Vol. 16 No. 28 - May 11, 2016


Murphy to run again

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy announced last week that he would seek a second term in office during the forthcoming fall elections.

Anna Maria Commissioners Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter also recently said they would seek reelection.

When discussing his decision, Murphy said, "The biggest driver in my decision is the relationship we've formed with our city commission. I think we've got a cohesive and effective team, and we're able to address problem areas and rectify situations that needed to be rectified. I think we're also now on the track to being able to proactively solve things in the future. I feel good about that. I want to keep that energy and momentum going. I think it's good for the city and I enjoy doing it." More...

Surfers detained, not arrested, at Twin Piers

BRADENTON BEACH – Three local surfers were handcuffed but not arrested by Bradenton Beach police last Friday at Twin Piers after refusing repeated requests to come ashore due to dangerous conditions at the construction site, Police Chief Sam Speciale said.

"As surfers, we put ourselves in harm's way all the time," one of the three surfers, Zack Carter, told The Sun. "We knew what we were doing. It's probably not the safest spot to surf, but the sign doesn't say 'keep out of the water.' There has to be something more clear."

Three crumbling erosion control groins at what is known as Twin Piers - one of Anna Maria Island's most popular surf spots - are being rebuilt by Manatee County as permeable adjustable groins to preserve the beach from erosion, which will help protect hurricane evacuation route Gulf Drive from flooding in a storm. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Ordinance limits mayor's supervision

BRADENTON BEACH – A new ordinance approved on first reading last week defines the city's weak mayor form of government and the mayor's limited role within it, and Mayor Bill Shearon is not happy about it.

"If I have no leadership authority or supervisory responsibilities, then I don't have any responsibilities. I'm a ceremonial mayor. I will not be held accountable," he said during the Thursday, May 5, meeting.

Despite his pleas, Shearon was outvoted 3-1 on the pending adoption of Ordinance 16-467. Commissioners Ralph Cole, Jake Spooner and Jan Vosburgh voted in favor of the ordinance and Vice Mayor Ed Straight was absent with excuse. The ordinance will not take effect until adopted on final reading on Thursday, May 19. More...

Holmes Beach receives Bert Harris claim

HOLMES BEACH – The city has received a Bert Harris claim regarding property at 128 49th Street from Keith Carter.

In the e-mail, Carter said he is manager of Rorentals, LLC, the property owner, and said, "It is intended to develop the property, but there is no purpose in investing in architectural drawings and submitting building permits as it is clear that recently introduced changes to the building code preclude the type of development anticipated and that these changes in regulations impose an inordinate burden on Rorentals' vested rights in the property."

He said the city has enacted a series of ordinances that "have materially diminished the investment backed value of the property," and listed the following ordinances: Ordinance 13-03, which limits the living area ratio; Ordinance 13-05, which eliminates the underground connection for duplexes; Ordinance 14-16, which bans pool and AC equipment in setbacks; Ordinance 15-10, which bans swimming pools in front yards; and Ordinance 15-19, which requires front yard setbacks on all street frontages and sets limits on pools and water features. More...

Tourism luncheon spotlights boom, preserves

PALMETTO – Local tourism and all its sectors have grown for five years in a row, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) officials told guests at the 2016 National Tourism Week luncheon last week.

Manatee County has seen an increase in visitors, expenditures, employment and economic impact as a result of tourism, according to the county's tourism consultant, Tampa-based Research Data Services.

Specifically, last year, Manatee County visitor numbers exceeded 3 million, up 3.4 percent from 2014, tourism generated $46.9 million in state and local sales and use taxes, up 8.8 percent, tourism-related jobs totaled 24,700, up 13.8 percent, and the total economic impact of tourism was $1.1 billion, up 10.6 percent. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBlues, Brews & BBQ part II

Serving up a special blend of great outdoor music, cold beer, tasty food and family fun, the Second Annual Blues, Brews & BBQ festival will take place in Bradenton Beach, on Saturday, May 21, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The event will take place in the gated lot at 107 and 111 Bridge Street, next to the Fish Hole adventure golf course.

Internationally-acclaimed blues guitarist Gene "Sarasota Slim" Hardage will headline the show, bringing to Bridge Street a musical style that commingles blues, funk, boogie, slide guitar and warm Southern charm.

"We are thrilled to have Sarasota Slim return. A lot of blues fans were disappointed when his show got rained out last year," said event chair Eric Fleishman, in reference to last year's weather-shortened inaugural event. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCinco de Mayo Island-style

Bradenton Beach was in a party mood during last week's Cinco de Mayo celebrations, with the sounds of live music and people celebrating the May 5 holiday filling the air along Bridge Street and Gulf Drive. Live music could be found at the Gulf Drive Café, Wicked Cantina, The Freckled Fin, Island Time, Blue Marlin Grill, The Drift In and the Bridge Tender Inn, with many other Island establishments also celebrating the Mexican-American culture. Not to be confused with Mexico's Independence Day, which is celebrated on Sept. 16, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the day the Mexican Army defeated French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySpecial magistrate to issue tree house ruling

HOLMES BEACH – After hearing four hours of background information, lawyers' pleadings and witness' testimony regarding the tree house last week, Special Magistrate Kelly Fernandez said she plans to make a ruling two weeks after reviewing documents she requested.

Tree house attorney David Levin opening the hearing by giving a chronology of events regarding the tree house built by Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran on the beach in front of Angelino's Sea Lodge at 103 29th St. in 2011. It then came to the attention of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the city.

In 2013, the city's Code Enforcement Board ruled that the tree house was constructed without a permit and encroached 20 feet into the erosion control line. The board ordered the couple to remove the violations or demolish the tree house. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThousands get a taste on Pine

ANNA MARIA – The city's main street, Pine Avenue, was all dressed up last Saturday for the Food and Wine on Pine and wearing its best hats for the Kentucky Derby.

The cooler than normal temperatures were perfect for walking up and down the street, shopping for vendors' items, smelling the food being served while visiting the shops along the city's commercial district. Chiles Group organizer Caryn Hodge estimated the crowd at more than 6,000.

"It couldn't have been better," said Chiles Group President and Owner Ed Chiles. "With over 200 volunteers, great food and music, we get to brag about Anna Maria Island."

The volunteers worked in shifts, the chefs worked all through the event and the aroma was inviting. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFishing with guides

Fishing with a guide is an excellent way to get a new appreciation of local waters, and can be indispensable in an area you're not familiar with. When you fish with a local guide, you get an entrée to his/her extensive knowledge of where to find fish and a unique introduction to the natural world around you. Guides know where the best opportunities for action are while introducing you to some of the area's most beautiful natural assets.

Guides aren't just for novice anglers. Many experienced anglers regularly fish with guides. They know that there is no substitute for the local knowledge gained from being on the water on a regular basis. Then there's the convenience of stepping on a boat, being taken to the fish, having the guide fillet fish, if you decide to keep any, and not having to clean the boat. More...

real estate

The mystery of a land lease

Everyone loves a good mystery and one of the most mysterious features in real estate is the concept of a land lease. Since I never had any experience with a property that was in a land lease arrangement, I decided to look into one of real estate's more obscure arrangements after reading a story about homeowners in China.

Homeownership in China is a very new concept, which only started becoming an option for the Chinese within the last 20 years, however, their definition of homeownership is slightly different from ours. In the United States, homeowners hold permanent title to their real estate and the property it sits on with some exceptions. In China, the government owns all of the land and leases it to developers to improve the land and sell to the public.

This is not so different from a land lease arrangement that we have in this country. The only problem is that since the entire concept of home ownership in China is so new, they haven't yet established the appropriate laws to govern these leases. Therefore, some homeowners in areas of China have not been able to sell their properties unless they pay very high fees to local authorities and frequently don't even know how long the lease is for when they purchase. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Alternative investments – worth a look

Investment Corner

The term alternative investment has been used a lot in the last five to six years, but I find it almost too ambiguous to really communicate the concept that alternatives are intended for. In its broadest sense, alternative investments are vehicles other than the traditional big three of investing – stocks, bonds and cash. But, that leaves quite a lot to be included in this one descriptive term.

So, for example, an investment in a real estate investment trust would be considered an alternative investment, even though this vehicle has been known to act much like the stock market at times. Commodities are another asset class that would fall into the alternative category, as well as the limitless world of investment strategies put together to try to create investment nirvana – reasonable returns with low risk. More...


Middle schoolers take the pitch

After years of friendship and meeting on the flag football field, basketball court, community center baseball diamond or the Center's soccer fields, friends once again met up on a head-to-head match up on Tues., May 3. Middle schoolers from King Middle School, Saint Stephen's Episcopal School and Manatee School of the Arts took the field for 40 minutes of play.

Thomas Heckler protected the goal for Team Coldwell Banker. The nerves-of-steel goalie has been the recipient of the Sportsmanship and Goalie of the Year awards from the Center in several sports, including soccer.

Heckler was supported on the field by flag football star Jackson Hayes and relative newcomer to the island David Thompson.

For Team Beach Bums, Sean Rodriguez moved the soccer ball well in the game, but found the defense of Thompson an obstacle at times. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySea turtle contest underway Find the Travelin' Turtle and win!

In celebration of sea turtle nesting season, which opens on Sunday, May 1, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring is holding a contest with weekly prizes, and a grand prize to be awarded on May 7.

The Travelin' Turtle will be hidden at a different Anna Maria Island business each week, and a clue is printed in this newspaper and on the Turtle Watch Facebook page.

The first person to find the turtle and call Laurie Crawford at 941-746-3611 will win the weekly contest.

A grand prize winner will be chosen from among the finalists, winning Turtle Watch gear, gift certificates from Island businesses and Sun souvenirs. More...

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper