Vol. 14 No. 18 - February 26, 2014


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPIED PIPER

HOLMES BEACH – Wander down to the 77th Street beach access just before sunset, and you might encounter Neil Culbertson, “The Pied Piper of Robin’s Beach.”

Honoring an old Scottish tradition, Culbertson often ends his day standing on the beach, with bagpipes in hand, serenading the setting sun and those watching it, as it sinks below the Gulf of Mexico horizon. A reader recently expressed disdain for Culbertson’s piping affinities, but his fans far outweigh his critics. About 30 folks were on hand for his Monday, Feb. 17, performance; and he played to an even larger crowd the night before. More...

Wild chase ends in Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA – A reckless motorcyclist who crashed Thursday night kept some people awake and people speculating the next morning.

The motorcyclist, Brian M. Casey, 31, of northwest Bradenton, was arrested after Bradenton Beach Police Officer Eric Hill spotted him near the wreckage of the motorcycle at Coconut Avenue and Los Cedros Drive. He ran and hill was within 20 feet of him before the suspect got away. He was later captured, treated at the hospital and arrested. More...

AMI rated No. 3 Island in U.S.

As the mid-March height of a bustling tourist season approaches, Anna Maria Island has been ranked third on TripAdvisor’s new list of top 10 island destinations in the U.S.

The listing mentions Bean Point, the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum, Leffis Key and the Island Players among favorite attractions. The Travelers’ Choice awards are based on reviews and opinions of TripAdvisor users, who rate the quality and quantity of hotels, restaurants and attractions over the past year. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTour of homes tickets available March 1

ANNA MARIA – Tickets for the Island Community Center’s annual Tour of Homes are $20 and will be available for sale on March 1. The tour is set for Saturday, March 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes homes featuring distinctive architecture, elegant interiors and stunning waterfront views.

Tickets will be available at the following locations:


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCast-n-Cage spreads it wings

BRADENTON BEACH – Located on the Bradenton Beach City Pier, the Cast-n-Cage restaurant opened its doors Thursday morning.

A busy breakfast business was followed by a steady lunch and dinner service that provided staff an opportunity to get accustomed to their new surroundings. More...

Heritage Day to feature early Island arts and crafts

ANNA MARIA –Learn about the history of the Island at the first Settler’s Market on Island Heritage Day Saturday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Island Historical Museum complex at 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria.

Artisans and crafts persons will be demonstrating arts and crafts as practiced by early Island settlers including keeping bees; spinning wool; making pine needle baskets, bonnets, soap and quilts; growing and using herbs, caning chairs and woodworking. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySandpiper height allowance approved

BRADENTON BEACH – Things soon will be looking up for residents at the Sandpiper Resort. Literally. Serving as special master for the city of Bradenton Beach, William Robinson Jr. granted resident Doug LeFevre a variance to replace a ground-level mobile home with an elevated manufactured home that will have a maximum height of 25 feet above the crown of the adjacent road.

LeFevre plans to place his single-story home on a structure that allows for ground-level parking below. Once completed, his new home will join the other 164 units found in the resort community located along Gulf Drive, at the north end of the city. More...

New policy for pier restrooms

BRADENTON BEACH – Public restrooms and showers on the city pier soon will be locked at all times and accessible only with a key, following a recent incident of vandalism.

The Pier Team advisory board approved the lock and key approach after a male using the ladies restroom trashed the place when he discovered there was no toilet paper. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland’s just fine for Margaret Chapman

ANNA MARIA – Margaret Chapman’s roots run deep on the Island, and she still enjoys the beach and the people who live and visit here, even though age has slowed her some. She turns 90 on March 2.

In 1950, as the country adjusted to the end of the war, her parents, Carlos and Irene Wells, bought the Anna Maria Motel, 806 Bay Blvd. N., the first motel on the Island. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Grouper on the edge

I first heard about grouper being caught along the ledges of the Intracoastal Waterway almost 30 years ago, but had forgotten about it until my neighbor Mark McBride told me about the big gag grouper he was catching there on a regular basis. McBride learned about the fishing while watching boaters from the local trailer parks trolling the edges of the channels and catching some impressive fish.

McBride, a student of fishing, did some exploring and through some trial and error discovered the most productive ledges and rock piles. Some of his favorites run from Longboat Pass to just north of the Sister Keys. On a cool and foggy day in early February McBride took me out to introduce me to the fishing and taught me a lot about the strategy and techniques he uses to catch grouper in the bay. More...

real estate

End of year comparisons

New Year’s Eve may have been almost two months ago, but we’re just now getting statistics and trends from 2013. And one group of statistics that the real estate community awaits each year is the fourth quarter and year- end comparisons. Mid-February the national and local year-end sales statistics were published. Nationally, the news was a little bit of a mixed bag, but locally, we’re doing great, so for all of you numbers people here we go.

The National Association of Realtors announced that overall the median price of an existing home rose 10.1 percent in the fourth quarter to $196,900 from a year earlier. This was, however, down from 12.5 percent in the third quarter. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtor’s chief economist said that, in his opinion, there was a slowdown because buyers were taking a second look at the market, especially in areas where the prices have increased 20 percent to 30 percent. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Variable annuities come in many flavors

Investment Corner

Variable annuities are underwritten by life insurance companies, but are more of an investment vehicle than true life insurance. The large majority of variable annuities are sold by stockbrokers and financial planners who hold insurance licenses in addition to securities licenses. Their efforts are rewarded handsomely with up-front sales commissions typically in the 5 percent plus range.

For sake of full disclosure, I do not personally hold a life insurance license, and my firm does not sell financial products for commissions. I'm also pretty neutral on annuities in general. The original concept was good, offering a vehicle where investors could achieve tax deferred growth of capital (like an IRA) with essentially no limits on how much you could put away each year. Inside a variable annuity resides a selection of mutual funds where investors can build a portfolio plan appropriate for their situation. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Upsets of the unbeatens

The last two unbeaten teams in the Anna Maria Island Community Center’s NFL Youth Flag Football leagues fell to defeats for the first time all season.

In the 8-to-10-year-old division, the West Coast Air & Heating Dolphins defeated the undefeated Beach Bistro Buccaneers by a score of 40 to 7. Dolphins quarterback Julius Petereit threw an amazing 17 completions and seven touchdowns. Callen Achor caught eight of those passes and five touchdowns. Connor Allen and Charlie Halfacre caught the other two touchdowns. More...

Healthy food can taste great

Feasting on Fitness

As a TV reporter ages ago, I used to get paid the big bucks (ha) getting all sides to a story and doing the research it takes. So this volunteer column is the result of my week’s experiences and what I can write in two to three hours time. I always hope to inspire and prevent needless suffering of humans and animals that occurs way too often.

It is my belief that in our area, it would be a huge financial benefit if we had more vegan restaurants. Really vegan restaurants.

Like the exclusively vegan restaurant Ionie’s in Sarasota. My friend, Carl Lovejoy, is the amazing chef there. Check out restaurants’ Facebook pages or websites to see what they’re serving. More...

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