Vol. 13 No. 19 - February 20, 2013
Mainsail hearing continued
HOLMES BEACH – All eyes were on Commissioner Marvin Grossman, who made the deciding vote to allow the Mainsail development discussion to continue to March 26, at last week’s public hearing.
Commissioners called the hearing to decide whether “to consider amending by establishing a termination date or terminating the special exception and site plan approval” for the project at the corner of Marina and Gulf drives, which began as the Tidemark development in 2001. More...
Pool, bedroom limits passed
ANNA MARIA – The City Commission has voted to require adequate parking for homes according to the number of bedrooms they have.
The problem is a result of developers buying old homes, razing them and building multi-bedroom homes that bring in more than one family with additional cars parked up and down the block. The ordinance commissioners passed Thursday also limits the number of swimming pools per lot to one – a law that would apply mostly to duplexes. More...
Sandbar easement continued
ANNA MARIA – The city commission feels it hasn’t heard enough about a proposed easement move at the Sandbar restaurant after somebody suggested they might need a site plan amendment, so they continued the second public hearing until Feb. 28.
The easement swap was requested by W.E.L.D., Inc., owner of the restaurant. It would move the existing pedestrian easement from a north-south walkway between the closest parking rows to the restaurant entrance to a north-south walkway east of the easternmost row of parking in the on-site parking lot. More...
Thousands catch fishing festival
The 31st Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival entertained thousands despite a cold front breezing through the fishing village last weekend.
Organizers said about 19,000 visitors attended the two-day celebration, though Saturday’s numbers were down some due to late afternoon rain, wind and falling temperatures. More...
Get your tickets now
HOLMES BEACH – Get your tickets now for "Celebrate Winter!! Island Style" on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. The event has been moved from April, when it was the Spring Fling, to avoid conflict with other events.
This is the Anna Maria Elementary School PTO’s largest fund-raiser each year, and it features a live auction for the first time. ABC Channel 7’s Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan will be the auctioneer. More...
New book on Sandpiper at museum
Ted Baird, a member of the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and museum volunteer, holds his recently published book, "Sandpiper Resort." The cover shows an aerial view of the park at 2601 Gulf Drive.
He and his wife, Luanne, have lived in the mobile home park for 10 years. His research was mainly with longtime residents of the park that borders on Holmes Beach. More...
Jazz to support classical
Some folks spend their retired years playing golf. Retired math teacher and Holmes Beach resident Bil Bowdish spends his golden years playing saxophone and flute, singing with with the musical group Gulf Drive and giving back to the community he has called home since 2004.
Joined by Ted Young on piano, vocalist Judy Lynn, and special guest Koko Ray on sax, Gulf Drive will host the Ninth Annual Jazz Fest taking place Thursday Feb. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Sandbar wedding pavilion in Anna Maria. More...
Pooch finds love, a home and new sight
ANNA MARIA – Her coat was filthy and had to be removed, she was covered in fleas and cataracts were taking away her sight. But some loving hearts on and off the Island turned her life around for the better.
The story begins a year ago when two Picture Them Adopted (PTA) volunteers – Rita Boyer and Barbara Nellis – noticed a new dog taken from a field off State Road 70 in east Bradenton and sent to the Manatee County Animal Shelter. More...
Early residents talk about history
ANNA MARIA – Restaurateur Ed Chiles learned some Island and Sandbar history when he met with three early Island residents recently at his newly renovated Sandbar restaurant.
Donna Courtney Simpson is the daughter of Thelma Wood Holly. Her mother was the poster girl for the Anna Maria Beach Company brochure. Her grandparents built a house on the bay, which was known as Thelma By The Sea in 1912. It was sold in 1946 and became Anglers Lodge. More...
Exploring Florida’s Hidden Treasures
Boaters and anglers living on Anna Maria Island and in the West Central Florida region have a wonderful variety of natural habitats to explore. Whether by foot, power boat or paddle, the Gulf, bays and backwaters provide an almost limitless variety of opportunities.
Recently, I was invited by AMI Outfitters owner Steve Traves to explore a remote and mysterious body of water in Tampa Bay called Moses Hole. The 31-acre destination is located in lower Tampa Bay about two miles northeast of the Skyway Bridge. More...
Bill seeks changes to property insurance
People frequently ask me how I come up with something to write about every week. Frankly, sometimes I ask myself the same question when facing a blank screen, but whenever I’m afflicted with writer’s block I can count on Citizens Insurance to navigate me out of it.
Early in February, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee released the rough sketch of a bill imposing massive changes on the property insurance market. The draft bill is attempting to move much of the state’s insurance risk into the private sector and away from Citizens Insurance. This position supports Gov. Scott’s often expressed concern that Citizens is undercutting the private market with its artificially suppressed rates leaving taxpayers liable to assessments if a once-in-a-lifetime storm hits the sunshine state. More...
Chillin' with Air America
Are you feeling a little chilly? Florida winters are certainly cooler than Florida summers but it’s during the summer when you really want to feel the chill, and there’s a way to maintain cool temperatures all summer long from a company that is licensed to keep you chilled. More...
Social Security going 'e'Investment Corner
It's now pretty much official. The Social Security Administration is about to be almost totally electronically based for it's payment and account administration. Of course, there will still be local offices where those needing problem resolution, personal attention or those without access to computers will be able to go to receive help. But, I suspect, over time, we will see some consolidation of these offices in a similar manner as the Postal Service is undergoing.
Two recent changes are important to know about. Already in effect is the cancellation of the annual benefit notices, which were previously mailed around our birthday each year, and which advised us of our benefit levels at various ages at which we could start to receive benefits - early, full retirement age or later. More...
Lobstahs Buccaneers win nail-biter
The Sun sports game of the week was an Anna Maria Island Community Center 11-to-13-year-old divisional matchup between the Beach Bums Ravens and the Lobstahs Buccaneers. The two evenly matched teams going into the Saturday’s game were in a tie for third place.
The Lobstahs Buccaneers struck first on a touchdown run by J.P Russo. The extra-point was good when quarterback Joe Rogers passed to Russo, 7-0 Bucs. More...
Running in bad weatherFeasting on Fitness
When someone complains about the weather, I just laugh.
I’ve seen, lived and worked in the ugliest weather a TV reporter’s job can buy. Weather was, and still is, the best ratings that the media can buy.
Mother Nature knows no mercy when it comes to handing out big ratings. From my 18 years as a TV reporter, nothing like a Cat 5 hurricane, drought or Nor’easter to attract viewers – if they still have power. But even that, these days, is not insurmountable. Charge it up in advance, and you’re good to go for a few days. And when that runs out, recharge on your car battery. More...