Tag Archives: 06-06-2012

Dog run improvements continue

Improvements to the new dog run have been snowballing in the month after the city of Holmes Beach put up a fence on the outfield perimeter of Birdie Tebbetts Field to create an area exclusively for people wanting to exercise their pets.

        Donations of time and $1,150 have come in, according to advocate Barbara Parkman, to improve the dog run at 62nd Street and Flotilla Drive, Holmes Beach.

        The funds will go toward the purchase of eight trees for shade, six hollies and two live oaks and a double gate— to keep dogs from escaping, which Parkman said will be installed in about a week.

        “I am so excited about this project. The dog owners have contributed very generously,” she said.

        Parkman is a longtime city resident who sought, along with some 30-50 dog owners, to use the city field to exercise their pets.

        A shelter provided by the city is nearly finished, just awaiting a roof, she said.

        The public works department is assembling two benches, donated by Bob and Alice Longworth, which soon will be placed in the dog run, Parkman said.

        Several trees have been planted by the city, and some crape myrtles were planted by Parkman’s son-in-law, resident Mike Cappello.

        “Joe Duennes is the nicest man imaginable,” she said of the public works superintendent. “He would have our trees planted wherever I want them.”

        A source of water for the dogs is still “hoped for,” Parkman added.

        A bank account has been opened in the name of “Dog Park Organization” at Hancock Bank, 5324 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, where donations are welcome, she said.

        The dog park organization also will be looking for a better name, she said. Details on a contest to name the facility will be announced in the next week or so, she said.

        For more information, call Parkman at 941-778-3390.

Dog run yard sale set

        Tails are a waggin’ for a yard sale to benefit the dog run in Holmes Beach.

        The sale will be held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 9, in the common area behind 430 62nd St., Holmes Beach.

        Organizers are looking for donated items in good condition, and volunteers to work at the sale.

        Donated items should be priced and dropped off Friday, June 8, or before the sale begins on Saturday.

        For more information, call Renee Ferguson at 941-567-5737.

Publix puts press on Cuban sandwich thief

A Cuban sandwich, finished hot in a sandwich press at restaurants, convenience stores and Publix Super Markets is a popular item.

But a pressed sandwich thief? Such was the case for a Cuban sandwich thief who was detained — pressed and sat on — by employees until police arrived to make an arrest.

Perhaps 21-year-old Emmanuel Jaramillo thought paying $6.92 for a Cuban sandwich at Publix, 3900 East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, was too expensive, but when he allegedly tried to steal the sandwich May 26, a sequence of events was launched that will make that sandwich much more costly to him.

According to a Holmes Beach police report, Jaramillo ordered the sandwich at the Publix deli and then bypassed the cash registers en route to the store’s exit.

He was stopped just outside the store by the Publix manager and returned inside. Police then say Jaramillo began to physically resist the manager, at which time a scuffle erupted.

Hallmark makes a greeting card for just about any occasion, but it the store’s greeting card display was toppled when the physical altercation spilled over into the card display, causing an estimated $300 in damages.

An additional $38 worth of greeting cards were damaged.

The scuffle drew the attention of store employees, who quickly acted to aid their manager. According to the report, employees were able to knock Jaramillo to the ground, and sat on the suspect until police arrived.

The store manager was reported to have sustained a cut finger during the scuffle.

Jaramillo was arrested on multiple misdemeanor charges including criminal mischief, resisting detention and retail theft.

He was booked into the Manatee County jail on a total of $1,200 bond. According to jail records, Jaramillo posted bond May 27.

Anna Maria has chicken roost

 

Approximately eight roosters and hens recently appeared at the Anna Maria Island Historical Park at 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Building official Bob Welch said someone apparently dropped the birds off during the middle of the night and also left some feed. “We have no idea who or why,” Welch said. No decision has been made on the future of the birds, he said. AMI Historical Society board member Carolyne Norwood said she would bring up the issue of chickens at the board’s June 8 meeting. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Anna Maria election candidates remain unclear

The Anna Maria political scene got a bit cloudier June 1, when political newcomer Billy Malfese, who previously said he would run for office, announced he would not seek a political office in the Nov. 6 city election.

Two commission seats and the office of mayor will be decided in the election, but only two people — incumbent Commissioner Chuck Webb and planning and zoning board member Nancy Yetter — have announced a candidacy, and both are running for a commission seat.

Mayor Mike Selby and Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick have said they will not seek re-election.

Webb has qualified for re-election, while Yetter, who was unsuccessful in her 2011 bid for a commission seat, said she planned to qualify this week.

Qualifying ends at noon June 8.

With Selby out of the running, the race for mayor appears wide open. No resident has announced intentions to run for the seat.

Former Commissioner Gene Aubry picked up a packet, but said last week he has decided not to run for any city office.

Aubry’s wife, Janet, picked up two packets last week, saying they were for P&Z board chair Sandy Mattick, who was unsuccessful in her 2011 candidacy for mayor. She is the daughter of Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick.

Also picking up two packets was Commissioner SueLynn, who is not up for re-election.

Efforts to reach Sandy Mattick and SueLynn for comment were unsuccessful.

Another election packet went out last week to an unknown person.

City clerk Alice Baird said no one at city hall knew the man and he did not sign the courtesy pickup list. Anyone can pick up a qualifying packet and there is no requirement to give a name or sign the list, she said.

The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office will post the names of all candidates who qualify for the Nov. 7 election on its website — www.votemanatee.com — at noon Friday, June 8, the qualifying deadline.

Anna Maria’s mayor and commissioners are elected for two-year terms in staggered years. The mayor and two commissioners are elected in even-numbered years, while three commission seats are on the ballot in odd-numbered years.

The mayor is paid $800 per month, while commissioners each receive $400 monthly.

Guild member looks to back up league festival plans

Amid troubles leading to the closure of the Anna Maria Island Art League, another Holmes Beach art organization is signaling its willingness to take on the annual league-sponsored Winterfest.

    City officials report the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island has requested the city field Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 if the field becomes available. It’s a “back-up reservation,” according to deputy clerk Lori Kee.

    “I wanted to protect those dates for a not-for-profit,” said Joan Voyles of the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island, adding she’s taken no steps beyond the initial inquiry for the Guild and “any coalition of artists” who would possibly seek the city field for these dates.

    “But if they fall apart, it’s a protective thing,” she said. Voyles also noted Winterfest has been a successful juried art festival and she’d like to see it continue.

    League president Laura McGeary said she’s “not surprised” by the guild’s request, but says the league is not giving up Winterfest.

    “A call to artists” advertising for Winterfest and Springfest, was placed in the May edition of Sunshine Artist, a trade publication for art and craft shows, she said.

    But Colin Bissett of Palm Harbor, who was hired by the league to organize Winterfest 2011 and Springfest 2012, blames McGeary for the league’s problems. He said he resigned in March without giving the notice required by his contract because of a lack of financial reporting and hostility within the league for his decisions.

    “I believe they ran out of money. How can that be with two successful art shows?” asked Bissett.

    McGeary said proceeds from Winterfest 2011 were “considerably less” than the previous year, even accounting for the half-day rainout, although Springfest was better.

    “Insufficient volunteers” impacted the festival and the bottom line, according to McGeary.

    McGeary previously alleged some work performed by volunteers in the past was paid for under Bissett’s direction. Those increased costs resulted in reduced income for the league, she said.

    But Bissett says “after 20-25 years of history, it’s died,” of the art league festival tradition. “It needs somebody like the guild.”

    The league’s former executive director, Christina Reginelli, resigned May 11, but first canceled the kids’ summer camp, classes and workshops, saying there was “no money to cover the instructors and no one available to supervise.” She also posted the “closed” sign at the league facility, 5312 Holmes Blvd.

    McGeary maintains the closure is temporary.

    Reginelli also says she is owed back pay.

    And McGeary agrees. She said getting Reginelli paid is one reason for fundraising at this time. McGeary has sought $25-$100 donations from the community by June 16 to keep the league afloat. Last week she said she had received several “nice calls” and donations.

    Bissett further questions the league’s ability to solicit donations.

    She says the league can continue to accept donations and that it has maintained its Florida nonprofit corporation while she and others work to reinstate the IRS tax-exempt status.

    McGeary says the revocation of the IRS designation as a nonprofit was an “inherited” problem that was due to the league’s past failure to file three years of returns before her term as president.

    “We had an accountant and a director” at the time the tax returns went missing, McGeary said. She added that the returns may have been prepared, but apparently were not properly filed.

    “We started trying to resolve it when we became aware of it” in June 2011, when the league received a letter from the IRS, McGeary said.

    “We think we’re really close,” she said of the reinstatement effort.

    While Bissett and some former board members point to the IRS problem as an indicator of a fiscal reporting problem, McGeary responds it does not impact the league’s ability to fund raise in small amounts.

    McGeary said it would only impact donations of $250 or more, and only if the donor requires a tax-exempt letter. It does not change the league’s nonprofit status, she said.

    “There are plenty of nonprofits out there that aren’t 501c3s,” she said.

    Two $500 donations were returned after the league learned of the revocation, she said.

    Former board member Leslie Robbins made a statement May 30 calling for an audit, asking that “past records of finances” be made public.

    Robbins was joined May 31 in a similar statement by former board members Karen Hasler, Alexis Lillis, Cheryl Jorgenson, Gillian Holt and Ellen Aquilina, as well as Reginelli.

    “Members of the art league and the community are owed some kind of disclosure regarding the finances. The art league has meant a lot to many people and to have it sink without explanation or accountability is tragic,” it stated.

    The league has a 22-year history on Anna Maria Island, showcasing local talent, offering art classes, camps and workshops. The festivals provide funding for the art center and its scholarship program.

    There are three remaining board members, Deeana Atkinson, Chris Galanopoulos and McGeary.

    At Islander press time, no financial information was available for review, although McGeary said she has information on four past festivals and the scholarships.

    McGeary said she is working with an accountant to resolve the league’s financial and IRS matters.

        She also said she was not yet prepared to schedule a general membership meeting or respond to former board members.

BB commissioners downsize P&Z board to 5 members

At a May 1 joint meeting between Bradenton Beach commissioners and planning and zoning board members, a consensus was given to maintain the P&Z board at seven members.

At a May 29 joint meeting, commissioners changed their decision.

“As you all know, we’ve had some turmoil in the P&Z board,” said Commissioner Ric Gatehouse. “I think we need to revisit the number of board members. My argument (May 1) was it’s not always that stable and hard to get good people.”

Gatehouse previously recommended reducing the number of board members to five, but commissioners that day agreed to leave the number at seven. However, that was before a contentious May 3 city commission meeting that led to four P&Z resignations.

P&Z had recommended the city reject the proposed joint development agreement with BeachHouse restaurant owner Ed Chiles in April to allow constructing a dune and parking lot across from city hall.

P&Z said the proposed project violated the city’s land development codes and comprehensive plan in its recommendation for denial. Commissioners ignored the recommendation and approved the agreement at a public hearing where Gatehouse accused P&Z members of presenting a “colored and tainted” recommendation based on personal bias.

Three P&Z members resigned within a week. Longtime member Jo Ann Meilner held off resigning and sought an apology from commissioners and city attorney Ricinda Perry at a May 17 commission meeting. Lacking any apology, she submitted her resignation May 19, leaving P&Z with three members.

Commissioners May 29 provided a consensus to change the P&Z board to five members, which, following the May 17 appointment of Dan Debaun and John Burns, it has.

The May 29 meeting was to consist of commissioners and P&Z members, but only Debaun attended from P&Z. The meeting was a second workshop to move forward on LDC revisions before the Oct. 1 state-mandated deadline to have the LDC in compliance with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Gatehouse also asked commissioners to consider changing the city’s language for P&Z qualifications. Currently only a city resident can serve on the P&Z board, but Gatehouse called the LDC language that defines P&Z qualifications as “too restrictive,” he said.

“It throttles our ability to get (nonresidents) when we can,” he said. “If we change it, maybe we can allow nonresidents to be maintained as qualified people.”

Language to be considered for change would state that either a voting resident “or property owner” in Bradenton Beach would be qualified to serve on the P&Z, following a commission consensus from Commissioners Gay Breuler, Gatehouse, Jan Vosburgh and Mayor John Shaughnessy.

Commissioner Ed Straight was absent.

If the change passes at a city commission meeting, the LDC will authorize a P&Z board of five members, with two alternate members, and allow nonresident property owners to serve on the board.

Mother Nature gives boaters a lesson

Several folks received a surprise from Mother Nature and the arrival of winds and high surf from Tropical Storm Beryl around 7 a.m. Memorial Day, May 28, when the boats they had anchored just offshore of the Sandbar Restaurant, Anna Maria, apparently broke loose of their anchors. A small craft advisory was in effect at the time.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report on the incidents said a personal watercraft and an 18-foot-long boat, both owned by the same person, broke from their anchors early that morning. The owner and several onlookers were able to retrieve and remove the vessels from the area.

Another vessel, estimated to be around 22-feet long, also was overcome by the high seas and was swamped near the shore of the Sandbar.

Sea-Tow Inc. of Sarasota, a company that specializes in towing sinking or damaged boats to safety, was called and towed the vessel to the Kingfish Boat Ramp in Holmes Beach.

U.S. Coast Guard personnel, the MCSO Marine Unit and MCSO Anna Maria-substation deputies assisted with recovery of some of the beached and swamped vessels.

Deputies remained in the area for about three hours, concerned for the safety of missing owners and possible passengers of another boat at the scene that had been swamped and overturned. Deputies were worried the people had tried to swim away from the craft.

The owner of the boat eventually returned to the area and removed the vessel.

Operators of Sea-Tow said Memorial Day is one of their busiest days of the year, despite the small craft advisory.

In addition to the boats towed from the Sandbar area, the company towed a 30-foot sailboat from Longboat Pass to safety. They also towed two other boats that had been swamped off Anna Maria Island.

“Some people just don’t pay any attention to a small-craft advisory, or even bother to check the marine forecast before going out in the Gulf of Mexico,” a Sea-Tow representative said.

Manatee County marine rescue personnel at Coquina Beach also were busy helping people Memorial Day in riptide currents and high surf. An estimated 20 swimmers had to be helped from the waters, according to a lifeguard at the beach.

Applicants abound for top center job

The task of replacing Anna Maria Island Community Center executive director Pierrette Kelly is not going to be easy, said Andy Price, chair of the committee that will review applications and conduct interviews with selected candidates.

    “We have 46 applications to review, then prepare a short-list and interview those candidates,” said Price, a former center board member and chief of West Manatee Fire Rescue.

    “Pierrette will be hard to replace. She made the center what it is, and her ability to forge relationships was immeasurable,” said Price, also former chair of the center’s executive board.

    “The ideal candidate will be an outstanding relationship builder,” as was Kelly, he said.

    Kelly announced April 27 she was resigning her position as director after more than 22 years. She said in her resignation letter she wanted to leave June 30, but would stay on until the center had selected a replacement and that person had been adequately trained.

    The deadline to apply for the position was May 30.

    Price’s committee, which was selected by the center executive board as a cross-range of people, will review each application and narrow a list of those to be interviewed by the committee. From those people interviewed, the committee will short list its recommendations to the executive board, said Price.

    “It’s not going to be a quick process,” he said.

    The first meeting of the review committee will be this week, Price said, but he did not provide a time or day.

    Members of the review committee include Price, Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, restaurant owner Ed Chiles, former executive board treasurer Bill Ford and center board member Andy Guidus.

    At the center’s board of directors meeting June 4, Price updated members on the applicants and the review process. He said the board would have his committee’s recommended short list of candidates for the director’s position well before June 30.

    The board also unanimously approved a motion by David Teitelbaum to name the board’s meeting room the “Pierrette Kelly Conference Room,” in honor of Kelly.

    The center last week sent invitations to a July 12 retirement cocktail party for Kelly.

 

Manatee County will introduce new flood maps

Preliminary maps showing revised flood zones in Manatee County will be shared with the public at a public viewing 4-7 p.m. Monday, June 11, at the Manatee High School cafeteria, 902 33rd St. Court W.

A Manatee County government press release said the new maps are not official until adopted by the county commission.

The public is invited to attend and ask questions about what the new maps mean for their property and new flood insurance premiums.

Property owners, including those on Anna Maria Island, can appeal the flood-zone designation of their property, the release said.

Anna Maria building official Bob Welch said the new maps might show some areas of the Island are no longer considered in a prime flood zone.

The new maps were a coordinated effort between Manatee County and FEMA to use the latest digital technology in developing maps that “better reflect the risk that communities face,” said Tom Gerstenberger, Manatee County engineering division manager.

FEMA specialists will be at the meeting to answer questions from homeowners about the process that determines the flood insurance rate for a particular area.

Property owners, renters, real estate agents, mortgage lenders and insurance agents are “encouraged to attend the open house to meet with specialists and ask questions,” particularly about flood risk and hazard mitigation within their communities.”

Updates to the maps can be viewed online at www.mymanatee.org/gisapps/mapviewer/index.jsp.

Welch said, as far he knows, FEMA considers all of Anna Maria Island to be within the highest rated flood zone. However, the new maps are “worth looking at” for any changes or potential mitigation sites.

For more information, call 941-748-4501.

Holmes Beach employees work in DROP

While Holmes Beach treasurer Rick Ashley will be the next city employee to leave under a state program that incentivizes planned retirements, he likely won’t be the last.

        Ashley is expected to retire from 38 years of public employment Aug. 31. Approximately 14 of those years were as city treasurer. He entered the Florida Retirement System Deferred Retirement Option Plan in September 2007.

        The program incentivizes retirement of public employees in the state who reach 25 years of service or retirement age.

        Those who elect to enter the program are considered retired, although still on the job and collecting a salary. Their monthly retirement benefits accumulate in a FRS trust fund, earning tax deferred interest up to 60 months, according to the FRS website.

        Employees in the DROP program must leave by the last day of the 60-month deferment or lose the accumulated contributions, Ashley said.

        “What it allows the city are all positives,” he said. “How many cities have their city treasurers looking to train their replacement?

        “The planning and ability to budget, that’s a very positive thing about the DROP program,” Ashley said.

        Also in the city’s DROP program with expected — but not mandatory — retirement dates are the following employees:

        • Public works superintendent Joe Duennes, Feb. 28, 2014. • Holmes Beach Police Lt. Dale Stephenson, July 31, 2016.

        • Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine, July 31, 2016.

        • Holmes Beach Police Officer Rob Velardi, March 31, 2017.

        Part-time public works employee Steve Beck also was in the DROP program until recently, according to Ashley. However, it appears Beck won’t be reaching his DROP date, as he gave notice for a July employment termination date, said Ashley.

        Duennes has held his city position 15 years, and became eligible by virtue of retirement age, he said. Velardi, Stephenson and Romine have been with the HBPD for 25 years.

        Duennes supervises the building department, code enforcement and public works. He entered the DROP program March 1, 2009. Stephenson and Romine entered the program Aug. 1, 2011.

        “There’s no preparation for any of these positions at this time,” said Mayor Rich Bohnenberger. “They may leave then, and they may leave tomorrow. It’s their personal lives, and they don’t tell me about that.”

        In six to eight months, Bohnenberger said, the city may start to search for a police chief to succeed Romine.