Tag Archives: 12-18-2013

Sirens signal Santa’s arrival at Sandbar


Santa Claus arrives at noon Dec. 10 on a fire truck for the 20th annual Lawton Chiles Christmas Party for Kids at the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria.


On arriving at the Sandbar, Santa made a second surprise entrance to the party on a scooter. He zipped across the beach on two wheels, greeting children before taking his seat to hear their Christmas wishes.


Snowbird the clown creates a balloon sword for Kahleal Dixon, 3, at the 20th annual Lawton Chiles Christmas Party for Kids at the Sandbar Restaurant Dec. 10. Islander Photos: Jennifer Glenfield.


Two bounce houses were set up in the sand behind the pavilion for children invited to the kids’ Christmas party Dec. 10 at the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave. Anna Maria.


Volunteer Morgan Burns from King Middle School in Bradenton paints the face of Ruby, 3, during the Christmas party for kids Dec. 10.


Children invited to the Christmas party enjoy lunch served by Sandbar Restaurant staff and volunteers before Santa arrived to for a visit. The lunch included juice, chicken fingers and french fries.


Micky and Minnie Mouse attended the Chiles Christmas party, greeting and high-fiving kids. Dora the Explorer, Woody and Sponge Bob also made appearances.


Privateer Roger “Hoodat” Murphree hands out pirate beads to children at the Sandbar Restaurant. The Privateers welcomed attendees arriving at the Sandbar pavilion.


Santa greets children on the beach after his beachside entrance on a scooter. He posed for plenty of photos and gave loads to hugs children.


Santa greets children in the parking lot of the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, before heading off for his second beachside entrance to the party.


Tremaine Patton, 2, visits with Santa and receives a gift. Every child meeting Santa received a new pair of shoes, an outfit and a toy.

Beach renourishment startup delayed to Dec. 17

A Dec. 11 start date for an Anna Maria Island beach renourishment project stretching south from Holmes Beach to Longboat Key Pass was pushed back to Dec. 17, according to Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.

After making presentations in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach earlier this month on the project, Hunsicker told Holmes Beach commissioners at a Dec. 10 city commission meeting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor was delayed at another project.

The company has been renourishing the beach on Gasparilla Island, Hunsicker said, and dredging there resulted in more crushed shell than anticipated, which slowed the pumping process.

He said underwater pipes have already been laid in the dredging area about 2 miles off the north end of Anna Maria Island in preparation for the upcoming project and that some equipment is already in place.

“I asked them if they could still finish by Feb. 1 and they said it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Hunsicker. “It won’t be a problem with the quality of sand we have. They will be able to do about 200-300 yards of beach a day.”

Hunsicker said once the project begins, about 55,000 cubic feet of sand a day will be dredged from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico and pumped onshore. Bulldozers will redistribute the sand to rebuild a beach that was due for renourishment even before Tropical Storm Debby scoured sand from the southern end of the island and deposited it toward the north end in June 2012.

Hunsicker said once the project starts it will continue 24 hours a day.

“They can’t stop once they start pushing the sand through 7 miles of pipes,” he said. “It has to keep moving all the time.”

Other than the five-day delay, Hunsicker said the timeline for the project remains the same.

From there, the project goes from a 75 percent federally funded renourishment to a state- and county-funded renourishment at Coquina Beach. That project is expected to take an additional four weeks, putting the final completion date in late March or early April 2014 — in time for the May 1 start of sea turtle nesting season.

Neither project will affect the timeline for the replacement of the three erosion-control groins that have been in disrepair at Cortez Beach in Bradenton Beach since 1984.

The groin project is expected to cost $2.8 million. While it doesn’t have a start date, it is expected to begin sometime in early 2014, according to Hunsicker, who said it would take nine months to demolish and rebuild the groins.

Hunsicker said the state considered fully removing the groins, but the county was able to convince state officials that Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach would be in danger of being washed out in a storm without the groins.

Technology now allows the structures to be rebuilt as adjustable groins and officials can control the underwater flow of sand on the new groins, which also are designed to be used as fishing piers.

Commissioner Jean Peelen asked why the project was scheduled at the beginning of tourist season and answered her own question by saying, “Sea turtles.”

Hunsicker confirmed that was the reason.

“In 2002, we didn’t have that restriction, but our nest density is getting higher and reaching the point where it’s important not to have construction on the beach during nesting season.”

Hunsicker explained that a good portion of the beaches will be usable outside of the renourishment area and the contractor has agreed to the county’s request to provide more than 200 walkovers along the pipeline on the beach from Holmes Beach to Bradenton Beach.

The majority of the $16 million beach renourishment is being paid for through a federal emergency spending bill initially started after Tropical Storm Debby and solidified after Super Storm Sandy hit the northeast United States in October 2012.

Hunsicker said 12.5 percent of the project is being funded by Manatee County tourist development tax dollars and the remaining 12.5 percent is being paid by state grants. He said the 75 percent federal money was the key to getting the project started.

“Long ago we entered into this partnership with the federal government,” said Hunsicker. “Other cities opted out of it, like Longboat Key, and they are out of it. They don’t get federal funding and it would be nearly impossible for those cities to get back in now. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is so far behind on projects already authorized, if you set out today to get into the federal partnership with beaches, it would be decades before you saw any action by Congress.”

Hunsicker said the island has about 12 million yards of sand sitting in its offshore “reserve account” for renourishment projects, and that the dredging site is the same as it was for the 2005 renourishment.

“It will have no effect on the north end of the island,” he said. “We already know that to be true from the last time.”

Anna Maria was excluded from the upcoming renourishment project because it was the only island city to benefit from Tropical Storm Debby. The storm took away from other island cities and deposited sand at the north end of the island.

Anna Maria setback hearing takes on prosecutorial airs

Lay people can easily get hung up on words and intent in discussions of judicial matters.

That appeared to be the case at the Anna Maria City Commission Dec. 12 meeting when property owner Joe Acebal applied for a 9-foot variance to the front-yard setback requirement for a newly constructed home at 414 Pine Ave.

Attorney Scott Rudacille, representing Acebal, asked for the variance from the required 29 feet to 20 feet, saying the contractor and designer had erred, the city building official had inadvertently issued a building permit for the plans, and the house was built and inspected before the error was discovered.

The setback requirement for a single-family home in the retail-office-residential zone was changed to 29 feet in 2006, Rudacille said.

However, the city’s setback requirement for a house in the residential zone is only 20 feet, he said.

Prior to making changes in 2006, the code allowed a non-confroming lot in the ROR to adopt the residential setback.

Rudacille claimed the discussion in 2006 didn’t include the non-conforming lots and the unintended consequence of the omission resulted in the present situation.

Building official Bob Welch admitted he made an error when issuing the permit. He said that city planner Alan Garrett was on vacation when he reviewed the application.

“In my 15 years as a building official, this is the first time I’ve ever made such an error,” Welch said. Welch said normally more eyes review a plan than were able to do so in this case.

But Commission Chair Chuck Webb, an attorney, seemed determined to force Rudacille to accept the blame for the applicant, not the building department.

“Our code clearly says 29 feet for a setback” in the ROR, Webb said. Additionally, he said it’s up to the applicant to ensure the contractor follows city code, not the building official.

Rudacille argued that the code is not clear.

“The owner is responsible,” Webb said. He repeated questions to Rudacille focusing on the owner’s responsibility and the contractor being the agent for the owner.

Webb also repeated questions to Rudacille, asking if he was seeking equitable estoppel in the variance. Rudacille repeatedly replied the applicant was not yet at that point, but Webb persisted.

Webb then turned his inquiry to city attorney Jim Dye, who said equitable estoppel is a court action, not something for the commission to consider.

“We’re only seeking to rectify a problem,” Rudacille said.

He added that the code does “not clearly state” that the 29-foot setback was in effect. He said there are three setback requirements in the retail-office-residential zone, one of which previously was a 20-foot setback on a non-conforming platted lot of record.

Rudacille noted three houses built in line with 414 Pine Ave. also have a 20-foot setback. Two of the houses were built before the rules changed in 2006, and one house was built after 2006, without anyone noticing it did not meet the setback.

Rudacille said if the commission enforced the code to the letter, Acebal would have to tear down the house or remove the front 9 feet of the home. Either action would be excessive and expensive and might result in an action against the city, he suggested.

But Webb insisted the house could be modified, even asking Welch about the construction method. Welch replied the home had bored, poured concrete pilings.

Webb said he thought the city was “creating a catch-me-if-can situation with contractors.”

And Mayor SueLynn said she felt any action to require the owner to tear down the home was “unconscionable.”

SueLynn asked the commissioners to check their packets on the subject and address the criteria for the variance, as required by the city code.

Webb then began a rundown on the nine-point check list that qualifies a variance, referring to his notes frequently on a laptop computer.

He also wanted Rudacille to come back to the commission with case law supporting his claim, but Commissioner Dale Woodland interjected.

“I have a different approach. The homes already there are clearly at the 20-foot setback. A 29-foot setback would be out of place. It’s a no-brainer. I don’t know whose fault it is and I don’t care. We could win this war, but it’s ridiculous,” he said.

The commissioner said that when he arrived for the hearing, he thought the matter would take just a few minutes. He said he would have voted to approve the variance had it come before the commission before the house was built.

Woodland then made a motion to approve the variance request, which passed 4-1. There was no comment from the public and Webb voted alone against the variance.

Commissioner Nancy Yetter said she wasn’t “in favor” of the variance, but she voted “yes.”

Anna Maria parking debate results in refunds

Mayor SueLynn reported to the commission Dec. 12 that both Pine Avenue Restoration LLC and Rex Hagen want to be refunded their donations for improvements to the vacant lots at the east end of Pine Avenue.

Hagen donated $55,000, and PAR pledged up to $100,000.

The refund requests came after the commission voted 3-2 Dec. 5 to remove 15-parking spaces from plans to develop the park drawn by then-Commissioner Gene Aubry and approved 3-1 by the commission in June.

Webb was absent from the June meeting.

Both PAR and Hagen had said the donations were contingent on the city following the Aubry plan.

The mayor said the city thus far has spent $42,945 from the donations.

Commissioners unanimously voted to return Hagen’s and PAR’s donations, taking the expended amount from the city reserve fund.

Webb noted that the commission has not denied the park site plan, but rather sought to know what Hagen and PAR would do with their donations based on the parking being eliminated.

Mike Coleman of PAR told commissioners at a Dec. 5 meeting that he would expect a refund and SueLynn indicated he confirmed that to her and provided his expenses to date.

Hagen had delivered a letter to city hall moments before the topic came up. It was handed to SueLynn and she read his response, which stated that he wanted a refund if the Aubry plan was altered to eliminate parking.

Now the commission knows, said Commissioner Carol Carter.

“I talked to a lot of people who just don’t want parking there,” she said.

SueLynn said further work at the park is at a stand-still until the city can fund the work. She added the commission must approve some form of site plan before any further work takes place at the park.

“Right now, all we’re doing is irrigation,” the mayor said.

Webb then directed SueLynn to seek other donations to fund the park — as long as “no strings are attached.”

SueLynn said she thought donations would be out of the question if donors don’t know how their money is to be spent, essentially saying “no” to Webb’s directive.

More parking woes

Commissioners also discussed at the Dec. 12 meeting a request from city pier leaseholder Mario Schoenfelder to allow gated or paid parking at the pier.

Schoenfelder has said that if the six vacant lots opposite the pier were not planned to include some public parking, he would seek to close his parking lot at the pier to all but paid parking, while allowing customers at the restaurant to have their parking fees rebated. He maintains the popularity of the boardwalk and the beach have added to his restaurant’s parking problems. The city allowed parking on at least three of the six of the vacant lots for a number of years until the winter tourism season ended in May 2012.

According to Schoenfelder’s lease, he can charge for parking on his leased property if the city commission agrees, Commission Chair Chuck Webb said.

But Schoenfelder’s lease incorporates some parking on both the north and south sides of the pier, and the amount of parking diminished as a result of the Florida Department of Transportation-funded boardwalk project, which also reconfigured the entry to the pier and the trolley stop.

Mayor SueLynn, commissioners and public works supervisor George McKay discussed giving parking control of the north lot at the pier to Schoenfelder, which will eventually require amending the lease.

The request raises the issue of the city doing business with a private entity, Webb said.

“This is a slippery slope,” he said. “We are getting more and more into doing business with him and we don’t want to get involved in his business.”

Webb said, Schoenfelder, as the tenant, has control of the city pier and its parking, but the commission needs to see a plan from Schoenfelder and agree with it before it can go forward.

Commissioner Doug Copeland said there should be “some remedy in the plan for people not paying to park.”

Webb suggested the commission wait for Schoenfelder to make a proposal. He asked SueLynn to contact Schoenfelder and tell him the commission is agreeable to some form of paid parking, but needs him to present a plan.

Copeland also said the city shouldn’t spend any of its money having Dye or staff work on a paid parking plan at the pier. He suggested Schoenfelder contact the DOT to determine if the terms of the grant for the boardwalk project at the pier, would impact paid parking.

“Let him spend his own money,” he said.


Sandbar site-plan hearing canceled

A public hearing Dec. 12 for commissioners to consider a site plan for the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., was canceled.

Since 2007, Barbara Nally and her late husband have written numerous letters of complaint to the city of Anna Maria about activities at the Sandbar Restaurant, and that includes one regarding the new, pending site plan.

Nally, who owns a vacation rental at 102 Spring Ave. adjacent to the Sandbar, has filed four legal actions in the past against the city related to the Sandbar or Pine Avenue Restoration, only one of which was partially upheld. That concerned the sand mixture used for sidewalks at PAR properties on Pine Avenue.

Ed Chiles, owner of the Sandbar also is a principal in PAR.

But at the commission’s Dec. 12 meeting, Nally scored a minor win when city attorney Jim Dye said the Dec. 3 planning and zoning board public hearing on a Sandbar site plan was not properly noticed.

The error may not change the ultimate findings of the P&Z, but it does prompt a redo.

Dye said the error was brought to his attention in a letter from the Law Offices of troll & Hanson, P.A., of Sarasota, which represents Nally.

“My conclusion is the planning and zoning hearing was not properly noticed,” he said.

Dye recommended the site plan be returned to the P&Z board to be reheard and re-advertised by the city to include a posted notice at the beach end of Pine Avenue. (See related P&Z-Sandbar story next page.)

Commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to follow Dye’s recommendation.

At this point, some six or seven attendees, including Nally and a court reporter, left the meeting.

Bradenton Beach seeks input on noise ordinance

In an unusual move, Bradenton Beach officials referred a non-related land development code matter to the planning and zoning board Dec. 11.

City planner Alan Garrett acknowledged that the P&Z would not normally review noise ordinance revisions, but he said the city is taking extra steps to ensure the proposed updates will be satisfactory to as many as possible.

“We are hoping that today we get into discussion on some of the issues,” said Garrett. “More importantly, this is an opportunity to hear from the residents for the first time in what we hope will be at least two public hearings.”

Garrett said the noise ordinance being presented for review is modeled after one adopted for Key West, because that ordinance has withstood legal challenges. He said it is a “performance-based” ordinance that will rely on decibel-level readings to determine violations.

What the decibel levels will be is the question to try and answer, he said.

“It’s very critical to have that understanding because it’s decibel-based,” he said. “So we need to make sure what we have in the ordinance is appropriate.”

Based on the Key West ordinance, Garrett and building official Steve Gilbert set decibel levels at 95 for commercial zones and 70 for residential zones between the hours of 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The levels would drop by five from 7-10 p.m., another five from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. and an additional five levels in commercial zones only from 2-7 a.m.

            The ordinance would allow either the police department or code enforcement to review and enforce violations. Code enforcement officer Gail Garneau was tasked to take some sample readings.

        She measured three separate areas, including halfway down Bridge Street where she measured 50 decibels. She next went to the Gulf of Mexico side of Gulf Drive at Bridge Street and measured about 70 decibels.

She next went to Ninth Street North and measured around 50 decibels.

Garneau was asked how long she took the readings by P&Z member John Burns and she said about a minute.

Burns noted that the decibel reading must be for 5 minutes and exceed the maximum for 30 consecutive seconds to amount to a violation.

Garrett said the experiment was just to provide an example, but residents opposed her findings during public comment. Virtually all the comments from the public were regarding noise problems at night, when ambient noise such as traffic dies down and the music and nightlife of Bradenton Beach wafts through the air.

Several residents spoke up and complained that they cannot open their windows at night without their homes being flooded by music from bands playing at various locations.

Barbara Hug said the bass from live music vibrates her home and that her “quality of life has changed. I can’t open my windows. It’s just terrible.”

Ernie Casali, administrator of Moose Lodge No. 2188, 110 Gulf Drive, said he has sat in his office at night and asked his employees to have the music in the lodge turned down only to be told that it was coming from Bridge Street.

“Our quaint little town is turning into a three-ring circus, especially Bridge Street, said Casali. “Past city commissions have let everyone do what they want to do.”

Tjet Martin, co-owner of the Linger Longer Resort, said the problems started two years ago when a prior commission lifted the ban on amplified music performed outdoors.

“Now I can’t even sit on my deck at night and listen to the waves,” she said. “All I hear is boom, boom, boom, boom. If I want to hear music that loud, I’ll put on my headphones and blast it. What I don’t want to hear is music blasting two or three blocks away.”

P&Z chair Dan DeBaun said it would make sense for the city to do some additional testing at the times when the most complaints are registered.

Gilbert said the city basically has two options. He said the city could continue to pursue the decibel-level option or return to the outdoor amplified music ban. His suggestion drew some applause from the packed gallery.

P&Z member and former city commissioner Ric Gatehouse, who took office shortly after the city lifted the outdoor amplified-music ban, said he warned the commission, it “was opening a can of worms,” by lifting the ban.

However, he said his only duty at this point is to make sure the P&Z offers a recommendation that would give the city an ordinance that would withstand legal challenge. He said a performance-based ordinance with verifiable decibel-level readings would accomplish that goal.

Garrett said the city would eventually have to take a closer look at how it fines violators. He said in some other places, businesses pay the daily fines for violating noise ordinances as a “matter of doing business.”

Garrett said without considering serious punitive actions, any ordinance the city writes “will have no teeth.”

P&Z member Barbara Curtis said she had researched areas like Sarasota and St. Petersburg. She noted those decibel limits were much lower than what the city was proposing in its initial draft.

Garrett said city staff takes no ownership in what was being presented. He said it was being presented intentionally to be scrutinized for changes.

There were several other minor issues the board took issue with, but better testing of decibel levels before reviewing the ordinance further was top on the board’s list.

The tests will be performed during nighttime activities around Bradenton Beach and presented to the P&Z for further discussion and recommendation at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

HB tightens Mainsail agreement

Holmes Beach commissioners, at a Dec. 11 work session, made some minor tweaks to a settlement agreement between the city and the Mainsail Lodge development team.

It was the second round of review for commissioners. The agreement stems from two rounds of mediation initiated by Mainsail attorney Robert Lincoln to avoid suing the city over a March revocation of its site plan to develop the vacant commercial land near the intersection of Gulf and Marina drives.

The city received several concessions during the mediation, reduced setbacks, the elimination of some lodging buildings, a reduction in size for the two remaining buildings, reduction in restaurant seating and more.

Parking also was a primary point in the ongoing discussions with Mainsail and, while parking appears to be adequate for the proposed lodge, Commissioner Marvin Grossman alleged that Mainsail is already violating the parking ordinance at the marina where it leases boat slips to charter captains.

“I think the whole commission believes there should be no special interest,” said Grossman. “The marina has been operating for 12 years. There are hardly any parking spaces for the boat slips.”

Grossman said according to his count of boats using the slips and Mainsail’s business tax receipt, the developer is required to have 36 spaces.

“I was told they submitted a plan to correct all of this, but was then told it was our fault for not directing our mayor and building department to examine the information they submitted.”

Grossman said he wants that rectified.

Building official Tom O’Brien replied that the plan is “on the pending shelf.”

He said once the matter entered mediation, the review of the marina parking plan was put on hold, “and has been ever since.”

O’Brien said a code enforcement action was initiated prior to the mediation and that Mainsail’s parking plan was its response to the code enforcement action. However, he reiterated, everything was put on hold until the mediation is completed.

Grossman said anyone running a business in the city is required to do certain things.

“This one is being ignored and I don’t think that’s right,” said Grossman.

Mayor Carmel Monti said he would look into it and give it a high priority after city attorney Patricia Petruff said she agreed with Grossman.

Commissioners commenced with some minor adjustments to the settlement agreement, including defining some setback limits agreed to in mediation and ensuring the maximum capacity seating at the proposed restaurant would not exceed 80 seats.

Most of the adjustments were to ensure what was agreed to was associated with the appropriate language in the agreement.

The bigger issue for Commission Chair Judy Titsworth is that Mainsail has not yet reached a settlement with residents on Sunrise Lane. Mainsail wants to use the road for emergency vehicle access, but only partly owns the road along with the Sunrise Lane residents.

During mediation, it was made clear that any deal with the city would be contingent on Mainsail reaching a deal with the two Sunrise Lane residents who oppose Mainsail’s use of the road. Titsworth also lives on Sunrise Lane, but is not engaged in the dispute over use of the road.

However, with the elimination of some lodging facilities, Titsworth noted that Mainsail might not need to use Sunrise Lane. It was an idea that Mainsail did not oppose, if the opportunity ever surfaced.

A consensus was given to pass that option onto Mainsail before finalizing the agreement.

Titsworth also wanted the language clarified for Mainsail to clean up the site, since actual construction is likely to be four or more years away — and that is contingent on final site plan approval.

Titsworth wanted time limits imposed for cleanup and, while commissioners agreed, time limits were not defined during the work session.

The mullet are running, grab your cast net

It’s harvest time. And like farmers heading into the fields for a day’s work, well before sunrise, mullet fishers are loading their cast nets and gear aboard boats and heading onto the water.

In the fall, mullet group together and begin a migration pattern, intrinsic to their reproduction cycle, and a frenzy for fishers and fish fattened with roe begins.

But commercial fisher Tony Keehbauch doesn’t relate fishing to work.

“It’s like a two-month-long hunting trip. It’s fun, and you can make some good money,” said Keehbauch.

He hit the water by 4:45 a.m. Dec. 12. After a long day of throwing his cast nets, he took his haul to A.P. Bell Fish Co. to sort and weigh his catch. He squeezed the bottom side of each mullet with the skill of someone who has done it many times. Females, left bin; males, right bin. He repeated this action for each mullet in his 1,500-pound haul.

Keehbauch lives in Bradenton and has worked the mullet run for 15 seasons. He also fishes for mackerel and ladyfish.

“This year started slow, but the last two days have been pretty good. I got 1,200 pounds yesterday, 1,500 pounds today. We’ll probably kill ’em tomorrow,” said Keehbauch.

The slow start is a response to weather conditions, not calendar dates. Cold weather produced by a front signals mullets’ instinct to migrate from the bays into the Gulf of Mexico in large schools, making it easier to net large numbers of fish in one cast.

“It’s been a mild December, which helps fish get backed up,” said Keehbauch.

When the fish “get backed up” closer to the warmer shoreline waters, the migrating schools are larger and full of precious roe. Once the fish reach the Gulf, mature fish mate in deeper waters and release fertilized eggs, sustaining the population and continuing the migration pattern.

To extract the roe for consumption, the fish must be caught before they mate.

While male and female fish are caught, sold and consumed, the red roe in the female mullet is the real catch. This year’s price has started at $2.20 per pound for female fish and 10 cents per pound for male fish.

“The price is good. Last year it was $1.50 a pound for females. There’s big price difference,” said Keehbauch.

Keehbauch gauged the prize for his female fish as he tossed them into the bin. “That’s a $5 fish. This one here, maybe $4.50.”

Aside from the temperature, the mullet run also is affected by the conditions on the water. Mullet fishing requires hand-throwing a cast net, which can be difficult, if not impossible, on rough waters.

“Today was borderline. I was on the north end of Anna Maria Island and near the exposed shoreline. It was pretty rough,” said Keehbauch.

As the season comes to a close and the mullet travel into water too deep to catch, Keehbauch is happy.

“You put in some long hours, but it’s super fun and you get paid,” said Keehbauch.

Calendar – 12-18-2013

Fishing for volunteers

Planning is underway for the 32nd annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, which takes place Feb. 15-16 in the historic commercial fishing village. To volunteer for the festival, call FISH at 941-254-4972. Islander File Photo


Wednesday, Dec. 18

Noon — The Anna Maria Garden Club Christmas program and luncheon, Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-2607.

5:38 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Thursday, Dec. 19

5:39 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Friday, Dec. 20

5:40 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Saturday, Dec. 21

Winter begins.

8:30 a.m. — Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island breakfast and meeting, Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-1383.

5:40 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Sunday, Dec. 22

5:40 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Monday, Dec. 23

5:41 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Tuesday, Dec. 24

Today is Christmas Eve.

Noon — Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island meets, Bridge Street Bistro, 111 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach Information: 941-794-8044.

5:42 p.m. — Official sunset time.


Wednesday, Dec. 25

Today is Christmas.

5:42 p.m. — Official sunset time.



Wednesday, Dec. 18

5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. — South Florida Museum Star of Bethlehem talk, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-746-4131.


Saturday, Dec. 21

6-8 p.m. — De Soto National Memorial Winter Luminary Walk, 8300 De Soto Memorial Highway, Bradenton. Information: 941-792-0458.


Coming up

• Dec. 31 is New Year’s Eve.

• Jan. 1 is New Year’s Day.

• Jan. 11, Anna Maria Island Community Center Cornhole Tournament, Anna Maria.

• Jan. 11,         Florida Maritime Museum Porch Party, Cortez.


Save the date

• Jan. 17, Florida Arbor Day, events communitywide.

• Jan. 18-19, Anna Maria Chalk Festival, Anna Maria.

• Jan. 26, Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra Bach and Vivaldi concert, Holmes Beach.

• Feb. 1, Friends of the Island Library Book Sale, Holmes Beach.

• Feb. 15-16, 32nd annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, Cortez.


Sunset beat

On Fridays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Mike Sales’ sunset drum circle takes place at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. For more information, call 941-778-0784. Islander File Photo


Calendar of ongoing events, activities

• Through Dec. 22, “Peter Pan,” Manatee Players, Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-748-5875.

• Through Dec. 22, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” Manatee Players, Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Fee applies. Information: 941-748-5875.

• Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m., horseshoes pitched, Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-708-6130.

• Wednesdays, through March, Anna Maria Island Historical Society sells Settlers’ Bread, 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-779-7688.

• First Wednesdays, 1:15 p.m., Gulf Coast Writers meeting, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

• First Wednesdays, 6 p.m., Mana-Tweens book club, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

• Second Wednesdays, 7 p.m., Think+Drink science night, South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-746-4131.

• Most third Wednesdays, noon, Anna Maria Garden Club meets, Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-2607.

• Third Wednesdays, 6 p.m., Mana-Tween club, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

• Fourth Wednesdays, 7 p.m., star talk, South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-746-4131.

• Thursdays, 5-10 p.m., Main Street Live, Old Main Street, Bradenton. Information: 941-932-9440.

• Thursdays, 7 p.m., Jan. 16-March 27, bingo, Annie Silver Community Center, 103 23rd St., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-778-3580.

• First and third Thursdays, 2 p.m., knitting group meeting, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive. Information: 941-778-6341.

• Third Thursdays, 10 a.m., Island Library Book Club, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

• Third Thursdays, 10 a.m., guardian ad litem, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

• Most Fridays, Senior Adventures, low-cost field trips from Annie Silver Community Center, 103 23rd St. N., Bradenton Beach. Fee may apply. Information: 941-962-8835.

• Fridays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Mike Sales’ sunset drum circle, Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 778-0784.

• Third Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Pine Avenue Porch Party presented by local merchants, Pine Avenue, Anna Maria. Information: 941-896-3132.

• Saturdays, 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island meeting, Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-1383.

• Saturdays, through May, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market, Old Main Street. Information: 941-932-9440.

• Saturdays, 4 p.m., family night, South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-746-4131.

• Second Saturdays, 10 a.m., origami club, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

• Third Saturdays, 11 a.m., stress management through breathing, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive. Information: 941-778-6341.

• Third Saturdays, through May, 9 a.m., Manatee County Junior Audubon meeting, Felts Audubon Preserve, 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto. Information: 941-376-0110.

• Sundays, through April 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Bridge Street Market, 107 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach. Information: 215-906-0668.

• Mondays, 12:45 p.m., bridge games, Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Doors open at 12:15 p.m. Information: 941-778-0414.

• First Mondays, 7 p.m., Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage board meeting, Fishermen’s Hall, 4515 123rd St. W., Cortez. Information: 941-254-4972.

• Third Mondays, noon, Anna Maria Island Democrats meeting, Mannatees Sports Grill, 7423 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-779-0564.

• Third Mondays, 7 p.m., U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 81 meeting, 5801 33rd Ave. Court Drive W., G.T. Bray Park, Bradenton. Information: 941-779-4476.

• Tuesdays, 10 a.m., children’s storytime, Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-6341.

• Tuesdays, noon, Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island meeting, Bridge Street Bistro, 111 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-794-8044.

• Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m., Anna Maria Duplicate Bridge, the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3390.

        Send announcements of ongoing activities, as well as updates to schedules, to calendar@islander.org.


Calendar announcements

        Send calendar announcements to calendar@islander.org. Please include the time, date and location of the event, a brief description and a contact via email and phone. The deadline for submissions is the Wednesday a week before publication. High-resolution photographs welcome.

Island police blotter – 12-18-2013

Anna Maria

        • Dec. 3, 100 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria City Pier, lost property. A complainant reported he set his wallet down and went for coffee. When he returned, his wallet was missing. He said he was not sure if someone stole it or if he had misplaced it.

• Nov. 28, 500 block of Blue Heron Drive, vehicle burglary. Unknown persons gained entry to a boat and stole the steering wheel and lower motor. A cooler also was taken. Missing items were valued at $4,200.

• Dec. 2, 307 Pine Ave., General Store, attempted shoplifting. A suspect walked to the beer case and concealed a 12-pack of beer in his backpack. He then walked to the counter where he purchased a pack of cigarettes. The clerk questioned the man about the beer in his backpack, at which time the suspect allegedly said, “You got me.” He returned the beer to the case and exited the store. He was not located by law enforcement.

Anna Maria is policed by the MCSO.                                   

Bradenton Beach

        • No new reports.

        Bradenton Beach is policed by the BBPD.


• No new reports.

        Cortez is policed by the MCSO

Holmes Beach

• Dec. 8, 200 block of Harbor Drive, vehicle burglary. An unknown person gained entry into an unlocked vehicle and removed a canvas bag. The empty bag was found on the neighbor’s property, and the contents were missing.

• Dec. 11, 100 block of 68th Street, criminal mischief. Someone damaged a large light globe by throwing an object at it. Damages were estimated to be $200.

• Nov. 30, 5346 Gulf Drive, Hurricane Hank’s, hit and run. Several witnesses observed a woman back her vehicle into a bike rack and then accelerate onto Holmes Boulevard. Witnesses were able to get a description of the vehicle and a license plate number, which was provided to police. An officer stopped the vehicle the following day on Holmes Boulevard and the woman was questioned about the incident. She said she remembered hitting something, but did not think it was a vehicle. Police issued her two traffic citations and she gave $100 to Hurricane Hank’s for the damage to the bike rack.

• Dec. 2, 300 block of 56th Street, disturbance. Police were called in reference to someone shouting profanities, but were unable to locate the suspect upon arrival.

• Dec. 2, 2800 block of Avenue C, theft. A complainant reported that he returned from vacation to find his unsecured bicycle stolen from his yard. The bike was valued at $150.

• Dec. 5, 2800 block of Avenue C, burglary. A man reported that someone cut the screen to his patio and stole two 18-packs of beer from an outside refrigerator. He told police it wasn’t the first time it has happened, which is why he put locks on the patio door. The stolen items and damages to the screen were estimated at $90.

        Holmes Beach is policed by the HBPD.

        Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach police departments and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Real Estate – 12-18-2013

105 Fourth St. N., Bradenton Beach, a 2,300 sfla / 3,564 sfur home built in 2013 on a 50×88 lot was sold 11/25/13, 105 4th LLC to Gulf View Beach House LLC for $1,006,000.

107 Park Ave., Anna Maria, a 1,643 sfla / 2,323 sfur 2bed/2bath/1car home built in 1957 on a 100×106 lot was sold 11/27/13, Hendricks to Bean Point Properties LLC for $855,000; list $855,000.

211 84th St., Holmes Beach, a 1,491 sfla / 2,065 sfur 3bed/2bath/1car pool home built in 1974 on a 90×100 lot was sold 11/25/13, McMullen to Shinn for $470,000; $524,900.

1800 Gulf Drive N., Unit 107, La Costa, Bradenton Beach, a 952 sfla 1,088 sfur 2bed/1½bath condo with shared pool built in 1979 was sold 11/27/13, Federal National Mortgage Association to Schafer for $442,000.

6400 Flotilla Drive, Unit 13, Westbay Point & Moorings, Holmes Beach, a 1,114 sfla / 1,426 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1978 was sold 11/21/13, Bott to Shapiro for $232,700; list $259,000.

3705 East Bay Drive, Unit 213, Sunbow Bay, Holmes Beach, a 1,146 sfla / 1,247sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1980 was sold 11/25/13, Frenay to Scherrer for $208,900.

Jesse Brisson, broker/associate at Gulf-Bay Realty of Anna Maria, can be reached at 941-778-7244.