The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 4 - November 7, 2012


Arts to glitter on AMI this weekend

The Island’s annual artsHOP weekend Nov. 9 through 12 begins on Friday with a gallery walk in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach and a special performance at the Island Players Theater on Friday.

Saturday offerings include an arts and crafts festival, a book signing by local authors, a mini-fair, an auction of painted chairs and a special performance at the Island Players Theater.

On Sunday, the weekend concludes with an arts and crafts festival, a chorus and orchestra concert and a drum circle.

Friday, Nov. 9, 2 to 8 p.m.

Anna Maria Gallery Walk

• Three Island Monkeys, 9801 Gulf Drive, gifts, art, complimentary wine.

• Ginny’s and Jane E’s, 9807 Gulf Drive, gifts, art, baked goods, café.

• The Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, art exhibit by Jake Fernandez, 2 to 8 p.m.; bluegrass music by State Road 64, 5 to 8 p.m.

• Shiny Fish, 306 Pine Ave., eclectic gifts, Pink Cadillac martinis, 1950s appetizers.

• Arts for the Earth, Dogs for the Earth, 308 Pine Ave., eco-friendly art, crafts, furniture.

• Tide and Moon Jewelry, 314 Pine Ave., custom jewelry, gifts.

• Emerson Quillin’s Studio Store, 317 Pine Ave., original art, cartoon prints, custom art.

• Anna Maria Island Historical Society, 402 Pine Ave., demonstration by artist Patricia Curtis, music by Big Jim Allen, appetizers and drinks, 5 to 8 p.m.

• Relish Marketplace, 501 and 503 Pine Ave., café, boutique and music by Rick Quimby, 5 to 7 p.m.

• Bob Brown Art, 507a Pine Ave., paintings, original drawings, limited edition prints.

• Artspace, Bayview Plaza, exhibit "Black and White" with music, refreshments, door prizes, 6 to 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 9, 2 to 8 p.m.

Holmes Beach Gallery walk

• Artist’s Guild Gallery, 5414 Marina Drive, music, demonstrations, public art, 2 to 5 p.m.; music by Bil Bowdish and the Gulf Drive Band, refreshments, public art, 5 to 8 p.m.

• Anna Maria Island Art League, 5312 Holmes Blvd., artist demonstrations by Deeana Atkinson and Rolando Rodriguez, 2 to 5 p.m.; Jim Ross exhibit opening, refreshments, music by Howie Banfield and Scott Blum, 5 to 8 p.m.

• Island Gallery West, 5368 Gulf Drive, demonstration by Nancy Faris, 4 to 5 p.m.; Joe Fletcher exhibit opening, 4 to 8 p.m.; music by Chip Ragsdale, 5 to 8 p.m.; refreshments.

• Island Tattoo, 5337 Gulf Drive, tattoos, body piercing, hair wraps, henna tattoos, unique retail items.

• Libby’s Island Jewelry, 5337 Gulf Drive, jewelry, gifts.

• Restless Natives, 5416 Marina Drive, gifts, art.

Theater performance

• Island Players Theater, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, special performance of Agatha Christie’s “Mousetrap,” 8 p.m. Admission is $15. Call the box office at 778-5755 or go to

Saturday, Nov. 10

• AMI Butterfly Garden Arts and Crafts Festival, Holmes Beach City Hall field, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Relish Marketplace Outdoor Mini-Fair,, 501-503 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Gulf Coast Writers book signing, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. 2 to 4 p.m.

• The Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, auction of painted chairs by local artists, refreshments, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m..

• Island Players Theater, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, special performance of Agatha Christie’s “Mousetrap,” 8 p.m. Admission is $15. Call the box office at 778-5755 or go to

Sunday, Nov. 11

• AMI Butterfly Garden Arts and Crafts Festival, Holmes Beach City Hall field, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• AMI Concert Chorus and Orchestra concert featuring popular light classics and Young Solo Artist winner Natasha Snyder, CrossPointe fellowship, 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 at or by calling 778-8585 or at the AMI Chamber of Commerce, 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

• Drum circle led by Scott Blum, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, 7 p.m.

For more information, a detailed schedule and a map, go to


Cell tower ordinance heats up city hall

BRADENTON BEACH – It was a brisk City Commission meeting last weekend, but a spat between one commissioner and a resident and former committee member heated up the Katie Pierola Meeting Room at city hall.

Jo Ann Meilner, who resigned from the Planning and Zoning Board in May because the City Commission ignored its recommendations on a parking lot/sand dune project, spoke during public comment about the communications tower ordinance and hiring a city manager.

“We established an agreement with Rusty Monroe, at the Center for Municipal Solutions (CMS), to write an ordinance with our input at no cost to the city, then CMS would negotiate any contracts with cell tower providers, who would then pay CMS fees that would recover the time and expense of writing the ordinance,” she said.

“Now it’s being challenged by Commissioner (Rick) Gatehouse claiming it’s obstructionist, redundant, too long, citing AMI Radio’s nine-foot antenna permit being held up by this ordinance.

Section 34-857, relief, allows the city to waive any portion of the ordinance for applications such as the radio station. It was ignored. Either the building official didn’t read it all the way to the end to find this relief or he chose to ignore this section to make the ordinance seem obstructionist.”

Meilner said Gatehouse called the 29-page ordinance too long, but she compared it to the tree ordinance, which is 14 pages long and “It basically says if you cut down a tree, you must plant two from an approved list in its place and get a permit and pay a fee to do so.”

She said the city is already ignoring portions of the ordinance because the fall zone, where no structures are permitted in case the tower blows over, is the height of the tower plus 10 percent. She said the fall zone shown on a rendering is 30 feet, while she said she believes the tower is planned for 100 feet and there are two homes within a fall zone for a tower that high.

At the end of the meeting, Gatehouse answered Meilner.

“During my investigation of the AMI radio application, I found my fears had already been realized,” he said. “When AMI first brought their application to building and planning, staff determined this could be handled in house with existing codes and fee structure.

Mr. Monroe, of CMS, was notified as a courtesy, but Monroe insisted this application was under his purview and stated he was to be the sole reviewer under the ordinance. The ambiguity of the ordinance in this regard left the staff with their hands tied.

“Mr. Monroe then sidestepped city involvement and directly communicated with AMI radio to solicit substantial fee amounts to be paid by AMI directly to CMS in Carolina via check, in order for Monroe to even look at this application,” he said.

“This is exactly the kind of situation that I foresaw happening. It is inappropriate and outrageous that a third party should directly solicit funds from local business in order to perform a review that should be done in house at city hall in the first place.

“Mr. Monroe’s protestations and Jo Ann Meilner’s glowing recommendations of CMS notwithstanding, as long as I am sitting on this commission, I will not allow our local business and citizens to be subjected to this kind of outrageous behavior.”

Meilner said now is the time for a city manager form of government.

“Right now, we have the police chief involved with the cell tower, the pier, the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency), the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects committee), and the lieutenant (John Cosby) helps write the city budget and the city clerk decides to pay off the pier (loan) early or hand out 'extra money' that would benefit our citizens,” she said.

“While this commission has struggled to balance the budget, you have raised our taxes; you have taken money out of the emergency fund; we have our floating dock closed down, the dinghy dock in disrepair, sea walls at the street ends collapsed. All across this city there are things to be done with 'extra money' that would benefit our citizens.”

She said a city manager could do the work that the department heads and Lt. Cosby are doing, so they could attend to their jobs.

AMICCO showcases young talent
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Youth competition winner Natasha Snyder plays violin.

The Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) begins its 20th season on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, with the winner of its youth competition, 16-year-old Natasha Snyder. Natasha will be performing Saints-Saens Violin Concerto #3, First Movement.

Born in Brazil, Snyder began her violin studies at the age of 4 and studied for five years under the instruction of Lena Cambis, director of the Sarasota Music Academy.

Natasha is the Tampa Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster. As a winner of the Edward and Ida Wilkof Young Artist Concerto Competition in 2009 at age 13, she made her professional debut at the Neel Performing Arts Center, accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra.

As a repeat winner in 2011, she returned to the stage as guest soloist, performing Vivaldi's "Summer" from the Four Seasons. She is the current winner of the Anna Maria Island Concert Orchestra & Chorus Concerto Competition and was also a semifinalist in the statewide Artist Series of Sarasota 2012 Competition.

For the past four summers, Natasha has attended music camp at the prestigious L'Académie Internationale de Musique Flaine in France, where she was invited to study with the world famous French pedagogue, M. Jean Lenert, and this year with Professor Constantin Bogdanas.

It is Natasha's dream to and one day establish her own music academy. She aspires to major in violin performance at one of the top conservatories in the United States.

The Youth Competition is co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island each year in January and the winner performs with AMICCO at a concert.

The first concert will be “Popular Light Classics” featuring selections from Rossini, Vivaldi, Strauss, Verdi, Puccini, Beethoven, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian.

AMICCO, a charter member of Cultural Connections of Anna Maria Island, sponsor of artsHOP weekend, performs as one of the signature events of artsHOP, which opens the season of cultural activities on the Island.

Tickets are available at 941-778-8585,, the Anna Maria Island Chamber of commerce, 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, or at the door.

Joy Chatristamatis, last year’s Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra youth competition winner, played from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” during the Anna Maria Island Rotary Club weekly luncheon at the BeachHouse restaurant Tuesday, Oct. 30. She has recently been promoted to the principal violinist for the Sarasota Youth Symphony. She is 15 years old. Here is a video of her performance shot by Sun reporter Tom Vaught.

Progress noted in dock and pier projects
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

tom vaught | sun
The city of Bradenton Beach is waiting for word from
FEMA whether the federal government will pay for fixing
the floating dock at the Bridge Street Pier.

BRADENTON BEACH – The dingy dock reconstruction is finished and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay for the project because it was damaged when Tropical Storm Debby came through this summer.

That was the word from Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale, who led the city’s pier team meeting last Thursday.

He said FEMA will also help pay for the storm-damaged floating dock, but he doesn’t know how much. The city has decided to remove a few sections of the floating dock and connect the remaining sections with hinges to ease the pressure on the sections during high waves.

“We’re waiting on a judgment of mitigation,” he said. “If they feel our repair and redesign will mitigate future damage, it could be as high as 100 percent.”

On another note, the city is negotiating for a contract with ZNS Engineering to engineer and oversee the replacement of pilings and refurbishing the Bridge Street Pier east of the restaurant.

The city broke off negotiations with Sego Engineering when owner Charles Sego would not ensure liability coverage above $14,000, his cost for the project.

The ZNS proposal has a cost cap of $33,000, more than the $3,000 budgeted.

“Some of the items listed in the proposal are for things already done, like a survey, which ZNS did in 2005,” said Building Official Steve Gilbert. “Some of the items are for building a brand new dock, not refurbishing an old one.”

City Commission Rick Gatehouse said he would like to see a more complete proposal.

“I would like to see more comprehensive accounting of the cost,” he said. “We need a more definitive analysis of the time it will take.”

The proposal will come before the city commission in the near future. The city wants to refurbish the pier to match what was done to the west portion of the structure in 2005.

Second worker pleads not guilty

Emanuel Centeno-Hernandez, 32, of Bradenton, has pled not guilty on one count of workers compensation fraud, a third degree felony, during his arraignment on Friday, Nov. 16, before Manatee Circuit Court Judge Thomas Krug.

Centeno-Hernandez was arrested at 119 Neptune Lane, a Beach to Bay Construction site in Holmes Beach, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, when he allegedly tried to get workers compensation benefits using a false identification. He was one of two men arrested by agents of the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, during raids on several Beach to Bay construction sites after the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, informed them that at least 18 individuals working for Beach to Bay Construction showed false identification while applying for construction jobs.

The other man, Jamie Basilio-Chavez, 28, of Bradenton, pled not guilty on Tuesday, Oct. 23, to two counts of using false identification to gain employment, a third degree felony.

An investigation continues on 16 other suspects employed by the company, according to Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

Board revises parking regulations

ANNA MARIA – Commissioners refined an ordinance establishing new parking regulations for some city streets.

The proposed regulation to make the Magnolia Avenue/Gulf Boulevard/Palm Avenue loop one way with vehicles entering at Magnolia and exiting at Palm generated the most discussion. Residents told the commission in September that the streets are a safety hazard.

Commissioners SueLynn and Jo Ann Mattick felt that making it one way would make it more hazardous. Chair Chuck Webb agreed.

However, Commissioner John Quam pointed out that residents there had asked for it.

Commissioner Dale Woodland agreed and said, “I tend to want to go with the people who live there,” but added, “I have a concern about retraining people who use it.”

SueLynn said they tried making Tuna Street one-way, and it resulted in an overabundance of traffic tickets. Webb added that it did not make the street safer.

Residents George Barford and John Cagnina said commissioners should leave it like it is, and they voted four to one, with Quam dissenting, to remove that section from the ordinance.

A section to eliminate parking on Crescent Drive and Tarpon Street from Pine to Spring avenues drew criticism from Webb.

“I drive it every day, several times a day and I haven’t seen a parking issue,” he said. “The solution is worse than what we’re trying to cure.”

However, Woodland said, “It there’s no problem, having no parking won’t have any effect.”

The others agreed to leave it in the ordinance, and resident Mike Coleman asked them to use a split rail fence to enforce it instead of more signs.

Other portions of the ordinance would:

• Eliminate 50 feet of parking on the west side of Jacaranda Road between North Bay Boulevard and North Shore Drive;

• Eliminate parking on North Shore Drive between Poinsettia Road and North Bay Boulevard.

Job descriptions topic of city inquiry

BRADENTON BEACH – City Attorney Ricinda Perry brought up a personnel procedure during the city commission meeting last Thursday.

“When Ed McAdam resigned several years ago as building official, then-Mayor John Chappie placed City Clerk Nora Idso over the building department with no raise for that extra duty, and she recently asked if she was still working in that capacity,” Perry said. “We need to have city commission state whether she is still in charge or not. If not, you need to have the mayor nominate somebody. There are no other individuals in this building that can fill in at that capacity, and she is willing to continue.”

With that, Mayor John Shaughnessy nominated Idso to continue to serve over building department personnel, Commissioner Jan Vosburgh seconded the motion and the city commission voted unanimously for the nomination.

Perry then asked the commission if she could interview department heads to find out what their duties and needs are. She said she could bring a report back to the commission during its January meeting.

Commissioner Gay Breuler asked if this might lead to restructuring, and Perry said possibly.

Commissioner Rick Gatehouse said he likes the idea and that it will help the panel to clearly understand staff jobs.

In other news, Perry responded to a letter from Ralf Brookes, attorney for Jo Ann Meilner, Tjet Martin and Bill Shearon who have filed suit to stop a sand dune/parking lot project across the street from city hall on land owned by the city and the BeachHouse restaurant. In the letter, Brookes asks for arbitration to end the lawsuit.

Perry wanted to either hold a shade meeting, out of the Sunshine, or a public meeting to talk about the advantages and pitfalls of arbitration, as opposed to mediation.

Commissioner Gatehouse favored a shade meeting, saying there may be things said that they don’t want to be made public, but the mayor said they would not discuss the suit, just how to resolve it. The commission agreed to place the issue on the next public meeting.

Finally, former Commissioner Janie Robertson made a request.

“I’m here because I have been trying to come to CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) and CIP (Capital Improvement Project committee) meetings for some time,” she said. “The last great project we had was that parking lot (across the street). That parking lot was instigated by citizens, not staff or committees. I’ve got some ideas; I want to bring them to you.

“I recently found Lt. John Cosby suggested a citizens committee to discuss new projects,” she added. “I think you need to get more citizen input; suggest reinstating the CIP and CRA committees.

One project was the gateway. You asked for Scenic WAVES to turn over its money because the city commission could work faster but it bogged down completely.”

Discover Egmont Key this weekend

File photo
The 87-foot-tall Egmont Key lighthouse has
burned for 154 years as an aid to navigation
in Tampa Bay. The current structure, built in 1858,
replaced one built in 1848 that was destroyed
by storms. The light, which once ran on
whale oil and lard, is now electric.



EGMONT KEY – It’s just off the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, but if you don’t have a boat, you may never have seen it up close.

This weekend, if you’re willing to drive to Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, you can Discover the Island.

The 15th Annual Discover the Island event, Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11, is a fundraiser for the Egmont Key Alliance, which is dedicated to restoring, preserving and protecting Egmont Key.

The island has been a prison for Seminole Indians and Confederate soldiers, a refuge for runaway slaves, a hideout for bootleggers during Prohibition and a wartime landing field. It’s now a harbor pilot base, a recreational boating destination, a bird, sea turtle and gopher tortoise refuge and the home of a 154-year-old lighthouse.

You can visit the lighthouse and explore the island on a self-guided walk with interpretive signs along the way to point out sites of interest, including nature, wildlife and military history; tour maps are available.

Enjoy investigating the ruins of the U.S. Army Fort Dade Military Reservation, and watch displays staged by Civil War re-enactors.

Listen to presentations on military history, island history and wildlife.

Other activities include music, art, children's games and crafts, a bounce house, a silent auction, souvenir shopping and food and drinks.

Exhibitors include the Bay Area Reef Runner Dive Club with exhibits on the U.S.S. Narcissus, an underwater wreck off Egmont Key; the St. Petersburg Shell Club; the St. Petersburg Audubon Society; Suncoast Sea Turtles; Rough Riders; artists Richard Jansen and Lyle Polyack (Sunday only); and author Don Thompson, who has recently published a history of Egmont Key, featured in The Sun’s Oct. 17 issue.

Shuttle boats will leave Fort DeSoto Park regularly from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the last boat leaving Egmont Key for the mainland at 4 p.m.

Tickets for round trip ferry transportation are $18 for adults, $15 for active duty/retired military with proper I.D., $5 for children 6 to 11 and free for children under 6. Group discounts are available.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the ferry at the Gulf Pier at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde. For more information, visit

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