Vol. 17 No. 36 - June 21, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBig changes come to Center board

ANNA MARIA — The Center of Anna Maria Island is weathering more than a little upheaval on its board of directors.

Board Chair Bill Shuman resigned as chair June 12, electing to remain on the board as a member. Center Executive Director Kristen Lessig said Shuman's reasons for resigning were primarily his health due to the stress of the position and scrutiny from the community.

"It weighs on him," she said.

The move placed Vice Chair Patty McBean as interim chair and caused a rift between board members, as she was usurped by newly minted board member David Zaccagnino in an emergency vote. Zaccagnino joined the Center board in April.

Events began unraveling when an emergency meeting was called June 12, attended by 12 board members with four attending via telephone. The meeting was not open to the public. More...

$11.6M tourism budget proposed

The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) proposes spending $11,675,206 to market Manatee County to tourists during 2018/2019.

The county's Tourist Development Council unanimously recommended the budget to the Manatee County Commission on Monday.

Following a 61 percent increase in 2016/2017 from the previous two years, primarily to promote the 2017 World Rowing Championships, the proposed budget represents a 9 percent decrease from 2016/2017. The two-year budget breaks down to $5,876,473 for 2018 and $5,798,733 for 2019.

A new budget item will pay for a new employee salary, an arts and culture marketing coordinator, at $92,159 a year, with another $50,774 annually for advertising arts. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryRex Hagen remembered

ANNA MARIA – Rex Hagen passed away Saturday morning at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy of charitable efforts and good deeds.

Hagen was The Sun's person of the year for 2010. At that time, he and his late wife, Helen, who passed away in 2009, had donated more than $100,000 to the cities of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria and The Center through the Hagen Family Foundation he founded in 1986.

The Hagens first came to the Island in the 1950s, when Rex was stationed at MacDill Air Force base in Tampa. In 1957, Rex bought the Superior Sample Company in Ligonier, Ind., a family business that still manufactures fabric and apparel swatch cards.

During the 1960s, the Hagen family often vacationed at Resort 66 in Holmes Beach. Rex and Helen later bought a condominium in the Nautilus complex and in the 1970s began wintering on the Island. In the mid-1980s, they built a home in Holmes Beach; and in 2002 they moved to Anna Maria. More...

Damages specified in federal lawsuit

ANNA MARIA – Developer Shawn Kaleta and his Beach to Bay Construction company are now claiming $12.3 million in economic loss and damages in a federal lawsuit filed against the city of Anna Maria in February 2016.

The loss estimate is contained in an expert report prepared on Kaleta's behalf by Matthew Clark and Lewis Olds. The report is dated May 19 and the attorneys representing the city are having a counter report prepared.

The lawsuit is headed for a jury trial in the United States District Court Middle District in Tampa if an out of court settlement can't be reached. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8, and the trial term is scheduled to begin Oct. 2. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryConstruction moves forward at Margaritaville

BRADENTON — On a sunny Thursday morning, Minto Communities President Michael Belmont arrives at the Harbour Isles sales center to survey the work being done to bring one of the company's latest ventures, One Particular Harbour, to life.

"This is a very special place," he said during a June 15 discussion with The Sun.

One Particular Harbour, a marina slated to have two restaurants along with retail space overlooking Anna Maria Sound on the northwestern tip of Perico Island is only a portion of the planned development. In conjunction with Margaritaville Holdings, Minto is bringing a bit of island escapism to the area with the planned commercial space and island-themed residences in the Marina Walk neighborhood of Harbour Isles. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCounty hosts charter work session

PALMETTO – Virginia Delegal spent more than two hours last week educating city and county officials and citizens about charter county governments.

Delegal, the executive director of the Florida Association of Counties, traveled from Tallahassee to participate in the Manatee County Commission work session on Wednesday, June 14, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto.

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon, Vice Mayor John Chappie and Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen were among the elected officials and county staffers seated at the large, U-shaped conference table. More...

Holmes Beach commissioners talk formula business ban

HOLMES BEACH — Commissioners may have to give up the dream of being able to ban new formula businesses from coming to Holmes Beach.

During the June 15 work session, City Planner Bill Brisson addressed commissioners' concerns about formula businesses and gave them some unwelcome news — it may not be legally feasible to ban new formula businesses city-wide.

Brisson said while an argument can be made to ban the businesses from the city's downtown core area and on the east side of East Bay Drive, it may not be possible to stop them from moving in on the west side of East Bay Drive. The problem with instituting a permanent city-wide ban on the chain businesses is that not all areas of the city have a unique character to protect. For instance, Brisson said the western stretch of East Bay Drive from Manatee Avenue to Gulf Drive is primarily a modern shopping district which lends itself to inclusion of formula businesses. More...

Canine influenza alert issued

At least 21 cases of canine influenza originating at dog shows in DeLand, Fla. and Perry, Ga. have been confirmed at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

Because canine influenza is not among the reportable diseases under state law, more may exist.

According to the college, the flu can cause a respiratory infection with symptoms including sneezing, nasal discharge and frequent coughs, which can travel more than 20 feet. Many dogs have a fever, decreased appetite and lethargy during the first few days of illness. Some dogs develop pneumonia. More...


Irish wakes

My grandmother had 10 children.

The oldest daughter was my aunt Kathleen, uncle George's little sister.

Everyone called her Kay except uncle George who insisted on calling her Kathleen just to get under her skin.

Kathleen married my uncle Bill Bailey. They had a son called Bill, which made father and son Big Bill and Little Bill.

You could tell that Kay and Big Bill loved each other. They were always singing and dancing and teasing and joking. They laughed a lot, and they made us all laugh. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Sight fishing

Most anglers, myself included, spend a large portion of their time on the water throwing live bait, flies and artificial lures at likely looking spots. That might be a grass edge, a pothole, a disturbance on the surface or bird activity. This is an effective way to target fish, but many anglers modify their technique when possible, trying to spot fish before making a cast.

Sight fishing, as the name implies, involves visually locating fish, a shadow, a shape or a push (a fish moving just under the surface) before making a cast. Being able to actually see the fish requires sun, clear water and other visual cues. Many fly fishermen adopt this method because it requires an accurate cast, less casting and can be a more rewarding way to connect with their quarry. More...

real estate

The innocence of housing

This was once a country where children could play stick ball in the streets and ride their bikes without adult supervision or play dates. This was once a country where modest homes filled the landscape of American towns and sharing a bedroom with your sister was considered normal. This was once a country where a family of five managed with just one bathroom, and miraculously, everyone got to school and work on time. Things have changed mostly for the better, but change also brought with it a loss of innocence, particularly in our housing expectations.

I'm on my way to Long Island, N. Y., this week where I grew up and lived for better than 35 years, so I was especially interested in the 70th anniversary of a town I knew very well, Levittown. Although I didn't live in Levittown, it was a very close neighboring community, and the story of how it came about as an icon in the housing history of this country brought back so many memories.

After World War II, William Levitt, who was already a real estate developer, saw the need for affordable housing for returning veterans. His military experience introduced him into the aspects of mass producing construction projects. He applied the principals of Henry Ford's assembly line methods to housing, and at one point in the 1940s was completing a house every 16 minutes, versus the four to six months it takes today. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFood and funky stuff at Ginny & Jane E's

During one of my first visits to Anna Maria well over 20 years ago, I discovered the IGA food market on Gulf Drive in the heart of Anna Maria city. Even then it was like a step back in time to the IGA of my youth in the suburbs of New York City. I knew then as I know now that Anna Maria Island is a special place still being discovered by people from all over the world.

Tammy and Paul Foster sold their lumber and building supply business in Ontario, Canada, took a year off traveling around Florida and ultimately settled in Cape Coral. Since they were young and energetic, the prospect of sitting on a beach for the rest of their lives wasn't appealing, so they started looking for an unconventional business they would both enjoy operating.

A business broker pointed them in the direction of Anna Maria and to Ginny's & Jane E's at the Old IGA, which was for sale. They were quickly intrigued by both the concept of the business and the allure of the Island lifestyle. They came to terms with the owner, sold their home in Cape Coral, bought a new one in Holmes Beach and became new business owners. That was in October 2012. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe sounds of the hard court return to The Center

Last Wednesday saw the long awaited return of youth basketball to the Island's community center. After close to two years without a kid's basketball league to fill the gym with sounds of the ball hitting the court, fans cheering in the bleachers, coaches encouraging the players and the island area children supporting their teammates, nearly 50 ballers hit the court.

The summer youth sports program includes organized pick-up games in indoor soccer, baseball and basketball. For the hard court players, coach Tom Baugher volunteered to work with the kids using his high school basketball experience. His love of the sports and the kids shows as he worked with the boys and girls.

As a special treat, coach Ray Gardner returned to the community center working once again with the Island kids. Coaching, motivating and developing children are some of Gardner's biggest passions. As a former collegiate basketball player, Gardner has a wealth of knowledge to share. Using the relationship he has already built with so many of the children, Gardner brought life to the gym once again. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Sea turtle race contestant to be chosen

A loggerhead sea turtle that nests on Anna Maria Island the night of Monday, June 19, will be fitted with a satellite transmitter and tracked by the Sea Turtle Conservancy in its Tour de Turtles migration marathon that begins Aug. 1, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

The turtle will be named Eliza Ann and will be released to the Gulf of Mexico somewhere on the Island on June 20, she said. The turtle is sponsored by Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club in Holmes Beach. More...

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