Vol. 17 No. 7 - November 30, 2016


Planning board to limit bedrooms, habitable space

BRADENTON BEACH – The Planning and Zoning Board has forwarded its recommended vacation rental regulations to the City Commission and is now setting its sights on limiting the size, shape and configuration of vacation rentals built in the future.

The board members discussed some of these concepts during the three-hour meeting that took place on Monday, Nov. 21. The board will resume these discussions at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

At the request of board member Jim Lynch, Nov. 30 meeting will also include discussion on the possibility of recommending the city commission adopt an eight-person occupancy limit for vacation rentals permitted and built after the current six-month building moratorium expires.

During the Nov. 21 meeting, the board engaged in preliminary discussion on a number of possible amendments to the land development code (LDC), working from a list of suggestions created by board member Reed Mapes, with assistance provided by City Planner Alan Garrett. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryKidney donation: a life changing experience

“Chris saved my life; it’s a miracle,” Foster Yates said of his friend, Chris Culhane, who gave Yates a kidney in a life changing operation in September.

Yates was on the transplant list and in dialysis three days a week for five hours a day, when Culhane offered his kidney to save Yates’ life. After extensive testing and receiving approval from the transplant committee at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, the pair traveled there for surgery in September.

“Foster’s family was there for the surgery, and I met some of them for the first time,” Culhane recalled. “The surgery took a couple of hours, and afterward we were in recovery rooms next to each other.

“Then I heard yelling and someone said, ‘He’s coding.’ His heart had stopped, but the doctors revived him. When he got out of intensive care, he came to my room and we were able to visit.”

His girlfriend, Amy Agramonte, who was with him the whole time, said, “This is one really incredible show of humanity. It was amazing to witness.” More...

AMICCO Holiday concert features Handel’s Messiah

Internationally known vocalists will perform at the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra’s holiday offering on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. There have been “Messiah” sing-a-longs and performances of “Messiah” excerpts, but a performance of all of the great and memorable moments in the entire oratorio are rare in concert repertory.

AMICCO will perform Handel’s most famous oratorio that celebrates the birth, the life and the gift of Christ. Daniel Gerdes will perform “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people“ and “Ev’ry valley shall be exalted," and then the chorus follows immediately with “And the glory, the glory of the Lord.” With that you will be carried musically through this amazing work. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMaro seeks vacant seat

BRADENTON BEACH – The agenda for the Thursday, Dec. 1, City Commission meeting calls for the appointment and swearing in of a new Ward 2 commissioner.

The sitting commission members must appoint someone to fill the seat vacated earlier this month by Ed Straight after he term-limited out of office. Mayor Bill Shearon and commissioners Ralph Cole, Jake Spooner and John Chappie will nominate and try to reach consensus on the next Ward 2 commissioner. They must also appoint one of the members to succeed Straight as vice-mayor.

As of Friday, Marilyn Maro was the only person to submit an application for the commission seat. Now in her early 70s, Maro has lived in Bradenton Beach and Ward 2 for nearly 19 years. She is a retired cosmetologist and cosmetology instructor, and she previously owned two salons in her former home state of Ohio. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFormer commissioner fined

BRADENTON BEACH – The Florida Elections Commission has fined former Bradenton Beach City Commissioner Janie Robertson $75 for violations she committed during her unsuccessful bid for reelection in 2015.

In response to a complaint filed last year by former Mayor Jack Clarke, the Elections Commission, in August, notified Robertson that it had found probable cause to believe that she had violated Florida statute on four counts:

• Certifying that a campaign financial report was true, correct and complete when it was not;

• Failing to report a campaign contribution;

• Deliberately failing to include required information on her report.

• Falsely reporting information on her report. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCRA board expands

BRADENTON BEACH – The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board will have four new members when it meets next.

One of the new members will be recently-elected City Commissioner John Chappie, who will join Mayor Bill Shearon and commissioners Ralph Cole and Jake Spooner on the board that acts as a related but separate entity from the city commission. The fifth seat will be filled by the commission-appointed Ward 2 commissioner – a seat that could be filled at this week’s city commission meeting.

The expanded board also will include two new non-elected members. During the Wednesday, Nov. 16 CRA meeting, the CRA board, that consisted of Shearon, Cole, Spooner and departing commissioners Jan Vosburgh and Ed Straight, appointed Anna Maria Oyster Bar owner John Horne and BeachHouse restaurant owner Ed Chiles to the board. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryYacht Club hosting parade and toy drive

CORTEZ – In lieu of the annual boat parade that has doubled as a holiday toy drive, the Cortez Yacht Club and the Swordfish Grill will instead host the inaugural Light It Up Toy Drive Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Serving as a Toys for Tots toy drive, the parade will consist of decorated and lighted golf carts, while also providing an opportunity for decorated dinghies and small boats if there are any takers.

Parade participants are invited to travel the potential dual parade routes by land or by sea by meeting at Annie’s Bait & Tackle prior to the 5 p.m. parade start time. Annie’s is located at 4334 127th St W. in Cortez.

The land route will travel backroads from Annie’s, cross Cortez Road at 119th St. West, travel over to Tide Tables – singing Christmas carols along the way – and then over to the Swordfish Grill, where the after-party will take place. The Swordfish Grill is located at 4628 119th St. W. in Cortez. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Political graffiti found in Holmes Beach

HOLMES BEACH – This year’s presidential election left a bad taste in the mouth of somebody who used it as an excuse to advertise feelings on other people’s property, according to Holmes Beach Police.

An officer on patrol found graffiti spray painted on the fence to the dumpster area at the Nautilus Condominiums, 7100 Gulf Drive, on Saturday, Nov. 12. The graffiti said “Trump KKK.” The manager, David Dahlquist, said it happened after he last inspected the fence at 5 p.m. on that date.

The officer found more graffiti at a rental property at 7005 Gulf Drive on a sign belonging to Sato Real Estate. It had “Trump” and a heart painted on it in purple permanent marker. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTree house owners seek building permit

HOLMES BEACH – Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen have applied to the city’s building department for an after the fact permit for their tree house on the beach in front of Angelino’s Sea Lodge at 103 29th St.

The application calls the structure “an accessory structure, two level deck in a tree” and includes product approval for the windows used as railings on the first level deck, a coastal engineering study, sealed structural engineer plans, construction photos showing supports and framing, photos, as built sketches and a survey with lot calculation, building coverage, impervious coverage and a drainage plan.

In a letter with the application, Tran said, “The two-level deck is an open structure that allows rain water to drip through the tree branches through the deck to the sandy soil below. Drainage is the same as when there is just the tree without the decks. All rain waters get absorbed by trees, plants and nearby bushes.” More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCrossFit: a fitness lifestyle

ANNA MARIA – “If you change your fitness, you change your life,” said Shay Coleman, the Center’s fitness director and CrossFit head coach. “I want people who are truly ready to change their fitness lifestyle.”

Coleman, who trained under Steve Cirbus, a national CrossFit games coach, and Jessica Pananian, a national CrossFit games competitor, and received his CrossFit Level I and II and U.S. weightlifting certification, moved to the area three and a half years ago.

“I started a garage gym training family and friends,” he recalled. “It was all by word of mouth, and then it grew into coaching at the Center a year ago.” More...

real estate

What a way to start the holiday season

“Tis the season to be jolly,” except, of course, if you’re looking to finance or refinance and missed the low interest rate window. But don’t be afraid the Grinch has not totally taken over, and although rates are inching up, they are still historically low.

After the election, the treasury bond yields when up right along with mortgage interest rates. Two days after the election the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate, conforming mortgage spiked a quarter of a percentage point to 3.87 percent, going as high as 4.02 percent after that. As of this writing, the 30-year, fixed rate is about 3.98 percent and the 15-year rate is 3.09 percent.

As previously stated, even though rates are going up they are still historically low. In, fact the average over the past 45 years is 8.26 percent, according to data from Freddie Mac. No one, of course, wants to see those rates again, but even a small movement in the rate can have a serious impact on the real estate market in general.

Higher interest rates can have a dramatic effect on not only the mortgage market, but also on the refinance market. This has proven to be true since two weeks ago the refinance index fell to a six-month low. The refinance market is more sensitive to even small rate increases since homeowners who currently have mortgages close to the new higher rates may reconsider their refinance options. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryShoppers avoid the Black Friday crowds

The day after Thanksgiving signals the start of the Christmas shopping season, and for many years, it has been known as Black Friday. Large shopping chains open early on Black Friday and in recent years, on Thanksgiving evening.

Advertising is intense and the daily newspapers toss huge papers on yards, larger than Sunday editions thanks to the shopping inserts.

Black Friday is just another day to Island businesses in most cases, but that might change soon.

Pink and Navy, the boutique on Pine Avenue, started opening an hour earlier and offering discounts at a declining rate per hour, according to storeowner Janae Rudacille.

“It has been our busiest day,” she said last Friday. “This year I put it in my ad in The Sun and we’ve been busier than ever.” 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 StoryTeam Mike Walter & Associates wins with Gish’s outside shot

Last Tuesday night, more than halfway through the regular season, four teams hit the indoor court at The Center for two hard fought adult recreational league basketball games. This season sees many new faces take to the court along with a number of returning league veterans to make up the five teams in fall action.

The last game of the night pitted a winless Team Mike Walter & Associates against Team Intechgrate Systems, which came into the game of the week with one victory under its belt. With a five-man roster for the game, Intechgrate Systems sparked new life midway through the season with the addition of Aaron Daduks.

Daduks, a longtime league player, has led a number of teams to the championship game, and as the team captain, has claimed the ultimate victory in the past. His experience and solid play has helped his team this season go from big losses to being solid contenders.

Team Mike Walter & Associates, led by Sam Hooker, started the game off with a quick three pointer by Tyler Bekkerus just seconds after the tipoff.

Intechgrate’s Ted Hurst and Craig McDonald reacted with solid high percentage shots laying up the ball for two back-to-back baskets. After stealing the ball from Team Mike Walter & Associates, Intechgrate’s third basket gave the team a three-point lead. More...


Turtles crawl to a record year

Sea turtles had a record year in more ways than one on Anna Maria Island, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

The record of 435 nests is higher than the next closest record year of 2013 by 66 nests, and higher than the 15-year average by 246 nests.

Why, especially in a year with two hurricanes and a severe tropical storm that destroyed 145 nests?

Mostly, it’s due to 34 years of Turtle Watch volunteers caring for turtles and educating visitors, residents and business owners, Fox told volunteers on Saturday at an appreciation luncheon marking the end of the 2016 turtle season. More...

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