Tag Archives: 06-19-2013

Cell tower reps meet with Anna Maria committee

Efforts to have a cell tower built in Anna Maria took a step forward June 12, when the city cell tower review committee met with representatives of three companies bidding on the project.

The committee was formed several months ago after Commissioner Gene Aubry called for revising the cell tower ordinance, saying it was too restrictive and no company had applied in the 11 years since the ordinance was established.

Aubry also suggested good cellphone service is a safety issue, as many cellphone users no longer have land lines and find it difficult to get a signal, particularly in the northern part of the city.

Consultant Rusty Monroe was retained to assist the city in revising the ordinance and the result was an amended ordinance, a request for proposals and the three bids.

The committee, chaired by building official Bob Welch with members Tom Aposporos, Jon Crane and former Mayor Mike Selby, reviewed the presentations from Vertex Development, Florida Towers Partners LLC and F&L Towers LLC.

The committee members asked questions pertaining to the length of the lease, revenue for the city as new carriers are added and what could be negotiated in the proposals.

Committee members will grade applicants in a number of areas, then submit their grades to Welch at a 3:30 p.m. meeting June 19. The committee will make a priority list and submit that to the city commission and city attorney Jim Dye.

The commission will make the final decision on any cell tower contract.

Each company presented an initial offering at the June 10 meeting, but also said they are open to negotiation.

Vertex offered a lump-sum payment to the city of $300,000 on an initial five-year lease with an option to extend the lease to 25 years. Vertex said it planned for a maximum of six carriers on its tower, and the lease could be renegotiated if four or more carriers added equipment to the tower. The renegotiated lease could give the city additional revenue as more carriers are added.

F&L Towers LLC, headed by Anna Maria property owner and attorney Stacey Frank, offered the city a lump sum of $400,000 on an initial 10-year lease, then subject to a 50-year extension. Frank said she was open to negotiating the lease and revenue stream as more carriers were added to the tower.

She said a fourth or fifth carrier would trigger renegotiations to give the city additional revenue. She also said any portion of her proposal could be negotiated with the city.

Florida Towers Partners offered a lump sum of $400,000, or a lump sum of $350,000 plus revenue sharing.

Each company proposed the design of the tower as a functioning flagpole to accommodate flying the U.S. flag on top.

The first carrier’s equipment would start at 90 feet on the flagpole and another carrier’s equipment placed every 10 feet to a maximum of six carriers on a 150-foot flagpole.

Carrier technology no longer requires hanging antenna such as the equipment at the Holmes Beach tower, but rather is wrapped around the flagpole and blends with the structure.

Each proposal requires an structure at the bottom of the pole for mechanical equipment to operate the tower. F&L Towers and Florida Towers proposed a 30-by-90-foot area 6 feet tall and a protective wall or fence enclosure.

The mechanical area would have a generator that would operate the tower in the event normal electrical service to the city is disrupted.

Kevin Burile of Florida Towers Partners said the revenue stream from the carriers could be sold by the cell tower owner to a third party under certain conditions.

Before a carrier will apply to have its equipment on a tower, the tower must be operating effectively, Burile said.

He said his company has worked with Bradenton Beach for construction of a cell tower.

Frank said her company has worked with Pasco and Hillsborough county school systems to build cell towers.

But the industry is changing with some carriers merging with others, she said.

Frank said a merger between two large cellphone carriers might reduce the number of carriers on the tower. She also said the DAS system, which uses small transmitter boxes to send signals, might become more popular.

Presently, DAS is a line-of-sight system that might not work well in Anna Maria because of its many trees and tree-lined streets, a study of DAS several years ago suggested.

Burile agreed the industry is changing rapidly. “It’s hard to predict the future, or where we might be in 10-20 years,” he said.

Committee members will meet again at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, and present their grades and ratings. Welch said he hopes to present the committee’s findings to the city commission for consideration June 27.

AM commission welcomes former P&Z chair to dais

Anna Maria has a new city commissioner.

With the withdrawal of Carol Carter’s application for the Anna Maria City Commission to complete the remaining five months of John Quam’s term, only one applicant remained — Doug Copeland.

Commissioners at their June 13 meeting swiftly and unanimously elected Copeland, a former planning and zoning board chair, to fill the vacancy. Copeland also was elected vice chair of the commission, while vice chair Chuck Webb was elected to serve as chair for the next five months.

Carter distributed a letter before the meeting stating she was withdrawing because she believes Copeland — with more than 20 years of experience on P&Z — has the knowledge and expertise to be commissioner.

Carter also said she would run for a commission seat in November, when three commission seats will come up for election.

Copeland is a wood worker by trade, and also has worked in various restaurants and bars.

He was immediately drawn into the business of the commission as Webb introduced several amendments to the city’s construction ordinance. Webb said a change is needed to preempt a property owner from claiming the new ordinance reduced the value of a home if built under the old rule. The amendments would avoid any conflict with the 1994 Bert Harris Jr. Property Act, Webb said.

One suggestion by Webb was to place a variance procedure in the new ordinance for someone who wants to build according to the old guidelines that allow for the second floor of living space to have the same living area as the first floor.

The new city building ordinance allows the second livable floor to have only 33 percent of the first livable floor’s area.

But Webb quickly noted that the Bert Harris Jr. Act has not been interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court. He said he’s studied all the available cases and spoken with a number of attorneys familiar with the act and none have the same opinion on what the act does or doesn’t allow.

“It’s very confusing,” Webb said.

City attorney Jim Dye agreed the law is confusing. He suggested a meeting with Webb to draw up amendments that would keep the city out of court in the event someone claims a loss under the Harris act.

Commissioner Dale Woodland said if someone came to the commission and claimed this was a “taking of value,” the commission should just let them build under the old rules.

But Webb said that’s exactly what he’s trying to prevent.

Commissioner Gene Aubry said he and the other non-attorney commissioners need something plainly written so they can understand.

“I don’t want to play lawyer in this. I don’t want to go down that road,” he said. Other commissioners agreed they need something that’s easy to understand before making a decision.

Webb and Dye will return to the commission with suggestions that are easy to understand, but Webb cautioned that the law is not simple, even for experienced attorneys.

In other commission business, the final reading of the historic preservation ordinance was continued to 6 p.m. Thursday, July 17, as Dye and city planner Alan Garrett said a few more refinements are needed.

Commissioners also welcomed Anna Maria Island Community Center executive director Dawn Stiles, who assumed her duties April 1.

Stiles said she is making an effort to meet the elected officials of the three island cities. She invited commissioners to visit the center, and also to provide suggestions for the planning analysis report she will soon prepare in conjunction with a center committee.

“I’d like to invite all of you to come and see what we do. And, please, give us your input. I hope to see all of you at the center,” Stiles said.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Paul Davis, head of the MCSO-Anna Maria substation, presented a video on what deputies in the city do and how citizens can help reduce crime. Davis acknowledge less crime in Anna Maria than the mainland, but said sometimes people hear or see something unusual, but don’t call in a report.

As a results, some burglaries and thefts go unsolved.

He asked the public to call 941-708-8899 or 911 to report any suspicious activity or a burglar alarm going off for no apparent reason.

Aubry and Mayor SueLynn will work together on a Pine Avenue streetscape beautification plan that was proposed in May by Aubry. The proposed beautification will be staged, and a first phase should be ready in a few weeks, he said.

Building official Bob Welch also asked the public for input on changing the sign ordinance. He recently sent a letter to owners of illegal signs requiring they come into compliance by July 31 or face a citation.

What he’d prefer in the next few weeks are suggestions to amend the sign ordinance. He said if real estate agents would use the old-fashioned signs that stick in the ground, and stop infringing on the rights of way, that would solve many sign issues.

SueLynn scheduled the first work session for the 2013-14 budget for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10.

Here comes the bride

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Gay Breuler walks down the proverbial aisle June 16 with groom Billy Crider. The couple were married in a small ceremony near Palma Sola Bay. Islander Photos: Mark Young

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Gay Breuler and her husband Billy Crider couldn’t stop smiling at their June 16 wedding near Palma Sola Bay. The couple were married during a small ceremony with family and friends in attendance.

Increasing tourism fuels continued rise in resort tax collections

For the 24th time in the past 25 months, resort tax collections by the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office have set a new monthly record compared with the same month the previous year.

Collections this year are on pace to eclipse last year’s record collection amount of $8.1 million.

The resort tax, also called the bed tax, is the 5 percent Manatee County charges on accommodation rentals of six months or less.

As resort tax collections continue setting records, the collections have corresponded to increasing tourism. The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau reported tourism to the area up 6.5 percent for the first four months of 2013 compared with the same months in 2012. By comparison, resort tax collections for the first five months of 2013 are up 9.7 percent compared with that same period in 2012.

Collections for April 2013 totaled $771,368, according to information available online at the Manatee County Tax Collectors website.

That was a modest 1.4 percent increase from collections in April 2012, but still pushed the total collected for the first seven months of the 2012-13 fiscal year to $5.812 million, well ahead of the $5,296 million collected during the first seven months of fiscal year 2011-12.

Total resort tax collections for 2011-12 were $8.1 million, a record-setting year and more than $1 million ahead of the previous record of $7.01 million set in fiscal year 2010-11.

If the next five months maintain the same amounts collected as last year, the resort tax will hit $8.63 million by the end of the fiscal year, yet another record, and 6.5 percent ahead of 2011-12 collections, the previous record-setting year.

Sue Sinquefield, who heads the resort tax unit, said the rapid increase in collections the past two years has begun to slow as more vacation rental owners have come into compliance with state and county law.

Several years ago, her office began organizing agent sweeps to known areas of vacation rental properties, looking for vacation rental owners who were not paying the resort tax and not even registered with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

She also noted that her unit has begun looking more at leases to ensure they comply with state and local laws. Anyone unsure about a lease can bring it to the resort tax office for review.

Although Sinquefield did not identify specific neighborhoods in the county that the agents target, she said agents go where the most vacation rentals are. There is also a “tax cheat hotline” that people can use in anonymity to report resort tax evaders.

The resort tax is used to fund a variety of county programs, most notably the county’s share of beach renourishment.

Resort tax revenues also are used for the BACVB budget, to support the Bradenton Convention Center, the Crosley Mansion and other public venues in the county.


Barrier islands lead dollars

Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key continue to contribute the majority of resort taxes collected in Manatee County, according to the April 2013 collection figures.

The barrier islands collected $442,616 in resort taxes during April 2013, 57.2 percent of the total taken in by the department.

The barrier islands average contributing about 62 percent of the total resort tax collected each year, according to online figures from the resort tax office.

BB neighborhood dock re-opens after 2-year closure

When a group of residents on Eighth Street South in Bradenton Beach volunteered to pay for a new city dock at the end of their street more than a year ago, it appeared a viable solution to a shortfall in the city budget.

The city condemned the dock more than two years ago with a promise to rebuild it, but an economic downturn and a tightening budget left the dock as a low priority.

Residents stepped forward to pool their money to have the dock rebuilt, leaving city staff with the task of beginning the permitting process, which appeared on the surface to be a relatively simple process for a relatively simple project.

But “relatively simple” are words that don’t exist when doing a project on a barrier island, according to building official Steve Gilbert.

Once the funding was in place, Gilbert began the permitting process with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP approved the rebuild, but a change in the state agency’s policies to no longer review federal permits for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers added an additional layer of permitting for the city.

Once DEP informed the city that it would be required to submit additional paperwork to the corps, Gilbert did so the same day, but the delay was only the beginning.

The Tampa regulatory office first informed Gilbert in January that it was suffering a staff shortage and that a permit review for the Eighth Street dock was a low priority.

By mid-February, the Tampa office informed Gilbert it had resolved its staffing issues, but said the “relatively simple” project of removing old pilings and replacing them with new ones would have to undergo a full regulatory review.

Gilbert told the corps he didn’t understand the reasoning for the project to undergo a full regulatory review, but submitted the necessary paperwork given the project’s “simplicity.”

Given the city’s concerns, Gilbert was informed that the dock’s permitting process would be “accelerated” and the project was advanced to a high-priority category.

To ensure its “accelerated” status, Gilbert invited the corps to meet with city staff to conduct a site inspection in early March and that meeting took place as scheduled.

In late March, Gilbert contacted the corps for an update of the dock’s status and was told, “Good question.”

It was explained that the corps was in the process of prioritizing private projects and that government projects would begin soon.

In mid-April, the city again contacted the corps for an update. In a series of email correspondence between Gilbert and the Tampa office, the corps explained the permitting process for government projects had not yet begun.

The corps said, however, the Eighth Street dock was still a high priority.

It took about another 45 days for the corps to notify the city that a permit review was underway and, a few days later, the much-anticipated permit had been issued.

Duncan Seawall’s work to the dock was expected to be completed by Islander press time. The dock stretches 60 feet into Sarasota Bay with a walkway 5 feet wide leading to a 400-square-foot fishing platform.

Gilbert said it had been a long time coming and he was pleased the dock is completed.

“It was one of several projects that have been on backlog, but not by the city’s doing,” said Gilbert.

The floating dock adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier took more than a year of red tape from the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Tropical Storm Debby in June 2012. It was completed in early June.

However, between the residents of Eighth Street South and FEMA, two major projects are now completed at no cost to city taxpayers.

The dingy dock next to the Bridge Tender Dockside Bar and Inn, also destroyed by TS Debby, was another FEMA-funded project that was completed earlier this year.

One of the last major projects on the city’s backlog list is the renovation of the pier. That project is scheduled to be completed by the end of August, although only beginning the permitting process.

Gilbert said he expects no delays given the simplicity of the project that will replace 151 pilings and the wood deck. However, “simple” didn’t work out to the benefit of the Eighth Street dock and Gilbert is making no promises when it comes to a timetable for permits.

ZNS Engineering, the firm of record for the pier project, is handling the permitting process.

A scope of work on the pier is expected at a city commission meeting in the near future. The cost of the pier project has not yet been discussed pending a final submission of the scope of work.

At that time, commissioners are expected to authorize a request for proposal and begin taking bids for the pier reconstruction work.

FWC to reopen snook harvest Sept. 1

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reviewed the status of snook populations in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters at its June 12 meeting in Lakeland before deciding to allow the recreational harvest of Gulf of Mexico snook to reopen this September.

The harvest of snook in state and federal Gulf waters has been closed since early 2010, when a prolonged cold snap negatively impacted the population, particularly juvenile snook.

The Atlantic recreational harvest of snook will also open Sept. 1.

In 2012, the FWC extended the temporary closure through August 2013, in an effort to further protect the species and give it time to more fully recover.

The FWC Research Institute confirms that once reopened, the stock should continue to rebuild, thanks to management efforts, including regular closed seasons and the slot limit, which protects both juveniles and the more productive larger fish.

When the Gulf recreational harvest reopens Sept. 1, all bag limits, size limits, gear restrictions and closed seasons will be in effect. This includes the one-fish-per-person, per-day bag limit, the 28- to 33-inch total length slot limit and the two annual closures in Gulf waters, Dec. 1-end of February, and May 1-Aug. 31.

The next stock assessment for snook is scheduled for 2015.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com.

Holmes Beach, Mainsail developers to mediate June 21

The first step in determining if litigation can be avoided between Holmes Beach and the Mainsail Lodge developers will be taken at 9 a.m. Friday, June 21, at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

City attorney Patricia Petruff said the initial proceeding is basically “the start of a negotiation or, at least, for the special magistrate to get a better understanding of what the issues are, if there is common ground and whether it can be mediated.”

Petruff reminded commissioners at a June 13 work session that commissioners could attend the public meeting, “but it’s not your public meeting, so do not sit near one another or have any discussions with one another.”

To do so, would violate Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law.

Mayor Carmel Monti and Commissioner Judy Titsworth were appointed by the commission in May to be the city’s representatives in the negotiations along with Petruff.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino recommended Monti and Titsworth because the two represent opposite sides of the vote that revoked the Mainsail site plan in March.

Petruff said the special magistrate will determine during the opening round of negotiations if mediation is possible, but if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement, July 24-25 have been scheduled to begin the possible quasi-judicial hearing, where both sides will present their case.

Sarasota attorney Robert Lincoln, representing Mainsail, filed a petition for relief with the city April 18 to initiate a process under the Bert J. Harris Jr. Act, which allows a property owner to seek relief from a government entity that is placing a burden on the property’s existing use.

“The second phase is more of a hearing where evidence is taken and the special magistrate listens to public testimony,” said Petruff. “At the end of that step, he will provide a written recommendation. If both sides agree to the recommendation, it ends. If not, then the next step is likely litigation.”

Mainsail is seeking to revoke the commission’s 3-2 vote that rescinded the site plan and accuses the city of violating procedures. Lincoln alleges the commission had no authority to revoke the site plan, saying the decision belonged to the mayor and building official.

Special Magistrate Steven Seibert will preside over the meetings.

Monti supported the continued efforts of the Mainsail development team  to proceed with their revised site plan along with Zaccagnino and Commission Chair Jean Peelen, but under the Holmes Beach city charter, Monti does not have a vote.

Titsworth and Commissioners Pat Morton and Marvin Grossman opposed the site plan, saying it violated the land development code in setback requirements and Grossman, in particular, addressed several concerns outlined in the new site plan.

Commissioners have unanimously stated they want the property developed, and those in opposition invited Mainsail to start from scratch with a new plan that would comply with current city codes. But, Mainsail sited a substantial financial investment in the work that had been completed at the city’s behest.

The site plan includes lodging, a restaurant and other amenities in what is considered the city’s business district at Gulf and Marina drives.

The June 21 hearing is a public meeting. However, invitations were sent only to those who spoke at previous public hearings to provide testimony and only at the request of Seibert will that testimony be taken.

No other public comment will be allowed.

HB petition to allow tree house gains momentum

Rather than fight Holmes Beach City Hall, Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran, owners of the now viral tree house at 103 29th St. N., have decided that rather than fight city hall, they will legislate to keep the structure.

They began circulating a petition authorized by Holmes Beach commissioners June 11 among registered voters calling for a vote on a special ordinance to allow them to keep their tree house.

The tree house was built in 2011 and approved verbally at that time by building official Bob Shaffer, who is on record as having given that permission. However, it has not been clarified as to whether or not Shaffer understood the extent of construction that occurred and the resulting tree house.

If the couple gets 10 percent of the city’s registered voters — 332 — to sign the petition, it goes before the city commission, which then must set up a special election on the ordinance.

The commission, at its June 11 meeting, approved the petition with Commissioner Marvin Grossman moving for the approval. Commissioner David Zaccagnino seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

However, Zaccagnino wanted clarification on the process. Anna Maria attorney Jim Dye, sitting in for Holmes Beach attorney Patty Petruff — both principals in Dye, Dietrich, Petruff & St. Paul, P.L. — said it’s a multi-step process.

“The petition committee has to get the required signatures, then the commission has first opportunity to pass the ordinance allowing the tree house,” Dye said. “If it doesn’t pass, then it goes to a referendum and voters decide.”

Zaccagnino expressed concern over the cost of a special election and asked if the matter could be placed on the regular election ballot in November.

Dye said the city’s charter requires a referendum within 90 days if the commission votes down the ordinance.

“If that time frame falls within the regular election, then yes, it can be put on the general ballot,” he said. “But that’s only if the supervisor of elections has the time to get it done and if there is room on the ballot. If not, then it comes back to a referendum.”

Tran thanked the commissioners for approving the petition, but also wanted a response to their attorney’s request to suspend “or at least postpone a June 20 code enforcement hearing” on the tree house violations outlined in an April letter by building official Tom O’Brien.

Commission Chair Jean Peelen said she would try to get Tran an answer as soon as possible.

Petruff said June 13, that the code enforcement hearing “would likely be postponed,” but was unable to provide confirmation.

Petitions were made available to the public at city hall at the beginning of the June 11 meeting and many of those attending signed the petition supporting the tree house.

Tran is confident she will garner the support needed to bring the matter before the commission for a vote.

Tran said the special ordinance is about correcting a wrong done to her and her husband after they had acted in good faith based upon the advice of a city official in 2011.

“At this point, it is not all about right or wrong. This is not about blaming and debating over a long list of allegations in court or before a code board hearing,” she said.

“It is about finding a win-win solution and a happy ending for all. After all, the tree house is a fun and fond childhood dream for all who love fairy tale stories and something unusual and extraordinary,” Tran said.

If voters approve the ordinance, it will “stop needless legal debates and further loss of time and resources that could be used for better purposes,” she said.

Also at issue is whether Shaffer had the authority in 2011 to approve the tree house construction without a plan, or whether current city officials are correct in claiming the tree house was built illegally.

Tran said Shaffer approved the tree house and she and her husband heard no more of the issue until someone apparently called the Holmes Beach code enforcement office to complain. In 2011, the building department determined the tree house violates setbacks and other regulations as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s requirements for construction seaward of the coastal construction line.

Letters between the city, Angelinos Sea Lodge and its attorney, David Levin, and the DEP indicate there are issues to be dealt with at the state level regardless of the city outcome.

Jim Martinello, environmental manager of the DEP Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, in a letter dated Dec. 14, 2011, requested the owner voluntarily remove the wood-frame deck structure and restore the affected areas within 30 days.

The DEP letter described the tree house construction as an “elevated post-supported, enclosed wood frame deck, with roof viewing deck.” The tree house and “alteration of an existing dune system” without a permit are deemed “possible violations” of state statute, according to the letter.

Tran and her husband have garnered media attention in their fight to keep the tree house. They’ve been featured on NBC’s “Today” show, an Australian TV station and most all Tampa Bay-area media outlets.

“Becoming a celebrity is not what we want. We want to go back to our quiet, peaceful life on the beach and operate the resort for all our friendly guests” Tran said.

Island police blotter – 06-19-2013

Anna Maria

        • June 3, 500 block of Seagull Way, burglary. Someone gained entry into a house through an unlocked door and stole two TVs valued at $2,500.

Anna Maria is policed by the MCSO.

Bradenton Beach

        • June 10, 1300 block of Gulf Drive North, battery. A 25-year-old Bradenton woman was arrested for misdemeanor battery. Police responded to a domestic violence call and made contact with a woman who said her daughter hit her twice in the face, causing her glasses to break. The victim was uncooperative with the investigation, according to the report.

• June 8, 500 block of Gulf Drive North, vehicle burglary. A complainant reported someone entered her unlocked vehicle and stole several items valued at $135.

• June 13, 2000 Gulf Drive S., Coquina Park, grand theft. A woman reported she walked away from her belongings lying on a blanket on the beach to view the sunset. Among her belongings was an iPhone valued at $800. When she returned, the phone was gone.

• June 10, 2601 Gulf Drive N., Sandpiper Resort, criminal mischief. Witnesses reported a man on a bicycle caused $300 in damages to the PVC fence that borders Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach. Witnesses said the man was upset the gate was locked and forced it open, but also pulled the gate in the wrong direction.

• June 9, 2400 block Avenue B, theft. A woman reported someone stole her $120 bicycle. According to the report, the bike was locked to another bike, but the suspect was able to free the stolen bike without cutting the lock.

        Bradenton Beach is policed by the BBPD.


        • No new reports.

        Cortez is policed by the MCSO

Holmes Beach

        • June 2, 100 White Ave., beach access, beverage law. Police responded to a report of a man drinking at the beach access. The responding officer observed what appeared to be an underage male drinking a beer. He watched the man throw the empty bottle into nearby sea oats. The officer made contact with the 18-year-old man and made him retrieve the empty beer bottle. He then asked the suspect if he had any more alcohol, at which time the man led the officer to a nearby cooler. After emptying the contents of the cooler, the man was issued a notice to appear for possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21.

• June 4, 500 block of 67th Street, vehicle burglary. A complainant reported someone gained entry into both of her vehicles sometime during the night. She reported an undetermined amount of loose change missing.

• June 5, 600 block of Ivanhoe Lane, criminal mischief. A woman reported someone knocked over a concrete planter causing damage to her mailbox. Upon investigating the area, the officer learned that a neighbor had also been vandalized. The officer contacted the second victim, who reported a landscape light valued at $436 had been damaged.

• June 7, 3600 block of Gulf Drive, aggravated battery. Police responded to a call of a man lying in the roadway. The officer made contact with the man, who was bleeding from his forehead and complaining of pain in his right ankle. A witness approached police and reported that he observed the man and he appeared to be intoxicated. A man driving by stopped and had words with the victim, according to the witness, who said the driver exited his vehicle, punched the victim in the face and fled the area.

Holmes Beach is policed by the HBPD.

        Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach police departments and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Fishing – 06-19-2013

It’s all about the air-water temperature for area anglers


As water temps heat up, it’s also time to beat the heat.

For flats fishers, it’s advantageous to try fishing early morning tides or late evening tides. By now, you can usually see outside before daybreak around 5:30 a.m. This twilight time is the perfect opportunity to target flats species before the water temps climb too high. The same applies in the evening, from 7 p.m. until dark. A good moving tide combined with cooler water temps should equate to fish on the hook.

Tarpon are finally arriving back along our beaches after a small hiatus for Tropical Storm Andrea. I think they went offshore — at least to deeper water, right? Sightings are occurring from Longboat to Egmont keys, although catches are not as frequent as sightings. The fish being caught are biting on crabs or shiners and are in the 50 to 120 pounds.

Capt. Warren Girle is fishing for offshore species on ledges and hard bottom with good results. Using live shiners or live pinfish for bait, Girle is reeling up more keeper-size red grouper, Key West grunts and keeper gags than you can shake a stick at. On a flat line with large live shiners, Girle is catching King mackerel up to 15 pounds.

Moving near shore, Girle is targeting tarpon along the beaches and passes. For bait, Girle is carrying shiners, threadfins and small crabs. The size of the tarpon on hookups this past week was 70-180 pounds.

Finally, on the flats, Girle is getting good action on catch-and-release snook. Live shiners free-lined to spotted fish are getting the job done. Along with snook, Girle is catching spotted seatrout and redfish during early morning and late evening tides.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier is seeing Spanish mackerel being caught on artificials like silver spoons, Gotcha plugs or white jigs. Sork suggests fishing early mornings or evenings to get in on the mackerel bite. While targeting macks, expect to catch jack crevalle, ladyfish and blue runners.

Pier fishers arriving at dusk are gearing up for an evening of shark fishing. By using oily baits, such as fresh-cut mackerel or bonito, pier fishers are tying into blacktip and sandbar sharks. Average size is 40-140 pounds.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel says fishing is improving after Tropical Storm Andrea. With water quality back to normal, the fish are responding to live shrimp or shiners. If you choose to use artificials, try using a small white jig or Gotcha plug.

Bait fishers at the pier are catching mangrove snapper, black drum, flounder and catch-and-release snook. For the drum, live shrimp are the bait of choice. Cast a weighted shrimp under the pier for the drum and you may end up hooking a flounder, too. For the snook and snapper, live shiners are producing the bite.

Pier fishers using artificials likes jigs and Gotcha plugs are being rewarded with Spanish mackerel, as well as jack crevalle and ladyfish. Again, to target macks, fish either early in the morning or late in the evening.

Johnny Mattay at Island Discount Tackle is fishing offshore with his grandpa, Bill Grayson, with excellent results. Keeper red grouper up to 30 inches are being reeled up on live shiners or live pinfish. “We limited out in one hour for four people,” exclaims Mattay. “There’s a lot of red grouper out there right now.”

Along with red grouper, Mattay is catching mangrove snapper up to 16 inches.

While at the tackle shop, Mattay says most fishers are gearing up for tarpon fishing. For hooks, 5/0 and 6/0 circle hooks are flying off the shelves, as well as fluorocarbon leader in the 50- to 80-pound class. For baits, tarpon fishers are buying pass crabs and blue crabs, as well as frozen shad.

On a final note, Mattay adds that nighttime snook fishing around piers and passes is heating up. “Use big baits if you want to catch big fish,” says Mattay. Assorted baits such as shiners, threadfins and even small ladyfish are producing bites.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is fishing the flats of Sarasota Bay producing a good bite on spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook. Gross is anchoring early mornings over shallow grass flats during moving tides. By chumming with live shiners, Gross is luring fish to the baits as his clients cast to them. For rigging, Gross likes to keep it simple: 3-4 feet of 20-pound fluorocarbon connected to a No. 1 live bait hook completes the rig; Simple, but effective.

Gross also likes to take his clients to target tarpon, in both the passes and along the beaches. For bait, Gross is using live shiners or crabs, which is resulting in silver kings estimated to be 80-100 pounds.

Send fishing reports to fish@islander.org.