Vol. 17 No. 25 - April 5, 2017
Education leads bike path plans
HOLMES BEACH — Public education is slated to be a large part of enacting City Engineer Lynn Burnett's new bike route plan in Holmes Beach.
More than two dozen community members gathered March 29 for the last of two bicycle path forums at Holmes Beach City Hall. The discussion at the first forum related primarily to the route the bicycle path is planned to take, winding through neighborhoods to make use of already installed sidewalks and keeping cyclists out of the path of much of the Island's vehicular traffic. The second forum's discussion focused primarily on safety. More...
Vacation rental bill takes another step
TALLAHASSEE – Mike La Rosa's vacation rental bill, HB 425, is headed for a final committee review before being voted on by House members as a whole.
On Tuesday, March, 28, the Careers and Competition Subcommittee ruled favorably on the bill by a 9-6 margin. Unless a workshop is scheduled to discuss potential amendments, the bill's last stop will be the 30-member Commerce Committee that includes Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton).
The House bill filed by La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) seeks a return to 2011 law that prevented local governments from adopting new vacation rental regulations. A 2014 amendment returned to local governments the limited ability to regulate vacation rentals. More...
Suit accuses developer of fraudulent behavior
ANNA MARIA – Developer Shawn Kaleta has been named in a lawsuit that alleges he failed to meet his financial obligations and fraudulently provided the fake signature of his investment partner.
In response to the complaint, Kaleta's attorney, Louis Najmy, said, "It's a baseless claim and unfortunately it is being twisted by the other side. In fact, we are preparing a countersuit for monies rightfully owed to Mr. Kaleta that have remained unpaid and in default."
On March 10, the lawsuit was filed with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Bradenton on behalf of plaintiff Ratnamani Lingamallu, a female physician from Lakeland. The lawsuit names Kaleta and Pine View Gulf LLC as defendants.
"This is an action for fraud, breach of contract, breach of standard of conduct and contribution for money damages in an amount greater than $15,000," the complaint states. More...
Soft opening scheduled for Grassy Point Preserve
HOLMES BEACH — It's an event that's been several months in the making — Grassy Point Preserve is about to reopen to the public.
"This is a real sweetheart of a project," said Mary Buonagura, city human resources specialist.
Buonagura presented commissioners with a tentative plan for a soft opening of the preserve March 28 during a commission meeting.
With commission input, the soft opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 19, at the preserve's entrance on the north end of Avenue C. More...
Arrest made in auto theft
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – An arrest has been made in connection with an auto theft that occurred in Anna Maria on Friday, March 24.
According to Sgt. Russell Schnering, from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, the second of two stolen vehicles, a Chevy Suburban, has been recovered in Hillsborough County. The first vehicle, an Audi, was recovered on U.S. 19 in Palmetto the day after the two vehicles went missing.
"An arrest was made in connection with the theft," Schnering said Monday morning. "Based on that arrest, our detectives are following up with the information."
According to Schnering, the suspect's name is Sebastian Remaley, and the 16-year-old was arrested on a felony charge of grand theft auto. More...
Food truck fest this Saturday
BRADENTON BEACH – Anybody who has worked construction or outdoors jobs should be familiar with the food truck that pulls up around lunchtime serving anything from burgers to burritos, hot dogs to chili.
The Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a salute to those trucks on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the Beach'N Food Truck and Music Festival at Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Drive S., just south of the Coquina Beach Café.
There will be arts and crafts, a lineup of local musical artists, a classic auto show and a fun kids' zone. Most of all, bring an appetite because the aroma emanating from the food trucks will have no mercy on a full belly. More...
John Horne honored
This year the Leadership Manatee Alumni will be presenting John Horne, owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bar, as its Distinguished Alumni of the Year, who will receive the Kent Schulz award.
According to a Leadership Manattee press release, this award was first given in 1996. Kent C. Schulz was a Leadership Alumnus who was always involved in the community and never hesitated to lend a hand. He understood the importance of paying it forward. Helping others was not something he had to think about. Making another's life better one day at a time, one project at a time and loving his family is what he lived for. More...
Noise causes problems for Holmes Beach residents, commissioners
HOLMES BEACH — Residents are done being quiet about noise issues in their neighborhoods.
During the March 30 commission work session, residents asked commissioners to reconsider how the city's noise ordinance is enforced and provide more relief for full-time residents living near short-term vacation rentals.
"Neighbors are leaving the Island because of noise issues," Kim Rash said.
Margie Motzer said she feels part of the disconnect between residents and responding police officers is the use of a decibel meter to determine whether or not someone is in violation of the noise ordinance.
"It doesn't truly reflect the problems, and it doesn't solve the issues," she said. More...
Schooner owner gives up the ship
CORTEZ – Rick Stewart has abandoned his efforts to raise and restore the 66-foot wooden schooner that sits sunken in front of the Seafood Shack restaurant.
On St. Patrick's Day, Stewart signed over ownership of the San Francesco to the restaurant and marina owned by VanDyk group of companies. The local Seafood Shack management group now hopes to salvage the ship.
Stewart is also resigning as manager of the nearby Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage (FISH) Boatworks, effective May 1, and he's already resigned from the FISH Board. FISH had no direct involvement with the schooner, but Stewart hoped to one day transport the schooner by land to the Boatworks so he could replace the hull. More...
You don't know until you go
Spring is a wonderful time on Gulf coast inshore waters and can be filled with pleasant surprises. You never know what you might encounter, so it's a good idea to carry a number of rods, reels, lures, plugs and flies. You'll still want to go out with a plan of action, but be flexible and able to change plans when the opportunity arises. Kingfish, cobia, Spanish mackerel, little tunny, and triple tail are just a few of the species that inhabit the Gulf in spring. Most of these require a different approach, and you don't want to miss an opportunity because you are not prepared.
One day recently that very scenario presented itself. AMI Outfitters owner Steve Traves and I had been on a mission to target cobia that were purported to be swimming the local passes and the beaches over local nearshore reefs. The plan was to check Longboat Pass and then head to New Pass checking crab trap markers and an artificial reef along the way. We had 10-weight fly rods rigged for cobia, but had eight-weight outfits on standby. We checked the markers in Longboat Pass, but despite a favorable tide, didn't locate any cobia or see signs of any other action. The next stop on our plan was an artificial reef about five miles south of the pass. We decided to run a line of crab trap markers looking for cobia and tripletail on the way. More...
Real estate trickle down
Did you know that the trickle-down effect is an actual theory? I always thought it was invented by a creative public relations guy for a non-creative politician. No one person is given credit for the term. It just evolved starting in the mid 1800s, and what it essentially means is that the money the wealthy spend on goods and services influences all social levels below them in a vertical fashion. All real estate values, of course, are also influenced by what goes on in the upper level marketplace, and so far, the marketplace is looking positive.
In spite of increased mortgage rates, Americans are buying homes at the fastest pace since 2007. During the month of January, per the National Associations of Realtors, home sales rose 3.3 percent over the end of 2016 numbers. Job gains, pay raises and a higher level of consumer confidence are given credit for the upswing, as well as anticipation of home prices continuing to increase. More...
Hurricane Hanks is happening
It may be March, but there’s a new hurricane that just blew into town, only this one isn’t fueled by warm ocean temperatures. This one is fueled by old friendships, devotion to food and love of Anna Maria.
Hurricane Hanks restaurant and Hurricane Liquors next door have been in Holmes Beach for many years. The restaurant has been a magnet for locals and visitors alike with repeat long time customers, and the full-service liquor store also conveniently located dead center on the Island, stocks the largest selection of beer, wines and spirits on Anna Maria. So, it was no surprise that when they became available for sale it was quickly snapped up by Island loving partners.
Sharon Evans and her husband, Mark, bought a second home in Holmes Beach three years ago. While these Winnipeg, Canada, natives were vacationing in Naples, they decided to take a ride to Anna Maria Island. As soon as they crossed the bridge from Longboat Key, they knew they were never going back to Naples, and they didn’t. After checking into one of Anna Maria’s charming Gulffront hotels, they were totally convinced this was the place for them and bought a house the next day.
Reverse mortgages worth another lookInvestment Corner
I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn’t the worst idea in the world.
I’m bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime
Space limitations don’t’ allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let’s hit some of the highlights. More...
Truly Nolen closes the season as champs
After delays due to weather and school performance conflicts, the championship game in the eight- to 10-year-old youth flag football league was finally played on Monday, March 27. Struggling to make it happen on the gridiron, Team Lancaster Design Group lost in the final game of the season against Team Truly Nolen.
Finishing the season with successes and growth, both team coaches proudly stood with their teams as the players recited The Center's Youth Sports Core Promises. Coach Gary Harlan guided Team Lancaster Design Group through 40 minutes of regulation play, encouraging players through each snap of the football.
Coach Rick Hurst showed sportsmanship as his team had a seemingly easy time of it on the field. With powerhouses Dante Tillelli and Aiden Templeton on the bench for most of the last minutes of the game, Hurst made sure all of his players had playing time in the game of the season. More...