Vol. 16 No. 46 - September 14, 2016
Pins fall as money is raised
Organizers of the LaPensee Plumbing Bowling Challenge had a good problem before the event - they hadn't reserved enough alleys for the bowlers. In fact, they ended up with a total of 40 lanes and approximately 150 bowlers competing for high game, high series or low game, low series trophies, as they made money for The Center.
There were raffles too – a 50/50 drawing; a Chinese drawing where ticket holders put tickets next to the prize baskets they wanted; and a separate drawing for a Yeti bag loaded with liquid refreshments that only a person 21 years or older would be allowed to enjoy. More...
Commission divided on settlement offers
ANNA MARIA – City Attorney Becky Vose presented the Anna Maria Commission with 28 additional proposed Bert Harris claim settlements during the Thursday, Sept. 8, meeting.
This was the third time Vose sought approval for proposed settlement offers, but the first time the offers included a proposed purchase price to offer vacation rental owners who want greater occupancy limits than the two persons per bedroom plus two additional guests the city is offering.
"I'm suggesting we offer them an alternative settlement. They could take the occupancy we offer or the city would offer to purchase the house" Vose told the commission. More...
Gloria Dei rezone recommended
HOLMES BEACH – The Planning Commission last week recommended approval of 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).
City Planner Bill Brisson told the board, "While we would prefer not to extend vacation rental use throughout the city, the medium density land use category is the most consistent use to the adjoining properties. It is the most common use next to PSP."
He said there could be as many as five duplexes allowed on the property, but most likely there would be four. He said the demand for water and sewer would not cause a capacity problem and that traffic would be minimal and not overwhelm local roads. More...
Commission concerned about flooding
ANNA MARIA – In response to the flooding that occurred during Tropical Storm Hermine, the mayor and city commissioners have requested a work session be scheduled to discuss flooding, drainage and stormwater issues.
"Something's seriously out of whack. I don't think our stormwater plan's working," Commissioner Chuck Webb said during the Thursday, Sept. 8 commission meeting.
The impromptu conversation on flooding and drainage ensued during a planned discussion on potential revisions to the city's street-side parking allowances. The commission agreed that flooding and drainage concerns would take precedence over the parking concerns expressed by Commissioner Dale Woodland as part of his ongoing efforts to provide relief to residents in the 100 blocks, near the beach access points. More...
Non-profits bank on Giving Challenge
Local non-profits will be anxiously awaiting the results of the 2016 Giving Challenge, Sept 20 and 21 from noon to noon.
The Giving Challenge is supported by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee Community Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knght Foundation and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. During the 24-hour giving event, people go online to make donations to participating organizations and the foundations match donations that meet certain criteria.
The challenge, in its fifth year, has raised more than $15 million for charities in the four county area, according to Murray Devine, communications project manager of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which was the originating organization. Last year's effort brought in $7 million of that. More...
This dog is one man's best friend
CORTEZ – Eddie Shorter, dock master at the Seafood Shack docks, is happy to be alive after nearly drowning Aug. 23, and he thanks his dog, Bay, for alerting restaurant employee Harley Wise and Wise's girlfriend, Debbie Akins, after he slipped and fell into the water.
"I was walking Bay that night when I slipped and the next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed," he said. "They say after I fell in, Bay barked for 20 minutes before Debbie suspected something was wrong." More...
Mayor proposes parking garage
BRADENTON BEACH – Mayor Bill Shearon's latest attempt to drum up support for a managed mooring field was presented as part of a larger-reaching concept that also included a parking garage, a new city hall building and the pursuit of Tourist Development Council (TDC) funds.
As an alternative to a mooring field, the committee expressed support for an interlocal agreement suggested by Commissioner Ralph Cole that would allow Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds to be used for increased policing of the anchorage near the Historic Bridge Street Pier.
The committee also unanimously supported City Attorney Ricinda Perry's plan for moving forward with updating the city's outdated CRA plan at an estimated cost of $18,000. This process will include multiple opportunities for the public and the business community to provide input on what projects they would like to see included in the CRA district that currently stretches from Cortez Road to Fifth Street South and may soon include the off-shore anchorage as well. More...
Rental regulations crystalizing
BRADENTON BEACH – It started slow, but the Planning and Zoning Board has now hit its stride in regard to developing vacation rental regulations to recommend to the City Commission.
During the board's Sept. 7 meeting, the five attending members reached consensus on several potential means of regulating short-term vacation rentals, and they still have more to discuss at their next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9 a.m.
Using a three-page document created by City Planner Alan Garrett that contained board member suggestions given at previous meetings, the board was able to lay out a significant portion of the regulatory framework that will be presented to the city commission when the board feels this stage of its work has been completed. More...
Creation of a craft bar
I started working here at The Waterfront restaurant way back in 2000 when it was owned by an English couple. I opened each day, working the day shift until four or so, when we were allowed to slip in the back room and have a cold draft beer after a hot day in the kitchen. It didn't matter which one we picked since a Budweiser or Miller Lite tasted about the same. When the Suzors bought the restaurant in 2002, I remember that one of the first changes they made was to upgrade their draft beer choices, and I became a fan of Stella Artois. Now back then you rarely saw TV ads for imported beers, and the craft beer rage was just beginning. Some of the staff thought the change a wee bit crazy but fortunately, Jason had the idea of being a bit different than the other restaurants on the Island, and opted to offer more variety and more styles of beer than them. When we had the fire in 2004 we were able to redesign the restaurant to be able to chill up to ten kegs. It was decided that we would have all imports and several of the new, domestic "craft" beers that were starting to spring up all over the country on tap. In doing so, we could offer all those different styles of beer, each one being served in its own specific glass. We added more of these "craft" lagers and ales by the bottle along with our domestic selections. Our bar was starting to take shape. More...
Word's out on little tunny
The water was flat and there was no sign of life as we neared the Tampa Bay Ship's Channel. Word was out that little tunny and Spanish mackerel were attacking baitfish in and along the edges of the waterway, but as far as we could see the water was flat and mirror smooth without a hint of action. After 10 minutes of surveying the waters in an easterly direction towards the Skyway Bridge we were starting to wonder if the run from Longboat Key was a mistake. Then I remembered a day a few years back when Captain Rick Grassett, who was accompanying me today, and I had a similar experience off Longboat Pass. Just as we were beginning to consider fishing in the bay instead of the Gulf, a striking fish exploded on the surface. After that we were surrounded by action that lasted the whole morning. More...
To move or to remodel?
I've just spent the last two months getting paint out from under my expensive manicure and trying to keep my mouth shut every time my husband asks, "Are we done yet?" But that's the price you pay for doing a home renovation. Is it worth it or is moving easier? In today's market you may not have a lot of options.
There's a lot of buzz about the lack of inventory in the real estate market nationally which keeps pushing prices up around the country. Again in July, the National Association of Realtors reported that the pace of existing home sales decreased 3.2 percent from June, and compared to a year earlier July sales were down 1.6 percent.
Everyone loves when sale prices go up and according to the Case Shiller 20-city home price index prices have grown at about a 5 percent pace since early 2015. However, a lot of potential buyers are being pushed out of their affordability range every month creating the proverbial logjam of first time buyers who can't afford to buy and trade up buyers who can't sell and, therefore, can't buy their next home. 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...
Beach House Real Estate chills Tyler's Ice Cream
After a week off of the gridiron thanks to Hurricane Hermine, the men and women of the co-ed adult Island flag football league energetically took the field Thursday night to resume the season. Under the cloak of humidity, Team Tyler's Ice Cream, affectionately known as Team Sato because of the roster, took the field to meet up against Team Beach House Real Estate in the first game of the night.
Starting on offense, Tyler's Ice Cream lined up with quarterback Jason Sato, brothers Josh, Nick and Ben Sato, and honorary Sato Laura Alderson on the field, with sister-in-law Lexi Sato on the sideline to begin the game. More...
Turtle nests swamped
Hurricane Hermine pushed the Gulf of Mexico high up onto Anna Maria Island's beaches last week, inundating the 173 sea turtle nests remaining in the sand, but at least one turtle mom was back on the beach to lay more eggs on Friday night, after the storm passed.
Eggs can survive a short time underwater, but after an inspection on Saturday, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers discovered that about 95 nests were lost, while the rest remained high and dry.
Many of the stakes that were marking the nests were lost, so Turtle Watch volunteers, who scour the beaches each morning for tracks, will be on the lookout for signs of unmarked nests that hatched the night before.
Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox had volunteers remove Adopt-a-Turtle plaques on the stakes before the storm, so the plaques commemorating or congratulating loved ones are safe. More...