Vol. 16 No. 31 - June 1, 2016
Pier rehabilitation offer declined
ANNA MARIA – City Commissioners unanimously rejected pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder's offer to contribute up to $500,000 toward the $2 million rehabilitation of the Anna Maria City Pier.
During the May 26 meeting, commissioners also voted against Mayor Dan Murphy negotiating a revised offer.
Before the commission discussion ensued, Murphy recapped the offers he presented at the previous meeting.
"The essence of that particular proposal was a 10-year lease and a quarter million dollars under the condition of the 10-year lease and/or half a million dollars with the 10-year lease and two years rent-free," Murphy said of Schoenfelder's offers. More...
City to explore limiting franchises
HOLMES BEACH – After hearing from their attorney, city commissioners agreed to try and limit the proliferation of franchise, or formula, businesses in the city.
The issue began when commissioners learned that Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins were planning to come to the Anna Maria Island Centre, owned by the Benderson Development Company.
Chet Zarzycki, owner of Holy Cow, an ice cream and gift store in the shopping center, urged action and said, "It would be my hope that commissioners would address the issue that Benderson poses in bringing a major distributor into our shopping plaza. More...
Pier settlement sunk
BRADENTON BEACH – The terms of a potential pier lawsuit settlement were revealed and then rejected last week.
While this process played out, Mayor Bill Shearon chose not to share a settlement-related document with the city clerk's office or his fellow commissioners until much later in the week.
The proposed settlement pertained to a lawsuit filed by Bradenton Beach Marina owner Al Bazzy and his son Mike, who are challenging the process in which the lease rights to three city-owned buildings were awarded to the Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) ownership group.
The lawsuit names the city of Bradenton Beach, AMOB's We're Back Inc., Paradise Boat Tours owner Sherman Baldwin and two additional tenants who, like Baldwin, sublease commercial space from AMOB. More...
Contractor targets July 1 for Twin Piers completion
BRADENTON BEACH – Work on the often-delayed Twin Piers reconstruction will be completed by July 1, according to senior project engineer Michelle Pfeiffer.
Reacting to complaints that the project is taking too long and requests for information by elected officials, Pfeiffer sent a memo dated May 18, saying the north groin is essentially done, except for some punch list items. Work continues on the middle and southern groins that stick out into the Gulf waters from Cortez Beach in Bradenton Beach. She estimated the center groin was 90 percent complete and the southern structure 65 percent finished.
Pfeiffer said Cayo Construction has a goal of having the beach cleared of the construction zones and open to the public before the Fourth of July holiday. However, the company announcement said the staging areas in the parking lot might remain occupied while minor items are addressed through final completion, estimated to be a couple of weeks after July 1. More...
Fire board approves assessment increase
BRADENTON – After debating three options, West Manatee Fire Rescue commissioners approved a 2.25 percent increase in the tax assessment rate for 2016-17.
The options were no increase, a 1.5 percent increase or the 2.25 percent increase. By law the fire district could have increased the assessment 4.16 percent. Last year, there was no increase.
"We're recommeding 2.25 based on future initiatives," Fire Chief Tom Sousa said. "We make every effort to minimize our expense without impacting service delivery." More...
Beach concessionaire seeks changes
HOLMES BEACH – City Attorney Patricia Petruff has questioned a number of changes to the concession area at Manatee Public Beach sought by United Park Service (UPS), which took over the beach concession in 2010.
According to an e-mail from Debbie Voorhees, contracts manager for Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources, UPS is seeking the following:
• Add seating including Tiki huts, lounge chairs and umbrellas, in the sand area in front of the patio; More...
Magistrate orders tree house fine restored
HOLMES BEACH – The city's special magistrate has ruled that tree house owners Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran have not brought the property into compliance by removing the violations or demolishing the structure on the beach in front of Angelino's Sea Lodge at 103 29th St.
Special Magistrate Kelly Fernandez ordered a fine of $50 per day starting from July 22, 2015, when the Second District Court of Appeal denied Tran and Hazen a rehearing. The fine will terminate the day the property is found in compliance by the city.
The order will be recorded in the county's public records and constitute a lien on the property as well as any other real or personal property owned by Tran and Hazen. More...
Storm forecasters take note of weather pattern changes
"The times, they are a changing" warned singer Bob Dylan during the 1960s and the weather forecasters from the two major agencies agree.
After basking in the protection of El Nino winds, which resulted in wind shear at high altitudes that tore tropical storms apart, El Nino has left the Pacific and his evil sister, La Nina, has taken his place.
In other words, be careful out there and make sure you have a plan in case a storm makes tracks for the area.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) issued its prediction last week, and it mirrors the one from the Colorado State University's (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science, in Fort Collins. For the types of storm activities, NOAA predicts 10 to 16 named storms compared to CSU's 12, four to eight hurricanes, compared to CSU's five; and one to four major hurricanes, compared to CSU's Two. More...
Octogenarian succumbs to marriage fever
HOLMES BEACH – A group of men who formed a pact during grad school at the University of Chicago watched the last of its ranks become a groom at St. Bernard Catholic Church Saturday afternoon. The twist to this story is that they are all in their 80s.
The groom, John Polking, a retired math professor from Rice University, married Agnas "Stevie" Coppin, of Anna Maria.
When the group, known as the Natty Bumppo Society, decided to do something for Polking and his new bride, they hired Arne's Army Barbershop of the Sandpiper Chorus to serenade the couple as they came out the front door of the chapel. More...
To many anglers fishing is simple. It's not much more complicated than dangling a shrimp or fishing a jig in any likely spot. Like other human activities, the level of involvement ranges from the simple to the insane. Most fishermen fall somewhere in between, while some live and breathe life on the water. They dream of rigging rods and reels, sharpening hooks, consulting charts, and exploring tackle shops and online forums for the next great lure or fly.
Some anglers steadily graduate from cane poles to graphite spinning rods and fly tackle. Some never consider killing a fish, epitomizing the catch and release ethic. Others sport stickers on the back of their trucks that read, "I Kill Fish." Once again most of us fall somewhere in between, content with our fishing method, respecting our catch and enjoying an occasional fresh fish dinner. Fishing develops into an individual passion, one that's much more than catching. Some of us can have a great day on the water and never catch a fish; others may be disappointed if they don't fill the cooler, but we all profit from our time on the water. More...
A Bert Harris tune up
It's been a year and a half since I wrote about the Bert Harris Act – right about when Island property owners were starting to challenge the vacation rental regulations. In view of several new Bert Harris claims on the Island, I thought it might be time to tune up Bert Harris for those who don't know what it is.
The Bert J. Harris, Jr. Private Property Rights Protection Act of 1995 was created to restore balance to the regulatory process by providing citizens with a mechanism for seeking compensation when government regulations or policy actions inordinately burden their property rights.
The act states specifically; "The term inordinate burden means that an action of one or more governmental entities has directly restricted or limited the use of real property such that the property owner is permanently unable to attain the reasonable, investment-backed expectation for the existing use of the real property or a vested right to a specific use of the real property with respect to the real property as a whole, or that the property owner is left with existing or vested uses that are unreasonable." More...
Pizza rules at Fire & Stone
Pizza is a way of life in America. It's not only a staple of our diets but also a cultural event, gathering us around a piping hot pizza to watch a sporting event, celebrate a birthday or just to be happy it's Friday night. So why merely have one pizza when you can have endless pizza, and Fire & Stone Pizza is the place to find it.
Radka Watson was born in the Czech Republic and lived in London with her husband. In 2008, after moving to Florida, they purchased Fire & Stone Pizza on Cortez Road in west Bradenton putting their own stamp on it and developing a very loyal customer base.
After her husband's passing, she continued running the restaurant with a new partner, Peter Ross, and last fall added their general manager, Eric Fleishman. Ross, originally from Atlanta with family on Anna Maria, and Fleishman, originally from upstate New York, have brought their experience in both the building and restaurant business to Fire & Stone. 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...
Play is strong at mid-season mark
Island youth and adults have been meeting up for friendly competition all spring at the Center on the basketball court and soccer pitch. After several weeks of play, each league has clear leaders heading into the next phase of the season.
Team Jackson, lead by Antwan Jackson, is at the top of the adult basketball league with three weeks of play in the record books. With a 3-0 record, Team Jackson is followed by Team Sapanora and Team Calvary, both with two wins and no losses.
In the middle of the pack are Team Terman and Team Bekkerus, each with one win. Yet to get the W, Team Aaron and Team Bailey both have three losses, with the hopes of getting their first win in the coming week. More...
Turtle Talk Tuesdays begin in June
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers will present a 30-minute program every Tuesday at 10 a.m. in June and July at CrossPointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.
Using photos, videos and funny stories, volunteers will take you on a virtual tour of Anna Maria Island's nesting beaches and answer your questions.
Everyone will get the scoop on the time and location of upcoming nest excavations, which is done three days after hatchlings leave the nests, and can pick up free activity books, handouts and temporary turtle tattoos.