Resort purchased for $4 million
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
Preserving the Island ambiance
was their goal, said Gary Schmeichel and Marvin Slovacek,
of their decision to revitalize the Anna Maria Island
The pair purchased the resort at 105 39th Street in Holmes
Beach recently for $4 million from Brenda Boyd May. Plans
are to sell the units as condominiums but rent them as
"Were completely excited about it," Schmeichel
said. "One of the things that drew us was being able
to keep the warm cottage atmosphere and sell them to people
who feel the same."
Slovacek agreed and added, "Our intention is to maintain
the quaint resort ambiance while freshening and upgrading
Barry Gould, of Island Vacation Properties (IVP), was
the selling agent and will manage the units.
"Preserving the resort is very important to me,"
Gould pointed out. "Im pleased that I was able
to find buyers who will keep it in its original condition.
The plan is to bring all the units into like-new condition
and make them available to small investors who want a
piece of our paradise without spending millions of dollars
"Because of taxes it is hard for resort owners to
show a profit, but the individual investor would be thrilled
to own a property that breaks even. Even though there
will be individual owners, it will be transparent to the
Schmeichel said the pair plans to begin smaller renovations
this summer, then begin major renovations in September
and complete them by December.
"The pool is in great condition," Gould noted.
"We will redo all the components such as the walkways
and gardens and keep the charm of the place.
There are 9 one-bedroom units and 2 two-bedroom units.
Four units directly face the beach and the others have
angled views of the beach. Unit prices will be in the
low $400,000 range.
"We will begin presales in August," Schmeichel
said, "but there probably wont be any closings
until after the end of the year."
Gould said one amenity that will be available to guests
is wireless Internet access.
"We are the first on the Island to have it,"
Gould said. "There will be wireless Internet access
anywhere it the building. People want to have high speed
Internet access while they are on vacation."
Resort reservations will become part of IVPs internal
reservation system. This enables agents to refer people
to similar units that are available if their first choice
"We can satisfy more people by referring them to
other units," Gould said. "Were gradually
developing an Islandwide service for this type of
Vacationers also can book units on line and take a virtual
tour of the resort. The Internet
address for IVP is www.islandvacationproperties.com. The
Internet address for AMI Beach Resort is www.annamariaislandbeachresort.com.
For further information, call Gould at 448-5500.
Center what about the windfall?
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA This years
Anna Maria Island Community Center auction, Affaire to
Remember, raised $770,000, and now people are asking where
did the money go and why do Center officials need to raise
The answer is simple, said Tom Breiter, treasurer for
the board of directors.
"The auction raised $770,000," he explained.
"About $189,000 will be used for operating expenses.
The board dedicated the remainder, $580,000, to the building
"With those pledges and cash donations, we have over
75 percent of our goal for the capital campaign. Although
we raised a lot of extra funds, its not going to the operation
of the Center. The excess is going toward remodeling so
we can improve our services to our citizens."
The Centers current operating budget is $845,000.
The Island cities donate $60,000 or about 7 percent. The
remainder, or about $785,000, must be raised by grants
from government and private agencies, program fees, donations
and special event fundraisers such as the auction, the
bowling, fishing and golf tournaments and the Tour of
Salaries top expenses
"As in any government agency or business, salaries
are the largest part of our budget," Breiter said.
"However, the board of directors and the finance
committee review comparable salary data for other non-profit
agencies before granting any compensation package or annual
The Community Center has nine full-time employees, including
an executive director, an assistant executive director,
an office manager, a custodian and employees in charge
of education, the Family Foundations program, human resources,
sports and public relations/development.
Salaries of full-time employees are as follows: executive
director, $62,000; assistant executive director, $49,750;
education director, $30,578; Family Foundations/ grant
writer, $35,089; human resources, $31,567; sports programs,
$27,500; public relations and development, $33,000; custodian,
$31,200; and office manager, $35,175.
Breiter said all full-time employees receive a Christmas
bonus based on a percentage of their salary. It is the
only bonus they receive.
Regarding the salary of Executive Director Pierrette Kelly,
who has been at the Community Center for 15 years, Breiter
noted, "It is in line or a little below what comparable
executive directors at other non-profit agencies earn."
Chairman of the Board Andy Price added, "We struggle
with salaries because we know Pierrette is worth more
than we pay her. We try to be fiscally responsible in
what we compensate all employees but somewhat competitive
in the job market. Its tough when you depend solely
on fundraising for your support."
A salary study done by The Non Profit Times, a publication
for nonprofit agencies, showed that in agencies with annual
budgets between $500,000 and $999,999, executive directors
are paid an average of $64,552 to $66,840.
There are currently seven part-time employees, but that
number changes depending on the time of year. For example,
more employees are needed for the summer camp program.
All part-time employees are paid hourly.
"Were labor intensive because every program
has to have a teacher or a coach," Breiter explained.
"We feel our employees are not over-compensated.
In fact, we feel that they may be under-compensated by
10 to 15 percent."
Other expenses and income
Community Center expenses are as follows: salaries (including
payroll taxes, insurance, etc.), $590,000; insurance (liability,
building, etc.), $50,000; office expenses, $20,000; utilities,
$20,000; building and grounds, $15,000; programs, $90,000;
and fundraisers, $60,000.
Income is as follows: memberships and donations, $75,000;
grants and funds from the
Island cities, Manatee County and the United Way, $230,000;
program revenue, $200,000;
and fundraisers, $340,000.
All figures have been rounded out for simplification.
The Community Center has an annual audit by an independent
auditing firm. The audit is public record.
"Look at our audit; were proud of it,"
Drive Cafe owners react
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
The owners of the Gulf Drive Café, facing fines
of $750 per day for not complying with orders regarding
parking lots, have hired an attorney.
Co-owner Wendy Kokolis said Monday that they have retained
Mark Barnebey to represent them in their code enforcement
On March 17, the city's code enforcement board ordered
them to erect a four-foot high, chain-link fence around
beachfront property approximately 40 feet south of the
restaurant to keep customers and others from parking on
the property. It also ordered them to install a four-foot
high, chain-link fence around the west and south sides
of a parking lot across the street that was not approved
for use as a parking facility. It also ordered them to
install a fence around another lot adjacent to that one
with a pedestrian pass-through on the west side and a
24-foot vehicular access/egress at the southeast corner
to limit traffic entering Gulf Drive.
According to George Kokolis, co-owner of the restaurant,
the fines are unfair.
"We pay $12,000 a year in taxes and the city tries
to tell us what to do," he said. "We owned the
parking lots and never had fences around them. They are
Building official Ed McAdam said he met with Kokolis and
a representative of a fencing company after that meeting
and they walked the area showing the representative where
the fence should go. During that meeting, co-owner Wendy
Kokolis joined them and told McAdam they would not be
installing the fence. That led to another code enforcement
board meeting last Thursday, where the board found them
in non-compliance and imposed a $250 per day fine for
violating each of the three orders. The board also fined
them $2,738.33 for city-incurred expenses in holding the
two code enforcement board hearings.
During the penalty hearing last Thursday, Kokolis questioned
why they had to fence off the parking lots.
"This area has been there for 20 years and I don't
know why I have to fence them in now," he said.
The Kokolis's have owned the restaurant and the two lots
in question across the street for 20 years. Until last
year, they leased it to Tom and Spiro Chippain, who bought
a lot directly across the street and used it for parking.
The two lots the Kokolis's owned stood empty, but when
they closed out the lease for the Chippains, they came
to the city and worked out an agreement to develop the
fallow lots for parking. That plan included fencing the
one lot and using the other, located adjacent to Gulf
Drive, with limited access to the roadway. It also included
fencing the beachfront property, which had been used illegally
by the public. When they missed deadlines for developing
the lot, the code enforcement board stepped in.
Sea Turtle gearing up for summer environmental camp
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
Medallion School Partnerships
will team up with Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch for a
second season of Project Sea Turtle.
That's an environmental day camp for kids ranging in age
from 7 to 13.
"We do a lot of wonderful things," said Director
Tuesdays are discovery bay day. Campers will don masks,
snorkels and fins and learn to identify marine life in
Wednesdays each week will be devoted to exploring careers
in marine science and other environmental fields.
Thursdays are for Florida adventures such as kayaking,
exploring Egmont Key, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and other
Florida spots of interest to budding scientists.
And Fridays campers will be going what Swosinski calls
Turtleopia "an awesome way of measuring how
much we learned during the week. It's a combination of
jeopardy, fear factor and any fun and messy game show
you've ever seen."
"A lot of kids are returning campers this year, and
a lot of kids have signed up for the whole summer,"
"But many children choose to come only for a week
or two. It's designed to be interesting to each type of
camper, no matter the age."
Swosinski has put together six, one-week sessions that
will run from June 6 through July 22. Campers will gather
at Sea Breeze Elementary School in town at 8 a.m. Then
after the day's activities on the Island and elsewhere,
campers will return to the school for pickup by parents.
Cost of a one week session is $135. Additionally, there's
a $30 registration fee.
You can pick up a registration form at the Sun office
at 202 Palm Ave. in Anna Maria, or you can call the Medallion
School Partnerships at 941-752-3983 for more information.
Other turtle news
The first nest was spotted on the Florida Gulf coast last
week. One nest was laid on Manasota Key. Reports are that
the turtles are just off shore.
One surfer last week was surprised by a turtle who lifted
its big head out of the water just a couple of feet from
the man's board. "At first I was a little startled,
but then I realized it was a turtle," said Island
resident Will Corr. "It was great!"
Turtle Watch volunteers began walking the beaches May
1, and they are reporting that people are leaving a lot
of things on the beach during the overnight hours.
"This could present a real danger to our nesting
moms," said AMI Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox. "The
turtles can become entangled in tents and beach chairs.
It's just not a good situation."
Turtle Watch is asking residents and visitors to take
their beach gear home each night or to place it above
the dune line.
proposes a new group to beautify the Island
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Jim
Dunne and John Molyneux said they plan to team up to form
a group called Keep the Island Beautiful.
"Maybe the time has come to form an Island-wide group
to keep the Island beautiful to cover all three cities,"
Dunne told members of the parks and beautification advisory
board last week. "The group would encourage the development
of an ambiance that would go beyond the borders. We would
work with EEEC (Anna Marias Environmental, Education
and Enhancement Committee), the garden clubs, STOP (Stop
taking Our Pines) and others to see what we can do to
enhance the beauty of Anna Maria Island."
"Its a seed we want to try and plant,"
Molyneux added. "Its in an embryonic stage."
Last year, Dunne had proposed a group called Island Trees,
Inc., a non-profit corporation to be jointly formed by
the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis and Rotary clubs to encourage
the reforestation of Holmes Beach. However, the two groups
did not pursue the idea.
Dunne said he and Molyneux would follow up on their proposal
in the fall.
Public Works Supervisor Joe Duennes reported that the
city has planted 11 crepe myrtles and 56 alexander palms
from 28th Street north along the right of way on Gulf
Drive. The project cost $20,000 and was funded by a grant
from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Duennes said the city plans to plant 11 black olive trees
around the perimeter of the field
adjacent to city hall. In addition, the city will repair
the sidewalk, add a swale and resurface Flotilla Drive
and 62nd Street.
Board member Kathy King asked Duennes about the maintenance
of the bicycle lanes, citing encroachments from foliage,
sand and driveways with uneven surfaces that can create
dangerous situations for bicyclists.
Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens said the city maintains
the path once a month.
Duennes said when Gulf Drive is repaved between the traffic
light at Marina and Gulf drives north to the city limit
next summer, it will cure the driveway problem.
In other business:
Dunne resigned as chairman of the group and board
members approved David Zaccagnino as the new chairman.
Dunne said the city has taken over maintenance
of the traffic islands at East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue
until it can select a landscape company to adopt the islands.
Board member Deborah Heger asked the board to pursue
the idea of a pedestrian walkway in the city.
The board set its next meeting for 5 p.m. Wednesday,
house" the talk of the town
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA There's
a lot of buzzing going on about a house being constructed
on Pine Avenue from Styrofoam blocks.
Michael Coleman, who plans to live in it with his wife
and the four youngest of his six sons, is building the
house. He's getting help from his two grown sons and a
All the talk is about the construction method.
"This is the way to go," Coleman said. "It's
environmentally sound. You don't use a whole lot of wood
building it, and you don't have to use a lot of energy
to heat or cool the house once it's built."
The building materials are made from Styrofoam blocks.
They are panels several inches apart that are held together
by some plastic pieces onto which the rebar is laid. The
blocks are stuck together much like the plastic Lego blocks
that children play with.
The blocks are glued and then concrete is poured into
the middle of them.
"This house has an energy efficiency rating of R-50,
and it can carry a 300 mile per hour wind load,"
"Then once the house is built, you can attach the
sheet rock or whatever you want inside and you can do
the outside in whatever style you want antique,
Key West, whatever you want."
Coleman said he feels good about the house, because it's
solid and it will stand long after he's gone.
This is the third house Coleman has built using this method.
He first built a home for his family in the Berkshires
in western Massachusetts. Then he built one for his pastor.
And now the Anna Maria house.
While the Sun was interviewing Coleman, several people
stopped by to look at the house and discuss the progress,
including City Commissioner Carol Ann Magill, who was
riding by on her bicycle.
There were mentions of other houses built on the Island
using the same construction method. One was maybe built
on Magnolia, one passerby thought. Maybe there was one
in Holmes Beach, another said.
Everyone seemed interested in the process.
Coleman said he's happy to talk to people about the construction.
"Anyone's welcome to stop by when we're taking a
break," he said. "A good time is around lunch
time when we're not busy with the building. We're happy
to explain the process and show people how this is done."
How did he happen to come to Anna Maria?
"We always came to Florida on vacation," he
said. "One time while driving home, we took a wrong
turn and ended up on Anna Maria. We drove down Pine Avenue
to the city pier and turned left. We saw a lot of construction
going on. My wife and her sister got out of the car and
saw Bean Point. That was it for us."
Coleman's mother-in-law, Jean Harris, has lived in Anna
Maria for about seven years now. His two grown sons are
moving to the area.
Coleman said he expects the house to be completed in July
or August and then he and his family will call the 2,000
square-foot dwelling home.
friends lend an ear to reading program
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Students
in Carly Carlsward's first-grade class learned one thing
this year dogs make great listeners.
Carlsward, in her first year at Anna Maria Elementary
School, invited Patda Delatorre to her classroom in January
to try out a new program for those students who are intimidated
in front of crowds, which makes reading to their classmates
a traumatic experience. Delatorre brought her golden Labrador/golden
retriever, Scottie, to the classroom and Carlsward sent
students having difficulties reading outside to read to
"It's called the CCI (Canine Companion for Independence)
program," said Delatorre, who lives at Lakewood Ranch.
"They breed the dogs with this mix to get the gentleness
of the golden retriever and the smartness of the lab."
As Scottie lay on the grass, the students would read out
of their books, building up confidence in their reading
skills and boosting their ability to read in front of
"They might be shy, but they don't mind reading in
front of a dog," said Delatorre. "One girl,
who had been having difficulties reading, read to Scottie
last week and when she finished the first book, she asked
if she could read another. She said, 'You know, reading
Delatorre said she originally approached Carlsward with
"She and I belong to the same sorority," she
said. "We met and I told her about it and she thought
it was a good project."
Delatorre said she may not be able to come to the Island
next school year because there
are other schools that might be interested in the project
closer to her Lakewood Ranch home. Carlsward said she
would like to continue the program for her students on
the Island, if she could find someone interested.
prepares to honor military
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Saturday,
May 21, is Armed Forced Day and American Legion Stewart
Kirby Post 24 is sponsoring a countywide salute to the
military with a Blue Star Salute.
Reminiscent of the blue stars that shined in windows of
service personnel during World Wars I and II, this celebration
honors the families of men and women in the military and
the reserve forces of the United States. The American
Legion has collected names of families and will honor
them at a ceremony at McKechnie Field in Bradenton at
11 a.m. that day. There will be a simultaneous celebration
on the Island at Manatee County Beach, sponsored by the
Island Kiwanis Club, beginning at 10:30.
Local musician Bob LoPiccolo leads off the event with
martial music on the keyboards at
10:30, followed by an invocation at 10:45 a.m., led by
Rev. Frank McGrath, president of All Island Denominations.
The Bayshore High School Junior ROTC will present the
colors and Carl Jones will lead the crowd in the Pledge
of Allegiance. Kiwanis past-president Rich Bohnenberger,
also a Holmes Beach city commissioner, will introduce
Island Mayors SueLynn, Carol Whitmore and John Chappie
who will present a resolution signed by all three cities
honoring the military.
There will be a fly-over of the Island by military aircraft
from MacDill Air Force Base around 11 a.m. The planes
will go from the south to the north, turn west at the
Manatee River and proceed over another celebration at
the Green Bridge between Palmetto and Bradenton before
flying over McKechnie Field.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Island event. Those
families of military personnel both active and reserve
still have time to sign up and be recognized. To do so,
call Karen Mauriello at 792-1160 or Len Sirotski, at 761-3324.
Gallery West celebrates 15 years
In December of 1989, the
idea of an art center on Anna Maria Island was just a
dream of one man, James Pay. At that time, if Island residents
wanted to take art lessons, they had to go either to Sarasota
or downtown Bradenton. In addition to James Pay, there
were several artists and members of a local art league
that wanted someplace to show their art work for sale.
In January 1990, a space to rent was found at 5368 Gulf
Drive in the S&S Plaza in Holmes Beach. The space
had been an auto parts shop and required many hours of
cleaning, scrubbing, scraping and painting by the members
in order to transform it into an attractive place to display
art. Some of those artists were Sidney McKeena, Mary Worobec,
Helen DeForge, Thelma Weeks, Irene Murphy, Judy Adams,
Bren Jackson and Jane Fitzgerald.
In April of 1990, the doors opened with a ribbon-cutting
ceremony by the Island Chamber of Commerce and a big reception
for everyone. The Anna Maria Island Art League and Island
Gallery West became a reality.
There was one large front room to display art work and
a smaller space in the back where the Art League held
classes. Some of the artists teaching were Mary DuCharme,
Jan Hart, Harry Thompson and Nancy Schaefer.
In the beginning the Gallery was open seven days a week
from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The members split sitting duty each
day as they felt the long hours were necessary so people
could get to know about them. Advertising was by word
of mouth as there was only enough money for the basic
expenses. Maintaining a tight budget, they were able to
make expenses and the artists were happy as their art
work was selling.
In 1991 another space became available in a building on
Holmes Blvd. for the expansion of the Art League with
more room for classes. The artists who were displaying
their work decided to stay at the Gulf Drive location.
The gallery closed for one week while artist members worked
to redesign the space by taking out a dividing wall and
door between the two areas and opened up the old classroom
space for more display space.
Several tall rolling display cabinets were cut down to
table height, thus opening up the space and making it
light and bright.
Island Gallery West is now celebrating 15 years in the
same location. Over the years there
has been a flow of artists joining or leaving, maintaining
an average of 25 to 30 members. It continues to be an
artists cooperative with no paid employees and each
member is required to sit gallery duty once a month. If
an artist is interested in joining the gallery they must
submit 3 pieces of their work for jurying by the members.
If youve never been in Island Gallery West, youre
in for a treat because this gallery shows very high quality
work at very affordable prices. Even if you dont
want to buy any art work, just come in and visit with
the artist on duty and enjoy the beauty and talent of
these fine artists. You can also visit their website at