The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 7 - November 11, 2009


County to state: No drilling
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

A Bradenton Beach sunset, without oil rigs or oil spills.

Tourism doesn’t mix with proposals to allow oil and gas exploration and drilling in state waters, according to the Manatee County Commission.

Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on Nov. 3 opposing offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling in state waters, expressing concern about endangering Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and public beaches including Coquina and Manatee.

The beaches would bear “a disproportionate burden of the environmental damage and cost of cleanup from oil spills,” the resolution states.

A spill would lead to the loss of free public access to the beaches for residential recreation and tourism, a “major economic engine for Manatee County and the State of Florida,” according to the resolution.

“The beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key are among our community’s most valuable resources,” commissioners wrote. “The area’s natural beauty is the driving force behind a tourism industry that hosted more than 446,000 visitors in 2008 resulting in a total economic impact of over $479 million to Manatee County’s economy. The unknown possibilities of drilling would jeopardize our pristine coast.”

A spill also would damage beachfront property values, both commercial and residential, and tourism-related businesses such as boating, fishing, charters, scuba diving and parasailing, the resolution states.

Other concerns

The resolution also points to state and local comprehensive plans as evidence that exploration and drilling are not compatible with permitted land uses and may jeopardize underwater beach sand used for beach renourishment.

The state’s comprehensive plan has a policy to “encourage land and water uses, which are compatible with the protection of sensitive coastal resources” and “avoid the exploration and development of mineral resources which threaten marine aquatic estuarine resources,” according to the resolution, while Manatee County’s plan has a policy to “minimize the disturbance of natural shoreline resources that provide shoreline stabilization and protect landward areas from the effects of storm events.”

Commissioners also pointed to potential impacts on military exercises at bases around the state, the vulnerability of the Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and the Gulf floor habitat and increased underwater sound levels that could affect marine mammals and fish.

Commissioners recommended a study on risks to coastal communities and the establishment of a marine-based comprehensive plan similar to those used in municipalities to identify environmental resources and the risks that drilling would pose.

The resolution, a response to the Florida Legislature’s consideration of proposed legislation that would open state waters to drilling, will be circulated among surrounding municipalities for signatures before forwarding it to legislators.

Remembering Sabine
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

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.

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 he and Musil-Buehler 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.

Island rated one of best in world

AMISUN News Robbery Banker
SUN PHOTO/MIKE FIELD 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.

“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, Fla.; 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, Calif.

See the story online at

Islands Magazine Best Family Islands - free!

Kingfish gets sidewalk, more parking spaces
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND Workers install a sidewalk from
the Anna Maria Island Bridge to the traffic light at CVS as part
of the improvements to Kingfish Ramp.

Work has started on planned improvements to Kingfish Ramp near the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

“It’s going as planned,” Manatee County Project Manager Walter Sowa said Friday. “In fact, it’s better than I thought. We began two weeks ago and it should take another four to six weeks.”

Work includes installing a sidewalk along the roadway from the bridge to the traffic light in Holmes Beach, a small multi-use trail near the water, 130 concrete bumpers and drainage structures and re-shelling the parking lot. Truck/trailer parking spaces will increase by 23 and vehicle parking spaces will increase by 17.

Two years ago, the ramp area, long thought to be in Holmes Beach was found to be in the county, and the sheriff’s office took over patrolling the area. Several months ago, city commissioners made a request to annex the area from the county.

In September, county commissioners added the bridge to the annexation request. Holmes Beach commissioners responded by saying that they seek only to annex the Kingfish Ramp area up to the Anna Maria Island Bridge and not the bridge itself.

ArtsHOP Gallery Walk set for Friday
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

PHOTO PROVIDED The Artists' Guild Gallery will feature the
photographs of Patsy Hall on Friday night during ArtsHOP

Eight galleries will welcome visitors during the third annual ArtsHOP Gallery Walk on Friday, Nov. 13, which will be a lucky day for the winners of a $150 gift basket from Keeton’s Office and Art Supply and a discount at three area restaurants.

The event, from 5 to 9 p.m., will take place at The Studio at Gulf and Pine and Ginny & Jane E's in Anna Maria, the 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.

The galleries can be reached on the free Island trolley and will host open houses with complimentary refreshments, live music, art demonstrations, door prizes and special exhibits.

The Anna Maria Island Art League will debut its exhibit, “Doors,” about entrances, portals and passages, and will feature music by Electric Myakka from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Artists' Guild Gallery will feature photographer Patsy Hall and the Studio at Gulf and Pine will feature the Fall 2009 Exhibition of Florida Artists and a drawing for door prizes.

Island Gallery West will host a reception for stained-glass artist Susan Oberender and mixed-media artist Cecy Richardson, the featured artists for November.

Artshoppers can pick up a passport at any gallery; those who get their passports stamped at six of the eight galleries will receive a coupon worth 20 percent off dinner at any one of the three local Chiles restaurants, the Sandbar, BeachHouse or Mar Vista. A completed passport turned in at any participating gallery before 8:45 p.m. also qualifies visitors for a drawing for a $150 arts supply basket from Keeton's Office and Art Supply.

Hosted by the Art League, Island Gallery West, the Artists' Guild Gallery and the Studio at Gulf and Pine, the event is sponsored by Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra; the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants; Ginny’s and Jane E’s at the Old IGA; J&J Graphics; Keeton’s Office and Art Supply and SteamDesigns.

For more information and a map, visit

ArtsHOP presents weekend of activities
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND “Angels and Demons,”
by Erin Johnson, is one of the doors painted
by local artists that will be auctioned at the
artsHOP wrap party on Sunday, Nov. 15, from
5 to 7 p.m. at the AMI Art League, 5312
Holmes Boulevard in Holmes Beach. The door
is on display at The Studio at Gulf and Pine,
10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.

ArtsHOP weekend, Friday through Sunday, Nov. 13 through 15, opens the Island art season and offers the following arts and cultural activities for the entire family:


• Gallery Walk – see article above.

• Island Players –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, 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and seating is general admission, Tickets are available by calling 778-5755 or 778-3094.


• Arts and Crafts Festival –Holmes Beach City Hall field, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Island Historical Museum – Open house at the museum complex, 402 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, 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.

• Jailhouse Rock Sock Hop – Old City Jail at the Island Historical Museum, 402 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, 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, 5 to 7 p.m.

• Island Players –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, 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and seating is general admission, Tickets are available by calling 778-5755 or 778-3094.


• Arts and Crafts Festival –Holmes Beach City Hall field, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Orchestra concert – 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. The program, “An Afternoon of Classics,” includes Choral Fantasy and Symphony #1 in C by Beethoven, Cello Concerto by Boccherini and Bassoon Concrto in E Minot by Vivaldi. Following the concert, there will be a reception in the fellowship hall.

• Wrap party and door auction – Doors sponsored by local businesses and painted by local artists will be auctioned at a wrap party at the Anna Maria Island Art League courtyard, 5312 Holmes Boulevard in Holmes Beach, 5 to 7 p.m. Enjoy food, music and raffles and meet the artists.

Until Sunday, doors can be viewed at The Studio at Gulf and Pine, Slim's Place, AMI Historical Society, The Hive and Ginny’s and Jane E’s at the Old IGA in Anna Maria; AMI Art League, Island Gallery West, Artists' Guild Gallery, Moveable Feast restaurant, AMI Chamber of Commerce, The Sun and the Moon, The Color of Coconuts and Restless Natives in Holmes Beach and The Front of the Back Alley in Bradenton Beach.

Silent auction bids may be placed on line at the artsHOP Web site at until noon on Nov. 15. Unsold doors will be available for sale on the Web site or by contacting the AMI Art League at 778-2099.

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

The event is sponsored by Cultural Connections, representing nine Island arts and cultural groups; AMICCO; the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants; Ginny’s and Jane E’s at the Old IGA; J&J Graphics; Keeton’s Office and Art Supply and SteamDesigns.

Cortez Folk Arts Festival coming soon

CORTEZ – If you thought Cortez was just about fishing, it’s time to take in the second annual Cortez Village Folk Arts Festival on Saturday, Nov. 21.

The festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, 4415 119th St. W.

Bring a folding chair to sit and enjoy the local music groups that will entertain continuously.

Dozens of food vendors will feature locally caught seafood and other tasty treats, and an ice cream eating contest will be sponsored by Tyler’s Ice Cream to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The arts and crafts show will make holiday shopping easy, and the museum will host guided tours and other special programs. The museum book store and gift shop also will be open, featuring books, videos, T-shirts and jewelry with Cortez themes.

Several of the museum's fleet of wooden boats will be on display, and visitors can enjoy a special boat building demonstration at the FISH Boat Shop.

Festival admission and parking are free, but donations are appreciated. Proceeds go to restore the FISH Preserve, 95 acres of environmentally sensitive land behind the museum on Sarasota Bay.

Parking is available in the FISH Preserve and at the Church of Christ parking area in Cortez village. The parking facility at the museum is reserved for the disabled.

For more information, call 708-6120 or visit

Cortez Village Folk Arts Festival entertainment schedule

10-11 a.m. - Main Hatch Motleys - sea shanties
11 a.m.-noon - Myakka - folk/bluegrass
Noon-1 p.m. - Richard Culbreath, Glen Hines,
Tony P. (guitar), Heather Doig (cello)
1-1:30 p.m. - Something Special (Carl Wade,
Barbara Shaffer) - folk duet
1:30-2 p.m. - Eric Von Hahmann - original songs
2-3 p.m. - Maple Mountain Music - folk
3-4 p.m. - Cortez String Band - folk/country

Sandblast set for Nov. 18 through 21
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Team Sandtastic built this exhibition sand sculpture
at the 2008 Sandblast. PHOTO PROVIDED

SandBlast, Keep Manatee Beautiful’s (KMB) annual sand sculpting contest, will be held Nov. 18 through 21 at the BeachHouse restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. The competition pairs youth groups with local business sponsors to raise funds to support the group’s programs for a cleaner, more beautiful community.

From Nov. 18 through 20, Team Sandtastic, a professional sand sculpture team, will build a huge exhibition sculpture, which will have a nautical holiday theme. The public is invited to the free clinics from 5 to 6 p.m. to learn sand sculpture tips, tricks and techniques.

On Nov. 21, local teams will begin arriving at 8 a.m. to pick their 15-by-15 foot plots. They will start building their sand sculptures at 9 a.m. and finish at 1 p.m. Themes are free form, holiday or nautical. Three judges will select the winners

To enter a team or sponsor one of the teams registered thus far with a $300 tax-deductible donation, call KMB at 795-8272 or visit for details and entry form.

Oil plan needed, commissioner says

A standing room only town hall meeting on oil drilling last week in Gulfport left Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino wondering, “Where’s the plan?”

“There’s no strategy to fight it,” said Zaccagnino, adding that nearly everyone in the audience appeared to be opposed to oil and gas exploration off Florida’s Gulf coast. “They’re preaching to the choir.”

Longboat Key Commissioner George Spoll, who also attended the meeting, sponsored by the Suncoast League of Cities, agreed.

“This isn’t doing anything,” he said.

The proposal under consideration by the Florida Legislature would lift the ban on exploration and drilling off Florida, allow applicants to request a lease from the state for a $1 million fee and require a $500 million bond if the lease is granted, said Amy Maguire of the pro-drilling Southern Strategy Group.

Strategy is lacking on the side of drilling opponents, who failed to present an action plan to fight the proposal, according to Zaccagnino.

Spills and chills

Both sides raised issues that drew the audience to their feet in applause or elicited boos.

Former Shell Oil researcher Dr. Gene Shinn ended his presentation with a slide instructing the audience to “Throw tomatoes,” but few laughed. He said that Pinellas County’s white sand beaches originated in the Appalachians, while the darker sand of Texas and Louisiana originated in the muddy Mississippi River, denying claims that oil rig leaks off the latter two states cause the color difference.

Spills from tankers and cargo ships are more numerous than spills from pipelines attached to oil rigs, he said.

He also pointed to natural seepage from under the sea floor as a source of oil leaks.

“Between 1,000 and 2,000 barrels of oil seeps into the Gulf every day,” he said, adding that Native Americans once used the tar to seal their canoes.

An oil spill 200 miles from shore could be quickly transported by the Florida Loop current to shore, said Dr. Yonggang Liu, of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science.

Given recent oil spills in Australia and the Timor Sea, the risk of an oil spill is too great, state Rep. Rick Kriseman, who called the proposal “the biggest decision in our state’s history.”

Jobs promised by oil drilling interests may not go to Americans, and are up to a decade away, he said.

Job statistics and economic impact figures claimed by oil interests don’t add up, said Zaccagnino, a financial advisor. “It’s just rhetoric,” he said.

To reach state and local representatives about oil drilling, contact:

State Rep. Bill Galvano
1023 Manatee Ave. W.
Suite 715
Bradenton, FL 34205-7829
(941) 708-4968

State Sen. Mike Bennett
Wildewood Professional Park
3653 Cortez Road W.
Suite 90
Bradenton, FL 34210
(941) 727-6349

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan
2424 Manatee Ave. W.
Suite 104
Bradenton, FL 34205
(941) 747-9081

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
716 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5274

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