Yearly Archives: 2016

Holiday jingle

In the holiday spirit, The Islander offers its 12 days of an Anna Maria Island Christmas. The “12 days” in the original song, with heavy religious symbolism, refers to the days from the first day of Christmas, Dec. 25, to the eve of the epiphany.

But sing when you will, merrily and loudly:

On the first day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

a parrot in a palm tree.

12-days-1parrot-2

        On the second day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

two swimming turtles,

12days-2turtles

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the third day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

three wooden piers,

12-days-3piers

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

four beach cabanas,

12days-4cabanas

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

five sandy shells,

12days-5shells

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

six fish a-jumping,

12days-6fish

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

seven rays a-schooling,

12days-7rays

six fish a-jumping,

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

eight boats a-sailing,

12days-8boats

seven rays a-schooling,

six fish a-jumping,

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

nine birds a-skimming,

12-days-birds-9

eight boats a-sailing,

seven rays a-schooling,

six fish a-jumping,

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the 10th day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

10 dudes a-surfing,

12days-10surfers

nine birds a-skimming,

eight boats a-sailing,

seven rays a-schooling,

six fish a-jumping,

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the 11th day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

11 dolphins diving,

12days-11dolphins

10 dudes a-surfing,

nine birds a-skimming,

eight boats a-sailing,

seven rays a-schooling,

six fish a-jumping,

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

On the 12th day of Christmas,

my true love showed to me

12 Islanders lounging,

12days-santa

11 dolphins diving,

10 dudes a-surfing,

nine birds a-skimming,

eight boats a-sailing,

seven rays a-schooling,

six fish a-jumping,

five sandy shells,

four beach cabanas,

three wooden piers,

two swimming turtles,

and a parrot in a palm tree.

Happy holidays from The Islander crew.

Bradenton Beach pier restaurant owner pays rent, looks forward

It was business as usual Dec. 17 at the Cast-n-Cage Restaurant, and Roland Pena intended to keep it that way.

In November, Bradenton Beach city commissioners gave Pena through Dec. 20 to pay $11,856.79, the amount needed to bring his rent current on the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

“It will be paid,” Pena said. “I’m trying to make this work. Not just for myself but for Bradenton Beach.”

Pena kept his word, delivering a check for $11,413.26 Dec. 19 to city treasurer Sheila Dalton. The amount covers November and December rent, late charges and all occupational/business licenses, minus city reimbursement for utility charges already paid by Pena.

Pena opened the 94-seat restaurant in February. His regular monthly rent is $5,500.

Commissioners issued an ultimatum when Pena failed to make past due payments. If the deadline passed again without payment, the city would not have given him any more warnings before closing the restaurant, said Police Chief Sam Speciale, who serves as chair of the city pier team.

“We’re hoping that doesn’t happen,” Speciale said Dec. 17.

It’s been a rocky marriage. In addition to late rent, Speciale said Pena has been slow to pay utility bills which, as his landlord, the city is obligated to pay to keep accounts current.

Pena said he is now current on utility bills.

For his part, Pena says there are things that the city needs to do as landlord. He cited several issues, such as leaks in the roof in both the kitchen and the dining areas and a problem with the hood in the kitchen. He also complained that signage outside the restaurant that says the pier is under construction keeps restaurant customers away.

The sign will be gone soon, as the long-awaited reopening of the reconstructed pier is on schedule for Jan. 18.

Pena is looking forward to that day and the season that will follow.

“People are going to want to come out and see the new pier, sit down and have a beer, a glass of wine,” he said. “It should help quite a bit.”

Peter Sarkunas of Sarasota didn’t wait. He and his wife patronized the restaurant Dec. 17. It was their first visit to the pier since moving to Southwest Florida 10 years ago.

“I like the idea that they are redoing it,” Sarkunas said of the pier. “Hopefully it will attract people who will spend money here.”

Before getting in the restaurant business, Pena, 50, served in the military for 21 years. He said his executive chef, Michael Morabito, has been coaching him, teaching him strategies to run the restaurant successfully. The big changes already have occurred. Next they will make small changes, like adding a couple more daily specials.

The menu is set up well, Pena said, with items such as fish, burgers and pasta.

Pena acknowledged that failure is a possibility. After all, about one in four restaurants close or change ownership within their first year of business, according to research done at Ohio State University. But he wants to work hard to make his restaurant successful.

“I’ve learned quite a bit in the past eight months,” he said. “I hope to be here for a very long time.”

 

 

Recall of Bradenton Beach mayor now underway

Proponents of a recall election for Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon have begun seeking signatures from voters.

Former Bradenton Beach Commissioner Peter Barreda, who is the chair of the Committee to Recall William Shearon, said Dec. 19, “We’re going through the process of getting the signatures.

“I think everything is going as expected.” Barreda said petitions may be picked up at Gulf Drive Cafe, at various times, and at various other places in Bradenton Beach.

The petition makes two claims of malfeasance against the mayor. The first count states that on or about Feb. 6, the mayor violated Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law by discussing pending litigation in a two-way email with another city commissioner.

It also claims that on or about April 21, Shearon violated the Sunshine Law by discussing special events in a two-way email with a commissioner.

According to the petition, in both instances the discussions about city business would reasonably come before the commission for a vote. It also states that the email exchanges took place “without advance notice to the public,” a common trigger for Sunshine Law inquiries.

The petition lacks details about the allegations and Shearon has neither been charged nor convicted of the violations.

“I don’t see how they can charge that until I have been convicted of it,” Shearon said Dec. 19. “I don’t understand how they can claim on a petition that I committed a Sunshine Law violation. That’s quite a long time ago and I have not received any notification that I may have committed a Sunshine Law violation.

“That’s somebody’s opinion. They’re trying to recall me on something that might be justified and might not.”

For the recall to be valid, each voter must sign a different petition. Signers must be registered, qualified electors of Bradenton Beach. A voter can only sign once during this round in the recall process. Signers print their name, their address, their voter registration number or date of birth and the date they sign.

Each signature must be accompanied by a witness signature. Barreda and his committee have until Jan. 11, he said, to garner the necessary 100 signatures.

After signatures have been verified by the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, there are several other steps that must be undertaken before a recall election can be held.

Shearon would have an opportunity to address the allegations in writing and state a defense.

Most petitions do need to be approved in advance of signature collection, such as amendments to the state constitution. But state law does not require that recall petitions be approved. Scott Farrington, assistant supervisor of elections, said his office had not seen the petition as of Dec. 19.

According to the website of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a member of a board or commission who knowingly violates the Sunshine Law is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second/d degree. State law dictates that violators of the Sunshine Law may be fined up to $500.

The only time an elected official was removed from office in Manatee County, Anna Maria voters ousted Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus in 2010. That also was the first successful recall election in the state since the 1970s, according to the supervisor of elections at the time.

According to state law, legitimate grounds for recall of elected officials include malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

Shearon also is the subject of a concurrent forfeiture of office process initiated by Vice Mayor Jack Clarke, who has yet to announce his charges regarding the mayor’s conduct in office.

Grand jury indicts Avalos on 1st-degree murder

The state will bring first-degree murder charges against Andres “Andy” Avalos for the Dec. 4 triple homicide in Bradenton.

“We felt the evidence supported the grand jury’s consideration of the charges and they came back and indicted,” said 12th Judicial Circuit Court Assistant State Attorney Art Brown, who added what was said during the proceeding is secret.

The grand jurors indicted Avalos Dec. 16 for the premeditated murders of his wife, neighbor Denise Potter and pastor of Bayshore Baptist Church, the Rev. James “Tripp” Battle III. Avalos, 33, was ordered held without bond on the new charges.

The prosecution’s next decision is whether to seek the death penalty. Brown expects to make this decision within 45 days of Avalos’ arraignment.

Avalos had been held in Manatee County jail on second-degree murder charges since his Dec. 6 arrest for the shooting of the pastor at the church, 6525 14th St. W., Bradenton, and the killings of his wife, Amber Avalos, and Potter at his home in northwest Bradenton.

After a three-day manhunt, deputies found Avalos in a mobile home park behind the church with a gun having the same caliber of casings as those found at the two murder scenes, and Avalos confessed to the killings, according to MCSO reports.

Avalos allegedly beat, shot and hanged his wife, shot Potter, and then drove to Bayshore Baptist Church and shot Battle in the courtyard.

MCSO Detective John Kenney of Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit said Potter was friends with the family and cleaned homes with Amber Avalos. Potter previously lived in Holmes Beach.

“We think they were supposed to clean houses that morning, that day,” Kenney said.

“She was unfortunately at the wrong place at the wrong time. If it was just a matter of seconds either way, she’d still be alive.”

Kenney also said Avalos’ thought process points to premeditation.

Avalos’ use of a gun in the three killings and the path he took from his house, which included dropping off his child at day care, shooting Battle at the church, driving to Wal-Mart where he left his car and then taking a cab to the area south of the Baptist church — “all that goes to premeditation,” Kenney said.

While MCSO has acknowledged the shootings were domestic related, Kenney said Dec. 16 the office was not releasing investigators’ ideas about Avalos’ motive.

Assistant Public Defender Franklin Roberts was assigned to represent Avalos, who pleaded not guilty to all charges Dec. 8.

Avalos’ arraignment is set for 8:55 a.m. Jan. 16 before 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Deno G. Economou at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Probation orders seek to end BUI prosecution

An Anna Maria man entered a no-contest plea to a charge of boating while under the influence and was sentenced to 12 months on probation.

Christopher J. Callahan, 21, pleaded no contest Oct. 14 and was adjudicated guilty.

Callahan was arrested in June by the U.S. Coast Guard after he ran a vessel into a shoal in the waterway near the 2600 block of Gulf Drive South in Bradenton Beach. Callahan gave two breath samples, measuring .229 and .218.

Twelfth Judicial Circuit Judge Charles Sniffen ordered Callahan to live within the law, report regularly to a probation officer and submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

Callahan was given 11 months to pay $1,136 in costs, fines and fees, to perform 75 hours of community service and to attend a DUI treatment program and victim impact panel. The order also included an automatic probation termination provision.

A Nov. 26 court order modified the original probation order to allow Callahan to pay an additional $750 to Manatee County in lieu of 75 hours of community work.

Zephyrhills woman agrees to court intervention

An erratic motorist on North Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria has entered a pretrial intervention program in 12th Judicial Circuit Court.

Amandia Hester Sharbono, 31, of Zephyrhills, was arrested in July by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office after a citizen’s report of a swerving vehicle in Anna Maria.

Judge Andrew Owens Jr. ordered Sharbono into drug court Nov. 20. And on Dec. 11, she entered a no-contest plea and contract for six months, requiring her to refrain from using alcohol and drugs and to report regularly to a probation officer.

She’d faced third-degree felony charges of possession of cocaine and a prescription drug, Dilaudid, without a prescription, in addition to misdemeanor paraphernalia charges.

Upon successful completion of the contract, Sharbono will be allowed to withdraw her plea and charges will be dismissed.

Drug court uses such pretrial intervention programs to break the cycle of drugs and crime.

Car thief suspect escapes jail, arrested again

A man arrested in August for eluding law enforcement in Cortez made a second attempt to get away.

Meren Ed Thompson, 43, of Sarasota, was arrested Dec. 6 by a Seminole County Sheriff deputy on a warrant after a Nov. 23 escape from the Manatee County jail.

Thompson had been serving time in jail for an Aug. 27 arrest when he escaped through a gap in a fenced-in work area.

On the day of his jailbreak, Thompson was working at a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office aquatic farm. At the end of the shift, authorities could not find him.

According to the MCSO, Thompson carjacked a truck in Hillsborough County, and was found in Sanford, Florida, by Seminole County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Thompson was re-booked into the Manatee County jail Dec. 8. He is being held without bond after a Dec. 9 appearance in 12th Judicial Circuit Court.

From the Cortez arrest, Thompson faces charges of auto theft, driving with a suspended license, fleeing and eluding law enforcement and striking a police canine. He had allegedly led deputies on a chase, jumped from a moving vehicle, fled on foot and hid from police until a sheriff’s canine found him under a home in the 12200 block of 45th Avenue.

Thompson’s arraignment for the jail escape is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 9, before 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Susan B. Maulucci at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

A Jan. 23, 2015, docket sounding and Feb. 2, 2015, trial period are scheduled on the case stemming from his arrest in Cortez.

Eyes on the road

Local law enforcement remind those indulging in holiday cheer to travel with a designated driver or use public transportation.

And there is a caution for motorists to stay alert on island roads, especially near the beaches and commercial centers, where there are many pedestrians — who may or may not be using crosswalks.

In other travel news, the Florida Department of Transportation issued the following alerts for motorists driving in the area the week of Dec. 22:

• SR 789 from Coquina Beach to 13th Street South: Crews are making drainage improvements. Expect nighttime/overnight lane closures from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. Expected completion is early 2015.

• SR 684/Cortez Road at the Cortez Bridge from east of Gulf Drive to west of 127th Street West: Crews will work on the bridge expansion bearings and joints, beams, fender wall, sidewalks and electric system in the bridge-tender house. Motorists will notice driving across the bridge will feel bumpy due to crews jacking the bridge to remove and replace expansion bearings. Crews will pour concrete Friday nights, 9 p.m.-6 a.m., through December. The expected completion is this winter.

The DOT advises motorists to slow down and use caution in work zones.

For the latest roadwatch information, people can go online to www.fl511.com or dial “511.”

Local agencies can send announcements of roadwatch projects to news@islander.org.

Obituaries – 12-24-2014

Col. John Atkinsonobit-atkinson-122414-c

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. John Atkinson, 96, of Holmes Beach, died Nov. 24.

Col. Atkinson was born Nov. 3, 1918, in Auburn, Alabama. He served with the U.S. Air Force as a pilot during World War II and the Korean Conflict, retiring after 30 years as a colonel.

He moved to Manatee County more than 40 years ago, served on the Bradenton City Commission for several years and held the office of vice mayor of Bradenton.

He also worked for 15 years as a broker with Merrill Lynch in Bradenton. After living in Bradenton for many years, he moved to Holmes Beach.

Col. Atkinson was a member of the Retired Air Corps and the Kirby Stewart American Legion Post No. 24 of Bradenton.

Wife Nancy Atkinson died in March 2013.

A celebration of Col. Atkinson’s life was held Nov. 28 in the clubhouse of the Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach with full military honors by the Kirby Stewart American Legion Post No. 24 of Bradenton.

Memorial donations may be made to the charity of choice.  Condolences may be made online at www.shannonfuneralhomes.com.

Col. Atkinson is survived by sister Sarah and husband Jack Miller of Bradenton; son Burton and wife Glenna of Pompano Beach; daughters Corinne Pool of Bryan, Ohio, and Sherry and husband John Kirschner of Celina, Ohio; step-daughter Christine and husband Steve Nelson of Bradenton; eight grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and many extended family members and friends.

 

Anna Fettrow

Anna Fettrow, 80, of Tampa died Dec. 17.

She was born and raised in West Jefferson, Ohio, and worked for the Ohio Bell Telephone Company for many years. In 1969, she came to Florida and lived for several years on Anna Maria Island, where she worked at the Sand Dollar Gift Shop and was a member of Roser Memorial Community Church. She moved to Tampa in 2002.

A graveside service will take place at a later date at the Florida National Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.act.alz.org.

Online condolences can be made at www.blountcurrywest.com.

Survivors include daughter Wilhelmina “Willie and husband E. Kightlinger of Tampa, and cousin Sally Rees, of London, Ohio.

Her husband William preceded her in death.

 

Robert ‘Bob’ Lampobit-Lamp

Robert “Bob” Lamp, 90, died Dec. 18.

He was born in Detroit and retired to Florida in 1984.

He was a member of the American Legion after serving in the Navy during World War II. He also was a member of Elks and Moose lodges, as well as a member of St. Joseph and St Bernard Catholic churches.

Mr. Lamp was an avid golfer, fisherman, bowler and dancer.

He retired after 41 years from the Ford Motor Company.     He is survived by his wife Phyllis; sons Lawrence and wife Rose and Keith and wife Debbie; grandchildren Ashley, Jared, Connor and Rachel; sisters Jill and Bonnie; several nieces and nephews and many.

 

John Campbell Neillobit-neill

John Campbell Neill, 63, of Bradenton and formerly of Holmes Beach, died Dec. 13. He was born Sept. 3, 1951, in Panama City, the son of late Doris and John “Jack” Neill Jr.

He was a contractor and owner of John Neill Stucco.

His family recalled his kindness and generosity to those less fortunate, often picking up workers and taking them home, especially helping homeless people. He had a contagious laugh and smile that brought happiness to many.

A memorial gathering will be held at noon Tuesday, Dec. 23, on the beach at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, with a celebration of life to follow at 1 p.m. at Duffy’s Tavern in Holmes Beach.

He is survived by son John and wife Shayna of Orlando; daughter Shannon and husband Brian McCoy of Sarasota; grandchildren John “Jack” V and Brooks McCoy; brothers William of Bradenton and Blair of Farmington Hills, Michigan; and sister Ranie Phillips of Bradenton.

The Islander Newspaper E-Edition: Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014

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