Tag Archives: 06-25-2014

Sea turtle saved by Coast Guard, treated by Mote

Mrs. Turt Lee has a new lease on life.

The 230-pound loggerhead turtle had suffered severe injuries from a boat strike when she was found June 15.

However, she is now in stable condition thanks to the rescue efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard at Station Cortez and the rehabilitation efforts of Mote Marine’s 24-hour marine rescue program.

Members of the Coast Guard rescued the sea turtle after they received a call that it was having trouble diving June 15.

The sea turtle, located a mile offshore of Longboat Pass, had a “spear-like” piece of debris protruding from her shell, according to Chief Boatswain’s Mate Ekahi Lee, of Station Cortez.

“Someone called it in and said her shell had been penetrated by a spear and she couldn’t go under,” Lee said. “The puncture had caused an air bubble and that’s why she couldn’t dive.”

Lee said when the rescuers got a closer look, they saw the “spear” was actually a sharp piece of wreckage that had likely come from impact with a vessel.

Members of the crew lifted the turtle on the boat by cradling her atop a large tire, according to Haley Rutger, public relations coordinator at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

“She was heavy, but we were able to get her in the boat and put her on a stretcher,” Lee said.

Members of the Coast Guard named the turtle “Mrs. Turt Lee” after Lee.

Chief Petty Officer Daniel Benoit said Station Cortez often rescues marine wildlife as part of its Living Marine Resource protection program

“Even though it is not one of our missions that gains the most praise, it is one of our most important, and it is one that we place an incredible sense of pride and professionalism into,” he said.  “Being able to preserve our marine wildlife for our children and offer protection to those species that need it is one of the many highlights of our job.”

The crew delivered Mrs. Turt Lee to the boat ramp at Ken Thompson Park on City Island, nearby to Mote.

Members of the Stranding Investigations Program — a 24-hour response service for marine mammals and sea turtles in Sarasota and Manatee counties met the Coast Guard at the ramp and quickly loaded the turtle in the back of a pickup truck.

With Coast Guard officials assisting, the turtle was transported to the Mote Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital.

“The Coast Guard did an exemplary job out in the water rescuing this turtle,” said Rebeccah Hazelkorn, staff biologist with Mote. “They made sure the turtle and their personnel were safe the entire time.”

According to Rutger, Mrs. Turt Lee was in stable condition June 18, but she has fresh boat-strike wounds across her upper shell, lacerations to both front flippers, damage to her tail and right rear flipper and the mark of an old shark bite.

The sharp object in her shell had fallen out before she arrived at Mote.

Mote staff is providing Mrs. Turt Lee with antibiotics, fluid therapy and other care.

“This turtle’s story serves as a reminder to watch out for marine animals while boating and to report animals in distress,” Rutger said.

She said Mote has treated more than 450 sea turtle patients since 1995.

Anyone who sees a turtle in distress can call Mote at 941-388-4441, or report injured or distressed wildlife to FWC’s 24-hour wildlife alert number, 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).

Bradenton Beach commission reviews, fires clerk

the city of Bradenton Beach is looking for a new city clerk after the commission on June 19 voted 3-2 to dismiss Jamie Anderson from her post.

Anderson was one of two department heads the commission evaluated during a meeting that day at city hall.

Shelia Dalton, city treasurer, received a positive evaluation, resulting in tenure with the city.

Dalton and Anderson were the two newest city employees hired by Mayor Bill Shearon with consensus from the commission. Both started work Jan. 16.

Anderson left the commission meeting in tears after the mayor reluctantly announced her immediate termination.

Commissioner Janie Robertson and Mayor Bill Shearon opposed the decision, but were outnumbered 3-2.

City attorney Ricinda Perry, who analyzed the commissioner’s evaluations, said there were several concerns regarding Anderson’s performance.

“There were questions as to whether she had become a notary, where she was in regards to her Florida Clerk Association certificate and whether she really understood Florida law,” Perry said.

Only four of the five city officials submitted evaluations.

Perry also said some of the anonymous evaluations criticized Anderson’s management of the city’s computer services, which resulted in a loss of more than $4,000 for the city, and also her management of her one employee, deputy city clerk Tammy Johnson.

Robert Lincoln, the attorney representing ELRA Inc., Ed Chiles’ BeacHhouse restaurant corporate entity, accused Johnson of deleting city emails, which are public records under Florida law, and further blamed Anderson for covering it up.

He also said Anderson would ignore or delay public records requests, however Anderson has maintained that any delay was the result of the computer’s email system, which was functioning intermittently.

After Anderson’s departure from the meeting at city hall, city attorney Ricinda Perry read a statement on Anderson’s behalf.

“Due to the atmosphere of the city, I don’t believe I was given a fair chance to shine,” Anderson wrote. “This office has been unfairly under attack since the day I arrived.”

Perry said Anderson felt many of the evaluations unfairly compared her to Nora Idso, the former city clerk who performed duties of the city clerk, city treasurer, served as the head of two departments and supervised eight employees. Idso died June 9.

“The city has gone through pain-staking steps to split that job up at the recommendation of the mayor, who correctly identified problems associated with uncompartmentalized departments.” Perry told commissioners.

Anderson said she spent her time trying to remold the position and change procedures as issues came to her attention.

Robertson, who along with Shearon voted against the termination, said she felt the evaluations were premature because both employees have been “barely on the job for five months.”

“The amount of work that was given to Anderson barely gave her a chance to breathe,” Robertson stated.

Robertson suggested tabling the evaluations and revisiting the results for both employees at a later date.

However, Perry said that if the commission tabled the decision, Anderson would receive permanent employee status July 14 by default.

Shearon recommended Anderson be retained, Robertson supported the mayor’s motion. However it died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Jack Clarke motioned to dismiss Anderson. Commissioner Jan Vosburgh seconded the motion and it passed with Ed Straight as the third vote.

“The city has provided Ms. Anderson a fair and effective adjustment period for this employee to become familiar with her position,” Clarke said. “This commission has observed and evaluated Ms. Anderson and has determined she should be dismissed as being unsatisfactory in her performance.”

Dalton’s positive evaluation resulted in full-time employee status, including benefits and a $5,000 per year raise.

Both Anderson and Dalton were paid $50,000 annually.

 

Next steps for clerk’s office

Following Anderson’s dismissal, the commission voted unanimously to appoint Johnson as temporary city clerk until the city can advertise and hire a qualified replacement.

“Obtaining a new city clerk is a two month process,” Shearon said. “That’s if everything goes as planned.”

The commission unanimously approved overtime hours within the clerk’s office, advertising for the vacant city position and granted the mayor the authority to hire a part-time employee in the interim to greet people at the reception window and possibly deal with public records requests.

Clarke recommended a selection process for the new hires similar to the evaluation process, where each commissioner anonymously chooses three applicants, their choices are discussed at a meeting, followed by a vote based on a ranking matrix.

The two positions will be advertised for two weeks on the city website at www.cityofbradentonbeach.com.

      MORE: To review the evaluations submitted by the city commission and mayor, go online to www.islander.org.

 

Contractor threatens $225K lawsuit over BB pier bids

contractor that lost out on the construction bid for the Historic Bridge Street Pier the first time around, may sue the city of Bradenton Beach.

Pac Comm Inc., a Miami-based company with an office locally, has retained legal representation and may sue the city for $225,000 in alleged lost profits.

In a certified letter to the city, Pac Comm attorney William Sowa III, of the Law Office of Walter Sowa III, wrote, “My client will have no choice but to consider all legal options, including litigation, seeking all damages available by law, including attorney’s fees.”

City attorney Ricinda Perry described the company’s notice as an “undercurrent of legal threats” coming to the city.

“It’s hard for me to understand how they are claiming damages when they weren’t awarded the bid the first time around,” said Perry. “I’m certain it’s going to be a big challenge for them to support their claims legally.”

Perry said the city eventually could file a counter suit alleging tortious interference or harassment.

In his letter, Sowa said the city violated Florida Statute 225.20, which says a municipality must competitively award a contract to a licensed contractor.

Sowa alleges that ZNS Engineering, the company that analyzed the bids, illegally displayed favoritism when it recommended the award to Duncan Seawall Dock and Boatlift LLC based on its prior work history with the city.

Duncan had the highest bid of the three companies considered.

Pac Comm submitted the lowest bid, proposed the shortest construction duration and had the highest score on the bid evaluation matrix crafted by ZNS.

Steve Gilbert, Bradenton Beach building official, said Pac Comm wasn’t considered because he felt 100 days to complete the project was unrealistic.

The two other companies predicted a time duration of 170-175 days.

On May 22, the commission awarded the contract to Duncan, and Pac Comm immediately protested the award.

The commission reversed the contractor award June 5, canceling all bids after Tampa Bay Marine, of Gibsonton, submitted a second bid protest, saying it wasn’t considered by the commission, despite being recommended along with Duncan Seawall by ZNS Engineering.

A new request for proposal posted by the city June 11 includes an electrical component that was not in the original bid request.

Sowa also alleges that the bid cancellation violated Florida statutes.

According to Sowa, cities may reject bids for five reasons: budgetary reasons; if the bidder misstates or conceals a material fact; if the bid does not conform to the law or or is non responsive; if the bid is conditional; and if there is a change of circumstances.

“The city of Bradenton Beach did not reject the bids for any of these five reasons,” Sowa wrote. “Without these limitations, the purpose of a competitive bidding is circumvented. Rejection of all bidders then becomes a means of allowing a favored bidder another chance to submit a low bid.”

Island parking in crisis mode for July 4 holiday

“Oh where, oh where has my parking space gone?” might be the tune some visitors sing July 4 as they arrive on Anna Maria Island.

Parking issues are nothing new for Anna Maria Island, Carol Soustek, chair of the Holmes Beach parking committee, told members of the Barrier Island Elected Officials at their June 18 meeting.

“It’s probably been around since 1920, when somebody said, ‘You’re parking in my space,’” she said.

But today, all three island cities are facing parking problems on holidays and weekends, she said.

“We have a limited number of parking spaces, but the volume of cars coming to the island on a holiday has tripled the past 10 years,” she said. “That’s what’s escalated the whole problem.”

She said once public parking spaces are full, visitors park anywhere they can, sometimes blocking residential driveways.

“And people abuse where they park,” she added.

Her committee found one instance of a vehicle parked in front of a condominium and an emergency vehicle dispatched to a call at that address found the entry blocked.

“Now we’re getting into a safety issue, and these are strangers parking in front of houses. The residents don’t know these people and are afraid to come out of their homes. We’re in a crisis.”

Soustek said the committee has heard complaints from residents of trash, baby diapers, beer bottles and other garbage dumped in front of homes.

“We owe the residents the respect of their safety and peace of mind in their own homes,” she told the BIEO.

Soustek said she “knows the city is going to get flak, but we’re not saying ‘don’t come.’ We want to help visitors enjoy their stay. It’s just that we now don’t have enough parking for everybody who wants to come to the beach on a holiday or nice weekend. It’s a few people who don’t care who ruin the day for others.”

Her committee is drafting a plan to restrict parking in all residential districts except Key Royale. Residents would get a permit to park on their street, she said.

It’s a plan similar to that being discussed in Anna Maria, Mayor SueLynn said.

Soustek noted Bradenton Beach has nearly 2,000 spaces at Coquina Beach for beachgoers to use.

True, said Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale, but those spaces filled up fast on Memorial Day. By 10 a.m., all spaces were taken, and people began parking anywhere they could find, he said.

Speciale showed a video of illegally parked vehicles that day. At one location on an access road, parked cars prevented the police vehicle from proceeding.

“I just want people to be aware of what we face every holiday,” he said.

Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department director, was asked by Speciale to keep the lifeguards on duty at Coquina Park past 4:30 p.m. on the holiday.

What’s happening, Speciale said, is that people who know the lifeguards and police leave at 4:30 p.m. are taking advantage. On Memorial Day, several trucks with musical equipment appeared after 4:30 p.m. and set up. They held a free concert that attracted several hundred people.

Additionally, people were drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages, and they told others that they weren’t worried about being caught because law enforcement had left for the day.

“This is what happens on weekends. We no longer have a slow season. Every holiday weekend, Coquina Beach is full and the overflow goes across street. Eventually, motorists go to Bayfront Park or Manatee Public Beach, then to residential streets,” he said.

Until a few years ago, law enforcement was able to deal with large crowds at Coquina Beach. Now, Speciale is uncertain of what future holiday weekends will bring to the area.

“We had a handle on controlling the crowds, stopping the cruising and the free parties, but the danger spots are returning,” he said.

Speciale said he and other island law enforcement agencies need to work on parking issues at Coquina Beach, and have lifeguards and police officers remain on duty past 4:30 p.m. on holidays and busy weekends.

 

 

Careful with those parking spaces

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department Director Charlie Hunsicker, who attended the June 18 meeting of the Barrier Island Elected Officials, cautioned island cities to check with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on the number of public parking spaces required to receive state funding for beach renourishment before adopting new ordinances that limit parking.

Hunsicker said the cities need to make sure they don’t eliminate parking spaces needed to qualify for beach renourishment funding. The DEP has a formula it uses to determine if the minimum number of public parking spaces exist for future funding.

In other BIEO matters, mayors of each island city agreed to discuss with their respective commissions an inter-local agreement to participate in an Urban Land Institute study of Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said Manatee County has agreed in principle to fund the $125,000 study if all three cities agree to participate, although no vote has yet been taken by the county commission. She said each of the city commissions should pass a resolution agreeing to take part. Once she has the resolutions, she’ll make the presentation for the study to the board of county commissioners.

Eat Here Sarasota transitions to World of Beer

Sean Murphy, owner of the Eat Here restaurant family and Beach Bistro, announced June 22 the transition of Eat Here’s downtown Sarasota location to World of Beer.

“World of Beer contacted us with an unsolicited but very compelling offer,” Murphy said.

The Eat Here restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key will continue offering chef-focused, chef-crafted, coastal cuisine at their respective locations.

Murphy said he thinks the World of Beer will do well at the urban park location at Links and Main. “There is a momentous excitement brewing in the neighborhood now with the opening of McCurdy’s comedy store. The World of Beer will be a great addition to a refreshed entertainment district.”

He said many of the Eat Here Sarasota staff will be offered positions at his other restaurants.

Murphy applauded his Sarasota landlords, the Kauffman family, saying “Dr. Kauffman is a true gentlemen. He loves our blue tomato soup and I’ve promised him every month to bring him a quart.”

Dean Lambert, a managing partner for World of Beer on University Parkway, said he’s excited about the new location. “It will be an excellent showcase for our extensive offerings of craft beer and our new food menu. World of Beer will be opening on Main in the early fall.”

World of Beer will be co-sponsoring the Beach Bistro Culinary Winter Carnival in January 2015. The event features the best chefs of the south, winemakers, chef bartenders and now, beer craftsmen, at a culinary celebration on Anna Maria Island that benefits children’s hospitals.

Eat Here Anna Maria Island is at 5315 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, and can be reached at 941-778-0411. Eat Here Siesta Key is at 240 Avenida Madera, Sarasota, 941-346-7800, or online at www.eathereflorida.com.

Eat Here’s Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key locations are named among Florida’s “best new restaurants” in Florida Trend magazine’s Golden Spoon Awards.

Center financial losses amount to $650,000-plus in 3 years

The financial situation at the Anna Maria Island Community Center is grim, but executive director Dawn Stiles and the center’s board of directors are taking dead aim at reversing the situation.

An independent review of the center’s finances for 2011-13 was performed by Terri Davis of Key Konnections at the request of The Islander. Davis is a professional consultant to nonprofit companies.
Davis, who attended the June 4 meeting called by the center to announce the financial crisis, came forward to help the newspaper and the center verify the financial shortfalls.

Davis found the center lost $666,120 during those three years. The worst financial year was 2011, the report said, when the center lost $413,176.

“These are substantial losses and it means that each year they began with a loss,” Davis said in her report.

“The largest expense, which needs to be addressed, is the payroll. There was an increase of $8,464 from 2011 to 2012 in wages,” according to Davis. For the fiscal year 2012-13, the center’s total cost of wages, including benefits, was $519,089.

Additionally, donations for 2012-13 were down $63,129 from the previous year. The center’s revenue loss that year was $80,254. “This was known when planning the 2013 budget and should have been factored in,” Davis reported.

The Affaire to Remember, since renamed the Island Affaire, lost $56,795 in 2013. Revenue figures for the 2014 Island Affaire were not included in the Davis audit.

Davis concluded that “most of the fundraisers were not successful as explained in the revenue section, so their expenses were higher.”

Davis said the center should make adjustments after the fundraising failures, and she asked what changes or cuts were implemented.

Additionally, the center should have a forensic audit of its books done at least once every three years, the report said.

“This costs money,” Davis said in her report, but it is extensive. The forensic accountants “physically work out of the organization reviewing everything piece by piece. There is nothing that I have seen that shows one of these audits has been done.”

While the independent review of several years of financial statements revealed a plethora of bad news, Stiles said the realistic look at the center’s financial position is needed.

She and the board of directors have begun steps to improve the financial picture. Stiles is preparing a 2014-15 budget based on the audit — a realistic view of the center’s finances, she said.

“Actually, there have been losses since 2000. I was not aware of the losses when I came to the center” in April 2013, she said. “But the budget I’m preparing is realistic and balanced. It should be ready by July 1,” Stiles said.

The center’s fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30. Although the 2014-15 budget will be a few weeks late, it’s been revised to “realistically reflect our situation,” she said.

On June 4, Stiles and board president Scott Rudacille held a meeting on center finances. Stiles told the estimated 200 people at the meeting that the center had only enough money in its operating accounts to “keep the doors open” for about a month.

That brought in a flood of donations, and prompted Rudacille to say the board would begin planning its fundraising effort for 2014-15. Additionally, former donors were to be contacted and asked for help.

Following the June 4 “Save our Center” meeting, an anonymous donor established a challenge, offering to match donations to the center up to $50,000. The initial response to the donor challenge has been very good, Stiles said, but a lot of work remains.

Stiles has been charged by the board to reduce expenses for 2014-15 by $50,000-$100,000.

“We have a plan in place that will be presented in the next two weeks,” she said. “The center is moving forward and addressing our issues directly with the new budget” and the board taking on greater responsibility for fundraising.

One change that will reduce expenses is the recent resignation of assistant executive director Scott Dell. The vacancy will not be filled, Stiles said.

Fraud trial delayed for island real estate agent

A former Anna Maria Island real estate agent, accused of operating without a real estate license, could face federal charges pending the outcome of another investigation.

Michael Carlton, 61, was scheduled for a jury trial June 16 on a charge of unlicensed real estate activity at the Manatee County Judicial Center. However, the local trial was put on hold pending an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Postal Service.

Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro, 12th Judicial Circuit, said the Postal Service began looking into Carleton’s case in May 2013.

Chittaro said the SAO office suspended the charge against Carleton pending the findings of the postal investigation.

However, the Postal Service has not indicted Carleton on federal charges, according to William Daniels, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida.

Carleton was arrested Nov. 12, 2013, following an investigation by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate.

In March 2013, the state suspended Carleton’s license after he allegedly deposited a $10,000 escrow check to his Coast Line Accommodations account for property at 106 55th St., Holmes Beach. The check should have been deposited to Coast Line Accommodations, his registered employer, according to the report.

The investigation of Carleton was the result of complaints that he deliberately double-booked island vacation homes and failed to return deposits.

Complaints investigated by the Holmes Beach Police Department allege Carleton could not be contacted regarding deposits paid or, at times, would return partial refunds, which frustrated renters who were hoping to recoup deposits after Carleton canceled accommodations.

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce reported fielding more than 60 complaints regarding Carelton’s rental practices.

City candidate qualifying ends:

Elections ‘on’

Holmes Beach has mayoral, commission challengers

 

Like a bell ringing to signal the end of the school day, qualifying for elections in the three Anna Maria Island municipalities came to a close at noon on June 20.

And unlike some past elections, Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach have races for nearly all seats.

The Holmes Beach November municipal election will see a challenge to the two commissioners up for re-election and a commissioner stepping down to run for mayor, also facing a challenger.

One-term Commissioners Judy Titsworth and Marvin Grossman have each qualified to run for re-election. Key Royale resident Andy Sheridan also qualified to run for a commission seat, narrowly beating the bell at the June 20 cutoff.

The mayoral race will see nine-year Commissioner David Zaccagnino face-off against political newcomer Bob Johnson.

Johnson is the chair of the charter review committee.

Zaccagnino announced his bid for mayor in May. His run for mayor comes half-way through his fifth term as commissioner and he was required to resign his commission seat.

He made his resignation effective following the Nov. 4 election and, thus, his seat will be filled by appointment by the newly sworn commission at the first meeting after the election.

Johnson’s announcement to run for mayor puts to rest Titsworth’s possible run for mayor. Titsworth previously said she would run for mayor if Zaccagnino remained unopposed.

Renee Ferguson picked up a candidate packet from city hall, but did not qualify. Ferguson said she was considering a run, in the event no one challenged the incumbent commissioners.

 

Positioning for appointment?

The first order of business for Holmes Beach commissioners following the November election will be filling a vacancy on the dais.

Zaccagnino has resigned, effective after the election, leaving his seat to be filled by the two remaining and two newly elected members of the board.

Carol Soustek, a commission candidate in the 2013 election and a member of multiple city committees, circulated an email June 11 stating a commissioner asked if she would be willing to fill Zaccagnino’s vacancy.

“I said, why sure, that’s why I ran for election,” Soustek said.

Soustek declined to name the commissioner who asked if she would be willing to fill the vacancy.

Her email was sent to the commissioners, mayor and the city’s human resource specialist, Mary Buonagura.

She said she intended to run for a commission seat if Commission Chair Judy Titsworth decided to run for mayor instead of re-election to the commission.

But Titsworth is running for a second term on the commission.

“I’m not going to run against the two people who have done the most up there,” Soustek said, of Titsworth and Grossman.

In her email, Soustek questioned a suggested change by the charter review committee on rules for filling a vacancy on the commission stating: “This affects me directly as I have been asked if I would consider filling the vacancy left by D. Zaccagnino for a year left on his office.”

However, the proposed change to the charter does not affect the filling of a vacancy on the commission following an election, such as in the instance of Zaccagnino’s resignation.

The proposed changes to the charter also will be on the Nov. 4 ballot and, if approved, become effective after the election.

 

Challengers step up for Anna Maria mayor, commissioner

      Anna Maria incumbent Mayor SueLynn is being challenged in the Nov. 4 municipal election by political newcomer, longtime resident Dan Murphy.

Murphy said he’s seeking the mayor’s office because he believes he has much to contribute to the city and wants to be involved in the future of Anna Maria.

A St. Petersburg native, Murphy also is a Vietnam veteran. He moved to Anna Maria Island in 1978.

SueLynn was mayor from 2002-06, and was appointed mayor in 2012 when no one ran for the office in the city election.

Incumbent Commissioners Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter are joined by David Bouchard, a political newcomer, in the race for the two commission seats up for election Nov. 4.

Bouchard, a 12-year resident of Anna Maria, is the son-in-law of former Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick. He and his wife have three children, he said.

“I just want to contribute and believe I have abilities and the interest that will help the commission and community,” Bouchard said.

Webb is seeking his fifth term as commissioner, while Yetter is running for her second term.

The deadline to qualify to run in the November election was noon June 20.

Anna Maria commissioners are paid $4,800 annually, while the mayor receives $9,600 in annual compensation.

As of May 31, the SOE reported 1,246 registered voters in Anna Maria.

The deadline for all voters to register in time for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6, according to the SOE office.

 

 

Islander-county commisioner faces challenger

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, R-at large, is being challenged in the November election by Democrat Terri Wonder.

Whitmore is seeking her third term as county commissioner, while Wonder is seeking political office for the first time. Wonder is running on the Democratic ticket in the partisan race for a seat on the board of county commissioners.

A native of Gainesville, Wonder and her family moved to the Bradenton area when she was 3 years old. She holds a doctorate in English from the University of South Florida.

She is married to Ray Wonder, a retired university professor, and has three step-daughters and 10 grandchildren. The couple lives in Bradenton.

Whitmore, who resides on Anna Maria Island, won election to the county commission in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. She was both mayor and commissioner in Holmes Beach prior to gaining the county at-large seat.

She is married to retired physician Andre Renard and has one daughter and two grandchildren. Whitmore and her husband live in Holmes Beach.

Neither candidate will be on the Aug. 26 primary ballot as they are unchallenged in running as the Republican and Democratic party candidates for the at-large seat on the ballot.

Two WMFR board incumbents face opposition

Two of the three incumbent members of the West Manatee Fire Rescue District board of directors up for re-election Nov. 4 will face opposition from a qualified candidate.

Incumbent commissioner Larry Tyler faces a challenge by former Holmes Beach Commissioner Al Robinson, while incumbent Scott Ricci will be opposed by Bradenton resident George Harris.

Incumbent board member David Bishop is unopposed and will be automatically elected, the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office said.