The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 12 - December 22, 2010


Waterway Holiday

Harry Stoltzfus
A procession of 17 boats of all shapes and
sizes glitters and glides down the Intracoastal
Waterway Saturday night as part of the Cortez
Yacht Club's 7th Annual Holiday Lighted

All was calm.

All was bright.

Seventeen boats wearing their holiday best twinkled along the glassy Intracoastal Waterway on Saturday night like a brand new string of Christmas lights during the Cortez Yacht Club's 7th Annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.

All-day showers stopped in time for the show, leaving a pink twilight sky lingering on the horizon and a cool nip in the air, just right for the lighted penguin sailboarding on the bow of Holmes Beach resident Laura Ritter's boat.

Randy Stewart, of Lil' Toot charters in Cortez, filled the role of Rudolph as lead boat with the brightest lights of all, as the parade went gently down the channel, passing by the Bridge Street Pier on its way to the Seafood Shack in Cortez. Stewart also helped keep everyone safe by staying in constant radio contact with all the boats, pointing out channel markers and navigational hazards along the way.

Icicles, angels, Santas, Christmas trees and wreaths drifted by, with The Floating Chapel on the Bay bringing up the rear, then taking a shortcut around Jewfish Key, peeking around its northern tip before meeting up with the parade off Bradenton Beach.

Lil' Toot, a 28-foot power boat piloted by Stewart, won the trophy for Happiest Boat. Peter Robinson, of Holmes Beach, won the trophy for Best Theme with his 22-foot sailboat Nellie, and Jason and Cassandra Roznos of Bradenton won the trophy for Best Lit with their 32-foot sailboat Noanker.

The $500 grand prize, courtesy of the Bridge Street Merchants Association of Bradenton Beach, went to Pat and Kyle Roberts of Bradenton with Spring Fever, a 34-foot sailboat.

Honorable mentions went to Patrick and Shawna Francis, of Bradenton for Best Party Boat, Gary and Deb Mink of Bradenton for Best Effort and Kent Weber of Cortez for Live Performance.

The parade was sponsored by the Bridge Street Merchants Association and the Anna Maria Island Sun.

Seven years and still no sand

Carol Whitmore

Little remains of whatever beach there used to be along
Anna Maria's bayside shoreline, as most of it has
been eroded away. SUN PHOTO/MIKE FIELD

ANNA MARIA — Joan Dickinson has been working diligently for the past seven years to bring sand to the strip of beach on Tampa Bay from Bean Point to the Rod&Reel Pier.

It looked as though the renourishment of that stretch of the Island would be included in the upcoming renourishment. Now, that's not going to happen.

Dickinson is asking city commissioners to put the matter on an agenda and invite Manatee County Natural Resources Department Director Charlie Hunsicker and County Commission Chair Carol Whitmore to speak to them about it.

"I was told by Charlie seven years ago that this area could not be considered, because it was not on the Gulf," Dickinson said in a letter to the city. "I challenged that definition, and with great effort by (former Mayor) Fran Barford and others, the state allowed this 'critically eroded beach' to qualify for renourishment."

Dickinson noted that the federal government allocated $300,000 for salaries for Army Corps of Engineers to do an impact study.

Those funds will not cover the cost of the study, and Dickinson wants the city to find some way to come up with the funding to get the study done.

Earlier discussions of the problem included an opinion from the county that this stretch of beach would be the most expensive in the county to renourish.

Because of currents in the area, any sand put down would just wash southward within a very short time.

The only solution appears to be installing a series of five or six groins to hold the sand in place. Estimated cost is about $900,000 per groin.

Dickinson has been working with her neighbors and whatever city and county officials she could find who would listen to get some help for property owners along that part of the bay where there has been so much erosion of sand that waves crash over sea walls during lunar high tides and storm events.

Dickinson has had to sandbag her garage door and shovel the sand out of her driveway on numerous occasions. Her neighbors have experienced the same thing.

The storm water management system the city installed five years ago has not solved the problem for the homeowners on the bay in that section of North Shore.

Last year, it looked as though renourishment would happen, but now the county has no intention of including that area in the renourishment, according to Dickinson.

"I had thought this was a 'done deal," Dickinson said. "I am requesting that the city put this on the agenda, that Mr. Hunsicker and county commissioners be invited to attend and strategies be developed for inclusion."

Dickinson urged property owners in the area to attend the meeting.

There is no word from city hall yet about what date the discussion will be placed on the agenda.

Record set at Chiles Christmas

Santa gathers the children around him for hugs
after he arrives on the beach in a Sheriff's

ANNA MARIA – Despite the cold weather, 160 children participated in fun activities and visited with Santa at the 16th Annual Lawton Chiles Christmas for Kids at the Sandbar last Tuesday.

The children from the Head Start program and Healthy Families Manatee entered the restaurant pavilion under the crossed swords of the Anna Maria Island Privateers, who also handed out stocking treats. Their first stop inside was to visit clowns Snow Bird and Sparky as they twisted colorful balloons into fun shapes.

After that they had their pick of a host of activities such as getting their faces painted with Christmas symbols, making holiday cards and Christmas trees with stickers and glitter, digging in the sand for buried treasure or fishing in the pond for prizes.

Costumed characters such as Pooh Bear, Frosty the Snowman, Spiderman, Blue Dog and the Cat in the Hat strolled the area hugging the children and posing for pictures.

The tables were then cleared of crafts and Privateers, clowns and costumed characters served the children and their parents a finger food lunch of French fries and chicken tenders. As they were eating, Jacob Castro serenaded them with a selection of Christmas songs.

Then there was a clamor and the jolly fat man in the red suit arrived in a Sheriff's Office truck. Santa jumped out and called the children to him, hugging them and laughing with his hearty ho, ho ho before moving to the decorated gazebo to dispense presents.

Each child was called by name to receive a bag of gifts and another hug from Santa. Each child's family also received a food basket with a complete turkey dinner and all the trimmings.

Special Christmas services offered

It's good to get all your Christmas shopping done, but you shouldn't forget the reason for the season and the Island's churches will be there to help you and your family celebrate the birth of Christ.

Here's a listing of special Christmas services on the Island.

• CrossPointe Fellowship (Baptist), 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, 778-0719: There will be a candlelight service on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m.

•Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, 778-1638: Parishoners will celebrate the Holy Eucharist with music during a family service on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m. At 10:30 p.m., they will sing carols during the service and at 11 p.m., there will be a solemn high Eucharist with the choir. On Christmas Day, they will celebrate the Holy Eucharist with music at 10 a.m.

•Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 778-1813: Parishoners will hold a festive worship service with carols by candlelight and holy communion at 7 and 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and a 9:30 a.m. worship service on Christmas Day.

•Harvey Memorial Community Church (non-denominational), 300 Church St., Bradenton Beach, 779-1912: There will be a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. and no serivce on Christmas Day.

•Roser Memorial Community Church (non denominational), 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, 778-0414: There will be a candlelight family service featuring 10-foot puppets and a Nativity pageant at 5:30 p.m. and a 9 p.m. service on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, a 10 a.m. service in the chapel on Christmas Day.

• St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach, 778-4769: Parishoners will hold a Penance Reconciliation on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. On Christmas Eve, they hold a family/children's mass at 4 p.m. and a Mass of the Nativity at 10 p.m. On Christmas Day, there will be Masses held at 8 and 10 a.m.

Village powers up solar Christmas tree

The solar tree is believed to be the only one

When Lizzie and Mike Thrasher commit to building and living green, they don't neglect the details.

There is a "green" Christmas tree sited at the Anna Maria Historic Green Village site that's emerging on Pine Avenue. The Christmas tree, believed to be the only one of its kind in the entire state, is powered solely by the sun.

"Tom Stockebrand, our solar expert, took a very simple solar panel, generating 175 watts of energy over five hours," the press release stated. "He hooked up a bunch of 24-volt batteries to store the energy and an inverter, which converts the energy into an electrical current to turn the tree lights on."

The lights are hooked to a timer, so the tree goes on when the sun goes down, and they remain lit until 11 p.m. each night.

The panel actually generates more power than the Christmas lights need.

The Historic Green Village will be powered primarily by the sun. There are already solar power panels on two other Pine Avenue Thrasher business ventures — Beach Bums and the garage building just to the west of it.

To learn more about the green initiatives the Thrashers have underway, log onto

Hoilday cheer on Bridge Street
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Victoria Terrell, dressed as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
shares a laugh with Santa at Christmas on Bridge Street.

BRADENTON BEACH – The weatherman almost played Grinch last Saturday, but the rain and winds came early and it turned into a perfect evening for the city's Christmas on Bridge Street. The only inclement weather came out of a snow machine that disc jockey Tom Barrons brought to give Florida kids an idea of what falls out of the sky up north every winter.

The celebration was held in the parking lot of the Historic Bridge Street Pier and it included a long train of tables displaying gift baskets and wreaths being raffled. City Commissioners Gay Breuler and Jan Vosburgh did a remarkable job of selling tickets for $1 each or arm-lengths of tickets for $20. One tall gentleman became very popular at the raffle table as people took advantage of his generous "wingspan" to measure their tickets. The money raised and food brought by the crowd went to food banks on the Island and the mainland.

Barrons kept the holiday music going between live performances by the Island Rockers, who gave a hearty rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock" and other popular songs from the radio charts of years past. The Rowlett Elementary School drama and chorus students wowed the crowd with their lively performance of "Christmas Around the World." As they sang, Santa and Mrs. Claus talked with kids from their perch beneath the clock tower.

As the light faded, more people arrived to find good observation sites for the Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade, many of them stopped at the shops that were open. Rotten Ralph's on the pier offered specials for those who decided to make it a dinner date as well and others found dinner at the Bridge Tender.

As the music ended and the crowd headed for the pier, the snow machine spit out the last "flake" of what was billed as snow on Bridge Street. It was a successful night for the Bridge Street Merchants, who organized it, plus the city of Bradenton Beach and the Anna Maria Island Sun, which sponsored it. Everyone there was happy that the only inclement weather there was man-made.

Homeowner fined for no permit

BRADENTON BEACH – A homeowner will have to pay a $2,000 fine and $1,104.64 in city expenses for having a contractor install roof panels on a home without a permit, increasing the lot coverage past the maximum amount of coverage allowed.

The decision was rendered by special magistrate Harold Youmans in a case against David A. Niewick, owner of the home at 303 23rd St. N., Units A and B.

Niewick was not there, but local builder Jeff Hostetler represented him at the hearing on Dec. 15.

The case was brought by Bradenton Beach Building Official Steve Gilbert, who noticed the new roof panels while inspecting another job. He checked for a permit and when he found none, he directed Code Enforcement Officer Gail Garneau to send the owner a notice that a permit is required for his review.

In addition to not having a permit, Gilbert said the additional roof panels push the lot coverage past the 35 percent allowed under the building code. Youmans took note of that.

"Submission of a permit will not change the fact that the building, as it stands today, is in violation of the code," he said.

Youmans noted, however, that there is some argument over that fact because some lot measurements place the size of the lot higher than what is listed on a survey.

When asked for a response to Gilbert's presentation, Hostetler said that the contractor, Bringman Roofing, charged Niewick to get a permit, and it was up to Bringman to do so.

"You have brought up something that I have heard many many times," Youmans said. "However, the property owner is responsible for an agent doing any work on his property."

Youmans denied Hostetler's motion to make Bringman responsible for the permit.

Hostetler argued that the affidavit of violation that the city sent gives Niewick 30 days to bring the violation into compliance, but the building official has 30 days to study the violation, which cuts into the time the builder has to decide how to handle the violation.

Youmans pointed out that the violation really addresses whether there is a permit, and the answer to that is to get one. When he asked Hostetler if he has a permit to install the roof panel now, he said he did.

Youmans asked Garneau if the city had a recommended fine for the violation. She said $250 per day from Sept. 27, when the violation was reported, to Nov. 23, when they got a permit, for a total of $14,500 plus money for city enforcement expenses.

Youmans, after a short recess, ruled that the fine should be $2,000, plus the $1,104.64 for expenses.

Commissioners know how to throw a party
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Above, City Clerk Alice Baird, left, chats with
George and Fran Barford at the Anna Maria staff and
volunteer Christmas party.

ANNA MARIA — Each year, city commissioners give a Christmas party for the city staff and for members of the volunteer boards and committees.

It's a tradition that started five years ago at the suggestion of Commissioner Dale Woodland, and it's become an annual tradition in the city.

The commissioners pay for the festivities out of their own pockets. Staff members are not allowed to help. They are ordered to just attend the party and enjoy.

This year, newly elected Mayor Mike Selby agreed to take on the main organizational tasks. His wife, Mary, was the driving force behind the scenes.

"I want to thank everyone for what they do for this city," Selby told the partygoers. "We are blessed with an outstanding staff, and we have wonderful volunteers on our boards and committees."

Selby also said he had a new appreciation for the work former Mayor Fran Barford had done for the city.

"We were really fortunate to have her in office during a difficult time," he said. "I'm not sure anyone else could have done it."

Each commissioner contributed to the affair, and businesses in the community stepped up to help out with the refreshments.

"Every single business we approached was glad to contribute," Mary Selby said. "Not one of them refused. We have a wonderful business community. "They're a real asset to Anna Maria.

Contributing businesses included Becky Makes Cakes, Commissioner Mattick and Family, Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant, Ginny's and Jane E.'s, Rod&Reel Pier restaurant, Sandbar restaurant, Slim's Place, Rudy's, Olive Oil Outpost, Feeling Swell, Waste Pro, Sign of the Mermaid, Anna Maria General Store and Sylvia's Flower Corner.

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