The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 49 - September 21, 2011


Historic hatchlings
Carol Whitmore

Rusty Holmes, left, and AMITW Director Suzi Fox help
three-year-old Candace Edington release the bucket
of green turtle hatchlings at Coquina Beach.


BRADENTON BEACH - More than 100 people gathered at Coquina Beach last week to watch as a clutch of baby green turtles were released into the warm Gulf waters.

The hatchlings had actually hatched the night before, but they became disoriented by lights from a barge that was anchored just off shore.

"They all headed to the north where the barge was," said Glenn Wiseman, a volunteer. "And if they'd gotten into the Gulf, they would have hung out near the barge. They wouldn't have kept swimming out as far as they need to go."

The barge is part of the equipment that's being used to build an Wiseman, a volunteer, "and if they'd gotten into the Gulf, they would have hung out near the barge. They wouldn't have kept swimming out as far as they need to go."

The barge is part of the equipment that's being used to build an artificial reef in the area.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said she and her organization had no idea the work was to begin that night, and they had no way to get in touch with the barge operator to ask that the lights be extinguished.

"So we had no choice but to collect the hatchlings in a bucket and try to find somewhere else to release them." Fox said.

No ideal place was found that night, so the hatchlings were kept overnight in a storage shed where their temperature could be controlled. The next evening, with the barge operator cooperating by leaving his vessel dark, the hatchlings were released in front of their nest at Coquina Beach.

Candace Edington, 3, turned over the bucket to begin the release.

"She's walked with us mornings when we do our walks for Turtle Watch," said Grandmother Rusty Holmes.

Candace lives in Holmes Beach with Rusty and Ned Holmes, who have been AMITW volunteers for five years.

"This is so rare it's really something to celebrate," said 11-year-old Roselyn Ward. "This is only the second time there's been a recorded green turtle nest on this Island."

Roselyn moved to Anna Maria from Alaska over the summer.

"I'm really excited to be able to see something so rare with my own eyes," she said.

After excavating the nest and counting egg casings, AMITW volunteers determined that 95 green sea turtle hatchlings made it to the water.

Changes in loggerhead listing

Though there was one green turtle nest this year, almost all turtle nests on Anna Maria are laid by loggerheads.

Up until now, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA classified all loggerhead sea turtles as threatened. That means that they are one step away from endangered.

An endangered classification means that a species is very close to extinction, and stringent conservation efforts have to be in place to insure the species will survive.

On Fri., Sept. 16, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife announced a change in the status of some loggerheads.

The change is from a single threatened species to nine distinct populations segments, each of which is listed as either threatened or endangered.

NOAA and FWS share jurisdiction for loggerhead sea turtles under the Endangered Species Act.

The loggerheads that nest on the Island retain their threatened designation.

The newly endangered listing of loggerhead populations are for those that inhabit the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Indian Ocean, North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific. The loggerheads of the South Atlantic Ocean and Southwest Indian Ocean continue to be classified as threatened.

But all nine populations are threatened by certain methods of fishing, by loss of nesting habitat, by artificial lighting and by pollution.

"The status of our nesting population is not affected, so we'll just keep on doing what we're doing," said Fox. "I feel hopeful that we can continue to help save loggerheads, and I'm proud of the way our whole Island helps by keeping beachfront lighting off or low and by taking furniture and other beach stuff off the beaches at night."

Nyad to try Cuba swim again

Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad will make a third attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida, sometime this fall and possibly within the next few weeks, weather permitting. Nyad and her support crew are in Key West this week making final preparations for another try at the 102-mile swim across the Florida Straits. Her previous attempts in 2010 and this past August were halted due to rough seas and physical ailments. Sun contributor Dee Brady is again piloting one of the support boats that will make the journey with Nyad. Her account of the trip can be read on her blog.

Shootings prompt inquiry

HOLMES BEACH - One man is dead and his wife hospitalized following two shootings Sunday night. According to a press release from Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine, officers responded to a home in the 200 block of 83rd Street about 8:30 p.m., where they found Maya Schon, 66, outside suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Inside the home police found Joseph Schon, 69, in a bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Maya Schon was alert, the release said, and was able to communicate with officers prior to being airlifted to a local hospital.

The case remains under investigation.

City rejects tree trimming

BRADENTON BEACH – Residents next to Herb Dolan Park, at 26th Street and Avenue A, will have to put up with the Australian pines overgrowing the area or hire their own tree trimmer. The city commission voted last Thursday to not approve a bid for $125 per tree from Casey's Tree Service to trim them, despite appeals that were made to Public Works Director Tom Woodard.

"The commission turned this down before because it costs money," Woodard said.

"From my experience with Australian pines, you trim them and after a few months, they're as big as before," City Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said.

Mayor Bob Bartelt asked Woodard if he felt his men could trim the trees and save money.

"I'm not sure my men have the experience, and we'd have to rent the equipment," Woodard said.

Commissioner Janie Robertson said looking at one of the trees in pictures Woodard provided indicates the tree has been trimmed before.

"Looking at it in this picture, it appears you would have to do a lot of trimming to get it back to the original trim line," she said.

Woodard said the last time they asked the residents, most of them said they did not want the trees trimmed.

The commission took a vote and unanimously turned down trimming the trees.

Following the vote, Vosburgh suggested the commissioners look around the city to see if there are any trees that represent hazards to people or property.

In other news, City Attorney Ricinda Perry said she had contact Robert Turffs, the attorney for Ken Lohn in an appeal of a ruling the court handed down regarding a property dispute, to see what to do since Lohn passed away earlier this month.

"I've gotten no response from him, and if I don't hear soon, I will contact the court," she said.

Lohn had disputed a driveway next to his house on the bay that he said was illegally too close to his house. The matter has been to court and back for the past few years.

Mayor Bartelt read a proclamation supporting Anna Maria Elementary School's Peace Day ceremonies on Wednesday, Sept. 21, and the city commission approved a Privateer fundraiser at the Drift-In, 120 Bridge Street, for Nov. 5 from 1 to 8 p.m.

Charter trip highlights fishing class
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Left to right, Jacci Penkava, Bradenton Beach;
Morgan Horesh, Holmes Beach; Evan Pasik, Holmes Beach;
Shaun Rodriguez, Anna Maria; Alex Rodriguez, Anna Maria;
Michael Penkava, Bradenton Beach; Daniel Fritz, Bradenton;
Max Bulat, New York; Tony Rappold, Anna Maria;
Bella Love, Cortez; and Maggie Carter, Anna Maria
show snapper they caught during their deep sea fishing
trip on the Eddy Lee with Cortez Deep Sea Fishing charters.

ANNA MARIA –Kids in the Island Community Center's Learn to Fish program ended the summer session in style by catching a trip aboard the Eddy Lee, of Cortez Deep Sea Fishing Charters.

Owners Capt. Gary and Sheila Zink and an anonymous individual donated the trip, while Bob Vita made the arrangements and coordinated the trip, said Terri Milen, who heads the Center's fishing program. Capt. Brian Alcorn and First Mate Tom Boyll took the boat out to the seven-mile reef.

"There were 24 kids, parents and volunteers. It was amazing," Milen said. "It's a charter boat, so they have all the poles and racks and they lined everything up for the kids to fish.

"As soon as we got out there, we began pulling in one fish after another. It was a great way to end the summer and give them a taste of catching big fish."

Milen said they caught grouper and snapper, but the grouper were too small to keep.

"When we got back to the Seafood Shack, they filleted all the fish and each of the kids got to take a bag of fish home," she said.

Milen said the Center's fishing program was born last summer because there was no youth fishing program on the Island.

"Our goal is to provide a wide range of fishing experiences and we choose fishing locations with this end in mind," Milen explained. "In addition to a couple of boat trips, we schedule during each session, we also try to include field trips that offer a marine science, conservation and historical preservation perspective."

Fall program starts

The program's fall session has started and the remaining dates are Sept. 24, Jigg's Landing; Oct. 1, boat trip; Oct. 8 the flats; Oct. 15, Leffis Key/Marine Rescue; Oct. 22, Bridge Street Pier; Oct. 29, Bean Point; Nov. 5, boat trip; Nov. 12, the flats; Nov. 19, Emerson Point Preserve; and Nov. 26, Cortez Village/Coast Guard.

Classes are on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and kids from 5 to 12 years old are welcome. Kids are asked to bring a pole and secure water shoes and wear a swimsuit, hat and sunscreen.

The fee per session is $20 for members and $25 for non-members and includes drinks, snacks, bait and transportation. A one-week advance registration is required.

"Saturday is a great day to do this because parents can come along or have some time off," Milen said. "Parents are turned on to fishing when they see their kids having so much fun."

Milen said this year's goal is to expand the program to include an educational component. A future goal is to add kayaking and sailing and build a water sports program.

Volunteers and sponsors are always welcome. Current sponsors in addition to those already named include Capt. Randy, of Little Toots Charters, Island Discount Tackle, Rod and Reel Pier, Rotten Ralph's, Galati Yachts, Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant and Mote Marine.

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

Commission adopts new budget

Bradenton Beach taxpayers will pay slightly less for their city property taxes, depending on their property assessments, under a new budget that commissioners approved on first reading last week.

The new millage rate is 2.1359, down from 2.1539. In terms of expense, it will cost $213.59 for each $100,000 of taxable value compared to $215.39 per $100,000 in last year's budget.

Nobody attended the first hearing in which the commission approved resolutions to set the millage rate and the budget plus an ordinance empowering the city to collect taxes.

The budget was trimmed in a series of hearings in which commissioners asked department heads to trim at least two percent of their individual budgets. They also charged employees a percentage of the premium for family members covered under the city's health care package. Up to now, the city had paid for all of the premiums as part of its employee benefits.

The second and final hearing will be held Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 5:01 p.m.

Cub Scouts recruit students
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Bob Hicks talks to a mother and son
about the Cub Scout program.


HOLMES BEACH – A week after Girl Scout leader Julie Krokroskia signed in a bunch of new girls and parents at Anna Maria Elementary School, her counterpart, Cut Scout Pack 7 leader Rob Hicks, did the same.

Although the results are not official, a good number of parents showed up last Thursday to sign up for the Scouts. Hicks was hoping to expand on the 19 Cub Scouts that were active last school year.

"I'm hopeful some of the parents will step up to become den leaders," he said before the presentation. "Without that, it doesn't work."

Hicks said he enjoys teaching and participating in events with the kids and he talked about how he got started.

"I came to a meeting when my son, Dalton, was a Tiger Cub Scout," he said. "After a year, the den leader said he had had enough after 10 years and I took over. That was 11 years ago."

Hicks told the parents about the Cub Scout ranks and what they d every year. They usually meet once a month.

For more information on the Cub Scout program, call the school at 708-5525.

Preparation begins for Fall Festival

Moms meet to plan for the annual Fall Fesrtival to be held
Saturday, Oct. 22, following the parade and costume contest.

HOLMES BEACH – Halloween wouldn't Halloween without the Anna Maria Elementary School's Fall Festival, featuring a parade from the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce to the school, a costume contest, a carnival-like celebration with games at the school, lunch at the cafeteria and a bake sale with colorful fall-decorated goodies.

PTO President Monica Simpson hosted the first meeting last week of volunteers and homeroom moms to prepare for the event, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Simpson talked to the homeroom moms about the games each class provides to raise money. The PTO sells tickets that are used as admission to the games. The kids usually win other tickets that are redeemed for prizes. There is also a silent auction for donated items and for teacher-cooked meals. Simpson talked about the games.

"We have a lot of games that previous classes have had and saved," she said. "If you built a new game, don't make it so big we won't be able to store it."

Simpson said they would transform the auditorium into a haunted house again and this year with a new feature.

"The theme will be a haunted pirate ship," she said. "Some of it will be in three-D and we have glasses the kids can use."

Simpson said they would again have haunted house trips with the lights on for the smaller kids as well as trips with the lights off for the big ones.

The students will sell tickets for a free cookie and also have a chance for prizes. The class that sells the most tickets will be able to design a new ice cream flavor that Tyler's Ice Cream in Cortez will make and serve. They will also get a pizza party as will the class with the most donations to the bake sale.

Simpson said they would meet every Thursday at 9:45 a.m. in the cafeteria to make sure everything goes as planned. To help or to donate gifts or prizes, call Simpson at 941-962-2823.

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