The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 32 - May 29, 2013


One Packed Island
Carol Whitmore


Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Brockman said Friday the Chamber had been getting calls from people wanting to know where rooms might be available, but few resorts had called saying they had a room for rent.

The Chamber has a service for member resorts and rental agents who might not be sold out or get a last-minute cancellation. If they call the Chamber and tell them there is something available, Chamber volunteers will try to match people needing places to stay with them. Apparently, she said, people made their reservations early and few had to cancel.

Meanwhile, Saturday appeared to start off slow in some areas. The roadside at Manatee Avenue heading for Manatee Public Beach had some of the overflow from the parking lot but at 3:30 p.m., traffic was flowing well. However, Sunday was another story.

Westbound traffic on Manatee Avenue in Bradenton was moving at a snail’s pace, according to witnesses and that two-lane line extended east to 37th Street.

On the Island, Coquina Beach was overflowing, according to Bradenton Beach Police Sgt. James Gill. He said there were no incidents of violence.

“It was packed full and we had people in the water, under the trees and in the groves,” said Manatee County Lifeguard Marshall Greene. “We had a few assists and some missing children reported, but no rescues.”

Manatee County Beach was also packed, according to Lifeguard Joe Griffith.

“It was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it,” Griffith said. “Normally the number of parking spaces limits the number of people, and they were parked up and down Manatee Avenue.”

Griffith said he had to navigate through the crowd on an emergency call.

“I had to answer a lost child call at the Sandbar restaurant and if it had not been a low tide, I would have had to go off the beach and onto the road,” he said. “If the water had been any higher, I never would have made it.”

On Monday, he observed, “The parking lot is nearly full and it isn’t 10 a.m. yet.”

Here it comes - hurricane season 2013

The hurricane predictions are coming in, and it looks like it will be an active season, although it’s a hit-or-miss situation when forecasting the number of storms and where they are going to strike.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its predictions on Thursday, May 23, and they foresee an active 2013 hurricane season, which begins June 1 and officially ends Nov. 30.

NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science prediction, released April 10 by Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray calls for nine hurricanes, 18 named storms, 95 named storm days, 40 hurricane days, four major hurricanes (Category 3-5) and nine major hurricane days. All of those predictions are more than the median.

Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby, who also serves as the city’s safety officer, attended the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference, and he said the damage from Hurricane Sandy last year is changing the way some authorities want to see storms labeled.

“Sandy was only a Category 1 storm around the wall, where they measure, but it was a big storm and winds along the outer area of the storm were strong enough to be a Category 5,” he said. “Some of the authorities were talking about changing the way they measure storms. Some storms are more water storms and some are more windstorms.”

For Island residents, now is the time to prepare. You’ll need emergency supplies of water, non-perishable food, batteries, a portable radio with a weather band and you should bundle important documents like insurance policies and any medications family members take. Bring a camera and a cell phone and make sure you have a car charger for that phone.

Cosby had some other advice.

“Make sure you know where you are going,” he said. “Make a plan so family members know where they should go and make sure you have a plan for pets.”

While the predictions sound dire, nobody knows where storms are going to hit so preparation is vital.

“It only takes one storm hitting our area to make it a bad year,” Cosby said.

Hi, my name is... 2013 hurricane names


Holiday weekend a memorable one

Sunny with a breeze; not too humid; crystal clear water at 83 degrees – it was a recipe for the beach this Memorial Day weekend, and throngs came to Anna Maria Island, the fourth best island in the country, according to TripAdvisor.

A couple who lives in Sarasota said they chose Anna Maria Island for the weekend because Siesta Key beach, which is closer to their home, has been too crowded since it won recognition as Dr. Beach’s Best Beach in America in 2011.

Indiana visitors Dana Miller and Carol Harder decided to take a beach getaway after a conference in Orlando, and searched the Internet for “secluded” and “Gulf beach” and found Anna Maria Island’s old Florida moniker.

“Is it always this crowded? Miller asked, pointing to wall-to-wall beach umbrellas.

Another couple, Jim and Pam Rybak, of Ohio, were vacationing on Siesta Key and decided to venture north to Anna Maria Island to visit friends and family, and found it less crowded than Siesta.

But patch for patch, Anna Maria Island beaches were packed on the traditional summer kickoff weekend, with jet skis zooming up and down just off the beach and paddleboarders weaving in and out of swimmers and snorkelers.

In Bradenton Beach, BridgeWalk and Silver Surf were sold out, said owner Barbara Rodocker, a member of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council (TDC).

“It’s the continuation of a really good winter and spring,” she said, adding, “We expect it go on all summer.”

Seaside Inn, Tortuga Inn, Tradewinds Resort and Old Bridge Village in Bradenton Beach also were full.

“There’s not even a closet left,” said owner David Teitelbaum, also a TDC member, adding that Siesta Key’s #1 beach ranking may have backfired by making it too popular.

But crowds are typical for Memorial Day weekend, he said, although many visitors stayed longer than the three days.

Cedar Cove in Holmes Beach also was full for the weekend, owner Eric Cairns said, and bookings for the summer are “better than ever.”

Bookings are up from this time last year, said Larry Chatt, of Island Real Estate, which is renting by the week.

“Three night rentals create more wear and tear, and owners don’t want that, so we book a week,” he said.

While Memorial Day weekend doesn’t match Fourth of July weekend, it’s an uptick in the shoulder season, between main tourist seasons, he said, adding that summer season starts when school lets out – this year, the second week of June – and ends when school goes back in session.


Wind insurance soars for vacation rentals

Condominium associations with 25 percent or more of their units rented on a short-term basis are being reclassified from residential to commercial accounts and limited to $1 million in coverage by state-run Citizens Insurance.

The change applies to association policies for multi-unit buildings, duplexes, or any building in the condominium form of ownership with transient occupancy – 25 percent or more of the total number of units rented for less than 30 days more than three times a month, said Mike Angers, vice president of Brown and Brown in Sarasota, who specializes in condo insurance.

To beat soaring rates, some are implementing new condo rules requiring owners to limit rentals to a minimum of 30 days, Sarasota condo lawyer David Muller said, adding that association boards are finding out about the change as their policies are renewed.

Condo association boards “will have to look at what they allow their owners to do,” Bradenton insurance agent and state Rep. Jim Boyd said. Condo landlords presented with proposed changes in condo rules are weighing the potential loss of vacation rental income against the certainty of higher association fees to cover rate hikes.

Some tourism officials have expressed concern that higher rates will be passed on to tourists, who will take vacations elsewhere and that illegal rentals could multiply, with a resulting loss in resort tax revenue.

If condo owners “tack on the extra cost of wind insurance they will have even higher rates, and people will think twice about where they stay,” Manatee County Tourist Development Council member and Bradenton Beach hotelier David Teitelbaum said.

“You can’t charge that to renters,” he said. “Nobody has thought this through. They’re going to realize tourism is the highest grossing item. This has far reaching implications.”

It’s not the only Citizens change that’s affecting condos, Angers said; the Tangerine Bay Club on Longboat Key recently was notified of an increase in its Citizens policy from $49,000 a year to $450,000 a year due to a change in the company’s definition of construction classes. The new policy changes a building’s classification to a more expensive category for both association and individual policies if the roof is not concrete, he said.

Citizens policyholders were relieved when the Florida Legislature dropped rate hikes from a new law passed in the final days of the session earlier this month.

Under the new law, policyholders will not see much change in rates, according to Citizens spokesman Michael Peltier, adding that rate caps remain intact and new customers are protected from rate increases.

Some policyholders also will be funneled into approved private carriers if their rates are not more expensive than Citizens rates, he said.

Parents react to budget cuts


Parents and students, including many from Anna Maria
Elementary School, hold up protest signs in front of the
Manatee School District headquarters. Former AME student
Ourania Lardas holds the sign facing the camera.


HOLMES BEACH – As the school year enters its final weeks, an Anna Maria Elementary School parent has started a petition drive to thwart teacher and staff cuts mandated by the Manatee County School District last week.

Karen Riley-Love, of Cortez, said she has collected more than 1,000 signatures and that number is growing. She plans to present them to Manatee School Superintendant Rick Mills at his Soup with the Supe public luncheon on Wednesday, May 29.

The petition says that teacher eliminations are not an option, and it could be found at; or texted at

Riley-Love has written a letter to the Bradenton Herald saying one of the teachers likely to be cut, Pidge Taylor, teaches her daughter, Bella, and she faces elimination because she was hired as a teacher in 2006, even though she spent 12 years working as a teacher’s aide and other non-teacher positions. She was also The Sun’s Reader’s Choice teacher this year.

The school district has ordered teachers, staff and principals to not talk to the press, but Principal Gary Marshall released a statement Friday saying there would be four fewer teaching positions available, three of them would involve laying off teachers and one would be a specials teacher. The school requested that the media specialist remain a full-time position and the guidance counselor position will become part-time. The note said Cindi Harrison is satisfied with that.

The message said that next school year, there will be 12 teachers - two for each grade - at AME.

PTO President Sue Carroll, who participated in the protest Monday at the school district with her son, Will, said the protest was organized by other teachers and attended by numerous AME parents and kids. She said the parents are keeping in touch via digital media and phones, and she is not certain whether they will hold other rallies.

The teacher eliminations are part of a plan to balance the district’s budget, which fell considerably short due to administrative errors. In all, the teacher cuts would save the district $11,330,588.

Mills was recently hired as superintendant and he has spent most of his time coming up with a plan to save the district more than $20 million.

Prepare now for blood drive

HOLMES BEACH – Register now for the Island Blood Drive at the St. Bernard Catholic Church Activity Center, 248 S. Harbor Drive on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Go online to Use code MTFF0 (M-T-F-F-zero).

Before you go, make sure you bring some identification.

Each blood donation triggers a $1,000 donation from an anonymous benefactor, and you decide which one gets your donation between the Anna Maria Island Community Center, the Anna Maria Island Privateers, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation, Inc. and the West Manatee Fire Rescue Auxiliary.

According to Germán F. Leparc, M.D., chief medical officer of Oneblood, Inc., there are differences between men and women in what giving blood does to their bodies.

Each donation of a pint of blood results in the loss of approximately 250 mg of iron. Iron is needed to make the red pigment in the blood cells that transports oxygen to all the cells in our body. Under normal circumstances,and with proper, balanced diet, the iron loss is replenished within three to four weeks. However, regular blood donation may be taxing for the iron reserves of some women during their menstruating years. The average female loses the cumulative equivalent of one pint of blood yearly through her menstrual cycles.

Conversely, men can be benefited by the iron loss, as an oversupply of this metal may increase the incidence of heart disease according to some long-term studies. The annual blood drive is sponsored by Oneblood, Inc., The Anna Maria Island Sun, the BeachHouse restaurant, The Bradenton Herald and Dominos Pizza.

Fishermen rescue swimmer

CORTEZ – Two Cortez fishing boats were loaded down with fish and in a race back to the fish house in Cortez to unload when they saw a swimmer being swept from Longboat Pass out into the Gulf of Mexico last Wednesday.

Wade and Lightning Campbell aboard the Trista Lynn were in the lead against fisherman Harry Mofield on the Barbara Ann, but they were closer to the swimmer, so they turned back to fetch him and dropped him off on Beer Can Island, from where he started, according to Kathe Fannon, of Capt. Kathe and First Mate Pup Pup boat tours, who witnessed the event.

That left Mofield as the clear winner in the race to unload at the fish house.

But when the Campbells pulled up, ready to wait an hour to unload, they saw that Mofield, in true Southern gentleman style, had pulled over and docked elsewhere, clearing the way for the lifesavers to go first.

Oddly enough, or maybe not, Mofield is the former Florida Highway Patrol trooper who posed for the Arrive Alive highway safety campaign in the 1970s, Fannon said.

Last month, another swimmer, 6-year-old Lamontea Taylor, drowned after being caught in a current while swimming on the Anna Maria Island side of Longboat Pass. Swimming is prohibited from either side of the pass.


Cortez commercial fishermen on the Trista Lynn
saved a life on Wednesday – just business
as usual at sea.

Waterfront seeks full liquor service

ANNA MARIA – Customers of the Waterfront restaurant, 111 S. Bay Blvd., sing the praises of the food and view and most are content to wash it down with beer or wine, but they might soon be able to order a cocktail, if owner Jason Suzor gets his request.

Suzor and his attorney, Scott Rudacille, appeared before the City Commission Thursday night.

“The city currently prohibits full liquor service, and the only exception is the Sandbar,” Rudacille told the commissioners. “The overwhelming feedback we have received is there should be a way for Waterfront to serve alcohol without changing the ordinance.”

Rudacille said currently, restaurants have to serve at least 60 percent food if they serve liquor and he suggested a change in the alcohol ordinance that would allow a currently standing restaurant to go full service. He suggested the restaurant would have to be in business five years before being allowed to serve liquor.

“The restaurant could only be open between 10 a.m. and midnight,” Rudacille suggested. “My mama always said nothing good happens after midnight.”

That comment drew a laugh from those attending the meeting, but City Commission Chair John Quam had a question.

“Why not just approve the Waterfront instead of laying out a platform for any restaurant to go five years and then sell liquor?” he asked.

Commissioner Chuck Webb outlined the current ordinance which says the applicant must have no history of problems serving beer and wine. He said the beer and wine license stays with the applicant, not the business, and he suggested the applicant get a liquor license to apply to the city.

City Attorney Jim Dye said the state requires some interest by the city before an applicant could get a license. Dye said the only thing the city could address to control liquor sales would be the hours of operation and the location.

The commission agreed to have staff look into it, but Dye pointed out public comment would be good at that point.

“I have a concern because of the changing of the time from 10 to midnight,” said neighbor Trisha Nolan. “Right now, we hear noise from the deck."

Richard Carey, another neighbor, said he did not envision living next to a bar when he built his home.

“Thursday nights they have a wine tasting on the deck because it goes until 10 p.m.,” Carey said. “Actually, some stay till 11 p.m., and I’m concerned about it going until midnight. I don’t think this Island is designed for a bar in a residential area.”

Former Holmes Beach Mayor and current Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, a frequent customer of the Waterfront, knows Suzor and said he’s a responsible businessman.

“I don’t drink, but my husband likes a scotch once in a while,” Whitmore said. “I agree that permission stays with the owner. It would be an incentive for him not to sell.”

Longtime resident and former Planning and Zoning Board Chair Doug Copeland talked about the history of alcohol in the city.

“In 2000 the city let restaurants serve beer and wine,” Copeland said. “Since this change, we have seen restaurants act responsibly. Alcohol is alcohol whether it’s wine and beer or hard liquor.”

Suzor testified and said his closing hour is realistically 9 p.m., instead of 10 p.m., as advertised. He said he would be happy to retain the 10 p.m. closing instead of midnight, as originally requested through Rudacille.

That made resident Jill Morris happier. She said she was against serving until midnight.

“Otherwise, I am 100 percent in favor of allowing liquor sales at Waterfront,” she said.

Former Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy John Damato, who is now a real estate agent, said he has no problem with the added service.

“If anybody is worried about alcohol being a problem, in my career every drunk I ever dealt with only had 'two beers,’” he said. “It won’t be a nightclub, it’s a nice restaurant. As a deputy, the only complaint I had regarding the Waterfront was parking.”

The Commission will hear suggestions from the city attorney and city staff in the near future.

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