The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 52 - September 29, 2010



Harry Stoltzfus

Construction on the first 48 units in the Perico Island development should begin within 30 days, according to Mike Belmont, executive vice president for Minto Communities.

Minto is a subsidiary of the Canadian Minto Group, which purchased the development from St. Joe last fall. Belmont said the company is currently continuing with construction of the infrastructure, both existing and new, and will begin construction of a sales and information center in two or three weeks.

“We plan to open the center Nov. 1 and will launch six floor plans,” Belmont continued. “They will be from 1,600 to 2,500 square feet and a few can add optional features. They will be priced in the low to mid $300,000 range, and we plan to begin sales by early 2011.”

The majority will be two-story, three-unit buildings with the option for a viewing room on a third floor.

All will have a view of the man-made lake or the mangrove preserve. “The theme is a Southern, coastal resort feel,” Belmont explained. “We will build an entry feature – a guard house with a viewing tower and people can cross the lake on a wooden bridge and there will be a gathering area with a recreation center and a pool.”

Originally, the project called for construction of 13 buildings, of varying heights, including some high-rise structures.

However, Belmont said the way the company proceeds with the numbers and heights of the rest of the project's buildings and units will “depend on market demand.”

The company also owns the property that once housed the Perico Harbor Marina, which St. Joe purchased in 2004 and tore down in 2008. The approved plan for the marina includes a wet slip marina, shops, restaurants and offices on the 16.52-acre site.

“We plan to build the 119-slip marina that was approved, but not at this time,” Belmont said. “We will be doing more clearing in that area in the near future.”

Coastal Cleanup Oct. 2

Join the International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. Adopt-A-Highway, Road and Shore groups should cleanups on their adopted sites. Others can check in at the following centers:

• Anna Maria City Hall at 10005 Gulf Drive,
• Holmes Beach at Kingfish Boat Ramp on S.R. 64 W.,
• Leffis Key,
• Coquina Beach Gulfside by the concession stand on Gulf Drive,
• F.I.S.H. Preserve at 11601 Cortez Road W.

For information call Ingrid McClellan, executive director of Keep Manatee Beautiful, at 941-795-8272 or cell 941-713-1763 or go to

Hunzeker wants new trolleys

Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker feels the
advertisers who spend big money to keep the Island trolleys
free are not getting their money's worth because of constant
breakdowns, and he wants the county to approve purchasing
new, more dependable vehicles.

Almost everybody loves the trolleys that ply up and down the Island offering free rides, but it appears the popular vehicles are not returning the love.

ManateeCounty Administrator Ed Hunzeker told members of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce recently that the two types of trolleys that the county owns are not up to the long hours, salt air and hundreds of thousands of miles that they travel each year. He said the downtime incurred by each trolley every year, on average, is 43 percent, and the Island businesses that paid good money for ads on the sides of the vehicles are not getting their money’s worth. He was scheduled to give a presentation to the Manatee County Board of Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Possible refunds

Hunzeker said he would ask the commissioners to recommend the county give the money collected so far back to the Chamber, which agreed to collect the ad revenue after an operating grant expired. The ad revenue would then be refunded to the advertisers.

He is also expected to ask the commission to approve the purchase of new, more durable trolleys, which could be ready in about a year. At that time, the ads would be put on the new vehicles and the Chamber would again start collecting revenue for them. Meanwhile, the county would have to eat the deficit and the loss of advertising revenue. Hunzeker said that until the new trolleys come in, the county would try to keep the old ones running with the ads still on their exteriors and interiors.

“There was some talk of taking them off the streets and replacing them with buses until high season, when they would run again,” he said. “There was also talk of parking the old trolleys at strategic spots on the Island with the ads showing, but I’m afraid there might be problems with liability and possible vandalism to the trolleys.”

As for the cost of putting the new ads on the new trolleys, a cost that the advertisers initially bore, Hunzeker said the contract with the new franchisees at the Manatee County Beach café brought in extra income that could be applied to that expense.

Color scheme

Hunzeker added that he would likely recommend keeping the two-tone green color scheme for the trolleys and he would recommend not purchasing open-air vehicles because they cost extra and apparently bring more problems with their removable side windows.

MCAT originally purchased five trolleys in March 2002 with money from a federal grant. There were problems with engine noise and corrosion and their exhausts were modified to make them run more quietly. In 2006, the county purchased four more trolleys from a different manufacturer that were quieter, but had a lot of mechanical problems from the start.

One reason for the mechanical problems is the amount of use they get. According to Hunzeker, the trolleys each rack up more miles and hours than regular busses due to the nature of the route, which has a lot of stop and go traffic. The trolley route runs 365 days a year as compared to the rest of the Manatee Area Transit routes, which don’t run on Sundays or most holidays.

David Teitelbaum, who operates three resorts on the Island, is the person who came up with the idea of having advertising on the trolleys to defer the budget deficit that was eminent when a state-funded operating grant expired. Without the ad revenue, the county would have started charging for riding the ornate vehicles. Teitelbaum said he was well aware of the problem.

“The bottom line is the current trolleys are not sturdy enough,” he said, “It was almost three months before I could see my ads on the side of a trolley.”

Whitmore draws donors

When it comes to fundraising, Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore has the power to bring in some serious money.

In her first reporting period, she showed a total of $67,885 contributions to date, with $26,285 coming in during the reporting period from April 1 to July 16.

Those came from a wide range of people from housewives to charter captains to medical professionals, 144 in all, who contributed amounts from $50 to $500

Her biggest expense was the $4,485 qualifying fee. Other expenses for that reporting period ranged from $21 to $3,00 for things such as catering, consulting and campaign flyers.

During the second reporting period from July 17 to 30, she brought in $600 from two contributors and spent nothing.

The third reporting period brought in another infusion of cash – $6,650 – from 17 contributors, and showed expenses of $4,700.

The fourth reporting period showed two contributions totaling $3,000 and expenses of $2,982.

Her overall total in contributions was $78,135 and expenses was $49,553.

Whitmore’s challenger Sundae Lynn Knight showed a total of $2,257 in contributions to date, with $1,305 coming in during the reporting period from April 1 to July 16.

Contributions came from professionals to retirees in amounts of $25 to $250. Her expenses ranged from $2 to $113 for items such as Paypal transactions to printing.

In the second reporting period, she took in nothing and spent nothing, and in the third period, she took in $100 and spent $29.97. In the fourth period, he took in $400 and spent $562, the bulk for signs.

As of Sept. 10, Knight’s overall total for contributions was $2,757 and for expenses was $1,577.

Suspect arrested in local burglaries


An extensive investigation and mobile surveillance by Holmes Beach Police has yielded an arrest and confession rn several burglaries on Anna Ma of Holmes Beach, was arrested, and after being read his Miranda rights, confessed to the burglaries. He also took Det. Mike Leonard to the locations of the break-ins on the north end of Holmes Beach and in Key Royale.

The first burglary occurred Aug. 30 at 695 Key Royale Drive. He allegedly stole a laptop computer, according to the city’s probable cause affidavit. The second burglary occurred at 607 North Pointe Drive on Sept. 10. He reportedly stole a laptop computer, which he later threw away, and jewelry, which he sold to a gold melting store in DeSoto Square Mall. The third break-in occurred on Sept. 16 at 532 68th St., where he allegedly stole jewelry, which he also sold to the gold melting store.

Quartermain was taken into custody and delivered to the Manatee County jail. He is being charged with three counts of burglary. Additional charges are possible, and subsequent charges are pending from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Bradenton Police Department.

He was released on $15,000 bond. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Would you like dressing with that?
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The green grapes turn purple when they ripen.

They’re dropping all around us this time of year, those purple grapes that grow on trees with leaves so thick and flat that tourists once mailed them back north as souvenir postcards.

Like coconut palms, grapefruit, or any fruit-bearing tree, sea grapes pose a maintenance issue when they ripen.

But there’s a better way to deal with them than chopping them down, especially since Florida law protects sea grapes as nature’s beach erosion control devices and as essential barriers between sea turtles and the lights that can kill them.

The answer?

If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em.

Or, for you Flying Nun fans, drink ‘em - Sister Bertrille found out that sea grape juice will turn into wine, but that complex recipe is best left to vinters.

Here are two simpler recipes to make use of the grapes before they all fall down.

A helpful hint: don’t harvest sea grapes until they’re purple - they’re tart even when they’re ripe!

Sea Grape Vinaigrette

1/2 c. pitted sea grapes
1 c. flavored vinegar (try fig or raspberry)
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. raw sugar
Dash of sea salt
Dash of fresh ground pepper

Wash grapes, remove pits and combine with other ingredients in blender; refrigerate. Coast Lines serving suggestion - drizzle on a spinach salad with walnuts.

Sea Grape Jelly

1 qt. sea grape juice
5 Tbs. lemon or lime juice
1 package powdered pectin
5 c. sugar

Wash grapes and boil about 30 minutes; mash until grapes are reduced to a soft pulp. Separate juice by draining through cheesecloth. Add lemon or lime juice and pectin and bring to a boil. Add sugar and return to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam. Pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Cap the jars and boil for five minutes.

PAR site plan pulled from agenda

ANNA MARIA — The city commission won’t be voting for the site plan for a Pine Avenue Restoration property until at least October’s regular meeting.

Micheal Coleman, PAR’s managing partner, pulled consideration of the site plan for 308 Pine Avenue from the Sept. 22 agenda.

Coleman told commissioners that Lynn Townsend Burnett was ill and would be unable to present the plan that evening.

It had been anticipated that Gene Aubry, who was sworn into office last week after replacing recalled City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus, would be hearing his first PAR project from the other side of the dais.

Aubry has done some work as an architect for the developer, though he’s never been on the payroll. He’s worked on a fee-for-service basis.

Aubry said previously that he wouldn’t vote on any PAR projects until he had asked City Attorney Jim Dye whether or not it would be ethical for him to vote any issues PAR brings before the commission, or whether he should recuse himself from any such votes.

Aubry vowed to ask his question of Dye at an open meeting, but since the issue was pulled from the agenda, Aubry has not yet asked the question of the city attorney.

Projects along the Pine Avenue corridor have brought contention throughout the city.

Most recently, the PAR projects at 308 and 216 Pine were voted down by the commission by 3-2 with former Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus and City Commissioners Dale Woodland and John Quam also voting no, despite the fact that both the city attorney and the city planner advised commissioners that the site plans met all current city codes and complied with the city’s comprehensive plan.

It was anticipated that Aubry might swing the vote, if he cast a ballot.

With Stoltzfus out, and if Aubry can’t vote, and if Woodland and Quam hold firm, the commission would likely vote a 2-2 tie.

In that instance, project approval would fail. There has to be a majority vote of the commission for an issue to move forward.

Kids wave ribbons for peace
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Students marched with flags from countries all over the
world. Later, all of the students waved their "peace ribbons"
to the beat of the drummers who performed.

HOLMES BEACH – The future of our nation is in our youngsters and on Wednesday, Sept. 22, those youngsters’ eyes were fixed on symbols, flags and performances in the name of world peace.

They spoke of “peace prints” that we leave like footprints in the sand, and they asked questions like, “What does peace feel like?”

The peace ceremony was held in front of Anna Maria Elementary School as it has been for eight years. It all began when Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island President Jim Dunne got together with then-guidance counselor Cindi Harrison to figure out what the club could do to support the educational experience at the school.

The terrorist attacks of 2001 were still fresh in everybody’s mind and Dunne learned about the International Children’s Day of Peace and about the Peace Pole, which symbolizes the worldwide search for peaceful solutions to humanity’s problems. He arranged for the club to purchase the pole, and the first ceremony was held in front of the old school.

Since then, the students have celebrated peace with songs, poetry, symbols and positive thoughts and last week was no exception. The only big change was the absence of Harrison, who took a position with a private company this year. Meanwhile, her replacement, Michelle Savchuk, got things off to a good start by reading “Peace Prints,” a poem about leaving your footprints with peace.

After that, fourth-graders read from an essay entitled, “What Does Peace Feel Like?” It also described what peace looks like and sounds like.

Student Olivia Glavan modeled her first-place T-shirt design and those shirts are on sale at the school for $10.

Student drummers helped create a beat for the students who waved peace ribbons in the summer air. In closing, Savchuk read a quote by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the subject, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Wanted: Homes for 19 rescued cats
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

PHOTO/GEORGE BARFORD Gargar, pictured upside down,
landed right side up when Anna Maria resident George Barford
adopted him and took him home from the Island Animal Clinic.

HOLMES BEACH — If you happened to be a cat, probably the best place for you to have been would be an abandoned house slated for demolition in an Island Animal Clinic vet tech’s neighborhood in St. Petersburg.

Oceanna Beard has worked for Dr. Bystrom for nine-and-a-half years. She grew up on the Island, attended Anna Maria Elementary School, King Middle and then Manatee High.

Oceanna and her twin sister, Alamanda, have been rescuing animals since they were toddlers, according to their mother, Laura, who was a longtime Island Library employee.

So it was natural that when Oceanna and her sister Star, who is also a twin to brother Sky, wanted to do something when they noticed a feral cat colony in an abandoned building in their St. Petersburg neighborhood.

The house was slated for demolition.

“Those kittens were really sick, and I was worried that if I took them to one of the rescues, they would just be put down,” Beard said.

All told there turned out to be 19 cats, mostly kittens, in the house. The kittens range in age from a few months to a little less than a year.

“We got the mama, but we still can’t catch the Tom,” Beard said.

As the animals gradually become healthy, some of them spend the day lolling in a large crate in the waiting room.

George Barford and his wife, Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford, are animal lovers. Their ailing, elderly cat Kalua, had to be taken in to the Clinic regularly to get her fluids replaced.

“There was this big cage in the waiting room,” Barford said. “I started to play with an orange kitten that was in there every time I came. I started getting attached.”

The Barfords ultimately decided to bring the orange kitten, tentatively named Apollo, home to see how he got along with their other animals.

“At first he just stayed upstairs and didn’t come down at all,” Barford said. “But if I picked him up, he’d sit on my lap and purr and purr.”

Over the weekend, Apollo became Gasgar when Barford’s granddaughter was allowed to choose a name.

“I don’t know where that came from or what it means,” Barford said. “It’s a name from a child’s mind. But that’s the name.”

There was some concern that the once-feral cat would have trouble adapting to a household. Feral cats are unaccustomed to people, and they are often fearful and unable to adjust to life as pets.

“But if you just have a little patience, you can usually get them to be really great pets,” Beard said.

She has other kittens and a few cats still looking for good homes. The charge to adopt is $35 to help defray some of the costs of caring for the cats.

“I don’t want Dr. Bystrom to be out anything,” she said. “After all, this is a vet practice, not a cat rescue.”

Beard begged him to let her bring the cats to him for spaying and neutering and for treatment of eye infections, parasites and several other ailments.

“Dr. Bystrom was great about it, but please don’t drop off any cats here,” Beard said. “We aren’t a rescue organization. If you find a cat that needs a home, you need to place it with one of the rescues.”

Locally, there are many organizations that care for stray cats. Gulf Coast Animal League, Cat Depot, Bishop Animal Shelter, the Humane Society and Manatee County Animal Control are just a few. You can find others on the Internet.

If you are interested in adopting one of Beard’s rescues, please call Island Animal Clinic at 778-2445. And in Anna Maria, Barford has found himself a

new cat and Gasgar has found himself a home, which is not something anyone would have predicted for a feral cat born in an abandoned house in St. Petersburg.

Sometimes things just work out.

Kids, car buffs find lots to like at Bayfest

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Clockwise from above, choose a T-shirt
design from the three finalists submitted by
Olga Martinez, Joe Bird or Michael Thrasher
and e-mail your selection to by Sept. 30.

ANNA MARIA – When Bayfest rolls around on Oct. 15 and 16, it’s time to bring the family out for a fun day on Pine Avenue.

That means all the family – including kids who might not have found much to do at other festivals and men who don’t find much fun in shopping for arts and crafts. Bayfest, celebrating its 10th anniversary, has it covered.

Guys, how about 100 custom, antique and high-performance cars and trucks from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.? Bill Mergens has again gathered together some of the sweetest rides on Florida’s west coast. In fact, he had no problem filling his quota of 100, thanks to the popularity of Bayfest. Like last year, there are some new car models that pretty much qualify as instant classics, thanks to the trend toward nostalgia that began when Ford Motor Company redesigned its Mustang five years ago to more closely resemble the vehicles from the late 1960s and ‘70s. Now there are Dodge Challengers and Chevrolet’s Camaro on the road with the looks and the power to surpass those pony cars from the good old days.

As for the kids, you’ll likely have a hard time tearing them away from the children’s section in the Roser Memorial Community Church parking lot across the street from the church. Island Dojo Kevin Bergquist has again organized an array of entertain for kids of all ages.

This year they will have horseback rides, a 40-foot inflatable obstacle course, a large inflatable slide, a bounce house, dunk tank, magician, stilt walker, a balloon animal specialist, games for kids, a bubble machine and a special appearance by Chuck E Cheese.

Bergquist now has four schools in Manatee County and has been involved in getting at-risk and abused children involved with martial arts and to help out those kids, he is charging for the rides. Tickets sell for $1 each, and it might cost more than one ticket for a ride, so your best bet is to pay $25 for a hand stamp that will allow kids to ride all the rides for as many times as they want. Those who get a hand stamp will also get free horseback rides. Proceeds from the children’s section will go toward those atrisk and abused kids.

There will be a ceremony at Bayfest for local students who are earning a black belt and martial arts demonstration. Several grand masters will be present to watch both. Brazilian acrobats will give shows at 3 and 5 p.m.

The VFW will present the flag in the morning, and there will be face painting for the kids all day long.

For more information, call Bergquist at 807-1734 or log onto

Don’t forget the vote for your favorite Bayfest T-shirt design. See the photos for your choices.

Bayfest runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16.

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