Vol. 15 No. 25 - April 15, 2015
Fun prevails at Bottle Boat Regatta
It was a warm spring day at the Palma Sola Causeway last Saturday as a crowd gathered to watch the 27th Annual Bottle Boat Regatta .
Sponsored by the Hernando DeSoto Heritage Festival, the competition got off to an auspicious start when all of the team members fell off one of the boats after starting the race, but the action picked up after that.
Stewart A Elementary won the elementary school division, followed by the Palma Sola Panthers and the Little Goats.
The King Middle School Crusaders won their division, followed by Team Dirty Goats and the King Middle School Shootin' Stars. More...
Commission passes vacation rental ordinance
ANNA MARIA – The city commission took the first step toward getting a handle on the city’s burgeoning vacation rental industry last Thursday when it approved an ordinance that adds rules and regulations for owners and agents of rental properties.
The effort began when residents met with real estate rental professionals late last year and developed ways to solve the problems created by houses with large numbers of renters making noise, parking erratically, leaving large amounts of trash for pickup and otherwise disrupting life in residential neighborhoods. The city commission made revisions to the ordinance, resulting in some rental professionals threatening legal action.
Jason Sato, of Sato Real Estate, said after the vote rental agents still opposed the limitation of eight guests for a home and the penalties against rental agents for too many problems. Those penalties could take away an agent’s permission to rent homes in the city for up to two years. More...
Recall election date set
BRADENTON BEACH – The recall election pitting Mayor Bill Shearon against Vice Mayor Jack Clarke was scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, but could be subject to change due to challenges by Shearon’s supporters.
An abbreviated qualifying period for recall candidates commenced Tuesday morning and concludes at noon, on Friday, April 17. Additional candidates may enter the race and obtain a qualifying packet, but will have to act fast in order to meet the qualifying deadline.
In regard to voting, those who prefer to vote in person on May 19 will do so at the Annie Silver Community Center; there will be no in-person early voting period for this election. More...
Post office town hall meeting April 27
HOLMES BEACH – U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan has responded to appeals to save the post office boxes and post office by setting a town hall meeting on Monday, April 27, at 10:30 a.m. in city hall with a representative of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Residents are invited to share their opinions regarding the USPS decision to relocate the location’s 230 post office boxes to Anna Maria or Bradenton Beach, which could cause a burden on residents and business owners.
The issue began when Peggy Myers and Jack Jackson, who have had the contract with the USPS in the city for 20 years, planned to retire and sought someone to take over the contract. Meyers said the USPS then said it planned to take out the boxes, but leave the postal services. More...
LBK mayor calls for traffic study
LONGBOAT KEY – Leaving Anna Maria Island during at least a third of the year - in high tourist season, just now showing signs of slowing down - requires good scheduling and luck; a doctor’s appointment in west Bradenton in the morning, a car repair appointment in east Bradenton in the afternoon, and with luck there’s time for a Wal-Mart trip on the way back.
On Longboat Key, residents say leaving for appointments is becoming more of an impossibility than an inconvenience.
Residents feel like prisoners in their own homes, turning back from outings and even doctor’s appointments when they can’t get anywhere in traffic, Mayor Jack Duncan told the Council of Governments last week. More...
Gourmet delights to greet guests at the Affaire
ANNA MARIA – Guests at the Silver Affaire, the 25th anniversary of the Affaire to Remember, at the Island Community Center on Saturday, April 18, can expect a gourmet dinner presented by The Chiles Restaurant Group.
The menu features a selection of hors d’oeuvres including Siberian sturgeon caviar from Mote Marine and Healthy Earth and charcuterie selections including Keith Mann’s Punta Gorda wild boar, cobia sashimi with Beagle Bay sauerkraut and cured Mt. Cook salmon.
The entrée begins with Gamble Creek Farm tomato crudites and continues with tiger shrimp with scallion-tied hericot verts and Cervina venison tenderloin with potato gratin. A vegetarian options also will be available. More...
Food and Wine on Pine food vendors confirmed
ANNA MARIA – The Chiles Restaurant Group will host the Fifth Annual Food and Wine on Pine on Saturday, May 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The annual event features the best local food, wine, art and music.
More than 20 local restaurants will be serving during this event. Each will serve local and seasonal Florida foods – farm-to-fork produce and tide-to-table heritage seafood from the Gulf waters.
This year will see some new restaurants in the mix to further expand the culinary experience. The list includes:
• The Sandbar restaurant, Anna Maria – Myakka wild boar sliders, ceviche – Fresh fish, shrimp and scallops, key lime, blood orange, King Farm peaches, Gamble Creek cilantro, served with tortilla chips.
• The Beach House restaurant, Bradenton Beach – Sesame seared yellow fin tuna cubes served with choice of wasabi cream, sriracha and teriyaki; More...
Participate in the Great American Cleanup
Keep Manatee Beautiful (KMB) volunteers will clean up litter and debris from public lands for the Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 18.
Cleanup volunteers helping on Anna Maria Island, in Cortez and along the Palma Sola Causeway will be thanked with an Earth Day Party taking place at Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, compliments of Anna Maria Island Beach Café.
Adopt-A-Highway Road and Shore groups are encouraged to clean their adopted sites starting at 9 a.m. Other volunteers can check in at 9 a.m. at any the following centers:
• Anna Maria City Hall at 10005 Gulf Drive; More...
Holy maternity season, bat mom!
It’s shorebird nesting season on Anna Maria Island’s beaches, as everyone who doesn’t have their beak buried in the sand probably knows.
But bet you didn’t know that it’s also bat season.
Make that bat maternity season to be precise, and while it seems like it should, it does not start on Halloween. It starts on Wednesday, April 15, when baby bats become a tax deduction for their parents.
No, the press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not arrive on April 1, and the FWC really is up on birds, turtles, dolphins, manatees and even horseshoe crabs, so there’s every reason to believe it’s true. More...
The seagrass beds that carpet Sarasota Bay harbor a tremendous array of living creatures.
This critical and diverse ecosystem is generally out of sight except at extreme low tides. Sea grasses are actually underwater flowering plants that serve a number of important functions. They produce oxygen, bind sediments and baffle wave action while cleansing the water column. Seagrass roots, their leaves, and the epiphytes and microalgae that cling to them clean water by converting dissolved nutrients into plant matter. Besides giving us clean and clear water, seagrasses are home to the organisms that provide food and shelter for fish, crustaceans, shellfish and wading birds. They also are food source for manatees, sea turtles and various fish and crustaceans. Because they flower, sea grasses require sunlight and are limited to clear, shallow waters.
Of the 52 species of seagrasses worldwide, only seven are found in Florida. Three main species are found on Florida’s southwest coast. They include turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum), shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) and manatee grasses (Syringodium filiforme). The historical loss of these species has been extensive throughout Florida. Tampa Bay has lost 81 percent of its historical sea grasses, Sarasota Bay 35 percent and Charlotte Harbor 29 percent. Poor watershed management of stormwater run-off and sewage disposal, dredge and fill operations and scaring from boats have taken a heavy toll on Florida’s seagrasses. More...
Ready for a vacation home?
Last week we talked about seven metro regions in the state of Florida being among the top 50 growth regions in the country. Our area was about mid-way in the seven top Florida regions and we can expect these numbers to keep moving upwards.
Much of the growth in Florida has to do with the estimated 76 million baby boomers retiring or beginning to organize their lives in anticipation of retirement. This has resulted in vacation home sales hitting an all-time high not only in Florida but in other areas of the country as well.
The National Association of Realtors estimates that vacation home sales amounted to 1.13 million properties last year, up a robust 57.4 percent from 2013. When you consider that 2013 was up 30 percent over 2012, you’re looking at a substantial trend. The last previous high was in 2006 for vacation home sales, and 2014 topped that becoming the biggest year for vacation homes sales volume since the NRA started tracking the market in 2003. More...
Pay now or pay laterInvestment Corner
With one week left in the 2014 tax season, many are trying to think of ways to reduce the tax bill for next year. One way to plan for taxes, both now and later, relates to our choice of tax deferred retirement planning vehicles. Making the correct choice can yield a larger after tax income in retirement. However, making the choice can be complicated by our inability to know what future tax rates may be or what level of income we’ll have in retirement.
The choice resides between two philosophies. The traditional plans, like IRAs and 401Ks allow the participant to make contributions to the plan and receive a tax deduction for the portion of their earned income they contribute each year. There may be limitations on deductibility of traditional IRA contributions, depending on level of income and simultaneous participation in an employer sponsored retirement plan.
These traditional plans are of the pay later variety, meaning that you enjoy the up-front tax deduction for contributing, tax deferred growth of the assets in the plan during your accumulation phase, but distributions from the plan during your retirement phase are taxed as ordinary income. More...
Island Falcons help strengthen Saint Stephen’s LAX team
With sticks in hand, four Anna Maria Island teens aided in the success of the Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School’s varsity lacrosse team this spring.
Playing a stick and ball sport indigenous to Native Americans, Tommy Pierce, Andrew and Jake Ross, and Luke Valadie proudly wore Falcon green and gold as the team went up against some of the area's independent schools.
The Rosses and Valadie are alumni of Anna Maria Elementary School and attended King Middle School before starting their high school academics at Saint Stephen’s. More...