Vol. 12 No. 23 - March 21, 2012
Spring breaking records
Spring Break, and all of 2012 so far, is breaking tourism records, according to Anna Maria Island tourism operators and anyone who drives on local roads.
The season is fulfilling a forecast in December by Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau consultant Walter Klages, of Research Data Services, who predicted a boom this year after nearly half a million tourists visited Manatee County in 2011, breaking previous records. Occupancy was up 9.5 percent in 2011 from 2010. More...
No moratorium for Anna Maria
ANNA MARIA – In a 3-2 consensus, commissioners decided at a special work session not to pursue a building moratorium.
Opening the work session, Chair Chuck Webb said, "We're here to reach a conclusion about rentals in the city and to talk about existing and proposed codes and enforcement issues. We want to discuss problems and see if we can identify them." More...
Ruling Prince simply 'the man'
HOLMES BEACH – He's a cat of means, by no means, but don't call him King of the Road – he's known as Prince.
Prince is a black and white tabby who technically does have owners, but in reality he belongs to everyone who cares about him. His world revolves around three shopping centers in the vicinity of Gulf Drive and Marina Drive. More...
Baseball museum planned for the island
If the Anna Maria Island Historical Society can raise the funds, the home of Warren Spahn, one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball, will be moved to the Island Historical Museum complex at 402 Pine Avenue, between the Old City Jail and Belle Haven.
The Hall of Famer's cottage was one of a group of winter homes for Boston Braves ballplayers when they were in spring training during the 40s and 50s in Bradenton. They are located near Tuna Street on the Gulf. More...
LOBSTAHS arrives on Island
HOLMES BEACH – The former Martini Bistro is now LOBSTAHS, under the same management as Ginny’s & Jane E’s in Anna Maria.
LOBSTAHS focuses on family friendly dining, said Jeff Levey, who, with his wife, Roberta (Bert) Levey, own Ginny’s.
From their experience in Anna Maria, the couple has learned what the Island wants in an eatery, he said, adding that the LOBSTAHS menu is reasonably priced while still providing the quality and service Island diners expect. More...
Fishing festival catch down
The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) took in about a third less proceeds from the 30th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival last month than the previous record year.
Rain on Sunday morning and threats of high winds kept people away the second day of the festival, according to FISH Treasurer Jane von Hahmann, who estimated attendance at 18,000 to 20,000 over the weekend. More...
Aggressive code enforcement sought
HOLMES BEACH – Holmes Beach commissioners gave an update last week on the progress of their committees' ideas for solving rental problems like noise, trash, parking and overcrowding.
Commission chambers have been packed in recent weeks with residents expressing frustration that their residential neighborhoods are transitioning into rental zones, reducing their quality of life. More...
Win an amethyst pendant or an Apple iPack
ANNA MARIA – Raffle ticket holders have two great prizes to look forward to at the Affaire to Remember, "Once in A Blue Moon," on Saturday, March 31, at the Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.
Ladies will love the one of a kind amethyst pendant made exclusively for 2012's Affaire. This beautiful pendant was designed and created by Bridge Street Jeweler's own jeweler, John Krake. More...
Tour of Homes a huge success
HOLMES BEACH – The day dawned bright and beautiful, as people lined up to board two shuttle buses and a van for the Community Center's 19th annual Tour of Homes.
"It's our fifth tour," Mary Reese said of she and her sister-in-law Susan as they waited for the shuttle. "It's what we plan to do every year. We love it. You get to see some beautiful homes." More...
Take the challenge – make a donation
I really appreciate the opportunity I've had to spend a significant portion of my life on an island, enjoying the bounties of our local waters. When I first arrived here over 30 years ago, I was sure the environment was going downhill fast. The depletion of fish stocks, rampant building and the loss of natural habitat seemed insurmountable.
As I got to know the area better, I was surprised at the resilience of the natural world. Watching the cycles with a perspective of two, then three decades, really changed my perception. Actions by municipalities to eliminate sewage discharge, to purchase and protect sensitive lands and to address storm water run-off and excess fertilizer use have had a positive effect on local waters. More...
Death and taxes are inevitable
Homeownership comes with a long list of pros and cons. When the plumbing springs a leak or the roof blows off or your spouse wants to paint the living room red, you're the person in charge of making sure it gets done. But along with the expenses and work associated with homeownership also comes some tax benefits which you should start taking notice of with April 15 just around the corner. More...
Giving thought to starting Social Security benefitsInvestment Corner
The idea of choosing to delay the receipt of Social Security benefits often brings confused looks to many faces. After all, it just seems so nice to take the money and run, collecting for the maximum number of months possible. Of course there is a financial incentive to delay, with waiting bringing a sizable increase in the monthly benefit.
More sophisticated strategies become possible and potentially profitable when considering a husband and wife's situation. I've written on this topic before, but with new folks reaching the planning phase each year, I think it's a good idea to address the topic again. More...
Super Bowl games this week
The fantastic finale of the Anna Maria Island Community Center's flag football league concludes this week with its Super Bowl games. After 10 weeks of play, 34 competitive teams are narrowed to eight teams seeking the coveted Super Bowl championship. Here is a preview of final games. More...
The largest convention everFeasting on Fitness
Yeah, that's what my publisher said I'd be going to last week in Los Angeles I wasn't sure I wanted to believe this whopper. But there it was – Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center. Legendary for decades, even some of my personal training clients at the gym where I work had heard of it. My publisher was right. He estimated that 20,000 people plus attended the three-day convention each day this year. More...