Vol 8 No. 12 - December 12, 2007


Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Son reopens mother’s store

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Victim treated in ‘golden hour’

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Drought expected to continue into spring

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Chorus and orchestra present sounds for the season

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Victim has history of service to city

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper ‘Dead zone’ in Gulf has partial rebirth

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Manatee downlisting suspended

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper First closings set for Pine Avenue project




Son reopens mother’s store

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

stomer opens the door and enters Island Mail and More, at 3230 East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach. Stephen Normand looks up from behind the counter as the lady says, "I always fax something on Monday mornings."

He takes the piece of paper from her and she pushes an envelope into his hand.

Stephen puts the card with a stack of papers and cards waiting to go to his mother, Sue, who is in the hospital, recovering from a gunshot wound she suffered last Wednesday at her store.

After five days of turmoil and worry about his mother, Stephen reopened the store Monday morning. He has filled in for her before, so he knows the routine in the store that does everything from making copies for customers to wrapping and shipping packages for them.

"She’s doing better," he said when asked about his mom. "They’re saying she’ll need to use a walker for a year. They had to reconstruct her hip."

Police said that the bullet shattered her pelvis before going into her intestines.

"She didn’t have health insurance, so we’re starting a Web site for her," Stephen said. "It’s supportsue.com."

Stephen and his sister, Lisa, have been helping their mother since Mark W. Koenigs, of Bradenton and Bradenton Beach, walked into the store and shot her once in the abdomen. Lisa was at the hospital with Sue Monday morning while Stephen reopened Island Mail and More. He is also busy with his own career. He’s a disc jockey and had a gig Sunday night.

"My sister and I crossed paths last night," he said. "I was up north and she came down to clean up the shop so I could open today."

That mean cleaning up the fingerprint dust that the detectives used while investigating the case and Sue’s blood from the floor behind the counter.

Koenigs, who was shot three times by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies when he pointed a pistol at one of them during his capture, was transferred from Bayfront Hospital to the Manatee County Jail on Sunday.

Sue remained in the hospital and faces a long recovery from the shooting that police say remains unexplained. Koenigs refuses to talk to them, according to Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine.

For information, call Island Mail and More at 778-1911.

Victim treated in ‘golden hour’

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH – When Andy Price looked at shooting victim Sue Normand lying in a pool of blood behind her store counter last week, he knew she was so seriously wounded he had to get her to the hospital as soon as possible. He knew they had a "golden hour" to get her treated.

West Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Price recounted his decision to land a helicopter in the parking lot of the Anna Maria Island Centre shopping mall on East Bay Drive instead of putting her in an ambulance and driving her to a landing zone at nearby Kingfish Boat Ramp.

"I knew that in the daytime, the chopper can land in an 80-by-80-foot area," he said. "Fortunately, there were no cars at that end of the parking lot, so we roped off the area and had him land there."

The chopper landed in the southern end of the parking lot, which services Shell’s Restaurant. The restaurant was not open yet, which meant there were no cars in that section of the lot.

"Our medics did a tremendous job," Price said. "Their quick action pretty much saved her life.

"Time is our enemy," he continued. "With any trauma case, we try to get them to a trauma center within an hour. We call it the Golden Hour."

Price said that with the impending bridge rehabilitation that will close the Anna Maria Island Drawbridge for 45 says, they might have to use helicopters more often. He said they generally use choppers for trauma cases and ambulances for medical emergencies since the ambulances are staffed with emergency medical technicians.

With only one bridge to the mainland open, the heavy traffic there will impede getting ambulances on and off the Island, according to Price. He said they will have an ambulance assigned to the Island during the construction, but if it is already tied up, they will have to evaluate the situation and decide whether to wait or call in the choppers.

Price gave the fire and medical technician responders an A-plus on their response to Normand’s shooting. He also praised police and sheriff’s deputies.

"The law enforcement response was tremendous and they got him (Koenigs) within an hour," Price said. "I had people coming up to me who were scared to death. They didn’t know whether to go home and hide or carry on normally."

Drought expected to continue into spring

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

Although some environmentalists are ready to blame Florida’s two-year drought on global warming, officials at the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swfwmd) have a different opinion.

"Its Mother Nature," Robyn Hanke, Swfwmd media relations manager, said. "If you look back over the past 100 years, you get these high and low periods of rainfall."

The district’s governing board recently extended the one-day-week watering restrictions until June 30, 2008 and began a voluntary campaign called Skip a Week. It is asking people to water their lawns every other week rather than weekly.

"The situation is bad," Hanke stressed. "We have had below average rainfall for two years as of January. It’s a long-term drought situation and with the LaNina, they’re predicting a drier than normal fall, winter and spring."

According to a Swfwmd news release, all 16 counties in the district are experiencing an annual average rainfall deficit of approximately 9.6 inches. For the 24-month period of November 2005 through October 2007, the district-wide rainfall deficit was 20.7 inches.

"The district’s governing board is very concerned and expects conditions to worsen," Hanke explained. "They continue to monitor the situation very closely."
Hanke said if the governing board decides to tighten restrictions further, it would probably reduce the hours per day that people could water and eliminate some of the exemptions. The governing board’s next meeting is Dec. 18.

What you can do?

To find ways you can help conserve water, go to Swfwmd’s Web site, www.swfwmd.state.fl.us. At the top of the page click on We’re in a Drought and you will see three columns of information to access.

The first, When Can I Water?, will detail watering restrictions. The second, What can I Do?, lists seven topics to access: Skip a week of irrigation, Save water indoors, Save water outdoors, Grow smart (Florida-friendly landscaping principles), Follow water restrictions, Stay current with weather conditions and Request a speaker.

The third column, "What We’re Doing, lists six topics: Condition monitoring, Water restrictions, News releases, Water CHAMP (hotel/motel conservation), Homeowners’ association outreach and In-School education resources.

In addition, on the home page, you can click on Water Conservation on the right side of the page and get another list of topics to access, including a list of publications. Types of materials include brochures, booklets, posters, DVDs, CDs and videos. All are free with free shipping.

Manatee County also has a Web site, www.mymanatee.org. Click on Departments at the top of the page. When the list of department appears, click on Utility Operations. When that page comes up, click on topics from the menu at the left.

Selections from that menu include: water smart, watering restrictions, lawn watering tips, plant watering tips, Florida friendly landscape, educational programs, outdoor rebates, toilet rebates and rain barrel program.


Chorus and orchestra present sounds for the season

The Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) presents the second concert of its 2007-2008 season on Sunday, Dec. 16, at Crosspointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.

The Dec. 16 program, entitles a "Christmas Concert," will open with Haydn's "Symphony No. 27 in G major;" followed by "Christmas Day," by Holst; "While All Things Were in Quiet Silence," by Willan; "Sir Christemas," by Mathias; "Angels' Carol," by Rutter; "The Infant King," by Willcocks; and "Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33," by Saint Saens.

Nicholas Gutsche will perform a cello solo during the "Concerto No. 1 in a minor, Op. 33" piece. A 16-year-old home schooler who attends Manatee Community College, he was a finalist in the 2006 Tampa Bay Concerto Competition and has performed with the Venice Symphony since 2003.

The program will continue with Guilmant's "Morceau Symphonique for Trombone, Op. 88," with Jonathan Everhart, 17 performing a solo on the euphonium. He is a 17-year-old senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Riverview High School, where he plays both bass trombone and euphonium in the Riverview Kiltie Band.

Additional pieces to be performed on Dec. 16 include "Hodie" ("This Day"), a Christmas cantata for solo soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus and orchestra. Sara Peeples, soprano; David Kesler, tenor; and Munroe Olson, baritone, will be featured performers during this offering.

Alfred Gershfeld is artistic director and principal conductor of AMICCO. Dr. Jon K. Magendanz is assistant conductor and Daniel A. Hoffman is chorus master.

Information about and tickets for the Dec. 16 concert are available by calling 778-8585. Tickets are $15 per person and can also be obtained by sending a check payable to AMICCO and addressed to Mary D. Misner, P.O. Box 4335, Anna Maria, FL 34216.



Victim has history of service to city

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH – When people talk about Sue Normand the first thing they cite is her service and dedication to her city.

"She’s a very dedicated, committed resident who wants to give back to her community," said City Commissioner John Monetti, who served with Normand on the planning commission for four years. "She is conscientious in her role, her intensions are good and she is knowledgeable. It is important to have people like that who understand how the government works."

Normand, who was appointed to the city’s planning commission in 1996, has served as its chairman for many years and was reelected chairman on Nov. 29. She ran for city commission in 1996 and 1997. In 1997-98 she helped the city draft its first cell tower ordinance.

"She’s been an asset to the city in more than one way and donated time to the city for many years," Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said.

"She gave good service to the city. She took her job on the planning commission very seriously," Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, the city’s former mayor, said. "She’s also been involved in many other civic endeavors and she always did it with professionalism."

Sylvia Harris, who also serves on the planning commission, said Normand came to the board shortly after she did.

"She has been a good teacher and mentor to me and she’s a friend, too," Harris said. "She’s a by-the-book, straightforward person. I look forward to continuing to work with her."

Normand also worked with Manatee County as a consultant on mitigation. She served as president of the Holmes Beach Civic Association for three years. Five years ago, she opened Island Mail and More in the Anna Maria Island Centre.

"She has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. First she rented, then she built her house," neighbor Darlene Doran said. "She puts in 12- to-14-hour days at her store and is a hard worker."

"I got to know her when she got involved with all the noise at the Anchor Inn," Louie Strickland recalled. "She’s a real nice person, a hard-working lady and a good neighbor and citizen."

For those who want to send cards or flowers, Normand’s address is: Sue Normand, Room 233, Bayfront Medical Center, 701 Sixth St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701


‘Dead zone’ in Gulf has partial rebirth

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

Research shows that some marine life is recovering slowly from the red tide that created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2005.
Preliminary results show that species that lived on the Gulf floor were hardest hit, said researcher Dustin Johnson with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in St. Petersburg, addressing participants at the 2007 Florida West Coast Artificial Reef Workshop last week in Palmetto.

A thermocline – a layer of cold water underneath a layer of warm water – trapped the red tide on the floor of the Gulf, where it killed bottom-dwelling species including corals, he said. An abrupt change in water temperature of three to five degrees over a small depth can act as a physical barrier to red tide, keeping it in one of the temperature layers until the two layers become more uniform.

Some corals that extended high enough to clear the trapped red tide cloud were damaged, but survived, Johnson said. Those that were entirely immersed in the red tide did not.

"There is a very clear line where everything below it died," he said.

As large numbers of coral and other marine life died, an overabundance of nutrients resulting from the decomposition of the dead matter consumed the oxygen in the water and created a dead zone.

Slowly, the natural balance appears to be returning, Johnson said.

"A lot of the sites we thought were completely eliminated are coming back," he said.

While researchers can identify the species that are recovering, it will take time before they know in what numbers they are returning, Johnson said. Among those documented are nine species of coral, 28 species of algae, eight species of sponges and some seagrasses. Crustaceans, such as stone crabs and lobsters, are not recovering as well, he said.

Fish are not being surveyed in the study, but boat captains at the workshop said some species, including Goliath grouper (jewfish) seem to be returning to the former dead zone.

More than 30 sites in the dead zone are being monitored by the FWRI or Mote Marine Laboratory from Hernando County south to Sarasota County. No recovery was apparent until April, 2006.

A similar event occurred during a summer red tide bloom in 1971 in more than 580 square miles offshore of Sarasota County, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission records. Studies of the reefs affected by the 1971 red tide over five years documented recovery of fish populations within 12 to 18 months of the end of the event. Recovery of slower growing animals, such as coral and sponges, is estimated to take from two to five years.

No red tide has been recorded in the former dead zone since the 2005-06 event, when red tide was documented in southwest Florida for more than a year, Johnson said. Red tides as long as 21 months have been documented.
Water samples collected last week contained background to low concentrations of red tide along the coast of Collier County. Offshore samples collected 12 miles west of Siesta Key contained background to very low concentrations of red tide. Background concentrations were also detected in Pinellas County at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach.



Manatee downlisting suspended

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suspended its plan to reclassify the manatee from an endangered to a threatened species last week, announcing plans to reexamine its listing process while approving the state’s first manatee management plan.

"An imperiled species listing process should be designed in a way that it is easy for the public to understand," said Kipp Frohlich, the commission’s team leader for the manatee plan. "A listing process should not be a source of confusion or divisiveness."

The decision was a victory for environmentalists who opposed the downlisting.

"It is time for the commission to fix their imperiled species classification system by adopting one where all of Florida’s most at-risk species can be fairly reviewed, classified properly and managed accordingly to sustain and recover their numbers in the wild," said Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club.

Both the reclassification and the management plan were scheduled for a vote at the commission’s September meeting, but Gov. Charlie Crist requested that the downlisting decision be deferred to allow new commissioners time to acquaint themselves with the issues.

In his letter to Commission Chair Rodney Barreto, he wrote "…given the need for a better method to estimate the population of the Florida manatee, and the record 417 manatee deaths in 2006, I believe a more prudent course of action at this time would be to postpone consideration of the proposed change in the status of this species."

"The commission listened to the governor and unanimously voted to postpone the manatee’s reclassification," Rose said. "A change in status at this time could have serious consequences like cuts in funding for research, rescue and enforcement programs."

According to commission statistics, more manatees died in Florida in 2006 than in the history of the state’s survey program, with 417 dead. 2005 was the second-worst year for manatee mortality, with 396 deaths. State synoptic surveys, or one-day counts, of manatees have steadily declined from an all-time high of 3,300 in 2001 to 2,812 in 2007.

"One important trouble spot remains in southwest Florida where red tide is most prevalent. While the data in this part of the state are less conclusive, manatee numbers there may be declining slightly," Barreto said.

"While, thankfully, the manatee is not at imminent risk of extinction, the bad news is it does meet criteria that indicate a very high risk of extinction at some point," he said. "Consequently, much still needs to be done to secure the long-term future of the manatee. These tasks are laid out in detail in the state’s manatee management plan."

The plan includes seagrass protection as a major objective, and highlights the need to develop improved methods for monitoring manatee populations and solutions for the potential loss of manatee warm-water refuges.


First closings set for Pine Avenue project

By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA — The first of three scheduled closings for the Pine Avenue restoration project will take place Friday, Dec. 14.

The project is the dream child of Anna Maria resident Michael Coleman.

"We’ll close on 315 Pine this Friday," said Coleman, who refused to divulge the price he’s paying for the property. "We also have a closing set for Dec. 21 for the parcel at 503 Pine and then we close on 401 Pine on Jan. 21."

Coleman said with the three parcels funded and the closings set, Phase One of the Pine Avenue restoration project is well underway.

"These are critical properties as we’ve envisioned the project," he said. "That’s everything on the south side of Pine that we need."

The parcel at 315 Pine, which is on the southwest corner of Pine and Crescent, actually has two conforming lots. The property at 503 also has two conforming lots, and the parcel at 401 Pine, which is on the southeast corner of Pine and Crescent, has three conforming lots.

Funding is in place for all three of the parcels, which make up Phase One of the project, which is envisioned as Gulf Coast Cracker shops, offices and living quarters.

The project is located in the city’s residential/office/retail district. To date, Coleman and investors in the project have contracts to purchase a total of 21 lots on Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard. The developers of the project will own seven lots when the closings scheduled this month and early in January are accomplished.


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