The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 12 - January 2, 2013


2012: The year in review

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Tropical Storm Debby chewed up the coastline on Anna Maria
Island over four days in June, particularly on Bradenton
Beach's Gulf side, where long-buried seawalls were exposed.

Anna Maria Island experienced the best of times and the worst of times in 2012, and tourism was behind both.

Booming tourism kept accommodations filled, with nearly 10 percent more people visiting Manatee County in fiscal year 2011-12 than in the previous year, creating a $565 million economic impact, nearly 13 percent higher than last fiscal year.

The flip side of the boom also made news when Anna Maria Island officials, concerned that excessive tourism marketing may be ruining the charm that draws people to the Island, criticized Manatee County tourism officials for “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.”

Big duplexes built to accommodate large tourist parties were attacked by some Island officials, and residents of Holmes Beach packed commission chambers in hopes of stopping the trend, voting out three incumbents.

• Tourism, with 461,300 tourists hosted in Manatee County as of Oct. 31.

• Real estate sales, which rose to the highest level since 2005. In fact, the Island has reached more than 400 home sales, which has only happened once – in 2005 - in the last 30 years. Home sales in November 2012 were a whopping 76 percent ahead of November, 2011 sales.

• HB Scentral Park, the former outfield of Birdie Tebbetts Field in Holmes Beach, the commission’s solution to a conflict between a dog owner and some ball players on the field, which formerly was shared by both

• The long-awaited 32-acre Grassy Point Preserve in Holmes Beach

• Robinson Preserve II, to be purchased by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and donated to Manatee County for a 150-acre addition to Robinson Preserve in Bradenton

• The Cortez Rural Graded School, now the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez

• The incorporation of Cortez, which later dropped its municipal status

Voted in

• SueLynn, mayor of Anna Maria

• Carmel Monti, mayor of Holmes Beach

• Jane Titsworth and Marvin Grossman, Holmes Beach commissioners

Voted out

• Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger

• Holmes Beach Commissioners Sandra Haas-Martens and John Monetti


• Anna Maria Island Community Center Executive Director Pierrette Kelly

• West Manatee Fire District Officer Kurt Lathrop

• Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine


• Holmes Beach Building Official Joe Duennes

• Three of Bradenton Beach's city planning and zoning board over approval of the BeachHouse parking lot on the beach


• Island Branch Library

• Coquina Beach concession stand

• Bradenton Beach pier

• Sandbar restaurant


• Port Dolphin, a submersible liquefied natural gas (LNG) port to be built 28 miles off the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, which would connect to Port Manatee with a 42-mile-long underwater pipeline, until 2014


• Bradenton Beach and Sandpiper Resort, by Holmes Beach officials, who escalated a property dispute that began

with a gate installed in a fence along the 27th Street border between the cities

• Bradenton Beach, by Jo Ann Meilner, Bill Shearon and Tjet Martin, opposed to the BeachHouse parking lot on the beach


• William Cumber III, the former boyfriend of Sabine Musil-Buehler, with murder for her 2008 disappearance

• Several employees of the Holmes Beach-based builder behind many of the big houses, Beach to Bay Construction, by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, for using false identification for the purpose of gaining employment


Former Bradenton Beach restaurant owner David Viens, for the second degree murder of his wife, Dawn, whose body he cooked until there was little left but the skull


Holly Connelly, to three years in prison and 25 years probation for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Key Royale Golf Club in Holmes Beach

Under study

2009 hanging victim Sheena Morris, whose mother, Kelly Osborne, urged the Bradenton Beach Police Department to reconsider its conclusion of suicide with the help of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, requesting a finding of murder


Island beaches, after Tropical Storm Debby ate away big chunks of sand over four days in June, leaving rocks and shells behind


Red tide in the Gulf of Mexico in October, the worst since 2007


360 loggerhead nests and two rare green turtle nests, for a record total of 12,723 hatchlings


The sand parking lot on the beach at the Beach House restaurant in Bradenton Beach, by several opponents including Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, which later found turtle nests in the lot


Mullet gutted at sea for roe, then dumped overboard to wash up on beaches

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