State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 010/02/2022

Good Morning!

October is Mental Health Illness Awareness Month

For those who experienced any impacts from Hurricane Ian, I hope you and your families are safe, recovering, and resuming normalcy. Anxiety of a storm and its aftermath is just one of many factors that can have a significant impact on mental health. 

October is Mental Illness Awareness month and serves as a reminder of the importance of health screening for anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 21 million adult Americans had at least one major depressive episode in 2020.  In 2021, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Florida reported nearly 3.1 million Floridians experienced a mental health condition, and over 180,000 Florida children, ages 12-17, reported depression. 

There are many resources available through NAMI chapters in Indian River County at (772) 569-9788 and Brevard County to assist those who may be in need of counseling or treatment. No child or adult should suffer alone or in silence.   

I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so 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.  

Post Hurricane Resources

While Brevard County and Indian River County fared rather well during Hurricane Ian, many in our communities have recovery needs, and many are also assisting family and friends impacted throughout Florida. Below are some post-storm resources which may be helpful: 

For Self-Reporting Residential Damage Assessments: 

For Residential Property Assistance and Community Resources: 

Insurance Assistance: 

  • The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) issued Emergency Order 300997-22-EO in response to Hurricane Ian regarding the extension of grace periods, limitations on cancellations and non-renewals, limitations on “use and file” filings. 
  • Home insurance policies cannot be canceled or non-renewed between September 28, 2022 thru November 28, 2022, however there is still a duty to report and make claims under the provisions of your policy. 

Volunteers Needed:  

  • The Department of Health has partnered with Volunteer Florida to develop an online portal for health care practitioners who wish to volunteer their expertise, skills, and experience in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. 

Utility Services:

Housing Assistance: 

Business Assistance:

  • The Department of Business and Professional Regulation has extended the licensure renewal deadlines from September 30 or October 1, 2022, to October 31, 2022. For licensures eligible for the extension, click here
  • The Small Business Association provides low-interest, long-term loans for physical and economic damage caused by a declared disaster. Visit the following websites for assistance:  
  • https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/
  • https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4673 

Derelict Boats: 

  • Please contact my office at 321-409-2025 or by email to [email protected] to report any derelict boats in Brevard County or Indian River County. 

Report Scams and Price Gouging: 

Statewide Update

First Lady DeSantis Announces Activation of Florida Disaster Fund in Response to Hurricane Ian

Last week, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund to support Florida’s communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. Within 24 hours, compassionate individuals and companies in Florida, and throughout the nation, contributed over $10 million to support recovery in our state.  In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund is the official private fund to provide financial support to the State’s response and recovery activities. 

“The Governor and I are thankful for the graciousness of those looking to assist Florida’s communities in their time of need,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “I am pleased to announce that Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund so that people can donate directly to those affected by Hurricane Ian. We greatly appreciate the kindness and generosity of organizations and individuals from across the country looking to support Floridians, thank you.”

Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund should be made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are tax-deductible. Donations may be made by credit card on the secure website at www.floridadisasterfund.org, by check to the address below, or by text the word DISASTER to 20222.

Checks should be made payable to the Volunteer Florida Foundation with “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line.

Volunteer Florida Foundation

Attention: Florida Disaster Fund

1545 Raymond Diehl Road Suite 250

Tallahassee, FL 32308

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Agency Offers Business Disaster Recovery Advice and Assistance 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity agency offers important advice and resources whether your business has suffered major or minor, property or financial damage, as a result of Hurricane Ian. Below are some important steps you should take immediately after a disaster. 

  • Document the damage sustained during the storm through photos or videos.
  • If safe to do so, make temporary repairs to secure your property.
  • Contact your insurance company to schedule an adjustor visit. 
  • As you make repairs, keep all documentation and receipts to provide to your insurance company.
  • Only hire licensed contractors. If the contractor requests you pull the permit, it may be an indication that they are not properly licensed nor entitled to permitting privileges. You can verify a contractor’s license at www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
  • Economic assistance such as small business emergency bridge loans for private sector businesses may be available. Business owners should complete the Business Damage Assessment tool to determine which state and federal government programs may be available for business recovery.

For more business resources, please visit www.floridadisaster.biz or call 850-815-4925.

Agency Highlight
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance, and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets.  

Mission: To serve Florida consumers by fostering a stable and competitive insurance market.

Vision:  OIR envisions a healthy and competitive insurance market that provides reliable, available, and affordable insurance products while maintaining protections for Florida consumers. 

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is led by Commissioner David Altmaier who has served in the position since 2016, and has oversight of one of the largest markets in the world.  Commissioner Altmaier began his public service at OIR in 2008, serving in a number of roles including Chief Analyst of the Property and Casualty Financial Oversight unit and Deputy Commissioner of Property and Casualty Insurance.  

The OIR team is tasked with all activities concerning insurers and other risk bearing entities, including licensing, rates, policy forms, market conduct, claims, issuance of certificates of authority, solvency, viatical settlements, premium financing, and administrative supervision.

To learn more about Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation click here or visit the website for post Hurricane Ian business and consumer information. 

Constituent of the Week

Ted Moorhead

Our Constituent of the Week is Ted Moorhead. Mr. Moorhead is a founding board member of the Marine Resources Council (MRC), an advocacy organization with a mission to save the Indian River Lagoon. 

In the 90’s, Mr. Moorhead and his family lived across the street from the land that the Ted Moorhead Lagoon House occupies today. At the time, a hotel was on the property surrounded by seven acres of natural bluff. When the property was placed on the market for sale, Mr. Moorhead began his mission to create a lagoon education center.

“Ted worked fervently for years, bringing together numerous federal, state, and local partners to acquire the land and build the Lagoon House,” said Dr. Leesa Souto, Executive Director of the Marine Resources Council.

In 1999, the City of Palm Bay acquired Ais Point Lookout on the lagoon, and Mr. Moorhead’s vision of building a headquarters for the MRC on the site began to become a reality. He believed that the location on the bluff overlooking the lagoon was ideal for an environmental learning center where adults and children, visitors and residents, could learn more about the Indian River Lagoon. His wife, Ann, originally proposed the name Lagoon House.

Mr. Moorhead worked with the City of Palm Bay and Brevard County Parks and Recreation to obtain designations of a Florida Scenic Highway and National Scenic Byway. His leadership and perseverance, along with other contributors, resulted in the City’s eligibility for one million dollars in grants to build the Lagoon House. Today, the Ted Moorhead Lagoon House is a communal place where leaders assemble to strategize and hold community workshops focused on environmental problem-solving and educating youth about the lagoon.

Mr. Moorhead is a native of Miami and graduated from Stetson University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He formerly served as an Aide to Florida Senator Bill Nelson.  Mr. Moorhead is a proud father of three grown children, a grandfather of five, and a great grandfather of five grandchildren. Sadly, his wife Ann passed away in 2009. He lives in Palm Bay with his dog, Coco, near the Indian River Lagoon, and with his family close by.  

District 17 has benefited from Ted Moorhead’s enduring commitment to preserving the Indian River Lagoon, and his original vision to establish the MRC environmental learning center. 

District Highlights

Palm Bay Awards Nearly $5 million to Address Homelessness and Affordable Housing

The Palm Bay City Council is taking steps to address homelessness and affordable housing throughout the city. The Council earmarked $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for organizations equipped with experience and capacity to move unhoused or at-risk individuals and families from homelessness to stable, permanent affordable housing.

The funds were awarded in various amounts to:

  • Catholic Charities of Central Florida, Inc.
  • Community of Hope, Inc.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County
  • Helps Community Initiatives Inc.
  • I Am Ministries, Inc. ‘The Source’
  • Volunteers of America of Florida, Inc.

The result of the Council’s action will provide for shelter nights, a service center for homeless and at-risk individuals and families, 44 permanent transitional housing units, five permanent affordable single-family homes, case management, and other support services to the most vulnerable residents of Palm Bay.

Additional information on the ARPA-funded projects, programs, and services is available on the City’s ARPA website at www.pbfl.org/ARPA.

Upcoming Events

25th Annual Central Brevard Veteran Stand Down to Stand Up

The Central Brevard “Veteran Stand Down to Stand Up” (formerly known as Stand Down) event will be held at the Cocoa Armory, located at 308 North Fiske Boulevard in Cocoa on Saturday, October 8th from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  If you wish to volunteer for pre-event set up, please join them on Friday, October 7th from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Veteran Stand Down to Stand Up has been assisting homeless and at-risk veterans and their families for 25 years.  The event was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID 19. As many as 200 homeless and at-risk veterans are expected to attend this year’s event and more than 200 volunteers have mobilized to provide a wide range of services from the private sector, the VA, the medical community, and many charitable organizations.  

The Veterans Memorial Center (VMC) is the primary organizer of the event, and partners with National Veterans Homeless Support (NVHS) and many others who come together to support the many veterans in need. This event will focus on homeless and at-risk veterans and their families, while matching the veterans with job options on the Space Coast. 

More volunteers and donations are welcomed and needed. 

  • To volunteer, sign up by emailing Jill Rippon at [email protected].com as soon as possible. 
  • Donations needed include: men and women undergarments, toiletries, clothing, towels, and non-perishable food items. Contact Donna Longway at [email protected] to donate items. 
  • Financial donations are also greatly appreciated and can be facilitated by contacting Donn Weaver at [email protected].
Team ORCA Announces Open House in Vero Beach

The Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) is hosting an open house event for their new Center for Citizen Science program, located at 2515 Airport North Drive, Building B in Vero Beach, on Thursday, October 13th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

The event will showcase ORCA’s Center for Citizen Science team and their latest projects including protection and restoration of aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain, the development of innovative technologies, science-based conservation action, and community education. Team ORCA will also will highlight the differences they are making to protect and preserve the Indian River Lagoon.  

For more information about ORCA, the open house, and their Citizen Science programs, click here

Cocoa Beach Police Department’s Citizen Academy Approaching Deadline for Applications for the 2023 Class

Applications for the Citizen’s Academy are being accepted until October 14th for the 2023 class which begins on January 17, 2023. The Citizen’s Academy is a look into the values, philosophy, and operations of the City of Cocoa Beach government and is designed for residents and business owners. 

The program runs for 14 weeks on Tuesday evenings, with one session a week for approximately three hours, and one Saturday session. Participants gain knowledge and a unique insight to each department through discussion, demonstrations, and site visits to include a variety of issues pertaining to the residents of the City of Cocoa Beach. 

Interested applicants must submit a completed application and deliver in person, no later than October 14th at the Cocoa Beach Police Department, located at 85 South Orlando Avenue.  

Love Our Lagoon Celebration Introduces Legends of the Indian River Lagoon

The Marine Resource Council will be hosting their annual Love Our Lagoon Celebration on Friday, November 4th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. They will be introducing their new Hall of Fame, the “Legends of the Indian River Lagoon” at the event.  

The fundraising event is being held at the Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront, located at 3003 North Highway A1A, and is open to the public. Tickets and more details can be found at SavetheIRL.org.

At the event, the first 12 Legends of the Indian River Lagoon will be inducted and the MRC annual Conservation Award winners will be featured, in addition to Love Our Lagoon auction.

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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:

Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Joshua McWilliams