The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 47 - August 25, 2010


Don't sit, get fit

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

From left, Ellen Riley, Tim Sheffstall, Kassy Sheffstall and
Amenda Martinez welcome members of the community to
stop by, meet them and see their shop.

It seems like everyone you talk to these days is either trying to lose that extra 20 or more pounds they’ve been carrying around for decades or is making a better effort at getting fit.

Whether you have a medical reason you’re worried about or you just want to get back into those skinny jeans, Anna Maria Island Health and Fitness Center can help you get your health and body back on track.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into AMI Health and Fitness weren’t the hard bodies usually found at fitness centers but rather the softer bodies typical of many of Anna Maria Island residents. Kip Lalosh, one of the personal trainers, confirmed that two-thirds of their members are over 51 years of age and one-third of these members are over 61. Because of this demographic, the personal trainers at AMI Health and Fitness focus on medical and weight control for 90 percent of their 250 members.

The fitness center is structured with the goal of continually offering programs and services to fit the needs of the community. They accomplish this through a team approach of personal training, group fitness classes, cardio equipment, circuit training, free weights, weight loss programs and a senior fitness curriculum. They are equally skilled at rehabilitative training for seniors and sports training for kids.

Besides Lalosh, John Monteforte and Stephanie Belill are certified personal trainers, Grace Sawyer is the general and front desk manager, and Karen Iannello is the group fitness coordinator. Other instructors provide specialized classes like Zumba, Ball Sculpt and Sit n Fit and Stephanie Belill’s canine companion, Lucy, is their mascot.

The fitness center will be celebrating its one year anniversary on Wednesday, Aug. 25. During this all day event, membership and personal training specials will be offered including “enroll for $1 and your first month is free” membership special and other events. Wrapping up the day’s celebration will be a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres party, including entertainment for all Island residents and guests starting at 5:30 p.m.

In addition to all their other services, team members havebeen challenging the community with their Weight Loss Challenge Program. So far, the participants have lost 325 pounds, and the winners will be announced at their one year anniversary party. They will be starting a new weight loss challenge in January which is great time to begin getting off those extra holiday pounds.

They point out that their rates are very affordable and very flexible. There are daily, weekly and monthly rates available, and they never charge an enrollment fee or ask you to sign a contract. You can just walk in and take a class or make a bigger commitment. There is a membership to fit everyone’s’ needs and schedule.

Team members would like to thank the community for their support during this first year. They were thrilled to be voted best fitness center in 2010 by the Sun readers in its annual Reader’s Choice Awards contest and appreciate the honor.

Everyone at the fitness Center is genuinely sincere in wanting to help people get fit. They provide a space where men and women of all ages can come in, feel comfortable and start working on achieving their goals. The first step is always the hardest but the team at Anna Maria Iasland Health and Fitness Center can make the second one easy. Remember it’s all about the quality of your life.

Anna Maria Island Health and Fitness Center

S & S Plaza
5364 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach
Monday-Thursday: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Expanded hours starting Oct. 15
Call for times
All major credit cards

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Estate tax edging closer to resolution

Investment Corner

The recent high profile passing of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner brought attention back to a topic which has seemingly been brushed under the rug for quite a while. Tax legislation known as the Bush tax cuts, which became law in 2001, gradually reduced the impact of the estate tax on the passing of large inheritances by raising the amount of the estate which was exempt from the tax year by year. For the estates of those passing away in 2010, the estate tax was eliminated – saving the Steinbrenner family an estimated $1 billion in taxes.

However, to gain passage in Congress, the Bush tax cut bill was negotiated to expire at the end of 2010, and both income tax and estate tax rates will roll back to the same levels before the tax cuts took effect. For estates, the rate would be 55 percent with an exemption of $1 million. Between now and the end of the year, we should see Congress act to define the level of both income tax and, hopefully, the estate tax for the foreseeable future.

Some preliminary discussions and bill proposals seem to be defining at least the range of what we might expect for the estate tax issue. While the estate tax impacts a minority portion of the population in terms of numbers, it is certainly an important issue for the families who are receiving inheritances, and if the law is allowed to roll-back to the old levels, it would certainly impact a much higher percentage of the population as wealth is passed from one generation to the next.

Senators Blanch Lincoln (Ark.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.) have submitted a proposal to set the estate tax permanently at 35 percent with an exemption of $5 million. This means that the first $5 million inherited would not be taxed at all. Of course, there is an unlimited spousal exemption, which means that money inherited by a decedent’s spouse is not taxed, no matter what the amount is.

Last year, a bill in the House of Representatives was passed which set the estate tax rate at 45 percent with an exemption of $3.5 million. Both of the proposals on the table are more favorable to families than allowing the rates to roll-back to the pre-2001 levels, and it is widely expected that the final law will settle somewhere in the range of the proposals currently on Capitol Hill. Of course predicting the actions of Congress is tricky business and perhaps hard than predicting the direction of the stock market!

Those with estates larger than $3 million should consider some advance planning for the benefit of your heirs. Establishing revocable and irrevocable trusts may minimize the level of tax due on your estate. If you are in reasonably good health, purchasing life insurance to pay estate tax might be worthy of consideration. This strategy is especially important for those who will leave family businesses or valuable illiquid assets to their heirs. Unfortunately, the IRS is not very understanding when it comes to paying estate tax and there have been many cases of families forced to liquidate businesses or sell assets (like professional sports teams) which have a large value but are hard to sell for their true worth, especially when buyers know you have to sell.

Although it won’t solve major estate tax issues, gifting of assets to your heirs while you are still alive is also a good strategy to move value out of your estate and reduce the tax man’s bite. The limitation of gifts is currently $13,000, and applies to the value of a gift from one person to another. So, a husband and wife can give a total of $26,000 annually to each of their children, grandchildren or any person they choose. Gifts in excess of the limit can be taxed by the IRS, but there does not seem to be a lot of policing of gifts. Still, if you are audited, the IRS could find a paper trail for gifts in excess of the limit.

We should know more about the details of both the estate tax situation and the income tax situation over the next few months.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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