Vol. 9 No. 42 - July 8, 2009
Fourth a blast for tourism
Motel rooms, restaurants, businesses and roads were full of fireworks and parade fans over the Fourth of July weekend.
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce was hopping on Thursday before the three-day weekend, fielding requests for accommodations from more than 50 people by noon, according to administrative assistant Deb Wing.
"People were trying to find last minute places to stay," she said, adding that all the Chamber member accommodations were booked except for a few cancellations. More...
Grouper prices could climb due to regs
CORTEZ – There won’t be much local grouper on local menus for the next few months, and menu prices may rise due to several regulations curtailing the catch for commercial fishermen.
Longline fishing gear was banned on June 27 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico fishery in an effort to reduce sea turtle bycatch. The gear has been prohibited in shallow water since May 18. The ban will last until Oct. 28, when it could be extended for another six months.
The deepwater gear ban coincided with the date when fishery managers closed the deepwater grouper fishery in the Gulf based on their estimate that fishermen had met the 1,020,000-pound commercial quota for 2009. More...
Mexico releases captain
ANNA MARIA – John Peerson, captain of the yacht Reel Screamer based at Galati Marine, was recently released from a Mexican jail after four months of fighting charges that he carried illegal weapons onboard.
Peerson, 48, was detained in January at Isla Mujeres, an island off the Yucatan peninsula, while en route from Costa Rica to Miami.
After a search for drugs, Mexican authorities discovered three guns and ammunition and three guns and ammunition and seized the boat, charging Peerson with introducing undeclared guns into the country, which carries a penalty of five to 30 years in jail. More...
Fatality mars holiday
BRADENTON BEACH - Jose H. Medina, 30, of Deltona drowned on Saturday afternoon when the strong current at Longboat Pass pulled him under a docked barge, according to authorities.
Medina and several others were trying to dislodge his disabled personal watercraft from the barge docked near Coquina Bayside Park when the group noticed he was missing, according to Gary Morse of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"It appears that the strong current pulled him under the barge," he said. More...
Drought not over despite rain
Don’t think that because we had more than four inches of rain on the Island last week that the four-year drought is over.
"We had good rain in May, but June was below average," explained Robyn Felix, spokesperson for the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swfwmd). "We have a 22-inch deficit for the past three years.
"In order to get out of the drought, we’d have to have above average rainfall for an extended period of time. People should continue to conserve water." More...
Commissioners back trolley plan
BRADENTON BEACH – City commissioners showed their support for the concept of the free, or fare-less trolley last Thursday by voting to contribute up to $8,000 to the system, the first step in a two-year plan to keep the fare boxes out of the popular vehicles.
"It’s a great benefit to have the trolley system in our area," Mayor Michael Pierce said. "It might not take $8,000, it might be less." More...
Market ends season with a boom
BRADENTON BEACH – The last Bridge Street Market looked more like a festival on Friday, July 3, when HWY 41 took the stage in the corner of the field and Danielle Hollobaugh lit up the audience of shoppers and vendors with her smooth, yet energetic, voice.
Hollobaugh, who will be in Orlando this week to tryout for a spot on American Idol, attracts a bevy of fans wherever she sings with the local group, led by drummer Dave Russell, owner of Rotten Ralph’s. More...
Few fireworks taken over holiday
The three law enforcement agencies on the Island were busy with traffic, illegal parking and heated tempers as traffic came to a standstill during the Chiles Group restaurant shows over the weekend.
On Friday, Bradenton Beach Police reported some fights over merging traffic on Cortez Road on the way to the Island before the BeachHouse fireworks show. There were few fireworks on the beach other than at the show that evening. More...
Cortez: Legacy of a maritime village
CORTEZ – Cortez is hanging on to its history, come hell or high water.
High water comes with the territory for the commercial fishing village, situated on the shores of Sarasota Bay. But hell comes in the form of regulations that are relegating more and more of the fishing industry to the history books.
While a new longline gear ban threatens to kill off grouper fishing in Cortez, still reeling from the 1995 net ban that crippled mullet fishing, the community quietly prepares for next February’s Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival for the 28th year in a row. More...View the PDF
Anna Maria home to top fishing guides in state
Their experience and expertise are eagerly sought out by doctors, lawyers, newspaper publishers, restaurateurs, carpenters, brick layers and captains of industry alike. They have led anglers of modest means and advanced techniques to high adventure and excitement and left them with memories that will last a lifetime.
On the waters around Anna Maria Island they are the modern day equivalent of Lewis and Clarke, Magellan and Columbus, leading anglers in search of the high jumping snook, the awe inspiring tarpon and the wily redfish. They are the area’s top practitioners of their trade, combining their years of experience and observation on the water to divine the tides, moon phases and subtle rhythms of the Gulf and bays. More...
Prices down at Sun Plaza West
The conventional wisdom going around the real estate market is that we’re back in 2002/2003 price ranges. Because of that, I’ve been re-examining the community profiles I wrote reflecting these years and am finding some interesting numbers.
In January 2004, I profiled the Holmes Beach condominium complex of Sun Plaza West located at 5608 Gulf Drive. Sun Plaza West has 32 units built in 1981. Some of the units are direct Gulffront on the beach and others are along the side with more limited water views. More...
Find eclectic, tropical gifts at The Beach Hut
Anna Maria Island is nothing if not eclectic. The more Christine Tilelli and her three sons visited her parents in Holmes Beach, the more they enjoyed the diversity and slightly off beat vibes on the Island. In 2007 they decided to move permanently to Anna Maria and Tilelli started looking for a small business to purchase.
It took a while but eventually Christine Tilelli found just the right fit for her personality and her family. In September of last year, she purchased The Garden Hut, a popular shop in Holmes Beach for garden accessories, and with the help of her mother, Valerie Tilelli, reinvented it into The Beach Hut. They added more tropical home décor items while still retaining many of the garden accessories. More...
Bear market rally or new bull market?Investment Corner
A great debate is raging over the recent 30 to 40 percent rally in most major stock indexes since the lows set back in March. Those who are pessimistic maintain that the recent rise in stock prices is doomed to reverse course soon and that prices will decline again, perhaps to levels even lower than before. This scenario is called a bear market rally – an unsustainable rise in prices contained within a larger downward trend. More...
Turtle Watch at Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox helped monitor the 62 green turtles that came ashore at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge one night last week.
"It was amazing," Fox said when she returned to the Island. "They have so many nests each night there."
Fox was helping interns and scientists from the University of Florida tag some of the green turtles that came ashore to nest as a way of increasing the knowledge we have of these threatened marine reptiles. More...