Vol. 15 No. 30 - May 20, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Seagrass restored to 1950s levels

The Tampa Bay Estuary has 40,294 acres of seagrass, exceeding by 2,000 acres the goal set by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program 20 years ago to restore seagrass to near-1950s levels, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s 2014 seagrass survey.

The survey also showed an increase of more than 5,650 acres between 2012 and 2014.

“This is a remarkable achievement, made even more so when you consider that the bay region has grown by more than 1 million people in the last 15 years,” said Holly Greening, director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, in a press release. “This kind of environmental recovery is a living testament to the collective efforts of all of us working together – the cities and counties, the private sector and the citizens who treasure the bay.” More...

Limits on large homes eyed

HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners discussed various ideas to limit the construction of homes with four or more bedroom/sleeping rooms, which are currently the subject of a moratorium.

At a recent meeting they had discussed two options – to limit vacation rentals to three bedrooms and one sleeping room or four bedrooms and one sleeping room.

Chair Judy Titsworth said she had spoken to a builder who said builders that he checked with “were all fine with a three bedroom max on each side for a duplex and four bedroom max for a single family home.”

Both Commissioner Carol Soustek and Marvin Grossman said they would like more input from builders. “These builders are Island people and they do build resort houses,” Titsworth noted. “It is their bread and butter, but they also have to live here.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySea grape case goes to State Attorney’s office

HOLMES BEACH – Police Chief Bill Tokajer said Det. Sgt. Brian Hall submitted paperwork to the State Attorney’s office on Friday regarding unauthorized sea grape trimming in the 4300 block of Second Avenue.

According to Hall, Jose Vivero, the property owner across the street, hired Sunset Tree Service to trim the sea grape trees located along the beach access and the neighboring property without permission from the city or the neighboring property owner.

“We submitted paperwork on a charge of trespassing to the State Attorney’s office for their review,” Tokajer said. “Regarding the charge of criminal mischief, we will wait on submitting that until the State Attorney’s office has had an opportunity to read the investigation report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCampaign sign sparks controversy

BRADENTON BEACH –Leading up to Tuesday’s recall election, many questions were raised about campaign signs.

In order to fully comply with campaign rules, Vice Mayor Jack Clarke amended his signs by placing stickers on them that added his birth name, John, and the missing word ‘for.’

Some of Mayor Bill Shearon’s signs were amended to include the word ‘re-elect’ instead of ‘elect.’

Questions also were raised about signs in public rights of way, which is illegal; signs on property belonging to private business owners, which is legal; and a Shearon sign placed at the Annie Silver Community Center that was removed because non-profit organizations are prohibited from endorsing political candidates. More...

Recall candidates spent big

BRADENTON BEACH – According to campaign treasurer’s reports for the period of May 2 through May 14, Vice Mayor Jack Clarke received a total of $5,100 in campaign contributions and Mayor Bill Shearon received $5,050.

An additional in-kind contribution for sign mounting materials provided by Tjet Martin and valued at $40.51 brought the two candidate’s fund-raising totals to a virtual tie.

As of May 14, Shearon spent $4,461 in his efforts to retain the mayor’s seat he was elected to in November 2013, compared to the $3,909 Clarke spent in an effort to unseat Shearon and serve the remaining six months of his mayoral term.

During the most recent reporting period, Clarke received an additional $600 in the form of two contributions; one from the Drift In of Manatee County and another from city resident Steve Schewe. More...

Moratorium on two pools approved

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners approved on first reading last week an ordinance establishing a moratorium on building two swimming pools on residential lots of record.

Both residents and contractors have complained about the proposal for one pool per lot, and one resident asked commissioners to grandfather those who have already purchased property.

Commissioner Jean Peelen cautioned commissioners about negatively affecting long-time residents, and Commissioner Marvin Grossman agreed with Peelen and said, “I would like to hear from a lot more people.”

Chair Judy Titsworth said they have not made a decision on whether to allow one or two pools per lot, but they need time to discuss the options and make a decision. More...

Lest we forget

The volunteers of the Cortez Village Historical Society are beginning the last phase of the work of the Cortez Cultural Center Project – choosing items for display and building cases and stands to put them on. The Center will feature our Cortez family life and the veterans who preserved it. Today, between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, we begin to plan how we will honor the mothers of Cortez from 1888 until now. They have created the family lives of the villagers. Memorial Day will bring our thoughts to the 66 men and women who served our country in World War II.

In addition to these two days we will celebrate another day in May. This is the 100th anniversary of the birth of our village historian, Doris “Toodle” Adams Green. She spent hours and hours researching and writing our story for us in her book, “Fog Comin’ In.” We will celebrate her birthday on May 28. She has identified our mothers and our veterans. More...

Resident seeks building department report

HOLMES BEACH – At Tuesday’s work session, resident Rene Ferguson asked for an update on a previous request by Commissioner Pat Morton for an investigation of the city’s building department.

“Our mayor asked for ay least 30 days in which to investigate some of the allegations made,” she said. “Well, it’s 30 days. I request an update.”

“Four months ago the commission was concerned about complaints lodged against the building department and an investigation was supposed to move forward at that time. We haven’t heard anything about that investigation.”

Commissioner Jean Peelen pointed out that they had given Mayor Bob Johnson a month to sort out issues in the department because the building official had been there only a few weeks. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFive who gave all

CORTEZ – One went down with his ship. One was executed by the Japanese. One died when a Japanese bomb hit the U.S.S. Yorktown. One was killed in a motorcycle accident on the way to camp. One perished in the trenches of France.

In all, five native sons of Cortez gave their lives in service to their country during World War I and World War II.

Movies were made memorializing the battles of two of them, but they are all unforgettable. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySTAR tournament offers big prizes

The first CCA Florida STAR Tournament begins May 23 and offers anglers a chance to win close to $500,000 in prizes and college scholarships. Hosted by Yamaha Motors, the tournament runs until Sept. 7. There are numerous ways for anglers to cash in during the event with only one small catch: participants must be registered for the tournament and be a member of CCA.

The main contest centers on the tagged redfish division. If you’re lucky enough to catch one of the first six tagged redfish, you could win a pick-up truck or a boat motor and trailer package powered by a Yamaha motor. Boats include a Contender 22 Sport, a Hell’s Bay Waterman or a Pathfinder 2200TRS. There will be a total of 80 tagged redfish released from Pensacola to the southern boundary of the Florida Everglades. Sarasota and Manatee waters will have a fair share of tagged redfish waiting to be caught by some fortunate angler or anglers. More...

real estate

Hot! Hot! Hot!

It’s getting hot out there, but the temperature isn’t the only thing that’s hot. The real estate market is pretty hot too, based on the March sales statistics that show a 17.3 percent appreciation rate in single family homes and a 21.2 appreciation rate for condos and townhomes compared to March of last year. However, sometimes in a hot market buyers get cold feet, and then you really have a hot mess.

People by nature are fickle, and real estate buyers are some of the most fickle in all of humanity. Just about anything can set buyers off from perceived problems like a death on the property to unusual paint colors creating negative reactions, but one of the things that really turns buyers feet to ice is if they think they are overpaying, particularly if they have just survived a bidding war.

In addition to Manatee County experiencing a hot market, according to the National Association of Realtors, the national median home prices during 2014 rose to their highest level since 2007. Therefore, it’s not surprising that more buyers are backing out of contracts to the tune of an 8 percent increase. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Systematic investing: the path to financial freedom

Investment Corner

Often when I meet someone for the first time and am asked what I do for work, what invariably follows is, “If I had money to invest ...” or “When I have money I will be sure to call you.”

I recognize they are politely diverting the feared financial sales pitch they typically receive. For those getting started, my reply is that investment success and freedom is not necessarily determined by your income, but by how much you save, how it works for you and how long you can make it grow before relying on it to produce income in retirement.

Individuals often get bogged down by the details in an attempt to create the perfect plan, all the while never actually implementing their strategy. Investors should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A way to avoid perfectionist thinking is to systematize and streamline the planning and investment process. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe littlest hoopsters take the court

The head-to-head race to the hoops this week saw action between two instructional league teams at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. The Center’s littlest hoopsters focus on the fundamentals of the game, led by volunteer coaches Tom Baugher and Ray Gardner.

With the hoop set at half court, the eight ballers dribbled, passed and shot for four periods of play. The instructional league, made up of five-to seven-year-old players, does not keep score, but there was plenty of shooting, swishing and cheering as the elementary school aged kids tried their hardest to win. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTurtle Talks a hit

Kids from the Anna Maria Island Community Center had a fun day at the beach learning about sea turtle nests up close during the first of several Tuesday Turtle Talks.

Suzi Fox and Glenn Wiseman, of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, showed them how to spot incoming and outgoing flipper tracks in the sand and locate the nest at the point of the “v.”

They demonstrated how they dig into the nest to verify that the turtle has laid eggs and let them help pound in the four stakes around the nest and connect them with pink tape to protect the nest from beachgoers. More...