Vol. 8 No. 33 - May 7, 2008


FDOT survey: Most want tall bridge

HOLMES BEACH – If the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) were to choose a replacement bridge for the 17-foot-high Anna Maria Island drawbridge, there’s a good chance it would be a lot taller.

Chris Piazza, FDOT engineer in charge of the bridge replacement project, told the meeting of Save Anna Maria (SAM) last Saturday that the majority of the respondents to their recent bridge replacement survey expressed a desire for a tall, fixed-span structure. More...

Proposed pipeline threatens renourishment

ANNA MARIA – A proposed 42-mile long offshore pipeline designed to bring liquefied natural gas from a receiving station to Port Manatee poses a threat to beach renourishments on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, county officials say.

Manatee County Conservation Lands Management Director Charlie Hunsicker and Rick Spadoni, of Coastal Planning and Engineering, were scheduled to give testimony on Tuesday, May 6, regarding the pipeline, which is being built by Port Dolphin Energy, LLC. More...

Redesign needed in drainage project

ANNA MARIA – Problems with the design of the next citywide drainage project likely will require a significant redesign in the plans, according to city officials.

The change is necessary because state regulators have refused to grant permits for the proposal, known as Phase One, said City Commissioner Dale Woodland.

"It’s very difficult to get permitting for a project that moves water from one drainage basin to another, and that’s what the design for the Phase One project entails," Woodland said. "I think we’ll end up with a much simpler design, relying on swales within each basin to clean and percolate the water, rather than carrying it into another basin and putting it through filter boxes and Vortex separators to clean it up." More...

Suspects in beating arrested

Two suspects in the April 16 home invasion and beating of a former Anna Maria City Commissioner were arrested at a Days Inn motel in Bradenton by a violent crimes task force on Saturday night, May 3.

Michael Gambuzza, 38, and Christopher Dresher, 29, were taken into custody and charged with home invasion with a firearm or other deadly weapon and false imprisonment of an adult. Bond was set at $175,000 for both of them. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMcClash wants to keep Island trolleys free

As governments tighten their belts, one question on the minds of many Island residents and business owners is: Will the trolley remain free to those who ride?

Many say the trolley is a huge benefit to the tourist industry. Others see it as a fun people-mover for those too old and too young to drive.

Bradenton Beach, where traffic congestion is monumental during season, wants to use it as a solution to the high number of cars on Gulf Drive, especially between Cortez Road and Longboat Pass. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryArson awareness week focuses on novelty lighters

Dangerous lighters made to look like cute rubber ducks and cuddly green frogs are increasingly getting into the hands of children with disastrous consequences.

The theme of this week’s National Arson Awareness Week is "Toylike Lighters: Playing with Fire," and West Manatee Fire & Rescue District officials are working to make parents aware of this new danger.

"We want people to know that these novelty lighters are out there and to keep them out of the hands of their children," Deputy Fire Marshal Kurt Lathrop said. "The lighters are becoming more commonly used by child fire-setters and you can understand why kids are attracted to them." More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCortez Trailer Park sold

CORTEZ – Longtime friends and neighbors got their first good night’s sleep in a long while after a contract was signed on Thursday allowing them to buy the Cortez Trailer Park from the owner.

Butch Howey agreed to sell the historic, 1930s-era park at the east end of the Cortez bridge for $9.5 million, according to Doug Morgan, co-chairman of the purchase committee for Cortez Park Homeowners Inc.

The owner is the son of Harry Howey and his wife Dottie, who ran the 79-lot park for 30 years and still live there. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThey came to boogie

HOLMES BEACH – It was a smaller party, as fund-raisers go, but it was a better party, as parties go.

Between 200 and 250 people showed up last Saturday night for the Anna Maria Elementary School Spring Fling, also known as "That 70s Party."

As of press time, it was unknown how much the fundraiser netted. PTO President Joy Murphy said that it looked like they made their minimum, but they weren’t expecting as much as last year because of the economy. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCortez Cafe is cookin’

To call Cortez Café a restaurant would be an understatement. It is a café, a restaurant, but it’s also a diner. And a coffeehouse. And a place that many people consider a morning ritual. In a little strip mall in the Cortez Road neighborhood of Cortez fishing village, it serves bountiful breakfasts and lunches of the traditional kind. This is the oldest section of Bradenton and these may well be the best breakfasts for miles.

Certainly the readers of The Sun think so as it has been voted top breakfast spot in 2007 and 2008. It also has the reputation as the least expensive. This is a place where waffles are homemade, where instant grits and quick grits find no welcome. More...

reel time

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story"Pole & Troll Zones:" Give an inch, save a mile

Captain Rusty Albury, a guide and fifth generation "Conch" from Islamorada, said it best, "If you go down to First Street and get mugged, how long will it be before you don’t go there anymore?" Albury’s supposition was in response to my question about his thoughts on "pole and troll zones." His point was that fish that are constantly run over will eventually leave an area. While Albury is a big fan of an increase in these areas, he is quick to point out that boaters should not be denied access. More...

real estate

To buy or not to buy – that is the question

As evidenced by the diversity of homes showcased in the annual tour of homes in March, Anna Maria Island is home to a tremendous variety of home styles and lifestyles. The homes on the tour ranged from ultra-modern to homes with a Mediterranean and Italian influence to a spectacular waterfront property and a converted cottage.

We all know there’s a lot to choose from, especially in the current real estate market. But is it the right time for everyone to buy, or should some buyers sit it out? More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTraditional Italian fare at Maestro

Maestro is derived from the Latin word magister, meaning master of an art form.

To an Italian, cooking may be the highest art form there is, and to Alfonso and Sandra Rossi it’s an art form that has gotten into their blood.

In 1990, the Rossi’s moved to Bradenton from Padua, Italy, with their young daughter, Francesca to join family already living in the area and worked in the restaurant business. Alfonso Rossi’s family had been involved in the restaurant industry in Italy since before World War II. He was a sous-chef as well as owner of a fitness center in Padua. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland’s own ‘field of dreams’ rededicated

Last Saturday the baseball field at Anna Maria Community Center was re-dedicated. It is the Scanio-Hutchinson Memorial Field once again, in honor of two very different individuals, worlds apart and now, as before, brought together with plaques to remind us all of the history behind Anna Maria Island Little League baseball.

Benji Scanio didn’t have time to accomplish much. He died of leukemia at age 6 in 1959 and even though his time here was short-lived, he left his tiny footprints on the hearts of those he loved and who loved him. More...

Click here for a virtual tour of Island baseball


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTurtles coming soon to a beach near you

Volunteers from Anna Maria Turtle Watch began scanning the beaches for signs of sea turtle nesting on May 1.

"We haven’t had anything yet," said AMITW Director Suzi Fox. "We don’t usually see anything until the water hits 80 degrees."

The water temperature had risen to 78 degrees by early this week, so Fox was expecting at least a false crawl one day very soon.

"They’ve had false crawls to the south of us already in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, and we’ve had reports from fishermen that the turtles are out there," she said. "They’ll come in soon." More...


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