The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 28 - May 1, 2013


Spring is pie queen supreme
Carol Whitmore

SERENA SPRING | submitted
Chef Andrea Spring was taken by surprise after
learning that she was named the National Pie
Champion for the third time at the APC/Crisco
National Pie Championship this past weekend.

ANNA MARIA – Andrea Spring has made history once again as the first person to win the American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championship for a third time.

“I’m speechless,” Spring said Sunday after the winners were announced. “I’m completely blown away. I was so nervous. Everybody’s pies were so good.”

Spring won First Place in the peanut butter category and then Best of Show for her peanut butter cracker pie. Her prize was a beautiful trophy and a $5,000 check.

In addition, she won the Crisco Innovative Award for her coconut cashew apricot pie. This win got her a special trophy and a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships in Las Vegas in November.

In this competition, chefs from all over the world vie for championships in categories such as BBQ, chili, burger, dessert, sandwich, bacon and on line recipes. The winner gets $25,000 and a chance to win $75,000.

“I’ve been trying to win this since I started,” Spring revealed.

Her start in the pie competition began in 2007, when she was crowned national champion with her key lime pie. In 2008, she won first place in the citrus category with her Key West crunch pie and honorable mention in the apple category with her apple oatmeal crunch pie.

In 2010, Spring made history as the first person to win the championship twice. The winning entry was her chocolate raisin walnut combination that won first place in the raisin pie category. She also won first place in the cream category with her hula hula pineapple pie with fried crust.

In 2012, she took first place in the fruit and berry category for peach melba pie with an almond crust and honorable mentions for Smoky Mountain apple pie and rustic cherry and cream cheese pie.

Spring said she was going to celebrate her win and noted, “I haven’t been able to breathe for a month. I worked hard for this.”

Spring and her husband, Ed, own the Sign of the Mermaid restaurant in Anna Maria, where her pies are featured.

Commissioner addresses Mainsail concern

HOLMES BEACH – Once again, Commissioner Judy Titsworth declared she does not have a conflict of interest regarding her vote on revoking the Mainsail development’s site plan.

In a past meeting on the site plan, several elected officials maintained that she has a conflict of interest because she has the potential of financial gain or loss from the project and they asked her to recuse herself.

She defended herself by explaining she had conferred with officials at the Florida Commission on Ethics and was told she did not have conflict. At Thursday’s work session, the issue arose once more.

Titsworth cited an April 9 e-mail from Mainsail attorney Robert Levin which stated that she owns adjacent property, has an easement interest in the road and has said the property has not been maintained, providing a reason for revoking the special exception and site plan approvals.

“Under these circumstances, it is inconceivable that Commissioner Holmes-Titsworth will not suffer particular private gain or loss related to actions on the Tidemark/Mainsail development,” Levin wrote to City Attorney Patricia Petruff.

“The commissioner should have abstained from voting pursuant to ss. 112.3143 and 286.012, Fla. Stat., and must do so in the future.”

Titsworth said she once again called the Florida Commission on Ethics hot line and spoke with Julie Costas, “I had a lengthy discussion,” she said. “I came up with every possible scenario that I could think of, and she said it’s not a conflict. She said, ‘I urge you to vote and not be bullied by the developers.’”

Titsworth said she wanted the board to know she might be the subject of an ethics complaint and could be investigated over the issue.

Festival cultural and culinary
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

People in costume will be
depicting historic Island


ANNA MARIA – To many of the day-trippers, snowbirds and other visitors to the Island over the past century, the good things in life were the sounds, sights and smells of the beach. After all these years, the Food and Wine on Pine celebration adds some appreciation of “the finer things in life” this Island has to offer.

The Third Annual Food and Wine on Pine event is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., bringing its unique strolling style presentation, an outstanding selection of food from 25 locally-owned, independent restaurants, a variety of art and music plus fine wines and crafted brews, all in the historic setting of Anna Maria’s shopping district.

According to a news release, “Organizers describe the event as more of a cultural and culinary experience rather than an event.”

Sandbar and BeachHouse restaurant owner Ed Chiles established Food and Wine on Pine at the city’s Pier Centennial in 2011. The goal was to highlight the variety of sustainable seafood and produce and local independent restaurants are offering on their menus and to display the unique art and culture of the Island and to support local art and children’s charities. This year, Southeast High School’s culinary program will join the restaurants for the food offerings.

Something for everyone

There will be plenty for people of all interests and ages.

Actors in period dress will be performing skits depicting the characters of Anna Maria history including George Emerson Bean, who homesteaded the north end of the island, Charles Roser who built the Roser Church in honor of his wife and Lena Phelps, the Island’s first school teacher.

Because May 4 is Kentucky Derby day, Relish Café and Market Place will host a Kentucky Derby hat contest. The prize for the winning hat is $100 cash. Stop by the café at 503 Pine Avenue anytime from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to be photographed and entered to win. The prettiest hat wins as judged by the Relish Café and Market Place staff.

Winners will be announced at 1:30 p.m. at the café and online on their Facebook page at https:/ You do not have to be present to win. The winner will be contacted by phone or e-mail.


The music at Food and Wine on Pine is a deviation from the music heard at most local events. The music selections include folk, jazz, reggae, bluegrass, classical, blues, in addition to acoustic guitar, percussion, wind instruments and even a bag pipe performance.

The event is styled in such a way that clusters and vignettes will be positioned all along Pine Avenue, allowing event guests to discover the music tucked in with the artists, food and wine booths as they meander along the event route.

Food and Wine on Pine will also showcase more than 40 local juried artists with some situated on the porches of Pine Avenue demonstrating art techniques. Chalk art, minstrels, a children’s interactive activity area, a special student art exhibit as well as an emerging artist’s exhibit will all be part of this unique culinary and cultural event.

There will be plenty of seating to take in the various performances and entertainment and to comfortably enjoy food and a glass of wine or beer. Guests strolling through the event will be reminiscent of how the early visitors arrived by steamship from Tampa and other areas to promenade down Pine Avenue to the bathhouse, which is now the site of the Sandbar restaurant.

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society will also be showcasing Island history, giving tours of the Historical Museum and Belle Haven Cottage, and offering a cool spot to sit a spell at the Belle Haven Cottage garden area.

Event proceeds will go to benefit local art and children’s charities such as the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra, Anna Maria Island Community Center, Cultural Connections, the Artists Guild of Anna Maria Island, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust. Information on the event can be obtained by contacting Caryn Hodge at 941-778-8705 or or by visiting

Come on out and see what the Island has to offer besides the most beautiful beaches in the world.


Island author to sign books

Longtime Bradenton Beach resident Jim Kissick will sign his books on Saturday, May 4, on the Roser Church Fellowship Hall porch during Food and Wine on Pine on historic Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. Proceeds will go to the Roser Memorial Missions. The Roser Memorial Chapel will also be open for prayer and historical information. Stop by and ask about what Fig Newtons have to do with this beautiful chapel.

The book, “A Flyer’s Dash,” represents the factual documentation of a Florida farm boy who graduated from high school in June 1942 and, almost immediately, entered the United States Navy. He first faced the enemy in the rear seat of a dive-bomber. He also saw service as a radioman-gunner in torpedo bombers, before seeing WWII combat in, again, dive-bombers.

Receiving an accredited bachelor of science in aviation in 2 1/2 years, he accepted a regular USN commission, was sent through flight training and became a pilot. His total military service included deployments on some 19 aircraft carriers. He achieved the distinction of becoming one of the very few pilots quadruple-qualified – dive bombers and many other propeller aircraft, all early jet fighters, airship commander of a blimp, and 5 1/2 years in antisubmarine helicopters. He also was bridge-qualified on carriers at Fleet Level.

However, this document is not simply the summary of the above. It is the history of an aviator to whom, seemingly, everywhere he served, unusual events seemed to happen. No one, to the knowledge of the author, experienced such challenging and dangerous abnormalities.

Following retirement, after 24 years of service, he entered civilian aviation, wherein the trend seemed to follow. Many have reviewed the document's draft, developed initially for family, friends and former squadron mates, and all have found it exciting.

After retirement, Kissick served as a city councilman (as they were called then) in the 1990s in Bradenton Beach.

For more information call the church office at 941-778-0414, email or go to

Mainsail mediation proceeds

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners approved the next step in the process of responding to Mainsail Development Company’s request for relief under the state’s Bert Harris Private Property Rights Act and the city’s dispute resolution proceeding.

“It is an alternative to litigation,” City Attorney Patricia Petruff told the board at their April 22 meeting.

Mainsail filed the request for relief from the city commission’s decision to revoke the company’s site plan for its development near the corner of Gulf and Marina drives on April 18, putting in motion certain deadlines.

“Once it is filed, it must be competed in 165 days,” Petruff explained. “However, anyplace along the way, both parties can agree to extend the deadlines. The first deadline is from the city’s code.

“The city is required to provide the names of three special magistrates to the petitioner that we would find acceptable. The petitioner has the ability within three days of the receipt of these names to object to any of them. If they fail to object, the city has the right to pick any one of the three.”

Petruff provided the names of three special magistrates for commissioners to consider – Steven Seibert, Carlos Alvarez and Dennis Stotts and said both Seibert and Alvarez have a great deal of experience.

“We want somebody that would be favorable to the city,” Commissioner Marvin Grossman said and pointed out that Seibert is on the board of directors of Mosaic, the phosphate company.

Petruff said they don’t make the choice now, but just authorize her to send the names to Mainsail’s counsel for approval. She said they should look at the information she provided on each one and also go on the Internet and do their own research before they get a response from Mainsail.

Name game

Commissioner Judy Titsworth asked if they could decide on the names at the Thursday, April 25, work session and Petruff said, “If you don’t like these three names, I won’t be prepared on Thursday. Our ordinance requires three.”

Mayor Carmel Monti asked if she could have a couple more names on Thursday, and Chair Jean Peelen pointed out, “I don’t find it necessary. We have three names. There aren’t that many people that do this work in the state.”

Commissioners agreed 3-2 to submit the names to Mainsail. Petruff said if the names were satisfactory with Mainsail, the city would select one as special magistrate.

Petruff then told them, “Within 10 days of receipt of the petition, we are required to send it to the special magistrate and notify contiguous property owners and those that spoke at the hearing,” she continued.

“Within 15 days of receipt of the petition, the city is required to file a response. Our response is to set out the reasons behind the commission action.”

She asked commissioners to call a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, to review her response and they agreed.

Petruff said the dispute resolution is a two-step process. During the first phase the special magistrate tries to help the parties come to an agreement.

“If no agreement can be reached, the special magistrate takes evidence and provides a written recommendation to this commission,” she continued.

“The commission can either accept the recommendation, accept it with conditions or deny it. Depending on how it works out, Mainsail can proceed to litigation.”

She said prior to the meeting, she received a courtesy copy of a lawsuit that would be served on the city by Mainsail’s attorneys in the near future. She said the lawsuit would be on hold while the mediation process proceeds, but if mediation fails, the lawsuit would come into play.

Mainsail plans to file lawsuit

HOLMES BEACH – Mainsail Development Company notified the city that it plans to file a lawsuit against the city and the city commission over the commission’s decision to revoke the company’s site plan for its development near the corner of Gulf and Marina.

City Attorney Patricia Petruff received a courtesy copy prior to the April 22 meeting and explained to the commissioners that the lawsuit would be on hold while the issue proceeds through a mediation process. If mediation fails, the lawsuit becomes active.

The lawsuit is a writ of quo waranto, and according to the document, “The term quo waranto means ‘by what authority’ and the writ is the proper means for inquiring into whether a particular individual has improperly exercised power or right derived from the state.”

The lawsuit maintains that:

• The city commission does not have any executive, administrative or quasi-judicial powers;
• The executive power is vested in the mayor;
• The building official is responsible for interpreting and with the mayor is responsible for enforcing the code;
• The city commission has no authority over development activity and had no authority to revoke the site plan or determine that it had been abandoned;
• The code authorizes the building official to approve minor adjustment s to site plans adopted by special exception.

Commission gets tree house update

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners asked for an update on the tree house at Angelino’s Sea Lodge at Thursday’s work session, and Building Official Tom O’Brien maintained that it is not structurally sound and not permittable.

On April 16, the city ordered the structure at 103 29th Street demolished and then put the order on hold. The tree house was constructed on the beach in 2011, and owners Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen have worked with DEP officials, who most recently asked for a letter stating that it complies with the city’s setbacks and zoning requirements.

O’Brien said his office would not supply that letter and made the determination that it is not in compliance with the Florida Building Code.

“She (Tran) left here with the understanding that the process to follow was to potentially file for a variance from the setbacks in the erosion control line (ECL),” O’Brien said.

“Instead, they’ve been going through a different process with their attorney. We’ll follow the legal process they’ve already started.”

O’Brien said any structure must be set back 50 feet from the ECL, which is established by the state, and is a line along the beach beachfront where scouring and erosion occur during a 100-year storm event. The tree house is in violation of that setback, he said.

Chair Jean Peelen asked why didn’t DEP officials tell the owners that, and O’Brien replied, “DEP requires a letter of no objection from the local jurisdiction so they won’t waste their time granting a permit for something we won’t permit.”

Other ideas

City Attorney Patricia Petruff said they could possibly apply for a variance, but O’Brien said, according to the floodplain management code, the city cannot grant an after the fact variance.

“This is a unique community,” Commissioner David Zaccagnino said. “There has to be some common ground. There has to be a way.”

However, Petruff pointed out, “Everything is driven by the ordinances that have been adopted. In the past, there have been odd ordinance changes to fix situations that hapless homeowners have gotten themselves into.

“I suppose you could do something that could fix this particular issue. The question is whether or not that is a wise decision.”

O’Brien stressed, “Its not just a land development code issue. There’s no way it could be permitted as structurally sound under the Florida Building Code.

He said there has not been a subsurface soil investigation and “in order to go in after the fact, they would have to tear the tree house down and install the proper pilings.

“It’s not kid’s playhouse in the back yard. It’s an assembly accessory structure to a public lodging establishment, so there’s ADA compliance, proper egress, and other requirements. It’s not permittable.”

Petruff said the information that Tran and Hazen distributed to commissioners on April 22 “indicated it is for the personal private use of the owners, yet Mr. O’Brien indicated in his opinions is was being used as an accessory to a public accommodation. Which is correct?”

O’Brien said in their attorney’s correspondence it is called the tree house at Angelino’s Sea Resort, and it is featured on their website.

Tree house petition grows

Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen, of Angelino’s Sea Lodge and owners of the tree house, have received 175 signatures online and on petitions to save the structure. The website has a link to the petition at

City rejects restrooms in lots

ANNA MARIA – Plans for the six lots at the Tampa Bay end of Pine Avenue continue to come together or fall apart depending on what the city commission wants.

Commissioner Gene Aubry brought a model showing plans to make approximately one-third of the area into a parking lot with trees around the lots, walkways, benches and two unisex restrooms. By the end of the meeting last Thursday, the restrooms were just a memory.

The two restrooms, according to Aubry, would measure 8-by-20 feet and would be made from cypress slats for air circulation so no air conditioning would be needed.

“They are basically maintenance free,” Aubry told his fellow commissioners. Then he said he was chewed out for even suggesting the restrooms, and he was upset that nobody told him the city would make more money in rent if it provided more parking for the Anna Maria City Pier and extended the lease.

“When I found out the city was telling businesses that they had to let people use their restrooms, I suggested these bathrooms,” he said. “I spent all summer on North Shore watching people go in the bushes. I’m in favor of them, obviously.”

Commissioner Chuck Webb said he doesn’t want parking in the six lots, saying they already worked out plans that precluded parking.

Commissioner Dale Woodland said he wants the businesses that would profit to pay for the restrooms. He said he thinks the parking lot would be a boon to the pier, “Which we own.”

The head of Bayou Condominiums, next door to the lots, said his people were against the live oak trees that would be planted around the lots because they drop leaves and branches and make a mess. As for the restrooms, he said they were concerned about vagrants and theft.

Pier lessee Mario Schoenfelder said he would like to see parking in the lots to take up some of the demand.

“If the city would provide additional parking on these lots, it would provide more parking for the pier,” he said. “I suggested a gated parking lot, but I never got an answer. I could take that as yes. Parking is essential for a business.”

“We objected to the city buying the lots and they don’t look great the way they are now but I am opposed to restrooms there,” said resident Marilyn George.

Pine Avenue Restoration member Micheal Coleman said his group promised up to $100,000 for improving Pine Avenue and between that and what Rex Hagen promised to pay for the lot improvements, they would have plenty of money to do something there.

Margaret Jenkins said if they build the restrooms, they would be wise to put up signs to send people there.

Welch said the building code requires that restrooms in public buildings to be available to customers and non-customers. He said he passed out information to the businesses and all have complied.

When it came time to vote, Aubry moved to build the restrooms, but it was voted down 3-2.

The commission talked about parking along North Bay Boulevard, either nose-in or angle and they voted 3-2 for the angle parking. The issue now goes before the planning and zoning board.

The commissioners also agreed to discuss further the issue of approved materials for sidewalks and they found they did not have to approve Olive Oil Outpost’s request to sell organic wines because they would not be consumed on premises. Former city commissioner Tom Aposporous, who was there to represent the Olive Oil owners, took the news happily, and told the commissioners, “So, uh, pretend we never came here.”

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