Tag Archives: 04-04-2012

Newly nourished beach ‘exceeds permit’

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has ruled Anna Maria filled the beach at the city pier with more sand than allowed by its permit during the February Bimini Bay dredging project and has ordered the city to remove the excess sand.

In a March 23 meeting with Mayor Mike Selby and public works supervisor George McKay, DEP compliance inspector Lauren Greenfield told the city it had filled the pier beach area beyond what was allowed by the DEP permit and was guilty of a DEP violation.

Greenfield said a DEP inspection team March 9 found the nourishment area by the pier “appears to extend approximately 40 feet farther waterward and 330 feet southeast than what was authorized.”

When the Bimini Bay project finished pumping sand in late February, the beach by the pier extended outward from the shore an estimated 150 feet, and south from the Lake LaVista jetty about 500 feet.

The DEP authorization was for enough dredged material — sand — to be pumped from Bimini Bay to the pier to extend the beach outward about 100 feet and southeast from the Lake LaVista jetty approximately 200 feet. The authorization for the Bimini Bay sand to be pumped to Anna Maria was a modification of the city’s existing permit to dredge the Lake LaVista channel.

McKay “did not disagree that the fill is beyond the permitted area,” Greenfield said.

However, Greenfield and her team didn’t fully pull the plug on the project.

Greenfield told Selby and McKay that the DEP has issued a violation notice and usually — in these situations — assesses a monetary penalty against the violator. The DEP said the city had overall responsibility to monitor the amount of material pumped to the pier beach.

But the DEP may give the city a break. Instead of a hefty fine, the DEP suggested the city remove the sand and undertake a restoration project “in lieu of penalties.”

Greenfield, DEP compliance manager Maryellen Edwards and permit manager Allyson Minick said the city — as mitigation for the violation — could remove the excess material at the pier beach and fill in an unauthorized channel adjacent to 643 Key Royale Drive, Holmes Beach.

The DEP team did give the city the option of paying a fine, but Greenfield said a consent order “may be needed” to resolve the violation, regardless of whether the city pays a fine or pumps the excess material into the designated channel.

Selby and McKay said they prefer to not have a consent order issued, but Greenfield said the DEP team would first have to discuss the request with the program administrator, and would likely need “something in writing” from the city to show what it will do to correct the violation.

McKay said that since Greenfield’s March 9 inspection, the pier shoreline has lost about 10 feet of beach.

Sam Johnston, a consultant for the West Coast Inland Navigation District that oversaw the Bimini Bay project, said he believes much of the remaining sand will “be gone in a few months.”

If that’s the case, Greenfield said, the city should look into a “long-term solution,” such as a jetty and/or breakwater to “minimize the slow loss of beach.”

She said the city could do hydraulic modeling to find the best solution. The modeling might show that extending the Lake LaVista inlet jetties farther into Tampa Bay might significantly reduce the rate of beach loss.

McKay said the city has “already looked into extending the jetties” to reduce the frequency of dredging the inlet.

An informal survey of the size of the pier beach at high tide found the beach extended into Tampa Bay about 120 feet from the shore by the pier. A similar measurement three weeks ago found about 150 feet of beach by the pier at high tide.

McKay noted that before this year, Bimini Bay/Key Royale Canal was last dredge in 2001. He asked the DEP to put dredging of Bimini Bay/Key Royale Canal on a five-year cycle.

The Lake LaVista inlet is dredged about every 18 months, he said, and estimated about 1,600 cubic yards of material is removed in each cycle.

Selby said he would wait to present the DEP findings to the city commission until he learns the amount of sand the DEP requires the city to remove, the preferred removal method and the amount of the fine, if any.

“I will, however, discuss the situation individually with each commissioner to let them know what the DEP has advised us,” he said.

Greenfield said the DEP would have to study the violation further to determine the amount of any fine.

At the same March 23 meeting, McKay asked the DEP for permission to use the lot on the north side of Lake LaVista inlet to stockpile sand, but Minick said the city would need to apply for a permit and include a drawing of the area and a list of best management practices for the storage site.

Minick said the city should apply as quickly as possible so the site is available when needed by the city.

The city recently moved the sand stored at the site north of the jetty to the north end of Bayfront Park on learning its Lake LaVista dredge permit did not allow sand storage on the north side of the jetty.

The sand is used for sandbags during inclement weather.

Greenfield and her team will contact the city when it has more information on how it should remove the excess beach and move it to the unauthorized channel.

The city might have to hire a dredging firm, such as Florida Dock & Dredge Inc., the company that did the recent Bimini Bay project, and pump the excess sand at the pier beach to the unauthorized channel in the bay near 643 Key Royale Drive.

AME will host Kindergarten Roundup April 12

Parents can register their child for kindergarten for the 2012-2013 school year during the Manatee County School District’s annual “Kindergarten Roundups” at elementary schools across the county.

Anna Maria Elementary principal David Marshall announced this week the AME roundup will be 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, April 12.

Kindergarten for the 2012-13 school year is available to students who are 5-years old on or before Sept. 1, 2012.

To register, parents or guardians are asked to provide the child’s birth certificate, a physical examination certificate (performed within 12 months), a Florida certificate of immunization and proof of residency.

To prove residency, parents or guardians may provide current documentation, including an electric or water bill showing the address and name of the parent or guardian, a lease agreement with the name of the parent or guardian, or an official letter from the company providing housing that contains the parent or guardian’s name.

AME teachers and school staff will be available at the Kindergarten Roundup to answer questions and provide additional information about entering public school.

BB P&Z to review ELRA-city dune agreement

The Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board will hold a public hearing at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at city hall to review the joint development agreement officially executed March 21 between the city and ELRA.

The corporation owns the BeachHouse Restaurant across Gulf Drive from city hall.

Commissioners unanimously agreed March 1 to enter into a development partnership with BeachHouse owner Ed Chiles, who wants to expand parking for his restaurant. In exchange for the partnership, the city also will gain public parking.

ELRA will bear the lion’s share of the expense for a dune project designed to protect city hall from storm surge.

The cost to the city will be $46,000 funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency, while ELRA’s share of the project will exceed $200,000.

The agreement creates two easements, one of which will be city owned and the other will belong to ELRA. The dune project is at the heart of the city’s interest, while additional parking is being viewed as a bonus.

Commissioners initially reviewed the project at their Feb. 29 CRA meeting. There have been some objections to language within the agreement, but city attorney Ricinda Perry advised commissioners they could work on those concerns during the site-review phase, which planning and zoning will begin April 10.

City officials have previously reported the dune system also would benefit sea turtle habitat by offering additional protection from vehicle lighting to any beach nesting sites in the area.

There is some public opposition to the project. Jo Ann Meilner, who serves on the P&Z board, expressed opposition during public comment at the March 1 meeting, saying the proposed development area is beach property and renourished sand.

“We have an ordinance against developing on beach property,” she said at the meeting.

Any changes to the agreement will need to be addressed through P&Z. The board will review and consider the proposal and make its final recommendations to the commission at a later date.

Bridge Street valet parking service stymied

A valet parking service proposed by Bridge Street Bistro was designed to alleviate parking issues on Bridge Street, but the project rolled to a stop last week.

At the March 15 Bradenton Beach City Commission meeting, commissioners listened to a proposal from Bridge Street Bistro planner Bruce Franklin to initiate a valet parking service. The restaurant sought a 90-day temporary-use permit from the city.

After reviewing the restaurant’s traffic plan and discussing options, commissioners settled on granting a 30-day trial permit, agreeing to review the effectiveness of the service after a month’s time.

The service was expected to begin March 21, but the plans were halted after restaurant owner Bill Herlihy received a letter from the owner of Bridgewalk Resort — his landlord — and the driveway included in the valet traffic flow.

The plan was to move traffic from the restaurant which leases its property from Bridgewalk, through the resort’s driveway onto Bridge Street, and into a vacant lot, which the restaurant planned to lease for $1,500 a month.

According to the letter received by Herlihy from Bridgewalk, the resort did not want additional traffic flowing past its pool area.

“It kind of made it impossible to move forward,” said Herlihy. “The restrictions the resort put on us made it impossible for us to put any more money into it.”

Herlihy said the restaurant had already paid $3,500 for design and planning, and had moved forward with the plan based on previous discussions with those who would be impacted by the service.

“I was under the impression that this was a go,” he said. “It’s not like I would have moved forward with this without having talked to everyone involved. We talked about it a year ago, about how it would be a benefit to all the businesses and the community.”

Herlihy said the resort wanted him to limit the trial valet period to two weeks, but that proved to be impossible to insure.

“And I would have had to guarantee a month’s service to the valet company for a month’s pay and why would anyone want to pay for a service that you aren’t sure you will have,” he said. “So with that two-week clause, we had to pull the plug.”

And the valet service would not have been restricted to parking restaurant customers.

“The restaurant is packed, so we can’t do any more people than what we are already doing,” said Herlihy. “So we are fine and not having the service isn’t going to hurt our business. That’s not what it was about. We were trying to come up with something for everybody involved with the (Bridge Street) merchants association.”

The valet service, while paid for by the restaurant, was planned to serve anyone wishing to peruse Bridge Street businesses.

“It was a big commitment on my part to the community,” said Herlihy. “Everybody thought it was a good idea and some of these restaurants on Bridge Street have virtually no parking. The main goal was just trying to get rid of the image that we are parking unfriendly on the Island.”

Herlihy said that as a business owner on Bridge Street, he is well aware of the parking issues visitors have.

“I’ll see the same cars five, six, seven times circling the block,” he said. “We wanted to address some of the safety issues, as well. People see an open spot and they’ll race for it. It would have cut down on congestion.”

Herlihy said he’s disappointed, but would try to come up with another plan.

“It’s unfortunate because we really wanted to try this,” he said. “I’ve done the same thing on St. Armand’s Circle where we parked 140 cars without an issue. I’m a persistent guy though, and we’ll just have to look at it in a different way and see what we can come up with.”

Island celebrates Easter week, Kiwanis sunrise

Easter will be celebrated Islandwide, including special events and sermons during Holy Week through Easter Sunday, April 8.

        “Love Wins” will be the sermon by the Rev. Rosemary Backer of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at the nondenominational Easter sunrise service 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 8, at Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

        The service, hosted by the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis, will include an invocation by Rev. Dee deMontmollin of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, and a welcome by Kiwanis president Claudette Welch. Music will provided by Susan Kruse and Drew Thomas. The Rev. Stephen King of Harvey Memorial Church and the Rev. Gary Batey, Roser Memorial Community Church, will provide scripture readings.
A benediction will be given by the Rev. Michael Mullen of St. Bernard Catholic Church. All Anna Maria Island churches participate in the 48th annual service.

        Another Easter sunrise service will be celebrated by Longboat Island Chapel. The Rev. Charlie Shook will give the sermon, “The Three Days of Easter,” at 7 a.m. at Bayfront Park, 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.

        Other Easter observances include:

St. Bernard Catholic Church

        Services are planned through Holy Week at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.

        The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at 7 p.m., followed by the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 10 p.m. Holy Thursday, April 5.

        The Passion and Veneration of the Cross will begin at 3 p.m. Good Friday, April 6.

        The Blessing of Easter Food is at 10 a.m., and an Easter Vigil will start at 8:30 p.m. Holy Saturday, April 7.

        Easter Sunday mass will celebrated at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

        For more information, call 941-778-4769.

Episcopal Church of the Annunciation

        Holy Week at the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, continues with Stations at the Cross 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, April 3-4.

        The Holy Eucharist and Healing will be held at 9:30 a.m.; Foot Washing and Stripping of the Altar at 6 p.m.; and Vigil Watch following in the church’s memorial garden Maundy Thursday, April 5.

        The church focuses on Jesus’ Seven Last Words, beginning at noon Good Friday, April 6.

        On Easter Sunday, April 8, celebrations begin with a Rite I service at 7:30 a.m., followed by 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Rite II Festival Eucharist services, accompanied by choir and organ.

        For more information, call 941-778-1813.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

        Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are added to the regular services during Easter week at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

        A Maundy Thursday service will be held 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5.

        Two Good Friday services are offered, at noon and 7 p.m., Friday, April 6.

        For more information, call 941-778-1813.

CrossPointe Fellowship

        “Becoming Radically Unshakable in Uncertain Times” will be the topic for the 7 p.m. Good Friday service, April 6, at 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.

        A 9 a.m. contemporary service and 10:15 a.m. traditional service will be held Easter Sunday, April 8.

        For more information, call 941-778-0719.

Harvey Memorial Community Church

        Easter services at Harvey Memorial Community Church, 300 Church Ave., Bradenton Beach, will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 8.

        For more information call 941-79-1912.

Roser Memorial Community Church

        Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, will hold Easter services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday, April 8. For more information, call 941-778-0414.

Longboat Island Chapel

        The Longboat Island Chapel will celebrate Easter with a 7 a.m. sunrise service at Bayfront Park, 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, and a 10 a.m. service at the church, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, followed by a children’s Easter egg hunt.

        A Maundy Thursday supper will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 5.

        All services, with the exception of the sunrise service, are held at the Longboat Island Chapel,

        For more information, call 941-383-6491.

Christ Church of Longboat Key

        “The Fellow in the Bright Nightgown,” will be the Easter sermon given by the Rev. Bruce W. Porter at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., April 8, at the Christ Church of Longboat Key, 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.

        Christ Church will hold a Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at the church.

        For more information, call 941-383-8833.

HB commissioners seek re-election, mayor unsure

Two Holmes Beach commissioners, John Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens, following the March 27 city commission meeting, declared their intent to run for re-election in November — more than seven months before the general election.

        Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said he was undecided, adding he still needs to discuss the matter with his wife.

        None of the candidates, however, have officially declared.

        Before their names — or that of any other hopeful — will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, they must “qualify” by an in-person visit with city clerk Stacey Johnston at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, during “qualifying week,” June 4-8, according to Nancy Bignell, assistant supervisor of Manatee County elections.

        The state’s election code requires filing forms entitled, “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository” and “Statement of Candidate” before candidates open a campaign account.

        To qualify as a commission or mayoral candidate, interested persons must file these and other forms with Johnston, be a voter and resident of Holmes Beach for two years, present a petition of 15 city voter signatures and pay an assessment fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary of the office — $120 for the mayor and $60 for commissioner — or file an “undue burden” oath.

        After the proper forms are filed, candidates will be announced on the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website, Johnston said.

        Holmes Beach commissioners and the mayor are elected for two-year terms.

        The commission governs the city with policy decisions. A commissioner’s salary is $6,000 annually.

        The mayor, whose salary is $12,000 annually, oversees the administration and manages the budget. The 2011-12 fiscal year budget is $8,665,109.

        The mayor is a non-voting member of the commission and serves as the chief executive officer of the city. He holds budget and appointment powers, along with the power to veto legislative actions of the commission.

        Bohnenberger has served as mayor since 2006.

        He was first elected as a city commissioner in 1993, and served in this capacity through 1994. He was then elected as mayor 1994-96 and, again as a commissioner 1999-2006.

        John Monetti has been elected twice to the city commission since November 2006. He served as commission vice-chair 2006-11. He also has served as liaison to the Anna Maria Island Community Center and the city’s public works department. He is currently chair of the zoning/permitting focus group to address ongoing multi-story construction and rental issues.

        Sandy Haas-Martens was first elected as a city commissioner in 1998. She served as commission chair and deputy mayor 2003-05 and 2006-11. She currently serves as the commission vice-chair, and also is the chair of the code enforcement focus group.

        Commissioner Jean Peelen, though not up for election this year, has recently been calling for public interest in the next election in her monthly newsletter to voters.

         Peelen wrote in her March 10 newsletter, “There is an election next November. Commissioners Haas-Martens and Monetti and Mayor Bohnenberger (who does not vote, but who has voiced opposition to a moratorium) are up for election.

        “I urge you to participate in our great system and run for office or encourage someone else to run. Republican? Democrat? It doesn’t matter. New to politics? So was I. It doesn’t matter. What is needed is the energy to run and a commitment to your community.”

HB considers Internet cafes, outdoor dining, rentals

Holmes Beach city commissioners at a work session March 27 considered a ban on Internet cafes, new outdoor dining rules, and a transient housing law — and also instructed their attorney to prepare ordinances on all three for action at a future meeting.

        City commissioners first reviewed new restaurant restrictions for outdoor dining, and then a draft ordinance to prevent Internet gambling businesses from opening their doors in Holmes Beach.

        Following Commissioner Jean Peelen’s inquiry about what process will deal with recommendations soon to come out of the focus groups appointed in January to explore rental issues, Commission Chair David Zaccagnino introduced yet another ordinance.

        Commissioners first discussed a draft ordinance on outdoor dining, which was moved by commission consensus to a regular meeting agenda.

        At the beginning of this discussion, it was agreed that eight outdoor dining seats had previously been allowed without commission approval. To this, Petruff remarked, “We took that out years ago. I think there’s a consensus not to put it back in.”

        It also was noted that tying the outdoor dining to parking was removed in 2008.

        According to Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens, the changes were made because the city “wanted to be a more walking, biking community,” less car dependent because of the increased use of trolleys.

        Commissioner Pat Morton, however, expressed concern about parking. “Whenever it stretches out to 35 to 40 (outdoor) seats, for me there’s a parking issue that comes up,” he said.

        Zaccagnino said if it’s a safety issue Morton was raising, a new provision in the ordinance the commission was considering allows for a city building official to address this with a “periodic review.”

        Under existing rules, outdoor dining requires an initial permit, and subsequent annual permits for the continued outdoor operation on filing a city business tax receipt. A $100 fee is collected by the city for both initial and subsequent permits. Also required is a site plan, which is reviewed by the building department.

        Under the proposed ordinance, the $100 renewal fee will be eliminated. But, if there’s an increase in outdoor seating, owners will need to reapply and pay an additional $100.

        Restaurant owners with existing city-permitted outdoor dining would be grandfathered, Petruff said, until the business changes ownership or increases seating.

        Under the proposed “periodic review,” if a building official should find it necessary to take the matter to the code enforcement board, a restaurant’s outdoor dining permit would not be changed or revoked without notification, advertisement and a public hearing, Petruff said.

        And, Petruff said, while the draft ordinance didn’t include a request to add “commission approval” of site plans before permits are granted for new or increased outdoor dining, she would add it to the next draft of the ordinance.

        Commissioner John Monetti said that while the review process would not be practical for larger cities, it should work for small cities such as Holmes Beach.

        The second ordinance commissioners considered — banning Internet-simulated gambling and related devices — was modeled by Petruff after a Seminole County law that’s been winding its way through the courts.

        Most recently the Seminole ordinance was challenged on First Amendment grounds, and a March 21 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Atlanta affirmed a decision denying a preliminary injunction, and allowing the county to enforce its ban.

        “A lot of the language is the same” as the Seminole County ordinance, Petruff told commissioners. “We need to watch that particular case.”

        Haas-Martens asked whether the ordinance would allow “charitable organizations to do what they do now,” including the “wheel” game, and Petruff said it would.

        Zaccagnino inquired whether the proposed ordinance will ban the sale of time on a computer “as a game.”

        “It’s hard to say,” Petruff said, adding the ordinance aims to “address anything that looks, smells or acts” like Internet gambling.

        Monetti said he favored moving the ordinance onto the commission’s regular meeting “post haste,” and Morton complimented Petruff for a “very good job” on the draft ordinance.

        Finally, the commission discussed an ordinance to incorporate the multi-unit, multi-story rental recommendations expected from focus groups by the end of April.

        Zaccagnino said he is working with Petruff to draft an ordinance using other communities’ ordinances, including those from Key West and Islamorada, dealing with vacation rentals and transient housing.

        Petruff told commissioners, “what would help me” is for commissioners to send her an outline of focus group recommendations. She would then sort through them, include them in her draft, or tell commissioners why “that’s not a good idea.”

        “Whatever we do, it must be an ordinance of general applicability citywide,” Petruff said.

Sarasota woman uses kids, excuses for alleged crime

A 30-year-old Sarasota woman has been charged with felony theft after being observed stealing the property of beachgoers on Coquina Beach.

Paige Steele was arrested March 24 and further charges may be pending after she allegedly told Holmes Beach police investigators that the stolen items found in her possession were gifted by beachgoers to her two children, both of whom Steele had with her at the beach.

The HBPD police officer was on routine patrol at Coquina Beach when he was contacted by a lifeguard, who asked the officer to climb up the lifeguard tower to observe what he said was suspicious behavior.

The officer observed Steele pick up a beach bag. The officer confronted Steele on the beach, at which time other witnesses came forward to tell police Steele had made several trips from the beach to the parking lot.

Steele was escorted to the parking lot, where police made contact with an elderly gentleman waiting for Steele in a vehicle. The man told police he had given Steele and her children a ride to the beach but he was not strong enough to accompany them.

The man said he knew nothing of Steele’s activities.

Police gained permission to search the vehicle’s trunk, at which time several items were located, including a beach bag containing an iPad valued at $800.

Police found stored phone numbers on the iPad and made contact with the owner, who said it had been stolen off the beach.

According to the police report, Steele tried several times to tell police that her daughter was given the items. When police stopped responding to Steele’s version of the story, she allegedly became belligerent.

Police charged Steele with felony and misdemeanor theft and she was booked into the Manatee County jail. Bond was set at $1,000 for the felony charge and $120 for the misdemeanor charge.

According to the report, the case also has been turned over to Child Protective Services because Steele attempted to use her children in the course of a crime.

The elderly gentleman was not charged and was allowed to leave with the children.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office website, Steele posted bond the same day and was released.

She was scheduled for arraignment 9 a.m. April 20.

Roadwatch, April 4-11

The Manatee County Utilities Department has started replacing sewer lines along North Shore Drive and adjoining streets in Anna Maria.

An MCUD press release said the work is between Cypress Avenue and Palm Avenue on North Shore Drive, but should not impact traffic in the area for any extended periods.

On April 2, the Florida Department of Transportation began work on State Road 684 at the Cortez Draw that will cause intermittent lane closures 9 p.m.-5 a.m. through Friday, April 6. The closures will be controlled by a flagging operation.

A maintenance project also is under way on State Road 684 on the Cortez Bridge, and some sidewalk closures are expected this week. One pedestrian walkway will be remain open. No traffic lanes will be closed to motorists, the DOT said.

The project is scheduled for completion in April.

The DOT repair project to State Road 789 at the Longboat Pass Bridge is continuing.

Any lane closures will be 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, the DOT said.

The west sidewalk of the bridge is closed, but the east sidewalk remains open. The draw will open for boaters on demand.

The DOT has closed the area of Greer Island — often called Beer Can Island — near the bridge to pedestrians and boaters during the project, citing safety concerns and liability as factors in its decision.

Boaters are advised they could be ticketed by law enforcement for anchoring or beaching their boat in the restricted area.

Construction on the bridge is expected to end in late spring.

WMFR Academy attendees graduate

West Manatee Fire Rescue’s first Citizen Fire Academy graduated 17 attendees at its conclusion, the March 27 session at the WMFR administration offices, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton.

        The academy offered six sessions, including tours and demonstrations relating to fire administration and organization; fire prevention; operations; emergency management; EMS and communications; specialty teams; and the challenges and future of the fire district.

        The attendees also learned about the fire district’s community safety programs through weekly question and answer periods.

        For more information about the district or the Citizen Fire Academy, go to www.wmfr.org/citizens-fire-academy.