Big Winners In Honorary Mayor Race Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce has a new honorary mayor, Richard Crannell; he was recognized as the winner of the race on June 26 at the Chamber’s installation dinner. All three candidates worked hard on their campaigns where dollars were translated into a point system: three points per dollar were collected in April, two per dollar were collected in May and one per dollar in June. The proceeds were split between the Chamber and each candidate’s choice of charities. Crannell, a realtor with Century 21 Beggins, gushed about the support his fellow realtors and the company provided him during his campaign. Century 21 Beggins, which consistently gives back to the community through different outlets, asked Crannell if he would run for mayor to help a charity it supported regularly, the Easter Seals, as well as help the local community. Crannell took on the job with enthusiasm and a unique point-of-view. He believed that if he were to exceed peoples’ expectations, then they would be happy to donate. He and a few fellow realtors set up a casino night at the Beggins office on Hwy. 41 in Apollo Beach. This was Crannell’s favorite part of the entire campaign. His eagerness to please paid off as it was one of the only events he held for the mayoral campaign which garnered him the win with over $6,000 raised at the event alone and nearly $11,000 total. Crannell can be reached by phone at 645-8481 or by email at The second place winner, Joel Brandenburg decided to enter the race last minute when treasurer of the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce Jim Martin convinced him. Although he did not win this year, he plans on running again next year and getting a headstart on planning to help his campaign run more smoothly. Brandenburg explained why partaking meant so much to him, saying, “I want to participate in the community my two children are growing up in.” Brandenburg did a slew of smaller events ranging from a bachelor auction at O’Brien’s Irish Pub in Riverview to a bachelorette auction at the Docks in Apollo Beach to an all-you-can-eat event on Beer Can Island that was so much fun it caught the attention of a nearby police helicopter. The winners of his auctions were also awarded with a free fishing charter with his company Ana Banana Fishing Co., having donated over 25 charters all together. Brandenburg’s two charities were Ruskin’s own Mary & Martha House and the Bolesta Center for Adolescent Deaf and Hearing Impaired. He credits Mary & Martha House faculty with his success, saying Miriam Centamore, Molly Ford, and Laurie Kepler all provided support throughout his campaign. Brandenburg can be contacted at 267-4401 or third place, Vickie Carver-Tawney tried to balance working at her salon, Victoria’s 5th Ave. Salon, previously known as Hair Carvers, with running her mayoral campaign. Unfortunately, she did not have as much time as she would have liked for the campaign.  Several years ago, Carver-Tawney ran for honorary mayor supporting Life Path Hospice, as the facility was taking care of her father at the time. This time around, Carver-Tawney decided to support the Shriner’s Children Hospital. Her decision was based on two things. First she explained, “In today’s society children fall through the cracks sometimes. I just wanted to do something for the children.” She also divulged that a member of her campaign team, which is comprised of employees at her salon, was a patient of Shriner’s Hospital when she was a child. Carver-Tawney plans on running again in the future when she has more time to put forth the effort she believes the race deserves. Although she did not win, she viewed the race as a learning experience, which she plans on using to earn more money for charity and the Chamber when she decides to run again.Carver-Tawney can be contacted at 625-9488 or All the candidates worked hard for their charities and the Chamber. Each of them seems to agree that getting involved in the community is important, and although they might not have won, in the big picture they are all winners. Each of them was able to fund charities of their choice as well as their community, which is reward enough. Crannell, the new honorary mayor, will represent the community at events he is able to attend, including ribbon cuttings, morning coffees and parades. The chair person for the mayor’s race, Jody Whitmyer explained that honorary mayor is not a legal position and the Chamber can only encourage the mayor to come to such events. There is also a sash that Whitmyer hopes the mayor will be comfortable wearing at the occasions he does attend.The Chamber has not specified plans for its half of the funds, but will use it for general chamber activities as well as the Manatee Arts Festival. The arts festival is a large annual affair in the area and one of the biggest events the Chamber holds. For information about the mayor’s race or the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce, call 645-1366 or email Photo Caption: New Honorary Mayor Richard Crannell (middle), holds the key to the city with second and third place contestants Joel Brandenburg and Vickie Carver-Tawney.

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