The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 5 - November 14, 2012


artsHOP gets Island hoppin’
Carol Whitmore

Sixteen-year-old violinist Natasha Snyder delights the
audience at CrossPointe Fellowship Sunday with a
virtuoso performance in the season opener for the Anna
Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra. Snyder,
of Sarasota, won AMICCO’s youth competition this year.

The arts on the Island were the stars of the weekend as hundreds of people turned out for Cultural Connections’ annual artsHOP event in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach.

Visitors enjoyed a wide variety of art exhibits, demonstrations and music, as well as a play, a concert and a drum circle.

During Friday’s Gallery Walk in Anna Maria, people wandered up and down Gulf Drive from Three Island Monkeys and Ginny and Jane E’s to shops and art studios along Pine Avenue.

“We were really pleased with the number of visitors,” said Maureen McCormick, president of the AMI Historical Society, which featured artist Patricia Curtis and musician Big Jim Allen at the museum complex. “It was a lovely night, and we got great comments on our renovations to the museum gift shop.”

At The Studio at Gulf and Pine, visitors enjoyed the toe tapping, bluegrass music of State Road 64, while purchasing tickets for the artsHOP raffle basket and perusing art.

Artspace’s opening for its Black and White show attracted 65 entries and a huge crowd of about 400 people to view the small art works. Owner Deborah Webster said, “I think everybody really enjoyed it.”

They also voted on a People’s Choice award, which was a tie between Chas McMullan, of Anna Maria, for “Cork Fish” and Lisa Reagan Karbowski, of New York, for “Ominous Fog” and purchased raffle tickets for a finger painting by Cheeta, which was won by Lori Waggoner, of Holmes Beach.

At the Island Players, President Dolores Harrell said they sold out and added some seats for Friday’s performance of “The Mousetrap,” and also sold out Saturday’s performance.

Holmes Beach Gallery Walk

At the Anna Maria Island Art League, Dr. Carol Roberts, of Sarasota, posed for her instructor, Tampa sculptor Rolando Rodriguez.

Under a nearby tree, artist Deeana Atkinson painted a sea turtle on the seat of a chair. She displayed three chairs in varying stages of completion to demonstrate the process of transforming an old piece of furniture into a work of art.

A block away, Margie Krogel, of Bradenton, experimented with chalk drawing at the Artists’ Guild Gallery. Later Bil Bowdish and Judy Lynn, of Gulf Drive, got people up and dancing with their oldies from the 50s and 60s and top tunes from the 70s and 80s.

Across Gulf Drive at Island Gallery West (IGW), Nancy Faris, of Sarasota, demonstrated pin weaving, using colorful strings of feathers and cotton batik fabric rolled and sewn into tubes, then woven into squares which she turns into purses, pillows and other items.

Following the demonstration, about 300 guests enjoyed watching six IGW artists take turns painting six canvases, which were sold to the highest bidder.

“Our featured artist Joe Fletcher kept the wine flowing, and musician Chip Ragsdale had guests dancing in the street,” said Marlane Wurzbach, of IGW. “The weather and the sales were brisk

“A lot of people were very happy even though the crowds were not as big as in past years,” said Gallery Walk Chair Joan Voyles.

Saturday and Sunday

Visitors flocked to a mini art fair at Relish on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria and an arts and crafts fair to benefit the butterfly garden in Holmes Beach. In addition 13 local authors discussed and autographed copies of their works at the library (see related story on Page 11).

The day concluded with the auction of 42 painted chairs at The Studio at Gulf and Pine in Anna Maria. Chairs ranged from nautical, with fishnet draped over the back, to whimsical, with a plant growing out of the seat.

Chair chairman Marsha Bard thanked the Studio at Gulf and Pine for hosting the event.

“Our local artists are quite amazing and creative and have been so generous in offering their talents in support of our Island’s art and culture,” Bard said. “artsHOP is a once a year event. Unlike many other events, the purpose is not to raise money, but to raise the awareness of our Island arts and our pubic art projects tend to do this.

“We’ve had chairs on the porches along Pine Avenue and at the galleries in Holmes Beach. Tonight they’ve gathered together to find new homes amid the festivities, trays of food donated by volunteers and local businesses and a wonderful Island community that supports our efforts to shine a light on our arts and culture.”

The weekend rounded out with a concert by AMI Concert Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) at CrossPointe fellowship and a drum circle at Manatee Public Beach.

Jeanie Pickwick, of AMICCO, said the concert was well attended and the music well received.

“It all came together so beautifully,” Pickwick said. “Our young solo artist winner got a standing ovation. There were many compliments about the choice of music. It got everybody started into the season.”

Several who attended the concert said it was the best they’d ever experienced.

Dorothy Blum, of the Manatee County Cultural Alliance/Arts Council, thanked the AMI Beach Café for hosting the drum circle Sunday evening and said, “It was fabulous! It was a great way to bring the community together and celebrate the end of artsHOP weekend. We went out with a bang!”


Challengers sweep Holmes Beach vote

HOLMES BEACH – The voters elected change Tuesday as three challengers swept three incumbents from office.

In the mayoral race, Carmel Monti beat Rich Bohnenberger, 54.46 percent (1,318 votes) to 45.54 percent (1,102 votes). For the two city commission seats, Judy Titsworth got 36.46 percent (1,682 votes) Marvin Grossman got 25.58 percent (1,142 votes), John Monetti had 19.31 percent (862 votes) and Sandy Haas-Martens got 18.63 percent (832 votes).

The vote was seen by many as a decision between keeping the incumbents, who had appeared slow to respond to complaints about large, multi-bedroom rental homes built in residential neighborhoods, or to vote in candidates vowing to address the problem immediately. The incumbents argued that a new state law, authored by then-State Senator Mike Bennett, that would prohibit enacting ordinances addressing only rental properties.

Both groups of candidates gathered Tuesday evening: the incumbents at Eat Here, in Holmes Beach, and the challengers at Blue Marlin, on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach.

“The voters always get who they elect, but they don’t always get what they want,” Bohnenberger said.

Monetti was more upbeat.

“I appreciate my last 11 years of volunteering for the city and I’m sure I’ll stay involved to some degree,” he said.

The mood was more upbeat at the Blue Marlin, where all three candidates circulated among the crowd of several dozen well-wishers. When the results were announced, they jumped for joy and hugged each other and friends. Restaurant owner Adam Ellis handed one of them a broom, representing their “clean sweep,” and they posed for the crowd holding it up.

“I want to thank the people of Holmes Beach for their vote,” Grossman said. “They voted to stop overdevelopment, and we’ll be creative in doingthat. It’s going to be a great future for the city and the Island.”

Grossman said a big part of the problem was nobody was listening to the people’s complaints.

Monti said he wanted to strive to be humble in victory and proud in defeat.

Titsworth was elated.

“We’re going to get our Island back, she said.

“We’re blessed to have won this election,” Monti said. “Now we have to strive to keep up the pace.”

New director chosen for Community Center
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


ANNA MARIA – The Island Community Center board of directors has appointed Dawn Stiles as its new executive director.

“It was a unanimous decision of the selection committee and the board, and Pierrette (former Executive Director Pierrette Kelly) supported our decision,” board chair Greg Ross said. “We’re excited about her. We have high expectations and think she’ll do a good job.”

“The passion at my core is for community,” Stiles said. “I have always believed that a community holds the key to the well-being of its members.

“I am very anxious and excited to assume the role of executive director of the Community Center and to get to know my neighbors and members of the Anna Maria Island community.”

The selection committee first met after Executive Director Pierrette Kelly announced in April that she would step down after 22 years. Members of the committee were restaurateur Ed Chiles, Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, West Manatee Fire Chief Andy Price, developer David Teitelbaum and board member Blair Schlossberg.

The committee received 48 applications, and after a rigorous review process agreed that none of the applicants were qualified. The board initiated a second search in July, which was successful.

“I can’t say enough about the selection committee,” Ross said. “They are a terrific group of leaders on the Island. They poured through over 100 applications and had the tough job of narrowing it down to a select few.”

Stiles is president of Spurwink Services in Portland, Maine, which provides behavioral health services to children, adults and families with a staff of 1,000 and an annual budget of $55 million. She joined Spurwink in 2000,serving as vice president and chief operating officer before becoming president in 2006.

“We are pleased to have Dawn join the leadership team at the Community Center,” Ross said. “During the interview process, Dawn really stood out. Pierrette has been a role model and great leader for over 20 years and has built the Community Center into what it is today.

“It was an extremely difficult process in finding a suitable candidate that could build on Pierrette’s success. We are so glad that Dawn will be the one to take the baton from Pierrette and continue the momentum to move the Center to new levels.”

Ross said Stiles will be working with Kelly and staff this week, and her official start date will be April 1, 2013.

Veterans honored at Bradenton Beach
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

BRADENTON BEACH – The hustle and bustle of the Bridge Street Market slowed down a little bit on Sunday around 11:30 a.m. to honor those who fought our wars for us on Veteran’s Day.

Organizer Adams Jenkins started the ceremony at a corner of the market by introducing the Kirby Stewart VFW Post 10141 Flag and Color Guard, which led to the Pledge of Allegiance and a moving speech by Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy.

“I salute you and all the men and women who are serving our county, have given the ultimate sacrifice and those who returned with injuries.” He said. “We should make sure we do all we can for those who served and we need to petition Congress to make sure they are taken care of when they come home.”

Jenkins spoke to the veterans in the crowd.

“This event began as an idea; an idea born of compassion,” he said. “This is a day for you; a day to show our appreciation for the men and women who have served out country.”

Packets with coupons from the Bridge Street merchants were given to the vets as they headed for the beach to watch the flyover. Suddenly from the south, the familiar outline of a C-135 transport plane, a clone of the Boeing 707s that brought commercial air travel into the jet age, came into view. As the crowd cheered, few knew that the plane was carrying troops back from Iraq on their way north to MacDill Air Force Base.

Maggie FIELD | sun
Lt. Dan Suca leads the Kirby Stewart VFW Post 10141 Flag and Color Guard Sunday at the Veteran’s Day ceremony on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach.

Holmes Beach questions court ruling

Manatee Circuit Judge Diana Moreland has ruled on the city of Bradenton Beach’s motion to dismiss the action for declaratory relief filed in May by the city of Holmes Beach against Sandpiper Co-op Resort Inc. and the city of Bradenton Beach.

Holmes Beach had requested that the court declare that Sandpiper did not acquire ownership of 27th Street with a quitclaim deed granted by Bradenton Beach and that Sandpiper wrongly prevented the public from using the street by installing lockable gates and no trespassing signs, which remain in place.

The judge denied Bradenton Beach’s motion to dismiss on most issues, ruling that “Holmes Beach has alleged a bona fide dispute concerning the public’s access via the 27th public right of way” as well as the city’s right to access the drainage system.

But Moreland granted the portion of Bradenton Beach’s motion to dismiss that challenged the standing of Holmes Beach on the basis that the city does not own 27th Street, prompting some commissioners to think the case was over.

It is not, according to attorneys.

Moreland also stated in her ruling that the court “finds merit as to standing at this time,” prompting Holmes Beach attorneys to file a motion on Monday, Nov. 5 for clarification of the judge’s ruling on the standing issue, “since the order grants the motion to dismiss as to standing, while it appears from the court’s statement that it finds merit as to the city’s standing.”

In other action, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, Holmes Beach filed a motion to dismiss Sandpiper’s counterclaim for failure to state a cause of action, alleging that only taxpayers can bring such a claim, and that Sandpiper is not a Holmes Beach taxpayer.

Sandpiper had requested an injunction prohibiting Holmes Beach from spending pubic funds on attorney fees for what Sandpiper called a “private purpose” in violation of the Florida Constitution.

The private purpose it alleged is the use of 27th Street by Holmes Beach Commissioner John Monetti, who raised the issue last year after Sandpiper installed a gate in an opening in the fence along 27th Street and claimed that the gate hindered Holmes Beach residents’ access to the public.

With two attorneys each on the case, the two cities have spent nearly $25,000 between them in litigation so far, not counting fees paid by Sandpiper to its attorney.

New filings in Peelen lawsuit

HOLMES BEACH – Attorney Jay Daigneault has filed a motion to dismiss a civil suit against Commissioner Jean Peelen filed by contractor John F. Agnelli, Jr. in October.

Agnelli’s suit claims that on Sept. 30, Peelen sent out an e-mail newsletter regarding happenings in the city and in it she said Agnelli has been “cited for construction deficiencies and /or been before the code board more than once…”

Peelen said as soon as she discovered that she had confused John Agnelli with his son in the e-mail, she sent out a correction and attempted to call Mr. Agnelli to no avail.

The lawsuit claimed that Peelen’s statements harmed Agnelli’s reputation and were libelous. Agnelli is seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $15,000.

The motion filed by Daigneault claims that Peelen cannot be named as a defendant in the suit because “she is a Holmes Beach city commissioner and may not be named individually on these allegations” and that “the exclusive remedy for injury or damage caused by an officer, employee or agent of the state or any of its subdivisions is an action against the government entity.”

However, it further noted, “Suits against government agents in their individual capacities are barred unless ‘such officer, employee to agent acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety or property.’”

It also said the “rule of absolute immunity applies to defamation suits brought against public officials when the alleged defamatory statements are connected to their official duties.”

Agnelli’s attorney filed an amended complaint on Nov. 6, which stated that Peelen’s statements were made in “her individual capacity” and that “she published such statement without reasonable care as to the truth or falsity of the allegations contained in the e-mail.

“Because Ms. Peelen has alleged acts that unfairly implied the lack of qualities and skill the public reasonably expects from person engaged in the construction business, the e-mail constitutes libel per se and Mr. Agnelli’s damages should be presumed.”

Authors mingle at library

tom vaught | sun
Birgit Quam with her book about growing
up on a North Sea island.


HOLMES BEACH – Thirteen writers gathered at the Island Branch Library Saturday afternoon as part of artsHOP to speak with readers and those who might want to sit down and write a novel someday.

The guests came from all walks of life and their works ranged from World War II battleships to poetry.

E.H. Domienik, from Venice, was in the Navy from 1941 to 1947 and he has written three books about the Lexington, the West Virginia (the “Wee Vee”) and the Yorktown. His chronologies explained how each ship earned deserved a Presidential Unit Citation. He was involved in the big battles in the Pacific during the war.

Eileen Cupolo, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky and winters on Longboat Key, is a writer and illustrator. She brought copies of “My Super Stupendous Day at the Beach,” written by Jane K. Webb. She said this was the first book she ever illustrated and it is a children’s book. She said she got into it on a lark.

“It was one of those ‘bucket list’ things and the opportunity came along, so I took it,” she said.

Alice Moerk is known to many on the Island. Her novels are popular and she also writes music. She brought several of her novels.

“I write about people who come to crisis in their lives and how they deal with it,” she said.

Birgit Streuffert Quam wrote “Worlds Apart.”

“It’s about a spunky little girl’s journey to America,” she said. She came to this country from Amrum, one of the North Frisian Islands in the North Sea.

Robert L. Bailey, who lives in University Park, moved here nine years ago from Ohio and took up writing after he retired from the insurance industry.

“I’m one of those people who say, ‘You got to do something until you die,’” he said. “My wife told me to quit complaining and do something, so I started writing.”

He started off writing about leadership and sales in the business world, and then he wrote a fiction novel. He said he is changing his focus to Christian subjects.

Laura Shely is known locally for her jewelry store, Tide and Moon, but she also wrote a children’s book called “The Adventures of Rusty and Hazel” and has a second children’s book coming in February.

“My books try to teach kids to take care of our coastal environment,” she said.

Pat Abram, from Sarasota, is a canine search and rescue handler. Her first novel was “Noah,” about her first search and rescue dog and her second novel was “Meet Boo,” about another dog.

“He was abused by his owner and a policeman rescued him,” she said. “The crux of the book is that no one has the right to hurt anybody.”

All of the proceeds from her book go toward her search and rescue team.

Barbie Hall Gummin wrote “Ka Ching: How to make Your Fortune in Mid-Life.”

“I started TLCS, and it helps businesses get involved with business coaches,” she said.

Al Musitano wrote about how to get published and how to do it yourself. His career has had some unusual stops.

“I once co-authored a book with a gangster in Pittsburgh,” he said.

Holmes Beach City Commissioner Jean Peelen brought “Saving the Best for Last,” which she wrote with Renee Fisher and Joyce Kramer.

“I was terrified when the book came out, but when you connect with people on that basis (via a book), it’s alright,” she said.

Elizabeth Waterston has written several books and most of what she writes what she experienced. She wrote “Passion Spent” about a late-in-life romance.

Judy Allen, an Island resident, wrote “Around the Bend with Lou.” Lou is her nickname for her RV, which she drove around the country in a span of 18 months. Her book includes some unusual things she learned about certain areas of the country. She still knows where her roots are, however.

“People ask me if I found any place where I would rather live,” she said. “I tell them I’m living where I want to live right now.”

Corrine Rector Ferrara was the lone poet in the group. She said her book, “All About me, All About You,” is about connecting with people.

Local fishermen question their role in FISH

CORTEZ – Questions raised at the Nov. 5 Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) board meeting resulted in a much-needed discussion about the role commercial fishermen will play in the FISH BoatWorks program.

Questions were also raised in regard to what role the FISH organization might play in supporting the local fishing industry.

The FISH BoatWorks program was envisioned as a fundraising arm of the land preservation organization, with FISH volunteers repairing boats for a fee, or restoring donated boats and selling them for a profit, with the money going to FISH.

Providing a space for commercial fishermen to work on their boats has always been part of the plan, but has never been implemented.

The BoatWorks is located at the old Wilkerson property alongside Cortez Road and provides working space inside the existing building and on the grounds surrounding it.

FISH volunteer Rick Stewart heads the newly created BoatWorks Committee, taking on management duties previously handled by a designated Manatee County employee – a paid position that no longer exists.

The impromptu BoatWorks discussion ensued during public comments, when audience members are given time to discuss items not on the evening agenda.

Jodi Tyne, a close friend and business associate of commercial fisherman Chris Osborne, initiated the conversation when she said, “The fishermen want to know why the FISH community is not helping our local fishermen?”

Tyne, the ex-wife of the late Billy Tyne (the swordfish boat captain portrayed in "The Perfect Storm"), cited Gloucester, Mass., as an example of a fishing community that takes care of its own.

Tony Taylor’s family has been part of the Cortez fishing community for generations. He and others in the audience questioned why the BoatWorks has been made available for volunteers to work on sailboats with similar access not provided to owners of commercial vessels.

“We’re not allowed to do anything with any boat of ours while there’s 50 sailboats over there,” he said. “People I’ve never seen in my life can come and go freely, but I cannot take my own boat and put it on any piece of that property and work on it.”

Osborne agreed, saying “You all go to tinker with your sailboats, but we fix our boats to make money.”

Like many in the commercial fishing community, Osborne fishes out of Cortez but lives in a Bradenton neighborhood that does not allow large-scale boat repairs.

Attempting to shed some light on the matter, board member Turner Matthews said, “When Bob Pitt was the maritime museum director, he proposed that we allow the fishermen of Cortez to come in and use that facility at a minimal cost, as long as they had insurance. That was proposed a year ago and kind of died on the vine.”

It was explained that some of the sailboats in question were donated to FISH, to be repaired and sold on behalf of the organization.

During the spirited discussion, FISH board members handled themselves well, diffusing an emotionally-charged conversation rather than enflaming it.

“This is a brand new animal. We’re just trying to get it all organized and going in a direction that is beneficial to all,” Stewart said.

FISH Secretary Joe Kane was among those that invited fishermen to become more involved in the organization. “We want to have the commercial fishermen down there and we’re going to encourage them to be down there,” he said, expressing his sole concern that the BoatWorks does not become a parking lot for discarded boats.

As for providing financial support to commercial fishermen, Kane pointed out that FISH is a land-oriented organization with limited funds whose primary focus is managing the nature preserve, whereas fishermen’s concerns are more water-oriented.

FISH Treasurer Jane von Hahmann said she was open to the idea of FISH providing financial support to commercial fishermen in a manner similar to the now-defunct Cortez chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida (OFF), but said procedures would need to be put in place to ensure the legitimacy of any FISH expenditures.

When Cortez did have an active OFF chapter, commercial fishermen contributed two percent of their fishing income to help fund the program. Von Hahmann suggested the possibility of a one-percent contribution given the tough economic times, but no further action was taken.

Board member Plum Taylor encouraged Taylor, Osborne, Junior Guthrie and others in the audience to attend the Nov. 8 BoatWorks Committee meeting so they could participate in the planning process. That meeting was later postponed until Thursday Nov. 15.

It will take place inside the BoatWorks building at 7 p.m. and local fishermen are invited to participate.

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