State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 01/09/2022

Good Morning!

This week my staff and I will return to the Capitol in Tallahassee for the 2022 Legislative Session. We expect the next sixty-days to be extremely busy as we prepare the state budget and act on issues impacting all Floridians. Senate President Wilton Simpson announced that the Florida Senate will be open to the public and health safety protocols will remain in place to maintain a safe environment for everyone. 
 
The Florida Senate will convene session at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 11th. Governor DeSantis will also be delivering the State of the State Address in the Florida House of Representatives Chambers on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. You can watch these events on The Florida Channel. I invite you to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter for live updates during session.
 
I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so that they too can sign up for the Mayfield Minute.
 
If you or someone you know needs my assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you!

Statewide Updates

COVID Testing and Treatment
 
Governor DeSantis announced that the state of Florida will be providing up to one million rapid tests for residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes. This announcement extends Florida’s data-driven Seniors First approach to encompass all aspects of the state’s multifaceted and dynamic response, including Seniors First for vaccines, Seniors First for tests, and Seniors First for early treatments.
 
Additionally, Governor DeSantis called on the Biden Administration to provide Florida with additional doses to support new monoclonal antibody sites and to expand treatment capacity at existing sites. Florida requested 30,000 doses more than it had been allocated by the Biden Administration, to support new monoclonal antibody sites in Duval, Collier, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Seminole counties.
 
Florida pioneered the widespread use of monoclonals and educated the public about the success of this treatment in preventing serious illness and hospitalizations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Floridians. Over the summer, the state set up dozens of monoclonal antibody sites and Governor DeSantis traveled across Florida to make it known that early treatment saves lives.
 
DOH issued updated testing guidance and recommendations to maximize benefits of COVID-19 testing in Florida. A copy of the full COVID-19 testing guidance can be found here.
 
To find locations to receive monoclonal antibody treatments, please click here.
 
 
Beware of COVID-19 Test Scams as Omicron Cases Increase Nationwide
 
Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about new and reemerging COVID-19 test scams as Omicron variant cases increase nationwide. With more and more people seeking tests, scammers may be exploiting this demand to steal personal, financial or medical information. There are recent reports in Florida and nationwide of potential fake COVID-19 testing sites, imposter health care workers at legitimate sites and at-home testing scams. Attorney General Moody is asking Floridians to remain cautious when requesting a COVID-19 test—both at a testing site and at home.
 
Anyone who suspects a COVID-19 test-related scam should report it to local law enforcement, or to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.
 
 
Share Your Input on the Future Management of Goliath Grouper
 
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking your input on a final rule proposal that, if approved at the March 2022 Commission meeting, would allow a limited, highly regulated harvest of goliath grouper in Florida state waters. This proposal includes a special opportunity for harvest through a lottery draw, while enacting area and seasonal closures, size and gear restrictions, and post-harvest requirements. This limited harvest would allow users additional access opportunities to this species and provide researchers with needed biological data, while allowing the population to continue to rebuild and excluding harvest from areas of heavy dive ecotourism.
 
Share your input by attending one of the following online workshops:
 
  • Tuesday, January 11th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 13th at 12:00 p.m.
 
For more information on how to participate, click here. Those interested in participating can also contact the Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554 for more information.
 
If you cannot attend a workshop, click here and then click on “Workshops” to submit comments.
 

Constituent of the Week

 
Our constituent of the week is Janice Kershaw, President and CEO of the Brevard Schools Foundation (BSF). Mrs. Kershaw has led the Brevard Schools Foundation since 2010. During her tenure, Brevard Schools Foundation was recognized as one of the top 25 education foundations in the nation for their work in supporting public education. Mrs. Kershaw has an extensive background in education and leadership, earning her Bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and has been certified as a Facilitative Leadership trainer. 
 
Prior to serving as President and CEO of the Brevard Schools Foundation (BSF), she served 10 years as an elected member of the Brevard Public School Board. Mrs. Kershaw served as chairman of the Brevard Public School Board for three years and she also served as chairman of the Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition. Additionally, Mrs. Kershaw is involved in community organizations such as Kershaw Steward Health Care as a board member and is the immediate past-chair of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations, a statewide membership organization comprised of 62 education foundations.
 
While serving on the School Board, she earned her Board Member certification and her Master Board certification from the Florida School Boards Association, completed an Executive Program in Labor-Management Relations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and participated in a Business and Professional Women’s Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.  
 
The mission of the Brevard Schools Foundation is to support innovation, engage our community and change lives. Just in the past year alone, Mrs. Kershaw has spearheaded various initiatives, helping thousands of students reach their full potential. Some of these accomplishments include providing $1.4 million in new reading books to schools, distributing more than 1,200 backpacks full of school supplies to families’ in-need, awarding over $51,084 in classroom grants to help teachers create innovative lessons and coordinating 1,410 mentor sessions for at-risk high school students
 
District 17 thanks Janice Kershaw for her exemplary service to the student and teachers in our area. Brevard County is blessed to have you as a member of the community.

District 17 Highlights

St. Johns Water Management District Accepting Cost-Share Project Applications 
 
The St. Johns River Water Management District is accepting applications beginning January 4th through February 18th for their Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Districtwide Cost-Share Program and their Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) program. 
 
The Districtwide Cost-Share Program is open to any applicant with a project that benefits one of the four District core missions. Through this cost-share program, the District will fund up to 25% of construction costs for selected alternative water supply, water quality, flood protection and natural systems projects, and up to 50% for water conservation projects. The program will fund up to $3 million per project or per applicant.
 
The REDI program is for communities that are economically disadvantaged with an employment base dominated by traditional agriculture or resource-based industries and a population of 25,000 or less. REDI-designated communities within the St. Johns Water Management District are Baker, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and Okeechobee counties, and the communities of Astatula, Fellsmere, Hawthorne, Pierson and Umatilla.
 
An innovative project is one that uses emerging or proven technology in a unique way to provide alternative water supply quantities or to expand available quantities to offset groundwater withdrawal, or to improve the water resources of the District in support of the core missions. 
 
The District will fund up to 50% of construction costs for selected REDI/Innovative projects. REDI communities can submit a waiver of matching funds, which allows for up to 100% reimbursement. 
 
Staff anticipate recommending projects for board consideration at the April 2022 Governing Board meeting.
 
Project criteria, application instructions and additional information about the program are available on the District’s website.  
 
Indian River County Health Department to Move Curative COVID-19 Testing Site to IRC Fairgrounds
 
To accommodate the influx of traffic and demand for COVID-19 testing, the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County, in partnership with the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners, moved its Curative COVID-19 drive-thru testing site from the Intergenerational (IG) Recreation Center to the Indian River County Fairgrounds, on Friday, January 7th, 2022.
 
The drive-thru testing site will continue to operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday at the new Fairgrounds site.
 
Those individuals requiring a COVID-19 test must enter the Fairgrounds from the 77th Street entrance and follow the assigned traffic pattern to obtain their test.
 
The tests are no cost to patients and appointments are strongly recommended. To schedule an appointment, visit cur.tv/verobeach. Individuals who would like to receive a COVID-19 test should bring a form of identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.) and wear a facemask.
 
The Indian River County Fairgrounds is located at 7955 58th Avenue in Vero Beach.
 
 
Brevard County Seeks Volunteer For Save Our Indian River Lagoon Oversight Committee
 
The Brevard County Board of County Commissioners are seeking qualified applicants for a volunteer appointment to represent Real Estate expertise on the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Citizen Oversight Committee.
 
Applicants must commit to serving the public interest by:
 
  • Demonstrating expertise and experience in the technology field.
  • Providing stewardship of Lagoon Trust Funds.
  • Having knowledge of the water quality issues and major sources of pollution affecting the lagoon.
  • Participating in monthly meetings.
  • Reviewing project proposals for reducing pollutants and improving water quality.
  • Assessing project cost-effectiveness.
  • Hearing questions, concerns, and ideas from the public to improve the plan.
 
To access the application, click here
 
Email completed applications to Carol Gerundo, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Brevard County’s Natural Resources Management Department at Carol.Gerundo@brevardfl.gov by 5 p.m., February 1, 2022.
 

In Memory Of Eleonora Wahlstrom McCabe

 
It is with a heavy heart that I extend my condolences to the family and friends of Vero Beach resident Eleonora Wahlstrom McCabe, who passed on December 26, 2021. Ellie was a kind and giving soul to all those who needed her help, giving her the nickname of “Kind Ellie”. 
 
Ellie joined the Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County in 1969, where she discovered her passion for community service and volunteering. Ellie was a true champion for many Bridgeport area nonprofits. Some of these nonprofits include Salem Lutheran Church, Meals on Wheels, Bridgeport Hospital, the Discovery Museum, Rehabilitation Center of Eastern Fairfield County and the Bridgeport Symphony. Ellie also served as president of her family’s foundation, The Wahlstrom Foundation, later renamed The Robert F. and Eleonora W. McCabe Foundation. 
 
Ellie was highly regarded for her dedicated philanthropic efforts during her 40 years in Vero Beach, as she was able to capture the attention of community leaders and philanthropists on opportunities to improve life in Indian River County. One of these improvements includes her 1983 role in the capital campaign for what is now the Vero Beach Museum of Art. In 1992, she started a Donors Forum in Vero Beach to serve as a mechanism to help seasonal residents become familiar with the true philanthropic needs of Indian River County. Involved heavily within community associations, Ellie served on the Board of Directors of Saint Edward’s School, The Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast and Indian River Impact 100.
 
Perhaps one of Ellie’s biggest endeavors involves her work in mental health awareness. In 2004, Ellie invited local leaders to start the conversation on mental health to brief them on the serious gaps in the continuum of mental health care in Indian River County. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sheriff, Chiefs of Police, School Superintendent, health care officials, United Way representatives and various local and state elected officials, Ellie convinced the group to join her in forming the Mental Health Collaborative of Indian River County. The Collaborative continues to operate today, with the McCabe Connections Center as its flagship initiative. In 2005, she helped launch the TurtleTrax fundraiser for the Mental Health Association in Indian River County, which raised more than $1,000,000 over several years. 
 
We will always remember Ellie and her many contributions to the Indian River County area. Ellie requested memorial contributions be made to the Endowment for Better Mental Health at the Indian River Community Foundation, P.O. Box 643968, Vero Beach, Florida 32964 or the VNA & Hospice Foundation, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, Florida 32960.

Upcoming Events

FDOT Workshop
 
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Four, will conduct an Alternatives Public Workshop for the “SR A1A Over Sebastian Inlet Bridge Replacement Project Development and Environment Study.” The Alternatives Public Workshop is being conducted to give interested persons an opportunity to learn about the study alternatives and to express their views concerning the alternatives. Questions and comments may be submitted prior to the meeting through the registration link, project website, or by contacting the FDOT Project Manager. Project information can be viewed on the project website: www.fdot.gov/projects/SebastianInletBridge.
 
Please use the following link to register for the Alternatives Public Workshop. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar.
 
There are several options to participate during the meeting:
 
  • Virtually on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 6:00 pm via computer, tablet, or mobile device. If you are using a mobile device, the free “GoToMeeting” App is required to attend. Please allow adequate time to log-in to the meeting.
 
  • By telephone (in listen-only mode) on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 6:00 pm. To join by phone during the virtual meeting, please dial 1 (562) 247-8422, Access Code: 559-868-527.  
 
  • In-person on Thursday, January 13, 2022, at the City of Sebastian Community Center located at 1805 N. Central Avenue, Sebastian, Florida 32958. The meeting will be held in an open house format from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  
 
 
City of Palm Bay to Present Free Movie in the Park
 
The City of Palm Bay is presenting a free movie at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday, January 15th. Seating will begin at 5:00 p.m. and the movie will begin at 6:00 p.m. Chairs, blankets, snacks, and bug spray are recommended. Veterans Memorial Park is located at 2201 Port Malabar Blvd NE Palm Bay, FL 32905.
 
In the event of bad weather, call the Special Events Rain-Out Hotline at 321-726-5682.
 
‘Hook’ is a 1991 American fantasy swashbuckler adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo. It stars Dustin Hoffman in the title role, Robin Williams as Peter Banning/Peter Pan, Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell, Bob Hoskins as Mr. Smee, and Maggie Smith as Granny Wendy.

Contact Information

Melbourne Office
900 East Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 409-2025
 
Tallahassee Office
330 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 487-5017
 
Vero Beach Office
Administration Building B
1801 27th Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960
(772) 226-1970
 
Staff: