Island prepares storm aid
Villa Rosa, condo project sale coming up
Insurance loopholes closed
Deputy arrests burglary suspect
County addresses beach parking problems
come bobbin� through town
Dolphin injured by fishing line
says goodbye to Mrs. Hayes
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA ISLAND When a disaster like the
swarm of tornados that hit Central Florida this past
weekend occurs, it takes a while for aid crews to
Emergency responders arrived on the scene within the
hour responders like police, fire and rescue.
Representatives of the Red Cross and Salvation Army
were not far behind, feeding and sheltering victims
and responders alike.
The kind of long-term aid that is going to be necessary
for the storm victims is being assembled and will
be delivered as the days and weeks unfold in the storms
Its going to be a long term effort for these
people to rebuild their lives," said Pete Robb,
an Anna Maria resident who works with the Manatee
Assistance arm of the Florida Southern Baptist Emergency
Team. "I expect well get the green light
to go in pretty soon. This is a rigorous system. We
go in as soon as we are allowed to and assess the
needs of the victims. We look at their food needs,
cleanup needs and rebuilding needs. We are there to
Robb, who stressed the fact that he is just one member
of a much larger assistance team, said its early
still, and no one but first responders are on the
"They are still searching for victims,"
Robb said Monday. "Entry into that area is very
controlled right now." He added that law enforcement
has to be on the lookout for looters, as well as victims.
The Island resident has had first-hand experience
responding to disasters as a member of the Baptist
Emergency Response Team. He was in New Orleans after
"I was there," he said. "Our team went
there a couple of times to help with rebuilding. Something
like that takes years and years to come back from."
Robb said he expects his team to get the word to be
on the move soon.
Island Baptist Church, where Robb is a member, will
be waiting to hear from him what kind of assistance
the church can offer to the victims of the tornados.
Other Island help
Roser Church will be sending aid to the storm-tossed
areas of Central Florida as well.
"We dont know what they need yet, and we
dont know exactly what well be doing,"
said Louise Van Pelt, chairman of the mission committee
at the church. "But we will definitely be doing
some sort of fund-raiser to help."
Van Pelt said the mission committee has a meeting
scheduled for Thursday this week, and storm relief
will definitely be on the agenda.
St. Bernards Catholic Church had nothing planned
at press time. It will be taking its direction from
the diocesan office.
Members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church will wait to
hear from their Synod what they can do to help.
All Island Denominations probably wont be doing
any direct storm relief. Frank McGrath heads up AID,
and he said that the type of assistance offered by
his organization is more person-to-person and more
localized to the Island.
"But if we get word of a specific person with
a specific need, well respond," he said.
No one from West Manatee Fire and Rescue or from any
of the local Island law enforcement agencies was expected
to be deployed to the area, according to officials
from West Manatee, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach
Police Departments and the Manatee County Sheriffs
Villa Rosa, condo
project sale coming up
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
GSR Developments two unfinished projects on
Anna Maria Island are expected to go on the market
within a month, according to Bill Maloney, GSRs
chief restructuring manager.
The assets of the company, whose principals are Robert
Byrne and Steven Noriega, are being liquidated under
chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code to pay creditors.
Rosa del Mar, a 2 1/2-acre Gulffront property in Bradenton
Beach, has city-approved plans for 14 condominiums,
while Villa Rosa in Anna Maria is platted as an 18-lot
gated community with deep water access, Maloney said.
Unlike another 16 Island properties owned by GSR that
will be marketed exclusively by RoseBay Realty, Maloney
intends to offer the two developments to several realtors
by March. He will sign contracts with those who produce
qualified prospective buyers, he said.
A for sale sign he installed at Rosa del Mar last
month already has produced about 15 calls from serious
buyers, he said, adding that a model home priced at
$2.5 million at Villa Rosa also has attracted attention.
Maloney said he is being especially careful to price
the properties realistically because the Island real
estate market is weak and the prices will dictate
the immediate future market.
"GSR is the largest landowner on the Island,"
he said. "If we sell them below market value,
theyll become the new standard."
Bankers will not lend more than 80 to 90 percent of
the appraised value of a home, he said, so if the
GSR properties are underpriced, comparable homes with
higher prices will have low appraisals and buyers
will have trouble getting financing.
"That would chill the market," he said.
Maloney said he expects the property to sell relatively
quickly, partly by offering a 4 percent buyers
representative commission incentive and partly because
its a "once in a lifetime chance"
to control prime Island real estate.
Completing the sales could take up to nine months,
he said, after which creditors will be paid. More
than $1 million already has been repaid, he said.
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Gov. Charlie Crist issued an emergency order last
week to freeze insurance rates and keep companies
from canceling policies in response to the new state
Some customers were receiving phone calls saying "Youre
cancelled," Rep. Bill Galvano told about 40 people
attending an information session about the new law
in Bradenton last week.
In an emergency order, Crist prevented companies from
dropping customers until May, when another part of
the new law prevents them from dropping customers
close to hurricane season, which starts June 1.
He also froze rates for about 20 companies that had
not already made new rate increase filings before
the law was passed last month.
The law reduced rates, as the governor had insisted,
Citizens customers can expect 17.7 to 18.7 percent
savings, he said. Rates are frozen and planned rate
increases will not take effect, including a 23.1 percent
increase that went into effect on Jan. 1, for which
rebates will be required, and a 56.5 percent increase
scheduled for March 1.
State Farm customers will see an average 7 percent
savings on their rates and homeowners with other companies
will see 21.8 percent average savings, he said.
But the most important part of the law in the long
run allows policyholders to get further premium reductions
by strengthening their buildings, Galvano said.
"The only way to decrease insurance rates is
to not have hurricanes, which we cant control,
or make hurricanes less expensive by mitigation,"
Lawmakers decided it was more cost-effective for the
state to contribute to mitigation efforts than to
pay for damage to poorly-constructed buildings, he
said, and they attempted to fix a broken system that
did not reward people for adding shutters and taking
other mitigation steps.
When it becomes available, information on mitigation
discounts will be posted at http://www.floir.com.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA A Manatee County Sheriffs
Deputy arrested a suspect on the street Sunday after
linking him to a daring home burglary.
According to a sheriffs office report, the victim,
Barbara Tyler, returned home from getting a newspaper
and noticed that the front door to her residence at
109 Cedar Ave. was unlocked, even though she locked
it before she left.
Tyler entered the residence from the back door, asking
loudly if anyone was there and then spotted the suspect
in her driveway. She asked him what he was doing,
and he said that he had found a wallet in front of
her home. He then left on his bicycle heading north
on Cedar. Tyler called police.
Deputy Gary Sellitto responded and searched the area
in his patrol car. He spotted William Reed, of Holmes
Beach, who matched her description, at the corner
of 78th Street and Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.
Sellitto asked Reed for identification, and he said
he had none. He gave Sellitto a wallet saying he found
it in front of Tylers residence. Sellitto called
for backup and a Bradenton Beach officer responded
and stayed with Tyler while Sellitto returned to Tyler
to see if a crime had been committed. She said that
after confronting the suspect, she found out her purse
had been rifled. He returned to where Reed was being
held and asked for Reeds name. Reed gave a false
name, which he recanted when Sellitto his picture
ID in the wallet. Reed was arrested for resisting
a law enforcement officer without violence and read
his Miranda rights. He later admitted breaking into
the house during questioning and was charged with
burglary, according to the report.
beach parking problems
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH The Manatee County Parks and
Recreation Department has plans for the south end
of Anna Maria. Now all it needs is permission and
the money to make those plans reality.
The plans came as a result of talks between Bradenton
Beach Mayor John Chappie, Police Chief Sam Speciale
and Building Official Ed McAdam with Manatee County
Parks and Recreation Department Director Cindy Turner,
Deputy County Administrator Karen Windon and others.
The were looking for a way to allow Bradenton Beach
Police, which the county pays to patrol Coquina Beach
and Coquina Bayside Park, better control of crowds
at the parks.
At a meeting in October, they discussed what the needs
and issues were, according to Park and Recreation
Department Planner Mike Sosadeeter. One of the most
urgent needs was to control cruisers in the parking
lot, he said.
"The way its set up now, there are wide
areas of land where people in cars can go around in
circles," Sosadeeter said. "The police want
to cut down on that by being able to cordon off areas
of the lot."
The new plans for the parking areas coincide with
the Coquina Beach Multi Use Trail being built between
the lot and the beach this spring. Sosadeeter warned
that if the plans are carried out, some Australian
pines would be cut down, but they would be replaced
with native shade trees.
According to the tentative plans, the parking lot
would be divided into several sections. The westernmost
parking lot road would no longer be connected from
one end of the park to another.
The southern section of the lot would have access
from the road that goes under the approach to the
Longboat Pass Bridge. Parking spaces would be delineated
by bollards and landscaping. There would be some pull-through
spaces for motor homes or travel trailers near the
approach to the bridge. A gate at the entrance to
the westernmost road would control access. That road
would end in a cul de sac at its northernmost end.
The next section would be accessible from the southernmost
entrance off Gulf Drive. It would contain pavilions
and the southern restrooms. The northern end of the
road would end in a cul de sac and the southern end
would have parking spaces. There is a large area of
land between the westernmost and easternmost roads
that could be used for sporting events or overflow
parking, according to Sosadeeter.
The next quadrant includes the concession stands.
The plans call for a loop in front of the stand for
buses and trolleys to pick up and drop off passengers
and the parking areas would have accesses perpendicular
to the beach.
"That would make less conflict between cars and
people," Sosadeeter said. "The way the lots
are laid out now, when people are going west to the
beach, they have to cross the roadway where people
are driving and looking for parking spaces. When the
roads run east and west, the people dont have
to cross the path of as many cars."
The quadrant north of that has more perpendicular
parking lots up to the current bus and trolley turn
around and public restroom.
The northernmost quadrant would have angle parking
where there is room, which would cut down on the current
situation where drivers sometimes have to pull onto
Gulf Drive to get out of their parking spots.
Sosadeeter said there is no price tag on the plans
and getting them implemented would likely take years,
but hes hoping Bradenton Beach will look at
them and support them. He took them to the Scenic
Highway Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
He is also hoping that Bradenton Beach might work
with Manatee County to find grant money to finance
the project, even if it is done in stages.
Robins come bobbin�
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
The City of Anna Maria Island was deluged by thousands
of robins recently, sometimes with disastrous results
to vehicle paint jobs.
Resident Charlie Canniff, a member of the local Audubon
Society, said its part of their regular migration,
although we dont usually see this many at one
time. He speculated the extended cold weather up north
has kept them from returning. Canniff noted that they
have their spring red breasts in preparation for the
mating season, and now all they need is for the weather
to turn spring-like.
"Its kind of strange because during the
Christmas bird count, we only saw two robins while
there were more on Longboat Key," Canniff said.
While the robins were here, many of them snacked on
Brazilian pepper berries, which made quick passage
through their digestive tracks and onto the hoods
and roofs of cars and trucks. Motorists are advised
to try to wash the mess off before it does any permanent
damage to paint jobs. Canniff said some of the berries
the robins feast on could ferment, causing some of
the birds to be guilty of "flying under the influence."
Canniff said as soon as the robins know that the weather
up north is okay, they will disappear.
"They might be here in the morning and by afternoon,
theyll all be gone," he said.
Its art of the mystery of nature as the original
snowbirds continue on their way.
by fishing line
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Its a sad way to get christened Filly
the dolphin got her name from the monofilament fishing
line wrapped around her tail that could have killed
The 5.5-foot long bottlenose youth was rescued in
Little Sarasota Bay last week and brought to Mote
Marine Laboratorys Dolphin and Whale Hospital
Members of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program based
at Mote had spotted her in December with fishing line
trailing from her tail. After waiting to see if she
could shed the line herself, the group had trouble
finding her for more than a month.
When they found her again on Jan. 18, they saw that
the line had become embedded and had collected algae,
which created more drag, digging it deeper into her
The National Marine Fisheries Service, which regulates
the protection of wild marine mammals, authorized
a 30-member team from Mote to rescue the dolphin.
They picked up Filly a mile south of the Stickney
Point Bridge on Jan. 30 and took her to Mote, where
they discovered she also had eaten plastic.
During surgery, they found the fishing line was circling
the dolphins spine and deeply embedded in her
tissue. Mote veterinarian Dr. Charles Manire was unable
to remove all the line and expects to perform an additional
surgery this week.
"Cases of dolphins being negatively affected
by humans are becoming all too common on Sarasota
Bay," said Dr. Randall Wells, manager of the
Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.
"In 2006, at least three adult dolphins died
as a result of recreational fishing gear entanglement.
Now this young dolphin would likely have died from
having its tail cut off if it had not been rescued."
Continued fishing-related dolphin deaths will lead
to the demise of the Sarasota Bay dolphin community,
which has been studied for five generations, he said.
Filly has not been seen with her mother since May,
which researchers called unusual, as dolphins typically
stay with their mothers for the first three to six
years of their lives. Fillys mother was last
seen by Mote staff on Jan. 19.
Recreational anglers can help protect dolphins by
participating in the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling
Program. Locations of recycling bins where fishing
line can be discarded for recycling are listed at:
goodbye to Mrs. Hayes
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Wednesday was the last day at
Anna Maria Elementary School for principal Kathy Hayes.
It was a bittersweet day for the woman who presided
over the Island school during its reconstruction and
relocation into the new campus.
Hayes moved on to become the principal at Gullett,
a brand new elementary school east of Bradenton, but
not before students, teachers, staff and community
leaders said goodbye during a surprise assembly at
the schools auditorium Wednesday afternoon.
The students worked on two projects before coming
to the assembly. They each wrote a goodbye message
on a large white card, which they deposited in containers
for her as they came in. They also wrote goodbye in
one of 450 languages on red sheets of paper, which
they waved over their heads during the assembly.
Mrs. Hayes would also get best wishes from shells
and pieces of beach glass that the students put into
a huge glass vase as they left the auditorium.
"I want you to think of your best wishes as you
hold your piece of beach glass or shell," counselor
Cindi Harrison told the students before Hayes arrived.
"That way, when you put them into the vase, she
can have them to take home and wherever she goes."
Hayes had one final duty on Wednesday, to attend a
luncheon with former clinic aide and front office
attendant Debbie Gomes, who was chosen the Anna Maria
Elementary School Support Employee of the Year. Gomes
was treated to lunch by the school district, along
with other support employees of the year from other
In order to get Hayes into the auditorium, Harrison
had an employee tell her there was a problem in the
auditorium. As she walked in, the students started
The auditorium was packed with people, but Harrison
had put a chair for Hayes at the end of the runway
with a path leading to it.
As Hayes was seated, Harrison told the students, "We
have one last hour to wish her well." Then she
turned to Hayes.
"We have been through a lot of changes with you,"
she said. "Remember when this auditorium didnt
look like this?"
Hayes smiled, but it was a bittersweet smile.
Next, SAC Chairman Michael Pierce spoke, saying she
had been a great leader in "one of the best schools
"We hate to see her go," he said. "She
is a multi-tasker who can wear out a Blackberry in
PTO President Shannon Dell spoke next.
"You have been a great leader and role model
for so many students and parents," she said,
before giving Hayes a basket of items. "This
is a basket of beach stuff because as you have said
before, you may be going out east, but your toes will
stay in the beach."
Finally, it was a teary goodbye for her to each student
who came up to drop the beach glass or shell into
her vase. Many stopped to hug her, as did their teachers
and the staff of the school.