Tag Archives: 03-23-2011

‘Fab’ appearance by model on the beach

Fabio Lanzoni, international model and actor, much recognized for a series of romance novel cover photos, visited Anna Maria Island over the past weekend. He attended a fundraiser party at the Gulf Drive Cafe Tiki Hut and dined with five women, top bidders in a Myositis Association at the Beach Bistro March 19. The Islander newspaper partnered with the Gulf Drive Cafe on a party at the Tiki Hut where Fabio greeted guests and posed for photographs. Beach Bistro owner Sean Murphy provided dinner — where the top bid for a seat there went for $500. Jack Elka provided photography, which included posting photos for sale on his website and donating the purchase funds. Jim Sebastiano of Island Limosine provided airport service and carried Fabio to and from an array of events, including a poker run in Sarasota. And Eric Cairns of Cedar Cove Resort provided accommodations. More at www.islander.org. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

‘Fab’ appearance by model on the beach

‘Fab’ appearance by model on the beach

‘Fab’ appearance by model on the beach

‘Fab’ appearance by model on the beach

Village to house Angler’s Lodge

Anna Maria developers Mike and Lizzie Vann Thrasher recently revised their plans at the Anna Maria Historic Green Village on Pine Avenue to include a place for the Angler’s Lodge, village manager Katie Wight said.

The lodge, now at 115 N. Bay Blvd., was built around 1914-15, according to Sissy Quinn, president of the Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust. The lodge owner, Agie Hebebrand, recently donated the building to the trust to be preserved and maintained as a historic structure.

Lizzie Vann Thrasher said moving the Angler’s Lodge to the village would be “a major task, but we think it’s worth every effort to ensure that it remains part of Anna Maria’s future history.”

The village already is host to the Rosedale cottage, built at the site in 1915, and a Sears catalog kit home, built around 1935 and relocated from another site on Pine Avenue.

The Sears home was moved to the historic village at 503 Pine Ave. last year.

Lizzie Vann Thrasher said she did not yet have a plan for the Angler’s Lodge move.

The Angler’s Lodge is a “beautiful building that we felt deserved a place in our historic green village,” she said.

Quinn thanked the Thrashers for their interest in Anna Maria history and for accepting the Angler’s Lodge at their development.

The Anna Maria Historic Green Village is scheduled to open its first building in April, Wight said.

Trolley funding safe — for now

The Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce board of directors learned March 16 that the Longboat Key Trolley operated by the Manatee County Area Transit and the Sarasota County Area Transit is in jeopardy of being dropped for lack of use. The fare-free Island Trolley funding, meanwhile, is safe this year and the next two fiscal years that begin Oct. 1.

“Everything is good for the (Island) trolley as long as grants keep coming from the state,” Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker told board members.

The grants, along with county funds and contributions from the Island, are enough to keep the trolley operating as a free service for the next three years, MCAT manager Ralf Heseler said in early March.

David Teitelbaum, who was recently reappointed to the board, organized the chamber’s advertising program for the Island trolleys. He said the five new trolleys coming are longer than the previous trolleys and have an improved antique-look inside.

That means there’s more space for advertising, he said.

Teitelbaum is preparing a new advertising contract for businesses. In the interim, the current ads on the trolleys remain at no charge.

He’s also developing a new marketing plan and has several new advertisers ready to roll out on the new trolleys.

Revenue from ad sales on the trolleys is used to partially fund the service, which first began operation on AMI in March 2002.

Despite life-saving effort, woman found in Gulf dies

A 74-year-old woman died March 15 after going into full cardiac arrest in the Gulf of Mexico just off the shore in Holmes Beach.

Before Manatee County and West Manatee Fire Rescue personnel arrived, other beachgoers tended to the woman, who had been found in the Gulf in the 3400 block of Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.

“It is believed she was in the water and went into cardiac arrest,” said Manatee County public safety spokesman Capt. Larry Leinhauser.

One volunteer rescuer, a vacationing doctor from Canada, performed CPR until emergency medical service paramedics arrived. The public safety department could not provide the name of the doctor or the deceased woman.

“He was very active in the rescue efforts, performing CPR until we arrived along with marine rescue and the fire department,” Leinhauser said of the doctor. “The doctor did a terrific job trying to save this lady. Our crew was very appreciative of his efforts.”

Beachgoers also responded last summer in an incident on the beach in Anna Maria in which two people died after becoming caught in rip currents.

These types of incidents are the reason the Friends of the Island Library and WMFR are partnering to present life-saving classes at the Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive.

The classes are free to attend, but pre-enrollment at the library is required.

One class took place March 19. Upcoming classes are scheduled for 10 a.m. March 25 and 10 a.m. March 29.   Students will learn to use an automatic external defibrillator and how to respond when someone is choking, cannot breathe or has suffered cardiac arrest.

Friends president Beverly Neville said the classes are important because procedures have changed in recent years.

New guidelines recommend rescuers start CPR with hard and fast chest pumps rather than the old “ABC” method, which involved two breaths of air into the mouth followed by 30 chest pumps.

The old method took time and delayed the chest compressions that get blood circulating, according to the AHA.

County to pursue preserve property

Manatee County commissioners authorized the county administrator to enter negotiations that could lead to creation of another northwest Bradenton preserve — a Robinson II.

The county commission, which addressed the possible land-acquisition during a meeting March 15, also has an opportunity to acquire environmentally significant properties along the Braden River.

The potential property acquisitions were discussed first during a work meeting March 1, when natural resources director Charlie Hunsicker introduced several opportunities created by a downturn in the real estate market.

During last week’s meeting, Hunsicker proposed the commission authorize county administrator Ed Hunzeker and his staff to initiate negotiations with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to purchase 149.9 acres to the southeast of Robinson Preserve, as well as two Braden River properties in East Manatee, including the Linger Lodge and restaurant.

The board approved Hunsicker’s proposal.

The county and Swiftmud will explore the possibility of the district acquiring the properties and the county assuming management responsibilities. Swiftmud’s interest, Hunsicker said, would be in the ways that preserving the environmentally sensitive land could protect water quality and improve stormwater quality.

The west Bradenton property would come from Robinson Farms, which has proposed selling 150 acres of its 200 acres adjacent to Robinson Preserve. The developer would retain some property for home construction.

A meeting between county and Swiftmud staff to discuss the property acquisitions was set for March 21, as The Islander went to press.

Swiftmud administers two programs related to acquisition and restoration — the Florida Forever conservation land acquisition program and the Surface Water and Improvement Management program. Both programs are dependent on state funding sources that “have been significantly reduced or suspended indefinitely,” according to Eric Sutton, Swiftmud land resources director.

However, the Robinson property is listed in the Florida Forever work plan, Sutton noted. Additionally, he said the SWIM program was instrumental in the creation of Robinson, Neal and Perico preserves.

County officials said they hoped to complete negotiations by July.

Commission lobbying for renourishment funds

Manatee County commissioners are lobbying state officials to continue Florida’s commitment for renourishment projects.

The county board drafted a letter to the legislative delegation urging support for beach renourishment at the state level.

Gov. Rick Scott, in his proposed fiscal 2011-12 budget, omitted renourishment funding.

Such an omission would not impact this spring’s renourishment of a small section of beach in Anna Maria and large sections of Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach.

And a second renourishment project, set to take place on the north end of the Island next year, would be supported by Port Dolphin Energy, which is building a deepwater port and gas pipeline in the region. An agreement between the company and the state was struck to alleviate concerns about the project’s impact on renourishment sand in Tampa Bay.

However, the county has long planned for a massive Islandwide renourishment for 2014-15 and needs state support.

So later this month, County Commission Chair Carol Whitmore plans to go to Tallahassee to meet with Scott.

Additionally, county commissioners plan to lobby legislators as they wade into the politics of the 2011 legislative session.

A draft of a letter to lawmakers on renourishment was approved at the commission’s March 15 meeting.

“Healthy beaches are one of Florida’s most valuable assets: They are a linchpin to the tourism revenues of coastal communities across Florida and, in particular, Manatee County,” stated the letter. “As such, the protection of beach renourishment funding is a top priority of the Manatee Board of County Commissioners and the Manasota League of Cities.”

Eliminating state funding jeopardizes federal funding, because the U.S. government program requires matching funds, the letter said.

The current resolution keeping the federal government operating while Congress negotiates an overdue fiscal budget includes more than $1 million for the Anna Maria Island Shore Protection Project. But to carry out the project, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has requested $909,000 in funding assistance.

“It is imperative that the project move forward and we hope that the governor will reconsider and support funding for this project and others on the state priority list, especially those with matching federal funding,” the letter stated.

The correspondence stressed the connection between sand and cents. “Florida’s beaches are clearly an economic engine that drives the state’s coastal cities and counties,” stated the letter. “Beaches remain our No. 1 tourist attraction — 80.9 million visitors traveled to Florida in 2009, adding $60.9 billion sales dollars to our economy.”

The county commissioners maintain that out-of-state tourists visiting Florida beaches in 2007 spent $20 billion, beach tourism increased state tax revenues by $1 billion that year and spending by vacationing beachgoers created 400,000 jobs in 2007.

AMI Bridge work starts March 28

The Florida Department of Transportation is advising motorists of an upcoming night maintenance project on State Road 64 at the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

The DOT said it would conduct a maintenance project on the AMI Bridge for three nights beginning at 9 p.m. Monday, March 28, until 5 a.m. the following day (March 29). The procedure and operating hours would be repeated Tuesday, March 29, and Wednesday, March 30.

A flagging operation will be in effect during those hours as intermittent closures of both the eastbound and westbound lanes are expected.

Motorists are advised to use caution when driving in the bridge and expect possible delays.

Following the traffic tie-up March 7 on the Island, the AMI Bridge, the Palma Sola Causeway and Cortez Road, the DOT said its future road projects in the Island area would be moved to nighttime operations until the conclusion of the winter tourism season.

Preserving Perico

Manatee County workers were busy last week on the south side of Perico Island across from Harbour Isle constructing the Neal Preserve entrance and parking lot. Developer Pat Neal arranged a sale to the county in 2005 for less than the appraised value to allow construction of a nature preserve similar to the Robinson Preserve in northwest Bradenton. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Slim’s giraffe statue stolen

An elephant trudged up Gulf Drive March 13. People noticed.

A camel followed. People noticed the animal, an attraction in the annual Beach Bistro St. Patrick’s Parade on the Island.

What the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office wants to know is whether anyone noticed a giraffe later March 13, or March 14.

The giraffe, an 8-foot-tall paper machete statue, was stolen from Slim’s Place, 9701 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. The statue, valued at about $3,000, had been stationed about a foot inside the southside door at the popular Island restaurant.

The MCSO classified the incident as a grand theft from a building, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Slim’s giraffe is not the first oversized statue to be swiped in Anna Maria during a St. Patrick’s-spring break week. Four years ago, on or around St. Patrick’s Day, a larger-than-life statue of a butler was stolen from outside Sandy Rich’s coffee and real estate office on Gulf Drive.

Bentley Bunsmore the Butler was found at a Bradenton garage sale and returned to Rich 11 months after she reported what she termed a kidnapping and the MCSO classified as a theft.

Bentley was taken from outside the real estate office, and the kidnappers never identified.