Yearly Archives: 2017

Fishing – 01-02-2013

Cold fronts bring tough times for anglers


Back-to-back cold fronts have made fishing around Anna Maria Island tough to nail down. With water temps falling, fish we normally target are beginning to fall into their winter pattern.

It’s time to switch to live baits such as shrimp and crabs. Redfish, sheepshead, black drum and flounder will readily strike these baits when the timing is right.

You can also start using Berkeley Gulp shrimp on a jighead around docks and in canals. Just remember to slow down your retrieve, as the water gets cooler.

Night fishing around snook lights is proving prosperous in between cold fronts. Spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook are active around dock lights on calm nights. Try free-lining a live shrimp around the outskirts of the light to hook up. If that doesn’t work, a small crappie jig might be the ticket.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business charters is fishing in between cold fronts to find a bite. He’s begun “switching tactics,” which means alternate baits and moving to different areas to fish.

For bait, Gross is using select shrimp, either fished on the bottom or free-lined behind the boat. As the water temps drop, the fish we target are becoming less motivated to chase a bait, in which case, shrimp works due to their slow movement, which enables predators to ambush them without exerting too much energy.

Another tactic for Gross is switching his location. Gross is starting to target fish around docks, canals and deeper channels. These areas tend to have warmer water, which, in turn, attracts concentrations of fish this time of year.

Around docks, Gross is catching redfish, flounder and sheepshead. For the reds and flounder, Gross is using a whole live shrimp with a small weight added to the rig to keep the bait on the bottom. For sheepies, Gross is using fresh-cut pieces of shrimp on the same rig.

Gross is fishing canal mouths with depths of 6 feet or more for spotted sea trout. In these areas, Gross is either free-lining shrimp or adding a small split shot to get the shrimp on the bottom.

Finally, Gross suggests using Berkeley Gulp shrimp on a jighead if you can’t get live bait.

Berkeley Gulp shrimp will catch all but sheepshead, which generally take only fresh bait.

Jeff Medley at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge South Fishing Pier is still seeing pier fishers reeling up bonito and Spanish mackerel despite falling water temps in the bay.

“Believe it or not,” says Medley, “there are still decent schools of macks and bonito moving in and out of the bay.”

Pier fishers using white jigs, silver spoons and especially Gotcha plugs are hooking up every few casts when the fish arrive. Be prepared to lose some lures due to the mack’s sharp teeth.

Bait fishers using live pinfish are getting decent results on flounder. By free-lining pinfish under the pier and around the artificial structure to the south of the pier, fishers are reeling up keeper-size flounder with the biggest catches topping 18 inches.

Sheepshead spottings are increasing with the cold front. Live shrimp is getting some of the action, although fiddler crabs are still the top bait. When using shrimp try hooking small pieces or halves of shrimp. If the sheepies seem finicky, try peeling the shrimp offering.

Finally, night fishers are catching small blacktip and bonnethead sharks. By using small pieces of cut bait, like mullet or plain old shrimp, pier fishers are reeling in respectable numbers of both species.

Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters says the winter species — redfish, black drum and sheepshead — have been feeding under the deep water docks and biting. His bait of choice is live shrimp.

Howard says extra low tides will provide excellent opportunities to wade fish for redfish and speckled trout. His advice: wade to the potholes on the flats surrounded with exposed sea grass and, using artificial baits or live shrimp, slowly work your rig through the pothole for fishing in a barrel action.

Also, Howard says fishing along deepwater drop offs with a Berkley Gulp or a live shrimp rigged with a split shot will get some filets for the table.

Jonny Keyes at Island Discount Tackle is hearing reports of respectable catches from canals and around docks. Fishers using live shrimp are hooking up flounder, sheepshead, redfish and black drum in the canals of Bimini Bay. Canal fishers are finding the bite by either free-lining or bottom fishing live shrimp around the docks.

Canal fishers willing to venture out after dark are being rewarded with keeper-size spotted seatrout and slot-size catch-and-release snook. By fishing around dock lights with free-lined live shrimp, you can sight cast to your choice of species.

Finally, flats fishers are reporting reasonable numbers of trout, ladyfish and bluefish being caught on the deeper flats of south Sarasota Bay. Jigging with soft plastics or pompano jigs is the way to get in on the action.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier reports the sheepshead bite is beginning to turn on. Pier fishers using crabs or tubeworms are getting good action. Live shrimp fishers are catching some, too, he says. Reasonable numbers of sheepies are showing up daily, although you have to be there when the fish decide to feed. “We had a great bite a few days ago,” says Malfese,” then they turned off for a couple of days.”

Flounder are making a stop around the pier. Fishers working live shrimp on the bottom are catching flounder in the keeper-size range. Try dropping shrimp around the edges of the pier and it from piling to piling.

While targeting flounder, expect to hook into a few black drum. Malfese reports daily catches of keeper-size drum are occurring. If you want to target the drum, try casting a live shrimp or a live crab as far under the pier as you can get it.

Send fishing reports to

Obituaries – 01-02-2013

Randall Lloyd Bare

Randall Lloyd Bare, 77, of Bradenton, died Dec. 27.

According to a family member, he was a wonderful family man and will be missed greatly.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.

Mr. Bare is survived by his wife, Rose Quin-Bare; sisters-in-laws Lorraine Mazza, Roberta Ramirez, Carol Frasca and Charlene Mazza; his brothers-in-law Frank Frasca, Claude Mazza, Atry Mazza; step-children Jackie Cate and Kelly Quin; grandchildren Rachael Cate, Caitlin Kos and Clint William Kos.


Johanne Cook

Johanne Cook, 78, of Grandville, Barlow Lake, Mich., and Anna Maria, died Dec. 24.

She and husband Ron Cook started Cook Funeral Home in 1957, now in its third generation of family service. They continued their teamwork in co-founding Byron Center Manor in 1989.

Mrs. Cook was known as a precise and witty woman. In her free time, she enjoyed her dogs, cross-stitch, reading and traveling. She loved to walk the beaches of Anna Maria Island. She suffered for 25 years from Alzheimer’s, which inspired the building of Meadow Place at Byron Center Manor in Michigan.

Visitation was held at Cook Memorial Chapel in Grandville, Mich. A funeral service was held at First Reformed Church of Grandville. Interment will be at Grandville Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association or the First Reformed Church of Grandville Scholarship Fund. The family welcomes messages in the online guestbook at

Mrs. Cook is survived by her husband of 58 years, Ronald R. Cook; children Fred and wife Kathy VanZytveld, Brad and wife Jeanne Oosterbaan, Lee and wife Mary Goffe, Jean Alice and husband Jon Van Den Beldt; grandchildren Leanne Gurley, Ronald R. II, Emily Pierson, Sam, Alex, Brian, Elizabeth; great grandsons Stewart Scott Gurley, Greyson Ronald and Fred Henry Gurley; and sisters-in-law Carol and Donna.


Rock Curtis Payne

Rock Curtis Payne, 83, of Holmes Beach, died Dec. 28.

Mr. Payne was a lifelong resident of Manatee County. He was born Oct. 26, 1929in Gillette. He attended Palm View Elementary and graduated from Palmetto High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950, serving in both France and Germany.

He graduated in 1956 from Florida State University where he met and married the love of his life. After a short time working as a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, he returned to Palmetto to become the editor of the new Palmetto News.

He later received a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Florida and started his second career as an educator, although he never forgot his passion for writing. He completed his autobiography many years later. He spent the rest of his professional life, more than 30 years, as an educator. His first teaching position was in social studies at Walker Junior High School in Bradenton. He later served as principal at Parrish Elementary, Samoset Elementary and Bayshore Middle School. He opened Sugg Middle School in 1975 and served there until his retirement in 1988.

The family noted he was a wonderful husband and father whose love and devotion to his family will never be forgotten.

Graveside services will be held at Fogartyville Cemetery at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3. The Rev. Jerry Jeter of RiverLife Church will officiate. Arrangements are by Griffith Cline Funeral Home, 720 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Mr. Payne is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joanne; daughters Jo Nan and Robin and husband Jeffery Spann.


Terry Alan Petesch

Terry Alan Petesch, 62, of Cortez, died Nov. 27, 2012.

Mr. Petesch was the owner of Terry’s Framing and Art Supplies, 5360 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.

Friends of Mr. Petesch are inviting the community to celebrate “A Tribute To Terry … A Celebration of the Life and Friendship of Terry Petesch” 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, at the Longboat Key Center for the Arts in the north-end village at 6860 Longboat Drive S., Longboat Key.

They ask that guests bring photos or memorabilia to the event.

Mr. Petesch is survived by his godsons, twins Clay Sidner and Cole Sidner and David Radtke.

The Islander Classifieds: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013


HENRY LINK: SEVEN-piece wicker bedroom outfit in bisque. King headboard, excellent condition. $900. 941-538-9934.

MAYTAG WASHER AND dryer, stacked, excellent condition, $300, hide-a-bed, recliner, end tables, TV cabinet, make offer, two bedrooms furniture (two each: beds, bureaus, dressers, lamp tables, lamps. Make offer. 941-778-3556.

COMPUTER DELL, Dual 1.5 GHz processors, refurbished desktop, $100, 941-756-6728.

SEWING MACHINE: DELUXE Brother portable, bilingual manual, $50, Cuisinart wine cellar holds six bottles, $25. Marion, 941-761-1415.

CANTON HOME THEATER speaker system. Four cubed surround sound speakers, one center channel speaker and subwoofer, $1,850, new, now, $475. 941-799-1169.

BICYCLES: HIS AND hers, Sears “Free Spirit” 1970s, very good condition, $150/pair. 813-240-6529.

YELLOW HUMMER KID bike, $60. 941-778-7978.

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

ANTIQUE COPPER POTS and bowls, collection $350. Burl-wood Top of Form

Bottom of Form

rocker, oak office chairs, collectibles. View at The Islander store, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

FOR SALE: LATERAL file cabinets: 2 HON 2-drawer black and 3 attractive 2-drawer wood files. One legal and one letter-size regular 2 drawer files. Various office supplies. Also selling antique wood office chairs, Haitian art, collectible art, some framed. Many local artists. Home decor. 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

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


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


M.A.P.S. FREE SEMINAR: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5. Condo board questions? Ask our expert panel. Drinks and light food provided. 5351 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-779-2289.

THE HIVE: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday. 119 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach. Locally hand-made jewelry, imported jewelry, Buddha-related stuff, illustrated cards, artistic T-shirts, South African gifts and much more.

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. Premier Sothebys. 941-302-3100.

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

MANATEE SAFETY SIGNS exclusively for boaters. Available at the Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-778-7978.

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 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday Jan. 5. 652 Key Royale Drive, Holmes Beach. Broyhill dining set with china cabinet, two Stressless recliners, Edwardian loveseat, Jura espresso machine, drafting table, small teak wood table and chairs, small patio set, Chinese chest, Bose sound system, camera, gun cases, in home security system, custom four-seater California Roadster golf cart, golf clubs, yard tools, lateral file, two sewing machines, Honda 3500 generator, dry tile cutter, belt sander, pressure washer, 10-inch miter saw, grinder, bicycle rack, power saws, fishing poles, and numerous reels, cane poles, two gas power chain saws, Stijl pole hedge trimmer, craftsman mower, depression glass, dog cages and carriers, speakers, Action model cars, kitchenware. Sale by Julie McClure. Pictures: or


ROSER THRIFT SHOP: Open 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Donation drop-off Wednesday. 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Half-price clothing sale in December. 511 Pine Ave. Anna Maria, 941-779-2733.

NEW LOCATION: STEFF’S Stuff Antiques has moved to The Centre Shops on Longboat Key. 5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Unit 101. 941-383-1901.


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.

WELL-MANNERED RESCUED dogs (and kittens!) are looking for great new homes or fosters. Please, call for information, 941-896-6701.


BIMINI BAY SAILING: Small sailboat rentals and instruction. Day. Week. Month. Sunfish, Laser, Windrider 17 and Precision 15. Call Brian at 941-685-1400.

PONTOON BOAT: 20-foot, 50-hp, hard top, recent upholstery and carpet. Extra lines and preservers, $2,500. 941-778-4793.

POWER NOLES CUSTOM 11.5-foot fiberglass tunnel hull with bass seats. Very stable! Great for fishing-stand on the side without tipping, go in really shallow waters. Very fun boat for anyone who wants to get on the water!
 2001 25-hp Mercury 2-stroke, plus a trolling motor with battery. Must see! $2,150 obo. Call Toni, 941-928-8735.


JOIN THE TEAM: Great location on Bridge Street. Experienced realtors needed to handle walk-ins and Internet leads. Call Lynn, Edgewater Real Estate, 941-778-8104.

CLEANING SERVICES NORFOLK Southern, a multi-billion dollar transportation company, currently has the following opportunity at our private oceanfront facility located in Holmes Beach, FL. Buildings and grounds assistant. The successful candidate is responsible for maintaining safe and orderly buildings and grounds at the Lay-by. In particular, the incumbent provides cleaning and housekeeping services for guest quarters and restocking of consumable supplies in the living areas. The Assistant may also provide grounds-keeping services for outside areas. For immediate consideration, please, visit and complete an online application for the buildings and grounds assistant position.

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.

RED CROSS-CERTIFIED babysitter and dog sitter. Reasonable rates for both. Call 941-527-5051.

BABIES, PETS AND plants: Responsible, trustworthy, reliable, fun 17-year-old college student. Own transportation. 941-447-9658.

NICOLE AND HALLIE’S babysitting, pet sitting and pet walking. Red Cross certified, good with animals. Hallie, 941-773-6317, Nicole, 941-370-7981.

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.


CAREGIVER FOR ELDERLY: Full care, references, 30 years experience. Call between 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. 941-545-7114.


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. 941-779-6638. Leave message.

ISLANDER HANDYMAN SERVICE: 23-year Island resident, references. The Flying Dutchman LLC. We do all repair, interior and exterior, carpentry and more. Peter, 941-447-6747.

ISLAND COMPUTER GUY, 37 years experience. On-site PC repairs, upgrades, buying assistance and training. Call Bill, 941-778-2535.

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

CLEANING BY LAURA offers everything on your list from kitchen and bath cleaning to dusting and emptying wastebaskets. 941-539-6891.

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

AFFORDABLE HURRICANE PROTECTION: Doors and windows, impact rated screen installs easily on inside, see-through, leave-up.  Free estimate. Registered and insured. Island discount. 941-730-1399.

U FLY I drive your car anywhere in the USA. Airport runs, anywhere. 941-746-5651, 941-545-6688.

ISLAND LIVING CATERING/personal chef for your wedding, home and special events. 941-345-4727.

KEY CLEANERS & LINEN has expanded our services. We now offer residential cleaning. Family owned for 24 years on Longboat Key. Quality and service, now in your home. 941-383-1222.

APPLIANCE REPAIR: ALL makes and models. 25 years experience. Call Jay, 720-217-2565. Reasonable rates.

ALL THE DETAILS make a difference. Getting into the grooves of cleaning. Call 941-224-7506.

I CAN FIX IT. Virus cleanup, system upgrade. Hardware, software and network repair. Cell phone repair, support. Replace broken camera, screen, etc. Give islander Socko a call: 941-799-1169.

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS JD’s Window Cleaning looking for storefront jobs in Holmes Beach. I make dirty windows sparkling clean. 941-920-3840.

ISLAND MERMAIDS CLEANING and Co.: 36 years of happy customers. Organizing, laundry, ironing, 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.


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

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


STRAIGHT SHOT LANDSCAPE. Specializing in old Florida seashell driveways and scapes. Free estimates. Call Shark Mark, 941-301-6067.

SHELL DELIVERED AND spread. $45/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.

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.

THE FLYING DUTCHMAN LLC: Professional tile roof restoration. Call Peter for free estimate. 23-year Island resident, references, insured. 941-447-6747.


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

VACATION RENTALS ONLY: Private pool homes, and condo, 1BR/1BA overlooking golf course. Call 941-794-1515 or

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

RENTAL WANTED: EFFICIENCY for single male retiree. Non-smoker, Jan.15-March 15. 941-778-4389.

SEASONAL RENTAL, ANNA Maria, 200 feet to Rod & Reel Pier, 2BR/1BA, newly refurbished ground-floor duplex with all amenities, January and April still available, booking now for 2013-14. $1,800/month plus tax, 941-387-8610.

2BR/2BA HOLMES BEACH waterfront condo: Fully furnished with views, pools, Jacuzzi, tennis, boat dock. Available December-February, 2013. Call 818-620-3543.

2BR/2BA:  1,441 sf. Unfurnished on canal, $1,800/month includes garbage. Pets welcome under 25 lbs. 1-car garage. 941-779-9320.

1BR/1BA GROUND FLOOR, Gulf to bay condo, heated pool, fishing pier. Over 55. $1,600/month, $1,100/month annual. 813-393-6002.

RENTAL WANTED: MARCH 2013 by couple, 55-plus. One or 2BR/1BA in Holmes Beach. References available. 608-238-6066.

ANNUAL CANALFRONT, BOAT slip up to 26-feet. 2BR/2BA, washer and dryer hookup, utility room. No pets. Holmes Beach. 941-778-7039.

SEASONAL OR WEEKLY cottage-style rentals. 1BR/1BA or 1BR/1BA with loft with pool. Walk to beach, shops or dining! 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.

DIRECT GULFFRONT CONDO: Bradenton Beach. Excellent investment rental income. $269,000. By owner, 941-962-8220.

FOR SALE BY owner: 1BR/1BA mobile completely remodeled with share, beach and bay access. Call 941-224-1652 for more information.

CAPTAIN GREG BURKE: Duncan Real Estate. Need listings, all inventory sold or pending. Call 941-592-8373, email:

WANTED: RENT-TO-own or owner financed, 2-3 bedroom, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Bradenton. 941-567-6724.

WE’RE LOW, LISTINGS needed. Are you curious as to how much your home could be worth? Call us for a free professional consultation. Call Lynn at Edgewater Real Estate, 941-778-8104.

PLEASE CALL ME if you are interested in selling. I am looking to purchase a home close to the beach or on the beach. 941-779-6158. No Realtors.

LOT: 135-FOOT frontage, partial view Palma Sola Bay. Last one, desirable area, underground services. 941-792-8826.

2BR/2BA 2005 JACOBSEN home with share. Patio and deck, possible boat slip. Furnished. Active 55-plus community, beach and bay access. Call 267-266-1101.

M.A.P.S. FREE SEMINAR: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5. Condo board questions? Ask our expert panel. Drinks and light food provided. 5351 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-779-2289.



Island fills up for holidays

As the late Bing Crosby would croon, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

At least for Anna Maria Island it is — without the snow.

As more and more out-of-state vehicles show up on island streets and people flock to local restaurants and beaches, that’s what an island Christmas looks like, said Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce vice president Deb Wing.

But with Christmas and New Year’s Day both falling on a Tuesday, it makes for an odd week, she said.

Many people were waiting until schools let out for winter break to make a reservation, she said, which only gave them a few days until Dec. 25. It appeared some people were waiting until the last minute to make a reservation, Wing said.

“Our resorts are filling up fast,” after a slow start in early December, said David Teitelbaum, owner of the Tortuga Inn, Tradewinds, SeaSide and Tropical Isle motels in Bradenton Beach.

He said reservations for the Christmas-New Year week were a bit slow a few weeks ago, “but, now, reservations are through the roof. Tuesday is an odd day for a holiday and for visitors to arrive. They prefer a Friday or Monday holiday, but we’ll be full by the weekend.”

Some people plan Christmas at home when it’s mid-week, and then take a weekend holiday to Anna Maria Island, he noted.

At the Harrington House Bed & Breakfast Resort, 5626 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, co-owner Mark Davis was excited about the bump in reservations for the week.

“We are really doing well. It looks like we’re going to be full for the week and our phones keep ringing,” Davis said.

“We’ll try to help everyone who calls,” he said.

The Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages, 2710 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, owned by chamber member Eric Cairns, also started slow for holiday week reservations, but the “phones have been ringing off the hook the past week and we’re filling up fast,” said a reservationist at the resort.

“It’s going to be a great Christmas, which means a full house,” she said.

Ken Gerry at the White Sands Beach Resort, 6504 Gulf  Drive, Holmes Beach, said anyone looking for a reservation after Dec. 25 will be taking “potluck.”

He said a number of reservations recently came in for Dec. 26-Jan. 1, and he was expecting a full house.

“I’ve got a few rooms available Dec. 26, but I’m hoping they’ll be gone very quickly,” he said.

Jeff Gerry, Ken’s brother and co-owner, asked island residents not to be discouraged by the expected increase in traffic during the holidays and the season.

“Our winter visitors spend a lot of money on the island, and keep a lot of people employed. We can put up with the traffic increase for a few months,” Gerry said.

The hope for an accommodation rental for the holiday week at AMI Accommodations in Anna Maria — with more than 200 options in its rental stable — does not appear promising, said Rebecca Barnett.

She said there were still a few of the smaller properties available, but accommodations for families are already booked.

“If it’s just a couple, we’ll be able to find something,” Barnett said.

Even if a family walks in looking for an accommodation rental, the AMI Accommodations staff will do their best to find a location, even if it’s with another agent, Barnett said.

“We all try to help each other,” she said.

And if the good weather continues through the holiday week, restaurants, particularly those with outdoor dining, should do well, said Ed Chiles, owner of the Sandbar, BeachHouse and MarVista restaurants on AMI and Longboat Key.

“If the weather holds and the people come as expected, all the restaurants should do well. We should be fine as long as the sun is shining and we don’t get a freeze,” he said.

While restaurants and accommodations were gearing up for the holidays, retailers said it’s often hit or miss if visitors go shopping or go to the beach.

“It’s hard to predict,” said Linda Clayton, co-owner of Mister Roberts Resort Wear, 5330 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

“One day, we’ll have a flood of walk-in traffic, and the next day nobody will show up. But if the weather’s good this week, we should be fine,” she said.

All-in-all, it appears the holiday visitors this year will be arriving a bit late on Anna Maria Island, but staying for the full week of vacationing.

Hearing set in libel suit against HB commissioner

Attorneys for John F. Agnelli Jr. are pushing forward on the libel lawsuit filed against Holmes Beach Commissioner Chair Jean Peelen, setting a court hearing in February on Peelen’s motion to dismiss.

“The motion is essentially a stalling tactic,” said Agnelli attorney Peter Mackey of Mackey Law Group, P.A., of Bradenton. “In my opinion the judge should deny the motion, and they’ll finally have to respond.”

Mackey said the court is backlogged on available hearing dates, and a motion filed without a notice of hearing further delays the case.

Peelen is being represented by Jay Daigneault of Frazier, Hubbard, Brandt, Trask and Yacavone, LLP, of Dunedin. He was assigned by the Florida League of Cities’ property and liability claims division under the city’s insurance.

Daigneault disagreed with Mackey’s interpretation of the notice issue. He filed the motion to dismiss two days after the amended complaint, and is not responsible for any delay, he said. It was a matter of scheduling with the coordination of the two attorneys and the court, he added.

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 9, after Peelen made comments in which she confused the identity of John F. Agnelli Jr. with his son, Frank Agnelli, in an emailed newsletter.

At a commission meeting the same day he filed the suit, John Agnelli criticized Peelen for a careless lack of regard for the truth. Peelen acknowledged the error to the email recipients and apologized to Agnelli at the meeting. Agnelli rebutted that Peelen’s comments could remain forever on the World Wide Web.

Agnelli’s first complaint named Peelen as an individual, but made allegations of libel against her as a commissioner.

Peelen’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss, contending state law provides immunity to public officials acting within the scope of their duties. Agnelli responded by amending his complaint to specify she defamed him in her individual capacity.

Daigneault moved to dismiss Agnelli’s amended complaint in November.

The hearing on the motion is set for 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, in Courtroom 6E, 1051 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton, before 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Diana Moreland.

Edible garden partnership enriches AME curriculum

Eight years and running, Anna Maria Elementary School has taught sustainable food production and healthy eating in a partnership with the community in its edible garden program for fourth-graders.

        Beach Bistro funds the Earthboxes, soil and seeds.

        AME fourth-grade classes — with help from master gardener and volunteer Christine Callahan and others — plant, tend and harvest their “edible garden,” which grows outdoors alongside the school cafeteria.

        “From my point of view, the fourth-grade is a great age for the program,” says Callahan, a software developer by profession who’s seen the program through all eight years, having had her two children attend AME.

        She teaches the fourth-grade class once a month in the garden, and credits other parents, gardeners, guidance counselor Cindi Harrison and cafeteria manager Annie Mousseau for supporting the program.

        In her outdoor classroom, students learn about pesticide-free sustainable planting — fertilizing and treating for insects “without poison ” — among other gardening techniques.

        “Our biggest problem — that we’ve really been struggling with — is mildew on cucumbers and squash,” Callahan explains, and adds they’ve been successful in treating it with an organic spray of vegetable oil, baking soda and warm water.

        The fourth-grade teachers integrate the program into the classroom with lessons on plant cycle, nutrition and math, including weights and measures.

        “We try to connect it as a precursor to a lesson or as a reminder, a refresher,” she says.

        The students’ first fall-winter harvest is delivered to Eat Here for hands-on cooking lessons.

        At the Dec. 13 lesson, the students contributed broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, lettuce and radishes from their garden.

        Susan Timmins, Eat Here/Beach Bistro co-owner and wife of Murphy, helped the kids learn to make the wraps and vegetable pizza they dined on, all easily replicated at home.

        In late April, the spring harvest will be delivered to the Beach Bistro, where chefs will create a luncheon for the students, she adds.

        “It’s prepared in its finest form,” says Callahan. “The meal is always based on what comes from the students’ gardens.”

Community center had 2012 deficit

Auditors for the Anna Maria Island Community Center told the center’s board of directors at their Dec. 10 meeting that the center ran a deficit in 2012.

At the same time, however, auditor Eric Troyer gave the accounting by the center a clean audit, the highest rating he could give.

Board of directors president Greg Ross said the $20,000 deficit can be made up with an outstanding Affaire to Remember fundraising event and other fundraising projects planned for 2013.

Interim executive director and chief operating officer Scott Dell said the Affaire to Remember should bring in $200,000-$250,000 in revenue for the center.

This year’s event has some special surprises and should be the biggest and best ever, he predicted.

Dell said planning began after the 2012 event and he is confident the 2013 gala will be a major success.

Additionally, the ongoing Lester Challenge is expected to raise about $50,000, Ross said.

In other business, Ross said Stuart Moon Jr. and Cindy Thompson have been nominated for membership on the board. Election of new members and officers for the coming year will be at the board’s next meeting, at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28 at the center.



Lester challenge

Charles and Joey Lester of Anna Maria are offering their annual $25,000 challenge to raise funds for the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

The Lesters match donations from individuals and companies up to $25,000, said Sharen Pittman of the center staff. The donation period ends Dec. 31.

“I’d like to remind people that their donations are tax deductible, and I’ve sent out a number of reminders to people to remember the challenge. It seems like some people have forgotten the challenge and how much it helps the center,” she said.

Donations are running a bit behind where they normally are at this time, Pittman noted.