Vol. 17 No. 24 - March 29, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWMFR recognizes Chief Price

HOLMES BEACH — For West Manatee Fire & Rescue District (WMFR), two celebrations are better than one.

More than 60 people came out March 25 to WMFR Station 3 on Marina Drive in Holmes Beach to honor retired Fire Chief Andy Price and stayed to join in on the district’s open house community celebration.

In celebration of Price’s 35 years in the fire service before retiring in 2015, the district honored him by naming the Island fire station after the former chief. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAmended rental bill marches on

TALLAHASSEE – The vacation rental bill filed by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) is moving through the Florida Senate with an amendment that would not bode well for the Island cities.

On Tuesday, March, 21, the Regulated Industries Committee ruled favorably on Senate Bill 188 by a 7-3 margin. The amended bill’s next stop will be the Community Affairs Committee and then the Rules Committee that includes Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton).

Last week’s favorable ruling on the bill came after the committee adopted an amendment that would have far-reaching implications locally. More...

Holmes Beach awarded Bert Harris victory

HOLMES BEACH — One point is awarded to Holmes Beach in the battle between the city and the Bert Harris Act.

City leaders received notice March 22 that the court had rendered a final judgement in favor of the municipality in the Bert Harris case for 626 Key Royale Drive, owned by Kathleen Morgan and Leah Marie Enterprises LLC.

The property owners have 30 days from the date of the judgement to appeal the decision. The court retained jurisdiction over the issue of fees and costs. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBusiness tax bill gutted

TALLAHASSEE – The business tax bill proposed by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) has been amended in a fashion that will no longer impact Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and other Florida cities.

The state legislation Steube originally proposed, Senate Bill 330, would have capped cities’ annual business tax fees at $25. It would have also prevented cities that do not have business tax programs from enacting them in the future.

The annual local business tax fees are charged to commercial endeavors that operate within a city that requires a local business license. The fees in Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach typically range from $20 to $180. The city of Anna Maria does not have a business tax program. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCity engineer addresses resident bike path concerns

HOLMES BEACH — An official bicycle path may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you.

The city engineer for all three Island cities, Lynn Burnett, presented the Holmes Beach portion of a bicycle plan March 22 in the first of two bike path forums at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Mayor Bob Johnson introduced Burnett to the more than a dozen attendees, encouraging discussion and requesting feedback from community members.

“This is an evening of pure discussion,” he said. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story The case of the missing bins

It’s not exactly pulp fiction, but the city of Anna Maria has a trashy mystery unfolding.

Eleven Waste Management trash bins were reported as missing last year and one so far this year.

None of them have been recovered. They’ve just disappeared.

“You would think they would be found,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Sgt. Russ Schnering. “Anna Maria is a small city, and it would be difficult to hide 12 trash bins.” More...

Car thieves strike Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA – An unknown number of thieves went on a crime spree in Anna Maria Friday night, stealing two cars and burglarizing six others, one of which contained a loaded .45 caliber pistol that is now missing.

According to Sgt. Russell Schnering, from the Anna Maria division of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, one of the stolen cars was found the next day in Palmetto on U.S. 19, which leads north to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The recovered car was damaged, but it was not known if the damage occurred before or after the car was taken. As of Monday morning, the second car was still missing.

In addition to the pistol, thieves also made off with a Vera Bradley wallet containing cash, a restaurant apron containing cash and some loose change. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFire code compliance questioned

BRADENTON BEACH – Anonymous concerns relayed by Mayor Bill Shearon triggered a code enforcement investigation into alleged fire safety code compliance at multiple Bridge Street businesses, then raised even more questions about the source of the anonymous complaints.

Last week, Police Chief Sam Speciale said the issue arose during a recent weekly meeting he had with the mayor. Speciale said he saw the words “fire marshal” on Shearon’s monitor screen and asked what they referred to. Speciale said Shearon then mentioned potential fire code violations that he first attributed to a fire marshal and later to a fire department employee or fire inspector.

In response, Speciale asked Code Enforcement Officer Gail Garneau to investigate the locations and the potential violations Shearon shared with him. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCenter honors the past with improvements for the future

ANNA MARIA — It’s time to come out to the old ball game at the Center of Anna Maria Island.

The organization celebrated the rededication of its baseball field March 22 after renovations including resodding, updates to the irrigation system and improvements to the clay area at home plate, all funded by a grant from the Pirates Charities for field maintenance. The work was completed by Blue Lagoon Landscaping in Bradenton.

Joining the Center’s staff were members of the Scanio, Cagnina and Hutchinson families, all honored for their families’ contributions to the baseball and sports programming at the Center. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Now or Neverglades campaign to 'save' the Everglades

The Everglades earned the nickname River of Grass because of the shallow water that courses through the sawgrass marshes and hammocks from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee and south to Florida Bay. At one time the rich soil was almost completely covered by water. That all changed in the early 20th century when settlers and farmers lured by the promise of inexpensive land moved south to Florida. When they found the land covered by water they began to construct canals and dikes to drain the land for agriculture.

In 1905, Gov. Napoleon Broward began an intensive effort to make the land suitable for agriculture and development by draining large areas of the Glades. This created vast tracks of farmland and stimulated the growth of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. As a result, flood control was needed to protect these interests. In 1948, Congress authorized the largest water management system in the world to protect agriculture interests and create a source of drinking water to supply the rapidly growing Gold Coast. It included an extensive system of levees, canals and dams that channeled nearly two billion gallons of water to the coasts. More...

real estate

Winter house guests – are we done yet?

Do you yearn for the days when the only person in your kitchen is you? Do you lust after laundry baskets that are devoid of your best towels and does walking around in a torn T-shirt and not much else becomes your greatest dream? Then get ready because the end of winter house guest season is just around the corner.

On Anna Maria, the number of bedrooms in single family homes have become not only a big selling point but also a big debate. Since there are so many investor properties that are turned into rentals, bedrooms are a key selling point, but in other parts of the country homeowners are starting to take somewhat of a dim view of buying luxury homes with a lot of extra bedrooms. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHurricane Hanks is happening

It may be March, but there’s a new hurricane that just blew into town, only this one isn’t fueled by warm ocean temperatures. This one is fueled by old friendships, devotion to food and love of Anna Maria.

Hurricane Hanks restaurant and Hurricane Liquors next door have been in Holmes Beach for many years. The restaurant has been a magnet for locals and visitors alike with repeat long time customers, and the full-service liquor store also conveniently located dead center on the Island, stocks the largest selection of beer, wines and spirits on Anna Maria. So, it was no surprise that when they became available for sale it was quickly snapped up by Island loving partners.

Sharon Evans and her husband, Mark, bought a second home in Holmes Beach three years ago. While these Winnipeg, Canada, natives were vacationing in Naples, they decided to take a ride to Anna Maria Island. As soon as they crossed the bridge from Longboat Key, they knew they were never going back to Naples, and they didn’t. After checking into one of Anna Maria’s charming Gulffront hotels, they were totally convinced this was the place for them and bought a house the next day.


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 StoryMason Martin takes a loss against Beach House Real Estate

In a battle on the gridiron with just five players on the field at a time, starting two men down is not the greatest way to start what would have been perhaps the most anticipated match up of the season. Missing their quarterback, Charles Buky, and three other players, Team Mason Martin snapped the ball on offense with just three players on the field against undefeated Team Beach House Real Estate.

Ever hopeful knowing two players were making their way onto the Island community center, team captain Frank Agnelli assumed the role as QB for the first set of downs. After a 10-yard gain by Chad Woods, Agnelli threw an interception to Beach House Real Estate captain and quarterback Don Purvis.

Purvis made quick work of the field with a first down play to Jon Moss right off the bat. Moss gained an additional 10 yards, setting up teammate Jesse Griffin for the touchdown catch in the end zone. Moving ahead early after the extra point, the Beach House Real Estate team stopped Mason Martin after three snaps of the football. More...

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