The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 6 - November 4, 2009


Island rated best for ‘quaintness’
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Ginny and Jane E’s at the Old IGA was one of the charming
places highlighted in Islands magazine’s article on the
“World’s 14 Best Islands for Families.” SUN PHOTO/MIKE FIELD

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The Island’s beaches and clear, warm Gulf of Mexico waters
were some of the main attractions listed in the Islands
magazine story. SUN PHOTO/MIKE FIELD

“Quaint,” according to Webster, means “marked by beauty or elegance, unusual or different in character or appearance, pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned.”

That’s Anna Maria Island, according to the November issue of Islands magazine, which names it the “Best Quaint Island” in the world for family vacations.

The Island is ranked alongside 13 others as exotic as Tahiti’s Bora Bora and Hawaii’s Kauai.

While selecting family-friendly island vacation destinations, the magazine considered factors such as opportunities for discovery and family bonding, easy accessibility, fun amenities and roomy accommodations.

At the top of its checklist for quaintness is the absence of large resorts and chain restaurants on Anna Maria Island.

“Big resorts? No. Chain restaurants? No. Miles-long beach? Oh yes,” says the Islands magazine article. “All that makes for beautifully charming days on Anna Maria Island, just a drawbridge removed from the Florida mainland.”

While the main attractions listed are the beach and the warm Gulf of Mexico, others include crème brûlée French toast at Ginny and Jane E’s at the Old IGA in Anna Maria, the Sandbar restaurant’s beachfront dining, jerk grouper sandwiches from the Banana Cabana, perfect for a sunset picnic at Coquina Beach, and the in-room massages at the Tortuga Inn Beach Resort in Bradenton Beach.

The other islands mentioned in the article are: Best for learning, Barbados; best back-to-nature trip, Heron Island, Australia; best for family reunions, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; best all-American escape, Duck Key, Florida; best for history lessons, Capri, Italy; best swimming pool, Bora Bora, Tahiti; best unplugged vacation, Kauai, Hawaii; best easy exotic, Castaway Island, Fiji; best family compound, Jumby Bay, Antigua; best off-road fun, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas; best eco exploration, Maui, Hawaii; best direct flight surprise, Tenerife, Canary Islands; and best quick weekend trip, Catalina, California.

See the story online at

Islands Magazine Best Family Islands - free!

Remembering a year without Sabine
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Remembering Sabine Friends sing “My Way,” written by
Paul Anka, a song that exemplified Sabine Musil-Buehler
who has not been seen since she disappeared Nov. 4 2008
after having a fight with her boyfriend. The crowd gathered
at the beach behind the Sandbar restaurant at sunset on
Wednesday, Nov. 4 to remember Musil-Buehler. Her estranged
husband, Tom Buehler, threw a wreath of flowers into
the Gulf after the ceremony. SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT

ANNA MARIA - More than 25 people gathered at the beach behind the Sandbar restaurant Wednesday evening to commemorate the first anniversary of the disappearance of Sabine Musil-Buehler, co-owner of Haley’s Motel.

Tina Rudek, who used to walk the beach with Musil-Buehler, said she still feels the missing woman’s presence at the beach.

“This is a place she enjoyed and she’s still here,” Rudek said.

The crowd formed a circle and sang “My Way” to a recording by Frank Sinatra. The song was indicative of the way the popular German-born woman lived her life.

After they finished the song, her estranged husband, Tom Buehler, took a wreath of flowers to the Gulf and threw it into the water. As the flowers washed back to shore, members of the crowd embraced each other and some of them shed tears over the missing woman, who officials believe was murdered.

Musil-Buehler has been missing since Nov. 4, 2008, when she reportedly argued with her boyfriend, William Cumber, and left their home at 208 B Magnolia Ave.

Buehler reported her missing two days later after police informed him that Robert Corona had been arrested with her stolen car. Investigators later identified blood discovered in the car as hers.

Corona is serving four years in prison for auto theft, and Cumber is serving 13.5 years, less 3.5 years already served, for violating probation on a 2006 felony arson conviction. A fire burned part of Haley’s Motel, 8104 Gulf Drive, 12 days after they argued. No one has been charged in that fire. His sentence is on appeal.

The case remains under investigation. To report information on Musil-Buehler’s disappearance or the Haley’s fire, call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 747-3011 or the West Manatee Fire Rescue District at 741-3900.

Election results

Voters speak in Anna Maria
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT Harry and Kathy Stoltzfus share
a kiss after learning he had won election to the
Anna Maria City Commission.

The three candidates who were seen as against the Pine Avenue Restoration project won decisively Tuesday night.

Incumbents Dale Woodland took 24 percent of the vote with 560 votes and John Quam came in second with 500 votes (22 percent).  Newcomer Harry Stoltzfus came in third with 472 votes (21 percent). Incumbent Christine Tollette got 379 votes (16 percent) and won’t be back for a second term and David Gryboski earned 335 votes (14 percent).

“I had a lot of good people who worked hard for us,” Woodland said. “I have to admit that elections are the part of holding office I least like, but going door-to-door is the most rewarding thing I did.”

Woodland said he learned a lot while walking the city.

“There were a lot of people who were concerned, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “I lot of people were polarized, and that’s something I don’t like. We’ve got to get over the polarization real quickly.”

Quam said he was pleased with the voter turnout, and he agreed that the voters were polarized.

“I’m disappointed with the negativity in this election and how the developers divided this city,” he said.

Restaurateur Ed Chiles, who is also one of the backers of the Pine Avenue Restoration project, said he was disappointed with the results.

“I felt like Chris and David (Gryboski) ran great campaigns,” he said. “People associated them with our project and I feel bad about that.”

Chiles said that they have built two structures on Pine Avenue and they intend to build within the code on the new ones.

“We are building a lot less than is allowed and a lot more than is required,” he said. “I am optimistic that the elected candidates have said they are not anti-business and we can work with them to save the small percentage of land in this city that is commercial.”

Stoltzfus said that he is happy with the result and will work to save the residential flavor of Anna Maria.
Two incumbents, one newcomer elected

HOLMES BEACH   – Incumbent Commissioner David Zaccagnino was the high vote getter in Tuesday’s election with 715. Newcomer Al Robinson came in second with 530, followed by incumbent Commissioner Pat Morton with 520. The three will serve on the commission for the next two years

Incumbent Commissioner Pat Geyer came in fourth with 485 votes and newcomer Andy Sheridan came in fifth with 458 votes.

“I’m happy that we had great candidates and everybody was very respectful of each other,” Zaccagnino said. “I’m happy to serve another two years.”

Robinson said he was humbled by the response of the voters and stressed, “Now I’ve got to perform. I’ve worked hard at everything I’ve ever done, so I’ll come to the forefront. I appreciate the people who coached and helped me.”

Pat Morton thanked the Lord, his wife and the voters for his victory and said, “I’m prepared to serve our citizens for another two years.”

Sheridan, who was at the polls with Zaccagnino and Morton awaiting results said, “I will continue to come to meetings and speak up on issues. I thank the citizens who voted for me.”

Geyer, who was visiting with supporters at Duffy’s Tavern, said, “I can’t wait for my taxes to be lowered.”
Pierce get second term

Bradenton Beach Mayor Michael Pierce has been re-elected for two more years, defeating Bill Shearon for the second time.

Pierce got 191 votes (64 percent) compared to Shearon’s 103 (35 percent).

“I feel fortunate to be able to work two more years to finish projects,” Pierce said.

Shearon said he may not run for office again.

“I appreciate my supporters but the majority of the voters did not agree with my concern about the budget and how it is run,” he said.


A year later, no breaks in Sabine case
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


HOLMES BEACH – One year ago on Nov. 4, 2008, Haley’s Motel co-owner Sabine Musil-Buehler had an argument with her boyfriend, William Cumber, not about the election, but about his cigarette smoking, and left their home.

That’s what Cumber told police when they came knocking on his door at 208 B Magnolia Ave. after she was reported missing by her husband, Tom Buehler, two days later.

Buehler made the report after police informed him that her car had been found in the possession of Bradenton resident Robert Corona, who told police he had been partying with Musil-Buehler, then recanted his story, saying he never met her.

Investigators identified blood discovered in the car as Musil-Buehler’s, but determined that Corona’s involvement in the case is not related to her disappearance, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said, adding, “We haven’t said that about Cumber.”

A year later, both Cumber and Corona are in jail, neither of them charged with any crime against her.

She remains missing.

“We have somebody in jail, but there’s been no evidence, no clues, nothing new,” said Musil-Buehler’s friend, Debbie Hall, who has organized a candlelight vigil for her on Nov. 4 at sunset on the beach behind the Sandbar restaurant.

A private service was held by Buehler at the Holmes Beach butterfly garden on Halloween, one of his wife’s favorite holidays.

“This is still a murder investigation,” said Hall, who hired a psychic and distributed flyers shortly after her friend’s disappearance to help find her.

“The case is still under investigation, as it will remain, but there are no active leads,” Bristow said.

Island business owner Nancy House reported seeing a woman resembling Musil-Buehler at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport a week after she went missing, but the lead fizzled when investigators found no evidence of her on airport tapes.

As time goes on, the chances of solving the case grow slimmer, Bristow said.

“There’s nothing more frustrating for an investigator than to have a case hanging,” Bristow said. “We need to find the body.”

Meanwhile, Corona is serving four years in prison for stealing the missing woman’s car. He told Manatee Circuit Judge Gilbert Smith that he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Cumber, who also denies involvement, is the last person to have reported seeing her. He is serving 13.5 years in jail, less 3.5 years already served, for violating probation on a 2006 felony arson conviction by leaving Manatee County without his probation officer’s consent after a fire burned part of Haley’s Motel, 8104 Gulf Drive, 12 days after they argued. His sentence is on appeal.

Buehler is seeking to have his wife declared legally dead, saying that evidence exists that she could have been abducted and killed. A declaration of death would allow Buehler to collect on a life insurance policy and settle his ownership of Haley’s Motel without waiting the normal five years required in a missing persons case. Buehler’s attorney, Bill Meeks, did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the status of the case.

To report information on Musil-Buehler’s disappearance or the Haley’s fire, call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 747-3011 or the West Manatee Fire Rescue District at 741-3900.

Rewards have been established by the Sabine Buehler Benefit Fund at Whitney Bank, 5324 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, and the Manatee County Gold Star Club.

Longline ban evokes net ban anniversary
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Blue Fulford, who describes himself as a dispossessed
net fisherman, makes cast nets in his Cortez workshop.

CORTEZ – As fishermen from nearby states pull into town with their boats in tow for the annual battle over lucrative mullet roe, Cortez fishermen are reminded of the war they lost 15 years ago this week.

When Floridians voted to amend the state Constitution to ban gill nets in 1994, their aim may have been to save dolphins and sea turtles, but their target turned out to be commercial fishermen and their families who lost their livelihoods.

The net ban was proposed by environmental and recreational fishing lobbyists whose scientists testified that mullet were being overfished. The proposal won support with the slogan, “Ban the Nets – Save Our Sealife,’’ and photographs of dolphins and sea turtles drowned in commercial gill nets.

Caught on the underfinanced end of the political tug of war, commercial fishermen tried to adapt. Some went into bait fishing or crabbing. Some went into dockbuilding or beach maintenance. Some graduated from smoking pot to smoking heroin.

None were left with their lives intact.

And some Cortezians fear they are seeing it happen all over again.

The net ban

“It’s hard to dredge it all up,” said Cortez fisherman Thomas “Blue” Fulford, who lost his leg in a fishing accident, and his livelihood when the net ban was passed in 1994.

Now he makes cast nets, which are still allowed. On his business card, he calls himself a dispossessed net fisherman.

“I did everything that could be done. Wrote everyone. The Cabinet, the House and the Senate,” he recalled, as a mullet jumped in the canal behind his workshop. “I got one answer, from Secretary of State Jim Smith, who wrote that it was six months before the vote, and I should get to work.”

So Fulford, the former director of the local chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida (OFF), went to work, as did his successor, Mark Taylor.

Taylor got flak from both sides, as he explained to friends and family in Cortez that the amendment that would ban their nets was based on hotly-debated evidence that there weren’t enough mullet to go around.

He also explained to a hostile Legislature, many of whom listed recreational fishing as a favorite sport in the 1994 Legislative directory, why the net ban would take food out of the mouths of Cortez residents and everyone else down the economic food chain, to no avail.

Commercial fishermen were an easy target because their activities are obvious and more easily regulated than nitrogen-polluted runoff, mangrove destruction and other causes of fishery declines, Fulford said.

“How many people are willing to stop using plastic bags?” he asked. “Plastic bags kill turtles, too.”

Riding back and forth to Tallahassee, Fulford saw new developments springing up and recalls thinking that Florida newcomers who didn’t know anything about commercial fishing were going to make the decision.

“They swallowed the propaganda, hook, line and sinker,” he said.

Most voters were uninformed, agreed Karen Bell, office manager of the 70-year-old A.P. Bell Fish Co., one of two Cortez fish houses that survived the net ban.

Three months after the November, 1994 vote, she got a call from a recreational fisherman announcing that the fishing was already markedly better.

“The ban didn’t go into effect until July 1 (1995),” she said.

Bad blood

The bad blood between recreational and commercial fishermen goes back to the 1960s, when anyone could sell fish to a fish house, said Cortez fisherman Mark Ibasfalean, who has been selling fish since he was about 12 years old.

“I remember long lines of people at Bell’s, both recreational and commercial,” he said.

After regulations were passed requiring a commercial license to sell fish, recreational anglers were cut out of the loop, he said. Years of finger-pointing over which sector was responsible for overfishing certain species and using bad fishing practices made for constant skirmishes.

By the 1990s, the recreational fishing lobby had found common ground with environmentalists concerned about bycatch – non-targeted species that wound up in gill nets – and funded the successful net ban campaign.

To stay on the water, some commercial fishermen reluctantly switched sides to work in the recreational sector, as fishing guides or tour boat captains.

After all these years, Kathe Fannon is still angry.

A member of a five-generation commercial fishing family, she now offers boat tours around Cortez and Anna Maria Island. Her customers learn about Cortez, its fishing heritage, its wildlife, its rising status as a film location and her take on the net ban.

“The Bible says ‘Cast your net on the waters,’ ” she said. “It does not say cast your rod and reel.”

The longline ban

With gill nets outlawed, some Cortez fishermen turned to longline fishing. Instead of catching fish in a net, they lay out five to 10 miles of line on the sea bed, baited with between 750 and 1,200 hooks, normally reeling it in before any sea turtles that may have been snagged can drown.

One fisherman who left a line out too long earlier this year and killed five sea turtles prompted a federal lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act and an emergency longline ban that began in May, putting fishermen out of work.

The ban was softened last month with an interim rule allowing longline fishing in water 35 fathoms or more with 750 rigged hooks until a permanent rule is implemented next spring. Local fishermen say the rule helps little since they harvest most fish between 20 and 30 fathoms.

Recent debates on the longline ban at hearings of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council evoke hearings in the early 1990s over the net ban.

Proponents of both the net ban and the longline ban include environmentalists and recreational fishermen. While the citizens of Florida made the net ban decision and regional and federal fisheries regulators are making the longline ban decision, the evidentiary process has been similar.

At public hearings, scientists with doctoral degrees speak in highly technical terms, debating the effect of the gear on marine life, both targeted species and bycatch.

Fishermen often can’t put their experience into words, and feel out of their depth, Ibasfalean said.

“I’m not calling anybody dumb, but a fisherman is not designed to understand highly technical stuff,” he said. “They’re farmers. They’re not scientists.”

During the net ban hearings, scientists and fishermen debated in their different languages whether gill nets were catching too many mullet, making it difficult for the species to propagate.

Fishermen argued that it was in their best interests to avoid overfishing.

“We have to be good stewards,” Fulford said, echoing testimony at several longline hearings this year when fishermen disputed statistics of turtle mortality, saying they had seldom, if ever, caught and killed turtles.

During longline hearings, fishermen pointed to other man-made causes of sea turtle mortality, including nest poaching and illegal artificial lighting, which can kill 100 turtles at a time in a single nest, channel dredging machines that suck up turtles and spit them out in pieces, recreational fishing bycatch, offshore racing collisions, oil spills, coastal development and pollution, beach renourishment and other factors.

Pleading for a lifeline, they asked for alternatives, including gear adjustments, such as shortening the length of the lines, reducing the number of hooks on the lines and banning bait that sea turtles prefer.

They suggested that turtle farming and better enforcement of land-based turtle laws could replenish natural stocks.

They also requested a gear buyback program, which helped a few fishermen who acted quickly after the net ban to cut their losses before the funds ran out.

The final decision, expected in spring, will likely limit longline endorsements to 61 commercial vessels in the Gulf using 750 hooks in 35 fathoms or more during June, July and August, and in 20 fathoms or more the rest of the year, said Glen Brooks, of the Gulf Fisherman’s Association, who owns six longline boats in Cortez.

The ripple effect

That’s not enough to keep the industry in business, according to Brooks, who paints a grim picture of the ban’s ripple effect on the local economy.

Unemployed grouper fishermen don’t use bait, so bait fishermen go unemployed, making bait shops flounder. Marinas don’t sell as much ice or diesel fuel. With fewer fish to process, fish houses lay off workers. Truckers who transport fish to other parts of the state are idled.

And, ultimately, consumers see less local fish in markets and on restaurant menus.

“The longline ban is already having the same consequences as the net ban,” Ibasfalean said.

Designed to avoid a “jeopardy call” – the death of a threatened loggerhead sea turtle – the ban is causing livelihoods to become extinct instead, Bell testified at an August regulatory hearing.

“I’m willing to take my chances with jeopardy,” she said. “We’re almost gone anyway. We’re just about ready to close the doors. The boats are in jeopardy, the fishermen, the employees, my family are in jeopardy.”

Where are they now?

The impending longlining rule will undoubtedly leave many fishermen dead in the water, Cortezians say.

Those who own boats might re-rig them to fish with less-effective vertical gear or use cast nets or put out crab traps, if they can afford to buy new gear and pay the licensing fees. Crews may have to learn new skills or get different jobs altogether.

Some may not make the transition.

“The net ban wiped out the old timers,” Ibasfalean said. “There was no grandfathering. People, when they reach a certain point, they can’t adapt.”

After the net ban, some fishermen turned from smoking pot to smoking heroin, Fulford said. Jokes spread about fishermen catching “square grouper,” or bales of marijuana dropped by plane into the Gulf.

But some stayed afloat.

Fannon switched to providing sightseeing tours after the net ban, and now works with her daughter, also a captain. Her father, Frank Tupin, made a living until his death last month catching bait shrimp with her husband, Mike Fannon.

Mark Ibasfalean and his brother, Bryan Ibasfalean, build docks, make independent films and videos, mostly about fishing, run and fish and crab. His wife, Kim Ibasfalean, works as a Bradenton Beach tour boat operator.

Like the others, Taylor went out of business overnight when the net ban was passed.

“I had just hung a $10,000 net that had never been used. Suddenly, it was illegal,” he said. After working as a truck driver and a motorcycle instructor, he eventually landed his present job, raking Anna Maria Island beaches for Manatee County. It’s as close to the water as he could get, he said.

Fulford continues to make cast nets and is chairman emeritus of FISH, the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, which supports the 95-acre FISH Preserve and the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, where the local commercial fishing industry may one day be reduced to an exhibit.

Regardless of how fishermen adapt to the impending longline regulations, a bumper sticker on a boat trailer in Cortez says it all.

“I’d rather be fishing.”.

Boat owners warned

AMISUN News Robbery Banker
Longboat Key police boat Captain Dennis Silverio watches
as Longboat Key Deputy Police Chief Martin Sharkey addresses
the boaters at Cannons Marina about preventing boat theft.

LONGBOAT KEY – A ring of boat thieves out of Miami is active all over the state of Florida and the attempted theft of a 30-foot Grady-White boat from Anna Maria recently was the work of that ring.

That’s what more than 30 boaters heard at an information meeting at Cannons Marina on Thursday, Oct. 29.

“They’re stealing all brands,” Cannons Manager Benny Parrish told the crowd. “In the past, they showed a preference for big, center console boats, but their tastes are obviously changing. They’re going after cabin boats.”

Parrish invited Longboat Police Boat Captain Dennis Silverio and Coast Guard Petty Officer Scott Logan, who were in their boats the night the attempted theft of Tom Kern’s boat Oct. 17.

Longboat Deputy Police Chief Martin Sharkey talked about the incident, saying law enforcement from Miami contacted them about the ring, which sent people to Manatee County to steal a boat. He said that when enforcement officers spotted the boat a chase ensured, but the only boat they had that could possibly keep up with the stolen vessel was the that belonged to the Coast Guard. He also said the occupants of the stolen boat jumped out while the boat was under full power.

“We were close to the boat when they jumped and we never saw them,” he said. “If not for that federal boat, the stolen boat would have been a loss.”

He said that the thieves brought fuel on board and the boat could have gone as far as Cuba without running out of gas.

Sharkey said that thieves compile a list of where expensive boats are docked and they look for the easiest target.

“They look for signs that the people who live there are gone such as newspapers in the driveway and especially shuttered windows,” he said.

Sharkey said the thieves know what they are doing.

“They come prepared and if they want to steal your boat, they will,” he said. “They have keys to fit your ignition and they know a lot about your boat.”

Sharkey said the best bet for boat owners is to install a switch in an out-of-the-way location that will interrupt the flow of electricity to the ignition. It probably won’t stop them, but it will slow them down.

“This is a crime of opportunity and if you make your boat less attractive to thieves they will move on,” he said. “They work fast and the more things you can do to slow them down, the better your chance that they won’t take your boat.”

Parrish passed out a list of tips to securing your boat. They include having your boat hoist power breaker in a locked place and turn it off when it is not in use, check with your home security company to see if it can extend coverage to your hoist and dock, install motion sensors and cameras on the boat and install Web cams on the boat to allow remote viewing.

Other tips include removing keys and locking all compartments on the boat and informing your neighbors of the problems of boat theft and asking them to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

Logan also suggested installing a loud audible alarm with the speaker near the wheel where it would annoy anybody trying to steer the boat.

One boater in the audience, Al Neumann, had his boat stolen three months ago from his dock behind his house. Earlier in the day, he found out that it had been seen in Cuba, where the United States has no agreement to get back stolen boats. Sharkey said that the Mexican government is also not cooperative to requests to return stolen boats.

Lucille Miller, at Cannons, has opened a blog regarding boat thefts. Log onto

City prefers short pier

HOLMES BEACH –“If you had your druthers of the three different types of piers, what would you like?” Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie asked city commissioners last week regarding a replacement for the Manatee Beach Pier.

He said their choices were a 312-foot pier, a 312-foot pier with a T end or a 700-foot pier. Four commissioners agreed on the 312-foot pier with a T end, while Commissioner John Monetti said he prefers the 700-foot pier.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino said 700 feet could be a problem because of reefs, but Chair Sandy Haas-Martens said at the last meeting of the Tourist Development Council (TDC), members were told there are no reefs.

“My opinion is if you don’t want to build a real fishing pier, don’t build anything,” Mayor Rich Bohnenberger remarked.

The pier, which is slated for demolition this month, was closed in February due to continued deterioration to the structure, and county commissioners agreed to replace it with a 312-foot pier.

However, in September, Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County natural resources administrator, told county commissioners that a 700-foot pier would be more appropriate in relation to the slope of the beach.

Hunsicker said the expansion would add to the cost. A 312-foot pier would cost $1.45 million, while a 700-foot pier would cost $2.76 million. He said the money would come from TDC funds.

At the time, county commissioners said they could not justify the extra expense for a longer pier and asked the TDC for an opinion.

TDC Chair Carol Whitmore said at a recent meeting, TDC members agreed to fund the short pier but not the long pier. However, she said she did not know where the county would get the funds for the T end.

ArtsHOP to open Island art season
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

"Let's Do Lunch," by Betsy Smith is one of the doors that
will be auctioned off during artsHOP weekend. It is on
display at Ginny and Jane E's at the Old IGA in

ArtsHOP weekend, Nov. 13 through 15, opens the Island art season and offers a wide variety of arts and cultural activities for the entire family.

The event is sponsored by Cultural Connections, representing nine Island arts and cultural groups. Activities include a gallery walk and play on Friday; an arts and craft festival, a sock hop and a play on Saturday; and an arts and craft festival and concert on Sunday.

Sunday also includes an auction of doors sponsored by local businesses and painted by local artists. The Doors are currently on display at various Island locations such as the Island Playhouse, Ginny and Jane E’s, J&J Graphics, The Tide and the Moon and The Color of Coconut.

Check the Web site to learn about the doors, the artists creating them and their locations.

Friday gallery walk

The gallery walk begins Friday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m. Participating galleries include The Studio at Gulf and Pine and Ginny & Jane E's at the Old IGA in Anna Maria; Artists Guild Gallery, The Anna Maria Island Art League, Emerson Quillin, The Tide and the Moon and Island Gallery West in Holmes Beach; and Front of the Back Alley in Bradenton Beach. Each gallery will offer complimentary refreshments and some will offer live music, art demonstrations and prizes.

Join in “Come for the art, stay for dinner” by starting at any participating gallery and picking up a passport, which includes a map. Visitors who get their passport stamped at six or more of the eight artsHOP galleries will receive a coupon worth 20 percent off dinner at the Sandbar, BeachHouse or Mar Vista restaurants.

Visitors also will be eligible for a drawing for an arts supply basket valued at $150 and courtesy of Keeton's Art Supply, of Bradenton, by turning in their stamped passport at any of the participating galleries by 8:45 p.m. Friday.

See a play

At 8 p.m. Friday, Kelly Wynn Woodland will present a one-woman play, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” at the Island Playhouse at the corner of Gulf and Pine avenues in Anna Maria.

This comedy was originally performed on Broadway by Lily Tomlin. In the play, Trudy the bag lady and her two alien companions offer wit and wisdom to passersby on the street. The performance will benefit Cultural Connections and the Island Players.

Tickets are $15 and seating is general admisision, Tickets are available by calling 778-5755 or 778-3094.

Festival and fun

Saturday, Nov, 14, kicks off with two events – an arts and crafts festival in the Holmes Beach City Hall field and an open house at the Island Historical Museum in Anna Maria. The festival, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will benefit the Island Butterfly Garden.

The museum complex including the Old City Jail, Belle Haven Cottage and the Mangrove Walk at 402 Pine Avenue in Anna Maria will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the Belle Haven garden, Betsy Smith will demonstrate palm frond weaving from 10 a.m. to noon and pine needle basketry from 1 to 3 p.m. A display of historical artifacts from the Desoto National Memorial also will be on display.

Rock n’ roll

Saturday evening from 5 to 7 p.m., the parking lot of the museum complex will be transformed into your old high school gym for the Society’s Jailhouse Rock, a 50s-style sock hop. There will be dancing and costume, hula-hoop and twist contests with prizes for the winners. Admission is free. Duffy’s Grill Team will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, sodas and chips.

A second performance of the one-woman play, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” also will be held in the Island Playhouse at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The performance will benefit the Manatee Players Performing Arts Center, now under construction in downtown Bradenton.

Concert and the Doors

Sunday opens with the arts and crafts festival in Holmes Beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At 2 p.m., the Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) will hold its first concert of the season at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive in Anna Maria. Following the concert, AMICCO will host a reception in the fellowship hall.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, the Doors will be auctioned at a wrap party at the Anna Maria Island Art League courtyard, 5312 Holmes Boulevard in Holmes Beach. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Manatee Players Building Fund and Cultural Connections.

Bids may be placed on line at the artsHOP Web site for interested buyers unable to attend. Unsold doors will be available for sale on the Web site or by contacting the Anna Maria Island Art League at 778-2099.

Event sponsors are AMICCO; the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants; Ginny’s and Jane E’s at the Old IGA; J&J Graphics; Keeton’s Office Supply and SteamDesigns.

For more information on artsHOP, call Joyce Karp at the AMI Art League or visit the artsHOP Web site.

Island Players offer artsHOP performance

On Nov. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m., the Island Players theatre will offer a special one-woman show, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” as part of artsHOP weekend. The play is an inspiring human comedy full of human insight, wit and wisdom performed by Kelly Wynn Woodland and written by Jane Wagner.

Originally performed on Broadway by Lily Tomlin,

Trudy the bag lady has made a life for herself on the streets, offering her own bits of wit and wisdom to the passers-by. Trudy takes us, along with her two alien companions, on a discovery trip to find out what it means to be human and imparting her own impressions on life.

She tunes in a wide array of people, ranging from Agnus Angst, a 15-year-old punk performance artist; Agnus' grandparents Lud and Marie; Chrissy, a recently unemployed workout enthusiast; Lily, an actress currently performing a one-woman show; and many others, both men and women, gay and straight.

Woodland is one of Island Players’ valued directors. She has directed more than a dozen plays under their roof, as well as plays at Venice Theatre, and directed and acted in plays at Manatee Players, Manatee Community College, Florida Studio Theatre, Theater Works and Random Acts Guerrilla Theatre Company.

For six years, Woodland has directed the summer season of comedies of William Shakespeare at the Island Players and has taught summer theatre classes there. Woodland has been teaching in the Manatee County school district for more than 25 years.

Tickets are on sale for $15, and seating is general admission. Purchase tickets by calling 941-778-5755 or 941-778-3094.

Friday’s proceeds will support the Island Players while Saturday’s performance will benefit building fund of the Manatee Players Performing Arts Center in downtown Bradenton.

Berni returns to enthusiastic crowds
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Berni Roy plays at Havana Cabana on Thursdays, Fridays
and Saturdays starting at 4 p.m. and Sundays
from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. PHOTO PROVIDED

HOLMES BEACH – The bright lights of New Town, Fla., (pop 10,518) weren’t too bright and Berni Roy is back on the Island where she first found fame.

Roy, who gathered a large following playing piano and singing or letting members of the audience sing in nightspots like D Coy Ducks and Eddie B’s, left with her husband, Jim Robbins, in 2001, and she said that for the most part it was a good experience.

She enjoyed the people, but the Old Town nightlife was different than that on Anna Maria Island, and she found herself wanting to return to the keyboard in front of a live audience.

“I looked for work playing music, but there was nothing,” she said. “I started teaching at home – piano, guitar, banjo, saxophone and clarinet.”

Roy said she had a large following as a teacher and even sacrificed to make sure her students could attend class.

“It got to be I had 26 students coming to the house,” she said. “Some families didn’t have enough money to pay for the lessons, so I bartered with them. It all worked out.”

She also got involved in the theater, arranging the music for “Cinderella” and “Grease.”

“I had been in town about a year and they were looking for somebody to do ‘Cinderella,’” she said. “When they chose me, I had less than three weeks before the first performance, and she handed me a book that had 176 pages of music. I asked them if the had decided which songs they wanted to perform, and they said all of them.

“I figured they needed somebody, so if I do my best they would have to be happy,” she added. “I went home and learned them all and we pulled it off.”

She said that she had a ball when they did “Grease” later.

“We had a four-piece band,” she said, “There was a 13-year-old drummer, a base player who had just gotten his instrument and was still learning to play it, a junior in high school saxophonist and me.”

Other than that, she performed at some weddings, parties and street jams. She also started a garden, raising tomatoes, peppers and herbs, but she always had a hankering for performing at a nightspot.

How she got back to the Island is an interesting story that involves her friendship with Havana Cabana owner John Droukas. Berni and Jim continued to come down to the Island about three times a year and were last here on Oct. 23.

“We stopped by and saw John, and he asked how I was doing,” she said. “I told him that I couldn’t find a gig because Old Town is not a tourist town.”

Berni said that after they left, Droukas called her home and left a message on her answering machine.

“It said he didn’t know why he didn’t think about it while we were there, but would I consider coming back and playing at Havana Cabana,” she said. “We decided to do it, at least through the season”

That’s where she will be performing at 5904 Marina Drive on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at 4 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Havana Cabana will offer drink and snack specials during that time.

Fans packed the restaurant for her first performances Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23 and 24.

“I have been running into some of my old fans, and I’m so glad to see them,” she said, “I’m so, so happy.”

Car burglary suspects arrested
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Thompson and Stokes

HOLMES BEACH – Several car burglary cases may have been solved with the arrest of two Bradenton Beach residents.

Collin J. Thompson, 27, and Julie Marie Stokes, 37, were arrested after one of the victims tracked them to their residence on Avenue B, in Bradenton Beach.

According to the Holmes Beach police report, officers responded to Cedar Cove Resort, 2710 Gulf Drive, and spoke with brothers John and Arnold Shaffer. They said that had driven their Harley Davidson motorcycles down from Pennsylvania and on Tuesday, Oct. 20, they found that their motorcycles had been burglarized.

John Arnold said a 35-mm camera, a jean jacket, a leather vest and a bike lock had been taken from his saddlebags, and Arnold Shaffer said some rain gear was missing from his saddlebags.

While searching the area, Holmes Beach officer Cliff Boltwood found the pants to Arnold Shaffer’s rain gear lying on the beach behind Cedar Cove. There were tracks of a wagon with knobby tires next to the rain gear. Boltwood and Officer Vern McGown followed them north to the beach access at 22nd Street,where they disappeared.

They searched the area, but were called back to Cedar Cove to look at the security recording. They saw a suspect in a hooded jacket in the recordings. As they watched, they heard calls of more auto burglaries in the area..

Meanwhile, the Arnold brothers decided to take their bikes to 22nd Street to look for a wagon with knobby tires or any of their belongings. They found a wagon in the 2100 block of Avenue B and the missing rain gear jacket lying beside it. They called police and Boltwood and McGown responded. They determined that the jacket and wagon were from the burglary and called Bradenton Beach police to that area.

Officer John Tsikiri responded and knocked on the door of the nearby residence. Thompson came to the door and Boltwood read Thompson his rights. As he was being questioned, one of the officers told him he might as well come clean and return the items he took. He invited them inside his home and retrieved them. He said his companion, Stokes, was asleep in the bedroom. Police arrested Thompson and awakened Stokes and arrested her.

Bradenton Beach Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz came to the scene and questioned Thompson, who told him about other burglaries they had committed. He signed a waiver to search his residence and they found an outboard motor and numerous rods and reels stolen from homes in Holmes Beach.

Back at Holmes Beach police headquarters, Thompson continued to advise officers of more items they had stolen. At that point, Holmes Beach Det. Sgt. Steve Wolff joined the investigation.

Thompson faces three charges of burglary with $10,000 bond set for each and one charge of theft with a $1,000 bond set. Stokes has two charges of burglary at $10,000 each and one burglary charge with a $1,000 bond.

Diaz said the department is working on three cases in connection to the suspects and more are pending.

Police arrest two following short search
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Curry and Cerulist

HOLMES BEACH – Two people were arrested and charged with resisting a law enforcement officer without violence on Thursday, Oct. 22, after a short search on S. Harbor Drive. Police say the two are tied to a suspicious incident the night before.

Earnest Curry, 19, and Obenson Cerulist, 19, both of Bradenton, were arrested after Holmes Beach officer Brian Copeman was dispatched to 43rd Street and S. Harbor Drive on a report of four people walking through back yards. He spotted the two suspects as they spotted him and ran into a back yard. He chased Cerulist around to the front yard where Officer Chip Frappier was standing. They cuffed him and looked for Curry. They found him hiding under a bush.

Earlier in the day, Holmes Beach officer Joel Pierce observed three men in a white Mitsubishi without seat belts. The driver committed several traffic violations as they went from Gulf Drive to S. Harbor Drive, Pierce said. He observed them stop and jump from their car into a back yard. He shut off his lights and watched as they got back into their car and headed across Gulf Drive toward the beach and into the parking lot at Cayman Cay. As he activated his lights, all three suspects got out of the car and headed east.

A perimeter was set up and a K-9 unit was called with no results. An officer was sent to the address listed as the car’s owner, but he was told that the owner no longer lived there. They checked the car and found dark clothing, a package of black socks like those worn in burglaries to prevent fingerprints and some marijuana.

As the car was being towed, Pierce noticed another can parked with five people in it. One of them was the owner of the car. She said she came because somebody had called her and told her the police had her car. The officer told her who had towed it.

Police said they think the two suspects they caught were searching the empty lot for something they might have dropped during the earlier contact with officer Pierce. So far, they can only charge the two with loitering/prowling and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence. They both bonded out of jail.

Court records show that Curry a clean record, but Cerulist has several charges of possession of marijuana and cocaine.

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