The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 16 - January 19, 2011



Harry Stoltzfus
Runners take off from the starting line in this
year's Dolphin Dash.

View Race Results | View Photos

HOLMES BEACH – Two hundred and fifty three runners of all ages registered for the fifth annual Anna Maria Elementary School Dolphin Dash Saturday morning, a significantly higher turnout than last year's 175 as this once-small event continues to grow in popularity.

"We had 212 pre-registrations this year with 70 of them at Holy Cow Ice Cream Friday night," Dolphin Dash organizer Becky Walter said. "It was the best weather we could have and the kids in the runners club made their 1,000 miles – it was the best race ever."

The runners club, which Walter formed to get students at the school into running, practices on Wednesday mornings and it was the goal of the kids to run 1,000 miles collectively. In addition to students, parents, and members of the Bradenton Runners Club, teachers Becky Demo and Lauren Waite and coach Eric Boso ran. The Dolphin Dash consists of 5K and one-mile races. The runners compete for position in the 5K race while the one-mile runners all get medals when they finish.

Kristen Zarrella (22:38) and Jonathan Huffy (17:13) posted the best times overall in the men's and women's divisions in the 5K race. Dominique Kohlenberpcr and Erik Jones were first in the Master's category, Lynda Botzenhard and Jim Christenson were first in the Grand Masters, Arlene Zarazb and Tom Conlin were first in the Senior Grand Masters group and Gerry Repple was first in the Veteran Grand Masters grouping. Ellen Jones, who is writing stories in The Sun about taking up running, came in first in the women's 55 to 59 age group.

Twins Tori and Anni Walter, daughters of organizer Becky Walter, came in first and second in the girl's nine and under age group while Ryan and Tyler Katchen came in first and second in the boy's nine and under group. In the 80 and over class, Walter White was the sole participant and he, of course, took the gold with a time of 38.03, which was not the slowest mark.

Walter thanked the door prize sponsors: the Chiles Group offering $25 certificates, On a Shoestring for merchandise, the Bradenton Runners Club for merchandise and Jodene Moneuse for jewelry.

Full results are posted at, and more pictures and results are also posted at

Some of the student runners came from as far as Lakewood Ranch and Walter was impressed, but she said she also wants the AME students to keep running Wednesdays before school and during the summer.

Parking on Pine: One sticking point left

ANNA MARIA — City commissioners are down to a choice between two very similar parking plans for Pine Avenue with only one point of contention left.

That is whether or not to cede public right of way to developers who have agreed to put public sidewalks on their property.

At their Jan. 13 work session, it all came down to those two choices.

Only Commissioner Dale Woodland was still opposed to compromise or to any scenario other than one that had parking lots on private property and curb cuts and driveways leading to those parking lots.

Woodland read a letter from a resident that was sent to the city after the election of City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus in 2009, citing the election of Stoltzfus as grounds to deny any off-site parking. Stoltzfus has since been recalled from office.

Woodland called Pine Avenue a "major thoroughfare" and said it had to be treated as such with all parking off the street. Commission Chair Chuck Webb advised Woodland that he was mistaken in calling Pine Avenue a major thoroughfare.

"U.S. 41, or 301 or Manatee Avenue or Cortez. Those are thoroughfares," Webb said. "Pine Avenue is not by any stretch of the imagination a major street, and it doesn't need all those curb cuts and driveways. They would make it more dangerous, actually."

Both plans would move the sidewalks up close to the buildings so that cars don't have to cross the sidewalks when entering and exiting parking places.

That sidewalk crossing has been a major point of contention, and it's been cited as potential safety hazard for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In one version of the plan, since the five-foot wide public sidewalk would be moved onto private property, the city would cede an equivalent width of right of way next to the street to the property owner.

This plan was the one favored by Webb and Commissioners Gene Aubry and Jo Ann Mattick.

The other version under consideration is called the parking and pedestrian plan. It's basically the same with the exception that the right of way would not be ceded to the adjacent property owner. Instead, the city would retain control and possession of the right of way.

Commissioner John Quam favors this plan, stating that he's opposed to giving away any right of way.

Larry Albert, a resident who was formerly opposed to any parking that wasn't on the developer's property with driveways in and out of parking lots, has changed his way of thinking, as have several other residents who were against both plans.

Albert said he thinks the parking impasse, which has been embroiled in controversy for the past year, needs to be met with compromise.

"I can see that we won't get everything we want," he said. "We need to compromise. I can see that this should work and even be good for the city, but I'm absolutely against giving away our right of way."

It was ceding that right of way that was the impetus behind a petition last year that attempted to force the city commission to bring the whole matter to referendum.

That petition was deemed legally insufficient to force the referendum, but the drafters of that petition are still opposed to giving away any land.

Commissioners instructed City Planner Alan Garrett to smooth out the wording on the plans and bring it back to them for further discussion.

Before parking ordinance is adopted, there will have to be a first and second reading as well as at least one public hearing.

Local real estate ends year strong

The real estate market on Anna Maria Island produced a strong upturn in sales in 2010, according to Island Real Estate agent Alan Galletto, who publishes sales results from the Multiple Listing Service of Manatee County in his monthly newsletter.

Galletto called 2009 the year of stabilization and 2010 the year of the market poised to turn up and predicts 2011 will be the year of a modest increase in prices.

As reported earlier, Galletto recorded a 29 percent increase in sales in December 2010 over December 2009. Overall, sales on the Island were up 35 percent for all of 2010 over 2009's 234. He said that the 317 Island sales in 2010 were at their highest rate since 2005, the peak year before the recession, with sales of 478.

Of the 317 homes and lots sold I 2010, 91, or 28 percent were classified as distressed, bank-owned or short sales, compared with 43 units, or 18 percent of the total in 2009. Galletto said that there are currently 36 distressed properties for sale, about six percent of the Island inventory, which remains in the low 500s.

Galletto's newsletter said that the Island's second-home sales are in line with those nationally, which have experienced a large increase. He said the question now is whether the momentum would last.

County commends Privateers

Bayfest band Bootleg
The Anna Maria Island Privateers pose with Manatee county
commissioners prior to receiving a proclamation for
their 40th anniversary.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers invaded the Manatee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 11, and received a proclamation of support for their 40th anniversary from the commissioners, without having to take hostages.

Former Bradenton Beach Mayor and County Commissioner John Chappie read the proclamation after former Holmes Beach and County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, whose father had been a Privateer, introduced them.

"Watch it, some people might not know how to take you," she teased after a few of the pirates let out with "arrrghs."

The Privateers thanked the commissioners as they left the meeting room, returning to the Island where they have been ransacking Island residents and visitors for years in order to provide local college students with scholarships. The Privateers are celebrating their 40th anniversary with special events during the year in addition to their thieves' markets during season, the Snooks Adams Kids' Day, and their Fourth of July and Christmas parades.

Nobody knows where the band of pirates might go next, but you can count on the Privateers to continue to help out kids, all in the name of fun.

Cortez festival: 'You Are Here'

CORTEZ – The 29th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will be moving its famous smoked mullet, folk music and nautical art just down the road to the east end of the historic fishing village the weekend of Feb. 19 and 20.

The Florida Maritime Museum, a restored schoolhouse at Cortez Road and 119th Street West, will welcome visitors to the two-day event, which will extend down 119th Street all the way to Sarasota Bay, known to Cortezians as the kitchen for its abundance of seafood.

A souvenir T-shirt commemorates the change of venue with a map of the village and the festival's 2011 theme, "You Are Here." New signs by local artist Susan Curry will direct people to displays and events, which include music, dancing and maritime talks. The main stage will be in the parking lot that serves Cortez Bait and Seafood, the Cortez Kitchen and the Bayside Banquet Hall, with another stage on the porch of the historic Burton store on the museum grounds.

Festival goers can expect shorter walks from the FISH Preserve parking area – which is accessible from Cortez Road – to festival entrances on 119th Street, and more elbow room than in years past, according to festival organizers.

Remote parking with shuttle bus transportation will be available in the Cortez Commons parking lot at the corner of Cortez Road and 59th Street West in Bradenton and at Coquina Beach Bayside on Anna Maria Island. Shuttle buses cost $1 each way.

At previous festivals, people have had to walk the length of the village from the main parking area to the festival grounds, and residents have been blocked in as people parked along 45th Street in driveways and lawns.

The first festival drew 500 people to Cortez, one of the last remaining working fishing villages in Florida. About 20,000 people now attend the event each year.

The festival's $2 admission charge (kids under 12 are free) raises funds to enlarge and restore the 95-acre FISH (Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage) Preserve on Sarasota Bay east of the museum.

For more information, visit

Pier centennial plans taking shape
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

From left, Steve Stott and Gary Thorpe,
of the Anna Maria Public Works Department,
hang the centennial celebration banners.

ANNA MARIA — Plans for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Anna Maria’s city pier are taking final shape.

A committee charged with organizing the event met last week and went over a list of activities planned for the two-day festivities.

“Everything’s pretty much set for the parade,” Terry Gritzmacher from the Anna Maria Privateers told committee members. “We’re still working to get an honor guard.”

The Privateers will hold a parade as the kick-off to the celebration, which is scheduled for the weekend of May 13 and 14.

There will be an opportunity for kids who want to decorate their bikes to ride in the parade, which will begin at Crosspointe Fellowship, march down Gulf Drive, turn east on Pine Avenue and go to the city pier.

Anyone interested can call City Pier Centennial Committee Chair Sissy Quinn at 778-5120.

Ed Chiles and Caryn Hodge reported that they have enough food and art vendors to request that all of Pine Avenue be closed to traffic for their Arts and Wind on Pine.

Chiles is offering a fine food and fine arts festival that he plans to hold annually as a fund-raiser for non-profits.

The idea is to have something on Anna Maria Island that’s as popular as the St. Jude’s event on Longboat Key, which raises a substantial amount each year.

Food, wine and beer vendors are being invited to participate in the event. There will also be music groups invited to set up operations along the street.

Jane Coleman and Tina Fusaro are working to coordinate the artists who will participate in the daytime festival on the 14th.

Banners advertising the event were hung from light poles in the city last week.

“We were really lucky with those, because Brian Lamb of Signs Now on Cortez recently bought that company,” Quinn said. “He agreed to honor the price the former owner of the company gave us even though it cost more to produce the banners than he charged us.”

Pier centennial T-shirts are on sale now at J&J Graphics and the Anna Maria Island Historical Society now. A limited edition pendant celebrating the pier’s 100th annversary is on sale at the Historical Society and at Ginny’s and Jane E.’s.

The entire event will culminate with a fireworks display on Saturday night and a picnic at Bayfront Park with the Privateers.

Island hazardous waste, E-scrap collection

Manatee County Utilities Department and the four island cities are holding a household hazardous waste and E-scrap collection on Saturday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coquina Beach Gulfside parking lot.

HHW materials include solvents, latex or oil-based paint, garden pesticides, waste oil, gasoline (in approved container), ammunition /flares, propane tanks, florescent and compact florescent bulbs, batteries (non-alkaline) and household chemicals

E-scrap is consumer electronic equipment that is no longer wanted. It includes battery chargers, CD players/recorders, cell phones, CPUs, circuit boards, copiers, digital cameras, DVD players/recorders, fax machines, hair dryers, irons, keyboards, microwaves, monitors, personal audio systems, printers, radios, scanners, small computer peripherals (mouse, cable, game hardware, etc), televisions, terminals and VCRs

Small businesses that generate a small amount of hazardous waste or E-scrap may bring it to the collection site and pay a contractor on site for disposal. No radioactive (smoke detectors) or bio-hazardous material (needles) will be accepted.

Call 941-798-6761 for information or special accommodations for the physically disabled.

City ponders cell tower

The city of Anna Maria would like to have a cell tower within its borders.

City Commissioner Gene Aubry said he's frustrated with the cellular phone service he gets — or doesn't get — in Anna Maria.

"I think it's a question of safety," an obviously frustrated Aubry told his fellow commissioners at their Jan. 13 meeting. "What if I'm on the north end of the Island fishing with my grandchild and I have a heart attack or he starts to drown? We can't call 911 and get help."

Other commissioners weighed in.

"I can't tell you how many complaints I get from residents who say the same thing," Commissioner John Quam said. "And I always see people talking on their cell phones out in the middle of the street, because that's the only place they can get service."

Several years ago, the city paid personal communication device consultant Ted Kreines more than $20,000 to design an ordinance for the city.

The ensuing ordinance allows construction of a cell tower on city property and at several other locations around the city, including at Galati Marine.

The ordinance mandates that the fall zone be big enough to protect any houses if the tower should happen to fall in high winds.

Resident Margaret Jenkins said she attended most of the meetings as the cell ordinance was developed.

"Mostly there were people concerned about getting too much radiation," she said.

After discussion and then comment from the audience, the commission asked the mayor to approach several cellular service providers to see if something can be worked out.

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