HOLMES BEACH At last weeks
Island elected officials meeting, Anna Maria commissioners
offered to do the research on consolidating services
among the three cities.
"We would be willing to put our money where our
mouth is and take the lead," Anna Maria Commissioner
Chris Tollette said. "Duke Miller has formulated
some very good viable ideas."
Tollettes offer came after Holmes Beach Mayor
Carol Whitmore explained, "My city told me to
stop the process as far as having my staff look into
the referendum question because we couldnt get
"But Anna Maria is talking about consolidation
of services. Ive tried it four times and I think
its another citys turn to take the lead.
Whitmore was acting on a referendum approved last
fall by voters in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach
to study consolidation. Anna Maria commissioners declined
to put the referendum on their ballot.
Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach were exploring the
cost of funding an independent study, when Bradenton
Beach officials voted against pursuing it. Thats
when Holmes Beach commissioners agreed to go it alone,
however, the other two cities said they would charge
for information requested by Holmes Beach.
"Were ready for somebody else to start
the process," Homes Beach Commissioner David
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie said his city voted
against pursuing the study because the referendum
said all three cities would participate.
"Whether its a day late and a dollar short,"
Tollette said, "I wish our city had stepped up
right from the beginning. I felt very strongly about
allowing the voters to vote on the issue.
Anna Maria Commissioner John Quam said he favors combining
services and said the study could start with one service.
He suggested public works.
fees go out with the tide
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
BRADENTON � Manatee County commissioners last week
dispelled any rumors regarding parking fees at the
county�s beaches, and said charging for beach use
is the furthest thing from their minds.
"I�m shocked as the chair to find out about this
through the press," Chairman Joe McClash said. "A
briefing would have been more appropriate. This
is not even a discussion for me. The board discussed
it in the 1990s very extensively and it was rejected."
Commissioner Jane von Hahmann said she did not understand
how the item got on the agenda without prior discussion.
"Im totally baffled," Commissioner
Donna Hayes agreed. "I dont know why
were discussing it."
County Administrator Ernie Padgett said the topic
arose due to problems at Coquina Beach and he explained,
"Law enforcement has a real concern out there.
They feel like if we had paid parking it would cut
down on some of these out-of-county gang members
Public safety issue
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie agreed and pointed
out, "This is a public safety issue and we
need to wake up big time. One third of our city
is your public beach, our public beach. I hope you
would not take paid parking off the table because
it needs to be discussed along with all aspects
of managing that park."
McClash said if it is a law enforcement issue, representatives
of the Sheriffs Office and the Bradenton Beach
Police should be in attendance. He said the county
could help pay for additional law enforcement noting,
"We extract enough money from the Island communities
to be able to afford to give something back."
Commissioner Amy Stein said another issue is that
the countys parks and recreation department
issues the permits for events and use of the pavilions
at Coquina Beach.
"The city is being overlooked and is not hearing
about special events that are a concern from a law
enforcement standpoint," she said. "When
theres an event, there needs to be a big,
bold disclaimer on the bottom that the permit is
not valid without a permit from the city."
Commissioner Ron Getman said a related problem is
overcrowded parking lots at all the countys
beaches. He suggested implementing a beach express
trolley or bus, which would include cooperation
of owners of parking lots at Manatee Avenue and
75th Street and Cortez Road and 75th Street. He
said the county could use tourist tax dollars to
help fund it.
McClash said he spoke to Manatee County School Superintendent
Dr. Roger Dearing, about using the Anna Maria Elementary
School parking lot as an overflow lot for beach
parking on weekends and during the summer.
"We could locate excess parking areas and have
flyers printed up to put on windshields of cars
parked along the roadway." McClash suggested.
"Were probably the culprits at the Tourist
Development Council when you look at the increased
marketing weve been doing."
Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore said, "The
issue is controlling what is going on. We need to
look at creative ways to control it and manage people
coming to the beach."
Commissioners agreed to plan a meeting with Island
elected officials and law enforcement representatives
to discuss beach issues.
parade to mark fun Fourth
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH The Anna Maria Island Privateers
will celebrate the Fourth of July with their annual
parade on July 4 starting at 10 a.m. at Coquina
Beach in Bradenton Beach and ending at Bayfront
Park in Anna Maria. The public is invited to participate,
as long as they have a vehicle that is decorated
for the holiday. Participants must be at Coquina
Park by 9:30 a.m. for staging.
At Bayfront Park, the Privateers will announce their
annual scholarship winners. The winners are:
Erica Hoggatt won the Whitey Horton $3,000
Scholarship and will be studying nursing.
Kimberly Kuizon won the Dick "Red Dog"
Cline $1,500 scholarship and will study communications.
Austin Eason won the Greg "Shiprek"
Davidson $1,500 scholarship and will study law.
Brittany Brookes won the Bridget Miller Memorial
$1,000 scholarship and will study fashion design.
Elise Mundy won the Sandpiper $500 scholarship
and will study physical therapy.
Deanna Stephenson won a $1,000 scholarship
to study psychology.
Brian Stephenson won a $1,000 scholarship
to study marketing.
Devon Glynn got a $500 scholarship to study
Nikki Donato won $500 to study business.
Nicki Mauriello won $500 to study forensic
This is the first fireworks holiday since the death
of Jim Taylor on Jan. 16 and the loss is still on
the minds of the Chiles Group, owners of the BeachHouse
restaurant, where the largest fireworks display
will occur on July 3.
The BeachHouse restaurants 13th Annual Third
of July Extravaganza, beginning after sunset, is
"dedicated to the loving memory of Jim Taylor
for all the years of joy and wonderment his firework
shows brought to everyone," according to a
flyer from the restaurant.
Taylor ran the fireworks shows for years through
his company, Taylor Pyrotechnical Displays. After
his death, the Chiles Group, which will host a second
fireworks display on the Fourth of July from its
Sandbar restaurant in Anna Maria, searched the area
for another facilitator. They found Bells
Fireworks of St. Petersburg to run the shows. The
BeachHouse show, which is the larger of the two,
will be run off a barge, like Taylor did, and the
Sandbar fireworks will be shot from the beach.
The BeachHouse is selling VIP tables at $550 for
eight seats and offering an all-you-can-eat buffet,
unlimited draft beer and wine, reserved parking,
live entertainment and a front-row view of the display
for ticket-holders. The public is invited to watch
the show from the beach and it always attracts a
large crowd from the Island, Longboat Key and the
The Sandbar restaurant will be serving special menu
items during its show, and reservations are recommended.
Island residents who want to watch either show are
urged to take the free trolley to and from the shows
because local parking will be limited.
For information on the shows, call Molly at the
BeachHouse at 779-2222 or the Sandbar at 778-0444.
warns city on sign code
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH The chairman of the board
of directors of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of
Commerce is asking the city of Bradenton Beach to
reconsider its newly rewritten sign code.
Don Schroder sent Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie
a letter asking his city to work with the Chambers
sign task force to overcome some differences the
members and other real estate agents have with the
code. He also forwarded a letter from an attorney
to the Chamber pointing out several errors with
the Bradenton Beach code.
Jeff Rowes, author of the letter, is a staff attorney
for the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based
public interest law firm that focuses on issues
of public first amendment rights.
In his letter, Rowes claimed that the Bradenton
Beach sign code could be seen as regulating signs
by their content. He cited a case where the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Court
struck down the ordinance in Neptune Beach because
it regulated certain signs, but not others, solely
on the bases of content. In that case, a clinic
built a sign to advertise but did not get a permit.
The city cited the company for violating the sign
ordinance and the clinic sued, arguing that the
sign code was unconstitutional because it exempted
various messages from regulation including expressive
flags such as the American flag, government signs,
holiday lights and religious messages. The court
ruled for the clinic saying the code regulated signage
on the nature of their messages. He said the Bradenton
Beach code does the same thing.
Rowes letter also said the Bradenton Beach
code should include strict time limits within which
the government official, in this case the building
official, must approve or deny a sign permit. "This
prevents an official from engaging in secretive
censorship by refusing to process a permit application."
Rowes also cited the fact that a homeowner can put
up a For Sale by Owner sign to sell a property while
a real estate agent or company has to get a permit
to advertise property.
Schroder also sent letters to Anna Maria and Holmes
Beach with Rowes letter attached.
"We want the cities to know we are doing this
with their best interests in mind," Schroeder
told The Sun. "We are not threatening them
with anything. We have their best interests in mind
and we want them to be prepared and look at this
lawyers points before somebody else takes
them to court."
In his letter to Chappie, Schroder asked for an
answer to his request to work with the sign task
force before that task force before the city of
Anna Maria has its final hearing on its sign code
on June 29.
cracks down on tourist tax evaders
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Manatee County Tax
Collector Ken Burton, Jr., is cracking down on property
owners who rent homes for six months or less without
paying the 4 percent tourist tax plus the 6.5 percent
In a news release, Burton said there was concern
that the number of renters not collecting the tax
and forwarding it to the county is increasing because
of the flat real estate market and the likelihood
of several spec homes still on the market for sale.
"If youre renting your property out and
not collecting the tax along with the rent, it means
you are breaking the law," Burton said.
"I am sure there are some property owners that
now find themselves in neighborhoods that have renters
coming and going and are not happy, and I am asking
for their help."
Burton said his office would welcome any information
from the public on individuals who are evading the
"Since we began collecting the tourist tax
in 1989, we have always relied on tips from the
public via the internet or phone, but many of our
residents probably do not know that option exists,"
"To make it easy we have initiated a Rental
Tax Evader Hotline (941) 741-4809 and have added
a hotline button on the front page of our Website,
So in the event you think someone is renting
out property that is not registered or paying the
tax, you can make an anonymous tip."
Manatee County enacted the local option tourist
tax in 1980. Like the sales tax, the tourist tax
is protected from public records law.
The tax is also called the bed tax, tourist development
tax, short term rental tax, or resort tax and is
in addition to sales tax. The tax collector collects
the tax and also handles its enforcement and auditing.
Collections for the coming year will exceed $5 million.
In the past year alone, the tax collectors
office assessed and collected back taxes and penalties
in excess of $160,000. The tax collector can and
will assess property owners who are not registered
and, per the Florida Statutes, the onus is on the
taxpayer to prove the tax collector wrong.
"It is no different than staying at Disney
World." Burton said. "A renter who charges
$1,000 for a weeks stay is also required to
collect an additional $105 ($65 for sales tax and
$40 for the tourist tax)."
The majority of accounts remit payments monthly
to the tax collector and the Florida Department
of Revenue. If you need to register or have questions
regarding the resort tax go to www.taxcollector.com.
To register with the DOR online, visit its Website
Frequently asked questions are available online,
but for further information, the local DOR Service
Center number is (941) 361-6001.
neighbors take on homeless camp problem
sun staff writer
residents and business owners have pledged more
than $5,000 to clean up shrubbery that hides a homeless
camp from law enforcement officers patrolling Cortez
Between 15 and 20 homeless people camp in the thick
vegetation mostly non-native Brazilian peppers
on the two acres behind the Seafood Shack
sign on Cortez Road West, resident Mary Ann Norman
said. Manatee County Sheriffs deputies told
her that if they cant see the trespassers,
they cant arrest them, she added.
"Im trying to raise my son here, and
Im afraid to walk by," she said.
Seafood Shack property owner Ham Jones has pledged
$500 to remove invasive plants and trim the remaining
trees in an effort to expose the trespassers and
force them to leave, she said, adding that she is
also contributing $500. The Florida Institute for
Saltwater Heritage (FISH) has pledged $250.
The fund drive, which Norman estimated will need
to raise between $7,000 and $9,000 to finish the
job, is a last-resort effort to rid the high-profile
location of potentially dangerous trespassers and
FISH Vice President Richard Culbreath said his property
adjoins the acreage, and not only do the Brazilian
peppers scrape his home, the campfires make him
Other residents said they have seen trespassers
involved in drug transactions.
FISH Treasurer Karen Bell said that Cortez village
is known for its tolerance of the homeless, but
acknowledged the problem.
"I dont know how to balance it,"
FISH board member Roger Allen said he is concerned
that the trespassers may move onto the nearby FISH
Preserve, which is being cleared, at considerable
expense, of exotic vegetation and trash that has
been dumped there for years.
Something has to be done now, Realtor Mike Norman
"You got a problem," he said, "you
start whittling away at it."
bill could put rigs on horizon
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
If you thought red
tide was bad, just wait until you see oil rigs on
Oh, they wont be close enough to see, you
say? Think again and keep your eye on that horizon
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to
vote this week on a bill that would allow state
legislatures to permit oil and gas drilling less
than 50 miles from shore.
How much less? Thats up to individual states.
U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam from Bartow inexplicably reached
the agreement last month on the Deep Ocean Energy
Resources Act with House Resources Committee Chairman
Richard Pombo of California, who evidently has never
tried to get his states ubiquitous oil off
a La Jolla surfboard. The committee approved the
bill on June 21 for consideration by the House.
While it emphasizes 100-mile and 50-mile drilling
boundaries, a close reading of the 150-page bill
reveals a different picture.
The act does ban oil and gas drilling within 50
miles of the coast.
But wait. This gets as slick as an oil spill in
It also gives states the choice to override that
ban with a vote of their legislatures and the approval
of their governors.
Under the act, states also can allow natural gas
and oil drilling between 50 and 100 miles from shore.
And if a state legislature does not take action
to prohibit it, natural gas drilling will automatically
be allowed beginning one year from the acts
passage, and oil drilling will automatically be
allowed in three years.
Everything beyond 100 miles would automatically
be fair game for drilling under the bill.
Not far enough
The Florida Public Interest Research Group says
that even 100 miles isnt far enough away from
a fragile coastline where fishing and tourism are
"This bill has a 50-mile buffer zone, but states
can decide to get even closer," Director Mark
Ferrulo said. "Were opposed to any new
drilling in the eastern Gulf."
The Manatee Sarasota Sierra Club agrees, opposing
any drilling in the eastern Gulf, especially closer
than 50 miles from shore, chair Ginger Perlman said.
The Sarasota-based Healthy Gulf Coalition opposes
the idea of allowing states to opt out of the ban,
spokesman Don Chaney said, adding that its
a real possibility since the bill offers revenue
incentives to states for allowing drilling.
"If the Legislature allows for drilling within
50 miles of the coast, theyve sold out to
the oil industry," said Glenn Compton, president
Even putting the rigs 100 miles out of sight wont
put them out of mind.
Thirteen years later, the flames from the three-way
crash of oil tankers off the northern tip of Anna
Maria Island still burn bright in memory. 330,000
gallons of heavy fuel oil. Sticky blobs of oil and
dead fish washing up on the beach for months. Throwing
away towels, flip-flops and swimsuits after vain
attempts to scour the mess clean.
Burying birds that couldnt be scrubbed clean.
The 1993 disaster was limited by the capacity of
the tanker only one of the three tankers
spilled heavy fuel oil, and even that was a small
part of its cargo.
But a spill from an active rig drilled into a reservoir
of oil in the Gulf of Mexico even 50 miles out could
be devastating to the environment and to tourism,
Heres what the bill says about that.
"It is not reasonably foreseeable that
development and production of an oil discovery located
more than 50 miles seaward of the coastline will
adversely affect resources near the coastline. Transportation
of oil from a leased tract might reasonably be foreseen,
under limited circumstances, to have the potential
to adversely affect resources near the coastline
if the oil is within 50 miles of the coastline,
but such potential to adversely affect such resources
is likely no greater, and probably less, than the
potential impacts from tanker transportation because
tanker spills usually involve large releases of
oil over a brief period of time."
In other words, a spill from a pipeline would be
no worse than, say, a 330,000-gallon tanker spill.
Protected by MacDill
At least Anna Maria Island is not in quite as precarious
a position as the rest of Florida. Drilling is prohibited
to our north within 234 miles of Tampa
because thats where the military mission line
is, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
has said that military mission testing is inconsistent
with oil and gas exploration.
Hawk or dove, you have to admit that MacDill Air
Force Base is protecting us not only in the wild
blue yonder, but also in the deep blue sea.
Not so our governor, whose campaign promise about
not allowing oil rigs off Florida we really should
have gotten in writing.
At a Resources Committee hearing last month, the
secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection said that Gov. Jeb Bush would agree to
the 100-mile buffer and provisions for the state
Legislature to decide to allow drilling even closer
How much closer? He didnt say.
If the bill passes the House this week, it will
face opposition from Floridas two senators,
according to their press secretaries.
U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez introduced
the Permanent Protection for Florida Act of 2006
in February to keep oil and gas rigs at least 260
miles off Tampa Bay, (the military testing zone
plus a 25-mile buffer), 150 miles off Pensacola
and 150 miles off the east coast. The Sierra Club
supports it. Unfortunately, it is stalled.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris introduced
the Coastal Economic and Environmental Protection
Act of 2006 last month, which would restrict oil
and gas drilling in the western Gulf of Mexico to
outside the military testing zone. Drilling would
be limited to 125 miles off the Atlantic coast and
the Panhandle, and would be prohibited in federal
waters off the Florida Straits.
Now theres a slick idea.
leaves streets full of memories
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH After 27 years as a Bradenton
Beach mailman, nothing surprises Larry Maschino.
Not seeing Cher at Gregg Allmans old place
on Sunrise Lane, without makeup and looking like
any other housewife, or having Pittsburgh Pirate
Willy Stargell wave at him from his car.
Not the way people dress or dont dress
when they answer the door for a package.
And certainly not a witch doctor who put the kibosh
on his mission trip to Haiti.
Maschino, 63, plans to devote more time to mission
work after he retires this month from his mail route,
where he leaves behind street after street of friends
Over the years, customers have enlisted Maschino
to catch wayward cats and chase unwanted raccoons.
Once, he got a customer out of a fruit tree after
his ladder had fallen, leaving him stranded.
Others call him from up north to check on their
homes after a hurricane, knowing that hell
be on the job according to the postal creed: Neither
rain nor snow nor sleet nor dark of night shall
stay these couriers from their appointed rounds.
Then there was the woman who trapped herself in
her house by trying to move a chair through a doorway,
where it got stuck.
"The worst thing a mailman can hear is Help!"
said Maschino, who got her out of the jam.
One of his customers relies on him to help him with
his tax return calculations every year. Another
one had an embarrassing accident that he helped
Many memories are of children. One little girl thought
he was the only mailman in the whole world, and
wondered how he got back so fast from up north where
she had just mailed her grandma a letter.
Hes known some children from the time they
were in the womb to the time when they had their
But it was another baby who made him truly appreciate
his life, he said.
At an orphanage in Haiti, he held a malnourished
infant in his arms and came back two days later
to find that it had died. It changed his outlook,
and made him more grateful for the Bradenton Beach
paradise where he has spent most of his working
Since then, he has taken young people to the third
world to help them develop that same appreciation,
and is looking forward to mentoring more youths
in his retirement.
He also has a prison ministry, leads an early-morning
Bible study class at the Red Barn Flea Market for
employees and works with the Helping of Grace Ministry,
which assists local homeless people.
Some of his customers know about his "vacations"
to Haiti and Guatemala and load him up with clothing,
food and other items for the poor.
Hes also experienced some opposition
a disapproving witch doctor once prevented his group
from visiting his village, but later converted to
Christianity, he said.
Maschino got serious about "something bigger
than myself" in the early 1990s. Just after
Bradenton Beach had completed its beach renourishment
project, a no-name storm wiped away most of the
"I had a thought that we were trying to alter
Gods creation, and He was just letting us
know who was in charge," he said.
Shortly afterward, on a mission trip in Guatemala,
he experienced a storm and flooding that relocated
a river to just outside his window, leaving a bridge
on dry land.
Hes been working harder to help people ever
since, and is looking forward to having more time
to do just that.
What wont he miss about the job? Red tide,
which made him gag in the open air mail truck. Having
to account for every minute by checking in with
scanners at checkpoints along the route. And the
one and only dog that ever bit him, right after
the owner said, "Dont worry, hes
Maschino never planned on being a mailman.
A circus kid, his acrobatic family traveled with
the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus,
and he grew up walking on a tightrope and doing
handstands on his dads forearm.
He strayed from the family business to become a
chef, and was working at Pete Reynards and
Trader Jacks restaurants on the Island, both
gone now, when some employees told him they were
going to take the test to work at the post office.
He applied too, passed, and got a bicycle route
on the Island, which no one else wanted. It was
brutally hot, but he was in good shape from acrobatics,
Maschino plans to ride off into retirement on a
different kind of bike, a Kawasaki 2000 Vulcan.
Maybe take some road trips with his wife, now that
theres time to go farther than Daytona Beach,
And hell probably find someone on the road
to help along the way.