The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 47 - September 7, 2011


Five qualify in H.B.

HOLMES BEACH – Three city commission incumbents and two former candidates qualified by Friday's deadline to run for three commission seats up for election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Pat Morton is seeking his fifth term, Al Robinson, his second, and David Zaccagnino, his fourth. Jean Peelen ran unsuccessfully for a seat in 2010, and Andy Sheridan ran in 2009.

Morton, a Holmes Beach resident with his wife, Gailene, since 1994, works at CrossPointe Fellowship as campus administrator.

He served as city liaison for the Anna Maria Community Center, Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce and Keep Manatee Beautiful from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2009, he served as city liaison for Waste Management, the Island Emergency Operations Center, the Manatee Emergency Operation Center and the Communities for a Lifetime program. He currently serves as city liaison for Waste Management and the city's public works department regarding emergency operations.

Robinson, who formerly owned a West Virginia coal mine and D. Coy Ducks in Holmes Beach, works in real estate and investments.

He is the city liaison for buildings and grounds, the Holmes Beach Police Department, Communities for a Lifetime (Department of Elder Affairs), the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and the Manatee County Council of Governments.

Zaccagnino, who holds B.S. and M.B.A. degrees in chemical science from Florida State University, works with Ameriprise Financial. He previously worked at Morgan Stanley and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

He has served as the city liaison for the Police Pension Board, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, Anna Maria Elementary School and the Island Community Center Board. He currently serves as city liaison to the Police Pension Board and the Parks and Beautification Committee, where he previously served as committee chair.

Peelen works as a consultant, writer, model, actress, workshop leader and personal coach. She was a finalist on the "Survivor" television show and is co-author of two books, "Invisible No More: The Secret Lives of Women Over 50," and "Saving the Best for Last: Creating Our Lives After 50."

She previously worked as a civil rights lawyer for the federal government and as chief of staff of the International Broadcasting Bureau and was a keynote speaker at many national conferences.

Andy Sheridan is a member of the Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board and serves as vice president of the Key Royale Resident Owners Association.

He has previously worked as an auto sales and limo company manager, a pool technician and for Publix.

The commission consists of five at-large members, each elected for a two-year term.

Voters must register by Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 5 p.m. to vote in the election.

For information on how to register, or to request an absentee ballot before the deadline of Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m., call 941-741-3823 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

9/11 events set for Island

Sunday, Sept. 11, marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. There will be several observations on the Island at Bridge Street, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and Coquina Beach.

Island Time Bar & Grill and Bridge Street Bistro will be honoring the men and women who serve our community and our country with a $10 all-you-can-eat buffet lunch from 2 to 5 p.m. along with drink specials, live music, family entertainment and raffles for a massage package, scooter rental, water sports and a grand prize vacation getaway. Police, fire and emergency personnel who show a valid ID will get the lunch buffet, beer and house cocktails free of charge.

Proceeds from the event will go to Manatee Emergency Services Memorial Fund. For more information, call Renee at 941-782-1122.

Motorcycle ride

Officials of the Fifth Annual Manatee County 9/11 Remembrance Ride are taking applications for motorcyclists who want to participate on Sunday, Sept. 11. Riders are asked to wear their patriotic colors and display flags on their bikes.

Free registration starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office parking lot, 600 301 Blvd, W., across from DeSoto Mall and ends at 11 a.m. A signed waiver/registration form is required.

State Sen. Mike Bennett and Gulf War vet and District 67 State Representative Greg Steube and U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan, will be guest speakers from 11 a.m. to noon. The fully escorted ride leaves from the Sheriff's Office parking lot at noon and will travel to Coquina Beach for a short memorial ceremony for those lost at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

The Sheriff's Office will provide an escort, Manatee County Parks and Recreation provides use of the park and the city of Bradenton Beach granted permission for the ride, which will close Cortez Road and Gulf Drive from Cortez Road to Coquina Beach from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

Live music

There will be live music by Knight Fall during the line up prior to the 11 a.m. ceremony, the Vietnam Brotherhood will present the colors and honor guard. Java Dawg double-decker coffee bus will be on site for morning refreshments. The Sheriff's Office has requested that no alcoholic beverages be on site and no sales of alcohol will take place during this ride. Port-o-let facilities will be provided on site, thanks to Bob Cat Potties.

Organizers will be selling water to raise money to pay for this free event again this year. The water has again been donated by Walgreens of Bradenton, which will also have a free photo shoot during the lineup, and riders will be able to pick up the free photos at any Walgreen's store in Bradenton.

The After Party will be at Banana Bob's Tiki Hut, 2303 First St. E., (US 41), two miles from the start location, with live music by the Greg Billings Band and Knight Fall.

For additional information, log onto: or e-mail [email protected] on the subject line write: 911 ride.

Ex-mayor fought to save marine life

When Roy McChesney married Dorothy Quinn, he said it changed his life for the good. The same could be said for the city of Anna Maria, Roser Church, local shellfish and local theater troupes she graced.

Dorothy Quinn McChesney, originally from Dayton, Ohio, died Thursday, Sept. 1. She and Roy moved to Parrish 15 years ago, after she lost her bid for a second term as mayor in 1996. She was an Anna Maria city commissioner from 1993 through 1994 and mayor from 1995 through 1996.

As mayor, she attacked what was becoming a cottage industry where people in boats picked starfish and sand dollars out of the Gulf and bay and sold them to souvenir shops. She was also appalled at tourists who would take large numbers of those shellfish out of the water and let them die and, quite often, leave them on the beach. She finally got the state to approve limits for taking shellfish from local waters.

"I remember driving her to Tallahassee to address the governor and cabinet," Roy McChesney said.

Her other campaign was to bring renourishment to the beaches in Anna Maria, but there was a lot of opposition to it, which led to Dorothy losing her re-election bid.

"That was very painful to her," said Roy. "After that, she wasn't as enthused about things."

Her first husband died of heart disease at age 45, shortly after Roy and she met.

"We met during a play for the Lighthouse for the Blind," Roy said. "I played her boyfriend."

Shortly after that, her first husband died.

"She came back to Dayton and we got together again," he said. "She asked me out and we started seeing each other, but we didn't consider it courting."

They were married later and, according to Roy, were about as in love with each other when she died as any couple could be.

Dorothy became an actress while living in Cleveland and when she moved to Anna Maria Island, she became active in local theater.

"She founded the Chapel Players, at Roser Memorial Community Church," he said. "I counted 22 plays she was in and she directed many more."

Roy said a conservative element at the church shut down the players' operation, but it had its supporters.

"Kids loved it," he said. "We had summer classes for kids which always ended with them putting on a play."

Since moving to The Gardens Mobile Home Park in Parrish, Roy became director of the homeowners association there, but he said their time living on the Island was always special.

"We treasured our 10 years on the Island," he said. "It was very unique."

Suspect's bond reduced

Bond has been reduced from $500,000 to $15,000 for the woman accused of defrauding the Key Royale Club of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith dropped the bond for Holly Connelly last week despite objections from the prosecutor in the case.

At the hearing, Connelly's mother, Cynthia Lawson, testified that she could make a $10,000 bail for her daughter, but not a half million dollars. She showed the judge her paycheck stub and said she has her daughter's driver's license and passport and volunteered to pay for an electronic monitoring device. She pointed out that Connelly turned herself in when the State Attorney's Office approved a warrant for her arrest and provided the court with a list of people who had worked with her and a list of non-profits she had worked with.

"I feel she is no risk of flight," she added.

Prosecutor Christopher Nigro objected to reducing her bond, saying the amount of money she is accused of defrauding the private country club was significant and deserves a large bail amount.

In addition to her mother, a friend of Connelly's volunteered to let her stay with her.

In the end, Smith lowered the bail with stipulations:

• She must wear an electronic monitor at her own expense;

• She must be confined to Manatee County;

• She must turn over her passport to the court before her release;

• Bond money must come from a source unrelated to the defendant since nobody has produced any of the money missing from the Key Royale Club;

• She must observe a curfew of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

City commission gives Tortuga its pergola

BRADENTON BEACH – The recommendations of the planning and zoning (P&Z) board are just that – recommendations. The city commission made its own decision last week on a triple request by Tortuga Inn and gave it more than the P&Z recommended.

Before the public hearing on the Tortuga Inn Owner's Association's requests for a special exception application for accessory uses, Mayor Bob Bartelt said he had met with commissioners Gay Breuler and Jan Vosburgh to discuss procedural issues.

"There has been a lot of contention on this request and in order to err on the side of safety and to prevent a lawsuit, I wanted all aspects to be aired," the mayor said. "In the meeting, I told them I would probably ask for a continuation."

City Attorney Ricinda Perry said that in her opinion, there was no violation of the Sunshine Law.

The request for a special exception included plans to build a small café to serve food to customers of the Tortuga, Trade Winds and Seaside Resorts, all owned and managed by David Teitelbaum. The café would not be open to anyone else. They also requested permission to build a gift shop for those same customers, but not for the general public. The third request caused the most objection by neighbors of the resort – a chickee hut on the beach across the street, which turned into a roofless pergola when it was discovered a hut was not allowable.

The land on which the pergola would be built is zoned conservation for its use and most of the protests in the hearing centered on allowing parties, weddings, receptions and other gatherings on the beach there.

Attorney Louis Najmy, representing residents of Bermuda Bay condos, said the structure would become a flying missile in a storm, would attract noise on the beach after hours and possibly illegal activity. He said his clients were also against the café and gift shop.

Leydi Garcia-Nunez said she was told they could not be friends with the Tortuga management because of their opposition to the project and that they would no be allowed to enter the beach at an access owned by Tortuga. Teitelbaum, when he spoke later, said that would not be the case.

Elliot Francione, head of the Manatee County Visitors Bureau, said that the plans would make Tortuga a full-service resort that would expand the choices for tourists to the county's top attraction.

P&Z board member JoAnn Meilner said the pergola would become a missile in a storm, but most of all, it would set a bad precedent.

"It's all about developing preservation," she added.

Tortuga manager Katie Demek said they are used to dealing with partiers.

"We call police on our guests, if we have to," she said.

Perry suggested they continue the meeting to give more time for commissioners to consider all aspects of the requests, but commissioners went forward after deciding to consider the gift shop and café separately from the pergola request.

Building Official Steve Gilbert said the requested uses were all allowable and the pergola was not likely to become a flying missile.

"The pergola must meet Florida hurricane requirements to withstand 130 mile per hour winds," he said. "The wind stress on an open structure is much less than a closed one."

Teitelbaum testified that they were trying to expand their business responsibly and would not take issue with the neighbors who oppose it.

After hearing all the testimony, the commissioners were urged to consider each request separately and to set forth some stipulations:

•Hours of operation for the café and gift shop would be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.;

• They would not solicit the gift shop and café to non-customers;

• All environmental impacts on dunes, vegetation and bollards would be addressed in a plan for administrative approval for a letter of no objection from the city;

• No utilities would be allowed to service the pergola;

• The property will remain at all times in compliance with turtle lighting requirements, state, federal and local laws;

• Maximum occupation of the pergola area would be 75;

• No use of Sterno to keep food warm in the pergola area.

A final stipulation that the special exceptions run with the owner, not the land, was eliminated because it conflicts with city code.

City commissioners voted unanimously to approve the special exceptions.

Spahn offers Infield to Historical Society
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Infield, one of the city's "baseball houses," is a
29- by 24-foot, cinder block structure at 203 Cypress Avenue.

ANNA MARIA – Greg Spahn, the son of baseball legend Warren Spahn, has offered Infield, one of the remaining "baseball houses" in Anna Maria to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society.

Members of the Historical Society recently toured the small cinder block home at 203 Cypress Street to discuss possibilities for its use and a new location for the home, which must be moved so Spahn can sell the lot.

The home has five small rooms including a kitchen, living/dining room, bathroom and two bedrooms and a screened porch. Historical Society members said one possibility for its use is as a museum featuring the area's baseball history.

Historical Society board member Evelyn Hoskins, who has been the go between with Spahn, who lives in Oklahoma, said the house is 29 feet by 24 feet. She has received an estimate of $18,000 to move it. That does not include the cost of permits, a foundation and renovation.

According to Marie Franklin, of Anna Maria Realty, other baseball houses now or formerly located on Cypress, Spruce and Fir avenues and Tuna Street include The Mound and Outfield, which were demolished for new homes; Home Plate, still intact; Shortstop, remodeled and renamed Starkissed; Catcher's Mitt, still intact; Bahia Mar (renamed but baseball name unknown), still intact; and The Diamond, built by Warren Spahn about 14 years ago and used as a rental.

"Greg said he'd do his best to help with the project," said Franklin, who manages his properties.

Currently, Historical Society members do not have the funds to move the house or a site to relocate it, but welcome input from the community on the project.

Fertilizer study begins

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program is coordinating a four-year research project beginning this summer to compare nitrogen levels in stormwater ponds in Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

The objective is to determine whether water quality improves in counties with residential fertilizer ordinances.

Manatee County passed a fertilizer ordinance in May regulating application from June 1 to Sept. 30, but not banning the sale of fertilizer.

It is designed to improve water quality by decreasing nitrogen runoff into waterways during the rainy summer months.

Currently in effect, the ordinance does not allow citations to be issued until June 2, 2012.

The communities to be studied consist of sections of newer subdivisions with stormwater ponds where the primary source of the stormwater is the homes within the study area.

Water quality sampling for nitrogen will be conducted in these ponds during both wet and dry seasons to detect changes in nitrogen levels.

Social surveys also will determine whether and to what extent homeowners in those neighborhoods have changed their lawn care practices as a result of the ordinances and associated educational programs.

The work will be conducted by Applied Ecology Inc. and researchers from Florida and Central Florida universities.

Cornhole and golf tourneys planned

A Cornhole Tournament is set for the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, on Saturday, Sept. 24, form noon to 4 p.m. The fee is $20 per team of two people.

Registration forms are available in the Center's lobby. You must be 21 years old or older to play. You can bring your own cooler. There will be prizes for first, second and last place. Proceeds will benefit children's programming.

For information, contact Ryan Hogan at 778-1908, ext. 9219, or e-mail to: [email protected]

The third annual Golf Outing at the IMG Golf and Country Club is planned for Friday, Oct. 14. Registration forms are available in the Center's Lobby.

The fee is $150 per person, which includes golf, cart, range balls and dinner. Dinner only is available for $45

For a fee of $30 participants can enter the hole-in-one and putting contests, receive five raffle tickets and more.

There will be a hole-in-one contest, and prizes will be awarded for team low gross, longest drive and closest to the pin. There will be raffle prizes and a 50/50 raffle. Sponsorships are available.

The funds raised will provide support for at risk Island children and families who are experiencing the challenges of these difficult economic times and ensure that no child or family is turned away due to a parents' inability to pay for services

For details on how to register, to become a sponsor or to donate raffle or goodie bag items, call Sandee Pruett at 941-778-1908, ext. 9200, or e-mail [email protected]

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