Tag Archives: 11-3-2010

Selby will take over in Anna Maria mayor’s office

Mike Selby scored a 509-426 unofficial victory for mayor of Anna Maria over challenger Sandy Mattick in the Nov. 2 general election, with a reported record 77.9 percent of the city’s 1.329 registered voters casting a ballot.

A total of 363 absentee ballots, along with 30 early votes, were included in the unofficial tally.

The vote must still be certified by the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office, a process that won’t be completed until Nov. 5, a SOE official said.

Deputy city clerk Diane Percycoe said the 77.9 percent voter turnout was the most for any election in the 10 years she’s worked for the city, and the most she’d ever heard about in the city.

Selby said he was pleased with the voting and the confidence of the voters. He took time to congratulate his campaign staff for their hard work, and thanked Mattick for a clean campaign.

Mattick offered her congratulations to her campaign workers and Selby.

“I want to thank everyone who helped in my campaign,” she said.

“I shook hands with Mike before the results and we congratulated each other on running a good, clean campaign.” she said.

Mattick will still be on the city’s planning and zoning board.

It was the first time either had sought political office. Mayor Fran Barford decided several months ago not to seek re-election after two terms in office.

There was no election for the two vacancies on the commission. Lacking opposition, both incumbents Chuck Webb and Jo Ann Mattick are automatically returned to office.

A swearing-in ceremony for the new mayor and the two incumbent commissioners is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, followed by the commission’s organizational meeting, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

Anna Maria’s mayor draws an annual salary of $9,600, while a commissioner earns $4,800 yearly.

BB voters decide charter questions

Bradenton Beach voters faced a series of proposed changes to the city charter on the Nov. 2 ballot and gave a nod to them all.

A commission-appointed charter review committee recommended the changes to the document earlier this year and the commission OKd the changes for voter consideration in August.

Each proposed amendment — there were eight — was abbreviated on the ballot to contain a title, question and explanation. And each was approved.

For the most part, the amendments clarified existing provisions in the charter.

The amendments will take effect Jan. 1.

The votes at a glance:

• 396-73. Amendment 1: Amending the duties of the mayor to require an annual state of the city report.

• 281-161. Amendment 2: Amending the provision on forfeiture of office.

The charter is silent on whether a legal proceeding should be initiated or concluded before a forfeiture of office hearing takes place. Voters were asked to change the charter to allow for a forfeiture of office hearing notwithstanding any legal proceedings.

• 370-101. Amendment 3: Amending vacancy requirements.

The charter does not require that a nominee for a public office vacancy live in the ward where the vacancy occurred. Voters were asked to change the charter to require a nominee for a vacancy to live in the ward where the vacancy occurred.

• 361-117. Amendment 4: Amending term-limits provision.

Voters were asked to amend the charter to state that no person may hold the same elected or appointed office for more than three full consecutive terns. The charter already limits people to three terms, but it is unclear whether that includes partial terms.

• 341-115. Amendment 5: Amending the provision on ordinances.

The charter requires the commission to adopt an ordinance to lease, acquire, dispose of or change the use of any city property.

Voters were asked to change that section to refer to “real” property.

• 271-170. Amendment 6: Amending the provision on a voter-initiated repeal of an ordinance.

Voters were asked to remove the current provision that a vote on a repeal must occur within 120 days of the filing of referendum papers, but retain the requirement to place the referendum on a general or special election ballot.

• 314-147. Amendment 7: Amending the provision on maximum building height.

The question was not meant to change the allowable height — 29 feet — but to clarify that the provision includes commercial as well as residential buildings.

• 363-92. Amendment 8: Authorizing the city to make technical changes to the charter.

The last ballot question related to the charter asked voters to authorize city officials to correct capitalization, spelling and other such errors in the document.

To pass, a charter amendment needed a “yes” from a majority of voters.

Vosburgh wins BB commission race

Bradenton Beach citizens didn’t return or check out any books at Tingley Memorial Library Nov. 2. Instead, they went to Tingley to retain Jan Vosburgh on the Bradenton Beach City Commission.

Vosburgh defeated Michael Harrington in the race for the city’s Ward 4 commission seat, which until June was held by Bob Bartelt, now the city’s mayor. Based on unofficial returns, Vosburgh received 273 votes to Harrington’s 182 in the contest for the two-year term.

When election judges unlocked the door to Tingley, the city’s only polling place, about a dozen people waited to vote.

Vosburgh was among the early voters. She then moved to the 100 block of Gulf Drive North and joined supporters waving signs.

She said, with hesitation, that friends assured her that she would be the day’s winner. “You never know,” she added.

Vosburgh, a former member of the city’s charter review commission, was appointed to fill Bartelt’s seat in June. Within weeks she was in the Nov. 2 race for the seat, facing Michael Harrington, a member of the city’s mooring/anchorage committee.

Vosburgh, a 12th Street South resident who owns an accommodations business on the Island, campaigned with the motto, “Taking action, getting results.”

She emphasized her fiscal conservatism and business acumen as she sought citizen support for her candidacy throughout the city.

“I have an extensive business background,” said Vosburgh. “I have excellent people and management skills. I enjoy problem solving — through listening, utilizing my organizational skills and implementing a plan to resolve.”

In her former home state of Utah, Vosburgh ran a successful furniture store and served as vice president of the Utah Chamber of Commerce — work that helped her earn a Utah Citizen of the Year Award.

Harrington, a resident of Church Avenue, is a retired law enforcement officer and facilities manager.

Like Vosburgh, throughout his campaign Harrington stressed business experience. He also showcased his fiscal restraint with a lower-key campaign in which he refused to accept campaign contributions. His most recent finance report shows $700 in contributions — his own — to Vosburgh’s $2,103.

Harrington campaigned with a promise to be a dedicated representative. He told The Islander, in a candidate Q&A, that citizens should vote for him because “I have the experience for just this type of position and feel that experience is very important in dealing with the issues.”

Harrington, on election day, said he ran the campaign he wanted to run.

“It’s been a fun trip,” he said, adding that he planned to wait out the day — and the results — at home.

Bartelt was unopposed in his race for mayor, also a two-year term, and political newcomer Ed Straight was unopposed in his race for Ward 2 commissioner, the seat held now held by Bob Connors. When Connors decided not to seek re-election, he sought out Straight.

A swearing-in for the newly elected officeholders will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

For more information on election day results, including the decision on a series of proposed charter amendments in Bradenton Beach, check for updates at www.islander.org and read the Nov. 10 issue of The Islander.

Incumbents returned to office in Holmes Beach

Voters turned out in Holmes Beach to again re-elect incumbents Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti to the city commission. First-time candidate Jean Peelen had challenged them for one of two open commission seats. Approximately 2,949 ballots were cast from among the 3,319 registered voters in Holmes Beach.

Based on unofficial returns, Haas-Martens topped the voting at 1,200, Monetti received 1,123 votes to and Peelen’s 626 in the three-way race for a two-year term.

Monetti, a former member of the city’s planning and zoning commission, was first elected to the city commission in 2006. Throughout the campaign, he pointed to his common-sense approach and a belief in serving one’s community as his strengths.

This will be the 15-year Island resident’s third-term serving on the city commission.

Haas-Martens is a retired banker who has remained active in the community. She has served six consecutive term on the commission. She believes her banking background and continued involvement within the community has given her an awareness of the issues that concern Island citizens.

In her first election campaign, Peelen took the time to walk door-to-door and meet fellow residents. The former civil rights attorney for the federal government has been an Island resident for three years and embraced her first opportunity to seek election.

Peelen ran on the desire to bring a new voice to city leadership and to facilitate better collaboration between the three Island cities.

The newly elected city commissioners will be sworn into office at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 15, in city hall chambers, 5801 Marina Drive, with an organizational meeting to follow. The next regularly scheduled commission meeting and work session will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Two incumbents returned to WMFR, one newcomer voted in

Incumbent West Manatee Fire Commissioners Larry Tyler, Seat 3, and John Rigney, Seat 4, handily won their bids to keep their seats on the WMFR district commission board in the Nov. 2 general election. Both were challenged by first-time candidates, Tyler by Michael Carleton and Rigney by Mondher Kobrosly.

Tyler won his seat 5,689 votes to 4,350 for Carleton.

Rigney topped the WMFR voting with 7,213 over Kobrosly’s 3,024.

Scott Ricci who actively campaigned to bring “new blood” to the fire commission challenged for Seat 2, held by incumbent Mike Mulyck. Ricci won the vote 6,017-4,146 for a seat on the fire commission board.

Of the three newcomers challenging the incumbents, Holmes Beach resident Ricci is the only one with previous fire experience. Ricci was a volunteer firefighter for more than 10 years and served as fire commissioner where he previously lived in New Hampshire.

“I’m a fiscal conservative in my business and personal life and can work within a budget,” Ricci said in a Q&A with The Islander. “I’ll be a set of budget-minded fresh eyes on that board. I feel that I have a lot to offer.”

Tyler has served 13 years on the WMFR commission, having held the positions of chair and secretary-treasurer — adding to his fire experience with a city in Wisconsin comparable in size to Bradenton. Tyler believes experience matters and make him worthy of another term as a WMFR commissioner.

For Rigney this will be the fourth term of service on the WMFR commission. Rigney, a certified firefighter-emergency medical technician who was a Longboat Key firefighter for 24 years, says he is comfortable in knowing all aspects of fire service.

Mulyck is an Anna Maria homeowner and has been part of the fire service for 18 years. He has a background in occupational health and safety and has a record of managing public service costs effectively.

The WMFR commission is scheduled to hold its first post-election monthly meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18, at Station No. 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Whitmore returned to county board

Veteran officeholder Carol Whitmore handily won her quest to serve another four-year term on the Manatee County Board of Commissioners.

Whitmore, a Republican and resident of Holmes Beach, defeated Democrat Sundae Lynn Knight, a rookie campaigner, in the Nov. 2 race for the District 6 at-large seat.

The unofficial vote, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, was 70,075 for Whitmore, 31,656 for Knight.

Knight’s election night party was at Joyland in Bradenton.

Whitmore’s campaign celebrated at Mattison’s Riverside in downtown Bradenton.

“I am very proud of this campaign,” Whitmore said. “It was very important to address only the issues and the facts. My candidacy was about accomplishments, services and a record of success.”

Whitmore was first elected to the county post in 2006. Prior to that election, she served as Holmes Beach mayor and city commissioner.

The Republican, who was unopposed in the August primary, said her top priorities are encouraging the creation of jobs and bringing more business to the area, especially the port.

“The state of the economy in Manatee County remains first and foremost in my campaign,” Whitmore said. “Just five or six years ago, we had the lowest unemployment rate in the country. We need to decrease the unemployment rate and help current businesses expand as well as attract new companies that offer well paying jobs. “

Knight, an engineer, said she decided to run after learning how many colleagues and friends had lost their jobs in recent years.

For more election coverage, read the Nov. 10 issue of The Islander.

Mysteries remain 2 years after disappearance, fire

Nov. 4, 2008. A memorable night.

Islanders, like those elsewhere in the nation, in the world, sat up late to watch the election returns, to see the broadcast of Barack Obama’s victory speech from Chicago’s Grant Park.

Some Islanders remember blasting car horns, trumpeting an election day victory.

Some Islanders remember taking a solitary stroll after learning of their party’s loss.

What else do Islanders remember about a night that was a watershed moment in U.S. history and also the night Haley’s Motel co-owner Sabine Musil-Buehler likely died?

“Is there anything that people recall about that night? About her disappearance? About her actions before?” asked Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube. “Did they have any interactions with our person of interest?”

Musil-Buehler was 49 at the time of her disappearance and had a reputation as an active volunteer on the Island — a doer involved in promoting the business community, protecting the environment and wildlife, rescuing pets and caring for children.

“Sabine is just a very wonderful person,” one friend said days after Musil-Buehler disappeared. “She’s an upstanding citizen, an outstanding person.… Sabine thinks she can save the world.”

In February 2007, the Holmes Beach Police Department recruited Musil-Buehler as a volunteer for its missing-child program.

“I think that it is important to start a search at the earliest possible time, to get the word out and have people look for missing children,” Musil-Buehler said at the time. “The chances to find them are a lot bigger when things happen fast.”

Law enforcement officials believe that by the time word was out that Musil-Buehler was missing, she was dead.

“We believe that she’s no longer with us,” Steube said in a recent interview with The Islander. “That this is a death investigation.”

Gone missing
The first MCSO notice about Musil-Buehler in November 2008 indicated she was missing — that she was last seen Nov. 5 in the area of 14th Street West in Bradenton and that foul play was not suspected in her disappearance.

Missing person notices that went into national and international networks described Musil-Buehler as petite, about 120 pounds, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with silver hair, braces on her teeth, a German accent and possibly wearing a floral-print top and Converse sneakers.

Foul play suspected
While an intensive search for Musil-Buehler was under way in those first weeks of November 2008, law enforcement officials increasingly began to talk about the likelihood of foul play, for various reasons.

•  The witness who reporting partying with Musil-Buehler Nov. 5 in the 14th Street West area had lied to conceal his theft of her white Pontiac from the parking lot of the Gator Lounge.

Robert Corona, according to authorities, told at least two accounts of how he came into possession of Musil-Buehler’s vehicle.

In one account, he said an acquaintance gave him the keys to go buy drugs.

In another account, he said he found the car parked outside the Gator Lounge with the doors unlocked and the key in the ignition.

• In a search of her vehicle, investigators found some of Musil-Buehler’s possessions and blood, but no IDs and no cell phone.

• Friends and family hadn’t seen the motel owner since Nov. 4 and wondered why she — a devout Barack Obama enthusiast — wasn’t rejoicing loudly, with friends.

• There were compounding questions about the man who provided the details of Musil-Buehler’s last known whereabouts — a rented cottage on Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria on election night.

Musil-Buehler, estranged from husband Tom Buehler, had rented the cottage with boyfriend William J. Cumber, an ex-convict released two months earlier from prison after serving time for arson.

Cumber, who was operating a woodworking shop in Holmes Beach at the time, said he and Musil-Buehler were watching election coverage on TV when they argued.

“She got mad because I was smoking cigarettes, and she left,” Cumber said in an interview with The Islander in November 2008.

She left angry, he said, and he tried for days afterward to reach her on her cell phone.

“She normally leaves and goes home,” Cumber said.

He added, “It’s not like her to take off, not to call anybody, not to respond to calls that are going out to her.”

In flames
On Nov. 16, 2008, the mystery intensified. Flames broke out in a two-story accessory building at the Haley’s Motel complex, drawing a crowd of onlookers to the intersection of Gulf and Marina drives in Holmes Beach on an unseasonably cold November night.

The fire began sometime after 7 p.m. Two 911 calls were received at 7:17 p.m., with the dispatch going out at 7:18 p.m. and firefighters were on their way by 7:21 p.m., according to West Manatee Fire Rescue Capt. Tom Sousa.

WMFR deputy fire marshal Kurt Lathrop remembered thinking, when he arrived to the scene, “‘How did this fire get going to that degree so fast?’… It was going through the roof when the guys got there.”

The Holmes Beach Police Department investigated the fire, along with WMFR and the state fire marshal.

The morning after the fire, HBPD Chief Jay Romine said that due to the totality of damage and the circumstances involved, the fire “has to be considered suspicious.”

Authorities quickly determined the fire was set by human hand — arson.

But, as with the investigation into Musil-Buehler’s disappearance, no one has been charged with the crime.

“It is what it is,” said Lathrop. “It was a set fire.… If the intent was to make that building go away, the fire did what it was intended to do.”

It seemed everyone had a theory as word of the fire spread, the WMFR official said, remembering “a lot of finger-pointing.”

Today, Lathrop, stressing he’s a fire investigator and not a law enforcement officer, declines to discuss persons of interest or name potential suspects.

“Short of someone standing there with a match” an arson case can be difficult to solve, said Lathrop. “Was anybody standing there with a match in the hand? Unfortunately not.”

In the days and weeks following the fire, investigators conducted a number of interviews, including with Haley’s co-owner Tom Buehler, Cumber and motel guests.

Lathrop, two years later, still wonders how the fire was set on a Sunday evening so close to motel guests and so close to a busy traffic intersection.

“At that building, on that corner, at that time of the day, somebody probably saw something,” Lathrop said.

An arrest and conviction
While authorities have not made an arrest in the disappearance and likely slaying of Musil-Buehler or the arson fire, there have been convictions related to the investigation.

Corona, a tile-setter from Bradenton, pleaded no contest to grand theft auto in August 2009 and was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing Musil-Buehler’s car. In a letter to his attorney, Corona confessed, “I used the car to joy ride around the neighborhood.”

Cumber, too, is in prison, for violating the terms of his probation on the 2005 arson conviction. He was arrested in late December 2008 driving a pickup truck with expired tags and under a suspended license in Marion County.

By May 2009 he was on his way to prison for violating the terms of his probation, which required him to get permission to leave Manatee County and forbade the commission of another crime.

In court, Cumber claimed that he fled Manatee County because he was getting “cold shoulders” on the Island and the media had portrayed him as “an evil monster.”

“I wasn’t able to put up with anything.… I was just running because I had no future.… Bradenton was dead to me,” Cumber said.

In the days after Cumber’s arrest in Marion County, MCSO supervised a search on the beach near Magnolia Avenue. The MCSO repeatedly would go back to search the area, as well as other locations in Manatee County, using dogs, sonar equipment and excavators.

MCSO investigators have characterized Cumber as a “person of interest” in Musil-Buehler’s disappearance and have repeatedly interviewed him.

“And we have plans to interview him in the near future,” said Steube, adding that Cumber, in the weeks just after Musil-Buehler’s disappearance, offered information to the press that he did not provide to the MCSO.

Two years later
Two years after Musil-Buehler disappeared, Steube said his team doesn’t have a cold case.

“We’re still doing things,” the sheriff said. “I can’t tell you what we’re doing. I can’t say. But I wouldn’t categorize this as a cold case.”

Two detectives are permanently assigned to the investigation, still following up leads and tips, still conducting interviews when necessary.

“It’s a case where we run to the end of every lead,” the sheriff said.

The leads and the tips, however, do not come as often as in the earlier days of the investigation.

“We haven’t had one in quite some time, months,” said Steube.

With the anniversary at hand, authorities are hoping that Islanders and vacationers again will reflect on November 2008.

“Maybe this, going over the case again, will jog memories,” Steube said. “Maybe there was someone here then who is just now returning, who left and missed a lot of the publicity and is back.”
A new witness could break the case.

So, too, could the discovery of Musil-Buehler’s remains, a development that would provide closure for family and friends but also likely provide forensic evidence that could lead to the identity of a killer.

“It would be wonderful if we could find her,” Steube said. “She’s out there somewhere. We would certainly like to locate her.”

And, of course, Steube said, the MCSO certainly would take a confession.

Market days begin again

Bridge Street Markets resume this month, on a Sunday schedule, and continue weekly through April 24.

Each market will feature a variety of produce, arts and crafts, apparel and accessories and entertainment at 107 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach.

Regular market hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the market kickoff, the Bridge Street Fair on Sunday, Nov. 7, will last until 4 p.m. and spill on to the sidewalks on Bridge Street.

The fair offerings will include vendors, kayak demonstrations, music by Blues Pig and the Hammers and Adams Band, a morning yoga class at the BeachHouse Restaurant and a Walgreens clinic where fairgoers can arm themselves against the flu with a shot.

The Islander recently posed some questions to Nancy Ambrose, active in the sponsoring Bridge Street Merchants group and coordinator of the Bridge Street Market.

The Islander: The market takes place on Sunday this season, not Saturday. Do you see that changing the scene much?
Nancy Ambrose: Yes, I think it will make the market even more of a community meeting place. Islanders and guests can stop by after church for coffee and great baked goods and to sit down, relax with others and chat, maybe even play a game of dominoes.…

I have heard great feedback from people on the switch to Sunday. They are excited that they can finally come as they work on Saturday, that they can come more because it isn’t the same day as the other events.

Also, we feel it will make a difference that it is every Sunday, so people won’t have to figure out which week we have a market and which we don’t.

The Islander: Besides the day, as well as the every-week run of the market, will the market be similar to past seasons?
NA: The market will be similar. We have two produce vendors this year and some really great new vendors that are joining our family.
Like past years, there are some vendors that will be there every week or most every week, some that come a couple times a month or once a month and some that will only be here once in awhile.

The Islander: The market has been around for awhile. Are vendors seeking you out now?
NA: Vendors are seeking us out and wanting to be a part. I have had a waiting list for jewelry vendors for a couple of months. We could actually do a jewelry show almost every week.

The Islander: Tell us a bit about how Bridge Street businesses benefit from the market?
NA: The businesses on the street tell me that they have their best days when there is a market. We are hoping that this continues with the move to Sunday. A lot of people who come to the market take a stroll down the street also. It is great in that it gets people to Historic Bridge Street so they can see all the street has to offer.

The Islander: The kick-off is a full day of activities on Bridge Street. Do you see that as becoming an annual event?
NA: I would think that the kick-off will become an annual event. People love outdoor festivals and the kick-off on Bridge Street is going to be fabulous — bands in three areas, kayaks to take out for demos, 85-plus vendors of all types with so many unique and special items.… People will love it.

The Islander: Think of this as a 30-second ad spot. What do you have to tell those thinking about heading out on Sunday?
NA: We will be dancing in the street on Historic Bridge Street on Sunday, Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come for food, fun, kayak and Hula-Hoop demos, unique items from over 85 vendors and music, music, music.

The Islander: Last question, what do you usually have in your shopping bag when you go home from the market?
NA: I always bring lots of “green bags.” I come home with around five bags of fresh produce; usually a treat for dad — an apple pie, pastry or something; a piece of jewelry; an artist’s rendering; some cards; gifts for family and friends; you never know. Like I said, there is something different each day and so many great things. So my bags vary week to week, but I always have that great fresh produce. I am really looking forward to the market starting again as I have missed the produce.

Hugs, honors, tears in Anna Maria

Some Anna Maria residents might have said the commission’s Oct. 28 meeting was a far cry from other commission meetings of the past year. There were plenty of awards, honors, hugs and standing ovations at the meeting.

Not only was the meeting a farewell to outgoing Mayor Fran Barford, it was an opportunity to honor Tom Turner as Citizen of the Year.

Commissioners surprised Barford with a plaque, which was presented to her by Commission Chair John Quam, for dedicated service to the city, just moments after Barford presented Turner with his award.

Both Barford and Turner received standing ovations from the audience, and commissioners all took time to shake hands with both honorees.

An emotional Barford received a hug from Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick, who has sat next to the mayor on the dais for the past four years. Barford then used her supply of tissue placed conveniently in front of her traditional seat. It was the last time Barford would occupy that seat.

Organize and meetings
The new commission and new mayor will hold its organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, followed by a commission work session.

City clerk Alice Baird said the one-week delay in swearing-in ceremonies and organizing is because the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office has to check any provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 2 election, and that process may take a few days.

The commission scheduled its November regular meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, after city attorney Jim Dye said he would be unavailable Nov. 18, the regularly scheduled meeting day.

The December regular meeting was set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, a week earlier than usual to avoid interfering with the Christmas holiday.

PAR site plan
In business matters, commissioners unanimously approved a request by Pine Avenue Restoration LLC to continue the public hearing of the company’s site plan for 308 Pine Ave. to its next regular meeting. It was the second meeting PAR had requested a continuance.

Later in the meeting, after commissioners scheduled the regular November meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, Quam said the site-plan would be on that agenda.

Historical society lease
Commissioners approved a new lease of city property for the Anna Maria Island Historical Society’s museum and adjacent land at 402 Pine Ave. The new agreement gives the society a five-year lease with an option for another five years.

Commissioner Dale Woodland said he had second thoughts about a five-year lease after talking with a number of people. He suggested a 10-year lease.

He found no support among other commissioners for changing the lease terms to 10 years and the agreement was approved, 4-1, with Woodland dissenting.

Commissioner Chuck Webb said there would always be a historical society and museum unless something “very unusual” occurred in the city.

Betty Yanger of the AMIHS spoke to commissioners after the lease was approved and thanked them for their time and effort.

“We would have loved to have had a 10-year lease, but, after hearing the commissioners, I’m confident there will always be a historical society. Thank you,” she said.

Auto burglary problem
In her final report as mayor, Barford said there has been a recent increase in the number of auto burglaries.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies on patrol have been looking for anyone or anything unusual, particularly during the night hours.

Deputies questioned one resident using a cell phone outside his home at 1 a.m. Many cell-phone calls don’t receive a signal indoors in Anna Maria, forcing the user to go outside to send or receive a call.

Barford said the inconvenience was regrettable and hoped further incidents could be avoided. Deputies were just trying to do their job.

The mayor also announced improvements at the beach access between 787-789 North Shore Drive were completed and the access is re-opened to the public.