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Date of Issue: May 18, 2006

FISH gains director, new officer

A new director was elected and new corresponding secretary named during the annual meeting last week of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage.

There was ample room for the crowd, which was there as much to see the newly completed Cortez schoolhouse building project as to take up FISH matters. There were more people than chairs, in fact, but that will be remedied long before the next annual meeting.

Sheila Mora was elected to a three-year term on the 15-member board of directors, filling the seat that had been held by Maryanne Norman-Ellis, who chose not to serve again.

Maxine Myford was elected corresponding secretary, succeeding Jeri Culbreath, who notified the board she wanted to withdraw from the position. Myford will serve with Allen Garner, president; Richard Culbreath, vice president; Karen Bell, treasurer; and David Zaccagnino, recording secretary.

Chips Shore, a FISH director who is Manatee County clerk of the circuit court, said he has been working on any and all ways and means of buying the Seafood Shack property for conversion to the Florida Maritime Museum.

Since the county declined to buy the large property and its building and marina from owner Ham Jones because it was appraised as too expensive for the county to handle, Shore has been seeking state, county, foundation and private funding for FISH to acquire the property.

He said there is some indication that a private investor may be interested in buying it and FISH acquiring the southern end of it, along with a lot owned by Peter Thurell, for the maritime museum. Shore is working on it and there was a feeling in the meeting that if it can be done, Shore is the man to do it.

Treasurer Bell noted that the 2006 Commercial Fishing Festival cleared some $66,000. It is this festival that during a four-year span bought the 95-acre tract that has become the FISH Preserve. It is behind the new/old school at the east end of Cortez.

A "hands-up" census revealed that of the crowd present at the meeting, six had attended classes in the old school when it was the new school.

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