Monthly Archives: January 2017

Fishing – 08-24-2011

Wading key to fishing flats in warm waters


Inshore fishing is following similar patterns of the weeks past. Summer heat dictates the best times to fish: early morning, late evening and at night.

Hopefully you took advantage of the overcast days we had recently to venture out to the flats. The slightly lower temperatures were a welcome break for both fish and fishers. Using top-water plugs in the morning for trout and redfish has been the highlight in the backcountry.

Wading has been the most effective approach to stalk these shallow-water dwellers. The reds are schooling on the flats, so keep your eyes peeled for a sudden eruption of water as these fish migrate over shallow grass.

Remember when fishing shallow water with high water temperatures, if you plan to release your fish you need to spend a little extra time reviving them. A lot of the reds we encounter this time of year are large spawning redfish. It’s a lot harder for these bigger fish to regain composure after a 15-minute fight in 90-degree water, so take extra care.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier is seeing plenty of pier fishers reeling up Spanish mackerel on the early morning incoming tides. Silver spoons, Gotcha plugs and crappie jigs are a necessity if you’re planning to use artificials for these high-speed fish. Live shiners are always a good bet.

Mangrove snapper are beginning to show around the pier, feeding on small hatch bait. A No. 4-size hook with some 20-pound fluorocarbon leader is a great way to attempt to catch these little bruisers. Again, the early morning bite has been producing better numbers of fish.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing and catching mangrove snapper under the pier and around the pilings in the morning hours. “I caught seven this morning,” says Kilb, “but not one was a keeper.” He’s using live shrimp or small live shiners to hook the snapper. He is seeing Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and lizardfish being caught on small jigs. “The mackerel are here in the morning,” says Kilb. “And ladyfish and snakefish are biting all day.”

Flounder are making a decent showing around the pier with keeper-size fish being caught on live shiners or live mojaras. Kilb says to try using a No. 2 long-shank hook when catching flounder. The long shank makes it easier to avoid those teeth when you’re dehooking the flat fish.

On a final note, Kilb say he’s seeing an occasional redfish or black drum caught on live shrimp.

Grady Smith at Island Discount Tackle says he’s hearing reports of whiting, stingrays and small sharks being caught off the beaches. “Most of the people are buying frozen shrimp and squid,” says Smith. “Those are the two popular baits for fishing the beach.”

From the charter captains at Catchers Marina, Smith says he’s seeing nice-sized spotted sea trout and redfish on the cleaning tables. “I’m also seeing some decent-sized mangrove snapper, too.”

Flounder are being caught in Longboat Pass with live shrimp or live shiners fished on the bottom around rock structure and bridge pilings. Smith suggests if you’re going to fish the pass, target slower moving tides. “Once that tide starts moving fast,” explains Smith, “it’s too hard to keep a bait down on the bottom. Then you’re out of the strike zone and will probably get snagged.”

Capt. Warren Girle is having good luck fishing both offshore and the backcountry. Girle is encountering large numbers of red and gag grouper fishing in 45 feet of water around small reefs and ledges. “We had four gag grouper that were way over the minimum size limit,” says Girle. “It was too bad that we had to release them.” In between catching gag and red grouper, Girle’s clients are reeling up numerous Key West grunts.

Moving to the backwater, Girle is fishing early mornings with top-water plugs, targeting redfish and “gator” trout. Girle is wading shallow grass flats, working top-water plugs along the edges of pothole and oyster bars. “We had an overcast, rainy day where we were able to keep fishing top-water until 10:30 in the morning,” says Girle. “We caught nine redfish and six keeper trout on one flat adjacent to a spoil island. One of the redfish wanted the bait so bad that he smacked the lure out of the water and then came back and ate it when it landed.”

Girle is using a floating Sebile stick shad to target these shallow-water fish. “I usually use a Rapala skitter walk with rattlers in it, but it seems these fish want a bait that is quiet. The Sebile stick shad is just that, and it’s working great.”

Jeff Medley at the south bait shop on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Fishing Piers says, “It’s a shame you can’t keep gag grouper right now.” Medley is seeing keeper-size gag grouper reeled up daily. He says a live pinfish fished under the pier or on the rock piles just away from the pier is producing tackle-busting action with hungry gags.

Mangrove snapper are making a prominent showing in these areas. Scale down your bait to either a live greenback or even a fresh-cut piece of greenback to target some tasty mangrove snapper.

Fishing the sandy bottom around the structure of the pier is resulting in flounder up to 20 inches. Dragging a live greenback along the bottom is a sure-fire way to hook up.

Tarpon and cobia are patrolling the ends of the pier. Again, a live pinfish is hard for either species to turn down. “The tarpon we’re seeing are in the 60-80 pound range,” says Medley. “And there’s a lot of them down there.”

Last but not least, Spanish mackerel and bonito are being caught on live greenbacks, although the bite has been sporadic.

Capt. Sam Kimball of Legend Charters is fishing both nearshore and offshore with good results.

The nearshore bite is producing Key West grunts, mangrove snapper, hogfish and Spanish mackerel. “The bite has been a little tough when we’re fishing shallow,” says Kimball, “but we’re managing to come up with some really nice catches.”       Kimball is seeing a great abundance of under-size red grouper on the nearshore reefs and ledges. “They’re thicker than thieves down there,” he said with a laugh.

Moving out to deeper water — 100 feet plus, Kimball is catching limits of red grouper as well as numerous catch-and-release gags.

Also at these depths, Kimball’s clients are reeling up large quantities of catch-and-release red snapper in the 7-10 pound range.

For smaller table fare, there are plenty of banded rudderfish and almaco jacks keeping fishers busy on light tackle. These little jacks fish hard and they “eat” good, too.

Mangrove snapper finish out Kimball’s report with fish being caught in the 3-5 pound range.

        Send fishing reports to

Islander Calendar – 08-24-2011

Wednesday, Aug. 24

        5 to 7 p.m. — Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce business-card exchange at Whitney Bank, 5324 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-1541. Fee applies.

        5 to 8 p.m. — “Women on Wine” gathering at the Bridge Street Bistro, 111 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-779-2123.


FRIDAY ….chamber ribbon cutting?


Sunday, Aug. 28

        Noon to 3 p.m. — Manatee Young Professionals Beach Bash at the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-748-4842 ext 133. Fee applies.


Tuesday, Aug. 30

        6 p.m. — Volunteer reception and information session for Anna Maria Elementary School at the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-708-5525.



• Tuesdays, noon, Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island meetings at the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-794-8044.

• Wednesdays, two hours before sunset, the city of Bradenton Beach hosts a sunset party with entertainer Mike Sales at Katie Pierola Sunset Park, 2200 block of Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-448-5798.

• Wednesdays, 6 to 8 p.m., teens meet at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-1908.

• Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m., players pitch horseshoes in the pits at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-708-6130.

• Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., view landscape painter David Dunlop’s video series “Landscapes Through Time,” at the Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, through Sept. 15. Information: 941-778-1906.

• Fridays, Senior Adventures Group meets for outings to various locations. Information: 941-962-8835.

• Fridays, sunset, drum circle with Mike Sales and Scott Blum at Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-526-6789.

• Saturdays, 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island meets at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.



Friday, Aug. 26

        5 p.m. — Contender Film Series: “Spellbound” at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-746-4131. Fee applies.


Saturday, Aug. 27

        11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Children’s Summit at Manatee Civic Center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto. Information: 941-749-3030.

        5 to 9 p.m. — O’Connor Bowling Tournament at AMF Bradenton Lanes, 6696 Cortez Road, Bradenton. Information: 941-778-1908. Fee applies.


Coming Up:

• Sept. 2, Contender Film Series: “Deep Water,” South Florida Museum.

• Sept. 7, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce business lunch, The Feast Restaurant.

AME calendar

Save the date for the following Anna Maria Elementary School happenings:

• Aug. 30, 6 p.m., Parent-Teacher Organization volunteer reception, Sandbar Restaurant.

• Sept. 14, picture day.

• Sept. 15, 8:45 a.m., PTO Fall Festival planning kick-off meeting, cafeteria.

• Sept. 21, PTO budget adoption meeting.

• Sept. 21, 10th annual Peace Day event.

AME is at 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. For more information, call 941-708-5525.


Send calendar announcements to Please include the time, date and location of the event, a brief description and a contact via e-mail and phone.


The Islander Classifieds: Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011


HAND PAINTED TABLES by local artist, $100. Antique vanity, $100, tons of other stuff, call to look, 941-586-3909.

COMPUTER: 1.7 GHz processor, Windows XP-PRO, $55. 941-756-6728.

GOLF BAG PULL cart, $25. Cart closes in half for compact storage. 941-778-3228.

WALL MOUNT 19-inch TV, will hold DVD, too, $15. 941-795-8359.

BABY STROLLER: “GRACO” with car seat, manual. Paid $275, sell, $60. TV, 19-inch color Orion, $20, 941-795-8389.

DRAWING / DRAFTING TABLE: 41×29.5-inches. Pedestal base, hydraulic lift adjusts height and angle, $50. 941-792-3526

BEDROOM GROUP: TRIPLE dresser with mirror, armoire, night table. Walnut, good condition. $100. 941-792-3526.

DIVE GEAR: WOMEN’S zippered boots, new, size 9ML, plus swim fins. $30. 941-792-3526.

VACUUM: DIRT DEVIL Lite, $20, dehumidifier, works great, $20, 941-730-0444.

BOOKSHELF: 2×4, brown, $10. After 5 p.m., 941-730-0445.

PET DOORS: TWO, for sliding glass doors, $25 each. 941-730-0444.

MARY KAY COSMETICS: Full line at discounted prices. Jenifer, 941-224-1760, 941-739-0792.

ANTIQUE COPPER POTS and bowls, collection $350. Burl-wood rocker, oak office chairs, collectibles.  View at The Islander store, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

ORIGINAL, LOCAL ART for sale. View at The Islander store, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

AERIAL PHOTOS of Anna Maria Island. View and purchase online:


Individuals may advertise up to three items, each priced $100 or less, 15 words or less. FREE, one week, must be submitted online. E-mail, fax toll-free 1-866-362-9821. (limited time offer)


GLORIA DEI LUTHERAN Church: All are welcome to come and worship with us! Please call 941-778-1813 or visit us at: for worship times. 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

HAITI $$$ DONATIONS to the Ministry of Presence Inc.,, urgently needed for local representatives to aid homeless children. Info: The Islander, 941-778-7978.

TERRY HAYES, REALTOR. Signature Sothebys International. 941-302-3100.

MICHAEL NORTHFIELD: BROKER, Anna Maria Island Realty, 941-713-0284. E-mail: Your personal broker.

NOW COLLECTING ITEMS for St. Bernard Church rummage sale, Oct. 21-22. Please leave donated items in rear of activity center building. Call Geri Cannon, 941-779-0591.

BRADENTON ROTARY CLUB meets at noon Mondays at Mattison’s Riverside, 1200 First Ave. W., Bradenton. Club members enjoy fellowship with like-minded professionals. Club projects offer opportunities to benefit the community locally and worldwide. To attend a meeting as our guest, call Trish, 941-747-1871. More information:

WANTED: YOUR OLD cell phone for recycling. Deliver to The Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

FISHING GEAR WANTED: The Privateers and The Islander are collecting new or used, repairable fishing poles and reels, nets, tackle, buckets, etc. to give to children. Donate your gear at The Islander newspaper office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

FREE GUN LOCK courtesy of Project Childsafe, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Holmes Beach Police Department. Pick up at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Don’t be sorry, be safe.


MOVING SALE: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. Dining room table and nine chairs, three complete bed sets including mattresses and bedsprings. Sofas, lamps, coffee and end tables, large TV, VCR, teak screen, patio furniture, linens, silverware and pictures. 113 Gull Drive, Anna Maria.


LOST CAT: LUNA, friendly, gray and white. Clipped ear. Last seen Marina Isles neighborhood, Holmes Beach, July 28. Dawn, 608-770-7351.


PARENTS NEEDED for loving homes to foster puppies and kittens until they are old enough for adoption. All food and medical provided. Julie, 941-720-1411.


BOAT SLIP FOR rent in Holmes Beach up to 23-foot. $140/month, three-month minimum. 941-962-6238.


FULL-TIME JOURNALIST WANTED: Seeking new journalism grad or experienced reporter. Work in paradise for the newspaper ranked No. 1 in the state by the Florida Press Association. E-mail letter of interest/resume:

SALES ASSOCIATE: MOTIVATED, experienced real estate licensee for busy Island office. Please call Jesse or Robin at 941-778-7244.


LOCAL ISLAND STUDENT babysitter available. CPR and first aid-certified, early childhood development major. Emily, 941-567-9276.

BABIES, PETS AND PLANTS: Responsible, trustworthy, fun and reliable 16-year old. Own transportation. 941-447-9658.

KIDS FOR HIRE ads are FREE for up to three weeks for Island youths under 16 looking for work. Ads must be placed in person at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.


HEALTH FOOD AND deli business. 3228 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-580-0626.


LPNS NEEDED FOR active quadriplegic using Hoyer lift. Morning shifts are 4-5 hours starting at 7 a.m. Overnight shifts are 9:30 p.m.-7 a.m. Travel opportunity. 941-383-6953.


LET US DRIVE YOU! Airports, cruise ports. Flat rates. Anna Maria Sunshine Car Service. 941-778-5476.

PROFESSIONAL I.T. SERVICES: Complete computer solutions for business and home. Installation, repair, upgrade, networking, Web services, wireless services. Richard Ardabell, network engineer, 941-778-5708, or cell 216-509-1945.

TOASTED COMPUTER SERVICES. Your home and business specialist. On-site service, virus/spyware, cleanup, system setup, upgrades, diagnosis and repair, internet/wireless networking, custom system design. 941-224-1069.

I DON’T CUT corners, I clean corners. Professional, friendly cleaning  service since 1999. 941-778-7770. Leave message.

ISLAND PRESSURE WASHING: Houses, trailers, soffets, driveways, pools, wood decks and docks. “Satisfaction guaranteed or job is free.” Best prices and reliable service. For estimates please, call Bill at 941-896-6788.

HOUSE CLEANING BY Laura. Excellent references. One house, 2BR/2BA, $50. 941-539-6891.

WILDLIFE REMOVAL and relocation: Problem solving for all animals, big and small. Call Joe, Westcoast Nuisance Wildlife Service. 941-720-4152.

COMPANION/CARETAKER: LOVING, compassionate, reliable. References. 941-705-0607.

IMPECCABLE CLEANING: CARLOS and Valeria. Servicing Anna Maria Island since 2002. Affordable, dependable, free estimates. Call 941-932-7314.

JUS ROMEO: INSURED, affordable, experienced. House painting, pressure washing, handy work. Free estimate. Call Justin, 941-224-0344.

SENIOR COMPANION: offering companionship to your loved one, to put your mind at ease. 941-779-6638.

ISLAND DOGS GROOMING: $10 off first groom. Salon, home groom, pickup/delivery, pet sitting. Certified groomer. Call 941-778-1202.

TUTORING SERVICES: Specializing in algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry and science. Special needs students welcome. Grades 3-12. Rick, 941-224-4977.

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS JD’s Window Cleaning looking for storefront jobs in Holmes Beach. Free estimates, references. 941-920-3840.

ISLAND MERMAIDS CLEANING and Co.: Gift certificates! 36 years of happy customers. Organizing, pet-watch, storm-check, etc. Rentals our specialty. 941-778-3046.

BEACH SERVICE air conditioning, heat, refrigeration. Commercial and residential service, repair and/or replacement. Serving Manatee County and the Island since 1987. For dependable, honest and personalized service, call William Eller, 941-795-7411. CAC184228.

ANYONE CAN TAKE a picture. A professional creates a portrait. I want to be at your wedding! 941-778-2711.

RELAXING MASSAGE IN the convenience of your home or hotel. Massage by Nadia, more than 19 years on Anna Maria Island. Call today for an appointment, 941-518-8301. MA#0017550.MA#0017550.

GUITAR TROUBLE? KOKO RAY’S ISLAND studio. Instruction in flute, saxophone, guitar, piano and voice. 315 58th St., Holmes Beach, 941-538-8724.


CONNIE’S LANDSCAPING INC. Residential and commercial. Full-service lawn maintenance, landscaping, cleanups, hauling and more! Insured. 941-778-5294.

ISLAND LAWN SPRINKLER service and repair. Your complete irrigation repair company. Call 941-778-2581.

JR’S LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE Lawns, native plants, mulching, trimming, hauling, cleanups. Island resident 25 years. Call 941-807-1015.


STRAIGHT SHOT LANDSCAPE. Shell installed $45/yard at true specifications. Free appliance pick up. Call Shark Mark. 941-301-6067.

KARAZ LANDSCAPE LAWN service. Mulch, clean ups, power washing, tree trimming and more. 941-448-3857 or 941-448-5207.

SHELL DELIVERED AND spread. Premium grade-A, $45/yard B-grade, $30-$40/yard. Hauling all kinds of gravel, mulch, top soil with free estimates. Call Larry at 941-795-7775, “shell phone” 941-720-0770.

NATURE’S DESIGN LANDSCAPING. Design and installation. Tropical landscape specialist. Residential and commercial. 30 years experience. 941-729-9381, 941-448-6336.

NURSERY QUALITY GARDEN Care and maintenance. Hand weeding, trimming, cleanup, plant installation. Certified horticultural professional. Call Joan, 941-704-9025.

TOP NOTCH LAWN Care: Residential and commercial. For all your landscaping needs. 941-932-6600.


VAN-GO PAINTING residential/commercial, interior/exterior, pressure cleaning, wallpaper. Island references. Bill, 941-795-5100.

TILE -TILE -TILE. All variations of ceramic tile supplied and installed. Quality workmanship, prompt, reliable, many Island references. Call Neil, 941-726-3077.

CUSTOM REMODELING EXPERT. All phases of carpentry, repairs and painting. Insured. Meticulous, clean, sober and prompt. Paul Beauregard, 941-730-7479.

GRIFFIN’S HOME IMPROVEMENTS Inc. Handyman, fine woodwork, countertops, cabinets and shutters. Insured and licensed, 941-748-4711.

JERRY’S HOME REPAIR: Carpentry work, handyman, light plumbing, electrical, light hauling, pressure washing. Call 941-778-6170 or 941-447-2198.

SOUTHBAY HOME REPAIRS: If it’s broken, stuck, loose, leaks, needs paint, etc. I’ll fix it. Affordable quality work. 941-720-2906.

FOREMOST FENCE: Commercial, Residential. Chain link, vinyl, aluminum, wood, access control. Contractors you can depend on. Call 941-748-2700.

J.E. MURRAY: ESTABLISHED Island builder. New homes, remodeling. 30-year resident. Call 941-778-2316 or 941-730-3228.

JUS ROMEO: INSURED, affordable, experienced. House painting, pressure washing, handy work. Free estimate. Call Justin, 941-224-0344.


WEEKLY/MONTHLY/ANNUAL rentals: wide variety, changes daily. SunCoast Real Estate, 941-779-0202, or 1-800-732-6434.

HOLMES BEACH BUSINESS Center. Rental units available for office/commercial spaces from 750-2,000 sf. Humidity-controlled mini-storage units and garage units, 11 x 22 feet. 5347 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-778-2924.

VACATION ONLY PROPERTIES for rent, private pool homes: 3BR/3B, 3BR/2BA,1BR/1BA. Call 941-794-1515.

VACATION RENTALS: 3BR/3BA pool home, 2BR/1BA cottage, 5BR/4BA split pool home, two blocks to Holmes Beach. 3BR/2BA pool home NW Bradenton, 3BR/3BA pool home Palma Sola. Weekly, monthly rentals. Luxury furnishings, all amenities. Inclusive prices. Coastal Properties Realty, 941-794-1515.

BEAUTIFUL CONDO FOR rent: 2BR, two full bath, furnished, ground floor. Five minutes from beach. Seasonal, $2,000/month, annual, $1,100/month. 330-562-8945.

FEMALE ROOMMATE WANTED to share 2BR/2BA condo in Holmes Beach. $650/month plus electric.

WATERFRONT DUPLEX: 2BR/1BA, furnished, elevated. $1,300/monthly, September, November, December. 941-773-5730.

ANNUAL RENTAL: HOLMES Beach canal home. 3BR/2BA. Terrazzo floors throughout, big yard, one-car garage. $1,695/month. 863-660-8366.

CHARMING ONE ROOM cottage, perfect for one person without much stuff! $850/month, annual lease. 941-779-0289.

SEASONAL OR WEEKLY cottage-style rentals. 1BR/1BA or 55-plus 2BR/1BA with pool. Walk to beach, shopping, restaurants. 941-778-3426. Web site


DIRECT GULFFRONT: 146 feet on the beach. 3BR/4.5BA, office recreation room, spa, pool, outdoor kitchen and theater, elevator, turnkey furnished. $3,750,000. Suncoast Real Estate, 941-779-0202 or 941-720-0288.

FOR SALE: BRADENTON Beach. Sandpiper Resort, 1BR/1BA, enclosed bonus room, steps to beach. 813-458-3875.

NEW UPGRADED CONDOS: Minutes to beach, annual, seasonal, $140,000-plus. Special financing available. 941-773-0212. Taylor Morrison at Palma Sola Trace.

WATERFRONT WANTED: RETIRED TV producer from Germany looking for 3-4BR house or condo. Call Helmer, 941-592-8853, Michael Saunders & Co., licensed Real Estate Broker.

Longboat Key Cedars E Short sale 2BR/2.5BA furnished. List price $199,000. RE/MAX Alliance Group. For information, call Erlene Fitzpatrick 941-224-6339 or Sharon Villars 941-920-0669.

PERICO BAY CLUB villa: 2BR/2BA, garage, turnkey furnished. Price reduced, $189,500. Fred at 941-356-1456. Realtor.


AUCTION: 24 BEAUTIFUL home sites in Mountain Blue. 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. Jackson County, N.C. 10 percent BP NCL #1787. 800-241-7591 or 800-289-7512. or

Grand winner

Penny Frick of Bradenton is the grand-prize winner in the newspaper’s Top Notch contest. In the nomination round, she won front-page placement of her photo and an Islander newspaper “More-Than-A-Mullet wrapper” T-shirt. As the grand-prize winner, she receives $100 from the newspaper, a bevy of other prizes from Islander advertisers and publication of the photo in Jack Elka’s 2012 calendar. Congratulations to Frick and Top Notch contenders Jenah Victor-Smith, Ann Howard, Heidi Pratt, Natalia Rizzo and Megan Basilius Weimer. Look next week for honorable mentions in the contest.  And look below for winners in the pet photo contest.

August delivers doggone dog days

Islanders don’t need to follow a calendar or listen to the weather report to know when they are slogging through the dog days of summer.

They can read the signs: Cottages and condos get closed up tight, with air-conditioners running 24/7. Iced tea turns to warm tea. Dogs pant. Cats sleep. Hair frizzes. Car steering wheels singe the hands. Steam rises from the pavement after a rain. And nearly everyone finds a way to ask, “Hot enough for you?”

The dog days of summer traditionally were from July 3 to Aug. 11 in the northern hemisphere, when the Romans saw the Dog Star — Sirius — join the sun at sunrise and disappear from the sky all night, according to the national Astronomical League.

This was considered an evil period when “the seas boiled, wine turned sour, Quinto raged in anger, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies,” according to “Clavis Calendarium,” an 1813 text containing historical and classical anecdotes about calendar events.

There are no longer specific astronomical dates for the “dog days of summer,” which in the United States has widely come to generically apply to the hottest days of the summer season.

Many Islanders say August brings the steamiest days.

So The Islander posed the question to readers: “When you think of the dog days of summer, what comes to mind?”

• Richard Burton replied, “Air-conditioning.”

• Mike Sales observed, “I’ve got to walk the dog much more in August, because it’s so hot that he has to stay indoors. If I fail to wear him out, he’ll take it out on my shoes — or something.”

• Cindy Quinn noted a positive, “Kids going back to school. Yea.”

• Keena Young Baker thought of “my shoes sticking into the pavement.”

• Paul Taylor rejoiced. “No crowds and dining out again,” he said.

• Angela Logan succinctly replied, “Sweat.”

Anna Maria approves 6-lot, $2.8m purchase

After months of wrangling over whether to buy six vacant lots across from the city pier north parking lot, Anna Maria commissioners voted 3-2 on Aug. 11 to authorize Mayor Mike Selby to enter into a $2.8 million purchase agreement with Blackhawk Bank of Iowa, which has the property in foreclosure.

But commissioners rejected Blackhawk’s suggested financing plan, opting instead for a proposal from Branch Banking and Trust Bank — BB&T — of Bradenton that gives the city two years of interest-only payments of $111,000 before starting the 20-year amortization mortgage.

Financial consultant Jim Golloher, hired by the city to study Blackhawk’s financing offers and look for better terms, said BB&T offered a better plan.

Golloher said BB&T does not want exclusive rights to renegotiate the loan if better terms become available, is a Florida bank that has done similar loans, and is offering a better interest rate. Additionally, BB&T agreed that any private money donated for the purchase would reduce the sale price at closing. BB&T wants to close by Sept. 23, Golloher said.

“The BB&T proposal doesn’t tie you to them for the life of the loan” as the Blackhawk contract would, Golloher said.

Commissioners set the maximum purchase price at $2.8 million, although Commission Chair Chuck Webb argued the city should only pay “fair market value” as determined by the $2.55 million appraisal. The offer amounts to a difference of $250,000.

He suggested Selby negotiate a lower price, but the mayor said he’s convinced that the city has the bank’s “bottom price.”

Blackhawk already rejected another $2.5 million cash offer for the property, Selby said.

Commissioner John Quam said he had reservations about committing the city to the debt, given the current economic conditions.

But Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick said the city has been paying $225,000 annually in recent years on its stormwater improvements loan, and the same amount is in the tentative 2011-12 budget even though the stormwater loan was paid.

If there is no stormwater payment, the $225,000 would go to the reserve account, according to city treasurer Diane Percycoe.

If the city approves the interest-only payment for two years at $111,000, that would leave $114,000 per year for the reserve account, she said.

Commissioner Dale Woodland said he would not approve the plan if he wasn’t convinced from discussions with experts on public-private partnerships that the private sector would raise a significant portion of the $2.8 million.

Pine Avenue Restoration principal Mike Coleman pledged $100,000 from his company toward the partnership, noting this lowers the difference between the appraised value and the sale price to $150,000.

Perhaps the clinching argument for the purchase came from public works director George McKay, who said at some time the city is going to have to rebuild the humpback bridge on North Bay Boulevard and will need additional right of way, some of which includes the six vacant lots.

Better to buy the land now than pay an excess amount for a few feet of ROW in the future, McKay said.

Commissioner Gene Aubry agreed the time to act is now.

“I think it’s a valuable purchase,” he said. “But we could sit here, analyze it for the next six months and get nowhere. I think we should agree to buy it now. We need to move on this.”

City attorney Jim Dye said the vote was to authorize the mayor to sign a contract to purchase the property from Blackhawk for a maximum of $2.8 million, then discuss financial arrangements with BB&T.

“You authorize the mayor to enter into the purchase agreement, then do the financial arrangements separately,” Dye said.

Mattick motioned that the commission give Selby authority to sign a purchase contract with Blackhawk Bank for a maximum of $2.8 million, then go to BB&T to finance the purchase.

There would be a separate commission vote later to approve those financial arrangements, Dye said.

The motion passed 3-2, with Webb and Quam voting no.

Selby said he would immediately contact Blackhawk.

Mattick, long a proponent of the purchase, said the city could use the lots for additional pier parking, a public park or put a cell tower/flag pole there for a revenue stream, among other possibilities.

“The main thing is we will not have developers putting up mega-mansions there or building more retail space,” she said.

“Owning the lots fits with the entire ambiance of the pier, Pine Avenue, the new boardwalk and the surrounding area. I believe we have made a wise decision,” she said.

BB commission OKs police budget

Dozens of people, dispatched by a series of emergency calls, crowded into the Bradenton Beach commission chambers Aug. 9 to rally behind their police department and Chief Sam Speciale.

In advance of the budget meeting, word had circulated that city commissioners might vote to pursue a contract with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and dissolve the city police department.

Such a vote did not take place, and at several times during the meeting Mayor Bob Bartelt said no discussion on dissolving the police department was planned.

“This is a budget review meeting,” Bartelt said. “We haven’t made any decision … to farm out our police services to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. I understand the word on the street.… But what we are addressing in this meeting is the budget issue and the budget questions that were brought up.”

Earlier in the 2011-12 budgeting process, Commissioner Jan Vosburgh had wondered whether hiring the MCSO, which polices Anna Maria, was a viable fiscal option for Bradenton Beach.

Commissioner Janie Robertson, who requested the Aug. 9 meeting, also had raised the issue.

In a memo before the meeting, Robertson wrote, “Before we finalize the budget and millage, I strongly suggest we get outside quotes and advice from the sheriff’s department and the League of Cities as to what a city of our size and scope should be paying for their law enforcement.”

Robertson, in the memo to commissioners and staff, also raised concerns about the combined salaries of the police department’s top officers, the staffing schedule and the management of vacations and overtime.

“We are here to get the taxpayers the best deal they can get, not protect a police department fraternity, which has had the best deal they can get,” Robertson wrote.

In a separate memo to Speciale, the commissioner asked the chief to answer a series of questions, mostly about staffing and salaries.

Speciale answered the questions at the meeting, after a lengthy period of public comment that yielded high praise for local police and disdain for some commissioners.

Most of the speakers emphasized their desire to have a local law enforcement team, and questioned whether hiring out policing would save the city money.

Resident Pat Whitesel, a former mayor of Palmetto, said, “I’ve been in your shoes, faced that same situation. I can assure you that the dollar amounts are not worth what you are going to save — if you are going to save anything.”

She added, “The police department here is second to none.”

Former Bradenton Beach Mayor Gail Cole said, “I’m extremely proud of the way that the city police department has performed under Sam and his management. I sure feel like the city needs him.”

Sandpiper Resort Co-op president Doug Lefevre said the city’s officers are “like extended family” and “local heroes.”

“We have peace of mind knowing they are here, maintaining paradise,” he said.

Dan Talley of LaCosta Condominiums said under Speciale’s leadership the police department has largely cleaned out the “drunks and idiots.”

Representatives from Bridge Street businesses said they and their customers feel safe, even after hours, because of the BBPD.

“I know the officers are watching,” said Drift-In manager Doreen Flynn.

Vosburgh and Robertson, during the meeting, said they were elected to pinch taxpayers’ pennies.

But numerous residents offered to pay more to keep their local police force.

“If it is a matter of finances for the budget, go to the property owners. Ask them. We would be glad to donate,” said Nick Messina. “Ask these people who live here.”

Speciale, to commissioners and the audience, said, “This isn’t easy for me. And I appreciate everybody coming.”

Answering Robertson’s questions and concerns, the chief said no BBPD employee is on an abbreviated work week; that the beach patrol is properly staffed, per the city contract with the MCSO; that beach patrol officers are not given overtime and that officers do not work overtime to cover for vacationing officers.

One of Robertson’s questions, which indicated that Speciale, Lt. John Cosby and detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz earned a combined annual salary of $250,000, irked audience members and insulted officers.

Cosby, a 24-year veteran with BBPD, responded, “The chief is the highest paid person in the city, $70,000 a year. The lowest-paid police chief in Manatee County. I make $60,000. The detective makes $52,000 and change.”

He then said of the MCSO personnel in Anna Maria: “The sergeant in Anna Maria is making $73,000. The next two deputies in line, both are making $67,342.… There is a deputy making more money than I am.… That’s insulting to me.”

BBPD Officer Tom Ferrara also spoke, urging commissioners to move on with the budget process. Referring to department personnel, he said, “We’re in suspense, carrying a lot of weight.… We’re tired of having this suspense. I had two hours of sleep last night thinking about this meeting. It’s very upsetting and disheartening.”

Late in the meeting, Commissioner Gay Breuler made a motion to reaffirm the commission’s approval of the police budget.

“End this and let people get back to their lives,” she said.

Commissioner Ed Straight seconded the motion, reminding others that he was against the budget review meeting.

After some discussion, commissioners agreed that their prior vote on the budget stands.

“It is done,” Breuler said, prompting a round of applause.

More than 50 people attended the meeting, which concluded with the mayor thanking attendees.

“It really is helpful to see citizens participating, for one, and to see where people’s interests are,” Bartelt said. “It’s good to see that there is overwhelming support for our city … and for our police department.”

Civic Sales

Island musician Mike Sales is set to be named “Official singer of Bradenton Beach” when the mayor and city commission meet at 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N. Sales performs at a number of venues on Anna Maria Island, including volunteering to lead a weekly sunset gig at Bradenton Beach’s Katie Pierola Sunset Park, 2200 block of Gulf Drive North. Islander File Photo: Lisa Neff

County commission reviews legislative priorities

Manatee County commissioners are working on their 2012 legislative priorities months ahead of schedule because the next Florida legislative session begins earlier than usual.

The session is set to begin Jan. 10, 2012, and end March 9, 2012.

Legislative committee meetings will begin as early as September, according to county information outreach coordinator Nick Azzara. So, the county commission likely will adopt its legislative platform next month.

The commission reviewed a priorities list Aug. 9. Priorities also were discussed at a Manatee Council of Governments meeting earlier in the month.

Azzara presented a draft of legislative priorities that, as has been the case for past sessions, ranks beach renourishment near the top.

The proposal states that the county “supports the continuation of a dedicated state funding source for beach renourishment at or above the statutory levels. Manatee County supports legislation that protects the sovereign immunity of counties with regard to beach mitigation liability where a county conducts beach renourishment according to federal and state regulatory requirements.”

County officials, along with officials from other coastal communities, lobbied hard during the 2011 session for funding for renourishment projects. The governor had proposed eliminating renourishment money in his budget, but the final $68 billion budget approved in June contained $16.2 million for renourishment work, including on Anna Maria Island.

Other proposed priorities include:

• Supporting requirement for out-of-state vendors doing business in the state — especially Internet retailers – to collect and remit Florida state and local-option sales taxes.

• Supporting a thorough review of Florida sales tax exemptions and exclusions.

• Opposing more reductions to the public library system. Manatee County operates the local public libraries, including the Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive.

• Opposing oil and gas drilling in state waters, and supporting a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling in near-shore waters.

Azzara identified a pressing, potential legislative issue for commissioners — dealing with the dissolution of basin boards in the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The 2011 legislative session left Swiftmud facing a 30 percent drop in funding. The governor, despite calls from conservationists for a veto, signed a bill mandating a property tax cap in each of the state’s water management districts.

In May, the Swiftmud governing board responded, approving a resolution to merge the district’s eight basin boards into the governing board. The basin boards had worked with local governments and organizations on water-resource projects, including a number of projects for the Island. Half of the money for the projects came from the basin boards and half from local entities.

Swiftmud said the change should save $400,000 a year, but commissioners last week expressed concern about how Swiftmud money will be allocated in the future and the loss of local input on projects.

Commissioner Joe McClash questioned the legality of the move. “You have a taxation without representation question,” he said. “I think it’s an urgent issue and that we need to get involved.”

Commissioner John Chappie said, “We keep losing more control of the decision-making process with regards to our tax dollars. …I’m disappointed. I would hope that we would have ability to determine where the local dollars are distributed.”

Commissioners agreed to further discussion on the matter.