Opposition growing to pier parking plan
Insurance reforms offered
Panel responds on boat ramp
day in city government
boat parade set for Dec. 9
break ground at Community Center
the turtle set free after beating red tide
Guard seeks comment on bridge opening change
to pier parking plan
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH - Several business leaders
on and around Bridge Street want to put the pier project
into neutral until more parking spaces can be found
and they put that desire into words last week at a
Waterfronts Florida WAVES committee meeting.
The business owners are members of WAVES and they
got a resolution passed calling for the city to address
the parking problem before finishing the pier rehabilitation.
Old Bridge Village developer David Teitelbaum, BeachHouse
restaurant owner Ed Chiles and BridgeWalk owner Barbara
Rodocker all expressed concern over the parking situation.
The problem is the number of seats at the restaurant
that will be built on the pier versus the number of
parking spaces available.
According to West Manatee Deputy Fire Marshall Kurt
Lathrop, the new restaurant will be able to hold 122
seats in indoor and outdoor seating areas. That is
reportedly more than the number of seats available
in the previous restaurant at that location.
In addition, Building Official Ed McAdam has identified
22 parking spaces for the restaurant in the pier parking
lot and with two spaces along the bay next to the
According to Teitelbaum, who addressed the problem
previously at Scenic Highway and Planning and Zoning
Board meetings, part of the problem is the fact that
the city set higher standards for private projects
than for city projects.
"The city has a responsibility to treat themselves
and they treat others," he said. "We need
studies by a third party expert before we can determine
how many parking spaces they need there."
Chiles said he supports the pier project, but not
with the number of parking spaces currently listed.
"The best thing to do is to solve the parking
situation and then do the project," he said.
The city commission will continue its hearing on the
major-development, pier rehabilitation project on Wednesday,
Nov. 29, at 1 p.m.
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
To get affordable insurance, Floridians will have
to build safer homes and businesses, according to
a report released last week by the Governor's
Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee.
The committee, created in June by Gov. Jeb Bush,
made recommendations to reduce the cost of premiums,
increase the availability of insurance and reduce
risk to homeowners and businesses.
Florida is the highest-risk state in the country
for catastrophe, according to the report, with eight
hurricanes in 2004-2005 causing nearly $36 billion
in estimated damage statewide.
With hurricane models predicting more frequent and
expensive storms, several steps need to be taken,
the committee concluded, beginning with policyholders
"Floridians must be educated to the fact that
building safer structures and retrofitting existing
ones will lower their insurance premiums," according
to the report.
The committee also recommends expanding the hurricane
mitigation program created this year, citing research
that every dollar spent on mitigation translates to
an average of $4 dollars in premium savings.
Another building-related recommendation would require
a uniform statewide building code and encourage local
government incentives for construction built stronger
than code requirements.
Consumer-friendly changes also need to be made, according
to the report. Insurance policies should be required
to specifically list the dollar amount of potential
premium mitigation discounts as well as agent's
commissions and assessments made to fund Citizens
Property Insurance Co., the state's carrier
of last resort.
To repair the problems with Citizens, the committee
recommends setting its rates regularly based on the
highest approved rates in the voluntary market, rather
than requiring Citizens to constantly reapply for
rate hikes. It also advises the Legislature to eliminate
the state's "antiquated" windstorm boundaries to allow
Citizens to write a statewide policy, and supports
new laws encouraging other insurers to take over Citizens
Another recommendation is that Citizens eliminate
the rate distinction between non-homestead and homestead
property. Under current law, there is no rate distinction
between the two, but beginning Mar. 1, 2007, non-homestead
property will be eligible for Citizens coverage only
if the property owner annually obtains three declinations
of coverage from surplus lines insurers and one from
an authorized insurer.
A special session of the Florida Legislature may meet
as early as Dec. 1 to address the recommendations.
on boat ramp
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH - Commissioners last week said public
safety, not control, is the issue at Kingfish ramp.
City commissioners had asked Manatee County commissioners
to consider a voluntary annexation of the ramp area.
However, county commissioners said they were not interested
in the proposal.
Until recently, the city thought it owned the ramp
area and its officers patrolled it. City and county
officials ordered surveys of the ramp after city commissioners
and residents of Westbay Cove protested a county plan
to increase the ramp's parking area and remove
the Brazilian peppers between the ramp and the condo.
"I was at a county commission meeting and (County
Commission Chairman) Joe McClash mentioned the letter
from the city of Holmes Beach asking them to consider
annexation. (County Commissioner) Jane von Hahmann
said, ‘If we own it, why should we bother. Then
we don't have to go through anybody regarding
the boat ramp,'" Mayor Carol Whitmore told
"I wanted to get up and say it's mainly
for public safety. It's already happened. Now
that we know it's not our property, we ‘re
having to call MSO (Manatee Sheriff's Office)
to come out to the Island to take care of something
at the boat ramp."
Whitmore suggested they ask Police Chief Jay Romine
to speak with Manatee County Commissioner Ron Getman,
formerly of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), about
I had an extensive conversation with Jane von Hahmann
today and they're totally not interested in
allowing us in the area," Commissioner David
Zaccagnino affirmed. "I think from the short
letter they got from us, it was kind of a knee-jerk
reaction. They didn't understand the reasons
why we were requesting it."
Zaccagnino also pointed out that the city's
interlocal agreement with the county regarding the
ramp area is expired.
Lt. Dale Stephenson said the problem is that when
there is a crime at the ramp, police dispatchers must
notify MSO and when there is an accident, they must
notify the FHP. Both units must come from Bradenton.
"Before, we patrolled to the foot of the bridge,"
Stephenson explained. "Now, if anything happens
that's criminal, MSO has to send a deputy. We
still patrol the area, and we can take care of the
circumstance, but we have to wait for MSO to arrive
to make an arrest."
Commissioners agreed with Whitmore's suggestion.
New day in city
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA — A new mayor, a new commissioner
and a newly re-elected commissioner took their seats
on the dais last week.
City Clerk Alice Baird administered the oath of office
to Mayor Fran Barford and Commissioners Jo Ann Mattick
and Duke Miller.
The new city officials were honored with a reception
in the city commission chambers.
In an organizational meeting following the reception,
commissioners chose John Quam to be the deputy mayor
and commission chair. Chris Tollette is the new deputy
chair of the commission.
All commissioners read and signed the code of ethics.
Committee assignments were made: Mattick will serve
as liaison to the Historical Society, Miller to the
environmental committee and the AMI Chamber of Commerce
and Tollette will be the liaison to the Community
Commissioner Dale Woodland will continue to work
with the Capital Improvement Advisory Committee and
Quam will be liaison to the Island Players.
In one of his first duties after his fellow commissioners
selected him as commission chair, Quam thanked former
Commissioner Linda Cramer for her six years of service.
She had some words of her own.
"I hope that you will move forward with good
spirit and with civility," Cramer told commissioners.
"I have my own issues like mold and a walkable
community. I thank you all and wish you the best.
If you need anything, call me."
Quam also thanked outgoing Mayor SueLynn for her
service to the city. Quam noted that she chose not
to attend the meeting, but he publicly thanked her
for her four-plus years of service to the city.
"She initiated more projects than any other
mayor, including the remodeling of city hall, the
re-forming of the capital improvement advisory committee,"
Quam said. "She got the comp plan review underway
and hired Planner Tony Arrant to help with that."
Quam thanked SueLynn for her service and said that
a "sturdy oak tree" would be planted in
her honor at the historical society complex
He showed a picture of how the oak was expected to
look in 50 years.
The commission then proceeded to hold its regular meeting.
parade set for Dec. 9
Mark your calendar for Saturday, Dec. 9, when the
Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade sets sail at
dusk from the Seafood Shack marina in Cortez.
The parade, co-sponsored by The Island Sun, offers
a touch of holiday cheer to the area as sailboats,
power boats and even a dinghy or two are outfitted
with colorful lights and festive decorations.
The route begins at the marina and travels south
along the Intracoastal Waterway to Longboat Pass,
then reverses course coming back up the ICW to end
at the Seafood Shack.
There will be $1,000 in cash prizes awarded for the
best-decorated boats in the following categories:
power, sail, dinghy, 35 feet and under and over 35
Boat owner packets are still available at The Sun
office in Island Sun Plaza, 9801 Gulf Drive in Anna
Maria. Packets also are available at the West Marine
Express Store in Holmes Beach.
Sponsors this year are The Sun, Gulf Auto Clinic of
Bradenton and Cortez Yacht Sales. For more informationcall
Chantelle or Louise at The Sun at 778-3986.
ground at Community Center
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA — Thursday was a happy day for Island
Community Center officials and the board, the construction
team, financiers and members of the community as they
gathered to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the
"This is a great day," Executive Director
Pierrette Kelly said. "I thank all of you for
allowing me to work with you to make this happen."
"This has been a very long time coming,"
Andy Price, chairman of the board, said. "Back
in the ‘60s, when my parents moved here, I was
a very young child. The first place I came was the
Community Center. It was the one before the one that
was recently demolished.
"I grew up in that Community Center. It's
where I learned how to swim, sail, play football,
baseball, basketball, tennis, everything. That Community
Center really formed my life. It taught me about community
service because there was one employee and everybody
else was a volunteer."
Price acknowledged board member Stuart Moon as the
driving force behind the construction project and
Kelly as the key to keeping the board focused.
Moon said the project was initiated four years ago
and in that four-year period, "one hell of a
lot happened. Construction prices went crazy. Our
original $2.5 million went way up. FEMA came in and
that added probably a $1 million to the cost
"We had one gym and one classroom. We had to
go ahead; we had no choice. We made the monumental
decision to bite the bullet and build a new Community
Jeff Boyd, of Northern Trust Bank, which made the
construction loan for the project, said the Center
has been the cultural Mecca of the Island for 46 years,
serving all ages from infants to senior citizens.
Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore, who came to the
Island at age 14, said she, like Price, grew up in
the Community Center.
"The Youth Center was a very, very important
part of my life," Whitmore said. "It's
been a very important part of my daughter's
life. I brought her here for preschool, after school,
all through school because I worked full time. It
was a wonderful place, and she's had a good
"I believe strongly that we have to give our
kids some place to go and something to do or we're
not going to have the end result that we really want.
I believe this is going to be a wonderful thing, and
they're going to offer a lot of things that
have never been available on the Island."
Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford said city officials
are proud to have the Community Center in the city,
and "It's a wonderful anchor and a wonderful
opportunity to serve the community."
Construction on the new building began shortly after
the old building's demolition in September.
Foundation work is underway and walls will begin rising
The exterior of the building should be completed by
the end of February, and then interior work will begin.
Completion is expected at the end of June 2007.
Zach the turtle
set free after beating red tide
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA - An adult male loggerhead sea turtle
named Zach was released into the Gulf of Mexico on
He was carried across the beach on a canvas stretcher
to a foam pad waiting just above the surf line. The
turtle was a muddy brown with lighter marks on his
Zach crawled a few steps and then hesitated. Male
sea turtles normally spend their entire lives at sea.
The only time they ever touch sand is when they hatch
from their eggs and scramble across the beach and
into the water.
Finally, a wave broke over the loggerhead's
shell. The muddy brown became shiny and showed lines
of yellow. The turtle's head and front flippers
became colorful and lined with bright black and yellow
lines in the tan skin.
Slowly, Zach entered the water, letting a few waves
break over him before heading out.
His head appeared once above the surface to take
a breath, and then he was gone.
The turtle is one of three adult males equipped with
a satellite-tracking device to be released in the
last several days.
He was found on the beach in Boca Grande on Sept.
8 of this year. He was extremely lethargic, but somewhat
Dr. Charles Manire, Mote's chief veterinarian,
suspected the turtle was suffering from red tide toxicosis.
Tests later confirmed that diagnosis.
The turtle, which was named for one of the people
who found him, was treated and recovered quickly.
He was released from the end of Magnolia Avenue in
Anna Maria with a satellite tracker attached to his
"Very little is known about adult male turtles,"
Manire said. "We know a little about the females
because we are able to attach trackers to them when
they come ashore to nest, but we haven't been
able to learn much about the males so far."
Manire said with the recovery of Zach and two other
turtles that were sickened by red tide, there was
a unique opportunity to learn more about the adult
Zach and the other two loggerheads' satellite
antennas will send a signal to a satellite each time
they surface for air.
If the antennas hold up, scientists should be able
to track the turtles' movements for up to two
"That's if we're lucky," Manire
said. "They tend to rub against rocks and other
things, so the antennas may be damaged or come loose,
but we're hoping for the best."
So far, Zach appears to be heading south. There is
still red tide in the areas south of Anna Maria Island,
which is why the adult male was released from here
rather than from Boca Grande where he was found.
Chilly Willy, a juvenile green turtle that was released
from the same location during the late summer, continues
to do well.
The Sun helped Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch raise
funds to outfit Willy with a tracking device.
He was first found floating off the bay side of the
Island on Valentine's Day of this year.
AMI Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox got a call about
the turtle, got him and took him to Mote where it
was discovered that he was suffering from cold shock.
As Willy recovered, Turtle Watch was collecting funds
to outfit him with the tracker.
The device itself costs $2,000, and satellite time
is another $1,000.
With the funds raised, Willy became the first juvenile
green turtle to be tracked from this coast.
Manire said scientists have learned a lot from Willy.
"We always suspected that turtles would try
to avoid red tide if they could, and that appears
to be what happened," Manire said.
"At first Willy headed south toward the red
tide, but then he made a big circle and headed north.
He's hanging around a grassy bed to the north."
Willy's satellite signal is coming from the
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.
Willy appears to be doing well.
How to check in on the turtles
Citizen scientists can check on any sea turtle outfitted
with a tracker. Log onto seaturtle.org. In the menu
on the left hand side of the screen, you'll find
a listing called "animal finder." There's
a box to enter the name of the animal you're tracking.
Enter the name and click on "go." That will
tell you the turtle's last known location.
seeks comment on bridge opening change
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
Residents have until Dec. 8 to send their comments
to the Coast Guard regarding the change in bridge
openings from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes
for the Island's two drawbridges.
The change, which was to begin Jan.15, may be delayed
due to a problem with the Coast Guard's notice
requirements. Implementation of 30-minute openings
should take place by the end of January
Once implemented, the schedule will be in place from
Jan. 15 to May 15 between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. each year.
There will be 20-minute openings the remainder of
The issue began in 2005, when the Island's
mayors asked the Coast Guard to review the existing
regulations regarding drawbridge openings. The Coast
Guard published a notice of the proposed change and
took public comments. In addition, it held a public
meeting in Holmes Beach in March 2006.
The Coast Guard received a total of 45 comments.
Eighteen were in favor of the proposal, six were against
nighttime closures, seven were against the curfew
hours (the original plan called for no openings between
7:35 and 8:29 a.m. and 4:35 and 5:29 p.m.), two requested
staggered hours between the two bridges rather than
both opening on the same schedule, six favored the
change only during the season and nine were against
Comments can be sent to Commander (dpb), Seventh
Coast Guard District, 909 SE First Avenue, Room 432,
Miami FL 33131-3050. Comments must include the docket
For further information, contact Michael Lieberum at