Tag Archives: 11-13-2013

Islander salutes veterans, military service

An estimated 125 people attended the eighth annual Islander Veterans Tribute Nov. 11 outdoors at Holmes Beach City Hall. By the end, there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.

The ceremony honored all veterans, particularly those who have been featured in The Islander’s Greatest Generation and Forgotten Generation columns.

Bonner Joy, editor of the paper, served as emcee.

Speakers included myself, Islander columnist for World War II and Korean War veteran stories, and Gene Ciliberti, who fought in the Korean War. The Rev. Ron Joseph gave the benediction.

Entertainer Mike Sales led the group in singing the Star Spangled Banner following the Pledge of Allegiance.

The event was highlighted by the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 Honor Guard, which presented the colors and a rifle salute, followed by member Bill Miller performing taps, the bugle call for departed comrades.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer helped sponsor the event. The public works department assisted in the setup of the tables and chairs, while coffee and donuts were supplied by The Islander and Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe.

Joy announced the newspaper will begin interviewing Vietnam War veterans in the future as the number of WWII and Korean War veterans is dwindling.

There were few dry eyes remaining at the end of the ceremony as Sales sang God Bless America and guests departed.

Anyone who served in WWII, the Korean War or the Vietnam War in the U.S. Armed Forces or one of its allies interested in sharing their story is asked to call 941-778-7978.

See you next year for another tribute.

            — Rick Catlin

Islander Veterans Tribute

Military veterans gathered at Holmes Beach City Hall Nov. 11, for the annual Veteran’s Day celebration, sponsored by The Islander and the city of Holmes Beach. Islander Photos: Mark Young

Veterans visit with one another prior to the Nov. 11 start of the annual Veterans Day celebration at Holmes Beach City Hall. The event is sponsored by The Islander and the city of Holmes Beach.

Incoming Bradenton Beach Commissioner John “Jack” Clarke attends the Nov. 11 Veterans Day celebration at Holmes Beach City Hall.

Islander reporter and Vietnam Veteran Rick Catlin speaks about what being a veteran means to him at the annual Veteran’s Day celebration at Holmes Beach City Hall. Catlin is the writer of the award-winning Greatest Generation column for The Islander, a sponsor of the event.

Gene Ciliberti of Holmes Beach, a Korean War veteran, was the honorary speaker at the Nov. 11 Islander Veterans Day Tribute, a celebration in memory of all veterans and their families held at Holmes Beach City Hall.

Members of the Honor Guard from the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 in Bradenton take part Nov. 11 in the Veterans Day Tribute hosted by the Islander at Holmes Beach City Hall. The event is co-sponsored this year by the Holmes Beach Police Department.

American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 Honor Guard members Drew Thomas and John Veenstra perform a flag folding ceremony, honoring military veterans during a tribute hosted by The Islander Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive. The group is the official military honor guard at the Sarasota National Cemetery. The demonstration was part of the annual Veterans Day celebration at Holmes Beach City Hall.

Veterans and community members gather Nov. 11 in front of Holmes Beach City Hall at the Island Veterans Memorial for the annual Veterans Day Tribute, including coffee and pastries, speeches and songs, a rifle salute, honors and taps, hosted by the Islander and co-sponsored by the Holmes Beach Police Department.

Members of the Honor Guard from the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 in Bradenton salute and as Tom Miller sounds the bugle for the Pledge of Allegiance during The Islander Veterans Day Tribute Nov. 11. Islander Photos: Jennifer Glenfield.

The Honor Guard of the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 in Bradenton performs a rifle salute during the Veterans Tribute Nov. 11 at Holmes Beach City Hall.

Symphony captures audience at Coquina Beach

A joint effort of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Manatee County government, Symphony in the Sand, featuring the Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra, took place at Coquina Beach Nov. 8. The event began before sunset and culminated under the stars. More than 400 people attended. Islander Photos: Bonner Joy

A marquis sandcastle on the beach introduces the inaugural Symphony on the Sand Nov. 8 at the Coquina Cafe, Coquina Beach, in Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Island Community Orchestra maestro Alfred Gershfeld leads his orchestra.

Alan Kahana and Mark Enoch, proprietors of Coquina Cafe, the concession at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach, were hosts to the Nov. 8 Symphony on the Sand. The concession/restaurant served wine and beer and dinner courses with the event’s sponsoring restaurants, including Beach Bistro, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, BeachHouse and Euphemia Haye.

Beach Bistro owner Sean Murphy places sprigs of rosemary on the main course of lamb chops — grilled on site for VIP guests, some 270 of the them — at the Nov. 8 Symphony on the Sand at Coquina Beach.

Mike Coleman, left, Mike Doll and his guest, former Anna Maria Mayor Mike Selby and wife Mary and, standing, former Anna Maria Commissioner Christine Tollette, enjoy conversation and dinner during an interlude in the music presentation by the Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra on the Gulf of Mexico in Bradenton Beach.

Peelen retains city-appointed counsel in lawsuit

Attorney Jay Daigneault of Dunedin said he is still the attorney for Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen as the defendant in a civil suit brought against her by John Agnelli.

Daigneault was retained by the Florida League of Cities to defend Peelen under the city’s liability policy with the FLC.

Agnelli’s attorney, Peter Mackey, presented his client’s case against Peelen as an individual, not as an elected official. Circuit Court Judge Diana Moreland ruled in favor of Mackey, which was affirmed in an appeal by Daigneault to Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeals.

Mackey’s office then raised the issue of who would pay for Peelen’s personal legal fees.

The suit was brought against Peelen by Agnelli after the commissioner sent emails to constituents in 2012 contained alleged damaging statements about Agnelli.

Peelen admitted to making false statements about John Agnelli, saying she intended to name John’s son, Frank Agnelli. She apologized for her error, but Agnelli maintains the damaging comments about him will remain on the internet in perpetuity and, further, that the comments, while intended for Frank Agnelli, are baseless.

A spokesperson for the FLC said the question of who pays for Peelen’s legal fees has not been discussed with the FLC’s insuror. At the present time, the FLC is paying Daigeault under the city’s insurance, the spokesperson said.

Efforts to reach the FLC legal counsel in Tallahassee have been unsuccessful to date.

Daigeault said he is still the attorney of record, but declined to discuss payment issues with regard to the city of Holmes Beach and Peelen.

BB commissioners finalize pier restaurant deal

In one of the final actions for Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy and Commissioners Ric Gatehouse and Gay Breuler Nov. 7, a new concessionaire for the Historic Bridge Street Pier was finalized.

While the chosen operators have had the support of the full commission since winning out over another bidder, the vote to officially award the request for proposal narrowly passed 3-2.

The three outgoing officials voted in favor of Roland Pena and his restaurant operation, newly named as Cast and Cage, while Commissioner Jan Vosburgh and Vice Mayor Ed Straight changed direction, voting against the bid.

Breuler moved to award the bid to Pena with Gatehouse seconding the motion. During discussion, Vosburgh said she changed her mind.

“With much regret I choose to vote no,” said Vosburgh. “After more review, I feel they lack experience. My heart says to give them a chance, but my head says to look out for the citizens and taxpayers of this city.”

Straight was hesitant to choose Pena during the bid process, but ultimately sided with the remaining commissioners. He did not explain why he changed his mind and voted with Vosburgh.

However, the motion passed 3-2 and Pena signed the lease the following day. The commission, with Pena’s corporation, also passed the final reading of an ordinance authorizing the lease in a 3-2 vote, again with Straight and Vosburgh dissenting.

Prior to approving the lease, Perry updated commissioners on a point raised during negotiations.

Previous tenants of the pier have not been asked to pay state or federal taxes on the property. However, the question was raised as to whether taxes have to be paid when the city leases to a private entity.

“In speaking with two representatives of the Internal Revenue Service, they said mostly likely it’s all taxable,” said city attorney Ricinda Perry. “The only way to know for sure is to get an official opinion from them and it would be binding.”

Perry said given the cost associated with getting the IRS opinion, she conducted her own research and believes by changing the lease language to read “concessionaire” it would remain tax exempt.

However, the bait shop and operations at the kiosk and harbor master’s office would be taxable at $35 and $48 a month respectively, as they are considered retail. They also plan to sell sandwiches and other food from their restaurant menu at the kiosk.

Perry said in order to cover the city she made the necessary changes in the rent to include the taxes.

Pena said the taxes were never a “deal breaker, so the changes that are made in the lease are not something we have an issue with.”

After the meeting, Pena said he was surprised by the 3-2 vote from a commission that had previously supported his efforts.

Earlier in the day, the city pier team meeting was held and Pena told commissioners how much he appreciated their support.

“We appreciate your help in the guidance we’ve received,” he said. “If not for all your help guiding us, we wouldn’t be here ready to sign the lease.”

For Pena, it’s all about moving forward. He said four of his staff now are food-safe certified with more certifications pending.

As soon as he moves equipment into the facility, inspections will commence and Pena said he’ll be decorating and opening the doors for business.

“We are hoping to open by Jan. 15 at the latest,” said Pena. “We want to open sooner, but no later than Jan. 15.”

In other matters, commissioners unanimously approved a temporary-use permit to the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., allowing two temporary restroom trailers and an office tent while renovations continue.

Commissioners also unanimously approved the appointment of Tjet Martin to the Scenic Waves Partnership Committee.

Bradenton Beach officials say ‘farewell’ from dais

An old Irish blessing says, “A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.”

Perhaps its a fitting farewell for Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy, who presided over his final city commission meeting Nov. 7 after falling by 17 votes to Mayor-elect Bill Shearon in the Nov. 5 election.

Shaughnessy’s Irish charm and quick emotions were apparent in his leadership and, as he and others said their farewells, sentiments were evident. The gallery was filled with family members and friends of the mayor and departing Commissioners Ric Gatehouse and Gay Breuler.

Gatehouse, too, lost a close election to Commissioner-elect Janie Robertson, while Breuler chose not to run for another two-year term. John “Jack” Clarke is preparing to take her seat on the dais.

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh opened the meeting by thanking the mayor and her fellow commissioners for their public service.

“It’s been a tough job and there’s not much appreciation,” said Vosburgh. “There’s always criticism and it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. I can’t thank all of them enough.”

Breuler said she has served under three mayors and said working with Shaughnessy was a “wonderful” experience.

“There was a lot of contention at times, but I’m so glad I did it,” said Breuler, who was recently wed. “On the other hand, I’m so glad I got married to a sweet man. It’s on to the next thing. I had great fun doing this and, hopefully, will have fun doing the next thing, too.”

Shaughnessy said his two years as mayor was an education and even as a former commissioner didn’t realize how much is involved in getting things accomplished on a barrier island.

“It’s a long, drawn-out process,” he said. “But I enjoyed it and I really appreciate the city employees and department heads. It’s been a collaborative effort of everyone and I hope that will continue.”

Shaughnessy told Shearon he wished him “all the luck in the world. You are going to need it.”

City attorney Ricinda Perry also addressed the outgoing officials on their public service.

“You made tough decisions that weren’t always popular, but you believed in your hearts it was the right thing to do for the city,” she said. “It’s easy to pick apart decisions, but I personally loved working with all of you. You all really love this city and I thank you for this time we had together.”

Gatehouse thanked the citizens for allowing him to serve.

“I know we had some contention, but I always tried to keep the long-range good of the city in mind and hopefully we’ve done that.”


City clerk resignation finalized

While the emotions of the final meeting were apparent, there was still business to address. And while congratulations and best wishes were handed out to incoming officials, a microcosm of election issues surfaced.

Shearon addressed the commission during public comment and requested two items on the agenda be tabled and addressed by the incoming administration.

The mayor-elect wanted agenda items relating to Perry’s re-appointment as the city attorney and the resignation agreement of city clerk Nora Idso moved to his watch.

“With all due respect, I would like you to consider moving those items to the next meeting,” said Shearon. “The reason is because there is more information and the new commission needs to absorb that new information and those decisions also will have an impact to the budget that is only a month and a half old.”

Perry said the terms of her contract were vetted during the budget workshops and approved by the commission.

She invoices the city monthly for her services at $180 per hour.

Breuler moved to approve Perry as the city’s legal representative, which was seconded by Vosburgh. The motion passed 5-0.

Commissioners also moved forward with Idso’s resignation agreement.

Breuler said it was not a good idea to wait “because this happened during our administration and needs to be taken care of before this administration leaves.”

Vosburgh agreed, saying the new administration faces enough challenges and didn’t need to be engaged in this administration’s “loose ends.”

Straight also agreed, saying “We struggled with this for quite a while. I think this is the answer.”

Idso’s resignation revolves around health issues, so the exact reason for her leaving the city after 15 years of service is protected by privacy regulations.

However, the resignation agreement implies that due to medical reasons, Idso can no longer perform her duties on a daily basis. Assistant city clerk Karen Cervetto has been serving as acting city clerk.

With the unanimous approval of the agreement, Idso is automatically placed on paid administrative leave until April 30, 2014. Upon the conclusion of her administrative leave, Idso agrees to tender her resignation.

Commissioners implied possible legal consequences could rise from not moving forward with the agreement, which contains language preventing a future lawsuit. The agreement also states that the city worked with Idso for more than a year to address requirements set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Beach renourishment update due Nov. 14

Manatee County Director of Natural Resources Charlie Hunsicker will update Anna Maria commissioners at their Nov. 14 meeting on the start of the 2014 beach renourishment project.

Renourishment will start at the 79th Street beach in Holmes Beach and move south to Coquina Beach. He said Anna Maria’s beaches are not included in this project.

The borrow pit for the sand is about 1.5 miles off the northwest tip of Anna Maria Island.

Funding for the estimated $16 million project comes from the county’s tourist development tax fund, state funds and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The setup for renourishment should begin in mid-December, with completion slated for May 2014, according to Hunsicker. Setup costs are anywhere from $1.5 million to $2 million, Hunsicker said.

Manatee County, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Corps of Engineers are not in a financial position to move forward with renourishment of Anna Maria beaches at this time, he said.

Renourishment of those beaches will likely come in the next project, Hunsicker said, but no start date for that project has been announced.

The Anna Maria meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

Chamber inducts new board

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce inducted new board members and officers at its annual awards dinner Nov. 4 at the Key Royale Club, Holmes Beach.

Larry Chatt is the incoming chair of the board, while Karen LaPensee is the chair-elect and past chair.

Lori Gyson is treasurer, Lois Gift is secretary. Board members are Wende Webb, Linda Dickson, David Teitelbaum, David Berube, Ellen Aquillina, Barbara Murphy, Eric Cairns, and Amy Tobin. New to the board this year are Dan Alderson, Janet Mixon and Wayne Gunter.

The much-awaited chamber business-of-the-year awards for 2013 culminated the evening, that included a cocktail mixer, music by Mike Sales and dinner by the club. Winners are Just 4 Fun of Holmes Beach, small business of the year; Wash Family Construction of Holmes Beach as medium business of the year; and Air & Energy, also of Holmes Beach, as winner in the category of large business.

Finalists in the business of the year awards are Sherri’s Island Images, Studio At Gulf & Pine, Dogs For The Earth, White Sands Beach Resort, Duffy’s Tavern, The Feast Restaurant and Anna Maria Island Resorts.

Rare Holmes Beach election recount takes place at SOE

was the first time any of the voters and candidates asked could recall a recount in an island election, but the Nov. 5 count in Holmes Beach was too close to call.

At the end of the day, incumbent Commissioner Pat Morton clearly retained his seat with 753 votes, but fellow incumbents David Zaccagnino and Jean Peelen were separated by less than 1 percent of the total votes —650 to 648 respectively.

Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett said state statutes mandate a recount.

It was conducted Nov. 7 by Bennett along with deputy supervisor Scott Farrington and elections office staff members. The only candidate to attend was Melissa Williams, as the Holmes Beach election canvassing board, city clerk Stacey Johnston, Jaynie Christianson and city treasurer Lori Hill, followed the process to conclusion.

After the electronic recount, Zaccagnino increased his vote total by one, from 650 votes to 651. Peelen had 648 votes, the same number as the original count, and political newcomer Carol Soustek 635, in fourth position Nov. 5, lost three votes in the recount.

Zaccagnino and Peelen were certified winners after the recount.

Bennett said if the recount had shown the difference between third and fourth place votes was one-quarter percent or less of the total vote, the elections office would have been required by law to perform a hand count.

The difference of 13 votes in the recount between Soustek, who finished fourth, and Peelen, who was third, did not warrant a hand recount.

The total votes cast for the three seats was 3,104, while voter turnout was 1,189, or 36.15 percent of the city’s 3,289 registered voters.

The certified results show Morton with 753 votes, Zaccagnino with 651, Peelen at 648, Soustek with 635 and Williams with 417.

A total of 1,191 votes were cast, including 325 absentee ballots. Two absentee ballots were disallowed in the recount. One ballot was blank, while the other had four candidates marked when only three were allowed.

In absentee voting, Morton got 214 votes, Peelen received 197 votes, Zaccagnino 190, Soustek 181 and Williams 68 votes.

The recount took place at the Manatee County election supervisor’s office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton.

Obituaries – 11-13-2013

Lucille Ann Machak

Lucille Ann Machak, 80, of Holmes Beach, died Nov. 2. She was born April 25, 1933, in Cleveland.

Lucille was a dental assistant for eight years.

Griffith-Cline Funeral Home of Bradenton is in charge of arrangements. Services will be private.

Mrs. Machak is survived by her husband of 56 years, Steve; daughters Karen Axmann and Catherine Groat; and great-grandchildren Madeline, Carter, Dylan and Kira.