Vol. 10 No. 46 - August 18, 2010
Court's recall ruling pending
ANNA MARIA — City residents, attorneys and politicians are anxiously awaiting a ruling by Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas in a case that will either stop the recall of Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus or allow it to take place on Sept. 7.
Judge Nicholas heard almost three hours of arguments from Stoltzfus' attorney, Richard Harrison, and from the Recall Stoltzfus Committee’s attorney Fred Moore on Thursday, August 12. More...
Two swimmers die in Gulf
ANNA MARIA – Two siblings drowned in a rip current Thursday afternoon while swimming in the Gulf on the north end of the Island.
Gerardo Hernandez, whom law enforcement officials estimated was in his 60s, and his sister, Josefina Pardo, 71, were pronounced dead at Blake Medical Center, while two other family members were hospitalized, according to a Manatee Sheriff’s Office report. More...
Police pension blasted
HOLMES BEACH – Commissioner Al Robinson said the city must get out of its police pension plan.
“It is unfunded by $667,873 as of September of last year in the audit,” he told the board last week. “The audit also pointed out that over the last five years, that unfunded pension liability has gone up $100,000 a year, which isn’t chump change.” More...
Annual scallop search returns Saturday
LONGBOAT KEY – Bay scallops virtually disappeared from local waters in the early 1970s, but according to annual scallop counts, like the one planned for this Saturday, they’re making a comeback.
“Results in recent years have been promising, with evidence mounting that bay scallops are making a significant recovery,” Florida Sea Grant extension agent John Stevely said. More...
O’Connor bowling tourney honors sponsors
Billy and George O’Connor last week honored sponsors of the O’Connor Bowling Challenge that have been with them for the entire 20 years.
Each sponsor received an engraved plaque “on behalf of the children of the community for making a difference with 20 years of extraordinary commitment in fundraising for the children of the Anna Maria Island Community Center.” More...
Oil is over, tourism officials say
HOLMES BEACH - With the Deepwater Horizon oil well capped, it’s time to “move on with life,” a local tourism official told tourism business owners last week.
The CVB is moving away from the mantra that the beaches are clean, CVB Interim Director Elliott Falcione said, because it may plant an idea in the minds of visitors that the oil may still reach local beaches. More...
Tourism down third consecutive month
Hotel occupancy on Anna Maria Island continues to fall below last year’s numbers for the third month in a row, according to July statistics from the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
In July, Anna Maria Island occupancy was 69.3 percent, down from 71.1 percent in July 2009, while hoteliers in the Manatee County section of Longboat Key reported occupancy at 60.6 percent, down a fraction from 60.8 percent last July. More...
Board excited about well discovery
ANNA MARIA — City commissioners’ eyes lit up, they sat up straighter in their chairs and they started smiling as they heard from Anna Maria Island Historical Society President Melissa Williams that an old artesian well had been rediscovered.
“We’re very excited that we found the well,” Williams told commissioners at their Aug. 12 meeting. “We knew it was there. Pat Copeland remembered it, but we couldn’t find it at first. Then someone mentioned that Ed Straight was interested in dowsing, the old-fashioned way of finding water.” More...
Support group seeking Island troops
Manatee Operation Troop Support is seeking the names of Island troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq or Kuwait in order to add them to the list of troops receiving packages from home.
MOTS is a non-profit organization begun by King Middle School teacher Jim Comkowycz in 2007 after his son, Jeff, was wounded and returned home to Walter Reed hospital. Currently MOTS serves 61 troops from Manatee and Sarasota counties. More...
Scientists struggle to grasp oil’s effects
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon has been burned, sunken, dissolved, weathered, skimmed, evaporated and eaten by bacteria, but no one knows just how much remains in the Gulf of Mexico, or what effects it will have, according to Mote Marine Laboratory scientists.
While the well has been closed for a month, the oil’s effects on the environment are just beginning, Mote President Kumar Mahadevan said at a forum at Mote last week, noting that it took four years for the effects from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 to show up in the Alaskan herring fishery. More...
Beekeepers capture hive in Holmes Beach
HOLMES BEACH – The buzz was in this Island city Saturday as three beekeepers descended on the yard of Michelle Wallen on 59th Street to capture a hive of bees high up in a Cuban laurel tree.
Kevin Lausman and his trainees, Dr. Ray Raitz and Gary Cox, assessed the situation while Wallen explained how the bees came to live in the tree. More...
Snook need continued protection
Ask an angler from Alaska, or one who's going there, what the first fish that comes to mind is, and most will say salmon. Ask an angler the same question about Massachusetts and you'll hear stripers. In the Bahamas, the bonefish is the poster fish, as are permit in Belize. In Florida, a state blessed with a plethora of species to choose from, the snook is the undisputed leader, despite the fact that their range isn't statewide.
No angler or scientist disputes the fact that this past year's freeze decimated snook in historical proportions. The question is should the closed season, which was extended through the summer, be kept closed or reopened this fall? Chairman Rodney Barreto and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided on Aug. 5 that the emergency closure will remain in effect until at least Sept. 16. The commissioners will meet again Sept. 1 to 3 to decide if there should be a fall snook season this year, or if the closure should continue through fall, into next spring or indefinitely. More...
Fannie and Freddie – a thing of the past
How does that Chinese proverb go again? "May you live interesting times." Well, it doesn’t get too much more interesting than right now, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be the most interesting of all.
In order to understand Fannie and Freddie’s position and responsibility in our present financial meltdown, let’s explain exactly what they are and their function. Fannie Mae was established in 1938 after the Great Depression to create a liquid secondary mortgage market. More...
The Death CrossInvestment Corner
At the end of June, an event known as the Death Cross occurred in major stock indexes. The Death Cross is a term used to describe the 50-day moving average crossing below the 200 day moving average for the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 Index. The 50-day moving average is used as an intermediate indicator and the 200 day moving average is a long-term indicator of the market’s direction. Here’s a chart showing the S&P 500 Index along with its 50 and 200 day moving averages. Note the 50 day crossing below the 200 day at the end of June. More...
Tides wash out 10 turtle nests
Ten loggerhead sea turtle nests – about 1,000 hatchlings – were lost on Anna Maria Island last week when high tides repeatedly covered them and washed the eggs into the Gulf.
Sea turtles breathe air, and when their porous shells are underwater, the turtles inside can drown. Once adrift, the eggs will not hatch, said Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Monitoring. . More...
Beachgoers enjoy impromptu turtle talks
Some lucky beachgoers are learning in their leisure time, watching sea turtle nest excavations on Anna Maria Island’s Gulf beaches.
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Monitoring volunteers conduct the excavations to determine how many turtles hatched from each nest, how many did not hatch and whether the hatchlings were disoriented and killed by lights or other factors. More...