Vol. 16 No. 4 - November 25, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryA citizen extraordinaire

ANNA MARIA – The first order of business at last week’s Anna Maria City Commission meeting was a popular one – presenting Margaret Jenkins with the city’s 2015 Citizen of the Year award.

After Commission Chair Doug Copeland called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Dan Murphy stepped forward and said, “It’s a great privilege for me to introduce Margaret Jenkins. I think we would all agree that Margaret typifies the type of person we all should aspire to be. She’s completely involved in our community, and I couldn’t begin to even begin to list the contributions Margaret has made to this city.”

He then called upon former mayor and last year’s award winner, Fran Barford, to assist him.

Barford said it was an honor to serve on the selection committee that included Lou Ann Collins, Mary Seine and Charlie Daniels. She then read the nomination letter the committee received. More...

New rental ordinance adopted

ANNA MARIA – City commissioners have adopted a new and significantly different vacation rental ordinance that is scheduled to take effect April 1. The new ordinance replaces the ordinance adopted in September.

Although many of the previous vacation rental specific regulations have been removed, the new ordinance still limits occupancy, while providing new enforcement mechanisms and a stringent definition of a bedroom.

Increased enforcement

The new ordinance calls for increased enforcement of existing ordinances that pertain to noise, parking and other regulations that apply equally to residents and visitors alike. More...

Parking meeting hits dead end

HOLMES BEACH – With neither side willing to give up on its parking plan, the City Commission will now be called upon to make a decision on whether to implement a resident permit program, a one-side-of-the-street plan or some combination of the two.

The Island Congestion Committee, meeting for the past two years, has advocated a permit program to be implemented in a Phase I test area where parking on the rights of way would be banned except for residents with permits.

The Phase I test area is between Manatee Avenue and 52nd Street west of Gulf Drive, Manatee Avenue north to 43rd Street east of Gulf Drive, 74th to 81st Street west of Gulf Drive, 77th Street between Gulf Drive and Palm Avenue and Aqua Lane. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLawn party to end all parties

LONGBOAT KEY – Foodies rejoice!

The Longboat Key Kiwanis Club’s Fifth Annual Gourmet Lawn Party will take place at the Resort at Longboat Key Club, 220 Sands Point Road, on Saturday, Dec. 5, from noon until 2 p.m.

Tickets are going fast and some big changes are in store for the once-a-year food tasting extravaganza.

This year’s party will feature a record-setting 36 participating restaurants dispensing culinary creations that represent the menu items offered at their locations on Anna Maria Island and in Cortez, Bradenton, St. Armand’s Circle, Sarasota, and Longboat Key More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHealthy Earth wins innovation challenge

With a plan that could curtail the annual winter practice of discarding mullet in area waters after the roe is removed, Healthy Earth Gulf Coast has won $400,000 in the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s inaugural Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge.

The Healthy Earth team, which includes Anna Maria Island restaurateur Ed Chiles, of the Chiles Group, aims to build a processing facility in Cortez that will produce several other sustainable seafood products from grey striped mullet besides roe. The products include fish fillets, omega-3 fish oil, fishmeal for farm-raised freshwater sturgeon, saltwater red drum and saltwater pompano, probiotics, livestock feed and fertilizer. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Spring Lake healing after spills

HOLMES BEACH – Spring Lake, the spring-fed lake at 68th Street and Palm and Clark drives, is slowly healing after being polluted by spills of sewage and pool chemicals.

The incidents began on Oct. 29 when Code Enforcement Officer John Thomas said he received calls from neighbors about something dead in the lake.

“I went there, but it was dark, and I couldn’t see, but it smelled bad,” he said. “I went back the next day and saw the pool company draining hydrochloric acid and pool water into the lake. I stopped them, secured the property and called the police department. More...

Tennis players raise a racquet about membership fee

ANNA MARIA – Mark Swift, of Holmes Beach, addressed the Center’s board of directors last Monday about how the change in the membership fees is affecting the long time tennis group that plays there.

“One of my interests in The Center is the senior tennis group we used to have, but don’t any more,” he told the board. “It concerns me that the group we had is no longer here.

“I say that with a heavy heart; tennis is our love. It’s a camaraderie of great folks we have come to know over the years.”

He said The Center was the gathering place for the group, which cleaned and policed the courts and had potluck dinners there. More...

Noise violation fines increased

ANNA MARIA – Noise ordinance violators may soon be digging deeper into their pockets if ticketed for a noise violation after failing to heed a deputy’s preliminary warning.

During the Thursday, Nov. 19, City Commission meeting, City Attorney Becky Vose presented an amended noise ordinance that if adopted would raise the cost of a noise ordinance violation citation to $500 for each and every cited offense.

The existing ordinance calls for $100 fines for a first offense, $250 for a second offense that occurs within a one year period, and $500 per offense for a third or additional violation that occurs during that same one year timeframe.

The commission expressed unanimous supported for the amendments. Final reading and adoption is scheduled for the Thursday. Dec. 10, meeting. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIt’s all about R&D

The best part of my job is my R&D budget - some call it Research & Development. At AMOB, we call it Rob & Duplicate. I even robbed that definition from a competitor – right Caryn? Or did you rob that from Ed? Anyway, a national restaurant consultant said there hasn’t been an original idea in our industry in years; we just eat something in another restaurant, return to our own, tweak the recipe a little, change the name and voila, a new menu item. Insert fish name here, a la AMOB.

So take us forward to adding breakfast to our menu when we open on the Historic Bridge Street Pier next month. Where are we going to get ideas for a meal we’ve never served at any of the Oyster Bars? Why through R&D, how else? So we listed all the restaurants that served breakfast in the region and split them up between everyone on our pier transition team. I don’t think Tim will ever eat breakfast again after his research assignments. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryA worthy adversary by any name

The angler on the bow made a quick cast with a crease fly right in the middle of an explosion of water. The scene was frantic as little tunny chased baitfish to the surface and birds massed overhead picking off the wounded and unsuspecting. A moment later his fly disappeared in an eruption of seawater as a fish inhaled the fly and dove for the bottom sending the fly reel into a whirling frenzy.

This was classic feeding behavior for little tunny (aka bonito, false albacore), one of the most exciting fly fishing targets that swim our coast. Hunting and fishing for them can be as exciting as it is frustrating. These speedsters are fun on any light tackle, although they are often shunned by traditional anglers fishing for more exotic prey. The trick to success is twofold – one within an angler’s skill, the other involving more chance than talent. More...

real estate

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Who’s in your back yard?

If you live on Anna Maria or go to the beach or read a newspaper, you would have to be aware of the new large waterfront community being built on Perico Island. But many of us drive the Palma Sola Causeway to and from the Island and really don’t know what’s going on behind the gates at Harbour Isle right in our backyard.

The development of one of the last beautiful pieces of waterfront property in Manatee County has been under construction for several years. Residents have been moving in for well over a year, and units have been closing at a quick pace. Harbour Isle is built on 220 acres and over 600 planned units with green construction and the LEED For Homes certification.

The Mangrove Walk section of coach homes has already been sold out as has the Edgewater Walk Coach Homes. The coach homes in Mangrove Walk ranged in price from $445,000 to $481,900 with two and three bedroom configurations and 1,987 to 2,156 square feet. The homes in the Edgewater Walk section are also two and three bedroom configurations with slightly less square feet ranging from 1,483 to 1,650. The prices ranged from $439,900 to $684,900. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHolmes Construction – 80 years of service

Holmes Construction in Holmes Beach may be the oldest business on the Island, now celebrating 80 years of service to Island and local residents.

Hugh Holmes, Sr. recalled how his father, John Edward Holmes, was doing construction work in Tampa and came to the Island.

“He came on an excursion boat and fell in love with the Island,” Hugh, Sr. said. “He bought property at Magnolia and Snapper in 1922 and moved here. My brother, John, was born in 1925, and I was born in 1926.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Big changes for some Social Security filers

Investment Corner

The recently enacted budget and debt ceiling deal contained significant adjustments to several rules related to filing for Social Security benefits. In an effort to decrease spending, Section 831 of the new budget slashes benefits for certain groups, especially spouses, divorced spouses, women, and families with disabled children. Some experts have estimated that the changes are equivalent to a decrease of $50,000 in lifetime benefits for many retirees. One of the most alarming changes involves suspending benefits for those already receiving payments within six months, which has never occurred before. The deal also includes an elimination of some popular claiming strategies. Here are some of the most impactful changes:

Elimination of File and Suspend Claiming

The file and suspend claiming strategy will be eliminated within six months for those who have not yet attained full retirement age. This means that benefits now being received by spouses, divorced spouses or children of the claiming party, who has suspended his/her own benefits, will be eliminated until the claiming party starts taking his/her Social Security retirement benefit. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySato Real Estate lights up the pitch

Under a dark rainy sky, the adult soccer players took the field to play the last games of the regular season. The first game of the night saw Nick, Ben and Josh Sato playing for Team Island Pest Control go up against oldest brother Jason Sato, representing the family business Sato Real Estate.

Captained by Nick Sato, Lexi Braxton supported Island Pest Control’s offense. Jason Sato played goalie for Sato Real Estate, while B. Sato protected the goal for Island Pest Control through the entire first half of the game. After the back and forth defense battle, the first half ended with seven saves for Jason Sato, and assists by Drew Mitchell, Cory Wash and Chelsea Hoffner for Sato Real Estate. Scoring for the team was Mitchell and Sean Flynn, as well as two goals for BJ Grant. More...


Turtle ‘terrorist’ case closed, unsolved

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has closed the unsolved case of who ran over and killed three black skimmer chicks, a state species of special concern, and ran over five nests, each holding up to 100 eggs of loggerhead sea turtles, a federally threatened species.

The investigation was closed because of insufficient evidence to bring charges against the unidentified person of interest in the case, FWC spokesman Gary Morse said, adding that the state attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case.

Witnesses to the June 27 incident described a laughing couple in their late 20s in a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with a single headlight around 10:30 p.m. near the Holmes Beach/Bradenton Beach line, aiming at yellow-staked turtle nests and driving over them, running over three flightless baby birds in the process.

The crimes are violations of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, ranging from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, carrying penalties of $500 to $1,500 in fines with jail time of 60 days to five years. More...