The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 50 - September 15, 2010


Stoltzfus recalled, Aubry elected

ANNA MARIA - City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus appears to have been recalled from office and Eugene Aubry elected to fill the remainder of his term.

But the final tally hasn't been certified and the results remain unofficial until an appeal of the election is heard by the the Second District Court of Appeal. Stoltzfus is challenging the legality of the recall petition that originally led to the Sept. 7 election.

The totals, released Monday at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office, showed 362 votes in favor of recalling Stoltzfus and 331 opposing the recall. The percentages worked out to 52.24 in favor to 47.76 against.

In the vote between Stoltzfus and Aubry to fill the seat, Aubry drew 363 votes, or 52.16 percent, versus 333 votes for Stoltzfus, or 47.84 percent.

When reached Monday, Stoltzfus stated adamantly he will not resign.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” he said. “I’ve done nothing illegal, and I’ll appeal this ruling all the way. I still believe the recall petition itself was legally insufficient.”

Aubry said Monday that he came forward to run for the election in a desire to serve his city.

“I have a lot of experience that I think I can offer to the city,” he said. “I wanted to give the voters a choice.”

Aubry said he is uninterested in running for election in the future; he merely wanted to offer voters an option if they chose to recall Stoltzfus.

Appeal pending

The appeals court on Monday afternoon lifted a stay imposed on the results by Circuit Court Judge Ed Nicholas. That stay sealed the election results until Sept. 24 so Stoltzfus' appeal could be heard. Judge Nicholas also ruled he would not certify the results.

A nonprofit group called Citizens for Sunshine, Inc. appealed Judge Nicholas' ruling, saying the election results were public record. The appeals court agreed and lifted the stay but took no action to certify the results.

As a result, the vote count is unofficial, leaving the city in limbo with questions about whether or not they have a legally sitting commissioner.

“I trust John Quam (Commission Chair) to set the agendas so that my vote won’t be on a matter that could be legally challenged in the future,” Stoltzfus said.

Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford also acknowledged the awkwardness of the city’s position.

“We are basically at a standstill with important business to conduct,” she said. “I think the appeals court understands and will move this thing forward quickly.

AMI takes surf fest by storm

Andrea Spring is congratulated by a California raisin after
winning her second National Pie Championship.

Besides getting to dance with the California raisins, National Pie Champion Andrea Spring will be representing the California Raisin Marketing Board across the country.

It all came after Spring made history in April as the first professional to twice win the Crisco American Pie Council National Pie Crisco American Pie Council National Pie Championship. The winning entry, her chocolate raisin walnut combination, also won first place in the raisin pie category.

That got the attention of the California group, which is sending Spring to Chicago this week, Las Vegas next week and Pennsylvania in November.

“It was the first time they sponsored the professional part of the pie contest. They sent me beautiful gifts and photos of the pie and me dancing with the California raisins at the contest,” Spring said. “I’m looking forward to representing them.

“In Chicago, I’ll be at Whole Foods to hand out pieces of pie and talk to people. The board and the Chicago Pastry School are sponsoring the event, so I’ll get to tour the school, which sounds like an extraordinary place.”

The following week, it’s off to the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas, where she will demonstrate pie making and hand out pieces of pie from the California board’s booth.

“It’s so cool,” Spring exclaimed. “I can’t wait. I looked at the menus of some of the restaurants where they have reservations for us and they are amazing.”

In November, Spring will fly to the University of Pennsylvania for a pie contest.

“The students will pick between my pie and someone else’s,” Spring explained. “The winning pie will go on the menu.”

“Every time someone from the board calls me, it’s something else. They’ve already lined up for me to go to Las Vegas next June.”

Spring is also awaiting word on her proposal to Random House for a cookbook, “Pies and Pastries in Paradise,” featuring favorite recipes from around the state.

“Howard Treeger, who was with Random House and has always supported me at every restaurant where I’ve worked, helped me so much,” she said. “He got it all together and told me who to send it to and now I’m waiting to see what happens.”

In addition to the championship pie at the 2010 contest, Spring won first place in the cream category with her hula hula pineapple pie with fried crust.

In 2008, she won first place in the citrus category with her Key West crunch pie and honorable mention in the apple category with her apple oatmeal crunch pie. In 2007, she was crowned national champion with her key lime pie and won first place with her chocolate espresso explosion.

Spring and her husband, Ed, own the Sign of the Mermaid restaurant in Anna Maria, where her pies are featured.

Concert to benefit oil spill victims

CORTEZ – Save the Gulf, a local organization formed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, plans to sponsor a free, three-day concert from Nov. 19-21 at the soccer field adjacent to Holmes Beach City Hall.

Proceeds from donations, raffles and a silent auction would benefit the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH), which administers the FISH Preserve on Sarasota Bay in Cortez.

The Sarasota-based Save the Gulf group also will establish a fishermen’s relief fund to assist commercial and charter fishermen in the event their livelihoods are negatively impacted by the oil disaster, organizer Loretta James said. Other beneficiaries will include wildlife organizations selected by FISH and Save the Gulf.

About 50 bands have agreed to perform, she said, adding that food and art vendors and a marine education pavilion consisting of fishing, wildlife and marine-related groups will round out the event.

Participation exploded beyond her expectations, James told the FISH board of directors last week, explaining that the event will be one of a series along Florida’s west coast to raise funds in several communities to offset damage anticipated from the oil spill. The group still must obtain permits from the city.

For more information, contact Save the Gulf at 941-792-9525.

City prepares to tackle towers

BRADENTON BEACH – The city is about to put together a telecommunications ordinance and the planning and zoning board met last week to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength.

The work meeting almost did not happen, as there were only three board members present. At that time, there were only three people on the board and the bylaws said that there must be four board members present to make a quorum. Board member Bill Shearon refused to participate, even though chairman Rick Bisio assured him that they would not be voting on anything, just discussing the issue.

The city already hired the Center for Municipal Solutions to draft an ordinance that would protect the city’s rights to determine how and where a communications device, such as a cell phone tower, could be built and managed. The planning and zoning board used the Center’s model ordinance for discussion.

Some of the items discussed included whether the ordinance should contain language in the definitions part to address public safety, whether the county could put up a cell phone tower at Coquina Beach, which the county owns, without the city’s permission and whether the county could convert a tower that services government agencies into a commercial one without the city’s permission.

Board member Joanne Meilner recommended making sure all towers be built on land zoned for commercial use. Bisio agreed. They also wanted to make sure the ordinance addresses a fall zone where no structures would be allowed in areas where the tower might fall.

The planning and zoning board will meet later with the city commission and the consultant to work out further details.

Cortez launches free youth sailing program

An open house for a new youth maritime program is scheduled for Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at 4523 123rd St. Court W. in Cortez.

Funded by a bequest from the estate of Jay K. Turner, the Turner Maritime Challenge Program begins on Sept. 27 with after school classes from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday outings from three to fours hours.

Classes are free.

“By exploring our coastline and learning our maritime heritage, students will gain respect for themselves, for others, for that which we have created, for nature and for history,” according to Director Jaime Canfield.

The program will provide personal growth and self awareness by exposing students to conditions which will call upon and develop their inner strengths, self-reliance and interdependence with others, he said.

Each course will require that the students be challenged by some sort of activity. Confronted with adversity, students will more fully appreciate their surroundings, their associates and their lives, he said.

The introductory course, Seas the Day, will be offered to 7th and 8th graders, and will cover the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Boating Safety Course. Florida law requires that those under 21 must complete an approved boater safety course prior to operating a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or more.

Students also will be introduced to the diverse facilities of the FISH (Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage) Preserve and the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, including the workings of the boat shop, where they will learn to identify the tools, equipment, and materials used there. They will be taught to paddle a canoe and a kayak, row a rowboat, operate a powerboat and sail.

After successful completion of an exam, students will receive a Boater Safety Identification Card from FWC and a certificate of completion. The next course, Guardians of the Fleet, will focus on the hands-on building, restoration and maintenance of the museum’s fleet. They will learn to put to use the tools and materials taught in the first course.

While learning about local maritime traditions, including commercial fishing, students will be instructed in traditional seamanship and craftsmanship, including the proper handling, launching and hauling of a boat in all weather conditions.

An appreciation for the coastal ecosystems will be emphasized by opportunities to explore the waters surrounding Cortez.

For more information, call Canfield at 941-792-8200 or 941-704-7782 or e-mail

FISH creates ethics committee

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) has created an ethics/nomination committee consisting of Lisa Marie Allen, Mary Fulford Green, Debra Ibasfalean, Joe Kane and David Zaccagnino to oversee nominations and elections procedures for the not-for-profit organization.

Two board members, Caroline Doig and Zach Zacharias, resigned last week, citing irregularities in the 2010 election among their reasons, as did former FISH President Richard Culbreath when he resigned shortly after the election.

FISH administers the 95-acre FISH Preserve in Cortez with proceeds from the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival.

Comedy rules at Island Players

ANNA MARIA – The Island Players celebrate their 62nd season with five plays, four of them comedies, and a special collection of vignettes in November.

According to their website (, this season benefits from improved lighting and set design. Ticket prices remain at $15 per person and season tickets are $65.

For artsHOP weekend, there will be an evening of one-act plays served with gourmet pastries and coffee with two performances on Friday, Nov. 12, at 9 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 13, also at 8 p.m. Russ Carthey directs these “sweet, hilarious and poignant pieces.” Tickets are $15.

The season's first play, “Ladies of the Camellias,” by Lilli Groag, runs from Oct. 7 through 17. This comedy is set in Paris during the 1850s where a Russian terrorist tries to sabotage the plays that two star actresses, Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse, are rehearsing. Gareth Gibbs is the director.

The next play is “Last Train to Nibroc,” by Arlene Hutton, from Dec. 2 through 12. This comedy revolves around May, who shares a seat with Raleigh during a cross-country train headed east during World War II. During their trip, a misunderstanding threatens their unlikely courtship of three years. Kelly Wynn Woodland directs.

The third play, “Moonlight and Magnolias,” by Ron Hutchinson, runs from Jan. 20 through Feb. 6. In this comedy, three men locked in a room for five days with nothing to eat but bananas and peanut supposedly craft the screenplay to what is widely considered one of the finest films of all time. Phyllis Elfenbein is the director.

The fourth play, “Rabbit Hole,” by David Lindsay-Abaire, is a drama that runs from March 17 through April 3. This is a heartbreaking story of Becca and Howie, a couple trying to recover from the accidental death of their four-year-old son eight months earlier. Phyllis Elfenbein also directs this production.

The season finale is “Lend Me a Tenor,” by Ken Ludwig, which runs from May 12 to 22. Set in 1934, the plot revolves around renowned tenor Tito Merelli, know to his fans as “Il Stupendo,” who is scheduled to sing the lead in Otello. When he passed out from an accidental overdose of tranquilizers, things fall apart. James Thaggard is the director.

The ticket office, located at the theatre at 10009 Gulf Drive, on the corner of Gulf Drive and Spring Avenue, is open 10 days before opening night, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on performance nights one hour before the curtain opens at 8 p.m. or 2 p.m. for the Sunday matinees.

For information on current plays, call 778-5755 or log onto

Peace to prevail at AME

HOLMES BEACH – Eleven days after the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, students at Anna Maria Elementary School will be getting exposed to the notion that peace must prevail in our world.

Michelle Savchuk, the school’s new guidance counselor, said the celebration begins at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

“The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Peace Prints,’” she said. “It’s like footprints, which we leave wherever we go, and we hope that the kids will leave ‘Peace Prints.’”

There will be a ceremony with students presenting the more than 100 flags of countries from around the world to be placed near the school’s Peace Pole, which the school got with the help of the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island nine years ago, shortly after the 9-11 attacks.

“We will have sidewalk chalk art, as long as it doesn’t rain, with messages of peace,” Savchuk said. “They will trace their feet with the chalk.”

Art teacher Gary Wooten has been making murals with the classes, and some of them include footprints as well. There will also be a large flip flop.

Music teacher Krissy Kerber has written a song for the day, which students will sing. Some of the fourth-grade girls will read poetry and the fourth-grade boys will beat drums. The fifth-graders will present the flags.

The public is welcome to attend the ceremony.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper