State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minutes 11/26/23

Good Morning!

The Space Coast’s 65th successful launch of 2023 took place when the Space X Falcon rocket carrying 23 Starlink internet satellites successfully deployed from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station last week.

The new record of 65 launches surpassed 2022’s record total of 57 launches and is on track to reach 70+ launches before the end of the year.

Space X is attributed to 61 of the 65 launches and is currently constructing a launch facility at KSC to accommodate its new Starship. The Space X Starship will eventually replace the company’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.

It is anticipated that in 2024 there will be at least seven planned Space Coast launches carrying a total of 26 astronauts, the most since 2009. The Space Coast remains a premier location for public, private, and commercial space and aerospace industries nationwide and globally.

I consider it a great honor to represent District 19. 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!

Statewide Update

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez Announced the ‘Letters to Heroes’ Campaign

Last week, Lieutenant Governor Nuñez announced the ‘Holiday Letters to Heroes’ campaign to encourage Florida’s K–8 students to write holiday letters to the men and women who are serving in our military or on state active duty in the Florida National Guard this holiday season. Through her ‘LG on Mission’ initiative, the Lieutenant Governor is partnering with the Florida Department of Education to collect and send letters to support military service members through December 15th.

“Being away from one’s family is difficult, especially during the holidays. These men and women have courageously served our state and we want to share our gratitude and appreciation for their service,” said Lieutenant Governor Nuñez. 

Each student will submit a handwritten letter to the Florida Department of Education with a message of support and appreciation for our active military men and women. Students are also encouraged to include drawings that share the holiday spirit in their letter.

All letters must be received by Friday, December 15th and should be mailed to:

ATTN: Holiday Letters to Heroes

325 W Gaines Street

Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Florida’s Economy Continues to Grow While National Job Growth Rates Are in Decline

Recently Governor DeSantis announced that Florida’s strategic investments have resulted in continued economic growth while national rates continue to see economic decline.

Florida continues to outpace the nation in labor force growth for a 29th consecutive month with the private sector adding over 25,900 jobs in October 2023. Florida’s unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in October, lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent. This marks the 36th consecutive month Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the nation’s unemployment rate.

Florida’s construction industry experienced its fifth consecutive month of growth in October with over 2,500 jobs added since September.

“Florida is bucking the national trends and we continue to see job growth month after month,” said Governor DeSantis. “In Florida we are driving economic success through smart investment in workforce education, strong infrastructure and local community development.

Floridians in search of new job opportunities are encouraged to visit the CareerSource Florida network for assistance.

First Lady DeSantis ‘Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive’ Kicks Off

There are three weeks remaining in First Lady Casey DeSantis’s ‘Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive’ benefitting foster families, Hope Florida participants, and Florida families in need this holiday season. Donations will be accepted through Friday, December 15th

“There is no greater joy at this time of year than making magic happen for a child,” said First Lady DeSantis. “Throughout the year, our Hope Navigators work to ensure that families are working towards self-sufficiency, and many along this journey may not be able to afford extras like holiday presents. Through the Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive, families will experience the goodwill of their neighbors and communities and create special memories for their children. We know parents want the best for their children, and through this initiative, can bring a little more hope to Florida’s families.”

The Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive can be accessed here. Individuals can purchase new and unwrapped toys to be sent directly to Hope Florida. These toys will be organized and distributed to families by Hope Florida throughout the month of December.

The toys will be organized and distributed to families by Hope Florida at events scheduled in December. Organizations who are interested in partnering with Hope Florida can contact the Department of Children and Families at [email protected].

Attorney General Ashley Moody Warns of Holiday Scams 

AG Moody is committed to protecting consumers from fraud, scams, and deceptive business practices during the holidays. Last week, she released the 2023 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide—a comprehensive resource that provides Floridians with information to avoid falling for in-person and online shopping scams, tips for safe charitable giving, and a list of recently recalled items. 

The 2023 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide helps Floridians stay informed and protect themselves from scams, deceptive practices, and faulty products.

The guide includes information about: 

  • Online Shopping Safety: Tips about secure online shopping practices, protecting personal information and dealing with disputes;
  • Gift Card Scams: How to avoid gift card scams, including the need to inspect gift cards for tampering before making a purchase;
  • Fraudulent Charities: Advice for avoiding charity fraud, such as verifying the legitimacy of charities to ensure donations are going to the intended causes; and
  • Recalled Products: A list of recently recalled products from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to keep families safe from potentially hazardous items.

To review the 2023 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide, click here

To report a scam, visit or call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

Constituent of the Week

Tom Kammerdener

Our Constituent of the Week is Tom Kammerdener, CEO/President of Aging Matters in Brevard.

Mr. Kammerdener was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Florida in the early 90’s when his wife graduated from Georgia State University and began a registered nursing career at Holmes Regional. Mr. Kammerdener was able to transfer with his company RTM Arbys, the largest food service franchisee in the United States at that time. 

He grew up in a family that valued community service and those values have guided him throughout his career. He credits his Mom for setting the example, as she took it upon herself to care for every relative in need, while also volunteering for a variety of causes throughout their community. 

Mr. Kammerdener joined the Health First team in 1993 as an Operations Manager and was tasked with the creation and implementation of various programs leading to the success of the organization. In 2010, he was selected as recipient of the Annual Presidents award for Holmes Regional Medical Center. Additionally, he is a three time recipient of the Gallup Organization World Class Leader Award having consistently achieved above the 90th percentile in employee satisfaction. These recognitions demonstrate Mr. Kammerdener’s leadership and his steadfast commitment to prioritizing the wellness of his employees.   

In 2012, Mr. Kammerdener joined Aging Matters in Brevard as the Senior Director of Operations. 

“Being able to affect the seniors of Brevard has been a rewarding experience and one that motivates me every day to continue to be their advocate,” said Mr. Kammerdener.  

In 2018, he received the 211 Brevard “Stars of the Space Coast” award. After a decade of service to Aging Matters of Brevard, Mr. Kammerdener accepted the position of CEO/President in 2022.

“Every day I’m inspired by the selfless passion our staff and volunteers demonstrate in order to achieve our mission of serving the aging citizens of Brevard.” 

In his free time, Mr. Kammerdener is a passionate sports fan, a passion he shares with his wife of 33 years and his two sons. Visiting every major league baseball park is on his life bucket list. His favorite baseball team is the New York Mets; perhaps that is because he began dating his wife in 1986, the last time the New York Mets won the World Series.

Mr. Kammendener and his wife reside in Melbourne, and they have two sons, Ryan who is Pharmacist with Publix and Cody, a Supervisor at L3 Harris. 

District 19 is blessed to have a special person like Tom Kammendener in our community. In his position as CEO/President of Aging Matters of Brevard, he advocates and works every day to ensure vulnerable and vibrant seniors in our community are shown the dignity and respect they truly deserve.

District Highlights

Governor DeSantis Awards More Than $28 Million to Expand Florida Semiconductor and Chip Manufacturing Industries

Eastern Florida State College is one of five award recipients and will receive $1,555,000 from the $28 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The fund is dedicated to the expansion of semiconductor and chip manufacturing through five workforce development projects in Florida.

Florida is currently ranked 5th in the nation for semiconductor manufacturing jobs and 3rd in the nation for semiconductor establishments. These investments will help Florida continue to grow in semiconductor chip manufacturing industry.

The funding provided to EFSC is designated for the establishment for the College’s Center for Innovative Technology Education to train students in robotics and simulation technician skills and in the design, operation, testing, and repair of robotics systems.

For more information on Governor DeSantis’s news release, please click here.

Sheriff Ivey and K-9 Junny are Highlighting Local Pet Adoption Opportunities In December

For the next four Saturdays leading up to Christmas Day, Sheriff Ivey and K-9 Junny are inviting families seeking to adopt a pet to visit the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Animal Care Center for a personalized experience in pet adoption. Adoption specialists on site have individual knowledge of each pet at the Animal Care Center and are ready to assist you in finding the right dog or cat for your family. 

The Holiday Adoption events will take place on December 2nd, December 9th, December 16th, and December 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 5100 West Eau Gallie Boulevard in Melbourne. 

New families will receive the following free with adoption:

  • Feeding bowl
  • Leash and collar
  • One month of pet food
  • Microchip
  • Crate
  • 1st vet visit free

To adopt in advance of the Saturday events or if you need further information, email Kayli Wilson with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Upcoming Events

Applications Now Open for 2024 ‘Melbourne Salutes Hometown Heroes; Recognition Program

The City of Melbourne is now accepting applications for the 2024 ‘Melbourne Salutes Hometown Heroes’ military banner recognition program. Applications will be accepted thru January 25, 2024 on a first come, first serve basis.

‘Melbourne Salutes Hometown Heroes’ is designed to honor City of Melbourne residents, business and property owners, or their immediate family members who are: actively serving the United States Armed Forces; Veterans; or those who lost their life in the line of duty. The program also recognizes City of Melbourne employees who are Veterans.

Between May 1, 2024 through July 4, 2024, the City will display street pole banners along New Haven Avenue in Downtown Melbourne, each featuring a different Veteran’s name, photo, branch of service, and years served.

We are fortunate that our community is home to countless “Hometown Heroes” which is also why it is so important to apply early to secure your loved one’s banner. For more information and to apply, click here.

Light Up the Night Presented by the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce

The Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce will host the Light up the Night “Shop Local” event on Friday, December 1st from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The community-wide open house annually supports locally owned businesses and kicks off the ‘shop local’ season.

Participating locations will decorate their shops to light up the night, offer sales, discounts, and door prizes with family-friendly activities, and refreshments.

For more information, contact the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce at 772-589-5969.

11th Annual Light Up Viera Holiday Parade Takes Place on December 2nd

The 11th Annual Light Up Viera Holiday Parade brings “Sounds of the Season” to the Viera community on Saturday, December 2nd. The parade will begin and end at Viera High School. Road closures will begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by a fireworks presentation at at 6:00 p.m. and then the parade will immediately start.

Parade entries include a variety of local organizations including the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Brevard County Fire Department, local sports teams, dance troupes, professional entertainers, and marching bands from Viera, Rockledge, Satellite, Merritt Island, and Eau Gallie high schools.

The entire event is sponsored by The Viera Company and includes food trucks for snacks and beverages near the Viera Charter School and the Calvary Chapel Viera.

The schedule is as follows:

4:00 p.m. Open for guest arrival, entertainment, meet and greet, food and beverages

6:00 p.m. Fireworks display

6:20 p.m. Parade procession begins at Viera High School

For more information, click here or contact [email protected].

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary to Meet with Members of the Businesses Community

Secretary Melanie Griffin will meet with members of the business community on Thursday, December 7th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Duran Golf Club (7032 Stadium Parkway) in Viera. This event is being sponsored by the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $15.00. Advanced registration is highly encouraged, please click here.

Topics of discussion will include how DBPR assists new and existing businesses with their application, licensure, and regulations.

Small businesses are an essential part of Florida’s economic landscape, making up 99.8% of all Florida businesses and employing 3.6 million employees – more than 41% of the state’s workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) October 20, 2023.

DBPR is responsible for assisting over 1.6 million businesses and professionals in Florida largely in the construction, food, beverage, and hospitality, real estate, shipping, and professional services such as accounting, and many more industries.

For more information on the services provided by DBPR, click here.

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Contact Information

Melbourne Office 

900 East Strawbridge Avenue

Melbourne, FL 32901

(321) 409-2025

Tallahassee Office

400 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5019


Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Ian Nolan

State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minutes 11/19/23

Good Morning!

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation to help unite a Civil War weary nation. Lincoln was not the first President to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation, but his order set a precedent to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving every year for decades to follow.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us and to open our hearts to those less fortunate and in need of our compassion, generosity, and volunteerism.

Food donations make a holiday meal possible for many families in our community. Our local food banks are entering their busiest time of year, so if you are able to donate or volunteer, please consider visiting the Food Pantry of Indian River County or the South Brevard Sharing Center.

As we enjoy time with our family and friends, and long standing Thanksgiving traditions, please take a moment to remember our military members serving around the world that keep us safe and free.

I wish everyone a very blessed and relaxing Thanksgiving Holiday.

I consider it a great honor to represent District 19. 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!

Statewide Update

Governor DeSantis Signs Four Bills Approved by the Legislature

Last week, Governor DeSantis signed four bills passed by the legislature during the November 6th thru 9th Special Session. The bills include measures to provide additional hurricane Idalia relief, bolster security at Jewish day schools, funding for the My Safe Florida Home program, further sanctions on Iran, and expand the school voucher program.

HB 1C — Provides additional assistance in areas hit by Hurricane Idalia and provides $176.17 million to the My Safe Florida Home program to cover the 17,600 already submitted applications.

HB 5C – Supports Israel through expansion of state sanctions against Iran, the key supporter of the Hamas terror group that attacked Israel on October 7th. In bipartisan action, the legislature passed resolutions to show support for Israel and approved the bill targeting Iran. 

That bill will also expand a 2007 law that requires the State Board of Administration to divest from companies with links to Iran’s petroleum industry. The expansion includes industries and business in the financial, construction, manufacturing, and textile sectors. 

HB 7C — Provides $25 million to strengthen security at Jewish day schools and preschools and $20 million for the Division of Emergency Management to set up a nonprofit security grant program for organizations at a greater risk of hate crimes, violent attacks, and anti-Semitism.

HB 3C – Provides an increase in school vouchers available for students with disabilities. The bill is designed to temporarily eliminate the cap on participation in the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities. For more specific application information, click here.

Florida Increases Property Purchasing Oversight by Foreign Countries of Concern, Launches SecureFlorida for Property Registration

Last week, the SecureFlorida portal was launched to require foreign principals from countries of concern to register property. The registration requirements for foreign principals was created by SB 264 and was signed by Governor DeSantis in May. 

“Protecting Floridians and Florida’s infrastructure from agents like the Chinese Communist Party and other foreign adversaries is important to our state’s security,” said Governor DeSantis. “I am proud to have signed the strongest legislation in the nation to fight back against foreign influence.”

If a foreign principal owned or acquired an interest in real property before July 1, 2023, then the foreign principal must register the property by December 31, 2023. A foreign principal that fails to timely file a registration with FloridaCommerce is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 for each day the registration is late.

During Apprenticeship Week, Governor DeSantis Awards $14.4 Million to Expand Apprenticeship Opportunities in Florida

Last week, Governor DeSantis awarded $14.4 million through the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant (PCOG) to fund 57 proposals to start, expand or operate registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs at Florida school districts, colleges, state universities, and private training entities. The funding will support over 5,000 participants as they commit to receive on-the-job training and related classroom instruction simultaneously.

“Today’s awards help ensure Florida remains the national leader in developing a strong workforce and providing businesses with the talent they need to be successful,” said Governor DeSantis. “By investing in education and hands-on career experience, we empower individuals to achieve their full potential and support the continued economic prosperity of our state.”

To date, over $60 million has been awarded through PCOG with 253 proposals funded, over 11,000 participants served, and over 250 businesses supported.

To learn more about Florida’s apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, visit

Heavy Thanksgiving Traffic Forecasted on Florida Roads

Florida roads are expected to handle a near-record number of drivers from Wednesday, November 22nd thru Sunday, November 26th. According to AAA, 3.03 million Floridians will travel 50+ miles, mostly by car, topping pre-pandemic levels. 

Florida’s Department of Transportation provides real time updates on accidents, traffic back-ups, road and bridge closures, detours, construction zones, etc. on their app and online. Both methods are available here.

Florida’s Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles also encourages drivers to contact *FHP (*347) if you observe an impaired or aggressive driver or a driver needing vehicle assistance. For other safe holiday driving tips, click here.

November is Manatee Awareness Month

Please Be Aware of Manatees Seeking Warmer Water

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds all boaters and anglers that November is Manatee Awareness Month. This is a critical time for everyone on the water to be on the lookout for manatees as they navigate to warmer water.

The species seek water that is warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive the winter. Manatees travel to Florida springs, power plant discharge areas, and other warm-water sites during winter until the Spring.

Attempting to interact with manatees at these sites can cause them to swim out of protected areas and into potentially life-threatening cold water. Manatees are a protected species and it is illegal to harass, feed, disturb or harm them.

Boaters and watercraft operators can better spot manatees by wearing polarized glasses, going slow, and abiding by all manatee protection zones.

If you see an injured, distressed, sick, or deceased manatee, report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). Do not try to physically handle an injured or distressed manatee as you can cause more harm or put yourself at risk of serious injury. 

Senate Update

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo Inducted into Florida Women’s Hall of Fame

Florida’s Women’s Hall of Fame was created in 1982 to honor women who made significant contributions to the improvement of lives for women and all Florida citizens. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo was inducted on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

President Passidomo used her legal skills to help many civic, charitable, and business organizations to navigate the legal and governance structure for more than 40 years. She has served on many boards in her community including charitable organizations in addition to statewide boards.

She served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2016 and in the Florida Senate from 2016 to the present. Prior to her presidency, she served as Senate Majority Leader and as Chair of the Senate Rules Committee. She is the third woman in Florida history to serve as Florida Senate President.

Under her leadership, the Senate has passed historic legislation to support affordable housing, to expand Florida’s wildlife corridor and connect the corridor to the SUN Trail Network, allowing Floridians and visitors alike to further explore Florida’s beautiful natural environment. 

In her final years of service as Senate President, she has a robust agenda which will include expanding Florida’s healthcare system for all Florida residents as part of her Live Healthy Initiative. In addition, President Passidomo will focus on supporting public schools and minimizing burdensome regulations for the benefit of teachers, students, and families. 

Senate Committee on Pre-K–12 Education Offers Legislation to Support Neighborhood Public Schools

Last week, the Senate Committee on Pre-K–12 Education passed legislation to support neighborhood public schools, diminish government ‘red tape’ impacting educators and students, level the playing field in Florida’s educational system, and ensure parents remain the ultimate arbiter of performance.

SB 7000 enhances public school deregulation measures to provide local school districts with expanded authority on teacher certification, training, and salaries.

SB 7002 removes burdensome regulations on local school districts that have restricted and complicated administrative processes, facilities management, and financial requirements.

SB 7004 empowers school districts to enhance their own Pre-K programs, assessment standards, retention and graduation requirements, and instructional materials in a manner that best serves their community.

Empowering Floridians to Live Healthy

The Senate Committee on Health Policy held a workshop on innovative approaches to healthcare workforce shortages. As families, business owners, Veterans, and seniors relocate to Florida, it is important that we meet the healthcare needs of all Floridians.

Projections indicate the need to significantly increase the number of physicians and nurses in order to meet the increased demand for service due to a growing population. Rural communities have a greater demand for additional medical providers to avoid the the long travel distances necessary for treatment.

The overuse of emergency rooms for non-urgent services due to difficulty scheduling routine medical care also presents numerous problems which could be addressed by increasing the number of primary care physicians and specialists able to provide necessary healthcare services.

Constituent of the Week

Ms. Laurilee Thompson

Our Constituent of the Week is Ms. Laurilee Thompson, a fifth generation Floridian.

Ms. Thompson is a lifelong Brevard County resident tirelessly committed to Florida’s natural resources, including the Indian River Lagoon. She is the co-owner of Dixie Crossroads, a southern seafood restaurant in Titusville, with international name recognition, and a menu that features locally caught seafood.

Her background includes decades of involvement in commercial fishing and environmental advocacy. She started as a teenager running blue crab traps and gill-netting for mullet in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. 

She earned an Associate of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1974. She then captained a commercial long-line boat targeting swordfish and tuna in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Switching from surface gear to bottom gear in the early 1980s, she was a pioneer in the Gulf of Mexico longline grouper fishing industry. In 1987, she went to work in her family’s seafood restaurant where she remains today.

Outside of her responsibilities at Dixie Crossroads, Ms. Thompson serves as a Trustee for the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute, and as a board member of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Merritt Island Wildlife Association. She is an appointed member of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program Management Board, the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Citizen Oversight Committee, the City of Titusville FL Environmental Commission, and NOAA’s South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Ms. Thompson also served on the Brevard County Florida Tourist Development Council from 2000-2020 representing eco-tourism, and as the founder of the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.

She was recently honored as one of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s 2023 Restaurateurs of the Year. 

Ms. Thompson resides in Mims with what she refers to as “four very spoiled cats.”

In District 19, Ms. Thompson’s work to protect the Indian River Lagoon, and as an advocate for Florida’s commercial fishing and shrimping industries continues to be invaluable in the past, present, and for generations to come.   

District Highlights

Moms for Liberty Founders Win “Most Valuable Patriot Award” from Fox News

Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich, Co-founders of Moms for Liberty (M4L), won the “Most Valuable Patriot Award” at Fox Nation’s 2023 Patriot Awards last week in Nashville, Tennessee. Mrs. Justice and Mrs. Descovich are former school board members in Indian River County and Brevard County respectively. 

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and school closures, the rights of parents became center stage in local, state, and federal politics. As more parents and grandparents had unprecedented access to what their children were learning, a movement to protect children from age inappropriate content erupted and Moms for Liberty was founded. 

“We are accepting this on behalf of over 130,000 moms and dads across America. To our moms, in just under three years you have helped create over 300 chapters in 48 states. We know you are working to unify, educate and empower parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government,” Justice said after receiving the award. 

“We are joyful warriors. Our children are being taught to hate each other in school. There is no future for America with that type of hate, so we are going to fight like hell with a smile on our faces because our children are watching us, and it is a privilege to fight for this country.”

“Once we let the government get in between us and our children, our families are done. Our country is at risk. This is the line in the sand. Moms for Liberty, moms across the country have drawn that line because we do not co-parent with the government,” Descovich added.

Aging Matters in Brevard and Florida Power and Light (FPL) Partner to Provide 1,300 Thanksgiving Meals for Seniors

Aging Matters in Brevard and FPL collaborated to bring festive Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings to 1,300 clients through their Meals on Wheels Program. 

“We are incredibly thankful to count on the support of FPL to ensure our seniors enjoy a complete and nutritious Thanksgiving meal,” said Tom Kammerdener, President/CEO of Aging Matters.

Aging Matters in Brevard provides 1,300 seniors meals each day and through the partnership with FPL they will be able to uniquely upgrade the daily meals in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Aging Matters will also be providing 500 shelf-stable meals during the holiday break to even more vulnerable clients.  

Looking ahead, the organization is kicking off its “Share-The-Joy” Campaign. With a $30 donation a senior in our community will be fed for an entire week during the holidays. Donors who contribute will receive a holiday ornament designed by award winning local artist, Therese Furgeson. 

With a waiting list of over 380 seniors in need of services, community support for Aging Matters of Brevard is critical and genuinely appreciated. To participate in the “Share-The-Joy” Campaign, please click here

Brevard Schools Foundation Recognizes Employees of the Year

Last week, the Brevard Schools Foundation (BSF) celebrated 96 Brevard Public School “Employee of the Year” honorees. 

“All honorees embody the spirit of excellence and dedication that we celebrate in our education community…it’s inspiring to witness individuals who go above and beyond, making a lasting impact on our educational landscape,” said Janice Kershaw, President/CEO.

This six finalists were:

  • Kelli Szymanski, Clerk, Discovery Elementary School
  • Valerie L. Lance, Bookkeeper, Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School
  • Jessica Reed, Instructional Assistant, John F. Kennedy Middle School
  • Terri Bagby, Before & After School Coordinator, Quest Elementary School
  • Timothy Cannon, Foreman, Transportation Department
  • Ruth TeMaat, ESOL Instructional Assistant, Westside Elementary School

Ms. Terri Bagby, Before and After School Coordinator at Quest Elementary School, was named District Employee of the Year. 

Mrs. Bagby has spearheaded various programs, including Strings, the school garden, Science Saturdays, and the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). She also organized a successful summer program, providing valuable childcare services for working families and generating unrestricted revenue for the school.

Congratulations to Mrs. Bagby and all honorees and finalists.  

Eastern Florida State College Women’s Soccer Competed in the National Championship Tournament Finals

Eastern Florida State College women’s soccer team competed for the National Championship in the NJCAA Division I tournament against defending champions Iowa Western last Saturday in Wichita, Kansas. Unfortunately, the Lady Titans came up short in overtime with a 1-0 loss to Iowa Western.

Eastern Florida’s path to the national championship game included a 11-3-1 regular season, and wins over Barton Community College, Apache College, Tyler Junior College, and Arizona Western College.

EFSC shared a message for the team stating, “Congratulations on your incredible journey to the NJCAA Division I National Championship. Your hard work, resilience, and sportsmanship are truly commendable. We are proud of each and every one of you, you are champions in our hearts!”

ORCA in Vero Beach Conducts “A Day in the Life of the Indian River Lagoon” for Students

Every year, the Ocean Research of Conservation Association (ORCA) partners environmental professionals with local students for a lagoon-wide citizen science event called “A Day in the Life of the Indian River Lagoon.”

This year, over 2,000 students participated in large-scale citizen science efforts as part of this unique program. They learned hands-on field techniques to measure chemical, physical, and biological parameters including temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, and phosphate throughout the lagoon.

As an additional part of the project, schools have the opportunity to participate in a five-lesson enrichment curriculum supporting field monitoring events which prepare students for data collection and hands-on, real-world science career experience.

For more information on ORCA’s programs, click here.

Upcoming Events

16th Annual Trot Against Poverty 5K in Vero Beach

The 16th Annual Trot Against Poverty 5K, presented by Michael Pierce in memory of Kathie Pierce, will take place on Thursday, November 23rd from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Riverside Park (Riverside Park Drive) in Vero Beach.

The Thanksgiving Day community tradition features a 5K sanctioned race (run or walk), a ¼ mile kids’ race, and a free sweet potato pancake and sausage breakfast. There is a new race route for the professionally-timed race which organizers is perfect to accommodate runners, joggers, walkers, and trotters of all ages and abilities.

Registering online in advance is highly recommended due to anticipated space limitations and to receive a discount. To register early and view the full race day schedule, click here.

Race day on site registration is available and will begin at 6:00 a.m. and end promptly at 7:00 a.m.

Proceeds from the Trot Against Poverty 5K will benefit the United Against Poverty organization which serves to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency.

Opportunities for Free Thanksgiving Meals are Available
  • The Salvation Army (1080 Hickory Street) in Melbourne will provide a complimentary Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday, November 22nd at 12:00 p.m. Attendees will be served on a first come – first serve basis.  
  • The Daily Bread (815 East Fee Avenue) in Melbourne will be serving a free Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday, November 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • The Life Point Ministries Table of Grace Event will be held at the Titusville Civic Center (4220 S. Hopkins Avenue) in Titusville on Thursday, November 23rd from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is free of charge and dine-in, delivery, and take out options are available. Reservations are highly encouraged due to demand but are not required. To reserve your meal whether dine-in, delivery, or take out, please call 321-301-5832 or email [email protected]
Four Nights of Candlelight Shopping in Downtown Melbourne Begin November 25th

Melbourne Main Street will host activities for the next four Saturday nights beginning Saturday, November 25th. Events include a Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa Claus visit, street performers, extended local shopping hours, holiday decoration displays, entertainment, and special guests.

The Saturday, November 25th schedule includes the following:

3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. — Street closure from New Haven Avenue from the railroad tracks to Municipal Lane for the Tree Lighting Ceremony

5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. — Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Downtown Melbourne and on stage for photos

6:00 p.m. – A portion of A Christmas Carol will take place during the Tree Lighting Ceremony

6:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – Indialantic Chamber Singers Perform and will be strolling through downtown until 8:00 p.m.

Throughout the event, a toy donations will take place at the main stage and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

To learn more about the upcoming December 2nd, 9th, and 16th events taking place at Downtown Melbourne’s Main Street, click here. If you would like to sponsor or serve as vendor for upcoming events, send an email to [email protected] or call 321-724-1741.

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Contact Information

Melbourne Office 

900 East Strawbridge Avenue

Melbourne, FL 32901

(321) 409-2025

Tallahassee Office

400 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5019


Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Ian Nolan