Vol. 15 No. 27 - April 29, 2015
Cell tower up, but not on
ANNA MARIA – It took one day for workers to bolt together the cell phone tower to its base in city hall parking lot, but the job is far from over.
Workers arrived at city hall last Thursday hoping to start, but the truck carrying the outer covering of the tower broke down and didn’t arrive until Friday morning. From there, it was a matter of erecting what was there.
First came the base, which went up quickly. Then came the outer covering, which slipped over the base and lowered to the ground. Next came a long pole with mounting brackets that made it look like something from outer space. Finally, after it was bolted on and balanced, an identical section went above it. More...
Residents fume over loss of PO boxes
HOLMES BEACH – A room full of residents made their case for keeping post office boxes in Holmes Beach, and officials said they would take their input to headquarters in Washington, D.C.
At the meeting in city hall, called by Congressman Vern Buchanan, City Commissioner Carol Soustek told officials, “We’re losing our sense of community, and this is another piece.”
Carol Shirley, manager of retail for the Suncoast District of the U.S. Post Office (USPS), said there are 112 CPUs (contract postal units) in the district, of which Holmes Beach is one.
“The current contract owner wants to retire,” she explained. “That is the main reason for the post office box issue. We asked our headquarters if we could have a CPU again. We made a strong case that you really needed that location. More...
Shearon supporter files recall suit
BRADENTON BEACH – In an effort to have Jack Clarke stricken from the recall ballot that has already been mailed to many city voters, John Metz filed a lawsuit naming Clarke, Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett and recall committee chair Pete Barreda as defendants.
In response, the city commission voted 3-2 in favor of defending Clarke against a suit that will subject the city to additional unbudgeted legal fees.
Dated Tuesday, April 21, the suit was filed in Sarasota County and posted at the Sarasota Clerk of Court Website the following day. Case number 2015 CA 2239NC requests Clarke be removed from the recall ballot, requests Bennett remove Clarke’s name from the ballots and requests Bennett be prohibited from printing additional ballots listing Clarke as a candidate. More...
Andy Price: A life of service
ANNA MARIA – For West Manatee Fire Chief Andy Price, the fire service was not just a career, it was a calling.
“When you find something that’s right for you, you just know it,” he said. “I never really thought of it as a career; I just really enjoyed what I was doing.”
Price, who grew up on the Island, graduated from Manatee High School in 1978, and attended Manatee Junior College, before moving to Cordele, Ga., to work in a wholesale flower plant.
“The plant closed, and I called my dad to come home,” Price recalled. “Dad was chief of the Bradenton Beach Volunteer Fire Department and mom was president of the Women’s Auxiliary. More...
City to replace moratorium
ANNA MARIA – Armed with a new ordinance to control vacation rentals, talk at city hall centered around whether the city’s moratorium on building permits for homes with four or more bedrooms would stay in force.
The answer was yes, but not in its present form.
The moratorium, which spurred one developer to notify the city he would seek damages for delayed rental home projects, was enacted to give the commissioners time to put regulations into effect for renters and rental agents. Many thought the new ordinance would do the job.
Commissioners talked about the purpose of the moratorium. Nancy Yetter and Carol Carter said it was to control new construction. Commission Chair Chuck Webb said he was uncomfortable with the moratorium. More...
Food and Wine on Pine on tap
The Chiles Restaurant Group will host the Fifth Annual Food and Wine on Pine, this Saturday, May 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. The annual event features the best food, wine, art and music the area has to offer.
Guests can expect local and seasonal Florida foods by more than 20 of the area’s locally owned and independent restaurants. The culinary experience will showcase locally sourced farm-to-fork produce and tide-to-table heritage seafood from the Gulf waters. More than 30 wines and a variety of craft beers will complement the food creations.
Food and Wine on Pine features actors dressed in period costumes strolling Pine Avenue acting out scripts and telling tales of Anna Maria’s storied past and street performances. There will also be artwork from half a dozen or so Manatee County students and pieces created by local artists available for purchase – clay works, jewelry, photography, oil/acrylic paintings, glass, wood, fiber, leather pieces and more. More...
Center board and fitness owners could collaborate
ANNA MARIA –After a contentious meeting, the owners of two Island fitness centers agreed to meet with a committee of Island Community Center board members to determine if they can collaborate.
Jen Crady, owner of AMI Health & Fitness, and Brenda Canning, of Island Fitness, have protested the board’s plans to build a fitness center on the second floor of the Center, maintaining that it would endanger their businesses.
“You don’t realize what this this Community Center is going to be doing to our businesses; it will severely impact us,” Canning told Center board members at their meeting last week.
Many Island residents have rallied around the two, and Holmes Beach city commissioners have spoken against the project. The mayors of Homes Beach and Anna Maria have sought further information on the project, the Center’s finances and non-profit status and the vacation rental membership program, which is a part of the project plan. More...
Center scales back fitness center plans
ANNA MARIA – Island Community Center board member Mike Coleman last week reported to the board a change in the previous plans for a fitness center.
In February board members gave board member Shawn Kaleta the go ahead to proceed to permit for a state of the art fitness center to be built on the second floor of the Center. In March they agreed to proceed as soon as possible with the project.
“In every meeting we talked about the concept of the enhanced facilities,” Coleman said. “Some things got ahead of where they should have. All along the way, it was a concept.
“All along the way, we were waiting to get input from Cindy and Kristin (Directors Cindy Thompson and Kristin Lessig) about everything that is required to meet the objectives, and now we have that.” More...
Recall suit provokes reaction
BRADENTON BEACH – The lawsuit filed last week in an attempt to have Vice Mayor Jack Clarke removed from the recall ballot has generated impassioned responses from many in the community.
On Sunday, Metz, the plaintiff, said “My lawsuit does not seek to delay or stop the recall election. It will proceed as scheduled. My wife and I only are spending our hard-earned money and effort to insure that the recall election has legally qualified candidates on the ballot.”
According to the court website, Metz paid a $430 filing fee to submit a suit that challenges whether Clarke complied with state law in regard to his pending resignation not being submitted 10 days before qualifying began. More...
Cortez Village Cultural Center takes shape
CORTEZ – The Monroe cottage is finally home.
That little white cottage you might catch a glimpse of from Cortez Road at the western edge of the FISH Preserve is on its way to becoming the Cortez Village Cultural Center.
After a move across the Cortez Bridge from 304 Church St. in Bradenton Beach in 2011 and a shorter move from a temporary holding area on the FISH Preserve, the 70-year-old structure has been set on its foundation, wired for electricity, fitted with a disabled ramp and is having its interior floors, walls and ceilings rebuilt. More...
Anglers can aid reef study
Gulf coast anglers have long thought that they are being misrepresented when it comes to allocating catch shares of reef species in the Gulf of Mexico. Now they will be able to help provide the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) a clearer picture of the number of people who are targeting reef fish like grouper, mangrove snapper and red snapper. In this survey, they also will be able to relate what they are experiencing on the water.
Anglers can sign up to participate in the easy, no cost process that will hopefully help the FWC gain a better understanding of the various processes at work that impact the fishery with the aim to protect viable stocks of red and vermillion snapper, red and black grouper, grey triggerfish, greater and lesser amberjack, almaco Jacks and banded rudderfish. More...
Drones and the insurance industry
Are you worried about drones, those little flying mechanical birds that can catch you coming out of your outdoor shower? Pretty soon baring all to the world may be the least of your worries when it comes to drones
On April 1, April fool’s Day, I wrote a column about the use of drone technology in the marketing of real estate. Well it didn’t take long, exactly eight days, before I read yet another piece about the pending use of drones. This time it was in the Wall Street Journal and had to do with the insurance industry.
As of the beginning of April we now have three national insurance companies whose request to federal regulators has been approved to use unmanned aircraft. More...
International equities start to shineInvestment Corner
Since the end of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, the U.S. stock market has provided better performance than the average international market. Of course, there always is an isolated country here or there that ends up beating the U.S., but if we look at major market indexes, the outperformance is easy to see. The chart below compares the S&P 500 Index, which represents the 500 largest domestic companies to the MSCI EAFE Index, which represents the other well-developed economies of the world.
With the last six years behind us, it is obvious why this has occurred. The U.S. has had a reasonably good recovery from the crisis with positive growth in GDP, jobs, and tax receipts. Europe, Japan and some other countries have struggled to get their recoveries going, and the lower level of stock market performance is the result. More...
Island Falcons help strengthen Saint Stephen’s LAX team
With sticks in hand, four Anna Maria Island teens aided in the success of the Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School’s varsity lacrosse team this spring.
Playing a stick and ball sport indigenous to Native Americans, Tommy Pierce, Andrew and Jake Ross, and Luke Valadie proudly wore Falcon green and gold as the team went up against some of the area's independent schools.
The Rosses and Valadie are alumni of Anna Maria Elementary School and attended King Middle School before starting their high school academics at Saint Stephen’s. More...
Turtle season starts early
HOLMES BEACH – A loggerhead sea turtle mother crawled about a third of the way up the wide, renourished beach near 30th Street on Friday night and laid the first nest of the 2015 season several days early on Anna Maria Island.
Volunteers for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring found her tracks just after dawn, checked the nest for eggs, marked it with stakes and yellow tape and made a record of when it was laid and when it’s due to hatch.
They’ll do that several hundred more times until around Oct. 31, by which time all of the Island’s hatchlings should be safely in the Gulf of Mexico. More...