Vol. 14 No. 19 - March 5, 2014


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHeritage Days

ANNA MARIA – It was a perfect day for a festival and crowds delighted in the new concept of the first Settler’s Market at the AMI Historical Society’s annual Heritage Day Festival.

“It was an opportunity to bring back the flavor of historic Anna Maria and focus on local arts and crafts,” Lynn Brennan said. “ It was the flavor of old Florida.”


Mainsail project approved

HOLMES BEACH – With little fanfare, commissioners approved the settlement agreement and settlement terms with Mainsail Development Company last week.

The agreement has been a work in progress since the first mediation hearing with a special magistrate in June 2013. The company requested the mediation after the city commission revoked its site plan to build guest units, a lodge and restaurant near the corner of Gulf and Marina drives nearly a year ago. More...

Part 1 is done; more sand to flow

BRADENTON BEACH – Sometime over the weekend, the beach renourishment project shifted from federal funding to local money to fuel the flow of sand. There was no ceremony and the sand kept coming for the yellow earthmovers to spread, making more beach.

The line of demarcation was at Fifth Street South, although it had previously been announced as 15th Street South, but Manatee County Natural Resources and Parks Director Charlie Hunsicker confirmed it was Fifth Street South Monday. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLong Bar Pointe plan approved

BRADENTON – With hopes for a marina dashed, and plans for a hotel and conference center withdrawn, Long Bar Pointe developers settled for a 200-home gated community instead.

Last week, Manatee County Commissioners approved by 6-1 measure a preliminary site plan submitted by Long Bar Pointe LLP partners Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman.

Commissioner Michael Gallen cast the lone dissenting vote.

The approved site plan allows for the construction of 200 single-family homes along El Conquistador Parkway in Bradenton, at the southeast corner of the Long Bar Pointe property.


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryShop owners ask for time on signs

ANNA MARIA - The city commission voted Monday in an emergency meeting to forego enforcement of a ban on sandwich board or A-frame signs for 30 days so shop owner can figure out what to do to come into compliance. During that period, the business owners are urged to talk with the building official, code enforcement officer or city planner to see what can be done. Commissioner Dale Woodland called the meeting after hearing from three business owners. While giving them extra time, the commissioners did not budge on wanting to rid the business district of the A-frames, which are found many times in the rights of way.

The request Thursday night was made by the owners of Tide and Moon jewelry store, Island Scooter Rentals and Beach Fashion Boutique. The three said their businesses would suffer tremendously if the ban, which came about as a result of a change to the sign code, was enforced. More...

Legislative session off and running

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Legislative session is underway, with three bills of particular local interest making their ways through committees.

Rental law repeal

Two vacation rental bills, SB 356 and HB 307, would repeal a 2011 law that exempts vacation properties from local governmental control.

The law has been blamed by Anna Maria Island officials for their inability to regulate the length of stay, which creates problems with conduct of tourists, particularly noise and parking violations in residential neighborhoods with multiple-bedroom vacation rentals. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCelebrate Springfest this weekend

HOLMES BEACH – The 26th Annual Springfest Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts will fill Holmes Beach City Hall field with art, music and more on Saturday and Sunday, March 8 to 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The free event, sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Art League, draws artists from the U.S. and Canada displaying paintings, glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, fiber arts, photography and wood. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Neal Preserve to open next month

The long-awaited opening of Neal Preserve is planned for Wednesday, April 9, according to Melissa Nell, of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.

Acquired in 2005 for $9 million, the 126-acre waterfront preserve is just across the Manatee Avenue bridge from Anna Maria Island, and affords vistas of the Island from its viewing tower.

The preserve revealed evidence of prehistoric Native Americans when it was excavated in the 1930s, Nell said. A Civil Works Administration project on the site uncovered the remains of about 230 people in two cemeteries, one a burial mound and the other on low ground, dating from 200 to 300 B.C. Remains were taken to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The county considered having the bodies reinterred, but as the tribe is extinct, no representative is left to provide the required request, she said. No bodies are thought to remain on the property. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryRespect the manatee’s river

There is a good reason for the Manatee River’s name - manatees live there.

So do sea turtles – one laid a nest at De Soto National Memorial recently. So do dolphins, and other animals that don’t get all the press focused on endangered and threatened marine mammals and turtles. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story A taste of the winter banquet

One of the pleasures of living in Florida is the excellent fishing opportunities that are available during the winter months. Here on the west coast we’re blessed with a large variety of species that inhabit the Gulf and bays when most of the nation is locked in snow and ice. Some days can produce exceptional results, making a venture into our local waters a worthwhile proposition. Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing a great day of fishing on a cool but sunny day with Ben Ford and Captain Rick Grassett, of Sarasota. More...

real estate

The vacation rental dilemma

The word vacation conjours up different images to different people. Your image could be sitting peacefully on the beach reading a book listening to the birds grateful for the absence of other noise, or your image may be pina coladas, tequila shots and rock bands into the wee hours. And that, my friend, is the problem we have with vacation rentals in a nutshell.

I have intentionally stayed away from voicing my opinion on the on-going vacation rental controversy on Anna Maria Island, and indeed the entire state of Florida since I am totally conflicted on the topic. On the one hand I am a very strong advocate for the rights of property owners and on the other I have enormous empathy for those homeowners and visitors whose rights are being infringed upon. 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

March Madness almost here

The 2014 NFL Flag Football season at the Anna Maria Island Community Center is drawing near to the conclusion and the Super Bowl Championships. Thirty-three competitive recreational teams will enter the playoffs this week and all will have a shot at their divisional title. 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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