Tag Archives: 04-09-2014

Man falls, drowns while fishing from Key Royale dock

A 72-year-old Canadian man drowned April 3 after falling into Tampa Bay while fishing from a residential dock.

Luciano Ranieri of Ontario fell from the dock of a home in the 700 block of Key Royale Drive. He was submerged and his foot became wedged in the dock, according to the police report.

Holmes Beach Police Officer Josh Fleischer was the first to respond around 4 p.m., in reference to a dropped 911 call.

When he arrived at the home, he could hear screaming at the back of the house.

Fleischer called for backup, then went to the waterfront, where he saw several people trying to help Ranieri.

A woman was in the water trying to hold his head up and others had attempted to tie a rope around him to pull him up, but their attempts were unsuccessful.

“The water was really deep there, so it was difficult for them to do anything because they couldn’t touch bottom,” Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said.

Fleischer, who is more than 6 feet tall, jumped in the bay, barely touching the bay bottom, and held the victim’s head above water until more help arrived, Tokajer said.

When West Manatee Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Services crews arrived, they were able to free Ranieri’s foot from the dock, according to the report.

He was lifted onto a neighbor’s kayak. A lifeguard, who had arrived on scene, and one of the medics immediately started CPR while others steadied the kayak, the report stated.

Officials used a nearby boatlift to raise Ranieri on the kayak from the water.

The victim was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where he was pronounced dead, Tokajer said.

The home belongs to Ilona Bankuty. She said Ranieri and his wife, Eva Ranieri, were visiting that afternoon. They were all relaxing on the dock when he fell into the water, she said.

Bankuty, who has known the victim more than 50 years, said he often fishes from the dock when the weather is nice.

“He was a very dear friend, and what happened to him was just horrific,” she said.

Eva Ranieri said she and her husband own a winter home in Bradenton and visit the Bankutys as much as they can when they are in the area.

“We love to go over there and fish and play cards,” she said. “It’s just so nice being on the water and they are like family to us.”

She said she plans to hold funeral services for her husband in Ontario.

“We just want to take him home,” she said, adding that her husband was a wonderful man who would have done anything for his family.

“He will be missed,” she said.

New BB noise ordinance causes confusion, complaints

Bradenton Beach folks are making some noise.

Business owners are confused and residents have complained about a noise ordinance that was adopted March 20 by the Bradenton Beach City Commission.

During public comment at the commission’s April 3 meeting, several business owners voiced concern about where the decibel reading should be measured in the event of a complaint.

“As the law is written, someone can stand outside my bar with a decibel-reader application on their cellphone and, if it’s over the legal limit, they can call police,” Joe Cuervo, owner of Drift In, said during public comment. “Am I right? Because it seems to me like that’s the way this law is written. ”

Mayor Bill Shearon said he didn’t plan to discuss the ordinance because it was not on the agenda, but there have been a lot of complaints in reference to the new ordinance. He said where the decibel level can be read is “still to be determined.”

According to Steve Gilbert, city building official, two references in the ordinance have created confusion and could be subject to legal interpretation.

“The first reference is fairly clear, in that it points to taking the sound-level measurements ‘at the receiving land,’ which I would interpret to mean the property where the person making the complaint resides,” Gilbert wrote in an email.

However, Gilbert added, the second reference of “receiving land” now appears “ambiguous in nature due to revisions made to the ordinance during the public hearings.”

In the original ordinance, officials were planning to take measurements at the property line of the noise source, and also at the property line of the receiving land, so they could accurately frame the noise based on the distance, weather conditions and other factors.

“One could make the argument that the “receiving land” could be just across the street, or even on the sidewalk,” Gilbert said. “However, the intent was to refer to the residence or business of the person making the complaint.”

Amanda Escobio, who spoke on behalf of the Bridge Street Merchants, said there has been nothing but confusion since the ordinance was passed.

“Our position when we came here on March 20 was to take some more time passing the ordinance and it was the commission that insisted on voting that day,” she said. “I’m wondering why and how, if it’s law, there are still things ‘to be determined,’ as you said, mayor.”

Commissioners unanimously approved the new noise ordinance with a clause allowing the decibel levels to be measured from the property line of the complainant rather than at the source of the sound at their March 20 meeting, after hearing more than an hour of public comment on the topic inside chambers.

While commissioners were in favor of the sliding scale of allowed decibel levels, they said they would allow the sound to be read from the complainant’s property line rather than from the source.

The ordinance became law that day, as it was the final advertised public reading of the ordinance.

Under the new noise ordinance, outdoor music is allowed until 10 p.m., and live indoor music can take place until 1 a.m. Establishments can provide music at 85 decibels 7 a.m.-7 p.m., but that number shrinks to 75 decibels between the hours of 7-10 p.m., and then must be turned down to 65 decibels 10 p.m.-2 a.m. It decreases again to 55 decibels 2-7 a.m.

The original version of the ordinance would have lowered the allowable commercial decibel levels in order to address resident’s concerns related to live entertainment and amplified music offered at and around businesses in the Bridge Street area.

The city planning and zoning board held several meetings on the topic and recommended lowering the decibel levels in the commercial district, but after hearing more than 50 business owners who opposed the measure, commissioners entered a last-minute clause that some say ended up allowing increased the decibel levels of music rather than lowering the sound.

The city commission decided to consider the matter further at a future meeting.



HB noise ordinance decisions revisited

The Holmes Beach City Commission revisited particulars discussed in its March 25 work session regarding a proposed noise ordinance.

For lawn care and other types of noise from machinery, excepting street sweepers and mosquito fogging, it was decided to restrict the level to under 65 decibels daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. for residential areas and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. in commercial or recreational areas.

Construction and professional lawn care would be limited to 7 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, with no services allowed Sundays.

The commission agreed to retain the existing noise level requirement, 60 decibels from the property line at all hours, for appliances such as pool pumps and air conditioning units in multi-residential houses.

The proposed restrictions also would state the noise must be under 55 decibels from the neighbor’s patio or a window of the main living area.

There also are restrictions on what equipment is allowed in the setbacks, or side yards, of homes. Setback rules are being reviewed by the commission, which restricts what is allowed in a side yard, the size of the equipment, where it is placed and how far away it may be placed from the neighboring house.

The maximum permissible noise level is 65 decibels 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and 50 decibels 10 p.m.-7 a.m. for everything else — the same restriction as listed in the original ordinance.


Shoreline groin replacements play pivotal role at Cortez Beach

Beach renourishment is not the only work to be done to enhance Anna Maria Island’s shoreline this year.

The next beach improvement project should have benefits for the island ecology, as well as pedestrians and anglers.

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department director Charlie Hunsicker said the crumbling groins at Cortez Beach will be removed and replaced with permeable, adjustable groins designed by Coastal Planning & Engineering of Boca Raton, the county’s marine engineering firm.

Marine engineer Thomas Pierro of CP&E said the new groins are based on newer technology since the current groins at Cortez Beach were constructed in the late 1950s.

Pierro said the replacement groins will be “constructed to achieve the intent of the existing structures, with the advantage of fine-tuning the flow of sand and water through the groins” by adding or removing units to extend or shorten the groin “based on the measured performance.”

Two such groins were constructed at The Islander Club condominium on Longboat Key in 2012 under the supervision of CP&E, Pierro said.

The Longboat groins have been “highly successful and have undergone the planned adjustment to better regulate the flow of sand along the coast,” he said.

Pierro said the adjustable groin concept has been modified by CP&E engineers to allow maximum adjustment of the flow of sand and water to benefit the adjoining beach areas.

The Islander Key Club allows pedestrians and anglers to use the groins, but a decision on that issue at Cortez Beach will be up to Manatee County commissioners working with the Bradenton Beach City Commission, Hunsicker said.

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon said he wants to see the design and safety features before taking a position on pedestrians and anglers.

“There’s a safety factor involved, and the city commission would make the decision along with county commissioners,” he said.

“But if it works on Longboat Key, I hope it might work in Bradenton Beach,” Shearon said.

“We have to wait and see the designs, the safety features, the city’s liability and talk with the county.”

Hunsicker said his department is still researching the estimated cost of the groins. The groins will be funded with state and county money. The county’s share will come from the resort tax fund, he said, while the state’s share will be in the 2014-15 state budget. That budget does not take effect until signed by the governor, usually in June, Hunsicker said.

A marine contractor for the project would be selected through the county’s competitive bidding process, and CP&E marine engineers would supervise construction.

DOT schedules Cortez Bridge public meeting

The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting on the upcoming Cortez Bridge repair project 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, 6101 Cortez Road W., Bradenton.

A DOT press release said the workshop is to provide area residents with information on how long the $4 million repair project will last and any related closings of the bridge to vehicular traffic.

For more information on the meeting, contact Brian Bollas at 727-946-1869 or Robin Stublen at 800-292-3368.

Island observes Easter with sunrise service on the beach

The Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island’s 50th annual Easter Sunrise Service will take place at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 20, at Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

The annual service draws more than 1,000 people to the beach.

The Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe will be open at 6 a.m. for the early worship. Also, the island trolley will be in operation at 6 a.m.

Organizers suggest attendees bring blankets and chairs — for comfort, because the beach can be chilly at dawn.

The Rev. Sung Lee of Roser Memorial Community Church will deliver the invocation.

The Rev. Stephen King of Harvey Memorial Community Church will deliver the morning’s sermon, titled “Good News.”

The Revs. Dee Ann de Montmollin of the Episcopal Church of Annunciation and Rosemary Backer of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church will share Easter Scripture.

The Rev. Ed Moss of CrossPointe Fellowship will give the offertory prayer and the Rev. Michael Mullen of St. Bernard Catholic Church will give the benediction.

Daniel Paul Anzaldo, accompanied by Drew Thomas will provide the music.

Collections at the service are shared among the six island churches and support charitable work in Manatee County.

For more information, call Kiwanis president David Miner at 941-748-8122.

Other dates in the Easter season: Palm Sunday is April 13. Maundy Thursday is April 17. Good Friday is April 18.

Holy Week observances are planned at each of the island’s six churches, which work through All Island Denominations.

• CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

Palm Sunday service will be at 9 a.m.

A Good Friday service will be at 7 p.m.

Easter service will be at 9 a.m.

For information, call 941-778-0719.

• Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

The church will celebrate Palm Sunday with Eucharists at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Holy Week begins with Stations of the Cross at 5:30 p.m. April 14-16.

There will be a Maundy Thursday service, including the washing of feet, at 7 p.m. April 17. After the service, the Vigil in the Garden will begin.

At noon April 18, the Good Friday service begins with meditations on the Seven Last Words by members of the parish, both clergy and lay.

On Easter Sunday, the first service of Holy Eucharist Rite I, begins at 7:30 a.m. There will be a Festival Eucharist Rite II with music at 9 a.m.

After that service, there will be telling of the Easter story and an Easter egg hunt about 10:15 a.m.

The final service is another Festival Eucharist Rite II with music at 11 a.m.

For information, call 941-778-1638.

• Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

The weekend of Palm/Passion Sunday, there will be a service at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 12, and 9:30 a.m. April 13.

On Holy Thursday there will be Communion and stripping of the altar at 7 p.m.

There will be a noon service and a 7 p.m. Tenebrae (Service of Darkness) on Good Friday.

On Easter Sunday, there will be festival worship at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Between the Easter services, the church will serve brunch and hold an Easter egg hunt.

For information, call 941-778-1813.

• Harvey Memorial Community Church, 300 Church Ave., Bradenton Beach.

According to the website, service on Sundays will be at 9:30 a.m.

For information, call 941-779-1912.

• Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria.

The church will hold Palm Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary and featuring the choir and children in a palm processional.

On Maundy Thursday, there will be a 7 p.m. service in the chapel — a celebration of the Lord’s Supper and special music by flautist Mary Deur.

On Good Friday, there will be a noon service in the chapel, with special music by violinist Alissa Doudna.

On Easter Sunday, there will be 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services in the sanctuary. Attendees are asked to bring a flower to place on the cross.

For information, call 941-778-0414.

• St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.

For information, call 941-778-4769.


Easter trolley runs on island time

The fare-free island trolley operated by the Manatee County Area Transit will maintain its normal operating hours on Easter Sunday, which is April 20.

An MCAT press notice stated trolleys will depart at 6 a.m. Easter Sunday from both ends of the trolley route. The north end bus leaves the Anna Maria City Pier in Anna Maria and the south end bus from Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. Both are scheduled to arrive at about 6:15 a.m. at Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

The Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island has an Easter Sunday sunrise service at the beach that will begin at 6:30 a.m.

The trolleys will make regular stops along the route that morning.

MCAT said the two trolleys will park south of the designated public beach trolley stop during services to minimize noise from idling engines. The trolleys will then be available to return worshippers to their destinations when the service ends.

For MCAT trolley service information, call 941-747-8621 or go online to mymanatee.org/transit.

Cortez group holds elections, talks business

Members of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage held two elections March 31 — one for board members and one for officers.

Members also reviewed plans for the preserve and discussed a financial report.

FISH had six vacancies to fill on the board and only five nominations before voting began. Treasurer Jane von Hahmann nominated Rose Lipke for the board just before ballots were submitted.

The nominees included Plum Taylor, Doug Calhoun, John Stevely, Linda Molto, R.B. “Chips” Shore and Lipke.

All nominees were voted onto the board by wide margins. The tally was Calhoun, 67 votes; Shore, 73 votes; Molto, 62 votes; Stevely, 75 votes; Lipke, 43 votes; Taylor, 74 votes.

All of the officers, with the exception of treasurer, were re-elected to their respective posts.

President Kim McVey won her seat again with 68 votes. There were 11 votes cast in favor of Karen Bell for president.

Vice president Debra Ibasfalean was re-elected with 77 votes. Molto nominated new member Bill Miller for vice president, but he declined the nomination.

Von Hahmann did not run again for her position. Mike Northfield won the seat with 78 votes.

Shore won the seat of secretary with 79 votes. He is the Manatee County clerk of circuit court and comptroller, and he oversees the county’s historical resources.



Von Hahmann presented the group’s financial report showing a $74,000 net income to date for 2014. Von Hahmann hadn’t completed the statement for March at the time of the meeting, but estimated it would bring the net income into the $90,000 range for the first three months of 2014.

The report showed the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival brought in close to $100,000.

Von Hahmann also talked about “big ticket items” members might consider putting money toward. She mentioned making repairs to the kitchen in the former church classrooms, the historic cottage and the community center — the former firehouse.

FISH recently paid to have the floors in the former church, now Fisherman’s Hall, redone. Von Hahmann said the goal with the hall is to make it an event space for community gatherings.

Another proposed investment was for a fund that could sustain the organization for one year “if they didn’t make a dime.”

Karen Bell, owner of A.P. Bell Fish Co., spoke about improving the FISH Preserve.

“It’s been hurry up and wait this year,” she said.

FISH is waiting on $125,000 in grant money from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

According to von Hahmann, the grants should be enough to replenish 75 percent of the 100-acre preserve.

A plan for improvements based on grants was developed last year that includes reconnecting tidal flow, removing invasive species, replanting and putting in four tidal areas. Walkways also are planned to be improved.

“What we want is to protect that ecosystem that supports the fishing industry,” von Hahmann said.


Sea scout program

Sean Wardell, executive director of FISH’s Maritime Challenge and Sea Scouts Program, addressed the group. The Sea Scout program is a year old and, according to Wardell, has 7-10 regularly attending members at its weekly meetings.

The program is funded under a bequeath from Jay Turner and administered by FISH. The money is solely for running the Sea Scouts.

The fund began with $325,000. According to von Hahmann, $152,000 remains.

Wardell hopes to launch a pilot program for younger children this summer. Sea Scouts accepts members age 14-20. Wardell said the scouts have learned so quickly, he plans to have older scouts teach younger scouts in the pilot program.

The Sea Scouts learn to identify tools, equipment and materials used in the boat workshop. They also learn how to row a boat, sail a traditional small craft and other nautical skills relevant to maritime heritage and the traditions of Cortez.

Local maritime traditions, seamanship and boat building skills are emphasized, along with an appreciation for the coastal ecosystems surrounding Cortez.


Calling all volunteers

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage Preserve is participating in the Great American Cleanup April 12.

FISH is working with Keep Manatee Beautiful, which sponsors the countywide cleanup.

FISH members are asking volunteers to help pick up trash and beautify the preserve 9 a.m.-noon.

The FISH Preserve is best accessed from 119th Street West in Cortez.

Citizen libel suit against HB commissioner settles for cash

The libel suit against Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen came to a conclusion March 25.

John Agnelli filed the suit against Peelen in October 2012 following alleged defamatory claims Peelen made about Agnelli in an email newsletter that she distributed to constituents.

Peelen was represented by Jay Daigneault of Dunedin, an attorney assigned by the Florida League of Cities property and liability claims division under a provision in the city’s insurance plan through the league.

“Insurance companies settle cases all the time because going to trail is expensive,” said Peelen. “It never implied or stated that I did anything wrong.”

The FLC covered the settlement, $49,500, and Peelen’s legal fees. The case was dismissed by Agnelli with prejudice against Peelen.

“I’m glad that it’s settled, and I’m glad that it’s over,” Peelen said.

Agnelli, however, said he plans to follow up on a claim he submitted to the Florida Commission on Ethics in January.

“No, I’m not happy it’s over. You can’t learn your lesson by letting someone else pay for it,” he said.

Peter Mackey, Agnelli’s attorney, had challenged Peelen’s representation by an attorney from the FLC, arguing she made the defamatory claims in her individual capacity, and not as a commissioner and therefore should not receive representation from an attorney provided by the FLC.

The circuit court judge who oversaw the case, Judge Diana Moreland, ruled in favor of Agnelli, stating the claims were made in her individual capacity.

Daigneault filed an appeal to Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeals in October 2013, which agreed with Moreland’s ruling.

Meanwhile, the FLC continued to represent Peelen.

The ruling by Moreland did not state she couldn’t be represented by an attorney provided by the FLC, only that she was being sued as an individual.

Agnelli’s initial complaint named Peelen as an individual, and made allegations of libel against her as a commissioner.

Peelen’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing state law provides immunity to public officials acting within the scope of their duties.

Agnelli responded by amending his complaint to say Peelen defamed him in her individual capacity.

The catalyst for the lawsuit was an emailed newsletter in which Peelen made comments confusing the identity of John F. Agnelli Jr. with his son, Frank Agnelli, in October 2012.

Agnelli confronted Peelen during a city commission meeting the same day he filed the lawsuit and called for her resignation.

Peelen said she acknowledged the mistake and left two phone messages at Agnelli’s office “to personally apologize for the mistake I made.”

Agnelli alleged that an apology did not suffice because her accusations would remain on the Internet forever.

According to Holmes Beach treasurer Lori Hill, the city’s insurance rates from the FLC have not been affected.

Holmes Beach residents speak out on rezoning

A Holmes Beach planning commission agenda April 2 brought an outspoken gallery, confusion and a continuance to the chambers at city hall.

On gaveling the meeting open, Commission Chair Sue Normand and her fellow board members noted the confusion surrounding two public hearings — one on an issue of rezoning and the other on a small plan amendment, both for property at 214 54th St. at the corner of 54th Street and Holmes Boulevard.

It was noted that the commission members had not been briefed on either the application or the staff report submitted March 26 by city planner Bill Brisson. They had not been furnished backup materials.

Some commission members were unaware the applicant had filed for a continuance, which was sent to city hall and the planning commissioners via email.

According to Brisson, building department clerk Robyn Kinkopf was advised not to send the background materials to the commission because of the continuance. Brisson called the move “possibly bad information.”

The commission discussed how to proceed, including options to hold a brief recess, postponing the hearing and continuing the hearing.

The city attorney was not present.

“I would strongly recommend you do not try to understand this material in 15 or 30 minutes,” said Brisson.

Commission member Barbara Hines initially suggested postponing the hearing but, in consideration of the large number of attendees — about 30 people — she instead moved to conduct the hearing on the condition no decision would be made and the hearing would be continued.

Adjacent and nearby property owners had been sent certified letters by the applicant notifying them of the hearing.

The commission passed the motion 3-2, with Normand and member Gary Hickerson dissenting.

The board was told by Brisson the applicant was changing its proposal.

“I question the wisdom of taking testimony on an application that is going to change,” Hickerson said.

Monica Simpson, agent for the applicant Lizzie Lus Island Retreat LLC, owned by Benjamin and Keren ten Haaf, requested the continuance to amend the application.

Brisson briefly explained his findings and his recommendation that the application be denied. He cited multiple concerns, but emphasized the ten Haaf’s proposal is not compatible with the adjacent residential zoning.

The home is in the Residential 2, or duplex district.

The applicant asked to rezone the property to C3, which is the heaviest commercial land-use zoning.

The rezoning would extend the mixed-used overlay district to the property, which is adjacent to commercial property to the east and the south.

The applicant is seeking development of two resort-housing units on the second level, and two commercial units on the ground level.

Brisson said that while the applicant’s proposed use is most likely not going to make a significant impact on the community, the problem comes with the allowable uses in the future. The requested zoning category would allow up to six resort-housing units on the duplex lot.

Brisson continued, saying the downtown commercial area was rezoned to include a mixed-use overlay in 2012 to invigorate it, but was never intended to encroach on residential areas.

Simpson said she planned to submit the amended application to the city by May 7.

“What’s unfortunate tonight is that you don’t have the benefit of seeing the big picture plan, total redevelopment plan, the side plan and the plan that goes with mixed-use overlay. It would show you the applicant’s request fits in the area,” she said.

Simpson argued the proposed land use would not be much different from how it has previously been used. The property had been used as a residence and an accounting office. However, the legality of the home business was in question.

Simpson asserted the applicant’s proposed use would create a buffer zone between the highly commercial use and the residential area, saying, “As it is, the line is very abrupt.”

Holmes Beach resident Richard Motzer of 56th Street was the first of the residents to speak at the hearing.

“What the applicant is asking for is a far cry from what the property has been used as,” he said.

“If the city approves this, it would be setting a terrible precedent…. If the applicant wanted commercial property, they should have bought commercial property. Please, leave our residents’ areas alone.”

Nancy Deal of 56th Street also testified. She said: “I do have a question, what is the big picture we’re missing here?”

David Phillips who owns a duplex just north of the subject property grew up in the neighborhood. He said he has watched the area transform, becoming more intensely commercial.

“I can sit on my porch and see a dumpster,” he said. “If you make that property commercial, you might as well make mine commercial, too.”

The public hearings were continued to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Normand told the gallery that the planning commission bases its decision on the land uses provided in the city’s comprehensive plan. While testimony from residents is considered, the comprehensive plan holds the most weight, she said.

The planners could vote on a recommendation regarding the application at the May 21 meeting.

A planning commission recommendation, along with recommendations in the staff reports prepared by Brisson, then goes to the city commission for a final determination.

Boater rescued by marine units

A boater was rescued March 29 after his sailboat capsized due to rough conditions south of Long Boat Key Pass.

Around 3:20 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard off Cortez received a report of a person in the water and overturned vessel around the 5100 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.

The vessel was last seen 2 nautical miles south of Longboat Key Pass in the Gulf, the report said.

The victim was staying at White Sands Beach Resort of Longboat and rented an 8-foot sailboat for an afternoon on the water.  However, not long after he launched the vessel he ran into trouble due to “red flag conditions,” which included gusts of wind, high seas and a rip current according to Chief Paul B. Dezzi, of Longboat Key Fire Rescue.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office marine unit was dispatched to search the shoreline for the man. They spotted him in the water waving his hands in the air, the universal symbol for S.O.S., the report said.

Dezzi said the man was only in the water for about minutes before he was picked up by the MCSO.

“He was wearing a lifejacket,” Dezzi said. “And the jacket saved him from going under because it helped keep his head above water.”


The MCSO unit lowered the dive door on the stern of the vessel and deployed a rescue line bag, or soft flotation device attached to a rope. The man was able to hold on to the device on while deputies pulled him inside the rescue vessel.

The victim said he was uninjured, but was taken to the Manatee County Marine Rescue Division Headquarters, 2651 Gulf Drive South, where members of the Longboat Key Fire/EMS examined him. He was released a short time later.

The U.S. Coast guard eventually found the boat floating in the Gulf, it had been pushed toward the middle of Longboat Key. The coast guard towed it back to the resort a little while later, Dezzi said.



2 BBPD officers injured while making arrest

Police arrested a Bradenton woman March 29 after she allegedly bit one Bradenton Beach Police officer and caused another to break his hand while placing her in custody.

Katlin Marie Pettigrew, 22, faces charges of resisting arrest with violence, disorderly intoxication and two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer after her alleged erratic behavior sent the officers to the emergency room.

Around 11 p.m., BBPD responded to reports of a fight in the 100 block of Bridge Street.

When officers arrived, about 50-75 people were standing in front of Sports Lounge observing a verbal altercation between Pettigrew and a man, according to the police report.

BBPD Sgt. James Gill reported he told Pettigrew to stop yelling and to sit on the curb so officers could assess the situation, but Pettigrew, who appeared intoxicated, acted aggressively toward Gill.

When he tried to restrain her, she swung her arms erratically and yelled obscenities, the report said.

At that point, Officer John Tsakiri aided Gill by grabbing Pettigrew’s other arm, and she bit his right bicep, according to the report.

The officers reported they took Pettigrew to the ground and put one handcuff on her, but had trouble placing the other cuff on her wrist because she was squirming.

At some point, Gill’s hand was broken.

Many spectators were taking video of the incident, the report said.

When the two officers tried to lift Pettigrew, she again began kicking and screaming and required further restraint before she could be placed in the patrol car.

West Manatee Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Service were called to treat Tsakiri’s bite. However, while medics were treating him, Pettigrew escaped from one handcuff and smashed her head against the window of the patrol car.

Pettigrew was pepper-sprayed and re-cuffed, the report said.

She was treated by EMS for a facial laceration.

After Pettigrew was controlled, Tsakiri noticed abrasions to his knee and that the sole of his shoe had been ripped off.

Witnesses told police that Pettigrew bit at least two other people inside the bar and also punched several people.

EMS transported both officers and Pettigrew to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

During the trip, Pettigrew said she had been celebrating because she got a new job.

She was cleared of any injuries and was taken to the Manatee County jail where she remained on $8,620 bond. Her arraignment will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, April 25, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.