The Pittsburgh Pirates will begin selling season tickets Monday, Nov. 11, for the team’s 2020 Grapefruit League games.
Past season ticketholders began reserve their seats Oct. 28.
Season tickets will cost $437-$245 and six-game weekend packages will sell for $174-$108.
Single-game tickets will go on sale in January, with early-bird pricing at $34-$23 and game day pricing at $29-$18.
The Pirates will play 33 games, including 16 at home at LECOM Park, the homefield for the Pirates at 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton.
Opening day will be Saturday, Feb. 22, when the team will host the Minnesota Twins at LECOM Park.
The Pirates will follow that up with a pair of games Feb. 23 — a home game against the Detroit Tigers and a road game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater.
Additional highlights of the schedule at LECOM Park include:
• Feb. 25-26: The Pirates will host the Phillies and Boston Red Sox on consecutive days, which will be the only time the Pirates will host the Red Sox in Bradenton in 2020.
• March 7: The Pirates will take on the New York Yankees, in the Yankees’ only visit to Bradenton in 2020.
• March 9-12: The Toronto Blue Jays will travel to Bradenton to play the Pirates twice in four days.
• March 13: A night game against the Minnesota Twins.
• March 17: In a St. Patrick’s Day matchup, the Pirates will take on the Phillies.
• March 23: The Pirates will close out the home portion of the Grapefruit League season against the Tigers.
The final game of the Pirates’ Grapefruit League season will come against the Tigers in Lakeland March 24.
For more information, call the box office at 941-747-3031.
A final report on the concert series at the Center of Anna Maria Island is out.
The costs, however, remain secret.
The series, which ran from February to the start of April, featured The Outlaws, Phil Vassar, Judy Collins, BJ Thomas and The Marshall Tucker Band. The Manatee County Tourist Development Council approved spending for the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau of $100,000 in tourist tax revenue to sponsor the concerts, but no expenses were detailed in a final report presented to TDC members.
Janene Amick, chief executive officer of the Manatee Performing Arts Center, presented the report to the TDC and said the concerts had raised almost $100,000 in ticket sales.
She said the money would be split between MPAC, which hosted the Judy Collins concert and managed the series and box office sales, and the island center, which hosted four concerts.
Center board chair David Zaccagnino and executive director Chris Culhane told The Islander that expense details for the series would be disclosed during Amick’s presentation, but Amick made no mention of expenses in her presentation to the TDC.
Apparently, her omission of expenses was by design.
She said in an April 16 interview with The Islander that MPAC’s contracts with the concert performers, as well as the promoter, Rich Engler, would not be disclosed to the public because of the competitive nature of the entertainment industry.
Amick said disclosing the contracts would allow competitors to undermine MPAC’s future negotiations with performers and promoters, but added that the BACVB’s $100,000 went entirely to Engler and the performers.
Amick said in an interview April 10 that MPAC incurred other expenses to stage concerts at the island center, including valet services and sound and lighting system rentals. She added the center also incurred expenditures, including the cost of security, chair rentals and food and beverages.
No such expenses were disclosed to the TDC or to The Islander, despite requests for records under Florida’s Sunshine Laws.
Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who chairs the TDC, was absent April 15 due to illness, but later agreed in a phone call with the reasoning for omitting expenses in the report.
“It wasn’t paid for with tax money, it was paid for with tourist tax, not Manatee County residents, unless they stayed in a hotel in Manatee County or a short-term rental,” she said. “I don’t know who was paid what, what costs what. It really isn’t my business.”
The county tourist tax is a 5% tax on rentals of six months or less.
Whitmore said the TDC funded the series to bring people to the area to help counter the negative effects of red tide in 2018 on local businesses. She said that was accomplished.
“I was at The Outlaws concert and I met some guys from England that were in Orlando that saw on the internet that The Outlaws were going to be here, and they downloaded all their songs and listened on the way here and told me about a bunch of songs I didn’t even know,” Whitmore said. “So yeah, there was people from all over, it wasn’t a local thing.”
“This ended up being surprisingly successful,” she added.
When asked if there was data backing up the claim that the series brought tourists to the area and nearby businesses, Whitmore responded, “I have no clue.”
The Islander submitted a records request March 15 to BACVB executive director Elliott Falcione and Whitmore, but the request remained largely unfulfilled as of April 22.
Some purchase orders and invoices were provided, as well as a spreadsheet related to Jane Seymour’s visit. Other documents await processing.
Whitmore said all Sunshine-liable information already had been disclosed.
At the meeting, Falcione announced the BACVB would ask the county commission to approve the concert sponsorship expense for the next two years.
An erratic driver in Anna Maria April 1 told a Manatee County sheriff’s deputy he was the producer for the concert that night at the community center.
And he was.
Richard A. Engler, 72, of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, known in the entertainment business in Pittsburgh, was arrested for driving impaired by Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Kenyan, who was monitoring traffic at Palm and Gulf drives in Anna Maria after a concert attended by some 800 people at the Center of Anna Maria Island.
The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau-sponsored concert at the Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., brought Engler to the stage, where he introduced the headliner for the event, The Marshall Tucker Band.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the BACVB, touted Engler as a Pittsburgh music hall-of-fame inductee, announcing Engler was contracted to produce entertainment for the BACVB concert series. According to a Manatee County purchase order, $100,000 was allocated for the concert series by the Tourist Development Council from the county’s resort tax collections.
Shortly after the concert wrapped up at the center, Kenyan observed Engler, driving a black SUV, make a wide turn south onto Gulf Drive from Magnolia Avenue, according to the probable cause report.
The report also states the deputy saw the vehicle swerve across the center line and also the fog line — the solid white line that defines the right side of the road — twice, once within a few feet of the sidewalk where pedestrians were present.
According to the report, Engler told the deputy several times he was the producer of the concert. He also told Kenyan he had “one drink a short while ago with the band,” the report states.
Engler also told the deputy he had medical issues, including migraine, heart and prostrate concerns for which he took medications, but he agreed to perform Kenyan’s roadside tests.
Engler also agreed to provide breath samples after Kenyan read him the implied consent warning.
Under Florida law, consent to take the tests is implied if an officer has probable cause to believe a person is driving under the influence. The penalty for a first offense is a one-year license suspension.
Engler was transported to the Holmes Beach Police Department for the tests, where he provided two breath samples, both measuring 0.014 blood-alcohol content, below the legal limit of 0.08.
A urine sample was requested but, according to Kenyan’s report, Engler was unable to provide the sample.
Engler was transported and booked at the Manatee County jail.
He posted a $120 bond and was released.
Engler’s arraignment is set for 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 6, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
By Joe Konyou
Flor Winebrenner is going to lay a golden egg.
Then she’ll wait and watch for someone with a keen eye to find the prize.
“The egg is worth about $12,000,” said Winebrenner, who moved to Anna Maria in September 2018 from her farm outside Carbondale, Illinois. “Whoever finds the egg gets to keep the egg.”
In Illinois, Winebrenner managed her family’s farm. After selling the 6,000-acre property to the state to expand Southern Illinois University’s agricultural education program, the retiree had quite the nest egg.
“I’m fortunate and I want to share the wealth,” she told The Islander in an exclusive interview March 21. “The property was in my family for so many years — more than a hundred years. And we did well.”
Winebrenner decided to put some money into a farm assistance program back in Illinois, invest in a cottage near Anna Maria’s Bayfront Park and share some of her hard-earned fortune.
Early April 1, she plans to hide the golden egg in Bayfront Park while she’s taking her regular morning walk.
“I had the egg made years ago,” she said. “I know, it was an eccentric thing to do but my husband and I always loved the message of the Aesop fable.”
Winebrenner’s favorite tale was “The Goose and the Golden Egg,” not “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which also features a goose that lays golden eggs.
In the Aesop fable, a countryman possesses a goose that daily laid a glittering golden egg that he sold on trips to the market. But the man grew greedy and impatient and decided he wanted more than a golden egg each day.
“You know what happened,” Winebrenner said. “He got the idea to kill the goose, cut it open and collect a bunch of golden eggs at once. Instead, he had a dead goose and no more eggs.”
She commissioned a Carbondale blacksmith to create the golden egg to remind her to appreciate her wealth and feel compassion for the animals kept on her farm.
“I’ve lived the message,” Winebrenner said. “Now it is time to pass on the golden egg, with a caution not to be the kind to kill the goose that lays them.
“And also time to say, ‘Happy April Fool’s Day.’”
Editor’s note: Joe Konyou is a pseudonym for Islander editor Lisa Neff. She and the rest of the staff at the newspaper wish you a foolish April 1.
When the Manatee County Tourist Development Council voted Dec. 19, 2018, to make a $100,000 budget recommendation to the county to help fund a concert series in conjunction with two nonprofit venues, the lineup was just coming together.
The first two shows at the Center of Anna Maria Island sold out, and people are buzzing about the remaining concerts.
Rounding out the first Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau concerts are:
- March 8, Judy Collins at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Doors open 7 p.m. Tickets are $80-$125.
- March 21, BJ Thomas at the Center of Anna Maria Island, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Doors open 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-$100.
- April 1, The Marshall-Tucker Band at the Center of Anna Maria Island, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Doors open 6 p.m. Presale tickets are $50-$65.
Tickets are available at the Manatee Performing Arts Center box office 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, or by calling 941-748-5875.
For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit manateeperformingartscenter.com.
Jane Seymour paid a visit to Anna Maria Island Jan. 18 to show off her talents.
A collection of sculptures and paintings by the actress, artist, author and designer is on display through Feb. 9 at the Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, where Seymour attended a reception in her honor.
Seymour’s trip to Manatee County was part of a tourism promotion to benefit area nonprofits and businesses, including local workers, by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Studio and the Sandbar Restaurant hosted the art reception.
Her work also is offered for sale at the studio.
Seymour is just one highlight of a series of BACVB concerts and events designed to boost the economy on the heels of the hardships suffered during a red tide outbreak that started in August.
Seymour mingled with the crowd, posed for snapshots, discussed her art and demonstrated how to make her heart-healthy coleslaw recipe.
In a brief speech, Seymour outlined how, in her late 20s, she went through a “terrible divorce.”
She said her mother’s words always resounded, to open her heart and help someone else when life gets challenging. It would become the inspiration for Seymour’s popular Open Hearts collection of sculpture, jewelry, art and a foundation.
She said a friend led her to art as a way through her pain. “It became my healing,” Seymour told the crowd.
Seymour founded the Open Hearts Foundation 10 years ago and her signature swirling, connecting hearts became a symbol for people to turn adversity into opportunity. The foundation is committed to growing nonprofits with the philosophy of love finding its way into an open heart.
Seymour dedicated an Open Hearts sculpture, a collaboration of the BACVB and Realize Bradenton at Riverwalk in Bradenton earlier in the day.
“I want people to find joy in their lives,” Seymour told the island crowd. “In the end, only two things really matter: The love you have shared and the difference you have made.”