Vol. 12 No. 40 - July 18, 2012


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryA Bittersweet Celebration

ANNA MARIA – The Anna Maria Island Community Center opened its doors for a goodbye party for its director of more than 20 years, Pierrette Kelly, last week. There were laughs and there were tears.

There was food donated by local restaurants and refreshments and lots of networking as long-time friends of the beloved Community Center director regaled others with stories of the past. More...

Center director: Back to the drawing board

ANNA MARIA – After narrowing more than 40 applications to three, the Community Center board of directors did not find an applicant it felt qualified to become the organization’s next executive director.

“We had three good solid candidates and one stood out, but he decided to take another job,” board chair Greg Ross explained. “The others were strong, but we felt they weren’t strong enough to handle everything.More...

Moratorium in Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA – Concerned about losing historic ground-level homes, Chair Chuck Webb suggested a moratorium on their demolition until the historic preservation committee completes its work.

“The committee is looking at adopting a historic preservation ordinance, but what happens when someone comes in and buys a historic structure and demolishes it?” Webb asked. “We’re getting back to the issue of having a limited moratorium on demolition. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryProperty values may have bottomed

If you’re holding out on buying that Island property in hopes prices will drop more, you might want to think again.

According to the Manatee County Tax Assessor’s Office, the taxable values of each of the three Island cities are starting to rise.

Granted, some of that value increase comes from newly built properties that are now being taxed as residences and home improvements, but overall, this is the first rise, albeit small, in the values in five years. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBoard approves Aubry’s plan for six lots

ANNA MARIA – Commissioners approved Gene Aubry’s original plan for the six lots at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard that the city purchased last year, but removed some of the parking.

Chair Chuck Webb made the proposal to adopt the plan with the parking on Pine Avenue eliminated. Commissioner John Quam agreed, but said there should be more parking on North Bay Boulevard and it should be angled instead of parallel. More...

PAR attorney says sidewalks are OK

ANNA MARIA – Andrea Mogensen, attorney for Pine Avenue Restoration (PAR), has replied to Jeremy Anderson, attorney for William and Barbara Nally, of Lakeland, regarding a mediation agreement and the composition of sidewalks on Pine Avenue.

“The document speaks for itself and does not contain any provisions regarding sidewalks or standards relating to the construction of sidewalks,” Mogensen wrote.

“Rather, the mediation agreement provides that, as to parking, PAR ‘shall comply with the new parking ordinance adopted in April 2011.’” More...

FEMA to aid private property losses

Late last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proclaimed Manatee County residents who suffered losses from Tropical Storm Debby eligible for grants to rebuild. The ruling was in addition to an earlier decision to cover public property losses, including Anna Maria Island’s beaches that were severely eroded by the winds and waves.

Homeowners who feel they are eligible need to do three things, according to Mary Margaret Walker, of FEMA.

“You need to call us at 1-800-621-3362 or online at disasterassistance.gov,” she said. “You need to turn in information like your insurance coverage and estimates of losses and any other expenses.” More...

Anna Maria seeks Citizen of the Year

Do you know a person, business or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the city? If so, Anna Maria’s Citizen Recognition Committee is seeking nominations for its Citizen of the Year for 2012.

Committee members are former Mayor Fran Barford, Mady Iseman, Margaret Jenkins, Tom Turner, Karen DiConstanzo and Flora Webb. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe heart knows

BRADENTON BEACH – Kathie and Mike Willis got married at the BeachHouse restaurant on Friday, July 13, despite the unlucky connotation the day has. It was a long time in coming.

It all began in Vietnam, where Mike served in recon with the United States Marine Corps. Back from a bad mission and not blessed with a lot of family, he looked at a box filled with letters for the GIs from people back home, many of them women. He took out a couple, looked them over and returned them unread. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySustainable and authentic Florida: Exploring Herb Hiller’s “Sense of Place”

I was first introduced to Herb Hiller at a conference of the Society of American Travel Writers in Orlando a few years back. The theme of the event was the new digital landscape including Facebook, Twitter, and applications for the iPhone and the Android cell platforms. The conference explored the opportunities the new technology held for journalists and photographers. It was a fascinating event with presentations by some of the “pioneers” that were using these new technologies online and through digital publications. Although he was present for all of the conference presentations, Hiller (a past president) didn’t address the group until the end of the event. When he did he riveted those present (and this writer in particular) with a talk on the real meaning of the Florida experience. More...

real estate

Chinese eyeing U.S. real estate market

Telling you the world is flat and that we’re living in a global market won’t surprise you but what might surprise you is who your new neighbors may be and how fast they’re moving.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know full well that China holds a lot of our billion dollars of debt, however, now it appears they also want to take hold of our real estate. Wealthy Chinese are snapping up luxury properties in the United States. For the moment Los Angeles, New York City and Miami appear to be in their crosshairs but hold on to the keys to your condo; they may be coming for you, too. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBrian Seymour takes over general store

Brian Seymour took over ownership of the Anna Maria General Store and Deli on Pine Avenue on July 1. He has managed the store for Lizzie Vann Thrasher and Mike Thrasher since February 2010 with the understanding that he would eventually purchase it.

“I have grown the business tremendously over the past two and a half years,” Seymour pointed out. “I will continue to seek the advice of customers and add new items to improve upon the service. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Safe withdrawal rates – Part III

Investment Corner

In the first two parts of this series we reviewed William Bengen’s research into the safe withdrawal rate from a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, which turned out to be about 4.5 percent of the principal value – adjusted for inflation each year. In all but one case, someone retiring in 1969, the portfolio tested would have lasted at least 30 years. Meaning that for the vast majority of people retiring in their 60s they would not run out of money during their lifetime.

We also reviewed the fact that the 1969 retiree, whose plan would have lasted about 28 years, was limited by variables such as the high inflation rate of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a poorly performing stock market for the first 13 years of the retirement period. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Tropical Storm Debby treacherous to turtles

Beachfront property owners trying to repair erosion caused by Tropical Storm Debby last month need permits, or they violate turtle laws, according to Steve West, with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“It’s not unusual for people to take matters into their own hands, but this is marine turtle season,” said West, who has been inspecting Anna Maria Island beaches. “I think that it is being violated quite a bit, and turtle people are upset.”

People have been dumping gravel, building stairways and spreading new sand, all violations observed and reported by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Director Suzi Fox since last month’s storm. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Fast paced win for Beach Bistro

The Sun sports game of the week was an 8- to 10-year-old indoor soccer match between the Beach Bistro and Gettel Toyota. The Community Center gym is a great place to escape the heat and catch some hot, fast-paced play. This is exactly how these two teams played. The first half of play was dominated by great defensive play. The goalies, Tuna McCracken and Andrew Burgess, at both ends of the court were making brilliant saves. The Beach Bistro defenders Chase Archer, Lalita Garofalo and Lila Naeher were making it tough for their opponent’s offensive. The Gettel Toyota defenders Rain Cooper and David Daigle were hustling to defend their end and stop any opposition. Sam Bowers finally broke the scoreless game at the 11-minute mark when his shot deflected off a Bistro defender and went in, 1-0 Gettel.Julius Petereit got the fast paced Beach Bistro offense going, when with five minutes left, he blasted a hard shot to the lower left corner, score 1-1. Fifty seconds later Jayse Berzowski had a similar kick to the right corner for the goal, 2-1 Bistro. One minute later, Berzowski picked up a loose ball off the wall and scored a break-a-way goal. Within two minutes, the Bistro team took a 3-1 lead into halftime. More...

Summertime…and the living is easy

Feasting on Fitness

My husband and I love the Island in the summer. We venture out to restaurants and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle as the snowbirds allegedly enjoy their northern climes. Although, if any of you have friends or relatives up North and have been tracking this for decades like I have, you know that for the past few weeks, the temperatures here are 20 degrees cooler here than in the upper 49!

To watch the news, you would think that all of Colorado was burning. I was a little concerned as my book tour continued to be speaking and doing book signings at Colorado’s VegFest in Golden, just outside Denver. The nearest fire was 100 miles away, and with the rain I brought, the remaining big fires were doused. More...

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