Vol. 16 No. 41 - August 10, 2016


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWaterline project sailing along

HOLMES BEACH – Anyone who rounds the corner of Gulf and Marina drives has watched as Waterline, the Island's first full service hotel, has begun to rise from the sea of rebar that once filled the grounds.

The site includes a lodge with a restaurant, ballroom and meeting spaces flanked by east and west wings with hotel suites and a resort style pool in the center; another building with hotel suites; and a marina with day slips for guests.

Mainsail Lodging and Development, of Tampa, is developing the project, and it will offer a total of 37 hotel suites with gourmet kitchens. Parking and amenities will be on the first level with suites on the second and third levels. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFlood surprises residents

BRADENTON BEACH – City officials are working to rectify unanticipated flooding that occurred Sunday afternoon and evening along Highland Avenue and First Street North in Bradenton Beach in an area were infiltration trenches were recently installed to improve drainage.

The flooding was a source of concern and consternation for residents who live in that area, including Julia Rose Rodriguez and David Dube.

"When they finished digging up Highland Avenue, the workers told us the drainage would be way better, but it's way worse than it was before. And people that have lived here longer said they've never seen it this bad," Rodriguez said Sunday evening. More...

Campaign accounts growing

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – As the November elections draw closer, campaign fund-raising activity is beginning to pick up.

Anna Maria City Commission

First-time candidate Brian Seymour loaned his campaign $500, and he received a $100 contribution from Bill and Cathy Brennan and another from Carmen Shea, bringing his total to $700. His only expenditure is the $48 qualifying fee. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story National Night Out brings out a crowd

HOLMES BEACH – Despite the record heat, the police department's first National Night Out was a resounding success with about 300 people attending the event in city hall field.

"I can't express how pleased I am at the outpouring of support – the residents coming to the event and the positive feedback, " said Sgt. Vern McGowin, who organized the event with Code Enforcement Officer John Thomas.

"It was a great, fun event. We wanted people to meet their neighbors and police officers and have a good time." More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryNo Tiger Grant for Manatee County

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – City officials learned last week that Manatee County will not receive the $17.8 million federal Tiger Grant county officials applied for in April.

Officials in Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach hoped Tiger Grant funds would assist in the development of an Island-wide bike and pedestrian trail known as the AMI Sun Trail. The grant application included a $4.21 million request for Sun Trail funds to be paired with $1.4 million in local contributions.

"Our joint project, the AMI Sun Trail, was not among those selected by USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) for this year's Tiger Grant funds. Of the $500 million that was awarded, 32 states received funding and only one Florida project was on that list," Manatee County Information Outreach Manager Nick Azzara said in an e-mail he distributed on Tuesday, Aug. 2. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryNew law addresses at-risk vessels

A new Florida law adopted during the 2016 legislative session now provides local, county and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) authorities the means to more effectively address at-risk vessels before they become derelict.

Florida Statute 327.4107 allows law enforcement officers to issue non-criminal citations to owners who allow their boats to become at risk of becoming derelict. More...

Changes at AME this year

HOLMES BEACH – As the school year begins, officials at Anna Maria Elementary School are going through the routine of getting new students initiated. Kindergartners and transfer students aren't the only new faces in the halls this year.

Sarah Peace has been hired to teach gifted students, and Beth McIntosh will become the new ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher.

Part-time assistant principal Bernadette Pletcher transferred to Tillman Elementary School to become a full-time assistant principal there. In addition, third-grade teacher Janie Ensworth will retire. More...

School district's zero tolerance

The school district has rules to make sure students are safe and secure as they attend school and school-related activities.

Manatee County Schools enforce a zero tolerance for crime and substance abuse, and while many think elementary school students are too young to get involved, there is a police officer in place to deal with it.

Some of the offenses falling into this category include bringing firearms or weapons to school, including BB guns, pellet guns, paint ball guns. Other weapons include knives, such as pocket knife/blade, box cutter, razor blade, etc. Students also are prohibited from taking explosives and dangerous objects such as pepper gas or mace to school or on any school property and vehicles such as school buses. Making threats or false reports also are not allowed and could lead to expulsion. Any involvement in illegal drugs or alcohol or sales of such is prohibited. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTime to take a tour

In a recent column I had talked about taking a winery tour when I was a wine salesman years ago. The company had sent 10 of us to California and each day we toured three wineries and were able to observe how wines were made. It was educational and a good deal of fun at the same time. The only problem now, it costs an awful lot to fly to California where there are hundreds of vineyards to visit.

Now for the good news – we have a winery less than an hour away right here in Manatee County. It's called Rosa Fiorelli Winery. Back in 1998 an older Sicilian gentleman named Antonio Fiorelli retired from the restaurant business and bought property outside Tampa to grow his garden. He ended up with an acre of grapes just like when he was a kid in Sicily. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHomegrown bonefish

Bonefish are one of the most sought after gamefish in the world. Ask most serious fly anglers about their favorite species, and bonefish will be at, or near, the top of their list. Why? When hooked, bonefish accelerate to speeds that have the angler's line rooster-tailing through the water. The initial run is so spectacular that neophyte anglers are known to freeze in place, hanging onto their fly line and unable to respond until their leader breaks.

Bonefish have been traditionally caught from Miami south. The Keys and the Bahamas are two of the best places to pursue these elusive fish. They are also found along most of the Caribbean coast, as well as tropical locations worldwide. In the past few years, their range seems to be expanding, as evidenced by anglers who have been encountering them locally. More...

real estate

When regulations are well meaning

We've all met people who are well-meaning, the ones who want to help you carry your groceries even when you don't really need help and are in a hurry, the ones who tell you about the two for one items in Publix when you don't care and the ones who insist you sample a piece of their strawberry pie when you break out in hives from strawberries. These are all nice gestures but the well-meaning principle can get in the way, especially when it becomes a regulation.

Home builders around the country are all experiencing an increase in regulatory costs to the tune of over $80,000 per single family home. According to the National Association of Home Builders this is an increase of nearly 30 percent on average over the past five years for builders to comply with regulations. 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 StoryWash 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...

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper