Tag Archives: 11-23-2011

KMB hosts Sandblast 2011

With rakes, spoons, garbage cans and other odd tools, about two dozen teams competed Nov. 19 in the annual Sandblast sand-sculpting contest held to benefit Keep Manatee Beautiful, an anti-litter, pro-green nonprofit.

A change of venue took place for the 2011 event, with sand-sculpting teams gathering at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, instead of on the shore in Bradenton Beach.

Teams, sponsored by local businesses and representing school groups and nonprofits, selected plots measuring about 15 by 15 feet. The sculptors arrived with tools — shovels, spray bottles, buckets, garbage cans — and plans for sculpting along a nautical, holiday or free-form theme.

Participants included Ad-VANCE Talent Solutions, Bayshore High School National Art Honor Society, Braden River Middle School NJHS, Braden River High School Key Club, Bradenton Christian High School Art Department, King Middle School Environmental Club, Lincoln Middle School Student Council, Manatee High School Anchor Club Team 1, Manatee High School Anchor Club Team 2, Manatee High School Art Club, Manatee School for the Arts, Southeast High School Key Club, Southeast High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy, SCF Earth Club/Phi Theta Kappa and Palmetto High School Tigers.

The building began at 9 a.m. and continued to 1 p.m., when judges circled the sculptures to decide the winners.

Sandblast coincided with Keep Manatee Beautiful’s celebration of America Recycles Day. KMB presented artists showing recycled art at the cafe, as well as showed off the massive, 80-ton sand-sculpture created by Team Sandtastic last week.

The professional sculptors arrived Nov. 17 to begin building the sculpture, conduct clinics in sand-sculpting and help judge the Sandblast contest.

The Islander caught up with Mark Mason of Team Sandtastic, which holds a Guinness World Record for the tallest sandcastle, with some questions about sand, sculpting and tips for Thanksgiving vacationers spending a lot of time on the shore.

        The Islander: You have a different venue this year — Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach. Where’s the most interesting location that Team Sandtastic has worked?

Mark Mason: We craft sculptures all over the globe — love the travel, even to a new venue on Anna Maria Island. Just two weeks ago I was carving in Cape Town, South Africa, and an annual event each January in India has been quite fun. But Abu Dhabi was one of the top spots — it is where we carved 1,400 tons into a display for the Red Bull Air Races.

        The Islander: People will be visiting your sculpture at Manatee Public Beach for a month. What kind of process is involved in the team deciding what it will build?

MM: This is our 11th Sandblast, and by now the client is comfortable letting the sculptors go carte blanche. And I do believe you get the best sculptures from a team of seasoned sculptors when you allow them a lot of artistic license.

        The Islander: What does it take to be a professional sand-sculptor? Knowledge of sand? Or art?

MM: A little bit of column A. A little of column B. All combined with a passion to stick it out through the grunt work — shoveling and packing.

        The Islander: When you see severe weather ahead and know that a sculpture is going to suffer, do you wish you worked in a more permanent medium?

MM: No, I actually like the ephemeral nature of our art. I like the performance art of working on a piece in front of guests. That’s not to say I like to see it get rained on or ruined by a bird, etcetera, but that’s the nature of the beast.

        The Islander: Team Sandtastic offers classes on sand-sculpting. What’s the one thing that anyone who decides to make a castle or anything else in the sand should know?

MM: Some forethought helps. Learning some of the tips, tricks, tools and techniques — the four Ts helps. And designing a piece not based on ‘the easiest design we could think of,’ but one that tells a good story and draws in the viewers to suspend their disbelief from edge to edge of your sand box.


Sandblast winners

The winners of Keep Manatee Beautiful’s Sandblast contest are:

• Free-form: Bayshore High School National Art Honor Society, first place for “Visit to Grandma’s House” and Braden River High School Key Club, runner-up for “Mount Toy Story.”

• Holiday: Bradenton Christian High School Art Department, first place for “Island of Sandy Toys” and Manatee High School Anchor Team 1 for “Waiting for Santa.”

• Nautical: Manatee School for the Arts, first place for “Fish are Friends not Food” and Manatee High School Anchor Team 2 for “Shark Attack.”

These are a few of our favorite things

Friends are, of course, No. 1 on our list of things to be thankful for every year. Friends who share great recipes are No. 2.

For these friends and recipes, Thanksgiving is for sharing.

Here is the eggnog recipe given to Janet Aubry of Anna Maria by her friend Ralph Ellis of Houston. He told Aubry that it was originally published decades ago in Harpers Bazaar as “the” traditional holiday beverage.

She adds, “May your days be merry and bright after you drink this and, for heaven’s sake, don’t drive afterward.”


18th Century Eggnog Recipe


12 eggs separated

2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar

4 quarts heavy cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 pint rum (dark)

1 quart brandy (2 pints)



Reserve six egg whites in one bowl and six egg whites in a second bowl.

In a large bowl beat all yolks well. Add granulated sugar gradually to yolks and beat well.

Add rum and brandy alternately and slowly to yolk mixture. Then, to this mixture, add three quarts of heavy cream.

Beat six egg whites until very stiff and fold into mixture.

Then beat remaining six egg whites very stiff and beat powdered sugar into them.

Add, stirring lightly, remaining cream and fold this mixture into the other.

Let stand in refrigerator 4 to 12 hours. Top with grated nutmeg (we prefer fresh grated) before serving. The recipe serves 20, but Aubry generously prepares jugs of joy for her holiday guests to carry home.


Mmmmm, rum cake

Also among our favorites is former Holmes Beach Commissioner Billie Martini’s rum cake, which is popular among Islander staff. Post a warning over the “last” piece of cake, as fingers can be crushed in the taking.


Billie’s Best Bacardi Rum Cake


1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 18 1/2 ounce yellow cake mix

1 3 1/4 instant vanilla pudding mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup Wesson oil

1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)



1/4 pound butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)



Preheat oven to 325 degrees (Fahrenheit). Grease and flour 10-inch tube or 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients. Pour batter over nuts. Bake one hour. Cool cake. Invert on serving plate and prick the top.

For glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.

Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides, allowing cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until the glaze is used up.


Yummy without rum

Susan Nudd warmly agreed many years ago to share her Christmas cookie recipe, passed down by her mother from a recipe that originated from the Amish-Dutch community of Sullivan, Ill.

“I’ve been making them since high school, then with my mom,” Nudd said.

Nudd’s cookies were discovered by us some years ago as she served them following the Roser Memorial Community Church Bethlehem Walk, and they had been decorated with special care by her granddaughter, Aaron Grace Tribble, then age 5.


Original Amish sugar cookies

First mix one cup sugar, one cup powdered sugar, one cup Oleo. (Is that called margarine now, or is there still Oleo?)

Add two eggs, then one cup oil. Add 4 3/4 cup flour, one teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon cream of tartar, one half teaspoon salt, two teaspoons vanilla.

Cool dough about one hour, roll in balls, press with a fork and decorate with colored sugar, candy sprinkles and the likes. (Not icing.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

“It makes a really big recipe,” Nudd said. “About six dozen cookies.”

And it too is worth packaging and sharing with friends and as holiday hostess gifts.


Happy turkey!

“Season that sucker and cook it hot and fast.” That’s the advice of my longtime friend, chef Augie Mrozowski, some 30 years ago on cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.

It’s sage advice — pun intended.

First salt and pepper all over, including inside, cook breast side down, 450 degrees for about an hour and a half (18 pounds or so), then flip it and lower the temp to about 350 degrees for 20 minutes to brown the top.

It’s guaranteed to be moist and delicious. We put trimmings from the veggies, carrot and potato peels, onion skins and celery tops in the bottom of the pan. When the turkey is done and removed, we then add the wing tips and other non-edible portions of the turkey to the veggies with some water and heat over a burner for awesome au jus. Next strain out the veggies and add a roux mixture (equal parts warm butter and flour — about a tablespoon of each for each cup of gravy — stirred smooth) to the simmering pot. The butter melts and mixes the floor — lump free — in the au jus and the result is awesome gravy. Add more roux to thicken if needed.

Why don’t we cook a small turkey and trimmings once a month? It’s certainly that delicious.


Granny’s stuffing

Never mind whose grandmother originated the recipe, it’s easy and delicious.

Brown 1 pound hamburger and 1 pound breakfast sausage with about 1 cup or more chopped onion. Remove from heat and add a nice bunch of chopped celery. Add some cubed, stale French, whole grain or whatever you bread have, along with a bag of store-bought seasoned stuffing mix.

I sometimes add a small bag of corn bread stuffing mix, and mix in a tablespoon or two of spice that’s only labeled “poultry seasoning.” I never look to see what it contains.

Mix it all together, then mix in some turkey au jus and your choice of packaged chicken broth to moisten. A dash or two of Maggi seasoning added to the broth is a bonus.

You can slide this big dish into the oven after you take the turkey out since it only needs to brown on top.


Finally, one of the Island’s best

More than 18 years ago, we first featured Bernard Haulsee of Anna Maria and his 20-year tradition of baking a fruitcake recipe as handed down by his mother.

When it comes to holiday baking traditions, this is one of the tastiest. Really. It is not to be categorized with the store-bought brick variety.

Each 50-pound cake (just kidding) is full of cherries, pineapple, coconut, raisins and pecans — and an abundant “baptism” of Jim Beam.

“I love to bake them,” said Haulsee in 1993. “It’s a hobby. Some people tease me by telling me it’s a pretty expensive hobby, but I tell them that it’s a lot cheaper than playing golf!”

The week before Christmas was Haulsee’s favorite time of the year. With his cakes wrapped carefully in foil, he made his rounds to deliver his delicious gift to his friends and local businesses — those who had helped him during the year.

“They are always glad to see me,” he said. “This makes it a nice Christmas for all of us.”

As a holiday gift to Anna Maria Island, Haulsee agreed to share his recipe.

“Be sure to tell them not to stir the butter and sugar and eggs too much. If they do, the cake will crumble after it’s baked. Don’t want it to crumble,” he warned.

Many thanks to Mr. Haulsee.

We learned this fall that Haulsee died Aug. 17 at age 102 in Kingsport, Tenn., and, although we hadn’t seen him on AMI for quite a few years, we learned of his whereabouts a couple of years ago on his 100th birthday.

We were visited by a daughter and son Mike of who had noted our queries in the newspaper each time the recipe ran.

We’re pleased to continue a relationship with Mike — who attended our 2010 Veterns Day event, and later proved to be generous in following his dad’s footsteps.

He bakes fruitcake to share, too.


Bernard Haulsee’s Heavenly Fruitcake

“Barely” cream together:

1 pound butter or margarine

3 cups white sugar

Add 1 egg at a time until 11 are added.


Mix together in order in another bowl:

1 1/2 pounds candied cherries

1 1/2 pounds candied or dehydrated pineapple

3 cups pecan nuts

2 pounds raisins

2 cups grated coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces grated ginger root

5 cups all-purpose flour sifted on top of dry ingredients

2 teaspoons vanilla



Mix dry fruit mixture in with butter, sugar, egg batter. Mix well. Recipe makes two cakes. Grease or spray each loaf cake pan. Bake 2 1/2 hours at 275 degrees. If using Pyrex loaf pans, cut baking time to 2 hours.

Optional: After cakes have cooled for 24 hours, set cake in a small amount of Jim Beam. After liquor is absorbed. Flip cake over and repeat.


Friends: Many thanks for sharing.

Readers: Warm your hearth and your heart and share some of our friendly, good cooking for the holidays.

AM pardons Australian pines

Despite reports from plant experts that Australian pines are an invasive species and a Florida Department of Environmental Protection directive that trees should be removed from public property whenever possible, those in Anna Maria’s park fronting the Gulf of Mexico aren’t going anywhere — at least for now.

Commissioners voted 4-1 at their Nov. 17 meeting not to remove any Australian pines in the park, even though plant consultant Mike Miller and forestry expert Tim Eiseler recommended removal.

The vote also was contrary to a DEP order several years ago that municipalities remove Australian pines from public property “wherever possible.”

But commissioners Nov. 17 were in a dilemma.

The vote came after a litany of residents spoke in opposition to the city’s proposal to remove 6-8 Australian pines in Gulf Park between Willow Avenue and Cedar Avenue.

The tree proponents were vocal in their opposition to Commission Chair Chuck Webb’s call for removal. One tree proponent suggested Webb had an ulterior motive in changing the date of the meeting from Nov. 10 to Nov. 17.

In early September, commissioners discussed removal of the trees based on a master plan for the park by Miller, but first asked public works director George McKay to survey nearby residents on Willow and Cedar avenues for their opinion on removal.

McKay reported Nov. 17 that of the 67 opinion letters sent, 30 came back opposing removal of the trees.

Commissioners agreed they faced a dilemma.

Residents want the trees to stay, said Commissioner Dale Woodland.

On the other hand, said Webb, experts say the pines create a dead zone for undergrowth and are harmful to native plants.

“I like the way the pines look,” Webb said, but the city has a responsibility to all 1,300 residents to “do the right thing.”

He said the city should remove the trees and replace them with native trees that provide shade and allow native plants to grow in the surroundings.

Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick observed that a number of environmental groups have said the trees are invasive and should be removed, including the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society.

But those arguments were ignored.

Former City Commissioner Carol Ann Magill said there’s nothing wrong with the park the way it is, and the commission should not remove trees.

Chris Collins said if it’s working fine, don’t try to fix it.

Diane Caniff said an environmental expert six or seven years ago reviewed the park and said don’t remove the trees.

About 20 people were at the meeting to protest removal of the trees and about half voiced their opposition.

But when David Rogerson of Gulf Drive suggested Webb had changed the date of the meeting in order to get a 50-50 chance of a new commissioner siding with him, resident Mike Coleman reacted.

“We just went through a period when we couldn’t rationally discuss issues and people attacked people publicly. This mayor and commission have done a great job of bringing us back together. It’s totally inappropriate to be judging motives and intent,” Coleman said.

Miller defended his plan, saying the Australian pines create a dead zone under the limbs that kills the habitat of the gopher tortoise.

“There’s nothing left for them to eat,” he said.

Miller added that keeping the mother-in-law tongue plants in the park also was a danger.

“They will completely consume native vegetation,” he said.

He predicted all of Gulf Park would be a dead zone within a few years if the trees and mother-in-law tongue were left untouched.

Magill was upset that native buttonwood trees had been accidentally removed from the park by a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office bulldozer looking for evidence in an ongoing homicide case.

Miller said the MCSO had permission from the DEP and had pledged to return the park to its previous condition.

Commissioner John Quam said that in the future, no one should be allowed to work in the park unsupervised or without permission of the public works director.

Quam’s motion to halt plans to remove the trees passed 4-1. Webb made the opposition vote.

After the vote, SueLynn said the city must address the mother-in-law tongue plants.

McKay said he would look for information on methods to remove that species and report back to the commission.

In other business, the commission:

• Continued the public hearing on an amendment to the site plan for 501, 503, 505 and 507 Pine Avenue to 6 p.m. Dec. 15 to allow city attorney Jim Dye to determine opinions for commissioners.

• Approved that portion of the site-plan amendment that requested installation of voltaic panels to lower electrical use.

• Unanimously approved a firearms ordinance that grants the state control over firearms regulation in the city.

• Approved a request by Mayor Mike Selby for $20,000 in a matching grant to the Southwest Florida Water Management District to begin drainage improvements on certain streets.

• Asked Dye to review changes to the cell tower ordinance presented by consultant Rusty Monroe, who wrote the Bradenton Beach cell tower ordinance, and also review Monroe’s template for a future cell tower ordinance.

• Agreed to send out a request for proposals to other waste and trash hauling companies, while at the same time negotiating with Waste Management Inc. on a new contract. The current WMI contract expires in March 2012.

• Named Maddy Iseman, Fran Barford and Margaret Jenkins to the citizen of the year committee.

• Scheduled the annual volunteer Christmas party for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at city hall.

Barking dogs take bite from wallet

Gary McMullen of Cedar Avenue in Anna Maria learned that barking dogs can be expensive.

At its Nov. 14 meeting, the city code enforcement board found McMullen had not complied with its May directive to control his dogs or face a fine.

Board members unanimously approved an $850 fine after hearing testimony from code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon, McMullen and McMullen’s neighbor Chris Collins.

McMullen said that after the May hearing he bought shock collars for his dogs. He was unaware there was any further problem until he received a notice from Rathvon that he was not in compliance with the board’s directive.

Rathvon presented a letter of complaint from Kathryn Gilbertson, a neighbor of McMullen’s, and a list from Collins of seven dates from August through October when the dogs barked for more than 10 minutes.

McMullen, however, said he was surprised when he received the notice: “I thought we had been complying. We bought new shock collars that are very effective.”

He presented statements from five neighbors who said they had no problem with McMullen’s two dogs.

“These letters show there are no problems. There are no complaints when the Gilbertsons are not here,” McMullen said.

“We’ve taken care of the problem and it’s the same people who complained the last time. It’s the Gilbertsons, and this is a witch-hunt. I’ll be cooperative, but this was a total surprise to me,” he said.

McMullen said he thought the city would advise him of any further barking issue before he had to return to the board.

City attorney Jim Dye said that because the board had already given McMullen time to bring his dogs into compliance, the city did not have to notice McMullen of the violation, only the hearing.

Board chair Bill Iseman said the board had found non-compliance in May and that any further complaint would bring the violation back to the board.

The board could have fined McMullen up to $500 a day for each violation, but choose the $850 amount to cover the city’s cost in pursuing the case.

“But how can you tell it’s our dogs barking,” McMullen said. His dogs are kept behind a fence and there are other dogs on Cedar Avenue that bark, he said.

“I am not a rich man. I inherited the house. This is really going to hurt. You are taking the word of two people over five,” McMullen said.

In other business, the board heard that a contractor is renovating a dock at 715 Holly Road that will bring it into compliance with a settlement the city and property owner agreed to at the board’s October meeting.

The board delayed any action on the complaint by Rathvon that the dock was non-conforming until verification is received the agreed work has been completed.

Iseman was unanimously elected to another one-year term as chair, while Maureen McCormick was elected vice chair. Iseman, a retired lawyer, said he would like one of the newer board members to become chair. He has been chair of the board since 2002, but there were no other nominations for the position.

BB commission OKs beach market

A proposal for a beach market won temporary approval from Bradenton Beach commissioners Nov. 17, following some haggling on conditions and debating on free enterprise.

The commission voted 3-1 to approve a special event permit for the Gulf Drive Cafe & Tiki, 900 Gulf Drive N., to hold a Sunday market.

Commissioners Ed Straight and Gay Breuler, along with Mayor John Shaughnessy, voted yes. Commissioner Jan Vosburgh voted no.

The approval came with a couple of stipulations, agreed upon after a lengthy discussion on the dais and numerous comments – for and against the proposal — from the public.

The conditions are that the Gulf Drive Cafe hire two police officers to assist with any vehicle and pedestrian traffic tie-ups and to prevent people from leaving the restaurant property with open containers of alcohol.

The police chief still must OK that requirement, which developed from Shaughnessy’s concern about alcohol sales during the event and city attorney Ricinda Perry’s review of alcohol codes and ensuing, emphatic recommendation that such a requirement was needed to protect the city.

Additionally, the commission approved the market for 60 days, not the requested six months, to make sure problems do not develop.


Market opposition

The commission began discussing the market proposal under a motion from Vosburgh to deny the permit.

Vosburgh raised concerns about the impact the market would have on Gulf Drive/State Road 789 traffic. The restaurant is about two blocks north of the Cortez Road intersection.

“I can see such a bottleneck there,” she said. “I can see all kinds of problems.

Vosburgh also questioned the impact on residents near the restaurant.

“I’m extremely pro-business,” she said. “I ran on pro-business. However, I just think … it’s not fair to the residents that live there. …I just think it’s a very bad location.”

Janie Robertson, who this month completed her third and final term as commissioner, took a turn at the citizen’s podium. Robertson lives near the restaurant, and she also raised concerns about traffic backups, especially when the market shuts down and vendors load their vehicles and pull back onto Gulf Drive.

“In high season, Gulf Drive is jam-packed,” Robertson said. “The traffic there would be absolutely horrendous.”

Robertson said the market would be detrimental to businesses and residents in the immediate area and “hopefully it will not be approved, especially not for six months.”

Others objected to the market because it is scheduled for the same day and similar hours as the Bridge Street Market, which was established several years ago by the nonprofit Bridge Street Merchants.

“The merchants are strongly opposed to this,” said BSM president Jo Ann Meilner.

Meilner read several opposition letters from merchants, who said the city — about 2 miles long and a couple blocks wide — doesn’t need two Sunday markets.

The Bridge Street Market, which this year has a new manager, Melissa Enders, is focused on booking vendors that sell handcrafted and unique items that complement rather than compete with Bridge Street merchants.

“We wanted to keep it fresh. We wanted to keep it new. That was our goal,” said Meilner.

BSM vice president Caryn Hodge added, “We heard from people coming to the market. They wanted to upscale the quality of the vendors.”

Hodge said Gulf Drive Cafe’s proposal went against the “nice and respectful” spirit of cooperation that the Island cities and businesses encourage.


Market proponents

Two former Bridge Street Market vendors, who plan to set up at the Gulf Drive Cafe, encouraged the commission to approve the permit request.

Both said they had stayed with the Bridge Street event through its fledgling early seasons, but were pushed out this year after BSM and founding market manager Nancy Ambrose failed to negotiate an agreement. Ambrose has since proposed a Sunday market in Holmes Beach, which commissioners there turned down, and has talked with the Gulf Drive Cafe about the beach market.

Jewelry vendor Val Gratias said she was at the Bridge Street Market “rain or shine” for three years and hopes to return to Bradenton Beach at the Gulf Drive market.

“This is free enterprise,” she said. “Nobody needs to have a monopoly, and I feel strongly about that.”

Bradenton Beach resident Dale Redeker also spoke in favor of the market. “I feel as though competition is good for business,” he said, adding that if Ambrose is involved “it will fly, and it will fly right.”

Representing the restaurant, Pete Barreda said he and the owners had talked about a market “for quite some time,” but the plan was delayed due to a major renovation and construction project.

“I didn’t realize this was going to create a big tizzy to be honest with you,” he told commissioners.

But, Barreda continued, “everybody has a right to conduct their business. Competiveness is good. It makes businesses do more. Thrive. That’s what we’ve been raised with. That’s what our country is based on. Free enterprise.”

Breuler said after she received the permit application regarding logistics, she had mixed feelings but observed that the police department was prepared to deal with traffic issues and that the restaurant has more parking than any other venue in the city, with the exception of Coquina Beach.

Breuler returned to the free enterprise argument. “I don’t think we have a right to legislate against free enterprise,” she said. “I would like to give them an opportunity, and if it doesn’t fly, it doesn’t fly.”

If the best happens, she said, the beach market will be a boost for citizens and commerce on Bridge Street and Gulf Drive.

Straight, before indicating his position, asked city building official Steve Gilbert, who presented the permit application to the commission in a memo, a couple of questions.

“I wonder,” Straight said, “what Steve Gilbert has to say about this.”

Gilbert said the application was complete and noted that even the Bridge Street Market was established after other markets were taking place at Coquina Beach, including one operated by the Anna Maria Island Privateers.

He said if commissioners identified traffic or safety issues with the Gulf Drive Cafe market, those would be valid concerns, but “when it comes down to competing special events, I don’t know from a staff perspective if we have a say on that.”


The decision

Shaughnessy concluded the discussion and asked for a vote on Vosburgh’s motion, which failed 2-2. The mayor and Vosburgh voted to deny the permit.

A second motion made by Breuler to approve the permit also failed 2-2. Breuler and Straight voted to approve, Vosburgh and Shaughnessy were opposed.

The discussion on stipulations followed, and then the final 3-1 vote.

The beach market was approved for Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., from Dec. 4 to Jan. 31.

After the decision, several residents near the Gulf Drive Cafe complained that the vote occurred without a commissioner representing their ward.

Robertson had held that seat and, based on her comments and past concerns with the Gulf Drive Cafe’s special events and expansion, she likely would have been a “no” vote.

But Robertson could not seek re-election because of a city charter-imposed term limit, and no one from the ward filed to run for the office in the Nov. 8 election, creating a vacancy.

The commission will appoint someone to fill the seat, probably in December.

Solemnly swear

John Shaughnessy and Gay Breuler take their oath of office Nov. 14. Shaughnessy, a former commissioner, succeeded Bob Bartelt, and Breuler began her second two-year term on the city commission. A brief swearing-in ceremony was followed with a reception at city hall, as well as a party at the Sandpiper Resort, where both officeholders reside. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff

‘Free Ride’ films in village

The “action” in Cortez Nov. 14 wasn’t just on the fish docks where stone crab claws and other catches were unloaded. Filming for “Free Ride” took place in Cortez that day.

Filming also has taken place in Sarasota.

“Free Ride” stars Anna Paquin of “True Blood” fame, along with Brit Morgan, Cam Gigandet and Drea de Matteo.

SCAMP, the production company founded by Paquin and Stephen Moyer, is behind the picture, which is set in 1970s Florida and is about the mother of two girls who flees an abusive relationship and gets involved in marijuana trafficking.

A casting call for the extras in the area requested “all types, all sizes, all ages, all ethnicities. Really unique faces a bonus! This is set in 1978 — men with longer hair and facial hair a plus! Tough biker types, clean-cut types, kids, teens, families, and seniors. This will be a very fun project with well known industry professionals!”

Cortez isn’t known for Hollywood-like glamour, which is why multiple movies have filmed in the location — including “Out of Time” starring Denzel Washington and Eva Mendes and, the best of the offerings, the 1998 version of “Great Expectations” starring Robert DeNiro, Anne Bancroft, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke and Chris Cooper.

BB woman pleads not guilty of abuse

A Bradenton Beach woman recently pleaded not guilty to allegations she abused two children.

The Bradenton Beach Police Department arrested Laura Campanello, 44, Oct. 16 in the 1800 block of Gulf Drive North. She faces two felony charges of child abuse.

A police report stated that a relative visiting Bradenton Beach became concerned for the children’s well-being after witnessing Campanello’s verbal abuse.

In interviews, investigators were told that Campanello had repeatedly slapped, punched and kicked the children, leaving them bruised and battered.

Investigators also were told that the woman verbally abused the children and abused drugs.

Campanello was released from the Manatee County jail on $2,500 bond.

She demanded a jury trial.

Eagle aloft

A juvenile bald eagle rescued and rehabilitated by Wildlife Inc. of Bradenton Beach after the bird was struck by a car in east Bradenton was released Nov. 17. The bird was released at the Mixon Fruit Farm in east Bradenton, where Wildlife Inc., operated by Ed and Gail Straight, run a wildlife education center. Islander Photos: Courtesy Gail Straight

The release of the juvenile eagle was a success. But the Wildlife Inc. crew on the ground suffered a scare when a mature bald eagle attempted to scare off the younger bird. “Luckily the adult only scared our juvenile out of his space and the dispute ended without physical contact,” Gail Straight of Wildlife Inc. said.

BB man denied jail release

A Bradenton Beach man accused of stabbing another man and escaping from police custody is asking the court to dismiss his attorney.

The man, Jacob Gennell of Bradenton Beach, recently lost his petition to have the charges dismissed in the case.

Bradenton Beach police arrested Gennell for allegedly stabbing a man Dec. 8, 2010, in the 2500 block of Avenue B.

The police report stated that a man told officers he was lured outside a home, hit with a bat and stabbed five times. The man suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Gennell was taken to BBPD, where, according to police, he escaped. He was captured soon after with the assistance of a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

Gennell has been in the Manatee County jail since May, after a judge issued an order to revoke his bond.

Gennell asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming someone else had confessed to the crime.

When that request was denied, he asked the court to dismiss his attorney, a public defender.