Vol. 15 No. 41 - August 12, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBP oil spill flotsam on AMI?

Recent storms have coughed up some strange debris on Anna Maria Island beaches, including what might be pieces of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in 2010, causing the biggest Gulf of Mexico oil disaster in history.

Looking like a partially-buried stegosaurus, the half-inch thick, four-by-four-foot piece of black plastic near the Angelino’s Sea Lodge tree house in Holmes Beach, and its twin in front of Katie Pierola Park in Bradenton Beach, drew the attention of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Director Suzi Fox. More...

Investigation request stalls

BRADENTON BEACH – Commissioner Janie Robertson received little support from the commission last week when she requested an investigation of City Clerk Terri Sanclemente’s adherence to an ordinance that pertains to employee benefits and the clerk’s supervisory authority.

When presenting her request, Robertson said “I move to authorize an investigation into violations of Ordinance 398 by the city clerk.”

When her motion received no support, Mayor Jack Clarke said, “No second; the motion fails.”

Robertson and city resident Tjet Martin recently raised concerns about Deputy Clerk Emily Long being given health insurance benefits before a 90-day introductory period had been completed. More...

Person of interest target in ‘turtle terrorist’ inquiry

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has announced that its law enforcement division is investigating an unidentified “person of interest” in the June 27 incident that resulted in the death of three protected bird chicks and damaged five protected sea turtle nests on Anna Maria Island.

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

They ran over five federally threatened loggerhead turtle nests and killed three black skimmer chicks, a state species of special concern; two died on the beach and a third died in rehab. Damage to the turtle nests will not be known until their hatch dates have passed. More...

Concerns raised about city

BRADENTON BEACH – During general public comment at last week’s city commission meeting, Barbara Schelin levied sharp criticisms against city administrations past and present.

Her statements set the tone for a tense mood that permeated throughout the remainder of Thursday’s meeting; and some of her claims were questioned later in the week.

Schelin, a Bradenton resident, has never lived in Bradenton Beach; nor can she vote in the city elections. But before retiring, she helped manage resorts in Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach.

When contacted Sunday, Schelin acknowledged that she is good friends with Commissioner Janie Robertson. She also has ties to former Mayor Bill Shearon and his girlfriend Tjet Martin, having donated to Shearon’s recall election campaign earlier this year and Martin’s bid for a commission seat in 2014. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLake Flores approved

MANATEE COUNTY – Last week, County Commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning request and a general development plan for the Lake Flores mixed-use development that could help reshape the economic future of west Bradenton.

The proposal calls for the construction of 6,500 residential units, three million square feet of commercial space and 500 hotel rooms on 1,322 acres of Manatee Fruit Company property owned by the Preston family.

Much of the property to be developed lies along the El Conquistador Parkway and Cortez Road, and county officials and residents recognize this could significantly increase traffic and congestion in the surrounding area. More...

Storm experts strengthen optimistic forecast

Experts in the field of storm prediction have more good news this hurricane season. Thanks to a strong growth of El Niño winds in the Pacific, conditions in the atmosphere are exceptionally non-conducive to tropical storm and hurricane formation. These conditions, which include strong vertical wind shear and enhanced sinking motion, are predicted to continue through the peak months of the hurricane season across the main Atlantic hurricane development region, which spans the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Atmospheric Science Department of Colorado State University (CSU) issued new forecasts last week strengthening their forecasts of an extremely light season. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMosquito men on the job

That night-vision-goggled chopper pilot buzzing your 150-foot-tall Australian pine tree around midnight at 105 miles per hour is a friend, not a foe.

Vacationers on Anna Maria Island sometimes call 911 when one of the three Manatee County Mosquito Control District 500-D choppers flies by, said John Gardner, who has been a pilot for the district since 1998.

“They think the worst, that we’re spraying some sort of chemical that’s going to hurt them. It’s all safe and approved by the EPA,” he said, adding, “We have the occasional person from up north who calls in and thinks we’re crashing or thinks we’re on fire because they see the spray.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWork begins on middle pier

BRADENTON BEACH – A slowdown created by deeply buried pilings on the northernmost groin has forced the contractor to begin work on the middle groin while constructing the northern one, according to CB&I spokesperson Michelle Pfeiffer, PE.

The project, which began on March 9, is still on track for completion in January, weather permitting.

The construction area on the shore runs from 5th to 7th Street South and that portion of the beach is closed to the public for safety reasons. The area closed for the middle groin is between 9th and 11th Street South. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryOld Hamburg: New owners, great food

It’s an old story, but as my father-in-law was fond of saying, it’s a good one so I’ll tell it again: Almost everyone who visits Anna Maria Island falls completely in love, and the new owners of an iconic Island restaurant are no exception.

Gerold Smolik and Armin Rexter have vacationed on the Island two or three times a year for over the past five years. They loved it so much they purchased a condo and a single-family home in Bradenton.

Smolik, who goes by Gary, is originally from Austria and Rexter is originally from Germany, but they both resided in the Black Forest region of Germany before relocating to Florida. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryConservation foundation saves critical habitat

The mission of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is to save land, forever. Saving land, most of which has a direct or indirect effect on our waterways, helps protect our fishery resources as well. The Foundation played an integral part in obtaining an additional 150 acres in Robinson Preserve, one of the environmental gems of Manatee County. “The Foundation works with landowners, businesses, and government to protect the character, natural integrity and biodiversity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A nationally accredited land trust, the Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land preservation agreements and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties. “

The Foundation traces its beginnings to 2003 when a group of concerned citizens worked together to create a land trust. Their passion, led by founder Albert Joerger, led to a thriving, membership organization with a community of committed volunteers, a dedicated board of trustees, and professional staff. With the help of their partners they have protected almost 8,600 acres on 32 properties in Manatee, Sarasota and Lee counties; a listing of these properties can be found on Conservation Foundation’s Website. More...

real estate

National heat wave

The country is boiling; and the mid-west and northeast are experiencing average high temperatures that are higher than Florida’s in August, which is pretty darn hot. Right up there with the sizzling temperatures is the sizzling housing data and so far we’re only reporting on June.

Prices of existing homes sold in the United States climbed to a record high in June, higher even than the high water mark of 2006 and the strongest sales increase in more than eight years. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sales price for a previously owned home jumped 6.5 percent in June from June of last year topping out at $236,400. This figure is higher than the previous high of $230,400 recorded in July of 2006. In addition, the number of sales increased from May to June of this year by 3.2 percent. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

U.S. economy looking good for further expansion

Investment Corner

I think it was famous baseball player and manager Yogi Berra who said “It’s like déjà vu all over again”. That’s how I feel about the current economic expansion compared to the decade of the 1990s. Of course, exact parallels are rare, but there are certainly some similarities at work.

The 90s were heralded as one of the longest economic expansions in history, starting after a brief recession in 1990 and lasting until the next recession which began in 2001. The current expansion is now six years old, measuring from the summer of 2009 as the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis began. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLearning every kick of the way: The youngest players bang the indoor soccer boards

Just as with outdoor soccer, flag football and basketball, the kids at the Anna Maria Island Community Center get the chance to learn the sport of indoor soccer at an early age.

The youth indoor soccer league includes the Instructional League for kids 5 to 7 years old. Sporting their shin guards and business- sponsored uniforms, more than 25 kindergarten, first and second grade kids take the indoor soccer field each week, learning the fast paced game.

On Monday, Aug. 3, Fun & More Rentals, coached by Tom Baugher, and Miller Electric, coached by David Greene, played the second to the last game of the season. Just because they are young does not mean the game is not action packed. In fact this game saw an amazing comeback by Miller Electric in the first half and the game ending in a tie. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGopher tortoises subject of workshop

Gopher tortoises residing on Anna Maria Island and elsewhere in Manatee County have some friends in government.

Local government officials learned how municipalities can work together to conserve the threatened species at a recent workshop sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in Palmetto.

While the FWC has jurisdiction over wildlife, counties and cities make the laws governing their habitat, said Alex Kalfin, local government coordinator for the FWC’s Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program. More...