Author Archives: Bianca Benedí

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FEMA brings post-Irma direction, aid to islanders

Six Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives came Sept. 23 to the Island Library. Each of the reps hosted a person seated across from them at their table, going over what Hurricane Irma wrought at their homes. Some of the FEMA clients were checking on the status of their applications for assistance. Some people were being […]

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Anna Maria declares city pier ‘totally destroyed’

The damage to the Anna Maria City Pier is far worse than originally anticipated. It may be closed more than a year. Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy has declared the pier “totally destroyed” per the terms of the lease agreement with Mario Schoenfelder after an initial assessment conducted by Ayres Associates, a Tampa-based engineering firm. […]

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Anna Maria faces challenges in Irma recovery

Irma blew hard in Anna Maria — leaving most of the city without power for days and damaging the 1911-built city pier. Anna Maria commissioners met Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 to review recovery after Hurricane Irma and set the city on schedule. Commissioners held an emergency meeting Sept. 13 to extend the local state […]

AM returns to normal, but pier plan needs overhaul

Anna Maria commissioners met as scheduled Sept. 14, with power restored after Hurricane Irma. At the start of the meeting, resident and businessman Mike Coleman offered a commendation for the city’s efforts during Hurricane Irma. “Even those of us who’ve disagreed many times over the years on one topic or another” have no doubt, Coleman […]

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Anna Maria declares state of emergency

The city of Anna Maria declared a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irma during a meeting Sept. 6. The declaration gave the mayor power to impose a curfew, shut down businesses and public areas, suspend or extend deadlines for contracts and documents, prohibit the sale of alcohol, prohibit the sale or transfer of […]

Center has greater loss than anticipated in July

The Center of Anna Maria Island’s first month of a new budget year showed some reigning in of expenses, but producing income remained a problem. In the new fiscal year, which began July 1, the center earned $67,330.10, a $14,810.38 shortfall from the budgeted revenue. The center also brought costs down $6,670, to $91,645.46. The […]

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Anna Maria votes to retain building official — with caveats

A public records request in Anna Maria revealed building official Jimmy Strickland failed to collect required documents before issuing a building permit in December 2016. However, Anna Maria city commissioners voted Aug. 30 in an emergency commission meeting to give Strickland a vote of confidence, allowing him to remain on the job. The vote included […]

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Spoiler poses for Anna Maria commission seat

Commissioners Carol Carter, Doug Copeland and Dale Woodland are hoping to keep their seats in the Nov. 7 election. All three have submitted qualification papers to seek re-election. Laurie Jo Higgins, a resident of Anna Maria for nearly 22 years, is looking to be a spoiler. “I’m very nervous,” admitted Higgins, who has never run […]

Anna Maria rolls out franchise prohibition, historic preservation ordinances

The ordinance created to place a moratorium on formula business entities enacted in Anna Maria last July has been codified. City commissioners adopted an ordinance Aug. 24, voting 3-2 to approve a permanent ban on formula retail establishments in the city in order to preserve an “old Florida” feel. Commissioners Doug Copeland and Brian Seymour […]