Vol. 17 No. 22 - March 15, 2017


Business regulation bills meet local objection

ANNA MARIA – The City Commission and the ManaSota League of Cities want Florida legislators to know they oppose the current legislative efforts to limit cities' ability to regulate local businesses.

Both entities adopted resolutions last week that state in writing their opposition to House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 1158.

The bills

HB 17 was co-sponsored by Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) and Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast). Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) sponsored the companion bill, SB 1158.

HB 17 says a local government may not impose additional regulations on a business, occupation or profession or modify existing regulations except to repeal or reduce the regulation. It also says local business regulations adopted before July 1, 2017, would expire on July 1, 2020. More...

Holmes Beach readies to welcome spring breakers

HOLMES BEACH — Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer wants spring breakers to be safe and mind the rules while visiting the city.

HBPD officers are preparing for a growing number of visitors to Anna Maria Island over the coming weeks as spring break ramps up, continuing through March 27. As a part of that preparation, Tokajer has a few reminders for residents and visitors to help keep the community safe.

Beach regulations

Glass bottles and alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the beach. Officers have a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking anywhere in the city. Open fires and grills also are prohibited on all Island beaches. Pets are not allowed on the beach. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryJason Sato does it again

ANNA MARIA – For the second year in a row, Anna Maria Island real estate agent Jason Sato sold more real estate than any other agent in Manatee County. Sato, who is co-owner of Sato Real Estate, credits attitude for his success as well as a good team.

"We have a good staff working in the office," he said. "They free me up to show and sell homes."

He said one addition made that easier for him.

"We brought in Sandy Shahinian to do marketing," he said. "That really helped me."

Sato said the office staff is like family, and customers feel more comfortable when they are there, plus the office is located in a historic house. More...

Vosburgh applies for planning board

The Thursday, March 16 Bradenton Beach Commission meeting will start at noon and begin with former city residents Frank Harrison and Priscilla VonAhnen receiving certificates of appreciation.

The commission will discuss an information packet pertaining to two vacation rental bills (SB 188 and HB 425) and consider a dock permit for 2312 Canasta Drive. More...

Bond hearing for murder suspect continued

BRADENTON – Before a packed courthouse, the bond hearing for accused murderer Eugene Matthews, 84, was continued after District Judge Deno Economou said the defense attorney and prosecutor were using evidence from the upcoming trial to convince him to set bond so Matthews could get out of jail before his trial.

The courthouse was packed because a large number of Rebecca Rawson's friends and family were present to show their support for not letting Matthews out of jail, according to several of them who did not want to be identified. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Police officers address safety issues

HOLMES BEACH – Police Chief Bill Tokajer reports a decrease in crime, but says residents and visitors should still be concerned about safety.

Tokajer and other HBPD officers hosted a public forum March 9 at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive. Officers discussed hot topics, such as speed limits and parking, and addressed concerns from the public before taking attendees on a tour of the police station. The primary theme of the forum was public and personal safety.

"Not everyone who visits our community is very nice," Tokajer said. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMayor's FPL stance finds support

ANNA MARIA – The Anna Maria Commission supports Mayor Dan Murphy's decision to deny right of way work permits to Florida Power and Light (FPL) for the replacement of power poles along Gulf Drive and elsewhere in the city.

Murphy recently told FPL the city would not issue the work permits until FPL provides a plan that details how and when the existing poles will be removed. Murphy said he is not going to allow the old poles to remain in place, as is the case in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. More...

Bills pass to rein in Visit Florida, kill Enterprise Florida

TALLAHASSEE – In the first week of the Florida Legislative session, the House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved bills to make state's tourism agency, Visit Florida, more accountable, and eliminate the state's economic development agency, Enterprise Florida.

The Visit Florida bill, which passed 80-35 on Friday, would require the agency to raise private funds to get equivalent matching state funds and require performance standards, operating budgets and employee salaries to be included in contracts with businesses or governmental agencies that receive public funds from the state or from tourist taxes. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCenter announces Tour of Homes lineup

The Center of Anna Maria Island's annual Tour of Homes is almost here.

The event takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18 and features five homes, an artisan boutique and two gourmet food stops. Each home on the tour was chosen for its unique style and embodiment of Anna Maria Island living.

The Center will offer complimentary transportation between the five homes and The Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, as well as CrossPointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Shuttles will run consistently throughout the day between the homes and both parking areas. The Center's bus is handicap accessible. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Photograph/video your catch

In the digital age, anglers have a plethora of ways to record and share the excitement of their catch. There was a time when it was common to take fish back to the dock, where they were unceremoniously nailed to a board and photographed with the smiling anglers and guide. Occasionally, a picture was taken on the boat, and rarely the fish was released to fight again.

Fortunately, these days, that scenario is rare. Over the years anglers have come to recognize that fish stocks aren't unlimited and have started to release their catch (keeping only what they take home to eat fresh). Practicing catch and release doesn't mean you can't enjoy the thrill of the catch and share it with others. More...

real estate

Rentals back in style

Did you know that millennials (those between 19 and 35 years of age) have surpassed the baby boomers (those between 52 and 70 years of age) in population? It's estimated that the millennials comprise 75.5 million Americans while the boomers have 72.9 million. I don't want to sound like a sore loser, but being a boomer, I've sort of gotten use to being on top, so I'm not taking this news really well. Never-the-less us boomers are still having an influence on the real estate market.

Homeownership rates have declined since the 2014 all-time high of 67.3 percent, to 2015's rate of 62.2 percent. This likely is some of the reason for the country's rental boom, which per the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, is up by 9 million between 2005 and 2015. This is the largest increase over any 10-year period. 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 StoryMiller Electric shuts the door on Progressive Cabinetry

In the final weekend of the regular season for the 11- to 13-year-old flag football age group, Miller Electric faced off against Progressive Cabinetry in the chilled morning air at The Center on Saturday. The games started with sparks flying off the heels of the game's MVP Shawn Balvin, of Team Miller Electric.

On the first snap of the ball Balvin took the football for 50 yards before the flag pull by Eli Newman for Team Progressive Cabinetry. After the snap team quarterback Gavin Johnston got the football back in his hands, taking the football into the end zone and maneuvering past defenders for the first touchdown of the day.

Charlie Halfacre gained seven yards on second down for Progressive Cabinetry. The third down pass was caught by Ginger Maro short of the first down, giving the ball back to Coach David Johnston's team. More...


Balloon release concerns Turtle Watch

BRADENTON BEACH – Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring was notified through an anonymous tip that on Friday, Feb. 10, at sunset, about 50 people walked out of a restaurant and released "dozens of green and yellow balloons over the sea."

Other callers reported to Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox that the balloons were delivered to the restaurant around 4:30 p.m. that night in a minivan, she said.

Fox said she is asking city officials to remind business owners that they should not allow balloon releases from their business.

Florida Statute 379.233 makes it unlawful to intentionally release 10 or more balloons in 24 hours; violators can incur a $250 fine. The law calls balloons "a danger and nuisance to the environment, particularly to wildlife and marine animals." More...

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