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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Cocoa-Rockledge, FL You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
phone Call Now
 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

phone Call Now
 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Cocoa-Rockledge, FL that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Latest News in Cocoa-Rockledge, FL

Brightline up-to-79 mph train testing kicks off along 13 miles near Rockledge, Cocoa

Support local journalism. Unlock unlimited digital access to floridatoday.com Click here and subscribe today.By 9 a.m. Wednesday, a Brightline train — four linked pink-and-white passenger cars flanked by two yellow locomotives — waited motionless on the tracks just south of Viera Boulevard.Then the train started traversing a 13-mile rail corridor through the Rockledge...

Support local journalism. Unlock unlimited digital access to floridatoday.com Click here and subscribe today.

By 9 a.m. Wednesday, a Brightline train — four linked pink-and-white passenger cars flanked by two yellow locomotives — waited motionless on the tracks just south of Viera Boulevard.

Then the train started traversing a 13-mile rail corridor through the Rockledge and Cocoa areas, with plans to zip at speeds of up to 79 mph during the afternoon for a series of "signal and track cutover" test runs.

Brightline's 13-mile test corridor extends through 18 roadway crossings, leading northward from Ansin Road in Bonaventure to Camp Road in Sharpes. Flaggers will direct traffic at crossings while the test period lasts through 6 p.m. Saturday, as crews are also testing gates and traffic signals.

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"We're commissioning the track and also getting the signals timed. And so, we have the flaggers here — very important. They are making sure that traffic is stopped," Brightline spokesperson Katie Mitzner said, standing at a staging area near Dixon Boulevard and U.S. 1 in Cocoa.

"These flaggers are going to be out. They're going to be stopping traffic. So we just ask for everyone's patience. It's only going to take a matter of minutes for the train to pass through a crossing, from one end to the next. And then traffic can continue on their way," Mitzner said.

"So, keep safety front of mind. Never stop on the tracks. Don't drive around the gates. And only cross at a designated crossing."

Affected rail crossings during the up-to-79 mph testing period:

Sharpes

Camp Road, Canaveral Groves Boulevard.

City Point

Cross Road.

Cocoa

Cidco Road, Beau Geste Road, Michigan Avenue, Dixon Boulevard, West Highlands Drive, Peachtree Street, King Street (State Road 520), Rosa L. Jones Boulevard (Poinsetta Drive).

Rockledge

Barton Boulevard, Eyster Boulevard, Rinker Way, Gus Hipp Boulevard, Barnes Boulevard.

Bonaventure

Carver Road, Ansin Road.

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These up-to-79 mph test runs serve as a prelude to Brightline's 110 mph testing in Brevard, which Mitzner said may begin in January or February.

Engineers will conduct those 110 mph runs along three rail segments: one leading from Micco to Malabar; one leading through the Palm Bay-Melbourne area; and one leading through the Rockledge-Cocoa area.

Crews have now finished building 85% of Brightline's future rail corridor linking Orlando International Airport with South Florida, Mitzner said. The extensive construction campaign has involved 6.4 million manhours of labor, and more than 900 workers remain on the job.

Brightline expects to start carrying passengers next year.

The rail company is double-tracking the north-south Florida East Coast Railway corridor, which parallels U.S. 1, across Brevard from the St. Sebastian River northward into Cocoa. From there, trains will follow a new set of tracks paralleling State Road 528 westward to the Orlando airport.

Wednesday morning, a Brightline crew and media outlets assembled at a staging area at Dixon Boulevard and U.S. 1 before the train arrived — the train left West Palm Beach at roughly 3 a.m. Mitzner said engineers hoped to complete 10 Rockledge-Cocoa passes Wednesday at speeds up to 79 mph, along with additional slow-speed passes of 15 mph.

Brightline's up-to-79-mph train tests debuted in Brevard in July along a 9-mile stretch between Post Road in Melbourne and Barnes Boulevard in Rockledge.

Brightline to close Post Road crossing

Crews will close the railroad crossing at Post Road in Melbourne from 7 a.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Nov. 15.

Signs will detour eastbound traffic south on Croton Road and east on Parkway Drive to reach U.S. 1.

The westbound traffic detour will lead south on U.S. 1, west on Parkway Drive, and north on Croton Road to reach Post Road.

Rick Neale is the South Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @RickNeale1

Restaurant inspections: Eateries in Cocoa, Rockledge, Melbourne beach temporarily closed

For FLORIDA TODAYHmmm, what did Santa Claus bring Brevard County eateries in the runup to the holidays? Wonderful treats on the menus and lots of business, we hope.But if you think of the jolly old elf as an inspector from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants, he made a list, checked it twice and left coal in the stockings of three restaurants from...

For FLORIDA TODAY

Hmmm, what did Santa Claus bring Brevard County eateries in the runup to the holidays? Wonderful treats on the menus and lots of business, we hope.

But if you think of the jolly old elf as an inspector from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants, he made a list, checked it twice and left coal in the stockings of three restaurants from Nov. 10 through 25.

DeAngelo’s by the Sea, 5935 S. State Road A1A, Melbourne Beach, received an emergency order to close the restaurant Nov. 19, having been marked for 17 violations of state regulations, two of high priority: “Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found: approximately eight live roaches on prep table, approximately three live roaches on wine shelf;” and “Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found.”

It was the second time in three years that DeAngelo’s was closed, but it reopened the following day, having been found with only seven remaining violations.

Straight Outta Philly, 4657 U.S, 1, Rockledge, was shuttered Nov. 17, the inspector having marked it for, “Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. ... Operator is currently cleaning and disinfecting the areas.”

Three other high-priority violations also were noted:

• “Raw animal food stored over or with unwashed produce.”

• “Stop-sale issued on time/temperature control for safety food due to temperature abuse.”

• "Time/temperature control for safety food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit.”

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In all, 14 violations were uncovered at the cheesesteak specialist. It was found in compliance the same day it was inspected.

Monday was Straight Outta Philly's last day in Rockledge. The restaurant is in the process of moving to a new location at 4250 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne.

Kay’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q, 1552 W. King St., Cocoa, was closed Nov. 12, the second time in two years — the last in February, 2019 — that it received an emergency order. This time, the inspector marked it for 25 violations, seven of which were high priority, including “Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found” and:

• “Cooked/heated time/temperature control for safety food not cooled from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees Fahrenheit within six hours.”

• “Dishmachine chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength.”

• “Non-food-grade containers used for food storage, direct contact with food. Black trash bags in contact with frozen sausage in walk-in freezer.”

• “Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food.”

• “Toxic substance/chemical stored by or with single-service items.”

The inspector returned the following day to find Kay’s still not in compliance and so it remained closed until Nov. 13, when it was found to have had only eight violations, none of which involved insects.

Still, DBPR Claus did find things to celebrate, like eight establishments having been determined flawless. They are:

• The Matteson Group (Keke’s Breakfast Café), 1523 W. New Haven Ave., Melbourne

• Morning CCT, 3680 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach (food truck)

• Casa Coquina Del Mar, 4010 Coquina Ave., Titusville (bed and breakfast)

• Halftime Wings, 4513 S.R. 46, Mims (food truck)

• Cosmos Ice Cream, 1225 Florida Ave., Rockledge

• Lil Amy’s Cuisine, 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne (food truck)

• Beef O’Brady’s Port St. John, 3745 Curtis Blvd., Cocoa

• Cool Yeti, 870 Hollywood Blvd., West Melbourne (food truck)

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Administrative complaints were issued to Le Crave of Titusville, 2520-100 S. Washington St. (Nov. 24); Off the Traxx, 918 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne (Nov. 12); Pita Paradise, 225 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach (Nov. 10); and La Catrina Mexican Restaurant, 315 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach (Nov. 9).

Off the Traxx and Pita Paradise received their complaints, with time extensions, for, “No plan review submitted and approved; renovations were made or are in progress.”

La Catrina, on the other hand, was hit with 26 violations, including eight high-priority offenses:

• “Employee touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands. Food was not being heated as a sole ingredient to 145 degrees Fahrenheit or immediately added to other ingredients to be cooked/heated to the minimum required temperature to allow bare-hand contact.”

• “Food stored in ice used for drinks.”

• “Live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, food storage area and/or bar area.”

• “Raw animal food not properly separated from ready-to-eat food."

• “Raw animal foods not properly separated from each other in holding unit."

• “Stop-sale issued due to food not being in a wholesome, sound condition.”

Additional information for Le Crave was unavailable.

Restaurants with the most violations were

• Old Florida Grill & Oyster House, 5370 N. U.S. 1, Cocoa, 29

• La Catrina, 26

• Kay’s, 25

• Tequila Accent, 2725 Minton Road, West Melbourne, 24

• Captain J’s, 211 E. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach, 23

• Kelsey’s Pizza, 6811 N. U.S. 1, Cocoa, 21

• Green Tea, 1831 Palm Bay Road, Palm Bay; Harbor City Diner, 1630 S. Wickham Road, Melbourne; and El Sabor de Mi Pueblo, 1046 Dixon Blvd., Cocoa, 20 each

• Molly’s Seafood, 1580 E. Merritt Island Causeway, Merritt Island; and Beef O’Brady’s, 724 S. Patrick Drive, Satellite Beach, 19 each

Remember again that not all violations of DBPR rules are about dirt and vermin; some, like those noted in Off the Traxx and Pita Paradise, are technical. And sometimes, even reports of those nasty critters may be parts of bigger pictures, like migrations from neighboring businesses.

Regardless, if you notice violations of state cleanliness or hygiene standards, report them and DBPR will send inspectors. Call 1-850-487-1395.

Get the whole story at data.floridatoday.com/restaurant-inspections/brevard.

What does all that terminology in state restaurant inspections mean?

Basic violations are those considered against best practices.

A warning is issued after an inspector documents violations that must be corrected by a certain date or within a specified number of days from receipt of the inspection report.

An administrative complaint is a form of legal action taken by the division. Insufficient compliance after a warning, a pattern of repeat violations or existence of serious conditions that warrant immediate action may result in the division initiating an administrative complaint against the establishment. Says the division website. “Correcting the violations is important, but penalties may still result from violations corrected after the warning time was over.”

An emergency order — when a restaurant is closed by the inspector — is based on an immediate threat to the public. Here, the Division of Hotels and Restaurants director has determined that the establishment must stop doing business and any division license is suspended to protect health, safety or welfare of the public.

A 24-hour call-back inspection will be performed after an emergency closure or suspension of license and the establishment may reopen only after inspection shows that all high-priority violations that caused the suspension are corrected.

Join the conversation at facebook.com/groups/321flavorwherebrevardeats.

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Twisted Birch in Rockledge isn't closing; owner plans seafood restaurant in Cocoa

Thomas Bird wants to put the rumors to rest.No, Twisted Birch Sports Bar & Grill, the restaurant he and wife Jenn own in Rockledge, isn't going anywhere. And no, Turtle Creek Golf Club, where Twisted Birch resides, hasn't been sold.Yes, the Birds have a new project in the works. They're up to their elbows in renovation dust at the Cocoa Village restaurant formerly known as El Charro. By this fall, Thomas Bird said they plan to have Oyster Shooters Raw Bar & Grill up and running."There's no cas...

Thomas Bird wants to put the rumors to rest.

No, Twisted Birch Sports Bar & Grill, the restaurant he and wife Jenn own in Rockledge, isn't going anywhere. And no, Turtle Creek Golf Club, where Twisted Birch resides, hasn't been sold.

Yes, the Birds have a new project in the works. They're up to their elbows in renovation dust at the Cocoa Village restaurant formerly known as El Charro. By this fall, Thomas Bird said they plan to have Oyster Shooters Raw Bar & Grill up and running.

"There's no casual seafood place in the Village," he said. "I like the idea of oysters without the river-view prices. I don't want a stuffy place. I don't want to be an occasion place. I don't want you to feel like you have to wear a collared shirt to come inside."

But more on Oyster Shooters in a minute.

First, let's cover that Twisted Birch situation.

The future of Twisted Birch and Turtle Creek

In early July, gossip about the sale of Turtle Creek Golf Club lit up Rockledge community social media groups.

A notice on the Turtle Creek website addressed the rumor:

"As of July 6th, 2023, Turtle Creek Golf Club has not been sold. We are still open for play and plan to be for the foreseeable future," the post reads.

The notice goes on to say the family that has owned the course for more than 30 years plans "to begin the process of looking for a buyer." Once sold, the new owner will decide if the property will remain a golf course or if the land will be developed for other purposes.

"None of this will happen overnight and we will update our customers and keep the community informed if anything is made official," the post reads.

Bird said he has talked with his Twisted Birch landlord.

"He was mostly concerned with making sure I wasn't going anywhere," Bird said. "He's said pretty much we have at least two years."

The course isn't even listed for sale yet, he said. When it does sell, should the new owners decide they don't want the restaurant there, Bird said, Twisted Birch will be relocated, not closed.

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Oyster Shooters Raw Bar & Grill

Now on to the new venture.

Bird said he's always looking for new opportunities.

"My wife and I have been wanting to expand," he said. "I always wanted to do a seafood restaurant. Coming from Jersey, I like the atmosphere of seafood restaurants. I wanted to do it my way."

When El Charro Mexican Restaurant on Florida Avenue in Cocoa closed in December 2019, Bird was hesitant to take over the space. El Charro had been a part of Central Brevard dining for 34 years. He wasn't ready to replace an institution.

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Four years later, after another Mexican restaurant and an Irish pub opened and closed in the building, Bird felt the timing was right.

For the past few weeks, he and a crew of workers have been busy making cosmetic changes to the space. The colorful tables are being removed. The terracotta tile floors are being covered with driftwood-gray planks. The walls are getting fresh paint.

The facelift includes iridescent tiles that evoke mermaid scales along the front of the bar and clean, white tiles behind it.

The décor will hint at water without being overly nautical and cutesy.

The building's past won't be completely erased. The brick flooring that cuts a path through the main dining room will stay, as will the big, arched wooden doors.

Some restaurateurs might have been intimidated by the size of the building, but Bird is used to working with a big space. Twisted Birch holds just more than 200 people. Oyster Shooters will hold about 175 in the main dining room, bar, oyster bar, private banquet room and patio that will open off the bar.

Unlike Twisted Birch, which is a large and open, the distinct spaces at Oyster Shooters will give the place a cozier feel.

"I think atmosphere is everything," Bird said.

What's on the menu?

Bird is still working out the complete menu, but he already knows the restaurant's signature items: New Orleans-style charbroiled oysters and oyster shooters.

For the charbroiled version, oysters on the half shell will be topped with butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese and other seasonings, then run under a broiler until they're lightly charred and the briny, buttery flavors mix to perfection.

Oyster Shooters are made with Bloody Mary mix, vodka, cocktail sauce and horseradish with an oyster floating on top.

"We're working on our own Oyster Shooters Bloody Mary mix," Bird said.

There will also be a fresh catch, crab legs and a lobster tank. Digital screens at the entrance will display the day's market price, taking the guesswork out of how much certain dishes cost.

While the menu will primarily be seafood, it will also include a charbroiled steak and a house-made burger cooked to the diner's preferred temperature.

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When will it open?

Bird hopes to open by September, but he adds an "ish" to that. It's difficult to predict how long it will take to get everything up and running. Oyster Shooters should be welcoming customers sometime this fall, though.

He'll post regular updates on Facebook. He may have dispelled the rumors, but he wants the buzz to continue.

"I like to keep people's excitement up," he said.

He's confident enough time has passed since El Charro closed that Oyster Shooters will expunge its ghost. The cacti and sombreros outside the building will be removed, and he's working to get signs on both Brevard and Florida avenues so people can find the restaurant.

"We're just going to go for a calm, casual vibe. We don't want it to feel stuffy," he said. "We want to become the Village oyster house. We want people to crave the stuff we do."

Suzy Fleming Leonard is a features journalist with more than three decades of experience. Reach her at sleonard@floridatoday.com. Find her on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard.

Cocoa, Rockledge Highlight SCD–FNLR 2022 Brevard High School Football Preseason Top 7 Power Rankings

Prep Football Practice Starts Today; the First Day of the 2022 Regular Season Will Kickoff Aug. 26.BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Daily–Friday Night Locker Room 2022 Brevard County High School Football Preseason Top 7 Power Rankings are out and the Cocoa Tigers and Rockledge Raiders are once again projected to be the dominant programs on the Space Coast.The Space Coast Daily – Friday Night Locker Room principals and broadcast team have more than 100 years of experience co...

Prep Football Practice Starts Today; the First Day of the 2022 Regular Season Will Kickoff Aug. 26.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Daily–Friday Night Locker Room 2022 Brevard County High School Football Preseason Top 7 Power Rankings are out and the Cocoa Tigers and Rockledge Raiders are once again projected to be the dominant programs on the Space Coast.

The Space Coast Daily – Friday Night Locker Room principals and broadcast team have more than 100 years of experience covering youth and high school sports in Brevard County and this season’s coverage on Space Coast Daily TV will once again feature a dynamic broadcaster lineup.

Space Coast Sports Hall of Famers Steve Wilson and Orville Susong of the Friday Night Locker Room will once again bring you all the live action from the broadcast booth.

In addition, Tom Palermo, Jim Palermo, Giles Malone, Zach Clark, Juan Rodriguez, Jordan Rocco, Ron Lighthall, Daryl Durand, Matt O’Hern, Michael Malone, Gavin Keith, and Brian Dillon will anchor or produce play-by-play broadcasts this season.

Don’t miss these live sports broadcasts featuring cutting-edge coverage on the streaming Space Coast Daily TV, along with player interviews, replays, highlights, pre-game and post-game analysis, and much more!

2022 Brevard County High School Football Top 7 Power Ranking:

■ 1. Cocoa Tigers: The Tigers 2021 season was one for the books, to say the least. Cocoa finished with a 13-3 overall record, a perfect 8-0 home record and punched a to the state championship where they only lost by a small margin.

Of course like every other team, several seniors moved on to the next level, but that shouldn’t be a problem with this talented roster.

The offense will be looking to re-create an offensive identity this season with players like OJ Ross, Davin Wydner, and Robinson all moving on.

Some new talent transferred in this off-season to speed that process up with new players like 4-star receiver Day-Day Farmer, quarterback Blake Boda, and adding former Holy Trinity Tigers head coach Nate Hooks to the coaching staff.

With a defense led by Ohio State Commit Cedrick Hawkins, D’Andrevius Dorsey, and Samadrae Hawkins to name a few, the Tigers could be looking at another special season in 2022

■ 2. Rockledge Raiders: Rockledge had an exceptional 2021 season, finishing 9-3 overall and making it to the second round of the playoffs. Last season the Raiders had a lot of young talent who were showing flashes and establishing an identity as a team. Now with that experience and chemistry, you can expect a significant leap from the previous year.

The Raiders offense will lose a leader in wideout Rian Black who went onto Coastal Carolina, but Rockledge immediately filled that void with former Satellite Scorpions star receiver transferring in the offseason.

Adding that to a roster with players like Florida Gators commit Bryce Lovett, 4-star Jaylen Heyward, Traven Green, and arguably the top defense in the county. This team could be the most talented overall when it’s all said and done.

The culture Coach Wayne Younger has established at Rockledge will continue to keep his team in the mix for the top spot.

■ 3. Melbourne Bulldogs: The Melbourne Bulldogs took the county by storm with the season they had in 2021. Rightfully earning them the number three spot in the power ranking.

Led by Head Coach David Kintigh the Bulldogs finished the season 11-3 overall and made it to the third round of the playoffs for the first time in years.

Quarterback Hunter Turner took his game to another level in 2021 finishing with nearly 3,000 yards, 25 touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 108. Entering his senior year with a season like that under his belt, the sky is the limit for this offense.

They should be able to pick up right where they left off with some key contributors such as Kody Black and James Hinds returning along with the young upcoming talent.

■ 4. Eau Gallie Commodores: The Commodores are coming off an underwhelming season in 2021 finishing with a 3-7 record. The season prior, Eau Gallies lost nearly most of their team due to graduating seniors resulting in one of the youngest rosters in the county which could be the reasoning behind their down season.

Commodores Coach Sands has established a foundation at Eau Gallie High School which tends to get the most out of their players.

Towards the end of the season, you could really see how much the talent has developed. The combination of rising talent, Miami Hurricanes commit Robert Stafford, 4-star linebacker Timajay Hayes, and two talented quarterbacks.

The Commodores are bound to turn heads in 2022.

■ 5. Satellite Scorpions: One word can describe the Scorpion’s offseason: change. That’s something the program dealt with as they prepared for this upcoming season. Coming off arguably the best football season in school history, former Head Coach Ted Kimmey stepped down which led to two more leadership changes.

The 2022 Scorpions will be led by first-year head coach Brian Helton who most recently served as Merritt Island Mustangs’ defensive coordinator.

Although, the team lost some depth with seniors graduating and star receiver Eddie Combs heading to Rockledge. The Scorpions still have a strong competitive roster.

Satellite finished as a top 5 defense in the county in 2021 with players such as Mason Bryant and Ben Morrow excelling. Those two defensive leaders return and will continue to lead, develop and create havoc against teams under defensive-minded Coach Brian Helton.

Former Eau Gallie Commodores quarterback Mark Hinkell transferred to Satellite for his senior season after a strong 2021 campaign.

Despite the change, Satellite High School’s program should remain in the mix and continue to be a team to keep an eye on in the power rankings.

■ 6. Merritt Island Mustangs: Merritt Island enters the 2022 season coming off a remarkable Cinderella season. It’ll be very difficult to match finishing state runner-up or 11-2 again.

But, I don’t expect the fall off for Merritt Island to be as drastic as some may think. Yes, the Mustangs lost most of their seniors, including Space Coast Daily–Friday Night Locker Room Player of the Year Brady Denaburg and Coach Hurlie Brown.

The Mustang’s foundation and formula to success have been installed, and former offensive coordinator and new head Coach Tyler Murray will look to continue what they started.

Across the board, Merritt Island is still loaded with talent and still has returning players from the state championship runner-up team like Dallas Donahue, Sean Mayo and Elijah Edwards to name a few.

Time will tell, and this new look Merritt Island team will need to prove they’re still a top team and not just a one-hit-wonder.

■ 7. Palm Bay Pirates: The Pirates are coming off their first season following a regime change. Palm Bay enters the new season under second-year head coach Jake Owen.

In 2021 the team finished 4-6, which isn’t the worst considering this team was in the process of establishing an identity and creating a foundation.

As the Pirates move forward, you can keep an eye on players like quarterback Zach Emory-Foster, Octavian Osby, and 3-star defensive end Daniel Harris to take the next step and start making noise in the county once again.

JUST MISSED THE CUT:

Bayside Bears

Viera Hawks

Heritage Panthers

The Space Coast Daily team brings you the very best Brevard County news and sports coverage. This is the fourth decade of high school sports coverage for the principals of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room.

In 1997, Dr. Jim Palermo, now Editor-in-Chief of Space Coast Daily, and Tom Palermo, now Space Coast Daily president and publisher, called the first-ever Brevard County high school football game on the radio.

From 1997 through 2000, the Palermo brothers called high school football action on WMEL and below is a clipping promoting the broadcasts out of the August 26, 1999 edition of Space Coast Press newspaper, which was owned and published by Tom Palermo. Gannett purchased the Press from Palermo in July 2000.

“One of the most memorable moments during those years was when we broadcast the Palm Bay – Dillard 2000 state championship game back to Brevard from the Swamp in Gainesville,” said Jim Palermo.

Dan Burke’s Palm Bay Pirates defeated Dillard 10-6 to win the 6A title that year.

The Palermo’s turned over the reins of the broadcasts to the Friday Night Locker Room team beginning in 2001. Since then, the Friday Night Locker Room hasn’t missed a beat as Steve Wilson and Orville Susong begin their 20th full season broadcasting prep sports on the Space Coast.

In 2012, Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room forged a partnership to bring Brevard County one-of-a-kind comprehensive, cutting-edge multimedia youth and high school sports coverage, including football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, wrestling, bowling and more.

Ever the innovators, the Space Coast Daily – Friday Night Locker Room team provided Space Coast sports fans the first web live streams and Facebook Live play-by-play action and are dedicated to being the preeminent purveyor of multimedia sports coverage on the Space Coast for many years to come.

Space Coast Daily excels across all mediums, including social media, the web, print and grassroots events, such as the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, which Space Coast Daily founded in 2011.

Cocoa wins Barbecue Bowl, Holy Trinity suffers first loss

ROCKLEDGE Cocoa High overcame a fiery Rockledge start on a windy night at McLarty Stadium for a 20-14 Barbecue Bowl win.The Tigers improved to 8-1 heading into their bye week. They'll host a Class 4A regional playoffs game on Nov. 19. Rockledge, now 8-2, will play a 5A regional quarterfinal on the road in a week.After an L.J. Watkins run from the 3 opened the scoring for the Raiders midway through the first quarter, a short Cocoa punt gave the ball back to the home team just 37 yards from the end...

ROCKLEDGE Cocoa High overcame a fiery Rockledge start on a windy night at McLarty Stadium for a 20-14 Barbecue Bowl win.

The Tigers improved to 8-1 heading into their bye week. They'll host a Class 4A regional playoffs game on Nov. 19. Rockledge, now 8-2, will play a 5A regional quarterfinal on the road in a week.

After an L.J. Watkins run from the 3 opened the scoring for the Raiders midway through the first quarter, a short Cocoa punt gave the ball back to the home team just 37 yards from the end zone.

More Week 11:Astronaut, Heritage, Melbourne get rivalry wins; 3 postponed

2021:Complete Schedule & Results for Brevard County

But the Tigers defense did not allow a score, and Cocoa steadily marched the other direction to tie the game at 7 on an O.J. Ross 1-yard scoring run. The Tigers forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and a Davin Wydner scoring pass to Donte Cook put Cocoa ahead for good, 2:20 before halftime.

On the drive, Cocoa converted a fourth-and-9 to set up the go-ahead score.

Ross capped a 45-yard Tigers possession with a 3-yard run in the third to make it 20-7. Rockledge had a chance early in the fourth to draw within one score but again couldn't put the ball in the end zone.

The Raiders eventually scored again when Watkins crossed from the 3 with 4:41 to play.

Father Lopez 35, Holy Trinity 0

In Daytona Beach, the Tigers experienced their first loss of the season, falling to 9-1 before the playoffs begin next week.

Jackson Oldham rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns for the Green Wave, including an 85-yarder in the third quarter.

The game had been postponed by weather Friday night.

Contact McCallum at bmccallum@floridatoday.com. Follow @321preps on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to FLORIDA TODAY.

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