Vol. 16 No. 38 - July 20, 2016


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCatching them all

BRADENTON BEACH – The Pokémon GO virtual gaming craze is a big hit on the Island.

Pokémon GO is the latest offshoot of the Nintendo Game Boy video game that became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The newest incarnation also plays off the nostalgia many folks feel for the beloved Pokémon card game they played as kids.

A hike down Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach last Friday afternoon with cell phone in hand revealed virtual PokeStops at the Tingley Memorial Library, the post office, Oma's Pizza and the Moose Lodge, but the hottest spot was near the Bridge Tender Inn. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBoard hears Gloria Dei rezone and comp plan requests

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners held an informal question and answer session on a request from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at 6608 Marina Drive to rezone a portion of its property from PSP (public/semi public) to R-2 (two family residential).

"We're here to save the church," Gloria Dei attorney Scott Rudacille explained to the board. "It is an iconic building on the Island and an institution that has been around for decades. Frankly, they're not in a financial position to continue to operate they way they have been operating."

He said the congregation established a committee to explore options, and members determined that the only way to save the church was to sell off a portion of the property. He said the rezone application is consistent with the surrounding property. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAnna Maria enacts franchise moratorium

ANNA MARIA – Inspired by similar concerns recently raised in Holmes Beach, city officials in Anna Maria have enacted a temporary moratorium on franchises.

Now in effect after being adopted at the Thursday, July 14, City Commission meeting, Ordinance 16-818 establishes a temporary moratorium on the acceptance, processing and issuance of new demolition and building permits and applications that would allow formula retail establishments, aka franchises, to be built within the city limits.

"The city commission finds that the city is particularly attractive due in part to having a non-commercialized 'Old Florida' atmosphere where there are virtually no national chain type establishments. This trait is an important part of Anna Maria's positive image and desirability to residents and visitors alike," one of the ordinance's whereas clauses states. More...

Judge dismisses three counts in federal lawsuit

ANNA MARIA – A federal judge has dismissed three of the four counts contained in a federal lawsuit filed against the city of Anna Maria by Shawn Kaleta and his Beach to Bay construction company.

In response to a motion to dismiss filed by City Attorney Becky Vose, United States District Judge James D. Whittemore, from the Middle District of Florida in Tampa, filed his order on Tuesday, July 12.

The order states that counts I, III and IV of the federal lawsuit have been dismissed without prejudice, and city's motion to dismiss count II has been denied.

Count I sought relief and damages under the Federal Constitution for the violation of equal protection of law as provided for by the 14th Amendment. The original complaint attorney Randolph Smith filed in February claimed the city arbitrarily treated Kaleta and Beach to Bay differently that it treated other developers. More...

Boater rescued off Egmont Key

A boater who launched from Palma Sola Causeway Thursday is safe today thanks to a Good Samaritan and a good float plan.

The unidentified boater's wife called 911 at 8:19 p.m. Friday concerned that her husband had not returned as planned, and personnel from the St. Petersburg Coast Guard Sector responded. The wife said he departed Palma Sola on Thursday to fish offshore and planned to return at 5 p.m. Friday.

Using the details of her husband's float plan, a helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater and a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Cortez launched a search. While search crews responded, a boater called via marine radio channel 16 saying he had found the missing man, whose 23-foot boat was disabled 23 miles off Bean Point. More...

Mayors meet with Center officials

ANNA MARIA – The Island mayors met with officials from The Center to review the past year and their plans for the future and discuss the 2016-17 budget

"We started a year ago with rebranding and the mission was to serve as a gathering place for the Island community," Executive Director Kristen Lessig explained. "We then identified our strategies of how we were going to set a new course of action as we were turning around the Center."

These strategies included developing a consistent branding message, going beyond the walls with programs and activities, re-evaluating programs, developing partnerships with local businesses, improving communications with citizens and developing a sustainable financial model for the future. More...

Fitness center owner makes another plea

HOLMES BEACH – Jen Crady, owner of AMI Health and Fitness, told the City Commission that The Center's guest pass program for renters is hurting her business and urged commissioners to withhold funding for The Center.

According to The Center's agreement with AMI Accommodations, approximately 200 renters will have access to the fitness space, and The Center will receive $10 per check-in, paid by the rental company.

"I came to make sure you really understand what a big deal this vacation rental is," Crady explained. "This week we had a family of eight adults from Kentucky who come every year. This year they called and said there was a sign in their rental that they could go to the community center (fitness center) for free.

"With the increase of their rates this year, they said they'd rather work out at my gym, but 'unless you can give us a free membership as well we have to go to the community center.' So $250 just walked out the door." More...

Tree house saga continues

HOLMES BEACH – After hearing from attorneys on both sides Friday, Circuit Court Judge Don T. Hall said he would take their arguments under advisement and asked each attorney to write a proposed order.

The issue is whether the initiative petition filed in 2013 by Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran, owners of the tree house on the beach in front of Angelino's Sea Lodge at 103 29th St., should be allowed to go forward. If so, it would allow the city to put an ordinance on the ballot for voters to decide if the tree house is legal.

The city alleges that an election would be invalid under state law because the process is prohibited with regard to development orders, and the city attorney requested a declaratory judgment.

City Attorney Jim Dye maintained that while Florida Statute does not define development order it defines development permit, which is any order that permits the development of land. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFlorida manatee deaths rise

Ten manatees have died so far this year in Manatee County, four in watercraft collisions, including one off Holmes Beach and one off Cortez, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Statewide, 323 manatees died as of July 8, closing in on the five-year average of 490 deaths per year in just over six months.

A male manatee was killed by watercraft in Grassy Point Bayou off Holmes Beach on March 31, and another male was killed by watercraft on May 25 in Anna Maria Sound off Cortez. A female was killed by watercraft on June 12 in Terra Ceia Bay and a male was killed by watercraft on May 22 in Miguel Bay off Terra Ceia. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAngler's motto: Be prepared

For many anglers, a day on the water is hard won. These days are often too widely spaced, and not enough attention is paid to preparation before we grab our gear, put it on the boat and head out. This can mean we forget to check the basic components that can make or break a potentially successful fishing trip.

A solution is to have a check list to follow before you ever head out to make the first cast. With a little due diligence, we can avoid the mistakes that cause you to lose fish. These mistakes can be easily avoided.

The hook is one of the most important components of an effective rig. It's also one of the easiest things to forget to check. A hook can be razor sharp the last time you used it and can become dulled with contact to the rub rail of the boat, objects in the water, guides and many other things. More...

real estate

It's all about the kitchen

They say that timing is everything in life. If that's so, my timing was pretty good this month. The same month that Consumer Reports came out with its story "Kitchen Makeovers Made Easy" was the same month I contracted to have my kitchen renovated.

By the time I read Consumer Reports' thorough analysis of kitchen makeovers, most of my decisions had already been made, however, it did serve to reinforce many of my choices, which gave me a nice warm feeling. Nevertheless, the article contained so much relevant information I thought I would share it.

We're told over and over the best money you can spend in your home is to renovate the kitchen, with baths a close second. It is said that a kitchen redo should cost 5 to 15 percent of a home's total value. This is an important guideline, which will keep you from over improving your property. Installing a $50,000 kitchen in your $150,000 winter get away condo is fine as long as you don't expect any return on that investment, but it is definitely overbuilding the kitchen. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFind a full menu of offerings at Island Fitness

It's July and by now you're probably ready to rip every piece of clothing off your body, and as soon as you get that exercise program going and finish eating all the diet food you bought, you're going to do just that. But just in case your plans aren't going as well as you expected, there is another way, call a fitness professional.

Brenda Canning who has owned Island Fitness Anna Maria for the past 8 seasons has a full menu of fitness programs that will fit everyone's fitness level and schedule. She is putting a special emphasis on kids' fitness training this year, an area frequently overlooked.

Relocating to Bradenton 15 years ago from the Boston area where she like so many other transplants was done with the cold and snowy winters, Canning brought her 20 years of fitness experience with her. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Reverse mortgages worth another look

Investment Corner

I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn't the worst idea in the world.

I'm bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime

Space limitations don't' allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let's hit some of the highlights. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTeam Jackson crowned court champs

To close out the adult recreational basketball season at The Center, the top two teams faced each other in the championship game Tues., July 12. Bringing their own teams this season, Team Jackson, led by Antwan Jackson, finished the season undefeated and at the top of the rankings. Patrick Calvary's Team Calvary finished second in the regular season with a nearly perfect record, losing to Team Jackson 60-57 after a hard fought game on May 31.

Team Calvary warmed up before the game optimistic for the win. After waiting for the fifth player to start play, Team Calvary quickly fell behind in the points after quick scores and three-point shots by Team Jackson.

With eight points on the scoreboard, Calvary put up two for his team, hoping to ignite a spark. John Davis, for Team Jackson just could not be stopped throwing up 26 total points in the game, the majority from behind the three-point line. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTents, chairs impeding turtle nesting

With the increasing popularity of large tents on the beach, mother sea turtles trying to nest on Anna Maria Island's coastline are running a gauntlet of metal frames and are not always succeeding.

Turtles are getting caught in the accordion-style frames that people fold up and leave on the beach overnight, in violation of Island city ordinances, said Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

"Tent cities" – several tents right next to each other – sometimes stay up all night, and sometimes tents are erected before dawn, also a violation, she said. More...

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper