Vol. 13 No. 27 - April 17, 2013
Island church group competes in regatta
PALMA SOLA CAUSEWAY – The St. Bernard Catholic Church team got off to a fast start and beat its first opponent, but was defeated in its second attempt in the middle school competition of the Hernando DeSoto Bottle Boat Regatta last weekend.
It was a first attempt for the group, according to Erin Heckler, whose son, Jack, was one of the crew. More...
Board talks tourism traffic troubles
HOLMES BEACH – Anna Maria Island was filled to the brim and spilling over with tourists this winter, prompting the Manatee County Tourist Development Council on Monday to vote to seek relief for motorists in the form of a water taxi.
The short season, which began its annual drop the day after an early Easter, has been “rough this year for those of us who live on the Island,” TDC Chair and Holmes Beach resident Carol Whitmore said, adding, “We’re pretty stressed.” More...
Mainsail decision stands
HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners refused to act on a March 28 request by Mainsail President Joe Collier to reconsider their vote to revoke the company’s site plan for its development near the corner of Gulf and Marina drives.
On March 26, commissioners voted 3-2 to revoke the plan, with Commissioners Jean Peelen and David Zaccagnino dissenting. More...
Moratorium ordinance now law
ANNA MARIA – The city commission gave final approval to three ordinances, including the moratorium on permits for homes taller than 27 feet, with only one protest.
An unidentified woman spoke on the moratorium saying nobody wants to build a home 27 feet high, and it would hurt the value of her investment, but City Attorney Jim Dye said the moratorium is only effective temporarily, until the city commission passes an ordinance limiting the size of homes. More...
City orders tree house demolished
HOLMES BEACH – The city’s building department has ordered the demolition of the tree house at Angelino’s Beach Resort at 103 29th Street.
In a letter to Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran, Provisional Building Code Administrator Tom O’Brien said, “You are hereby ordered to demolish and remove the structure in violation within 30 days from the delivery of this notice of violation (April 3). More...
Restaurant approval pending
BRADENTON BEACH – The city commission has scheduled a final hearing on a 60-seat outdoor restaurant and four-store retail project at 119 Bridge St. on Thursday, April 18, at 1 p.m.
The public is expected to have an opportunity to comment on the proposal by developer Michael Hynds, who scaled down the original 10 retail spaces and made parking concessions, including eliminating indoor seating, which requires parking spaces. More...
Oil spill leaves residue of uncertainty
Three years ago this week, just about everyone on Anna Maria Island was wondering whether they would wake up and see oil washing up on the beach from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began on April 20, 2010, in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
As oil continued to spill for three months, unprecedented sightings of deepwater whale sharks in shallow local waters, fish covered with lesions, strange odors in the air and peculiar tastes in the water fueled fears about tourism, layoffs, business failures, health problems and a devastated environment. More...
Police chief begins work in Holmes Beach
HOLMES BEACH – The city’s new police chief, William Tokajer, did not waste any time during his first day on the job.
“I met with the mayor, checked my e-mail, did a ride along with an officer and went to the elementary school to meet the principal and take a tour. More...
Island group to visit Lipizzans
MYAKKA CITY – The white horses are so light on their hooves that they look as though they could be skating on ice, but behind the delicate dances of Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions is their lethal history as war horses.
And war – specifically, the Nazis – nearly did them in.
In a story right out of the movies, the Nazis confiscated all the mares of the then-210-year-old Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, during World War II, and kept them in German-held Czechoslovakia. More...
King has a passion for local waters
One of the pleasures of fishing the Gulf coast is the opportunity to learn from the experience of guides that spends their days on local waters. There is no substitute for the knowledge they gain watching and understanding the habits of local gamefish through the vagaries of weather, tide cycles and seasons. Harrison King is one of those guides that have a passion for local waters and the fish that swim them.
King has been a Montana fly fishing guide since age19. Guiding is the only business he has ever known, and he loves experiencing the excitement of a client who is catching a fish, whether it’s a trout or a tarpon. He grew up fishing the Chesapeake Bay for rock fish (stripers) and red drum (redfish).
Bigger is better is back
Americans have always prided themselves on bigger is better; bigger cars, bigger appliances, bigger food servings and bigger homes. For a while big homes weren’t looking as big as they once were, but times are changing and the American homeowners want their big back.
As the economy slowly improves and homeowner’s anxieties ease, buyers are starting to upsize their home purchases again. According to the Census Bureau, the average size of a newly built home was 2,480 square feet in 2011. That was up 3.7 percent from 2010 and represented the first annual increase since 2007.And just for a little reality check, in 1973, the average new home in the United States had 1,660 square feet. More...
Bimini Cove waits for the word
ANNA MARIA – One of the victims of the bad economy on Anna Maria Island was Villa Rosa, a full city block of home sites bordered by canals on three sides and South Bay Boulevard on the other. It stood for years with one unoccupied luxury home finished.
As the economy started to recover in the past year, Murray Realty of Sarasota, took over the property, hoping to develop the lots into luxury homes. The city’s attempt to stop the proliferation of ground-level homes being torn down and new structures being built for use as rental properties put a hitch in their plans, but owner John Murray said they have been in touch with Anna Maria Building Official Bob Welch about whether their project would be derailed and he indicated the homes they have planned would be allowable when the moratorium is retracted. 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...
Teaching vegan in VeniceFeasting on Fitness
Active Suncoast Foundation is one of many umbrella organizations that sponsors running races in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. Yesterday’s Shark’s Tooth 10K (6.1 miles) in Venice is one of several finely tuned events Suncoast puts on. Last year, the dairy industry paid for free chocolate milk to be handed out post-race. In response to that, the organizer of the races this year, including yesterday’s, kindly asked me to have a table and talk to attendees.
I thought that getting up at 4 a.m. and leaving by 5 would have been more than enough time to make the hour-plus drive to the Venice Airport where the Shark’s Tooth Festival and race was located. I ran into parking traffic and then had to park my car in three different places before I found a place close enough to unload my books and all that I bring to these events. More...