Tag Archives: 01-25-2012

Bradenton Beach celebrates Florida Arbor Day

Arbor Day will be 140 years old when it is celebrated nationally April 27, but communities across the country celebrate the day at different times of the year.

Jan. 20 was Florida Arbor Day and Anna Maria Island communities celebrated by planting trees in various areas of each city. In Bradenton Beach, the ceremony took place on Bridge Street, where two Spanish Stopper trees and two Simpson Stopper trees were planted.

Florida Forest Service spokesman Ed Flowers said the first Arbor Day celebration was celebrated with a few hundred children parading through their small town and the planting of new trees.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that first celebration,’ said Flowers. “Since then, Arbor Day celebrations are done in every state and even in other countries.”

Flowers thanked Bradenton Beach for becoming a member of the Tree City USA family last year.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into becoming a Tree City USA,” he said. “Bradenton Beach worked really hard at getting that designation.”

Bradenton Beach’s designation means the only community in Manatee County that is not recognized by Tree City USA is Longboat Key.

Keep Manatee Beautiful executive director Ingrid McClellan said she hopes to return next year’s Arbor Day celebration back to its roots by including school kids in the event.

KMB volunteer and biologist Tammy Kovar said the spirit of Arbor Day is “one tree at a time. We all enjoy planting trees, whether it’s in our yard or in our community.”

Florida Power and Light spokesman Jim Black reminded attendees of the importance of planning where trees are being planted, and to take into account nearby power lines.

“Remember, right tree, right location,” Black said. “Trees provide beauty, shade and freshen the air and help to support community pride. When people enter a Tree City USA, they know you care about trees.”

Mayor John Shaughnessy read a proclamation declaring Jan. 20 as Arbor Day and urged all citizens “to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands and to support our city’s urban forestry program.”

Shaughnessy said citizen participation and planting trees will “promote the wellbeing of present and future generations,” while enhancing the community.

Gatehouse gets BB Ward 3 seat

The Bradenton Beach commission is now a full, five-member board, following a 3-1 vote to appoint Richard Gatehouse as the Ward 3 commissioner at the Jan. 19 city commission meeting.

Gatehouse’s nomination stalled at the Jan. 12 commission meeting when legal concerns arose over whether or not Gatehouse could be both a commissioner and the city’s contracted webmaster. The issue was raised during public comment by Jo Ann Meilner, who cited a state statute on conflict of interest.

However, city attorney Ricinda Perry said Jan. 19 she had reviewed the statutes, consulted similar Florida attorney general opinions and found precedence to determine that Gatehouse could be legally appointed as commissioner.

Perry said there were other cases where city employees were able to take office.

As long as Gatehouse recuses himself from any votes pertaining to the city’s website, Mayor John Shaughnessy said Gatehouse could perform commissioner duties.

John Tillison, a second applicant for the Ward 3 seat, appeared slighted at the Jan. 12 meeting when the Ward 3 seat was first scheduled to be filled. He received no acknowledgement from the commission.

Before the Jan. 19 meeting, Tillison supporters spoke up on his behalf.

“Last meeting, I spoke in support of Mr. Tillison and was disappointed with what happened here,” said Meilner. “I thought he was treated like he was invisible.”

Meilner submitted a petition of signatures that included the names of 129 Bradenton Beach residents and business owners, expressing support for Tillison’s nomination.

“I think what happened at the last meeting was a disgrace,” she said.

Michael Cunningham, a resident of Ward 3, also spoke in favor of Tillison.

“I came to show my support of Mr. Tillison,” he said. “What I don’t support is political cronyism.”

Shaughnessy thanked all the public speakers and said it would all be taken into consideration. In the interest of fairness, he said, both applicants were allowed to express their reasons for seeking the vacant Ward 3 seat.

“I also want to thank Jo Ann for bringing this issue forward, so we could address it and put it behind us,” said Shaughnessy. “It seems to be a sticky subject, so I’d like to clear some things up, as I am not an ogre, nor am I trying to railroad anyone, which is why the fair thing to do is to give each applicant time to speak.”

Tillison was the first to speak. He thanked the commissioners for considering him as an applicant.

“I have a lot of time on my hands, and I love this little island,” said Tillison. “I believe I can be of service and that’s all I really have to say. I have come to know (Gatehouse) and he’s a nice gentleman. I don’t have animosity toward anyone. I just wanted to volunteer my services. That’s all I’m trying to do, is be of the best help I can.”

Gatehouse cited his volunteer work on city advisory boards as giving him an existing understanding of the government process.

“I also have been retired from a job that has taken me out of town a lot and am here now on a permanent basis and would like to give back to my community,” he said. “I love this town, and I saw a need and decided to step up and volunteer my help.”

Commissioner Gay Breuler made a motion to nominate Gatehouse as the Ward 3 commissioner, which was seconded by Commissioner Ed Straight. Following a brief discussion, Straight was the only commissioner to vote no, but the motion passed 3-1 with Breuler, Shaughnessy and Commissioner Jan Vosburgh voting yes.

Gatehouse fills a seat that has been vacant since the November election when Commissioner Janie Robertson term-limited out of office and no one ran for the vacant seat.

With the Ward 3 appointment, Bradenton Beach established a quorum to deal with the border dispute with Holmes Beach. The commission has been unable to act on the dispute, due to both Shaughnessy and Breuler having to recuse themselves. Both are residents of Sandpiper Resort, which is key to the dispute.

Perry reported to the commission that no resolution or “substantive discussion on the fence issue,” arose at the Jan. 18 conflict resolution meeting between the two cities. Perry previously had said that much would depend on the lending agency’s willingness to allow the Sandpiper Resort to quitclaim part of the disputed property to move forward with a proposed settlement from Holmes Beach.

“That was the gist of last week’s solution proposal,” said Perry. “And (the lenders) are not willing to do it.”

The bank’s refusal to release the Sandpiper property could bring the matter back to square one for both Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach.

Breuler said the dispute has already cost the city more than $3,000 in taxpayer money.

“I wanted to bring that up because I wanted people to know how bad this situation is getting,” she said.

Shaughnessy was more optimistic, since the commission would have a quorum to vote on any proposals to resolve the dispute.

“I thought this was going to be a tough meeting today and I didn’t sleep much over it,” said Shaughnessy. “I’d like to thank the commission for giving us a commissioner. It’s been a long time and it’s a lot more complicated than you think. Thank God we are on our way, and one of these problems has been solved.”

Vosburgh acknowledged that the commission did not handle the nomination process well at the Jan. 12 meeting.

“I do feel bad about (Tillison),” she said. “I thought we were rude to him and ignored him.”

Straight agreed, saying it was nothing personal.

“I didn’t know the applicants until their names were presented, and I don’t really know either gentleman well,” Straight said. “I’m glad (the mayor) gave each of them an opportunity to speak. That was the right thing to do.”

City hears bark, bark, bark of dog owners

He claimed he was a lawyer from Illinois, and he had come to practice baseball with his son. He told some 30 people with animals at the field to leave. And they left.

Holmes Beach resident and dog park user Forrest Longworth Jr. and other dog park proponents told Holmes Beach commissioners this tale and more at a Jan. 17 commission work session. The dog park users said they want a change in signage at the field.

The signs posted at the field say: “No dogs permitted during ball playing activities,” and “This field is baseball/softball use only. All other activities use soccer field.”

They also sent a message that city officials should look down the road to even more dog-friendly changes. “I don’t have a dog in this fight,” said publisher of The Islander, Holmes Beach resident Bonner Joy, “my dogs don’t play well with other dogs, and we don’t go there.

“I really feel the ball park is obsolete,” she said, explaining how she had seen the ball park develop from a rocky, shell field to a Junior League baseball field.

It became a Junior League field where 14-16-year-olds played organized ball, and The Islander proudly sponsored the team, Joy said. However interest dwindled in the field as the interest in the Little League declined.

Anna Maria Island Little League was a chartered organization, not part of the community center, although they partnered for use of the center’s baseball stadium. She said they haven’t organized or produced teams suitable for regulation play on field, and she didn’t see that changing in the future.

“There are 30 to 50 dog owners there on a daily basis,” Joy said. “If you’re thinking about serving the most people, the highest and best use may be for dogs.”

Joy added that she spoke to three of the four Tebbetts’ children. They are not holding onto a hope that someday the field will be more popular, she said. “Whatever is best for Holmes Beach” is what they want. “They’d be happy to see it used.”

Barbara Parkman of 67th Street said, “We have a lot of animal lovers here. There are a few that mess up. So we clean up. She requested that “if it’s not going to be baseball, cover up the gosh darn orange sand.” She said it clings to the dogs paws and fur, stains everything it comes in contact with, and is hard to remove.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, a former mayor of Holmes Beach and resident, said she agreed with Mayor Rich Bohnenberger, who had introduced the discussion saying the city has an interest in the baseball field, and it was built with county funding along with private donations.

Whitmore said the county was instrumental in leveling the grade and putting the grass in, and that Rex Hagen donated $50,000-60,000.

Whitmore said she favored giving everyone who contributed money input into any future use, but she pointed out that the comprehensive plan includes the field as “recreation,” and a dog park falls into that use category. “There was an agreement. If it were a catch game or not, they could share the field. We have to find a way to play nice in the sandbox.”

Another resident suggested finding a compromise, using it as a dog park when baseball is not in season. And in the spring, when it’s played, allowing use as a dog park until 4 p.m.

Joy added sunset occurs around 5:30 and you can’t have a game when it’s dark. She also suggested commissioners give thought to how much money they want to invest for clay, fertilizers and pesticides and manpower to maintain the field considering its limited use as a ball park.

Commissioner John Monetti asked whether the baseball field could be divided to allow for a regulation-sized soccer field. The fence on the south side of the baseball field is removeable, allowing for a larger open field.

It was, however, determined the field is too narrow for regulation soccer.

Commissioners Sandy Haas Martin and David Zaccagnino liked the suggestion to have a sign-in sheet for ball players at the police department.

“We still have to have the blessing of Mr. Hagen,” Zaccagnino said.

“I don’t know, said Monetti of this idea. “Dogs are using it 95 percent of the time. Should we provide this if we don’t know there’s going to be enough people showing up. There’s too much emphasis on ball park.”

Renee Ferguson of 77th Street said “all the ideas are great. “Let’s say if in the next year if we haven’t had any [ballpark] use, we stop putting the money into fertilizer.”

She said even when dog owners let the kids play, they haven’t had any problems.

Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said the signs were posted because there were dogs that chased some kids.

Dog park users responded they had not seen that problem.

And, the mayor said, more people are policing that field than ever, which is “a good thing.”

Debate about the use of Birdie Tebbetts Field began when the field parking lot became a staging area for a stormwater project. The lot also has been used for previous dredging projects.

There’s been objection to the loss of parking, largely because no organized sports have been scheduled for the park in more than two years.

The stormwater project began in mid-August, and is expected to bring relief to flood prone areas along Holmes Boulevard between 61st and 63rd streets, with a March completion date, according to public works superintendent Joe Duennes.

Scott Dell of the Anna Maria Island Community Center confirmed the center hasn’t scheduled the field for sports in two-three years.

Apparently an informal co-ed softball league used the field in the summer, but, beyond that, the field is only used by people allowing their dogs a fenced-in place to exercise.

The center’s declining interest in the field is attributed to a national decline in baseball as a children’s sport, according to Dell.

Birdie Tebbetts Field is the city’s only baseball field. It was dedicated in March 2001 to honor the late George Robert (“Birdie”) Tebbetts, a Holmes Beach resident. Tebbetts was known as a defensive-minded catcher for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians between the late 1930s and the early 1950s and as the best catcher in the American League in the 1940s.

He worked in baseball following his playing years as a manager and executive, ending his career as a master scout for the Marlins when the team formed in 1991.

He settled on Anna Maria Island in the 1950s and supported the Anna Maria Island Little League.

Anna Maria hosts a Little League field at the community center, and a ballfield also exists at Herb Dolan Park in Bradenton Beach.

Center board talks cell tower, finances, ‘Affaire’

The Anna Maria Island Community Center board agreed at its Jan. 16 meeting it is ready to move forward on a cell tower for the center. Board members voted to execute a contract, with a so-far-undisclosed developer, and hope to gain city approval this week.

Board treasurer Randy Langley, who told the Anna Maria City Commission in December that the Center was interested in pursuing a tower, said at the board meeting that he knows of two other locations that would like to have a tower.

“The only way to get the ball rolling is to roll it. If we just let the matter sit, someone else will submit an application for a tower and we will lose our opportunity,” Langley said.

Langley sees the tower as a benefit to the center and the community, and not only due to improved cell reception. He said the money derived from a tower should go to the center.

“Revenue gained from the tower can go toward paying off the center’s mortgage,” Langley said. Money for the center helps meet the center purpose to serve the community.

The board requested the contract be reviewed by the center attorney and its cell tower committee when the city suggested the cell tower could be located on center property. Board members want to be ensured of a way out of the tower contract, if needed.

In other board business, Langley reviewed the center’s financial situation, presenting the board with a breakdown of expense vs. revenue.

The center is continuing to pay $15,000 toward the mortgage each month, more than $6,000 above the principal payment. The board hopes to continue making payments at that level, and more if possible.

“We’ve introduced a number of new sports programs, all of which are affordable and offer good introductions to the center for new members, but they are, by and large, not major fundraisers,” said executive director Pierrette Kelly.

“We’ve had a big increase in the sports department … $3,800, which is not major revenue production,” said board chair Greg Ross.

One drawback in sports is that not all programs are taught by staff, but rather by outside contractors.

According to a report by staff member Scott Dell, however, the center’s programs, including sports, are well utilized by the community.

Dell reported there are nearly 300 members, including 5-year-olds to adults in the flag football program. Also, the West Edge After-school program includes just under 200 kids, from elementary to teens. The Lester Family Fun Day, held at the beginning of December, drew an estimated crowd of 300 adults and children.

“The center is obviously having a very positive effect on many families and individuals in the area, which is why I say that any funds generated to help pay off debt and support programs is really money which benefits the entire community,” said Langley following Dell’s report.

There are many plans and prospects to generate funding in 2012, said Kelly.

“We’ve had an above average number of small donations, but it seems that many organizations are afraid of making big commitments. Even so, we had a good turn in from United Way and Manatee County during the first six months of the fiscal year, and hopes are high that some big ones will come in March,” said Kelly.

Some upcoming income-generating events include, “Sinatra Sings,” Jan. 28, offering an evening of Vegas-Style entertainment.

On March 17, the center will host its 19th annual Tour of Homes, during which a number of unique Island properties will be open to ticket holders.

“Right now, we have only three homes for the tour. Our goal is to get at least six,” Kelly said.

The largest prospect is the March 31 Affaire to Remember event, an evening of dining, dancing, entertainment and auctions.

This year’s event will include a sit-down dinner.

“It will be a bit more formal than prior years. We’re pushing for black tie if possible,” event chair Trudy Moon said.

Unique auction items are currently being sought for the auction.

“We’re looking for personal trips, to a home ideally. A good ski-trip destination would be outstanding,” Moon said.

The theme of this year’s Affaire is “Once in a Blue Moon,” alluding to a surprise. So far, few know the secret and her intention is to keep it that way, Moon said.

“We’ve had a full house the last few years, but this year we don’t think anyone will be leaving early. Nothing like this has ever been done on the west coast of Florida. It’s a big secret,” Moon said.

“This event has huge potential for monetary gains. The auction has raised nearly $4 million over the years. The Affaire and the Tour of Homes are vital,” Kelly said.

Board members also discussed the completing a child protection policy, with the only unresolved issue still being the age when a child can be released from center custody without parental consent. The board arrived at a general agreement that “elementary-school age” should be the cut-off point for consent, rather than a specific age.

The issue of age will again be addressed by board member Scott Rudacille and the policy will likely be approved at the board meeting Feb. 27.

Members were uniformly pleased with changes in language made to the policy since the board’s previous review.

“I gave my stamp of approval to the policy before changes were made, but now we have something even better. There’s less room for confusion over wording. It’s more succinct and clear,” said board member David Teitelbaum.

The board also discussed the possible implementation of a three-strikes policy for trouble-making kids, which would result in a parent conference on the third strike.

“We need to reach out and try to help these kids, that’s what the Center is here to do. A policy like that wouldn’t be about banning anyone from the establishment, but about trying to help troubled kids,” Dell said.

The Rev. Ed Moss of Crosspointe Fellowship in Anna Maria attended the meeting to promote the film “Courageous,” which deals with issues of how to be a good husband and father.

The film will be screened in the Center’s gym at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, followed by a four-part discussion series on how the movie’s themes can be applied in life. Specifics on the discussion series will be announced at a later date.

Moss also volunteered church assistance to monitor future center sporting events, if needed.

HB fisher serves jail time, appeals conviction

John L. Yates, 60, a Holmes Beach commercial fisherman working out of Cortez, was released from jail Jan. 4.

Yates served 30 days following a federal jury trial, judgment and sentencing on charges that he destroyed fish in an effort to obstruct an investigation into what the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration claimed were under-sized red grouper on Yates’ boat.

He was convicted on two of three counts in August, four years after a government agent boarded his boat to search for illegal fish. Yates was found guilty of one count of disposing under-sized fish to prevent the government’s seizure, and a second count of destroying fish to obstruct an investigation of under-sized red grouper.

The jury acquitted him on a third count of lying to a federal agent.

Even now, after serving the sentence, Yates believes his case is not close to over. His attorney filed a notice to appeal Dec. 16, and the appeal is expected to last another two years.

Asked why Yates is appealing, there’s a simple answer, “Because I didn’t do it.”

“We’ve lost three years of income. He’s lost his slot of captain on a boat,” said his wife, Sandy Yates.

“He’s had to do odd jobs, jump on crab boats (to crew). Not to mention the mental stress.

“Every time he’d get pulled over, he’d have to pull out a card,” she said, adding a federal conviction stays with someone for life.

“It was just nasty,” John Yates said of time in jail in Lee and Charlotte counties.

“I’ve got three more years on paper,” he added, referring to his three years of supervised release. During his probation period, he is required to cooperate with DNA collection, drug testing, financial information requests and other conditions of supervision.

“I can’t leave the middle district of Florida,” he added.

John and Sandy Yates also said people are afraid to get involved with him due to the serious nature of a federal case.

“(The government has) taken our income, vacation and time with our grandkids,” said Sandy Yates, adding she is planning a civil suit against the government if they win the appeal.

In a recent interview near the docks he’s fished from in Cortez for more than 13 years before the 2007 citation, John Yates noted the irony of being found innocent of lying to a federal agent about the alleged disposal of fish, but being found guilty on the underlying issues of disposing and destroying fish.

He estimated he was carrying about 3,000 grouper the day the agent of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, deputized by NOAA, boarded his boat and ordered him to empty his catch onto the deck of the boat.

Four hours into the agent’s search and measurements on a rocky sea, John Yates said the agent had him pull out 72 fish and put them on ice, however, the agent did not take those fish that day.

A day later, government agents met Yates at A.P.. Bell Fish House in Cortez, where they counted and measured the selected fish again, only to find 69 shrunken fish, he Yates said.

Three days later, according to the Yates, the citation was issued after the two of the crew were interviewed.

Sandy Yates said one crew member told investigators “the captain made me throw the fish overboard. The crew member came out of the interview, saying, ‘They told me I was going to jail. I can’t go to jail.’”

“I just think there were always 69 (select fish),” she said. “Measuring is not the same offshore as onshore.

“John told them, ‘you’re smashing the faces of the fishes’ during NOAA’s onshore measurement.” Sandy Yates said she’s certain it was her husband’s questioning of the agents that led to government’s charges.

John Yates said, the mouth of a grouper has an under-bite, and should be measured at full length, not by smashing the face against a board.

“We challenged their methodology — how they measured the fish,” said John Yates.


NOAA’s statement

After the trial, the U.S. attorney’s office of the Middle District of Florida published a press release, touting the government’s case.

“According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, deputized officers of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service boarded the fishing vessel, Miss Katie, in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and discovered 72 under-sized red grouper.

“The officers instructed the captain, John L. Yates, to leave the fish onboard the Miss Katie, and report back to Cortez, in order for agents of the National Marine Fisheries Service to seize the fish. Instead of reporting as instructed, Yates caused his crew to throw the fish overboard.

“Protecting our environment and natural resources should be of prime concern to all Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill in the press release. “Our office will continue to make the enforcement of environmental laws a priority.”


Other issues

Less than one year after issuing Yates’ citation, which alleged fish under the 20-inch minimum length, the law was changed to allow 18-inch fish, according to John Yates.

Also, Sandy Yates pointed out, the fish seized after the onshore measurement were eventually sold to consumers by the federal government.

What has them “fired up” now, she said, is the “little guys” in commercial fishing across the country who are facing similar charges and being unfairly prosecuted as criminals.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and U.S. Sen. John Kerry have raised concerns about over aggressive and poorly managed commercial fishing enforcement operations in Gloucester, Mass.

Under the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Sandy Yates said, “If you come up short, it’s supposed to be a civil matter. So when he got the citation, he thought, ‘pay a fine and it was over.’”

Going on more than five years in the federal court system, however, John Yates apparently does not regret his decisions in this matter, including his decision not to plea bargain with the U.S. attorney. He said the prosecution offered only one choice other than going to trial on the indictment, to plead to the charge of “forcibly and physically opposing a federal officer.”

“What is that?” John Yates said.

His wife added the government expected him to “plead out” because 95 percent of those charged do.

However, no admission was made.

“If you didn’t do something they’re saying you did, what would you do?” John Yates asked.

“We’ve had to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in income for a minor infraction,” said Sandy Yates. “There should be a point where common sense takes over. We’re talking about three missing fish.”

BSM agrees to sponsor HB concert — after the fact

The first in what is planned as monthly festivals at the Holmes Beach city field will likely be sponsored by a Bradenton Beach merchants group after all.

As of press time, the Jan. 27 event is pending a state liquor license and contract for an off-duty police officer at the event, according to the city clerk’s office. The 5 p.m.-10 p.m. event is expected to feature bands, vendors, food, beer and a G-rated movie in the city’s open field in the 5800-5900 block of Flotilla Drive.

Jo Ann Meilner, president of Bridge Street Merchants, said the BSM voted last week to enter into a contract with Island Festivals Inc. to sponsor the event.

“There is a permit process that has not been finalized,” Mayor Rich Bohnenberger told the city commission at its Jan. 17 meeting. The city requires the state liquor license approval, in addition to approvals from the mayor, police, fire district and public works department.

Meilner said Jan. 21 the BSM spoke to the state liquor licensing department, and its permit is in the works.

At the city commission meeting, she said the BSM agreed to supply the organization’s name for a liquor permit, and, in turn, receive profits from the beer sales, but otherwise had no affiliation with the event and no knowledge of who or what entity would be profiting.

On Jan. 21, however, she said she learned sponsorship of the liquor permit and the rest of the event could not be separated.

“For our special event license, the nonprofit has to apply for and hold the license for the event,” according to Sandi Copes Poreda, director of communications, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

In addition, state law requires a “bona fide nonprofit civic organization” sell alcoholic beverages, and that “all net profits from sales of alcoholic beverages” resulting from the permit be retained by the nonprofit civic organization. It also limits civic organizations to three such permits per calendar year.

Although sponsoring the entire Holmes Beach event was not what the Bradenton Beach merchants group initially agreed to do, Meilner said Jan. 21, “It’s too late to pull the plug.”

The event is being advertised by Island Festivals Inc., a for-profit corporation, according to the website of the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. It lists Cynthia and Douglas Thompson as officers, both of 18th Avenue Northwest, Bradenton.

Advertisements indicate the concerts will include bands, vendors, food and a beer truck.

Thompson, who signed the city’s temporary use permit application on behalf of the Bridge Street Merchants, said her “goal is to help the businesses, tourists, residents and nonprofits.”

Thompson submitted her city application Jan. 10, but had already announced Dec. 27 that the concerts were planned for the last Friday of every month.

While the city field and gazebo will be used for the concert events, the mayor told commissioners Jan. 17 that the city “will not be sponsoring” the concerts.

At its Dec.13 meeting, commissioners had given a consensus for free concerts in the park. Under the mayor’s report, Bohnenberger said he had “found someone who is willing to organize a series, perhaps a monthly concert in the park at no cost to the city. These will not be major events, just simply bring your blanket or chair and enjoy the entertainment, bluegrass, jazz, rock, oldies, etc. If the commission is interested, I will pursue.”

Commissioner Jean Peelen said she asked for the Jan. 17 review because she didn’t remember any discussion of food vendors and a beer truck.

She also wondered about the similarity of this application to one submitted and rejected last year by Nancy Ambrose. It was pointed out that Ambrose sought a permit for a market on private property and the location presented safety concerns.

At the commission meeting, Bohnenberger said the city has no choice but to grant the Bridge Street Merchants’ request for the event. The mayor said it is mandatory for the city to issue the permit to nonprofit organizations. The city code states as follows:

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is the policy of the city of Holmes Beach to provide for and encourage the noncommercial use of the city-owned property adjacent to the city hall complex … solely for the benefit of the citizens of Holmes Beach.

“Accordingly, in addition to other requirements for temporary use permits, the following shall be required:

“Temporary use permits for the city field shall be issued to organizations which are active not-for-profit corporations….

“As a condition of permit issuance, the applicant shall be required to post one or more signs at the event. These signs shall state the percentage or amount of revenue the applicant is receiving from the event.”

Meilner said that although the BSM board gave approval for the liquor license for the event in exchange for profits, she only learned a contract between BSM and Island Festivals for the event had been signed Jan. 18 by vice president Caryn Hodge at the merchants Jan. 19 meeting.

BSM also learned that the organization is required by Island Festivals to manage and provide volunteers to run any booth selling alcoholic beverages and the beer truck.

BSM also will receive any profit resulting from the event after all expenses are paid, including 20 percent of the event profit to Island Festivals.

While the state regulations require all net profits from sales of alcoholic beverages be retained by the nonprofit organization, the contract between the BSM and Island Festivals is ambiguous as to who may be responsible for costs if the event is not profitable.

Island roadwatch, Jan. 25-Feb. 1

A Florida Department of Transportation restriction on over-size vehicles using the Longboat Pass Bridge/State Road 789 remains.

DOT officials expect the ban to last for several months.

Due to construction on the bridge, the contractor reduced the width of the travel lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet, resulting in the restriction, the DOT said.

Any necessary lane closures will occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the DOT said. A flagging operation will be present to direct traffic during any closures. There will be no lane closures from 6 a.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Motorists are advised to use caution and obey the speed limit, which has been reduced to 35 mph for the duration of construction.

The draw remains available to boaters on demand.

The bridge project is expected to finish in April or early May, according to the DOT.

The sidewalk project in Holmes Beach along East Bay Drive/State Road 789 has been completed, the DOT said.

Landmark Island ‘anvil’ to close May 1

The Sterling Anvil jewelry store at 5508 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach is probably the Island’s oldest jewelry store, having opened its doors in 1971. It’s also quite likely that during the past 40 years, owners Mary Norman and Roxanne Reid have met just about everyone who lives in Holmes Beach.

But the doors of the Sterling Anvil will close for good May 1.

Norman and Reid have decided to retire and close the store.

In a joint statement, Norman and Reid said, “As much as we will miss working with our customers and making our handcrafted jewelry, we feel it is time to enjoy retirement.”

They also noted that in recent years, “The price of silver and gold has risen to historical heights, which has negatively influenced our usual reasonable prices of jewelry.”

Reid and Norman said they were making the announcement now to halt speculation about the store that has circulated on Anna Maria Island in recent weeks. They also want customers to know they should use any gift cards by May 1.

There will be no clearance sale or goodbye party, Reid said.

The statement said they are “deeply grateful to our loyal customers who have supported our efforts for the past 40 years and have made our venture a success.”

Reid said she and Norman also have decided not to give interviews.

“We want to keep this as low key as possible,” Reid said.

Norman opened the Sterling Anvil in 1971 in a shop on Gulf Drive just west of the Marina Drive intersection. A few years later, Reid became a co-owner.

In 2008, the store moved from Gulf Drive to its present location.

Dennis Christie of Christie’s Plumbing, who owns the building where Sterling Anvil is located, said he was “surprised and shocked” when Reid and Norman gave him notice they were closing the store.

He is advertising for a new tenant.

Island police blotter – 01-25-2012

Anna Maria

• Jan. 10, 400 block of Pine Avenue, information. A complainant asked deputies to evict a person from a duplex. The woman residing at the unit claimed she was there at the invitation of the property owner.

• Jan. 16, 300 block of Hardin Avenue, information. Three men were ordered to stop door-to-door solicitation in residential areas. Deputies escorted the men out of the city.

Anna Maria is policed by the MCSO.

Bradenton Beach

• Jan. 12, 2600 block of Gulf Drive, theft. A bicycle was removed from the front of a Sandpiper Resort mobile home. The beach cruiser with a bell, mirror and fat tires was valued at $50.

• Jan. 14, 1900 block of Gulf Drive, grand theft. A vendor who had left her wares under a tent in Coquina Park following an arts and crafts show reported at approximately 8:30 p.m. that unknown persons had entered her tent. She said approximately $450 worth of jewelry was missing. Wood and glass display cabinets were forcibly entered, and storage bins had been rummaged. Police obtained fingerprint evidence.

• Jan. 17, 2600 block of Gulf Drive, criminal mischief. A complainant reported his car was broken into Jan. 15 and the driver’s side door and dash were damaged. Damage was estimated at $500.

Bradenton Beach is policed by the BBPD.


• No reports.

    Cortez is policed by the MCSO

Holmes Beach

• Jan. 15, 500 block of 69th Street, vehicle burglary. A man reported $180 cash, a global positioning system and a brown bag containing numerous house keys were stolen from his unlocked vehicle. He told police he believed the burglary occurred Jan. 13 when he first noticed his wallet missing. He did not realize his vehicle had been burglarized until he discovered the other items missing.

The complainant said the brown bag contained keys for homes he routinely checks for absentee owners. He advised police he would contact the property owners about the incident, and suggest the two owners with addresses on their key chains to have their locks changed. Police examined the vehicle and obtained fingerprint evidence.

• Jan. 15, 3900 E. Bay Drive, theft. A woman reported leaving her purse behind after loading her car at Publix. She returned to the store, but did not find her purse, which she said contained $200, credit and debit cards, her Florida driver’s license and Social Security card.

• Jan. 15, 3900 E. Bay Drive, theft. A man reported leaving his wallet on a ledge next to the scale at Publix on his way out of the store. He told police it contained $500, credit cards, his Massachusetts driver’s license, a builder license and his Social Security card.

• Jan. 17, 6500 block of Gulf Drive, theft. A man reported a silver-gray Diamondback bicycle valued at $100 stolen.

• Jan. 16, 100 block of 77th Street, burglary. An aqua Jansport backpack, containing an Apple i-Pad and school books, was reported stolen from a vehicle parked in a driveway. The burglary is believed to have occurred sometime between Jan. 13 and Jan. 15. The complainant said the vehicle had been unlocked and other items, including a purse were not taken.

Holmes Beach is policed by the HBPD.

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

Sports – 01-25-2012

Hole-in-one for Holcomb at KRC, football continues


It was a busy week at the Key Royale Club with the regular weekly golf matches and the ongoing matches leading to the men’s championship.

The club celebrated Jon Holcomb’s hole-in-one on the eighth hole Jan. 20. And while it it was Holcomb’s first hole-in-one at KRC, it was his fourth such accomplishment in his lifetime of golf.

The feat was witnessed by Tim Freisen, and, honoring tradition, Holcomb bought drinks in the clubhouse.

He used a hybrid 9-iron on the hole. “I knew it had a chance as soon as it left the club,” Holcomb said.

On the same day, members got together for a nine-hole, coed scramble. The team of Tom Warda, Eunice Warda, Paul Kamerlin and Pam Alvord combined on a 5-under-par 27 to take first place for the day. Three teams finished in a tie for second place.

The 18-hole, non-handicap matches to determine the 2012 Key Royale Club men’s championship field started at 42 and has now whittled down to 16 players. Past champions still in the field include John Estok, Mark Mixon, Jim Mixon, Greg Shorten, Merritt Fineout and Dale Hudson. The tournament will continue over the next three weeks.

The men played an 18-hole, individual-low-net match Jan. 18. Bob Elliott, Joe Dickenson and Jim Sheppard finished in a three-way tie for first place with matching 3-under-par 61s. One shot back in second place was the trio of Bob Landgren, Al Hibbs and Dick Rouse.

Lex Halakan rode an eagle on hole six to a plus-6 score and first place in the Jan. 17 modified-Stableford match. The foursome of Fred Miller, Ken Rickett, Bill Koche and Mike Morse took the team title at plus-4.

The women played a nine-hole, low-net-in-flight match – Jan. 17. Judy Crowe’s 3-under-par 29 gave her first place in Flight A by two shots over Sue Little.

Donna Soos carded a 4-under-par 28 to take first place in Flight B by one shot over Sue Hookem and Christina Mason, who tied for second.

Maryanne Kaemmerlen took first place in Flight C with a 3-under-par 29. Sally Keyes and Joyce Reith carded 2-under-par 30 to tie for second place.

Eunice Warda turned in a 3-under-par 29 to take first place in Flight D by one shot over Markie Ksiazek. –

The game of the day was a team low net won by Pat Rice, Pam Alvord and Rose Slomba with a combined 125.

Fifty men turned out to play a nine-hole, individual-low-net match Jan. 16. Bruce Allan torched the course with an 8-under-par 24 to take first place by three strokes. Carl Wenker was alone in second place while Chris Collins was another shot back in third place.

Gary Harris carded an even-par 64 to take first place in the Jan. 14 individual-low-net match. Vince Mercadante  was one shot back in second place.


NFL plays on at AMICC

It was another week of mild weather and flag football at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. The game of the week saw the 10-12 division LPAC Cardinals put on an offensive display, rolling past a determined Sand Dollar Steeler team Jan. 17 by a 49-29 score.

The Cardinals jumped out on top early thanks to their defense. Zach Fernandes intercepted two passes to set up a pair of Jared Richardson touchdowns and an early 13-7 lead.

The Cardinals extended its lead when Richardson handed off to Tyler Pearson for what appeared to be a reverse, but Pearson stopped, turned and tossed a little screen pass to Richardson, who avoided a flag pull to score from 12 yards out. Richardson then hit Pearson for a two-point conversion and a 21-7 lead.

The Cardinal defense forced the Steelers to turn the ball over on downs and, after a couple of short gains, the Cardinals pulled off a double reverse pass. Richardson handed off to Pearson, who handed off to Fernandes. Fernandes threw a 22-yard pass to Richardson in the right corner of the endzone to give the Cardinals a 27-7 lead as the first half came to a close.

The Cardinals picked up where they left off in the second half. After a couple of short gains, Pearson made an over-the-shoulder grab of a 25-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to give the Cards a 33-7 lead.

The Steelers showed some life on its next offensive possession when Joey Stewart threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Truman Carlson to cut the lead to 33-13. Stewart came up with an interception to get the ball back and promptly connected with Ben Balto on a 24-yard touchdown pass to pull to within 33-21 after Carlson’s two-point conversion.

That was as close as the Steelers would get, as Pearson scored on a 24-yard draw play and Richardson hit Alex Rodriguez for a touchdown to essentially put the game out of reach.

Richardson finished with four touchdowns, five flag pulls and an interception on the day, while Pearson added three touchdowns. Fernandes added three interceptions and three flag pulls to complete the victory.

Balto led the Steelers with a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion while Carlson and Andrew Proctor each scored one touchdown in the loss.

The 8-9 division game of the week saw Gettel Toyota Texans edge Beach Bistro Vikings 19-16 on Jan. 20 behind 113 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Julius Petereit. Quarterback David Daigle added 26 passing yards while Javier Rivera finished with 25 receiving yards and an extra point.

The Vikings were led by quarterback Nathan Hyman’s 131 passing and rushing yards, including one touchdown. Morgan Horesh added 39 receiving yards, including a touchdown and a two-point conversion to complete the Viking scoring. Hyman also added a pair of interceptions and three flag pulls to lead the Viking defense.

The 13-16 division game of the week Jan. 21saw Walter & Associates Bears defeat First American Bank Ravens 33-26. Seth Walter completed 25-of-33 passes for 305 yards and five touchdown passes. Two touchdown passes went to Keegan Murphy, who finished with 55 receiving yards, while Derek Polch also caught two touchdown passes to finish with 77 receiving yards and 42 rushing yards. Max Miller added a touchdown and an extra point, while Jack Walter finished with 82 receiving yards in the victory. Miller led the defense with three flag pulls, while Jacob Talucci added a quarterback sack.

The Ravens were led by quarterback Jack Shinn, who completed 16-of-23 passes for 140 yards and three touchdown passes while scoring one touchdown. Pierce Hogan finished with 89 receiving yards, including a touchdown and an extra point, while Chris Johnson added 51 receiving yards with a touchdown and an extra point. Burke Hill chipped in with 51 rushing yards, 24 receiving yards and a touchdown to complete the scoring.

Austin Morrow and Pierce led the Ravens with five flag pulls, while Hill and Johnson each added an interception in the loss.


AMICC NFL Flag football scores:

Horseshoe news

Three teams emerged from pool play with the required three victories and were left to battle for the day’s bragging rights during Jan. 21 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits. Paul Sheatler and Dave Lansaw drew the bye and watched as Bob Mason and Larry Delarber rolled past Hank Huyghe and Tom Rhodes by a 21-4 score. The waiting team of Sheatler and Lansaw then dispatched Mason and Delarber 23-9 in the championship match.

Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection.

There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.


AMICC NFL Flag football scores

8-9 Division

Jan. 20, Waterfront Restaurant Raiders 18, Pink & Navy Boutique Cowboys 12

Jan. 21, Beach Bum Steelers 12, Southern Greens Jets 6

10-12 Division

Jan. 17, Sandbar Falcons 43, Air & Energy Chargers 14; Mr. Bones Colts 53, Cedars Tennis Resorts Seahawks 14

Jan. 18, Ross Built Broncos 49, Eat Here Bears 6

13-16 Division

Jan. 20, Jessie’s Island Store Steelers 26, Integrity Sound Redskins 14

Jan. 21, Galati Yacht Sales Texans 45, Mar Vista Raiders 25

Adult Coed Division

Jan. 18, The Feast Falcons 20, Galati Yacht Sales Chargers 19; Edgewater Realty Broncos 34, Sato Real Estate Browns 7; Waterfront Restaurant Bills 45, Banana Cabanna Bengals 20

Jan. 19, FL Discount Signs 49ers 25, Fins Bar Bears 0; Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings 29, Duffy’s Tavern Ravens 25; Agnelli Pool & Spa Packers 28, Coastal Orthopedic Raiders 12; Slim’s Place Dolphins 45, Beach to Bay Construction Texans 25


AMICC Flag Football standings

8-9 Division  W      L

Raiders    3      0

Vikings   2      1

Jets  1      2

Cowboys 1      2

Texans    1      2

Steelers   1      2


10-12 East Division

Colts        3      0

Bears       2      1

Steelers   0      3

Seahawks        0      3

West Division

Cardinals 3      0

Broncos   2      1

Falcons    2      1

Chargers  0      3


13-16 Division

Steelers   3      0

Redskins 2      1

Texans    2      1

Ravens    1      2

Bears       1      2

Raiders    0      3


Adult AFC

Packers    2      0

Ravens    2      1

Vikings   2      1

Falcons    2      1

Chargers  1      1

Bears       0      2

Raiders    0      2


Adult NFC

49ers       3      0

Dolphins 2      0

Bills        2      1

Texans    1      2

Broncos   1      2

Bengals   0      2

Browns    0      3


AMICC Flag Football schedules

Date Time       Teams

Ages 5-7

Jan. 27     6 p.m.      Cardinals vs. Vikings

Jan. 27     7 p.m.      Colts vs. Broncos


Ages 8-9

Jan. 27     6 p.m.      Cowboys vs. Steelers

Jan. 27     7 p.m.      Jets vs. Texans

Jan. 28     11 a.m.    Raiders vs. Vikings

Jan. 30     6 p.m.      Jets vs. Raiders


Ages 10-12

Jan. 31     6 p.m.      Cardinals vs. Falcons

Jan. 31     7 p.m.      Seahawks vs. Steelers

Jan. 31     8 p.m.      Broncos vs. Chargers

Feb. 1      6 p.m.      Colts vs. Bears


Ages 13-16

Jan. 27     8 p.m.      Ravens vs. Raiders

Jan. 28     9 a.m.      Bears vs. Redskins

Jan. 28     10 a.m.    Steelers vs. Texans

Jan. 30     7 p.m.      Steelers vs. Ravens

Jan. 30     8 p.m.      Redskins vs. Texans


Adult Coed

Jan. 25     7 p.m.      49ers vs. Vikings

Jan. 25     8 p.m.      Raiders vs. Broncos

Jan. 25     9 p.m.      Ravens vs. Bills

Jan. 26     6 p.m.      Bears vs. Browns

Jan. 26     7 p.m.      Packers vs. Dolphins

Jan. 26     8 p.m.      Texans vs. Chargers

Jan. 26     9 p.m.      Falcons vs. Bengals


AMICC Adult Coed Volleyball

Jan. 31     7 p.m.      Best Buy vs. Slim’s Place

Jan. 31     8 p.m.      Best Buy vs. Tyler’s Ice Cream