Island tour

Anna Maria Island Tour of Homes scheduled for March 19


Photo submitted by Jack Elka Photography Diane and Kurt Snouffer’s home, 534 70th St., Holmes Beach, is on the Anna Maria Island Home Tour next weekend.

ANNA MARIA – The Anna Maria Island Homes Tour is back to show off the best of island living.

The 23rd edition of the one-day tour will feature five new and newly remodeled homes on March 19. Distinctive architecture, elegant interiors and stunning waterfront views will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and are available at various outlets, including The Center of Anna Maria Island and Crowder Bros. in Bradenton.

Four of this year’s homes are in Holmes Beach, while the fifth is in the Bean Point area. Most are located either at the water’s edge or along the canal. The tour list includes a 1930s bungalow, a Key Royale home with an open floor plan, a newly remodeled home built in 2012, a quiet artist home, and a custom contemporary with views of Tampa Bay.

Organizers say the Tour of Homes draws thousands of people traveling to the island from as far away as Lakeland and Tampa, Sarasota and Venice. The homes reflect various island lifestyles and provide attendees with ideas for home decor and entertainment.

All proceeds go to the Anna Maria Island Center, which provides services to more than 5,000 children, families and seniors in the community, including programs and services that would otherwise not be available.

For more information on visiting the homes, call Sandee Pruett at 941-518-7717 or email

Manatee Room Plans Appreciation Lunch

BRADENTON — The Manatee Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second annual Member Appreciation Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 18 at the Bradenton office of the Manatee Chamber, 222 10th St. W. The free event features hot- dogs, fries, cold drinks for hundreds of members of the Manatee chamber. One entrant will win a gas grill from Rice’s Appliance-TV & Outdoor Power. To register, go to

Scheme diverts big companies from tax documents

SAN FRANCISCO — A massive phishing scheme has caused several large companies — including messaging service Snapchat and hard drive maker Seagate Technology — to forfeit tax documents that exposed their workers’ incomes, addresses and social security numbers. .

The scam, which involved fake emails allegedly sent by senior company officials, convinced the companies involved to send in W-2 tax forms that are ideal for identity theft. For example, W-2 data can easily be used to file false tax returns and claim fraudulent refunds.

Tampon tax: does being a woman lead to unfair costs?

NEW YORK — A New York women’s group filed a lawsuit last week arguing that it is unconstitutional for the state to levy sales

tax on tampons and sanitary napkins, while offering medical product exemptions to many other items used by both sexes, such as lip balm and dandruff shampoo.

The case, they say, is about more than the few cents of tax levied on each packet. A national push to abolish the sales tax on tampons is gaining momentum.

VW’s top US executive out of emissions scandal

WASHINGTON — Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is stepping down amid the company’s ongoing emissions cheating scandal, the company announced Wednesday. U.S. Chairman and CEO Michael Horn is leaving “to pursue other opportunities with immediate effect,” the automaker said in a statement. He had worked for the German automaker for 25 years, assuming his most recent role in 2014.

Horn’s sudden departure comes as the company continues to battle fallout from its admission last year that nearly 600,000 cars were sold in the United States with software that regulators say was designed to deceive the required emissions tests.

— Herald staff, dispatches