Vol. 16 No. 16 - February 17, 2016



Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFestival celebrates fishing, history

CORTEZ – “It takes a fishing village” to put on the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, said Jane von Hahmann, one of the organizers of the annual weekend event, quoting the festival’s theme.

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) event is an all-volunteer effort, she told festivalgoers on Saturday before recognizing five award recipients for their contributions to the festival and the village.

Calling her “priceless,” Von Hahmann applauded one of the festival’s original organizers, Cortez artist Linda Molto, presenting her with a handmade glass starfish in gratitude for her three decades of work on the event, in addition to her annual artwork displays. More...

Robertson voices complaints to governor

BRADENTON BEACH – Former City Commissioner Janie Robertson has shared her opposition to the Historic Bridge Street Pier subleases with Gov. Rick Scott and Office of the Inspector General.

She has also alleged that influence wielded by City Attorney Ricinda Perry and former Mayor Jack Clarke has produced a City Commission voting majority that undermines the efforts and authority of Mayor Bill Shearon.

“Our little city is being hijacked by a very slick, corrupt few who wield power over our gullible, naïve, inexperienced city commission,” she wrote in her Feb. 9, letter to the Florida governor. More...

Parents protest parking ordinance

HOLMES BEACH – Parents of students at Anna Maria Elementary School (AME) told city commissioners they are opposed to the city’s parking permit ordinance.

The ordinance would prohibit parking on the rights of way between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. except for residents with permits in a test area. That test area includes the streets across Gulf Drive from the school, where parents, grandparents and friends traditionally park to attend school functions.

PTO President Lindsay Sauls submitted a letter signed by a host of parents that was read into the record by Chair Judy Titsworth.

According to the letter, because of the changing demographics of the Island, almost 50 percent of the school population attends AME through school choice, meaning they do not live on the Island. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLetter to governor provokes response

BRADENTON BEACH – Several people referred to in former City Commissioner Janie Robertson’s recent letter to Gov. Rick Scott have responded to her claims and allegations.

Robertson’s letter described the current City Commission, which includes first-term Commissioners Ralph Cole and Jake Spooner, as “gullible, naïve and inexperienced.”

In response, Cole said, “It’s just a continuation of the negativity she brings to our city, and she needs to move on. I want to do positive things, and I’m over the negative stuff.”

Spooner said, “While I have great respect for Ms. Robertson for the many years she served our city, I find the recent letter to our governor erroneous and impertinent, but not unexpected. Unfortunately, these types of actions have become the norm. More...

Moratorium repeal under way

ANNA MARIA – City officials have initiated the repeal of the building moratorium that dates back to late 2014.

A first reading of Ordinance 16-811 took place at the Thursday, Feb. 11, City Commission meeting and was scheduled for review by the Planning and Zoning Board on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

If formally adopted by the commission on second and final reading later this month, the new ordinance would lift the city-ordered ban on the issuance of building permits for homes containing four or more bedrooms.

When introduced at last week’s meeting, there was little commission discussion on lifting the moratorium. In recent months, the commission has adopted numerous ordinances, including the vacation rental ordinance, in order to address many of the concerns that led to the moratorium. More...

AMICCO to perform biblical composition

The Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Alfred Gershfeld, presents Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” on Sunday, Feb. 21, starting at 2 p.m. at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, 6101 Cortez Road W, Bradenton.

Taken from selected passages of the Old Testament, Handel’s oratorio tells of the Israelites' suffering in and deliverance from Egypt.

Vocal soloists are:

• Kira Gaillard, an operatic soprano native to Sarasota, who has been praised for the warmth of her voice and her "beautiful, cultured soprano.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Island shuttle services on the rise

BRADENTON BEACH – With Monday’s launch of the Ride AMI park and ride service, Island residents and visitors now have another commercially-operated electric shuttle service at their disposal.

For starters, the new Ride AMI shuttle service will encompass a route that runs up and down Bridge Street and back and forth to Cortez Beach, where there is ample free parking south of Bridge Street on the west side of Gulf Drive.

Initially operating daily from approximately 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Ride AMI services are based on a suggested gratuity of $2 per rider. According to Julie Kirkwood, Ride AMI is already in discussions to expand its route. More...

Board gets hung up on sign regulations

HOLMES BEACH – Despite the city attorney’s concern that they could be subject challenge, city commissioners added sign regulations to the city’s vacation rental ordinance (VRO).

In the ordinance, Section 4.15 establishes the following criteria for the placement and size of signs:

• No more than one sign shall be placed on the property.

• The maximum size of the sign shall be 4 square feet (single surface), and the sign shall be oriented parallel to the street and located no further than 10 feet from the main structure on the lot or parcel. The maximum height of the sign shall be 3 feet from the surrounding grade. Fixed attachments or information boxes are prohibited. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPreserve improvements coming

The Manatee County preserves that are part of the Palma Sola Bay ecosystem are slated to be further improved, the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity learned last week.

Neal Preserve

A new sidewalk is planned that will connect the sidewalk along the south side of Manatee Avenue at Neal Preserve with the sidewalk at the Manatee Avenue entrance to Robinson Preserve, Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie said. The design has been completed and the project has been funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for construction in the 2016-17 fiscal year. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTackle maintenance

On those winter days when the wind blows and temperatures plummet, don’t forget about fishing. It might not be the day to brave the elements, but it’s a great opportunity to tune up your equipment for better days. It’s also the perfect time to reorganize the tackle box, check all your lines, practice casting and tie a few flies. Checking all systems on boats and motors, getting any needed service and making those changes and upgrades are much easier to accomplish when conditions are less than perfect.

Check all rods and reels for signs of wear and tear, clean fly lines and maybe even spool on some fresh line. This is a chance to correct mistakes before they happen. There’s nothing more deflating than finally getting on the water, hooking a good fish and losing it to a sticking drag, dull hook or loose knot. Sitting down and making a checklist can help with the organization process and assist you in remembering those items that might get overlooked. More...

real estate

Florida growth a good thing?

How many people who have moved to Florida from the Northeast during the past 30 years have been ridiculed and snubbed. Even when I moved here in 1997, friends and family couldn’t believe what I was doing. Well now many of those naysayers have permanently or semi-permanently followed me South and the ones who haven’t are begging for a week in my guest room.

The Census Bureau’s figures that were recently released indicate that the populations of big Sunbelt states have increased this past year while parts of the Midwest and Northeast declined. For the 12 months ending July 1, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada all made notable gains in population. Not only is this an important shift in population for these state’s economies, it is also an important change relative to this year’s national election.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Florida gained more people than California this year. The Sunshine State added in excess of 350,000 people, more than 1,000 a day, bringing Florida’s total population to over 20 million. However, the total United States population growth was sluggish at only 0.79 percent, about the same rate of growth as the prior year. In 2007, before the recession it grew by almost a full 1 percent. Some of this lack of growth is attributed to women putting off having babies during the recession when there were 7.6 percent fewer births than in 2007. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBridge Street Bistro celebrates five years

It doesn’t matter if you live on Florida’s west coast or are a visitor, eventually the conversation always comes around to the beach, great food and the ubiquitous sunset. If you can find all three at the same location you may very well have hit the Anna Maria Island jackpot.

Five years ago today, The Bridge Street Bistro opened its doors and quickly became an Island icon. Perched at the corner of Bridge Street and Gulf Drive, overlooking Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street Circle, the Bridge Street Bistro has some of the best beach views on the island.

Owners Bill Herlihy, Keith Daum and John Hardesty combined their individual experience and skills to bring a truly gourmet dining experience to the area. Herlihy, originally from New York State, both the New York City and Rochester areas, started working in restaurants as a teenager doing everything from clearing tables to cooking to bar tending. In fact, his father was also a chef. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Health savings accounts – Part I

Investment Corner

In 2003, the government established Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as a way for people covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to get special tax treatment towards saving money for medical expenses not paid for by their insurance. With an HSA, payers were able to receive a tax benefit for saving money to cover their deductible. As HDHPs gained popularity, the government wanted to incentivize saving to cover the higher deductibles, so that medical events would not be financially devastating for those with insurance in place.

Two Unique Benefits

An HSA has two unique benefits that make it especially appealing. First of all, you can contribute money to your HSA pre-tax. Because tax hasn’t been taken out, you end up with more to contribute. Many people have their HSA money withheld directly from their paycheck, so that they never even see it or have to pay taxes on it. Even if you fund your HSA with after-tax dollars and don’t have it automatically withheld, you can still receive the same tax benefit in the form of a deduction when you file your taxes. Either way – save now or save later – you still save on taxes by contributing to an HSA. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe adults hit the gridiron: The battle of the QBs

In the first week of adult flag football play at the Center, Team Coldwell Banker led by quarterback Charles Buky and Team Beach House Real Estate with Don Purvis as the man behind the center, took the field. In the first game of the night for Beach House, the team battled for a win, but came just short in the final minutes of the game.

To start the battle of the strong-armed QBs, Buky threw a short pass to Scott Eliseo. On second down, Lexi Braxton was the go to player who caught the ball just short of midfield. Team Coldwell Banker gained a first down with Eliseo’s second catch of the night. Despite a strong offensive effort, the rushing pressures of Beach House’s Jesse Brisson caused two incomplete passes and Buky’s team losing possession of the football.

Taking over on offense, Purvis lined up over the center, wife Leah Purvis. More...

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