Vol. 15 No. 38 - July 22, 2015


Holmes Beach budget shortfall: $650,000

HOLMES BEACH – By carefully scrutinizing the city’s budget, Mayor Bob Johnson and Treasurer Lori Hill have discovered an error, which if allowed to continue would bankrupt the city.

“In trying to provide better visibility of operational expenses and revenue streams, we exposed a serious issue,” he told city commissioners at last week’s work session. “Once we pulled it apart, we found a hole of $650,000. You can’t believe what a shock this was.”

He said if the city continues on the same path, the operating revenue would be down to $300,000 at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2016, and $1 million in the hole in two years. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWhitmore to move off the Island

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking Anna Maria Island businesses to check surveillance videos to assist in the investigation into the death of three black skimmer chicks and damage done to five loggerhead sea turtle nests last month.

Of eight businesses and homeowners surveyed by The Sun after the incident, only one, Wicked Taco Cantina, found a video with something looking like the suspects, although police said it was little help.

Witnesses said a white man and white woman in their late 20s were laughing and aiming at the staked turtle nests while riding a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with a single headlight and knobby tires around 10:30 p.m. on June 27 near the Bradenton Beach/Holmes Beach line. More...

Sea Shepherd comes to Florida

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society expanded Operation Jairo, its 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign, to Florida last week.

The organization is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man and woman responsible for running over five state-threatened loggerhead sea turtle nests and killing three black skimmer chicks, a state species of special concern, while illegally riding an ATV on Anna Maria Island’s beaches on June 27.

State and local law enforcement officials continue to investigate the case. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFarewell to Prince

HOLMES BEACH – The famous cat that adopted two shopping centers and lived the life of a drifter was done in by the wildlife of which he was a part.

According to Patti LeCroy, of SunCoast Real Estate in the Island Shopping Center, It began with a cat’s scream a block from the shopping centers Saturday night around midnight.

“Brett Wigdon heard the scream behind his home and went to check,” LeCroy said. “He found Prince on his porch, bleeding profusely.” More...

Cell tower repairs scheduled

BRADENTON BEACH – Repairs were scheduled to take place this week to the exterior of the Bradenton Beach cell tower that sustained exterior wind damage during a storm in late April.

New exterior panels were scheduled for installation last week, but Tarpon Towers President Brett Buggeln said rainy weather prevented those repairs from taking place. He said the repairs should commence this week instead.

Cell tower construction was completed last fall, and Verizon activated its tower-mounted equipment earlier this year, but AT&T has yet to install or activate the communications equipment that would provide better cellular services to their Island users, and this continues to be a source of concern for city officials.

Citing a conversation she had with Buggeln in June, City Commissioner Jan Vosburgh recently reported to the commission that it could be as late as 2018 before AT&T is providing cellular service on the city’s tower. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryProgress reported on cell tower

ANNA MARIA – There was construction action and some road blockage last week as a large equipment shed was lifted from a semi’s bed and placed on the platform of the cell phone tower.

The semi was parked along Pine Avenue at the employee parking lot of city hall last Thursday as workers hurried to clear the deck. A workman in a cage had strung cable through the tower to connect the antenna with the other equipment. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBoard puts the brakes on parking

HOLMES BEACH – After hearing from Island Congestion Committee Chair Jayne Christenson and other residents city commissioners agreed to implement the committee’s parking plan.

The two test areas where parking on the rights of way will be banned except for residents with permits are called Phase I and include White Avenue to 78th Street and 43rd to 52nd streets east of Gulf Drive.

Christenson gave several reasons for implementing the parking plan, including reducing congestion, being proactive and eliminating valet parking in neighborhoods. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBridge Street Pier lease pending

BRADENTON BEACH – A decision on who will occupy the city-owned Historic Bridge Street Pier restaurant space, bait shop and retail/office space could be reached Thursday.

The city commission conducted an initial review of four restaurant-inclusive proposals during its July 14 workshop and must now decide if they want to lease the pier-based restaurant space to a proven restaurant operator or allow all three city structures to serve as an extension of the nearby Bradenton Beach Marina.

The pier lease is scheduled for further discussion and a possible vote at the Thursday, July 23, commission meeting which will start at noon and allow for public comment. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWhat's that smell?

It’s the reason you turn your head. It’s the distant stare in a stranger’s eyes. It’s your own self lost in a distant time and place. The minute your nose picks up that light scent of something you know. In my life there have been so many memorable scents that are associated with the people and places that I love.

Here on the Island there is one that you either love or hate. It’s that smell when you are driving over the Causeway and the tide is low. To many it is a muddy disgusting fishy smell. To me it is home. It is the first sign that I am home after a long trip or even just a long day in town. It’s like having a welcome to Anna Maria Island sign without typing a single word. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWeather or not

A thump at the end of the line was the indication that something had taken an interest in Captain Rick Grassett’s DOA Shrimp. Setting the hook with a quick jab of the rod, we watched as a fat 20-inch trout came to the surface in an attempt to shake the lure. The trout made a couple of short runs, returning to the surface on two more occasions to try and dislodge the hook. A couple of minutes later, we landed the trout, took a couple of quick pictures and released it back to the bay.

Grassett’s brother Kirk and I were also getting bites. Rick was using a DOA Deadly Combo, his brother was throwing a fly and I was throwing a DOA Cal jig. Action was consistent over the deep grass in the middle of north Sarasota Bay. More...

real estate

A million here, a million there

When did a million dollar price tag on a home become an everyday occurrence? I’m not exactly sure, but I can tell you that based on current asking prices, that day is here.

Let’s start with what has gone on since the beginning of the year on Anna Maria Island and in neighboring Cortez. From January through June, Cortez had one sale over one million and two over $900,000 – all single family homes.

Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach had eight over one million dollar sales, from a low of $1,100,000 to a high of $1,695,000, and one sale just under a million. There were three condos and six single-family homes in this group. All except one were in Holmes Beach. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Part II: How much is enough?

Investment Corner

In the first part of this article two weeks ago, I reviewed the beginning of the process for determining the amount of investment capital necessary to create sufficient retirement income to support the lifestyle you desire when your working days are over.

The process is not complicated, but should be calculated as opposed to guessing. First, determine how much income would afford you the desired lifestyle in retirement. For most, according to surveys, this is about 70 to 80 percent of their pre-retirement income. Then subtract any guaranteed sources of income you will receive in the form of pensions and Social Security. The difference is what you will need to generate from your investment portfolio.

This is where the variables and unknowns have to be accounted for, with at least some educated guesses. For example, we won't know what the rate of return on our portfolio will be over the course of a 20- to 30-year retirement unless we were to put our entire portfolio in a guaranteed investment like a government bond or annuity. These guaranteed investments generally provide lower returns than may be obtained over time in other investments like stocks or real estate. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe Hayward Cup winner: Slim’s Place Team optimisticool

After eight weeks of regular season play and two weeks of playoffs, Slim's Place Team optimisticool and Sato Real Estate Team powwowder battled to be named the winner of the Hayward Cup at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Exemplifying this season’s parity among the eight co-ed adult recreational soccer teams, the #8 seed Slim's Place beat the #1 seed Team 11mangang in the first game of the playoffs to finally meet the #2 seed Sato Real Estate.

Team optimisticool played the entire championship game one player down, just as it had during the entire playoff series. As a co-ed league at the Center, each time must have one female player on the field or leave that position empty. Captain PJ Smargisso lost both of his female recruits prior to the first playoff game. This disadvantage did not appear to be a hindrance for Team optimisticool. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryNew decals out for turtles, manatees

If you go to the beach or go boating over the Fourth of July weekend, watch out for wildlife.

Dolphins are birthing calves this time of year, can’t always get out of the way of boats and are often in shallow water where they can’t dive below a boat. Newborn dolphins lack the skill and experience to avoid boats and have to surface more frequently to breathe than older dolphins. Fatal collisions have been documented in Sarasota Bay; most dolphin injuries from boat strikes have occurred in the weeks surrounding July 4, according to Mote Marine Laboratory. More...