Vol. 16 No. 49 - October 5, 2016
Red tide relief is brief
Moderate to high levels of red tide are predicted at least through Thursday in Manatee County waters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Red tide, an abnormally high concentration of the microscopic organism, Karenia brevis, has affected Anna Maria Island coastlines for more than two weeks, with the location of the heaviest bloom changing with variable winds and currents.
The algae is killing fish, causing respiratory problems and impacting the tourism industry; Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce President Debra Wing reports 50 percent cancellations, especially at beachfront resorts. More...
Bazzy settlement proposed
BRADENTON BEACH – A $15,000 settlement has been proposed to end the pier lease lawsuit that Bradenton Beach Marina owners Mike and Allan Bazzy filed last year against the city, the Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB), Paradise Boat Tours and two additional subtenants.
The propose settlement agreement was discussed and negotiated during three recent non-public shade meetings conducted by attorney Fred Moore, who, as the city's legal representative, then exchanged offers and counteroffers with the Bazzys' attorney, Nelon Kirkland.
The Bazzys signed the settlement agreement on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The agreement now requires final commission approval and the signature of Mayor Bill Shearon in order to be official. More...
Bert Harris purchase contract submitted
ANNA MARIA – On Friday, Sept. 30, the city of Anna Maria presented the law firm representing 117 Willow LLC with a contract to purchase a vacation rental property located at 117 Willow Ave.
The 12-page contract calls for the city to pay $1,212,925 for the four-bedroom, 3.5 bath, two-story single family residence in order to resolve a Bert Harris claim filed in May on behalf of the property owners.
Attorney Louis Najmy is listed as the LLC's registered agent and Joe Varner and Shawn Kaleta are listed as authorized persons. The appraisal package submitted with the Bert Harris claim lists AMI Vacations as the property's group finance entity. More...
Resident questions budget figures
HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners approved the 2.25 millage rate and $12 million budget at the final budget public hearing on Sept. 27 after receiving a lone complaint from resident Jim Kihm, which was read into the record in Kihm's absence.
"First, I do not understand why the proposed budget is being compared against the current year's budget and not actual forecasted expenditures for the year," Kihm said. "This approach results in a distorted view of the city's financial position and needs for the coming year.
"If you check the year-to-date figures through the month of August, you will find that revenue is almost $600k less than what was budgeted in just five line items. Yet the budget figures used to set next year's budget assumes that all of this money will be collected during the month of September." More...
Gloria Dei rezone gets a no, then a yes
HOLMES BEACH – After opposing a motion that would allow Gloria Dei Lutheran Church to rezone part of its property from PSP (public/semi public) to R-2 (medium density), city commissioners reversed their vote upon hearing from two attorneys.
When the church's attorney Scott Rudacille said he was "shocked" that they would turn down the motion without having a public hearing, City Attorney Patricia Petruff advised them to reconsider the motion.
The motion was regarding Ordinance 16-17 to amend the city's comprehensive plan to change the future land use designation of a portion of the church's property. A second, Ordinance 16-18, would allow a rezone of part of its property from PSP to R-2. More...
Commission reviews Gloria Dei site plan
HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners reviewed a site plan for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church parking, should its application for a rezone be approved, and gave the nod to allow grass parking.
City Planner Bill Brisson told the board that the Florida Building Code calls for a parking space for every 18 inches of pew. He said this would require the church to have 83 parking spaces, which is what its site plan shows.
He said 63, or 76 percent, of the parking spaces are shown as unimproved grass parking, but the city does not have a provision for grass parking.
"It is fairly common for communities to allow grass parking for intermittent uses," he said. "These uses, such as churches, traditionally require full parking capacity only one or two days a week. More...
Fire district open house at Station 1
BRADENTON – West Manatee Fire Rescue personal invite the public to attend an open house for Fire Station 1, 407 67th St. W., Bradenton, on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At 10:15, there will be a dedication ceremony to name the station for Robert "Bob" Kline, the first full-time firefighter hired at Westside Fire and Rescue District in 1962 (Westside and Anna Maria merged in 200 to become West Manatee).
Kline's career spanned 30 years, and he served as a firefighter, lieutenant, captain, assistant chief and fire marshal, in various positions of leadership in the county and as president of Manatee County Fireman's Mutual Aid Association. More...
Commissioner: Hey retailers! Open up your wallets for The Center
ANNA MARIA – Commissioner Dale Woodland presented an idea to board members to boost The Center's revenue with voluntary contributions from patrons of local businesses.
"I'm looking at the existence and solvency of the community center he said. "One of the other reasons is the time the board and staff spend on fundraising when we all know there's a lot of other functions they could be working on.
"You've seen the change in demographics. It's obvious a lot of support in the past has come from residents. That's kind of a dying breed now. That's part of the problem and part of the idea." More...
Searching for souls on Bridge Street
BRADENTON BEACH – It's hard to imagine paranormal activity on Friday night as the sounds of live entertainment waft down Bridge Street, but two members of the Paranormal Society of Bradenton and five young ladies went "ghost hunting" in the company's inaugural ghost tour on the Island.
Liz Reed led the excursion with Kara DiComo bringing up the rear with an electromagnetic field detector (EFD) that senses disruptions in the field, thought to be evidence of the presence of ghosts.
Unfortunately, the presence of red tide in the air made it hard to concentrate and everyone in the party had fits of coughing. More...
Tails of the Toccoa
Gossamer veils of mist floated over the mirror smooth surface of the water as our guide, Hunter Barnes, launched the drift boat into the Toccoa river near Blue Ridge, Ga. My friend Bob Seeger (no relation to the singer) and I stood on the bank, fly rods in hand, eager to begin a morning adventure. Loading the boat and pushing off with the oars Barnes primed our enthusiasm with stories of the big brown and rainbow trout that inhabited the river. The quantity of fish in the river is amazing, considering that it is one of the most southerly water courses that hold populations of trout. This river is special, yielding wild fish that top 30 inches,
Barnes had rigged our five-weight outfits with three flies, a small worm imitation, a nymph and a large dry fly, that would also serve as a strike indicator signaling a bite on the other two flies. The oars hadn't even pushed us down the river before Seeger lifted his rod, setting the hook on a small rainbow trout. Barnes and Seeger commented on what a good omen that fish was. I reserved judgement based on trips when a fish was landed on the first cast followed by a less than spectacular day. As it turned out they were right. More...
Flood insurance do we even want to know
It's finally October and so far, our area has again been spared from the "big one." Although we did experience flooding during Hurricane Hermine last month it was not crushing. However, none of that matters when it comes to the premium for your flood insurance where you will not be spared.
Let's start with a little recap here for anyone who has deleted the details from their minds. In 2012 after hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and other major storms plunged the flood insurance program deeply into debt, Congress enacted the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The act was designed to remove government discounts and bring insurance rates charged for risky properties up to levels reflecting actual risk. However, many homeowners of those risky properties received such large increases in their 2014 renewals that Congress was pressured to throttle back on the rate increases. In addition, there was a fear of the housing market located in flood zones collapsing.
The congressional fix was a 25 percent annual limit on rate increases for properties in flood hazard zones paid for with a new surcharge imposed on all property owners. This temporary reprieve did stop the bleeding and the drama until now. More...
Merchants have new president
BRADENTON BEACH – Island Time and Bridge Street Bistro co-owner and managing partner Bill Herlihy has agreed to serve as the new president of the Bridge Street Merchants Association.
In a statement provided by Jack Clarke, the association's new executive director, Herlihy said, "I am honored to accept the position as president of the Bridge Street Merchants Association. My predecessor Angela Rodocker did an outstanding job and I aspire to continue to accomplish all of the goals set forth by our board of directors. Bridge Street and Bradenton Beach have seen so many positive things happen recently to our community and businesses and I am confident that we will be able to keep moving in a favorable direction that will promote Bridge Street and our mission statement." 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...
Progressive Cabinetry shuts the door on Moss Builders
The rain could not stop the adult footballers at The Center Thursday night. However, the lightning most certainly did, but not until half time of the second game of the night. Fans, family and friends were able to witness the first game of the night, the Mosses versus the Shaughnessys, two of the Island families in the league.
It was a matchup of speed and quick execution in the battle between Moss Builders and Progressive Cabinetry. The passing stats of both skilled quarterbacks and team captains Ryan Moss and Tim Shaughnessy were toe-to-toe with 175 and 180 passing yards, respectively.
The game ultimately came down to flag pulls and the head-to-head match up between Moss Builders' Chad Woods and Pat Calvary for Progressive Cabinetry. More...
Turtle laws still apply
It ain't over 'til it's over, Suzi Fox reminds Anna Maria Island beachfront residents and visitors.
Sea turtle nesting season does not end until Oct. 31, and in the meantime, turtle laws apply, including those prohibiting beachfront lighting and leaving furniture and other objects on the beach after dark, the director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring said.
People are saying they don't see any nests on the beach and are turning on their beachfront lights in violation of the law, she said. More...