Vol. 15 No. 9 - December 24, 2014


Dear Santa, students have last-minute wishes

HOLMES BEACH – As the clock wound down on the last school day before the Christmas break, students at Anna Maria Elementary were getting ready by cleaning their desks and making sure their assignments were done. The Sun wondered what some of those kids were dreaming about finding under the Christmas tree.

Guidance Counselor Cindi Harrison took notes and made sure names were spelled correctly as we wandered the halls, visiting classrooms. Here’s what they said they wanted.

1. Gabriel Djakov asks for a Star Wars tanker. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Endangered bird may delay pier rebuild

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the red knot, a shorebird that frequents Anna Maria Island, as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

A designation of threatened means a species is at risk of becoming endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

The new listing may delay the already-permitted removal of three crumbling erosion control groins and the construction of three new permeable adjustable groins in Bradenton Beach until the federal government grants permission to proceed or specifies further permit conditions to protect the birds, said Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryRecall petition drive begins

BRADENTON BEACH – As promised, former City Commissioner Pete Barreda was sitting in the Gulf Drive Café’s Kokonut Hut Wednesday afternoon, making available to city voters the recall petition that could lead to a special election that would determine whether Mayor Bill Shearon finishes his term in office.

Barreda, the recall committee chair, sat ready with a folder filled with 200 unsigned copies of the single-page document. Each form is designed to accommodate one signee, and the verified signatures of at least 100 registered city voters must be collected in order for the recall effort to continue. If fewer than 100 verified signatures are collected, this particular recall effort dies. More...

Fire commissioner assails district for spending

BRADENTON – Tempers flared at last week’s meeting of the West Manatee Fire Commission when Commissioner George Harris asked if they should limit the amount of information that a single commissioner can request from the staff without board approval.

“I believe your pointing at me,” Commissioner Al Robinson said.

“Yes sir, I am,” Harris replied.

Robinson responded that in the last 24 hours, the district spent $17,000 and spends $500,000 a month and $6 million per year. More...

Lawyers offer vacation rental advice to officials

Lawyers offered local municipal government officials some tips last week on how to address vacation rental problems under a state law curbing municipal regulation of rentals.

Al Hadeed, county attorney for Flagler County, and Susan Trevarthen, attorney with Weiss, Serota in Fort Lauderdale, conducted a webinar featuring suggestions on things to do and things to avoid doing gleaned from court cases in several Florida jurisdictions.

The 2011 vacation rental law passed with aid from the well-funded Short Term Rental Advocacy Center, which also advises lawyers challenging municipal attempts to regulate rentals, Hadeed said. More...

Anna Maria commission discusses webinar

ANNA MARIA – After sitting through the Florida League of Cities webinar on what other cities are doing to handle problem vacation rentals, members of the city commission talked about what they learned on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

“When one group of property owners impact their neighbors’ rights, you have to consider that when writing an ordinance,” said Commission Chair Chuck Webb.

“I learned if you don’t explain the intent of an ordinance in the first part of the ordinance, the courts might make a broader interpretation of it,” said Commissioner Doug Copeland, who said he would like to see if the attorney in the webinar, Susan Trevarthan would be available to help out the city. More...

Realtor weighs in on vacation rentals

ANNA MARIA – Island Real Estate owner Larry Chatt got up from the audience at city hall as the work session on vacation rentals concluded and moved to the dais last Thursday night.

The city commission had been speaking about property managers and some of the good ones they knew compared to some who might not be so diligent in their dealings.

Saying the problem is complicated, Chatt said he favors licensing of rental homes and inspections. He said that was his opinion, not the opinion of the group of real estate and property management professionals that was formed recently to make sure their rights to do business were protected. He proposed hashing out the problems with the commissioners so they know what they are. More...

Commission won't use Dye on rentals

ANNA MARIA – City Attorney James Dye will not be a part of the city commission’s attempts to control vacation rentals after a spirited exchange last Thursday night with commission chair Chuck Webb, who also is an attorney.

Webb feels Dye’s partial ownership of a family-owned rental property at 102 Tuna Street, a home built by baseball star Warren Spahn for his family, represents a conflict of interest. A local real estate company manages the rental.

Mayor Dan Murphy first brought up the possibility of a conflict at a meeting earlier last week. He said he was concerned that the city would have to hire another attorney, which would cost the city more in legal fees. The city earlier paid attorney David Levin $5,000 to render an opinion on whether the city is exempt from laws that restrict the city’s power over vacation rentals. Levin said the city was exempt, but many of the commissioners, if not all, disagree with him. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryEnjoying our paradise

Have you been to the little blue cottage with the back yard on historic Bridge Street? Here at Blue Marlin Grill and Seafood, we strive to serve house made food with integrity. We search for the freshest ingredients from as close to home as possible. Our team takes great pride in creating an approachable menu and atmosphere that is welcoming to everyone.

We live in a bountiful fishing community with one of the oldest fishing villages in Florida. Everyone knows that by now, and it's true. The Cortez fishing village continues to thrive because of the fishermen and the support they get from local restaurants with seafood on the menu. Thank you A.P. Bell Fish Company and Cortez Bait & Seafood. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe importance of being prepared

We work long and hard to get the chance for a a day on the water fishing. All too often those days are far apart, and in our haste, we just grab our gear, put it on the boat and head for the water. All too often we forget to check some of the most basic things that make the difference when we do manage to hook a quality fish.

It’s a good idea to have a check list to follow before you ever make the first cast. These are the major reasons we lose fish, and with a little due diligence, it can be easily avoided. More...

real estate

The gift of a real estate appraisal

Tonight you’ll probably hear the tap tap tap of reindeer hooves on your roof and maybe even get a glimpse of the big guy himself. What you won’t see is a home appraiser spreading a lot of holiday cheer, probably because he’s not too happy.

The job of home appraisers is to advise bankers, brokers and ultimately investors whether a house is a sound investment. However, appraisers are increasingly being pressured from lenders, mortgage bankers and real estate agents to hit their number when appraising property. This means that rather than coming up with an independent estimate of the property’s value, they are being asked to fit their appraisal into a predetermined value.

Appraiser valuations can make or break a deal and also make or break a commission for loan officers, as well as real estate agents, and kill a sale for sellers. As we all know, appraisals that come in below the sale price cannot be accepted by lenders unless lower prices are negotiated or more cash put down. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

It’s OK – everyone is emotional and irrational

Investment Corner

I recently attended Charles Schwab’s IMPACT Conference in Denver, an invitation-only annual gathering for registered independent investment advisors. One conference session of particular interest reviewed how emotions impact investing and provided tips on preventing behavioral biases from sabotaging long-term objectives.

Investors often say one thing, but proceed to do the opposite. We want to act rationally. However, emotional biases are difficult to avoid and can easily interrupt our long-term investment goals.

The hard truth is, investors are irrational. Don’t fight this fact, but make an effort to understand how to manage emotional biases. As Warren Buffett advised, “What you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble in investing.” More...


Let the playoffs begin

Quarter final playoff action took place for the Anna Maria Island Community Center’s adult co-ed soccer league Thursday night as eight teams battled it out for a spot in the semi-finals. In single elimination play, only four teams move forward to play another game.

Sato Real Estate 0 Wash Family Construction 1

The first game of the night found sixth seed Sato Real Estate lose to Wash Family Construction the playoff’s third seed. Despite strong striking attempts by Sato Real Estate, it could not score against goalie Ray Gardner who had 14 saves. The lone goal by Wash Family Construction was made after regulation play during a best out of five penalty kick shoot out against keeper Jason Sato.


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