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Election Information, Record Renewable Energy, and Pythons, oh my!

Candidates and Primary Election Information

County Commission District 1:

  • Susan Parker Adams (REP)

  • Timothy Borden (REP)


County Commission District 3:

  • Joseph H. Earman (REP)

  • Stephen Hume (REP)

  • David R. Shaw (REP)


County Commission District 5:

  • Laura Moss (REP)

  • Keith Ridings (Write-In)

  • Tracey Zudans (REP)


Sheriff:

  • Deborah Cooney (Write-In)

  • Eric Scott Flowers (REP)

  • Milo Thornton (REP)

  • Keith M. Touchberry (REP)


School Board District 3:

  • Peggy Jones

  • Robert MacCallum


School Board District 5:

  • David F. Dyer

  • Kevin McDonald


Florida is a Closed Primary State (F.S. 101.021)


Only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for their respective party's candidates in the primary. Universal Primary Contests are highlighted in green, while Closed Primaries are in red.


In the Closed Primary above, only Republicans can vote for Republican candidates because the General Election allows for other parties to challenge them. If only Republicans are running, the Primary winner also wins the General Election, thus allowing non-party members to vote in the race during the primary. The School Board Election is nonpartisan and open to all registered voters. Other open races are for Tax Collector, Hospital District, and Mosquito Control District.


“Ghost candidates” are individuals who register for election ballots without any genuine intention of winning. This tactic can serve various strategic purposes, such as diluting the vote to benefit an incumbent or another preferred candidate. In the Treasure Coast region, the presence of ghost candidates, particularly write-ins, has significantly impacted voter participation by closing primaries. This practice effectively disenfranchises many voters, particularly those not registered with the dominant party. Despite its controversial nature, this loophole remains because both major political parties benefit from ideologically pure primaries, making reform unlikely without significant public pressure. (More info on the Ghost Candidate Phenomenon here, here, and here.)


You can change your party affiliation until July 22. Changing your affiliation ensures you can vote in closed races. For example, a registered Republican can vote in all the races above, while a registered Democrat could only vote in the green races. After the primary, you can switch back to your original party.


This flexibility helps the fact that only Republicans (50.4% of Indian River County's electorate) may otherwise determine some key positions. To change your party affiliation, please notify the Supervisor of Elections by submitting a Florida Voter Registration Application (English PDF / Español PDF). Information regarding Florida’s major and minor political parties can be found on the Florida Division of Elections website.

 

2024 Primary Election Information

  • Voting Registration Deadline: July 22

  • Early Voting: August 10 - August 17

  • Early Voting Locations:

  • Sebastian City Hall (1225 Main St, Sebastian, FL 32958)

  • Supervisor of Elections Office (4375 43rd Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32967)

  • Main Library Vero Beach (1600 21st St, Vero Beach, FL 32960)

  • Mail Ballot Request Deadline: August 8 by 5 p.m.

  • Election Day: August 20, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.


All Vote-By-Mail Ballot requests expired on December 31, 2022. Voters wishing to Vote-By-Mail in the 2023-2024 Elections are required to make a new Vote-By-Mail Request for all elections. To request a Vote-By-Mail Ballot, you may call the Elections Office at 772-226-4700, Request a Vote By Mail Ballot Online, or request in writing by completing the Statewide Vote-By-Mail Ballot Request Form.


For more details, visit the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections website.Stay informed and make your vote count!

IRNA and CWC have worked on a set of questions and sent them to all the candidates. We will publish their answers in Mid-July.


 

Programming Note: The Indian River Neighborhood Association Newsletter will be taking a break next week (July 6) due to the Independence Day holiday. We’ll be back on July 13. In the meantime, we’ll be reviewing the bills and budget items signed and vetoed by Gov. DeSantis to update you on the outcomes of the 2024 Legislative Session. Have a wonderful holiday!


 

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Business Support Needed:

Sign On to Protect the Indian River Lagoon


The Indian River Lagoon is facing severe nutrient pollution, affecting our local ecosystem and economy. The Clean Water Coalition has drafted a letter to Governor DeSantis urging continued state funding and allowing Water Management Districts to hold their millage rates steady or even raise them if needed for restoration projects. This funding is essential to combat nutrient pollution and restore our waterways.


Business support is crucial to ensure adequate funding and progress. By signing this letter, your business is joining a collective effort to secure the health and future of our waterways, benefiting both the environment and our community’s economic prosperity.


Sign the letter here and the Gov. DeSantis know your business is with us on this issue. Please share with other local business owners who you think might sign on! Together we can make a big impact!


 

Florida Gov. DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill that gave state more authority (TCPalm) - Good news! Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have transferred regulation of vacation rentals from local governments to the state, citing the need for region-specific approaches and opposing the one-size-fits-all nature of the measure.


DeSantis vetoes bill to bolster warnings about Florida’s polluted waters (Tampa Bay Times) - Not so good news. Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bipartisan bill requiring increased warnings and health advisories for polluted waters, arguing that the state health department should not have the authority to close beaches, which should be managed by local jurisdictions.


Indian River Mall sold to Illinois developer for $14.8 million (TCPalm) - The Indian River Mall was sold to DTS Properties II, LLC for $14.8 million, with plans to rejuvenate and revitalize the struggling shopping center to attract local residents back.


Vero Beach to decide whether to put density referendum on November ballot (TCPalm) - The Vero Beach City Council will vote on July 23 to decide whether to place two referendums on the November ballot to increase downtown residential density from 17 to 36 units per acre and allow the transfer of development rights.


Lure of ELC entices former SeaWorld trainer (Vero News) - Shanen Cox, a former SeaWorld trainer and marine mammal hormone scientist, has joined the Environmental Learning Center as an environmental educator and director of guest services, where she is excited to educate children about local flora and fauna through field trips and summer camps.


St. Lucie to Vero Beach A1A work 2027-2029 to be improvement? (TCPalm) - The Florida Department of Transportation plans to build a second sidewalk and widen bike lanes on a waterlogged stretch of A1A south of Vero Beach between 2027 and 2029, despite local concerns over drainage issues, funding priorities, and the need for more sidewalks in other areas.


Truck catches fire, explodes on 58th Avenue in Indian River County (TCPalm) - A garbage truck caught fire and exploded on 58th Avenue in Indian River County, likely due to a mechanical malfunction in the cabin and engine area, highlighting the importance of regular maintenance and inspections to prevent such incidents.


Meet the staff: Watchdog Reporter Nick Slater covers Indian River County (TCPalm) - Nick Slater, the Indian River County watchdog reporter for TCPalm, feels honored to cover the dynamic and evolving area, bringing accurate reporting and compelling stories to residents while immersing himself in local activities and history.


Fourth of July 2024: When, what to know about Florida fireworks laws (TCPalm) - In Florida, noisy or projectile fireworks are generally illegal, except on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day when adults can use store-bought fireworks without a waiver, but safety measures should be taken such as keeping water or a fire extinguisher nearby, not re-lighting “duds,” and soaking used fireworks in water before disposal.


5 cool places to launch a kayak (TCPalm) - Top kayak launch spots in the Indian River Lagoon and nearby rivers include Dale Wimbrow Park, Round Island Riverside Park, Stan Blum Boat Ramp, River Park Marina, and Coral Cove Park, offering natural scenery and wildlife such as manatees, dolphins, and various birds.


 

The Friends of St. Sebastian River reported that a python has been spotted between Dale Wimbrow Park and Robin Lane. It appears to be a Burmese or rock python, neither of which are native to our area.


This is not an invasion like in South Florida, yet, but it's crucial to be cautious. They have been seen further from the Everglades lately. The python, approximately 6 feet long, poses a threat to local wildlife and pets. If you see it, take a photo and report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) via their website or the IveGot1 app. You can also call the FWC hotline at 888-486-4683 or Indian River Animal Control at 772-226-4799 during business hours. For after-hours or weekend sightings, contact the Indian River County Sheriff at 772-569-6700.


Stay alert and help us remove this potentially dangerous snake from our community.


 

Another attempt to solve our algae problems with 'innovative tech' (VoteWater.org) - Florida’s persistent search for technological solutions to water pollution, such as a recent bill proposing algae removal and biofuel conversion, overlooks the more effective approach of enforcing stricter pollution controls and holding polluters accountable.


Stuart Beach rip currents kill 2 visiting parents. Ways to survive (TCPalm) - A Pennsylvania couple vacationing in Martin County drowned after being caught in a rip current, highlighting the importance of staying calm, swimming parallel to the shore to escape the current, and always swimming near a lifeguard to ensure safety.


Should You Try "Meadowscaping" Your Lawn and Yard This Summer? (The Spruce) - Meadowscaping, the trend of replacing traditional lawns with native wildflowers and grasses, enhances biodiversity, supports pollinators, reduces maintenance and water use, and contributes positively to local ecosystems, though it requires full sun and careful plant selection to avoid an overgrown appearance.


Frozen fees: Gov. DeSantis nixes potential hike in wastewater assessments in Brevard Co. water district (Florida Politics) - Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have doubled the maximum stormwater management fees assessed by the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District, arguing that it would unnecessarily increase costs for Brevard County taxpayers amid substantial state funding for water projects.


Florida conchs are in hot water. Can moving them deeper revive a plunging population? (The Seattle Times) - Scientists are relocating Florida queen conchs from shallow, temperature-volatile waters to deeper, cooler areas in an effort to revive their dwindling population and enhance their reproductive success, which has been hampered by extreme water temperatures and poaching.


Water 'Savings Clause' is key to water sharing for Florida's future (Yahoo News) - The “Savings Clause” in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 is essential for ensuring that South Florida’s existing water users retain their permitted water levels from the year 2000, safeguarding water supply for residents, farmers, and businesses amid increasing extreme weather patterns and ongoing environmental restoration efforts.


Non-Native Plants and Animals Expanding Ranges 100 Times Faster than Native Species, Finds New Research Led by UMass Amherst (Environmental News Network) - Non-native species are expanding their ranges up to 100 times faster than native species, primarily due to inadvertent human assistance, which poses a significant challenge as climate change requires species to shift their habitats rapidly to survive.


New study confirms forever chemicals are absorbed through human skin (ScienceDaily) - A study published in Environment International reveals that many PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances), known as “forever chemicals,” can be absorbed through human skin, challenging previous beliefs and highlighting significant health risks associated with their widespread use in consumer products.


 

Record Renewable Energy Generation

Amid Rising Electricity Demand


As extreme heat increases, so does our reliance on air conditioning and the subsequent spike in electricity demand. In this context, the news is promising: renewable energy sources accounted for 30% of the world's electricity production in 2023, according to the Global Electricity Review 2024 by Ember. Including nuclear power, this figure jumps to 40% from carbon-free sources. The report notes, “A new era of falling fossil generation is imminent. 2023 was likely the pivot point.”


China has led the charge, contributing 51% of new solar installations and 60% of new wind capacity worldwide last year. In 2023 alone, China installed more solar capacity than the U.S. has cumulatively in its history. This trend extends to the U.S., where Texas saw solar energy surpass coal for the first time in March 2023, driven by the favorable economics of clean energy.


According to the Financial Times, while political factors play a role, economic realities are increasingly driving even the staunchest climate skeptics towards clean energy. A recent study supports this, revealing that wind and solar energy growth between 2019 and 2022 generated $250 billion in climate and air quality benefits in the U.S. alone. The economic and environmental advantages are clear.


The Global Electricity Review further highlights that solar and wind generation reached 13.4% of global electricity in 2023, marking a significant rise from previous years. China was the dominant force, contributing significantly to the global increases in both solar and wind energy.


As the world continues to transition towards renewable energy, overcoming challenges such as grid connections and permits for new projects will be crucial. The report predicts that continued growth in renewables will lead to a 2% decrease in fossil fuel power production in 2024, pushing fossil fuel power to less than 60% of global electricity production for the first time since at least 2000.


This shift towards renewable energy is not only vital for meeting global climate targets but also for ensuring sustainable economic growth. As we move forward, it is essential to support policies and initiatives that facilitate the rapid expansion of clean energy infrastructure, ensuring a healthier planet for future generations.


 

You don’t need a degree to understand climate change, just an insurance policy (Marin Independent Journal) - The rising costs and reduced availability of insurance in areas affected by climate change underscore the immediate financial risks posed by increasing extreme weather events, necessitating urgent policy solutions and long-term commitments to mitigation and adaptation.


Renewables account for 99% of new electricity connected to U.S. grid in 2024 (Solar Power World) - In the first four months of 2024, renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind, accounted for 99.2% of new U.S. generating capacity, with solar alone contributing 80.6% of the new additions and bringing renewables’ total share of utility-scale generating capacity to 29.62%.


Carbon dioxide's heavy stamp on temperature: Doubling CO2 may mean 7 to 14 degree increase (ScienceDaily) - A new study reveals that doubling atmospheric CO2 could lead to a temperature increase of 7 to 14 degrees, much higher than the 2.3 to 4.5 degrees estimated by the IPCC, based on sediment analysis from the Pacific Ocean, highlighting a stronger-than-expected relationship between CO2 levels and global temperature.


Pollution from Ohio train derailment reached 110 million Americans (Grist) - The February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which involved hazardous chemicals, caused pollution that affected approximately 110 million Americans across 16 states, with significant contamination recorded far beyond the expected local area, highlighting the extensive environmental impact of such accidents.


Countries don't mention kids in their climate plans (Grist) - A recent study published in The Lancet reveals that most national climate adaptation plans fail to adequately address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of children, with nearly one-third of 160 countries’ plans not mentioning children at all and none addressing children’s mental health, despite the growing impact of climate change on younger populations.


Declaring an Epidemic of ‘Toxic Litter,’ Baltimore Targets Plastic Makers and Packaging in the Latest Example of Plastics Litigation  (Inside Climate News) - Baltimore has filed a lawsuit against major plastic producers, including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, accusing them of creating a public nuisance and health hazards through deceptive practices and inadequate waste management, contributing to the city’s costly and extensive plastic pollution problem.


Batteries and Rooftop Solar Can Lead to Huge Savings for the Entire Grid. A New Study Shows How—and How Much (Inside Climate News) - A University of Texas at Austin study reveals that customer-owned solar and battery systems can reduce grid costs by about 40% by alleviating stress on aging grid infrastructure, underscoring the need for utilities to invest in incentives for such non-wires alternatives despite the challenges posed by current utility business models.


Team Aims to Improve Safety of Fertilizers Made From Wastewater Sludge (Environmental News Network) - A Johns Hopkins University study reveals that fertilizers made from wastewater sludge, known as biosolids, can contain potentially hazardous organic chemicals, highlighting the need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize the investigation of these contaminants for potential regulation.


 

Want your voice to be heard? Use this link to easily contact elected officials—from your city council to the President. Your voice can make a real impact. While the IRNA may occasionally prompt you to contact specific officials about urgent issues, we keep this list handy for your convenience. Can't find who you're looking for? Just let us know; we're here to help connect you with the right people.


 


 





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