Vol. 16 No. 37 - July 13, 2016


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryChelsea cuts it up with mayor

BRADENTON BEACH – Mayor Bill Shearon was among those disappointed by talk show host Chelsea Handler's portrayal of him and the city he represents.

Filmed at city hall in April, the segment featuring Handler's interview with Shearon debuted on Netflix last Thursday as the latest episode of the "Chelsea" show that also featured country singer Blake Shelton and former Congressman Barney Frank.

Netflix subscribers can access the interview at the 13:17 point of the July 7 episode.

"When something messed up happens in an election there's a 100 percent chance it happened in the state of Florida, like what happened with this little whoopsy-doozy of a man and how he was elected mayor of Bradenton Beach," Handler said when introducing the segment. More...

Audit report received

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy recently received the independent auditor's report on the review of the 2014-2015 fiscal year that ended on September 30.

The 41-page report compiled by auditor Randy Dillingham and the CS&L accounting firm states the city's assets exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by $5,528,582.

A portion of that net position is the $95,514 that represents resources obtained through the collection of stormwater drainage fees, transportation taxes, trash pickup, public education and trolley contributions that are restricted in terms of how they can be used. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMayor reports on state of the city

BRADENTON BEACH – As required by the city charter, Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon presented his state of the city report at the Thursday, July 7, City Commission meeting.

Because he is visually impaired and legally blind, Shearon asked City Clerk Terri Sanclemente to read his report aloud.

"I am pleased to report the city continues to improve, particularly in the financial, capital improvement and planning/building areas," the report began.

In regard to city finances, Shearon's report said, "The city currently has no debt, and city assets are in excess of $9.4 million, with $1.3 million in unrestricted funds." More...

Commission to consider boat covers

HOLMES BEACH – After a request from a resident, commissioners agreed to consider at a future work session allowing boat covers.

City Planner Bill Brisson told the board, "Four municipalities in Manatee County prohibit boathouses or boat canopies, including all three of the other local barrier island communities and the city of Palmetto."

He said the city of Bradenton allows them with approval of a special use permit, and the city of Venice allows them with limits on the size and height and approval of a major permit.

Manatee County allows them with stipulations, and Sarasota County and the city of Sarasota severely limit where they can be located and never in single-family zoning districts. More...

Board favors repeal of rental ordinance

BRADENTON BEACH – On Wednesday, July 13, the Planning and Zoning Board will continue its ongoing efforts to assist the City Commission in the creation of vacation rental regulations.

Bradenton Beach remains the only Island city with no such regulations in place.

The agenda for this week's meeting calls for discussing the quality of life ordinance that contains the vacation rental regulations adopted by the previous commission in early November but never implemented by the current commission that took office later that month.

The agenda also calls for a review of the noise ordinance and two vacation rental-related ordinances recently adopted by Holmes Beach commissioners. The noise ordinance and Holmes Beach ordinances were supposed to be reviewed at the July 29 meeting, but the board never got to them, in part because the members remain divided on whether to address structure size as a means of reducing occupancy or simply address the behavior of vacation rental guests, property managers and owners. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMetz hearing rescheduled

BRADENTON BEACH – Last week, the City Commission decided City Attorney Ricinda Perry would represent the city at the court hearing regarding John Metz's efforts to have a neighbor's property declared abandoned.

The 12th Circuit Court hearing was originally scheduled to take place Friday, July 15, but has been rescheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, the same day as the pier lawsuit hearing.

Metz and his attorney, Nelon Kirkland, are seeking a court order that would grant Metz a special master hearing or planning board hearing to address his concerns about the vacation rental property owned by Wendy and George Kokolis at 308 Gulf Dr. S. Metz believes the property should be declared abandoned because it has been unoccupied for more than 18 months while being renovated. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGhost walk proposed

BRADENTON BEACH – Bridge Street may soon be getting a historic ghost walk.

During the July 7 Bradenton Beach Commission meeting, Liz and Ron Reed, from the Bradenton Paranormal Society and the Downtown Bradenton Ghost Tour, presented commissioners with preliminary plans for a ghost walk along Bridge Street.

Liz Reed told the commission the proposed walking tour would begin near the roundabout in front of Island Time and travel east and out onto the Historic Bridge Street Pier before coming back up the street and ending on the public beach at the street end. If brought to fruition, the 90-minute tours would begin at 8 p.m. and take place five nights a week. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPrivateers plan cool fun

Some stores liven up mid-summer income by holding Christmas in July sales, and the Anna Maria Island Privateers have taken that idea and put a pirate's twist to it when they hold Christmas in July on Bridge Street on Saturday, July 23, from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Drift In.

Santa and his sleigh arrives at 6 p.m. with a sack of toys for good girls and boys, and the Drift in will sponsor a potluck Christmas dinner starting at 7 p.m. To participate, bring a dish to share or just pay $5. This is a fund-raiser for the Privateers and they will have two separate lotto board raffles. Tickets will be available starting July 15 at the Drift in, and each board guarantees at least a $100 payoff plus plenty of scratch off lottery tickets. Winners do not have to be present to collect their loot. In addition, there will be a 50/50 raffle, and winners do need to be present when the winning number is drawn. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryOpportunity knocks

Over the course of my many years in the hospitality trade, whether it be in service, management or as a sales representative, one finds oneself in a variety of situations where you are able to see and experience things and people that don't happen every day. I'd like to share one of those times with you all.

Many years ago in the mid 80s, I was working as an on-premise wine representative in Charleston, S.C. We were a big company with a big portfolio, being the Gallo house and carrying Chateau & Estates along with dozens of private wineries that were relatively young at that time. We had meetings and tastings all the time for training purposes.

One of the best training experiences was when they flew 10 of us out to California for a one week tour of Napa and Sonoma. Our first stop was at Gallo's Modesto facility. It's hard to describe the awe-struck look on our faces as we saw their 37-acre warehouse stacked 20 cases high for row after row and learned that if they stopped making wine, it would be empty in less than a month. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAngler's motto: Be prepared

For many anglers, a day on the water is hard won. These days are often too widely spaced, and not enough attention is paid to preparation before we grab our gear, put it on the boat and head out. This can mean we forget to check the basic components that can make or break a potentially successful fishing trip.

A solution is to have a check list to follow before you ever head out to make the first cast. With a little due diligence, we can avoid the mistakes that cause you to lose fish. These mistakes can be easily avoided.

The hook is one of the most important components of an effective rig. It's also one of the easiest things to forget to check. A hook can be razor sharp the last time you used it and can become dulled with contact to the rub rail of the boat, objects in the water, guides and many other things. More...

real estate

May real estate flowers

Chances are after you read to the end of this column you'll be very happy about where the real estate market in Manatee County is headed. However, you're not alone because as happy as you'll be, the property appraiser's office may even be happier, since it reported on July 1 that Manatee County's property values have risen to almost $30.6 billion, slightly more than the June 1 estimate.

May was a good month for property values, not as good as April was, but since April always reflects property closings, which were the result of the busy winter buying season, it's very understandable. During May, we closed 0.3 percent fewer single-family homes, but condo closings were up 12.6 percent. The median sale price of single family homes rose 7 percent to $275,000 from last year, and the average for single family homes rose 8.7 percent to $357,240 from last year. The median price for condos rose 4.2 percent from last year to $166,750, and the average rose 5.2 percent to $230,591 from last year. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Reverse mortgages worth another look

Investment Corner

I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn't the worst idea in the world.

I'm bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime

Space limitations don't' allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let's hit some of the highlights. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBlake Medical Center employees bond and battle

This is the true story of 20 Blake Medical Center employees and three medical center volunteers picked to play on two Island co-ed recreational soccer teams. They worked together and played fun, but competitive, soccer for eight weeks and found themselves going head-to-head in a must win game for the final playoff seat. We saw what happened when the players stopped being polite and started getting real.

In an unprecedented move by The Center, Recreation Director Will Schenerlein accepted the request of Chase Bennion, director of patient experience at Blake Medical Center, to bring in two complete teams to play in the spring season of the adult co-ed recreational soccer league. Bennion wanted to use the soccer games as a hospital bonding opportunity for the 23 employees and volunteers, as well as interact with the Island community. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFirst turtle nest hatches

HOLMES BEACH – The first loggerhead sea turtle nest of the season has hatched on Anna Maria Island, but the usual excitement was dampened by the fact that lights disoriented the hatchlings.

How many made it to the Gulf of Mexico is unknown, said Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, saying that lights likely confused the hatchlings and that footprints made it impossible to follow all the tiny turtle tracks.

The hatched nest was found behind the Nautilus Resort at 7100 Gulf Drive last week, a normal 55 days after it was laid, and was excavated on Monday evening, revealing the shells of 101 hatchlings. During excavations, volunteers piece together the eggshells left behind and count them, indicating how many turtles hatched. More...

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