HOLMES BEACH An offer by
the Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce to study consolidating
services among the three Island cities caused dissention
in Holmes Beach last week.
"We decided were not interested,"
Chairman Rich Bohnenberger declared.
The Chamber announced last week that it formed a study
committee consisting of the commission liaisons from
the three Island cities Commissioners Duke
Miller in Anna Maria, Bill Shearon in Bradenton Beach
and David Zaccagnino in Holmes Beach.
"Im the liaison to the Chamber, and I think
its my responsibility," Zaccagnino said.
"If they bring up a proposal, its my duty
to listen and report the specifics."
Mayor Carol Whitmore pointed out that at the June
meeting of Island elected officials, Anna Maria commissioners
offered to do the research on consolidating services
among the three cities.
"The commissioners were there and no one said
no," Whitmore said. "I did say, Whoever
wants to run with it, fine. I dont think
we should slam the door."
"We have the best public works department in
this area, the best maintained infrastructure in this
area and we do it with the lowest tax rate in this
area" Bohnenberger noted. "I dont
see how Anna Maria can offer us anything. Any business
that is being operated properly would definitely have
to have a win-win situation and at this point in time,
the only thing they could bring to the table is cash."
"I dont think that we should assume or
have any arrogance that were the best,"
Zaccagnino said the commission has a duty to the citys
voters. He was referring to 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.
"Thats not what they voted for," Bohnenberger
retorted. "They voted to study the possibility
of merging the three cities into one city, and Anna
Maria opted not to do that."
Zaccagnino said the Chamber has the right to initiate
a study to which Bohnenberger replied, "They
have the right to do what they want, but they cant
ask you to represent the city commission."
Whitmore said the commissioners should allow Zaccagnino
to attend the Chamber meetings and report back to
"If the commission wants to do this, then I want
to have a joint work session with the other two Island
cities because I want to know what theyre thinking
about doing," Bohnenberger stressed.
"There are only two reasons to form a city. One
is to provide your citizens with better services.
The other is to have independence from the county.
Anna Maria wants to divest themselves of their responsibility
to provide the services to their citizens."
Bohnenberger said he has no faith in Anna Maria commissioners
following through on their offer because "theyve
backed out on everything weve ever tried to
do with them."
The consensus was to allow Zaccagnino to attend the
Chamber meetings and report to the commission.
supporters lining up
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
The first fundraiser for Holmes Beach Mayor Carol
Whitmores bid for a seat on the Manatee County
Commission was a huge success.
"Ive had quite a few fundraisers at my
house, and this one was the largest," State
Sen. Mike Bennett said. Theres such
a strong outpouring of emotion for Carol. Ive
been pushing her to do this for four years. Were
really excited about it."
Whitmore said 150 to 200 people attended the event
hosted by Bennett and raised $30,000 for her campaign,
or about 1/3 of what it takes to run for a county
commission seat. Her campaign has raised a total
of $50,000 in two weeks.
"Every mayor in Manatee County was there,"
Whitmore said, "and former Longboat Key Mayor
Ron Johnson. There were developers, lawyers from
every law firm in the county and many Island residents.
"Some of the people I didnt know, but
they are supporting me because theyve seen
how I can work with everybody. A lot of people I
dont know also are sending me donations."
Bennett praised Whitmore noting, "Everybody
likes her. Even when she disagrees with you, she
listens, and you never feel that you walked away
"She is very thoughtful. She understands things
like the budget and conflict resolution. She has
a lot of leadership qualities, and best of all,
she has no agenda."
Bennett said there are four more fundraisers planned
for coming weeks. On Thursday, Whitmore spoke at
a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of East Manatee and
attended a function of the Manatee Builders Association.
"She will bring a wonderful mix to the county
commission," Bennett said. "We need somebody
from the Island."
problem �out of handÖ
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Cabana poles, beach chairs,
volleyball nets and other items left on the beach
by careless beachgoers are creating a huge problem
for nesting sea turtles, Code Enforcement Officer
Nancy Hall said.
"Its out of hand," Hall declared
last week. "Last year and the year before I
tagged the items, but I did not have the concentration
that Im seeing this year."
According to the citys code, everything must
be removed from the beach between sunset and sunrise
during turtle season. Obstructions left on the beach
deter turtles from laying their eggs in the sand.
Hall said she visits the beach in search of items
left behind and places a tag on each of them advising
the owner of the law. Currently, she is targeting
the beach between 64th and 75th streets.
"The tag is a 24-hour notice," Hall explained.
"Its to educate the people because a
lot of them dont know about the law. But if
I return in 24 hours and the item is still there,
public works employees will take it and put it in
the citys compound."
The city does not charge a fine for the item and
the owner can get it back by coming to the public
works department and claiming it.
"Yesterday, a turtle crawled up and encountered
a beach umbrella but she still laid her eggs,"
Hall said. "Im surprised she didnt
just go back to the water.
Hall said a volleyball net on the beach in the 7000
block of Gulf Drive has been a continuing problem.
The net is attached to poles, which are cemented
"No one knows who owns it," she said.
"I tag it and it is removed, then someone puts
it back again. I finally had public works take it
yesterday (July 11) and put it in the compound."
Hall said the problems have been on the public area
of the beach, but she noted, "If its
on private property, Florida Statutes give us the
right to remove it. In some cases, the items are
only a foot away from a turtle nest. "
In addition to items being left on the beach overnight,
Hall said the volume of trash left on the beach
"The amount of beach trash is unreal,"
she claimed. "Cans, bottles, flip flops, sneakers,
sandwich bags you name it. I found some clothes
so close to the water that they would have gone
out with the tide. A turtle could get entangled
in that in the water."
Hall asks beachgoers to be good neighbors to the
turtles and their fellow beachgoers by removing
their trash and personal items from the beach. Holmes
Beach has added extra garbage cans to its beach
end streets to encourage people to take their trash
with them when they leave.
One thing has improved however, Hall said.
"We have had no problems with lighting this
year. All of Holmes Beach has been excellent."
Lights shining on the beach draw hatchling turtles
to them instead of into the water.
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH The citys building
department made its case against developing beachfront
property at 1402 and 1404 Gulf Drive N. and the
planning and zoning board agreed, recommending that
the city commission turn down the project.
This is the second rejection of the project, which
the applicants, Beach, Inc., and Island Development,
said was wrongfully turned down the first time due
to a scriveners error in 1989 when the land
was inadvertently designated preservation in the
citys future land use map.
When it was first rejected, the developers appealed
and a court ruled in their favor, citing that the
sand soils of the land were not consistent with
those of preservation property, and that those soils
were important criteria for determining such a classification.
When the developers re-applied for the change from
preservation to medium/high density residential
seasonal tourist, the city disregarded the sand
soils and built its case on two points traditionally
high beach erosion and the location of a main dune
line through the property.
Building Department Technician Gail Garneau played
a DVD presentation by engineer Karyn Erickson, of
Erickson Consulting Engineers, in which she used
aerial photos of the land taken as far back as 1987
showing a small amount of beach on the west side
of Gulf Drive, plus a photo taken in 1994, a year
after the beach renourishment showing a massive
amount of land. She said that the federal government
has indicated it will not be in favor of renourishing
the beaches forever, threatening the project when
renourished sands erode. She also said studies on
the site and with previous engineering records indicated
the south end of the project eroded at an average
rate of 24.9 feet per year and on the north end,
22 feet per year.
She also said the subject property has a single
dune system where other properties to the north
and south had dual systems offering more protection
to Gulf Drive from stormwater.
"The applicant is seeking to build on the west
side of the dune area where the west shore is located,"
Building Official Ed McAdam told the board. "This
is where the primary dunes are located."
The city also presented, among other papers, an
appraisal on the land from 1996 saying the "legal
use of the land is controlled by the city of Bradenton
Beach" and is "zoned E-1, preservation,
and is unbuildable."
"I think we are hearing a present and future
movement toward preservation on the Gulf side,"
said board chairman and long-time veteran of the
board Bob Dale. "When we first worked on the
comprehensive plan in the 1980, we wanted to preserve
the beaches. We went to the beaches to survey them
and decided to designate the empty lots as preservation."
The vote to reject the request was unanimous. The
applicants have one more chance when the city commission
hears the request at a future meeting.
approves Community Center building contract
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
The Island Community Center executive board on Friday
approved the multi-million dollar contract that
will take them into the future with a new building.
"This is an exciting day for the community,"
Assistant Executive Director Scott Dell said. "This
morning the executive board approved a contract
with the Walbridge Aldinger Construction Company
to begin construction before Sept. 1. We are hopeful
though that construction could begin as early as
"We have a financing deal in principal with
Northern Trust Bank and are awaiting the commitment
letter. Within two weeks we should have this letter
and then sign the final contract."
In June, Community Center board members approved
spending up to $4.1 million on a new building and
borrowing up to $2 million to compete the project.
Since then, negotiations with the construction team
have reduced the price to $4,099,000. Dell said
savings were realized by eliminating small things
such as pavers for the parking lot and a privacy
fence separating the playground area.
"We had to do some value engineering to get
the price down, but we were able to do it without
any changes to the floor plan or square footage
of the facility," Dell explained. "If
we raise enough money, we can put them back in the
Dell said Center officials have spent five years
researching, planning, discussing and fundraising
to get to this point.
"It was a long process to design a Center this
community can be proud of a building that
will meet the current needs of this community, try
to predict the needs 25 years from now and, at the
same time, fundraise on concept drawings.
"This community is truly amazing. The generosity
over the past five years from individuals through
personal donations, bowling tournaments, the Affaire
to Remember Auction, golf tournaments, grants, etc.
has made all the difference."
Center officials have already raised $2.5 million
toward the project, and Dell said they are confident
that they can raise the remainder, as they did in
1983, when the current building was constructed.
"We are gearing up for the community fund-raising
phase of the campaign and, hopefully, everyone will
pitch in to help," Dell said. "We listened,
the need was there and now it is going to happen."
During construction, adult programs and administrative
offices will relocate to St, Bernard Catholic Church.
The teen program will be held in the Holmes Beach
Public Works Department building and counseling
sessions will be held in the Holmes Beach Police
Department conference room. Construction should
take eight months to a year.
begins for school year
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH After a shortened summer vacation,
students at Anna Maria Elementary School and other
schools in the Manatee County system will be returning
to class soon. The first day of the new school year
is Monday, Aug. 7.
To accommodate students who moved into the area
over the summer, there will be a registration beginning
Monday, July 24, and ending Friday, Aug. 4, at AME.
For students moving to Florida from out of state,
there are several requirements:
Children under 18 must have a parent or guardian
present at registration. Students who are 18 must
have proof of their age.
A certified birth certificate.
Proof of a physical examination dated within
the preceding 12 months, if entering a Florida school
for the first time.
Physical exam (DH-3040) completed and signed
by a licensed physician, e.g. medical doctor, doctor
of osteopathy, doctor of chiropractic, a registered
nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant licensed
in the state of Florida. The exam must be within
the 12 months prior to the child enrolling in a
Florida school and must have a review of components
(complete body systems review). Children are not
admitted to school without this physical exam form.
Contact your medical provider (doctor/clinic) for
a school physical exam (DH-3040). For students coming
from out of state, other forms will be accepted
if it includes a complete review of body systems.
A social security number is requested (not
Proof of residency in the form of a current
electric or water bill - section with the address
and name of parent/legal guardian as receiving the
service, a current lease agreement with parent legal
guardian's name, an official letter from company
that is providing housing with name of parent/legal
guardian or a notification of approval to enroll
from the student accounting office.
Proof of immunization (Must be on Florida
A copy of the childs most recent report
card for students entering grades 1-12.
Age requirements are:
Preschool: Must be 3 years old on or before
Sept. 1. Children with disabilities may be served
beginning with their third birthday, if not earlier.
Kindergarten: Must be 5 years old on or before
Grade One: Must be 6 years old on or before
For more information, call Anna Maria Elementary
School at 708-5525 or the school district at 708-8770.
proposes oil drilling plan
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
The U.S. Senate may
vote on a plan as early as this week that would
create a 234-mile buffer zone off Tampa Bay for
oil and gas drilling and a 125-mile buffer zone
off the Florida Panhandle, both lasting until 2022.
The buffer zone, which does not extend to Floridas
east coast, uses the military mission line as the
eastern boundary for Floridas Gulf coast drilling
operations. The line defines an area in the eastern
Gulf where the armed forces conduct training exercises.
The Senate plan is a response to the House passage
of the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act earlier this
month that would allow drilling as close as 50 miles
from the countrys shorelines, with a local
option provision for states to limit it to 100 miles
or more offshore, or allow it closer than 50 miles.
Sen. Mel Martinez helped negotiate the Senate plan,
which replaces the Permanent Protection for Florida
Act that he proposed in February with Sen. Bill
Nelson. It included a 150-mile buffer zone.
"This is a good deal for Florida and one we
need to take so that we can protect our tourism
economy, our pristine environment and our expansive
military training area," Martinez said.
As an incentive for states to allow offshore drilling,
the plan provides that those states receive 37.5
percent of royalties that companies pay for federal
Under the plan, oil and gas companies would be allowed
to drill in eight million acres of the Gulf that
otherwise would have been off limits for the next
several years. Existing leaseholders within the
125-mile buffer zone could swap their leases for
new leases in open areas.
Rep. Katherine Harris, of Longboat Key, called the
Senate plan a "positive development" in
protecting Floridas coastline while developing
domestic oil production, but she advocates extending
the protection to the Atlantic coast.
Earlier this month, Harris had proposed her own
bill in the House. The Coastal Economic and Environmental
Protection Act of 2006 would have authorized state
legislatures to decide whether to allow offshore
LoÖ bids a sweet goodbye
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA - Mama Lo just cant help herself.
Can I get you some water? Lois Finley
asked the steady stream of customers who came in
expecting ice cream on Monday while she was packing
up the store.
After six years, waiting on people is a hard habit
to break, and Mama Lo hasnt stopped, even
though she closed up shop on Sunday. The decision
was made after Bayview Plaza went condo.
Monday, customers came in to say goodbye and left
with armloads of goodies, as she gave away everything
that wasnt sold or slated for auction.
The train that ran around a track on the ceiling
was on its way to a three-year-old customer in New
York who admired it. A T-shirt with the stores
logo went to a customer with Alzheimers disease
whose eyes flashed a spark of recognition at the
name Mama Lo.
Mama Lo, who got her name when she was pregnant
with son and shop manager Scott, kept only a few
mementos for herself. A blender, a three-dimensional
art work by Ruth Elliott depicting Anna Marias
piers and a Betsy Roe painting of herself and husband
Charlie Shook at their wedding outside the shop
was all she kept - if you dont count the friends
she made of her customers and the memories.
Oh, look! she calls out to Charlie,
holding a single key on a key ring. Remember
this? It was a storage room key that everyone accused
everyone else of losing years ago, she said.
But even spats were always in fun at the popular
shop. Her 10 employees are like siblings to son
Scott and daughter Susan Ramsey. While they were
packing things up, one threw a whipped cream pie
in the others face to lighten up the sad mood.
If shes sad, Mama Lo doesnt let on.
Shes looking forward to traveling for a couple
of months with Charlie and contemplating the
future, she says, adding that shes not
ready to retire.
Two girls in bikinis come in and ask for a cone,
not realizing that an employee is cleaning an empty
ice cream freezer.
Were closed, Mama Lo says, still
smiling. You want some iced tea?