Vol. 16 No. 21 - March 23, 2016



Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCortez property sells for $10 million

CORTEZ – A businessman with Cortez roots has purchased one of the largest undeveloped parcels of waterfront property in Cortez for $10 million.

The canalfront 17.8-acre Hunter’s Hill, including the HH Marina at 12444 Cortez Road W., is planned as a vacation motor coach resort and marina, said Eric Tupin Grimes, 36, president of Florida Land Enterprises, a partnership with Marshall Gobuty, who is developing the Mirabella subdivision in Bradenton’s Village Green.

Visitors can store their boats at the marina, which is connected by canal to the Intracoastal Waterway accessible under a 14-foot-high bridge, he said, adding that he plans to expand dry dock storage.

“The marina will stay old school,” he said. “It reminds me of sitting on the docks with my grandfather, Frank Tupin.” More...

FDOT report awakens SAM

The replacement project for the Anna Maria Island Bridge along Manatee Avenue has entered a new phase, and so has the fight to keep it a working drawbridge.

The much-contested project that will replace the 60-year-old drawbridge with a fixed-span bridge with a 65-foot vertical clearance is set for the design phase.

This project goes back 25 years to when the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) came to the Island cities and stated they were going to replace the drawbridge with a high, fixed-span bridge. The regional FDOT director said it was a “done deal.”

The Island residents protested the lack of information about the project, and they formed an activist group known as Save Anna Maria (SAM), which took FDOT to task and at an administrative hearing, a judge ruled FDOT had not sufficiently advised the citizens of the project’s plans and the state abandoned the project. More...

Step right up and order

BRADENTON BEACH – The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce introduces a festival that changes the way people think about those food trucks that show up on construction sites at lunch time.

The Beach ’N Food Truck and Music Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, at Coquina Beach. It is a celebration of music, food trucks and arts and crafts.

There is something for everybody at this inaugural event. There will be live music all day, a huge car show, beer, wine, Margaritas, rum coolers and other beverages. The little ones will enjoy the Kids' Zone, and there will be an assortment of arts and crafts booths. More...

Easter fun in Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA – The Sandbar restaurant, Pine Avenue Restoration and the Anna Maria Island Sun have a program of Easter fun for kids and adults on Saturday, March 26.

It begins with the 30th Annual Easter Egg Hunt on the beach next to the Sandbar restaurant. The hunt starts at 9 a.m. sharp. Plan on leaving home early because there could be lots of traffic. If you arrive early, there will be refreshments at the wedding and events pavilion next to the restaurant.

Children will be grouped into three age categories – 4 and under, 5 to 7 and 8 to 10 years old. The Easter bunny left a lot of eggs on the beach, and every one of them has a small surprise inside. More...

Churches will offer Easter worship

Easter is one of the holiest Christian holidays and those who are here on vacation will be welcome to a wide variety of services from the six churches on the Island.

The most interesting celebration should be the 52nd Easter Sunrise Service sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island at Manatee Public Beach. Each of the churches is represented. The benediction this year will be delivered by Rev. Edward Moss, of Crosspointe Fellowship. A representative of St. Bernard Catholic Church will be delivering the offertory prayer. Father Matthew Grunfeld, of Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, will deliver the opening prayer. Rev. Dr. Bob O’Keef, of Roser Memorial Community Church, will deliver the sermon. Rev. Stephen King, of Harvey Memorial Church, and Rev. Rosemary Backer of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, will deliver scriptures. Bring a chair or blanket and some money for the offertory. Money raise will be split between the churches. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAmended parking ordinance introduced

BRADENTON BEACH – City officials are considering amendments to the existing parking ordinance that could impact parking in residential areas.

Introduced last week as an amendment to Ordinance 98-311, Ordinance 16-311 looks to eliminate language that requires a specific amount of open roadway space and replace it with language that requires the entire roadway to remain unobstructed, with the exception of temporary use by service and delivery vehicles.

The current ordinance says no person shall park on a street or alley in a manner that leaves less than 10 feet of available roadway.

The new language says no person shall park in a manner that leaves less than the full width of the roadway available. This language addresses the fact that most streets on the north end of the city provide 10-foot travel lanes in each direction, while some on the south side of town provide only 8-foot travel lanes. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAutomated ticket writers headed south?

Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale has proposed converting to an automated parking ticket system similar to what will be implemented in the city of Anna Maria in April.

Speciale made the suggestion during a recent department head meeting and said he would conduct additional research before making a formal request to the city commission.

As was the case when Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy proposed the system to his city commissioners, Speciale said the handheld ticket writers and affiliated fine collection software would increase the fine collection rate from 70 to 80 percent to more than 90 percent. Speciale said his research also indicated that approximately 10 percent of parking tickets are not paid because an officer’s handwriting can’t be read. More...

Elected officials prioritize traffic fixes

BRADENTON BEACH – Officials prioritized a list of transportation projects submitted by each of the four mayors at last week’s meeting of Island elected officials.

In January, officials agreed that each city would make a list of ways to immediately impact traffic congestion on the barrier islands to be presented to Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials.

Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock compiled the list and facilitated the prioritizing session. Officials first went through the list combining some items and then deciding which ones qualified as short term.



Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySpring craft beer pairing

Beautiful warm weather may seem like nothing more than a pleasant thought for most of the nation, but it feels like spring has sprung for sunny Florida. Employees of Motorworks Brewing enjoy these gorgeous temperate months by pairing up delightful, award-winning brews with scrumptious foods and heading out to the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island to share an all around sensory sensation.

In our opinion, the perfect beer pairing is when each bite of food is smoothly complimented by the lingering flavors of the brew, while gentle flavor bursts from the ingredients of the dish roll over your tongue tease your mouth for just one more sip of beer. The mouth watering flavors of the brew swirl with flavors of the dish quenching your thirst and, in return, making you crave another bite of the delightful dish. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe swing to spring

Suddenly spring is here, and all signs point that way. By the middle of March, there is a good chance that we can depend on warm weather to prevail, but that doesn’t mean a cold front might be just around the corner. I think preparing for the wonders that the season brings is the right idea. Reports indicate that snook fishing is great, there are some big trout being caught and redfish are a good possibility, if not reliable. I thought I would check in with a few local guides to get an idea what the experts are finding in local waters. These guides are on the water on a consistent basis and have a real feel for the variety, distribution and action anglers are likely to find.

Captain Scott Moore reports that snook fishing is very good with fish ranging from 25 to 27 inches. Water on the flats is hitting the mid-70s and fish are responding. Moore has also been encountering some very nice trout and snook near the mouth of the river in glass minnow schools. He has been successful with a combination of live bait, as well as lures, particularly top water and jigs like the MirroLure Marsh Minnow. Redfish are always a possibility, but not as prevalent as the trout and snook. Moore has been having good action in Palma Sola Bay, as well as the eastern shoreline of Sarasota Bay. He’s also still is finding sheepshead on the edges of the ship channel in Tampa Bay. More...

real estate

Sun coast vs. No coast

This time last year I took a trip up to the Panhandle, a very popular area for tourists and Florida transplants. The area I visited is commonly called the Emerald Coast and extends approximately from Rosemary Beach to Fort Walton Beach. It includes the master planned communities of WaterColor, Seaside and Rosemary Beach, all of which I took a look at. I concluded that although the beaches along Florida’s Panhandle are spectacular, they were practically hidden behind tall condos lining the beach and were far less accessible than the beaches on Florida’s Sun Coast, where we live.

This year I took a little trip up to Celebration, Fla. near Disney World, which is another master planned community similar to those in the Panhandle, but without the beach. Celebration was developed by The Walt Disney Company starting in 1996 in the early 20th Century style of architecture and is still connected to Disney World via one of its streets. The population as of the 2010 census was 7,427.

Celebration, like most master planned communities, seeks to reproduce entire towns including restaurants, schools, post offices, libraries, banks, as well as single family and multi- family housing, all with walkable streets and lots and lots of front porches. It’s very pretty and totally consistent and just a little too perfect for my taste, but I do see the attraction. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHolmes Beach Auto celebrates 15 years

The wonderful Anna Maria trolley takes residents and visitors all over the island. Ride it to the beach, to Publix, to your favorite restaurant and even to work, but did you ever consider taking it to get your car repaired? It may not be at the top of your “ride the trolley to” list, but it’s nice to know there is an Island auto service facility that you can get to by trolley.

Holmes Beach Auto Service is located in the heart of Holmes Beach right on the corner where Gulf Drive and Marina Drive intersect, which also happens to be pretty much the center of the Island. Bret Vande Vrede has owned Holmes Beach Auto Service for 15 years and has focused on auto repair services during those years, even the ones when the station still pumped gas.

Vande Vrede currently employs three mechanics in his two-bay shop and has the equipment and training to work on almost all foreign and domestic vehicles. He, as well as his staff, are ASE certified, and the shop is licensed and insured. They can provide maintenance and repair services, tire repair and sales, brakes, batteries, tune-ups, air conditioning and more. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Medicare Part B premiums have increased

Investment Corner

Medical costs are rising, which means that Medicare Part B premiums have increased for the first time in over three years. However, thanks to the hold-harmless provision, a law which prohibits a decrease in Social Security benefits based on Medicare premium increases, you may not be paying more, depending on your benefits and income.

Because there was no cost of living increase for Social Security benefits in 2016, a Medicare premium increase is prevented for most Social Security benefit recipients, with the exception of high earners. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 30 percent of the 52 million Americans enrolled for 2016 will be affected by the premium increase.

Who Is Affected?

Higher earners are more likely to be affected by the change. In 2015, most people paid $104.90 a month, unless their adjusted gross income on their 2013 tax return was above $85,000 for singles and married people filing separately or $170,000 for those filing a joint return. In 2016, most people will continue to pay the same amount. However, premiums will change for the following people: More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryYouth flag football: It’s more than just a sport

With the close of another youth flag football season, I think back on all of the years that I have been involved with community center sports, as a parent, coach, player and now reporter. After covering the center flag football games this season for The Sun, I am reminded of the many important and valuable takeaways.

The older players that have played on the island since stepping foot on the small instructional league field have learned the technical part of the sport, learned sportsmanship, learned how to be part of a team, even with strangers, and learned how to be competitors on the field and friends off the field. The role of the volunteer coach is so critical in the teaching and reinforcing of these skills. Without the teaching of these key elements of the game, the coaches are nothing more than adults on the sidelines that make sure the players are not just picking daisies.

This season, the boys and girls who played at the center continued to hone their football and life skills, and the coaches all gave of their time to be there for the Island area youth. Each individual played an important part in making the island the special place we all know and love. 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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