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City to celebrate 35th anniversary with cake

By Staff | Oct 27, 2009

When residents descend upon MacKenzie Hall next week to attend the City Council’s regular meeting, they should prepare to bring their appetites as well.

In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the incorporation of Sanibel, a party to commemorate the citizens who voted for the island’s independence from Lee County will be held at the top of the morning’s agenda.

As part of the celebration, the city will officially recognize past and present residents who lived on Sanibel at the time of incorporation, in November of 1974. Refreshments, including a large birthday cake, will be available courtesy of Mayor Mick Denham.

“We made use of our extensive e-mail database, and we also found that a lot of people are still friends and network with each other,” said City Manager Judie Zimomra, who helped oversee organizing the celebration. “Actually, it came together fairly easily.”

As of late last week, the city had compiled a list of more than 100 individuals and organizations who will be lauded at the celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 3. According to Zimomra, a proclamation will be read recognizing all of the island’s original “First Families.”

Among the honored guests attending the event, and those who will be feted posthumously, are:

Jack and Starr Thomas – Residents since 1972. Both were actively involved with the efforts to incorporate, with Jack running in the city’s initial election and Starr (working with Mariel Goss) helping raise funds for the shared use path.

Myron W. (Mike) Klein – Bought first home on Sanibel in 1968; Mayor of Sanibel in 1987.

Mark Twombly – The first hired reporter for the Island Reporter.

John K. and Bella Kontinos – Arrived on Sanibel in 1956; Owned, operated and developed the Coconut Grove Restaurant and Lounge (1957-1995), Sunset South Condominiums (Early 1970s) and The Dunes Golf & Country Club (Early 1970s).

Jonathan Tongyai – Resident of Sanibel since 1972; attended City Council meetings when Porter Goss was mayor as a school assignment; member of the first Little League team, Huxter’s Yankees.

Jim and Betty Anholt – Residents of Sanibel since 1969. Owned and operated the Sanibel Standard Station, stated the Sanibel Trolley. Jim has been a volunteer firefighter for 52 years while Betty has written four books related to island history.

Aileen Roberts Lotz – Dubbed the “Mother of Sanibel,” she was a consultant who authored the first City Charter published in 1999.

John P. and Zelda “Zee” Butler – John was appointed the first Chief of Police in 1975; Zelda was a former mayor, city council member and chair of Sanibel Tomorrow.

More than 50 guests have responded positively to the city’s invitation to attend next week’s celebration. To R.S.V.P. for the party (by Friday, Oct. 30), please contact the City of Sanibel at 472-3700.