Vol. 15 No. 11 - January 7, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGail and Ed Straight Sun Persons of the Year

BRADENTON BEACH – For their continued commitment to caring for injured and ailing members of the animal kingdom, through their Wildlife Inc. Education and Rehabilitation organization, Gail and Ed Straight have been named The Sun’s 2014 Persons of the Year.

The wildlife sanctuary that began as a hobby in 1987 now serves as the primary rescue and rehab facility in Manatee County, and beyond.

Operating from their home on Avenue B, the non-profit organization received nearly 3,000 calls for assistance in 2014, resulting in approximately 2,000 animal intakes. About 80 percent of those taken in are later released. Due to the extensive injuries, illnesses or conditions, some became permanent residents, while others, according to federal regulations, are subject to mandatory euthanization.

“It’s been a really busy year,” Gail said, half-heartedly questioning the wisdom of this labor intensive approach to retirement. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story2014 Year in Review

THE ISLAND – Once again Island news was dominated by issues related to the influx of tourism created by aggressive marketing combined with the irresistible attraction of our beautiful Island.

Officials struggled to find solutions ranging from a gondola to banning parking on residential streets to a moratorium to attempts to repeal a state law prohibiting municipalities from creating legislation that would regulate rentals.

To aid in finding solutions, the three Island cities have contracted with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to perform an Island-wide study this year. The ULI provides guidance to communities in addressing problems associated with land use, development and growth.

But that’s for tomorrow; today we look back at 2014. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMullet dumping continues

Mullet fishermen were out in force again last week, netting high-dollar red roe carried by females and discarding unwanted male mullet overboard.

Dead mullet washing up onto Anna Maria Island beaches poses an annual problem to the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, which struggles to keep up by raking the beaches clean, according to director Charlie Hunsicker.

“We’re hoping that the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) would recognize that the number of dead fish is a public problem,” he said, suggesting that they could post a law enforcement officer on the water like a Florida Highway Patrol officer stationed on the interstate to slow drivers down. “The fishermen understanding the law maybe wouldn’t break it then.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryA look ahead to 2015

BRADENTON BEACH –2015 promises to be another interesting year in Bradenton Beach.

Recall, forfeiture or status quo?

The city enters 2015 with Mayor Bill Shearon’s status still undecided. The commission-driven forfeiture of office proceedings remain on hold while the recall committee tries to secure enough petition signatures to force a special recall election. If either of the two signature drives fall short, the recall effort dies, and Vice Mayor Jack Clarke will have to decide if he wants to reinitiate the forfeiture process. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMayor seeks speedier cell tower completion

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy was unhappy with the estimate of time it would take to get the city’s cell phone tower up and running, so he met with the company representative in charge of the project last Friday to see what could be done.

Murphy and Building Official Bob Welch met with Kevin Barile, of Florida Tower Partners, at city hall.

The result was a plan that would start portions of the project before they get approval from governing bodies that would eventually approve it. For instance, the tower needs approval of its exact location from the Federal Aviation Administration, and the company moved the tower’s location slightly last year, requiring new approval. Because the move is so slight, it was considered a shoe-in for approval. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Runners ready for Dolphin Dash

A mullet roundup in the Gulf of Mexico off Bradenton Beach netted roe, or eggs, for dozens of fishermen just in time for Christmas. But since then, mullet have been washing up on Anna Maria Island’s beaches apparently as a result of some fishermen keeping the high-dollar roe from the females and dumping the low-dollar female carcasses and the males overboard.

In previous Sun reports, local food banks have said that it would be too expensive to transport, ice and process the fish even if the fishermen were willing to save room in their boats bring them to the dock and donate them. Meanwhile, Manatee County workers continue to clean dead fish from the beaches. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports no red tide off Florida’s Gulf coast, and county officials say they believe the dead fish, which numbered in the thousands of tons, were dumped. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryRare birds spotted in Audubon bird count

Two unusual birds, a marbled godwit and a white-winged dove, were spotted on Anna Maria Island during the 115th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Sunday.

Dick Comeau, Stu Wilson, John Ginaven and John van Zandt surveyed the area north of Anna Maria Elementary School for the National Audubon Society’s Fort De Soto Circle, which includes the southern part of Pinellas County and the northern part of Manatee County.

The birders counted 49 species, including a marbled godwit on the beach near Bean Point and a white-winged dove off the beach. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryDeputy praised for caring actions

ANNA MARIA – A 23-year resident and member of the animal rescue network wrote kind words about Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Stewart for his actions in returning a deceased dog to its owner.

In an e-mail to Sgt. Paul Davis, head of the sheriff’s patrol in Anna Maria, Kathleen Long wrote about the incident that occurred around mid-December.

She said she got a message around 5 p.m. one evening reporting that the body of a dog that washed up near the Anna Maria City Pier earlier matched the description of a 17-year-old Jack Russell terrier that was reported missing in Palmetto. The owner was desperate to know if it was his. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe Colonel retires at 100

HOLMES BEACH – Key Royale Golf and Country Club’s three closest parking spots are reserved for the ladies champion golfer, the men’s champion golfer and Col. Bob Elliott.

The champions may or may not be champions the next year, but Col. Bob Elliott has been there longer than the rest and has outlived most past presidents.

Col. Elliott, as he is known, was the center of attention last Saturday night at the club as more than 100 people gathered to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Born Jan. 2, 1915, Elliott sat in the corner with his wife, Bea, as people came up congratulate him. Elliott was also celebrating retirement from his volunteer position as the person who opens the door and gets the club ready for the day. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryDivining the signs of fish

Catching fish isn’t about being in any particular honey hole. Anglers who know how to look for the signs of the presence of fish are more adept at catching fish no matter what the time, tide or weather. While there’s no secret formula to fishing that assures even the most astute angler success on the water, being aware of the signs that point to action can make the difference between a successful or fishless day.

Most anglers know to look for the obvious signs of action such as a feeding frenzy on the water’s surface or feeding birds hovering over a school of baitfish, prey that’s being driven to the surface by feeding fish. Fewer know that lots of birds feeding on a dry flat at low tide is a good sign of finding fish on the next high tide. More...

real estate

Florida population on the move

We’re at the beginning of a new year, and what a year it’s setting up to be. Last week we talked about redefining what a million dollar property is. This week we’re going to talk about how the state of Florida is being redefined.

When my parents retired to Florida in the early 1970s, the old adage “Florida is God’s waiting room” was alive and well. At that time, Florida retirees would have trouble convincing their children to visit; forget about relocating. Well it’s not your parents’ Florida anymore, and the U.S. Census Bureau is proving it.

A few days before Christmas, the U.S. Census Bureau released statistics ranking the state of Florida as the third most populated state in the country behind California in first place and Texas in second. For the first time, Florida has overtaken the state of New York, just nudging it out of its third place status, an ironic twist since one in t10 new Florida residents relocate from New York. The report goes on to say that an average of 803 new residents arrived in the state every day during the previous year. Florida’s population is just under 19.9 million representing a 1.49 percent growth from July of 2013 to July of 2014. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

An unusual average year

Investment Corner

We often like to use the chart below to illustrate how the average return investors expect for stocks, generally anticipated at 8 to 10 percent a year over longer periods of time doesn’t often translate into that same level of performance in most years.

In other words, the long term averages are developed through a wide disparity of returns, both positive and negative, that more often than not fall outside of the normal range. Our approach to this is to take the expected return of about 10 percent per year and to then define 10 percent bands of +5 percent and -5 percent around that expectation. So, a return between 5 percent and 15 percent for a particular year would be considered normal. Returns further away from normal are grouped into 10 percent bands, both in the positive and negative directions.

The result is a little surprising to most. Since 1950, there are far more years with results outside of the normal expectation than in the middle band surrounding the norm. In fact, only 23 percent of these years were close to the long-term expected rate of return. More...


AMICC winter sports kickoff

New year’s celebrations can only mean one thing at the Anna Maria Island Community Center: winter sports. Flag football players and volleyball players young and old have been preparing to take the field and the court for another fun-filled winter sports season at the center.

Youth Flag Football

Taking the football field in January are more than 20 youth teams, with 18 volunteer coaches leading area boys and girls. After the traditional pasta dinner banquet on Friday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m., children ages 5 to 17 years old will be pulling flags, rushing, catching and throwing on the grid iron starting on the Saturday, Jan. 1 with the Tailgate Spirit Day.

Spirit Day is a fun-filled day of football, with every team meeting opponents head-to-head kicking off the season. The day is also full of team spirit. Family and friends will adorn tents and themselves with their favorite team’s colors. More...