SUN PHOTO/MAGGIE FIELD
More than 1,100 bikers participated
in a Remembrance Ride in September
to comemmorate the
10th anniversary of the 9/11
As 2012 dawns and 2011 becomes history, we look back on the events that made the last 12 months another memorable year on the Island. There were some familiar topics from parking on Pine to Australian pines and new ones like a green village and green turtles. Here are a few month-by-month highlights:
• Consensus grows on a Pine Avenue parking agreement in Anna Maria after a year of debate.
• Privateers begin their 40th year fund-raising campaign by invading Anna Maria and taking Mayor Mike Selby hostage. Arrrgh!
• A record number of manatee deaths, largely due to unusually cold weather, are reported statewide for 2010.
• The Anna Maria City Pier Centennial year kicks off with banners blowin' in the wind from utility poles throughout the city. Celebration plans take shape. Party like it's 1911.
• Despite the cold weather, a record number of runners take off in Anna Maria Elementary's Dolphin Dash.
• A replacement study for the Cortez Bridge is set for 2012-13.
• Officials say there is no funding for Anna Maria bayside beach renourishment.
• Manatee County chooses an Island vendor for Segway tours and rentals at Coquina Beach Trail and Leffis Key.
• The Island is featured on the Discovery channel.
• Landscape plans for Kingfish Boat Ramp that include trees, grasses and flowers are presented to the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Committee.
• Anna Maria's Historic Green Village on Pine Avenue unveils its green innovations including a geothermal system for heating and cooling, a cistern system for irrigation and photo voltaic cells for electricity. It's easy to be green.
• The new location of the Cortez Commercial Fishing festival at the east end of the village is a hit with crowds. Let them eat mullet.
• The Island Wedding festival attracts a huge crowd. "Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get married."
• Anna Maria asks Community Center officials to study the possibility of a cell tower. Not in my back yard.
• Holmes Beach commissioners object to plans for 11 lights at Kingfish Boat Ramp, but after a tour of the ramp with county officials, they OK the plan. Later, objections to the lighting plan are rekindled and the city requires a site plan. Without one, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger says he will shut down the project. Blinded by the light.
• Former Island resident and Bradenton Beach restaurateur David Viens is charged with murdering his wife Dawn in California. Prior to the arrest, Viens jumped off a cliff and severely injured himself in a suicicde attempt.
• Harbor Isles, Minto Communities development on Perico Island welcomes 700 prospective buyers to its first model home. Pave paradise and put up a condo.
• Gov. Rick Scott takes future beach renourishment funding out of the state budget proposal for next year.
• The Island's tourist season is declared one of the busiest ever, but the census shows that the number of residents is declining.
• David Viens pleads not guilty to a charge of murder in a Los Anglees courtroom.
• Gov. Rick Scott agrees to allow funds for a 2015 renourishment project after Manatee County commissioners explain its importance to the local economy. It's the economy, stupid.
• State legislators discuss cutting funding for Egmont Key.
• The Anna Maria City Pier Centennial celebration will include a Food and Wine on Pine event with upscale food booths, wine, art and music. I'll drink to that.
• Country music star Lee Greenwood brings down the house at the 27th annual Affaire to Remember at the Island Community Center in Anna Maria.
• Chef Andrea Spring of the Sign of the Mermaid takes first and second place honors in two categories at the American Pie Council Crisco Pie Championship in Orlando. How sweet it is.
• Holmes Beach and county officials come to an agreement on Kingfish Boat Ramp lighting plan.
• The Sheriff's Office begins investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by an Island Community Center employee.
• The renourishment project is completed in Bradenton Beach and moves to Anna Maria.
• More than a year in the making, Anna Maria's Pine Avenue parking plan is approved.
• The Center's board of directors appoints a committee to review its policies and procedures in the wake of recent allegations of sexual misconduct by an employee and the Sheriff's Office closes its investigation finding nothing that would result in criminal charges.
• Bradenton Beach commissioners adopt a new cell tower ordinance giving the city the power to regulate cell towers within city limits.
• Anna Maria City Pier Centennial celebration kicks off with a parade and a dedication of the new pier historical marker; continues with a street fair with food, wine, arts, crafts, games, costumed actors and demonstrations and concludes with fireworks. A downpour during Saturday afternoon's festivities didn't dampen spirits.
• Manatee County commissioners discuss regulating Segways in parks and preserves including the Coquina Beach Trail and Leffis Key in Bradenton Beach.
• The Angler's Inn (aka Thelma by the Sea) built in 1913 is moved to Anna Maria's Historic Green Village in a two-day operation.
• Anna Maria Elementary School Principal. Tom Levingood retires after four years at the school and 35 in education.
• Island Sun columnist Ellen Jaffe Jones' book "Eat Vegan on $4 a Day" is published.
• Anne Kinnan retires after 31 years at Anna Maria Elementary School and 35 years in education.
• The Anna Maria City Pier boardwalk project begins following the centennial celebration.
• Ronee and Jim Brady decide to sell their West Coast Surf Shop in Holmes Beach after 47 years of good vibrations.
• Island Blood Drive sets records for the number of donors and collections for non-profits.
• LePensee Plumbing in Holmes Beach is named Business of the Year by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.
• Anna Maria commissioners begin discussions on purchasing the six lots at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.
• Anna Maria officials decline to act on a request to ban shark fishing from the Rod and Reel and City piers.
• Manatee County commissioners vote to allow Segways on the Coquina Beach Trail for a trial period of six months, but not at Leffis Key.
• The city of Bradenton considers banning horses on the Palma Sola Causeway.
• Pine Avenue in Anna Maria becomes a shopping destination for locals and tourists.
• The season's first turtle nest hatches in front of Club Bamboo in Bradenton Beach.
• A South Carolina tourist dies in a parasailing accident off Longboat Key.
• A weekend storm washes out five sea turtle nests and kills 12 shorebird chicks.
• The Key Royale Club loses approximately $485,000 to embezzlement by an employee.
• Bradenton Beach commissioners approve an ordinance allowing Waste Pro to take over waste collection in the city.
• The Sheriff's Office resumes its search for Sabine Musil-Buehler in a wooded area near Willow Avenue after a resident finds items that belonged to her. She has been missing since 2008.
• West Manatee Fire commissioners appoint David Bishop to replace John Rigney who moved out of the district.
• Police arrest former Key Royale Club bookkeeper Holly Elaine Connelly on charges of scheming to defraud.
• Members of Diana Nyad's team are in Cuba waiting for the weather to clear so the long distance swimmer can attempt her historic swim from Cuba to Key West. However, Nyad is forced to end her attempt a week later.
• The first of the new trolleys arrive and is being prepped by Manatee County Area Transit.
• A new generation takes over the O'Connor Bowling Challenge in its 21st year. Mike and Katie O'Connor take it over from dad George and uncle Billy.
• The search for Sabine Musil-Buehler along the beach near willow Avenue in Anna Maria ends.
• Anna Maria commissioners vote to purchase the six lots at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard for $2.8 million.
• Grassy Point Preserve in Holmes Beach gets grant money to build a boardwalk, an observation tower and an observation deck.
• Tourism, which usually slows down in the summer months, remains strong.
• Bradenton Beach commissioners agree to rebuild Seventh Street dock.
• A Longboat Key dog owner starts a movement to seek a dog beach on the island.
• West Manatee and Cedar Hammock fire districts begin a merger study.
• The Bradenton City Council decides not to pursue a ban on horses on the Palma Sola Causeway after learning that it is Florida Department of Transportation right of way.
• The first phase of restoration at the FISH Preserve in Cortez is completed and hikers and kayakers are invited to explore it.
• Agnelli Pools & Spa Dolphins are crowned flag football Super Bowl champions.
• Four qualify for three commission seats in Anna Maria, and Bradenton Beach Mayor Bob Bartelt decides not to run. "It ain't me babe."
• Five candidates qualify for three commission seats in Holmes Beach.
• Bradenton Beach commissioners approve a café, gift shop and pergola for the Tortuga Inn.
• Greg Spahn, the son of baseball legend Warren Spahn, offers Infield, one of the remaining "baseball houses" in Anna Maria to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. Play ball.
• There were no qualifiers for Bradenton Beach's Ward 3 commission seat and no challengers for the mayor's seat or the Ward 1 commission seat.
• Ruth Uecker starts an effort to establish a dog beach on the Island.
• Anna Maria commissioners agree to poll residents on removing the Australian pines at Gulf Front Park.
• More than 1,000 bikers participate in a Sept. 11 remembrance ride marking the10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
• Rare green turtle nest hatches on Coquina Beach and yields 95 baby turtles.
• Friends rescue C.J. Wickersham after a shark attacked him in the Gulf of Mexico. "I get by with a little help from my friends."
• Long distance swimmer Diana Nyad is forced to end another attempt to swim from Cuba to Key West due to jellyfish stings.
• Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach officials plan to attempt to settle a dispute over a gate added to a fence along the boundary between the cities on 27th Street North. "Good fences make good neighbors."
• Anna Maria closes on the purchase of the six lots at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.
• Jose's Real Cuban Food in Cortez is featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on the Food Channel.
• Anna Maria Elementary students celebrate 10th Annual Peace Day. "Give peace a chance."
• Shark bite victim C.J. Wickersham comes home to Longboat Key after six days at Bayfront Medical Center.
• Holmes Beach residents express frustrations to commissioners over problems with vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods.
• The Anna Maria City Pier project, which included a boardwalk with benches and lights, new shelter with benches and picnic tables and a new parking configuration, is completed.
• After hearing a presentation on consolidation from their chiefs, West Manatee and Cedar Hammock fire commissioners give themselves 90 days to decide whether to pursue the issue. However, a week later, Cedar Hammock commissioners send it down in flames.
• Manatee County commissioners vote adopt a no-kill policy for pets brought into shelters.
• The 11th annual Bayfest on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria was blessed with cool weather and great crowds.
• Stone crab season begins.
• Holmes Beach commissioners initiate a dispute resolution proceeding against the city of Bradenton Beach over a gate installed along 27th Street between the two cities.
• Longboat Key commissioners vote to create a committee to explore the establishment of a dog beach on the island.
• A crackdown on owners of short-term rentals that violate city ordinances has owners upset.
• Holmes Beach business owners form the Holmes Beach Merchants Association.
• Darcie Duncan, owner of Duncan Real Estate Inc. in Anna Maria is named the Island Rotary Club's Business Person of the Year.
• Art lovers delight in artsHOP activities including a gallery walk, a play, a vintage boat show, a concert and a drum circle.
• Incumbent Commissioners Dale Woodland and John Quam and former mayor SueLynn win commission seats in Anna Maria, and incumbents Pat Morton and David Zaccagnino and newcomer Jean Peelan win commission seats in Holmes Beach.
• Anna Maria Commissioners Gene Aubry and Jo Ann Mattick each present plans for the six lots the city purchased at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.
• The annual SandBlast sand sculpting contest sponsored by Keep Manatee Beautiful moves from the BeachHouse in Bradenton Beach to Manatee County Public Beach in Holmes Beach.
• After hearing residents' pleas, Anna Maria commissioner agrees not to remove any Australian pines at Gulf Front Park.
• A developer buys the beachfront property on Gulf Drive North in Bradenton Beach once owned by GSR Development.
• Students in art clubs at Southeast High School and Manatee School for the Arts paint colorful murals on blank walls at Manatee County Public Beach.
• A weekend of activities includes Anna Maria's Holiday of Treasures open house, which attracted 1,500 people to the city, the Privateer's Christmas Parade and Winterfest Festival of Fine Arts and Crafts.
•The Cortez Yacht Club's Holiday Lighted Boat Parade was a record breaker.
• Holmes Beach commissioners draw a packed house with a work session on rental issues.
• Holmes Beach commissioners offer a settlement proposal to Bradenton Beach commissioners to resolve a dispute regarding a gate installed along 27th Street between the two cities.
• WAMi radio at 1700 AM is ready to air on the Island on New Year's Eve at 10 p.m. It will play commercial-free music from local musicians throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties.
• Sabine Musil-Buehler is still missing.