Vol. 14 No. 22 - March 26, 2014
Dredging ends, new beach sparkles
BRADENTON BEACH – Life along the beach is returning to normal this week after the renourishment project ended two weekends ago.
During the nighttime, Great Lakes Dock and Dredge picked up the pipes that ran along the beach and staged its renourishment dredge, generator boat and other floating equipment near Egmont Key. Bulldozers were still active on the beach tilling the sand and knocking down escarpments - little cliffs created by wave erosion. More...
City spends more than it makes
BRADENTON BEACH – City officials overspent their budget over the last two years by more than $600,000, according to a report prepared by auditor Randy Dillingham.
At a work session last week, Dillingham said the city’s expenditures exceeded revenues by $266,314 in the fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 31, 2013, and by $386,012 the fiscal year before that.
“That’s been two years of excess expenditures,” he told commissioners. “If you add those together, you’re close to $600,000.” More...
Here's lookin' at you - Island Affaire features Bertie Higgins
ANNA MARIA – This year’s Island Affaire, "Just Another Day in Paradise," on Saturday, April 12, will feature entertainment by international recording artist Bertie Higgins.
Higgins, who grew up in Tarpon Springs, left college and became drummer for the Tommy Roe band, The Roemans. The band toured the world, starring alongside the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, the Dave Clark Five and more. More...
City center plan includes boardwalk at marina
HOLMES BEACH – Brian Check, project manager for Mainsail, said the company is on board with a boardwalk at its marina along Marina Drive beside Wells Fargo Bank.
The boardwalk has been a part of Mayor Carmel Monti’s city center plan for the area around the intersection of Marina and Gulf drives. The plan would include making the area more pedestrian and bike friendly and offer amenities to draw people to the area. More...
Board debates pros and cons of charter changes
HOLMES BEACH – Charter review commission members discussed changing the two-year terms of office, imposing term limits and adding height and density limits to the charter, but did not make any decisions on recommendations.
“We may want to go to three or four years,” member David Cheshire said regarding terms of commissioners and advantages of longer terms would be that “it takes a significant amount of time and hands on experience to really build a practical knowledge of how the city operates, who the people are, what the processes are and how to work with your fellow commissioners, the mayor and department heads.” More...
Commission sets priorities
ANNA MARIA – The city commission discussed several topics at a work session last week and then set priorities to a list of problems and concerns gleaned over the recent past.
The list of priorities, some of which are being actively pursued, are:
1. Establishing paid parking;
2. Changing the traffic ordinance;
3. Setting fines for unlawful activity in Gulf Front Park and developing a system for people to help keep it trimmed; More...
Island gridlock again after car punches through bridge railing
For the second time in a month, traffic to and from Anna Maria Island was brought to a standstill due to an accident on one of the bridges. This time, a Jeep lost traction in the rain on the Anna Maria Island Bridge Monday around 1:30 p.m. and ran into the railing, according to police. The unidentified driver was unhurt and the Jeep suffered damage to its undercarriage, but a four-foot hole was punched in a section of concrete bridge railing. The bridge was closed to all traffic for more than 1 1/2 hours until a bridge inspector from the Florida Department of Transportation arrived and deemed it safe to use. Eastbound traffic leaving the Island was diverted south to the Cortez Bridge, basically creating gridlock up and down the Island. Tall boat traffic, meanwhile, also had to wait about 90 minutes until the span on the AMI Bridge could be raised. Shortly after 3 p.m. the bridge on Manatee Avenue was reopened and the backup of cars and boats slowly thinned out. Traffic also was halted three weeks ago when a teenage runaway stole a truck and led police on a high-speed chase through the Island, smashing into 23 vehicles before crashing on the Cortez Bridge. The bridge remained closed for about four hours. More...
Bridge Street development request modified
BRADENTON BEACH – Seeking guidance rather than approval for his revised Bridge Street development proposal, Michael Hynds left the March planning and zoning board meeting with no indication that support for his project is forthcoming.
His revised plan still includes a 60-seat, second story, open-air restaurant at 119 Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, but no longer includes short-term residential units at the rear of the property, abutting Third Street South. More...
Mayor proposes gondola over Anna Maria Sound
HOLMES BEACH – Mayor Carmel Monti’s bold plan for a gondola system, a pavilion and a parking garage at Manatee Public Beach was met with kudos at last week’s meeting of Island elected officials.
“I love it! You are a real visionary,” Bradenton Beach Commissioner Jan Vosburgh exclaimed after the presentation. More...
The water and land conservation amendment
Florida’s Water and Land Legacy (FWLL) is a collection of Florida’s leading conservation organizations including The Trust for Public Land, Sierra Club, Audubon Florida and the Florida Wildlife Federation, to name a few. In conjunction with concerned citizens, they have united to launch a major constitutional initiative Amendment 1, on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The FWLL is working to make sure our prized beaches, rivers, springs, lakes and forests are protected for future generations. These natural areas supply us with clean water as well as improve our quality of life. Irreplaceable habitats like the Everglades and the world-class beaches that line Florida’s coastlines draw millions of tourists and Floridians every year and are the backbone of our tourism economy. More...
A sigh of relief
For over a year, everyone who owns coastal property or riverfront property in the country has been holding his/her breath. Well now they can exhale. In fact I think I actually might have heard a collective sigh on March 13 when the U.S Senate passed a bill that reverses the major provisions of the 2012 Biggert-Watters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The bill previously passed the House on March 4 and was signed into law by the president on March 21.
Some of the components of the bill are: eliminating a provision of the law that said government subsidized rates disappear when a person sells a primary home; providing a refund for those who purchased after the changes were enacted in July 2012 and were already hit under that provision; and maintaining protections due to sunset for grandfathered properties built to code after a community adopted its first flood insurance rate map. More...
Municipal bonds may be in sweet spotInvestment Corner
In sports the phrase “sweet spot” refers to the ideal position on the racquet, club or bat to strike the ball in order to get the maximum desired result. In investing, sweet spot refers to the segment of an asset class which may offer the best future return in the foreseeable future. Unlike the physics involved with striking a ball, there are never any guarantees to investment concepts, but looking for sweet spot opportunities can help keep risk in check, and hopefully, enhance returns. More...
The year of the upsets
The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball end of the year tournament makes national sports headlines every spring. Most sports fans fill out their tournament brackets and follow their favorite teams to the championship.
The excitement of tournament play is elevated when high seeded teams upset lower ranking teams and stun the fans. Everyone likes to root for the underdog and when the upset is huge in sports, we call them Cinderella teams. More...
Healthy food can taste greatFeasting on Fitness
As a TV reporter ages ago, I used to get paid the big bucks (ha) getting all sides to a story and doing the research it takes. So this volunteer column is the result of my week’s experiences and what I can write in two to three hours time. I always hope to inspire and prevent needless suffering of humans and animals that occurs way too often.
It is my belief that in our area, it would be a huge financial benefit if we had more vegan restaurants. Really vegan restaurants.
Like the exclusively vegan restaurant Ionie’s in Sarasota. My friend, Carl Lovejoy, is the amazing chef there. Check out restaurants’ Facebook pages or websites to see what they’re serving. More...