The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 5 - November 3, 2010


Island will miss Van Ostenbridge
Carol Whitmore

Van Ostenbridge

Flags at West Manatee Fire Rescue stations will fly at half-staff on Saturday, Nov. 6, in honor of John Van Ostenbridge, who died peacefully on Saturday, Oct. 30.

While the long-time Holmes Beach resident is mourned, many who knew him talk about a man who served as an assistant fire chief, a fire commissioner, a coach at the Community Center and the Rotary Club's 1972 Man of the Year.

“He was a wonderful, fantastic man who was so important to his community,” said West Manatee Fire Chief Andy Price. “He coached me in baseball and he was on the fire department when I joined. He was honest, fair and truly committed to helping others.”

Larry Tyler was first elected to the board of West Manatee Fire Rescue’s predecessor, the Anna Maria Fire District.

“He was a thorough person; very dedicated,” Tyler said. “He was very in tune to letting the public know what was going on.”

Price said that Van Ostenbridge always had his sense of humor, which children loved.

“When I was a kid, we would put on our uniforms and go around asking for donation from the community for our equipment,” Price said. “Everybody wanted to ride with ‘Mister V.’”

Holmes Beach City Commissioner and former fire commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens first worked with Van Ostenbridge when she was a banker on the Island and he ran a construction company.

“He and his brother, Aaron, would come in for construction loans,” she said. “They were always joking.”

Carolyne Norwood said that she and her late husband, George, knew John and his wife, Darryl, for more than 50 years.

“There were a lot of fun times with them,” she said. “Our children were the same age, so we were always together for things at the school and the community center.”

She said that Van Ostenbridge was a very wonderful man.

“He would do anything for you,” she said. “Whatever you needed, he would be there.”

She said that when Van Ostenbridge visited George in the hospital, he got everyone laughing so hard that the staff asked if they could keep it down.

In 1990, Van Ostenbridge was given an Island Chamber Community Service award. As a mentor, Price said, Van Ostenbridge was somebody everyone could look up to.

“He taught a lot of us how to live our lives,” Price said. “He would always look to do the right thing and when he needed to make a decision, it was always about that. Once he made up his mind, that was it.”

Price said that Van Ostenbridge was the reason he became a coach at the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

“I have done a lot of the things that he did,” Price said.

Price said that Van Ostenbridge’s passing is sad because we’re losing a good person.

“It’s people like him who made the Island the Island,” he said.

Aaarrgg!! Privateers turn 40

“Forty years of privateers” is their theme and like everything else they do, their 40th anniversary will be big.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers mark their anniversary next year with festivities during their normal events such as their Thieves’ Markets at Coquina Beach, their mullet smokes at Publix and their Independence Day and Christmas parades. In addition, they are planning a big pirate festival and an additional parade.

In the past 40 years, the Privateers have seen their numbers grow to include women (some wives) and Privateens. They have also raised a lot of money for children’s sports and scholarships. Their calendar of events for their anniversary totals more than 40. Here are some interesting facts about that rowdy band of pirates.

• The fourth of July and Christmas parades are the longest parades (seven miles long) in the state of Florida and possibly the United States.
• They were one entry shy in last year’s Fourth of July parade of being the same size as the DeSoto Heritage Parade that goes through Bradenton each year.
• Their parades are free to participants. Other pirate groups charge lots of money to enter their parades.
• Their parade ship, called Skullywag, is an old Blue Bird school bus and they will be rehabbing it for their celebration.

Tim “Hammer” Thompson is in charges of the 40th anniversary celebration and he has many levels of sponsorship for businesses or individuals who would like to be involved. There are also some specialty sponsorships such as doubloons and beads to throw at parades.

For more information, call Thompson at 941-780-1668.

Put an end to leaving dog waste behind

Waterways in Robinson Preserve were designed and created to connect to the Manatee River, Palma Sola Bay and Perico Bayou to increase tidal flushing and improve water quality.

But another great feature of the 487-acre preserve in northwest Bradenton – the fact that it’s dog-friendly – has caused some water quality problems due to fecal bacteria from dog waste.

A new program aimed at curbing dog waste will soon send AmbassaDogs and their owners out on the trails, armed with free doggie bag dispensers, a motto – “Clean Yards, Clean Waters and Clean Shoes!” and a scientific mission.

When the program begins this week, rangers will stop picking up dog waste in the preserve for three months, while AmbassaDog owners pass out bag dispensers to dog owners they meet who aren’t picking up after their pets.

With volunteers keeping track of the dispensers given away and rangers measuring the dog waste left on the trails, preserve staff will get a good idea whether the behavior modification technique is working, said Nanette O’Hara with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, which is working with Manatee County’s Natural Resources Department and Simply Green Solutions on the pilot project.

“Most preserves do not allow dogs,” she pointed out, adding that there’s always the possibility that if dog owners do not clean up after their pets, the preserve could prohibit dogs.

Besides being a threat to water quality, dog waste has twice the level of bacteria as human waste, and can cause hookworm, ringworm and salmonella if contacted by people.

Manatee County canines produce 13 tons of waste each day, with about five tons left on the ground daily by the 40 percent of owners who don’t pick up after their dogs, O’Hara said.

Why don’t those folks clean it up? They mistakenly think it just goes away, or it doesn’t matter if it’s in their own yards or somewhere people don’t walk, she said, adding that it eventually finds it way to the water supply.

Sometimes owners don’t see it if their dog is unleashed, which is against the law; the preserve requires dogs to be on a leash no longer than 8 feet.

It’s also against the law to not clean up after your pet, including cats.

The best way to dispose of pet waste is to flush it down the toilet, but not in the bag, she said. Turn the bag inside out over the toilet, flush, then turn the bag right side out again, knot it and toss it in the trash. If no toilet is available, the next best choice is a trash can.

The preserve provides both, as well as bag dispensers at the entrances in case you forget to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags).

But if you don’t grab a bag there, don’t be surprised if a friendly AmbassaDog team offers you a supply.

It’s one way to put an end to leaving dog waste behind.

PAR site plan hearing continued

ANNA MARIA – A site plan hearing that was set for Oct. 28 for a Pine Avenue Restoration project at 308 Pine Avenue has been continued until Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. The plan, which is for two mixed-use buildings in the city’s residential/office/retail district, was turned down earlier this year over safety concerns. The city has been wrestling without resolution over how to regulate the parking in the ROR district. Historically, parking has been allowed on Pine Avenue, and several recent sites have parking on the business property, but traffic crosses sidewalks entering and exiting from the parking areas. There are concerns that pedestrians and bicyclists could be injured. The original site plan for 308 Pine showed parking spaces that crossed the sidewalk. The revised plans show parking on-site. The location of the sidewalks is not shown. PAR developers have stipulated that they would agree to place the sidewalk wherever and whenever the city decides where they want it to be. PAR also offered to post a bond to pay for the sidewalk when the time comes to install it.

No reason was given for the request to continue the hearing until Nov. 17.

Lawsuit filed in drowning death

ANNA MARIA – The family of a Tampa woman who was caught in a rip current last August and drowned put the city on notice that a lawsuit is planned.

Attorneys from Tampa law firm Wagner, Vaughn & McLaughlin sent a letter to the city stating that they represent Alberto J. Pardo whose wife Josefina Pardo drowned off the city beaches on Aug. 12, 2010.

The letter stated that the Pardos were unaware of the dangers of the north end of Anna Maria, and Josefina Pardo was “swept to her death.”

“The public beach area awhere Mr. Pardo was injured and where his wife met her death are well known to the city to be frequently unsafe due to high currents and undertow,” the letter said. “I am sure the city is well aware of the danger to the public these rip currents present.”

The fact that the city still allows swimming in this area leads the public to believe that this is a safe, designated swimming area, the letter states.

The letter states that the city should consider itself on notice that it is being sued.

City Clerk Alice Baird said she was in receipt of the letter, and she’s forwarded it on to the Florida League of Cities, with whom the city is insured against legal claims. Baird said she hasn’t heard back from the League as yet.

New logo for City of Anna Maria
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Mayor Fran Barford unveiled a new city logo at the Oct. 28 city commission meeting. The new logo was designed by Mike Thrasher to give the logo a more dynamic identity. Thrasher has designed numerous corporate logos. He said he was “careful not to completely change the current design, but to evolve its familiar palm tree into a harder working emblem that has authority.” The new logo will appear first on the city trucks followed by plaques at city hall, as well as on city stationary. Thrasher also designed a city flag that shows the cross on the Florida flag in mango instead of red. The flags as well as stickers and vanity plates will be available to the public.

Historic buildings going green
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Workers are stripping the old Sears and Rosedale
cottages down to the bare studs. They’ll retain
their original exteriors while using the most
efficient energy technology. The interiors will
ultimately hold pictures and mementos
of the original structures.

ANNA MARIA — Usually, when a building project is taking shape, it rises out of the ground. That’s not the case with the Historic Green Village taking shape on Pine Avenue. There we’re seeing one of the first two buildings lowered to the ground and the second being gutted in place.

The Sears Cottage, which was moved earlier this year from further west on Pine, has been lowered into its permanent position. Both the Rosedale Cottage and the Sears Cottage are being gutted and stripped to the bare studs.

For project watchers, the Sears Cottage is the green-colored building, which was built sometime between 1911 and 1915, and Rosedale Cottage is yellow at present. It was constructed sometime around 1913.

Anna Maria Historic Green Village is located in the 500 block of Pine Avenue, which is in the city’s retail/office/residential district.

The four-lot, 8,000 square-foot property is the project of U.K. entrepreneurs Mike and Lizzie Thrasher, who fell in love with Anna Maria during a vacation in 2005.

“We’re going to replace everything,” said Mike Thrasher. “We’re going to make them look as close as possible to the way they were originally.”

At the same time, the Historic Green Village is going to be using every bit of energy-efficient technology possible.

“The ultimate goal is to go for a platinum level LEED rating, if possible,” said Dan Gagne, the contractor for the Village. “That’s the highest rating you can get.”

LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The Sears and Rosedale Cottages will be getting new roofs with solar panels, new floors, energy-efficient windows, energy-efficient insulation and new flooring.

“There’ll be a large deck surrounding the two buildings,” Thrasher said. “Under there will be a geo-thermal device for the air conditioning.”

That geo-thermal device replaces the compressor that a traditional air conditioning system would use.

“That way you take advantage of the cooler temperatures underground and you don’t use the chemicals that an ordinary system uses,” Gagne added.

When both cottages were first built, they used cisterns to collect and store rainwater for irrigation and other uses of water.

The old cistern from the Sears Cottage was moved right down the street along with the building.

“We’re going to use that as an exhibit to show how things were done in those days,” Thrasher said.

A new, more efficient cistern will collect rainwater from the roofs of both buildings and store it under the deck to use for irrigating the landscaping.

The Thrashers have been working closely with the local residents, especially with the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and the Historic Preservation Society to make sure that they create a project that the people of the Island want.

The two historic buildings will be the first completed structures in the Historic Green Village. Others are planned for the future. Thrasher said he expects the Sears and Rosedale cottages to be operational by spring of 2011.

ArtsHOP has art, cultural events for everyone
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Get a Gallery Walk map at any participating
gallery on Friday evening.

The annual artsHOP weekend Friday through Sunday, Nov. 12 through 14, ushers in the Island cultural season and provides a wide variety of events and activities for the entire family to enjoy.

The weekend begins with a gallery walk, silent auction and play on Friday, continues with an arts and crafts festival, a book signing, the silent auction, a sock hop and the play on Saturday and concludes with the arts and crafts festival, a chorus and orchestra concert and a drum circle on Sunday.

Friday gallery walk

The gallery walk takes place on Friday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 9 p.m. Participating galleries include The Studio at Gulf and Pine, Ginny & Jane E's at the Old IGA and Three Monkeys, all in Anna Maria; Beach Style Recycled, Artists Guild Gallery, The Anna Maria Island Art League, Emerson Quillin, Tide and Moon Jewelry, Island Tattoo and Island Gallery West, all in Holmes Beach; and Back Alley in Bradenton Beach.

Each gallery will offer complimentary refreshments and some will offer live music, art demonstrations and prizes. Other galleries, businesses and studios in all three cities will be open for visitors.

Pick up a passport at any participating gallery for “Come for the art, stay for dinner.” Visitors who get their passport stamped at six or more of the eight artsHOP galleries will receive a coupon worth 20 percent off dinner at the Sandbar, BeachHouse or Mar Vista restaurants.

Turning in your stamped passport at the AMI Art League or The Studio at Gulf and Pine by 8:45 p.m. on Friday will make you eligible for a drawing for an arts supply basket valued at $150 courtesy of Keeton's Art Supply, of Bradenton.

Friday special events

The Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, will host the silent auction of Calling All Turtles, an exhibit of turtle themed art. Stop by and make a bid.

The Artists Guild Gallery, 5414 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, will host an opening reception for jeweler Amy Culbert and watercolorist Nancy Hossbach. Culbert will demonstrate her polymer clay jewelry process while State Road 64 plays bluegrass.

The Anna Maria Island Art League, 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, will host and opening reception for its Island Gems exhibit featuring Island treasures, a display of turtle-themed floor cloths and demonstrations of wire sculpture and floor cloth painting. Myakka will provide music.

The Island Gallery West, 5368 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, will host an exhibit of Joe Fletcher’s photographs. Sam M. Wade will play blues piano.

The Ted Steven Band will play at the Back Alley, 121Bridge St., Bradenton Beach.

At the Island Playhouse, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, six actors will present vignettes, sketches and monologues of comedic and poignant moments beginning at 8 p.m. Enjoy gourmet pastries and coffee during intermission. Tickets are $15, and seating is general admission. Call 778-5755 for tickets.

Saturday events

Saturday kicks off with an arts and crafts festival to benefit the AMI Butterfly Garden in the Holmes Beach field, 5801 Marina Drive, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy food and music while browsing for holiday gifts.

At the Island Historical Museum, 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, Carolyne Norwood will be on hand to sign copies of her second volume of Island history, “Anna Maria Island 1940 to 1970, A Tale of Three Cities from Bean Point to Brige Street,” from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.

The silent auction of turtle-themed art will continue at The Studio at Gulf and Pine from 1 to 4:30 p.m., when bidding will be closed. State Road 64 will play bluegrass music on the patio.

Come in costume and rock and roll to the music of the 50s and 60s at the Jailhouse Rock Sock Hop at the Old City Jail at the Island Historical Museum complex from 5 to 7 p.m. There will be limbo, twist and bubble gum blowing contests with prizes, and Jailhouse dogs and drinks will be available for a small fee.

Six actors will present vignettes, sketches and monologues at the Island Playhouse beginning at 8 p.m.

Sunday events

The arts and crafts festival to benefit the AMI Butterfly Garden continues in the Holmes Beach field from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Anna Maria Island Concert Orchestra and Chorus will present a concert featuring show tune selections from Rogers and Hammerstein and Irving Berlin, violinist Daniel Andal will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and the Rizzo sister will perform “Sisters” by Irving Berlin at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for open seating. Call 778-8585 for tickets.

Come join the drum circle at the Manatee County Public Beach near the concession stand from 5:30 p.m. to sunset. Scott Blum will direct.

The weekend is sponsored by Cultural Connections, representing nine Island arts and cultural groups. For further information on the weekend events, go to

German TV films the Sharkman of Cortez

At right, Goldschmitt, Captain Kim Ibasfalean and
German writer and producer Ulf Marquardt film near Cortez.

Local legendary shark fisherman Captain Bill Goldschmitt, also known as the Sharkman of Cortez, is now getting global attention for his take on shark preservation and the commercial fishing industry.

Goldschmitt describes himself as a conservationist who believes in sustainable use of the resources of this planet, like sharks, and his opinions and viewpoints on these topics are different than those of many environmentalists and scientists.

Ulf Marquardt, a German film producer from the popular ZDF German Television, a national TV network, visited the Sharkman of Cortez on a recent Saturday to film a marine science documentary. The documentary will feature studies done by shark expert Dr. Erich Ritter, who has a P.H.D from Zurich University in behavioral ecology, and is the only professional applied shark-human interaction specialist. Ritter supports the idea of preservation and protection of sharks due to their decrease in numbers. The film crew also was looking to include someone outside the scientific community to tell a different side, and someone who could provide the documentation to support his own theories.

They found the Sharkman of Cortez, who tells a different tale. It is a tale of how the bans on commercial fishing and the protection of sharks have led to, in his opinion, not a decrease, but an over population of the oceans apex predator and the demise of the commercial fishing industry and small Florida fishing villages like Cortez.

Goldschmitt has 40 years of documentation and experience with sharks. He first got into shark fishing in the late 60s because it was a way to make a living that was exciting and thrilling.

“Once a commercial fisherman always a commercial fisherman,” Goldschmitt said. “The scientists’ and the environmentalists’ theories and claims are manipulated to fit or create their beliefs. In 40 years of catching sharks, they have never been over-fished and they always replenish year after year with documented proof.”

The filming interview began at the captain’s home museum room, which is filled with 40 years of pictures, artifacts and shark documentation. One of the many questions Goldschmitt was asked by the film producer was, “What are your feelings on shark ecotourism?”

“I am opposed to shark tourism,” he said. “This is a business about money, which is made by feeding sharks in the wild. Sharks come to the boat before they even chum because they are getting used to it. They have to bait and feed the sharks to get them close to the boat, adding to less fear of humans and more dangerous encounters. The charter fishing guides lose half of their catch before they reel it into the boat due to sharks.”

The film crew then ventured out with Captain Kim Ibasfaelan and Goldschmitt aboard Captain Kim’s Charters. The voyage started with a water view of what’s left of the once thriving commercial fishing village of Cortez. Captain Kim then took the film crew on a tour around Anna Maria Island and Longboat Pass to film particular landmarks included in the memoir book, “The Sharkman of Cortez,” written by Goldschmitt and his wife, Marisa Mangani. They got out and walked around Beer Can Island filming and interviewing the two captains.

Twenty or more years ago, Beer Can was a true island, and in the moring, Captain Bill would anchor his boat on shore with his shark catch after a night of shark fishing. He would bring in large 6- to 14-foot sharks nightly using long lines, which were legal at that time. Long lines are now banned by Florida Fish and Game laws and the large sharks are protected as well.

After getting out of the boat, they continued filming at the historic Anna Maria City Pier and at the BayFest festival, where they met many people and shot more clips of fishing off the pier. The film crew took an entire day’s worth of footage. They finished their day of filming at the place the Sharkman got his name – Bean Point in Anna Maria. Captain Bill provided plenty of passionate shark storytelling and the crew seemed happy with the day’s results. To see more of his side of this shark tale, go to and watch a trailer of a different documentary film titled “The Shark Con,” inspired by Goldschmitt.

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