Shore returns to FISH, assumes board role

Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court R.B. “Chips” Shore returned to the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage board in Cortez at a June meeting that was held without quorum.

Shore was unable to attend the July 1 FISH meeting, but he not only was returned to the board, he assumed an executive board role as secretary.

Since former secretary Joe Kane was voted off the board in March, FISH officers have repeatedly asked for a board member to fill the role as secretary without success. That is until Shore’s return.

Shore, whose office is in charge of the Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez, resigned from FISH after months of contention between some board members and the museum staff.

Shore complained that museum staff was being treated with hostility by some FISH members and that his comments at meetings were being misrepresented by Kane in meeting minutes.

Kane’s ouster from the board following the annual election led FISH members to ask Shore to reconsider his resignation in May and he agreed.

Much of the July 1 discussion was devoted to the board’s annual budget and the rental of two FISH-owned properties to tenants.

The board has debated continued issues over disputed rent payments from its tenants and began a debate on whether or not to raise the rent on the two properties.

The first property is an apartment in the old Cortez Community Center and a small space in the former church classroom building.

The finance committee recommended raising the rent to $500 and $225 respectively.

A debate on fair market value ensued and how much money FISH should take into consideration on personal investments made by the tenants to improve their units.

A motion was made to raise the church space to $225 per month, but to grant a $50 per month credit to the tenant to repay him for his personal investment into the property.

A second motion was made to increase the rent of the community center apartment to $500. Both motions passed unanimously by those members present.

In other matters, Turner Maritime Challenge executive director Sean Wardell said the Sea Scouts of America program established early this year is going well.

Wardell said the Sea Scouts have spent 15 hours aboard sailboats and nine hours in classroom activities in June.

In boatworks matters, Jim Kelly reported that the fleet of FISH boats is being painted to better identify the fleet to the public. There will be an identical color scheme carried out on all boats.

Festival chairwoman Linda Molto said an application to hold the 2014 fishing festival is being prepared and that festival themes are currently being considered. Molto said a possible theme for the next festival is “Wishing I was fishing,” but asked the members to bring their ideas to the Aug. 5 board meeting.

FISH still awaits approval of a $250,000 Southwest Florida Water Management District grant to be put toward restoration of the 95-acre FISH preserve.

The board has worked on the grant for several years and has been assured the funding will be approved. Preserve acting chair Karen Bell said a meeting with Swiftmud would take place soon to discuss when the funds will be available.

Bell also reported that fishing activity was slowed by the recent stormy weather and that fishers were focusing their time on boat and gear maintenance in advance of improving weather.

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