Vol 8 No. 8 - November 14, 2007


Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Tidemark Resorts ready to write contracts

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Moons top biz owners by Rotary

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Walk for Erik this Sunday

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Churches to host Thanksgiving dinners

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Runners prepare for Island race

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Judge rules in city’s favor

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper The Sun presents James Swain at Center

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Geraldson Community Farm opens to public




Tidemark Resorts ready to write contracts

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH – With a new sales manager, a new marketing campaign and a new Web site, Tidemark Resorts representatives say they are ready to make a splash.s

"We finished with the state with all the condo and fractional docs and we can now go to firm contracts," Lance McNeill, of Reliance Realty Partners, explained last week. "We’re ready to go as soon as the pre-sales contracts come in."

The project includes marina residences at the original Tidemark site at Gulf and Marina drives and beach residences at the Beach Inn site at 66th Street and Gulf Drive. There will be 30 units at $149,000 each in five buildings at the marina. There will be 15 units in three buildings at the beach. They will sell for $190,000 for two-bedroom units and $280,00 for three-bedroom units.

All units in both projects will be sold as fractional ownership, a form of real estate in which the buyer purchases a fraction of ownership. Each unit will be sold to eight different owners, and each owner has unrestricted use with the exception of availability.

McNeill said new sales manager Patrick Currie comes to the project from DCP International and noted ‘He’s got a lot of experience in this type of program and how it works.

"We’re selling to users, not investors. The key to this plan is there’s no restriction on how much you can use it. It’s truly like having a second home with all the amenities and sharing the cost with eight people."

Owners at either site can enjoy the benefits and facilities at both locations. The Tidemark site includes a yacht basin with 62 deepwater boat slips. A fleet of 25 to 30 boats will be available in the yacht basin for owners to use at no cost.

"The docks are done and our first boat is here," McNeill said. "We’re putting a lot of emphasis on our boat program. We will be getting an electric boat, which we will use to take guests out for sunset, wine and cheese cruises. I think it will be really popular."

McNeill said the resort’s fishing guides plan to move into the yacht basin in the next month. The resort will offer a guide program managed by local fishing guide Justin Moore.

The first buildings to be constructed at the Tidemark site will be Buildings A and B. Construction of the lodge with a swimming pool, 10 rooms, a restaurant and meeting rooms will follow, then Buildings C, D and E.

The retail center along the Gulf Drive side of the Tidemark site, which was purchased by Reliance last year, will get a facelift and a new name, Tidemark Resorts Shoppes. Each storefront will be painted a different complementing color and new matching signs will be installed.

At the Beach Inn site, Building 1 is under construction and completion is expected in August 2008. Work on the Building 2 site started last week with the demolition of the current building. The Building 3 site is being used as a staging area and work on that building will begin in about six months.

There will be a large, clover-shaped swimming pool, which includes a spa with a covered cabana and lush landscaping. On 66th Street, the asphalt between the Beach Inn and the Beach Bistro will be removed and replaced with pavers to make a tropical courtyard setting.

Moons top biz owners by Rotary

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

They came to the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Installation Banquet with AMI Community Center Director Pierette Kelly, thinking she was going to get an award, but the Rotary Club turned the tables on them.

When Rotary President Pam Schleuter started describing the winners of their Business of the Year award, Stewart abd Trudy Moon looked confused. Schleuter said the winners were from Canada, which the Moons are, but when she talked about their recent fund-raiser dinner for the Humane Society, Trudy realized they, the owners of Air and Energy Air Conditioning, and Plumbing, were the winners.

Ellen Aquilina, of SunTrust Bank, was honored as Ambassador of the Year.

Earlier, Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie administered the oath to the Chamber Officers and Board of Directors for the upcoming year. Mark Davis remains as Chairman of the Board, Cindy Thompson as Chairman-Elect, Barbara Murphy as Secretary and Karen LaPensee remains as Treasurer. The only change to the roster of Board Members is Joe Landolfi, of Manson Roofing, replacing architect Mike McCaleb.

The banquet took place under the pavilion at the Sandbar restaurant with a beautiful sunset in the background. Everybody stopped to admire it as they stood with their feet in the sand.

Walk for Erik this Sunday

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH – The Beach Bistro Erik Stahr Beach Walk Fundraiser is next Sunday and it’s as easy as walking the beach.

There are many benefits to participating. For one thing, you’ll be out enjoying the sunlight during a time of the year when it feels especially good. For another, you could stand to lose a few pounds right before the biggest food holiday of the year. There is a raffle with a chance for a dinner many have only dreamed of and finally, you’re helping an Island son’s family recover from the cost of a heart transplant and help pay for upcoming medical expenses in conjunction with it.

The fund-raiser begins at 2:30 p.m. at Manatee County Public Beach, where you will sign up and donate whatever you can. The walk starts at 3 p.m. and you will head north to the beach behind the Sandbar restaurant, in Anna Maria. There will be a stop at the Beach Bistro for water. The Bistro is also sponsoring a raffle drawing for a dinner for four with premium wines with transportation from anywhere in Manatee County.

The walk is a joint effort between Anna Maria Elementary School Guidance Counselor Cindi Harrison and parents of several Island children who were born with heart defects. One of those is Susan Timmons, wife of Sean Murphy and mother of Lexa; Kay Kay and Dan Hardy, parents of Chandler; and Nancy Boltwood, mother of twins Nicky and Tori who were both born with heart defects.

Erik, 19, was born without a pulmonary valve in his heart, which was fixed with one from a pig when he was an infant. Doctors replaced that with one from a calf when he was 12, but the strain of not having a valve that would grow as he grew caused his heart to start failing earlier this year. Doctors in Tampa’s All Children’s Hospital found a replacement heart and installed it in June.

Since the operation, Harrison put together raffles for dinner certificates from local restaurants at the Beach Bash, put on in August by West Coast Surf Shop and sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Sun, which raised some money for the cause. She helped the parents of the other children born with heart defects unite to organize this beach walk.

Meanwhile, Erik continues to flourish. He is easing back into life by starting to work again, taking a college class and training for a new sport – mountain biking.

If you would like to donate to the cause but don’t want to walk, you may do so at the Sandbar restaurant pavilion the day of the event or by calling Hardy at 778-3057 or Harrison at the school, 708-5525, ext. 237.

Churches to host Thanksgiving dinners

If you’re living alone or your family won’t be with you for Thanksgiving, three Island churches are hosting community Thanksgiving dinners so you can spend the day with your friends and neighbors. All three are on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 22.

CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, will host a community dinner on at 1 p.m. Expect turkey and the trimmings with many of the side dishes provided through the generosity of the church parishioners.

There is no charge for those who want to participate, but they ask that you call 778-0719 to make reservations.

St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach, holds its dinner at 1 p.m. in the church fellowship hall. A traditional dinner of salad, turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, rolls and butter and pumpkin pie will be served.

A free will offering will be taken. All are welcome and reservations are required by Friday, Nov. 16. If you would like to volunteer to help with this community dinner, contact Cecil. Call the church office at 778-4769 to volunteer or for reservations.

Meanwhile, Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, holds its Thanksgiving Day dinner starting at 2 p.m. in its Fellowship Hall. The menu will be similar, including turkey and all the trimmings.

Call the church office during regular business hours at 778-0414 to make reservations and for additional information.

Roser started this tradition several years ago to accommodate the many people who had retired to the Island, didn’t have family nearby and didn’t want to go to all the trouble of preparing a dinner for just one or two people.

It became popular because so many of those who attended said they didn’t want to be alone for the holiday and what better company than those who live near you on Anna Maria Island.



Runners prepare for Island race

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

The second annual Anna Maria Dolphin Dash is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19, and preparations are already underway.

Students are currently participating in an art contest to design the new, official Dolphin Dash T-shirt. Students can submit a line drawing representing the AME Dolphin Dash to the front office by Tuesday, Nov. 20. The winner will be announced on the morning show and will be the first to receive the T-shirt.

T-shirt sponsors are needed. Sponsors will receive their name or logo on the back of the shirt and a free race entry. The cost is $100.

Students will be encouraged to train for this event. They will receive training sheets to monitor their progress. Students who complete 12 run/walk miles of training by race day will receive a pair of Dolphin Dash shoelaces.

The 5k run will begin at 8 a.m. and the one-mile fun run will start at 9 a.m.
The first 300 people to register for the race will receive a T-shirt and a goodie bag. Trophies and medals will awarded to top finishers in the 5k and blue ribbons will be given to everyone who finishes the one-mile run. Entry forms are available in the front office at AME. Pre-registration for either race is $20 for adults and $10 for children under 16 with a $5 increase on race day.

Call Becky at 320-1382 for more information.


Judge rules in city’s favor

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – Circuit Judge Peter Dubensky has ruled for the city of Bradenton Beach and Mayor John Chappie in a suit brought by MacBonner, Inc., d/b/a/ The Islander, over allegedly withholding information regarding a sexual harassment complaint by a city employee.

Dubensky denied three counts of the suit and granted one count, but denied the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. He reserved jurisdiction to consider costs and fees in the case. The city had already filed notice that it would seek sanctions against the plaintiff to recover its legal expenses if the judge ruled in the city’s favor.

Dubensky ruled that the city waited too long to claim that three documents it released after repeated requests by the newspaper’s reporter and publisher for all documents were exempt from release under the whistleblower law protecting people who bring action against superiors on the job. The three documents were a memo generated by Chappie on Feb. 23 to former Building Official Ed McAdam advising him of the sexual harassment complaint and placing him on leave and a fax and letter from attorney Greg Hootman to city attorney Ricinda Perry, of Lewis, Longman and Walker, PA., asking for information on the suit for an investigator with the city’s liability insurance carrier.

Because the city waited three weeks before releasing the records, the judge found that it had violated state law. He also ruled that the city wrongly relied on the whistleblower statue because when McAdam resigned, there was no longer the threat of retaliation in the workplace.

In the first count of the suit, the judge ruled for the city in a claim that the mayor violated the Sunshine Law by meeting with each commissioner indirectly, through Perry, to inform them of the complaint. The judge dismissed the second count that calls for injunctive relief to prohibit the city from any further Sunshine violations because those alleged violations were dismissed in the first count.

The third count, asking the court to have the city produce records on the investigation, was dismissed because of a lack of records that would apply. The judge found that Perry did not take exact notes during her investigation and that information Garneau relied on from a personal journal that she kept was not admissible because Garneau did not release the journal to Perry or the city.

The city commission will hold a shade meeting in the future to discuss the decision. The city’s cost in defending the lawsuit is in excess of $30,000.

Chappie said he was relieved with the outcome.

"The judge upheld the city and the city upheld the law," he said.



The Sun presents James Swain at Center

By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – Fans of Florida fiction in general and of James Swain in particular can meet the author and get a copy of his newest book, "Midnight Rambler" at an event Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11:30 a.m. at the AMI Community Center.

‘“Midnight Rambler’ moves like a bullet train on overdrive," Author Michael Connelly said in his review of the book. "I tore through this without putting on the brakes. I guarantee you will, too!"

The book is a radical departure from Swain’s previous gambling-themed work, featuring Tony Valentine.

He’s turned to the dark world of child abduction. Jack Carpenter is down and nearly out. The 40-yearold cop left the Broward County missing persons unit with his personal life in ruins after he beat up Simon Skell, an accused serial killer known as the Midnight Rambler.

The pace maneuvers at warp speed as Carpenter races to save missing children.

Swain knows how to write. He knows how to weave a complex plot. His characters are vividly drawn.

"Midnight Rambler," released only a couple of weeks ago, has already climbed to number 10 on the L.A. Times bestseller list. It’s been favorably reviewed in the Sunday New York Times book section.

And now Island fans of Florida fiction will be able to meet the author in an informal setting.

Tickets to the event are $40 and include lunch, a copy of "Midnight Rambler" and a chance to meet Swain and have him autograph the book.

Come meet Swain and hear the story of how he came to write the book.

Tickets are available at the Community Center and at The Sun, 9801 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.


Geraldson Community Farm opens to public

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

BRADENTON – It was a fruitful day at Geraldson Community Farm as county officials, members of the Geraldson family and officials of Florida West Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) gathered to officially open the farm to the public.

Manatee County purchased the 20-acre farm, located on 99th Street West in Bradenton, from the Geraldson family in 2005. The county hired RC&D to develop a management plan for the farm.

"We have been working since last September to turn this vision into a reality," Laura Morton, of RC&D, said. "We wanted to slow down and reflect on its transition from family farm to a community farm. It took a lot of leadership for the family to sell the farm."

County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann called it "one more treasure for Manatee County," and County Commissioner Joe McClash said, "It preserves a window in time."

Reba Geraldson Moeller, who spoke for the Geraldson family, said, "We hope this becomes an invaluable resource in our community."

Dr. Carroll Geraldson and his wife, Patricia, bought the land in the 1950s and farmed it while raising two sons and five daughters. In time, sons Greg and Eric took over the farming duties and raised produce there for more than 20 years.

The brothers sold produce to local schools and restaurants and opened a retail market on the Palma Sola Causeway that was a favorite stop for many Island residents. They were forced to close the retail market when St. Joe bought the land for its Perico development.

"I have mixed emotions," Eric Geraldson said. "I miss it."

The farm is structured as community-supported agriculture in which the farm’s organic produce is available to members, who buy shares of the harvest. Members will receive a weekly share of produce for 28 weeks between Nov. 7 and May 17.

Program manager Sarah Crane said there are currently four acres in production with 30 types of crops planted. The first distribution of the harvest to its 180 shareholders will be this week.


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