Vol. 16 No. 52 - October 26, 2016


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryStudents welcome autumn

HOLMES BEACH – The streets of the city resembled a Halloween horror movie with students of Anna Maria Elementary School marching from the Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce parking lot to the field next to city hall.

Some of them were downright horrifying – apes, zombies and other nightmarish creatures – and others were enchanting – princesses, a waitress with a platter of food and Bart and Homer Simpson. The nightmare ended at the field where AME's 2016 Fall Fest got underway.

There were games, bounce houses and a big, long inflatable slide plus food and booths selling arts and crafts. It was all in the name of raising funds for the PTO. More...

CVB announces new tourism marketing campaign

Capitalizing on the trend of craft and artisan products, Manatee County's tourism marketing agency is launching a new campaign – "Craft your own vacation."

The campaign will maximize visitation out of season, said Dave DiMaggio, president of the county's marketing firm, Aqua, filling accommodations in late summer and fall when beaches and roads are thinly populated and some businesses close for vacation.

The move is a response to complaints about problems during high tourist season, according to Elliott Falcione, director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, who told commissioners at a work session on Tuesday that shifting advertisements from winter and spring to summer and fall is risky because if the economy declines, it may take some time to catch up again.

"I understand why they're trying to diversify the crowds out here, but I don't know if that will shift winter people to summer or just bring more people here," said David Zaccagnino, who is running for a seat on the Manatee County Commission. "I would rather see them lobbying the state for money for infrastructure and public safety." More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryChief Speciale honored

BRADENTON BEACH – City, county, state and federal officials honored Police Chief Sam Speciale last week for his 30 years of service to the city.

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon, Congressional Special Assistant Gary Tibbetts, State Rep. Jim Boyd and County Commissioner John Chappie each paid tribute to Speciale during the Thursday, Oct. 20, city commission meeting.

Shearon passed out copies of a photograph of Speciale when he first joined the Bradenton Beach Police Department.

"There is a little likeness to Barney Fife, and I've been told they used to call Sam 'two-bullet" because Barney was only allowed to have one and Sam could have two. When Sam started out his career, he was named Police Officer of the Year. I'll preface that by saying he was the only one that was here for a full year," Shearon joked.

He then introduced Tibbetts, a former police officer who now serves as a special assistant to Congressman Vern Buchanan. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryRental purchase rejected

ANNA MARIA – City Commissioners recently rejected a counteroffer pertaining to the potential purchase of a vacation rental at 117 Willow Ave for $1.2 million.

The four-bedroom rental home in question is owned by 117 Willow LLC, which lists developer Shawn Kaleta and Anna Maria Vacations owner Joe Varner as authorized persons; and attorney Louis Najmy as its registered agent.

The mayor and city attorney are still awaiting final word as to whether the property owners will accept the 12-person occupancy exception offered as an alternative means of settling the owners' Bert Harris claim. The city has received verbal acceptance of the 12-person occupancy limit, but the amended settlement agreement approved by the commission on Oct. 13 has not yet been signed. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMore settlement offers presented

ANNA MARIA – The City Commission has approved nine more Bert Harris claim settlement offers, including one that proposes purchasing a vacant lot at 62 North Shore Dr. owned by John and Lou Ann Lynch.

When presenting the North Shore Drive settlement offer at the Oct. 13 meeting, City Attorney Becky Vose said the Lynchs' claim is based on their plans to build a 5,200 square foot second home that would also be used as a short-term vacation rental that accommodates 12 guests.

The Bert Harris claim cites $340,000 in diminished property value if the owners are bound to the city's eight-person vacation rental occupancy limit. Vose told the commission the submitted building plans indicate four bedrooms and a den. According to the two-plus-two occupancy provision being offered to other claim filers, this would allow for a maximum of 10 occupants. Vose said a house that large could accommodate more bedrooms and she suggested the owners consider eliminating the den and make that a bedroom that would allow for two more guests. More...

Bert Harris claims continue rolling into Holmes Beach

HOLMES BEACH – The city received four new Bert Harris claims from from Manatee AMI, LLC, 205 North Harbor Drive; Cove AMI, LLC, 206 North Harbor Drive; Stephen and Karen Travill, 301 74th St.; and Jeffrey and Annette Gutzwiller, 316 63rd St., Unit B totaling $840,000.

All are represented by the law firm Najmy/Thompson, and claims are as follows:

• Manatee AMI, LLC, 205 North Harbor Drive: The before condition of the property is a three-bedroom, two-story residence able to accommodate eight or more guests with a loss in value of $195,000;

• Cove AMI, LLC, 206 North Harbor Drive: The before condition of the property is a four-bedroom, three-story residence able to accommodate 10 or more guests with a loss in value of $345,000; More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIs the flooding getting worse?

ANNA MARIA – The mayor, city commission and City Engineer Lynn Burnett spent an hour recently discussing drainage and flooding issues.

"With these last couple storms, it seems that we've gotten all kinds of feedback from residents who have lived here for a long time saying we never had flooding and now all of the sudden we're getting flooding," Mayor Dan Murphy said at the Oct. 13 commission work session.

"We've invested a lot of money in flood abatement with the vertical filtration trenches, yet I know there are places that are still underwater four or five days after a storm event. We don't seem to be recovering as fast, and the effects seem to be worse that what they were in the past," he added. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Plans in place to raise schooner

CORTEZ – With help from some new friends, Rick Stewart hopes to raise his sunken schooner by the end of the month.

Built in Italy in 1870, the wooden schooner San Francesco is currently sitting half-submerged on the bottom of the Intracoastal Waterway in front of the Seafood Shack restaurant. After the power to her bilge pumps failed, the schooner became flooded and sank due to the heavy rains associated with Hurricane Hermine. The schooner also sank in January during a similar heavy rain event.

"I'm hearing rumors it's going to be cut up for firewood or turned into a bar – all these different things. I came pretty close to throwing in the towel, but it's not over yet," Stewart said.

While having dinner at the Seafood Shack, Seminole resident and Tampa-based mobile marine repair business owner Captain Joe MacFarlane inquired about the sunken schooner. This led later to a discussion with Stewart about raising the ship. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFall, football, food and beer!

Fall is here, and that means football, friends, food and beer. To kick off the season, the employees of Motorworks Brewing find great satisfaction in pairing delightful, award-winning brews with delicious foods at tailgates and other gatherings.

Food and beer have a natural synergy when paired properly. For us, the perfect pairing is when each bite and sip are matched in intensity, while highlighting key features in the beer and food. We love to create memorable pairings by strategically finding complimentary or contrasting flavors in each of the dishes and beers, providing an experience truly titillating to the senses.

Bring your tailgate to the next level by trying some of our favorite seasonal pairings:

Our award winning V Twin Vienna Lager naturally pairs well with grilled chicken wings, burgers, brats and pulled pork. So fire up the grill, get a nice char going on some wings or brats and pair them with our V Twin Lager; the Munich malt provides a light toasted aroma, with a moderate hop bitterness to nicely balance out the rich malt taste. Its light body and slightly creamy mouthfeel dries in the finish, quenching your thirst and preparing your palate for the next savory bite. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySarasota Bay Watch's 8th annual cleanup

On Nov. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Bay Watch (SBW) will hold its 8th Annual Monofilament Cleanup. Participants will meet at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron to conduct the cleanup of local bird rookeries. Lunch will be provided after the event.

The cleanup is conducted during this time of the year because seabirds do not nest in the fall. Volunteers will search for and remove fishing line from mangrove shorelines and bridge fenders as well as bird nesting islands.

In past years, SBW's fishing line cleanup has attracted up to 100 volunteers and removed over three football field lengths of line from the bay's coastline. Materials that are collected will be weighed and measured and the data shared with scientists working on entanglement issues. This is a great opportunity to help protect seabirds and other marine wildlife. More...

real estate

Do you really want to be scared?

Halloween is in a couple of days, so you can expect hauntings by mini ghosts and goblins knocking on your front door. But does your home have hauntings every day of the year, and, if it has, what happens when you want to sell both your home and its hauntings?

Fortunately, when you sell your property, ghosts are a non-issue since the authenticity of a haunted house is subjective. The law recognizes this and does not require disclosure. Florida law states that if the property was a site of a homicide, suicide or death it is not a material fact requiring disclosure nor does an alleged haunted houses require homeowners to disclose something as ambiguous as a haunting.

However, in the "spirit" of good faith during the Halloween season and all year round, disclosing some facts about a property that may be considered stigmatized is probably a good business practice. Even if the law does not mandate this type of disclosure, buyers will appreciate the effort you made to disclose all you may or may not know about the property leaving them with a comfortable feeling during the negotiation process and through the transaction. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCenter café spices it up

ANNA MARIA – Alfonso Abreu and Sylvia Noguera have spiced up the café at The Center of Anna Maria Island with an international flair featuring such delights as empanadas, chipas and yucca fries.

"We have a partnership with the Center to lease the space in the kitchen to operate our culinary operation and distribution center." Abreu explained.

Abreu, originally from the Dominican Republic, grew up in the Bronx and developed a talent for music, but pursued a career in technology – from software to consulting and coaching to startups.

"My mom and dad were both great cooks, and I learned from them," he said. "Through the years as I got better, I hosted parties, and people said I should open a restaurant, but I resisted." 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 StoryTyler's Ice Cream churns it up

After struggling to get through the regular season games, thanks to the unpredictable summer and fall weather that hit the Island in the past few months, the adult flag football playoffs started last week with excitement on the field Thursday night.

In the first game of the night, the two teams that ended the regular season in the middle of the pack, Tyler's Ice Cream and Coldwell Banker, showed the parity of the league in the 40 minutes of football action.

The single elimination format of the playoffs set the stage for do or die action with the two consistent and confident quarterbacks Jason Sato for Tyler's Ice Cream and Charles Buky leading Coldwell Banker. Each team, looking toward the championship game to be played at 8:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 27, played each snap of the football like it was the last.

With the sun shining bright and three officials on the field, the first whistle blew to start the night's activities. Karri Stephens set the stage for the action packed game with his amazing youthful speed taking the football the length of the field after a quick pitch from Buky for six quick points for Team Coldwell Banker. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTurtle laws still apply

It ain't over 'til it's over, Suzi Fox reminds Anna Maria Island beachfront residents and visitors.

Sea turtle nesting season does not end until Oct. 31, and in the meantime, turtle laws apply, including those prohibiting beachfront lighting and leaving furniture and other objects on the beach after dark, the director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring said.

People are saying they don't see any nests on the beach and are turning on their beachfront lights in violation of the law, she said. More...

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