The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 51 - September 22, 2010


Fine food, focus on detail at Martiniville

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The Martiniville dining room and bar will be filled with
customers at the sneak preview on Thursday and Friday.

HOLMES BEACH – Fine food prepared with fresh ingredients and a focus on detail is what you’ll find when you visit the Island’s newest restaurant and bar, Martiniville, in the AMI Plaza.

Owners Debbie and Mike Hynds welcome you to a sneak preview on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 23 and 24, at 8 p.m., and the grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m., all with live music. Food will not be available at the sneak preview.

“It’s a place with acute attention to detail and a high level of service,” General Manager Jon Roberson said. “The most important aspect is a warm, friendly, inviting staff to care for our guests.”

“We have a polished casual style,” Debbie Hynds added.

Guests can sample seafood delights at the raw bar or start with a selection from a variety of small plates, soups and salads. Sandwiches include a choice of steak, blackened grouper or the signature Bleu Skies burger made with Kobe beef and topped with Maytag bleu cheese and a fried egg.

The restaurant boasts the only wood burning pizza oven on the Island, which will feature thin crust, New York-style pizza and a selection of flat breads, all with your favorite toppings. Pizza also is available for take out.

Executive Chef Alana Guerling oversees the kitchen and entrees include wood grilled seafood – salmon, scallops, grouper, shrimp or tuna – and daily specials. These can be paired with sides such as mango and sweet potato puree, cream spinach squares, potatoes au gratin, onion rings, French fries, Island slaw or haricot verts.

Follow dinner with a decadent dessert, all made in house, including warm chocolate chip cookies, key lime pie or a parfait with Grand Marnier panna cotta, seasonal berries and crunchy granola.

“What makes our food phenomenal is it’s all freshly prepared,” Debbie pointed out.

Dining outdoors is a soothing experience on the climate controlled, covered patio surrounded by lush plants, or you can just relax with a drink and listen to the music. Seating also is available on the boardwalk fronting the building.

Happy hour is offered daily from 5 p.m. with selected $5 martinis, all made with fresh ingredients; cocktails and half price draft beer. The original artwork of Justin Knowles is featured in the main bar area, and the photographs of Gemma Hynds are featured in the women’s restroom.

5337 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach
Tuesday through Sunday
5 p.m. to late
www.martinivillefl. com

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Cracks in muni market

Investment Corner

A few months ago I wrote about the potential for trouble in the municipal bond market as some cities, counties or states struggle with shrinking revenues and trying to cut expenditures while delivering the services the citizens have grown to expect.

In early September, Harrisburg, Penn., announced it would not make a $3.29 million interest payment due later this month. The choice was made by the mayor after deciding it could not cut public safety services any further.

Earlier this year, Jefferson County, Ala., and Crawfordsville, Ind., missed interest payments on outstanding debt issues. All told, the municipal bond default rate is running about three times the normal long-term, historical level. Interestingly, that historical rate is about one third of the default rate of investment grade corporate bonds. This means that quality corporate bonds, at least at the moment, are generally considered about as safe as investing in municipal bonds.

We all know that municipal bonds provide tax-free interest payments, and this is what has made them attractive to investors in the top tax brackets. Presently, 10 year AAA rated municipal bonds on average are yielding about 2.4 percent. While 10 year U.S. treasury bonds are yielding about 2.7 percent. Of course, the after-tax yield on the treasury bond is lower and would equal about 1.75 percent for an investor in the top tax bracket.

So, although yields in general remain very low for high quality bonds of all types, municipal bonds are offering a distinct edge compared to treasury issued securities. Apparently, this edge comes with a risk – that risk is if the municipality that issued the bond defaults, the investors may not receive the interest payments they were promised and could be at risk for loss of a portion of the principal invested in the bonds.

Many munis are insured. When the municipality issues the bonds, it buys insurance from a municipal bond insurance company to give the investors peace of mind that in the case of a budget struggle for the issuing city, county, or state, the investors will still receive their interest payments and principal. Insured municipals generally have higher ratings and pay lower yields.

The tight budget situations in many cities and locals are presenting an interesting situation with Harrisburg, Pa., being a great example. The leaders of the city decided they could not cut services to the residents any more and decided not to pay the interest to the bond investors rather than lay off police, fireman, or other city workers. The bonds were insured, so now the bond insurance company will have to pay the investors the missed interest payment.

This developing situation has long-term ramifications for municipalities and for investors who want to buy tax-free bonds. If the municipalities start relying on the insurance to make payments, the insurance companies will be very hesitant to write coverage for future bond issues when these cities and states need to raise capital for future projects. Without insurance, the investors will demand higher interest yields on the bonds before they will take the risk of buying the uninsured debt. Of course, the higher interest cost ends up getting passed along to the taxpayers in the municipalities.

I’m not predicting a total breakdown of the municipal bonds markets, but I do believe we will see more defaults and that this segment of investing, which for several decades has been a pretty simple and easy place to navigate, is about to get more interesting and risky.

Investors can reduce their risk of the negative impact of a default by staying very diversified and not putting too much of their portfolio in the bonds of one municipality. Mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) are great tools to help with the diversification process, although there is a cost of owning the fund, which may reduce the yield.

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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