Vol. 17 No. 42 - August 2, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryEmily delivers a slap to the Island

Residents awakened Monday to heavy rains and winds as Tropical Storm Emily took aim at Anna Maria Island and made landfall here about 10:45 a.m.

The fast-moving Emily formed overnight in the Gulf of Mexico, then moved across the state, bringing with it torrential rains and winds gusting to 60 mph.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 31 counties, including Manatee and Sarasota. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryShark dragging incident has Island ties

MANATEE COUNTY – The first week of an ongoing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigation into an online video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat produced public outcry, but little official information.

FWC received a tip on July 24 and investigators quickly identified the individuals in the video with help from the public. Their identities will not be confirmed while the investigation is ongoing and no timetable has been provided.

Social media and media sources locally and worldwide identified the four potential suspects as Michael Wenzel, Robert “Bo” Benac, Burns Easterling and Spencer Heintz. Wenzel has been identified as the boat captain and Easterling as the one in the foreground laughing and saying, “Look, it’s already almost dead.” More...

Center financial review presented

ANNA MARIA – John Chambers’ financial condition review of the Center finances produced no smoking guns or allegations of fraud, but served as a reminder of financial challenges that lie ahead.

“There seems to be a lot of concern about cash flowing around and there was, but I don’t think it was nearly to the extent people thought,” Chambers said when presenting his report to the Anna Maria City Commission on Thursday, July 27.

Chambers, a retired certified public accountant and chief financial officer, said his review was thorough, but not as comprehensive as a full-blown audit. He praised Center Executive Director Kristen Lessig for providing him with the records he requested and thanked her for her cooperation. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMuseum investigates Snooty’s death

South Florida Museum officials are taking steps to make the aquarium safer after the death of Snooty the manatee, Manatee County’s official mascot.

Snooty was discovered drowned on Sunday, July 23, the day after his 69th birthday party, trapped in a small area used to access the aquarium’s life support system equipment, according to museum officials, who said he entered through a dislodged access panel that is normally shut.

To protect three manatees being rehabilitated before release, museum staff has secured the panel and reinforced it with three half-inch, high-density PVC supports and added six more stainless steel screws to the panel, originally secured by one screw in each of four corners, according to the museum. More...

Snooty mourned on social media

In the days following Snooty’s drowning in July, people expressed their emotions on The Sun’s Facebook page.

Terry Spetter: “Just heartbreaking.”

Maddie Lynn: “Am saddened to read today (25 July 2017) of Snooty's untimely passing, secondary to undisclosed causes that were not natural. It is regrettable that human care, which has allowed Snooty to outlive his natural lifespan in the wild, turned out to be the cause of his death. I hope that whatever caused Snooty's death will be quickly and transparently dealt with, so that the keeping of animals like manatees will not come under attack. Rest in peace, Snooty. May your legacy live on and on.”

Greg Borowski: “We loved Snooty!” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryEmily trashes day dock

BRADENTON BEACH – Tropical Storm Emily may have dealt the final blow to the floating day dock next to the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

Monday afternoon, Public Works Director Tom Woodward e-mailed the mayor and city commissioners to inform them the storm-damaged dock was closed until further notice.

“It has been deemed unsafe and is being closed per the recommendation of the Pier Team as there is a significant liability issue. The access ramp will be closed off and Dock Closed signs will be placed on the dock to inform incoming boaters. Dinghy dock usage by Mr. Baldwin’s tour boats will need to be discussed at the Pier Team meeting on Wednesday,” Woodward’s e-mail said. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryParking garage discussion produces Sunshine concerns

BRADENTON BEACH – Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board members Reed Mapes, John Metz, Patty Shay and Bill Vincent engaged in a parking garage discussion that may have violated state Sunshine Law.

Mapes initiated the parking garage discussion during a meeting of the Concerned Neighbors of Bradenton Beach (CNOBB) steering committee on Tuesday, July 25, at the Annie Silver Community Center. The steering committee includes four planning board members.

Members of city commissions and committees are not allowed to meet and discuss city business outside of an officially noticed meeting. More...

Center status, by the numbers

ANNA MARIA – The Center of Anna Maria Island’s fiscal year began July 1 and with it comes a new budget year.

One question facing the Center’s staff is how those numbers stack up against last year’s results with the nonprofit facing consistent financial losses.

How it works

The Center’s finances are broken down into cost centers: fitness, sports, youth programs, senior programs, culture and fundraising. Aside from these areas, other cost areas include indirect costs and administration. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland wildlife weathers storm

Tropical Storm Emily pushed the Gulf of Mexico over low-lying sea turtle nests on Anna Maria Island Monday morning, but all is not lost.

“Low nests were hit by the storm, but we have a lot of high nests,” said Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring. “We’re still in the game.”

Turtle nests within 50 feet of the waterline have lost their stakes, she said. If you find yellow stakes on the beach, leave them near the dune line, where Turtle Watch volunteers will pick them up on their morning rounds. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story ICAST highlights new gear

Recently I had the opportunity to visit ICAST, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, held in Orlando, Fla. The convention, the largest of its type, was conducted in two immense conference halls at the Orange County Convention Center. I made the trip with Steve Traves, owner of AMI Outfitters on Anna Maria. The event, held over three days, is the world’s largest sportfishing trade show and showcases the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel.

The event is open to qualified members of the sport fishing trade which includes retailers, exhibitors and media. It was an excellent opportunity to get some hands-on experience with new fly rods, reels, clothing and accessories that wouldn’t be available to anglers until after the show, and, in some cases, not until the 2018 season. The show is roughly divided between companies aligned with fly fishing and those whose main focus is conventional angling. More...

real estate

Beach vs. rolling hills

I’ve been away on my summer trip. Almost four weeks of interstate highways, relatives, friends, 3,000 miles and an excuse to eat fast food. As much as I complain, I always return home happy to have seen everyone and appreciating the change of scenery.

This is a big country, and whether you like the beaches of Florida and the outer banks of the Carolinas or the rolling hills of Virginia and quaint villages of New England, everyone can find the right fit for them. Since beaches have always been my preference, I found my spot and based on the May and June sales statistics for Manatee County, a lot of people agree with me.

Single-family home sales in May were up 2.8 percent, and in June there was no change from June of last year. However, the median sale price in May was $299,000, up 7.8 percent from last May, and for June the median was $297,750, up 4.5 percent from June of last year. The median price represents sales of properties where half the sales were above and half were below. For the first time in many months, the median sales price for single-family homes was down slightly from June of this year compared to May of this year. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySharky's is now an international affair

BRADENTON BEACH – The five friends from Rome, Italy, who make up the new ownership group at Sharky's Steak & Seagrill, are settling nicely into their new roles as Anna Maria Island restauranteurs.

Last October, Cristina Delle Macchie, Mario Procopio, Silvia Sanges, Emilio Vardaro and Nadia Rossi bought the 80-seat restaurant space at 2519 Gulf Dr. N., and they now share the ownership and operational responsibilities.

Due to immigration laws, the Italian business partners take turns spending three months at a time on the Island. Delle Macchie and Procopio are currently in town, and they sat down last week to discuss their new American venture. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryNew faces, new field, new season: Summer adult flag football heats up

The summer adult flag football league at the Island community center kicked off Thursday night in the humidity and heat with more than 10 new players on the roster making up seven teams. The fresh faces mixed and mingled with veteran players on the newly configured gridiron looking for their first win of the seven game, regular season.

The first game of the night saw Team Mason Martin, led by Brianna Roberts, along with her husband Caleb Roberts and brother Tim Shaughnessy adorning unfamiliar grey and black jerseys. Mason Martin owner Frank Agnelli joined the family trio, taking the team to a strong victory against Team Truly Nolen.

Truly Nolen, with captain Jake Parsons, finally found its groove on the field with quarterback Patrick Harrington, speed man Tyler Lancaster and solid overall player Ben Sato. Newbies John Exley and Ryan Kane contributed to the team’s first outing with speed and agility, with the only points for the team put on the scoreboard by Mandi Kane. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Eliza Ann, turtles, love AMI

It’s a record sea turtle nesting season on Anna Maria Island so far this year, but Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, seems as thrilled about one particular turtle as she is about the numbers.

This week marks the midway point in turtle season, May 1 to Oct. 31, and already, more nests have been laid on the Island than in the entire 2016 season, which was the highest on record, according to Turtle Watch. More...

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