bowling or cheering on your favorite team,
make a point to come out to the 16th Annual
OConnor Bowling Challenge on Saturday,
Check-in is from 5 to 6 p.m. at AMF Bradenton
Lanes, 4208 Cortez Road, Bradenton. Bowling
begins at 6 p.m. The fee is $20 per person,
which includes shoes and three games.
Registration forms are available at Duffys
Tavern, 5808 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach,
and The Sun office, 9801 Gulf Drive, Anna
Maria. To reserve a lane, call the Community
Center at 778-1908 or Billy OConnor
tax relief proposed
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH To help reduce soaring
property taxes for tourist-related business
owners, the Manatee County Tourist Development
Council is proposing a change in Florida
The proposal would change the methods
that county property appraisers use
to assess property values, limiting
the importance of the "highest
and best use" standard of evaluation
and emphasizing the "income"
Senior Assistant County Attorney Patricia
McVoy presented the proposal to Florida
Statute 193.011 on Monday to the council,
which had requested it in June. It states:
"When considering the highest and
best use, the just value of the property
shall not exceed the value determined
pursuant to the income from said property."
The standards are two of eight criteria
that state law requires county property
appraisers to consider in determining
the true value of property the
highest and best use to which the property
can be expected to be put in the immediate
future, income generated by the property,
cash value of the property, location
of the property, size of the property,
cost of the property, condition of the
property and net sale proceeds.
The property appraiser treats condominiums
as the highest and best use of Island
property, which is unfair to tourism
businesses that are not operating as
condominiums, according to the Coalition
Against Rising Taxation (CART).
Tourist accommodations are the backbone
of the countys tourism industry,
which the council markets worldwide,
CART President Don Schroder said.
"If we dont have hotels and
motels, all of this (marketing) is dead,"
he said. "Its dead in the
Restaurant and shop owners are affected
too, council member and restaurateur
Ed Chiles said.
"If you own land and theyre
assessing it as condos, youre
hitting the breaking point," he
"The property appraiser is making
a mistake," said council member
David Teitelbaum, whose Bradenton Beach
accommodations are owned as condominiums
but rented as hotel rooms.
Council member Rev. James Golden suggested
specifying that the proposal would affect
only commercial property, not residential
property that is occasionally rented.
Manatee County Property Appraiser Charles
Hackney told the council at its June
meeting that the only way he could legally
change his appraisal methods is by a
change in the state statute, adding
that he thought the chances of the Legislature
passing any such change were remote.
The proposal to change state law follows
the Manatee County Commissions
proposal earlier this month to pass
a county ordinance that would allow
accommodations owners on Anna Maria
Island, the Manatee County portion of
Longboat Key, and all navigable waterways
in unincorporated Manatee County to
defer their property taxes until the
sale of the property. A public hearing
on the ordinance is expected to be scheduled
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA Wildlife biologists
are investigating the cause of death
of several dead gulls found in a nesting
area at the north tip of Anna Maria
So far, studies indicate that the birds
did not have avian flu, nor were they
affected by red tide, which was not
present at the Islands north end
when they were found, said Danielle
Stanek, a veterinarian with the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
in St. Petersburg.
One had sores that could have been caused
by either bacteria or fungus, and one
was infected with e. coli bacteria,
a common occurrence in nesting areas,
"Young birds dont have fully
developed immune systems," Stanek
said, adding that a crowded nesting
colony is a favorable environment for
Two birds died earlier this month after
becoming entangled in a piece of twine
used to rope off the nesting area, said
Nancy Douglass, regional non-game wildlife
biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission. The twine appeared
to have been cut by vandals, especially
in light of recent graffiti on the signs
posting the nesting area, she said.
"You try to look at the positive
benefit, all the chicks that were hatched,"
she said, including about 150 black
skimmers and several least terns and
Wildlife workers will try to use an
alternative material that wont
cause entanglement next year, she said.
A scare over dead black skimmers earlier
this month turned out to be nothing,
Douglass said. Skimmers rest by lying
flat on the ground with their heads
stretched out in front of them, an unusual
position for a bird, which appeared
unnatural enough to one observer that
he reported the birds as dead.
To report wildlife concerns, call 1-888-404-3922.
restaurant demolition begins
sun staff writer
BEACH After months of planning,
getting permits and arranging financing,
the first step in the rehabilitation
of the Bridge Street Pier has begun
with a demolition.
On Monday, Aug. 7, city elected officials
gathered at the pier for a ceremony
to note the start of the project.
Mayor John Chappie and the four city
commissioners took turns hammering
at parts of the front elevation of
the pier before crews from Wood Dock
and Seawall took over preparing the
restaurant, bait shop and restrooms
for demolition. After the structures
are torn down, the deck and substructure
will be removed up to the end of the
pier eating area and concrete pilings
will be removed and replaced with
wood ones. Then, new decking and substructure
will be installed to act as a base
for a new restaurant and restrooms.
The work began from the water, as
construction crews took down the northern
wall of the restaurant dining area
from the water. There was a crane
on hand to remove the front fascia,
but it would not be moved onto the
decking because of its weight and
the fragile condition of the deck.
The pier was closed in 2004 after
winds from passing hurricanes damaged
the roof. An inspector was hired to
report on the condition of the buildings,
and he recommended the public not
be allowed onto the pier due to deterioration.
The city commission decided to go
back to the drawing board and work
up plans for a total rehabilitation.
The commissioners decided to rebuild
the restaurant, add a deck to the
southern end of the pool to direct
anglers around the outdoor eating
area instead of through it and add
a day dock and a dock for a future
water taxi. In addition, the city
is working on turning the area south
of the pier into a mooring field and
a dockmasters office became
part of the plan.
The city is searching for grants to
help defray the cost and has gotten
a $2.2 million line of credit to help
pay for the project.
collect pop-tops for therapy
sun staff writer
BEACH Students at Anna Maria
Elementary School are hoping those pull
tabs you use to open sodas and other
canned good take a detour from their
trip to the trash can this year.
They can put them to good use, and all
you need to do is remove them, put them
in a jar or envelope and either send
them to school with a student or drop
them at the school office on your way
to work or the store.
The annual pop top collection got underway
last week and students have a new goal,
according to teacher Karen Newhall,
who helps organize the effort.
"We collected 83 pounds of them
last year," she said. "We
hope to surpass 80 pounds this year."
The pop-tops, or pull-tabs as they are
sometimes known, are given to Bradenton
Elks Lodge, which turns them in to a
recycling company. The money the club
makes from them helps sponsor the Florida
Elks Childrens Therapy Services.
According to a letter of thanks the
club sent to Newhall, the facility is
currently treating 305 children in the
county using 19 vans and are looking
for another licensed therapist to use
a 20th van it has in its fleet. The
therapy service is free to the patients,
who come from families that cannot afford
Newhall said the collection is a school-wide
effort. Students bring the tops from
home and put them in plastic tubs in
"We collect the tubs on the last
Tuesday of each month and weigh each
one," she said. "Students
write down the weight in ounces and
total them up. They keep a bar graph
of each class and determine who collects
Newhall said this helps the students
learn about math and graphing as well
as helping the kids who need the therapy.
For more information, call 708-5525.
jazz festival coming to Island next
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH From Charlie "Yardbird"
Parkers alto sax to Kenny Gs
soprano, jazz from every genre will
blow over the Island next August.
Jazz on the Islands will bring free
jazz music to Anna Maria Island and
Longboat Key and to mainland venues
in Manatee County, Bradenton Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau Director Larry White
Tentative plans include outdoor performances
at the two county beaches, on Bridge
Street in Bradenton Beach, and in the
field at Holmes Beach City Hall, he
said, offering an alternative to Bob
Marley and Jimmy Buffet music for 10
days during a month that is historically
slow for tourism.
The Manatee County Tourist Development
Council approved $200,000 in tourism
funds on Monday for the festival, which
will be promoted exclusively on the
The event will take on an international
tone with the involvement of Jazz Radio
Berlin, which will assist in promotions
and in locating talent. Performers probably
will include students and faculty at
the Jazz Institute Berlin, station operator
Julian Allitt said.
The station, which features mainstream,
swing, soul, electronic and smooth jazz,
has 280,000 listeners on the air and
24,000 more online, he said. It can
be heard on the Internet at www.jazzradio.net.
fire causes $1 million in damage
sun staff writer
last Tuesday night in the Perico Apartments
on the Palma Sola Causeway caused an
estimated $1 million in damages, and
displaced at least 15 people. Fourteen
units upstairs were gutted and downstairs
units were damaged by smoke and water.
A spokesperson for the Bradenton Fire
Department said nine engines from three
departments responded to the fire, which
was caused by a lightening strike about
9:30 p.m. Departments offering mutual
aid were West Manatee and Cedar Hammock.
At Thursdays West Manatee Fire
Commission meeting, Battalion Chief
Dennis Dotson reported, "We got
there and on arrival, there was fire
shooting out the roof. They had an aerial
ladder up and they tied to knock it
down with that. We were there a little
over six hours."
district consolidation advocated
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Bill Grayson, of
Holmes Beach, last week asked West Manatee
fire commissioners why the countys
fire districts are not working on consolidation.
"Ive been an advocate for
that for seven years," Commissioner
Larry Tyler replied. "I think some
things are starting to happen that will
bring this issue back."
Tyler said several of the fire districts
are practicing functional consolidation
by combining purchasing, employee testing,
standards and the like.
Commissioner Jesse Davis said the district
commissioners have been advocating consolidation
since 1993. Commissioner Jack Emery
pointed out that West Manatee is the
product of the consolidation of the
West Side and Anna Maria fire districts.
Youre talking to the choir
here," Emery pointed out. "This
board has always been in favor of consolidation.
Weve hit a brick wall with other
fire districts. You need to start going
to some other board meetings."
Deputy Chief Brett Pollock said changes
are taking place in the ways services
"We have to change with the times,
and I think this board saw that years
ago," he said. "Weve
tried to do everything we could to get
other boards and other chiefs to see
our vision, but that has not come to
Pollock said although Grayson does not
have authority to speak at other fire
commissions because he is not a resident
of those districts, he could take his
concerns to the local legislative delegation,
the Manatee County Fire Commissioners
Association or his county commissioner.
Ladder truck questions
Grayson also quizzed commissioners
about the new ladder truck they have
The ladder truck we currently
have is 15 years old and it needed to
be surplused," Pollock explained.
"We were having major mechanical
problems with it. It was best that we
try to get our money out of it."
Pollock said the district sold the truck
for $90,000 and purchased another one
to replace it.
"The reason I was questioning it
was because we only have one high-rise
on the Island," Grayson said.
Pollock said in addition to being able
reach high buildings, one of the reasons
the district purchased the truck was
to lower residents homeowners
"If we didnt replace this
ladder, our ISO (Insurance Services
Organization) rating would go up, which
means your insurance would have increased,"
"Im a single-story dwelling.
How can that affect me?" Grayson
"Your homeowners insurance
is based on a fire rating and that is
1 through 10," Pollock responded.
"We are a 4 now and we would have
been a 5 or higher (without the ladder
truck), which would have increased your
Pollock said the district has entered
into a 10-year, lease-purchase agreement
for the truck.