We reach every household and business in Palm City/Tesoro and St. Lucie West/Tradition each and every week. These two publications are direct mailed to 100% of the addresses in our markets. Learn more about what Your Voice News & Views can do to help you market your business’s product & services. Call us now (772) 204-2409.
Steve Erlanger/President and publisher
Hello friends. We’re back!
Welcome to the debut issue of Your Voice News & Views.
Before I get in to what our new hyper-local community newspaper is going to do for you, let me give you a little background on our team and why we would choose to start a newspaper at a time when reports of the death of print are rampant.
First and foremost, I am a newspaper man. I believe in print and the bond that it can form with both readers and advertisers. I have been in the newspaper business for nearly 3 decades. My family and I have traveled the country either starting or fixing newspapers. A lot of this time has been spent right here on the Treasure Coast.
Our first venture here locally was back in 1996 when we came up to start a weekly newspaper, the Forum. Soon after I left the Forum, along with several of my co-workers, to take on another fix-it project, the Tribune Company closed the group of papers here on the Treasure Coast.
Then back in 2002, I was called on by a local businessman to start a group of newspapers we called Hometown News. My team took HTN to the top of the community newspaper world. Over the past decade, HTN was the most honored newspaper in the country by both national and regional community newspaper associations.
Over the past few years, things changed at HTN. The guy that I thought was my partner decided he wanted to run the show and that there wasn’t enough room there for both of us. This past May we parted ways.
But … I’m a newspaper man. I love the Treasure Coast and Florida. We didn’t want to move. We looked for a need and we found it. Two great communities looking for their own identity. Two great communities filled with newspaper readers. Two great communities with plenty to share and in need of a vehicle to share it in.
Introducing St. Lucie West/Tradition and Palm City/Tesoro Your Voice News & Views! Two hyper-local community newspapers covering only the news and information important, or of impact, to each of these individual communities.
Fortunately for me, and you, we have some of the most experienced, respected and loved newspaper people in the country, let alone on the Treasure Coast, working together to make sure we provide you with the best newspaper possible.
Tammy Raits is our managing editor. Tammy has helped me start every paper I have started in this community. She understands what readers are looking for and her journalistic integrity is unquestionable. She will be accessible to our readers and to our local officials.
Phil Galdys is our VP/Director of Operations. Phil has also been there for me, and with me, for every venture on the Treasure Coast. He is as good as it gets in this department.
Mitch Kloorfain, chief photographer. I know that is really all that needs to be said, but allow me to go on.
Mitch joined us in our last venture about two years into it. A publisher could not ask for a better ambassador. He is without a doubt the most appreciated, loved and respected photographer on the Treasure Coast. He also takes many great and award-winning photos.
Our entire staff is a top quality newspaper team. Staff writers Nichole Rodriguez, Patrick Bernadeau and Shelley Koppel are longtime locals excited to be delivering the local news you are looking for. Graphic designer David Mercier has been creating beautiful, attention-getting, traffic-generating ads for local and national businesses for a couple of decades. Our office staff of Donna Marinak and Erika King I’m sure are familiar to many of you and will be there to take care of all your customer service and accounting needs.
And finally, our advertising consultants, Walter Franklin and Debbie Denning, both long- time local professionals, will do everything they can to exceed the business owners’ expectations in helping with the marketing needs of our clients.
Now I would like to say that all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your new community newspaper, but we do need your help. To make sure we are doing everything we can and everything you want us to do, we need to hear from you. Please let us know what is going on with your club, charity or organization. The schools have all been made aware that we are here to help them get the news of events, sports or activities to you. Let us know about the interesting people that we should be reporting on. Tammy Raits will be giving you all the details you need to have to know how to get your information to us in her column. Please take advantage of this service.
The last thing I am going to ask you to do is support the advertisers that are in these papers. Without their support, we could not bring you this plethora of information each and every week. Please tell them when you call or visit their place of business that you saw their ad in Your Voice News & Views.
Another project we are putting together along with my partners, Ted Wilson and Sharon and Ted Elkins, is a weekly specialty newspaper called Veteran Voice.
This newspaper is directed to our veterans, active military and their families and the military-minded, This newspaper will be distributed throughout the Treasure Coast, Brevard and Okeechobee counties at the local VFW and American Legion chapters and other select locations. Subscriptions will be available and the information for that can be found in this and upcoming issues of Your Voice.
This is going to be our last venture. We plan on making this newspaper the voice of these communities for many years to come. We promise to work hard for you to gain your trust, loyalty and acceptance. We will be a part of the community. We are going to give 5 percent of our profits each and every quarter to a local charity. With your help and support, we hope to be able to give a whole bunch of money to these deserving groups.
Now you can go and enjoy your new newspaper!
Steve Erlanger is president and publisher of Your Voice News & Views and Veteran Voice.
By Patrick Bernadeau
As part of a national program designed to recognize the efforts of local businesses and organizations setting a high standard within the workplace, the Human Resource Management Association of Martin County has honored four Palm City companies by naming them among the “Best Places to Work” in Martin County.
The “Best Places to Work” program, conducted by the Human Resource Management Association of Martin County, is an annual study in an attempt to determine which employers are the best in regards to staff recruitment, engagement and retention. Local businesses participate and compete in the study by filling out a confidential 40-question survey, covering such areas as benefits, performance management, turnover, time off, compensation and unique perk programs.
Once the winners are determined, they are broken into three separate categories based on the size of business.
Sandhill Cove Retirement Living was awarded under the Large Companies category (more 250 employees). Optima Healthcare Solutions were selected under the category of Medium Companies (50-250 employees) while Tykes and Teens, Inc. and The Firefly Group were winners under the category of Small Companies (under 50 employees).
It’s the second consecutive year that The Firefly Group has been honored with such an award, an honor that was not lost on the company’s leader.
“It was a great feeling because it was already such an honor last year to win it,” said Stacy Ranieri, who is the founder and serves as the Chief Illuminator of The Firefly Group.
“Last year, it was shocking but to win it this year, it just gives us external validation, the feeling of ‘Wow, we really are doing something right.’”
The Firefly Group only has nine people on its staff. Ranieri, who started the company nearly a decade ago out of her home, attributes its success to how close the staff is with one another.
“How we all get along in this family environment is to me why this is one of the best places to work,” said Ranieri. “It is such a small place so everyone’s personality and skills are on display.”
“It’s not just all the things on paper like good vacation time, but we all like each other. We all voluntarily seat together practically every day for lunch and have a few laughs. It’s just a very close-knit working group.”
By Patrick Bernadeau
PALM CITY — As the countdown creeps closer to the summer of 2013, Martin County continues to take the steps towards completion on the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
In the month of November, plans include driving production piles on the east approach, continued work on roadway construction along Mapp Road and CR 714 with construction of the median curb, the installation of signal conduit for signals at Mapp Road and Kanner Highway intersections, the installation of conduit and foundations for lighting and conduit for bridge lighting.
The Veterans Memorial Bridge, located in Old Palm City and originally known as the Indian Street Bridge before being renamed in 2011 during the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 is nearly two-thirds complete, according to project administrator George Denti said.
“We’re probably 60 percent complete with the project,” Denti said. “We’ve gone beyond the foundation. We’re working on super-structure on the top side and some of the roadway details.”
“We’re out of the dirt, we’re out of the ground and keep inching closer.”
Denti said the project is estimated by to 65 million and not much more. “Overruns will be less than 1 percent,” Denti added. “I think’s a pretty safe bet.”
The bridge will be financed by the Federal Highway Administration and the Florida Department of Transportation. Martin County will own, operate, and maintain the bridge.
The project contracted in 2009, connecting the city of Stuart to Palm City, will provide drivers an alternative way to enter and leave the two locations. Despite a year of delays due to environmental permitting issues, the workers and locals are happy to see progress made.
“I think people are pretty excited and a word that we keep hearing around here is that we’re glad it’s finally being built,” Denti said.
For monthly updates and additional information on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, visit http://www.indianstreetbridge.com
By Shelley Koppel
PALM CITY – After several years of marriage, Terri Kellogg and her husband decided to adopt a child.
“We were open to special needs children and wanted an older child,” she said. “We worked with the state and got attached to two that we visited with, but they chose another family for them.”
This was a difficult time and Ms. Kellogg began to change.
“During that time, God was changing my heart,” she said. “We were not going to work with the state, but with a Christian adoption agency. The day I called, I was told about a premature baby girl.”
For Ms. Kellogg, this was a challenging decision.
“I never wanted a baby, but I wanted to be a mother,” she said. “I was drawn to the story. The birth mother had an abortion at 10 weeks. She thought it was successful, but at five months, she felt movement. She delivered at 32 weeks and decided to put the child up for adoption.”
The child had a large injury to the top of her head and her skull and scalp were cut by surgical instruments. She was on a breathing machine and it was determined that she would have some brain damage because of a lack of oxygen for some time.
“At one month, the birth mother signed over the rights on the day I called,” Ms. Kellogg said. “I was the first person told about her. I was told that she’d probably have cerebral palsy, would have a large scar on her head and need later head surgery.”
Ms. Kellogg shared the information with her husband, who had doubts about the adoption.
“God showed us this was the child he’d picked for us,” she said. “We went on a cruise and prayed that God could show us.”
Among the families that sat with them was one with a Down syndrome child, one with a child with cerebral palsy and one who knew someone adopting a child with special needs.
“That showed me that this was the child God had for me,” Ms. Kellogg said. “My husband decided it was the way it was supposed to be. It was a big decision.”
The couple brought the baby home when she was 3 months old. She weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces.
God named her ‘Hope,’” Ms. Kellogg said. “She fit that name.”
From the beginning, Hope was in an out of medical offices and therapy.
“It was evident that she would be stiff from cerebral palsy,” Ms. Kellogg said.
“She could only use one arm. She was very lively and happy and smiled. We speak at the high school every year during Disability Awareness Week. The kids love her. She can have a class dancing.”
Negotiating the system, including schools and medical resources, was a challenge. Ms. Kellogg said that her faith let her know they could get through it, while her husband was more practical. Together, there was a necessary balance to get Hope what she needed.
Today, Hope is 21. She still attends school, which she can do until she turns 22. She uses a wheelchair because walking was just too difficult. She will soon begin a job at the YMCA, doing filing. Last year, she worked as a greeter at TJ Maxx, a job her mother said she loved because she is outgoing and friendly.
“She’s very social, Ms. Kellogg said. People get very attracted to her. She makes people feel special. There are limits, but God always finds a place for her.”
Ms. Kellogg and Hope have written a book, “In that Secret Place,” about the journey they have taken.
“I started writing about 15 years ago,” Ms. Kellogg said. “I didn’t want to be a writer, but God placed it on my heart. It changed over the years. It evolved from a book about helping parents raise a handicapped kid to be more about God’s perfect timing, trusting in him, that he knows best. I didn’t want a baby, but God gave me a baby. He wants to give us the desires of out heart.”
It is also about forgiveness. Hope’s birth mother visited her every day in the hospital after her birth and the book is dedicated to her. They are in touch with her and consider her part of the family.
Ms. Kellogg, who is an emergency room nurse at Martin Memorial South Hospital, was eventually divorced from her first husband. She has since remarried and her new husband loves her daughter. Much of the book is about love, especially from God.
“It’s about God’s love and purpose, no matter what,” Ms. Kellogg said. “Every life has purpose. He made so many handicapped people who couldn’t do anything but they changed other people’s lives by unconditional love. God used them greatly.”
For people who are considering adoption of a special needs child, Ms. Kellogg offers support.
“I wouldn’t discourage them,” she said. “It’s the most rewarding experience. She’s been such a tremendous blessing to every member of my family. It’s an honor to be her mother.”
“In That Secret Place” by Terri Kellogg and Hope Hoffman, published by Xulon Press, is available at http://www.amazon.com/That-Secret-Place.