BRADENTON Like the tide that
ebbs and flows, the US Army Corps of Engineers returned
this year with another offer to renourish storm-ravaged
beaches on Anna Maria Island.
This time, the county said, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Manatee County commissioners have approved a request
from conservation and lands management director Charlie
Hunsicker to send a letter to the corps rejecting
another offer to replenish the beaches.
In a memo to the commissioners, Hunsicker said he
requested an opinion from the countys coastal
engineering consulting firm, Coastal Planning and
Engineering (CPE), on whether another renourishment
would be necessary. CPE Senior Vice President Richard
Spadoni indicated that it does not appear that the
2005 hurricane season significantly affected the federally
authorized renourished areas. He also pointed out
that the previous beach restoration project, which
was instituted at the corps request to alleviate
damage from the 2004 hurricane season, disrupted the
beach communities and put a strain on turtle nesting
over two seasons.
That project, which began July 5, 2005, was terminated
June 1, 2006, before it was finished because the contractor,
Goodloe Marine, Inc., was unable to operate during
high waves. A series of storms over the summer and
winter forced Goodloe to postpone work, but the pipeline
used to transport the sand was kept intact on the
beach over the winter, causing beachfront resorts
to lose business. Hunsickers memo said another
project "May not be well received."
The memo also pointed out that Manatee County would
not control the project or select the contractor and
that the state might resist another disruption of
turtle nesting for a third year.
However, Hunsickers memo addressed the need
for more sand in the Coquina Beach and Cortez Beach
areas in Bradenton Beach. This area was never renourished
in two previous projects in 1992 or 2002 because it
was not identified by the state at those times as
critically eroded, according to the memo.
But, Hunsicker said, things have changed.
The state did classify this stretch as critically
eroded this year, he said, and it would be eligible
for 50 percent funding. The county would provide the
other half of the money from its resort tax. Hunsickers
memo said some of the sand might come from dredging
Longboat Pass. A feasibility study will be conducted
this month and his office will make a report to the
commissioners when the information is available.
zone� alive with sea life again
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Back in 1963, the red tide, or "red plague,"
as commercial fisherman Porter Ricks called it,
hit both commercial and recreational Florida fishermen
If it hadnt been for his sons pet dolphin
leading them to schools of fish, the Ricks family
would have gone hungry.
The film "Flipper," which spawned a television
series in the 1960s, was based on the premise that
red tide created a dead zone in the then nearly-pristine
It was more than four decades ahead of its time.
Red tide caused a dead zone last year in the Gulf
of Mexico that had commercial and recreational fishermen
scavenging for business, says Wayne Genthner, the
Longboat Key charter boat captain who identified
This time, no dolphins showed up to help
in fact, many died as a result of eating the poisoned
So much marine life was killed by the toxic plant
that causes red tide, Karenia brevis, that their
decaying bodies eliminated the oxygen in the water,
causing a secondary fish kill in what scientists
call "a hypoxia event."
The good news is that six months later, the dead
zone is living and breathing again.
Bottom species are moving in, re-establishing the
food chain, Genthner says. Black tip and nurse sharks
are plentiful, as are mackerel, cobia, bonita, triggerfish,
sheepshead, grouper and scamp.
"In a couple years theyll be breeding.
We have the seed to re-establish the community,"
Thats good, but not good enough, says Stuart
DeCew, red tide campaign coordinator for the Sierra
Club in St. Petersburg.
"You see natures ability to bounce back,"
he says, "but what we have to realize is that
we cant continue to put pressure on the ecosystem
and continue to expect it to bounce back."
DeCew suggests reducing the use of fertilizer as
a common sense measure to keep as many nutrients
as possible from feeding red tide. Scientists have
not yet established a clear link between fertilizer
runoff and red tide blooms.
"The argument is not to get definitive proof
that humans are affecting the ecosystem, but just
be sure that what we put into the ecosystem does
no harm," he says.
"The improvement in the dead zone can be accelerated
by switching to timed-release lawn fertilization
techniques," he says.
Thats the theme of a new documentary film,
"The Tide from Red to Blue," produced
by Steve McAllister, of Sarasota-based Second Thought
"Its about what we can do as a community,"
he says, adding that Sarasota County is leading
the way with a resolution to avoid using quick-release
fertilizers during the rainy season on county-owned
Meanwhile, as the dead zone continues to recover
this summer, counties to the south of Anna Maria
Island and Longboat Key are again suffering from
red tide, DeCew says.
"South around Pine Island, goliath grouper
are showing up dead on the beach," he says.
"We cant get to the point where we accept
that this will be a seasonal occurrence."
Porter Ricks probably would have agreed. By 1964,
in the sequel, "Flippers New Adventure,"
the fisherman had traded in his net for a marine
park service uniform.
million budget unveiled
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH City Treasurer Rick Ashley presented
the first draft of the citys $12 million 2006-07
budget to city commissioners last week.
"This budget has been prepared using the existing
millage rate of 1.9 mils," Ashley explained.
"Were still looking at a sizeable increase
in the assessments in the city. This year were
looking at between 16 and 17 percent. The bottom
line is the same millage will give us $400,000 more
to operate with."
The budget has increased $2 million from the 2005-06
budget. Ashley pointed out that the $3.8 million
for the Key Royale Bridge replacement is included
in the $12 million. He said he also increased the
citys reserve fund by $500,000 to $2,250,000.
Ashley said the new local option gas tax adopted
by the county goes into effect Jan. 1, 2007, but
the city wont get any funds until March.
"The county has estimated that we should get
about $168,00 annually," he said, "which
would make the nine months about $120,000. Ive
only budgeted $98,000 in here."
Ashley said he and Commission Chairman Rich Bohnenberger,
who will take office in November as mayor, have
been seeking legal guidance on how the city can
spend the gas tax money. He said if the city can
use it for the planned traffic calming project on
Marina Drive, it would free up other money for other
Ashley said he has budgeted $415,000 from the
stormwater utility fund for three projects
relocating the storm drain at Gulf and Marina drives,
$90,000; improvements to the central Holmes Boulevard
basin at 74th Street, $115,000; and improvements
to the south Holmes Boulevard basin, $210,000.
Salaries were determined by the citys step
plan, which is reviewed annually by an outside firm,
and employees will receive a 3 1/2 percent COLA,
he said. One new police officer is included in the
budget, as requested by Police Chief Jay Romine.
"This would be an entry-level position and
the plan is to assign them to the day shift,"
Romine explained. "With the increase in weekend
traffic that has been observed on a regular basis,
we are unable to keep up with the demands for service
during this time."
Romine said the staffing ratio in his department
is 2.59 per 1,000 people. In Bradenton Beach it
is 6.3 and in Longboat Key it is 7.72 for the same
number of people.
Outside agency funding includes Community Center
operations, $30,000; Community Center capital campaign,
$20,000; Community Center endowment trust, $1,000;
Island Historical Society, $2,000; START (Solutions
to Avoid Red Tide), $6,000; AMI Chamber of Commerce,
$3,000; Keep Manatee Beautiful, $1,000; AMI Art
League, $750; and AMI Community Orchestra and Chorus,
Commissioners will meet individually with Ashley
to discuss any suggested changes. If necessary,
the budget will be brought back to another work
The first public hearing was set for 6:30 p.m. on
Tuesday, Sept. 12.
women to participate in cancer walk
On Oct. 13
through 15, thousands of women and men will unite
in Clearwater for the Breast Cancer Three-Day Walk
to benefit the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Cancer Walk newcomers Suki Janisch and Shantelle
Enderle will join 2005 walkers Sandee Pruett, Grace
Cuff and Tammy Trainham as they hike 60 miles through
the Tampa Bay area. The women honor lives lost,
celebrate survivors, promote breast cancer research,
and help bring breast cancer care to those who desperately
Each participant must raise at least $2,200. Last
year, the Tampa Bay walkers raised more than $5
million, as did most of the walkers in the other
11 cities throughout the country. Net proceeds will
fund breast cancer research, education, screening
and treatment programs, as well as the National
Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund to provide
an endowment for breast cancer initiatives.
Last years event took walkers from Coachmans
Park in Clearwater to St. Petersburg, over the Gandy
Bridge, through south Tampa to Raymond James Stadium
for closing ceremonies.
Look for this Island Team walking its Seven Mile
Sundays as it trains around Anna Maria Island for
the big day.
restaurant franchisee bows out
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
The choice of a restaurant franchisee for the Historic
Bridge Street Pier was a close one when the citys
pier team evaluated the only two bids submitted.
The team tried to evaluate answers to questions
from the bid requests on a mathematical scale to
try to take the "emotional aspect" out
of it and Harrys Continental Kitchens, of
Longboat Key, was the winner.
Rotten Ralphs, of Anna Maria, was a close
second and following an announcement that Harrys
had bowed out, owner Dave Russell has begun negotiations
with the city to run the once-popular eatery. The
lease will run for 25 years and could be extended,
according to McAdam.
The team met with Russell Friday morning, going
over the contract originally worked on with Harrys
Continental Kitchens owners and plugging in new
figures. When they submitted their bids, Harrys
offered $8,500 per month rent and Ralphs offered
$8,000 per month. Undaunted by the lower amount,
the pier team went over the contract with Russell,
told him to have his attorney review it and if it
was acceptable, let them know so they could schedule
it for the city commission meeting at 1 p.m. on
Thursday, Aug. 17.
Russell said he was initially concerned that his
company would have to insure the whole structure
and his insurance agent said he might have a problem
getting wind insurance. He said, however, he talked
with pier team member and building official Ed McAdam
who said his share was more like tenants insurance
and the city would provide coverage for the structure.
McAdam told Russell that the city hopes to have
the restaurant available in May or June of next
year, and that Russell would have first right of
refusal after that on running the bait and tackle
shop. If they decide against it, the city will find
someone else to run it.
They spoke about maintenance of the restaurant.
The franchisee is responsible for daily cleaning
of entrance, the paved circle in front of the entrance,
storage and sanitation areas and the rest rooms.
The contract calls for the franchisee to operate
at least six days per week and 50 weeks per year
and Russell said they intend to be open seven days
a week, 52 weeks per year.
"We only shut down on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving
Day," Russell said when asked how much they
are open in their current location.
"We would like you to consider taking one day
a week off for cleaning," team member and police
chief Sam Speciale told him.
Russell said they currently clean at their present
restaurant after each shift and during off-business
hours such as mid-afternoon. He said they do outside
deep cleaning after hours and before they open in
"The bad thing is the noise," said projects/programs
manager Dottie Poindexter, another member of the
pier team. "The are residents next to the restaurant
and we want to be good neighbors. You might consider
closing one day a week between breakfast and lunch
to take care of the deep cleaning."
McAdam suggested taking one of the two weeks allowed
by the contract off to do it and Speciale said that
might happen just before season starts.
"If you decide to do that," he said, "just
bring it before the city commission for their blessing."
Talks will continue with Russell and the pier team
hopes to have him on board in time to put his touches
on the design of the kitchen. He went over the architects
design for the cooking area with the team last Friday,
and will take the teams suggestions back to
his current restaurant managers for their ideas.
fly at fireworks hearing
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH It was a long hearing that
sometimes turned contentious as the code enforcement
board heard allegations of code violations during
the BeachHouse fireworks show July 3. It might have
also been a wakeup call for both the city and BeachHouse
owner Ed Chiles as an indication that "business
as usual" might not exist anymore in Bradenton
The first charge against ELRA, Inc., owners of the
BeachHouse, was allowing commercial parking in a
public recreation area.
The city presented a packet with photos of cars
parked on the beach along Gulf Drive south of the
restaurant on land owned by ELRA, Inc.
Building Official Ed McAdam noted that the land
is identified on the citys future land use
map as recreation/open space and on the land development
code as public recreation area, which does not allow
commercial use including commercial parking.
ELRA, Inc. attorney Ricinda Perry, who normally
acts as attorney for the code enforcement board,
argued that the photos did not show violations because
there was no proof that the owners of the vehicles
were eating at the restaurant.
She also said that she had spoken with the previous
property owner, Ron Jarvis, who said people had
parked on that land while using the restaurant as
far back as the 1950s, before the city code were
written. As such, Perry said, it was a non-conforming
use that had been "grandfathered in."
Ralf Brookes, attorney for the city, said that under
the law, casual or illegal uses are not sufficient
to justify continued use of the land. He also objected
to Perrys use of "here-say" evidence
in speaking with Jarvis, but not having him testify
before the board.
During arguments, Chiles admitted that his customers
sometimes park cars there, but he said people also
park there to go to city hall or to the beach, and
he cannot control that.
Board member John Sakelaris asked Chiles if he has
signage there to discourage parking and he said
no, but he now has a valet service that parks cars
on that land.
Board members appeared to be reluctant to find ELRA,
Inc. guilty and finally voted to find insufficient
evidence of a violation since the city did not provide
proof that the people who parked there were frequenting
The next case against ELRA, Inc. was for erecting
a large tent on the property without obtaining a
temporary structure permit. The tent was erected
for the customers of the restaurant who paid for
a dinner before the fireworks.
Perry argued that BeachHouse management submitted
a special events permit and came to the city commission
saying they were putting on another fireworks show.
"This may be a mistake on both sides,"
she said. "The city cant say they didnt
see what was going on because it was just across
the street. If they saw the tent going up, why didnt
they say something?"
Perry said it was not a commercial event because
the company did not make any money putting on the
fireworks display. She called the guests in the
tent "sponsors" who helped defray the
cost of the fireworks, but McAdam said a flyer for
the event advertised that it was $550 for a VIP
table and he called the activity in the tent "commercial."
Thats when Chiles spoke up.
"It costs $15,000 for the fireworks show and
weve been doing it for 15 years," he
said. "Its a money loser for us but its
the biggest event of the year in Bradenton Beach.
"Weve got a history of cooperation and
were proud of it," he added, "but
it does chill me to come before the board instead
of them saying, Ed, you need a permit."
Board chair Herb Dolan said he was upset at the
building department for not going over to tell him
he needed a permit, saying Chiles "runs a clean
The board voted unanimously to find ELRA, Inc. in
violation, but since they are no longer in violation,
the city would waive the fine and administration
The next violation involved the tent again. It was
failure to get a building permit and inspections
for the temporary tent structure, its lighting and
wiring and using improper turtle wiring.
When Perry asked them to ignore the building permit
charge in light of the previous action, city attorney
Ralf Brookes pointed out that this was a permit
required under state law, not city law.
Perry said there was no proof that the lighting
violated the turtle law and she said a letter from
Anna Maria Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox did not
say there was such a violation. Restaurant manager
Rebecca Shannon explained.
"What happens is we send out a letter to Suzi
Fox or she comes to the restaurant and we have a
glass of wine," Shannon said. "The tent
is erected prior to the walkthrough. This year,
we faxed her a letter but she never got the letter.
We called her on June 29 to have the walkthrough."
Shannon said the lights used were the same ones
approved over the past three years for the restaurant
to use during turtle season. She said they used
them in the tents for years, and they are now seeking
out better lighting.
As for the lights and wiring, Shannon said it was
done by a licensed electrician. She was asked who
that licensed electrician was, and Dolan said it
was him. He said he sold the company that did the
wiring and lights but remained as the licensed electrician.
When asked if he didnt feel that he should
recuse himself from this case because of the conflict
of interest, he said he did not think the company
was paid to do the work and that he did not receive
any money for it.
The board voted for a motion that said the restaurant
was not in violation of the lighting and turtle
regulations, but was in violation for not getting
a building permit. They waived the fine and fees.
The last case alleged that it used preservation
property for commercial use.
Board member Karen Cunningham said she felt that
when ELRA, Inc. applied for a special events permit,
the city should have known it would be a special
event and should have acted then. Sakelaris said
he felt it was an inappropriate use of a preservation
area and that the company should be found guilty.
"If they come back for a fireworks show next
year," he said, "this should be used as
a learning curve."
Pierce moved to find them in violation, but with
no fine assessed. The four board members then split
their vote 2-2, which means no violation was found.
Chiles had no comment after the hearing as to whether
the city had put the damper on future fireworks
shows in Bradenton Beach.
pushes pier bids up
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
As many municipalities and government agencies have
found out recently when it comes to construction,
its a sellers market.
The city commission got a taste of that fact last
Friday afternoon when it opened bids on the first
construction phase of the Historic Bridge Street
Pier rehabilitation the pier pilings.
Th lowest price was $199,730 and the only other
bid was $270,000.
The citys engineering firm estimated earlier
that it should have been more in the range of $110,000
The difference between the estimate and the price,
according to Bradenton Beach Projects/Programs Manager
Dottie Poindexter, was the addition of another task
demolition of the existing restaurant and
bait shop above the pilings.
The new bid was, in fact, a re-bid of a pilings
refurbishment project. A detailed inspection of
the concrete structures after the bid was awarded
showed more deterioration than first thought. The
number of pilings needing extensive work rose from
12 to 23. The original contractor, SteMic Marine
Construction, said it could not handle that scope
of work and its contract was terminated by the city.
The citys pier team, consisting of department
heads and Commissioner Bill Shearon as a liaison,
sought estimates to repair the concrete pilings.
They came back at $160,000 above the $124,372 awarded
The team sought estimates to replace the pilings
with wood ones, and the estimate was $110,000. They
choose that alternative and added demolition and
removal of the above-deck structures to accommodate
the massive replacement project, but they did not
get a demolition estimate.
Demolition added $34,380 to the low bid, turned
in by Wood Dock and Seawall owner Brian J. Wood,
of Cortez. The $270,000 bid from Marsak Development
Corp. was not available for inspection immediately,
but Poindexter said demolition was much higher.
City commissioners will decide at their next meeting
at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3, whether to accept
the lowest bid or possibly seek another one to repair
the concrete pilings.
Interestingly, the citys original estimate
of piling repairs for the $1.8 million pier rehabilitation
budgets $2,500 for consolidation study
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA City commissioners have created
a $2,500 line item in their 2006-07 budget to cover
their share of the expense of a consolidation study.
"Lets send a message that we have backed
my involvement in these programs," said Commissioner
Duke Miller, who sits on a study committee created
by the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. "The
other way we could do it is in parcels, but that
Miller said he wants to make it known that Anna
Maria is serious about the study.
The committee is taking another look at the idea
that refuses to die consolidation. It consists
of Miller, Commissioner Bill Shearon, from Bradenton
Beach, and Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino.
Don Schroder represents the Chamber and moderates
and facilitates the committee.
Miller told commissioners the group will be hearing
from a number of experts, and they will need some
funding. He said theyve already scheduled
a meeting with Tony Arrant, an expert in comprehensive
plans who is leading Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach
through their comp plan revision.
Anna Maria commissioners refused to participate
in a 2005 ballot referendum asking citizens if they
would support a consolidation of governments because
the referendum specifically stated consolidation
of governments. Anna Maria commissioners stated
that they werent interested in consolidating
the governments of the three Island cities, but
they are interested in exploring the possibility
of consolidating services.
Voters in both Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach
approved the referendum question overwhelmingly.
This committee is the latest incarnation of consolidation
and the elimination of duplication of services.
Miller said none of the cities want to give up their
individual identities, but all want to find a way
to use the taxpayers dollars in the most efficient