Vol. 15 No. 47 - September 23, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMoratorium rejected

BRADENTON BEACH – City commissioners rejected by a 4-1 vote a citizen group’s request to enact a temporary building moratorium.

By that same 4-1 measure, the Commission decided instead to fast-track a quality of life ordinance to address development and vacation rental issues.

During their Thursday, Sept. 17, meeting, commissioners imposed a Nov. 17 deadline for the adoption of the new regulations to be developed by city staff for review and approval by the commission. Additional review by the Planning and Zoning Board also was included, if deemed necessary. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAqua Link introduced

BRADENTON BEACH – Touting a “Crawl before we walk and walk before run” approach, Paradise Boat Tours owner Sherman Baldwin unveiled his Aqua Link Shuttle water taxi concept during last week’s Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials meeting.

“We’re not looking for any money, we have the funding. We’re looking for access and your input,” Baldwin told Bradenton Beach Mayor Jack Clarke, Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and Longboat Key Mayor Jack Duncan.

Several other city and county officials also attended the Sept. 16 meeting, as did Anna Maria Oyster Bar Owner John Horne, who will soon bring a new restaurant to the Historic Bridge Street Pier. More...

Ethics complaint dismissed

BRADENTON BEACH – On Friday, Mayor Jack Clarke received an order dismissing an ethics complaint filed against him by city resident and planning and zoning board member John Metz.

On Sept. 11, the State of Florida Commission on Ethics dismissed the complaint Metz filed on July 21 as part of his continued objection to the city’s payment of legal fees generated by his own failed efforts to have Clarke removed from the recall election ballot that in May resulted in Mayor Bill Shearon being voted out of office.

Dated Sept. 16, the Commission on Ethics order of dismissal states, “The complaint alleges that the respondent (Clarke), as a member of the city commission, voted on April 23 in favor of the city’s employment of a private attorney to defend him against a potential lawsuit concerning whether his name would be included on a city ballot, and that on June 4 the respondent voted in favor of the city’s payment of the private attorney’s bill for $11,049 for his defense.” More...

Fire board to seek bids for marine safety vessels

BRADENTON – After a work session on the district’s marine safety program, West Manatee Fire & Rescue commissioners authorized Fire Chief Tom Sousa to bring back specific costs on vessels recommended by the marine safety committee in the work session.

Sousa explained that according to the terms of the $200,000 matching grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District, the district must take delivery of the vessels by Sept. 30, 2016.

The lone dissenter was Commissioner Al Robinson, who asked, “Look at maritime incidents over the last 10 years. Can we say this expense is justified?” More...

Fire commission learns about marine safety program

BRADENTON – In a workshop Thursday, West Manatee Fire & Rescue commissioners learned about the department’s marine safety program and recommendations for using a grant to improve it.

Capt. Ryan Moore said that in 2012 a committee began evaluating the marine safety program and received a $200,000 matching grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District to purchase a fire boat.

“We assembled a research group and compared different vessels and departments and how they meet the needs of the public,” Moore explained.

In addition, the fire district implemented several improvements to the program including developing shallow water search capabilities, training rescue swimmers and implementing rip tide and beach flag awareness. More...

New state tourism plan shifts focus to spending

The state’s tourism agency has approved its 2020 Strategic Plan, designed to make Florida the number one travel destination in the world while addressing tourism impacts on residents.

With Florida expecting to host 100 million visitors by year’s end, focusing on getting more and more people to visit has limits, according to VISIT FLORIDA President Will Seccombe.

“Thinking ahead, we could set our sights to 110 or 120 million, and continue the programs that have made us successful. However, we know there are limitations to our growth if we focus on volume,” he said in a press release. “More visitors result in a greater impact on our infrastructure and, in areas where we are at 90 percent occupancy, we don’t have much room for increased growth. So, we have to change the goal. Instead of volume, we will focus on increasing the travel and tourism spending in Florida.” More...

Sun wins KMB award

The Anna Maria Island Sun was awarded first place in Media Community Relations at Keep Manatee Beautiful’s 18th Annual Awards on Sept. 17 at IMG Academy Golf Club.

The newspaper was honored for its outstanding coverage during 2015 of litter cleanup and prevention, recycling and landscaping issues. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIrish Dance Academy opens at Community Center

ANNA MARIA – Who hasn’t been captivated by watching a line of Irish dancers tapping and kicking their feet in unison to the infectious music of the Emerald Isle?

It you’ve ever wanted to try it, now’s your chance. Renowned Irish dance teacher Deirdre Cawte has opened the Irish Dance Academy at the AMI Community Center beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23, with classes for youths and adults.

“Irish dance is not confined to Irish people; it’s everywhere,” she said. “We would love for everybody to come and try it.”



Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBlue Marlin porter paired with short ribs

Blue Marlin Seafood recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Sarasota’s Big Top Brewery to create a beer specifically for us. At Blue Marlin, we have a robust selection of locally crafted brews. We have been seeking a dark, more full-bodied beer to fill a spot on our tap list.  Seems like a relatively easy task, unless you’re in the company of the beer aficionados who frequent Blue Marlin Seafood. We settled on a porter for its relative obscurity and limited choices in the beer market.  Originally from London in the early 18th century, this beer was the first beer to be aged at the brewery and could be made on a large scale.

Porters have recently made a reappearance in small town breweries. To honor the porter’s comeback, we decided to create the classic libation with no extra bells and whistles – just a straight forward, creamy, caramel malt brew. Josh and Mike, of Big Top Brewery in Sarasota, invited us to take part in the beer making process. 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

Rough sea of changes

Change is a dirty word to most of us. By nature humans don’t like disruption to their daily activities and certainly not to their business activities. Well, if you’re a real estate buyer, seller or professional in the real estate industry who has recently closed on a property, your world has already been turned upside down. If not, get ready for a tough transition.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that as of Aug. 1 there were going to be significant changes to federal rules and regulations for residential loan transactions that will change the closing experience if a lender is involved. These changes were enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010. The object is to provide greater protection for consumers in residential loan transactions, but in doing so, the changes are complex, have unintended consequences and could disrupt how the closing process is conducted. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Business development companies for income

Investment Corner

Business development companies (BDCs) were authorized by an act of Congress in 1980 to promote funding for small and mid-size businesses. Similar to mutual funds, BDCs pool investors’ capital and then invest through loans to private companies.

The loans made by BDCs are generally floating rate loans, which are usually secured by assets of the borrowing corporation. This is important for the security of the investment. By having a contractual agreement which is at the top of the capital structure of a corporation, a return of a good portion of the loaned funds is likely, even in the event of a bankruptcy. 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 StoryGreen turtles nests on AMI

ANNA MARIA – Just when they thought that sea turtles had finished nesting for the year, a new, rare, nest was discovered by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteer Susan Anderson on Monday morning.

The green sea turtle nest, only the third since the start of turtle season on May 1, brings the Island’s total for the year up to 356, closing in on 2013’s record year of 369 nests; the others are loggerhead nests. Green turtles in Florida nest mostly on the southeast coast, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. More...