Indian River, Martin report cases of coronavirus

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
March 20, 2020

As a service to residents and the business community of the Treasure Coast, Indian River Magazine Inc. is providing free updates on changes in operations that affect businesses in the region because of the coronavirus. If you have news to report, please email Gregory Enns at [email protected]   If you find this letter useful, please share it. To subscribe to this newsletter, click here.


Indian River, Martin report cases of coronavirus
Two Treasure Coast counties are now reporting cases of COVID-19, with two cases in Indian River County and one in Martin County.  

The Florida Department of Health’s  report released at 11 a.m. today showed a total of 520 cases in the state and 10 deaths from the disease.

The report showed that one man and one woman tested positive for the disease in Indian River County. One case is that of a 69-year-old male who recently traveled to Egypt and Germany. The other case is of a 77-year-old female with no history of recent travel out of the country.

Martin County was also showing one positive case, that of a 45-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Brazil. The report so far is showing no cases for St. Lucie County.

While the latest reports reveal the first cases of coronavirus, statistics available so far aren’t revealing the results of a large portion of those recently tested.

For example, Cleveland Clinic Treasure Coast CEO Dr. Wael Barsoum told TCPalm.com Thursday that 340 people had been tested so far at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital, including a woman who tested positive. The hospital is in Stuart in Martin County.

But the daily report released Thursday by the Florida Department of Health showed that just 12 people had been tested in Martin County, showing the positive results for the woman, one negative result and results for 10 other people still pending.

Health officials weren’t immediately available to explain the lag time between taking the test and the time it becomes a statistics on the state report made available to the public.

Friday’s report showed that 22 people had been tested in Indian River County, with 11 negative results in addition to the two positive. Results are still pending for nine people. St. Lucie County was still reporting nine tests — the same as Thursday — with five negative and results pending on four tests. Martin County reported 15 tests, with five results pending and nine negative results, in addition to the one positive.

IRSC postpones spring commencement, details remote operations plan
Spring break at Indian River State College ends today, and the college will continue maintain operations remotely with limited services on site. In order to observe to the latest guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control, IRSC is implementing the following measures: 

• All online classes will continue as scheduled on Monday.
• All hybrid and face-to-face courses will adjust to fully online formats and resume on March 30.
• Workforce programs and courses that rely on significant contact hours will have alternative plans developed, and faculty will reach out to students in these areas. These courses will also resume on March 30.
• All IRSC athletic events, planetarium shows, fine arts performances, and public pool hours have been suspended indefinitely.
• The IRSC Child Development Center is closed until further notice.

 Additional steps IRSC is initiating:

• IRSC’s spring commencement ceremonies have been postponed. The college is evaluating alternative means to celebrate spring graduates and is working to ensure that graduates who want to take part in commencement exercises have a future opportunity to do so.
• No IRSC events of any kind are to take place with 10 or more individuals until at least April 15, 2020, or in the event the CDC deems gatherings safe again.
• IRSC will evaluate all future events on a rolling schedule, determining the status of an event no later than two weeks prior to the event.
• Any meeting of 10 or more individuals that is necessary must be done so in an online/virtual format.
• In addition to the continuation of most classes in virtual format, IRSC will offer student services virtually where possible.
• The college will be closed to students during the week of March 23 to 27. IRSC employees will use the week to develop alternative delivery methods for the libraries, labs, testing centers, and more. Students, however, are encouraged to reach out to their instructors and/or assigned advisors during this week if there are questions or concerns regarding the adjustment to online learning.

As Indian River State College continues to shift its operations online to the extent possible, employees will work with their immediate supervisor in advance of March 23 to establish an alternating work schedule on site or a remote work plan.

CenterState Bank branches convert to drive-thru only
Beginning today, CenterState Bank is converting its branch operations to drive-thru only. “Our intent is to ensure the safety and health of our employees and customers,’’ the bank said in a statement.

The statement said that the any business that can be conducted in the lobbies, including opening accounts and account maintenance, can be conducted in the drive-thru lanes. Branch business such as access to safe deposit boxes can still be conducted inside by appointment. CenterState’s Customer Care number is 855.863.2265.

Meanwhile, CenterState Bank CEO John Corbett also announced a forbearance program for existing borrowers who may have difficulty making loan payments as a result of disruption to their business because of COVID-19.  “If an existing customer needs additional assistance, we will work with you and available government programs to try to make that capital available as quickly as possible,’’ Corbett said.


Public Catholic Masses suspended

All public Catholic Masses in St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River counties and the rest of the Diocese of Palm Beach have been suspended.

The Most Rev. Gerald M. Barbarito announced this week, along with the other bishops of Florida, that public Mass gatherings will not be available beginning today until further notice.

“I want to stress that the celebration of Masses by the dedicated priests of our Diocese is not suspended and will continue to be celebrated in each of the churches of our diocese on a daily and Sunday basis, even though public participation is excluded,’’ Barbarito said.

The diocese also announced that many parishes will livestream their Masses. For a list of livestream Masses and times visit https://www.diocesepb.org/

Indian River County activates call center

Indian River County has activated a call center for people with questions about the coronavirus and local restrictions. The number is 772.226.4000 and is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Grocery chains provide ‘senior shopping hours’

Publix, Florida’s largest grocery chain with 830 stores, is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m. as senior shopping hours for customers 65 and over. “According to the CDC, individuals over the age of 65 are at increased risk of complications from the coronavirus,’’ Publix said in a news release. “Publix is offering these expanded hours to better support our elder community.’’

Other grocery chains are providing special hours for seniors. Winn-Dixie set aside 8 to 9 a.m. weekdays. Fresh Market has designated 8 to 9 a.m. weekdays as senior hour and Dollar General will be available to seniors one hour before stores open every day. Walmart will open one hour early beginning Tuesday for customers 60 and older. Target will open one hour before stores open every Wednesday.

IRC tax collector suspends some walk-in services

Indian River County Tax Collector Carole Jean Jordanhas temporarily suspended most services, including road tests for driver licenses, that require physical appearance in the four Tax Collector office locations.   
Jordan said Thursday her office suspended service through the end of March for transportation worker identification credentials, card applications and fingerprinting for the State of Florida andhazmat designations.  Additionally, road tests for driver licenses will not be available and TSA pre-check appointments will be limited.

Animal shelter seeks temporary foster homes

The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County is seeking foster homes for shelter pets. “We need to quickly reduce the number of animals living in our shelter in anticipation of an increase in our intakes and decrease in adoptions,’’ said Kate Meghji, executive director of the shelter.

Those interested in fostering a shelter pet temporarily can submit a volunteer application by visiting https://www.hsvb.org/volunteer.html.

Post Insurance converts to remote service

Post Insurance has suspended walk-in service at its location at 146 NW Central Park Plaza in Port St. Lucie.

“Given that many of our clients and staff are part of the high-risk vulnerable populations, we have made the difficult decision to close our physical office to walk-in traffic at 5 p.m. today,’’ agency owner Kathy Post said in press release Thursday. “Thankfully, we have invested in ways our staff can still serve you.’’

Post said employees are working remotely from home and can provide service. The company can be contacted 772.878.8184 or [email protected] The company’s Web site is at www.InsureWithPost.com.

Dow Decorating curtails hours

Dow Decorating in Port St. Lucie is curtailing its hours to Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Our store will remain open as long as the health and safety of our customers and ourselves are fine,’’ owners David and Kathy Dow said in a statement.

The statement said the company is also available to provide advice on projects via email, telephone or video chat. The company, based at 1489 St. Lucie West Blvd., can be reached at 772.678.1040.

PSL changes rules for public meetings

To deal with the coronavirus crisis and abide by social distancing guidelines, the City of Port St. Lucie will limit the number of people who can attend Monday’s 6 p.m. City Council meeting. Those who are not able to attend will be able to submit questions and comments electronically. The meeting will be aired live on PSL TV 20 on Comcast and Channel 99 on U-verse. It will also be aired live on the city’s website, cityofpsl.com.

Meanwhile, the city Saints Golf Course and the 19th Hole restaurant remain open as well as the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. However, the pavilion at the gardens will be closed beginning Monday.

Lyric Theatre still selling tickets

The Lyric Theatre in Stuart continues to sell tickets to summer shows and performances rescheduled for the season. The theater’s website is at LyricTheatre.com

Executive Director Kia Fontaine said staff members are working to contact patrons for canceled shows. For tickets sold for future shows, she said the theater will “continue to have a relaxed policy for returning tickets for credits moving forwarded as needed based on the situation at that time.’’

Fontaine said patrons can show support by donating the value of tickets to canceled shows as a tax-deductible donation to the theater, make a donation or purchase gift certificates for future performances.

Cobalt restaurant remains open

Cobalt restaurant in Vero continues to serve patrons.

“We’re carefully monitoring the situation and working with local authorities,’’ a statement released by the restaurant said. “At this time, our doors remain open, and we have the appropriate safety measures in place with limited seating available.’’

The restaurant’s menu, including takeout, can be seen at cobaltrestaurant.com. The phone number is 772.469.1060.

Sewall’s Point City Hall closes

The town of Sewall’s Point closed City Hall after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed Thursday in Martin County.

A statement released by the town said city services could be accessed by phone at 772.287.2455 or by website at www.sewallspoint.org
Fort Pierce garden remains open
Heathcote Botanical Gardens remains open, though with reduced hours. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

The gardens are open until 3 p.m. today, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. For future hours, visit HeathcoteBotanicalGardens.org

Vero’s Hope for Families needs donations
The Hope For Families Center in Vero Beach remains open, caring for families because of work and school restrictions. Monetary donations can be made by calling 772.467.5537 or visiting hopeforfamiliescenter.org

Food donations may be dropped off directly at the center at 420 4th St., Vero Beach, 32962.

Brewery open for takeout and delivery

American Icon Brewery in Vero Beach has limited services to takeout and delivery. The brewery will provide these services from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Reach the brewery at 772.934.4266 or americaniconbrewery.com
Governor urges completion of business damage survey

Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging small businesses to complete a survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida businesses. The results of the survey will help the state implement relief programs.

The survey can be taken at https://floridadisaster.biz. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Association reports 305,146 jobs lost in hotel industry

The American Hotel & Lodging Association has reported that 88,631 hotel jobs have been directly lost in Florida because of COVID-19 while a total of 305,146 total jobs have been lost supporting the industry.
Natalie’s continues at full capacity
Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company continues to operate at full capacity during the peak harvesting season.

We are family and we are here for you as we’ve always been,’’ a statement released by the Fort Pierce-based company said. “We are determined to carry on in the best way we know how, and that’s together.’’

Read more about the steps the company is taking

Sebastian chamber offers Webinar

The Sebastian Chamber of commerce is offering a Webinar series on helping small businesses and non-profits deal with the COVID-19. The series begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday and features Ken Lawson, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and Tom Kindred, regional director of the Florida Small Business Development Center. Register here
Does your business have news of a temporary closing or change in operations due to COVID-19 that you would like us to share with readers of this newsletter?

If so, email details to Gregory Enns at [email protected]


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APPAREL DECORATOR/SIGNS

Dragonfly Graphics
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AUTOMOTIVE

European Car Performance
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BANKING

Center State Bank
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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Corona Health Consulting LLC
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Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County
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Indian River County Economic Development
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CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce
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St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce
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Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce
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CONSTRUCTION

RK Davis
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FINANCE

Edward Jones- Kate Mikkelson
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GOLF CARTS

Champion Golf Carts
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GOVERNMENT

Clerk of the Circuit Court, St. Lucie County
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Saint Lucie County Property Appraiser
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HEALTH & REHABILITATION CENTER

Palm Garden of Port St. Lucie
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HOME IMPROVEMENT

Artistic Closets
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Snow Custom Cabinetry
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INDEPENDENT/ASSISTED LIVING

Harbor Place at Port St. Lucie
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INSURANCE/FINANCES

Florida Smart Insurance, LLC
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State Farm/Bill Knight
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LAW OFFICES

Dean Mead, Attorneys at Law
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PRINTING/SIGNS

ABC Printing
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Fast Signs of Vero Beach
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PUBLISHING

Oasis Creative Resources
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RADIO

WQCS
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REAL ESTATE

Oceanside Realty Partners
772.418.4420
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Thank you for supporting these Indian River Magazine and Port St. Lucie Magazine advertisers
AIR CONDITIONING

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772.878.5143
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NisAir Air Conditioning & Heating
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Sea Coast Air
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AIRPORTS

Palm Beach International Airport
561.471.7400
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Vero Beach Regional Airport
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ANTIQUES & HIGHWAYMEN ART

Grant Antiques
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The Castle Antiques & Collectibles
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ART GALLERIES/ARTISTS/
FRAMING


A.E. Backus Museum
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Vero Beach Museum of Art
772.231.0707

ASSISTED LIVING/MEMORY CARE

Symphony at Stuart
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ATTRACTIONS

Downtown Fort Pierce Farmers Market
fortpiercefarmersmarket.com

The Elliott Museum
772.225.1961
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Vero Beach Air Show
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AUTO DEALERS

Bev Smith Automotive Group
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Sunrise Ford
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Sunrise Volkswagen
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AUTOMOTIVE

St. Lucie Battery & Tire
800.432.1064
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BANKING

Center State Bank
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BEVERAGES

Natalie’s Orchid Island
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BOATING/WATERSPORTS

Central Marine
772.692.2000
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Marine Connection
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Salty's Water Sports
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BUILDERS

GHO Homes
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Helmet House Construction
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BUTCHER SHOP

A Butcher’s Shoppe & A Bit More
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CANDY/ CONFECTIONARY

Bruno’s Chocolate
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The Cake Lady
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CAR WASH

Wash-N-Go Express Car Wash
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CASINOS

Seminole Brighton Casino
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CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce
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CITRUS/PRODUCE

Nelson Family Farms
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CLOSETS

Artistic Closets Inc.
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CLOTHING/SHOPPING

Aphrodite Style
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Florida Classics Books & Gifts
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Kemp’s
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DENTISTS

St. Lucie Center for Cosmetic Dentistry
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DIVE & WATERSPORTS

Deep Six
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Salty's Water Sports
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EDUCATION

Indian River State College
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Space Coast Education Center
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St. Andrew’s Episcopal Academy
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St. Lucie County Schools
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EYEWEAR/OPTICAL CARE

C.R. Lait
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Taylor Creek Optical
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FURNITURE

Sunshine Furniture
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GOLF

Champion Turf Club at St. James
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Indian Hills Golf
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GOLF CARTS

Total Golf Cart
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GOVERNMENT

St. Lucie County Clerk
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Saint Lucie County Property Appraiser
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GRILL CLEANING

Florida Native Grill Cleaning
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HEARING AIDS/AUDIOLOGY

Schmidt's Hearing Center/All American Hearing
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HEALTH/BEAUTY

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HOME CARE/HOSPICE CARE

A Moment’s Notice Healthcare
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HOME IMPROVEMENT

The Cabinet Gallery
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Kurbing LLC
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RCD Painting Inc.
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Snow Custom Cabinetry
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HOSPITALS

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center
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Cleveland Clinic Martin Health System
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Raulerson Hospital
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St. Lucie Medical Center
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St. Lucie Medical Center ER at Darwin Square
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INDEPENDENT/ASSISTED LIVING

Grand Oaks of Palm City
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Harbor Place at Port St. Lucie
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The Palms of St. Lucie West
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INSURANCE

McCall Insurance
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Post Insurance
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INTERIOR DESIGN/FURNISHINGS

Dow Decorating
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Karen Kane Interiors
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JEWELRY

Diamonds by Terry
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LANDSCAPING/GARDENS

Michael Flaugh Landscape Architect
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LAW OFFICES

Abernethy Law Group
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Fee, Yates, & Fee, P.L.
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LUMBER & HARDWARE

East Coast Lumber
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MARINAS

Fort Pierce City Marina
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MEDICAL

Ocean Chiropractic & Health Center
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Orthopaedic Center of Vero Beach
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Premier Physical Therapy
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South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
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MENTAL HEALTH

Coral Shores Behavioral Health 772.403.4000
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Mental Health Association Indian River
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MUNICIPALITIES

City of Port St. Lucie
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NON-PROFITS

Family Meals, Inc.
772.210.0900
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Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation
772.466.9876
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Treasure Coast Food Bank
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OPHTHALMOLOGY

New Vision Eye Center
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PAWN & JEWELRY

Best Value Jewelry & Pawn
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PERFORMING ARTS

Lyric Theatre
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Riverside Theatre
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Sunrise Theatre
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PEST CONTROL

WipeOut Pest Control
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PLASTIC SURGERY

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Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery
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Premier Plastic Surgery & Spa
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RADIO

WQCS
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REAL ESTATE

Andrew Szaniszlo
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Beach & Beyond Rentals
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Edgewater Property-Realty
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Coldwell Banker Paradise
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John’s Island Real Estate Co.
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McCurdy & Co. Realty
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Oceanside Realty Partners
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RESTAURANTS

19th Hole Restaurant
772.337.0180
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Casey’s Place
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Cobalt Restaurant
772.469.1060
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Sharkys
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ADVERTISING AGENCIES

Adams Media Group
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Idea Garden
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Pathos
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