The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 11 - December 28, 2011


Mayor: Tebbetts Field to stay open
Carol Whitmore

A public parking lot at Birdie Tebbetts field is the
staging area for a stormwater project that will ease flooding
in the surrounding Holmes Beach neighborhoods.

HOLMES BEACH – Despite a parking lot jammed with drainage pipes and heavy equipment, Birdie Tebbetts Field is open for business.

Make that, open for play.

No one has reserved the baseball diamond for a long while, and very little, if any, unscheduled baseball or softball has been played on the well-kept grounds in recent memory, according to Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger.

But anyone is welcome to play a regulation game or goof around with a ball and glove.

And if no one is playing ball, it's the only place on Anna Maria Island where dogs are allowed to run off leash. The entrances to the field have gates with latches to keep dogs inside, and trash cans and bag dispensers at all entrances make it easy to keep the field clean.

The city has no plans to close the field to people or dogs, Bohnenberger said.

"We don't have any intention of changing that," he said. "The only way that would happen is if there was extreme abuse on the part of the dog owners."

"I don't find that to be the norm," said Ruth Uecker, who has collected nearly 1,000 signatures of people favoring a part-time, on-leash dog park somewhere on the Island's Gulf beaches. She plans to make a presentation to Bradenton Beach commissioners in February.

"So many people use it there would be a huge voice" against those who did not clean up after their dogs," she said.
"They've been very, very, very good about picking up," said Holmes Beach Public Works Superintendent Joe Duennes.

March is the target date for the stormwater project to be completed and the shell parking lot to be usable again, he said, perhaps in time for the Anna Maria Island Art League's Springfest on March 10 and 11, which will be held on the soccer field next to Birdie Tebbetts Field. At Winterfest earlier this month, festival-goers struggled to find parking on side streets during the popular two-day event.

The Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department gave Holmes Beach some funding for Tebbetts Field with the agreement that the use be preserved, according to Manatee County Commission Chair Carol Whitmore, a former mayor of Holmes Beach.

George "Birdie" Tebbetts was a resident of Anna Maria Island and a professional baseball player, manager and scout. He was a catcher for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians and managed the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Braves and Cleveland Indians. He scouted for the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Florida Marlins. He died in 1999 in Bradenton.

WAMi radio ready to air
Carol Whitmore

Robert Herman at the controls of the Island's only
radio station, WAMi, which goes on the air at 1700 AM
on Saturday, at 10 p.m. It will also be available
live at




Anna Maria Island has a large number of admirers – those who love the lifestyle whether as their home or as their vacation spot. Come New Year's Eve, at 10 p.m., Anna Maria Island will also have its own radio station, something to entertain listeners on this small barrier island and define the music that makes up a part of Island life. WAMi Radio, a project of Casey and Robert Herman, goes on the air at 1700 on the AM band at 10 p.m. Dec. 31 and, after a short announcement by the pair, will air commercial-free music from local musicians throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties for three months before settling into a format of entertainment, information and whatever the Island lifestyle demands.

"We're calling it 'Sweet seventeen,'" Robert said. "Local musician Chip Bragsdale has written a theme song for Anna Maria Island that we'll play."

Robert said Casey and he would make an announcement when they first go on the air and then they will start the three months of music.

In fact, they have been collecting music from locals to play on the radio station for a couple of months with surprising results.

"We have more than 1,300 tracks of music from more than120 artists," Robert said. "We'll also broadcast over the Internet ("

"We're excited for them," Casey said. "It's all about promoting these guys."

At the moment, the website says "It's time, be the buzz, dig something different and answer the call," but when the music starts, it will allow vacationers, snowbirds and full-time residents who are out of time to keep up with Island music and happenings.

"The Internet is really cool for people who vacation here and then leave," Casey said.

They already have their first disc jockey, a man whose voice is known to many.

"Tim Thompson, the Privateer known as 'The Hammer,' will be on the air weekday mornings from 7 to 10," Casey said. "Several locals are also preparing their segments including musician Koko Ray and Holmes Beach City Commissioner Jean Peelan."

Another interesting show they talked about was "Acoustical Sunrise" on Sunday mornings.

Casey said they would announce the other shows and personalities closer to when they go to more live programming, around April.

At their last interview before going on the air, Robert and Casey were excited about this new media venture and about the wealth of music they have on hand.

"Everything from rock to country/folk to easy listening," he said.

"With a lot of blues and jazz," Casey added.

They named a number of performers who have regular gigs in local nightspots and said they would promote those places that feature live music.

"In phase two, in the second quarter of the year, we'll go live at some of those spots," Robert said.

"In the near future, we'll invite people to contact us is they want to be involved. "We plan to keep growing and this is just the beginning."

Skies to light up on New Year's Eve

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

BeachHouse fireworks shows in
the past have been spectacular.

BRADENTON BEACH – Celebrate New Year's Eve with a bang in Bradenton Beach, where fireworks, courtesy of the BeachHouse restaurant, will light up the sky at midnight.
Revelers should leave fireworks to the professionals, according to Dave Bristow of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, who reminds beachgoers that anything that flies through the air and goes boom is illegal. In dry weather, the risk of fire increases, he added.

If you use sparklers, give them to children 12 or older and use them outdoors only, the National Council on Fireworks Safety advises.

The fireworks will be visible from nearly anywhere on Anna Maria Island's beaches, but the best view will be at the restaurant, which is featuring its 18th Annual New Year's Eve Extravaganza on Friday, Dec. 31.

The evening begins at 9 p.m. and features dining, dancing, music, party favors, a balloon drop and a champagne toast in the indoor dining room for $99.99 per person with advance ticket purchase required.

The outdoor deck will be open for regular seating and dining, and will feature live music by Chuck Weirich. Deck seating is first come, first served.

To make a reservation for indoor dining, call the BeachHouse at 941-779-2222 or email

Trolleys will continue running on New Year's Eve until no more passengers are at the trolley stops, according to Manatee County Area Transit.

Bountiful season for mullet fishermen
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The mullet were jumping again last week, drawing commercial fishermen from Cortez and both commercial and recreational fishermen from around the state to catch the females bearing red roe, prized as a delicacy, especially in Asia.

So many mullet are being caught that the street in front of Bell Fish Co. was completely blocked by fish trucks one day last week, and Cortez Bait and Seafood stopped buying mullet.

"It's one of the better years we've had," said Kim McVey, of Cortez Bait and Seafood, who also serves as president of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage. The season will continue well into the New Year, she said.


Fishermen haul in a catch of mullet in the
Gulf of Mexico off Anna Maria Island during Christmas week.

Dolphin Dash T-shirts chosen
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Second-grader Andrew Austin designed the T-shirts.
They have a record number of sponsors
for the event this year.



HOLMES BEACH – Organizers of the Anna Maria Elementary School Dolphin Dash have chosen a design for the T-shirts runners get when they register, as long as they have shirts to give. Race organizer Rebecca Walter reminds runners to sign up early to ensure you get a shirt and a goodie bag.

"I have more people registered right now than I ever had this early," she said. "Go to to register online or print an entry form. Entry forms are also available at the school when it opens again after the holiday."

The Dolphin Dash is held on Saturday, Jan. 14, starting at 8 a.m. There are two races, a 5K and a one-mile, and it is open to people of all ages.The Bradenton Runners Club is in charge of the races, which are held on the streets of Holmes Beach with the help of the Holmes Beach Police Department.

For Walter, whose last two children will graduate from grade school this year, it has been a mission fulfilled.

"I started the Dolphin Dash six years ago as a PTO fundraiser, but my main goal was to encourage fitness and running at our school and in our community," she said.

She said the results of her efforts are widespread.

"I have kids come up to me all the time talking about the races they are running," she said.

"Many of our former AME students participate in cross country and track. I get calls and texts from parents and runners during the meets giving me updates on their times and places."

She says she's amazed at the number of locals who also participate.

"Every year I have community members telling me they are training for the Dolphin Dash – first time runners and experienced runners, plus people who want to run it faster this year," she said, adding she still remembers that first year.

"I remember the very first time I held runner's club. I had kids in skate shoes that weren't tied and kept falling off," she said. "Little by little more and more kids began wearing running shoes and working harder and harder. I think a student shows me his or her running shoes at least once a week."

A number of people with former health issues have also competed.

"We have had a heart transplant recipient, a liver transplant survivor, many cancer survivors run the Dolphin Dash as their first race back into running," she said.

"We have kids run with parents, siblings run together, a couple of teachers have run the race."

Walter said the enthusiasm of the runners makes her proud.

As you know, I tear up during every race," she said, "Watching a four-year-old cross the finish line with his big brother, watching my kids cross it every year. It is such a great event! I hope we set a new record in the number of runners."

The 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the 1-mile begins at 9 a.m. Packet pick-up starts at 7 a.m., early packet pick-up will be at Holy Cow on Friday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Preregistration costs $20 for adults, $18 for Bradenton Runners Club and $10 for kids 18 and under. Race day registration costs $25 for adults and $15 for kids.

For more information, call Becky Walter at 941-3201-382

Sun ads win statewide honors

The Anna Maria Island Sun newspaper captured six awards in the Florida Press Association's 2011 Display Advertising Contest.

Sun graphic artist Elaine Stroili won all six of the honors for ads she designed during the course of the year, including two firsts, three seconds and one third.

The first place awards were for ads in the Entertainment and Dining and Multiple Advertisers categories. The ads featured the Island Gourmet Italian restaurant and the Pink & Navy and Bella by the Sea retail stores' grand openings.

The Sun won a total of 20 FPA awards this year for both ads and editorial and was the AMI Chamber's Small Business of the Year in 2010.

Artist's Guild donates to schools

The Artist's Guild of Anna Maria Island recently donated $200 to each of two Manatee County Middle Schools for their Art Departments. The Artist's Guild is a non-profit organization and one of its missions is to support public school art education by donations, scholarships and demonstrations.

Island Gallery West features Faris

PHOTO PROVIDED "Dancer Purse" by Nancy Faris.

In January, Island Gallery West will feature Nancy Faris' fiber art in an exhibit entitled "Fiber of my Life," highlighting Ms. Faris' unique and popular hand-woven purses and wall hangings. Faris, a former interior designer, has enjoyed a lifelong love of textiles and design and now focuses on fiber art.

On Friday, Jan. 13, the gallery will host a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to enjoy fine art, free refreshments and to meet some of the gallery's 28 member artists at Island Gallery West, 5368 Gulf Dr. in the S&S Shopping Plaza in Holmes Beach.

The Faris exhibit runs through Jan. 31. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visit, Facebook or call 941-778-6648 for gallery updates.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper