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Vol. 14 No. 45 - September 3, 2014

letters to the editor

Toll bridges are the answer

With all due respect to our Island elected officials and the Island Congestion Committee working on “the parking problem” I have to say, you are wasting your time and energy. People are going to live, work, and play (as they should) on this Island no matter what you try to do about parking. Consequently, the real issues that must be addressed are the impacts to the Island’s infrastructure as well as the ever increasing pollution/trash of the waters and beaches. Since we know that all it takes is a little money to work on these types of problems, I believe our elected officials and others should be trying to figure out how to install and operate toll bridges. It does not matter if you live, work, or play here, we should all have to pay to get here. This is not the place to discuss the details such as payment methods and fees, but suffice it to say that there should be options such as an annual (maybe even monthly) pass with an associated “express lane” as well as the single trip pay as you go method.

For those that believe they have already paid something that entitles them to use the Island; get over it. Taxes built the Skyway Bridge. The same can be said for the Florida Turnpike as well as other expressways in places such as Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, and Miami. Visit a state or national park lately? Chances are you paid a user or entrance fee. In my opinion, this Island is no different. It is not an entitlement.

If you believe a toll bridge would create traffic problems on Manatee Avenue or Cortez Road, you are right. But we already have that. Might as well get something for dealing with it.

Bottom line, toll bridges would generate the revenue needed to address the seemingly never ending problems (new bridges, beach trash, etc.) brought on by the ever increasing use and demands placed on the Island. If you don’t think toll bridges will work, visit Boca Grande.

Mike Pritchett
Holmes Beach

Sign of the times

This is a public thank you to Mayor SueLynn and George McKay of the city of Anna Maria. Through their efforts a large sign with initials C.M.V. at the bottom, is again in place along the boardwalk, near the historic City Pier. It is protected by a new supportive frame, acrylic shield and a small roof. Amazingly, the 25-year-old sign now looks brand new and perfect. In 1989, when the Artists' Guild was a new organization, the city administration asked for help getting copy written for a proposed sign which would give visitors an understanding of the historical importance of the pier.

Dr. Carl Voyles, a founding member of the Guild and also a writer, was assigned the task. He did research, followed by obtaining approval from "Fast Eddie" Porter, who had the lease for the restaurant at the far end of the pier. This included the first lines of a poem Carl had written:

"Beneath the roof of this City Pier is the place to be with shrimp and beer.

"While lightning in the distance plays and thunder rumbles across the bays......"

The city approved, and ordered the sign. When it arrived, it was installed for display, even though the

Plexiglass shield had not yet been put in place. Sadly, within two or three days someone vandalized the new sign by slicing off some of the raised letters.. Everyone was distressed by this action.

No one knew how to repair the damage. As a result, for more than 20 years, residents and visitors enjoyed reading about the pier, but likely wondered about the cosmetic damage to a significant marker protected by the clear shield.

Recently the sign was taken down when the City Pier entrance was remodeled and enhanced. It took some time, I was told, to find someone able to repair the damage. Today, the sign looks totally fresh and perfect.

Carl and I are pleased. Likely others in the community are happy to see its return in a state of perfection.

Joan Voyles
Anna Maria City

Thanks from the AMI Chamber

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce wishes to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in the 2014 Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Expo. It was a great event again this year and the speakers did an excellent job sharing their expertise and knowledge with the many who attended.

We wish to thank our Event Sponsors: Bradenton Herald, Grooms Motors & Automotive, Anna Maria Island Resorts, LaPensee Plumbing & Pools, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Boyd Insurance & Investments, Island Real Estate and Remedy Employer Services for their support and dedication to this event. Our Food Sponsors: The Feast Restaurant, J. Burns Pizza Shop, Tyler's Ice Cream, Mixon Fruit Farms & David's AMI Deli provided delicious foods for everyone in attendance. We also wish to thank our Keynote Speakers, Business Vendors, Volunteers and Attendees. The Expo Committee did an outstanding job planning this year, and a special thank you to Crosspointe Fellowship Church for allowing us to hold this business event at their facility. Their staff and volunteers are instrumental to the success of our Expo.

This annual event provides important information and insight to many small businesses in our area and we look forward to another successful Expo in 2015.

Terri Kinder
Event Chairperson



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