Vol. 13 No. 25 - April 3, 2013
Easter weekend on Anna Maria Island was fun and fast paced with beautiful weather and a huge crowd of people to enjoy it.
The weekend began with Saturday’s 27th Annual Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by The Sun and the Sandbar and held on the beach behind the Sandbar. Colorful plastic eggs speckled the sand, with a large contingency of kids scooping them up after Sandbar Manager Joe Rogers counted down to “go.” Then the party marched east to Pine Avenue where the merchants had put together a morning of fun with an Easter egg roll, an Easter bonnet contest, face painting and games for the kids and food and drinks for all. More...
Bill Tokajer named police chief
HOLMES BEACH – Despite a host of pleas from residents supporting Lt. Dale Stephenson for police chief, commissioners approved Mayor Carmel Monti’s recommendation of Bill Tokajer for the job.
Tokajer is captain of the patrol division of the Longboat Key Police Department. Stephenson has served as interim police chief since former Police Chief Jay Romine retired in December. The city did not advertise for the position, but received seven applications to replace Romine. More...
Mainsail site plan revoked
HOLMES BEACH – Rejecting the advice of their mayor and city attorney, commissioners voted 3-2 to revoke the site plan for the Mainsail development eliciting a collective gasp from the full house at city hall last Tuesday.
“Now we have to engage counsel,” Mainsail President Joe Collier said after the vote. “We don’t have any choice. We have to protect our interests and our investors.” More...
Corps approves renourishment funding
BRADENTON BEACH – The eroded beaches of Anna Maria Island are going to get some help soon.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent a memo to Manatee County last Friday saying the Corps approved the emergency rehabilitation of Manatee County’s beaches to the tune of $6 million to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy, which caused wind and water erosion on the beaches. The Corps is trying to get the funding at this time, according to the memo to Manatee County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker from Corps of Engineers engineer Sirisha Rayaprolu. More...
Moratorium ordinance being rescinded
HOLMES BEACH – Holding to their word, commissioners last week approved on first reading an ordinance to rescind the moratorium they approved in December.
The moratorium on issuing demolition permits and building permits for any work that exceeds the threshold for substantial improvement for all residential dwelling units in R-2 came into effect on Dec. 26. More...
Work continues on flood insurance rate map
ANNA MARIA – A dozen people attended an informal meeting last Wednesday evening where Building Official Bob Welch gave an update on the federal government’s progress on a new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
According to Welch, the map upon which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) bases federal flood rates is being redrawn to take new information and measurements into consideration. Those new measurement have not been taken on Anna Maria Island yet. More...
Commissioners change direction again
ANNA MARIA – After arguing about how to limit the size of houses for several weeks, the city commission has settled on a new, simplified set of limits, for now, and some are expressing doubt over whether they are doing the right thing.
Over the past few weeks, commissioners have tried to limit new homes in size, saying big homes are out of scale with the existing houses in the city. They most recently set limits that would allow a home’s square footage to be 40 percent of the lot’s area up to an 8,000 square foot lot. They set lower limits for homes on lots more than 8,000 square feet so that only two percent of the addition lot size would be allowed. More...
AMI fourth among U.S. islands
Anna Maria Island is ranked fourth in the Top 10 Islands in the U.S. by the first annual TripAdvisor’s Travelers' Choice Islands Awards.
The awards are based on the quality and quantity of the most highly-rated hotels, restaurants, and attractions listed by travelers for each island on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. More...
Discover Anna Maria Island
There’s a lot to explore on Anna Maria Island, and here’s a taste of the highlights of its beaches and parks, its three cities, its heritage trail and its underwater wreck.
EXPLORE BEACHES and parks
Anna Maria Island’s beaches and parks are its main attractions, and the reason is clear - the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. More...
Special places: Joan M. Durante Park
A slight turn off the bike path along Gulf of Mexico Drive and we were suddenly immersed in a world of quiet shell strewn lanes that meandered through live oaks and a plethora of native Florida species. Slowly the hum of traffic subsided and the sounds of songbirds filled the air. The fragrance of roses and frangipani mixed with a tinge of salt air as we peddled into a mangrove forest bisected with tidal lagoons and teaming with wading birds. More...
Real estate legislation to watch closely
The most important responsibility we have as citizens of the United States is to understand and vote on legislation presented to us, as well as understanding legislation that is moving through state and national legislative bodies on their way to becoming laws. It’s not always easy to do this in view of the busy lives most of us have and the complicated nature of some of these issues, but try we must. There are currently two issues worth keeping an eye on, one which you will be asked to vote on and another making its way through the Florida Legislature. More...
Brewing coffee, spinning stories
What do mermaids and coffee have to do with each other? You might think not much but then of course Anna Maria is an island and practically everything has to do with the ocean.
Beverly and M.J. Lesnick opened Island Coffee Haus in November of last year hoping their vision of a local neighborhood coffee house was just what was needed in Holmes Beach. The comfortable shop has sofas and antique tables inviting you to linger over your brew, chat with a neighbor or check your e-mail with their free wi-fi connection. More...
Reverse mortgage land minesInvestment Corner
This last weekend I saw former Sen. Fred Thompson promoting reverse mortgages in a TV commercial. About a decade ago I wrote here in The Sun about “Reverse Mortgages,” which are a vehicle that can be used by seniors to convert the equity in their primary residence to an income stream by borrowing against that very equity. My conclusion was that this vehicle should not be used unless the homeowner had no other solution to generate income to support their lifestyle, with the negatives being the very high fees to establish the reverse mortgage and the eventual end to the income source when the equity value was fully tapped. More...
Try planting a garden this springFeasting on Fitness
My daughter recently said to me, “Mom , I hate to eat tomatoes at restaurants. I keep remembering how delicious and sweet the tomatoes were that we used to grow in our organic garden. Most tomatoes I taste now pale by comparison.”
This was the same child who wowed the nursery school field trip farmer knowing the difference when he tried to stump the kids holding up the green kale leaf with “What’s this?” All the other kids yelled, “Spinach!” It was my daughter who tasted sugar snap peas for the first time and asked, “Is this candy?” More...