Tag Archives: 04-03-2013

TripAdvisor: AMI 4th best U.S. island destination

Anna Maria Island is the No. 4 best island vacation destination in the United States in TripAdvisor.com’s annual Traveler’s Choice Awards.

Voting for the awards is done by visitors to the website and from reviews on TripAdvisor.

The first three islands in the voting are San Juan Island in Washington state, Kauai in Hawaii and Marco Island near Naples.

TripAdvisor wrote, “The barrier island of Anna Maria is an absolute slice of laid-back paradise. Golfing and fishing are two of the most popular tourist activities, though an afternoon lounging at Bean Point beach is a must-do, too. The Anna Maria Island Historical Museum is a fun way to soak up some local history when you’re taking a break from soaking up the sun.”

Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman said fourth place in the voting was no surprise because the island has gone from the “island that time forgot” to a favorite destination for people looking for great beaches and relaxation.

“We’re getting pretty well known. Just look at the winter season and the people who are here,” Brockman said.

She said it appeared to her this season is going to set a record for visitors. Tourism to the area is up 7.5 percent from the first two months of 2012.

Also, resort tax collections — the 5 percent collected by Manatee County on rentals of six months or less — for the first four months of the October-September fiscal year already are more than $200,000 ahead of the same period last year. Resort tax collections for 2011-12 set a record of $8 million.

In March, finding a room for more than a one- or two-night stay was difficult, Brockman said.

Additionally, spring break for some universities was the last week of March and many spring breakers — and their families — found their way to the island.

“We came for the peace and quiet. We didn’t want to be in Panama City or places where thousands of kids went. We just wanted some place with great beaches and relaxation,” said Gary Johnson of Chicago, who enjoyed playing volleyball at Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach with friends and visitors from Michigan.

And it appeared the guidelines for a vacation on AMI, part of the best practices adopted by many rental agencies and provided to tenants by rental agents, worked well during March in Anna Maria.

There were no formal noise complaints in Anna Maria, code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon said, and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies settled several minor noise issues without any problem.

“It was young kids playing in a pool one time and everything ended peacefully,” Rathvon said.

There were certainly enough people on the island in the week before Easter.

An informal survey of where vacationers came from found a family of four traveled from Vancouver, British Columbia, for a week on the island, while another family came from Germany.

Most people surveyed were from the Midwest or Canada and said they were glad to be on Anna Maria Island and not snowed in back home.

One Chicagoan said he would try to spend another week on the island if snow hit his area while he and his family of eight were on vacation for a week.

“This place is paradise,” said Mike Mascheri of Chicago.

“I’m hoping for snow because that’ll give me an excuse to take another week off and stay here,” he said.



Travelers’ Choice

Top 10 U.S. Islands

1. San Juan Island, Wash.

2. Kauai, Hawaii

3. Marco Island, Fla.

4. Anna Maria Island, Fla.

5. Maui, Hawaii

6. Sanibel Island, Fla.

7. Chincoteague Island, Va.

8. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

9. Amelia Island, Fla.

10. Key West, Fla.

Ex-mayor’s daughter killed in hit-and-run

Elizabeth Tristam Barford, the daughter of former Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford, was killed in a Tampa vehicle crash March 24.

The Tampa Police Department said a Ford F-150 pickup truck struck a Jeep Cherokee on West Waters Avenue, which forced the Jeep across the median, where it struck a Volkswagen Passat driven by Barford.

Barford, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, Joe Ripley, 32, of Tampa was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The three people in the Jeep suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the report said.

Tampa police said they were looking for a gray or silver Ford F-150 pickup truck, the driver of which fled the scene.

Fran Barford was Anna Maria mayor from 2006-10, and mayor of Temple Terrace for 12 years before retiring to Anna Maria in the late 1990s. She and husband George live on South Bay Boulevard.

They served as co-chairs for the recently concluded Roser Memorial Community Church 100-year anniversary events.

BB pier restaurant behind on lease payments

Rotten Ralph’s Restaurant on the Bradenton Beach Historic Bridge Street Pier is about $50,000 behind in rental payments to the city.

The debt was revealed at the March 21 city commission meeting.

City attorney Ricinda Perry said the restaurant is a “number of months” behind in rent payments and that the lease agreement between the restaurant and city expired in July 2012.

Perry said the agreement contains a renewal clause, “but it has not been extended,” and is now on a month-to-month basis.

An auditor’s review of city revenue recommends immediate action by the city to address the loss of revenue and, Perry said the state does not allow a municipality to extend credit.

Dave Russell, Rotten Ralph’s concessionaire, accepted responsibility for the lack of payments. He said the restaurant fell behind on payments and he has been unable to catch up because the city does not allow partial payments.

“It compounds the problem,” he said.

Russell offered the city to accept restaurant equipment and furnishings in lieu of past due payments, with an option to purchase the equipment back from the city when he is able to do so.

However, there are existing liens on the equipment.

Commissioner Ric Gatehouse asked how long it would take to resolve the liens and Russell said two to three weeks. Gatehouse asked Perry if it was possible to make such an agreement.

Perry said she discussed the offer with Russell, but it was not an option because of the liens. She said if the liens are cleared, “We would still need to establish an independent appraisal of the value of the furnishings and equipment.”

Commissioners Jan Vosburgh and Gay Breuler opposed accepting equipment in lieu of back payments owed to the city, saying such an action was irresponsible to taxpayers and would not resolve the overall problems at the restaurant.

Gatehouse said it was reasonable to allow Russell two weeks to resolve the liens and to bring the matter up at the next meeting.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to allow Russell until the April 4 commission meeting to clear the liens and come up to date on the lease payments.

Center board learns funding, donations critical

The Anna Maria Island Community Center board of directors held its monthly meeting, while awaiting the April 1 arrival of new executive director Dawn Stiles.

Acting executive director Scott Dell delivered the financial report and said income was down $35,000 through February. However, he quickly explained that revenues from Island Affaire had been entered for February, although the event date changed to May.

“So we’re really not in that bad of shape,” Dell said. However, everyone needs to start concentrating on sales and donations for Island Affaire, he said.

It’s the center’s major fundraising event every year and Dell said it’s projected to bring in about $200,000. He said it’s going to take 600-800 more donations or table sales to make the event a financial success, but he and board chair Scott Rudacille were confident everyone would get behind the sale of tickets to the affaire, including tables for sponsors.

Dell also was pleased with sales for the Parrothead Party scheduled for April 6.

Dan Mobley will perform Jimmy Buffett-style music before the dinner and Mike Sales will entertain after dinner. Tickets are available for $30 per person and the event is BYOB, Dell said.

The March 16 Tour of Homes brought in $34,000 to the center, Dell said, but $42,000 had been projected in the budget.

However, the Shamrockin’ event on St. Patrick’s Day went extremely well, Dell said, and the center grossed more than $13,000.

For the next Shamrockin’ event, Dell said he would order a bigger beer truck because they actually ran out of beer.

“And we’ve still got some money coming in” from the event, he said.

Board secretary Monica Simpson praised Dell’s efforts in getting the Shamrockin’ event together.

“He really organized it well,” she said. “He’s an organizing machine and everything really came together,” Simpson said.

Dell also reported an anonymous donor gave the center $25,000 to go toward counseling services. With that funding, the center can offer full-time counseling and can have counselors go to area schools more frequently.

Simpson said the center’s website needs to be updated and modernized and Rudacille agreed.

Board member David Teitelbaum said he would look into the issue. He said the site should look modern and take advantage of social media. He suggested the site could support advertising.

Board members agreed to discuss arrangements for a bingo night at their next meeting.

Simpson suggested the board consider changing the meeting schedule and Rudacille agreed.

The board will meet at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, and discuss a permanent change to the meeting dates and times schedule.

Stiles, who joined the meeting via a conference call, said she was looking forward to seeing everyone and she would try to come to the center a few days before April 1, to learn her way around.

Divided HB commission deflates Mainsail proposal

In a contentious four-hour city commission meeting March 26, Holmes Beach commissioners voted 3-2 to revoke the site plan for the Mainsail development.

Mayor Carmel Monti indicated progress had been made during two weeks of meetings between city staff and the Mainsail development team. The team was instructed to submit an improved site plan from the original Tidemark proposal, but to fit the design into the Tidemark footprint in order to retain approved permits.

City commissioners asked for specific side-by-side comparisons before the public hearing to review and consider the Mainsail proposal.

An incomplete report from the city’s building department led to a 30-minute discussion on whether to proceed with the public hearing. Monti asked the commission to continue the hearing for two weeks.

“We need to take more time to do a better evaluation of the plan,” said Monti.

Commissioner Marvin Grossman moved against that idea, making a motion to retain the public hearing.

Commissioner Judy Titsworth agreed, saying, “They’re here. Let’s listen to it.”

Commission Chair Jean Peelen and Commissioner David Zaccagnino sided with the mayor’s recommendation to delay the public hearing, but were outvoted 3-2, with Commissioner Pat Morton voting to begin the hearing.

Tensions arose early in the discussion.

“This is a tense issue,” said Peelen. “The best way to keep this good and civil and productive is to follow being called on and to follow procedure.”

Mainsail developer Joe Collier and his team proceeded with their detailed presentation, highlighting areas of the site plan where adjustments were made to accommodate what the city was seeking.

Collier’s group of investors purchased the property out of foreclosure about three years ago, and with the property, the existing site plan and what Collier calls entitlements.

Collier said he understands the tense history of the property going back 12 years to the original Tidemark proposal.

“It has nothing to do with us,” said Collier. “We are geared up and ready to go now.”

Grossman fought for the Mainsail public hearing to take place and, following the presentation, led the questioning of Mainsail, while heavily criticizing the site plan.

Monti said the Mainsail group and the city have maintained a good working spirit.

“To just toss it out and say we haven’t made progress isn’t accurate,” he said. “This city needs a focal point like a Pine Avenue in Anna Maria or a Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach. Right now, we are a drive by for those kinds of places.”

Public comment was largely opposed to the Mainsail project, calling on commissioners to revoke the site plan, stating a preference to start from scratch.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore spoke in favor of the project.

“I’ve been very involved since day one when I was mayor,” she said. “It’s been through many processes already and, legally, they are in compliance with your laws. What else are you going to do with this spot? The infrastructure is there and it’s ready to go.”

Whitmore also said Titsworth should have recused herself from the process.

“With all due respect, I think Judy has a conflict for potential gain or loss,” said Whitmore.

Peelen and Zaccagnino agreed that Titsworth should not participate in the process because she owns property adjacent to the project. Zaccagnino read from the Florida Ethics Commission manual citing that a public official standing to financially lose or benefit from a vote should recuse themselves.

Titsworth said she contacted the ethics commission, “and they could come up with no reason why I should. They said the decision was mine to make.”

The Florida statute on voting conflicts states “no public officer shall vote on any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss.” Assuming all property owners in the vicinity of Mainsail would gain or lose value based on the development either remaining idle or being developed, it could be said Titsworth would not have a “special” gain or loss.

The city was threatened with litigation on two occasions during public comment if the project was approved, and legal action was indicated by Mainsail if the site plan was revoked.

Mainsail investor Ed Chiles was the only other person besides Whitmore who spoke in favor of the project.

“I’m proud to be a part of this project,” said Chiles. “They didn’t come in here and dig in their heels and say they know what their rights are. They said they want to work with you and make this project better.”

Peelen expressed concern at the direction the commission was leaning.

“I’m very distressed we are about to act on something that could cause a liability against advice from our attorney and mayor,” she said.

Peelen called for a motion to continue the public hearing for two weeks to give commissioners time to review all of the information.

No motion was made.

Grossman, who dominated the conversation in his questioning Mainsail representatives, moved instead to revoke the site plan. Morton seconded the motion.

Further discussion ensued with Titsworth saying Collier and Chiles “failed to do their due diligence.”

Titsworth said the site plan is substantially different from the one previously approved by the city. And city code requires a previously approved site plan to come back to the commission if significant changes are made.

“The days of picking and choosing who complies to the rules end with this office,” she said. “We have an ordinance that needs to be adhered to and citizens who deserve to be heard.”

Zaccagnino said he would side with city attorney Patricia Petruff’s opinion.

“I believe our attorney believes the plan is active,” he said. “We are shooting ourselves in the foot on this one and tempting a sleeping dragon. They can sell this property off for a nice profit and do what they want.”

Monti once again called for reason.

“Let’s be practical,” he said. “Our city is being very vulnerable to a lawsuit we don’t need. We are leaving ourselves open to a situation that will jeopardize the reserves of this city, which I think is a very irresponsible action.”

Grossman, Morton and Titsworth voted to revoke the site plan, while Peelen and Zaccagnino dissented.

After the meeting, Collier expressed his disappointment and confirmed he would consult with his attorney.

Collier said he would explore his options with the property, but that any proposed Mainsail project “is off the table. I have to protect our investors, so we’ll look at the allowable uses for this property, which is zoned commercial.”


Not over yet

While Collier told The Islander after the meeting that Mainsail was off the table, he sent a letter to Petruff, which was read into the record at a March 28 special meeting that was called for a different topic.

Collier again expressed his disappointment at the commission’s decision to revoke the site plan, especially because he was told in meetings with city staff that revoking the plan was not going to be an option.

“I’d like to try one more time before cranking up the legal machinery,” Collier wrote.

He said it was not his intent to “posture or threaten,” but reminded commissioners that his investors already have put more than $545,000 into the property.

“We fully intend to recoup our investment,” he wrote. “I respectfully ask you to reconsider and rescind the vote, and come back to the table.”

Petruff said it was possible for a commissioner to move for reconsideration.

No motion was made, but commissioners did reach a consensus to put the matter up for discussion for the April 9 city commission meeting at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

HB chief locked out, dismissed — fired

The Islander learned over the Easter holiday, while Holmes Beach city offices were closed, Mayor Carmel Monti ordered the lock changed on the police chief’s office March 29, essentially barring interim Police Chief Dale Stephenson, a 26-year veteran of the city police force, from work.

The mayor further ordered city attorney Patti Petruff on March 28 to confiscate documents accumulated and stored by the department that are eventually shredded by an outside service.

City Commissioner David Zaccagnino confirmed through the city clerk that the mayor had changed the locks on the police chief’s office March 29.

This was followed by a phone call, according to The Islander’s sources, on Easter Sunday from the mayor to Stephenson, telling him to collect his things the morning of April 1. He was dismissed — fired —  without being allowed to serve out his notice.

It was unclear at press time whether the mayor’s dismissal of Stephenson required concurrence from the commission.

Zaccagnino also said he learned the mayor had changed the lock on his city office a few weeks earlier.

While a strict public records law prevents disposal of most records, duplicate copies, expired records and some others are routinely disposed.

Former Chief Jay Romine, who retired in December 2012, said this week his office observed a retention schedule for records.

The Islander also learned from Romine that he received a letter in the past week from Monti demanding he return his revolver.

Romine said he doesn’t have a revolver, but he had opted for auxiliary status and retained his department-issued weapon based on existing policy.

He has since asked to be separated from the auxiliary and plans to return the department weapon.

Neither Stephenson nor Monti replied to inquiries from The Islander.

HB mayor names new chief, interim chief resigns, dismissed by mayor

Most residents of Holmes Beach at the March 28 special meeting to appoint the city’s new police chief left unhappy.

Outrage over the hastily organized meeting and the leak that Mayor Carmel Monti would be recommending Longboat Key Police Lt. Bill Tokajer over Holmes Beach Interim Chief Dale Stephenson was apparent.

In the ensuing days, Stephenson was locked out of his office by the mayor, resigned effective April 4, and was told by the mayor to collect his things April 1.

He was dismissed.

At the March 28 meeting, resident Andy Sheridan said, “This meeting needs to be moved to another date and time. There is no reason to rush unless there is something to hide. The citizens of Holmes Beach may forgive your choice, but they will never forgive your tactics.”

Islander publisher Bonner Joy questioned the mayor’s choice, as well as the three-months the mayor took to review informal inquiries about the job, which had no deadline and was not advertised.

“I’ve had applicants call and ask me what’s going on,” said Joy. “There were no deadlines, and some of them were not contacted.”

Joy said she feels Stephenson served the city well for 26 years and did not receive a fair chance from the administration to prove his value as chief.

“I was told that he was required by the mayor to fire people and refused and I believe this is a vindictive action,” she said.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore was unable to attend the meeting, but submitted a letter asking commissioners to table the issue, and for the mayor to reconsider his choice.

“I respectfully suggest you delay the appointment of the chief of police,” wrote Whitmore. “Dale deserves a chance and has the major support and respect of the community. He has proven himself in highly visible situations.”

Whitmore said Stephenson deserved the time to establish his leadership.

Monti said it wasn’t a “slam on Dale. I saw no plan for a second in command to take over the chief’s role.”

Monti said retired Police Chief Jay Romine did not recommend a replacement, but did submit a recommendation letter for Stephenson during the review process. The mayor said he found it “bizarre.”

“He’s done an exceptional job as lieutenant, and I have asked him to stay on, but that’s his decision,” said Monti. “I’m recommending Tokajer because we have issues in the police department that need to be addressed.”

Stephenson resigned after the meeting, opting to take retirement.

Former Commissioner John Monetti, voted out of office in November, took exception to the mayor’s comments that there are issues within the police force, and that Stephenson did not have the support of the staff.

“Let me offer an inside view,” said Monetti, referring to his past experience. “I know a lot more than you do, mayor, and a lot more than some of our commissioners.”

Monetti criticized the hastily organized special meeting, saying special meetings are reserved for emergencies, not to select a department head. He said Stephenson did have the support of the department, “but this isn’t about Dale. This process is flawed. Why do you feel the need to have a special meeting without vetting the public?”

Commissioner Marvin Grossman left the meeting before it began, saying outside the meeting room he was experiencing an elevated heart rate, which he monitors with his smartphone. Grossman has a pacemaker.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino was the lone dissenter in a 3-1 vote to confirm the mayor’s appointment of Tokajer as the city’s new top cop.

“This has been one of the top three decisions I’ve made in eight years as commissioner,” said Zaccagnino. “Dale is the real choice. He has the integrity and trust of the citizens. He deserves the position as permanent chief.”

Commissioner Pat Morton moved to approve the mayor’s recommendation. Commissioner Judy Titsworth seconded the motion, she said, to open the floor for discussion.

Zaccagnino claimed the mayor did not perform due diligence in recommending Tokajer.

“This gentleman has applied for many, many chief jobs in the last several years,” he said. “He wants to be chief more than his interest in this city. His allegiance to us may not be what we think.”

Zaccagnino presented Tokajer’s personnel file — a 4-5 inch stack of papers, from which he had added up 16 disciplinary actions in just the top third of the stack from Tokajer’s career with the Bradenton Police Department.

In contrast, the commissioner displayed Stephenson’s file, a 1-inch stack of papers with no disciplinary actions in 26 years of service to the city.

“And two police chiefs told me ‘anybody but Tokajer,’” said Zaccagnino. “This is not the right choice.”

Titsworth said her duty as commissioner is to support the mayor unless she feels the mayor is doing something wrong. She said she was torn in her decision because both men “are great guys.”

Commission Chair Jean Peelen said Tokajer would not have been her choice, but also said it was important to support the mayor’s decision.

“It should never be an automatic that someone gets promoted to a top position just because they are a wonderful person,” she said. “This would not have been my decision, but I do need to support the mayor.”

Titsworth, Morton and Peelen voted to support the mayor’s recommendation to hire Tokajer. Morton was absent.

Tokajer’s personnel file shows a two-week suspension from duty without pay, an at-fault traffic accident and failing to report a domestic dispute between another office and his wife, for which he was suspended from duty, as well as other at-fault traffic incidents, improper paperwork and safety violations.

In other matters, commissioners unanimously approved temporary building official Tom O’Brien as the building department inspector effective April 15.

Road watch

A maintenance project on the Cortez Bridge/State Road 684 will take place 9 p.m.-5 a.m. Monday, April 8, a Florida Department of Transportation press release said. A flagging operation will be in place for lane closures.

The release also said a project on the Anna Maria Island Bridge/State Road 64 will take place this week, 9 p.m.-6 a.m. weeknights, and continue through the summer. Most of the work will take place under the bridge, although some lane closures may take place at which a flagger will be present.

Island real estate transactions – 04-03-2013

2803 Avenue E, Holmes Beach, a 2,700 sfla / 3,900 sfur 4bed/3½bath/2car pool home built in 2013 on a 50×100 lot was sold 03/08/13, Seaside Breeze LLC to Golf for $1,800,000; list $1,950,000.

626 Hampshire Lane, Holmes Beach, a 2,517 sfla / 3,174 sfur 3bed/2½bath/2car canalfront pool home built in 1973 on a 95×105 lot was sold 03/15/13, Guerin to Mitchell for $934,000; list $969,000.

904 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, a 2,205 sfla / 2,921 sfur 4bed/3bath/2car home built in 1990 on a 50×78 lot was sold 03/15/13, Pashley to Kairella for $729,000; list $799,000.

503 65th St., Holmes Beach, a 1,627 sfla / 2,047 sfur 3bed/2bath canalfront home built in 1975 on a 90×100 lot was sold 03/08/13, Heger to Dimenna for $480,000; list $499,000.

1325 Gulf Drive N., Unit 270, Tortuga, Bradenton Beach, a 1,392 sfla / 1,560 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 2006 was sold 03/11/13, Tortuga BJP Properties LLC to Ontario Inc for $370,000; list $395,000.

5300 Gulf Drive, Unit 204, Martinique North, Holmes Beach, a 722 sfla / 834 sfur 1bed/2bath condo built in 1971 was sold 03/13/13, Ande to Curry for $250,000.

417 63rd St., Holmes Beach, a 1,284 sfla / 1,500 sfur 2bed/2bath half duplex built in 1972 on a 35×97 lot was sold 03/08/13, Cook to Bradway for $222,500; list $247,000.

117 Seventh St. N., Unit 25, Bay View Terrace, Bradenton Beach, a 594 sfla / 638 sfur 1bed/1bath condo built in 1973 was sold 03/11/13, Alwin to Henry for $114,500.

Jesse Brisson, broker/associate at Gulf-Bay Realty of Anna Maria, can be reached at 941-778-7244.

Calendar – 04-03-2013

Wednesday, April 3

7:49 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Thursday, April 4

7:50 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Friday, April 5

7:17 a.m. — Official sunrise time.


Saturday, April 6

8:30 a.m. — Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island breakfast and meeting, Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. The speaker is Jennifer Rosenboom of the Just for Girls Academy. Information: 941-778-1383.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. — Anna Maria Island Butterfly Park arts and craft show, Holmes Beach city field, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 352-344-0657.

10 a.m. — The Island Gallery West, 5368 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, hosts a free demonstration, Caroline Whitmore, “Watercolors.” Information: 941-778-6648.

6 p.m. — Parrothead Party, Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Fee applies. Information: 941-778-1908.


Sunday, April 7

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Anna Maria Island Butterfly Park arts and crafts show, Holmes Beach city field, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 352-344-0657.


Monday, April 8

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.


Tuesday, April 9

Noon — Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island lunch and meeting, BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-794-8044.


Wednesday, April 10

7:12 a.m. — Official sunrise time.



Friday, April 5

5-10 p.m. — DeSoto Heritage Festival SeaFood Fest, downtown Bradenton Riverfront. Information: 941-747-1998.

11 a.m.-4 p.m. — Village of the Arts ninth annual Garden Walk, 12th Street West and 12th Avenue West. Information: 941-747-8056.

6-9:30 p.m. — Village of the Arts Artwalk, 12th Street West and 12th Avenue West. Information: 941-747-8056.


Saturday, April 6

11 a.m.-4 p.m. — Village of the Arts ninth annual Garden Walk, 12th Street West and 12th Avenue West. Information: 941-747-8056.

11 a.m.-11 p.m. — DeSoto Heritage Festival SeaFood Fest, downtown Bradenton Riverfront. Information: 941-747-1998.

1 p.m. — The Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez, hosts a talk on a Florida pioneer, Ralph “The Commodore” Middleton Munroe. Information: 941-708-6120.

7:30 p.m. — Phoenix Jazz Orchestra of Orlando and State College of Florida Jazz Ensemble Big Band concert, Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-792-0309.


Sunday, April 7

Noon-7 p.m. — DeSoto Heritage Festival SeaFood Fest, downtown Bradenton Riverfront. Information: 941-747-1998.



• Through April 28, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, hosts Sea Lions: On the Water’s Edge. Fee applies. Information: 941-388-4441.

• Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m., horseshoes pitched, Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-708-6130.

• First Wednesdays, noon, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon. Location varies. Fee applies. Information: 941-778-1541.

• First Wednesdays, Mana-Tween Book Club, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information:  941-748-5555, ext. 6318.

• Second Wednesdays, 8 a.m., Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce sunrise breakfast. Location varies. Fee applies. Information: 941-778-1541.

• Fourth Wednesdays, 5 p.m., Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce business card exchange. Location varies. Fee applies. Information: 941-778-1541.

• Fridays, Senior Adventures, low-cost field trips from Annie Silver Community Center, 103 23rd St. N., Bradenton Beach. Some events on other days too. Fee may apply. Information: 941-962-8835.

• Third Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Pine Avenue Porch Party presented by local merchants, Pine Avenue, Anna Maria. Food donations requested for Roser Food Pantry. Information: 941-896-3132.

• First Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, Manatee County Audubon open house, 9:30 a.m. Audubon Walk, Felts Audubon Preserve, 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto, Information: 941-729-2227.

• Third Sundays, through May, 9-11 a.m., Junior Audubon, Manatee Audubon Society, Felts Audubon Preserve, 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto. Information: 941-729-2227.

• Sundays, through April 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the Bridge Street Market, Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach. The first Sundays include a food challenge for charity. Information: 215-906-0668.

• Mondays, 1 p.m., bridge games, Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-0414.

• First Mondays, 7 p.m., Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage board meets, Fisherman’s Hall, 4515 123rd St. W., Cortez. Information: 941-254-4972.

• First Mondays, through May, 6:30 p.m., the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island meets, the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-6694.

• Third Mondays, September through May, noon, Anna Maria Island Democratic Club lunch meeting, BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Fee applies. Information: 941-779-0564.

• Tuesdays, 4 p.m., Inquiring Minds religious study group meets, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-4579.

• Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m., Anna Maria duplicate bridge, Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3390.

• Tuesdays, noon, Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island meets, BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-794-8044.


Coming up

• April 13, Anna Maria Island Privateers Thieves Market, Coquina Beach, Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-722-3212.

• April 20, International Coastal Cleanup, various locations in Manatee County.

• April 20, Cortez Village Historical Society community potluck, Few-Miller Dock, Cortez.


Save the date

• May 4, Food and Wine on Pine, Pine Avenue, Anna Maria.

• May 4, An Island Affaire gala for the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

• May 9, the Island Players’ opening of “37 Postcards,” Island Players theater, Anna Maria.

• May 18, Anna Maria Island Privateers’ Snooks Adams Kids Day, location to be announced.

• June 1, Islandwide Blood Drive, location to be announced.


Calendar announcements

        Send calendar announcements to calendar@islander.org. Please include the time, date and location of the event, a brief description and a contact via email and phone. The deadline for submissions is the Wednesday a week before publication. High-resolution photographs welcome.