Vol. 9 No. 20 - February 4, 2009


Neighbors respond after shop burglary

HOLMES BEACH – Amy Welch has seen her business grow with a lot of help from her staff and satisfied customers spreading the word. Last weekend, she didn’t miss a beat in getting her shop open following a burglary, thanks to her neighbors, customers and friends. More...

Rate hikes at Citizens could hit 20 percent

A task force recommends that Citizens Property Insurance be allowed to implement rate increases of up to 20 percent when a rate freeze expires in January 2010.

The Citizens Property Insurance Mission Review Task Force recommended to the Florida Legislature on Monday that annual rate increases be capped at a statewide average of 10 percent, a regional average of 15 percent and a 20 percent maximum increase per policyholder. More...

R-1 rental issue sparks debate

HOLMES BEACH – As expected, a commission discussion on rental restrictions in the R-1 district brought out a crowd last week.

"We’re trying to find a happy medium for everyone," Chair Sandy Haas-Martens told the group. More...

Transit agencies may merge

Sarasota and Manatee counties might merge their two public transit systems, especially if it means saving money.

According to the public transportation planning manager of the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), both county commissions might be willing to explore the idea, especially if it means getting the transit systems out of their budgets. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Town wants to stop drifting sand

LONGBOAT KEY – Greer Island, a popular destination for weekend boaters that’s better known as Beer Can Island, is growing, so much so that it’s no longer an island, but a peninsula that extends under the Longboat Pass bridge.

That’s because sand has been drifting north to the end of the key, beginning on the beach at the end of North Shore Road, a trend that should be stopped, Longboat Key Town Manager Bruce St. Denis told town officials and Manatee County commissioners last week. More...

SAM members ask for bridge committee

A former mayor and a former city councilman from Bradenton Beach made a pitch for a low-rise replacement for the Anna Maria Island Bridge because it would be safer when storms blow in, but they got an icy reception from a county commissioner. More...

Port Dolphin offers new study supporting pipeline route

LONGBOAT KEY – Port Dolphin officials have offered to prepare an engineering study that would demonstrate why they cannot build their submerged natural gas pipeline alongside Gulfstream Natural Gas System’s pipeline.

The Houston-based company has offered to allow Manatee County and Longboat Key officials to choose an independent consultant to prepare the study, which the company will pay for, Assistant Manatee County Attorney Sarah Schenk told officials on Thursday at a joint meeting of the two governments. More...

Commission refuses to vacate Gulfside alley

HOLMES BEACH –Commissioners denied a request by Fred and Susan Bartizal to vacate a 10-foot platted, unimproved alley on the Gulf side of their duplex at 2812 Avenue E so they can build a swimming pool.

Two weeks ago, the commission denied the request, but learned they were required to hold a public hearing. The hearing, held last week, gave Bartizals’ attorney, Derin Parks, and opposing neighbors an opportunity to speak. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFresh Mex at Tortilla Bay

Tucked away in The Island Shopping Center at the corner of Gulf and Marina drives in Holmes Beach is a bright, tastefully decorated restaurant where aromas trigger salivary glands of all those who come near.

Tortilla Bay Southwest Grille is a mecca for those displaced western and southwestern transplants and visitors who favor Mexican or Tex Mex food with better quality ingredients and an eye on their health. More...

reel time

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryChoosing the right polarized sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are an angler’s best friend. We wear them because they reduce the amount of visible light that passes through the lens and cut the surface glare that lets us see below the water’s surface. This ability is a definite advantage when sight fishing or looking for signs of fish. Many anglers choose their glasses according to style, not realizing that the color of the lenses and other factors determine their real effectiveness. Color is important, but it’s just one of the choices that you will need to make to get the most from your sunglasses. More...

real estate

Condo mortgage requirements get tough

After years of running the agency like the wild West, granting home loans to anyone who could fog up a mirror, Fannie Mae is finally getting religion – only this time it could hurt the Florida housing industry even more. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryVia Italia – a traditional Italian trattoria

In Italian cities there’s a trattoria on practically every corner – petite, intimate eateries with good quality food and plenty of it at reasonable prices. When Mike McGowan opened Via Italia his goal was to replicate the casual low key experience of an Italian trattoria, a goal he has happily reached.

McGowan has lived in Florida for 30 years migrating from the New York City region to work as a golf pro in Florida’s 12 -month golfing climate. Along the way, he also worked in a variety of restaurants learning the business from some of the top chefs in the area. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The importance of the savings rate

Investment Corner

We would all likely agree, especially now that frugality is back in style, that a high rate of savings is a good thing, both at the personal and national level. Savings allows families and nations to build wealth, reduce reliance on debt and weather the inevitable economic recessions easier than someone who is cash strapped. Perhaps, most importantly, a life of strong savings can allow for flexibility and quality of life in the years after you choose to hang up the business suit for a golf shirt. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Premier, Division 1 races heat up

Sand Dollar continues to dominate and remains unbeaten as basketball continues at the Center. There's a tight race in the Premier Division as A Paradise holds on to first. Dips Ice Cream and Fronius are keeping it interesting in Division 1, all tied up with 5-3 records. Sand Dollar dominates Division 2 and is the only unbeaten team left and it's all square at both ends in Division 3 with Jessie's and Ross Built at the top. More...


Tossers warm up at pits

Only two teams got three wins and no losses on a frigid Wednesday, January 21, morning. The better half of the Rhodes team, Debbie, and her partner, Al Norman, easily defeated John Johnson and Jim Roush, 21 to 14. More...


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