Vol. 15 No. 14 - January 28, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBradenton Beach Pier reopened

BRADENTON BEACH – The newly-reconstructed Historic Bridge Street Pier is open.

At 10 a.m. Friday, former Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy cut the ceremonial ribbon and opened the entire pier to the public for the first time since it sustained storm damage in 2012.

“1921, 2015 – for 94 years the spirit of this pier has been here. How beautiful it is; I hope I look this good when I’m 94,” Shaughnessy said, before cutting the ribbon.

He thanked the Pier Team and its chair, Police Chief Sam Speciale; city and county commissioners and staff; Elliot Falcione and the county’s Tourist Development Council and Convention and Visitors Bureau; County Administrator Ed Hunzeker; and the engineers and contractors who renovated the structure. More...

Recall petitions verified

BRADENTON BEACH – Although she was unable to provide an exact number of verified recall petitions, Sharon Stief, chief deputy for the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections, confirmed that enough petition signatures have been verified to move forward with the efforts to recall Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon.

“We’re seeking clarification on one of the petitions, but basically they are all certified,” Stief said Friday afternoon.

Stief said her office had a call into Eric Robinson, the head of the accounting firm that represents the Committee to Recall William Shearon, regarding a question about one of the 119 signed petition forms submitted to acting City Clerk Terri Sanclemente on or around Jan. 14. One hundred signatures from registered city voters were needed in order to move the recall effort to a second and final round of signature gathering. More...

AMI: The book

Just about everything you ever wanted to know about Anna Maria Island is included in a draft version of the briefing book prepared for the Urban Land Institute to use in its study of the Island next month.

The ULI, a not-for-profit consulting group, plans to survey more than 100 people being selected now about Island problems and potential solutions that will be detailed in a presentation and a comprehensive report in February.

To inform ULI staff about the area, a local committee has been assembling background information in book form to help them understand the issues the Island faces. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMayor avoids dredging mess

Mayor Dan Murphy used the power of persuasion last Friday to divert the C & D Dredging Co. from cleaning out Lake LaVista and placing the dredged material, known as spoil, on City Pier Park for up to five months in bladders that allow the material to drain and dry.

Faced with this possibility, which was unknown to him until a few days earlier, Murphy called officials from the company into city hall and talked with them about the project.

“I told them this would be a smelly mess right in our commercial district, and we are in season right now,” he said after the meeting. “I asked them if they could use that money somewhere else, and they agreed to abandon their project.”

Murphy told the city commissioners at their Thursday night meeting that the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) made arrangements with Manatee County for the project, leaving the city out of the loop. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryInjunction request denied

BRADENTON BEACH – Circuit Court Judge John Lakin dismissed Tjet Martin’s and Jo Ann Meilner’s request for an emergency injunction that would have prevented the city’s construction of a five-space public parking area west of Gulf Drive and south of the BeachHouse restaurant.

Represented by former Bradenton Beach City Attorney Ralf Brookes, Martin attended the Thursday, Jan. 22, hearing that took place in downtown Bradenton. She was the only witness to testify and respond to cross-examination, and Meilner was not present.

The city of Bradenton Beach and Ed Chiles’ ELRA Inc. restaurant ownership group were listed as co-defendants in the injunction request filed on Jan. 11. Attorney Charles Johnson represented the city, and ELRA Inc. was represented by Robert Lincoln and Andrea Flynn Mogensen, and Mogensen was assisted by non-attorney Michael Barfield.

Chiles attended the hearing, joined by former Anna Maria City Attorney Jim Dye. City Engineer Lynn Townsend-Burnett was also present in case her expert testimony was required. City Attorney Ricinda Perry did not participate in the hearing. More...

Board to discuss allowing alcohol in public

HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners plan to discuss allowing the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on public property at their Jan. 29 work session.

The issue came to light when questions arose regarding whether the sale and consumption of beer and wine was allowed at Manatee Public Beach.

According to a memo from Planner Bill Brisson, “The city commission authorized the sale and consumption of beer and wine on a limited area of Manatee County Beach. I believe this is generally the area of the Manatee Beach Cage and pavilion. The specific areas are delineated on the approved site plan.” More...

Flyers OK’d for congestion committee

HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners gave Island Congestion Committee Chair Jayne Christenson permission to produce flyers to explain the committee’s residential parking proposal to the public.

The plan would eliminate street and right of way parking in residential areas, except for residents, property owners and renters that obtain decals from the city. Christenson said the committee wants to educate residents about the plan, so they can comment when the commission discusses the plan on Jan. 29.

“I suggest we put these flyers with ‘draft’ written on them in the lobby of city hall or wherever you feel is appropriate and possibly uploading them to the city ‘s website,” she told the board. ‘We also want to hold a town hall meeting once the ordinance is in the final stage.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFootball contest the real Deal

BRADENTON BEACH – Steve Deal, from Jacksonville, won The Sun’s 2014 Football Fever contest, and Friday morning his dad, Bob Deal, from Ellenton, stopped by Island Time Bar & Grill to pick up his son’s winnings.

According to Sun statistician John Reitz, Steve Deal correctly picked 176 or 69 percent of the 255 games spread out over the 17-week contest.

Phil Dupee finished a close second with 174 correct game selections, followed by Bob and Marilyn Deal, who each picked 173 winners in the weekly contests that produced the winning cumulative total. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryEat your spinach... and your squash blossoms too

Healthier eating for the New Year, right? Want to get the best in organic, fresh, high quality food without having to go to the store? Want to have it all year long? Impossible you say? I know, nothing good grows in the summer in Florida. Well, actually some really good things grow here in the summer. On second thought, make that some really great things! Love spinach? Me too! My two favorites are Bloomsdale, which is an heirloom variety that we grow at our Gamble Creek Farm, and Chinese spinach, which we grow in our raised bed organic, community gardens on Pine Avenue.

The Pine Avenue Community Edible gardens started as a result of the Pine Avenue Restoration project. Restoring our historic Main Street beget platinum rated green buildings which resulted in losing the asphalt and pavers that contribute to run off into coastal waters. Mike Miller’s native landscaping provided an additional benefit by negating the runoff from conventional landscaping that uses fertilizers and pesticides. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHealing the Bay

A primeval afternoon sea breeze powered by a scorching sun uplifted air over the mainland, drawing in the cooler Gulf air. A rush of wind drove a lone mangrove propagule (seed) across the submerged seagrass flat to its final resting place among debris on the partially exposed flat, a small beginning that would lead to a wonderful habitat. It held fast though cycles of rising and falling tides, eventually sinking its roots in the surrounding substrate.

Over the years the debris from the surrounding area multiplied around the rooted mangrove, trapping other propagules that clustered together to form what would eventually become a mangrove forest. That mangrove forest would become known as the Sister Keys although not much is known about its history. More...

real estate

Real estate fees and taxes

Nowhere to run nowhere to hide. No matter where in the world you’re buying real estate, you’re going to get hit with fees, taxes and most of it will not make much sense. But it’s the price we pay for the privilege of becoming homeowners.

Closing costs vary widely depending on the state you live in, the day of the month you close and the lender you choose. But some of the fees that you can count on are paying mortgage lender fees, appraisal fees, recording fees, title search and title insurance, survey costs and possibly attorney fees. Real estate commissions are the responsibility of the seller, unless you’re using a buyer’s broker.

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders are required by federal law to provide within three days of the loan application a written good faith estimate outlining estimated fees for the loan. The lender’s fees are firm, but the fees for appraisals, surveys, inspections and title services are estimates, and final fees should come in within about 10 percent of the estimates. In addition, if you are placing a mortgage on the property, you will be required by the lender to purchase title insurance, which will guarantee that the title to the property is free and clear based on a full search of the title records. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Energy price drop a boon to average American

Investment Corner

The recent drop in energy prices has caused angst among workers and investors in the energy sector where pink slips are coming to some and where corporate failures may occur among the higher cost energy producers, namely the American and Canadian shale oil companies.

But, aside from the potential problems in those areas, falling energy prices are a boon to the average American family. Less than 10 percent of workers are employed in the energy industry and only a small percentage of those have jobs at risk. After all, we’re not going to stop using oil, so those energy industry workers who keep their jobs will also enjoy lower prices when they fill up their gas tank, pay their utility bills or perhaps buy a lower price airline ticket in the coming months.

The five and a half year old economic recovery we are in has, so far, benefitted investors and the higher income earners more than the average family. The drop in oil prices from over $100 a barrel six months ago to under $50 today doesn’t mean that much to the high income earner who is going to fill-up his/her SUV regardless of the price of gas. But to the family making $30,000 to $50,000 a year, the savings on filling up the gas tank is a bigger deal – effectively the same as a tax reduction. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Chiefs tame the Lions

Future Guardian Insurance Chiefs21
Bowes Imaging Lions12

Under the Friday night lights of the Anna Maria Island Community Center, the Future Guardian Insurance Chiefs quickly made their mark on the scoreboard in their defeat of the Bowes Imaging Lions during youth flag football play in the 8- to 10-year-old age division. The first play of the game saw Cailyn Connor dash across the field for a 12-yard run for the Chiefs. Cole Pearson took the Chiefs to the five-yard line of the Lions with a huge run. Pearson showed his passing skills in the third play of the game when the Chiefs’ quarterback, Parker Storey, gave the ball to Pearson, who threw the ball back to Storey in the end zone for the first score of the night. Pearson took the Chiefs’ lead to 7-0 with the successful point after. More...