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Vol. 17 No. 32 - May 24, 2017

headlines

Community comes out to help one of its own

Carol Whitmore

KRISTIN SWAIN | SUN

JD White takes a moment on Sunday to thank everyone
who donated, sponsored and supported his efforts
to raise money to purchase two WalkAide devices,
as friend and benefit volunteer Brad Lisk shouts encouragement.

HOLMES BEACH — A call to action for Holmes Beach resident JD White brought out the best in the Island community.

More than 100 community members came out to D Coy Ducks Bar May 21 to help support White in his quest to purchase two WalkAide devices.

The equipment will help White walk without the aid of the leg braces he's used for most of his life. The WalkAides help him to move easier, correcting dropfoot, a condition which prevents the toes from raising correctly while walking. White suffers from cerebral palsy, which causes the dropfoot. Each WalkAide device costs $5,000.

Now, thanks to the community, White will not only be able to purchase both of the needed devices, but also pay for the therapy needed to help him make the most of his newfound mobility. The fundraiser at D Coy Ducks raised $15,000 for White, surpassing his $10,000 goal.

"It's a wonderful day," Island community member Wendi Webb said, while viewing the number of people bidding on the many raffle and silent auction items. The items were donated by local businesses and residents including artist Joan Voyles, Pineapple Junktion, surfboard master Tommy Daniels, Anna Maria Island Oyster Bar, Steam Designs, Laurel Nevans Computer Services, Island Discount Tackle and Grooms Car Care, among others.

Island resident and former Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino helped collect donations at the event, also hosting an online auction for the Tommy Daniels surfboard, which he eventually took with a high bid.

"JD's a great guy," Zaccagnino said. "It's great to see so many people coming out to support him."

Local restaurants, including the Waterfront, Eat Here, The Doctor's Office, Duffy's, Holy Cow Ice Cream, Island Spice, Beach Bistro and Hurricane Hanks, also got in on the fun, donating dining experiences, Island restaurant tours and gift certificates.

Other sponsors of the event and donors include The Sun, Bridge Street Jewelers, Anna Maria Charters, DreamWorks animator Amanda Miller, Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost, Acqua Aveda Salon and Spa, AMI Media Group, Cupcake Delights, Island Creperie, Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, Slim's Place, Tortilla Bay, Island Gourmet, Sea Life Kayak Adventures, The General Store on Pine Avenue, Anna Maria Island Resorts, LLC, The Center of Anna Maria Island and the Anna Maria Island Privateers. Additional contributors were Gnarley Mangrove Designs, Smoothie King, Bridge Street Bazaar, Dina Stewart, The BeachHouse restaurant, Irene's Resort Wear, The Fresh Market, Poppo's Taqueria, Ginny and Jane E's at the Old IGA, The Sandbar restaurant, Salon Salon and Holmes Beach Auto Service.

"I love you all," White said, taking a moment during the festivities to thank everyone who attended, donated and supported him. "I can't thank you all enough."

In addition to Sunday's fundraiser, $4,255 also has been raised from a Go Fund Me online fundraiser began by Buster Powers on White's behalf.

To contribute to the ongoing online fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/jds-walk-aides.

Charter county concerns city officials

BRADENTON BEACH – Vice Mayor John Chappie is concerned about the push to make Manatee County a charter county, and he wants City Attorney Ricinda Perry to monitor these efforts.

During the May 18, City Commission meeting, Chappie, a former county commissioner, requested that Perry attend the County Commission's charter government workshop on Wednesday, June 14. The workshop will take place in the Longboat Key Room at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto, at 6 p.m.

After further discussion, the other commission members supported Chappie's request.

Charter counties are guided by charter documents that serve the same role as a city charter, but on a larger scale. A charter sets forth in writing a city or county's powers, rights and duties.

Twenty of Florida's 67 counties have become charter counties since the state of Florida granted that authority in 1968. Supporters believe charter counties provide citizens with greater input in decision-making processes. Opponents feel charter counties imperil city governments' home rule rights. Nearby charter counties include Sarasota, Hillsborough and Charlotte.

"This is something this city needs to be aware of, and I would like to see our attorney be there. I think it's important that our commissioners are also there at this discussion. At the very least, we need to have our attorney researching this to see how a charter government for Manatee County would affect the municipalities," Chappie said.

"It is a really big issue," Perry said.

She referred to an accord reached many years ago after a previous County Commission led an unsuccessful effort to force the cities into a charter county government.

Perry said becoming a charter county would subject the city to another level of governmental approval. Amendments to the city's comprehensive plan or land development code would require the county's blessing and would have to comply with the county's governing documents.

"It takes the autonomy completely away from the cities. They have the ultimate control over our land development regulations," Perry said.

"As your attorney, I would hate to see us become a charter county. I don't want to lose our identity and become a puppet to what the what the county wants to have happen. I just don't think a charter government is a healthy thing for municipalities," she added.

Mayor Bill Shearon said a charter county would also have approval authority pertaining to the city-affiliated Community Redevelopment Agency

Chappie said the Manatee County League of Women Voters was among the groups pushing for a charter county.

The League's website, www.lwvmanatee.org, contains links to a petition form, a METV charter discussion and a charter county information sheet.

"The way the different groups are pushing this charter government, it would not surprise me if they try to get something on the ballot in November. I am not willing to sit on my hands like the city of Bradenton Beach did with regards to House Bill 883," Chappie said.

Adopted by the state legislature in 2011, HB 883 produced the state law that prevents cities from prohibiting short-term vacation rentals.

"We need to be on top of this. We can't afford to wait until the last minute. We sat on our hands once before when Tallahassee rolled over us. We need to be aware of what's going on and understand the issues of charter government, whether it is or is not a good thing for us. We need to act now and be proactive. This is an 'oh wow' moment folks," Chappie said.

FISH Boatworks in flux

CORTEZ – Historian and Cortez matriarch Mary Fulford Green does not want to see the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) Boatworks program discontinued.

The recent departure of longtime, part-time Boatworks manager Rick Stewart has left the FISH board with no one to run the volunteer program the original mission of which was to focus primarily on the restoration, repair and construction of wooden boats similar to those historically used by Cortez fishermen.

"It seems that there's some people that think Rick Stewart is the only person that can operate that boat works, and he is not," Green said of the non-salaried, volunteer position.

Green is concerned because there has been talk of using the Boatworks building as a display area for FISH's small fleet of historic vessels.

As an alternative, she would like to help FISH pursue grant funding that would allow for the construction of a stand-alone boat shed.

"Some of us are working on getting funds," Green said.

She is concerned about the suggestion that the boat building equipment may be moved to make room inside the Boatworks building for the Sally Adams and the Esperanza.

"I want us to build a boat shed to put our historic boats, and I want us to advertise and get somebody to operate the Boatworks. They'll say we don't have any money to pay them, but if I was going to take a class in water coloring, I would expect to pay," Green said in reference to the volunteers who worked on FISH projects, but are also allowed to work on their own boats.

"I want to get the word out; there must be somebody," Green said.

FISH response

FISH board member Jane von Hahmann is aware of Green's concerns.

"The FISH board came to a consensus at our last meeting that given the fact that we have no one who can run the Boatworks at this time – and that it's not a job just anyone can do – that we would look at moving our boats such as the Esperanza and Sally Adams inside the Boatworks by this fall. I know what Mary wants, but the bottom line we first must have someone skilled enough to run the Boatworks as a boatworks and we do not have that right now," she said.

"Ironically, I just got a call from a FISH member two days ago recommending a gentleman who might be interested in doing something at the Boatworks, but only from November until May, as they go North for the summer. I will be giving him a call to get his thoughts and what he might or might not be interested in doing," she added.

David Cadmus helps chair the FISH Facilities Committee, and he also addressed Green's concerns.

"The problem is getting someone. You're asking them to do it for no money, and we don't really charge enough money to keep building boats. You only pay $10 as a member, and we have to revamp that whole thing," Cadmus said.

When discussing the Boatworks' original mission, Cadmus said, "We're about commercial vishing vessels from the 1800s and early 1900s. We have three of those boats currently stored outside under canvas, and our thought is to put them inside the Boatworks. We don't get to look at them; we don't get enjoy them. We're not looking to dismantle the Boatworks. We may be moving around some of the machinery, but it will not be removed. We also want to display the tools that were used to build and restore these boats. Dismantling the Boatworks is not our goal. At some point we hope to get someone, but you have to do it because you love to do it," Cadmus said.

Anyone interested in assisting with these efforts can contact Cadmus as 941-504-6241.

Parking fines to increase

 

joe hendricks | SUN

The city of Bradenton Beach will soon receive four automated
ticket readers from Complus.

BRADENTON BEACH – Drivers who park illegally in Bradenton Beach will soon see their fines jump from $35 to $50.

On May 18, the City Commission expressed support for Police Chief Sam Speciale's request to increase parking fines in conjunction with the pending arrival of new automated ticket writers.

Speciale said Complus would be providing the city with a proof copy of the ordinances and fines that will be programmed into the four automated devices. Speciale said including the $50 fine in the initial programming would save the city the expense of reprogramming the machines later. The proposed fine increase still needs to be formally adopted at a future commission meeting.

During last' week's discussion, it was noted that 144 handwritten parking tickets were issued at and near Coquina Beach on Mother's Day. Commissioner Jake Spooner said he was surprised that all 1,300 beach parking spaces were filled, which led to additional cars being parked illegally.

"At approximately 10:30 the beach parking lot was full. By 11 o' clock it was overcrowded; that's when they started writing tickets," Mayor Bill Shearon said.

Regarding the increased fine, Shearon said some people consider a $35 parking ticket to be cheaper than what it costs to park near a beach in St. Petersburg. Shearon also suggested a $5 late fee for tickets not paid within 10 days.

The city of Anna Maria uses the Complus automated ticket writing system and charges $35 fine for a parking violation, which increases to $50 if not paid within seven days.

Holmes Beach officers issue handwritten tickets that come with a $50 fine and a late fee if not paid in a timely manner. Police Chief Bill Tokajer said he has no plans to convert to an automated ticket writing system.

A mother's life, through a daughter's eyes

Brad Lisk | Submitted

Barbara Rodocker and her daughter Angela helped
transform Bridge Street when they built the BridgeWalk
resort in 2002.

BRADENTON BEACH – On May 10, the city of Bradenton Beach lost a business pioneer who helped transform Bridge Street, while never straying from her Christian and family values.

Barbara Rodocker was part of the mother-daughter tandem that owned and operated the BridgeWalk resort on Bridge Street and the Silver Surf resort on Gulf Drive. Before that, Barbara owned the Silver Sands resort on Longboat Key.

Last week, Barbara's daughter, Angela, discussed her late mother's life.

"This is how she defined herself: First she was a child of God, second she was mother and third she was business woman," Angela said.

"When we were kids, she would close the business, and people would say you can't do that. She'd say, 'Yes I can. I'm going to my son's baseball game.' We always came first in her life."

In 1971, Barbara and her husband, Paul Rodocker, moved from Lansing, Michigan to Longboat Key. Barbara bought the Silver Sands resort, demolished most of it and had it rebuilt as she envisioned. A couple years later, she and Paul divorced, but they remained friends for the rest of her life, and they had dinner together the night before she died.

"My mom grew up counting pennies in the depression, and she knew she wanted to be in the hotel industry. That was at a time when women didn't get loans. Women had to fight really hard for what they were doing for business, which is very different from today. Even though my mother was the business woman, she couldn't do anything without having my father on the loan. She went through that for years, but over 40 years she built her own legacy and greatly impacted the independent hotel industry in our area," Angela said.

"It fascinating how my mother had to overcome many of the traditional battles people speak about when it comes to women's rights, but that was nothing she ever dwelled on."

In 1986, Barbara bought that Silver Surf property in Bradenton Beach and had that rebuilt according to her vision. In 2002, the mother-daughter tandem built the BridgeWalk resort on Bridge Street and a year later sold the resort on Longboat Key.

"We decided we just wanted to focus on Anna Maria Island," Angela said.

Barbara's efforts extended beyond her for-profit endeavors.

"She fought hard for independent hoteliers; that's why she sat on the Tourist Development Council for more than 20 years. She was a significant influence on the Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island chambers of commerce, and she was a mentor to many. She was one of the smartest women I've ever met, and she was so humble. She always said she went to the school of hard knocks because she never went to college."

Barbara was also a lifelong mentor to Angela.

"At eight years old, I used to beg my mom to let me count the money at the end of the day, when we lived across the street from Silver Sands. I helped her close the office, and she started teaching me about business. I would ask her questions about taxes, and she bore into me all the knowledge she had. As an adult, she continued to mentor me by letting me make mistakes. She would allow me to make the decision, and then I and our company had to live with the consequences. She did that for the 19 years we were partners, and it set me up to continue our businesses the way she developed them. We got to create the culture together, and she led by example," Angela said.

The community will get a chance to say their farewells during a public memorial service on Saturday, June 3, at Bayside Community Church in Bradenton. The service will start at 11 a.m., followed by a celebration of life.

A life well lived earned great respect

jjoe hendricks | SUN

City Attorney Ricinda Perry's daughter, Victoria, fell
asleep in Barbara Rodocker's arms during a
city meeting in 2014.

BRADENTON BEACH – Barbara Rodocker's recent passing prompted offerings of praise and respect from the Bradenton Beach community.

"Barbara Rodocker made big changes in this city. She helped the whole Island and her whole community. She will be deeply missed," Mayor Bill Shearon said when asking for a moment of silence at last week's commission meeting.

"Barbara was a great woman, entrepreneur and community leader; and she was my friend. I will miss her and Bradenton Beach will miss her. Barbara took a chance on the vision of what Bradenton Beach could become and it was a huge risk. She was a person of great integrity. Her honesty and strong moral principles guided her throughout her life. She would listen to what you had to say and she would not hesitate to tell you what she thought," Vice Mayor John Chappie said later in the week.

"Barb was a problem solver who was quick-witted and never at a loss of words. She was successful in business and in community service. We will cherish all the memories, as we have worked together for many years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rodocker family," said Commissioner Ralph Cole.

He and his wife, Beth, operate Coastal Watersports on beachfront property leased from Barbara and Angela Rodocker's Silver Surf resort.

"We are so blessed to have had Barbara in our community. Her long list of business and public accomplishments touched many lives, including my own. Bridge Street wouldn't be the destination it is today without her. She was a source of inspiration to those lucky enough to have known her," said commissioner and Bridge Street business owner Jake Spooner.

"She was a tough and savvy businesswoman, and she cared deeply for the city of Bradenton Beach. I believe she's the one that made Bridge Street what is today. She will definitely be missed," said Police Chief Sam Speciale.

"Most people know Barbara as a very astute businesswoman with tremendous integrity and success. To me, Barbara was one of the most genuine, caring and thoughtful people that I have ever known. She was constantly putting her faith into action. Bradenton Beach has lost a treasure, and I will miss my friend," City Attorney Ricinda Perry said.

"Barbara was a wonderful person, a shrewd business woman and a positive force for Bradenton Beach. She will be missed," Public Works Director Tom Woodard said.

"She was always helpful and gracious to me. I never went away from a conversation with Barbara without a nugget of wisdom," said former mayor Jack Clarke

"Barbara was not only a successful business lady, but she had a lot of class. She was so pleasant and kind to all who had the privilege to know her," former commissioner Jan Vosburgh said.

Bill Herlihy's Island Time Bar and Grill and Bridge Street Bistro operate in space leased from the Rodockers, next to their BridgeWalk resort.

"Barbara had a way of making you think about things in a different way; she helped me step back and look at things from another perspective. She was great with words of wisdom and advice. She was a great businesswoman and a lot of us looked up to her for what she accomplished and for bringing her daughter, Angela, into her business operations. She believed in me from the beginning, and because of her belief, we succeeded. We will sorely miss her," Herlihy said.

Support lagging for late night music?

joe hendricks | SUN

Commissioner Jake Spooner and Mayor Bill Shearon listen
to Vice Mayor John Chappie's insight on allowing bands
to play later on weekends.

BRADENTON BEACH – Informal discussion among city commissioners suggests a potential lack of support for allowing open-air establishments to continue live music until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

During the commission's May 9 noise ordinance workshop, Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale asked the commission to consider a live music extension on a trial basis. The noise ordinance adopted in 2014 stipulates outdoor and open-air music must stop at 10 p.m.

The recent workshop was prompted by Freckled Fin owner Scott Lubore getting arrested in April as the result of repeat noise violations. The commission agreed to consider Speciale's request, and Mayor Bill Shearon was asked to work with the city clerk in scheduling a follow-up work meeting that would allow for some preliminary decision making.

An impromptu noise ordinance discussion ensued during the commission's regular meeting on Thursday, May 18, when Commissioner Jake Spooner asked Shearon if the work meeting had been scheduled. Shearon said it had not, due to staff and commissioners' vacation plans, and because two of the city's three clerks would be attending an out of state conference in early June.

Vice Mayor John Chappie then shared some of the early feedback he's received.

"I've talked to several business owners on Bridge Street, ones that have entertainment, and they were fine with the way it is. That flat-out surprised me. I thought they would like an experimental period to extend it maybe an hour or two," he said.

Chappie did not specify which business owners he spoke with, but he said they would like to continue the practice of allowing bands to play later on commission-approved holidays.

Shearon then provided a perspective he Shearon then provided a perspective he and some of his Gulf Drive neighbors share.

"Since the action was taken, we haven't gotten any complaints, and it's working because they're policing themselves. The neighborhood is very pleased that the businesses have taken a new approach, and it's not a problem anymore. To do an experiment gets into a whole new conversation – how do you justify it, how do you rate it? My standpoint is it's been that way for four years and then because one person violated it many times we're going to change it?"

Spooner said that was not the same feedback he received, but he did not elaborate.

None of the commissioners addressed Speciale's other suggestion: that sound measurements taken by officer who is not responding to a noise complaint be taken 100 feet from the center of the stage instead of at the establishment's property line, which varies from venue to venue. A measurement taken in response to a complaint is to occur near the home or lodging from which the complaint is made and not at the establishment's property line.

When Shearon claimed the mayor has no control over meeting agendas, Spooner noted that any commissioner can request an item be added to a meeting agenda. He then offered to work with the clerk's office to schedule a work meeting.

Manatee County enforcing water restrictions

Kristin Swain | Sun

Manatee County Water Conservation Specialist Ingrida Barkauskaite
addresses Holmes Beach city leaders and the public
May 18 during the city's public works community forum,
held at city hall.

Due to an ongoing water shortage, Manatee County officials are enforcing the county's water restrictions.

County Water Conservation Specialist Ingrida Barkauskaite spoke to the public May 18 at the Holmes Beach Public Works Community Forum, discussing water management, including the water restrictions currently being enforced.

The water restrictions apply only to irrigation. How the restrictions are determined is based on the property address.

All properties are allowed to irrigate twice per week. Even numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate only Thursday and/or Sunday. Odd numbered addresses irrigate on Wednesday and/or Saturday. For properties with no address, irrigation is allowed Tuesday and/or Friday.

Irrigation is only allowed before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to reduce the amount of water evaporated.

Barkauskaite said the restrictions are effective until July 1 and are set by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which oversees the county's water programs.

Property owners found in violation of the restrictions could receive a warning from the county.

According to Barkauskaite, property owners who are replacing landscaping, including sod, can contact Manatee County Utilities Department to obtain a 60 day waiver from the irrigation restrictions.

For more information, visit www.mymanatee.org/water.


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