Vol. 15 No. 25 - April 15, 2015
tOM VAUGHT | SUN
The Stewart Elementary School Shooting Stars
celebrate after beating the Palma Sola Elementary
School Panthers in the first race.
It was a warm spring day at the Palma Sola Causeway last Saturday as a crowd gathered to watch the 27th Annual Bottle Boat Regatta .
Sponsored by the Hernando DeSoto Heritage Festival, the competition got off to an auspicious start when all of the team members fell off one of the boats after starting the race, but the action picked up after that.
Stewart A Elementary won the elementary school division, followed by the Palma Sola Panthers and the Little Goats.
The King Middle School Crusaders won their division, followed by Team Dirty Goats and the King Middle School Shootin' Stars.
Demetrios' Pizza House's Lady Anchovies won the Women's Adult Division; Team Anchovy won the Adult Civic Division; and USA Fence Co. took home the prestigious Festival Cup.
ANNA MARIA – The city commission took the first step toward getting a handle on the city’s burgeoning vacation rental industry last Thursday when it approved an ordinance that adds rules and regulations for owners and agents of rental properties.
The effort began when residents met with real estate rental professionals late last year and developed ways to solve the problems created by houses with large numbers of renters making noise, parking erratically, leaving large amounts of trash for pickup and otherwise disrupting life in residential neighborhoods. The city commission made revisions to the ordinance, resulting in some rental professionals threatening legal action.
Jason Sato, of Sato Real Estate, said after the vote rental agents still opposed the limitation of eight guests for a home and the penalties against rental agents for too many problems. Those penalties could take away an agent’s permission to rent homes in the city for up to two years.
More than 35 people packed city hall for the second hearing of the ordinance, which was City Attorney Becky Voss’ first rewrite of the ordinance with recommendations from the city commission.
The ordinance would not place restrictions on pool hours and noise limits on the rentals in the residential/office/retail district along Pine Avenue. As for the pool restrictions, the new law would have allowed pool use from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., however, Mayor Dan Murphy said he felt his grandkids having to wait until 10 a.m. to swim would be “onerous.”
Commissioner Doug Copeland agreed.
“With this law in effect, you could legally operate a chainsaw before your kids could swim,” he said.
Commissioner Nancy Yetter suggested moving it up to 9 a.m., but Copeland liked 8 a.m. and by consensus, the commission agreed with 8 a.m.
Yetter said the commission is there working on the ordinance because of greed.
“Over the holiday weekend, one home had three noise violations, and the agent said to cut them some slack, they don’t know the rules,” she said. “Why? Because the agent didn’t tell them the rules.”
She also said developer Shawn Kaleta put renters in a newly built home without a certificate of occupancy.
“He is constantly testing the city,” she said. “The renters were evicted. If I were them. I would sue him. This is why we need this ordinance because we have to have them follow the rules.”
“We’re not trying to be bad people; we’re just trying to protect our neighborhoods,” added Commissioner Dale Woodland.
“I talked with some renters, and they said it was nice they only had to have one inflatable bed,” said Commissioner Carol Carter. “They had 15 people.”
During public comment, Pine Avenue Restoration developer Micheal Coleman said the big problem he sees is parking.
“The more parking you allow, the more people come in here,” he said.
Resident Allen Ward said the Island is changing, and the real estate market is being maximized.
“I wanted to live here the rest of my life but now, I don’t know,” he said.
Former city commissioner Gene Aubry said he has never seen a city deteriorate as badly as Anna Maria the past year.
After more discussion, Woodland moved to approve the ordinance, and Carter seconded. The vote was unanimous to pass it.
Murphy said they would discuss whether to end the moratorium on permits for homes with more than three bedrooms at a future meeting.
joe hendricks | sun
From left, Vice Mayor Jack Clarke and Mayor Bill Shearon
have squared off many times during commission meetings,
and they will now do so in a special recall election.
BRADENTON BEACH – The recall election pitting Mayor Bill Shearon against Vice Mayor Jack Clarke was scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, but could be subject to change due to challenges by Shearon’s supporters.
An abbreviated qualifying period for recall candidates commenced Tuesday morning and concludes at noon, on Friday, April 17. Additional candidates may enter the race and obtain a qualifying packet, but will have to act fast in order to meet the qualifying deadline.
In regard to voting, those who prefer to vote in person on May 19 will do so at the Annie Silver Community Center; there will be no in-person early voting period for this election.
Vote by mail ballots will be mailed as soon as the qualifying period ends and the ballots are printed. For those who wish to vote by mail, but are not yet signed up to do so, mail ballots can be requested from the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office at www.votemanatee.com or by calling 941-741-3823.
The stakes are high for both Shearon and Clarke because one of them will not be in office by the end of May.
City Attorney Ricinda Perry, Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett and Assistant Supervisor Scott Farrington met last week and concluded that according to Florida election law, Clarke has to resign from his current commission seat in order to run as a candidate to replace Shearon.
Clarke submitted his letter of resignation to acting City Clerk Terri Sanclemente on Friday. He will continue to serve as a commissioner until the election takes place. His letter states that his resignation will take effect no later than the date he takes office as the next mayor of Bradenton Beach, or the date the successor to his Ward 1 commission seat takes office.
“It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve the citizens of Bradenton Beach as commissioner and vice mayor,” his letter said.
If Shearon retains the mayor’s seat, the commission will appoint a new Ward 1 representative to serve the remainder of Clarke’s term, which could alter the commission majority in regard to voting tendencies.
If city voters remove Shearon from office, and Clarke is elected his successor, Clarke will serve as mayor until November, and the commission will appoint a Ward 1 representative to fill Clarke’s vacated commission seat until the fall election.
The recall election was ordered by Circuit Court Judge Andrew Owens on Wednesday, April 9, following two successful recall petition drives headed by former City Commissioner Pete Barreda, who serves as chair of the Committee to Recall William Shearon.
Barreda recently discussed the recall effort and the reasons behind it.
“We obviously had the numbers, and people have said twice they want this election, so we’re moving forward and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
According to the elections office, there are currently 763 registered voters living in Bradenton Beach. When Shearon was elected in 2013, he received 149 votes; his opponent, incumbent Mayor John Shaughnessy, received 132.
“The mayor said, ‘Bring it on.’ We had 130 people sign petitions, and there were more people who did not sign, but were not against the recall,” Barreda said.
Barreda noted that city employees, business owners and other public figures were among those who support the recall, but were reluctant to sign a petition form Shearon would eventually see.
Why the recall?
Barreda said the efforts to remove Shearon extend beyond the two alleged Sunshine violations listed on the recall petitions.
“This was based on the Sunshine violations, the lawsuits against the city, and because for a long time it seemed like everyone was constantly in the news for all the stuff that was happening at city hall. I think it’s time to get somebody in there who will bring back some normalcy to city hall,” Barreda explained. “The majority of the people I talked to in this town were not against the recall, and lot of those people mentioned the same things: the constant bickering and suing, and people wanting city hall run without all the headlines,” he added. Barreda said declining morale among city staff was another contributing factor.
“I think we have a great staff that works for our city, including the police force and the office staff. Some of them have done a great job for a long time, and I sure would hate to lose them,” he concluded.
HOLMES BEACH – U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan has responded to appeals to save the post office boxes and post office by setting a town hall meeting on Monday, April 27, at 10:30 a.m. in city hall with a representative of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Residents are invited to share their opinions regarding the USPS decision to relocate the location’s 230 post office boxes to Anna Maria or Bradenton Beach, which could cause a burden on residents and business owners.
The issue began when Peggy Myers and Jack Jackson, who have had the contract with the USPS in the city for 20 years, planned to retire and sought someone to take over the contract. Meyers said the USPS then said it planned to take out the boxes, but leave the postal services.
However, Meyers pointed out that without the post office boxes, the contract is financially unfeasible, and if no one takes the contract, it could result in the loss of all postal services at that location.
Mayor Bob Johnson wrote Buchanan seeking help with the issue, and Buchanan wrote a letter to Nancy Rettinhouse, the district manager of the Suncoast USPS.
In the letter, Buchanan said, “I would like to understand the decision to end further contracting post office boxes, which threatens the viability of postal services in Holmes Beach. At minimum, it would force many of my constituents to travel several miles in heavily congested traffic to get their mail.
“Furthermore, the USPS has previously maintained that it is more cost effective to contract with a private business or community center to provide postal services than it is to pay postal workers to provide theses services.”
Buchanan said it would be a financial burden on businesses, which would be forced to change their addresses, as well as a burden on the Bradenton Beach or Anna Maria post offices.
He also sent copies of petitions from more than 100 residents asking to “save our boxes and our post office,” as well as letters from residents and concluded, “Please give favorable consideration to their request that the USPS maintain full postal services in Holmes Beach.”
CINDY LANE | SUN
Traffic to the Island is often bumper to bumper
and well under the speed limit in high tourist season.
LONGBOAT KEY – Leaving Anna Maria Island during at least a third of the year - in high tourist season, just now showing signs of slowing down - requires good scheduling and luck; a doctor’s appointment in west Bradenton in the morning, a car repair appointment in east Bradenton in the afternoon, and with luck there’s time for a Wal-Mart trip on the way back.
On Longboat Key, residents say leaving for appointments is becoming more of an impossibility than an inconvenience.
Residents feel like prisoners in their own homes, turning back from outings and even doctor’s appointments when they can’t get anywhere in traffic, Mayor Jack Duncan told the Council of Governments last week.
The presidents of the Sleepy Lagoon and Hideaway Bay homeowners associations wrote the city complaining of worsening traffic, saying they deserve to “leave our homes and island in a reasonable amount of time without fear of being trapped in our cars for hours while trying to obtain a loaf of bread.”
Victoria Lyons and Rosemary Dilgard requested area municipalities to cooperate to find solutions like traffic light timing, new roundabouts, police officers to direct traffic and wider roads.
“Those of us who have lived here for several years or more have seen a steady increase in the congestion to the point that leaving the island and driving as little as three miles requires hours of one’s time and emotional energy,” they wrote, adding that they are also concerned about hurricane evacuation.
Longboat Key has been monitoring seasonal traffic congestion for several years, and it’s “doing nothing but getting worse,” Duncan told officials, adding that tourists are questioning whether the key is a good vacation destination and questioning the wisdom of buying a second home on the key.
Duncan called for municipal officials to request that the Florida Department of Transportation initiate a comprehensive regional barrier island traffic analysis to address seasonal congestion relief, including traffic light timing, pedestrian controls, turn lanes and other issues.
“I know it sounds like we’re whining, but it is a reality and we really have to begin to examine it,” Duncan said.
Officials advised bringing up the issue at a Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting. The MPO Public Transportation Task Force meets on Monday, June 22, at 8:15 a.m. at 7632 15th St. E. in Sarasota. The Island Transportation Planning Organization meets Monday, April 20, at 1 p.m. at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
“The problem is people, and we've brought them here and we’re paying for it, Bradenton Councilman Gene Gallo said.
Manatee County Tourist Development Council Chair Vanessa Baugh suggested that trolleys and bikes are part of the solution.
Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen said that with the 4 p.m. Council of Governments meeting in Palmetto, and other meetings in Bradenton at 9 a.m. and at noon, she never considered going back home to the Island in between meetings.
“I would have been sitting in traffic,” she said. “I know that everyone in city government on the Island agrees. It’s part of the cost of living on the Island, but it’s getting worse and worse and worse and worse. A study is the perfect thing to see who are the big users of the road, and what are the possible solutions.”
Fred Baritzal, of the Bridge Tender Inn will again provide
the wine for the Affaire. From left, at last year's event,
the Inn's crew, Samantha Corhous, Shannon Dunnan,
Baritzal, Sue Shinka and Susan Bartizal had a wonderful time.
ANNA MARIA – Guests at the Silver Affaire, the 25th anniversary of the Affaire to Remember, at the Island Community Center on Saturday, April 18, can expect a gourmet dinner presented by The Chiles Restaurant Group.
The menu features a selection of hors d’oeuvres including Siberian sturgeon caviar from Mote Marine and Healthy Earth and charcuterie selections including Keith Mann’s Punta Gorda wild boar, cobia sashimi with Beagle Bay sauerkraut and cured Mt. Cook salmon.
The entrée begins with Gamble Creek Farm tomato crudites and continues with tiger shrimp with scallion-tied hericot verts and Cervina venison tenderloin with potato gratin. A vegetarian options also will be available.
Desserts will be by Anna Maria’s Hometown desserts and include vanilla, chocolate and citrus cake truffles.
Before dinner, guests can use their own cell phones or take advantage of personal shoppers provided by the ABC Mobile Bidding Company to vie for silent auction packages, and after dinner, guests should have their paddles ready to bid on fabulous live auction packages.
Live auction packages feature everything from trips to the British Virgin Island to San Francisco to the Caribbean, exclusive dinners at Mar Vista and the Beach Bistro and a total marketing package.
Guests also can win a gold, amethyst and diamond ring valued at $5,000 and donated by Bridge Street Jewelers or a Harley Davidson motorcycle donated by the Center’s Executive Director Cindy Thompson. Tickets are available at the Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, or the night of the Affaire, when the drawings will be held.
ANNA MARIA – The Chiles Restaurant Group will host the Fifth Annual Food and Wine on Pine on Saturday, May 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The annual event features the best local food, wine, art and music.
More than 20 local restaurants will be serving during this event. Each will serve local and seasonal Florida foods – farm-to-fork produce and tide-to-table heritage seafood from the Gulf waters.
This year will see some new restaurants in the mix to further expand the culinary experience. The list includes:
• The Sandbar restaurant, Anna Maria – Myakka wild boar sliders, ceviche – Fresh fish, shrimp and scallops, key lime, blood orange, King Farm peaches, Gamble Creek cilantro, served with tortilla chips.
• The Beach House restaurant, Bradenton Beach – Sesame seared yellow fin tuna cubes served with choice of wasabi cream, sriracha and teriyaki;
• Mar Vista Dockside restaurant, Longboat Key –gourmet tater tots;
•Gamble Creek Farm, Bradenton – Farm-to-fork produce inspired dish;
• Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, Anna Maria – Refreshing lemon, mango and raspberry sorbets, mini hot fudge sundaes and mini sea salt caramel ice cream sundaes;
• Paradise Bagel, Café and Catering, Holmes Beach – Bruschetta three ways;
• Michael's On East, Bradenton – Seared lump meat crab cakes with orange ginger remoulade;
• Waterfront restaurant, Anna Maria – Fish tacos; carnitas;
• The Feast restaurant, Holmes Beach – Lobster roll; coconut shrimp with orange ginger sauce; conch fritters with Cajun remoulade sauce
• Blue Marlin, Bradenton Beach – Mini grouper sandwiches;
• Bridge Street Bistro, Bradenton Beach – Nitro ice cream;
• Island Time Bar and Grill, Bradenton Beach – Fish burritos;
• Island Spice, Bradenton Beach – dosa, mango lassi, samosa, tandoori drumsticks, chicken tikka masala, channa masal and mint cooler;
• EnRich, A Bistro, Bradenton – Israeli cous cous and quinoa salad with chilled shrimp, gazpacho with fruit relish and crème fraiche, Rich’s Nutella panna cotta with crushed hazelnut and Hawaiian red sea salt;
• Derek's, Bradenton – Gulf shrimp and grits;
• Riverhouse Reef and Grill, Palmetto – Kickin’ Green Goodness shrimp and lobster chowder.
• Sage Biscuit Café, Bradenton – Smoked salmon chowder with mini sage biscuit; beer braised beef slider; cucumber chickpea salad with cilantro lime yogurt dressing;
•Harry’s Grill and Bistro, Anna Maria – Bu ffalo wings, hamburgers and cheeseburger sliders;
• Polpo Pizza, Sarasota – Bee sting pizza: signature pizza with house made mozzarella, organic tomato sauce, fresh herbs, spicy salami and hot pepper infused with local honey; Parmesan rosemary flatbread; basil lemonade;
• Seafood Shack Marina Bar and Grill, Cortez – Crab bisque with sriracha popcorn, house cured smoked salmon BLT sliders, shrimp and grits on a stick;
• Southeast H.S., Bradenton – Jambalya over rice;
• Sugar Cubed, Bradenton – Tropical coffee and iced tea bar, Key Lime brulee tart with raspberry sauce and a shortbread crust;
• Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill, Sarasota – Stuffed shrimp with signature crab delight – lightly fried tempura-style, topped with sweet chili sauce, tropical sensation – tempura kani rolled in rice and seaweed, topped with mango and strawberries, salt and peppered tilapia.
KMB will launch the Florida Department of Transportation’s
Anti-Litter Campaign, “Drive It Home…Keep Our Paradise
Litter Free,” to encourage people to properly dispose of trash.
This message will appear on the Adopt-A-Shore signs
throughout Manatee County and will be on the Great American
Cleanup volunteers’ T-shirts
Keep Manatee Beautiful (KMB) volunteers will clean up litter and debris from public lands for the Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 18.
Cleanup volunteers helping on Anna Maria Island, in Cortez and along the Palma Sola Causeway will be thanked with an Earth Day Party taking place at Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, compliments of Anna Maria Island Beach Café.
Adopt-A-Highway Road and Shore groups are encouraged to clean their adopted sites starting at 9 a.m. Other volunteers can check in at 9 a.m. at any the following centers:
• Anna Maria City Hall at 10005 Gulf Drive;
• Holmes Beach at Kingfish Boat Ramp on S.R. 64 W.;
• AMI Moose Lodge, 110 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach;
• F.I.S.H. Preserve at 11601 Cortez Road W.
Bring gloves, sunscreen and wear closed-toe shoes. Trash bags and drinks will be provided. Local sponsors include Tropicana, which will be providing beverages for local cleanup volunteers.
Last year, from March through May, 1, 859 KMB volunteers collected 19,395 pounds of trash and 4,625 pounds of recyclables; cleaned 276 miles of roads and highways and 225 miles of shoreline.
For more information, call KMB at 941-795-8272 or visit manateebeautiful.com.