Monthly Archives: January 2017

Obituaries – 10-19-2011

Jennifer Henson (Chapman) Murdoch

Jennifer Henson (Chapman) Murdoch, 47, of Anna Maria Island, died Oct. 12 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born Sept.15,1964, in Fort Wayne, Ind.

She moved to Anna Maria Island after graduating Angola (Indiana) High School in 1982. Her interests included protecting animals, the environment and the beach, sharks and horses and spending time with friends and family.

She was employed as a bartender at the Rod & Reel Pier, Anna Maria.

Friends and colleagues raised more than $5,000 for her fight against breast cancer in August 2009, with a party and concert at D.Coy Ducks, Holmes Beach, featuring Mark Pelham of Bootleg and “Koko” Ray Hansen.

She was married five months ago to Peter Smith Murdoch.

A service and celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Unity Church in the Woods, 4200 32nd St. W., Bradenton. The service will be followed by a gathering at the Rod & Reel Pier.

Mrs. Murdoch is survived by husband Peter Smith; mother Rae Ann Chapman, grandparents James F. and Phyllis Chapman Jr.; aunts Rebecca Cauffman and Janeen Slos; uncles James F. Chapman III and Randy Chapman; and many cousins and friends.


Lezlie Jean Davis

Lezlie Jean Davis, 49, of Bradenton and formerly of Anna Maria Island, died Oct. 10.

A celebration of her life will be held in Indiana during the holidays and in Florida in the spring. Arrangements were by Griffith-Cline Funeral Home.

Mrs. Davis is survived by brother H. Michael Davis of Indiana and caregiver Dale Miller of Bradenton.


Betty E. Haynes

Betty E. Haynes, 79, of Bradenton, died Oct. 6. She was born a leap year baby on Feb. 29, 1932, in Celina, Ohio.

Mrs. Haynes retired as a real estate broker in Fort Wayne, Ind. She moved to Bradenton Beach in 1983, where she was an entrepreneur business owner of an ice cream and candy shop on Bridge Street.

A memorial service was private. Memorial donations may be made to Tidewell Hospice & Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238.

Mrs. Haynes is survived by five generations, including her mother, Florence Moore of Bradenton; brother Clearance Robert Brown of Okeechobee; daughters Cherie Guillory of Palmetto, Jeannette Siler and Crystal Ludden Culver, both of Bradenton; son, Damon and wife Carolyn Leggett of Fort Wayne; grandchildren Sheila Richmond, Steven Kauffman, Angela Brewer, Michael Leggett, Kevin Smith, Curtis Smith, Jeffery Stahl, Tiffany Stahl, Errin Ludden, and Ashley Ludden; and 17 great-grandchildren


Robyn Helton

Robyn Helton, 48, Anna Maria, died Oct. 9, following a battle with cancer. She was born in Beaver Creek, Ohio, and spent summers in West Liberty, Ky., on the family farm.

She was a regional sales manager of Precor fitness equipment and traveled and worked throughout the United States. She was an athlete, with abilities to play and teach any sport.

At her request, no service will be held. She requested that friends and family go out, have a good time and play.

A private burial will be conducted in West Liberty, Ky. Memorial donations may be made to Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238.

Ms. Helton is survived by her life partner of 20 years, Cheryl Wilson; parents Windel and Jewel Helton; brother Robert Helton; and nieces, great nieces, aunts and uncles.


Blaine Alan Markee

Dr. Blaine Alan Markee, 51, of Tampa and Anna Maria, died Oct. 8. He was born and raised in Medford, Ore.

He received his doctorate degree from the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School. He was serving as chief of orthopedics at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, VA Medical Center, Tampa and as clinical assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.

He was dedicated to the veterans he treated with tireless care.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 13 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Ste. 300, Jacksonville FL 32256 or Adams & Jennings Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Dr. Markee is survived by wife Shelly; children Taylor and Thomas; brother Brian K.; sister Grier Gaffney; and many other loving family and friends.

Island police blotter – 10-19-2011

Anna Maria

• Oct. 8, 200 block of Periwinkle Plaza, death investigation. The MCSO and other first-responders were dispatched to a home where a man was found unresponsive in a hot tub.

• Oct. 9, 9700 block of Gulf Drive, petit theft. The MCSO took a report about a stolen bike, which was valued at $100.

• Oct. 10, 200 block of Gladiolus Street, battery. The MCSO responded to a report of battery. A man was punched in the mouth and eye. A counter-allegation made against the victim was that he had stolen some possessions.

• Oct. 10, 60 block of North Shore Drive, battery. The MCSO responded to a home where a party was taking place and two people had gotten into a fight. Both declined to press charges.

• Oct. 10, 200 block of Oak Ave., possible fraud. The MCSO took a complaint from a man who said his father had received several phone calls from credit card companies inquiring about credit applications. No applications had been legitimately filed.

• Oct. 12, 400 Spring Avenue, grand theft. The MCSO took a report from a man who said someone stole speakers from his Corvette. The items were valued at $900.

        Anna Maria is policed by the MCSO.

Bradenton Beach

• No new reports.

        Bradenton Beach is policed by the BBPD.


• No new reports.

        Cortez is policed by the MCSO.

Holmes Beach

• Oct. 7, 4000 block of Gulf Drive, driving with a suspended license. The HBPD arrested a Holmes Beach woman who was driving with a suspended license.

• Oct. 7, 5400 Marina Drive, theft. The HBPD took a report of a purse stolen from a North Carolina woman while she was at D.Coy Ducks. The purse, valued at $50, contained a cell phone, a debit card and other items.

• Oct. 8, 4000 Gulf Drive, trespass. The HBPD issued a trespass notice to a Cortez man at the picnic tables at Manatee Public Beach. Police were dispatched to the beach on a report of a suspicious person suspected of using drugs in a public rest room.

• Oct. 10, 5300 block of Gulf Drive, burglary. Eat Here restaurant was burglarized late Oct. 9 or early Oct. 10. The incident remains under investigation.

• Oct. 11, 3200 block of East Bay Drive, trespass. The HBPD issued a trespass notice to a 32-year-old Sarasota man after being called to the Subway restaurant to deal with a disruptive customer.

• Oct. 11, 3700 block of East Bay Drive, warrant. The HBPD acted on a warrant from the state, arresting a homeless woman on a warrant for failure to appear in court. The HBPD had responded to the Walgreens at East Bay after a complaint of panhandling.

• Oct. 12, 4500 block of Gulf Drive, trespass. The HBPD responded to an apparent dispute between neighbors. One person was issued a trespass notice.

        Holmes Beach is policed by the HBPD.

Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the Bradenton Beach Police Department, Holmes Beach Police Department and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.


The Islander Classifieds: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 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.
DINING TABLE WITH four chairs. Cushion bottoms. Medium oak, extra leaf included. $100. Call Zan, 813-503-9364.
COMPUTER: DELL Optiplex GX240 Windows XP, $90. 941-756-6728.
FURNITURE AND FRANCISCAN china. Request pictures with prices at:
PACK OF FIVE HDMI cables for sale, new. $10. Holmes Beach. Call 1-727-494-1060.
KING-SIZE MATTRESS with box spring and frame. Like-new! $100. 941-932-5691.
MOEN POP-UP for bathroom, complete chrome sink, new in box, $8. 941-761-1415.
FLY ROD HEDDON 8.5-foot Colden Mark 50-inch, collectible with reel and line, $75. Frank, 941-761-1415.
CLOCK: VINTAGE 1945 GE Telechron with alarm, excellent condition, $25. Marion, 941-761-1415.
KITCHEN TABLE WITH four chairs, great condition, $75. 941-778-3920.
MICROWAVE OVEN: AMANA Radar range model, RL3588, 1,500 watts, $25. 941-778-4793.
TELEVISION: SYLVANIA, COLOR. 20-inch, $25. 941-778-4793.
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.

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.
THIRD ANNUAL ART and garage sale. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. 321 Hardin Ave., Anna Maria.
MOVING SALE: INSIDE. All of October. 2104 Ave. B, side A, Bradenton Beach. 941-592-4249.
YARD SALE: 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. 125 51st St., Holmes Beach.

FOUND CAT: BLACK, small. Near 84th Street, Holmes Beach. Has been wandering area for a few weeks. 941-345-2441.
FOUND: KEYS WITH Tallahassee YMCA card. North of Sandbar Restaurant on beach. Claim at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, 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.

2000 MAZDA MX-5 Miata: 76,500 easy miles, maintenance records. Excellent, clean runner, $6,600. Ed, 616-430-0963.
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.

FOR SALE: BOAT trailer. Fits 20-22 foot, 4,000-lb. boat. Two bunk for easy loading, good condition, $500 or best offer. Ted, 941-778-2181.

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
PART-TIME SALES: Must be available evenings and weekends. Gift shop located on Anna Maria Island. Retirees welcome. Start as soon as possible. 941-840-4235.
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.
CUSTOM ALTERATIONS BY Noemi. Servicing Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key. In-home fittings and delivery. Men, women, children. 305-772-4379.
SNOWBIRD SERVICE: DOOR-to-door, by appointment! Your auto, light truck, van or SUV professionally driven to or from Sarasota-Bradenton area. Anytime, anywhere in USA 48. Call Don or Richard at 941-720-0399 or 941-685-0538.
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.

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.
PERICO ISLAND: 3BR/3BA beautifully furnished house. Private pool, seasonal/monthly rent. $3,000/month. Call 941-795-3778.
1BR/1BA HALF BLOCK from Perico Bay, one mile from Bradenton Beach off Cortez Road at 3611 117th St. W., Bradenton. Efficiency and 1BR starting at $600/month. 941-920-6637.
ANNA MARIA SEASONAL rental: 2BR/1BA, washer and dryer. Available now. 941-720-2418. Leave message.
ANNUAL 1BR/1BA DUPLEX: Near beach, Anna Maria. $850/month includes water/trash. 941-778-7003.
FOR LEASE: 1,300 sf. commercial building landscaped with parking, $1,500 month. 12316 Cortez Road, Bradenton. Call 941-896-5483.
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.
HOLMES BEACH ANNUAL: 3BR/2BA large rooms, close to Gulf, $995/month. First, last, security. 585-317-7344.
ANNUAL RENTAL: PERICO Bay Club, gated, 2BR/2BA, enclosed lanai, 1,435 sf, carport, guest parking, pool, tennis, new clubhouse, negotiable, 603-969-6840.
ATTENTION RETIREEES: MAINTENANCE-free, free-standing villa home in Palm Court. $1,300/month. Real Estate Mart, 941-756-1090.
SINGLE-FAMILY HOME: Annual in West Glen, near IMG Academy. Modern 3BR/2BA. $1,300/month. Real Estate Mart, 941-756-1090.
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.
LOWEST PRICE IN Bradenton Beach: 2BR/2BA Runaway Bay Resort. Turnkey. $215,000. Owner, 941-778-3709.
PERICO BAY CLUB villa. 2BR/2BA, garage, turnkey furnished at 184,900 or best offer. Realtor, 941-356-1456. Real Estate Mart.
WEST BRADENTON VILLAGE: Home with free-standing building in back yard for office, workshop. Features 3BR/2BA, two-car garage, solar-heated, caged pool. No home owner fees. $160,000. Realtor, 941-356-1456. Real Estate Mart.

Friends of shark attack victim honored for their help

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The city of Anna Maria honored the people Wednesday night who helped save their friend.

Three weeks ago, 21-year-old C.J. Wickersham was spearfishing off the Anna Maria Island coast when a 10-foot-long bull shark bit him on the leg. Two of his friends jumped to the rescue, pulling him from the water while others called for help and rushed him to shore.

C.J. survived the attack, and Wednesday night, Anna Maria officials honored his friends for their bravery with a plaque bearing their names. That plaque will hang in the city halls of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, and Anna Maria.

City officials say it’s an honor that was truly deserved.

“They’re locals, and they did the right things, the proper things, the best things to save C.J.’s life. And the city – all the cities, and I speak for all the mayors – are very proud to honor such great young kids,” said Anna Maria mayor Michael Selby.

“It’s pretty cool. I mean a great bunch of friends; known them for a long time. They saved my life, they deserve it…a pretty cool thing,” said Wickersham.

All six of C.J.’s friends received a certificate and a medal that says “C.J.’s Hero.”
Copyright 2011 Southern Broadcast Corp of Sarasota All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A hero’s welcome Oct. 12

Three Anna Maria Island cities, the town of Longboat Key, Islanders and The Islander will unite Wednesday, Oct. 12, to recognize six young men and women who saved their longtime friend from a life-threatening shark bite Sept. 24.

C.J. Wickersham’s heroes — Oceanna Beard, Connor Bystrom, Kiera Dunn, Max Gazzo, Katie Mattas and Lee White — will be honored at a ceremony by invitation of The Islander newspaper and Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger at Holmes Beach City Hall. Presentations will be made by Anna Mayor Mike Selby, Bradenton Beach Mayor Bob Bartelt, Longboat Key Mayor Jim Brown and Bohnenberger.

The public is welcome to attend the event. The doors of city hall will open at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation will take place at 6 p.m.

Wickersham on mend on LBK

As fish tales go, Charles “C.J.” Wickersham says with a grin that he’s “got a pretty good one.”

Wickersham, 21, of Longboat Key, was spearfishing with friends about 6 miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island Sept. 24, when he became the fifth recorded shark-bite victim in Manatee County waters.

Eight days after a bull shark left Wickersham with a gaping 14-inch wound on his left thigh, a shark — authorities don’t know what kind — bit a fisherman in waist-high water off Anna Maria’s Bean Point. The injury that 38-year-old Javier Perez of Kenneth City suffered Oct. 2 was minor. Manatee County’s sixth recorded shark-bite victim in more than 100 years was treated and released from Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

Wickersham’s injury had required multiple procedures and a six-day stay in the trauma center at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Closing the wound took about 800 stitches. Wickersham, an avid fisher and former football player for Manatee High School, says the only other memorable injury he’s suffered was from a skateboard fall when he was 16. He hit his chin on a rock. That cut required six stitches.

Wickersham went to his home in Longboat Key’s village Sept. 30. He’s recuperating there, aided by relatives, encouraged by friends and entertained by television and Xbox games.

“It feels pretty good — no pain pill since Saturday,” Wickersham says during an interview Oct. 6. He’s sporting a nearly 2-week-old red beard that his mother said made him look like a lumberjack.

“I haven’t felt much like shaving,” he explains.

Wickersham rests in a recliner in a sunny living room, with “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” paused on the Xbox. His injured leg is in a brace and bandaged.

“I go back the 26th to get the stitches out,” he says, referring to a doctor’s visit later this month.

Wickersham went home with pain medication, but hadn’t needed any after the first day out of the hospital. He is taking only baby aspirin as a blood thinner.

Full recovery is expected “once the muscle branches out,” says Wickersham, who is contemplating a request that he and his rescuers appear on NBC’s “Today” show, which could involve traveling to New York City.

When asked about the voluminous media attention, he chuckles.

“I never thought you could get that much attention for getting bit by a shark,” he says.

But Wickersham gets serious when he says that the six friends on the boat outing with him Sept. 24 “probably saved my life.”

Those friends — Connor Bystrom, Max Gazzo, Katie Mattas, Kiera Dunn, Oceanna Beard and Lee White — rescued Wickersham from the water and tended to his wound as they rushed him to first-responders on the shore at the Rod & Reel Pier.

“They acted fast,” Wickersham says.

On Sept. 12, at about 6 p.m., the group of seven is expected to gather for a heroes’ reception at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive. The Islander is organizing the event, with participation from Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Longboat Key mayors.

Wickersham was in water about 40 feet deep, having just completed a free dive, when he felt a bump. “I was catching my breath,” he remembers. “I came back up from a dive, felt a bump and I looked.”

He thought one of his friends was goofing around, playing on his minor fear of sharks.

But then he saw the bull shark — identifiable by its bullish head — and his own blood. The bite was not painful.

“The teeth are so sharp,” he says.

The 911 call from Dunn to the county emergency operations center lasted 10 minutes, ending when Gazzo beached the boat next to the pier.

Wickersham says he remained conscious throughout. His friends told him he complained on the way to the pier, not about the bite but about his uninjured leg bouncing against the back of the boat.

“I remember it,” he says of the rush to the shore and then the Bayflite helicopter ride to the hospital.

“I was trying to stay conscious,” Wickersham says, adding that he was told he lost about five units of blood.

The International Shark Attack File, a database managed by the University of Florida’s ichthyology department, contains details of 625 shark-related incidents in Florida since 1882. Until recently, with the attacks on Wickersham and Perez, there were four recorded incidents in Manatee County:

• On March 23, 1970, 19-year-old Robert Fetterman was wading in county waters when a shark lacerated his foot and calf.

• On Sept. 15, 1981, a shark — possibly a hammerhead or tiger shark — bit Mark Meeker’s right calf. The report indicates that Meeker, 26, swimming in Tampa Bay between Egmont Key and the Island, suffered a fatal wound. An autopsy showed that the New Jersey man bled to death.

• On July 4, 2000, 55-year-old Beverly Comstock was spearfishing near an artificial reef about 3 miles offshore of Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach. A 4-foot nurse shark bit her lower, right calf.

• On Aug. 29, 2001, 29-year-old Kristi Herzberg was bit on an arm by a shark. The species was not identified. The bite occurred while she was standing in the Gulf at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach.

The database now includes the bite Wickersham suffered, although the location erroneously is listed as “Santa Maria Island,” and the bite Perez suffered, also erroneously listed as occurring on “Santa Maria Island.”

Wickersham, who grew up on Longboat Key, knows his way around the islands, the bays and the Gulf. And he knew when he went out Sept. 24 that there were sharks in the water.

“I’ve seen hammerheads, bull sharks, lemonheads,” he says. “This time of year, there’s always sharks out there. Usually they just swim by.”

The attack was unprovoked, in clean, clear Gulf water.

Wickersham says he’s not dwelling on why?

“It was pretty crazy. There’s no why.”

Wickersham is not likely to go diving or spearfishing again soon, not just because he’s recovering from the shark bite.

“It’ll be winter soon,” he says. “Too cold to dive.… So probably next summer.”

Anglers advised: Don’t dump bait while in water

A fisherman bitten in the leg by a shark in the channel off Anna Maria Island’s Bean Point Oct. 2 was standing in waist-deep water when he dumped his bait into the water.

Javier Perez, 38, of Kenneth City, was visiting the area with his family and had been fishing from the beach before he suffered a minor shark bite. He was treated and released at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

The catalyst for the bite could have been the bait thrown in the water, according to Dr. Robert Hueter, director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research.

“Sharks naturally seek out fish for food, so any fish or fish parts you bring into the ocean may attract sharks,” he said. “Anglers should not stand in the water with their catch or bait. Shark bites are rare, and we can help keep it that way by playing it safe.”

Debbie Meihls of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said the BACVB is glad Perez is OK and only suffered a minor injury.

While many people enjoy beach and wade fishing along Anna Maria Island shores, “encounters such as this are extremely rare, especially near shore,” Meihls said.

A BACVB press release encouraged people fishing in Gulf waters to “take necessary precautions.”