The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 33 - May 18, 2011


Pier Centennial - two days of fun

Harry Stoltzfus

Thomas Helko, 7, dumps green slime
onto Crosspoint Fellowship's Brad Lowery
Saturday during the Food and
Wine on Pine festival.

ANNA MARIA – The mood was festive, and people lined Pine Avenue and Gulf Drive as the City Pier Centennial parade wound its way from Crosspointe Fellowship to the pier on Friday evening.

Grand marshals Carolyne Norwood, Elizabeth Moss and Margaret Chapman waved to the crowd, followed by the Manatee High School drum line and cars full of dignitaries.

The Historical Society Old City Jail float with "convicts" throwing Fig Newtons and the Cracker Horses were big hits. The AMI Privateers, led by a contingent of Bradenton Marauders, concluded the parade by blasting their way down the street with black powder.

Everyone gat hered at the city pier, where Mayor Mike Selby read a proclamation from Rep. Vern Buchanan and recognized guests and those who helped make the event possible. Lindsay Bell sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and led the crowd in signing "God Bless America."

Centennial Committee Chair Sissy Quinn thanked her committee as the mayor and a committee member unveiled the pier's new historic marker, Quinn said, "It's an honor to stand here as the representative of the AMI Preservation Trust and give this marker to the city."

As the ceremony concluded, the party began. Privateers dispensed beer from their tent, and Marauders passed out beads and baseball passes. Pier regulars Frank Almeda and Mark Alonso cut the cake decorated with fishes, lounge chairs and a barbecue grill and passed out pieces to the hungry crowd.

Food and Wine on Pine

On Saturday at the Food and Wine of Pine event, costumed actors strolled the street – Frances Warttig, the city first elected clerk; Annie Cobb, the first non-native child born on the Island; Lena Phelps, one of the Island's first school teachers; Mary Hall, George Bean's daughter; John Roser, who built Roser Cottage and Roser Chapel.

They told their stories to visitors who were taking advantage of the beautiful day to shop and sample food and wine from decorative booths lining the street. Kids on unicycles from the Sailor Circus entertained the crowd, and musicians sang to those passing by.

"The whole weekend was everything and more that we imagined when we started planning this a year ago," said Ed Chiles, who initiated Saturday's event. "The spirit of the event reflected what is special about Anna Maria.

"It was the most ambitious undertaking we've done, and Caryn Hodge worked so hard and did a great job. The restaurants brought such great food, and there are so many other people to thank."

"It was our city at it's best," Quinn exclaimed. "It was a class act with the wonderful food and the nice seating areas the restaurants provided for people."

At the Historical Society compound, people petted the Cracker Horses, whose ancestors came to America with the Spanish explorers in the 1500s; learned about soap making and watched crafters cane chairs, do needlework and make rag rugs.

"I would like to thank all the volunteers at the Historical Society for their support and helpfulness," Susan Anderson, the Society's representative on the centennial committee said. "We planned and worked well together with each other and with the committee. It was a successful event."

"There was a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people," Mayor Mike Selby said. "Mr. Roser and Mr. Bean would be proud. Pine Avenue came alive. Everything came off really well."

In the kids' area, hosted by volunteers from Crosspointe Fellowship, green slime flew and kids made hats, sand art and painted using straws. Rev. Ed Moss joked, "This is food, wine and slime on Pine."

Unfortunately, in the afternoon, a storm blew in bringing heavy wind and rain and shutting down the street activity for the day. The storm cleared in time for the fireworks show off the end of the pier.

"It was a really nice event," Quinn said, summing up the day. "It had that wonderful down home feel to it."

Winners, pendants and cancellation

An art show featuring Anna Maria scenes was on display at The Studio at Gulf and Pine, and winners were Midge Pippel, first place for "Sea Turtles Twilight Swim;" Cheryl Moody, second place for Anna Maria Night Lights;" and Marlane Wurzbach, third place for "Sandcastles."

The show will be on display until May 29. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Anna Maria Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick won the handcrafted pendant of the city pier by Wendy Thurlow, Diane Serafino won the giclee of the city pier by Tom Tollette and Mary Jo Bopp won the centennial quilt made by Albertine Veenstra.

Quinn said there are 10 pendants remaining, and they are for sale at city hall. She said the centennial committee would be presenting to the city $2,800 from the day's sales.

The remainder of the special pier centennial postmark cancellation envelopes that were for sale at the event also are available at city hall. Anyone wishing to have an envelope canceled with the pier centennial cancellation can do so for the next 30 days at the Anna Maria Post Office.


High-flying proposal made at 500 feet
Carol Whitmore

A sign on the beach spells out David Bradley's proposal
to Alanah Owens, who first saw it as she soared high
above the Bradenton Beach shoreline in a
parasail with her soon-to-be fiance.

CLOUD NINE – Wedding plans are no longer up in the air for David Bradley and Alanah Owens, who became engaged as they soared above the Gulf of Mexico off Bradenton Beach on a Mother's Day parasailing trip.

"They made it seem like it was a special Mother's Day thing," said Owens, who was shocked to see a sign on the beach below, saying, "Alanah, will you marry me?"

She said "yes," and the couple has been flying high ever since.

Wisely, Bradley didn't take a chance on giving his intended the ring, selected at Pierro's Jewelers, while they were suspended over the Gulf. He opted to wait until the champagne and cake party at the dock of Fun N' Sun Parasail, which was in on the proposal.

"It was our first parasail engagement," said Heather Diggins, who, with her husband, Bill Diggins, and Louis Mandel is a new co-owner of Fun N' Sun.

Local members of Bradley's family also were in on the event, holding the sign he made from foam board with orange and green duct tape, to make sure it was visible from 500 feet away.

The couple plans to marry in July in Houston, then relocate to South Korea for Bradley's job.

County mulls Segways in parks


The issue of whether the county can regulate the use of Segways on the Coquina Beach Trail and the trails in the Leffis Key Preserve re-emerged at a Manatee County Commission meeting last week and it means a concessionaire who was chosen to rent the popular rides at those two area will have to wait a while before setting up shop there. According to what was said at an earlier meeting, the county wants to allow only those riders who rent from the concessionaire, Segs by the Sea, to ride the trails.

The issue came up as the commissioners were making their comments at the end of the meeting. Commissioner Joe McClash, who appeared to favor not allowing any vehicles in the parks or preserves, again moved to decide whether the county should allow them at all. Commissioner Donna Hayes argued with McClash that since Segways were not on the agenda, there should be no vote. Commission Chair Carol Whitmore, who argued with McClash in the past about the Segways, defended them as devices that could revolutionize the way people get around.

County Attorney Tedd Williams argued that the commission should not ban one kind of use and that they should consider allowing all smaller personal modes of transportation.

McClash withdrew his motion and offered another one moving to not award the concession to Segs by the Sea, as originally planned, until the board adopts a consistent policy on the devices.

The commission approved that motion 6-1, with Whitmore voting against it.

Cell tower consultant answers questions

ANNA MARIA – Commissioners last week questioned Rusty Monroe, of the Center for Municipal Solutions, a group that advises and assists local governments regulate cell towers and wireless facilities.

"I'm not here to ask you to retain us or talk you into doing anything, but to answer questions on the issue of towers and wireless facilities," Monroe told the board, "so you have some idea of what's coming, what the effect is going to be and how to deal with it so you can make some informed decisions."

Commissioner Dale Woodland asked about FCC regulations for towers and the service crossing municipal boundaries. Monroe said the FCC does not regulate towers, but records the locations and heights, and a government is not required to permit a site primarily to serve another community.

Woodland asked why the city has had no applications since it passed its ordinance in 2003.

"It's strictly a revenue-drive issue," Monroe replied. "If the revenue is there, the strictest regulations in this country and an extensive application process won't stop them."

Increased demand

Monroe said there are 200,000 wireless sites in the country and because of the increased demand, two million will be needed in the next few years.

"The issue is how is this deployment going to be dealt with when it gets into visually sensitive areas or residential neighborhoods," he asked. "Carriers will each need a site for between every 50 and 75 living units, and that's for reasons of capacity.

"ATT just reported that they have had in the last two years an 8,000 percent increase in data usage. These sites can only handle so much traffic, and there's too much demand for what they can handle."

Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick asked if towers are becoming obsolete.

"You're never going to get rid of towers," Monroe said. "They are legitimately times when a tower is appropriate. The public has come to equate tower with cellular service. Towers are a cost savings or convenience for the carriers."

Mattick asked of the city should revise its ordinance, and Monroe said it would be wise to make it technology neutral so the city doesn't have to keep changing it as technology changes.

No cost to the city

There would be no cost to the city to engage CMS' services, he said, "because we review the applications and make recommendations. The applicant puts up a deposit, and we bill hourly against that deposit. The taxpayer shouldn't have to pay. They aren't the beneficiary; the carrier is."

He said 80 percent of the applications are for co-locations because the ordinances require it, but noted, "You don't have to give somebody a permit because they don't have enough capacity."

Mayor Mike Selby asked if a company could justify installing a DAS (antenna) system in the city, and Monroe said it would be close in terms of cost effectiveness.

Chair Chuck Webb asked if one of the reasons for a tower in the city is to serve marine traffic, and Monroe said it is a significant factor.

Webb asked about line of sight and Monroe said that's a common misconception.

"The tower company wants the height because that increases the amount of usable space they have," Monroe explained. "If it were line of sight technology, your cell phone wouldn't work indoors or in your car."

Tower providers respond

"I'm in the infrastructure business," said Stacy Frank, a cell tower developer who lives in the city. "Our plan is to represent the property owner. We give the community 50 percent of the gross rent, require a 10-year lease and pay annually."

She said one monopole would serve the city, and carriers will come to the Island if it makes economic sense.

She said carriers do not want the antenna system because of economics and losing control.

"The reality for Anna Maria is a 40-foot pole isn't going to happen," she stressed. "There is some line of sight; trees create a lot of blockage. Each antenna needs a 10-foot section, and there's still a cost to developing a pole and the system."

Jim Eatrides, of Alpha-Omega Communications, agreed with Frank and said, "In these areas, we don't have enough user density to justify more than a stealth pole (flag pole). I design and install DAS systems, if this was an area where I could justify it, I would do it instead of going through everything we're going through."

He said the tower should be above the tree line to minimize interference, and high enough to have multiple carriers.

"It all boils down to what works," he pointed out.

Commissioner did not make a decision on whether to engage the services of the consultant.

Blood drive returns to Island

HOLMES BEACH – It's almost time for the Island Blood Drive, the annual event that helps Florida Blood Services refill the blood bank that gets low this time of year and helps five non-profits with their budgets.

The blood drive will be held at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The church is air conditioned, so you'll be comfortable no matter how long you have to wait.

The Island Blood Drive lets blood donors choose where a $100 donation from an unknown source goes. Before you donate, you will have an opportunity to choose which of the five non-profits – the Anna Maria Island Community Center, the Anna Maria Island Privateers, the rotary Club of Anna Maria Island, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation, Inc., and West Manatee Fire Rescue Auxiliary – gets the money or a portion of it. You could choose all five and they would each get $20.

Again this year, donors will have the option of donating blood components under the Alyx system. It takes a little longer, but the components collected are more usable by those needing blood and the $100 donation is doubled for those using Alyx.

Donors must

• Be at least 16 years old;

• Weigh at least 110 pounds;

• Have not had hepatitis after their 11th birthday;

• Feel well the day of donation;

• Not be pregnant within the past six weeks;

• Not had a transfusion within the last 12 months.

Cancer survivors may only have to wait a year from their last treatment or cancer surgery. Those with heart disease or on heart medication might be able to donate.

Diabetics controlling their disease with diet, oral insulin or small doses of regular insulin may donate. If you're anemic, your iron levels will be checked.

Those taking blood pressure medicine are OK to donate. Those taking aspirin need to reveal how long ago it was taken.

Those on antibiotics can donate if their last dose was 24 hours ago. Travelers to malarial areas must wait a year before donating, and anyone who has had a tattoo within the past year cannot donate.

Sun newspaper nominated for statewide awards

The Anna Maria Island Sun has been named as a finalist for 14 awards in the 2010 Florida Press Association Better Weekly Newspaper Contest. The awards will be presented on July 1 at the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg.

The nominated staff members are:

Steve Borggren: Original Local Editorial Cartoon;

Rusty Chinnis: Outdoor Writing;

Pat Copeland: Obituary Story;

Maggie Field: Feature Photo;

Cindy Lane: Editorial, Humorous Column, Serious Column, News Story, Portfolio Photography, Outdoor Writing, Environmental/Conservation, Community History;

Sean Murphy: Humorous Column;

Sun staff: Editorial.


Bring the kids to the Island library

HOLMES BEACH – Don't let the kids get too much exposure to the hot sun this summer.

The Island Branch Library, at 5701 Marina Drive, has a series of programs aimed at young minds on Thursdays this summer.

The first program, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, features Latin music by Jose Olarte at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Enjoy the music of Spanish-speaking countries in South American, Central America and the Caribbean.

On June 23, at 10:30 a.m., Katie Adams brings her "Red, White and Blue" American Tales. This program will be held at the library.

On June 30, explore the Purnama Sari Balinese Dance Company, featuring the music and costumes of the exotic Indonesian island nation of Bali. This program will be held at the library.

The Island Dojo, Kevin Bergquist, gives martial arts demonstrations featuring his Dojo Storm Team at the library on Thursday, July 7.

On July 14, Jim Whitehurst demonstrates his wizardly magic at the library at 10:30 a.m.

On July 21, the program moves to the Community Center for the Japanese Taiko Drums at 10:30 a.m. to end the series.

These programs are free, thanks to the friends of the Island Library. There are no reservations and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call the library at 778-6341.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper