Tag Archives: 05-25-2011

Lodge has history ‘by the sea’

The Angler’ s Lodge on North Bay Boulevard that was moved to the Anna Maria Historic Green Village at 503 Pine Ave. in Anna Maria earlier this week started out as a private home, according to Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust director Sissy Quinn.

Quinn said she met last week with Emma Service Williams, the 97-year old second owner of the property, who now lives in Parrish.

Quinn said Williams provided her with details of the history of the property, including its name.

It wasn’ t the Angler’ s Lodge until 1950, Quinn said.

The house was called “ Thelma by the Sea” by the original builder, Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Wood, and named for their daughter, Thelma.

It is Thelma’ s picture that appeared on the first tourism brochure for Anna Maria, published around 1925, Quinn said.

In 1944, Pearl Wood sold the house to Emma Service Williams, whose mother operated a boarding house in Ellenton.

Williams added an upstairs to the house, five bedrooms and two baths and by 1950 was calling it the Angler’ s Lodge.

The property was sold in 1956 to Mathilde Haslauer, who then sold it to the Scott family of Tampa in 1972. The Scotts used the house as a family get-away for 20 years until 1992, when it was sold to Agie Hebebrand of Chevy Chase, Md., who rented the home to family vacationers.

In 2011, Hebebrand decided to sell the property, but also wanted to see the building preserved. She now has sold the structure for $10 to Pineapplefish LLP, owned by Lizzie and Mike Vann Thrasher.

The Thrashers proposed moving the house to their green village project on Pine Avenue and Hebebrand agreed to the sale on condition that the house be preserved as much as possible.

There are already three older homes at the village and Lizzie Vann Thrasher said plans call for the lodge to be restored and renovated to accommodate retail-office-residential uses.

Lodge move slow going

Workers move the Angler’ s Lodge from North Bay Boulevard to a vacant lot across Lake LaVista inlet on May 23. The lodge will then be moved to the Anna Maria Historic Green Village on Pine Avenue where it will be restored and maintained by developers Mike and Lizzie Vann Thrasher. Islander Photo: Jack Elka

KRC members forced to face financial troubles

Members of Anna Maria Island’s only golf club, the Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach, received notice last week from newly elected president Craig Humphreys that the club is in financial difficulty and it’s worse than he and the club’s board of directors originally believed.

“Due to the recently discovered embezzlement and the resulting financial impact,” Humphreys said in his May 18 letter to members, a proposed clubhouse renovation is on hold indefinitely.

“We are now faced with the more pressing problem of funding our club through the remainder of this year,” he wrote.

Humphreys declined to comment when contacted, saying, “It’s a private club and it’s none of your business.”

Humphreys stated in the letter that if the present line of credit is not increased from $150,000 to $300,000, the board will be “forced to ask our current membership to step up and help restore financial stability to the club.”

He also outlined steps the board is taking to provide better accountability — a new accounting firm, training for office staff, and division between two employees in the office administrator position to provide checks and balances in the handling of the club’s finances.

He indicated a group of 26 members already had committed to a $300,000 loan to the club in response to troubled financial conditions before the club learned of the alleged embezzlement.

Humphreys said the “group of 26” is being asked to “double-up their prior commitment,” and, if they do not, other members will be asked to step in with financial aid.

The loan needs to be $600,000, he stated in the letter, in order to pay off an existing $230,000 mortgage and fund operations through the end of the year.

A source included in the 26 members committed to the $300,000 promissory note for the club said he was unsure how the note was to be secured.

The board “wishes to assure” its members that “every effort is being made to continue normal operation of our club during this difficult time,” Humphreys said.

In addition, the board is “pursuing every means of prosecution and recovery while we continue to operate the club in the manner to which you are accustomed,” he stated.

At the same time Humphreys and the board are pursuing additional funding to keep the club operational, the club is cooperating with the Holmes Beach Police Department. A “police investigation is ongoing,” he said, adding that the state attorney’s office is gathering evidence in the case via subpoenas of documents.

He did not elaborate on the amount of money embezzled, which apparently occurred sometime within the past year. He also did not name the employee he alleged to be involved in the embezzlement.

Humphreys states in the letter that the board is investigating its net loss after filing a claim for the club’s $50,000 fidelity bond coverage for employee dishonesty.

HBPD detective Mike Leonard confirmed there is an ongoing investigation, but said he had “no further comment at this time.” He declined to place a value on the club’s loss.

Leonard said there is a suspect, but he declined to provide a name “at this time.” He confirmed he’s spoken to someone at the state attorney’s regarding the matter.

Another contact offered in Humphreys’ letter, club treasurer Tim Friesen, also declined to comment when contacted. Terry Schaefer, also named as a contact did not return messages by presstime for The Islander.

The Key Royale Club is centered on a dredge-and-fill development project that originated in the 1960s on what was then School Key. It has a maximum membership that for many years saw a waiting list among Key Royale’s affluent residents, but membership diminished to approximately 300 in recent years, apparently due to the economic recession.

The golf course is a nine-hole, par-32 executive-style course surrounded by affluent homes and fronting Bimini Bay to the west.

KRC offer to members

Key Royale Club president Craig Humphreys, on behalf of the board of directors of the Key Royale Club, wrote a letter May 18 to members to inform them of financial problems at the club and make the following offer:

New club member lender loan:

• $600,000 10-year mortgage.

• 5.5 percent per annum, payable quarterly (P&I)

• Secured by first mortgage on all real property owned by KRC.

• No prepayment penalty.

• $10,000 minimum participation.

The letter establishes a deadline for member participation of June 14.

Questions on participation were referred to Humphreys, treasurer Tim Friesen, and Terry Schaefer, phase 2 project manager.

Chamber borrows funds, awaiting county payment

Without the $40,900 the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau owes the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, chamber president Mary Ann Brockman said she might have to borrow against the chamber’s money market account to make future payroll.

She’ll certainly have to borrow $3,000 for the three scholarships awarded annually to three deserving high school seniors in Manatee County. The presentation is planned for May 25.

“They’re still developing the contract to get the funding to us,” Brockman told executive board members at their May 20 meeting.

The funds have been tied up since November 2010 while county attorneys draw up a contract, and the county will not authorize release of the money until a contract is signed,

Brockman said the county has been working on the contract for seven months.

Board chair-elect Karen LaPensee, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Cindy Thompson, said the first contract presented a few weeks ago was rejected by the board because it did not guarantee reimbursement for certain expenses.

“It’s gone back to the county attorney and I was supposed to have an answer today,” she said. “But I didn’t get one.”

LaPensee said Brockman has to borrow against the money market account because the chamber has been covering postage and rent the past seven months. Postage alone amounts to nearly $3,500 a month, Brockman said, and that expense has been “draining our account.”

“We truly rely on that money. It’s working capital for us and to not have that coming in is a real burden,” said LaPensee.

In return for the funds, the chamber acts as a county tourist information center. “The money is ours. The (county) commission approved this and said we should be reimbursed,” LaPensee said.

The chamber had a “hand-shake” agreement with the BACVB for nine years until late last year, when county attorneys said the payments have to be made under a contract, Brockman noted.

Board member David Teitelbaum, who also is a member of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council, said the BACVB was “not trying to hurt the chamber,” but the lawyers want to ensure the process is “completely legal.”

In other chamber news, Larry Chatt said the new chamber website is nearly 80 percent complete and will be online within a few weeks. Every chamber member has an individual page on the site and can make changes or corrections with approval of the board.

“It’s like everyone is going to have their own website within a website,” Chatt said.

The board learned that Ed Chiles’ restaurants will be unable to participate in the 2012 wedding festival scheduled for the first week in May due to planning and sponsorship of the Food and Wine on Pine event at the same time.

Teitelbaum said the wedding festival really needs Chiles’ involvement and he would speak with him about alternate dates.

Board members rejected a January wedding festival because of the likelihood of cold weather.

Early May is the best time for the wedding festival because rooms are readily available that month and it’s not too hot, Brockman said.

Teitelbaum also discussed the advertising contract on the new Island trolleys. The first trolley will go into service on Aug. 14, he said, followed by another every 30 to 45 days until all five new trolleys are operational.

Advertising rates are “very affordable,” he said, and revenues are used to offset the county’s maintenance costs for the trolleys.

Businesses that had contracts for ads on the old trolleys will be given the first opportunity to advertise and select a position on these trolleys, he said.

Members agreed more promotion is needed for the annual luau scheduled July 16 at the Gulf Drive Cafe.  Brockman said Gulf Drive Cafe owner Wendy Kokolis told her she expected the chamber to got free advertising from local media.

Brockman said she would look for a sponsor for the luau.

FDOT road advisories for AMI, area roads, Cortez Bridge

Motorists are advised to use caution when driving on Bay Boulevard near the city pier as the Florida Department of Transportation has begun construction of the boardwalk along the shoreline north of the pier.

Motorists can expect temporary intermittent lane closures with a flagging operation during the course of construction.

Access to the pier will be maintained during construction, but pedestrians can expect to use alternate paths to enter the pier during construction.

The boardwalk project is expected to finish by October, a DOT release said.

The DOT will have a westbound lane closure on State Road 684/Cortez Road at the 115th Street West intersection from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 25, and Thursday, May 26.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly beginning May 23, and ending at 5 a.m. Friday, May 27, there will be intermittent closures of the eastbound and westbound lanes on the Cortez Bridge for a maintenance project.

Motorists are advised to use caution in the construction areas and expect delays during the maintenance time period.

April home/condo sales skyrocket

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums on Anna Maria Island climbed 58.6 percent in April 2011 when compared with the number sold for the same month in 2010, according to the area’s real estate multiple listing service.

John Van Zandt of Island Real Estate checked the figures for Anna Maria Island sales and found 46 closings of Island properties in April as compared to 29 for April 2010.

“That’s really encouraging. I believe it shows the Island had a good season for property sales, especially as March figures were well above last year at that time,” Van Zandt said.

There were 27 single-family home closings in April this year and 16 for April 2010. At the same time, condominium sales were bumped from 12 in April 2010 to 18 sold in April 2011..

The average sale price of a single-family home also rose in April 2011 when compared with the same month last year.

MLS figures show the average single-family home sale on AMI for April 2011 was $553,296 compared with $523,063 in April 2010, a 5.8 percent increase.

“It’s definitely positive news, but we can’t say that it’s a sign the recession is over,” Van Zandt said. “You can’t compare Anna Maria Island to the mainland. The Island is different. It’s always in demand.”

At Gulf-Bay Realty, Jesse Brisson, who reports real estate transfers for The Islander, had the same MLS figures plus two by-owner sales. Those sales are not recorded by the MLS.

“A very good month, better than expected,” Brisson said.

He cautioned, however, that the figures do not necessarily mean prices are rising.

“It means there were more people looking this year than last, and they paid closer to the asking price. They took advantage of some bargains.”

“It’s still a buyer’s market with a lot of good values, especially for investors looking for rental income,” he said.

Vacation rentals are particularly attractive and at good prices, he said.

Condominiums in particular also are a good value following nearly three years of decline in the average sale price, and anything on the water always attracts buyers, Brisson noted.

“A lot of buyers are looking for an investment and paying cash. They look at the return on investment and see that tourism is good and vacation rentals are in demand,” he said.

Brisson and Van Zandt believe real estate sales will stay strong as the summer progresses.

“And we’re still priced well below other resort islands,” Van Zandt said.

“Where else can you get this for the price? Not Sanibel, not Captiva, not Marco Island,” he said.

Segway pitch drives task force meet

Segways by the beach is the topic of an upcoming meeting of the Preserve Our Beautiful Beaches Task Force set for May 31 in Bradenton.

The task force, made up of county and Island government staff, elected officials and Keep Manatee Beautiful, will meet at 3:30 p.m. that Tuesday at G.T. Bray Recreation Center, 5502 33rd Ave. Drive W., Bradenton.

The county parks and recreation department is hosting the meeting to explore its proposal to the county commission that would provide for a Segway tour contract at Coquina Beach.

The proposal involves the county contracting with a Bradenton Beach Segway business to host tours at Coquina on the multi-use path on the Gulfside and on the shell path as well as in Leffis Key on the bayside. Other Segway use would be banned from the county-managed park, as well as in other county parks and preserves.

The commission put the brakes on that plan pending further discussion on its options.

Commissioners differed in their reasons for stalling the plan. Several questioned why the county would allow a Segway concession to operate in the public park, but not allow other Segway riders. One suggested that if there was a concern about Segways crowding the path, the county should ban the vehicles. Several others suggested that Segways should be treated like bicycles.

Commissioners discussed the issue with county staff during a work session earlier this month. Then, at a meeting two weeks ago, the board voted 6-1 to put any action on an agreement with a Segway concessionaire on hold until a general Segway policy is adopted.

Cortez store burglarized

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at the Sea Hagg collectibles shop, 12304 Cortez Road, Cortez.

An MCSO report said the incident was reported on May 17 and took place sometime between 5:30 p.m. May 16 and noon the day of the report.

The incident was classified as a burglary to an unoccupied structure, a felony, and involved the theft of more than $5,000 in property.

The report stated that unknown persons “gained entry to the listed fenced business by unknown means” and “once inside the subject stole $5,148 worth of items. It is unknown at the time of this report who may have burglarized the business.”

Wagon theft witnessed

An observant witness helped lead the Holmes Beach Police Department to the identification of a suspect in the theft of a wagon stocked with children’s toys.

The theft occurred May 10 in the 4600 block of the beach.

From a rental property on 46th Street, a vacationing family walked to the Gulf shore with a wagon loaded with beach toys, as well as towels and other items.

They left their possessions on the beach when they went back to their rental home for lunch. When they returned about an hour later, the wagon was missing.

A neighbor later told the family she saw two women, both described as heavy set and about 40, take the wagon. They left in a white vehicle with “Margaritaville” on a side panel and a Florida license plate.

An HBPD officer checked the plate number and found it was the tag for a white 2003 Toyota four-door registered to a Bradenton woman.

The investigation is ongoing.

Sports – 05-25-2011

Local grom makes waves in surfing world

Lifelong Holmes Beach-resident Christian Daniels at the young age of 10 is making waves on Florida’s surfing scene. He recently completed his first season in the East Coast National Scholastic Surfing Association where he secured a second place overall finish in the southeast district.

And he’s ripping up the waves in the new season of competitive surfing — earning plenty of metal and seeded spots in future tourneys.

Christian went on last month to the East Coast Championships in New Smyrna Beach April 8-11 and made the finals in two divisions. He finished fourth in the 11-and-under open mini-grom division and had a fifth-place finish in the 11-and-under explorer super-grom division. His performances against some of the east coast’s best young surfers earned Christian a seeded spot in the NSSA nationals next month in Huntington Beach, Calif.

April 15 had Christian traveling to St. Augustine Beach  for the Eastern Surfing Association southeast regionals to try and build on his Central Florida District No. 2 ranking. After three grueling days of heats against some outstanding competition, Christian made the finals and brought home a fifth-place finish. He also secured a spot in the ESA East Coast Championships being held in Cape Hatteras, N.C., in September.

The May 14-15 weekend saw the start of the new NSSA season with two contests in Melbourne Beach. Christian competed in three divisions both days and made all three finals. He brought home two second-place finishes in 11-under open mini-groms, a fifth- and a sixth-place finish in explorer super-groms. He took first and second place in the 12-and-under explorer menehune division.

With a season of experience to fall back on, Christian a third-grader at Anna Maria Elementary School and parents Tom and Beth, are looking forward to a great second NSSA season.

Stay tuned for more updates on this “Hot Dog” in the Islander.

Center soccer signups start up

The Anna Maria Island Community Center is taking registrations for their summer indoor recreational soccer league.

Season starts June 27 and runs through most of the summer school vacation. Tryouts are required. Games will be played weekday evenings in two coed age divisions — a 6-9 age division and a 10-12 age division.

The Center also is offering a competitive league with registration costing $250 per team. Registration for this league ends June 15.

Tryouts for the age 6-9 age recreational divison players will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, and the 10-12 division will tryout at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15. Cost for the recreational program is $45 for center members and $60 for nonmembers. Teams will be selected at the tryouts.

Both coaches and team sponsors are needed.

For more information, contact Tyler Bekkerus at the center, 941-778-1908, ext. 9205.

Key Royale golf news

The Key Royale Club women joined the men for a throw-out-the-worst-two-holes game May 20. The team of Terry Westby, Christina Mason and Dennis Schavey combined for a 97 to earn a two-shot victory over Frankie Smith-Williams, Jerry Brown, Ron Robinson and Kris Landkammer.

The KRC men played an 18-hole, two-man low-net game May 18. Vince Mercadante and Carl Voyles carded a 2-under-par 62 to take first place.

The men played a nine-hole, individual low-net game May 16. Ernie Hauser took first place with a 6-under-par 26 for a three-shot victory over Austin Rice and Bill Gallagher, who tied for second at 3-under 29.

Horseshoe news

Three teams emerged from pool play during the May 21 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Tom Sofron and Debbie Rhodes earned the bye into the finals and watched as John Johnson and Jeff Moore rolled past Ron Pepka and Dom Livedonti 23-3. The finals saw Rhodes-Sofron earn an easy 21-10 victory over Johnson-Moore.

Karl Thomas, in his final game of the season until he returns from Canada in October, teamed with Norm Good and they were the only team with three pool-play wins and the day’s outright champions.

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.

Basketball rolls on

The youth basketball schedule continues at the center. However, once again, game score sheets were not made available in a timely manner. Calls to the center and messages left by The Islander were unproductive.

The game schedule is posted online at www.islander.org, but standings also were not provided this week.

Anna Maria Island Community Center Basketball League schedule

Instructional Division (ages 5-7)

May 26    6 p.m.      WCAC vs. Beach Bums

May 27    6 p.m.      Beach Bums vs. Coastal Orthopedic

May 31    6 p.m.      WCAC vs. Coastal Orthopedic

Division III (ages 8-9)

May 26    7 p.m.      Kat Charters vs. Agnelli Pool

May 27    7 p.m.      Kat Charters vs. Oyster Bar

May 31    7 p.m.      Agnelli Pool vs. Oyster Bar

Division II (ages 10-11)

May 25    6 p.m.      Sandbar vs. Ross Built

May 26    8 p.m.      Bistro vs. Connie’s

May 27    8 p.m.      Connie’s vs. Ross Built

Division I (ages 12-13)

May 25    7 p.m.      Holy Cow vs. Walter

Premier Division (ages 14-17)

May 25    8 p.m.      LaPensee vs. Dips

May 31    8 p.m.      Dip’s vs. Sun