It was sweet. And a little bitter. Much sweeter than bitter.
That was the final bash Saturday night at the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, the closing party of the Colony under the 41-year reign of Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber.
A few hundred Colony fans crowded Saturday night into the Monkey Bar, Monkey Room and Colony Restaurant and celebrated. They toasted and talked of the memories they made at this Longboat Key institution.
Larry Eger, public defender for the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota and Manatee counties, remembered the numerous times he and his school buddies sneaked onto the Colony’s pier to launch their surfing adventures. The picture was as vivid Saturday night as it was when they did it some 30 years ago.
Longboat Key lawyer and Realtor Richard Perlman remembered visiting the Colony with his family in the late 1950s and early 1960s when it still was a collection of tiny cottages, built by Colony founder Herb Field. His colleague, Realtor Terri Derr, told stories of her high school girlfriends coming to the Colony and daring Derr to skinny dip with them in the Gulf.
Sarasota School Board member Carol Todd and her husband, Mike Seery, recalled their almost-impromptu wedding nearly 20 years to the day in the Colony Dining Room. And Michael Klauber, Sarasota restaurateur and eldest of the three Klauber children, recalled many stories of his youth — one of them of his hiding behind the bar on the outside deck, tapping the beer keg for a little adult-beverage refreshment while no one was looking.
Everyone had good times aplenty about which to reminisce and share. While they laughed and hugged, recalling the warm, joyful memories, they also found it difficult to believe that the Colony was about to be no more. At least not as we knew and loved it. This was the institution that for four decades personified Longboat’s relaxed life and put the island on the international map, the institution that was for thousands of families the destination for their special occasions.
To be sure, Herb Field must have shed a tear from high above at Saturday’s festive, albeit sad closing.
Indefatigable, still determined and looking forward, Murf Klauber worked the bar and the restaurant Saturday night as he has for 40 years. This night was the way the Colony always was and will be. He told his loyal patrons and friends the phoenix would rise from the ashes.
No one really knows what the next chapters will be for the Colony. For everyone’s sake, the best outcome would be a series of amicable steps by which everyone puts the past behind and reaches agreements fair for all. The best outcome would be a new and renewed Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, the No. 1 tennis resort in the nation, that for another 40 years will do what the Colony has always done best — make memories, wonderful memories on Longboat Key.
+ Manatee school board
Last week on this page, we focused on our election recommendations for state and Sarasota County offices. One of our Longboat Key Manatee County readers, however, nudged us and asked what about the Manatee races?
For Longboat Key’s Manatee County voters, there are only three countywide elections on the ballot — those for school board. Here are our recommendations:
It’s always a struggle in the Manatee County School District. Take this year’s FCAT scores. In Florida, 88% of elementary schools received an A or B grade, but of the 37 elementary schools assessed in Manatee, only 54% received an A or B.
Money is always a problem, too. Even with an annual budget of $624 million, there’s never enough. The recession hasn’t helped. And now the school board wants voters to approve a new quarter-mill tax. It’s time for change at the top.
District 1 — Incumbent Barbara Harvey is universally regarded as a good person with deep passion for the welfare of Manatee County schoolchildren. Unfortunately, she is part of the status quo, already having served 12 years on the board and now seeking her fourth term. This, on top of her career as a teacher, principal and director of the district’s elementary schools.
Yes, Harvey has volumes of experience, but her opponent, Parrish business owner David Bailey says, correctly, it’s time for someone with business experience on the board. A lifelong resident of the region, Bailey has owned his own business for a dozen years. He has shown a volunteer commitment to his community as deep as Harvey’s — Rotarian of the Year three times in his club and a sponsor of the Women’s Resource Center and Foundation for Dreams. Let Bailey bring a fresh, business perspective to the board. We recommend Bailey.
District 3 — Incumbent Jane Pfeilsticker, holder of a master’s degree in microbiology from Penn State University, talks a lot about boosting bio-tech training in Manatee schools through partnerships with the State College of Florida (where she teaches) and Sarasota public schools. Good idea, not the highest priority for the policymaking board.
Opponent ordained minister Albert Yusko has his head and heart in the right place — he wants to lower taxes, upgrade scholastic achievement and teach abstinence.
But neither of these two candidates can bring the get-it-done energy and commitment of Julie Aranibar, East County businesswoman, mother and activist-volunteer extraordinaire. Talk about someone who doesn’t settle for the status quo. We recommend Aranibar.
District 5 — Talk about a school board candidate with relevant experience. That’s Jennifer Radebach. A former special education teacher in Manatee, she founded the Radebach School in Bradenton and, as most small business owners do, performed every job in the school up close and personal. Radebach sold the school after eight years and has since been serving as co-owner and chief financial officer of a general contracting firm.
Listen to Radebach’s ideas about how to run a school district — creating annual targets for students, closer monitoring of teacher performance, pay for performance, tougher evaluation of spending. Sounds like she should be running for superintendent, too. We recommend Radebach.
+ The mosque
The Obama administration has sued Arizona to stop an immigration bill that the people (Arizona Legislature) overwhelmingly approved; it has sued the state of California to overturn a marriage law that Californians overwhelmingly approved. It rammed through a health-care bill that Americans overwhelmingly rejected.
Now, despite the people’s overwhelming objections, the president supports the construction of an Islamic mosque next to the hallowed national site of Ground Zero, the very symbol of anti-American Islamic terrorism.
Yes, the mosque has the legal right to build near Ground Zero.
But it flies in the face of the most basic teaching of humankind:
When the Pharisees asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment, he replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Contrary to what the New York imam says, the mosque near Ground Zero is not showing neighborly love. It is an outward thrust of spite.
Primary Election Recommendations
Here are the The Longboat Observer’s recommendations for the primary elections. If a race is not listed, no one is recommended.
Republican — Marco Rubio
Republican — Buchanan
Democrat — Alex Sink
Republican — Rick Scott
Republican — Pam Bondi
HOUSE DISTRICT 67
Republican — Jeremiah Guccione
District 4 Republican — Mark Smith
District 1 — Carol Todd
District 5 — Kathy James
Group 3 — Maryann Boehm
CHARTER REVIEW BOARD
District 2 Republican — Steven R. Fields
District 3 Republican — Adam Miller
Seat 1 — Darryl Henry
Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption — No
District 1 — David Bailey
District 3 — Julie Aranibar
District 5 — Jennifer Radebach
Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, a candidate for reelection, has held public office as a Sarasota city and county commissioner for 19 years. The Longboat Observer incorrectly reported her term of service last week.