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Date of Issue: January 11, 2007

Veteran monument again planned for Coquina Beach

The wheels of government may grind slowly but, eventually, sometimes, the grind does produce something worthwhile.

About five years ago, Bradenton Beach veterans Jim Kissick and the late Bob "Poppy" DeVane envisioned a memorial to those who served in the U.S. armed forces on Anna Maria Island. The plan then was to place a flagpole and small plaque at the top of Leffis Key, east of Coquina Beach at the highest point of land on the Island. Veterans would gather at honored dates each year for brief ceremonies, they thought, to remember their colleagues and proclaim patriotic praise, then disperse.

Manatee County officials initially offered no objections to the project. Audubon Society members then issued an unexpected salvo of objections, citing the problems a flagpole could present to migrating birds and the harm that rifle-salvos would present to wildlife in the area - despite the fact that no gun salutes had been offered or discussed.

Face-to-face with the fray, county commissioners backed away from the sortie, and the matter was dropped.

Now, though, newly elected County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, formerly mayor of Holmes Beach during the previous decline of the project, has entered the discussion, which has apparently become a non-issue.

In the meantime, a veterans memorial was installed at the butterfly garden in Holmes Beach.

The new location is just south of the high ground at Leffis Key, sited near a proposed multi-purpose marine rescue-law enforcement mini-complex planned by county officials. Exact location for the veterans monument is still in the works, as is the complex, but objections from birders have yet to come forward.

Kissick said he was pleased that the long-planned veterans monument would be built. Eventually.