Vol. 17 No. 34 - June 7, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryDaquiri Deck on the horizon

BRADENTON BEACH – If all goes according to plans, there will be a Daquiri Deck on Bridge Street around this time next year.

The Daquiri Deck is expected to be part of a new development by Bridge Street Bazaar and Fish Hole adventure golf course owner Jake Spooner, who also serves as a member of the City Commission.

The Daquiri Deck has been in the works for months now, but Spooner had not planned on going public with his intentions yet. That changed last week when the Daiquiri Deck ownership group member Russell Matthes mentioned to a Sarasota restaurant news publication that he and his partners Troy Syprett and Matthew Grover planned to open a fourth Daquiri Deck in Bradenton Beach. The trio will soon be opening a third location in south Siesta Key, which was preceded by the Daquiri Deck in St. Armand's Circle in Sarasota and the original location in the Siesta Key Village.

"I was totally caught off guard," Spooner said of the unexpected attention his development is now getting. More...

Aqua by the Bay hearings scheduled

MANATEE COUNTY – Tentative meeting dates have been established for the Manatee County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners to conduct follow-up reviews of the Aqua by the Bay development plans.

The Planning Commission hearing is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, July 13, following by a County Commission hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Planning Coordinator Bobbi Roy confirmed these dates last week, but said they are not official until the meetings are advertised.

The previous Planning Commission review in April and County Commission review in early May were both based on an inaccurate staff report and incomplete information provided by the developers in terms of how many high-rise buildings.

they hoped to include in the development formerly known as Long Bar Pointe. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWalking tall — JD gets his 'legs'

ANNA MARIA — Island resident JD White is moving around a lot better these days, thanks to the help of his community.

"I can lift this leg for the first time in 23 years," White said May 30, carefully maneuvering his left leg with the help of one of his two new WalkAide devices.

The devices help White overcome dropfoot, a condition caused by cerebral palsy, which prevents him from lifting his toes to walk. The WalkAides, positioned on his calves, send electrical pulses to his muscles to increase function, helping him to lift his toes and walk more easily. Combined with twice weekly therapy, White said he's on his way to increasing his flexibility, movement and quality of life. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryChief denounces resident HBPD complaint

HOLMES BEACH — After reviewing a resident complaint against Holmes Beach Police Officers, Chief Bill Tokajer says the allegations are false.

The complaint came in the form of a May 25 email from Alec Graham, the president of the Westbay Point and Moorings condominium board of directors. In the e-mail, Graham said he had spoken with property manager Bob McGlynn, who alleged officers had harassed workers trimming the mangroves May 19 at the 63rd Street boat ramp, located adjacent to the condominium property. The e-mail also noted issues with code enforcement officers over the mangrove maintenance.

After investigating the incident, including reviewing a tape of a Westbay resident calling to report the mangrove trimming, a report filed by officers and receiving sworn testimony from the workers involved, Tokajer found the allegations to be unfounded. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryKingfish refurbishment to align with bridge construction

The Kingfish boat ramp on Manatee Avenue will close for construction, but Manatee County isn't planning on restricting access to the popular boat ramp any time soon.

Reconfiguring the boat ramp to allow for a fourth boat launch ramp and expanded parking on the eastern side is slated to take place in concert with construction on the new high-span fixed Anna Maria Island Bridge. A December 2016 county presentation projects the expected construction start date in or beyond 2021. Because construction at Kingfish corresponds with bridge construction, neither project will begin until funds are secured for the bridge. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBeach market in good standing

BRADENTON BEACH – Despite her recent arrest, Nancy Ambrose remains in good standing with Manatee County officials regarding her operation of the seasonal markets at Coquina Beach.

Ambrose was recently arrested and charged with three counts of fraud stemming from her oversight of a now-defunct butterfly garden at Holmes Beach City Hall.

On Tuesday, May 30, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department Director Charlie Hunsicker updated County Commissioners on Ambrose's status regarding her market agreement with the county. More...

Few changes for next school year

HOLMES BEACH – The hallways and classrooms are quiet for the summer at Anna Maria Elementary School.

Fifty-five fifth-graders graduated to middle school, and although the Island is losing permanent residents, enrollment is expected to be enough to support the 14 teachers that were on staff this past school year. Nobody is expected to leave.

"We have no teachers retiring this year," said Principal Jackie Featherston. "We don't expect we'll need any more teachers."

Featherston said they expect to have two teachers per grade for kindergarten, and grades one, four and five. The second and third grades will have three classrooms each. District quotas regulate the number of children per classroom to prevent overcrowding. More...

Center board works on future strategies

ANNA MARIA — The Center of Anna Maria Island's board is approaching the end of the organization's fiscal year with an eye to the future.

The group met May 30 to discuss the pending close of the current fiscal year and plans to make changes in the coming one.

Center Treasurer Jim Froeschle was absent from the meeting, leaving it to Chair Bill Shuman to present the April end of month financials. The report showed a loss of $51,800, creating a fiscal year loss of $241,800 through the end of April. The report did not include an anticipated $28,000 in donations from the city governments of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria.

The Center's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland bicycle trails, present and future

There are a lot of proposed and existing Island bicycle trails. Knowing which is which can help keep residents and visitors safe while on the road.

Anna Maria

In Anna Maria, a bicycle trail exists. Instead of dedicated bicycle lanes on each road, the city's bicycle path is a mix of multi-use paths, shared with pedestrians, and unmarked sharrow roads.

The path journeys north from Holmes Beach down Gulf Drive to Willow Avenue, where bicyclists can make a left to Gulf Front Park or right to continue north down Jacaranda Road or Cresent Drive. Cyclists on Cresent Road can continue to Bayfront Park, take a left at the fork onto Gladiolus Street or loop into Jacaranda Road and take a right to North Shore Drive to cruise past the Rod and Reel Pier. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Sarasota Bay Watch's New Pass cleanup a hit

Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) conducted an underwater cleanup of The New Pass public fishing piers on Saturday, June 3, with the help of 66 volunteers. The volunteers included Sarasota Bay Watch board members, 35 divers, eight kayakers, a couple of jet skis and 21 land based participants. Partnering with Sarasota Bay Watch were city of Sarasota- Sustainability, the Sarasota Police Department, Scuba Quest, the Sarasota Police Dive Team, NAUI Green Diver, the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Marina Jacks, Aqua Lung and Reelcycle.

The event kicked off at 8 a.m. and lasted until noon. Sarasota Bay Watch provided coffee and snacks for the volunteers as well as gloves, scissors and knives to break down the debris. The combined effort of all volunteers netted 330 pounds of lead (net weight, sinkers), 47 cast nets and 18 fishing lures. Also recovered from the New Pass waters were a moving dolly, eight fishing poles, three fishing reels, nine knives, a PVC pipe, a machete, a gas meter, a radio and a package of lead sinkers. More...

real estate

Youth and real estate

Whoever said youth is wasted on the young haven't met the young people I have recently who are starting businesses on the Island. They have vision, energy and are not against a little hard work. This can only be good news for an island that has always been an attraction for retirees and tourists, but what does the real estate market have in store for this generation?

Generally, around the country first time buyers are rushing to buy homes after a decade on the sidelines. The national home ownership rate is up to 63.5 percent from a low of 62.9 percent, and the number of new owner households was double the number of new renter households in the first quarter of this year. Per Trulia, it's the first time in a decade there were more new buyers than renters.

The millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, are stepping into adulthood faster than their older siblings. Despite tough lending standards and student debt, this generation is exhibiting confidence in the economy and in themselves to move out of their parent's house and into one of their own. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland Charms – perfectly charming

Worldwide travel opens the door for new experiences and knowledge. It's always exciting to unpack the treasures you bought along the way among your favorite pair of jeans and dirty laundry. A new shop owner on the Island has taken the travel experience to new heights, learning about the things she loves from countries she's visited.

Lauren Collins opened Island Charms in January of this year in one of Pine Avenue's historic homes within the Green Village. She wanted a shop that showcased everyday designer items that reflected what she liked to bring home from her travels. And indeed, the handpicked pieces she carries are beach casual, sophisticated and unique and artfully displayed in this bright open 1913 cottage with pale blue walls and rustic display tables.

Collins is originally from Georgia, but she lived in a variety of cities as her husband's job required. Residing for years in London and New York City exposed her to beautiful pottery and glassware, adding to her personal collection and educating her for a future shop. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryShootout at The Center: Truly Nolen takes the championship post-regulation play

The youth soccer season finally came to an end last week at the Island's community center, with a third place challenge between Slim's Place and Wash Family Construction in the eight- to 10-year-old league, and the championship game between Truly Nolen and Progressive Cabinetry.

Team Slim's Place took the third place honors with four goals by Gregory Jordan and two by teammate Aiden Templeton. Keeping the game close, Riley Lawson and Jason McGee put the ball in the net ending the game the score 6-3.

The consolation game was a warm up for the crowd, that was treated to the game of the week, which was a real nail biter. Both teams in the championship round were evenly matched, and both teams came off the benches ready to fight for the victory.

In the blazing heat, Jackson Pakbaz came out of the gate to score the first of his four goals in the game, putting Progressive Cabinetry on the scoreboard quick. Truly Nolen's Lincoln Sauls tied up the game with 16 minutes left in the first half of play. 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...

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper