Vol. 15 No. 45 - September 9, 2015


Amended rental ordinance adopted

ANNA MARIA – To the joy of some and the chagrin of others, city commissioners adopted the amended vacation rental ordinance last week.

In doing so, the City Commission unanimously agreed to alter the open-ended nature of a previously debated grandfather clause that allows occupancy levels greater than the eight-person maximum stated in the ordinance.

Additional occupancy will be allowed if the property owner or representative can prove an existing rental unit sustained a greater average occupancy during a four-month period.

Commissioner Dale Woodland has repeatedly opposed an exemption that could potentially allow 15 or 20 occupants, and last week he finally garnered some support from the other commissioners. More...

Moratorium on hold

BRADENTON BEACH – City commissioners are taking a deliberate and measured approach in response to citizens recently requesting the enactment of a building moratorium in Bradenton Beach.

Last week’s City Commission meeting began with Mayor Jack Clarke informing attendees that the agenda item calling for commission discussion on a possible moratorium had been removed. Commissioner Jan Vosburgh later explained that she asked that her requested agenda item be removed out of concern that acting too quickly could result in the city being sued.

Later in the meeting, it was decided that City Attorney Ricinda Perry would conduct a preliminary legal view before the commission moved forward with the potential enactment of a six-month moratorium on the construction of residential structures containing four or more bedrooms. More...

Damato remains in race

ANNA MARIA – John Damato will remain a candidate in the race for three open Anna Maria City Commission seats, and barring a court order, his name will appear on the city ballot.

Responding to concerns raised by residents when the qualifying period ended on Aug. 28, Mayor Dan Murphy consulted with City Attorney Becky Voyes regarding Damato’s compliance with the city charter’s two-year residency requirement for commissioners.

“At this point, I’ve reviewed the information with my attorney, and I do not intend to challenge his eligibility with reference to residency at this point, based upon the information I have,” Murphy said on Friday. More...

Center areas remodeled and refreshed

ANNA MARIA – Executive Director Kristin Lessig told board members at last week’s board meeting how Center employees are moving forward with making its space more usable for members by remodeling areas and adding amenities.

She said the after school room was redone using a donation from a board member. Colorful new chairs, tables, rugs and accessories make the room pop, and new programs for the children from 5 to 11 focus on creative activities.

Each day has a theme – Movement Mondays, Technique Tuesdays, Whimsical Wednesdays, Theatrical Thursdays and Fantastic Fridays, and Lessig said experts in the themed areas would be brought in to work with the kids. More...

Center board of directors seeks new members

ANNA MARIA – Bill Shuman, the new chair of the Island Community Center board, said with the resignation of three board members, the board is seeking new members.

“Blair (Schlossberg), Cindy (Thompson) and Jason (Sato) resigned, and we have two board seats to fill,” he said at the board meeting last week, adding that one seat is being filled by Lindsay Sauls, AME PTO president.

Mike Coleman, of the governing board, said there has been a suggestion to reduce the number of board members, which can be up to 17, and Shuman said it should be an odd number to prevent voting ties.
Ed Chiles said the board’s two major functions are fundraising and outreach and stressed, “We need the people that have the moxie to reach out and assist with the most important charitable institution in their community. I want to be bigger rather than smaller.” More...

Congestion committee reviews parking ordinance

HOLMES BEACH – Island Congestion Committee members met recently to review the city’s draft ordinance to establish permit parking on streets in a test area.

The ordinance would ban parking on the rights of way between Manatee Avenue and 52nd Street west of Gulf Drive except for residents with permits.

Chair Jaynie Christenson said in Section 2 there is no fine listed for violations. Commissioner Carol Soustek noted that the current parking fine is $35, but the committee discussed making it more “to get their attention.”

Resident Gary Fenstemaker said it should be consistent with what other cities charge, and if they make it too extreme, “We’re sending a message that we really don’t want any of you out here.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryDrainage work proceeds in Holmes Beach

HOLMES BEACH – Residents of 85th Street told Mayor Bob Johnson that they were upset that they were not notified of drainage work to be done on their street last week.

Johnson agreed that it was an oversight and said the city is producing door hangers to notify residents of future work. According to the notice, the work is part of the city’s capital improvement program for stormwater.

The city’s construction contractor, Woodruff & Sons, will be installing stormwater filtration/percolation systems along and within the city’s rights of way of the following streets: More...

Lobbyist to shepherd fire district legislation

BRADENTON – West Manatee Fire Commissioners at last month's meeting approved hiring a lobbyist to shepherd legislation through the state Legislature despite a protest from Commissioner Al Robinson.

“Let’s roll the dice without a lobbyist,” Robinson said. “That’s a dirty word to me, and $50,000 gags me.”

Board Attorney Jim Dye explained that the legislation includes revisions to the commission’s election schedule to reflect the current practice of how terms are staggered and clarifies the procedure for establishing the annual assessment rate. He said Rep. Greg Steube would sponsor the bill and a lobbyist would cost $25,000 to $50,000. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland Time remembers 9/11

BRADENTON BEACH – On Saturday, Sept 12, Island Time Bar & Grill and Bridge Street Bistro will continue its tradition of honoring first responders and past and present military personal with the Never Forget 5th Annual 9/11 Fundraiser.

“This is our fifth year hosting this event. We don’t ever want to forget what happened on that day in 2001,” owner Bill Herlihy said.

The Never Forget event will take place downstairs at Island Time, 111 Gulf Dr. in Bradenton Beach, from noon until 4 p.m. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFifteen-year-old angler makes waves

CORTEZ – Chasten Whitfield entered her first fishing tournament in seventh grade because the kids made fun of her for being the only girl that fished.

But Chasten, now15 and a student at Manatee High School, had the last laugh.

“It was the Fire Charity Tournament at the Bradenton Yacht Club, and I got first place in the ladies division,” she recalled. “I fished with mom and dad and got a snook, a redfish and a flounder. Then I was on three TV shows and was in the paper.” More...

real estate

Home building, closings up in July

Every time I say enough with the boring sales statistics I find that I’m not really bored with the number. So here we go again. Try and stay awake as you read this. Believe me, you’ll be happy you did.

I’m writing this column shortly after the stock market plunged over 500 points at the end of a down week with speculation that we haven’t hit bottom yet. Blame the Chinese, global warming, violence in the Middle East or your grandmother’s apple pie. The one thing you can’t blame is the real estate market. Nationally, July was a good month for both new home construction and re-sales.

U.S. home building ticked up in July to 2.1 percent from June and the highest since October of 2007. Economists are hoping the surge in construction of single-family homes is the latest sign of continued momentum in the housing market. As we know, new homes are an import ingredient in the health of the overall housing market, since many existing homeowners move up to new construction freeing up their properties to sell. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFood and fun at The Freckled Fin

Spotting a fin in the waters around Anna Maria Island doesn’t take very long, but spotting a freckled fin could take a little more time unless you make your way to the Bridge Street Circle.

On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, the Legend of The Freckled Fin began on Bridge Street when Eileen and Scott Lubore opened their restaurant and public house named after their daughter.

Like so many other Anna Maria transplants, the Lubores and their two children were done with the cold winters and stress of living near a big city. They sold their furniture business in Maryland and found themselves on the shores of Anna Maria Island two years ago and unpacked. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

A bucket plan for your bucket list

Investment Corner

For most in retirement or beginning to prepare for retirement, there will be two types of income – guaranteed and investment. Guaranteed income includes Social Security or pensions earned during the working years. Investment income is generated by our savings which ends up invested in stocks, bonds or other productive investments. There are two primary ways to approach retirement income planning for the investment plan, which we’ll explore here.

Social Security and pension income sources are generally secure and may have inflation adjustments built in depending on the pension plan issuing the payments. Income from investments can range from dividend and interest payments to capital gains from price appreciation or even rental income from investment property. It is the investment income portion that requires the most planning to ensure the assets and income last for your entire retirement at a level which allows you a dignified existence, and hopefully the lifestyle you desire. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLittle feet on the field: Youth soccer underway at AMICC

For years the Anna Maria Island Community Center has brought kids of all ages on the soccer field for the fall sports season. Recreational sports at the Community Center has always been about learning the game, loving the game and learning to win and lose the game. For many, the next generation of Island players came out to play last week.

Tryouts at the Center Wednesday saw the youngest youths take the field with Youth Sports Manager Ray Gardner running, kicking and laughing. The 3- to 5-year-old instructional division had more than 20 kids register to play on the little pitch. Gardner walked players through listening drills using their knowledge of colors. The kids showed their fancy footwork, dribbling the ball around the field, while volunteer parent coaches watched on the sidelines. In the perfect spirit of the recreational sports atmosphere at the Center, the coaches drafted their teams, striving for parity and fun. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTurtles dig the dark

HOLMES BEACH – A new sign designed in part by Elaine Stroili, a graphic artist at the Anna Maria Island Sun, informs motorists approaching the Island on Manatee Avenue to keep sea turtles in the dark.

The sign was a team effort to prevent sea turtle disorientations, including Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring; Fox’s colleague, Bruce Drye, of St. Andrews Island; Cindy Richmond, a summer Island resident; and Stroili, who also obtained funds from the WAVE Foundation for the signs.

“Our goal is to remind visitors arriving later in season that sea turtle friendly lighting is in effect until Oct. 31,” Fox said, asking resort owners and rental agents to inform visitors of turtle lighting laws designed to keep lights from causing nesting sea turtles to abandon their nesting attempts and attracting hatchlings away from the water. More...