It was a SandBlast at the beach
Sunny skies and cooler temperatures made for a big crowd at the 2016 SandBlast sand sculpture competition at Manatee Public Beach Saturday. Oasis Middle School, sponsored by Mosaic, won the Elementary-Middle School Division with a sculpture called "Pretty Wildlife."
Team YMCA, sponsored by AD-VANCE Talent Solutions, was the runner-up with "Shark Attack."
The Anna Maria Elementary School and city of Holmes Beach team, sponsored by Waste Pro, won a medallion for their free form sculpture called "Beautiful AMI." More...
It was a party for Hal
ANNA MARIA – Roser Memorial Community Church hosted a birthday open house for a special lady last Sunday. Family and friends snacked and greeted 105-year-old Harriett "Hal" Keiser in the Roser Fellowship Hall Sunday morning, after the 10 a.m. service. For the past few years, Hal's family has been coming to Anna Maria Island to celebrate her birthday. The invitation said "Cards only please. Pssst: She loves scratch off lottery tickets"
Hal munched on celery and other veggies in a seat that could have been a throne, with three balloons suspended above her spelling out "105." As she ate, friends and relatives came up to congratulate her and take selfies with her. She took it all in stride. More...
Crabbers, anglers work to avoid trap of conflict
ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The 2016-17 stone crab season opened on Oct. 15, and the first reports of crab trap molestation have begun to trickle in.
Local and state officials have responded by ramping up the efforts to promote awareness in an attempt to help prevent conflicts between recreational shark anglers and commercial stone crabbers.
Two commercial crab traps were pulled ashore recently in Holmes Beach and one of the traps was taken. This prompted Fishing for Freedom Manatee County Chapter President
Mark Coarsey to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and request reminder signs that address these concerns. More...
County support sought for ALS engines
BRADENTON – West Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Tom Sousa told board members last week that Chair Randy Cooper sent a letter to the Manatee County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh regarding the district's proposal to put firefighters trained in advanced life support (ALS) on fire engines.
According to the letter, "The current emergency response model utilized by Manatee County relies exclusively on an EMS transport unit to deliver initial advance care to the patient.
"The county fire districts recognize that enhancements can be made to the current EMS unit deployment model and offer to add to system capacity in the form of non-transport ALS units." More...
Commission sets stipulations for AMI Plaza
HOLMES BEACH – After reviewing the city's first site plan for mixed use, in which residential is permitted over commercial, commissioners set 10 stipulations for the AMI Plaza at 5304 Holmes Blvd.
City Planner Bill Brisson said property owner Mike Hynds plans to put three 493-square-foot residential units above the plaza. He said there are three issues that have been addressed – the legality of existing non-conforming parking, type of occupancy and parking in the right of way.
He said a 2013 letter from then police Lt. Dale Stephenson validates the existing parking and the use would be residential as opposed to resort housing with units occupied for 30 days or more. Hynds has agreed to lease the portion of parking spaces in the city's right of way. More...
Commission favors marijuana moratorium
BRADENTON BEACH – Now that Florida voters have approved medicinal marijuana, county and city officials are trying to figure out how to regulate dispensaries and grow houses.
After much discussion at the Bradenton Beach City Commission meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, the commission unanimously agreed to follow the county commission's lead in initiating a six-month moratorium that will provide the time needed to address a new business activity never allowed in Florida before.
City Attorney Ricinda Perry said the commission had three options: Adopt a moratorium that allows time to develop new regulations, enact an outright prohibition on grow houses and dispensaries similar to what was done in the city of Anna Maria or do nothing at all. More...
Outdoor coolers denied due to code issue
HOLMES BEACH – Two businesses presenting site plans for outdoor coolers were denied due to the discovery of a code that says all coolers must be enclosed and under roof.
The coolers were proposed for the Ugly Grouper at 5704 Marina Drive across from city hall and Dunkin' Donuts at 3302 East Bay Drive in the Anna Maria Island Centre.
Regarding the Ugly Grouper, Building Official Jim McGuinness said it would replace an existing exterior mobile kitchen and would store food for preparation in an interior commercial kitchen for on site consumption. More...
Crowd honors veterans
ANNA MARIA – More than 100 people attended the fifth annual Community BBQ Honoring Veterans at CrossPointe Fellowship. There was entertainment from the Manatee High School Drum Line, the Manatee Swing Band playing music from World War II and Erika Miller who sand the national anthem and "God Bless America."
Guy Gruters, an Air Force fighter pilot who earned 30 combat medals for his bravery in Vietnam including two Silver Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Bronze Star, spoke about being shot down twice and captured once, resulting in his incarceration in prisoner of war camps in North Vietnam. More...
Sweets for the sweet tooth
As I am sure you all know, it's that time of the year again – yes, the holidays are upon us. Hopefully you will make it through Thanksgiving unblemished, and be ready to tackle Christmas and New Year's. I don't know about all of you, but it seems to me that there is more entertaining during these few weeks (consequently eating and drinking), than any other time of the year. You basically have two options: make it a tedious chore by having the same old thing again, or make it a fun, interesting and (possibly) challenging time by trying out some new things you've not attempted before. Option two sounds like a lot more fun to me.
There are usually a couple of different reasons for whipping up something to take care of your sweet tooth. Most everyone gives out a platter or two of finger foods, whether it be for the office party or as a present for a family of friends to share, and let's be honest, you know that you and your clan will want to try everything, so you might as well go ahead and double the batch. I've always felt it made sense to make a few different things so that you can mix and match your offerings, letting your taste buds explore a variety of flavors and textures. After all, you can only eat so many sugar cookies covered in sprinkles. Now it's time to move on to the more creative and challenging part of holiday cooking – desserts. More...
Tony Saprito Pier cleanup
On Saturday, Nov. 19, Sarasota Bay Watch and partners conducted an underwater cleanup at the Tony Saprito Pier in Sarasota. Participation swelled to over 60 volunteers as vacationers, fishermen from the Tony Saprito Pier and passerbys joined the effort.
Seven hundred and fifty pounds of debris was collected including fishing line, fishing poles, tires, crab traps, a laptop computer, three cell phones, street signs, anchors and cast nets. Participants also found a variety of marine life including three octopi, brittle stars, puffers, sea urchins, green muscles, and stone crabs.
In total over 750 pounds of debris was collected and brought back to a staging area under the Ringling Bridge. Twenty-five pounds of fishing line, 205 pounds of lead and 141 pounds of nets were separated, weighed and measured. The information gathered is shared with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's Marine and Debris Program and the Ocean Conservancy. More...
Resets in our future
The election is finally over, and thank goodness for that. Maybe now we can reset and move forward in a positive way to heal both the emotions of the country and the economy. But the country's demographics and living choices are also resetting, taking the housing market right along with it.
As we all know real estate is one of the most important spokes in the economic wheel. The trickle down of a strong real estate market impacts a wide range of consumer goods. What's being reported as the result of the U.S. Census Bureau data is that Americans are leaving the costly metro areas for more affordable parts of the country at a faster rate than they are being replaced. This is, of course, affecting the cost of housing in both the incoming and outgoing regions. More...
Blue Marlin celebrates five years
You wouldn't think that a fish restaurant could be described as boutique, but in the case of the Blue Marlin Seafood, you would be wrong. Celebrating five years, the Blue Marlin is one man's dream restaurant, which has been offering the freshest of seafood served in an intimate cottage on an historic street surrounded by tropical waters.
Adam Ellis created his dream in a 1920's coastal cottage which was in his wife Marianne Norman-Ellis' family for decades. Together with friends and family they worked to restore the house, retaining the original wainscoting and wood flooring and adding coastal touches. Today the restaurant has a nice, warm, nautical feel with lots of blue and white fabrics, hanging lanterns, artwork and, of course, its wall of black and white fishing photos. 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...
Kids take it to the mat at The Center
The smell of new mats in the gymnasium brings excitement to The Center. More than 30 years later, the sounds of wrestling shoes shuffling on the mat and the coach's whistle directing drills return to the Island.
During the first week of serving as the recreation director, Will Schenerlein, helped to write a grant to receive funding from the Publix corporation to help fund the resurrection of the youth wrestling program at The Center. Last winter the Island's community center was awarded the grant, and Schenerlein put in the order for the new wrestling mats and started planning the program.
With the financial assistance of sponsors Gnarly Mangrove and Fun and More Rentals, the kids are taking to the mat in the afternoons on Wednesdays and Thursdays in The Center gym learning basic wrestling skills. Currently, the program has 23 participants ranging in age from five to 11 years old. More...
Turtles crawl to a record year
Sea turtles had a record year in more ways than one on Anna Maria Island, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.
The record of 435 nests is higher than the next closest record year of 2013 by 66 nests, and higher than the 15-year average by 246 nests.
Why, especially in a year with two hurricanes and a severe tropical storm that destroyed 145 nests?
Mostly, it's due to 34 years of Turtle Watch volunteers caring for turtles and educating visitors, residents and business owners, Fox told volunteers on Saturday at an appreciation luncheon marking the end of the 2016 turtle season. More...