Vol. 10 No. 48 - September 1, 2010


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryDiana Nyad: Long Distance Dreamer

Sun sales assistant and boating enthusiast Dee Brady is one of about 30 people accompanying long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad as she attempts to be the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. Dee is driving her boat, the 34-foot motorized catamaran, Voyager 1, as an escort vessel for Nyad and is chronicling the journey in her blog for Sun readers. Today, the group is still in Key West but the paperwork has cleared and the swim could be attempted this week. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTorch passed at bowling tourney

Bowlers packed AMF Lanes in Bradenton last weekend for the annual O’Connor Bowling Challenge to raise $9,169 for the Anna Maria Island Community Center, but the big news came at the after party at the Anna Maria Oyster Bar when the O’Connor brothers – Billy and George – announced that after 20 years of bowling challenges, they would no longer be organizing the event.

After the party, Bill O'Connor talked with The Sun about their decision. More...

Stay sought in recall ruling

ANNA MARIA — The judge in the recall case against an Anna Maria city commissioner is being asked for a last minute stay of his order to go forward with the recall election.

But at least for now, voters will head to the polling place on Sept. 7 to decide if City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus should be recalled. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Mainsail Lodge opens sales office

HOLMES BEACH – The Mainsail Lodge has opened its sales office on its marina property at 5325 Marina Drive, and it features a 3-D model of the main lodge and 37 condo/hotel units and town houses planned for the site.

“We recently cleaned up the site and added some picnic tables, so people can see life over there, and we’re steadily increasing the number of boats in the marina,” said Joe Collier, president of Mainsail Development of Tampa. “ We’re bringing activity to it.” More...

Parking plan killed

ANNA MARIA — The Pine Avenue parking plan that was designed to produce a pedestrian-friendly, walkable street through the city’s mixed-use corridor was quashed by City Commission Chair John Quam last week.

“I take full responsibility for this,” Quam said at the Aug. 26 commission meeting. “I’m totally responsible for initiating the public parking plan, and with special thanks to Gene Aubry, I’m sorry I cannot go that way but I think this is what’s best for the city.” More...

Businesses hoping for big holiday turnout

Labor Day weekend begins on Saturday (or Friday, for those sneaking off from their labors early), and Anna Maria Island accommodations' owners are hoping for one last hurrah before the September lull.

September is historically the slowest month for tourism on the Island, with a hotel, motel and condominium occupancy rate of 39.4 percent in 2009 and 32.8 percent in 2008, both annual lows, according to the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). In 2007, 35.1 percent occupancy was reported in September, the second slowest month of that year after an unusually sluggish January. More...

The Sun seeking questions for candidates

The Sun is seeking questions from readers for candidates in the four Island elections as well as the Manatee County Commission at large seat. More...

Meet recall election candidates

ANNA MARIA – Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 7, to decide if City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus should be recalled from office and if so, who should serve the remainder of his term in office, Stoltzfus or political newcomer Gene Aubry. The term expires in November 2011. More...

Oil has minimal affect on tourism

Manatee County tourism rose 1.7 percent from April to June, the first three months of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a survey by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s consultant.

Bolstering a widespread theory that visitors bypassed the oil-stricken Panhandle for southwest Florida, 114,200 visitors traveled to Manatee County compared to 112,300 during the same three-month period last year, according to the survey by Tampa-based Research Data Services. More...

Engineers unveil drainage plans

BRADENTON BEACH – They have some money and they have a plan, and they want residents to know what they’re doing.

Three engineers from Lynn Townsend and Associates fielded questions and talked about their plans to improve stormwater drainage in the worst areas of town at a public meeting on Monday, Aug. 23. The turnout, however, was confined to a couple of homeowners who serve or have served on city boards and a few other residents of those bad areas who were curious to see what was in store. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLocal singers debut CD

LONGBOAT KEY – Two local ladies have proven that 70-something isn’t too late to break into the music business.

Sally Keyes and Marlene Campanaro are cantors together at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Longboat Key. Keyes also is co-owner of Catcher’s Island Discount Tackle in Holmes Beach and a former member of the choir at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church. More...


Hit-and-run driver sought

The Holmes Beach Police Department responded to a hit-and-run crash involving a bicycle around 12:50 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19, at 63rd Street and Holmes Boulevard., The vehicle struck the bicyclist from behind and left the scene. The vehicle was last seen heading north on Holmes Boulevard. The only information police have is that it is a blue vehicle.

Anyone with information on the identity of the driver of the vehicle in this accident is asked to call Lt. Dale Stephenson at 708-5804, ext. 238.

Blood drive at Center Sept. 9

The Island Community Center will hold a blood drive on Thursday, Sept. 9, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. An ID is required, and donors must weigh 110 pounds, be over 18 years old and in good health.

Donors will receive a limited edition football-inspired T-shirt and a free wellness checkup, including a cholesterol screening. The Center is located at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

Water advisory at Bayfront Park

The Manatee County Health Department has issued a water advisory at Bayfront Park north based on marine water bacterial indicators established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Florida.

An advisory indicates that water contact may pose an increased risk of infectious disease, particularly for susceptible individuals. The water samples were analyzed for enteric bacteria (fecal coliform and enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of the bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets, wildlife or human sewage.

For more information, call 748-0747 ext.1340, or visit www.doh.state.fl.us (under “A-Z Topics”, select “Beach Water Quality”).

Work to begin on bridge

A maintenance project on the Anna Maria Island Bridge will begin Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. and will involve some lane closures, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. The work will replace hangers beneath the drawbridge and will continue on weeknights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for about two weeks.

Meanwhile, a paving project continues on State Road 789 (Gulf of Mexico Drive) from the north end of New Pass Bridge in Sarasota County to the Manatee County line. The work will be conducted from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. except at Longboat Key Road and Bay Isles Parkway, where it will be from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. There will be temporary lane closures during the work. Weather permitting, these paving operations are anticipated for completion in February 2011.


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySit! Stay! Love!

When my dog, Jake, grabbed a 10-pound bag of flour from the pantry, ran under the bed and proceeded to eat a huge amount of it, and my other dog, Ben, ate the corner off the couch, I decided maybe it was time for me to take control of my household.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I will now challenge anyone who says that.

I, myself, am no spring chicken. (And if I were, Jake and Ben would have made even shorter work of me.) More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryInspired to make a difference

On Saturday, Aug. 28, I had the pleasure of spending a morning on the water with Jay Leverone, senior scientist with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Walt Avery, who recently retired after 30 years as head of bay studies for the city of Tampa. We were attending the Tampa Bay Watch Great Bay Scallop Search, now in its 16th year. The purpose of the search was to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population. Last year Tampa Bay Watch found a record 674 scallops. It was the fifth year in a row that the scallop numbers had increased, leading Tampa Bay Watch organizers to the conclusion that improving water quality, helped by habitat restoration efforts and storm water controls, might be improving the odds for scallops. Saturday's count of only 32 scallops proved a disappointment and left organizers and scientists puzzled. More...

real estate

Continuing to fund the circle

Doesn’t it feel like the national economy is just one big circle? Instead of moving on a parallel line going forward, we keep running on the same circular track never quite catching up. This unfortunately is what homeowners all around the country who are either upside down on their mortgages or just can’t make that monthly payment are experiencing. And I can’t help but wonder if all the help the federal government is offering to distressed homeowners will ever get them to move off that circle. More...


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. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTurtle lighting violations continue

HOLMES BEACH – As turtle nesting winds down on Anna Maria Island, turtle hatching takes the spotlight.

And spotlights, living room lights, parking lot lights, flashlights, headlights and other lights continue to be a problem, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Monitoring. More...


Center’s Fishing for Kids program to expand

ANNA MARIA – The Island Community Center is angling to expand its Fishing for Kids program throughout the school year.

The popular program was offered the first time this summer, and its instructors, Center therapist Terri Milen and volunteer Bob Vita offered two four-week sessions. In each of the four sessions, the kids learned a different type of fishing – from the shore, from a pier, from a boat and on the flats. More...

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