Vol. 15 No. 43 - August 26, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySchool begins at AME

HOLMES BEACH – There were a few anxious expressions on the faces of kids and parents, but the first day of school brought mostly a sea of smiles to Anna Maria Elementary School.

Leah Suzor brought her daughter, Maya, for her first day of kindergarten and included her daughter Siena, who is still in preschool, on the adventure. To make the first day of school easier on herself, she said that Siena would be going home with her instead of to preschool so the house would not be too quiet.

As kindergartner Aidan Brobecker checked out the school’s aquarium in the lobby, his mom predicted she would cry when he walked down the hall to his classroom. A few minutes later, she did. More...

Vacation rental ordinance revised

ANNA MARIA – Taking recent Planning and Zoning Board recommendations into account, city commissioners further modified the vacation rental ordinance during Thursday’s special meeting and public hearing.

The meeting began with Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen thanking commissioners.

“We are dealing with many of the same issues you are. Bradenton Beach is just beginning to deal with the same issues, having their neighborhoods invaded by huge short-term rental houses. I know you’re catching all of the flack … and I know your goal is the same as ours – to save our neighborhoods, while putting the least amount of burden possible on our long-term renters. Thank you for taking the lead,” she said. City Attorney Becky Vose then sought commission consensus on planning board recommendations received Tuesday. More...

Mainsail developers ready to begin hotel project

HOLMES BEACH – Joe Collier, president of Mainsail Lodging and Development Company, said his company is ready to begin on the Waterline hotel, lodge and marina project in the heart of the city as soon as it receives permits from the city.

“We submitted site plans in May and construction drawings in June,” he said last week. “I expect to have permit in hand soon, then we’ll be off and running. We’re ready to rock and roll.”

The project, located near the intersection of Marina and Gulf drives, includes a lodge with two wings that feature two-bedroom lodging units, an 80-seat restaurant and meeting rooms; a 50-boat slip marina and a separate building with two-bedroom lodging units. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Anna Maria budget revised

ANNA MARIA – The proposed $4.16 million 2015-16 fiscal year budget for the city of Anna Maria has been amended to account for employee pay increases and additional legal fees.

“The first revision, the biggest revision, was the legal expenses,” Murphy said, during the Wednesday, Aug. 19 budget work session.

The budget Murphy first presented on Aug. 12 called for $217,000 in legal expenses, with no legal fees budgeted for code enforcement. The revised budget projects $240,000 for general legal expenses and an additional $75,000 for code enforcement legal expenses.

“We discussed whether we should come in high or at what I projected before. It’s a difficult thing to scientifically project,” Murphy told the commission. More...

Property values soar

Anna Maria Island is worth 16.8 percent more than it was last year, according to the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office, while Manatee County as a whole is worth 12 percent more.

Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices are showing up in Island mailboxes, notifying property owners of their taxable values, used to calculate how much property tax they will owe and their market values, based on sales.

A recent survey by the property appraiser’s office shows market values rising in all three Island cities. Anna Maria’s 2015 market value is $1.07 billion, an 18.2 percent increase over 2014. Bradenton Beach’s market value is $604 million, a 13 percent increase. Holmes Beach’s market value is $2.01 billion, a 19.2 percent increase over last year. More...

Florida breaks new tourism record

Florida has set another record in tourism by welcoming the highest number of visitors of any six months in the state’s history, with 54.1 million visitors in the first half of this year, according to Gov. Rick Scott.

In the second quarter of 2015 (April-June), 25.8 million visitors came to the state, an increase of 5.5 percent over the previous year. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in quarter two of 2015 was also a record high, with 1,213,500 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 4.9 percent over the previous year.

“We are excited to mark the first half of 2015 with our biggest second quarter ever, and we look forward to exceeding our goal of 100 million visitors to Florida this year,” Scott said in a press release. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCounty preserve work progresses

BRADENTON – Members of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Committee recently got a report on nearby county preserves from Michael Elswick, of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.

He said the Perico Preserve on the Causeway is in the final phase of construction with the basin being opened to connect to Perico Bayou, and bird rookery platforms are being installed on the island.

Member Ken Crayton, of Perico Isle, said the “massive growth of palms and trees” is blocking residents’ view of the preserve.

“There are people who like to look out their breakfast window and see the preserve, the ponds and the birds,” Crayton said. “ I think there’s a shortcoming there.” More...

LaPensee bowling tournament this weekend

ANNA MARIA – Lace up your shoes, polish of your bowling ball and loosen up your arm … The inaugural LaPensee Plumbing Pools and Air Bowling Tournament will take place Saturday, Aug. 29.

Known for decades as the O’Connor Bowling Challenge, and again also sponsored by The Sun, the tournament will take place at AMF Lanes, 4208 Cortez Road W.

“Were very excited to be carrying on this challenge that’s been going on for numerous years. It’s gotten to be a mainstay of the Island being able to offer this great evening that also benefits the Community Center,” said new event sponsor Karen LaPensee.

“I can’t wait for it to get going. Last year, we put teams in the event and we now have two teams that bowl on leagues all year long. These guys have gotten to be so proficient that they’re number one in their league, so I think it’s contagious. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryEnjoy a summer ceviche

A few years ago I went to Costa Rica on vacation with three buddies. We went to a smaller place called Playa del Coco, on the Pacific coast, which wasn't as much of a tourist destination as other popular areas. The food was real ethnic and loaded with flavor. We befriended a lady we called Momma who operated a tiny shack on the beach that had a little grill, a cutting board and three weathered bar stools. She told us to bring her whatever we caught when out fishing and diving and that she would take care of the rest. The three or four items she prepared were all tasty, but her ceviche was the one item that blew me away. It was a revelation. I will never forget that moment, after a long day of fishing, sitting on the sunny beach with three of my best friends and enjoying a cold beer and Momma's ceviche. I had not eaten much ceviche prior to the trip, and I honestly was a bit scared of it. Momma transformed me from not a fan to obsessed with ceviche that day and I have enjoyed eating and tinkering with ceviche recipes ever since. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCoastal Collaboration Dinner benefits CCA

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) will be benefiting from a Coastal Collaboration Dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Neptune Room at the Seafood Shack in Cortez. This unique format will include four of Manatee Counties finest chefs – Gerald Jesse, of the Seafood Shack; Dave Shiplett, of SOMA Creek Side; Derek Barnes, from Derek’s; and Dana Johnson, of Sugar Cubed.

Also featured will be Vanessa Lafaye, an author whose new book “Under a Dark Summer Sky” is based on a Florida historical event. The novel is a love story set during a major natural disaster, the hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935. The story evokes what happens when people are tested to the limits of their endurance.

The dinner and banquet will happen exactly 80 years after the hurricane depicted in the book actually hit! The chefs will be creating an exciting menu inspired by the amazing foods depicted in the book. More...

real estate

Millennials rule

A generation is broadly defined as all of the people born and living at about the same time. Since the beginning of the 20th century we’ve had the Lost Generation, the Greatest Generation; the Silent Generation; the Baby Boomer Generation; Generation X; millennials, sometimes called Generation Y; and we’re currently in Generation Z for babies born now. Every generation has had its impact on real estate, but the generation that is changing the face of real estate right now are the millennials.

Millennials are individuals who have reached young adulthood around the year 2000 making them approximately aged 18 – 34. This age group is the face of home ownership in the future, and if you think the baby boomers have made an impact just wait and see what the millennials are on to.

Pick whatever idiom you like, but everything old is new again perfectly fits what millennials are wanting in their communities. According to a poll conducted by the National Association of Realtors and the Transportation Research Education Center at Portland State University, Millennials prefer walking over driving compared to other generations. When this translates into what types of communities they prefer to live in, the comparisons to older generations is striking. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Important birthdays over 50

Investment Corner

Most children stop being “and-a-half” somewhere around age 12. Kids like to add and-a-half to make sure everyone knows they’re closer to the next age than the last. When you are older, and-a-half birthdays start making a comeback. In fact, starting at age 50, several birthdays and half-birthdays are critical to understand because they have implications regarding your retirement income.

Age 50

At age 50, workers in certain qualified retirement plans are able to begin making annual catch-up contributions in addition to their normal contributions. Those who participate in 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans can contribute an additional $6,000 per year in 2015. Those who participate in Simple IRA or Simple 401(k) plans can make a catch-up contribution of up to $3,000 in 2015. And those who participate in traditional IRAs can set aside an additional $1,000 a year. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAMICC Super Bowl champions electrify the field: Miller Electric Lions defeat Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings

The compressed summer adult flag football league at the Anna Maria Island Community Center challenged the players mentally and physically. Playing twice a week in the summer heat through regular season play was just the warm up for the playoffs. On Wednesday night, the two semi-final games and the Super Bowl were all played in a matter of three hours. The endurance, mental fitness and physical prowess of each player on Miller Electric Lions and Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings were tested.

In a defensive battle during the first half of the championship game, the Vikings came out with a first down on the first play of the game by CJ Moore. But the Vikings run was soon stopped when Craig Doher of the Lions intercepted the second pass of the game by quarterback Rob Manderine. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHatchlings struggling against storms

Storms and waves continue to push loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings back onto Anna Maria Island’s shores shortly after they hatch and make it to the Gulf of Mexico.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring requests that if you find a hatchling, do not put it back into the water, as it is unlikely to survive due to fatigue. Instead, place it in a container with some wet sand or on a damp towel, put a cloth partially over the top to keep it in the dark while letting it breathe, and take it to the Holmes Beach Police Department at 5801 Marina Drive for Turtle Watch to rehabilitate and release. More...