bserver O LONGBOAT
Salute our veterans
You. Your neighbors. Your neighborhood.
Look inside to see the news you missed this summer on the Key. PAGES 11-22A
Ulla Searing’s life was shaded with many colorful stories. INSIDE
free • Thursday, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
See the winners of our annual ‘It’s Read Everywhere’ contest. PAGE 1B
Local GOP sweeps Congressman Vern Buchanan wins his fourth term; Longboat turnout 33%.
Cyndi Seamon, pictured on her first birthday.
+ Seamon cruises to 50 We knew she must have been a beautiful baby, ’cause baby look at her now! Cyndi Seamon turns 50 Nov. 18, and her mother, Marian Witte, of DePere, Wis., asked us to put a birthday message in the paper, along with this picture of Seamon from Nov. 18, 1963. Because Seamon and her husband, Mike, will be on a cruise during her birthday week, her family asked us to place the message in the paper a week early. So, Cyndi, here’s the message from your mom, dad and Uncle Bob: “We will always love you. Have a great cruise celebration.” And a message from us: Have a happy, happy birthday!
+ Harry toasts the big 6-0 Speaking of big birthdays, Harry’s Continental Kitchens owner Harry Christensen celebrated his 60th Nov. 1. We didn’t get any baby pictures of Harry in honor of his big 6-0. However, we did learn that anyone who wished him a happy birthday at the restaurant Thursday got a complimentary glass of wine or cocktail.
Rachel S. O’Hara
Vern Buchanan addresses the crowd at the Republican Party of Sarasota Election Night party Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the Hyatt Regency, Sarasota. The elephants in the room liked their odds Tuesday night. Hovering around two large screens Tuesday night at the Sarasota Hyatt, local Republicans stood nervously and cheered whenever news outlets called a state in favor of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But they felt especially confident when it came to the race between U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald. “He’s gonna win,” Longboat Key resident Alycia Craft said. “He’ll probably win it by 2-1,” said Phyllis Black, president of the Republican Club of Longboat Key, whose husband, Jack, agreed. “I’d rather be in Vern’s shoes than Keith Fitzgerald’s shoes, just like I’d rather be in Aaron Rodgers’ shoes than Michael Vick’s shoes,” Tom Reed said. “No problem,” Lee Pokoik said. “The biggest problem was someone kept stealing my signs.” Sure enough, Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, won his fourth term in the Nov. 6 election with 186,627 votes, or 53.6%, compared to Fitzgerald’s
See a breakdown of how Longboat Key voted / PAGE 2A 161,257, or 46.4% votes. As Sarasota County GOP Chairman Joe Gruters introduced each Republican candidate, the crowd cleared the way. But when Gruters introduced Buchanan, the crowd hovered close to the congressman, applauding him as he joined his family at the podium. Buchanan reiterated many of the messages on which he campaigned: He promised to focus on jobs and controlling spending. “We need to balance our budget just like you do,” he said, drawing cheers. The cheers grew louder when he talked about taking action against illegal immigration and loudest when he vowed to work toward repealing Obamacare. “We can’t afford another billiondollar boondoggle,” he said. Buchanan was first elected to office in 2006 and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. In 2010, Buchanan received 69% of the vote against then Democratic challenger James Golden, for the wid-
LONGBOAT KEY VOTER TURNOUT 2008 vs. 2012*
est margin of victory in the district in the last 25 years. Fitzgerald is a New College politiIncludes Election cal science professor who served two Day voting only terms in the Florida State House from 2006 to 2010. 2012 “The things that make democracy work are the orderly transition of power and respect for the outcome 33.1% of elections,” he said in a concession 34.8% speech Tuesday night. “We owe it to our country to honor those traditions. I’d like to congratulate my opponent, Vern Buchanan, on his victory. This is what makes democracy work. It’s our obligation to respect the outcome of 2008 elections.” Speaking of his next step, Fitzgerald said: 34.8% “I’ve been at this for seven years, and I think it’s time I take a timeout to spend more time with my family, who has suffered.” On Longboat Key, voter turnout was 33.1% on Election Day, with 2,069 votes cast. Voter turnout — Robin Hartill
INDEX Briefs....................4A Classifieds ........ 15B
Cops Corner....... 10A Crossword.......... 14B
Opinion.................8A Real Estate.......... 6B
Sports.................. 8B Weather............. 14B
Vol. 35, No. 16 | Three sections YourObserver.com
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
HOW LONGBOAT VOTED
In the Nov. 6 general election, Longboat Key voters cast 2,069 votes on Election Day, with 921 votes cast in Manatee County Precinct 95, at Longboat Island Chapel, and 1,148 votes cast in Sarasota County Precinct 201, at Longboat Key Town Hall. In the Manatee County portion of the island, there are 2,058 registered voters, and on the Sarasota County portion of the island, there are 4,195 registered voters. There are 6,253 registered voters total on the Key; voter turnout on Election Day was 33.1%
A check mark indicates the winner of the race; Bold-faced name designates whom Longboaters picked. FEDERAL
President Manatee Sarasota Candidate Votes % Votes % Romney 620 67.7 816 71.5 ✔ Obama 296 32.3 325 28.5
Amendment 1 Manatee Sarasota Votes % Votes % Yes 458 55.9 580 55.6 ✔ No 362 44.1 463 44.4
Amendment 9 Manatee Sarasota Votes % Votes % ✔ Yes 544 64.5 679 64.0 299 35.5 383 36.0 No
U.S. Senator Mack ✔ Nelson
Amendment 2 ✔ Yes 531 63.7 No 303 36.3
653 62.0 400 38.0
Amendment 10 Yes 485 59.2 ✔ No 334 40.8
626 59.4 427 40.6
396 38.6 630 61.4
Amendment 11 493 59.1 ✔ Yes No 341 40.1
498 47.2 556 52.8
366 35.4 669 64.6
Amendment 12 Yes 358 44.6 ✔ No 445 55.4
U.S. House ✔ Buchanan 604 Fitzgerald 291
727 65.7 379 34.3
769 69.0 346 31.0
Amendment 3 Yes 372 45.5 ✔ No 445 54.5 Amendment 4 Yes 376 46.6 ✔ No 431 53.4
STATE State Attorney ✔ Brodsky 581 Torraco 290
% 100 0
County Commission District 3 732 70.8 ✔ Robinson Cohen 307 29.2 County Commission District 5 851 99.2 ✔ Hines 7 0.8 Write-in Charter Review Board District 2 784 85.1 ✔ Barcomb 137 14.9 Coe Charter Review Board District 5 749 81.9 ✔ Fellin 165 18.1 Connelly Hospital Board Central Seat 1 687 68.0 ✔ Miller 323 32.0 Carafelli
MANATEE COUNTY 354 34.4 675 65.6
Clerk of the Circuit Court Votes % ✔ Shore 709 98.6 Write-in 10 1.4
731 68.8 331 31.2
Amendment 5 Yes 346 44.3 ✔ No 435 55.7
314 31.2 693 68.8
Sarasota County Charter Amendment — — 490 54.7 Yes ✔ No — — 405 45.3
State Representative District 71 ✔ Boyd 597 68.1 749 70.0 Tebrugge 280 31.9 321 30.0
Amendment 6 Yes 378 44.1 ✔ No 479 55.9
499 46.2 582 53.8
Longboat Key Density Referendum 1 522 62.2 698 65.4 ✔ Yes 317 37.8 369 34.6 No
Supervisor of Elections ✔ Bennett 583 Williams 264
State Senator District 26 ✔ Galvano 608 63.6 House 276 36.4
Amendment 8 Yes 423 52.0 ✔ No 390 48.0
543 51.0 522 49.0
Longboat Key Density Referendum 2 536 63.6 704 65.9 ✔ Yes 307 36.4 365 34.1 No
School Board District 2 ✔ Miner 532 Moates 197
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Licensed General Contractor 30Understanding Years of ExperiencePlans If there's one thing I've learned over the thirty years I've been building on Longboat it's the amount of detailthe that goesofinto Understanding plans isKey, nothing short of knowing value your If remodeling there's one simplest thing I've learned over the thirty years I've been even the project. Managing a project to make sure the project. I think it’s fair to say that very few clients really building on Longboat Key, all the amount of detail goes into designer, client, and subcontractors the information understand the scope andit'scomplexity that have plansthat represent. That’sthey why evenneed the is simplest project. Managing a project to make sure the critical to the success of the project. it is important for your contractor to conduct a thorough plans review
County Commission District 7 ✔ Benac 673 98.1 Write-in 13 1.9
By RUSTY CHINNIS Longboat Key Florida Licensed CHINNIS General Contractor By RUSTY 30 Years of Experience Longboat Key Florida
Clerk of the Circuit Court Votes ✔ Rushing 905 0 Write-in
10/30/12 11:14 AM
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
by Robin Hartill | City Editor
The triumph of the swans Harbour Links unofficial swan keeper David Novak discovered he was in the presence of royalty. David Novak gives the Harbour Links swan family the royal treatment. He checks on their nests and, occasionally, leaves food supplements for them. The adult swans know the sound of his bicycle bell. Ask him a question about a mute swan, and he probably knows the answer. He can easily tell you about how they mate for life or their nesting patterns or caring for a cygnet (aka a baby swan). Still, Novak recently learned something new about the Longboat Key swans. They’re descendants of a 1957 pair of swans David Novak with that Queen Elizabeth II er David Barber gifted to Lakeland after predators decimated the local population. All Lakeland’s swans are descendants of that “royal pair.” The Longboat Key swans descended from those Lakeland swans. That means that the Harbour Links family that appears so elegant — even regal — is truly royalty.
Queen Elizabeth II had been on the throne for five years in 1957, when Her Majesty received a letter from a Lakeland resident. According to the Lakeland Library Special Collections, a Lakeland resident, identified as Mrs. Robert Pickardt, enjoyed the swans and mourned the loss of the local population. So he wrote to the queen, asking about the possibility of purchasing a pair from the royal flock on the Thames River. A representative of the royal family replied that the queen would donate a pair of swans to Lakeland, if the city would pay
the cost of capturing and shipping the swans to the United States. Citizens raised the money, and two white mute swans were released Feb. 9, 1957 on Lake Morton. Throughout the next 55 years, the Lakeland population would expand. A pair of the family’s descendants, later named George and Gracie, found their way to Longboat Key in 1994, when Novak’s neighbor, Alan Stone, bought the swans from Lakeland as an anniversary gift for his wife, Beverly. George and Gracie mated, and the flock grew to include three royal swan mark- mated pairs: Henry and Vickie, Wendy and Stan, and Alan and Beverly. Like England’s royal family, the swan family has had its share of drama. It hasn’t made the pages of People and Us Weekly, although it has gotten its share of coverage in the Longboat Observer. There’s been death: Gracie died of botulism in 2007. There’s been abandonment: Often swan parents abandon their cygnets, which is sometimes nature’s way of weeding out the weak. There have also been rumors: A pair of young swans appears likely to mate, although they haven’t yet produced eggs. Still, they never hinted of their royal lineage. But, some longtime Lakeland residents knew the truth about their swans’ royal history. It had circulated through word-ofmouth over the years. Plus a resident, when she was a child, wrote a letter to Buckingham Palace, as part of a Blue Birds scouting project, in-
A 1957 photo from the Windsor Castle archives shows the arrival of the original pair in Lakeland. quiring about the swan heritage. “She wanted to do something different, so she decided to write the queen,” said Sheila Bolin, of the Regal Swan Foundation, in Kissimmee. A representative of the royal family responded and confirmed the bloodline. The resident held onto that letter through the next decades. The swans seemed content to remain disguised as commoners. But this year, when the queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in honor of 60 years on the throne, the palace made preparations to send David Barber, swan marker for the queen, on a single stop to the United States and a single stop in Canada. The swan marker position was established in 1400 to maintain an official registry of the Thames River swan population. Barber would visit two places that were home to a population that descended from royal swans. The Regal Swan Foundation hoped Barber would visit Lakeland. But it didn’t have official proof of the lineage. Finally, officials discovered two pho-
tos in the Windsor Palace archives that showed the swan pair’s arrival in 1957. And so, Sept. 8, Barber visited Lakeland for a reception. He shared anecdotes about the queen and her role in the annual “Swan Upping” — aka, the annual census of swans along the Thames. Novak was there for the celebration. He has worked closely with the Regal Swan Foundation in caring for the swans. He presented Barber with a letter, intended for Her Majesty in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee. It read: From the town of Longboat Key: “With best wishes on your Diamond Jubilee, we will be forever grateful for your generous gift of swans to the city of Lakeland in 1957, from which a flock of swans now graces our island surroundings.” Although the lineage came as news to Novak, he said the swans are “kind of indifferent” about their heritage. And it doesn’t matter to the man who believed he was dealing with commoners for all this time. “It really doesn’t change anything,” he said.
by Kurt Schultheis | Managing Editor
Key Club property sells for $32 million Sales recorded in the Sarasota County Clerk of Circuit reveal that Delray Beach-based Ocean Properties Ltd. purchased Oct. 31 the Longboat Key Club and Resort property through nine sales totaling $32 million. Delray Beach-based Ocean Properties Ltd. officially purchased the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s property Oct. 31, from Key Club Associates, LP for $32 million, according to the Sarasota County Clerk of Circuit. The sales, which were for the club’s property only, were recorded in the clerk’s office Nov. 2 and were purchased under an Ocean Properties affiliate labeled LB 500 LLC and other affiliates. As of press time, no other deeds for Key Club property had been recorded; most sales are filed at the same time of a purchase. The land purchase is for the acquisition of the club’s 410 acres from Loeb Partners Realty LLC. Purchase prices for the club’s businesses and other assets have not been disclosed. The company’s previous local purchases include the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort for $15.2 million and Holiday Inn-Lido Key for $13.9 million in 2002; and Lido Beach Resort for $62.5 million in 2006. The last time the Key Club property sold was April 30, 1990, when the Shannon Hotel Group purchased the Key Club’s Harbourside and Islandside golf-and-tennis facilities for $22 million and Inn on the Beach in a separate $3 million sale. As part
PROPERTY PURCHASE PRICES
Below is a look at the property sales that were recorded with the clerk’s office last week: Seller Buyer
Key Club Associates, LP
LB 500 LLC
Harbourside Golf Course
Key Club Associates, LP
LB 500 LLC
Islandside Golf Course
Price $14,784,600 $6,748,800
LFL Marina LLC
LB 500 LLC
Key Club Moorings Marina, piers, parcels, etc.
Key Club Associates, LP
LB 500 LLC 220
Sands Point Road, Unit 500
LFL Marina LLC
LB Slip LLC
Longboat Key Moorings Marina slips and various units
Sailboat Square LLC
LBK Club Holding LLC
Sailboat Square condominium
Key Club Associates, LP Key Club Associates, LP
LB 500 LLC LB 500 LLC
Longboat Key Club Unit 4, Parcel C-1 Inn on the Beach condominium Units 5107 and 5205
Key Club Associates, LP
LB 500 LLC
Longboat Key Club Unit 4, Parcel Rec-1
Total Purchase Amount $31,968,500 of a longstanding agreement between the town and Arvida, the town had the first right of refusal for the purchase of the property’s golf-and-tennis facilities. The commission ultimately voted 3-4 against the purchase, clearing the way for the Shannon Group to buy the facilities. The Shannon Group formed Key Club Associates with the New York-based Loeb Part-
ners Realty, which contributed a third of the needed capital. Oct. 30, Ocean Properties’ executive management team issued a press release announcing the sale and the appointment of Jeff Mayers as the new general manager of the resort. “We are extremely pleased that the deal is now complete, and we can begin to
move forward with the day-to-day operations of this beautiful resort. We are looking forward to a great season,” said Andy Berger, vice president of operations for Ocean Properties, in the news release. Longboat Key Club and Resort spokesperson Sandra Rios said no further details regarding the purchase of the resort and its future are available at this time.
This week on
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
ROOM TO SHARE FLORIDA’S NO. 1 WEEKLY NEWSPAPER WEBSITE
by Robin Hartill | City Editor
Longboat Library discusses options with Sarasota County County officials attended a Longboat Library board meeting Nov. 5 to listen to members’ thoughts on library service.
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MOST READ STORIES ONLINE LAST WEEK: 1. “Music review: sarasota opera: ‘rigoletto’” (oct. 31) 2. “Coast guard assists fishermen near Longboat Pass” (nov. 1) 3. “our view: amendments 1, 3, 5, 8, 12” 4. “WeeKenD best bet: Ferraris on the Circle” (nov. 2) 5. “Welly is out as Key Club manager” (oct. 29)
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