Vol. 8 No. 27 - April 2, 2008
‘Awesome’ season bolsters Island
The hard numbers aren’t in yet, but a look at any beach, store or parking lot is proof positive that Anna Maria Island is having a stellar spring. From rental agents to retailers to restaurateurs, local businesspeople agree that beautiful local weather, severe Northern weather and even emotional factors are bringing crowds to the Island. "I believe people have had to deal with fears for so long they’ve finally said, ‘Wait a minute, I want to live. I may have to have a shorter holiday or may have to give up something else, but I need a vacation,’ " said Barbara Rodocker of Bridgewalk and Silver Surf in Bradenton Beach, both at 100 percent capacity. More...
State says no to renourishment extension
ANNA MARIA – Like the ebb and flow of the tides, the likelihood of renourished beaches along the north end of the Island is ever changing.
First they said they couldn’t; then they said they could.
Now they’re back to square one.
In a letter dated March 13, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems Project Manager Catherine Florko has given her department’s latest assessment – they can’t approve any money to help pay for it. More...
Job cuts loom at AME
HOLMES BEACH – Faced with budget cutbacks on the state and local level, Anna Maria Elementary School will have to cut four positions on its staff.
The order came from the Manatee County School Board that administrative assistant Debbie Gomes, two unknown teachers and a teacher’s aide will not be on the staff at the start of the next school year. Gomes, who started as the school nurse’s assistant, has been at the school for 12 years. More...
Fire displaces three people, five pets
HOLMES BEACH – Three people and their pets had to find new homes after an explosive fire destroyed the back of two duplex units Sunday around 6 p.m. in the 200 block of Haverkos Court. Nobody was injured.
Firefighters from West Manatee Fire Rescue and Longboat Key brought the blaze under control, but not until it had destroyed the lanais of both units. West Manatee Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Marshall Kurt Lathrop said Monday that he suspects the cause of the fire was accidental. One of the two residents at home when the fire broke out, Terry Cappello said that it appeared the fire started in an area where she and her husband, Mike, had a TV and stereo. More...
City to raise stormwater utility fee
HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners plan to put away more money for a rainy day by increasing the city’s stormwater utility fee by $1.50 per month for most residences.
Commissioners approved the fee of $3 per month per ERU (equivalent residential unit) in 2003. An ERU is a typical home. The fee generates $145,000 per year, which only can be used for the stormwater projects and maintenance. More...
Commissioners dish up outdoor dining ideas
HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners continue to debate the best way to increase outdoor dining seats without creating safety and parking issues.
In a memo, City Attorney Patricia Petruff said she had surveyed several local government codes to see what others do.
"From my research, I found that several cities use one-year or two-year permits for outdoor dining," she said. "Each time they apply for a permit, they submit site plans and other narratives …"More...
Three Island projects get bay-friendly grants
ANNA MARIA – A proposed program to identify natural habitat for educational purposes in Anna Maria and at the Island Historical Museum will get some help from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program this year. So will a program to curtail pet wastes from going directly into the Bay and Gulf waters surrounding Anna Maria Island.
Those were three of the 10 bay-friendly projects that got grants from this annual program, according to Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Outreach Coordinator Julia Burch. She said the three projects on Anna Maria Island varied in their intent. More...
City to celebrate Founder’s Day
Holmes Beach will hold its first Founder’s Day on Friday, April 4, to commemorate the city’s history. The event will begin with a meet and greet at 8:30 a.m. at city hall, followed by the opening ceremony and recognition of community partners.
The ceremony will then move to the skate park, which will be named for the late Officer Pete Lannon, who succumbed to cancer last year. Lannon was the resource officer for Anna Maria Elementary School. The ceremony will conclude with a ribbon cutting at the city’s new tot lot beside the skate park. More...
Rotten Ralph’s stuffs a grouper
On this Saturday night, most of the Island restaurants we love, including the Beach Bistro, Sign of the Mermaid, Giorgio’s and Ocean Star, are crammed with patrons with the prudence to get reservations or get in line early. We’re much too hungry to wait, so we settle for a non-fussy meal at Rotten Ralph’s, a local hangout with minimal, but cheerful, furnishings and heaps of clams, shrimp, crab and oysters, as well as memorable key lime pie. More...
Hell’s Bay Boat Works survives and thrives
The perfect boat, that’s all I wanted. Actually, I had a perfectly functional boat at the time, a 17-foot Action Craft Bay Runner. I had fished the boat for close to 12 years, even having it completely remodeled with custom gel coat, new hinges, a new outboard engine and twin air switches that operated trolling motors.
The only problem was that I was spending most of my time fly fishing in shallow water. My boat ran like a charm, handled beautify in a chop, but poled like a scow. More...
Get in a real estate of mind
Remember Billy Joel’s masterpiece from 1976 – "New York State of Mind?" He sings about how he missed New York City and how everyplace you live has its own unique character. The lyrics are a good lesson for anyone who thinks the grass is always greener and the real estate always better somewhere else. During the past few weeks on the Island, not only is the grass greener, but the sand is softer, the water clearer and the masses of people enjoying it should put real estate front and center on everyone’s mind. More...
D Coy Ducks has a new attitude
On an island where an elephant marches down Marina Drive in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and a dog becomes Cleopatra on Halloween, there shouldn’t be too many surprises. But according to Butch Swanson, one of the owners and manager of D Coy Ducks, some time in late summer he "will surprise the heck out of everyone." More...
Island Majors team comes up against tough opposition
Deciding who best to lead the team on the mound, when you know that by playing your number one pitcher you would still lose the game, was a decision Coach Chris Moneuse had to make in the Island Majors last outing. It was against Bonefish Grill, a team that plays year round, and the match up was like Manatee High School facing off against The Rays. Bonefish Grill, coached these past three seasons by Jerry Paperala, is a breed apart. More...
Pekpa returns to winner’s circle
Sixteen teams took to the clay at the Anna Maria horseshoe pits on Saturday, March 22, but only two of them emerged unscathed from the morning’s pool play elimination matches. In the day’s final game, Ron Pepka and Dave Long narrowly won bragging rights with their 21-19 win over Debbie Rhodes and Greg Schutt. More...