Fellsmere 2009 – Mayor hunts gators, mud-bogging stalls

FELLSMERE – Residents of the City of Fellsmere have learned that their mayor hunts gators, that the city is under siege from outside powers and that mud-bogging at MESA Park couldn’t get out of the mud.

Looking back at these stories since VeroNews.com launched in mid-July, we can tell which articles and topics were of the most import. And we’d like to share those with you in our half-2009 Year in Review.

  Susan Adams: Fellsmere mayor by day – gator hunter by night, posted Nov. 1

 

Fellsmere Mayor Susan Adams and her friends spent one of the last days of gator hunting season in search of a monster. What they got was a 7-foot-3-inch gator in the Blue Cypress.

“I’d never done it before,” she said of gator hunting before this season. “By no means am I an expert gator hunter. I don’t even pretend to be. I’m probably one of those weekend warriors that the real gator hunters go crazy about.”

READ the story

WATCH the video

 

Old Fellsmere School to open early – and then not

The $3 million renovations to the Old Fellsmere School looked like they were going to be wrapped up before the end of the year. But as of New Year’s Eve, the school is not quite finished.

Issues over electricity and fire safety have held up the work and now it’s anyone’s guess as to when the building will be ready for City Hall and the Boys & Girls Club to move in.

However, not is all lost. The kitchen inside the former school will be fully operational in time for the Frog Leg Festival.

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Fellsmere to host test crop for alternative fuels, posted Aug. 26

The City of Fellsmere is garnering a reputation for being green. It is attracting more and more businesses that hope to improve the environment by coming up with alternatives to gasoline.

In its latest decision, the city is rolling out the green carpet for a new alternative fuel company hoping to change the way Americans gas up their vehicles.

Green Flight International, of Apopka, has secured two acres of city-owned land off Willow Street where it will plant experimental crops of elephant grass and energy cane, which will be harvested to feed algae. That algae would then be processed, extracting its oils to become a liquid alternative to petroleum.

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Businesses on alert after possible counterfeit bills passed in Fellsmere, posted Sept. 2

Local businesses were put on alert Wednesday by the Indian River County and Sebastian River Area chambers of commerce after $70 worth of counterfeit bills were apparently passed at a convenience store in Fellsmere.

The manager at the Fellsmere Food Mart, Rita Turner, said that some time last week someone passed both a $50 and a $20 to one of her cashiers. The $50 was made of two pieces of paper and the $20 was waxy.

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Mud bogging at MESA Park gets mired in the muck

What had once promised to give new life to the defunct MESA Park in Fellsmere has fallen to the wayside, mired in the mud of poor marketing and lack of interest.

Treasure Coast Motorsports received the city’s blessing to offer mud-bogging events at MESA and, in the process, claimed it would generate $200 million in regional economic impact with sporting events and residential development in the years to come.

Instead, mud bogging was held just two Saturdays before the managing partner decided to pull the plug.

A combination of bad timing for the inaugural event and too-high entry fees kept racers from getting their trucks muddy at MESA.

Residents, too, were left feeling cheated out of spending $10 each on tickets for the first Saturday event only to watch one or two few-second races down the muddy dragstrip.

READ:

Fellsmere may give MESA Park “another chance” after mud bogging fails, posted Dec. 3

Mud Bog Mania at MESA Park sputters out after faulty start, posted Nov. 19

WATCH:

VIDEO: Residents, city leaders debate Fellsmere mud-bogging, posted Aug. 7

 

Fellsmere fights county over hydrants, fire inspections and maybe redevelopment money

Fellsmere has had its fair share of battles this year, locking horns several times with Indian River County government officials – mainly over money. The city has taken the county to “code enforcement court” over fire hydrants, given the county notice that it will take care of its own fire inspections, and most recently, found out that the county plans to ask state leaders not to have to pay as much into the city’s redevelopment fund.

City leaders took issue with how long it takes new businesses to get their required certificate of occupancy and said it’s because the county takes too long to send a fire inspector out.

To that end, Fellsmere has appointed its own fire inspector from the building department to perform the necessary inspections and get the businesses opened more quickly.

READ: Fellsmere becomes first city to take on own fire inspections, posted Oct. 2

Fire hydrants, too, were a big issue for the city and continues to be. A code enforcement judge has ruled that the county violated the city’s code for not paying for the maintenance of the city’s 100-plus fire hydrants.

The county has appealed to the Indian River County Circuit Court in hopes of not having to pay nearly $13,000 plus an additional $12,000-some in court and legal fees.

In the meantime, if the county doesn’t pay up in time, it will be assessed a daily fine until the matter is resolved.

READ: County offers to put Fellsmere’s hydrant fees into escrow, posted Dec. 16

The most recent battle to flare up between Fellsmere and the county has to do with redevelopment funds. The county has said it plans to talk to members of its legislative delegation in Tallahassee and ask that the rules governing how much the county must pay be changed.

The county is recommending cutting the funding by 20 percent, which Fellsmere leaders say would cripple its redevelopment effort. The issue could impact the City of Sebastian, which also has a redevelopment area.

READ: Fellsmere’s redevelopment plans could be in jeopardy, posted Dec. 30

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