Monthly Archives: January 2017

Fishing – 10-26-2011

Cooler weather treats fishers to mack attack


The fall bite continues with an abundance of the usual suspects we expect to find this time of year. Spanish mackerel and kingfish are ravaging bait schools around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the macks are easy to find most everywhere.

Pier fishers hoping for a mack bite are traveling to bait shops far and near in search of anything silver with a hook attached to it to catch these migratory fish. Silver spoons, Gotcha plugs — even a piece of a white drinking straw threaded over a long shank hook — are working to get the bite.

These fish are here and they’re hungry. Don’t miss out on this fast-action drag-screaming run of mackerel. Put your tackle to the test and see how many macks you can catch in a day.

On the flats, trout and redfish are the mainstay, while catch-and-release snook are a little bonus. Most of the spotted sea trout are small. You have to weed through them to get a keeper-size fish. Luckily, there are bluefish and ladyfish on the flats to keep you busy in between trout hookups.

Schools of reds are still cruising the shallow flats of Sarasota Bay, pushing a copper wake across the surface of the water. These schools include slot-size fish as well as big breeders of 35 inches or bigger.

Gold spoons and Berkley Gulp shrimp are the ticket for a hookup. If you see a school in the early morning, try a top-water plug and hang on for some explosive surface action.

Catch-and-release snook action is good along the mangrove edges in southern Tampa Bay. Most fish are in the 20-inch range or smaller. Live whitebait pitched to the edges of the mangroves will get the bite.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing a good variety of fish being caught as a result of the passing cold front. Pier fishers are using an array of baits to attract the bite. White crappie jigs or live shiners with a long shank hook are resulting in Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle. Kilb feels the large amount of bait fish around the pier are attracting these high-activity fish.

When the bait becomes abundant like this, the schools become balled up just away from the pier. Try casting to present your bait to the outer edges of the schools. When these fish are feeding, they swipe through the ends of the schools looking for a meal. If they see bait that “sticks out” or appears irregular, they typically eat that first.

If you’re trying to catch dinner, try targeting redfish, black drum and sheepshead under the pier. By drifting a live shrimp or small crab under the pier, you stand a chance of catching one of these tasty species. “I caught a sheepshead that weighed 5 pounds on a live shrimp a couple of days ago,” says Kilb. “I thought it was a whopper mangrove snapper, but then I saw the stripes.”

When targeting any of these species, try using a small stout hook. You can conceal the hook in the bait efficiently. Plus, sheepshead have a boney mouth, so strong hooks result in fewer bent hooks when you’re removing them from the fish’s mouth. Finally, you never know when you might hook a big red or black drum. In either case, that strong hook will stand up to a larger fish.

Jonny Keyes at Island Discount Tackle says before the cold front brought high winds and surf, he was having good results fishing along the beach. Keyes is using a Gotcha plug to catch macks, jack crevalle and ladyfish. Keyes says sometimes the bait schools are farther out, which is why he likes using Gotcha plugs. “They have enough weight so you can cast them out far, where these fish are feeding,” says Keyes.

If you can find structures along the beach, Keyes says you can target flounder, using a live shiner or live shrimp fished on the bottom. Keyes uses artificial baits for these flatties. “The first thing I grab is a Berkley Gulp shrimp,” says Keyes. “Those flounder go crazy for them.”

From the grass flats of Anna Maria Sound, Keyes is hearing reports of good action on catch-and-release snook. Spotted sea trout and redfish are producing a good bite on the same flats. Live shiners or shrimp are the ticket if you’re using live bait. For artificials, Keyes suggests a top-water plug in the morning or plastic jig for the remainder of the day.

Before the front, offshore fishers were reporting good numbers of gag grouper and mangrove snapper. For both species, frozen sardines or live shiners fished on a 1/2-ounce jig head were effective. Keeper-size gags and mangrove snapper up to 5 pounds are being caught in depths starting around 80 feet.

Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime fishing charters says fishing is heating up as the fish prepare for the winter season ahead.

He’s been targeting redfish on the edges of flats and in potholes, and says the kingfish and Spanish mackerel bite has been good off the beaches, in the passes around Egmont Key and around the artificial reefs.

“Having a live well full of assorted-sized baits helps fire up the bite,” says Howard. He suggests looking for the diving birds to get an idea of where to start your day.

Capt. Warren Girle managed to get in a couple of nearshore charters before the cold front, and found nonstop action, including kingfish, bonito, Spanish mackerel and shark. Girle is looking around nearshore structures to locate these migratory fish. Once the fish are located, Girle also likes to chum and start up a feeding frenzy with live white bait. Once the fish are “boiling on chummers behind the boat,” he casts a live bait out on a long shank hook. When the fish are feeding like this, chumming is both effective and exciting. Most of the time your bait will get eaten within seconds of landing in the water.

Also around nearshore structures, Girle is catching mangrove snapper in the 18-inch range by bottom fishing with live shiners at a reef infested with goliath grouper. “You need to reel your snapper up quick,” warns Girle. “Or the goliath will swallow them whole.”

In Sarasota Bay, Girle is finding redfish in sandy potholes on shallow grass flats, using a knocker rig with a live shiner and casting the potholes. “We’re averaging four or five fish per hole,” says Girle. “Up to 32 inches.”

On the deeper flats, Girle is catching Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and bluefish using plastic jigs and subsurface plugs. He suggests looking for diving birds to locate these fish.

Jeff Medley at the south bait shop on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Fishing Piers says he can see kingfish skyrocketing in the schools of baitfish as he’s looking out the window of the bait shop. Kingfish in the 10-15 pound range are being caught on larger baits such as blue runners and legal-size Spanish mackerel. Pier fishers targeting macks are having kingfish hit their catch as they reel it in.

For the macks, Gotcha plugs are the bait of choice. Most fish are ranging 3-4 pounds with an occasional bigger fish mixed in. Live bait fishers are catching Spanish mackerel using greenbacks on a long shank hooks rigged under a popping cork.

Gag grouper are still on the menu for pier fishers using large baits, such as grunts and blue runners. Free lining a bait to the structure just away form the pier is a sure way to hook up with one of these hungry gags. Most pier fishers using this method to target gags are using a stiff boat rod combined with a 4/0 Penn Senator spooled with anywhere from 50-pound to 80-pound mono. Heavy tackle like this gives you a chance to pull those big grouper out of the rocks before they hang you up. Once you get them away from the rocks, you’re in the clear.

Send fishing reports to

The Islander Classifieds: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011


DAY SPA/SALON equipment for sale. Stand dryer, manicure table, microderm machine, permanent makeup machine and electric treatment bed. Call for information, 941-746-8448.

TWO-SEATER COUCH:  Multi-colored, excellent condition, $60. 941-224-2305.

LCD COMPUTER MONITOR: 17-inch, $55. 941-756-6728.

CHINA CLOSET: GLASS doors, 44×78-inch, pecan color, $95, matching cocktail table, $40. 941-778-4793.

SOFABED: CONVERT TO queen-size, three cushions wide, $80. 941-778-4793.

TOMMY ARMOUR GOLF clubs. Two through pitching wedge, two putters, leather bag, $40. 941-779-2801 or 941-448-5752.

KITCHEN TABLE WITH four chairs, great condition, $75. 941-778-3920.

MARY KAY COSMETICS: Full line at discounted prices. Jenifer, 941-224-1760, 941-739-0792.

ANTIQUE COPPER POTS and bowls, collection $350. Burl-wood rocker, oak office chairs, collectibles.  View at The Islander store, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

ORIGINAL, LOCAL ART for sale. View at The Islander store, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

AERIAL PHOTOS of Anna Maria Island. View and purchase online:


Individuals may advertise up to three items, each priced $100 or less, 15 words or less. FREE, one week, must be submitted online. E-mail, fax toll-free 1-866-362-9821. (limited time offer)


GLORIA DEI LUTHERAN Church: All are welcome to come and worship with us! Please call 941-778-1813 or visit us at: for worship times. 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

HAITI $$$ DONATIONS to the Ministry of Presence Inc.,, urgently needed for local representatives to aid homeless children. Info: The Islander, 941-778-7978.

TERRY HAYES, REALTOR. Signature Sothebys International. 941-302-3100.

MICHAEL NORTHFIELD: BROKER, Anna Maria Island Realty, 941-713-0284. E-mail: Your personal broker.

WANTED: YOUR OLD cell phone for recycling. Deliver to The Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

FISHING GEAR WANTED: The Privateers and The Islander are collecting new or used, repairable fishing poles and reels, nets, tackle, buckets, etc. to give to children. Donate your gear at The Islander newspaper office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

FREE GUN LOCK courtesy of Project Childsafe, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Holmes Beach Police Department. Pick up at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Don’t be sorry, be safe.


ESTATE SALE: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28. 217 Chilson Ave., Anna Maria. Rattan sofa, loveseat, coffee and end tables, dry sink, wicker chairs, beautiful carved birds, nautical items including Jacob’s ladder, box, hatch cover, coffee and dinette tables, Victorian chests, trestle table and benches, pair of twin cannonball beds, school clock, matching sofa, loveseat and recliner, bookcase, double bed and chest, golf clubs, fishing equipment, kitchenware and more. Also late additions. Sale conducted by Palma Sola Sales. Numbers given out at 8 a.m.


ROSER THRIFT SHOP: Open 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 511 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. 941-779-2733.

GARAGE SALE: 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Furniture, pictures, fixtures, etc. 102 Seventh St. S., Bradenton Beach.

YARD SALE:  7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28-29. Loads of really great stuff including sofas and furniture. 529 and 531 69th St., Holmes Beach.

MOVING SALE: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Household items, furniture, frames, sporting equipment, books, toys and more. 505 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

GARAGE SALE: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. Furniture and appliances. 203 75th St., Holmes Beach.

YARD SALE: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Sofa bed, china, crystal, TV, microwave, linens. 622 Foxworth Lane, Holmes Beach. Key Royale.

GARAGE/COLLECTIBLE SALE: 9 am.-3 pm. Saturday, Oct. 29. Rain date Nov. 5. Raggedy Ann lot, Mackie Barbie dolls, winter silhouettes, Bessie Gutmann, antique bowl and pitcher, Pack and Play, plus-size clothing, Christmas decorations, linens, quality paperbacks, free stuff, miscellaneous. 106 77th St., Holmes Beach.


LOST: WEDDING RING, Holmes Beach near 29th Street access, Oct. 3. Reward. 317-506-3627.

LOST: GOLD EARRING AT Publix or Ace Hardware, Holmes Beach. Sunday, Oct. 9. 715-529-8965.


MOBILE DOG GROOMING: Low prices, why pay more? Call for quote, 941 795-0303 or 941 224-8655.

PARENTS NEEDED for loving homes to foster puppies and kittens until they are old enough for adoption. All food and medical provided. Julie, 941-720-1411.

‘HONEYPIE’: DOG AVAILABLE for adoption. One-year-old ‘coonhound.’ Beautiful and kind. Spayed/shots/chip. 941-345-2441. for pictures.


RECONDITONED CLUB CAR golf carts starting at $1,995. Custom options available, including street-legal. Call Keith Dunker at Jenkins Carts, 863-682-6151 or e-mail: for information.


WANT TO BUY: Tandem kayak, used, good shape with paddle. Call 941-524-0660.


ASSISTANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR at AMI Community Center. 20-25 hours/week. Help with all game day events: Referee, coach, scoreboard and statistics. Outgoing personality. Organized and punctual. Word, Excel and Publisher a MUST. Professional attire and demeanor. Knowledge of a variety of sports. Comfortable running tryouts, camps and practices. Other duties as needed. $7.50-$9/hour depending on experience/qualifications. E-mail resumes to

NAIL TECH NEEDED at new Island spa and boutique on Bridge Street. Turning appointments down daily. Call Amanda, 941-779-6836.

FULL-TIME JOURNALIST WANTED: Seeking new journalism grad or experienced reporter. Work in paradise for the newspaper ranked No. 1 in the state by the Florida Press Association. E-mail letter of interest/resume:

SALES ASSOCIATE: MOTIVATED, experienced real estate licensee for busy Island office. Please call Jesse or Robin at 941-778-7244.


LOCAL ISLAND STUDENT babysitter available. CPR and first aid-certified, early childhood development major. Emily, 941-567-9276.

BABIES, PETS AND PLANTS: Responsible, trustworthy, fun and reliable 16-year old. Own transportation. 941-447-9658.

KIDS FOR HIRE ads are FREE for up to three weeks for Island youths under 16 looking for work. Ads must be placed in person at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.


LET US DRIVE YOU! Airports, cruise ports. Flat rates. Anna Maria Sunshine Car Service. 941-778-5476.

PROFESSIONAL I.T. SERVICES: Complete computer solutions for business and home. Installation, repair, upgrade, networking, Web services, wireless services. Richard Ardabell, network engineer, 941-778-5708, or cell 216-509-1945.

TOASTED COMPUTER SERVICES. Your home and business specialist. On-site service, virus/spyware, cleanup, system setup, upgrades, diagnosis and repair, internet/wireless networking, custom system design. 941-224-1069.

I DON’T CUT corners, I clean corners. Professional, friendly cleaning  service since 1999. 941-778-7770. Leave message.

HOUSE CLEANING BY Laura. Excellent references. One house, 2BR/2BA, $50. 941-539-6891.

WILDLIFE REMOVAL and relocation: Problem solving for all animals, big and small. Call Joe, Westcoast Nuisance Wildlife Service. 941-720-4152.

ISLAND PLUMBING AND Pressure Washers: Professional, reasonable rates. Services include repairing, replacing plumbing, issues including draining, cleaning snaking pipes. Pressure washing houses, trailers, driveways, pools, white-tile roofs. Free estimate, Bill or Rip, 941 896-6788.

TRANSPORT SERVICE: LET me drive you to the airport or anywhere in Florida. Flat rates. Reasonable. Call Mike, 941-567-6634.

COMPANION/CARETAKER: LOVING, compassionate, reliable. Great references. 941-705-0706.

ISLAND DOGS GROOMING: $10 off first groom. Salon, home groom, pickup/delivery, pet sitting. Certified groomer. Call 941-778-1202.

TUTORING SERVICES: Specializing in algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry and science. Special needs students welcome. Grades 3-12. Rick, 941-224-4977.

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS JD’s Window Cleaning looking for storefront jobs in Holmes Beach. Free estimates, references. 941-920-3840.

ISLAND MERMAIDS CLEANING and Co.: Gift certificates! 36 years of happy customers. Organizing, pet-watch, storm-check, etc. Rentals our specialty. 941-778-3046.

BEACH SERVICE air conditioning, heat, refrigeration. Commercial and residential service, repair and/or replacement. Serving Manatee County and the Island since 1987. For dependable, honest and personalized service, call William Eller, 941-795-7411. CAC184228.

ANYONE CAN TAKE a picture. A professional creates a portrait. I want to be at your wedding! 941-778-2711.

RELAXING MASSAGE IN the convenience of your home or hotel. Massage by Nadia, more than 19 years on Anna Maria Island. Call today for an appointment, 941-518-8301. MA#0017550.MA#0017550.

GUITAR TROUBLE? KOKO RAY’S ISLAND studio. Instruction in flute, saxophone, guitar, piano and voice. 315 58th St., Holmes Beach, 941-538-8724.


CONNIE’S LANDSCAPING INC. Residential and commercial. Full-service lawn maintenance, landscaping, cleanups, hauling and more! Insured. 941-778-5294.

ISLAND LAWN SPRINKLER service and repair. Your complete irrigation repair company. Call 941-778-2581.

JR’S LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE Lawns, native plants, mulching, trimming, hauling, cleanups. Island resident 25 years. Call 941-807-1015.


STRAIGHT SHOT LANDSCAPE. Shell installed $45/yard at true specifications. Free appliance pick up. Call Shark Mark. 941-301-6067.

KARAZ LANDSCAPE LAWN service. Mulch, clean ups, power washing, tree trimming and more. 941-448-3857 or 941-448-5207.

SHELL DELIVERED AND spread. Premium grade-A, $45/yard B-grade, $30-$40/yard. Hauling all kinds of gravel, mulch, top soil with free estimates. Call Larry at 941-795-7775, “shell phone” 941-720-0770.

NATURE’S DESIGN LANDSCAPING. Design and installation. Tropical landscape specialist. Residential and commercial. 30 years experience. 941-729-9381, 941-448-6336.

NURSERY QUALITY GARDEN Care and maintenance. Hand weeding, trimming, cleanup, plant installation. Certified horticultural professional. Call Joan, 941-704-9025.

TOP NOTCH LAWN Care: Residential and commercial. For all your landscaping needs. 941-932-6600.


VAN-GO PAINTING residential/commercial, interior/exterior, pressure cleaning, wallpaper. Island references. Bill, 941-795-5100.

TILE -TILE -TILE. All variations of ceramic tile supplied and installed. Quality workmanship, prompt, reliable, many Island references. Call Neil, 941-726-3077.

CUSTOM REMODELING EXPERT. All phases of carpentry, repairs and painting. Insured. Meticulous, clean, sober and prompt. Paul Beauregard, 941-730-7479.

GRIFFIN’S HOME IMPROVEMENTS Inc. Handyman, fine woodwork, countertops, cabinets and shutters. Insured and licensed, 941-748-4711.

JERRY’S HOME REPAIR: Carpentry, handyman, light hauling, pressure washing. Jack of all trades. Call 941-778-6170 or 941-447-2198.

SOUTHBAY HOME REPAIRS: If it’s broken, stuck, loose, leaks, needs paint, etc. I’ll fix it. Affordable quality work. 941-720-2906.

FOREMOST FENCE: Commercial, Residential. Chain link, vinyl, aluminum, wood, access control. Contractors you can depend on. Call 941-748-2700.

J.E. MURRAY: ESTABLISHED Island builder. New homes, remodeling. 30-year resident. Call 941-778-2316 or 941-730-3228.

PAUL FREY PAINTING, pressure wash, custom interior and exterior painting. Insured, 20 years experience. 941-224-8786.

JUS ROMEO: INSURED, affordable, experienced. House painting, pressure washing, handy work. Free estimate. Call Justin, 941-224-0344.


WEEKLY/MONTHLY/ANNUAL rentals: wide variety, changes daily. SunCoast Real Estate, 941-779-0202, or 1-800-732-6434.

HOLMES BEACH BUSINESS Center. Rental units available for office/commercial spaces from 750-2,000 sf. Humidity-controlled mini-storage units and garage units, 11 x 22 feet. 5347 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-778-2924.

HOLIDAY/VACATION RENTALS: 3BR/2BA private pool home in northwest Bradenton, 3BR/3BA private pool home in Palma Sola, west Bradenton. No annuals. Call 941-794-1515.

VACATION RENTAL WATERFRONT 2BR/2BA, DOCK, pool, sunroom, laundry, annual-seasonal. 941-779-9074.

ANNUAL RENTAL: LONGBOAT Key, Twin Shores mobile home, 55-plus, private beach, 2BR/1BA. Call Karen, 813-377-6864.

1BR/1BA GROUND-FLOOR CONDO. 55-plus, pool, fishing pier. $1,600/month for three months, $1,300/month for six months and $1,100/month, annual. 813-681-7229.

ANNA MARIA SEASONAL rental: 2BR/1BA, washer and dryer, close to beach and fishing pier. Call 941-720-2418.

ANNUAL 1BR/1BA DUPLEX: Near beach, Anna Maria. $850/month includes water/trash. 941-778-7003.

LARGE REMODELED 2BR/1BA, garage and deck. Walk to beach. $1,200/month plus utilities. No pets. First, last and security. 941-779-2131.

3BR/3BA: NEW CANALFRONT, pool garage, beach three minutes, boat dock, extra. Starting $1,250/week. Also 2BR/2BA pool, garage, 75 yards to beach, starting $900/week. Call Jo Catolica, director, 269-760-9753, or Mike Sakellarides, 514-390-5050. Facebook: Palm Pelican.

ANNUAL RENTAL: PERICO Bay Club, gated, 2BR/2BA, enclosed lanai, 1,435 sf, carport, guest parking, pool, tennis, new clubhouse, negotiable, 603-969-6840.

GULFFRONT VACATION RENTAL: 2BR/1BA, sunset dining. Winter visitors call for rates. $150/night, three-day minimum. Contact Mary Ann, 863-660-3509.

LOCAL PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS owners with exceptional rental references looking for 2BR/2BA home on Anna Maria. Trying to sell your house? No problem, we’ll take excellent care of it. 941-713-8070

SEASONAL OR WEEKLY cottage-style rentals. 1BR/1BA or 55-plus 2BR/1BA with pool. Walk to beach, shopping, restaurants. 941-778-3426. Web site


DIRECT GULFFRONT: 146 feet on the beach. 3BR/4.5BA, office recreation room, spa, pool, outdoor kitchen and theater, elevator, turnkey furnished. $3,750,000. Suncoast Real Estate, 941-779-0202 or 941-720-0288.

NEW UPGRADED CONDOS: Minutes to beach, annual, seasonal, $140,000-plus. Special financing available. 941-773-0212. Taylor Morrison at Palma Sola Trace.

PRIME BAYFRONT LOT with a sandy beach! $699,000. Owner will finance. Call Sato Real Estate, 941-778-7200.

The Islander Newspaper E-Edition: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011

Rescuers get heroes’ reception




The adjectives flowed in the Holmes Beach City Hall commission chambers Oct. 12, when local mayors honored the six friends who rescued C.J. Wickersham, 21, of Longboat Key, from the Gulf of Mexico after a bull shark ripped open his leg.

The gathering, organized by Islander publisher Bonner Joy, brought mayors Jim Brown of Longboat Key, Mike Selby of Anna Maria, Bob Bartelt of Bradenton Beach and Rich Bohnenberger of Holmes Beach to the podium to praise “C.J.’s Heroes” and dedicate Oct. 12 to their heroics.

“You are remarkable people,” Bohnenberger, a retired firefighter, told Wickersham’s rescuers — Oceanna Beard, Connor Bystrom, Kiera Dunn, Max Gazzo, Katie Mattas and Lee White.

They were seated in the first row of seats in the chambers.

Behind them, parents, grandparents, siblings and Island well-wishers delivered applause with each mayoral statement.

“I want to thank all of you for saving one of our citizens of Longboat Key,” Brown said.

“It’s such a wonderful thing that you did,” he added.

“Congratulations,” said Bartelt, also a retired firefighter.

“Your reaction was exemplary,” he continued. In the face of real adversity, you rose to the occasion. …You did exactly what you were supposed to do. You young people are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. We all hope and wish that you will use the same courage and fortitude in your future lives.”

Selby said, “You kids are amazing.”

Irene Bystrom, whose grandson is Connor Bystrom, sat in the audience. “They’re heroes,” she said. “I’m not surprised they did what they did.”

The friends were about 6 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island enjoying an afternoon of swimming, spearfishing and picnicking, when a shark bit Wickersham.

His friends pulled him into the boat, called 911 and tended to the wound as they raced toward awaiting paramedics at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria.

Lyn Mattas, who attended the ceremony with daughter Katie, said she “was scared to death” after learning of the shark bite. But she was not shocked to learn her daughter and friends acted “so maturely, so level-headed” in the crisis.

Grandmother Joan Coons said proudly that Wickersham’s rescuers were “fearsome.”

Each mayor presented the young people — all residents or with ties to Longboat Key or Anna Maria Island — with copies of proclamations. The mayors then presented the rescuers with ribbons and medallions and showed off commemorative plaques to hang in each city hall.

After the ceremony, Wickersham entered the chambers on crutches, his left leg in a brace.

Bohnenberger welcomed Wickersham. “You’ve got some good friends,” he said.

Wickersham hugged each of his friends and, at the microphone, said, “I want to thank all these guys for saving me that day. …I’m just glad they were out there with me.”

AM comp plan amendment approved

Anna Maria now has an amendment to its 2007 comprehensive plan that allows construction in the conservation land-use zone on lots that were previously platted and accepted by the city.

The 2007 comp-plan contained language that prohibited any development in the conservation land-use zone because commissioners at that time believed there were no privately owned lots in the zone.

City attorney Jim Dye later reviewed the zone and found 11 lots accepted as “buildable” by the city before World War II.

He also found other privately owned lots in the zone with structures on them. Under the “no development” clause of the comp plan, owners of those structures could not receive a building permit for even minor renovations, such as roof repairs or window replacements.

Commissioners first approved the amendment in October 2010.

The amendment then had to be reviewed by the Florida Department of Community Affairs and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state’s land-planning agency, before it could become law.

The DEO approved the amendment on Aug. 25 and no challenge to the amendment was presented within the allowed 30 days from the date of approval, building official Bob Welch said.

“It’s now a comprehensive plan amendment,” Welch said.

Only new structures can be built on the 11 lots and each of those lots is limited to one single-family residence, according to the amendment. Existing structures in the zone can be renovated, but construction of a new residence on lots where homes already exist is prohibited.

3-D pirate ship haunts AME Oct. 22

Once a year the Island’s young and young-at-heart descend upon the grounds of Anna Maria Elementary School dressed as goblins, wizards, witches, fairies and super heroes to raise money for the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization.

The annual Fall Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 22, and the event kicks off with a costume parade along Gulf Drive. Costumed characters will gather at 10:15 a.m. for judging in the parking lot at the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. The parade will begin at 10:45 a.m. with the procession leading from the chamber to the school, 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Costumes kids gather on the basketball court where winners will be announced. The festivities on campus open at 11 a.m.

Island DJ and AME-parent Chris Grumley will be volunteering his time entertaining throughout the day. Also providing music are the Island Rockers, all students or former students at AME.

The Fall Festival will feature what Islanders have come to love best — namely the haunted house, bake sale and games of chance.

A three-dimensional haunted ship will be moored inside the auditorium. For the first hour the haunted ship will be open with the lights on for younger children to enjoy. When the lights go out at noon, visitors will be given 3D glasses to view the attraction.

Food is another big draw of the festival. AME parent and Sandbar Restaurant manager Joe Rodgers will be heading up the food station with a choice of hot dogs, hamburgers or salad.

A bake sale will take place in the school’s main lobby. Parents donate the homemade goodies that are sold. Those who purchase items at the bake sale will be entered into a drawing to win a chance to create a personal flavor of ice cream at Tyler’s Ice Cream.

New this year will be the fifth-grade pumpkin patch, where pumpkins will be available for sale.

All the festival games will be on the field behind the school. Game tickets will be available in the caboose and students will have the opportunity to win prize tickets at each game booth.

The fall festival winds up at 3 p.m. and all proceeds are used by the PTO to the benefit of the staff and students.

For more information, call the school office, 941-708-5525.


Bayfest celebrates11-year success

Judy and Gus Perez, along with golden retrievers Madison and Rudy, came from Sarasota Oct. 15 to the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Bayfest, as they have in many years past. This year they had a particular purpose.

Among the tents, booths and tables lining Anna Maria’s Pine Avenue, there was a group known as Dogs on the Beach gathering signatures on a petition proposing a small area of beach on Anna Maria Island where dogs would be permitted.

The Perezes and their canine companions went to Bayfest, but also to support the cause.

Just down the street, a group of volunteers from Safe Haven Animal Rescue of Florida spent Bayfest trying to help homeless pets. By midday, a spokesperson said some of the dogs they brought to Bayfest might soon go home with new families.

“Bayfest is always a very successful event for us. It’s a relaxed and fun environment to get a chance to speak with people,” Glenda Campbell of Safe Haven said as she corralled a couple of rambunctious pups. She went on to say they received more inquiries about their animals and the organization than in years past.

Also, in a booth on Pine Avenue, the Rotary Club of Anna Maria was raising money to send World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials.

Rotary member Dawn Maley was pleased with the efforts. “Today we’ve raised more than enough to send two veterans up there,” she said.

There also was a booth for Cultural Connections, a committee of arts organizations promoting ArtsHop Nov. 11-13. Facilitator Joan Voyles said, “This is a great event for spreading the word that we have an excellent arts community here, something which many people don’t realize.”

There was plenty going on along the street throughout the day, including the classic car show — with a wide array of vehicles from all eras of motoring the roads — that stretched nearly two blocks on Pine.

There was a children’s entertainment area, a fishing contest, a pie contest, retail arts and crafts vendors, and, of course, an extensive food court that included libations and non-stop live music.

The celebration continued to 10 p.m. and the crowd, which was consistently strong throughout Oct. 15, focused on the main stage talent and a bath of pink colors across the sky at sunset.

Bayfest began Oct. 14 with a nighttime concert at Pine Avenue and Bay Boulevard.

Connelly released from jail

The former bookkeeper accused of stealing as much as $500,000 from the Key Royale Club bonded out of jail earlier this month.

Holly Connelly, 30, of Bradenton, is set to go to trial in May 2012. She faces one felony charge of scheme to defraud in excess of $50,000.

She was released from the Manatee County jail on $15,000 bond, an amount reduced from $500,000 by 12th Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith Jr. despite objections from the prosecuting attorney.

Under Smith’s release order, Connelly is required to live at a specific address, where she must observe a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.

She also must wear an ankle monitor 24 hours a day until the disposition of her case, and was required to surrender her passport.

Smith’s order also forbade Connelly from having any contact with witnesses or alleged victims in the case.

During a brief hearing Oct. 12, the judge authorized Connelly to leave Manatee County to work in adjacent counties, but she still must abide by the curfew.

A Holmes Beach Police Department investigation into alleged embezzlement at the Holmes Beach club led to Connelly’s arrest in late July.

Authorities charge that Connelly, while employed at the Key Royale Club, stole about $400,000 over a three-year period, and that there is evidence of the theft in bank records, including videotape.

Key Royale Club officials allege that Connelly stole about $500,000, including about $100,000 in ATM withdrawals.

The months before the scheduled trial likely will involve the deposing of witnesses, evidentiary review and hearings on pre-trial motions.