Vol. 17 No. 39 - July 12, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCity to review Center finances

ANNA MARIA – The Center board has agreed to participate in a voluntary financial audit conducted by the city of Anna Maria.

At the request of Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, the audit will be led by city resident John Chambers, a retired certified public accountant and chief financial officer who voluntarily lends his expertise to the city.

On Friday, July 7, Murphy sent Center Executive Director Kristen Lessig an e-mail that outlined the intent and scope of the voluntary audit. More...

Holmes Beach officials issue occupancy violations

HOLMES BEACH — Holmes Beach police and code enforcement officers are cracking down on vacation rental occupancy violators.

As of July 5, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said seven notices of violation have been issued to property owners advertising for more than the legally allowable occupancy limits or for improper length of stay.

Per the vacation rental ordinance, Holmes Beach allows two people per bedroom or six total per unit, whichever is greater.

Short-term rentals are allowed to rent for seven days or more. Rentals in other residential districts are allowed for 30 days or more. More...

Heavy crowds, no major problems for holiday

THE BEACHES – This year's Fourth of July, although filled with the sounds of fireworks, seemed quieter than in recent years, thanks in part to preparation and execution by the three city governments and volunteer agencies.

The Fourth of July is a holiday where mainlanders come out to watch the fireworks at the Sandbar restaurant and on the beach.

Anything that explodes and/or flies is illegal, and in recent years, law enforcement has increased enforcement efforts through arrests and confiscation. This year, the only agency to confiscate fireworks was the Manatee County Sheriff's Office patrolling the city of Anna Maria. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPrivateers honor scholars

HOLMES BEACH – The colorfully clad parade participants enjoyed the music of Dos Mac (Mike McConnell and Mack Black) playing for free at the Ugly Grouper as the Privateers started arriving for the scholarship awards ceremony. Having completed their annual Fourth of July Parade with, Anna Maria Island's local pirates were hot and thirsty.

After quaffing down some liquid refreshments, Privateers Scholarship Committee Chair "BIg John" Swager announced they were giving more than $20,000 in scholarships to 15 local students, but most of the scholars had somewhere else to be. The three who attended were Emily Waikem, a medical student at the University of South Florida (USF), $1,600; Konstantina Lardas, a senior at Florida International University (FIU) with a $2,500 Whitey Horton Memorial Scholarship; and Asia Sterlin, a sophomore at State College of Florida (SCF), $1,200. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCleaning up holiday trash

HOLMES BEACH — Revelers may have left a lot of trash on Island beaches following the July 4 holiday, but it's disappearing thanks to a few dedicated volunteers.

About two dozen people came out the morning of July 5 to help rid the beach of trash and other debris left after the long holiday weekend.

The clean-up, organized by the Code Enforcement Department, kicked off with volunteers from Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring taking to the beach with trash bags to clean up during their early morning patrols. Code Enforcement Officers James Thomas and Nate Brown set up a supply station near the 52nd Street beach access where volunteers could pick up cold drinks, trash bags, volunteer T-shirts and other supplies. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMetz appeals special master ruling

BRADENTON BEACH – City resident and Planning and Zoning Board member John Metz is appealing the special master's ruling in early June that favored the city of Bradenton Beach and property owners Wendy and George Kokolis.

Serving as the city's contracted special master, attorney Lisa Gonzalez Moore presided over two lengthy hearings in March and April that pertained to Metz's challenge of a permitting decision made by Building Official Steve Gilbert in June 2015 that city-issued permit allowed the renovations to begin at the Kokolis' two-story structure at 308 Gulf Dr. S. More...

Pipe replacement to start this summer

HOLMES BEACH – With the fireworks gone, the only thing that could stand in the way of some great beach days might be traffic delays from a $7.4 million Force Main 5 Pipe Replacement Project. It runs from the middle of Holmes Beach at Manatee Avenue to the area of Cortez Road in Bradenton Beach.

Although there is little to action right now, project outreach Specialist Trudy Gerena said the wheels are in motion.

"From now until mid-August, you'll see some signage," she said, adding there already are some signs up. More...

Commissioners consider salary structure change

HOLMES BEACH — Commissioners are considering a salary structure change for Holmes Beach city employees, but they won't take a vote on it until their next meeting.

When commissioners met June 27, each had concerns about how the change from a step system, which guarantees raises for years of service, to a merit-based system would affect current employees. The only city department not affected by the change would be the police department, which would remain on the step program to correspond with the compensation structure of other local law enforcement departments. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTreat yourself to mullet

When July and August roll around, I start thinking about my most favorite fish of all – mullet. Yes, mullet. People are always surprised when I proclaim that the local vegetarian is my go-to fish. Why? Because the poor mullet has gotten a bum rap over the years. People who don't know any better often think of them as a trash fish or bait. But how wrong they are. Mullet are delicious and nutritious and inexpensive to boot.

As fall approaches, mullet begin to store fat in preparation for their spawning season late in the year. If you want to see this for yourself, fillet a mullet or two in August, and then cut a couple more in November. You'll be able to see that the fat content definitely increases as winter approaches. The fat gets thicker and thicker around the mullet's belly. The increased oil content results in an extremely moist fillet that is full of flavor. That in turn makes for a truly succulent dining experience. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Fishing with Captain Rick Grassett

Captain Rick Grassett was the first to spot the black shapes cruising towards the boat. The sky was clear and the winds light, just the kind of day fly anglers pray for. We were anchored on the shallow edge of a Gulf side sandbar, and it was my turn on the bow. Moments later, I spotted the tarpon and watched as they closed on the boat. When they were in range, I made two false casts and placed my fly 10 feet in front of the lead fish.

I waited for the first fish to pass before beginning my retrieve. The second fish didn't respond, but the third fish started tracking the fly. Two strips later it opened its mouth, and the fly disappeared. As the line came tight, I set the hook with two sharp jabs, letting go as the fish surged. Concentrating on the fly line at my feet, I watched as it sail into the guides, making sure it didn't tangle on anything. The tarpon immediately came out of the water in a scale rattling jump and took off into deeper water. The rest of my fly line and 100 feet of backing quickly melted from the reel. I reached down and released the anchor as Grassett started the boat. By the time we got forward momentum, another 200 feet of backing had vanished into the Gulf, and the tarpon had made two grey-hounding leaps in the distance. More...

real estate

High-end market fire sale

Who would have thought that the high-end real estate market would be the one in trouble during the best real estate sales economy in many a day? But rather than being on fire many high-end homes may be facing a fire sale.

It's been a crazy year. Economies around the world have been rattled to the core whether, you live in Great Britain and are faced with Brexit or whether you live in Ireland, France or indeed right here and are still reeling from world leaders that came out of the blue. Whatever the reason, the high-end real estate market is rattled. Listing prices on homes and condos in Miami and Manhattan are being readjusted and not in a good way. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryKeyes Marina – your key to good fishing

How would you feel if you were an established boutique boat marina with 19 slips suddenly in the shadow of a brand-new marina with 50 slips? Well the Keyes family couldn't be happier and look forward to their next-door neighbor, Waterline Marina Resort, opening its doors, and becoming part of the Island community.

The Keyes family have been owners of Island Discount Tackle since 2009 and Keyes Marina since 2011. The location of the Keyes' property in the heart of Holmes Beach, which also includes a marine mechanic, watersports facility and gasoline fuel dock, has been used for boating related businesses since the early 1960s.

Paul and Sally Keyes relocated to Longboat Key, Fla. As part of their retirement plan, their love of fishing eventually brought them to Anna Maria Island and the purchase of Island Discount Tackle. When the marina became available two years later, they and their sons saw what a great match this would be for both businesses and seized the opportunity. Although Paul and Sally Keyes are still helping in the business, their sons, Jim, Jonny and Joe, are the primary face of the shop and marina. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTeam Moss Builders seeks championship: The field of eight is down to two after a week of playoffs

After finishing the regular season in seventh place, Team Moss Builders took on the sixth-seed Team Mulock Flynn Law Thursday night. With the solid pick-up of Diego Felipe to replace the injured David Greene, Moss Builders found a strong leader and rhythm at the end of the season, leading them to the championship game on July 6.

The game looked to be a close one until the last minutes of the game. Mulock Flynn Law struggled all season to have a full roster at a game. Thursday night's game was no different.

Missing Tony Shard, playing with only seven players in the heat of the evening, Sean Flynn's team gassed out but fought to the end.

Felipe started the scoring in the game after six minutes of play with the first goal in the quarterfinal game. Rapid fire shooting by Lexi Sato and Rico Beissert hit both the left and right posts with no goal. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Sea turtle race contestant to be chosen

A loggerhead sea turtle that nests on Anna Maria Island the night of Monday, June 19, will be fitted with a satellite transmitter and tracked by the Sea Turtle Conservancy in its Tour de Turtles migration marathon that begins Aug. 1, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

The turtle will be named Eliza Ann and will be released to the Gulf of Mexico somewhere on the Island on June 20, she said. The turtle is sponsored by Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club in Holmes Beach. More...

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