Vol. 14 No. 43 - August 20, 2014


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIslanders challenge themselves for a friend

ANNA MARIA – Friends of “Toledo” Bill Holmes gathered on the city pier Sunday morning to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in his honor.

Organized by Holmes Beach resident Mike Deal and Anna Maria resident Dave McCormick, more than a dozen friends of the Ohio-based snowbird poured buckets of ice water over their heads as a show of support for Holmes and others afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a degenerative muscular condition for which there is no cure. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPier renovation begins

BRADENTON BEACH – After years of planning and waiting, the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier is now underway.

Work began Monday, Aug. 11. The following day, Tuesday, city officials gathered on the pier for the nautical version of ground breaking ceremony. Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon began the brief ceremony by thanking his predecessor, former Mayor John Shaughnessy.

“Mayor John Shaughnessy is the one that got things started. Through his vision, Mayor Shaughnessy approached the Tourist Development Council (TDC) to get matching funding so the pier would not only be rebuilt, but rebuilt to a higher standard.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story School days back again at AME

HOLMES BEACH – It was a hot, humid morning and Anna Maria Elementary School Resource Brian Copeman stood in the parking lot that leads to the school bus lane, where the kids get on and off. Copeman was waiting for the owner of a large SUV that was crammed into a space not meant for parking, and it was blocking the first school bus of the new school year from unloading students.

The owner finally arrived and drove away and the bus pulled up to the covered area, opened the door and Joe Leister became the first one off the bus. More...

New clerk clarifies misconceptions

BRADENTON BEACH – Newly-hired City Clerk Gia Lancaster has not yet reported for duty, but she has already found herself the subject of local scrutiny.

She is now determined to prove her new critics wrong and plans to begin that process when she takes over as Bradenton Beach’s new city clerk next week.

“I was surprised they didn’t even bother to meet me first before they placed judgment, but that’s going to change once they see my work ethic and get to know me,” she said, in response to those who questioned her hiring. More...

New clerk gains support

BRADENTON BEACH – City commissioners have no intention to revisit the August 7 hiring of new city clerk Gia Lancaster.

“I just hope everyone will give her a chance and let her do her job,” Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon said, when asked last week.

Lancaster is in the process of relocating from Titusville and is scheduled to begin her tenure with the city on Monday.

When contacted, Vice Mayor Jack Clarke said, “The commission has made their decision, and this is not going be revisited by me. Ms. Lancaster’s qualifications and credentials are impeccable. I believe she’ll be an asset to the city and nothing that I have seen, and know to be fact, to date, changes that opinion one iota.” More...

City might hire parking facilitators

ANNA MARIA – After working on the concept of paid parking for most of a year, the city commission is now talking about letting an outside source do it.

The city commission discussed paid parking at a work session on Thursday, Aug. 14. Commissioner Dale Woodland said they need more public involvement.

“I think where we’re going now is a waste of time and money,” he said. “We might discuss it and find out we don’t want it.” More...

FDOT looks at alternatives

HOLMES BEACH – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public meeting to consider options for the Cortez Bridge on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the St. Bernard Catholic Church activity center, 248 S. Harbor Drive.

This meeting is part of an FDOT Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study of the aging drawbridge.

The alternative actions being considered are a no-build option of continued repair as needed, a rehabilitation of the existing structure or replacement with a low or medium height drawbridge or a tall fixed bridge. More...

Parking fines to pile up

ANNA MARIA – Those who park illegally in the city will find their $35 fine increasing by that amount every two hours if the city commission has its way.

At a work session on Thursday, Aug. 14, the commissioners agree to raise the fine from $30 to $35. Commission Chair Chuck Webb suggested they not stop at that amount for those who park illegally for an extended amount of time.

“I’d like to see it go up by $35 for a maximum of four times,” he said. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe 4th Annual Scallopalooza a class act

Sarasota Bay Watch’s 4th Annual Scallopalooza fundraiser for community based scallop restoration treated guests to a special evening on Saturday, Aug. 9. The festivities began at 6 p.m. with registration, a social hour and a silent auction that featured a plethora of interesting gifts and experiences ranging from stays at some of the area’s finest resorts, golf at the Longboat Key Club, scuba equipment from Scuba Quest, head to toe clothing from Anna Maria Island Outfitters and guided fishing trips. The venue, The Sarasota Yacht Club, was the perfect setting, and the management and staff worked hard to make the evening memorable for all in attendance. Through the skillful efforts of Ronda Ryan, SBW President Larry Stults, board members and a group of student volunteers, the evening from registration to closing remarks went off flawlessly. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Scallop search this weekend

The 7th Annual Scallop Search, Sarasota Bay Watch’s signature and longest standing event, is slated for Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub on Longboat Key. This free event engages the public in what has been called citizen science because it assists scientists with monitoring the scallops in Sarasota Bay. The search is a boating event, but Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) will make an attempt to place non boaters on boats when possible.

To assess the populations of the bay, a grid is constructed that covers the bay, and volunteers snorkel the area looking for scallops to document their presence. The Scallop Search has been conducted since 2007, and was initiated with support provided by Tampa Bay Watch. During the annual monitoring event, volunteers snorkel along set transect lines to search for scallops in select areas within Sarasota Bay. The goal of the event is to monitor and document the health and status of bay scallop populations. More...

real estate

More luxury real estate news

When you’re hot, you’re hot, and Florida is hot in more ways than one. Last week we talked about 10 jewel box real estate markets in the world as reported by Christie’s International. One of the 10 is Sarasota, where 8 percent of the market is comprised of $1 million or more homes, a 15 percent increase from last year. This week there is another interesting market statistic which puts Florida in the hot arena.

Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau identified housing markets with the largest percentage of resident CEOs in the local workforce. They analyzed 10 metro housing markets with the greatest percentage of resident CEOs and five of those markets were in Florida. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Dividend renaissance

Investment Corner

The exceptional financial health of American corporations is manifesting itself in a dividend payment renaissance. Currently 421 members of the S&P 500 Index are paying dividends which is just shy of the 1998 level of 423. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the prevailing trend was for corporations to hang on to their cash to buy back shares or reinvest in their business growth plan.

After the 2008-09 financial crisis the value of dividend payments had been recognized by investors and corporations are paying attention. Not only are more companies paying dividends, but more are also increasing their dividend payments at above average rates. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Sensational soccer

The adult co-ed spring soccer season comes to a climatic conclusion this week at the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

The soccer buzz is all over the world right now due to the FIFA World Cup in soccer. The most popular sport on planet earth has fans reeling and soccer fans on the Island are no different. What a perfect time for the conclusion of the Center’s adult soccer season.

Upsets were prevalent in last week’s first round of the playoffs. Three out of the four tournament playoff games were won by the underdog seeded team. Again this shows the parity of the Center’s drafting system in the sports leagues and how any team can win on any given night. More...

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