Vol 8 No. 10 - November 28, 2007


Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Boat parade to set sail Saturday

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Beach holiday continues at Prelude

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Florida Maritime Museum grand opening Dec. 7

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Christmas spirit comes alive in Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Causeway landscaping to be reduced

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Trina Rizzo heads off to Oz

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Sarasota artist to exhibit at The Studio

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Committees helping move Center into future




Boat parade to set sail Saturday

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

The Fourth Annual Cortez Lighted Boat Parade will delight spectators as boats decorated for the holidays cruise up and down the Intracoastal Waterway Dec. 1.

The parade begins at dark (around 6:30 p.m.) just north of the Cortez Bridge and will travel south to Longboat Pass and back.

A $500 cash prize will be awarded to the best decorated boat, with $100 each awarded to the best decorated boat in four classes - 20 feet and under, 21 feet through 29 feet, 30 feet through 39 feet; and 40 feet and over.

An awards celebration for participants will be held after the parade at the Seafood Shack Marina Grill.

The event is organized by the Cortez Yacht Club and sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Sun in conjunction with the Bradenton Beach Merchants Holiday Open House on Bridge Street.

Captains can register at the Seafood Shack Marina between 5-6 p.m. on Dec. 1. To register early, please call 780-3547.

The raindate is Dec. 8.

Beach holiday continues at Prelude

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – The Island’s southernmost city takes the spotlight next weekend as the Historic Bridge Street merchants present their Christmas Prelude on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The action all centers on Historic Bridge Street where merchants will be open late offering unique Island-style merchandise for gift giving. Some will serve snacks or refreshments, but the excitement is in finding items to give that cannot be found anywhere else. From art to clothing to furnishings, there’s something for everyone.

Add to that the decorations that the merchants are sure to have up as they prepare for the city’s lighting contest that will be judged on Dec. 7. That contest is open to all businesses and residences, so the trip to Bradenton Beach promises to be a colorful one for those who don’t live there.

Kids from Anna Maria Elementary School have been making ornaments for the tree that the merchants have on display outside. There will be a lighting ceremony during the Prelude.

Disk jockey Scott Barr will spin some music and Jimi G’s kids will take over at the clock tower in the pier parking lot. It’s an opportunity to bring back memories of Christmases past by joinng in on singing Christmas carols.

Bring a new unwrapped present for the Toys For Tots collection, drop some money into the Salvation Army kettle and purchase raffle tickets for prizes including gift baskets, local art and a wheelbarrow full of libation.

Arrive early and enjoy dinner in one of several restaurants along the street or on Gulf Drive. Take the time to tour the newly remodeled Bradenton Beach Pier where you’ll get a close look at the Cortez Yacht Club’s lighted boat parade that will pass by at dusk.

Enjoy this old-fashioned holiday celebration along the city’s historic Bridge Street and if you take the free trolley, you’ll add a little more nostalgia to your experience. Parking will be available at Cortez and Coquina beaches, then take the trolley to the roundabout.

There was some confusion about whether the Privateers would be holding their annual Christmas Parade that night. That parade is scheduled for a week later on Saturday, Dec. 8.

This is your opportunity to see what Bradenton Beach has done to its showcase commercial district and public pier. If you haven’t seen it lately, you’re in for a spectacular surprise as well as a shopping bonanza.

Florida Maritime Museum grand opening Dec. 7

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

CORTEZ – History will be made on Friday, Dec. 7 at the gala grand opening of the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez.

Once a schoolhouse, the museum will again serve as an educational institution, this time preserving Florida’s nautical legacy and teaching its traditions to future generations.

The museum at 4415 119th St. W. weathered several difficulties on its way to becoming a reality under skipper R.B. "Chips" Shore, the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court in charge of the county’s historic preservation efforts, and the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH).

There were the usual restoration headaches you’d expect in a schoolhouse that dates back to 1912. Chemicals used to peel stucco and paint off the original red bricks also dissolved the original grout, which had to be repaired. Exhibits couldn’t be installed below original windows until hard-to-find window parts were located.

A legal glitch arose when it was discovered that the boundaries of the Cortez Historic Overlay District stopped just short of the 4.5-acre museum complex, placing it within a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) zone and requiring it to be elevated. The Clerk of Court stepped in to enlarge the historic district to include the museum, and FEMA exempted the building from the requirement.

There were false starts with grant money, too. The project began with a grant submission in 2002 and a resulting funding award in 2003 that was later cut from the state budget, then re-awarded in 2004, allowing work to finally begin in 2005.

And just like restoring an old boat, everything took longer than expected. Restoration was meticulous, right down to the bead board walls, the wooden floors and the schoolhouse lighting fixtures. Crews brought the structure up to current building codes, including post-Katrina hurricane standards.

Inside is a permanent exhibit tracing maritime heritage from Cedar Key to Key West, the museum’s cultural boundaries.

The museum’s original, smaller geographical scope was reflected in its former name, the Florida Gulf Coast Maritime Museum at Cortez, but the name was later changed to the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez. While researching previous efforts to establish a local maritime museum, museum site coordinator Roger Allen discovered that the "-new name had already been proposed in 1987, which made everyone involved even more comfortable with the ultimate choice.

The permanent exhibit includes maritime memorabilia, replicas of boats used in local waters for commercial fishing, military uniforms worn by Cortez veterans and handmade mullet nets. Photographs and attic finds from the Cortez fishing village’s early days have been catalogued, from boat motors to boat building hand tools.

And fittingly, the museum’s history also is included. The 1912 Cortez Rural Graded School replaced a one-room school built in 1895, now a private home located near the museum at 12016 45th Ave. W. In 1933, an auditorium was added, and the building served as both school and community center until it was leased to an art school in 1961.

Rented as a residence until 1974, the property was then purchased by artist Robert Sailors, who lived and worked there. The woven fiber art of Sailors, who died in 1998, also is featured in the museum.

In 1999, Manatee County purchased the property, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The historic 1890s-era Burton/Bratton store joined the schoolhouse at the site in 2006. The first commercial building in Hunter’s Point, the original name of Cortez, the store also housed the community’s first post office and hotel. It operated until the U.S. Coast Guard bought it in 1974, and was saved from demolition in 1991 with $12,000 in contributions raised by the Cortez Village Historical Society and the Organized Fishermen of Florida.

The Cortez Family Life Museum will be housed in the former store, along with museum offices. Together with household objects and birth and death records, videotaped memories of Cortez residents will be preserved. The store also will serve as the venue for the annual Cortez Natives Picnic and the annual Cortez Folk Music Festival.

Other planned additions to the museum complex include another historic building, the Pillsbury Boat Works now located on Snead Island near Palmetto; a historic cistern, presently located across the street from the Cortez Post Office; a new picnic pavilion covered by a Seminole chickee roof and a play field with playground equipment.

A boat building shed also is planned to house the museum’s premiere educational program, a traditional wooden boat building class, which has been held for longer than anticipated in the cramped quarters of the former Cortez fire station and community center a few blocks from the museum.

Ideally, it should be on the water, Allen said.

As a result, museum and county officials are looking into the possibility of purchasing a waterfront site in Cortez as an additional "campus," he said, adding that the museum also could offer sailing and rowing lessons for adults and children at a waterfront location.

A waterfront site also would be an additional venue for the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in February, and an ideal locale for the annual museum-sponsored Great Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival in April, which draws wooden boat owners from all over the world to show and race their boats.

Best of all, it would allow traditional wooden boat builders to conveniently launch and race their creations right out of the shop, Allen said.

To learn more about the boatbuilding program and the museum, visit http://www.fishpreserve.org/.


Christmas spirit comes alive in Anna Maria

Anna Maria merchants and businesses from Palmetto Avenue to Bay Boulevard opened their doors and their hearts to visitors who came from all over the area to enjoy this season’s first Island Christmas celebration. They sampled pastries at Matt and Dom’s, tasted chili at Body and Sol and found Christmas cookies galore everywhere else.

Jimi Gee played guitar at the Island Historical Museum, and after the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree, he led the crowd in singing carols. After making the rounds, people congregated to The Studio at Gulf and Pine, where Santa was delighting kids and David Rogerson, Jack Elka and Gene Aubry played a selection of Christmas music.



Causeway landscaping to be reduced

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

BRADENTON – Members of the Palma Sola Scenic highway committee agreed recently to cut back on the amount of landscaping planned for the roadway.

"In an effort to rush this project along, not knowing whether we would get an extension, we hurried and bid this project," Seth Kohn, representing the city of Bradenton, explained. "The bid was much higher than the landscape architect’s estimate."

In September, committee members learned that the date for spending $325,000 of city of Bradenton and county funds for landscaping was Dec. 28. However, since then the group received a six-month extension.

"We only received one bid, and we think it was because the bidder appears to have grossly underestimated the money it would take to maintain the landscaping for the warranty period,” Kohn said. “I had asked for a one-year warranty period."

Kohn said he has asked landscape architect Beverly Burdette to redesign the plantings and bring the estimate closer to the amount of funding available.

Ingrid McClellan, of Keep Manatee Beautiful said after the warranty period, the county would be responsible for maintaining the area west of the Anna Maria Island Bridge. However, Keith Bettcher, Manatee County Conservation Lands Management Department administrator, said the county is reducing its maintenance responsibilities.

"It’s an added maintenance burden on the county, which is scaling back on staff and everything," Bettcher pointed out. "When we restore properties, we plan for no maintenance at all. Tell your landscape architect that you want minimal maintenance plants."

McClellan said the two bus stops planned for the Causeway would be in the same design as Holmes Beach’s trolley stops and the county would piggyback on the city’s bid.

Bob Herrington, of the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Agency, said he would report periodically to the group on the status of the Anna Maria Island Bridge replacement project, which includes a 45-day total closure of the bridge.


Trina Rizzo heads off to Oz

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH – Trina Rizzo has a hectic schedule.

Middle school requires more effort than when she attended Anna Maria Elementary School, and there is definitely more homework, but she’s also busy on the stage in front of crowds of theater goers.

She’s currently cast as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" at the Manatee Players Theatre. The performances run from Dec. 6 through 30. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost $23 for adults and $11 for students. You can order tickets by calling 748-5875.

Trina is well known to Island residents who read about her acting career through elementary school. She played Annie at the Sarasota Players when she was 10, in "The King and I" at the Manatee Players after that and in "Twelfth Night" at the Island Players. She also played in "Big" at the Golden Apple Dinner Theater in Sarasota.

In addition, she was chosen as one of 50 young performers to go to New York and attend Bravo Network’s acting project in 2004. Qualifying for that brought AME a prize, which the school used for the arts.

Playing the lead in "The Wizard of Oz" is a little daunting. She said that it took almost a month to memorize the lines. As for making acting her goal, she said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to make it a career or just a hobby.

"Right now, I’m interested in journalism," she said.

And she already has begun writing as a theater columnist for the Anna Maria Island Sun.

Trina’s sister, Holly, has also shown some interest in performing. She has had a few roles on the stage and she also sings with Trina.

They have performed locally at Publix during their holiday food events, at the Holmes Beach Holiday Walk last year and at Bayfest last year.



Sarasota artist to exhibit at The Studio

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA –A series of works by Sarasota artist Nikita Kavoukles will be on display at The Studio at Gulf and Pine in Anna Maria during the month of December.

"Human beings have the capacity to not only experience themselves in nature but also nature in themselves if they allow it to happen," Kavoukles said. "We often forget to stop and remember who we really are."

Kavoukles’ series was born in nature when he began taking digital photos in Myakka State Park, Crowley Nature Center and their environs. The photos are his starting point and he enhances the colors and paints on them using his computer.

"The process is fairly new, and I’m one of few artists approaching it in this way," he explained. "I try to avoid the computer program’s built-in bells and whistles and use the painting tools. I allow the image to guide me and I bring out the richness and mystery of the image.

"The series is called ‘Beneath the Surface’ because it deals with what’s on the surface, what’s reflected in the surface and what’s under the surface. My main intension is to motivate people to go deeper into themselves and what they see in the world around them in addition to presenting them with something beautiful."

Kavoukles, who was born in Greece, came to the United States at the age of 3. He grew up in New York City and began his studies in art, interior design, architecture and furniture design at an early age. He earned his BFA from the City College of New York.

"My uncles were old world craftsmen and were well known in New York for their display cabinet work," he said. "I was able to get jobs doing murals and art work related to their projects. I had both old world European and American craftsman training, but my main interest was always art."

Kavoukles moved to Sarasota in 1994 and for the next 10 years, he embarked on an inner journey and traveled world wide to study different art forms. In 2004, a couple of events in his life led to a change.

"I reached a very low place," he said. "I didn’t know where I was going and I felt I needed to be out in nature. I spent as much time as I could in Myakka and one day I took a digital camera and started shooting.

"When I uploaded the images on my computer, I was amazed at what was there. When I saw the richness of the images, I realized that the needed to be exposed. It’s like finding a hidden piece of papyrus that has a secret on it."

The show opens Dec. 3. Hours at The Studio are 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Kavoukles said he intends to give a presentation about his work during the month with the time and date to be announced.


Committees helping move Center into future

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – Members of the Island Community Center Board of Directors established three committees to help them move from fundraising to developing quality programs for the community.

The governance committee will examine board members’ talents and abilities and determine how best to use them, periodically review the bylaws, establish board orientation procedures and remove board members who are not performing. Members are Don Schroder, Peggy Douglas and Andy Price

The development committee will seek fundraising sources and promote the financial well being of the Center. Members are Carol Carter, Tom Breiter, Executive Director Pierrette Kelly and Development Director Aida Matic.

The public relations committee will oversee relations with individuals, businesses and other community groups and ensure that the Center continues a coordinated approach to promoting services and programs. Members are Bob Carter and Darcie Duncan.

Board members also discussed holding smaller fun family events.

"People say that they can’t come to the Affaire to Remember because they can’t afford it," Breiter explained. "We’ve lost a segment of people in the community and we need to get them back."

Kelly announced that she is working on establishing a partnership with USF to develop an adult lecture series.


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