The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 9 - November 25, 2009


Giving Back
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Members of the Island’s Episcopal Church of the
Annunciation volunteer each Thursday at
Our Daily Bread. Here, from left to right,
Bill Wait, Don Lind, Sue Wait and Julie Lind
chop vats of fruits and vegetables.

About 300 people will sit down to a Thanksgiving feast this week at Our Daily Bread – a special meal of turkey, cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and bread.

It’ll be a little bigger and a little more festive than the hot meal served to the homeless the other 364 days of the year.

And as usual, Penny Goethe, Our Daily Bread’s kitchen manager, her assistant and an army of volunteers will be working to bring the tasty, healthy and nourishing meal to the tables at the soup kitchen in the new facility at the One Stop Center in Bradenton.

“We just couldn’t get this all done without all of our volunteers,” Goethe said. “They’re a godsend.”

Four of the regular volunteers at Our Daily Bread are members of the Island’s Episcopal Church of the Annunciation.

Bill and Sue Wait and Don and Julie Lind show up faithfully at the kitchen each Thursday from mid-April through the end of October, when winter residents take over the Thursday shift.

“We have so much to be thankful for,” said Julie Lind. “I just feel so blessed that I want to give back. This is my way of doing it.”

“With all we have to enjoy, with all we have to be thankful for, it just seems like we should do what we can to help other people,” Don Lind said.

So each Thursday, the Waits and the Linds show up at about 8:15 a.m., don their aprons, including one that asks, “Have You Hugged an Episcopalian Today?” gather around a steel table and chop fresh fruits and fresh salad ingredients each and every week.

“We chop everything very small,” Wait said. “That’s the way Mary trained us. Some of these people have issues with their teeth.”

Mary DeLazzer was the kitchen manager of Our Daily Bread for more than 20 years. A drunk driver killed her the day after Thanksgiving last year.

Her presence at Our Daily Bread remains strong, not just in the way volunteers cut the fruit and vegetables, but also in the way that Goethe and her assistants cook and run the entire operation.

“She was the heart and soul here,” Goethe said. “She was tough, but she loved everyone and cared about them.”

Goethe said she hears Mary’s voice at every turn, and it helps her to remember.

There’s a mission statement for Our Daily Bread, and it’s one that employees, board members and volunteers alike take seriously:

“The mission of Our Daily Bread is to provide for the nutritional needs of the poor and needy of our community in the context of compassion and affirmation of their human worth as children of God.”

And that compassion and affirmation is everywhere.

“You know, it’s one of those ‘there but for the grace of God’ things,” Sue said.

“All kinds of people find themselves homeless,” Julie added. “It could happen to anyone in any walk of life. We need to care for each other.”

“Thanksgiving is the one time of year that nearly everyone gives thanks for their blessings,” Don Lind said. “But really, we should all give thanks every day.”

That’s the kind of talk you hear around the table as the Linds and the Waits chop away.

“Sometimes we come in, and there doesn’t seem to be enough fresh fruit,” Julie said. “Then the truck comes in, and it’s full of just what we need for the fruit or for the salad. The Lord provides.”

And just as the fresh fruit on hand was all cut up with only about half the bowl filled, the truck arrived with huge quantities of fresh fruit, multiple loaves of bread and trays and trays of tasty deserts, which staff member Ali unloaded and carried into the building.

Our Daily Bread has a truck that makes stops at Sweetbay and Albertson's stores for fruit and vegetables just past their prime. Area markets, including Publix, contribute bread and bakery items.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the supermarkets,” Goethe said. “And we get help from area churches and individuals, including the Island."

While the chopping continued in the back room, Michael Durrance, a staff member, was making the lunch entrée in a huge cooker 5 feet long by about 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep.

Other volunteers came in and set up the trays withentrees, desserts and salads. A table full of bread was set up in the dining room. Each client could take two loaves with them after lunch. Some bags of salad greens were also available for takeout.

Then the doors were opened, and the clients came in, some with small children in hand for their one hot meal of the day.

Our Daily Bread always needs contributions to help it purchase what it can’t get free. It also needs volunteers.

To find out how you can help, call Our Daily Bread at 745-2992.

“It’s a miracle, really, that our community can feed all these people every day,” Lind said. “I hope everyone will think about giving back a little when they sit down to their Thanksgiving dinners.”

Residents wary of sidewalk project
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

A worker smooths out fresh concrete in the new sidewalk
along North Bay Boulevard. SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND

ANNA MARIA – To several residents on and near North Bay Boulevard, the construction of sidewalks outside their homes is tantamount to having the post office force home delivery on them.

They attended the meeting on Monday, Nov. 16, where the Florida Department of Transportation held an open house to explain the projects that are being financed by stimulus funds, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and they voiced their disapproval.

“We don’t want the sidewalk, we would rather have a bike path,” newly elected Anna Maria City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus told Tabitha Carlton, an information officer hired by FDOT. “I know you have to spend the stimulus money, but it’s not free. We’ll be paying for it for a long time.”

Some of the residents asked Anna Maria Public Works Director George McKay about why they did not know this project was planned.

“Who requested it,” Mary Selby asked.

“The city requested it,” McKay answered.

When questioned whether the city commission voted to approve it, he indicated it had not.

“We had to hurry to get these projects on the table when the funding became available,” McKay added.

However, Anna Mayor Fran Barford said no one should be surprised by the work on the sidewalks.

“We’ve been working on this since last January,” Barford said. “You all were given monthly reports about the plans, so everyone knew what was going on.”

Vice Mayor John Quam said that the commission approved the stimulus project package.

“We voted on it and approved it by resolution,” he said. “It surely wasn’t done in secret.”

Resident Irene Pearman said at the FDOT meeting that adding the sidewalk would leave less land to absorb stormwater and increase flooding in an area that is prone to flood.

“I don’t think this will make or break the situation,” McKay answered.

The sidewalk construction is underway along North Bay Boulevard from Hibiscus Street to North Shore Drive. Some residents, however, want to know how this project got approved without a public hearing or a vote by the city commission.

PAR responds to parking issues

ANNA MARIA – There’s been a quick response to newly elected City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus' letter to the mayor and commissioners asking for safety changes to parking and driveway regulations on Pine Avenue.

Pine Avenue Restoration’s (PAR) attorney, Richard S. Rumrell, an attorney with the Jacksonville firm of Rumrell, Costabel, Warrington and Brock, sent a letter to the city responding to Stoltzfus.

“The (Stoltzfus) letter is a not so subtle attack on the already approved site plan of 315/317 Pine Avenue and future development,” Rumrell said in his letter to the city. “Given that over 2,000 parking spaces in the city of Anna Maria currently back out onto the street, across the right of way, singling out 315/317 can only be interpreted as targeting on an unequal basis.”

And addressing more points in the Stoltzfus letter, Rumrell pointed out that since the site plan for that property has already been approved, any changes now in parking requirements there would be “tantamount to reconsidering already granted rights.”

The attorney cited a situation in Venice in which the city used its governmental powers to target a specific property owner.

“It subjects the city to damages for violation of the equal protection laws and the Fourteenth Amendment rights of property owners,” Rumrell said. “We are sure that the city of Anna Maria doesn’t not want to cause substantial damages to its citizens and taxpayers, even though the letter from Mr. Stoltzfus to the mayor and others seem(s) contrary to that.”

There are laws governing violations of the law of equal protection, and there are other remedies available to PAR, including various estoppel arguments.

“Estoppel is a legal doctrine that prevents a person from adopting a position, action or attitude asserting a fact or a right or prevents one from denying a fact inconsistent with an earlier position if it would result in an injury to someone else,” is the basic definition in the online legal term dictionary.

That means that since the parking at 315/317 Pine Avenue has already been approved, it cannot be changed without consequences.

Rumrell’s letter cited several other ways in which changes to the parking regulations on Pine Avenue would violate the rights of PAR, including violating the partnership’s vested property rights and due process rights.

At a commission meeting on Nov. 19, Stoltzfus said he didn’t mean to single out the PAR properties at 315 and 317 Pine Avenue. He said he was speaking for all the parking in the residential/office/retail district.

PAR’s managing partner, Micheal Coleman, told city commissioners that the letter should be considered for informational purposes, not as a threat.

Staying on the right side of Sunshine, public records laws

ANNA MARIA — Steering clear of the kind of lawsuit that may ultimately cost the city of Venice $1.5 million was one objective of a training session on Florida’s Sunshine and public records laws last week.

“In Venice, a group of elected officials ran on a reform slate,” City Attorney Jim Dye told city commissioners and members of the city’s boards and committees. “They felt they were elected to clean up the city. One of the first things they did was send each other e-mails.”

They sent those e-mails on their personal e-mail accounts, according to Dye. Then they refused to turn the e-mails over to a citizen who made a public records request for them.

“The public has a right to ask for this kind of document,” Dye said.

The Venice commissioners said they didn’t have any such e-mail on their computers.

The citizen sued, and ultimately, the commissioners’ computers were seized and the e-mails were recovered.

Under the laws, the city had to pick up the complainants lawyers fees, which amounted to $700,000.

“When all is said and done, and the city pays its own attorneys and the attorneys of the commissioners, the tab will be about a million-and-a-half,” Dye said.

The laws mandate that all public business be conducted in the Sunshine – that is in a properly noticed public place that is accessible to everyone.

“Florida is a national leader of the idea that the public business must take place in the presence of the public,” Dye said. “Everybody but the state legislature, which has written itself out of the law, has to conduct business in the Sunshine. It’s good for legislation outside of Tallahassee, that is.”

Dye said that Anna Maria has good policies in place for complying with the law.

“Each commissioner has his or her own e-mail account through the city, so those records can be captured,” Dye said.

He strongly urged commissioners to use only those official e-mail accounts to conduct city business.

In another aspect of the laws, two or more members of the same elected body cannot discuss anything that may come before the body for a vote.

“It’s not hard to understand what the laws are, but it’s hard for new members to understand,” Dye said. “For example, if you are in Publix and you run into another member of your board and start talking about some business that’s before you, you’ve violated the Sunshine Laws. Everyone has trouble grasping that a little innocent conversation that goes on every day would have legal requirements. You can talk about Little League or golf, but not about official business.

Dye urged all elected and appointed officials to be aware of the requirements of the law to avoid getting into trouble.

Participants report artsHop success
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The Bridge Street Door was voted the People’s Choice
at the artsHOP door auction on Nov. 15. The door was
painted by Amy Talucci, Kelly Burdette ad JoAnn Meilner
and purchased by Mike Norman. SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND

ANNA MARIA – Members of Cultural Connections meeting at The Studio at Gulf and Pine last week reported that the second artsHOP weekend was a success, but found several areas where improvements could be made.

The weekend included a gallery walk a play, an arts and craft festival, a sock hop, a concert and a silent auction of 31 doors created by local artists.

Midge Pippel said 687 people came to the Artist’s Guild during Friday’s gallery walk and sales were triple that of last year’s event. She said the guild hired a band, which was a draw.

“Music is better than balloons, flutter flags or anything else for drawing people,” Marlane Wurzbach, of Island Gallery West, agreed. “If there was music, they followed it to the other places.”

Rhea Chiles, of The Studio, reported 225 visitors and volunteers served six gallons of sangria along with her homemade cheese grits.

“Next time, I would fret less about the food and hire a band,” Chiles said. “They can come, have a good time, see the art, listen to music and then go out to dinner.”

Laura Sheley, of the Tide and the Moon, said she had 186 visitors, Emerson Quillin said he had 289 and Island Gallery West reported nearly 400. All three said they had great sales. Ginny’s and Jane E’s reported 268 visitors and the AMI Art League reported 507.

Of the 500 passports, which when stamped at all eight galleries entitled the bearer to 20 percent off at one of the Chiles restaurants, 253 were filled out, Melissa Williams, of SteamDesigns reported. Of those 42 were from out of state, 99 were from the Island and 100 were from off the Island or other parts of Florida.


Some participants felt that the four-hour gallery walk could be shorter because volunteers were worn out, but Chiles said she didn’t think people could visit all eight galleries in a shorter period.

Others reported that some people attending the gallery walk did not know about the weekend’s other events, and members suggested that the galleries display posters about other events.

Jeanie Pickwick, of Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra, concurred and said the of the group’s Sunday concert, “We felt like the bookend. There’s a disconnect.”

Sunday’s silent auction of doors, which brought in $1,600, was also lacking in attendance. Karen Cunningham, of the Artists Guild, noted that many people who came to the Island for the weekend left on Sunday before the door auction.

“The auction didn’t come close to the gallery walk crowd and there was confusion about the difference between the Art League’s juried show and the doors auction,” Wurzbach pointed out.

She suggested holding the auction in place of the show and doing it in the last hour of the gallery walk. Others felt it would be too much activity on Friday night and that the auction should be held on Saturday.

Shirley Rush Dean, of Island Gallery West, said if it were on Friday, visitors could make bids during the gallery walk.

Prom Night mystery raucous fun
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The Island Rockers, including Scott Achor who appeared
in the play as Roy Peterson, performed between acts
with rock and roll from the 1950s. SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT

ANNA MARIA – It was back to high school for the cast of Saturday night’s inaugural murder mystery party, a fundraiser for the Anna Maria Island Community Center and a bargain for those who paid $25 to sit in the audience, snack on appetizers and help solve the mystery.

The audience was invited to dress in 1950s prom night attire and that ranged from a long dress with a corsage and a tuxedo to a more casual sock hop attire.

The attention, however, was on the play, “Prom Night Mystery,” delivered in a way that transformed the entire Community Center auditorium into a stage as cast members not in the main scene walked around, some talking lowly with each other and others interacting with the audience.

The mystery came in three acts, with Island DJ Chris Grumley playing emcee between the acts and also cueing the cast when necessary. The plot involved high school seniors before their prom in 1959 as they deal with the trials and tribulations of love, jealousy, deceit and murder.

The story revolves around head cheerleader and prom queen Karen Carter, played brilliantly by Liza Morrow. She has it all going for her and she expects to marry football quarterback and prom king, Ken Armstrong, that Damir Glavan portrayed with subtle comedic timing.

Shannon Dell gave a strong performance as Connie Jefferson, Karen’s best friend and an actress who plans on moving to New York to follow her dream. She is somewhat jealous of the attention Karen has gotten over the years.

Erin Heckler gave a great performance as Karen’s other best friend, Judy Blake, the class brain who is ready to have fun on prom night, even if it hurts some of the others.

Scott Achor also gave a great performance as Roy Peterson, the class rebel who sports a flask that he sips from during the play. He thinks he’s cool and he’s not as dumb as some people think.

Jody Achor was perfect as Angie Smallwood, Roy’s girlfriend and a vamp who earned her reputation as a bad girl in school.

Last but not least, the usually elegant Kelly Joseph gave an amazing portrayal as Penny Withers, the bookworm who becomes the detective as the night unfolds. She is shy, but harbors a dream of being a bad girl like Angie.

As the plot unfolded, Ken rejected Karen’s talk of getting married before he went to college on a football scholarship. He finally told her it was over, and shortly after that, it was over for him. He fell to the floor dead. Penny deduced that he had ingested arsenic, which left a tell tale clue on whomever put it in his drink. It sticks to skin and is visible under certain lighting.

The Island Rockers, youngsters who performed between acts, were in their comfort zone as they played rock and roll from the late 50s. There was an opportunity to question characters between acts and a formal question and answer after the third act.

Then it was time to choose who the audience thought was guilty. We all used our table nametags, inserting them into whichever box had the name of the character we though had murdered Ken.

After the audience members returned to their seats, the cast assembled and one-by-one, held up their hands. When Connie Jefferson took off her gloves and held exposed the palms of her hands, the arsenic show up.

Dell took out a sheet and read why she did it. The main reason was jealousy – to get back at Karen who had overshadowed her during high school.

She was handcuffed and taken away by a guest performer, Manatee Sheirff's Office Sgt. John Kenney, who recently retired, although he still works for the department.

The reason Shannon Dell read from a sheet of paper to explain why she killed Ken Armstrong?

“We have been rehearsing this play for two months, but we didn’t know how it would end and who did it until tonight,” Dell said.

After the play ended, Chris Grumley played dance music for a while as the audience relived some of their high school proms.

A real Florida birthday on the pier
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Rutger Langley landed a pinfish, which went back
into the water after a brave mom unhooked it.

BRADENTON BEACH – When Laurie and Dave Higgins planned a birthday party for their son, Bryson, last year, they chose the Bradenton Beach Pier.

It was a natural choice for the couple since Dave works for the Bradenton Beach Public Works Department and has a good working knowledge of the pier. They invited a bunch of kids and gave each one a rod and reel to use in the bay waters.

One of the guests caught a grouper, according the Laurie, and they all had a good time.

This year, they did it again and they invited all of Bryson’s classmates, the entire first grade at Anna Maria Elementary School, to help celebrate his seventh birthday. The turnout was great with about half of the students sending RSVPs.

As the heat of the day gave way to winter’s moderate temperatures, the end of the pier began to fill with parents and youngsters, and soon, most of the kids we standing at the railing with fishing lines in the water.

The pinfish were biting and there were no keepers, but the kids all had a good time and if Dave and Laurie do it again, invitations to Bryson’s next birthday party will definitely be the hit of the season.

Port Dolphin sails toward license

ANNA MARIA – Port Dolphin may obtain the license to build its liquefied natural gas port 28 miles off Anna Maria Island by February, according to company spokesman Wayne Hopkins.

The U.S. Maritime Administration has released the particulars of its decision to approve the license for the submersible port, where liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers will dock, convert the LNG to vapor and offload it into a new, 42-mile-long underwater pipeline that will come ashore at Port Manatee for shipment to energy suppliers.

“I conclude that construction and operation of the Port Dolphin deepwater port will be in the national interest and consistent with national security and other national policy goals and objectives, including energy sufficiency and environmental quality,” wrote David Matsuda, acting maritime administrator for the U.S. Maritime Administration in his decision approving the license.

The license will be subject to “conditions designed to protect and advance the national interest, the demonstration of financial capability, and conditions to preserve and enhance the environment,” he wrote.

Conditions include an operations manual, technical information and detailed drawings concerning the construction of the deepwater port, and the need to obtain all required federal and state permits. Conditions required by federal agencies and Florida’s governor will be listed in the license itself.

Local environmental groups and municipalities have several concerns about the project, particularly about the pipeline being built through underwater beach renourishment sand reserves.

“I have given careful consideration to the specific concerns expressed by members of the local coastal communities, such as Longboat Key and Manatee County, regarding the proposed Port Dolphin pipeline route and the potential impact the pipeline would have on local sand resources designated for future beach replenishment,” Matsuda wrote in his decision.

“My agency has worked extensively with the U.S. Coast Guard, Port Dolphin and other federal and state agencies to conduct an adequate environmental review of the potential impact to the sand resources. We have encouraged the applicant to collaborate with the state of Florida and the local coastal communities to develop a comprehensive plan that would avoid and/or mitigate the impacts to sand resources to the greatest extent possible. I am satisfied that this difficult task was successfully accomplished through a recently established Memorandum of Agreement, signed and executed on Sept. 17, 2009. by representatives of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Port Dolphin Energy.”

The agreement will allow the municipalities to remove the sand prior to the construction of the pipeline in June 2012, with Port Dolphin reimbursing Manatee County and Longboat Key up to $5.5 million each.

Unresolved environmental concerns include impacts of the project on wetlands, navigation, fisheries, marine mammals and sea turtles.

The public will have opportunities to comment throughout the state environmental permitting process, which could take another year after the license is issued, Hopkins said. Operations are expected to begin in 2013.

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