Tag Archives: 03-05-2014

Beach renourishment phase No. 1 near completion

Rain, rain — and cold fronts — go away.

If all goes well and a storm with no name doesn’t strike Anna Maria Island this week, beach renourishment from 79th Street south to 13th Street South should be completed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of the $12 million project that began Dec. 20. The project was to finish in 60 days, weather permitting, but Great Lakes Dredge and Dock had several days of high wind and surf during which it could not operate its dredge in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Corps spokesperson Sirisha Rayaprolu, “If all goes well, we should be done by March 3.”

That would complete the first of two beach renourishment projects on the island. The first project is funded with approximately $13 million from federal, state and county sources.

Phase 2 of beach renourishment is contracted with GLDD by Manatee County, and renourishes Coquina Beach south to the Longboat Pass. This is funded with $5.7 million from Manatee County, with the state eventually reimbursing the county for about half the cost, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources director Charlie Hunsicker said.

When GLDD completes Phase 1, it will take a few days to relocate its pipes, pump and lift stations and other equipment to the Coquina Beach staging area, before resuming to pump sand, he said.

It will be a welcome relief for motel guests in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach who have had to climb over the pipes to get to the beach.

“It wasn’t an inconvenience, really,” said Sally Morningale of North Carolina.

“It had to be done. We see it all the time in North Carolina. But these people worked very fast,” she added.

Morningale and her family were staying beachfront in Bradenton Beach.

Phase 2 is expected to take about 30 days, weather permitting, Hunsicker said.

All beach renourishment is planned to finish April 30 — before the May 1 start of turtle-nesting season.

Anna Maria Island’s first major renourishment was in 1992, while a second project occurred in 2002. An emergency renourishment took place in 2005.

The projects can be under the direction of the Corps or, as is the case for the Coquina Beach renourishment, Manatee County and Coastal Planning and Engineering of Boca Raton.

Manatee County funds for beach renourishment come from the resort tax, the 5 percent collected on rentals of six months or less in the county.

Hunsicker said he will discuss how much the state will pay the county for its share when Coquina Beach is finished, but he estimated it will be about half of the $5.7 million.

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon said once Coquina Beach renourishment is finished, the county will address replacement of the groins at Cortez and Coquina beaches with modern groins that can control the flow of water and the north-south movement of sand along the beaches.

Hunsicker said the groins are in the long-range plan for Cortez and Coquina beaches, but funding is not yet in place.

Sandbar site plan approved — finally — despite objections

For Anna Maria residents who regularly attend city commission meetings, it might seem like a Sandbar Restaurant site plan has been an agenda item for years.

That’s not far from the truth. The first site plan to solve some of the drainage and parking issues at the restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., was presented and approved in 2005 following a number of public meetings.

At the Feb. 27 commission meeting, commissioners voted 3-1 to approve an amended Sandbar site plan that is somewhat related to the 2005 site plan. The amended plan calls for use of the vacant property at the southeast corner of Gulf Drive and Spring Avenue as an overflow parking lot for the restaurant.

Commissioners, however, stipulated the vacant lot could only be used for employee or valet parking. Entrance to the lot will be limited to Gulf Drive, and vehicles must exit by a right turn on Spring Avenue.

Engineer Lynn Burnett noted the site plan calls for a pedestrian crosswalk over a drainage swale, and the Sandbar has agreed to maintain the crosswalk and drainage system.

Incorporation of the parking lot was recently added to the site plan, she said. The Sandbar has “no intention at this time” of using the lot for parking, she said. It would be used only in the event other parking lot leases expire, Burnett noted.

Commissioners added a stipulation that the proposed parking lot would have parking spaces that comply with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act.

The commissioners heard from representatives of William and Barbara Nally, owners of a vacation rental on Spring Avenue adjoining the Sandbar Restaurant.

The Nallys, who have a history of challenges related to the Sandbar and Pine Avenue Restoration LLC, brought their land planner, Jan Norsoph of St. Petersburg, to the meeting.

Norsoph said the site plan does not comply with city codes and raises concerns about safety and noise for the Nallys.

Following Norsoph, landscape and stormwater drainage expert Bruce MacArthur addressed the commission, saying he was hired by the Nallys to examine the stormwater runoff the new plans would produce.

MacArthur said the plan provides little relief from flooding for residents in the area, and should be amended to improve drainage.

Attorney Dan Lobeck, representing the Nallys, said to compare what is proposed for drainage with what is at the Sandbar now would require a very aggressive maintenance program or flooding will worsen.

“This is a flawed maintenance plan,” Lobeck said. “If it fails, flooding gets worse. Also, have respect for the residents.”

He said there would be added noise and lighting problems for guests at the Nally house.

That brought up resident Mike Coleman, an associate of Sandbar owner Ed Chiles in PAR.

Coleman said he had read the 1983 minutes of the commission meeting that allowed the Nallys to build a residence in a commercial district.

“They were told then they would have to bear the noise and traffic created by commerce in the district. This is like the person who buys a house at the end of a runway, then complains about the airplane noise,” Coleman said.

When Lobeck attempted to question Coleman, city attorney Jim Dye halted Lobeck. He said Coleman was not an expert witness and cross-examination is limited to “competent, substantial testimony.”

Former City Commissioner Carol Ann Magill also objected to the site plan. She said the city is prohibited by code from vacating beach accesses as indicated in the site plan.

Burnett, however, noted the beach access is not being vacated, just shifted a few feet.

She also said the Sandbar plans a landscape buffer between the restaurant parking lot and the Nally house, and has configured the alleyway by the Nally house to prohibit exiting vehicles from passing the residence.

Vice Chair Nancy Yetter, acting in place of Chair Chuck Webb, who was absent, called for a motion, but Commissioner Dale Woodland said MacArthur’s study was only presented that day and he needed time to study it before making a decision.

He added that the city should research Magill’s claim that a beach access has been vacated before voting on the site plan.

Other commissioners, however, were ready to vote after numerous hearings on the site plan.

Commissioner Doug Copeland moved to accept the site plan with the noted stipulations. Commissioner Carol Carter seconded the motion. The site plan passed 3-1, with Woodland dissenting.

In other matters, commissioners approved a landscaping ordinance for new construction. The ordinance requires a permit to remove native trees and vegetation, and requires replacement with similar native species.

Commissioners also passed an ordinance requiring developers to submit a construction staging plan. The plan would show the building department the step-by-step process needed to build a project.

The commission also approved Mayor SueLynn’s appointment of Jack Brennan to the vacancy on the planning and zoning board left by the retirement of longtime member Tom Turner.

 

Special meeting called on A-frame signs after press time

Following complaints at the Anna Maria Feb. 27 commission meeting from a number of business owners about loss of their A-frame signs due to the recently passed signage ordinance, commissioners scheduled a special meeting on the topic for 6 p.m. Monday, March 3, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

Some business owners, including Laura Shely of Tide and Moon Jewelry on Pine Avenue, claim their signs, previously permitted by the city, should have been grandfathered for use.

Bradenton Beach officials review charter responsibilities

Strong mayor or strong-arm mayor? That is the question.

City officials conducted a rare review of their responsibilities at a Feb. 26 special meeting on the heels of a lawsuit filed by ELRA Inc., the corporate entity for Ed Chiles’ BeachHouse Restaurant, against Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon. The suit alleges the mayor has overstepped his authority, and threatened staff with their jobs if they fail to present evidence favoring his opinion to nullify a joint development agreement between ELRA and the city.

The agreement is for construction of a parking lot and dune at the restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., across from city hall.

The agreement for the parking lot is being challenged in a lawsuit filed in June 2012 by former planning and zoning board member Jo Ann Meilner and Tjet Martin, Shearon’s longtime partner.

Shearon also was a plaintiff in the lawsuit until winning the November 2013 municipal election, at which time he withdrew his name from the complaint and pledged he would refrain from further involvement.

The lawsuit alleges whistleblowers have come forward and warns Shearon that any attempt to find out who is talking would be met with further legal action.

One of ELRA’s arguments is that Shearon is acting like a “strong mayor,” a legitimate form of municipal government where a voting mayor wields the bulk of power.

Determining Bradenton Beach’s definition of government was part of the Feb. 26 meeting.

Because ELRA’s attorney, Robert Lincoln, was present at the meeting, requesting commissioners review certain criteria, Commissioner Ed Straight was prompted to ask what others were likely thinking.

“Does this meeting have anything to do with the lawsuit?” he asked.

“The timing is ironic,” said city attorney Ricinda Perry, whose email communications with Shearon were included by Lincoln as a point of concern.

In a Feb. 1 email that is lawsuit-related, Shearon expressed disappointment that Perry had not followed his instructions regarding an undisclosed legal matter.

Shearon said her role in the city under the prior administration is no longer the same.

“As you have learned … prior administration and staff have made poor decisions that have to be corrected,” Shearon wrote. “As mayor, I make the final decisions unless overruled by the commission.”

Shearon continued, “I want you to move forward with the city as long as you respect my decisions.”

Shearon went on to say that he encourages Perry to re-evaluate how things were done in the past and “work with me in the future.”

While Perry said the timing of the meeting could be construed as “ironic,” it had been on her radar before the lawsuit against Shearon was filed.

“The city needs organization and that has been the mayor’s objective,” said Perry. “To a degree, the suit does point to some concerns being brought to you today.”

Perry began to break down the roles of city officials, explaining that Shearon is the executive branch and the commission is the legislative branch over five department heads and remaining city staff.

Perry said the charter has the city somewhere between strong and weak mayor governments.

There needs to be a more definitive authority role for determining the power structure, she said.

She asked who is responsible for the performance of the department heads, who is analyzing the problems and who do they report to, as examples.

“Who provides staff reports, deadlines and manages priorities?” she asked.

Perry said the current “in-between government” of Bradenton Beach makes it possible “to push the mayor into a liability corner,” and dual roles could present legal challenges.

The goal, she said, is to relieve the mayor of some responsibility to avoid those types of problems, “and just let him be mayor.”

The discussion turned to department heads and who would act as an authority to each department.

The suggestion was to have commissioners rotate responsibility for an individual department, but Shearon said that would create too many bosses.

He said it would be counterproductive to his “team concept.”

Commissioner Jack Clarke expanded on his suggestion, saying it was his intention commissioners would be “conduits to the mayor,” not supervisors.

A consensus was given to the city attorney to draft a resolution that implements the suggested system.

Officials preferred a resolution because it would be easier to change should a future administration wish to manage the city differently.

In other matters, the commission was divided on spending to update city electronics and software.

A request was made to purchase 11 computers to put departments on the same system and update 10-year-old, expiring software. The estimated cost is $25,000.

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh, who has repeatedly expressed concern at the rate the city is spending unbudgeted funds, again protested.

“I’m very nervous about how much the city is spending,” she said. “We can only spend what we have.”

Clarke agreed, but offered an alternative plan to only replace what was deemed to be an emergency and address the remainder in the next budget.

Shearon said the city can no longer bandage its problems. When technical support ends for the city’s software April 1, “the building department will be dead in the water. We are using a software company that went broke years ago. This is an emergency.”

Shearon said he is fiscally conservative, “but staff has to have the tools to get the job done.”

Vosburgh disagreed. “If this was my business, I wouldn’t be putting myself into this big of a hole,” she said.

After discussing taking the funds from the city’s $1 million reserves, commissioners voted 3-2 to spend up to $25,000 for new equipment. Vosburgh and Clarke voted against the proposal.

Another $10,000 was approved for an electronic data storage system. Clarke and Vosburgh dissented again, but the matter passed 3-2.

HB charter committee sets timeline for progress

School is back in session for the Holmes Beach Charter Review Committee, and homework is due March 19.

Committee chair Bob Johnson distributed an outlined plan of action to committee members and handed out discussion sheets for homework Feb. 26 at city hall.

The discussion sheets are a guide for members to follow during the March 19 meeting.

The committee plans to discuss significant issues bookmarked during its initial review. Johnson is encouraging citizens to attend the meeting and weigh in on the issues.

The committee will discuss term limits and term lengths, as well as height and density requirements and other controls for building in the city.

Committee members were asked to consider:

• What are the benefits to the community and municipality for making each change?

• What are the possible approaches for implementing each change?

• What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of the changes?

• What are the reasons to make each change?

“I want this discussion to be well thought out and educated,” Johnson said.

Following the review, the committee will suggest revisions in the charter, a document likened to a municipal constitution. Any changes recommended by the committee will then be considered by the city commission and, if approved, will be placed on the November ballot for the electorate.

Johnson prepared an outline of the work ahead for the group, as well as an inventory of proposed revisions.

According to Johnson’s inventory, there are 31 minor edits suggested throughout the 13 articles of the charter and its 53 subsections. Minor edits are word changes for clarity and consistency.

There are four significant edits proposed thus far. Johnson is calling sections significant edits that need to be redrafted to reflect updates in operations, regulations or laws.

The final category is major changes. Johnson listed four “possible” major changes, including the addition of a human resources department, changes to elected officials’ term lengths and limits and the inclusion of height or density limits.

At the Feb. 26 meeting, committee members decided to add a human resources department to the list of suggested revisions to the charter.

The next charter review meeting will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 12, at city hall — a review of the minor and significant edits.

The committee members decided to discuss three of their major changes at an evening meeting in the hopes of attracting citizen participation at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Review HB charter online

To access and read the Holmes Beach City Charter online, go to www.municode.com, or search for Holmes Beach municode.

The charter, codes and ordinances are free to view, although there is a fee for a printed copy.

The charter committee welcomes input at the meetings, or by email to cityclerk@holmesbeachfl.org.

 

HB commission discourages prolonged events at city field

Pay to play? Holmes Beach has entered a discussion on raising fees for use of the vacant land that once served as an airplane landing strip.

Holmes Beach commissioners Feb. 27 began discussing raising fees for events held at city field in hopes of discouraging multiday events they say are taxing the city budget.

Presently the city charges a $250 flat fee for events held at city field, the lot adjacent to city hall that also serves as a recreation field. Although undersized for regulation play, the field is used for soccer and other sports. It adjoins the Birdie Tebbetts Field, once a Junior League baseball park now encompassing a dog park.

Mary Buonagura, human resources analyst for Holmes Beach, told commissioners that hosting the events for more than one day is costing the city nearly $500 in supplies, labor and maintenance.

In 2012, 17 events were held on the field, seven for multiple days. In 2013, the field hosted six one-day events and eight multiple day events. Buonagura estimates the city lost nearly $2,250 in 2013 associated with the events.

“Last March there was an event every weekend,” Commissioner Marvin Grossman said. “That’s why we started to look at this, because we needed some relief for the field and our workers and because there is no real benefit from hosting so many events.”

Buonagura suggested the city charge $250 per day, instead of per event, and recommended collecting a $500 deposit for all events. Currently only events that allow the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to provide a deposit.

She suggested at the conclusion of each event, the event coordinator and public works foreman complete an inspection together to assess any damage.

Buonagura said the city also is creating a new “streamlined” application for venders who want to use city field.

While the city field is dedicated for the use of nonprofit organizations, commissioners have questioned how much of the profits earned during the events actually go toward the cause. They indicated they want to start asking event coordinators to post the percentage of proceeds benefiting the nonprofit on signs at the event.

Currently the land development code says the hosting organization must benefit residents of Manatee County, but the commission would like to further limit that to residents of Anna Maria Island.

“Events hosted by the Anna Maria Island Art League, the Privateers and others like them are what we are looking for because they are here and they’re benefiting our residents,” Grossman said. “They put the events on themselves, they don’t pay promoters and we know exactly where the money is going. It helps them and it helps our image.”

The commission also considered omitting the clause in the land development code that allows overnight camping during permitted events at the field, but decided to keep it because of the lack of local RV parks and the need for vendors to watch over their inventory during multiday events.

“Even the event the art league puts on is two days,” Patricia Petruff, city attorney, said during the meeting. “These artists bring their RVs and trailers form all over and there is not a campground for miles. They are not going to want to leave their valuable artwork unattended.”

Commissioners will consider an ordinance to address city field events at their next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Mainsail Lodge steps to plate, city gives nod

How does Holmes Beach spell relief?

Planners for the vacant land in the older commercial area at Marina and Gulf drives came to the plate with concessions that made their development more palatable.

And the developers and others at the Feb. 25 Holmes Beach city meeting showed signs of relief when commissioners finally approved a settlement agreement with Mainsail Lodging and Development of Tampa.

The commission finally ironed out the details after more than a decade of proposals for the project on the land that once held the island’s landmark Pete Reynard’s Yacht Club Restaurant.

“Guys, I think we’ve got it, we’ve got an agreement.” Lance Spotts, a resident of the 5300 block of Sunrise Lane adjacent to the project, told commissioners. “I think both parties have worked out all the kinks.”

Spotts was one of two residents on Sunrise Lane, a private road, who threatened to sue the city if it allowed the developer access to the lane that is deeded to the property owners.

Spotts said he’s “spent more time at the podium than at the local watering hole.” However, he said he had signed the agreement, had it notarized and mailed it off.

The other resident threatening a lawsuit, Dan Howe, also of the 5300 block of Sunrise Lane, did not attend the Feb 25 meeting, although he also is expected to sign off on the agreement, according to Spotts.

The commission unanimously approved the agreement with little discussion shortly after hearing Spotts speak.

Mainsail president Joe Collier had sought to use Sunrise Lane as an emergency access, but instead met with members of the West Manatee Fire Rescue District and re-arranged the development to accommodate a WMFR fire-rescue vehicle.

Commission Chair Judy Titsworth said a firetruck turnaround, which was proposed at a Feb. 11 meeting, had been changed to a “wide fire lane” in the site plan. She said WMFR Chief Andy Price preferred the wider lane to the turnaround.

The project now includes three buildings of multi-bedroom guest apartments, a 50-slip marina and a restaurant. The resort also will feature space for meetings, a gift shop, a business center and a workout facility. Two of the three structures will have parking under two stories of living space. The third building will have a restaurant on the first floor and two floors of living space.

Mainsail now has 90 days to submit a site-plan application, according to a staff report.

Brian Check, Mainsail Lodge architect, said he would get to work.

Commissioner Pat Morton concluded the Mainsail discussion, saying, “When this all started out there was a lot of tension between our commissioners, and a lot of things were said. But when everyone stays together and keeps working, we finally get an end product that is really cooperative and that everyone is really pleased with.”

2-county chase ends on the island

A relentless law enforcement pursuit of a risky driver resulted in an arrest Feb. 21.

A 31-year-old Bradenton man was observed by a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy operating a motorcycle in Bradenton in a dangerous manner.

The deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop, which launched a two-county police chase that ended in the city of Anna Maria in the early morning hours of Feb. 21.

According to a police report, Brian Casey fled from the deputy south into Sarasota County and then headed west to Longboat Key. The chase was temporarily suspended due to safety concerns — Casey’s speed was recorded to be 120 mph on the long straightaway of Gulf of Mexico Drive on LBK.

Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies backed off the high-speed chase, but continued to pursue Casey, traveling toward Anna Maria Island.

The report said Casey crashed his motorcycle near Coconut Avenue and Los Cedros Drive. A Bradenton Beach police officer spotted Casey and chased after him, but he eluded the officer by jumping into a nearby canal.

A Manatee County sheriff’s helicopter was dispatched to the island and located Casey allegedly attempting to get into a home in the 100 block of Crescent Avenue, where he was taken into custody.

Casey complained of injuries and was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton for treatment. He was released from hospital care and delivered into the custody of the MCSO.

Casey was booked into the Manatee County jail on misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, operating a motorcycle without a license, reckless driving and resisting arrest without violence.

Casey also was charged with felony burglary for allegedly attempting to break into the occupied home on Crescent Avenue in a further attempt to elude law enforcement.

He was held on $8,360 bond and on Feb. 28 was charged with a probation violation. He posted bond the following day and was released.

Traffic stop nets Colorado fugitive, charge added

A 25-year-old Bradenton man formerly from Colorado was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance after being stopped for speeding Feb. 24.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy was conducting speed enforcement operations in the 11900 block of Cortez Road West when he said he observed Raul Castillo traveling 52 mph in a 35-mph zone.

The deputy stopped Castillo in the 600 block of Gulf Drive North in Bradenton Beach. Castillo produced a revoked Colorado driver’s license. The deputy also discovered an active arrest warrant out of Colorado on file, so he was arrested.

During a post-arrest search of Castillo’s vehicle, the deputy allegedly found 14.9 grams of marijuana in a bag inside the suspect’s backpack.

Castillo was booked into the Manatee County jail for felony possession of a controlled substance and held on $1,500 bond. As of The Islander press time, Castillo remained in custody pending the status of his Colorado warrant.

In the meantime, he is scheduled to be arraigned on felony drug possession at 9 a.m. Friday, March 14, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Sports – 03-05-2014

Island youths compete, place in Gasparilla half marathon

 

Lifetime island youths Madeline Valadie and Luke Valadie are running fast into success.

They both competed and placed in the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic half-marathon Feb. 23 in Tampa.

Madeline, a sophomore at Manatee High School finished with a time of 2:05, placing her 13th in the age 15-19 female age group. Luke, an eighth-grader at King Middle School, finished with a time of 1:53, placing him third in the 11-14 male age group.

The siblings both really enjoy running and have wanted to accomplish running a half marathon just to prove to themselves that they could do it, according to Mom Kyra.

Maddy, who runs cross country and played soccer at MHS this year, made use of training from cross-country coach Rae Anne Darling Reed, but mostly just ran whenever she could.

Luke did a lot of running on his own, including long runs with Marcel Sanchez, who finished first in the 11-14 age group.

 

Playoffs loom in flag football

With only one week of regular season play remaining, teams in all three age divisions of the Anna Maria Island Community Center NFL Flag Football League are jockeying for seed positions to gain a more favorable matchup and the hope of advancing to the Super Bowl games March 21.

The 8-10 division favorite has to be West Coast Air & Heating Dolphins. With two games remaining to be played, the 7-1 Dolphins hold a comfortable lead and are the likely first seed — which comes with a bye to the semifinals.

Beach Bistro Buccaneers, Manatee Diagnostic Ravens and Beach Bum Patriots are bunched up in second-fourth places, each with five wins. Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings, LPAC Cardinals and Dojo Martial Arts Cowboys round out the remainder of the 8-10 standings and are long shots to advance to the finals.

Sandbar Colts and LPAC Cardinals are the favorites in the 11-13 division to meet in the Super Bowl. The Colts currently hold the top seed with a 9-1 record, but the 7-1 Cardinals are hot on their heels with two games left to play. The first and second place teams earn a bye to the semifinals. Beach to Bay Construction, which has three games remaining, including two against the Cardinals, still has a mathematical chance to overtake the Cardinals. Bark & Company Realty Ravens are in fourth, comfortably ahead of the 1-8 Will C. Photos Falcons and Eat Here Redskins, which are locked into an opening-round playoff match.

Mr. Bones Bengals has clinched the top seed in the 14-17 division and will play Waterfront Restaurant Cowboys, which has clinched the bottom seed with a 0-9 record. The rest of the division seeds will be decided this week. Galati Yacht Sales Buccaneers and The Feast Restaurant Broncos are tied for second place with 6-3 records, while West Coast Surf Shop Jaguars and Integrity Sound Lions are tied for third place with 5-4 records. The sixth and seventh seeds also are up for grabs with Swordfish Grill Browns and Sun Bears tied with 3-6 records.

The playoffs get started March 8.

 

NFL 30-plus playoffs begin

The 30-and-over football division at the center moves into its second season with the start of the playoffs March 6.

Top-seeded, undefeated Island Gourmet Bills and second-seed Agnelli Pool & Spa Giants earned a first-round bye to the semifinals and play the winners of the March 6 opening-round games.

Agnelli takes on the winner of the Island Real Estate-Jessie’s Island Store matchup, while Island Gourmet takes on the winner of the Tyler’s Ice Cream-Ross Built games March 13. The winners will meet in the Super Bowl, which takes place at the center March 20.

The 18-and-over division has one week left for regular season play and final seedings are still up in the air. Slim’s Place Bears currently holds down the top seed, but they play Agnelli Pool & Spa Giants, which could overtake them with a victory. Duffy’s Tavern Eagles also could move up with a victory over Beach to Bay Construction Dolphins. There’s still a lot at stake in the last week of action.

Opening round 18-plus playoff games are March 12 and the season concludes April 2 with the Super Bowl.

 

Horseshoe news

Four teams emerged from pool play during Feb. 26 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits and were left to battle for the championship.

Bob Palmer and Hank Huyghe defeated Rod Bussey and Herb Puryear 22-18 in the first semifinal match, while Jerry Disbrow and Bill Wright obliterated Steve Grossman and Tom Skoloda 22-1 in the second semifinal match.

Disbrow-Wright then edged Palmer-Huyghe 24-19 in the championship match.

The March 1 games saw eight teams finish with 2-1 records. Acting pit boss Bob Mason called it a draw, sending everyone home a winner.

Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play.

 

Key Royale golf news

Spring-like weather resulted in a busy week of golf at Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach.

The big news is the crowning of the club’s men’s non-handicap champion and a hole-in-one. Gary Risner rolled past Ron Pritchard in the men’s championship match 5 and 4, meaning he held a five-hole lead with four holes left to play in the match played Feb. 28.

Also on Feb. 28 Chet Hutton dropped in a hole-in-one with a hybrid 7-iron on the 114-yard eighth hole.

Regular golf action at the club began with the weekly quota-points game Feb. 24. Ron Buck, Tom McDonnell and John Estok each carded plus-4 scores to finish in a three-way tie for first place. McDonnell was part of the team that included Bob Lang, Greg Shorten and Gerry Dahl that combined on a plus-6 to win the team competition for the day.

The women played a nine-hole, individual-low-net golf match in four flights Feb. 25. Joy Kaiser grabbed first place in Flight A with a 2-under-par 30 to edge Jean Holmes by one shot.

Kris Landkammer fired a 4-under-par 28 to take first place in Flight B by four shots. Joyce Lathrop’s 6-under-par 26 was the low-net round of the day, also good for first place in Flight C, and Sally Keyes carded a 4-under-par 28 to take first place in Flight D.

Maxine Mitchell and Pam Alvord had chip ins, while the team of Connie Lavanos, Penny Williams, Judy Ward and Joy Kaiser won the team low-putts game with a combined 69 putts.

The men played a nine-hole scramble on nine par-three holes Feb. 27. First place went to the team of Ron Pritchard, Barry Anderson, Ken Pritchett and Barry Izzard with a score of 5-under-par 22. The team of Jerry Elson, Dick Mills, Ron Buck and Larry Solberg was two shots back to finish alone in second place.

Members played a nine-hole coed scramble Feb. 28 that saw the team of Paul Kaemmerlen, Marlyn Thorton, Ann Hitchen and Markie Ksiazek combine on an 11-under-par 21 to grab first place.

 

AMICC NFL Flag Football schedule

5-7 Division

March 7                 6 p.m.        Miller Electric vs. Air & Energy

March 10               6 p.m.        Beaches Real Estate vs. Miller Electric

 

8-10 Division

March 7                 6 p.m.        Dojo Martial Arts vs. LPAC

March 7                 7 p.m.        WCAC vs. Beach Bums

Playoff Schedule

March 8                 9 a.m.        4th Seed vs. 5th Seed

March 8                 10 a.m.      3rd Seed vs. 6th Seed

March 8                 11 a.m.      7th Seed vs. 2nd Seed

March 10               6 p.m.        TBA vs. 1st Seed

March 10               7 p.m.        TBA vs. TBA

 

11-13 Division

March 5                 6 p.m.        Beach to Bay vs. Eat Here

March 7                 8 p.m.        Beach to Bay vs. LPAC

Playoff Schedule

March 8                 12 p.m.      5th Seed vs. 4th Seed

March 8                 1 p.m.        6th Seed vs. 3rd Seed

 

14-17 Division

March 6                 6 p.m.        The Feast vs. Sun

 

Playoff Schedule

March 8                 2 p.m.        #8 Waterfront vs. #1 Mr. Bones

March 8                 3 p.m.        7th Seed vs. 2nd Seed

March 8                 4 p.m.        6th Seed vs. 3rd Seed

March 8                 5 p.m.        5th Seed vs. 4th Seed

 

18-and-Over Division

March 5                 7 p.m.        Waterfront vs. Beach Bistro

March 5                 8 p.m.        Slim’s Place vs. Agnelli Pool

March 5                 9 p.m.        Beach to Bay vs. Duffy’s

 

30-and-Over Division

March 6                 7 p.m.        #5 IRE vs. #4 Jessie’s

March 6                 8 p.m.        #6 Tyler’s Ice Cream vs. #3 Ross Built

 

Adult Volleyball

March 11               6:30 p.m.   Duncan RE vs. Southern Greens

March 11               7:30 p.m.   FL Discount Signs vs. Southern Greens

March 11               8:30 p.m.   Duncan RE vs. FL Discount Signs

Fishing – 03-05-2014

A little snooky never hurt anybody

 

Snook season is officially open in our local waters.

Remember, the slot on snook is 28-33 inches and you can keep one fish per day if you have a snook stamp. The open season ends April 30.

I’m seeing decent amounts of linesiders gathering along mangrove shorelines, docks and canals, where the bite is occurring on live shrimp and shiners.

Typically, since the water temps are still in the upper 60s to low 70s, the best bite is occurring during the afternoon outgoing tides. By this time of day, the sun has had a chance to warm the water a couple of degrees, which seems to make a difference.

Capt. Warren Girle is fishing offshore with good results on mangrove snapper. Limits of these fish are being caught on fresh-cut pieces of scaled sardines and shrimp. Most catches are ranging 12-15 inches, although some fish up to 18 inches are mixed in. While targeting snapper with shrimp, Girle’s clients are reeling up the occasional hogfish, which is always a welcome sight. To finish out the bite, porgies, also are responding to the shrimp offering.

Gag and red grouper are being caught on offshore ledges in good numbers. Keeper-size gags are not uncommon, although the red grouper are a different story. Most red grouper being caught are 15-18 inches, which is just shy of keeper-size.

In the backcountry, Girle is catching good numbers of snook, redfish and trout. By using live shiners for bait, Girle is hooking up with keeper-size snook. The same applies for the redfish, with some fish well exceeding the 27-inch max limit. As for the trout, quantity is available, although most fish are in the 14-16 inches.

Finally, pompano are a mainstay for Girle on the flats. Small jigs tipped with shrimp are resulting in near limits of these tasty fish.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says sheepshead are dominating the bite. Expect to see stringers of these black-and-white striped fish dangling from the pier on a daily basis while the bite is on. Fish up to 3 pounds are being caught on live shrimp, fiddler crabs and sand fleas. While targeting sheepies, R&R fishers are reeling up flounder, spot tails and juvenile grouper.

Spanish mackerel are being caught at the north pier on small speck rigs. Colors include white, chartreuse or bubble gum. Macks 15-20 inches are the norm, although Malfese is seeing fish landed up to 28 inches. While targeting macks, expect to tie into ladyfish, bluefish and jacks.

Capt. Aaron Lowman at Island Discount Tackle is finding a good bite on nearshore and inshore structure — whether it be reefs, docks or wrecks. His clients are filling the cooler, with sheepshead and mangrove snapper. Both species are readily taking live shrimp fished on a knocker rig. While targeting these fish, Lowman is producing Key West grunts, flounder and black drum.

Moving to the beaches, Lowman is finding migratory fish — pompano, mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish — all attracted to small jigs tipped with shrimp. Expect to get your arms worn out jigging. The bite can occur on every cast when everything is right.

Finally, flats fishing is on the verge of getting really good and Lowman is cashing in. Keeper-size redfish, snook and trout are being caught in the usual spots — right in the lip.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is fishing nearshore structure, resulting in a variety of wintertime reef species. Sheepshead are readily taking small pieces of fresh shrimp. Fish up to 6 pounds are being reeled up along with plenty of fish 2-3 pounds. Along with sheepies, Gross is catching limits of mangrove snapper as well as plenty of Key West grunts.

Spanish mackerel are abundant on nearshore structure. For Gross’ charters, this adds variety to the reef experience. Expect to encounter macks 18-22 inches using mall jigs or Gotcha plugs.

After reef fishing, Gross is moving to the shallow flats of Tampa Bay in search of a variety of backwater species. By using live shiners for bait, his clients are reeling up keeper-size snook, redfish and spotted seatrout.

All three species seem to be feeding during afternoon tides, according to Gross.

Send fishing reports to fish@islander.org.