The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 23 - March 9, 2011


Ex-Island resident charged with murder

Former Holmes Beach resident Dave Viens has been arrested and charged with murdering his wife in Los Angeles County.

The arrest follows two bizarre weeks in which police say Viens tried to kill himself by jumping off a cliff after he found out authorities were going to charge him. Investigators are still trying to find the wife's body.

On Thursday, March 3, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed one count of first-degree murder against Viens, 43, in connection with the disappearance of his wife, 39-year-old Dawn, who was last seen Oct. 18, 2009, in Lomita, where the pair owned and operated a restaurant.

According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reports, investigators tried to contact Viens in Rancho Palos Verdes on Feb. 23 to arrest him. They identified his vehicle and followed it to a lighthouse where they observed him arguing with a woman identified as his girlfriend, Kathy Galvin. They ordered Viens to stop and he released the woman, ran and jumped off a cliff.

He was taken to a local hospital where he suffered extensive injuries, including broken hips and legs and internal injuries. He then went into a coma.

Police went to Viens' restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Café in Lomita on March 1 and used heavy equipment to dig out the concrete foundation, which Viens had installed following his wife's disappearance. On that same day, investigators interviewed Veins, "during which time Mr. Veins implicated himself in his wife's disappearance and murder," according to a sheriff's office report. The next day, the sheriff's office concluded that the body of Dawn Viens was not buried beneath the restaurant.

At one time, Dave and Dawn Veins owned Beach City Market in Bradenton Beach. They closed the restaurant in 2004, after Dave was arrested for dealing marijuana. He reportedly turned in his drug supplier, served a light sentence and the couple moved to California, where they opened Thyme Contemporary Café. The couple also ran a popular cafe and deli in Anna Maria on Pine Avenue in the early 2000s. The site housed a convenience store, a gas station and a marina, as well. Viens also operated a catering service out of the same location.

Heritage Day Festival a winner
Carol Whitmore

Snowbird the clown puts a red nose on
Bill Yanger at Heritage Day on Saturday.
Children at the festival received balloon toys
from Snowbird.



While the overcast early morning was perfect for setting up booths, the sunshine that followed brought out a huge crowd to enjoy the AMI Historical Society's annual Heritage Day Festival Saturday.

Booths filled with artwork, jewelry, woodcarvings antiques and T-shirts filled the Island Historical Museum parking lot and the park. Vendors reported brisk sales throughout the day, and at times it was difficult to get through the crowd.

On the front porch of the museum, Albertine Veenstra demonstrated quilt making, while Susan Anderson sold tickets for the pier centennial quilt.

Early in the day, two wayward AMI Privateers were incarcerated the Old City Jail, accused of "looting and pillaging." Despite being kept under guard, they were confident that their fellow pirates would come to the rescue and declare them not guilty.

Anticipation was high throughout the morning as people anxiously awaited the rescue, and about noon, they heard the familiar sound of cannon fire as the Privateers arrived to free their colleagues and then hand out beads to the crowd.

Koko Ray delighted everyone with his solo act, and then performed with one of his students, 12-year-old Cortni Wash. Following Ray was State Road 64, always a crowd pleaser with toe tapping bluegrass that had people dancing.

Volunteers in the Historical Society's booth could barely keep up with the crowd's thirst for city pier mugs, T-shirts, caps, Early Settler's Bread and Carolyne Norwood's two Island history books.

While hungry visitors dined on a selection of goodies, Snowbird the clown made her way through the grounds putting red noses on people and making balloon dogs and swords for the kids and hats for the adults.

In the garden, basket weaver Brenda Kuluk and spinner Elizabeth Ribble demonstrated their arts, and members of the Eyeland Needlers sold tickets for of the Tour of Homes quilt. Judy and Ed Rupp sold tickets for spots on the Rotary's Wheel. Spots are $20 and the lucky winner will get $450 worth of restaurant gift certificates.

Historical Society volunteers did a brisk business in raffle tickets, offering baskets filled with goodies from Island businesses and items donated by vendors. The event concluded with the raffle and sent lots of ticket holders home happy.

City reviews cell tower rules

BRADENTON BEACH – The city commission and the planning and zoning commission have some decisions to make regarding a telecommunications ordinance so they decided to hear from the experts at a joint public meeting on Feb. 24.

Jackie Hicks and Rusty Monroe, from the Center for Municipal Solutions, fielded questions from the elected and appointed city officials. The Center was hired by the city to come up with an ordinance to regulate cell phone towers in the city.

Monroe said the city would be installing provisions regulating the towers and attached structures related to them in the city's building regulations.

Monroe said there are some alternatives to cell phone towers, including placing antennae on top of existing buildings and they they don't have to look like antennae.

"They could be disguised to look like boulders in some cases," he said. "They don't have to be at treetop height."

Monroe explained the city's rights to allow or reject a tower request and the carriers' rights to install a tower without city approval.

"There must be a need in order for a carriers to get to fill that need without city approval, for example, a gap in service." he said. "They cannot build a tower to allow one carrier to have an advantage over another."

He had a warning for the city.

"Companies will want to upgrade their equipment and in some cases, they will make gross misrepresentations," he said.

"Some will pull electrical permits to pull out wiring," Hicks said. "They will say it is for maintenance but they are upgrading."

The two then led the officials through their proposed telecommunications ordinance. City Attorney Ricinda Perry had already looked over the ordinance.

After making some changes, P&Z member Art DeHardt asked about a new system in the news lately that replaces the need for a tower by installing boxes on light poles.

"It's called light radio," Monroe said. "It takes base equipment and shrinks it down to the size of a RubiK's Cube."

Monroe said the system is called a Distributive Antenna System, and it is connected to one base station and it is expensive.

"It may not be feasible," Hicks said. "It might look just right for Bradenton Beach, but you would have to find the carrier willing to pay for it."

The two were challenged by Jim Eatrides, from Alpha Communications, who had approached the city earlier with a proposal for an antenna near the Bradenton Beach Marina that would resemble the mast of a sailboat. He said he had proposed a similar structure for the city of Anna Maria at the Community Center.

"The problem with the Island is they don't have the traffic to justify a DAS system," he said. "The (proposed Bradenton Beach) ordinance does a great job of prohibiting flagless poles, and it will prohibit getting service here."

The commissioners and board members gave consensus approval of the proposed ordinance.

Tour of Homes offers boutique and wine tasting

A selection of boutique items includes napkins and rings,
signs for the home, hand made jewelry, decorated flip
flops and note cards.


The Island Community Center's 18th Annual Anna Maria Island Tour of Homes is set for Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to touring six distinctive homes in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach, at the home of Jim and Bonnie McMillan in Holmes Beach, you will find the unique boutique offering original arts and crafts, and culinary delights.

Some items you can shop for include hand-made jewelry, napkins and rings, painted signs and other decorative items for the home, as well as a selection of tasty baked goods, jams and jellies. There also will be silent auction of painted furniture and wall hangings.

In the boutique, you can also view the beautiful handmade quilt, "Feeling Beachy," that will be raffled at 3 p.m. on the day of the tour. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six and are available at the Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

To add to the relaxing day, stop by the Waterfront restaurant to Toast the Tour with a wine and cheese tasting from 3 to 5 p.m. The donation is $10. The restaurant, located at 111 South Bay Blvd. in Anna Maria, offers picture perfect views of Tampa Bay in a quaint cottage setting.

Tickets for the tour are available for $20 at the following Island locations:

Anna Maria: AMI Sun, 9801 Gulf Drive; Ginny's & Jane E's, 9807 Gulf Dr.; The White Egret,10006 Gulf Dr.; Beach Bums, 427 Pine Ave.; and Egret's Nest,10010 Gulf Drive.

Holmes Beach: AMI Chamber of Commerce, 5313 Gulf Dr.; The Islander, 5404 Marina Dr.; LaPensee Plumbing, 401 Manatee Ave.; The Egret's Landing, 5602 Marina Dr.; and Island Fitness, 5317 Gulf Drive.

All proceeds benefit the Community Center, which serves more than 5,000 children, families and seniors in the community with programs and services that otherwise would not be available.

For more information call the Center at 778-1908, ext. 0.

Roadwork snarls bridge traffic

Motorists using the Anna Maria Island Bridge to get on or off the Island on Monday, March 7, might have gotten caught in a traffic jam caused by construction activity, but when the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) found out what was going on during high season, it acted quickly.

According to FDOT Information Specialist Cindy Clemmons, a crew of engineers was inspecting the bridge, which might have slowed traffic, but the main problem came when a city of Bradenton project went bad as workers were trying to install a pipe under the roadway. Apparently, the drilling mechanism came too close to the roadway on the east approach to the bridge and they had to fill in the hole and repave a section of the approach, limiting traffic to one lane.

Clemmons said the crew finished by the time she called them and told them to stop.

Artist's reception for Charles Townsend
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Charles Townsend with two of the pieces in the show,
"Low Sloping Mountain" at the left and "Fern Woods"
at the right.


The public is invited to an artist's reception for Charles Townsend at the Studio at Gulf and Pine on Friday, March 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. The exhibit includes recent oils, monotypes and pastels.

In this show, Townsend's contemporary landscapes explore light, color and atmosphere in scenes from Florida, Vermont and the Haute-Garonne region of France. The show contains 34 works of art.

The show will be in place through March 18 in the main gallery of the Studio, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Affaire to feature Lee Greenwood and his band
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Lee Greenwood sings "God Bless the U.S.A."
as Center Executive Director Pierrette
Kelly and Affaire Chair Trudy Moon
groove to the music.

ANNA MARIA – Electricity was in the air last year when country music star Lee Greenwood took the stage at the Affaire to Remember and rocked the room.

This year's Affaire could prove to be better as Greenwood has agreed to return and bring his band for a "Magic Moment with Lee Greenwood" on April 2 at the area's premier fundraiser at the Island Community Center.

Affaire Chair Trudy Moon said in addition, Greenwood would host a VIP cocktail party, which includes VIP seating and a private viewing of silent auction items from 5 to 6 p.m.

Greenwood performed at the recent celebration of the late President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday, but he is best known for his patriotic ballad, "God Bless the U.S.A," which has been voted the most recognizable patriotic song in America.

His awards include two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association, Top Male Vocal Performance in 1983 for "I.O.U" and the CMA Song of the Year honor in 1985 for "God Bless the USA." He is currently working on two albums.

The Affaire will be held in the grand ballroom of the Center at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Valet parking is available.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a champagne reception, hors d'oeuvres and the silent auction. Harry's Continental Kitchens will cater the dinner, which will be followed by Greenwood's performance and the live auction.

Center officials are seeking sponsors and donations for the live and silent auctions. Sponsorships include Bronze, $1,000; Silver, $2,500; Gold, $5,000; and Diamond, $10,000. This year, a VIP Magic Moment Table Sponsorship has been added. It is $2,000 and includes an eight top table and tickets to the VIP cocktail party.

Tickets for the Affaire and VIP cocktail party are $250 per person, while tickets for the Affaire are $175 per person. Tables of eight are available. For tickets or to donate or be a sponsor, call Sharen at 778-1908, ext. 9203, or e-mail

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