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Date of Issue: April 16, 2008

As the Island turns

Just like a soap opera on TV, the Island turns and the stories just keep coming. Like serial actors, we play our parts by reporting to you, our readers on the latest antics of folks in the news, community events, school happenings, bridge conditions, openings, closings, sailings updates and the news of record.

There seems no end to the drama we enjoy on “Island Time.”

Take for instance this month’s scramble for merchants whose location at the corner of Gulf Drive and Holmes Boulevard in Holmes Beach was sold this month, as we report in our business news this issue. There’s very little in new commercial “opportunities” on Anna Maria Island, but the sale of the two buildings occupied by a variety of businesses is prompting some “musical chairs.”

An Island benchmark of 37 years, the Sterling Anvil is packing up to head around the corner on Marina Drive to the bead store location, which plans to move to a vacant-for-too-long former hair salon in the building next door. With no hard feelings, everyone involved remains very optimistic about “bizness.” Particularly for the new owners and whatever plans the future may hold there.

And the opening this week of the new miniature golf course, the Fish Hole in Bradenton Beach, is good news for anyone looking for something to do on AMI in the evening. Trolley ride to Bridge Street, 18 holes, ice cream, stroll the city pier, trolley ride home. Ahhh. It’s a fine addition to our ever-evolving repertoire.

And there’s excitement this week at our little school by the bay in the dedication of the auditorium Tuesday night for the school’s much-admired 25-year principal, Jim Kronus.

It’s our pleasure to note, too, that the school now has a principal to celebrate: Tom Levengood. He has his heart and soul implanted at AME - and he faces some projected budget cuts that threaten to tarnish next year’s lessons.

But he has a solution. He’s willing to take a percentage cut in pay along with every other employee in the district, from the lowest staff on the pay scale to the district superintendent and district board members to make up the shortfall. Share the pain. And it won’t be nearly the sting, he says, as having to lay off staff and seeing people out of work.

It’s the best short-term solution we’ve heard for hedging next year’s budget crisis.

It would be nice to see the state fund the school budget with “all that lottery money,” but in the meantime, you can help. Visit for contacts to lend your support to Tom’s budget reduction proposal.

You CAN help make the “Island turn.”


Contacts to share opinions on school budget reductions:

To reach the Manatee County School Board members, including Harry Kinnan, Barbara Harvey, Walter Miller, Jane Pfeilsticker and Robert Gause, go to on the Internet for their contact information, or call 941-708-8770, ext. 2155. Write board members at 215 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton FL 34205.

School district superintendent Roger Dearing can be contacted at 941-708-8770, the same mail address as the board, or by e-mail at

To reach state Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, e-mail him at Bill.galvano@myfloridahouse.govor write 214 House Office Building, 402 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee FL 32399, or call 850-488-4086.

To reach state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, e-mail bennett.mike.web@, call 850-487-5078, or write Room 216 Senate Office Building, 404 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee FL 32399-1100.