The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 10 - December 8, 2010


ANNA MARIA to showcase Holiday Open House

ANNA MARIA – The business district becomes a tropical holiday open house on Friday, Dec. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m., and everyone is invited for fun, food and gifts.

Most of the businesses will be open to meet and greet visitors, just like Christmases of yore. Each one will be working to make this the best holiday celebration ever. Look for snacks, refreshments and music as you walk down the street like they did in the old days. The only thing missing will be the snow, but if you catch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on television, you’ll be able to see snow from the safety of your home.

When you stop at your first participating business, be sure to get a card. As you progress, get seven more marks and drop it in the box at The Sun Newspaper or the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. Your card will be entered in a drawing for a basket filled with dozens of items, coupons and gift certificates from Anna Maria businesses.

Merchants in the city will have the opportunity to participate in a holiday window decoration contest as well. Visitors will be able to name their favorite display on the raffle card, and the results will be tallied. The winning business will receive a gift basket at The Sun newspaper. Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy in its package for Toys for Tots to drop off at The Sun.

The Historical Society will host the Roser Church Chorus plus singers from the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra will perform from 6 to 7 p.m. The Sign of the Mermaid will supply refreshments for those listening.

At the Island Sun Plaza, Santa will park his sleigh and talk to kids of all ages, with snow courtesy of Mark Kimball construction. The Sun newspaper, the Loft 5/AJ’s Island Network, Fran Maxon Real Estate and Three Island Monkeys will have music, food and refreshments. Dips Ice Cream will be providing holiday ice cream for Santa’s visitors and Rotten Ralph’s will have complimentary wine, also in the Sun Plaza.

Other participating businesses include: J & J Graphics, which will be serving hot-spiced tea, the Sign of the Mermaid will be donating refreshments for the Historical Society, Feeling Swell has Cuban bites and mac and cheese. Rudy’s will serve finger subs, Christmas cookies and beverages, and An Island Place Realty/Coastal Cottages will serve refreshments.

Anna Maria City Hall will be open for refreshments and to meet with city staffers. The White Egret, Pine Avenue General Store and AMI Accommodations will have refreshments. The Olive Outpost will offer holiday cheer and entertainment and the Island Cabana will serve hot buttered rum. Bella by the Sea will serve refreshments, and Duncan Real Estate will have refreshments and Christmas beads.

Beach Bums, Sato Real Estate and Chapae will serve refreshments. Two Scoops will offer a free cup of hot chocolate and Two Sides of Nature will have holiday cookies and treats.

Whether you come for the raffles, refreshments, food or chance to meet Santa, make sure you get here and bring your good cheer.

Coyote battle shaping up

CORTEZ – Cortez residents concerned about coyotes attacking their pets are invited to a workshop on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez.

Residents should bring information about how many coyotes they have seen in the area, and when and where they were spotted, Cortez resident and workshop moderator Linda Molto said, adding that those who have lost pets are encouraged to wear photos of their pets or name tags with their pet’s names.

Speakers will include Lisa Hickey, a naturalist instructor with the Manatee County Department of Agriculture and Resource Conservation, and representatives from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Manatee County Department of Public Safety.

Hazing techniques to scare coyotes will be discussed, such as yelling and waving your arms, blowing whistles or air horns or rattling soda cans filled with pennies, banging pots and pans, throwing sticks, small rocks and balls, spraying water hoses or using water guns or spray bottles filled with vinegar water.

To keep pets safe from coyotes, the FWC recommends keeping and feeding them indoors, putting trash out in the morning instead of at night and carrying a stick, noisemaker, golf club or pepper spray when walking a dog on a leash, particularly around sunrise or sunset and near water.

For more information on the event, call 722-4524.

To report coyote problems, call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Privateers' parade Saturday

The Anna Maria Island Privateers will host their annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 11, starting at 10 a.m. at Bayfront Park in Anna Maria and ending at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach where Santa will be available for kids to visit.

Riding in Skullywag, the Privateers will be tossing bead necklaces and trinkets and shooting their cannons while the parade’s guest of honor, Santa, follows in his sleigh. Once the procession reaches Coquina Beach, Santa will take his place on the Skullywag, along with his pirate assistants, and pass out gifts to the children. Refreshments will also be available. Everyone is welcome to participate. All activities are free of charge; donations are always welcome.

Applications from the public to participate in the parade are being accepted through Dec. 10. There is no entry fee. Information and applications are available through the website at or contact Greg "Wig" Luzier at 941-752-5973 or 941-725-0184.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers host this parade along with many other events including the Fourth of July Parade and Snooks Adams' Kids Day, just to mention a few. The Privateers, celebrating their 40th anniversary, are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for scholarships and helping kids while adding to the Island lifestyle.

Top off your celebration with boat parade

BRADENTON BEACH – Bridge Street becomes a holiday playground on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 3 to 7 p.m. as the Bridge Street Merchants, Whitney Bank and The Anna Maria Island Sun present Christmas on Bridge Street.

The shops will be open offering snacks, refreshments and the sights, smells and sounds of the season and perhaps special holiday prices on unique, decorative items for the home or under the tree.

Also on tap, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there to talk with the kids (and the young at heart) and you’re invited to bring a non-perishable food item or canned food to donate to the Roser Food Bank and an unwrapped, toy in its original packaging for Toys for Tots. For every five food items you donate, you will get a Bridge Street wooden nickel, which many of the Bridge Street merchants honor as currency.

The kids will be acting as merchants as well. You might find a bargain on a one-of-a-kind item at the children’s gift bazaar.

The merchants are gathering items for the gift baskets and wreaths to be raffled, so make sure you get tickets. Music will be provided by DJ Tom Barrons, the Island Rockers and area school singing groups.

Starting at dusk, everyone will gather along Bay Drive by the Bridge Tender Inn or on the Historic Bridge Street Pier to observe the participants in the Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade that begins at Mar Vista on Longboat Key and travels to the Seafood Shack. Check out the labor and creativity that these captains and their crews put into the event.

Come on out to Bridge Street and see how good the holidays can be when you’re on Anna Maria Island.

Bethlehem Walk re-enacts Christmas

ANNA MARIA – The night Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary spent a lot of time seeking refuge in Bethlehem.

For many years, Roser Memorial Community Church’s annual Bethlehem Walk has given people an opportunity to re-enact this holiest of nights. This year’s walk on Saturday, Dec. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m., is no exception.

The people playing Mary and Joseph, Linda and Larry Scott, will gather at the church with animals of the period – goats, llamas and others – to begin the ceremonial walk around the block, stopping at participating homes to ask the owners if there is room for them to spend the night.

Anyone who wants to join them is invited to walk along, singing carols between stops in either street clothes or biblical costume. Costumes are available at the church on a first-come, first-served basis. Pastor Gary Batey will relate the story of Christmas as they walk.

After the last stop, the group will head for the church where Madison Roberts will play Jesus in the manger. Rev. Batey will conclude the Christmas story and everyone will be invited in for cookies, hot chocolate and fellowship.

Last year, the group surprised some tourists dining at the Waterfront and they likely related what they saw to friends and family back home, telling them how quaint it was.

This year, be part of the quaint ritual that makes the real story of Christmas come alive in the city of Anna Maria.

City victimized by con artist

ANNA MARIA – With all the political turmoil it went through recently, the city now has an identity problem. Quite simply, a bad-check artist has stolen it.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating seven bogus checks worth a total of $7,021.13 written and cashed on the city of Anna Maria’s checking account.

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, city Finance Director Diane Percycoe and City Clerk Alice Baird first found the problem. They are the only people empowered to sign and endorse checks for the city, and they must both do so to all checks that go out or come in.

According to Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Turner, it appears the culprits obtained information from Municode, a company in Tallahassee that makes formal changes in city codes and ordinances, after the city sent the company checks to pay for those changes. Turner said the necessary check information could have been obtained through a variety of methods, both internally and externally. He said the account numbers were probably obtained in Tallahassee.

The checks were made out to three individuals, and Turner said he does not know if they were cashed outright or deposited into bank accounts. He said the three individuals may or may not exist.

Turner said Percycoe contacted him saying she had found discrepancies in checks the city wrote to vendors. He said she determined that the bogus checks were not made out to vendors or employees of the city. Turner said both women were very upset regarding the incident.

For now, the city staff will keep an eye on the checking account and hope the party or parties responsible will be caught.

Soldier’s mom appeals for holiday cheer

HOLMES BEACH – A soldier who was adopted by Mrs. Joan Sackett’s Anna Maria Elementary School class last year when he was serving his country in Iraq never forgot the generosity of those children. Todd White visited Sackett’s class in March of last year after he got back to the United States to tell the children about his war duty.

White is now back in the Middle East, stationed in Afghanistan, and his mother, Cindy Hayworth, visited the school last Thursday to show Karen Newhall’s class of second-graders the pictures of her son overseas and to make an appeal.

In a letter to parents of Mrs. Newhall’s class, Hayworth wrote, “Todd is pretty comfortable, but he often visits soldiers who are in more remote areas and have few comforts. If you would like to send an item for Todd and his soldier friends, we will include it in his next box and take care of the postage.”

The letter suggests gathering beef jerky, wipes, gum, Tootsie Pops and dried fruit like banana chips, cranberries and trail mix. She also suggested the kids write him a letter.

Hayworth showed where her son is stationed by pointing on a map. He’s in the southern part of Afghanistan, near Pakistan.

“It’ a very dangerous place to be,” she told the students.

Hayworth showed pictures of a typical Afghan home, which resembles a fortress with covered rooms along with uncovered courtyard areas surround by tall, windowless walls. She talked about the clothes the people there wear and how they eat: the men at one table and the women at another. For sports, they like soccer and kite fighting, where they try to cut the string of competitors’ kites. She also spoke about the way females are treated compared to the males.

“Before the United States came, they were short of classrooms so the girls weren’t allowed to attend school,” she said. “The U.S. has been helping build more schools in Afghanistan, so now the girls get to get an education, too.”

Before handing out small packages for the students, Hayworth said something that showed how much her son at war is always on her mind.

“He’s 6,957 miles from home,” she said. “I hope you will think of Todd and send him a message.”

Green building award for PAR

ANNA MARIA — The Pine Avenue Restoration building at 401/403 Pine Avenue achieved platinum status, the highest certification possible from The Florida Green Building Coalition.

FGBC certification requires a minimum score of 100 points. PAR’s properties at 315 Pine exceeded this by more than 50 percent, scoring 165 points.

Efforts to achieve even more emergency efficiency at 401/403 Pine Avenue, the resulting score was a 68-point increase, yielding a score of 233 points, well above the platinum status threshold of 191 points.

The platinum status certification was for the residential portion of the structures.

Executive partner Ed Chiles said the group is proud of the platinum certification.

“The nexus of this project was a desire to save our small business district and do it in a way that reflects the unique character of Anna Maria,” Chiles said in a press release. “That’s why we did two-story structures instead of three and developed them using historic designs and native landscaping and materials.”

Chiles added that PAR is pleased with the quality of the small businesses and shops that the group has attracted and with the support from the community.

“The FGBC’s certification of our efforts is really icing on the cake,” he said. “We are proud to have completed the greenest building ever built in our city.”

FGBC is a nonprofit 5019(C)3 Florida corporation dedicated to improving the build environment. The organization’s mission is “to lead and promote sustainability with environmental, economic and social benefits through regional education and certification processes.

The organization also provides guidance and certifications for commercial and governmental buildings.

Points are awarded for energy efficiency, water conservation and the handling of wastewater, landscaping and stormwater management, healthy indoor and outdoor environment and the use of green materials.

No other residential spaces on the Island are certified through FGBC.

No commercial structures on the Island have been certified. Only three structures statewide have achieved certification.

Winterfest this weekend
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Tony Krysinsky, of Pensacola, created nautical scenes
out of painted wood for a previous Winterfest.

Art, music and food are on tap at the 23rd Annual Winterfest Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Saturday and Sunday Dec. 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Holmes Beach City Hall field.

Art lovers will enjoy paintings, glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, fiber arts, photography, wood and more from 100 local, regional and national artists.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Koko Ray and the Hurricanes and the Anna Maria String Band.

Restaurants will offer local favorites ranging from smoked mullet and fried green tomatoes to barbeque and fish tacos.

Kids will enjoy an art activity area, and the Young at Art children’s exhibit will showcase artwork by Manatee County elementary, middle and high school students. Winners will receive prizes from Keeton’s Office and Art Supply.

A raffle of artwork donated by festival artists will benefit the Anna Maria Island Art League’s scholarship program. Winterfest and Springfest are the primary sources of funding for the Art League and its community programs.

Admission and parking are free.

For more information and for artist applications for future shows, visit or call 778-2099.

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