Vol. 16 No. 29 - May 18, 2016
Pier funding offers tendered
ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria City Pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder and Manatee County officials have presented scenarios in which they would help pay for the rehabilitation of the Anna Maria City Pier; but the offers come with caveats and conditions.
Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy provided City Commissioners with these details during the May 12 meeting.
Commissioners were previously provided with a copy of a letter Schoenfelder sent Murphy on May 6.
"We have identified a $2 million problem based upon the study that we have. We have a $1.7 million project and then the associated costs with that study, getting permits and other things. To that end, the TDC (Tourist Development Council) has informally, not formally, agreed to a $1 million matching fund. Through the use of grants, concession fund money and other sources we can come up with another half-million dollars. That leaves us with a half-million dollar problem," Murphy said. More...
Johnson to seek second term
HOLMES BEACH – Mayor Bob Johnson has announced that he plans to run for a second two-year term.
"I feel good," Johnson said. "Everything is positive right now."
When Johnson came into office two years ago, the city was undergoing a number of changes, and Johnson said his first objective was stability and capacity.
"Things had been up and down, especially in the building department," he explained. "The city was going from sleepy town to busy town, and we needed to get the right capacity and quality in staffing.
"We did that in two critical places – building and code enforcement – by bringing in experienced qualified people with an attitude of customer service." More...
CVB promotion irks Bolts' fans
BRADENTON – The folks at the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) were hit with a bolt of criticism from Tampa Bay Lighting fans over the weekend.
The criticism stemmed from advertising the CVB placed on rally towels that expressed support for the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. The towels were given to those who attended Game 1 of the National Hockey League eastern conference finals game Friday night, May 13; a game in which the visiting Lightning defeated the Penguins 3-1.
The towels carried the message, "Lets Go Pens!" and featured the CVB logo and the words "Bradenton," "Anna Maria Island" "Longboat Key" and "BradentonGulfIslands.com." More...
Waterline to go vertical in June
HOLMES BEACH – Building Official Jim McGuinness reported on progress at the Waterline development at last week's City Commission meeting.
"They were able to successfully remove the existing foundations from the ground, crushed them and will use them for parking lot base," he said. "The only parts of the old foundation that remain are the parts that will be used in the new construction."
He said a live power line and water line were relocated and the site is being prepared for building pads. The piles will be installed next week and take approximately five days. More...
Skimmers found at Citgo
PALMETTO – Local tourism and all its sectors have grown for five years in a row, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) officials told guests at the 2016 National Tourism Week luncheon last week.
Manatee County has seen an increase in visitors, expenditures, employment and economic impact as a result of tourism, according to the county's tourism consultant, Tampa-based Research Data Services.
Specifically, last year, Manatee County visitor numbers exceeded 3 million, up 3.4 percent from 2014, tourism generated $46.9 million in state and local sales and use taxes, up 8.8 percent, tourism-related jobs totaled 24,700, up 13.8 percent, and the total economic impact of tourism was $1.1 billion, up 10.6 percent. More...
Mayor trying to adapt to limited role
BRADENTON BEACH – In an effort to work within the confines of a new ordinance that clarifies the mayor's limited role as a weak mayor, Mayor Bill Shearon has provided some suggestions to city department heads.
On May 7, Shearon sent an e-mail to the department heads, charter officials, senior staffers and city commission members.
"With commission's recent decision that department heads are supervised by the commission in public meetings, as mayor I have limited responsibilities nor authority regarding private contractors or assisting you as a department head. I request your assistance in my administrative oversight responsibilities," he wrote. More...
Franchises come under fire in Holmes Beach
HOLMES BEACH – Franchises came under fire at the City Commission meeting last week after commissioners learned that Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins were planning to come to the Anna Maria Island Centre.
"These two will do damage to others in the city and especially in the shopping center," Commissioner Pat Morton claimed. "Is there some way we can we limit it?
"We need to put something in to stop this. We're losing our Island as it is. They have no concern as to what our Island is like."
The two businesses came to the city's attention when signs appeared in the windows, and the mayor learned that while there is a building permit application, it has not been reviewed by the city. More...
Occupancy rehearing requested
ANNA MARIA – The attorney representing the plaintiffs in a recent vacation rental occupancy lawsuit has filed a motion for rehearing.
The motion pertains to a ruling handed down by Judge Gilbert Smith Jr. in April that upheld the occupancy restrictions contained in the city of Anna Maria's vacation rental ordinance.
A previous attempt to file the motion was delayed because the final summary judgement order had not yet been signed.
The motion was filed on May 10, on behalf of Florida Gulf Coast Vacation Homes doing business as Anna Maria Vacations. The motion requests that Smith reconsider his previous ruling and conduct another hearing. More...
Perico Preserve opens
Outdoors enthusiasts welcomed the eagerly awaited grand opening of Perico Preserve on Saturday, which also was International Migratory Bird Day, highlighting the preserve's chief purpose as a bird rookery and reserve.
Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Inc. released two rehabilitated birds, a red shouldered hawk and an osprey, to celebrate the preserve's opening, followed by a ribbon cutting by Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie, elected officials, and staff from the county's Parks and Natural Resources Department.
Over the past 10 years, the county has preserved 1,000 acres of land, he said. More...
Catch and release
Catch and release is practiced by all anglers. Even those that take their catch home or to market release undersized fish. Many anglers are driven by the desire to protect sport fish populations, realizing that they are vulnerable and not the endless resource that they were once thought to be. Other anglers enjoy keeping a fish to eat but release most of their catch. Once a novel idea, Catch and Release, has become common place among a cadre of anglers.
Anglers, unlike hunters can pursue their passion and release their prey. Many hunters and anglers are advocates for their sport and invest time and money in protecting the habitat and health of the fish and animals they pursue.
Most anglers I know who practice catch and release have no problem with taking an occasional fish home for dinner. It's more about enjoying the sport and trying to be proactive in helping it to remain healthy and viable. There are certain species, like tarpon, that anglers seldom if ever kill. Catch and release is not just about releasing fish that you don't want, it's also about releasing undersized fish or species that aren't valued at the table. Catch and release in any form is a wise use of the resource, but anglers must know how to properly handle the fish they let go. More...
Are you a real estate geek?
Do you have pajama footies? Do they have clouds or maybe little lambs on them, or something more macho like Superman or tigers? Whatever you have on your footies, and we all know you have them, you can be sure that you'll be well dressed to shop for your next home and mortgage.
In some areas shopping on line has almost overtaken bricks and mortar stores, and while you probably don't want to purchase a property strictly from an on line posting, you can do a lot of the leg work before you put on your walking shoes. To help you there are many ways to access real estate information on line, all of them free. These are some techniques you can use to get information on properties for sale as well as the value of properties.
The gold standard in my opinion, and the one I use almost daily, is Realtor.com. Realtor.com is active in every state and the apps work on desktop computers as well as smart phones. The site is sponsored by the National Association of Realtors and has access to multiple listing services nationwide, but does not contain for sale by owner at this point. There are a variety of ways to sort information, new properties, selling price, location and it is updated every 15 minutes. More...
Shape up with a personal trainer
You're young, you're in great shape, you just finished backpacking around Costa Rica for three months, and you don't want to go back to your native Seattle. What do you do next? Well like any smart young man, you take your mother's advice and move to Anna Maria Island.
For six years Blake Forsberg has been serious about working out and becoming the definitive gym rat, so what better career choice is there than doing what you love, and three years ago Forsberg did just that.
He became a certified personal trainer as well as a resistance training and fitness nutrition specialist certified by both the American Council on Exercise and the National Federation of Professional Trainers. More...
Taking chances with long-term careInvestment Corner
On Monday, October 24, 2005, Hurricane Wilma caught many Floridians by surprise. Strengthening when it was supposed to weaken, Wilma brought gusts of wind up to 123 mph and several inches of rain. Six million people were affected when a record 3.2 million homes and businesses lost power and many lost water service as well. Mobile homes disintegrated, hospitals were evacuated and a sinkhole even opened up in Interstate 95. The most severe storm in half a century in Broward County, Wilma took the lives of 25 people statewide.
If a storm warning were issued today, and they said there was a 70 percent chance of a hurricane of similar magnitude, what would you do? Would you sit back and relax? Most likely you would make preparations to protect your family and property. More...
Slim's Place triumphs over WFC
With spectators in the stands, another season of adult co-ed soccer is underway at the Center. In its second week of play, the first game of the night pitted Wash Family Construction (WFC) against Slim's Place. Slim's Place started the game off with an immediate pass back to first round draft pick Matt Kretzmann.
The game was the battle of the strong legs: hard strikes, and long defensive clears. The goalies were put to work with multiple shots on goal by both teams. In goal for WFC was Enrico Beissert, subbing for the team's regular goalie Jason Sato. Beissert who typically plays a strong field game showed his solid skills in the goal during the entire first half of the game.
Team Captains Lyn Clarke and PJ Smargisso, and Slim's Place's power mid-fielder Sean Sanders moved the ball back and forth, while Kyle Lessig for Wash Family Construction battled it out with Kretzmann for possession of the ball for the 40 minutes of play. More...
Sea turtle contest underway Find the Travelin' Turtle and win!
In celebration of sea turtle nesting season, which opens on Sunday, May 1, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring is holding a contest with weekly prizes, and a grand prize to be awarded on May 7.
The Travelin' Turtle will be hidden at a different Anna Maria Island business each week, and a clue is printed in this newspaper and on the Turtle Watch Facebook page.
The first person to find the turtle and call Laurie Crawford at 941-746-3611 will win the weekly contest.
A grand prize winner will be chosen from among the finalists, winning Turtle Watch gear, gift certificates from Island businesses and Sun souvenirs. More...