Vol. 17 No. 31 - May 17, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryUPS Store likely a no-go in Holmes Beach

HOLMES BEACH — Despite the rumors swirling across the Island, a UPS Store is unlikely to open in Holmes Beach any time soon.

The issue wasn't on the city commission's May 9 agenda, but several Island residents and business owners, along with UPS Store franchisee Bob Wright, appealed to commissioners during public comment.

Owners of Holmes Beach shipping and mailbox store, Island Mail and More, Rebecca and Eric St. Jean expressed concern that a UPS Store could potentially put them out of business and reduce shipping options for Islanders.

Island Mail and More offers shipping through FedEx, DHL, the United States Postal Service and UPS. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryNoise ordinance extension proposed

BRADENTON BEACH – City Commissioners are considering Police Chief Sam Speciale's suggestion to extend the 75-decibel noise limit until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays on a trial basis.

The noise ordinance adopted in 2014 currently allows 85 decibels until 7 p.m., 75 db. from 7 to 10 p.m. and no outdoor or open-air music after 10 p.m. Indoor venues are allowed to operate within the 65 db. limit until 1 a.m.

The noise ordinance was the topic of discussion at the Tuesday, May 9, commission workshop. The workshop was a follow-up to the noise ordinance discussion at the April 20 regular commission meeting that was triggered by Freckled Fin owner Scott Lubore getting arrested on April 5 for a noise violation. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPier design firm dismissed

ANNA MARIA – The West Palm Beach-based WGI engineering firm has been discarded as the city's top choice to serve as the design and engineering firm for the rehabilitation of the Anna Maria City Pier.

The Sarasota-based Taylor Engineering and its local partners, Sweet Sparkman Architects, will now get a chance to design and assist in the acquisition of the permits needed for the anticipated $2 million replacement of the decaying wooden pier.

On Thursday, May 11, the, City Commission unanimously supported Mayor Dan Murphy's request to terminate discussions with WGI and initiate discussions with Taylor Engineering. Murphy laid the groundwork for this possible change when he voiced growing frustration with WGI at the April 27 meeting. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Citizens voice their choices for Cortez Road changes

Approximately 130 people attended a public hearing at Cortez Road Baptist Church on May 9 on changes to make Cortez Road West safer and more efficient. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hosted the hearing, and officials gave four suggested solutions to the road as it goes through Cortez Village. That area turns into a bottleneck during rush hours and on beach days during season. The stoplight at 119th Street with a staggered intersection is blamed for a lot of the slow-downs as westbound motorists turn right before those turning left and stoplight cycle takes longer. The same is true for eastbound motorists.

FDOT listed 77 collisions between January 2011 and December 2015. Four resulted in fatalities, and 29 produced injuries. There were 32 rear-end crashes, 11 angle crashes and sideswipe crashes, eight left turn crashes, nine run-off-road crashes, four bicycle related crashes and two involving pedestrians. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryVisit Florida chief comes to town

PALMETTO – Despite this month's budget cut from $78 million to $25 million, the state's tourism agency will continue to make Florida number one, Visit Florida Executive Director Ken Lawson told about 150 members of the local tourism industry on Friday at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

The Legislature rejected Gov. Rick Scott's request for $100 million for the agency in the state budget, passed last week. Scott could veto the budget, but the Legislature could override his veto in a special session.

The cut will cause Lawson to make hard decisions about reducing staff and programs, he said during the local celebration of National Tourism Week. More...

Holmes Beach commissioners undaunted by Bert Harris

HOLMES BEACH — The number of Bert Harris claims in Holmes Beach is continuing to grow while commissioners are electing to stay the course, sticking by the city's ordinances.

During the May 9 commission meeting, City Attorney Patricia Petruff asked commissioners how they would like to proceed, if they'd like to consider offering a settlement to Bert Harris petitioners.

Commissioners opted to continue standing by their existing ordinances and treat every Bert Harris case as it goes to court on an individual basis.

"This was not brought up as a matter of urgency," Mayor Bob Johnson said. "The course we're on is fine right now given the time horizon, and I think that's where we need to stay." More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Bringing one of the Island's first families together

ANNA MARIA — The family of one of Anna Maria Island's founders has come home, at least for the weekend.

More than 60 people gathered May 13 at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum, 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, to celebrate their ties to each other and the Island's past courtesy of their relation to George Emerson Bean.

Bean was one of the Island's first settlers in 1894, residing on the northern end of the Island at what's now known as Bean Point. After 125 years, the branches of his family tree came together near the spot where Bean began homesteading on the Island.

Though some branches of the Bean family have gotten together over the years, organizer Lisa Mayfield said this is the first time all of the branches of the family tree had come together to meet each other and celebrate. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPost office relocation hits a roadblock

HOLMES BEACH — Plans to relocate the Holmes Beach Post Office have come to a halt, at least for now.

With the post office closing June 30 at its present location, 5354 Gulf Drive in the S&S Plaza, Mayor Bob Johnson is searching for another established business to take over the postal service contract. During the May 9 commission meeting, he said those plans hit a roadblock with the United States Postal Service.

Johnson had been hopeful that local mail service business, Island Mail and More, would be able to add the post office to its offerings. The move would allow residents with post office boxes to continue maintaining their service. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCrystal Lagoon joins Aqua concerns

MANATEE COUNTY – The May 4 County Commission land use meeting featured much talk about mangrove destruction, an estuary enhancement area, dredging and high-rise buildings, but there was another design element introduced that concerns former County Commissioner Joe McClash: a Crystal Lagoon.

The intent to build a man-made lagoon surfaced when Aqua by the Bay developer Carlos Beruff's attorney, Ed Vogler, was addressing concerns expressed about the developers' previously unstated plans to build as many as 24 145-foot tall high-rise buildings. Vogler was trying to make the point that even with the high-rises, Aqua by the Bay would be a unique and special development, in part because of a water feature that until that point had not been mentioned by the developers, the commissioners, county staff or the Planning Commission. More...


Annual Crosthwait tournament slated

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Annual Crosthwait Amateur Fishing Tournament at the Bradenton Yacht Club. The 34th installment of the tournament will be held May 19-21. The tournament was founded in 1983 by commodores at the Bradenton Yacht Club in honor of Commodore Colonel Sam Crosthwait. Crosthwait lived and fished in Manatee County for 25 years and was a frequent tournament winner. He fished around the world in many countries, and his ideals of personal conduct, sportsmanship, and love of nature serves as an example for those who fish the tournament. The event, according to organizers is the largest and oldest amateur fishing tournament in Florida. During the tournament, local guides volunteer their time and talents to Project Healing Waters, taking disabled veterans out for a day of fishing followed by lunch.

The tournament is held each year in May, during which hundreds of anglers and thousands of community spectators attend the event, which is run by a volunteer committee of more than 40 people. As with the original tournament, only amateur fisherman may participate. Winning anglers are awarded trophies, cash and prizes. Winners are chosen by a point system and inshore species are released. More...

real estate

Timing the real estate market

Is it a good time to buy or is it a bad time to buy? Will my home appreciate in value over the next t10 years or will I sustain a loss? Which neighborhood or city will make me the most profit on my home? These and other home purchasing questions are the most common that buyers have, especially first time buyers, who are inherently nervous. The problem is no one can really answer these questions, and no one should, based on what happened 10 years ago.

Someone recently asked me how can I tell what the trend is in the area I'm interested in. Real estate asking prices will give you a pretty good idea of what the market values look like in your area, but it won't tell you what the appreciation or depreciation rate is from month to month or year to year. But there are a couple of websites available that could help.

First of all, most municipalities in the country have public websites organized within their property tax or property assessor's area of the county you're researching. You can usually sort by sales date and narrow it to subdivision or even street. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPets are tops at Beach Veterinary Clinic

It doesn't take long for a new pet to become an important member of the family, and like all members of the family, we want them to have the very best medical care. Beach Veterinary Clinic in Cortez has it all covered from nose to tail and everything in between for the care of the furry members of your family.

Beach Veterinary Clinic is conveniently located for both on Island and off island pet owners just on the east side of the Cortez Bridge in the historic Cortez fishing village. In 2015, the long-time clinic changed hands and is currently managed by Dr. Jade Kafer who is the managing DVM and Joey Knudstrup who is the hospital manger.

Currently there are two doctors in addition to Dr. Kafer, Dr. Nicole Corning and Dr. Crit Holland. The doctors have more than 30 years combined experience. They are also actively looking for a fourth doctor in order to provide better service to their clients and longer hours. Also, Beach Vet has an additional 12 members on its staff, including a full-time groomer. 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 StoryHayward's dream come true: AMI Center Select Team takes it on the road

For years, I had soulful conversations with Paul "Ace" Hayward about his dream of forming a youth island soccer team on Anna Maria Island. Fondly, he would reminisce about his experiences as a boy in Canada and hoped to someday form a team that could practice, play, travel and grow together, becoming brothers in the sport that Hayward lived and breathed.

Hayward's love of soccer is forever engrained on the Island with the friendships that he formed on the pitch, the kids that he coached and the legacy he left behind. His smiledeep spirit is memorialized at the Island's community center with a iconic Hayward picture at the corner of the soccer field, thanks to dear friend Tim Tadesco.

The dream of an Island youth soccer team has become a reality with the formation of the AMI Center Select Team. Although he never knew Hayward, Coach Rick Hurst shared Hayward's vision and brought together 13 island area boys to form the traveling team, taking Center soccer to another level and creating stronger athletes at the competitive level. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

It's turtle time again!

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The mother sea turtles have begun to arrive, and they are laying their precious eggs along the Island's coastline.

"We had eight nests, 11 false crawls on the Island and nothing hatched," Suzi Fox said Monday morning when discussing the first activity of the 2017 sea turtle nesting season.

Fox is the longtime director of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Program.

"These are nests coming in right now. We've only had them for the last five days, so nothing's hatched,"

Fox said, noting that the gestation period for turtle eggs is 45 to 75 days. More...

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