Vol. 16 No. 2 - November 11, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryClarke decked by Shearon’s ace in the hole

BRADENTON BEACH - The Bradenton Beach mayor’s race came down to the luck of the draw, and lady luck was on former Mayor Bill Shearon’s side.

Because the mayor’s race between Shearon and incumbent Mayor Jack Clarke resulted in a 195-195 tie after the votes were tallied on election night, a recount took place Wednesday, Nov. 4, at the supervisor of elections office in Bradenton.

When the ballots were recounted the results remained unchanged. Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett cited state law and said the election would be “decided by lot,” which means decided by luck. More...

Former First Lady passes away

ANNA MARIA ¬– Former Florida First Lady Rhea Chiles, 84, died Sunday at her Island home, surrounded by family.

She was preceded in death by her husband, former Florida Governor and Senator, Lawton Chiles, who died in 1998. They leave four children including son Ed, who owns three restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.

Ed Chiles said Monday the family was celebrating her life, and, of course, mourning her passing.

After her husband died, Rhea Chiles moved to Anna Maria Island and bought a former restaurant/lounge, turning it into The Studio at Gulf and Pine, in Anna Maria. She had the interior remodeled and it became popular for art displays, wedding receptions, meetings and other events that needed a home.

Rhea Chiles also got involved in the local art scene. Joan Voyles, the facilitator for Anna Maria Island Cultural Connections, said Rhea Chiles was one of the founders of that group. More...

artsHOP weekend offers something for everyone

THE ISLAND – Come to the Island and soak up arts and culture at the 9th annual ArtsHOP weekend Friday, Nov. 13, through Sunday, 15, with activities and events for all ages in all three Island cities.

Events include artwalks, a play, an orchestra concert, an arts and crafts show, a farmer’s market, a turtle auction and a Taste of Bridge Street.

Friday, Nov. 13

During the Artwalk, artists will be present to talk about their work, and there will be refreshments, music and prizes. Those attending can get out a Passport to be filled out while visiting the various locations. Completed passports will be entered in a drawing to win prizes donated by local businesses and artists. Also Friday night during the Artwalk, glow sticks and light up jewelry will be for sale at The Feast in Holmes Beach and the Green Village “secret garden” deck on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. More...

Incumbents sweep Anna Maria elections

ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria voters favored familiar faces in last week’s city elections and opted to leave their current city commission as is.

Seeking a seventh term, Dale Woodland led all candidates with 404 votes, followed by Carol Carter with 392 votes and Doug Copeland with 388 votes. Copeland and Carter were both seeking their second full terms in office.

First time candidate John Damato received 190 votes and first time candidate Penny Naylor received 151 votes.

In terms of percentages, 26.47 percent of those who cast ballots voted for Woodland, 25.75 percent for Carter, 25.43 percent for Copeland, 12.45 percent for Damato and 9.9 percent for Naylor.

Before the results came in, Woodland enjoyed dinner with friends at the Rod and Reel Pier restaurant. More...

Come honor veterans

The third annual Community BBQ Honoring Veterans will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 on the grounds of CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

Veterans will be recognized at 10:50 a.m. Hear inspiring stories of battle, disability and recovery. Staff Sgt. Alex Dillmann was on a night mission when an explosion left him paralyzed. Sgt. Carl Moore was left paralyzed during a mission in Afghanistan.

Learn practical ways to honor our vets from Staff Sgt. Joe Beimfohr, who lost both legs in Iraq and Patty Durham and Linda Craig who are mothers of wounded vets. More...

Vacation rental ordinance trimmed

ANNA MARIA – The court-challenged vacation rental ordinance has been significantly amended.

During last week’s special meeting, attending commissioners Carol Carter, Doug Copeland and Dale Woodland approved on first reading an amended ordinance prepared by City Attorney Becky Vose that removes 15 pages of rental regulations. The 28-page ordinance amended and adopted in September has now been whittled down to 13 pages.

The licensing requirements and the eight-person maximum occupancy limit remain primary elements of the remaining ordinance, but the city is going to take a different approach to enforcement.

The effective date has also been pushed back from January 1 to March 1.

Still subject to a second and final public hearing, the newly amended ordinance no longer contains regulations or penalties for vacation rental agents and managers; nor does it call for the property owner to lose the ability to use the property as a vacation rental if habitually cited for violations of city ordinances and codes. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBeauty on the beach

The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is again sponsoring Symphony on the Sand.

The musical and gourmet event features the award-winning Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the beach at Coquina Gulfside Park, 2650 Gulf Drive South.

“Last year we dealt with inclement weather. Symphony on the Sand is a rain or shine event and we are making every effort to assure the comfort of our guests and concertgoers,” said Jeanie Pickwick, Executive Director of AMICCO and Chair of the Symphony on the Sand Steering Committee More...

Charter amendments approved

BRADENTON BEACH – Bradenton Beach voters approved all eight proposed charter amendments on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Voters approved amendment 1 by a 243-111 margin. This this will add two commission-appointed alternatives to the five-member Charter Review Committee that reviews the city charter every five years.

Amendment 2 passed by a 231-112 margin. This adds the building official, public works director and city treasurer to the list of charter officials that already included the city clerk, the police chief, the city attorney and the city planner. These senior staff members report to the mayor and commission and can only be terminated by a commission-majority vote.

Amendment 3 passed by a 208-144 margin. This provides the mayor the authority to appoint department heads while requiring him or her to prepare or have prepared an annual city budget and capital spending plan. An annual State of the City report is also now mandated. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story15 Years and counting....

The Sun is now 15 years old.

Excuse me? Say what?

That's gotta be a typo.

Wait just a second......

OK, I've now pinched myself to the point of bruising to snap out of it and wake up.

Not really working. Disbelief and denial seem to be the order of the day.

But there it is. Fifteen years and counting, as the headline reads. When I first got the crazy notion to start my own newspaper, I was working for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, commuting to the Island each day. It was a good job and I worked alongside some of the best and brightest minds I'd ever met. But I had been working for media corporations since 1978 as a reporter and editor and I knew I wanted to branch out on my own. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTeach-a-kid fishing clinic a big success

On Saturday, November 8, over 120 children, parents, friends and family attended Mote’s Teach-A-Kid Fishing Clinic held at the Mote Aquaculture Park. Kids from 5-16 attended and were treated to an introduction to many facets of the fishing experience including different fishing techniques, sun and water safety, and advanced fishing techniques including ethical angling which taught them proper handling and release techniques. At different stations the participants were broken up into groups where they had approximately twenty minutes of instruction. Stations also included spin casting and fly casting, fly-tying, and kayaking instruction. One of the highlights as usual was an opportunity to fish in Mote’s stocked lake. Captain Scott Moore, Captain Jonnie Walker and Captain Justin Moore assisted and reported that the fishing was a huge success.

I had the pleasure of working with the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishing Club, teaching the basics of fly casting. President Ken Babineau organized a group of members to assist and provided rods and practice flies for the participants. Many of the kids were much younger than the members had ever instructed and a few had never fished at all. More...

real estate

To borrow or not to borrow – that is the question

The brave new world of modern day retirees doesn’t look anything like retirement did 60 years ago. Today’s retirees are signing up for extreme yoga classes, starting new careers and taking out home mortgages; and why not, with improved health care and life expectancy giving retirees decades of life ahead of them.

The first real estate agent I ever worked with told me she always advises young couples to take out the highest mortgage they can afford to pay back. Over 40 years ago, when the mortgage rates were approximately 8.5 percent, she knew that mortgage money is cheap, but never as cheap as it is right now.

Today’s retirees don’t give a hoot about carrying a home mortgage especially since per federal law there are no age restrictions on qualifying for a home mortgage as long as you can show you have the income to qualify. Getting qualified also doesn’t seem to be a problem with a combination of income from pensions, investments, Social Security and second career jobs. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBig city style at Amanda Richards Salon

The minute you walk into Amanda Richards Salon on Manatee Avenue, you forget that you’re on the west coast of Florida with a beach just a few miles away. You may actually think you’re on the west side of Manhattan or in a SoHo loft with a trendy industrial look, sky high ceilings and clean orange and white colors flooded by great lighting. There’s even a half moon color bar where you can watch your hair designer mix and match the exact color for you.

In January 201 when Richard Pizzuto designed and opened Amanda Richards with a former partner, a high end, city look is exactly what he was after, and there is no mistake that he achieved that goal. Pizzuto declined to say how many years he’s been in the salon business, other than to say he started at 13 years old. Originally from Philadelphia, where he owned salons and spas, he relocated to Florida in 2005, bringing with him many years of training in hair cutting and color. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Where to invest now?

Investment Corner

With the stock market near an all-time high and interest rates at historic lows, is there any hope to find consistent returns without incurring too much risk? Traditionally, investors have been able to reduce the risk in their portfolios by dividing their assets between stocks and bonds, since their prices generally tend to move in opposite directions. Unfortunately for investors nearing retirement, stock prices are currently high, and bond yields are near zero.

In the last year, stock prices have become increasingly volatile and relatively expensive. A common indicator of how expensive stocks are is the price-to-earnings ratio, which divides an individual stock's price by the company's annual earnings per share. On Oct. 7, the S&P 500 price-to-earnings ratio was near 20, compared with its historical average of 14 to 16. As a result of the current high prices, investors who want to reduce risk are looking for ways to avoid putting too much of their portfolio into the stock market at this time.

Meanwhile, bond yields are at an all-time low, and the Federal Reserve decided last month to keep interest rates near zero for the short-term. Bond investors fear that with yields so low, their investments aren’t keeping up with inflation and the rising costs of healthcare. They also worry that in the future, when rates do increase, the value of their bond investments will fall. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAll-Star week at the center

At the end of every sports season, the volunteer coaches for the youth sports leagues select the “top” players from each of the teams. These handpicked players meet up in the season’s traditional all-star game for a little bit of fun competition.

What makes a top youth soccer player at the Center? To many coaches, such as myself, it is not necessarily the player who has the best footwork and can dominate the ball. It may not be the keeper that saved the most goals or the defender that stopped the striker time and time again. The top player is not even necessarily the player who scored the most goals.

When looking at a team roster, soccer skills, improvement in the game, good sportsmanship, strong character, coachability, respect for the coaches, and team spirit can be considered the attributes that make a true all-star. The individuals that comprised the four all-star teams for this year’s Center soccer leagues exemplify the all-star spirit. More...