Vol. 16 No. 27 - May 4, 2016
City hit with 25 Bert Harris claims
ANNA MARIA – Last week, the city of Anna Maria was presented with 25 Bert Harris claims seeking more than $7.5 million in compensation to account for lost revenues created by vacation rental occupancy limits.
Florida Statutes allow Bert Harris claims to be filed by property owners who feel a government action has placed inordinate burdens on the use and value of a property. The Bert Harris Act entitles property owners to relief that may include compensation for the actual loss to a property's fair market value.
On Wednesday, April 27, attorney Scott Rudacille presented the city with eight Bert Harris claims alleging $2.95 million in lost future rental revenues or property value. More...
City Pier Park refinancing proposed
ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy and volunteer financial consultant John Chambers have suggested refinancing the City Pier Park property as a cost-saving measure for the city.
The 20-year, $2.84 million loan taken out in 2011 to purchase the six lots property was secured at an interest rate of 3.94 percent. Now known as City Pier Park, the property is located at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.
Chambers and Murphy recently met with a representative from Hancock Bank who indicated a better interest rate was available. These findings were presented to the City Commission on Thursday, April 28. More...
Center board critiques Affaire
ANNA MARIA – Center board members learned that this year's Grand Affaire fell short of its goal, but are using lessons learned to improve the fund-raiser in the future.
"The fund-raising goals we set were not achieved," Executive Director Kristen Lessig reported. "There's two main causes for that. We walked into the event with $20,000 less in sponsorships, and we had a few big-ticket items during the live auction that brought in a lot more in prior years. Those two things alone were $50,000."
The event's net was $61,896, the lowest since 1995. Last year's net was $128,456. The highest was $776,368 in 2005. More...
Food and Wine on Pine set for Saturday
ANNA MARIA – Food, wine, beer, music, art and actors – does it get any better?
OK – a beautiful sunny day on the Island, and that about rounds out what to expect on Saturday, May 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Food and Wine on Pine on Pine Avenue.
Experience a delicious variety of food from more than 20 of the area's best restaurants, 30 upscale wines, craft and domestic beers, 32 juried artists as well as national chalk artists, actors portraying Anna Maria's historical characters, a Kentucky Derby tent, an art tent featuring artwork by local school children and an activity area for kids with old school games and activities. More...
Area restaurants participating in Food and Wine on Pine:
• Anna Maria Oyster Bar: chipolte oysters;
• Blue Marlin: square grouper sliders, lobster corn dogs, grouper tacos;
• EnRich, A Bistro: tomatillo cazpacho, tuna poke, mini carrot cake cupcakes;
• Gamble Creek Farm: squash blossoms stuffed with Sandbar house made ricotta cheese, goat cheese lightly breaded and flash fried and served with Romesco sauce;
• Harry's Grill and Bistro: cheese balls, chili, bacon wrapped shrimp; More...
Experience the Kentucky Derby at FWP
The Kentucky Derby tent, Pine Avenue Downs, will be located in the vacant lot at the corner of North Shore Drive and Pine Avenue during the Food and Wine on Pine festival this Saturday, May 7.
For the hat contest, contestants can come anytime after 11:30 a.m. wearing their Kentucky Derby hat for a photo, and visitors will vote all day for the winner. Hat contestants will return at 5:30 p.m., and the winner will be announced at 6 p.m. More...
Tree house hearing set for May 4
BRADENTON – Island and County officials are hoping to catch a tiger by the tail; as in a $17.8 million federal TIGER grant.
According to Manatee County Director of Property Management Charlie Bishop, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application was submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday, April 27.
If awarded, the Anna Maria Island Multimodal Connections grant would provide federal funding for numerous Island projects. More...
Commission discusses two ordinances
CORTEZ – "Go big," Eric Grimes likes to say.
So why not commission a life-size replica of the biggest, baddest, meaner-than-a junkyard-dog hammerhead shark ever known to prowl southwest Florida's waters?
Ol' Hitler is slated to greet people at the luxury vacation motor coach resort and marina that Grimes is planning at the canalfront 17.8-acre property at 12444 Cortez Road W. His company, Florida Land Enterprises, recently purchased the land, formerly known as Hunter's Hill and HH Marina and tentatively renamed Capt. Frank's after Grimes' grandfather. More...
Rex Beach: off guard
BRADENTON BEACH – When Lt. Rex Beach started lifeguarding on Anna Maria Island 40 years ago, the first aid kit had a dime taped inside it so lifeguards could call an ambulance from a pay phone. The rescue board was an old surfboard from the 1960s. Lifeguards had to walk down to the next tower to talk to each other.
Now, lifeguards train as EMTs and use defibrillators, stabilization boards, ATVs, Jet Skis and cell phones.
And – not that the public safety professionals couldn't handle the heat – lifeguard stands at Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach are enclosed and air conditioned. More...
The signs are in the air and out over the Gulf. As the water clears and temperatures warm into the high 70s to low 80s bait fish schools dimple the surface, signaling savvy anglers that the "man in the silver suit" won't be far behind. Tarpon, the prehistoric fish with scales that form a shield of silver armor, make their way to the Gulf beaches, creating one of angling's apex opportunities for local fishermen.
The word on what is known as the tarpon telegraph is that tarpon are already being spotted and caught by patient anglers. These distinctive fish generally appear in dependable numbers after the middle of May, but time of the year combined with water temperatures signal that it's time to start the hunt for these noble warriors. More...
March – in like a lion, out like a lamb
March is typically the beginning of the end of the strong Florida selling season – in like a lion out like a lamb. Potential buyers have either made a decision, an offer and are getting ready to close on a property for next season or they are leaving with their real estate hand empty.
However, the real estate lamb has been more aggressive in recent years, encouraging buyers to make property decisions before prices go up again and before they encounter more buyer competition in the fall. Accordingly, the March sales and listing statistics for Manatee County are starting to lean in the direction of buyers, which may result in the lamb buyers sticking around a little longer.
The big news resulting from the March statistics compiled by the Manatee Association of Realtors is that inventory of available properties has increased. For a very long time, inventories were way down putting pressure on the marketplace and increasing prices, but we may be seeing a slight change in that dynamic. More...
Alternative investments – worth a lookInvestment Corner
The term alternative investment has been used a lot in the last five to six years, but I find it almost too ambiguous to really communicate the concept that alternatives are intended for. In its broadest sense, alternative investments are vehicles other than the traditional big three of investing – stocks, bonds and cash. But, that leaves quite a lot to be included in this one descriptive term.
So, for example, an investment in a real estate investment trust would be considered an alternative investment, even though this vehicle has been known to act much like the stock market at times. Commodities are another asset class that would fall into the alternative category, as well as the limitless world of investment strategies put together to try to create investment nirvana – reasonable returns with low risk. More...
The Center soccer kicks off another successful season
Instead of the competition on the inside at the Center, as usually seen in the spring season with basketball, the kids hit the pitch once again for some more soccer fun. With over 100 players, the play began last week for all of the youth teams.
A new round of instructional league players, playing most of their games on Monday nights, hit the small field. The four teams in the 3- to 5-year-old league and the four teams in the older age group for 6 and 7 year olds are learning their skills with volunteer coaches. More...
Sea turtle contest underway Find the Travelin' Turtle and win!
In celebration of sea turtle nesting season, which opens on Sunday, May 1, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring is holding a contest with weekly prizes, and a grand prize to be awarded on May 7.
The Travelin' Turtle will be hidden at a different Anna Maria Island business each week, and a clue is printed in this newspaper and on the Turtle Watch Facebook page.
The first person to find the turtle and call Laurie Crawford at 941-746-3611 will win the weekly contest.
A grand prize winner will be chosen from among the finalists, winning Turtle Watch gear, gift certificates from Island businesses and Sun souvenirs. More...