The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 51 - October 16, 2013


T-shirts fly as pier repairs begin
Carol Whitmore


J&J Graphics owner Joan Carter quickly sold out
her original order and has ordered more several times.


ANNA MARIA – Work has begun on the Rod and Reel Pier restaurant following the fire Monday, Sept. 30, that damaged the structure. Workers can be seen at the pier, where a gate keeps out people. Two storage pods are in the parking lot holding furniture and other items that would be in the way as they replace the walls that were damaged.

West Manatee Fire Rescue Inspector Keith Miller reported last week the cause of the fire was accidental as the result of radiant heat over time. The origin was located on the south side of the structure on the second floor inside the wall protecting the fryers. The heat caused the wall to decompose over time and spontaneous combustion took place the morning of the fire.

Meanwhile, efforts to help the staff of the restaurant continue. Joan Carter, of J&J Graphics, had some T-shirts printed showing the Rod and Reel logo with a smoky theme. For instance, “roasted oysters” instead of “fried,” and “scorched jalapeno peppers” instead of “hot.”

“I had to order more shirts shortly after I got the first 100,” Carter said. “I’ve reordered several times and the total number of shirts ordered so far is 276.”

Carter said Kandie Kerekes, owner of The Three Island Monkeys, is selling the shirts on weekends and will be doing so this weekend so people headed to or from Bayfest Saturday will be able to get shirts at the Island Sun Plaza, 9801 Gulf Drive. At Palm Avenue.

Carter said she footed the bill for the first 100 T-shirts but after that, she had to take some of the proceeds from the first batch to pay for subsequent orders. Otherwise, 100 percent of the proceeds after expenses will go toward All Island Denominations. If you buy a shirt, they take cash or checks made out to All Island Denominations Food Bank.

If you want to donate money without purchasing a T-shirt, donations may be sent to A.I.D., P.O. Box 305, Anna Maria, FL 34216.


Concerns raised over note-passing

HOLMES BEACH – Mayor Carmel Monti and Commissioner Judy Titsworth were the subjects of scrutiny at the Tuesday, Oct. 8 commission meeting, when an anonymous citizen reported seeing Monti pass a note to Titsworth while the two were seated next to each other on the dais.

Following the apparent note-passing, another Holmes Beach resident addressed the commission and expressed concerns about a potential Sunshine Law violation and requested that the note’s contents be shared with the public.

City Attorney Patricia Petruff said she did not know if passing a note constituted a Sunshine Law violation, but she did say that if a note pertains to city business it is part of the public record and any member of the public has the right to see it.

After further discussion Titsworth responded to a question pertaining to the existence of a note by saying, “I know of no note.” When asked again, Titsworth said, “I didn’t see a note.”

The mayor offered no comment on the matter.

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, told The Sun via e-mail, “I don’t think any laws were broken because the note was not revealed at the meeting. And the passing of notes isn’t a violation, so long as those notes, if relating to public business, are provided pursuant to a public record request.”

Petersen also said, “If the note was public record, then anyone requesting a copy has a reasonable right of access – not instantaneous. If the note said only that everyone was behaving well, it’s arguable whether it’s public record (I would argue yes). If you requested the note at the end of the meeting, you might have to wait until the following day when a copier was available.”

Wednesday morning, Titsworth sent a letter to local media outlets amending her stance from the previous evening.

In it, she said, “I honestly did not remember a passing of a note,” noting that she was so assured in her response that she “reveled in being right” due to the efforts by some to “make elected officials look bad.”

Titsworth’s letter went on to say, “After the meeting I was explaining the story to my husband when the mayor called. He had gone through his papers and reminded me of a note he had written on his pad. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten about it. There was a note, and the note from the mayor read, ‘Everybody is being so nice…What’s up with that?’ Obviously he formed his opinion too soon.”

By way of her letter, Titsworth also offered a “sincere apology” to the two individuals who raised the issue.

Sun's dog costume contest Oct. 26
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


The deadline for entering your pooch in the 11th Annual Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper’s Canine Halloween Costume Contest is Wednesday, Oct. 23, so get down to The Sun and do it today. The limit is 50 dogs.

The contest will be held at the Island Sun parking lot on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m. Sign in starts at 12:30 p.m. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third places and there will be additional prizes for the most original, cutest and best celebrity entry.

Walgreens will set up a booth to take pictures of the dogs and their owners that they will be giving out. Everyone is encouraged to bring a pet toy, pet food or pet supplies that will be donated to foster homes for the Manatee County No Kill pets. Walgreens is a drop-off point for the cause.

This contest has been popular from its first year and every year the costumes get funnier and wilder. Pet owners can be part of the entry and past entries included pets and owners wearing matching costumes and pets in wagons decorated to a theme. Try your luck or just come out and watch. It’s a happy Halloween event.


Bayfest is a shopper’s delight

ANNA MARIA – When you walk down Pine Avenue during Bayfest Saturday, you’ll be treated to a variety of arts and crafts, gift ideas, home furnishings and items to remind visitors of their vacations.

Many of the vendors have been around for several years. Check out Rhonda Kay’s funny signage, the unique jewelry of Tide and The Moon, Cat Jewels and Island Jewels. Other vendors include Jessee, Egyptian, Scentsy, Salada Designs, Crystal Dreams, Debbie Designs, Angela’s Organics and Creepy Kool.

In addition, the shops along Pine Avenue will be open. Redesigned and renovated within the last four years, Pine Avenue has become a shopping destination for residents and visitors from the Tampa Bay region to Sarasota County. Walk through one of the unique shops with the large porches in front and you’ll find gifts, home furnishings, exotic foods and more.

Other vendors will be tending to hungry festivalgoers and they represent the best of the local food outlets. The Waterfront restaurant will be serving their famous fish tacos and tangy ceviche; the Anna Maria Island Privateers will offer hamburgers and Buccaneer Corn on the Cob; Village Idiot Pizza will sell cheese and pepperoni pizza; T & J Bar B Q will feature ribs, chicken, mac and cheese and collard greens; Quality Foods International will serve gyro, chicken or lamb plates, Greek salad, crab cakes, shrimp baskets and grouper sandwiches; the Sandbar will offer Cajun oysters and lobster rolls; and Tyler’s Ice Cream will feature ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. In addition, Tradewinds Concessions will be selling fresh squeezed lemonade; Corky’s will be selling hot dogs, sausages and funnel cakes; Island Gourmet Grill will feature oysters on the half shell; and the Feast Restaurant will offer coconut shrimp and wings.

There will be ample opportunities to quench your thirst. The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce will be dispensing beer, wine and rum to those who have identification plus soda and water by the food court. There will likely be a water and soda dispenser or two along Pine Avenue.

If you are coming to Bayfest from somewhere on the Island, take the free trolley and avoid parking hassles. If you’re coming from off the Island, you can park in the lot at CrossPointe Fellowship at 8605 Gulf Drive, near the Holmes Beach-Anna Maria border, and take the trolley.

Bayfest is sponsored by the Chamber, The Anna Maria Island Sun, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society, Miller Electric, Engel and Volkers real estate, Budweiser and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. LaPensee Plumbing and Pools is the car show sponsor and the music sponsors are Island Real Estate, Anna Maria Island Resort, American Beauty Pools and Hancock Bank.

Come on out and kick off the festive season at Bayfest, in Anna Maria.

Delightful surprises in Island Players mystery


Front row, left to right: Sylvia Marnie as Julia,
Heiko Knipfelberg as Arthur, Chrissy Abdala as Brenda.
Back: Mary Jo Johnson as Holly, John Durkin as Simon
and Steve Horowitz as Sergeant.

ANNA MARIA – As the new, plush, fire-engine-red curtain opened at the Island Players Theatre last Friday night, the stage never looked better. Stage designer Jan Van Wart made a beautiful setting for the action, which was set in 1964 on the outskirts of London.

As the lights went up, Heiko Knipfelberg as mystery writer Arthur Putnam was writing at his desk, and his wife, Julia, played by Silvia Marnie, lay on the couch reading. He asked her repeatedly if she liked what he wrote and she patiently assured him it was the best she ever read.

From that scene, one of the strangest plots ever unfolded involving a murder, a breach of marriage vows, an arrest and an upcoming trial before the true murderers are caught, but that isn’t the plot of the play as much as the plot of Arthur’s latest book.

As the old joke goes, “I’d like to tell you more but then I’d have to kill you.”

The cast was perfect, tossing about English accents like they were born in the United Kingdom but only Marnie could claim that as her birthright. There were some jokes about visiting Wales instead of England that might be attributable to director Gareth Gibbs’ home country.

True, the first act was a bit slow and some of us whose hearing is past its prime had to pay attention to the accents, but following the appearance of a woman who said Arthur and she had had an affair and she was demanding money to keep quiet, things picked up.

Knipfelberg and Marnie were quite convincing. The two carried the majority of the lines and they were quite loveable as an author and his retired tennis champion wife.

James Durkin was spot-on as Arthur’s son (by a previous wife) who was asking for money to buy a restaurant. Dad wanted nothing to do with it citing his son’s past failures to make a living.

Island Players newcomer Steve Horowitz was excellent as a detective friend of Arthur’s who had to arrest his friend after the “other woman,” Brenda Simmons, played well by Chrissy Abdala, disappeared after making her demand for money.

Holly Adams, played by Mary Jo Johnson, who resembles Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock in looks and talent, was perfect as an editorial assistant for Arthur. Finally, veteran Island Players actress Judy Glynn played Brooke Carmichael, a character I can’t explain without giving away Bernard Slade’s wonderful plot.

If you’re curious about the storyline, you should get a ticket and get ready for some fun but we warn you, Friday’s performance was sold out and they don’t always sell out this early in the season. Once word gets out about this play, you might miss out.

Tickets for “An Act of the Imagination” are $20. The ticket office is located inside the theater at 10009 Gulf Drive, at the corner of Pine Avenue and Gulf Drive. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on performance nights, one hour before the curtain. Performances are Tuesday though Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Saturday matinee is at 1 p.m. There is no performance on Mondays.

Pirate Ball tickets in high demand


The comic act Arrr, ink, will entertain the crowds
at the Anna Maria Island Privateers invastion on Nov. 2
and 3. The group's act is family rated.

Lisa "Lash" Ritchey of The Anna Maria Island Privateers and Chair of the "Grande Pirate Masquerade Ball" to be held Friday, Nov. 1 reports that only 75 tickets remain to the event.

"It's my strong recommendation that those who want to attend buy their tickets now. Up to this point the only advertising for this event has been word of mouth and social media. Given the flurry of last minute responses from the community I see a total sell out looming."

Meanwhile, the Anna Maria Island Privateers have announce their Inaugural Pirate Invasion Skirmish. The Skullywag will begin its trip south down the island starting from east end of Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Saturday, November 2, at 10 a.m. It is projected to reach the Pirate Invasion festival grounds at Coquina Beach some time around noon.

"Given that we arr talkin bout a skirmish here mate...the times be estimates, depends on how many pirate crews we encounter along Gulf Drive", says Privateer, Tim "Hammer" Thompson. "Word is, thar be several crews that arrr looking to find Jean Lafitte's Ghost Ship and arr travelin from afar to beat us to it." hears some of them arr comin prepared and will be waitin for us as we head south.," adds Ron "Candyman" Fisher.

Ever wonder what in the world is an Arrr, ink? Easy mate, it’s Acme Rouge and Ruffin Recruiters. Pirate entertainment troop. Piratical comedy for young and old.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers are proud to announce Arrr, ink will be at the Pirate Invasion and will be entertaining and delighting the crowds both Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3.

The Arrr, ink story began when after seeing a need for more family friendly pirates their Captain Oddly Odiferous suggested the crew start with a focus on the kid. “What better a time to recruit then when they are young!” So Acme Rouge and Ruffin Recruiters were born. The crew kept in mind that all ages want entertainment and kids do not like to be talked down to, so the smaller pirates and the bigger kids can always enjoy an Arrr ink show too.

For more information on this fascinating traveling group of family friendly pirates visit

County parks, preserves to merge

The Manatee County Natural Resources Department and Parks and Recreation Department have merged to become the Parks and Natural Resources Department, combining the operation of county parks and preserves under one umbrella.

Merging the two departments, which shared responsibilities for beaches, boat ramps and other outdoor recreational amenities, will save about $250,000 a year, with five parks department employees terminated, including Director Cindy Turner, Manatee County spokesperson Nicholas Azzara said.

Natural Resources Department Director Charlie Hunsicker will head the new entity.

“Under Charlie’s leadership, we will accomplish a truly global view of the recreational amenities needed to serve our growing community at a critical time as we implement the ‘How Will We Grow’ plan,” Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said in a press release. “What’s more, Natural Resources may put to greater use its exceptional volunteer network which benefits from thousands of hours of donated time to the county each year.”

Existing programs, athletic leagues and recreational opportunities will continue, according to Azzara.

The Manatee County Property Management Department will take over maintenance of parks and preserves, including indoor facilities.

Commission discusses city pier tenant

ANNA MARIA – The man who owns the franchise for the city pier has written a letter to Mayor SueLynn regarding the city commission’s discussion of parking problems, prompting some criticism from city officials.

Mario Schoenfelder said if the city requires paid parking in most of the city but allows day visitors to park in the lot that serves the Anna Maria City Pier, the lot would always be packed by all kinds of visitors and only a few, if any, parking spaces would be left for pier visitors. He quoted City Commissioner Chuck Webb as saying, “The pier tenant owns the parking spaces under the lease and therefore should do whatever is needed to ensure their use for their customers.”

The letter said in light of talk about paid parking, he has already gotten a bid from a Tampa company to install gates to the parking lot.

The letter further states he has seen progress from the city on a proposal to transfer the pier maintenance from the tenant to the city and asked when he might hear of a decision. He also asked for a response to his request that the city upgrade the electrical and fire suppression systems at the pier, which was not a part of the franchise agreement.

At last Thursday’s work session, Webb reacted saying Schoenfelder took his remarks out of context.

“If he puts up a gate, it’s a violation of the agreement. He doesn’t have use of all that space,” Webb said. “I’ve been told they have 10 spaces on the north end and 10 on the south. “

Mayor SueLynn said Schoenfelder already agreed to pay more rent for the city taking over maintenance, but Web said it was his understanding the tenant had breached the lease. SueLynn said Schoenfelder agreed to pay for $14,000 worth of work. Webb said he dug up the bid records for the pier franchise and Schoenfelder was the only bidder to propose paying for the maintenance.

“I think before we discuss anything, the tenant is going to have to perform maintenance,” Webb said. “They’re not obligated to make upgrades but they are to maintain and keep it in repair. Give him 60 days.

“We need to do something because it’s not getting done,” Webb added. “I saw one report that said the electrical boxes are not up to snuff and they had too many extension cords. The bathroom is rusted and torn up. It’s just a lack of maintenance. Apparently until we apply pressure, he won’t do it. If he doesn’t, we should start eviction procedures.”

Commissioner Dale Woodland said the city did not do a good job of holding Schoenfelder to the deal.

“If we’re talking about changing the whole lease, we’re going to have to negotiate to get to the point of negotiating the new lease,” Woodland said.

Webb said the city has been giving him notices for years and the tenant doesn’t respond. Commissioner Doug Copeland agreed.

“I’ve been out there and I see an opportunity to spend $14,000 in a heartbeat,” he said.

Pier Manager Dave Sork was at the meeting and Woodland asked if there was a disagreement on what they think Schoenfelder should do. Sork said he would not give a blanket response to that. He said he doesn’t see that there’s a major problem.

“Things are being done on a continuing basis and new things come up all the time,” Sork explained. “Things are getting caught up, but it’s like putting fingers in the dike. It’s like a boat and this is nothing but a boat on pilings.”

The commissioners took no further action after being told Schoenfelder would be back in Florida from his home in Germany soon.

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