advocate for the preservation of the Indian River Lagoon and a major proponent of sustainable agriculture, Lange’s upbringing has inspired him to educate future generations.

Investing In The Limb Of A Tree

The best citrus in the world is right in our backyards – or to be more accurate, it’s on the beach at Countryside Citrus, it’s at our weekly Farmer’s Market, and it’s a short drive from I-95 at places like Peterson Groves. And that’s just where it’s sold. In 17 packing houses and 32,000 acres of groves in Indian River County, citrus is being picked, washed, waxed and graded before we even taste it. But it’s not all about us. Eighty percent of the fresh grapefruit farmed in Indian River County is exported to Japan and Europe; and the industry means close to $500 million per year to the local economy, largely due to its international influence.

From Russia With Love

Vero Beach has been likened to paradise before, but not like this. On Saturday, November 22 local photographer Hilary Bonbright Mullarkey will open her studio with “Cardboard Paradise,” an exhibit by Russian-born, American artist Alexander Kaletski, best known for using cardboard as canvas, celebrating the human condition on labeled and unlabeled boxes in a style sometimes reminiscent of Picasso.

Winter Wonderland

Since the Blanco family opened Kendall Academy in the early 1990s, pre-schoolers ages 10 months to five years have experienced a Christmas miracle. Each year Administrator Maggie Lemoine Blanco chooses a theme and then works non-stop – sometimes into the wee hours of the morning – installing appliances, decorating Christmas trees and occasionally painting the walls to accent her creations. With no formal training in design, Maggie says “everything is from the heart,” and every hour spent is worth the elation of 167 children.

The Long Gray Line

In his last moments as a true civilian, Richard Brown stood on the football field at the United States Military Academy at West Point among a throng of incoming freshmen and their proud parents. It was August of 1998, and Ricky, as he was known to his loved ones beside him and back home in Sebastian, Fla., had one minute to say goodbye to his family – and his old identity.