Special Reports

Seven miles of hands sought on Anna Maria Island

MANATEE — The instructions are simple:

n Go to the beach at 11 a.m. Saturday for one hour, rain or shine.

n Join hands for 15 minutes at noon forming lines in the sand against oil drilling in coastal waters.

n Leave only your footprints.

Hands Across the Sand, the brainchild of Dave Rauschkolb, a surfer and the owner of three restaurants in Florida’s Panhandle, has caught fire, fueled by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Quiet rallies are planned across the country Saturday, even in landlocked states.

But the highest concentration of rallies is expected to be along the shoreline in coastal states, according to an interactive map on the Hands Across the Sand website, http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/

Mary Dyche, a Sarasota resident who has a sedan service to transport passengers to and from the airport, said she had previously never been politically involved.

After learning about Hands Across the Sand on the social networking site Facebook she decided to get involved and is coordinator for the rally at Siesta Key.

“I feel very concerned about the oil spill and what it will do to the Florida coast, our livelihood and the wildlife,” Dyche said.

Since her name went up on the Hands Across the Sand website, Dyche said she has had many people e-mailing her wanting information and asking how they can participate.

“I understand there will be 3,000 people on Siesta Key,” Dyche said.

Caryn Hodge, a Hands Across the Sand organizer in Manatee County, would like to see a continuous line of people holding hands from one end of Anna Maria Island to the other, a distance of seven miles supporting clean energy efforts.

“Some key locations that are already established are the Manatee Public Beach at the end of Manatee Avenue, 78th Street in Holmes Beach, 30th Street in Holmes Beach, the beach in front of the Beachhouse Restaurant and the beach in front of the Sandbar Restaurant. Interested participants may go to one of these locations on Saturday and are encouraged to bring friends and family,” Hodge said in a press release. For more information, contact Hodge at (941) 713-3105 or carynhodge@yahoo.com or visit the Hands Across the Sand website.