Vol. 16 No. 18 - March 2, 2016



Term limits eliminated?

BRADENTON BEACH – It appears the city may have inadvertently eliminated City Commission term limits during the charter review process that took place last summer.

This revelation came to light during the Tuesday, Feb. 23, commission work meeting as the result of research conducted by first-term Commissioner Ralph Cole, who sought clarification on commission policies and procedures.

If Cole’s discovery is valid and is not overturned by a subsequent interpretation or a court order, third-term Commissioners Ed Straight and Jan Vosburgh could run for reelection next fall. Both commissioners were scheduled to term-limit out of office in November and at and at least three potential candidates have already picked up election packets. More...

Mayor’s veto stands

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners Judy Titsworth and Pat Morton held fast in their opposition to the controversial parking permit ordinance, allowing the mayor’s veto to stand.

Commissioners approved the ordinance in January, and Mayor Bob Johnson vetoed it. In order to overturn the mayor’s veto, a super majority of four is required.

The ordinance would have prohibited parking on the rights of way between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. except for residents with permits in a test area. The test area includes streets between 52nd Street and Manatee Public Beach west of Gulf Drive.

Prior to the motion to override the veto, Jayne Christenson, chair of the Island Congestion Committee, praised the three commissioners who voted for the parking permit ordinance and chastised the two dissenting commissioners. More...

Mayor’s authority discussed

BRADENTON BEACH – The use of the public day dock and the upland structures associated with the Historic Bridge Street Pier are the subjects of an increasing number of lease-related disputes and debates.

Questions have surfaced as to whether commercial activities taking place on the day dock conflict with the city’s submerged land lease with the state. Questions also continue to be raised regarding the use of the upland buildings addressed in a separate lease and concessionaire agreement between the city and John Horne’s We’re Back Inc., the ownership group that runs the pier-based AMOB restaurant and subleases two additional spaces to other tenants.

During the Feb. 18 City Commission meeting, Police Chief Sam Speciale sought a commission decision on whether John Maguire would be allowed to continue selling bait from two floating vessels tied to the day dock. More...

Kaleta files federal lawsuit

ANNA MARIA – Shawn Kaleta is taking his battle with the city of Anna Maria and Mayor Dan Murphy to the federal courts.

In February, a civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of Kaleta and Beach to Bay Construction. The suit was filed with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida; the nearest regional court is in Tampa. Attorney Randolph Smith is representing Kaleta in this case.

The city of Anna Maria, care of Dan Murphy, is listed as the defendant. City Attorney Becky Vose is serving in the city’s defense, and she was given 21 days to file an initial response.

The 28-page complaint states that despite the plaintiffs’ best efforts and intentions, they have become the focus of the city’s attention because of their primary identification with the commercial tourism industry in the city. More...

Vacation rental ordinance approved

HOLMES BEACH – After further revisions, especially to the section regarding exemption for pre-existing rental agreements, the city’s vacation rental ordinance was approved on second reading last week.

Larry Chatt, of Island Real Estate, questioned Section 4.17 regarding exemptions for contracts that were pre-existing as of Feb. 23, 2016.

“This is trying to provide a mechanism to acknowledge that vacation rentals are rented sometimes a long time in advance,” Petruff explained. “We don’t want to close the barn door after the horse has left.

“If you have a house and someone comes in next week and wants to rent if for eight people next season, no. But if you’ve already rented it for next season to eight people, and you can demonstrate that to us, then we’ll allow it.” More...

Island living featured in Tour of Homes

The 23rd Annual Anna Maria Island Tour of Homes offers visitors a chance to view distinctive architecture, elegant interiors and stunning waterfront views on Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Acclaimed each year by professional decorators and past attendees, the tour will include five select Island properties in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria. The homes reflect various styles of Island living and provide participants with ideas for interior decorating and entertainment.

Tour of Homes tickets are $20 and are available at the following ticket outlets:

AMI Sun newspaper, 202 Palm Ave.; AMI General Store, 503 Pine Ave. The Center, 407 Magnolia Ave.; Ginny and Jane E’s, 9807 Gulf Drive; The White Egret, 10006 Gulf Drive; Egret’s Nest, 10010 Gulf Drive; Duncan Real Estate, 310 Pine Ave – all in Anna Maria; AMI Chamber of Commerce, 5313 Gulf Drive; Islander newspaper, 3218 East Bay Drive; LaPensee Plumbing, 401 Manatee Ave.; The Egret’s Landing, 5602 Marina Drive; Island Fitness, 5317 Gulf Drive; Holmes Beach Ace Hardware, 3352 East Bay Drive – all in Holmes Beach; and Crowder Brothers Ace Hardware, 5409 Manatee Ave., Bradenton. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Commission approves property vacation

HOLMES BEACH – An elaborate plea from the president of a condo association did not sway commissioners, who voted in favor of vacating a 50-foot right of way known as Fourth Avenue between 34th and 35th streets.

Property owners Richard and Shelly Wheeler, of 202 35th Street, and purchaser and applicant William McGinnis made the request. The request included giving the city two privately owned beach parcels of 8,543 square feet west of the right of way and establishing a dune system across the right of way.

McInnis told commissioners he plans to demolish the four-unit rental on the property and build a home there and said he has accommodated all the changes requested by the city. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFDEP clarifies day dock uses

BRADENTON BEACH – Contrary to recent claims, the submerged land lease issued to the city by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) does not prohibit tour boats from using the public day dock.

In response to inquiries made by The Sun, FDEP spokesperson Lori Elliot provided answers to a series of questions pertaining to the use of the city-owned day dock. The FDEP also addressed the city-owned commercial spaces located next to the AMOB restaurant.

When asked if the submerged land lease allows tour boats to use the city’s public day dock to pick up and drop off passengers, the FDEP response was, “The lease authorizes temporary mooring of vessels on a first-come, first-served basis.” More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGriffin discusses his mystery/suspense books

HOLMES BEACH – He talks with a soft southern drawl, but this Georgia-born, Longboat Key resident is a best-selling author who likes to use real-life characters as models for those in his books. He has published more than 10 Matt Moore books. The lead character is a retired attorney who solves mysteries.

For the second time in two years, H. Terrell Griffin spoke at the Island Branch Library about his two careers, as a lawyer and a writer and how the two are connected.

ß Griffin’s wife, Jean, accompanied him and sat in the audience. He said he started writing after he retired from law. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCatching pompano

Pompano range from the upper Eastern U.S. Coast to Texas, but the most consistent action is encountered from the Carolinas to Texas. Although they are a relatively common species along our coast, the average angler, unless he/she is savvy and targeting them, only land them occasionally. The pompano is a species that has really benefited from the reduction of netting in Florida.

Pompano are normally found in groups of 10 to two dozen, rather than in true schools. They are erratic in their movements, effected by slight changes in temperature and movements of the tide. They also can be found when spooked by a boat as they skip out of the water.

The most common method used to target pompano locally is jigging with a round lead jig with a short yellow or white skirt. These rigs can also be enhanced with a trailer fly or bait on a 12- to 18-inch piece of mono. Some newer models including Silly Willy Jigs and Doc’s Goofy Jigs are also effective. Other jigs by lure makers like DOA including the DOA Shrimp are also good choices. Pompano also are taken on flies. The best are Clouser style with lead eyes in white, yellow, pink or a combination of colors. More...

real estate

A mortgage for personal property

You’re selling your home or condo in Florida and moving back North to be near family. You own a boat, a convertible car that’s fun in Florida but could never handle ice and snow, and 2,000 square feet of furniture, and you want to sell it all rolled into the sale price. Sounds easy, right? Maybe if it’s a cash deal, but if your buyer is applying for a mortgage, it can be a little more complicated.

As we know, second homes and vacation homes in Florida frequently come furnished. If the buyer is purchasing the property for cash or is paying the seller separately for the furnishings, there is no problem, but if the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, it could raise a red flag to the bank appraiser.

Typically, the lender will not object if the furnishings are not above the home’s appraised value. This usually works fine, unless the furnishings are designer level high end items that have added substantially to the purchase price. In that case, the lender will back out the estimated value of the furnishings, set the purchase price lower and grant a mortgage based on a percentage of the downgraded purchase price. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPrepare for the outdoors at AMI Outfitters

Sometimes I look around Anna Maria Island and remember the sleepy little beach community where the primary activity was sunbathing and wonder where all of these super athletic people came from. Were we invaded by paddleboarders and kayakers from Seattle and Hawaii or did someone roll up the sand when I wasn’t looking? However it happened, AMI Outfitters in Anna Maria City is ready for them.

Steve Traves, owner of AMI Outfitters Costal Gear & Apparel, has been providing apparel and gear for just about any outdoor activity for over three years. After listening to his customers, he knew it was time to expand the business in order to provide the new items that the market demanded, and in December, he did just that by opening a second location also on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Health savings accounts – Part II

Investment Corner

Before continuing the health savings account (HSA) topic from two weeks ago, I’d like to correct a typographical error that appeared in Part I. The reference to the $1,000 catch-up provision for those over age 55 was misstated as existing for those over age 65.

HSAs offer a way to get special tax treatment towards saving money for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. It’s important to optimize your HSA to make the most of your tax savings.

Eligible expenses

What constitutes an eligible expense is determined by the IRS. There is a wide range of IRS-qualified expenses, many of which aren’t usually covered by health insurance plans. Some of these are deductibles, co-insurance, prescriptions and dental and vision care. Most things that would typically qualify for the medical expense deduction on your tax return qualify for an HSA. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTeam Air & Energy heats up the field

In the seventh week of the youth flag football season, the 11-to 13-year-old league played in the cool island winter air on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Tyler’s Ice Cream with one win under its belt faced Air & Energy.

Wearing their traditional purple jerseys, Tyler’s Ice Cream players started the game on offense. The first pass attempt to Ava Alderson went through her hands for an incomplete pass. Quarterback Alex McCauley took the snap from Alderson. Hoping to advance the football down the field, McCauley aimed for receiver Evan Christenson, but could not connect.

On the third down attempt, Tyler’s Andrew Zoller scrambled behind the line of scrimmage being intensely chased by Air & Energy’s Tuna McCracken. Despite the fact that the quarterback managed to get the throw off, the defensive pressure forced the pass into a mass of players that was batted down by an Air & Energy defender. More...


Turtles, trees benefit from app

A project that uses an android app instead of pencil, paper and a clipboard is designed to save both turtles and trees, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

The not-for-profit organization’s volunteers walk Anna Maria Island’s beaches each morning from May 1 to Oct. 31 searching for flipper tracks that indicate that sea turtles have nested the night before.

Instead of recording data on clipboards showing the date, the location of nests, whether eggs are in the nests or whether they were false crawls and many other statistics, Turtle Watch is the first organization of its kind to use an app to enter the data electronically. More...

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