The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 37 - June 27, 2012


Debby bruises Island
Carol Whitmore

Rick Viera | Submitted
Tropical Storm Debby destroyed a houseboat at
the Cortez docks on Sunday night when Sarasota Bay
climbed up over the commercial fishing docks.

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Tropical Storm Debby developed in the Gulf of Mexico last weekend and left a trail of damage in Manatee County and throughout the Tampa Bay area without coming any closer than 200 miles from the mainland.

High winds and torrential rains pelted the Island all day Sunday and into Sunday night, causing widespread flooding and downing tree limbs and power lines.

Officially, the Island received 5.2 inches of rain on Sunday and 4.6 inches on Monday, inundating side streets and major thoroughfares alike. Sunday afternoon, wind gusts up to 54 mph battered the Island as driving rain briefly created virtual whiteouts for those motorists determined to drive through the blustery conditions.

By Monday, as Debby turned back toward the northeast, Island officials were able to get out and assess the situation and it appears all three cities escaped any major damage.

The Bridge Street Pier did take a significant hit when several sailboats broke free of their moorings and were blown into the structure’s south side. Two of the boats caused damage when they became lodged between the restaurant and the walkway. One of them knocked down a power pole. A little farther east, a sailboat that was tied to the floating day dock, and the waves caused it to rub against the boat. In addition, another boat was forced into the dock and was dragged east, damaging planks in the walkway. That boat finally sank, right next to the dock.

Among the remaining boats moored south of the pier, some showed damage and a small catamaran was flipped over..

There also was some localized damage to homes and landscaping, but the most serious impact to business was at Time Saver, 5353 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, where a fairly new façade over the front of the building fell to the ground. There were no injuries, but the convenience and wine store was closed Monday.


However, the most serious damage on the Island may have been to the beaches themselves. The gale-force winds churned up giant 17-foot swells that pounded the shoreline, carving out large bites of sand right up to the dune line.

On Monday, a few beach walkers were undaunted by a fierce onshore rip current in ankle deep water and a significantly smaller beach – in some areas none at all – forcing walkers up into protected sand dunes where walking is prohibited.

The Gulf encroached on many dunes, leaving three-foot bluffs with the roots of sea oats dangling into the water where gentle slopes had been.

The surf uprooted stakes from sea turtle nests and left them in the sea oats, making it difficult for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch officials to say how many of the Island’s 180 nests may have been lost, although Director Suzi Fox said she was sure all the shorebird nests were gone.

At the Seaside motel in Bradenton Beach, the beach was impassable at high tide, a rare occurrence, due to severe erosion.

“I don’t have any permanent damage,” owner David Teitelbaum said, adding that the seawall extends down 12-15 feet.

At the Gulffront BeachHouse restaurant in Bradenton Beach, Mike Shannon was concerned about erosion of the rock seawall and the parking lot and also about permitting requirements to replace the sand.

The erosion was having little effect on business, however, and the restaurant remained open.


Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Elliott Falcione said he had no plans to tap a $1 million emergency fund designated for marketing and promotions in case of a disaster such as a hurricane or oil spill.

“If we feel that the perception of the destination is affected, we can use it for marketing and promotions to say the beaches are open,” he said, adding that the money cannot be allocated for beach renourishment.

The fund was instituted after a series of hurricanes sideswiped the Island in 2004-05, producing worldwide news reports that dampened international travel to the area.

A recent surplus of nearly $750,000 in resort tax revenues that Manatee County

Commissioner Carol Whitmore has requested for beach renourishment has not been audited or confirmed, Falcione said.

Whitmore made the request at a meeting of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council on June 18 in which Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Manatee County Natural Resources Department, told the TDC, “Our (beach renourishment) projects are designed to last eight to 10 years, but any one storm could wash the entire beach away.”

The board voted to spend $250,000 of the surplus to assist the Manatee Players in building its new theater.


Meanwhile, back in Bradenton Beach, Police Chief Sam Speciale said they have shut down the pier, although the restaurant remains open.

“We’re going to ask (pier engineer) Charles Sego to look at the pilings and depending on their condition, we might reopen the pier,” he said. “Until then, the pier will remain closed indefinitely.”

The city of Anna Maria had flooding in the north end of the Island. Roads remained underwater Monday morning and residents were out asking drivers to avoid the roads under water because the waves left by the traffic were flooding their homes.

Mosquito invasion puts county on alert

There’s a population explosion on the Island but it has nothing to do with cute little babies in bassinettes.

This one comes armed with a bite that will leave you scratching and scratching and scratching. It’s called the aedes aegypti or more informally, the yellow fever mosquito and it is most active between sunrise and sunset, the opposite of other mosquitos.

“There’s a very significant infestation of mosquitos on the Island,” explained Chris Lesser, assistant director of the Manatee County Mosquito Control District. “The number of complaints from residents is disproportionate to other urban areas of the county.”

For that reason, the district’s helicopters took to the air on Thursday to spray the Island with a chemical designed to kill the adult mosquitos. Lesser said the district uses U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered products and maintains the best scientific protocols.

“We’re hoping it takes care of the mosquito population on the Island for an extended period of time,” Lesser noted.

Lesser said the effect on the adult mosquitoes is immediate and they should die within an hour of spraying, but the spray does not kill the larvae.

“The best form of mosquito control is source reduction,” Lesser stressed. “Get rid of the habitat. People need to clean up the water in containers – buckets, tarps, boats – in their yards where the larvae grow.

“What we’re seeing is an unholy mix. Mosquitoes breeding in people’s back yards. We cannot get into everybody’s back yard. In another three weeks, we could have an equal population of mosquitos.”

Another tool in the district’s arsenal is applying larvicide to ditches and swales and other areas where water stands. While the district does that to kill the larvae of other species of mosquitoes, this species does not breed in ditches, Lesser said, and it is becoming more prevalent.

“This area has always had this species of mosquito,” Lesser pointed out, “but it was greatly reduced in the past. We have seen a reemergence in the past 10 years.

“We think it has to do with getting reintroduced from tropical habitats through international travel and cargo and merchant marine ships.”

One concern officials have is that mosquitos spread disease, and in addition to yellow fever, this particular species spreads dengue fever. While there have been no cases in Florida this year, “we don’t want to close the barn door after the cow gets out,” Lesser pointed out.

“Dengue is one of the most aggressive reemerging diseases we see in Florida. We want to keep it at water’s edge by keeping the population of mosquitos low. The potential for that population to start spreading disease is remotely low.”

So what can you do? In addition to draining yard containers, the Center for Disease Control recommends wearing long sleeves, staying inside during peak periods of mosquito activity and using mosquito repellant containing DEET.

“This is Florida,” Lesser said. “People aren’t going to wear long sleeves or stay inside. Just use common sense.”

Groin replacements in the budget
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Tom Vaught | sun
This is the worst of the three groins
that would be replaced by the county.

BRADENTON BEACH – Surfers and anglers rejoice. It appears there is money in the county budget to replace all three groins that have fallen into ruin along Cortez and Coquina beaches.

That’s the word from Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby, a member of the city’s Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) Committee, at the group’s June 20 meeting.

Cosby said the county budgeted just over $2 million to replace all three piers that were originally built to slow beach erosion, although they became popular spots for surfing, fishing and diving.

The county banned diving from the structures a long time ago and also fences off the groins from the public after one of them collapsed on itself.

Cosby said he was not sure what kind of structures the county would build, but he assumed it would be flat-topped and the public would be free to walk on them.

Manatee County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker, who oversees the groins as well as beach renourishment, confirmed that the groin replacements are in the budget and would rebuilt after next scheduled renourishment in 2014. He said, however, that funding for the groins might vary, depending on how much the county gets from the federal and possibly state governments. He said the plans call for restoring all three of them, but if the money is short, they would rebuild at least two of them.

“The county continues to move forward in studying the feasibility of repairing all three,” he said.

The groins are popular with surfers because of the waves generated there. There had been efforts in the past to ban surfing near them, because of the hazards of surfers coming in toward the concrete structures.

At the CIP meeting, Cosby was asked why the county would allow people to walk on the new structures. “The only way to keep people off would be to put up a chain link fence, which would look horrible.”

In other news, Cosby said the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) has asked the city for information on areas in the bay that need dredging. The agency wants to dredge boat channels near the south end of the Island around and south of Leffis Key. Cosby said he needed permission from the city to tell WCIND the city is interested.

“The other two Island cities have projects, and we need to sign a letter of cooperation with them so they could all be done at once,” Cosby said.

The CIP Committee approved his request.

Cosby also said he was meeting soon with the Florida Department of Transportation about the sidewalks the city wants installed between Gulf Drive Café and Cortez Road West.

Privateers to ride Skullywag in parade
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

File photo
The July Fourth parade gives local businesses a
chance to build colorful floats such as this
one by the Drift Inn from 2011.

The Island’s band of pirates is hoping for two miracles – collecting enough money to refurbish their parade ship, the Skullywag, and getting the vehicle to start for their July Fourth parade.

Privateer’s spokesperson Lisa Ritchey confirmed they would be using the ship after putting out a call for help from the public. She said the converted school bus was sometimes hard to start, but they feel it will be able to run.

Meanwhile, a portion of the proceeds from the next Concerts in the Park south of Holmes Beach City Hall on June 29, from 5 to 10 p.m., will go toward what the Privateers hope is at least $5,000 to make the vehicle ship-shape. The charitable group hates to spend money collected for scholarships on their own needs, according to Ritchey.

When news of the Privateers’ need was made public, Ritchey said they got one donation of $10 and another of $100.

Meanwhile, there has been no talk of what they would do if the ship, which usually leads their parades, breaks down. There has been no move to bring in Judy the elephant that marches in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, in case she is needed to nudge it along.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach and it winds its way north to Bayfront Park in Anna Maria. After that, the Privateers and anyone who wants to attend will reassemble at the Anna Maria Island Beach Café at 4000 Gulf Drive at Manatee County Public Beach, to distribute scholarships to students.

The parade is part of three days of Independence Day celebrations. The first night of fireworks begins Monday, July 2, after dark at Mar Vista restaurant, in Longboat Key. To make reservations for dinner, call 383-2391 or e-mail

The next night, the fireworks move to the BeachHouse restaurant in Bradenton Beach, where people can pay to be on the deck for food, refreshments and a great view of the pyrotechnics. Call 779-2222 for reservations. The display is also viewable for free from the beach.

The final night, on the Fourth of July, the fireworks come from the Sandbar restaurant in Anna Maria, where food and drinks are available as part of a package by calling 778-8709.

All three cities will have law enforcement on hand to make sure things go smoothly. Fireworks are illegal, but there are still a large number of people who bring their own to the beach. While law enforcement may not be able to stop the illegal fireworks, officers will respond to complaints and go after the blatant violators. Fireworks will be confiscated and destroyed safely by the county.

Chickens fly the coop

ANNA MARIA – What no one else seemed to be able to do in three weeks, Wildlife Inc. did in two days.

With her crew of three volunteers, Gail Straight, of Wildlife, Inc. rounded up three roosters and one hen in Anna Maria’s Historical Park on Monday, June 18, and three more chickens and one more rooster on Tuesday, June 19.

“I think we got them all,” she said. “We caught the last one across the street. Hopefully that’s it, but if anyone sees any more, they can contact me. They’ve been sent to a farm in North Port to live.”

Straight said she took 18 to 20 eggs to keep them from hatching and starting another flock.

The chicken saga began on Memorial Day weekend, when someone dumped approximately eight hens and four roosters in the park on Pine Avenue along with food and water. Since then, Public Works Supervisor George McKay has been trying to find someone to take them.

The following week, the hens began laying eggs, but they began disappearing, most likely eaten by predators, and with the city’s blessing, a couple of chickens were taken by someone, McKay said.

Then last week, Sandy Rich organized the PC (pro chicken) Group, dedicated to keeping the chickens in the park, and Joe Hutchinson designed a chicken T-shirt for supporters.

“We’re really disappointed,” Rich said after learning of the fowl’s relocation. “The people in the PC Group continue to wish the Anna Maria chickens hadn’t been stolen.

“It is too bad that the chicken donor(s) didn’t realize that just as one shouldn’t put all ones eggs in one basket, one shouldn’t put all ones chickens in one roost.”

Straight also cautioned people against releasing animals and pointed out that Florida law states, “It is unlawful to import for sale or use, or to release within this state, any species of the animal kingdom not native to Florida, unless authorized by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.”

Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization for the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife for return to the wild. It is supported by donations and manned by volunteers. Contact Straight at 778-6324.

Concerts in the Park will rock for the pirates on Friday

Submitted | Sun
Headlining Concerts in the Park on Friday
will be Highway 41; from left, Mike Rettig,
Jeff Kemper, Danielle Hollobaugh, Dave Russell,
Adrienne Summerall and Dave Glaser. Not pictured
is new member Rick Schicitano, who will
make his debut with the band on Friday.

HOLMES BEACH – Concerts in the Park will serve up music, food, art and more on Friday, June 29 on the field next to Holmes Beach City Hall to benefit the Anna Maria Island Privateers.

The free event begins at 5 p.m. with music from D.J./M.C. Chris Grumley. Scott’s Garage follows from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with Scott Pritchard on guitar and vocals, Chris Corigan on drums and vocals and Scott Matski on bass and vocals. Highway 41 takes the stage from 8-10 p.m., with classic rock and pop from the 70s to today, featuring Danielle Hollobaugh, lead/backing vocals: Adrienne Summerall, lead/backing vocals; Rick Schicitano, keyboards/vocals; Jeff Kemper, bass and lead/backing vocals; Mike Rettig, lead guitar; Dave Russell, drums; and Dave Glaser, guitar and lead/backing vocals.

Enjoy the Taste of the Island Food Court, with the Privateers serving Buck an Ear Corn on the cob, Scurvy Dogs, beer, wine and rum and Jell-O shots. Also on tap are soda, water, coffee, tea and desserts, Paradise Bagels & Café; fish tacos and carnitas, The Waterfront; Philly cheese steaks, stromboli and pastry, Philly's Finest Bakers; pork, chicken and beef sliders; Banana Cabana; BBQ pork, chicken, ribs and Southern fixin’s,T & L BBQ; regular and Cajun boiled nuts, Hattaway Nuts; and frozen treats, Tyler's Ice Cream.

Arts, crafts and retail vendors include Rhonda K, signs; Island Tattoo, henna; Oceans Notions; Redeker Wood Art; Cheeta, live art; Blingin' Tee's; Donna Harris, author of AMI-based "Ruff Life;" Philosopots and Crystals Light Up Novelties.

Not-for-profits will include Quacky Race for Pace and the Sarasota Shell Club.

Kids will enjoy a bounce house and face painting, and an outdoor kids’ movie, Wall-E, will begin at 8 p.m. Sprinklers will keep anyone cool who wants to run through them.

Proceeds go to a different not-for-profit partner each month. The concerts have raised an average $1,000 for its partners, said organizer Cindy Thompson, of Island Festivals Inc.

This month, the not-for-profit partner is the Anna Maria Island Privateers, who are raising funds to “Save Our Ship,” the Skullywag, which needs repair.

The next Concerts in the Park will be in October, after a summer break.

The event is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Sun, with music sponsors Bullseye Indoor Pistol Range and SteamDesigns, movie sponsor Thompson Academy and sound by BOC Productions.

On Facebook, visit Holmes Beach Concerts in the Park.

Man charged with killing egret

A Key Royale resident was arrested June 16 and charged with killing a white egret because it ate a fish from his front yard fishpond.

Holmes Beach Police arrested 74-year-old Laurie Miles Pardee, Jr. after witnesses said he shot the bird, beat it with a net and stomped it to death because it ate a Koi from his pond in front of his house. He was charged with felony cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm in public. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission also charged him with unlawful taking of a migratory bird.

After Pardee killed the bird, he threw it into the bay, according to the police report.

Pardee, who was released from jail on $1,500 bond, will be arraigned on July 13 at 9 a.m. in Judge Edward Nicholas’s courtroom. Pardee’s attorney, Scott Miller, has already sent a notice of his client’s intent to plead not guilty.

Another resident of the home where Pardee lives was also arrested for tampering with evidence when she concealed the pistol that Pardee used to shoot the egret in the master bedroom closet beneath some linens. According to the police report, Joyce E. Parker, 75, made “many false statements: to law enforcement regarding knowledge of the crime. She will also be arraigned July 13 at 9 a.m. in Judge Edward Nicholas’s courtroom and she has the same attorney as Pardee and will plead not guilty.

If guilty of the cruelty to animals charge, Pardee could get fined $15,000, according to Ed Straight, of Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation, Inc.

“All migratory birds in Florida are protected, and there’s a stiff fine if a suspect is found guilty,” he said.

All of Anna Maria Island is classified as a bird sanctuary.

Efforts by the Sun to contact witnesses were unsuccessful.

Anna Maria Island Shorebird Nesting monitor Suzi Fox said she was shocked when she found out what happened.

“I can’t believe anybody could even think of doing this,” she said. “The thought that any breathing creature is less of a living entity is so out of touch.”

Wrong name cited in Sandpiper suit

HOLMES BEACH - The city of Bradenton Beach and Sandpiper Resort Co-op Inc. have challenged a lawsuit filed against them by Holmes Beach, saying the mobile home park was wrongly listed as “Sandpiper Co-Op Resort Inc.” in the lawsuit.

A motion to quash the service of process in the civil case alleges that Doug LeFevre, who is listed as president and a director of the Sandpiper Resort Co-Op Inc. with the Florida Division of Corporations, “is not the registered agent or officer of any corporation named Sandpiper Co-Op Resort Inc.,” according to the motion by Sandpiper attorney Charles Webb, of Anna Maria.

Holmes Beach filed the declaratory action last month in Manatee Circuit Court, asking the court to declare that Sandpiper does not own 27th Street, which borders both cities, and that it is a public street.

Holmes Beach claims in the suit that Sandpiper does own the property because Bradenton Beach did not own it when it quitclaimed the property to Sandpiper.

The city also claims that Sandpiper is wrongly prohibiting the public from using 27th Street, saying that before the mobile home park installed gates in openings in its fence last year, the shortcut was used by walkers and bikers to reach the beach.

Holmes Beach has asked the court to order Sandpiper to remove the gates and no trespassing signs from the fence.

Not counting fees paid to Webb by Sandpiper, $12,494 has been paid to attorneys so far since the dispute began last August.

According to city records, Holmes Beach has spent $6,595 and Bradenton Beach has spent $5,899 on its city attorneys in the case.

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