The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 25 - March 24, 2010


Oil study reveals risks, rewards

A think tank’s report on the implications of future oil and gas exploration and drilling off Florida’s Gulf coast offers evidence of limited rewards and potential risks should the current drilling ban in state waters be lifted.

Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater called on the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida – created by the Legislature in 2005 to study long term statewide planning solutions – to make an unbiased, comprehensive review of the issues after the Legislature considered a proposal last year to allow the governor and Cabinet to approve oil drilling leases in state waters, within 10 miles of shore.

The commission’s staff, the Collins Center for Public Policy, polled oil industry representatives, university experts, independent scientists, state and federal agencies, environmental groups and other sources to produce a report likely to be relied on extensively if similar legislation is proposed this spring, as expected.


Some highlights from the report follow.

Oil spills: “Oil spills can cause impacts from only a few days to multiple years or even decades. Florida’s coastline is especially sensitive to spills because of its mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs… Cleanup costs and economic losses for the most severe spills can total in the billions of dollars.”

“Natural seeps account for roughly 45 percent of the total annual oil load to the world’s oceans,” followed by man-made pollution from urban runoff, polluted rivers and boats, with oil spills farther down the list, according to the report.

Tourism: “Clearly, an accidental spill can have a significant impact on local tourism. Regional impacts on tourism are certainly possible if an accident is severe. A catastrophic accident would have statewide impact if it changed perceptions of Florida on a large enough scale.”

Aesthetics: “Basic trigonometry calculations suggest that on a clear day many offshore oil rigs could be detected by the naked eye in Florida waters. That would certainly be true if they were allowed within five miles… Generally speaking, for a 6-foot-tall person the visible horizon is three miles away. For that same person, a 100-foot structure is visible about 10 miles away.”

Real estate: “Florida’s pristine beaches and captivating vistas are a fundamental part of its identity and allure. If the state’s beach quality, vistas and overall experience are significantly degraded by oil and gas activities the result could include an impact on real estate value... Anecdotal information from the real estate industry suggests that prospective clients could also be deterred by the perception of risk posed by oil and gas development near the coastline.”

Sand resources: “There is a limited amount of beach-quality sand available in Florida’s inshore and near-shore waters, and areas containing valuable sand overlap with areas having the potential for oil and gas… As of yet, Florida does not appear to have any plans or procedures for resolving conflicts that could arise among oil and gas exploration and development interests and beach restoration interests. However, recent agreements between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, local governments in Manatee County and a company proposing to build a 28-mile submerged natural gas pipeline to Port Manatee may have set a precedent.”

Energy independence: “Estimated oil reserves in Florida’s coastal waters are less than 100 million barrels. Production derived from these reserves would boost U.S. supplies by a small fraction of 1 percent. To put that in context, the total estimated amount of oil reserves in Florida would satisfy the U.S. demand for oil (approximately 20 million barrels a day) for less than a week,” with "no discernible effect on petroleum prices at the retail level," and “no discernible impact on our foreign oil dependency.”

Jobs/revenue: Opening the Gulf to oil activities could create between 1,000 and 5,000 jobs in Florida and produce state leasing revenues of $20 million to $180 million a year, depending on which figures are used, according to the report.

Pollution: “Offshore oil and gas activities can result in heavy metals and debris disturbing several acres around the wells. Discharged wastes can blanket the seabed around a borehole, and the turbidity caused during drilling can adversely affect sea life adjacent to the activity.” Currents and shifting sands after drilling ceases can mitigate the damage, the report notes.

Marine life: “Seismic guns and other acoustic disturbances associated with oil and gas exploration and development can have significant impacts on marine life.”

Read and comment on the report at

Plans filed for possible Walgreen's move
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT The former Shell's restaurant site
could be the new home for Walgreen's, which currently is
in the same plaza several stores north.

HOLMES BEACH – Although Walgreen’s corporate officials and management are tight lipped, plans filed with the city’s building department show a proposed move into the former Shell’s location.

“I can’t comment,” Walgreens’ spokesperson Robert Elfinger said. “There is no lease signed for anything in the area except the store we’re in.”

Walgreen’s is located in the Anna Maria Island Centre, owned by Benderson Development Co., on East Bay Drive. The store is at the north end of the strip center, while Shells was at the south end.

The proposed plan shows an expansion into storefronts now occupied by Paradise Café and formerly occupied by video and baby rental stores and into the parking lot on the East Bay Drive side. The current Walgreen's has 13,112 square feet and the proposed building shows 16,510 square feet.

“Officials from Benderson and Walgreen’s approached the city about five or six weeks ago with a proposed concept,” said the city’s plans examiner and inspector Bob Shaffer. “The plan is subject to revision, but they are in the process of finalizing the building and parking plans.”

In addition to a bigger store, the expansion will allow for a drive through to the back alley and around to the Gulf Drive side, where a drive-up window is shown. This would allow people to pick up their prescriptions without leaving their vehicles.

Jackie Estes, owner of Paradise Café, said she heard about the store’s proposed move, but has been told nothing about plans to use her storefront. “Wow!” she exclaimed when asked to comment on the plan. “I have not heard a thing about that. I’ll reserve judgment until I know what the final plan is.

“We really need an anchor at this end of the plaza, but to take out a portion of the building big enough to drive through is not a good plan. It’s like having a road through the building.”

A Benderson representative did not respond when contacted by phone.

Consultant: 'Shadow government' at work

ANNA MARIA — A legal consultant who made a public records request for the e-mails of City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus and Jim Conoly, a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, claims a “shadow government” is running the city.

“I find the e-mails very troubling,” said Michael Barfield, who made the request to the city last month. “I’ve gone through thousands of pages, and it’s apparent to me that a ‘shadow government’ exists in Anna Maria with citizens acting as liaisons and conduits.”

Barfield put in a public records request for the e-mails Stoltzfus and Conoly sent or received between March 1, 2009 and March 10, 2010.

Under the Sunshine Laws, members of the same board or committee may not communicate with each other outside of a noticed public meeting.

Conoly said he doesn’t use his computer for city business, but he combed through his records and turned over anything that might be construed as city business such as notices of meeting dates and times.

Stoltzfus sent more than 800 of his e-mails to City Clerk Alice Baird by Thursday of last week, and then he had second thoughts about the inclusion of other records on his computer.

“So today, (Monday) I sent more than a thousand more,” Stoltzfus said. “I wanted to make sure I complied with the law before any legal action is taken by attorneys.”

He said he doesn’t necessarily agree that his private e-mail accounts are public record.

“I had to include even a comment by a person who may have commented on anything to do with city business,” he said. “I was worried that I might miss something, so I sent everything.”

Barfield said that included in Stoltzfus’ e-mails was a communication to City Commissioner John Quam using a private citizen as a conduit, something prohibited under the Sunshine Laws.

“I can understand someone’s feeling passionate about their city, and that may lead them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do,” Barfield said.

He added that he believes the citizens involved are aware of the Sunshine Laws “I know exactly the e-mail you mean,” Stoltzfus said. “I was in (Anna Maria Building Official) Bob Welch’s office, and I pointed out that the protocol for site plans hadn’t been followed for 216 (Pine Avenue.)”

Welch agreed with him and contacted the mayor who said they’d have to get with the city attorney.

“So I went home, and I was wondering about 315/317 (Pine Avenue). I e-mailed Nicky Hunt to ask her about that site plan. Then I asked her to ask Quam about what was going on with 216 while she was at it.”

Stoltzfus maintained that that was not using Hunt as a conduit since neither site plan was “reviewable.” He said they were settled matters and therefore he and Quam wouldn’t be voting on them.

Quam chose not to comment.

Baird said it’s been difficult and nerve wracking to comply with Barfield’s records request.

“I’m trying to not make a mistake,” she said. “And I’m trying to get these sent to make certain that the city complies.”

Barfield said the city itself appears to have done everything correctly.

“In fact, to date, both the city clerk and the city attorney have been very open and transparent,” he said.

In the past, Barfield worked as a legal consultant with Rumrell, Costabel, Warrington and Brock, LLP, the law firm that successfully sued the city of Venice over Sunshine Laws violations.

Progress made on parking

ANNA MARIA — After months of deadlocked discussion, members of the City Commission and the Planning and Zoning Board appear to have taken a step towards resolution of disagreements of how parking in the residential/office/retail district should be regulated.

After an hour or so of debate, during which no one moved off their original positions, Commission Chairman John Quam called for public comment.

“I have been at several of these meetings, and almost nothing has been accomplished,” said resident Carl Pearman. “There are strong opinions on both sides of the aisle. That’s nothing unusual. We need to look at this conceptually. That way each side can be somewhat satisfied.”

Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick said she agreed with Pearman.

And City Planner Alan Garrett said if the boards could come to some kind of general, big picture consensus, he could come back to them with a draft ordinance that could be fine tuned during further discussion.

There was consensus that no vehicles can back out into traffic in the ROR district, but backing out will be allowed in the residential districts.

There will be flexibility on the side streets and flexibility about how buildings should sit on the property.

“The original reasons for side setbacks were for fires and for the plague,” Garrett said. “We’ve overcome both of those problems.”

So some buildings may sit further forward on the property with parking in the rear – a configuration that proved controversial when the first newer mixed-use buildings went up along Pine Avenue.

Property owners on Spring Avenue were up in arms about parking adjacent to their rear property lines.

“Well, that’s like if you buy property by an airport, you have to expect planes to fly overhead,” said Margaret Jenkins, a member of the P&Z Board. “That would be somewhat mitigated by buffering.”

The city will look at lowering the size requirement for loading zonesand parking spaces to the new Florida Department of Transportation rule of 9-by-19 feet or even smaller.

And requirements for an on-site loading zone may be eliminated since most delivery trucks don’t use them anyway.

And ultimately, the requirement of one parking space for each 400 square feet of commercial space may be reduced since so many people use bicycles and the trolley.

The next joint Commission/P&Z Board meeting will take place Thursday, April 6, at 6 p.m.

Board sends business tax to ordinance process

BRADENTON – After a lengthy discussion and hearing a great deal of opposition, Manatee County commissioners voted to hold a work session on a proposed business tax and sent it to the ordinance process.

The Coalition of Business Organizations recommended a $35 tax on every business in the county to fund a recruitment effort to encourage businesses to relocate to the county. The CBO is task force of the Manatee Economic Development Council, a private not for profit organization that is a division of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.

John Rice, chair of the CBO, said the Anna Maria Island, Gulf Coast Latin and Manatee chambers and the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance support the tax, which would generate $400,000 per year.

“Manatee County residents and businesses are suffering from the effects of a severe economic downturn due in large part on our community’s reliance on real estate and construction to provide jobs,” Rice explained.

“We need to attract companies and jobs from diverse industries. We ask for your direction. We came up with the tax because it is simple, easy to collect and all businesses could afford it. This is a cry to elected officials to help us figure out a way to have dedicated funds on an annual basis.”

He said the tax has a five-year sunset, and each city would receive a portion of the tax, which it would be encouraged to return to the EDC

Commission comments

Commissioner Carol Whitmore said she has several concerns about the tax, including a memo from the tax collector saying it would cost $800,000 to collect it; that each hairdresser, real estate agent and the like would have to pay; that landlords would have to pay on each rental unit and it is double taxation for those who pay a business tax to their city.

“I will agree to move forward with it, but I won’t vote for it the way it is,” she said.

Commissioner Donna Hayes said home businesses also would be affected, and she won’t support it until some of the issues are resolved.

“I’m totally against it,” Commissioner Joe McClash. “Reject this now and work on an economic development plan. Get it from the property taxes, make it part of the budget and don’t create another bureaucratic nightmare for businesses.”

Commissioner Ron Getman said he supports the efforts of the chambers and EDC to bring more jobs to the county, but he would like to have more facts and some alternatives to consider.

“We’re in crisis here; we don’t have jobs,” Commissioner John Chappie stressed. “If we’re not out there talking to these people, we can’t get them to come here and create jobs so we can survive. I want to move this forward and hear all the details.”

Regarding taking it from the county budget, he pointed out, “There is no money. We‘ve already cut all the low hanging fruit and here’s another $15 million in budget cuts coming up. We need to think outside the box and take a chance. They came to us and said, ‘Tax us.’”

Commissioner Larry Bustle said there are a lot of pros to the proposal and noted, “The EDC has made it very clear they need help. We need to figure out a way to bring a proper amount of funding to EDC.”

People speak

About a dozen people opposed the tax, but many had to leave before they were scheduled to speak after the lunch break.

Michael Rappaport, of Havana Cabana in Bradenton Beach, said he has nine different licenses, including paying for every chair, said, “It’s taxes on top of taxes.”

“We cannot afford another tax,” landlord David English stressed, “It doesn’t matter if it’s $35 or $350 or $35,000. People are hurting right now; we don’t need to add another burden. What we need are jobs.”

Alvin Holmes pointed out that the way the item was listed on the agenda was misleading and people learned about the planned discussion through the newspaper. The item was listed as “Coalition of Business Organizations – economic development proposal.”

Jonathan Bruce said the newspaper headline should have read, “The county is proposing to help business by hurting and penalizing business,” and added, “We’re all in a fight for our life. This is the wrong time to consider another tax.”

Dutch Powers, representing the vendors at Red Barn Flea Market, said, “We ask you not to go forward with this issue. In the retail area, it’s dog eat dog. We deal with a lot of people who are really close to the line. We need your help; please don’t hurt us.”

Island Realtor Don Schroder said he favors the tax, but needs more facts.

Crafting a motion

Bustle made a motion to move the proposal to the ordinance process, and Chappie seconded it.

Whitmore pointed to the tax collector’s memo on the cost of administering the tax to which Chappie replied, “It’s about time the tax collector sucked it up. We’re all making cuts. He needs to be a part of the team or get out of the way. He needs to be accountable for his budget.”

Hayes asked that it be deferred to a work session, and McClash offered a substitute motion to have a work session with input from members of the public, the chambers and businesses. Getman seconded McClash’s motion.

Chappie said pubic hearings are a part of the ordinance process, and McClash’s suggestion is a waste of time. McClash said it would allow for discussion without the stress of a public hearing.

The substitute motion failed in a vote of 3-3, and Bustle amended the original motion to say, “leading toward the ordinance process after a work session.” The motion was approved with McClash dissenting.

Port Dolphin, Port Manatee ink deal

PALMETTO - The Manatee County Port Authority approved a $30 million agreement on Thursday with Port Dolphin Energy to bring natural gas to Port Manatee from a submersible port planned 28 miles off Anna Maria Island.

“The Manatee County Port Authority, along with port staff, guided this agreement to a successful conclusion, and as a result, the community will benefit with new jobs and the state will benefit with a new source of natural gas,” Port Manatee Executive Director David McDonald said.

The U.S. Maritime Administration is expected to issue a license to Port Dolphin this month for the 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.

“There are benefits to having natural gas,” said Glenn Compton, of environmental group ManaSota-88, “but let’s hope that this is the last pipeline that comes to Port Manatee.

“There are some concerns about having two pipelines so close to each other,” he said, referring to the Gulfstream Natural Gas System pipeline, which made landfall at Port Manatee in 2002.

While the environmental group never intended to try and stop the project, he said, “We wanted them to select the least environmentally damaging pipeline route, and they’ve tried to do as good a job as they could.”

Still, he said, “There are quite a few unavoidable impacts to any project of this magnitude,” including a loss of sea turtle habitat.

For more than two years, critics of the project have warned of Port Dolphin’s potential effects on water and air quality, marine life, navigation, commercial and recreational fishing and offshore sand deposits.

In response to Manatee County and Longboat Key officials’ concerns that the pipeline would make offshore beach renourishment sand supplies off limits for future use, Port Dolphin signed an agreement last September to pay up to $5.5 million to each to the municipalities so they could extract beach renourishment sand from the pipeline path before construction begins.

Sealing the deal

Houston-based Port Dolphin, whose parent company is based in Norway, deposited $425,000 with Port Manatee on Thursday to seal the 30-year agreement, which has two 10-year options to renew, Port Dolphin spokesman Harry Costello said.

Port Dolphin officials estimate the project will generate more than $150 million in direct economic impact to Manatee County over the next 20 years.

During the first five years of the agreement, Port Manatee will receive more than $16 million in cash and assets, followed by about $15 million over the remainder of the agreement, according to Port Manatee.

“With the addition of Port Dolphin to our growing family of energy-related companies, Port Manatee exhibits its leadership as an incubator for local jobs and regional economic growth,” Manatee County Port Authority Chairman Larry Bustle said. “This agreement reinforces the port’s financial strength with a new, recurring revenue steam.”

Construction is expected to begin in mid-2012 with completion in 2013, pending minor permits from state and local agencies, Costello said.

Triple density requested near Robinson

The Manatee County Commission has sent a request to triple the housing density in a neighborhood east of Robinson Preserve to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for consideration.

John Neal, of Neal Communities, requested the change in the county’s comprehensive plan from one unit per acre to three units per acre on the 49–acre property north of Ninth Avenue N.W., east of 99th Street N.W. and south of 17th Avenue N.W. in the Robinson Farms neighborhood.

Development trends favor urban infill over suburban sprawl into east Manatee County, Neal said, referring to his plan for the northwest Bradenton residential area as urban infill.

“I think we should utilize the land inside the urban core, the area that has already been built up,” he said.

The development will improve water quality because the property is currently used as farmland, which produces pesticide and fertilizer runoff into nearby waters of Palma Sola Bay, the Manatee River and the Intracoastal Waterway, said Neal’s engineer, John Henslick, of Eco Consultants Inc.

The news raised a red flag for Glenn Compton, of environmental group ManaSota-88, who suggested, “Perhaps that should be investigated.” The group is opposed to the project on the basis that some of the property is in a coastal high hazard area.

“The better choice is not to increase density in a coastal high hazard area but to do something about the agricultural runoff,” he said.

The county reduced density by 600 units when it established Neal Preserve, Robinson Preserve and the Geraldson Farm and can therefore afford to increase density in the project, said Neal’s attorney, Ed Vogler.

The county spent $24 million to purchase the Neal Preserve, Robinson Preserve and Perico Preserve to decrease housing density in northwest Bradenton, and people still complain about heavy traffic and the lack of hurricane shelters, countered Commissioner Joe McClash, who cast the lone vote against transmitting the plan amendment to the state.

“When does the community come first over the developer?” he asked, suggesting that Neal develop the property with one unit per acre, which would provide open space for recreation.

The Neal and Robinson families donated more than $20 million worth of property based on its appraised value for the preserves, Vogler said. The county is currently negotiating with the Robinson family to add about 200 acres to the Robinson Preserve west of the proposed Neal project.

Although Neal requested three units per acre, the project is planned for less, but no such category exists in the comp plan, he said.

Neighbors did not receive adequate notice of the plan, objected neighbor Katie Pierola, who waited nearly nine hours for commissioners to consider the issue on Tuesday, and said others could not wait. Her request to postpone the decision was denied.

“Once it is gone, it will be gone forever,” she said.

Bridge Street Pier work finished
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND Visitors full their baskets
with goodies and goods from the Tropical Treasures
Boutique at the Shorten home.

The weather couldn’t have been any better for the Community Center’s 17 Annual Tour of Homes Saturday as visitors toured five homes to help net $30,000, a record amount for the event.

Once again, the shuttle buses proved to be very popular with visitors. Two buses ran continuously from the parking lot at Gloria a Dei Lutheran Church, and there was never more than a five to 10 minute wait for one.

The first stop was the Shorten home on 67th Street in Holmes Beach. Here one of the most striking features was the kitchen, dining, living area that faced onto a patio and pool that overlooked the canal.

“I love the sea glass color that brings the bay into the house,” Jeanette Parrett, of Bradenton, exclaimed as we entered the room.

Inside, Beth Meir, of Holmes Beach, said she has attended 10 of the tours.

Her neighbor, Lyn Crosby said it was her first tour and noted, “We just bought a place and I wanted to see the other homes and how they decorated.”

Ellen Peters, of Michigan, and her friend Rosemary Dorsey, of New York, said they come every year.

“I like to see the decorating.” Peters said, and Dorsey said she gets ideas from the homes.

While Pam Leckie, of Holmes Beach, remarked, “This home is absolutely gorgeous. I wish I could go home and change everything!” The Tropical Treasures Boutique at the Shorten home was doing a brisk business with baked good, jellies and handcrafted items being scooped up quickly.

Nancy Lehan, of Massachusetts, was in

the boutique check out line with a basket full of baked goods and she remarked, “I just came to the boutique. I have three teenage grandsons coming tomorrow, so I’m stocking up.”

“I always head to the boutique first for the jellies,” Roberta Kaminsky, of Bradenton, added.

Also in line at the boutique were Carla and Kim Quizon and Carla’s mother, Mary Hirsch, who said it’s a family tradition to attend the event every year.

The shuttle then whisked visitors to the Cook house on 70th Street. There the original terrazzo floors sparkled and in the kitchen, dining living area, a unique feature was the television screen built into the back of the island.

Next it was the Lee house on 63rd Street, which was characterized by vivid colors and handcrafted boxes made by its owner.

There Janet Stokes, of Holmes Beach said, “I like all the homes. I find something special in each one.” And Pat Brown, of Maine, noted, “I like the variety of homes – old, new, large, small.”

Next was the Kelly house in Key Royale, where everyone loved the many bedrooms and the alcove room full of Barbie and her things.

The final house, which the shuttle did not reach was on North Shore Drive in Anna Maria. This bachelor pad overlooking Tampa Bay featured deep reds and blues in rugs, furniture and even a variegated blue and white marble counter top in the kitchen.

Concluding the event was the drawing for the quilt won by Jo Ann George. The sale of quilt tickets made $3,549, while the boutique brought in $2,854.75 and the silent auction made $734.

Additional stimulus money not likely

HOLMES BEACH – A second round of stimulus road projects funded by the national debt is not likely, according to the head of the group that assigns priorities and funding for all state road projects.

Manatee-Sarasota Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Executive Director Michael Howe said that when he asked the cities for a list of probable projects last week, Congress had an underfunded jobs bill and money went there, slicing the stimulus program’s funds.

“All the money for the first round has been assigned,” he told members of the Island Transportation Planning Organization (ITPO) meeting at Holmes Beach City Hall on Monday, March 15. “There might be money leftover from projects where the bids came in under budget, and that might lead to some additional projects.”

For the time being, he said, it appears the boost of money from the Federal Economic Recovery Act is over.

Howe said that a voter-mandated, high-speed rail project from Tampa to Orlando got a boost from stimulus funding.

“The government set aside $10 billion for high-speed rail nationally and Florida got $1.2 billion for that project,” Howe said. “The projected cost is estimated at $2.5 billion and so they are continuing with the project under the premise that if a project like this gets a start, Congress is more likely to fund it further to keep it going. Nobody wants to abandon a project like this.”

Meanwhile, a merger of Sarasota and Manatee county transit systems is apparently on hold.

“The county administrators recommend not moving forward for now because of the economy,” Howe reported. “They felt it would need additional funding sources from something like a sales tax to take over from county funding, and that’s not something that they want to do during this economy.”

Finally, there were words of praise for Florida Department of Transportation District One Secretary Stan Cann from the three mayors who make up the ITPO.

“I’ve been around for a while, and Secretary Cann is the most responsive secretary they’ve had in that position,” Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said,

“I agree,” Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford said. “When you call him with a question, he always acts like he knows you, and he tried to get you what you want.”

“I had him on my speed dial for a while when I was trying to get a sidewalk extension in our city,” Bradenton Beach Mayor Michael Pierce said. “Every time I called, he answered all my questions, and he really worked to get that sidewalk extension.”

Howe said that with the mayors’ permission, he would pass the word to Cann.

Arrest made in jewelry store burglary
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


HOLMES BEACH – Police have arrested a suspect in the burglary of one of four stores that were hit overnight on Dec. 18, 2009.

In a press release, Holmes Beach Police announced last Thursday afternoon that they arrested Derek Lauterbach, 27, of Holmes Beach, for burglarizing The Tide and The Moon jewelry store, 5337 Gulf Drive. The release said that the arrest was a result of DNA evidence that “positively identified Mr. Lauterbach as the perpetrator of this crime.”

Lauterbach was arrested at the Manatee County jail, where he is currently serving time for burglary, criminal mischief and violation of probation stemming from an incident on Feb. 19 in Bradenton. When police went to Lauterbach’s home to check for possible items from the burglary, they found drug paraphernalia and a suspicious white powder in his bedroom. They added charges and possession of the paraphernalia and might add more charges if the powder proves positive.

“I’m glad they caught him,” Tide and Moon owner Laura Shely told The Sun. “I thank the Holmes Beach Police Department.”

Three other stores near The Tide and The Moon were burglarized last December. Burglars took clothing and jewelry from the Color of Coconut, 5352 Gulf Drive; they broke in through the roof of AMI Health and Fitness, 5364 Gulf Drive, and took some items; and they broke through the back door of Mister Roberts, Resort Wear, 5330 Gulf Drive, set off the alarm and left with some cash, spilling a lot of it.

The Tide and The Moon suffered a lot of damage when the burglars broke down the front door, smashed glass counters and stole jewelry. Shely reopened the next day and had a burglar alarm installed at her shop.

Lauterbach has a history of drugs and burglary, according to the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office. He was arrested Dec. 2, 2004 and charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute, trespassing in an unoccupied structure or conveyance and two more counts of drug possession. The two drug possession charges were dropped, but he pled guilty to the possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell and the trespassing charge and was sentenced to 18-months probation and required to undergo drug treatment and submit to testing. He later pled guilty to violating the parole and was placed on supervised release. His license was suspended for two years.

On Dec. 10, 2009, Lauterbach was arrested by Holmes Beach police for driving a motor vehicle while his license was suspended. He was also charged with resisting arrest without violence.

He most recently was arrested Oct. 6, 2009, by Bradenton Beach police after a witness observed him and a girlfriend, Clarissa Sportelli, break into a pickup truck parked at the Moose Lodge and steal a radar detector.

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