Vol. 17 No. 28 - April 26, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCortez rises again against Beruff

CORTEZ – The last time Cortezians took on Carlos Beruff, they lined up a 90-year-old woman, several seniors in wheelchairs, grandchildren, babes in their mothers' arms and a disabled commercial fisherman along Cortez Road waving signs reading, "We are the little fish."

For months, they filled hearing rooms with Cortez residents packed as tight as mullet in a cooler.

They beat the developer's 2007 bid to buy the Cortez Trailer Park for $10.8 million, demolish it, displace the residents and turn it into a marina. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryNoise ordinance requires further review

BRADENTON BEACH – The City Commission agrees that a commission workshop is needed to review and discuss the noise ordinance adopted in 2014.

City Attorney Ricinda Perry proposed the workshop before noise-related public comments were made at the commission's Thursday, April 20, meeting. She said public input was welcomed, but the commission were not prepared to take action that day.

"As we work through things, there may be little areas that could be tweaked," she said of the ordinance. The commission members unanimously agreed to review the ordinance at a future date. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFitness trail fiasco continues

BRADENTON BEACH – City Commissioners will take a third crack at completing the preliminary paperwork needed to submit a fitness trail funding request to the Manatee County Commission.

On April 17, the commission reluctantly directed City Attorney Ricinda Perry to draft a revised city resolution and a revised letter of joint support, both of which are to include a not-to-exceed project cost of $15,000.

It is the commission's hope that Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy and Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson will join Mayor Bill Shearon in signing a joint letter deemed acceptable by all parties involved. Murphy and Johnson would not sign the previous letter they received because it did not contain a not-to-exceed amount. The county requires a letter of support from the three mayors for the proposed use of country-controlled excess beach concessions funds. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGrassy Point reopens to the public

HOLMES BEACH — The gates of Grassy Point Preserve are officially open, at least for the hours between dawn and dusk.

City leaders and more than 30 guests gathered April 19 for a ribbon cutting and first look at the newly expanded park.

Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson called the event a thank you to everyone who contributed to the purchase, maintenance, planting, expansion and support of the park.

"You are very special people to have done so much for so long," he said. "I just want to say thank you to all of you." More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryRental regulations get a push

BRADENTON BEACH – The Quality of Life Ordinance adopted in 2015, but never implemented, appears poised for a comeback.

A discussion initiated by Commissioner Ralph Cole at the April 17 meeting resulted in city's department heads again being directed to provide cost estimates for the implementation, administration and enforcement of vacation rental regulations and a registration program. The commission wants this information for its June 1 meeting.

The recommended fees will then be included in a fee resolution drafted by City Attorney Ricinda Perry.

By resolution, the commission must also repeal a resolution adopted in March that formally suspended the enforcement of the Quality of Life Ordinance that was never enforced. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMetz appeal costs climbing

BRADENTON BEACH – John Metz's appeal of a 2015 permitting decision made by Building Official Steve Gilbert has already cost Bradenton Beach taxpayers $11,447 in attorney fees.

On Monday, April 17, City Treasurer Shayne Thompson e-mailed the mayor and city commissioners a detailed summary of the mounting legal costs associated with Metz's attempts to have a neighboring property owned by Wendy and George Kokolis declared abandoned in terms of its continued use as a vacation rental.

Thompson's cost summary did not include legal fees incurred after the March 13 special master hearing, when the testimony and cross-examinations began. The hearing resumed on the same morning Thompson distributed the e-mail that anticipated an additional $3,000 for legal services that day and beyond. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Bert Harris settlements continue ...

ANNA MARIA – The most recent group of Bert Harris settlement claim offers approved by the Anna Maria City Commission includes an offer to purchase a vacation rental home at 801 North Shore Dr. for $2.27 million.

The city previously offered property owners James and Jeanette DePorre a maximum guest occupancy of 10, but the owners requested 14, plus additional infants and children, based on the property's history of rentals to large families. The commission authorized the purchase offer on April 4. As of Sunday, City Attorney Beck Vose had not heard back from the property owners' attorney, Kevin Hennessy. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryVacation rental bills on collision course?

TALLAHASSEE – On Monday, the Florida House of Representatives' Commerce Committee ruled favorably on the vacation rental bill known as House Bill 425.

The Commerce Committee was the final committee stop for the bill filed by Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud); and the committee did not amend the House bill to resemble the significant amendments made to Greg Steube's Senate bill, SB 188, on April 17.

SB 188 was scheduled for a final hearing by the Senate Rules Committee Tuesday afternoon and the result of that meeting were not known at press time. Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) is a member of the Rules Committee. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFlavors of NOLA found in Cortez

My husband and I love visiting New Orleans. Once we land and check-in to the hotel, we hit the streets. Some of our favorite places include Johnny White's on Bourbon, a small corner bar where the locals hang out. Lafitte's, also on Bourbon, was built in the early 1700s and reports to being the oldest bar in the USA. Pat O'Brien's respectfully deserves a visit. Hermes Bar is a casual and welcoming alternative to its more formal sister, Antoine's, especially during their happy hour.

"And great jazz can always be found at Tipitina's. On one visit to The Crescent City, we found a place that served tequila from frozen taps. But we have never been able to find that place again. Go figure.

Don't forget to check out Preservation Hall, Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo, Central Grocery, The Rodrigue Gallery and the Brass Monkey, with the largest selection of limoges boxes I have ever seen. While we seldom wander far from the French Quarter, we always eat at Coop's Place, Cafe du Monde, Mother's, Mr. B's Bistro and Acme Oyster House. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Good time for Spanish mackerel

Spanish mackerel are one of the most abundant fish in area waters. Although not a native species in the strictest sense, this fast, toothy and tasty predator is present year-round. The only exception is during prolonged periods of cold weather. I think of them as an everyman's fish, since they can be caught in the bay, in the Gulf, from a boat, from the beach and from piers, jetties and local bridges.

Spanish mackerel are rapacious, opportunistic carnivores that feed on a wide range of baitfish and crustaceans. Some of their favorite targets are pilchards, threadfin herring and shrimp. The mackerel's streamlined body and sickle tail provide the speed and maneuverability that makes it an extremely efficient hunter and exciting target on spinning, fly or bait casting tackle.

Mackerel will take a wide variety of lures, flies and live bait. When rigging for them, keep tackle light and use as little hardware as possible. Eight- to 10-pound spinning and bait casting tackle and seven- and eight-weight fly rods are sufficient. The most effective rig is created by doubling the standing line using either a spider hitch or a Bimini twist. A bite tippet of 30- or 40-pound monofilament is then added. More...

real estate

Don't be square – know your square feet

Real estate transactions have a lot of aspects to be considered. Some are easy, some are difficult and some are just confusing. It doesn't sound like it should be complicated, but determining the square footage of your home can be less definitive than you may think.

The first thing you should start with is what defines square footage. At the risk of insulting my readers, the square footage of a room is determined by multiplying the length of the room by the width; if a room is 10 feet by 12 feet the square footage is 120 feet. For the faint of heart who think arithmetic is a dead language, there are on line calculators that can do the math for you. Easy, right? Not so fast. First you need to determine what room or space you should be measuring.

Since there is no national standard when calculating square footage, every real estate professional approaches it from a different point of view, as well as communities that have their own culture that can exclude or include certain areas of a home. For instance, when I sold real estate on Long Island, N. Y., it was rare to see any notation on a listing of the total square footage of a property. Homes were identified with the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, finished basements, and the property size was indicated in acreage rather than square feet, i.e. quarter acre, half acre, etc. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAir & Energy grows

Watching your business grow is a wonderful thing, but watching your children grow is really what touches your heart. When you're lucky enough to see your children become successful in your business, well that's a heart exploding event.

Air & Energy Air, Plumbing & Electrical based on Anna Maria Island has been a family run business for 34 years. Several years ago, Stewart Moon, Sr. retired and made way for his son Stewart Moon, Jr. to become one of the principals of the business along with his mother Trudy Moon, who remains active in the business. 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 StoryLittle boots take the pitch at The Center

What does it look like when 50 kids under the age of eight take to the soccer field at the Island's community center? It looks like fun in the sun with friends and family learning the international game known to most around the world as football. Each week as the area's youth tie up their cleats, to some known as boots, players as young as three years old learn the basics each Saturday at The Center.

Under the key instruction of coach Tony Shard, former head coach for the McNeese State University women's soccer team and former operational director of the Disney Soccer Academy, the Island kids have the opportunity to learn basic skills and play the game in instructional games each Saturday.

Sponsored by Bin There Dumped That, the three- to five-year-old players take the fields first. While the tendency is for these youngsters to get distracted and disinterested, the clinic format keeps the little feet moving and learning while having fun. More...


Help your local sea turtles

Sea turtles will be crawling up on Anna Maria Island's beaches to nest any day now, and beachgoers can do several things to help them nest successfully.

"Anyone spending time on Florida's beaches can do something to help save Florida's threatened and endangered sea turtles. People's actions on the beach can have a positive impact on whether our loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles nest successfully," said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) sea turtle management program.

For example, leave the beach as natural as possible by removing beach furniture and other obstacles before sunset each day.

"Whether you are a resident or a visitor, remember to take beach furniture, boats and canopies off Florida's sandy beaches at night so these items won't block sea turtles attempting to nest," Trindell said. More...

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