The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 8 - November 18, 2009


Island businesses honored
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Island resort owner David Teitelbaum was awarded the
Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island’s 2009 Businessperson
of the Year award by Rotary President Judy Rup.

View More Photos

HOLMES BEACH – With the streets of Anna Maria Island already getting fuller with seasonal residents, it was a perfect time for the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce to swear in its leadership, remember the past year and prepare for the upcoming season.

It was a full house at the Key Royale clubhouse for the Chamber’s installation banquet. As Mike Sales sang hit tunes in the background, the talk before dinner was about the coming year, Anna Maria being named one of the top family vacation islands in the world by Islands magazine and how most of the Island businesses had survived the recession.

Manatee County Commissioner and former Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie swore in the Chamber board of directors for 2010. After three years as chairman of the board, Mark Davis turned over the gavel to Cindy Thompson.

Thompson, who has organized Bayfest for several years, came to the Island 20 years ago and became a Chamber member 14 years ago, when she opened her first business, Paradise Bagels, now known as Paradise Café and Catering.

Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island President Judy Rup presented Tortuga Inn, Tradewinds Resort and SeaSide Resort owner David Teitelbaum with the Rotary’s businessperson of the year award.

“I love the Chamber, and I love this Island,” he told the applauding crowd. “I am absolutely flabbergasted.”

Next came the businesses of the year awards. The candidates for small business were The Tide and The Moon, Tropic Isle, Anna Maria Fun Map, Anna Maria Beach Cottages and Melinda’s Café and Catering. The Tide and The Moon owner Laura Sheley accepted the award.

Medium sized business candidates were the White Egret, Mike Norman Realty, the Islander newspaper and Anna Maria Gulf Coast Rentals. Owners Barb and John Jaeger accepted the award for the White Egret.

The large business nominees were the Chiles Group, Air and Energy and LaPensee Plumbing. Ed Chiles accepted the award for his businesses.

Chamber President Mary Ann Brockman thanked the committee, consisting of Ellen Aquilina, Wende Webb, Amy Van Dell and Lois Gift, who chose the winners.

As Mike Sales resumed singing, Teitelbaum took the microphone and sang a few songs. Barbara Murphy joined him for a harmonious duet and some laughs.

Free nights offered on Island

To attract visitors in tough economic times, eight Anna Maria Island rentals and two on the mainland are offering free room nights through at least Dec. 15, with some extended through February 2010.

With the extra day, visitors can lounge on the beach or venture into Bradenton to the South Florida Museum, the Village of the Arts and other local attractions, shops and restaurants, according to Jessica Grace of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Properties offering a third night free are Bridgewalk, Dawg Daze Villa and the SilverSurf Gulf Beach Resort, all on Anna Maria Island, and Wingate Inn and Suites in Lakewood Ranch.

Properties offering a fourth night free are Bungalow Beach Resort, Seaside Inn Beach Resort, Tortuga Inn Beach Resort and Tradewinds Resort, all on Anna Maria Island, and the Hilton Garden Inn at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.

Island Real Estate is offering a seventh night free at some of its rental properties.

The offer is already sparking activity, said David Teitelbaum, of the Tortuga Inn in Bradenton Beach, where an Islands magazine writer recently stayed, then named Anna Maria Island as the magazine’s Best Quaint Island for family vacations.

“The economy is tough. People are worrying about money,” Teitelbaum said, adding that Tortuga, Seaside and Tradewinds will extend the offer through Feb. 16.

Some accommodations are extending the offer through Dec. 31, with others extending it into January. Some restrictions and blackout dates apply.

For more information, visit

Pier repair estimate $225,000 or less

AMISUN News Robbery Banker
This is one of the cracked beams flagged as being
dangerous and in need of immediate attention.

ANNA MARIA – The long awaited report on the condition of the Anna Maria City Pier recommends a considerable amount of work, but only one repair is flagged as immediate.

The inspection was done in October by MT Causley at a cost of $6,100 and released Nov. 6. The total cost of recommended repairs is between $176,180 and $224,675 with a 10 percent contingency.

Mayor Fran Barford said the city is in negotiations with pier tenant Mario Shoenfelder, who has had the lease since 2000.

“Now we know what needs to be done, and the responsibility to pay for the work is part of the negotiation,” Barford said. “We’ll try to come up with a contract that is agreeable to the city. To us the responsibility is clear, but the city and the tenant don’t see eye to eye.”

No timetable for repairs has even been considered yet because work won’t start until some sort of agreement is ironed out with the tenant.

According to the report’s summary, “The following report will describe existing conditions of the pier and the general building construction systems reflecting the overall condition that can affect performance of the pier and the buildings. The report includes visual inspection of the timber piles carrying the pier, 10-foot wide pile caps, timber deck and stringers.”

The report made the following recommendations:

Pier area

• Replace all bolts connecting the cross beams to the pilings and replace any cracked or deteriorated beams, $20,000 to $23,000.

• Replace cracked or broken beams found in the dished deck area by the boat-docking pier, $12,000 to $18,000. This is flagged as needing immediate attention.

• Replace bolts, beams and deteriorated stringers under the bait building, $10,00 to $12,000.

• Replace or repair handrails at entrance and behind restaurant and repair stair treads and risers to meet requirements, $2,000 to $3,000

• Add stainless steel fasteners at all plank locations, $15,000 to $18,000.

• Replace splintered walkway planks and treat all wood waterfront surfaces, $12,000 to $15,000. Routine maintenance recommended.

• Pave ADA parking area and fix asphalt and changes in elevation, $10,000 to $12,000.

Pier buildings

• Properly fasten sheathing to roof structure, which may require roof replacement, $10,000 to $12,000.

• Reinforce window areas and replace windows and deteriorated door, $25,000 to $30,000.

• Replace damaged floor in bait shop area, $2,000 to $3,000.

• Replace severely corroded and damaged steel base plates, $5,000 to $8,000. Routine maintenance strongly urged.

• Repair and replace deteriorated siding and other wooden areas, $15,000 to $18,000.

• Electrical: Replace broken and unsecured piping, eliminate exposed wiring, protect electrical penetrations for mechanical equipment on roof, properly label electrical panels and protect from the weather, $26,000 to $38,000.

• Plumbing: Replace or repair leaking sanitary joints, install vinyl safety cover under lavatories, replace bathroom threshold that is too high, install proper bathroom signage and install self closing hinges on stall doors, $8,480 to $10,770.

• Mechanical: Secure fire line and replace damaged and corroded lines, properly drain mechanical equipment into plumbing drain lines and clean mold and mildew, weather seal mechanical lines penetrating gable ends, identify gas supply line and clean and maintain bathroom ventilation, $8,800 to $14,000.

In addition, the report noted, “An underwater inspection was performed March 2009 by Bolt Underwater Services, Inc. The Bolt report recommended corrective action on pilings with 40 percent section loss or greater. Two pilings were recommended to have immediate repairs in order to avoid failure. Four crutch poles have been installed recently, but no other recommended repairs were observed.”

Barford said the report would be discussed at an upcoming city commission work session, but no date has been set yet.

Pine Ave. parking questioned

ANNA MARIA – Wasting no time getting down to business, new Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus submitted a letter Thursday questioning parking at two Pine Avenue Restoration buildings.

“I’ve been trying to reconcile what I consider an unsafe confluence of vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic created by 315/317 Pine Avenue with the goals, objectives and policies of the comp plan and the codes of the LDR (land development regulations) and I am unable to do so,” Stoltzfus said in a letter to city officials.

He asked officials to review the codes to determine if site plan and parking and driveway arrangements comply with the comp plan and LDRs. He cited goals, objectives and policies from the future land use and traffic circulation elements of the comp plan as well as sections of the LDRs.

“The parking sites I consider most hazardous, where vehicles park facing the building at 315/317 Pine, then exit by backing across the sidewalk and into a live lane, are the spaces specifically assigned to the commercial aspects of that building,” he said.

He said the comp plan cites controlling the number and locations of curb cuts, controlling access points, separating vehicular and pedestrian traffic and creating adequate off street parking. He also questions whether the definition of driveway includes both residential and commercial.

“I think the strongest language within the LDR conflicting with the arrangement permitted on 315/317 is 90.3, General Design Standards: ‘All off street parking areas, including all areas for maneuvering, shall be located solely on the subject property, shall not use public rights of way, shall have vehicular access to a public street and shall be designed to provide safe and convenient circulation in accordance with commonly accepted engineering practices.’

“It’s physically impossible to enter and exit one of the 315/317 Pine Avenue parking spaces without maneuvering one’s vehicle within the public right of way,” he pointed out. “That alone seems to make the parking design non-compliant. What am I missing here?”

Stoltzfus asked for the issues to be placed on a work session and said he thinks they warrant a written opinion from the city attorney.

Cortez Folk Arts Festival Saturday
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN FILE PHOTO The Main Hatch Motleys, who performed
sea shanties at the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival
in February, will entertain at the Cortez Village Folk
Arts Festival on Saturday.

CORTEZ – The second annual Cortez Village Folk Arts Festival will bring music, arts and crafts, seafood and more to Cortez on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, 4415 119th St. W.

Cortez musician Eric Von Hahmann and other local bands will provide continuous music while food vendors prepare locally caught seafood and other treats.

Visitors will enjoy arts and crafts, a wooden boat show and a demonstration of traditional boat building techniques.

The museum will host guided tours and offer Cortez-themed books, videos, T-shirts and jewelry at its gift shop.

The musical entertainment schedule is:

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

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 in Cortez. The parking facility at the museum is reserved for the disabled. For more information, call 708-6120 or visit

See exhibition sculpture at SandBlast
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

PHOTO PROVIDED Team Sandtastic built this exhibition
sand sculpture at last year's SandBlast

SandBlast, Keep Manatee Beautiful’s annual sand sculpting contest, starts today when Team Sandtastic, begins to build a huge exhibition sculpture at the BeachHouse restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach.

The sculpture, which will have a nautical holiday theme, will be completed by Nov. 20. During those three days, 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 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 with a $300 tax-deductible donation, call 795-8272 or visit for details and entry form.

Women add Island spice to Sweet Adelines
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE From left, Pam McMillen, Bunny Klein,
Jeanette Rothberg, Ellen Linsley and Claudette Welch, some
of the Anna Maria Island singers who add spice to the
Magic of Manatee Sweet Adeline chorus.

When Pam McMillen walked into a rehearsal of the Magic of Manatee Sweet Adelines chapter three years ago, director Lois Van Beek had a déjà vu experience.

“Lois walked up to me and said, ‘I know you. You look just like your mother,’ ” said McMillen, now the costume chairperson and assistant choreographer for the group.

Forty years ago, McMillen’s mother, Vivian McElhiney, founded the Friendly City chapter of the Sweet Adelines, which later merged with the Bradenton chapter to form the Magic of Manatee.

McElhiney and Van Beek sang in a quartet in the Friendly City group, and McElhiney’s daughter now sings under Van Beek, who has been directing Magic of Manatee for 20 years.

It’s one of the many reasons the group feels like family to its 47 members.

“It’s the best group of girls,” said McMillen, a Holmes Beach resident. “Other choruses may have more showmanship, but I’m sure they don’t have the love we have in our chapter.”

McMillen is one of several Island singers who are members of the all-female group, in addition to Bunny Klein, Ellen Linsley, Marge Malin, Judy McClarren, Ginny Nunn, Sharon Rogers-Barren, Jeanette Rothberg and Claudette Welch.

“It’s like a second family,” said Rothberg, the membership chairman.

“It’s a great sisterhood,” agreed Linsley, a member since 2002.

Bunny Klein has been a member since 1978, longer than any of the Island singers. What keeps her coming back every Tuesday night to stand on a set of bleachers for three hours and rehearse?

“Life is nothing without music,” she said.

They sing from memory, unaccompanied by instruments, in four-part harmony – barbershop style – with bass, baritone, lead and tenor parts instead of the traditional bass, tenor, alto and soprano parts most choirs use.

Then they add gestures, facial expressions and choreography, plus costumes, to their performances.

Their two main annual concerts are scheduled this season for Dec. 6 at Bradenton Christian School and Feb. 6 at Neel Auditorium. The rest of the year, they perform singouts at nursing homes, festivals and other venues and participate in an annual competition against other chapters.

Some of the group traveled as spectators to an international competition in Nashville earlier this year, and McMillen and others traveled to Canada recently to learn dance moves to teach the rest of the group.

The Magic of Manatee is accepting new members who love to sing harmony, perform and compete. For more information, call Rothberg at 778-5499 or visit

Mixed reviews for 'Mountains Beyond Mountains'
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Pulitzer prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” is not everyone’s idea of a great book, nor is the writing everyone’s idea of Pulitzer prize-winning quality.

The work, subtitled “The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World,” is Kidder’s account of some months he spent with Farmer in Haiti at his medical center, where the Harvard-trained physician has quite a success record treating patients who live in extreme poverty with drug-resistant tuberculosis, HIV and other diseases.

“I think we could have done a better job of writing this ourselves,” commented Louise Bolger.

“A lot of this book is the story of an amazing man, but there was a lot of repetition,” Cindi Mansour added.

“It read like someone’s daybook,” said Bobbie Gordon. “I wasn’t interested in the airline schedules and how many miles they had to travel.”

“But I did like the way the title was so descriptive – “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” Charlene Doll said. “You can get the idea of how big the area Dr. Farmer served was.”

Style problems

The problems the readers had with Kidder’s style cropped up time and again during the discussion of the book, but not everyone had problems with the way Kidder told Farmer’s story.

“He (Farmer) is a real mensch,” said Birgit Quam. Mensch is a Yiddish world that means a man of integrity and honor. “He’s still alive today, by the way.”

“I googled him, and he’s still alive today, living in Rwanda with his wife and child,” Mansour said.

“I didn’t even know about Paul Farmer,” Joan Dickinson said. “He’s sort of like Albert Schweitzer. I hope that the work he did in Haiti is sustainable. My question is can people continue to do this?”

“Mountains Beyond Mountains” reminded several of the readers of ‘Three Cups of Tea," a book about Greg Mortenson’s effort to bring schools to remote areas of Pakistan, which the Sun Readers discussed earlier this year.

“Both were about how the work of just one person can make such a difference in the world,” Quam pointed out.

“The poverty for Farmer’s people was made so much worse by the building of that dam that the U.S. funded,” Doll said. “We saw the same thing in Russian.”

And Quam said she saw the same thing in China.

Betsy Smith was unable to come to the discussion of the book, but when she e-mailed her comments, she mentioned that she found elements of the story to be upsetting.

“Parts of the book made me angry,” Smith said. “It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for Third World countries and their health problems, but I believe that charity begins at home. “We have out own health/housing/sanitation problems in the U.S.A., and until we can solve our own problems, why do we think we can solve those of other an entirely different culture?”

When it came time to rate the book on the Sun Reader scale of one to five, with five being the best book ever, Smith, surprisingly, rated the book a four.

All combined, the readers rated “Mountains Beyond Mountains” as a 3.4 and said they’d recommend it, especially to anyone who enjoys biographies.

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