Vol. 16 No. 24 - April 13, 2016


Rental occupancy limits upheld

ANNA MARIA – Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith Jr. has ruled the city of Anna Maria’s eight-person occupancy restriction on vacation rental properties is legal and does not violate state law.

Smith issued his ruling on Friday, April 8, after hearing the case on Friday, April 1; the same day the vacation rental ordinance and occupancy limits took effect.

The legal challenge was brought forth by Florida Gulf Coast Vacation Homes LLC doing business as Anna Maria Vacations.

Smith’s written ruling specifies the only issue the court was being asked to decide was whether the city’s occupancy restrictions, which do provide a grandfathering period, violate Florida Statute 509.032(7). More...

New noise policy in Holmes Beach

HOLMES BEACH – After losing a court case last week involving a noise citation, the city has changed its policy on taking noise complaints.

The citation was issued to owner Shawn Kaleta after an anonymous caller complained about loud music and talking at 204 72nd Street on Jan. 3.

Police Chief Bill Tokajer explained, “We lost the hearing because we had no complainant. From now on, a caller must give his/her name and information, meet with the officer, sign an affidavit on a founded violation and be willing to testify in court if required.

“If not, the officer will take no action other than to go by the location, and if there’s noise coming from the location that would be considered a valid complaint, meaning one that he can hear, the officer will take no action other than asking them to lessen the noise. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Term limit solution proposed

BRADENTON BEACH – City voters will determine whether term limits still apply to elected officials in Bradenton Beach.

There has been uncertainty surrounding this matter due to a scrivener’s error that went unnoticed during the charter review process last summer.

With the June 20-24 qualifying period approaching and third-term Commissioners Ed Straight and Jan Vosburgh scheduled to term-limit out of office, the commission agreed that a determination is needed. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Moratorium town hall requested

BRADENTON BEACH – The Bradenton Beach City Commission rejected a request for a town hall meeting to discuss exclusively a potential building moratorium, but agreed to discuss the vacation rental issue as a whole.

Longtime city resident and recent moratorium activist Priscilla VonAhnen presented her request for a moratorium-related town hall meeting during last week’s commission meeting.

When presenting her request to the commission, VonAhnen said, “We seem to be getting nowhere,” in regard to the enactment of a moratorium and the city’s stalled efforts to enact local vacation rental regulations. More...

Michael Walker is named Officer of the Year

HOLMES BEACH – Officer Michael Walker has been named as the department’s Officer of the Year and also will receive Florida’s Congressional Law Enforcement Dedication and Professionalism Award.

“Over the past year, Officer Walker has continuously gone above and beyond with his duties as a patrol officer,” Chief Bill Tokajer said. “He has been very proactive in his patrols, as he has made 47 arrests for the year of 2015.” Examples of his proactive patrol are as follows:

• On June 27, he attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation, and while turning a corner, the driver fell out of the vehicle onto the busy roadway. Walker assisted in getting the driver out of the roadway before he was injured or killed. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAuctions, raffle and chill lounge at Affaire

ANNA MARIA – Exciting live auction packages will be available to the highest bidder at this year’s Grand Affaire on Saturday, April 16.

Auction packages at the dinner fund-raiser feature everything from fabulous trips to Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, Key West, Scrub Island and the Lola House in California to gourmet dinners and more. Three of the packages are as follows:

Take a private, six-passenger jet from Sarasota to Key West for four days and three nights and stay in a three-bedroom, two-bath home with a private plunge pool.

Spend a week on the island of Kaiai in Hawaii at the Oceanfront resort, The Point of Poipu, in a two bedroom, two-bath villa with an oceanfront view. More...

Lawton to defend federal suit

ANNA MARIA – Orlando-based attorney William Lawton will take the lead in defending the city of Anna Maria against a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Shawn Kaleta and Beach to Bay Construction.

An insurance policy the city holds with the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust though its membership in the Florida League of Cities (FLC) will cover the cost of Lawton’s legal fees. The policy also insures the city in regard to a potential monetary settlement, should the court support Kaleta’s request for more than $100,000 in alleged damages.

Filed in February with the United States District Court Middle District of Florida, the federal suit alleges city officials singled-out Kaleta and Beach to Bay in regard to permitting processes and compliance with city building and development codes and regulations. The suit alleges Kaleta and his associates were treated in a discriminatory manner that differed from how developers and contractors were treated. More...

School opens for kindergarten registration

HOLMES BEACH – Anna Maria Elementary School holds its Kindergarten Roundup on Thursday, April 1. Parents of children who will be entering kindergarten next school year are asked to bring a number of items when enrolling a child for the first time.

• An original certified birth certificate or other proof of date of birth;

• A Florida Certificate of Immunization;

• A physical examination certificate;

• Legal guardianship papers, if applicable;

• Your child’s Social Security Card; More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryArt enthusiasts enjoy cool Springfest

When people wear jackets to Springfest, you know Anna Maria Island is getting a rare spring cool spell, just perfect for attending a festival.

The 28th Annual Springfest Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts at the Holmes Beach City Hall Field was smaller this year because it was scheduled later in the season than usual – after Easter, when many visitors have returned north – and the same weekend as the Tarpon Springs Fine Art Festival, which features many of the same artists that Springfest hosts.

But without the crowds, all seemed to enjoy the crisp weather, music, food and art at the event, sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Art League. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryProtecting seabirds

The first sign of action was vague and a few miles in the distance. Without the clue we got from the terns and pelicans wheeling above the water’s surface we may never have found the frenzy of feeding little tunny we encountered as we motored closer to the action. Thanks to the birds we enjoyed some fast action, following the birds as they tracked the movement of the schools below the water’s surface.

When local anglers fish the bays and gulf waters they share that space with numerous seabirds. All too often they find themselves having to deal with one of these birds when they are inadvertently hooked.

This is home for the birds and they are a valuable resource for anglers often leading them to the fish that they’re seeking. Problems develop when seabirds, particularly terns and pelicans, mistake the bait anglers’ use as an easy meal. They can also be hooked by anglers using flies and artificial lures when they cast into feeding fish that the birds hover over. Trouble ensues if the fisherman doesn’t know how to properly deal with the situation. All too often the line breaks and the birds trail it to their eventual roost. More...

real estate

Boosting your home's value: Part II

Last week we covered the first four ways to boost your home’s value based on a recent Consumer’s Report survey of the millennial generation. This week, we’ll cover the last four ways. By the time you have read all eight ways, not only will you know the inner workings of the minds of the mellennials, but you may have also increased the value of your homes by 35 percent, so let’s get going.

Rule number 5: Millennials have parents who are aging rapidly and living longer. It is estimated that by 2040 there will be almost 80 million seniors accounting for 21 percent of the population. Basically, it’s time for seniors and their children to find ways to retrofit homes to accommodate them, either in their own home or their children’s. Walk-in showers are the first thing that older people are looking for. Forget about those tubs – too difficult to get in and out of. Next are master bedrooms on the main living level with a bathroom attached outfitted with comfort height toilets. Possible increase in sales value could be 1 to 3 percent. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIt's a new day at A Hair Day Salon & Spa

Change is a wonderful thing, and when Faith Baglieri decided it was time to grow and expand her hair salon, she didn’t hold back. In February, Baglieri moved her business from the middle of the Mount Vernon Plaza to a much larger and very visible location facing Cortez Road. And that wasn’t all. She added an entire menu of services, turning what once was a traditional hair salon into a salon and spa.

The new décor at A Hair Day Salon & Spa will make you feel like you’re walking on to a beach with its sky blue walls, tropical fans and sandpiper murals. In addition, all of the hair stations are brand spanking new as well as the furnishings for the new spa, which features a soothing massage room. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

MyRA: A Roth IRA for beginners

Investment Corner

Many of my clients have built up a healthy investment portfolio and have confidence in their financial future. They’ve been saving and investing so long that it has become second nature. But what about the young people in your life? Do you have children or grandchildren who are just entering the workforce or struggling to pay down student loans? They may ask, “Where do I even begin?”

Introducing MyRA

The starting line for the race to a comfortable retirement may be clearer than ever. In light of the fact that 31 percent of American workers have nothing saved for retirement, the government has recently begun to offer a new retirement savings account that is perfect for beginners: MyRA. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBrothers Moss light up the championship field: Beach House Real Estate victorious

Beach House Real Estate 21
Moss Builders 13

Just before sundown, the regular season league leader faced the second seeded team in the adult co-ed flag football championship game at The Center Wednesday night. Beach House Real Estate, #1 seed, proved why they were at the top of the league against worthy opponents #2 seed Moss Builders.

What proved to be a showdown between brothers Ryan Moss and Jon Moss kept those on the sidelines and the dozen spectators, more than half part of the closely-knit Moss family, engaged in the 40 minutes battle the entire time. 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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