Vol. 16 No. 40 - August 3, 2016
Egmont fire leaves scorched earth
EGMONT KEY – Egmont Key has reopened to the public after a fire sparked by lightning last Tuesday burned until Friday.
Visitors are asked to stay on marked trails and roadways and avoid the burned areas of the key, a state park and national wildlife refuge north of Anna Maria Island at the mouth of Tampa Bay.
The fire burned 80 acres, about a third of the key’s acreage, and was slowed down significantly by a backburn on Wednesday, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer Stan Garner said. More...
Center Affaire to evolve
ANNA MARIA – As Mark Twain once said, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
So it is with reports of the demise of The Affaire, The Center’s annual fundraiser gala held in the spring.
“Last year’s Affaire didn’t go as well as planned.” Executive Director Kristen Lessig said. “It made $60,000 and our goal was $100,000. An event like that takes a very dedicated effort and one person driving it.”
Lessig said she met with Trudy Moon, who headed The Affaire committee for is most successful years, and Pierrette Kelly, the Center’s former executive director, who was at the helm for the majority of The Affaire events. More...
Day dock consultant on agenda
BRADENTON BEACH – Thursday’s City Commission meeting will include a request to spend $15,235 for consulting services for the permitting and construction of a new and expanded floating dock.
The scope of services proposal submitted by Scheda Ecological Associates says, “Scheda will coordinate with the city staff their chosen coast engineer and regulatory staff to ensure that all information necessary for permitting the proposed additional slips and modified submerged land lease will be incorporated into the applications.”
The proposal states the fee estimate does not include engineering or geotechnical fees, seagrass and coral protected species surveying, permit application fees, environmental mitigation or the preparation of legal documents. More...
A journey to closure
ANNA MARIA – I found it tucked away with other mementos of past chapters of my life – a small cardboard box filled with my Girl Scout badges, pins and stars.
They were like new – never sewed on a sash. There was no reason. The visions came flooding back.
Sixth grade 1959 – laughing children just learning that life is not all fun and games. This day our troop was going on a Girl Scout field trip to the Xenia library in our leader’s station wagon.
“I can’t go on the trip,” I told my best friend Connie with disappointment.
“Why not?” Connie questioned. More...
Bert Harris settlements not yet formalized
ANNA MARIA – As of late last week, none of the proposed 24 Bert Harris claim settlements authorized by the Anna Maria City Commission had been formally accepted by those who filed them.
On July 21, the commission approved potential settlements for 24 of the then 59 claims that City Attorney Becky Vose determined to be the most legitimate. The settlement terms Vose proposed called for permanent occupancy allowances of two persons per bedroom; and all but one of those property owners requested and was offered an additional two guests per property.
During that recent meeting, Vose said she was still in the process of evaluating the remaining 39 claims, some of which she suggested the city might fight in court if need be. More...
Holmes Beach sets millage at 2.25
HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners last week approved a tentative millage rate of 2.25 for fiscal year 2016-17, the same as fiscal year 2015-16.
“This is little different from last year, when we were looking at a gaping hole,” Mayor Bob Johnson pointed out.
Last year, he and Treasurer Lori Hill discovered an error, which if allowed to continue, would have bankrupted the city. Commissioners set a high millage rate to try and rectify the error. Johnson said he plans to continue a program of austerity to build the reserve. More...
County working on long-range beach erosion plan
BRADENTON – The Manatee County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of a resolution authorizing the County Parks and Natural Resources to file a long-term beach erosion control budget plan with the Florida Department of Environment Protection.
The resolution calls for the county to name projects which will require state funding and confirm the county’s ability to act as the local sponsor for the projects and the county’s ability to fund the local share of projects, presumably from the county’s rental tax.
Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker included a local government funding request with the information packet at the commission meeting, detailing projects past, present and future, with a total request of $400,000 from the state for the coming fiscal year. More...
New law helps FWC, officials manage Fla. waterways
A new Florida law, approved by the Legislature and Governor during the 2016 session, will enable county and local authorities along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to more effectively manage the state’s waterways. The new law (F.S. 327.4107) allows law enforcement officers to issue non-criminal citations to owners who allow their boats to become at risk of becoming derelict.
“This law allows officers to take action before a vessel crosses that line between at-risk and derelict, and hopefully prompts the owner to rectify any issues with the vessel before it reaches a state of disrepair,” said Phil Horning, FWC’s derelict vessel program administrator.
“Prior to this law being enacted, officers had to wait until a vessel met the legal criteria for a derelict vessel before beginning any sort of official interaction with the owner.” More...
Island home sought for classic painting
BRADENTON BEACH – In 1949, David Burliuk painted a street scene in Bradenton Beach that prominently featured the Bayside Inn, which is now the Bridge Tender Inn.
The painting has been in Hallandale Beach resident Leo Grachow’s family since the early 1950s, and he now hopes to sell it to someone who will return it to the Island.
As part of these efforts, Grachow recently contacted Bridge Street Merchants’ board member Amanda Escobio.
“I am interested in seeing this nostalgic view of the Bayside Inn, now the Bridge Tender Inn, returned to where it originated and owned by a collector or entity that appreciates this exceptional work of art,” he said in an e-mail to Escobio. More...
Angler’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...
Let the sun shine in
We live in the Sunshine State, and it’s called that because Florida has an abundance, sometimes an overabundance, of sun year round. You would think that every roof on Anna Maria would have solar panels mounted. Well now may be the time to consider taking advantage of the sun’s power.
During the past more than 30 years, solar costs have dropped so much that today it’s possible to generate all or most of a home’s electricity for about the cost of a new economy car. In addition, there are federal tax credits available that were extended by Congress not expiring until 2021.
Through 2019 there is a 30 percent tax credit available to homeowners who install a solar system then scaling down to 26 percent and then 22 percent through 2021. You also may qualify for additional solar incentives at the state and local level. And it appears a lot of people are getting on board with installations increasing almost 60 percent in one year, resulting in the cost of solar panels potentially reaching their plateau.
You can purchase or lease solar systems, however, purchasing provides a far greater return on your money and qualifies you for the federal tax credits. It generally costs between $15,000 and $20,000 to install a system after tax credits and can reduce your electricity bill by 70 to 100 percent. Most systems pay for themselves in five to seven years. More...
Reverse mortgages worth another lookInvestment 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...
Wash Family Construction captures its first Hayward Cup
The top two teams of the adult co-ed recreational soccer league faced each other in the Paul “Ace” Hayward Cup championship game Thursday night. In the rare occurrence, the top seeded team Wash Family Construction (WFC) played second seed Eason Builders Group (EBG) in 46 minutes of intense action on the pitch.
Adult soccer at the Island’s community center brings out players from other teams, family and friends to cheer on individual players and teams. This championship night was no different – both stands were full with a dozen other spectators along the sideline.
With strong veteran players on both team rosters, neither team played the championship game with their veteran starter goalies. Both Jason Sato, starting goalkeeper for Wash Family Construction, and Scott Rudacille, Eason Builders Group goalie, had to miss the game. More...
Listen to a Turtle Talk
About 20 visitors got a close up look at what Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring’s 92 volunteers do out on the beach every morning at a Turtle Talk on Wednesday night.
Each takes a one-mile stretch of beach once or twice a week and walks it up and down, checking for tracks that look like commas in the sand, if a loggerhead sea turtle made them, or hyphens, if a green turtle made them, Turtle Watch Education Director Karen Anderson said.
Looking for nests where between 80 and 100 eggs were laid the night before, volunteers are trained to identify the fluffy sand hills that indicate a mother turtle has buried her eggs and covered them up, trying to camouflage them.
When they identify a nest, volunteers dig until they find one egg, then re-cover it and stake it off to protect it from beachgoers. More...