Tag Archives: News

News alert for Islanders and those who care about Anna Maria Island

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Hurricane Irma over the Florida Keys

The Island suffered minimal damage from hurricane Irma and little to no storm surge.

Traffic is moving back onto the island now.

On Manatee Avenue you must show identification as a resident.

On Cortez Road, anyone can return to the island.

Most people are planning on work and opening businesses late tomorrow or Wednesday.

As of this time, very few people on the island have power.

We hope everyone did well and if you have news to report please contact us at news@islandor.org or text 941-778-7978.

Stay safe and stay in touch.

DOT: Final public hearing on Cortez Bridge ‘intense’

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Linda Molto, left, and Jane von Hahmann review a poster board depicting amenities offered by the DOT with the 65-foot bridge option. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
Mayor Bill Shearon, right, with service dog Reece and partner Tjet Martin, review posters depicting the Cortez Bridge options with Hernando Carrillo at the Aug. 31 DOT public hearing.
A matrix of the bridge alternatives offered Aug. 31 at the DOT public hearing for the Cortez Bridge at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, Bradenton. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
Nancy Deal of Holmes Beach, front, standing, speaks on the record to moderator and Cortez Bridge project manager Marlon Bizerra before a full house, including Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and wife Denise, foreground, at the Aug. 31 public hearing at Kirkwood Church, 6101 Cortez Road W., Bradenton. Islander Photos: Bonner Joy

To the Florida Department of Transportation, it’s financial project No. 430204-1-22-01.

No sentiment involved in deciding the future of Cortez Bridge. Just engineering another bridge.

“We’ve got it down to two final options,” remarked one DOT employee as he was setting up displays for the final public hearing Aug. 31 before the decision on the Cortez Bridge at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, 6101 Cortez Road W., Bradenton.

When reminded that many locals about to arrive for the hearing prefer the bridge be repaired, he remembered a third option.

“Oh, that,” he said. “We have to consider that. It’s required.”

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires the DOT to consider a makeover for the bridge. But those who live near the Cortez Bridge don’t see repair as an afterthought — as a standing-room-only crowd made clear to DOT project manager Marlon Bizerra.

“This just shouldn’t be happening,” said Barbara Hines, a Holmes Beach Planning Commission member and vice chair of the environmental group ManaSota-88. “They should repair the bridge.”

“A 65-foot bridge will change the character and scale of Cortez,” said Bradenton Beach resident and Miami architect Hernando Carillo in arguing against the DOT’s favored option.

He reprimanded the DOT for not considering the landscape — the community surroundings — in their design plan.

Bizerra said the public hearing process was demanding.

“It’s been intense,” Bizerra said after the nearly three-hour meeting concluded. “It will take weeks to make a decision after all this public input.”

Asked if the decision will be made this year, he said: “That would be an acceptable timeframe.”

The DOT billed the hearing as an opportunity to learn and provide comments concerning the location, design and social, economic and environmental effects of the repair or replacement of the Cortez Bridge on Cortez Road/State Road 684, which connects Bradenton Beach to the mainland at Cortez.

Replacement alternatives include a 35-foot vertical clearance drawbridge and a 65-foot-clearance fixed bridge — but Bizerra and the DOT video presentation and poster displays were clear on the preferred option, the 65-foot “megabridge,” as some locals call it.

None of the DOT displays ringing the room focused on repairing the 17.5-foot clearance Cortez Bridge. A couple displays mentioned repair as an option in comparison with the two new span plans.

“It seems as though DOT is stacking the deck,” said Nancy Deal of Holmes Beach.

But the DOT was upfront in its recommendation for the 65-foot-clearance bridge.

Bob and Joyce Flesch have lived 22 years in Cortez and will have a front-row view of whatever bridge results from the DOT decision. They said they were pleased it doesn’t appear the Cortez historic district will be touched.

“We’re trying to keep an open mind,” he said.

DOT spotlighted the outcome of an Aug. 9, 2016, public hearing when the 65-foot-high fixed bridge drew support from 44 percent of respondents as compared with 29 percent for repair and 19 percent opting for a 35-foot-high drawbridge.

Of the 20 Aug. 31 speakers, 16 favored repair, three backed the 35-foot option and just one supported the 65-footer.

Other comments were taken by scribes or on comment forms during the hearing.

The hearing began with an open house at 5 p.m. A team of 10 DOT representatives versed in questions on right-of-way acquisition, access management, noise abatement and bridge answered questions from a crowd estimated at nearly 200 people.

A video presentation at 6 p.m. was followed by public comment.

Bridge and road alignment options were spotlighted over about 1 mile of State Road 684 crossing the Intracoastal Waterway on the Cortez Bridge from State Road 789 to 123rd Street West.

DOT information on the bridge options is available for review at cortezbridge.com or at the Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach and Kirkwood Presbyterian Church.

 

What they said

“My proposal is do nothing except repair the bridge.” — Carol Kio-Green of Tallahassee and Cortez, who said her great-grandfather built the first home in Cortez 130 years ago.

“We don’t need another park.” — Jane von Hahmann, Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage vice president and former Manatee County commissioner. DOT displays and a video presentation highlighted a park-like setting “for festivals and fundraisers” under the bridge ramp on the waterfront in Cortez.

“You’ve designed this meeting so the snowbirds aren’t here. You already have your minds made up. So why are we here?” — Al Robinson, Holmes Beach resident and West Manatee Fire Rescue commissioner.

“There are not many places left like this. So, I think we need to protect Cortez.” — Ed Kolodzieski, Bradenton Beach resident.

“It seems as though FDOT is stacking the deck.” — Nancy Deal, Holmes Beach resident.

Statements made during the public comment portion of the Aug. 31 Florida Department of Transportation hearing on plans to repair or replace the Cortez Bridge.

 

How to comment

To register a preference for the repair or replacement of the Cortez Bridge.

Contact: Marlon Bizerra, DOT-Cortez Bridge project manager, marlon.bizerra@dot.state.fl.us, 813-519-2250 or mail Bizerra at DOT District One, P.O. Box 1249, Bartow FL 33831.

DOT will take comments on the Cortez Bridge through Sept. 12.

Website: cortezbridge.com.

 

Cortez Bridge options at a glance

Repair 1957-built 17.5-foot clearance bridge, $10.7 million estimated cost, 10-year life span.

Build 65-foot vertical-clearance fixed bridge, $72 million cost, 75-year life span.

Build 35-foot vertical-clearance drawbridge, $105 million, 75 years.

Eliminated options: A rehabilitation expected to last 25 years and a 21- or 45-foot vertical clearance drawbridges.

Information: cortezbridge.com.

 

 

Peak daily traffic pressures island roadways

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Traffic to Anna Maria Island isn’t always hectic during peak hours as shown by this westbound view of the AMI Causeway at roughly 2 p.m. Aug. 29. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Minimal traffic crosses the Anna Maria Island Bridge at roughly 2 p.m. Aug. 29. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor

Anna Maria Island traffic peaks six hours a day, every day, regardless of season.

That’s one of the findings made by Florida Department of Transportation consultants working on the second phase of the $675,000 District 1 Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study.

Findings included confirmation peak barrier island traffic generally lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, according to Tricia Labud, DOT traffic analysis specialist.

The peak-traffic duration combines with drawbridge openings to significantly slow vehicle movement, according to the study.

The analysis used peak-hour traffic volumes along with existing lane geometry and traffic controls, such as signals, stop signs and roundabouts, to measure delays.

The volume of traffic complicated the study, according to project manager Frank Domingo, a consultant with Stantec Consulting Services Inc. of Sarasota, which is conducting the study.

“Traditional intersection analysis to determine level of service was ineffective due to the saturated traffic conditions experienced during the peak periods,” according to Domingo’s executive summary.

So, a simulated traffic model will replicate existing field conditions during delays, queues and bridge openings, according to Domingo.

Potential improvements will be developed using the model to determine optimal intersection configurations and develop recommendations.

Throwing more money at infrastructure might be a waste, according to the study’s preliminary findings.

“Intersection improvements may not reduce vehicular delay to an acceptable level of service due to oversaturated conditions,” according to the phase 2 study.

The study area in Sarasota and Manatee counties includes 15 intersections in Bradenton, Sarasota, Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Longboat Key.

The second phase of the study involves crunching data on vehicle-turning movement, parking, pedestrian activity, land use, multimodal options, transit service and ridership and bottleneck locations.

Traffic volume is not the study’s only concern. Traffic exiting the islands also is delayed by mainland traffic signals at the Anna Maria Island and Cortez bridges and the signal at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream, according to the report. Mainland traffic typically uses the same bridge to access or exit the barrier islands, according to the study.

Motorists also are delayed by unfamiliar drivers, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and backup from other intersections, according to the report

Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island and Lido Key in Sarasota have the highest interaction with other parts of the barrier islands, according to the report.

Traffic in the southern zones on Lido and northern zones in Anna Maria have the lowest interaction with other parts of the barrier islands.

The study goal is to solve traffic issues involving vehicles, parking, bicycles and pedestrians on the barrier islands, as well as ensuring better flow and less wasted time on island-to-mainland connections.

Recommendations for improvements will be based on reduction in relative delay between existing and improved street configurations, such as the addition of a turn lane, or changing traffic controls, such as converting a signal to a roundabout.

Domingo has said park-and-ride options from an east-west standpoint will be a key piece of traffic rehabilitation plans.

Beach-oriented park-and-ride sites being studied include: Bayshore High School, 5401 34th St. W., Beachway Plaza, 7228 Manatee Ave. W., and Shoppes of Paradise Bay Plaza, 7330 Cortez Road W., all Bradenton; and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Other sites may be identified. The study will evaluate park-and-ride locations for proximity, potential public-private partnerships, shuttle frequency and water taxi feasibility from Van Wezel.

As the study moves into the third and final phase, results from steering committee meetings, public workshops and surveys and technical documentation will be included in the final Stantec report.

Domingo said the phase 2 report will be finished before the next MPO workshop at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 25, at the Holiday Inn-Sarasota Airport, 8009 15th St. E., Sarasota.

It will be presented to the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization board at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23, at the same Holiday Inn, according to David Hutchinson, MPO executive director.

Study results also will be presented by DOT staff at the Island Transportation Planning Organization meeting at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

 

If you go

What: Barrier island traffic study presentation at the Island Transportation Planning Organization meeting.

Who: Florida Department of Transportation staff will present and answer questions.

Where: Anna  Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

When: 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11.

Why: To determine ways to allow traffic to move more smoothly on barrier islands, including Anna Maria Island.

Study cost: $675,000.

Sea turtle hatchlings undaunted by heavy rains

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Turtle watch volunteers Heather Rolls, left, and Elsa Rohow excavate a nest Aug. 29. The rare green sea turtle nest at the south end of Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach hatched Aug. 26. It was one of five laid on Anna Maria Island as of Aug. 30, as compared to 486 loggerhead nests. The nest contained 90 hatched eggs, seven unhatched and one dead hatchling. For information about public excavations, visit AMITW on Facebook. Islander Photo: Courtesy AMITW/Amy Waterbury

Recent rainfall may have put a damper on human activities, but sea turtle hatchlings on Anna Maria Island are still coming out strong.

As of Sept. 3, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring reported 298 hatched nests, 103 remaining to hatch and 86 that are not expected to hatch, as compared to 224 hatched, 62 remaining to hatch and 146 that did not hatch in 2016.

Those identified as “no hatch” are nests less likely to hatch after being washed over by high tides and puddled with rain from storms.

When a storm results in hearvy rainfall and higher tides, sea turtle nests lining the beach can be covered with water, hence they are called “wash-outs.” The hatchlings inside the nest may not survive, according to AMITW executive director Fox.

Sea turtle eggs absorb water and hatchlings can drown before they emerge.

Fox said Aug. 29 that this year’s higher hatch numbers are likely due to fewer big storms.

“This time last year we had (Tropical Storm) Hermine and the high tides she created washed over a lot of our nests,” Fox said. “We haven’t had anything that bad so far this year, just rain.”

Fox said there are about 50 more nests this year than in 2016 and many were laid early in the season, so they are hatching earlier as well.

However, AMITW reported 57 disorientations as of Sept. 3, more than twice as many as reported in 2016 and the most ever reported by AMITW during nesting season, which runs May through October.

Disorientations can occur when lights visible from the shoreline attract turtles away from the water, making them vulnerable to predators, exhaustion or dehydration.

Fox said the disorientations are not proportionate to the number of nests, and she blames noncompliant lighting.

During nesting season, outdoor light visible from the shoreline must be low and shielded with fixtures containing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-approved bulbs. Interior lights, including television screens, visible from the nesting area after dark should be turned off or blocked by blinds or curtains.

Fox said turtle watch has received more than 100 calls from people reporting disoriented hatchlings in their pools, landscaping, driveways, patios and parking lots since hatchlings started emerging in July.

Fox said if someone sees a hatchling heading away from the water, they should put it in a bucket with damp sand — no water — and place a wet towel over the top of the bucket. She said the hatchling should not be exposed to air conditioning or sunlight.

Fox advised rescuers to call AMITW to collect the hatchling to provide rehabilitation before it is released.

“We need to assess the hatchling and get data on the location it was rescued from to report to the FWC,” Fox said. “It is important that you alert us if a hatchling is found.”

To report a disoriented hatchling or a sick, injured or dead sea turtle, contact Fox at suzilfox@gmail.com, 941-778-5638 or 941-232-1405.

 

Anna Maria votes to retain building official — with caveats

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Jimmy Strickland makes his case to the Anna Maria City Commission Aug. 30, during an emergency commission meeting. Islander Photo: Bianca Benedí

A public records request in Anna Maria revealed building official Jimmy Strickland failed to collect required documents before issuing a building permit in December 2016.

However, Anna Maria city commissioners voted Aug. 30 in an emergency commission meeting to give Strickland a vote of confidence, allowing him to remain on the job.

The vote included caveats that Strickland take courses on public records and FEMA to refresh his knowledge.

In June, the city of Anna Maria received a public records request from Spiro Paizes, a Sarasota-based building contractor, regarding construction at 417 Spring Ave., a single-family residence owned by Kelly Preston.

Paizes contacted the city on behalf of Jeffrey Young, who lives next door to Preston, claiming Young wanted to do construction on his home similar to the work on his neighbor’s home.

The ongoing work at the Preston property by contractor Frank Agnelli was thought to potentially exceed the FEMA 50 percent rule and Paizes sought the name of the appraiser who estimated the value of the construction work.

Former city hall employee Kristine Dittman denied Paizes the documents he requested, claiming they were private.

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy said Aug. 30 that Dittman informed him she was instructed to say so by Strickland.

However, an investigation by the city clerk’s office revealed Strickland had not collected all the required documents — including the FEMA paperwork and an appraisal — before approving the building permit in December 2016 for Preston’s remodel work.

At the city commission meeting Aug. 30, Murphy said the consequences of the issue were vast, adding the city was in dispute with Paizes, who alleges the city favors Agnelli.

“It’s a whole lot of frustration on my part, as manager of this city, to be confronted with this case,” Murphy said.

On Sept. 1, Murphy said Paizes had since reviewed the appraisal Agnelli submitted and withdrew his complaint.

Murphy said Aug. 30 that a weakness of Strickland is his desire to please others, which sometimes contradicts his role as rule-enforcer and gatekeeper.

However, Murphy also said upon reviewing Strickland’s case history, the incorrectly issued permit for the work at Preston’s home appeared to be a one-time error.

“He’s reliable, shows up on time, doesn’t take time off, for the most part he’s doing the job. People like him,” Murphy said.

Murphy added that he and other commissioners had been contacted by supporters of Strickland.

“We let one out the door,” Strickland said when commissioners invited him to explain.

He said the building department’s checklist was improved in the months since the erroneous permit was issued. He said the changes came about as the result of a shift in the department staff.

“Sounds like you’re saying ‘I screwed up,’” said Commissioner Dale Woodland.

“Basically so,” Strickland responded.

Commissioner Carol Carter advocated for Strickland during the meeting. “Having worked very closely with Jimmy, I found him to be personable and honest. People make mistakes and this was a big one. You hate to see somebody’s reputation and career ruined by one instance,” she said.

Strickland has worked for the city for more than two years. He receives a salary of about $140,000 annually and benefits.

Holmes Beach election proceeds to ballot, 4 for 3 seats

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Morton
Soustek
Grossman
Hurst
Kihm

There will be a ballot in Holmes Beach for three seats on the city commission, and four people are in the running.

Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen announced on the eve of qualifying that she will not run for a fourth consecutive two-year term in office.

Instead, she’s thrown her support to Jim Kihm, a political newcomer.

“I have decided not to run again for the Holmes Beach City Commission,” Peelen said in an email to her followers Aug. 31. “The reasons are both personal and political.”

The 76-year-old Peelen cited health issues, which she said are not life-threatening, but she feels robbed of the stamina it takes to be a commissioner.

“If the commissioner job is taken as seriously as I take it, it requires a lot of physical, mental and emotional energy,” Peelen emailed. “I don’t want to continue at this pace. It’s just that simple.”

First elected to a two-year commission term in November 2011 and re-elected in 2013 and 2015, Peelen was commission chair 2012-13.

“It has been an honor to serve for the last six years,” Peelen wrote. “I will continue, as a ‘civilian’ to try to save this community we all love from becoming Disney West.”

Peelen called Kihm a budget expert who is “smart, ethical and totally committed to maintaining Holmes Beach as a residential community.”

“I met him when he was giving our commission heck over our budget projections a few years ago,” Peelen said. “And I still like him.”

Kihm said his business background includes time as a manager in pharmaceutical and medical devices and a director of construction.

“I am running for a two-year seat on the Holmes Beach City Commission because I feel my background and qualifications will help me make a positive contribution to the city,” Kihm said.

Kihm and wife Connie became full-time island residents in 2015. Connie Kihm is her husband’s campaign treasurer.

“I want to work to maintain the lifestyle that we have here in Holmes Beach and to promote common-sense solutions to problems,” he said.

His four-point platform is to balance homeowner and rental property rights, keep the city safe, press county and state officials and the Manatee County Tourist Development Council to share the expense of visitors and maintain home rule.

Five people, including Kihm, fellow challenger Rick Hurst and three incumbents, have qualified to run for the Holmes Beach City Commission. Hurst qualified on the final day, Sept. 1.

Incumbents Pat Morton, Carol Soustek and Marvin Grossman are running for re-election.

Four commission seats are being contested in the Nov. 7 election. Three seats carry two-year terms and one is for a year.

Grossman is unopposed for the one-year term and will automatically be returned to office in November. The other candidates are running for two-year terms.

Some cross-pollination in candidate support was reflected by petition signatures.

Kihm signed Grossman’s petition. Commission Chair Judy Titsworth signed Morton’s petition.

Nancy Rae Deal, serving as treasurer for Grossman, also signed Soustek’s petition.

Candidates must name a treasurer and establish a campaign account.

Treasurers include Deal, and Hurst, Morton and Soustek serving for themselves, in addition to Connie Kihm.

The maximum individual contribution for any candidate is $1,000 although candidates can contribute any amount to their own campaigns.

Political signs may be posted in Holmes Beach up to 45 days before the election, which would be Sunday, Sept. 24, at the earliest.

Commission seats are nonpartisan and represent the citywide electorate.

Holmes Beach had 2,806 registered voters as of Sept. 1, according to Michael Bennett, Manatee County supervisor of elections.

 

Holmes Beach election at a glance

Seats up for election: Two-year terms for seats held by Commissioners Jean Peelen, Carol Soustek and Pat Morton; and one-year term for seat held by Commissioner Marvin Grossman. Peelen has declined to run. Grossman, Morton and Soustek have qualified.

Candidates: Two-year terms: Carol Soustek, Pat Morton, Jim Kihm and Rick Hurst. Marvin Grossman is automatically returned to office.

Election Day: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Polling place: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive.

Registered voters: 2,806 as of Sept. 1.

Early voting: None.

Information: votermanatee.com.

BB voters have choices for Ward 3 commission seat, mayor

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Shearon
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Bradenton’s Beach’s qualifying period for the Nov. 7 municipal election ended Sept. 1 and the races are on for mayor and commission.

Vice Mayor/Ward 4 Commissioner John Chappie is challenging Mayor Bill Shearon for his seat.

Two commission seats are up for re-election, but there only is a contest in Ward 3.

Ward 3 Commissioner Ralph Cole and Ward 1 Commissioner Jake Spooner will come to the end of their first two-year terms in November and, by Election Day, Mayor Bill Shearon will have served his first two-year term. He previously was elected to a two-year term as mayor in 2013, but a recall vote halted that term after a year and a half.

 

Mayoral race

Chappie — a former Manatee County commissioner, as well as former mayor and commissioner in Bradenton Beach — is challenging Shearon. Chappie has filed “resign-to-run” paperwork for his city commission seat, which keeps him in office until the election.

The Ward 4 seat will be filled by commission appointment following the election, whether Chappie wins or not.

A former city commissioner, Shearon was elected to his first mayoral term in November 2013. He oversaw the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier in his partial term, which was halted by a recall vote in May 2015. He was re-elected in November 2015.

Shearon’s goal is to continue working to improve the flow of communication between city officials and staff.

“Through having more workshops with staff before we take issues to a vote, we save time and taxpayers’ dollars,” Shearon said. “If re-elected, I would work to make it mandatory that any resolution or ordinance would first be discussed in a workshop setting.”

Additionally, Shearon cited the work he’s accomplished taking the city’s budget out of the red and into the black for the first time in several years.

“When I came in as mayor, there was a material weakness. For years before that we were running in a deficit budget,” Shearon said. “I’m proud of the fact that I’ve worked with the staff and commissioners as a team to fix it. Now, after three years, we have a balanced budget. That to me is a major accomplishment.”

Chappie said he hopes to encourage the residents to trust the commission.

“Right now, there are major concerns with trust in government,” Chappie said Aug. 22. “I take the time to listen. And, when you do that, it opens up opportunities for better ideas and communication.”

 

Ward 3 commission contest

Cole will face off in the citywide vote against Ward 3 resident T. Randy White.

“I’m excited for everything we have been doing, and want to be here to keep it going strong,” Cole said. “We have accomplished a lot, but we still have more to do.”

First-time-candidate White is a commercial pilot and a full-time resident of Bradenton Beach since 2013. In a Sept. 2 email to The Islander, White wrote he is running “to ensure decisions at city hall are first and foremost for the residents’ best interests, and by the residents, not by decree.”

Additionally, he wrote, “I’m concerned about the direction Bradenton Beach seems to be headed with planning and development, which I believe favors commercial interests over those of the residents.  I’m concerned about the present and future effects this trend will have on residents and on the unique nature and character of Bradenton Beach.”

Spooner is uncontested for his Ward 1 seat and will automatically be returned to office.

“I truly feel privileged to serve the city of Bradenton Beach for another two years,” Spooner said Sept. 1. “We have been working on a lot of important issues and I look forward to being there when they come to fruition. I also look forward to facing the challenges ahead.”

The final day to register to vote is Oct. 10. The city election will be Nov. 7.

Of 755 registered voters in Bradenton Beach, 600 people voted in the November 2016 general election.

Charter initiatives hit city roadblock

It appears Concerned Neighbors of Bradenton Beach has hit another roadblock in its quest to get three citizen’s initiatives on the November municipal ballot.

The grassroots group has until Sept. 8 to finalize the requirements for the initiatives to appear on the ballot.

Member Reed Mapes says the city is holding up the process.

The city commission will hold a special meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, to decide whether to approve a resolution for the initiatives.

In an Aug. 31 email to Bradenton Beach city clerk Terri Sanclemente, assistant Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Scott Farrington wrote that according to state statutes, a resolution or ordinance by the city is required to put the initiatives on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Mayor Bill Shearon, Vice Mayor John Chappie, city attorney Ricinda Perry and some CNOBB members also received Farrington’s Aug. 31 email.

CNOBB promoted three ballot initiatives and collected the required number of petition signatures from more than 100 Bradenton Beach voters to have them added to the Nov. 7 municipal ballot.

CNOBB members are pushing three charter amendments — replace the four-ward representative system with at-large representatives, amend residency requirements for elected officials from 24 months to 12 months and prohibit changes to the city charter by resolution. If approved by electors, a citizen vote to amend the charter would be needed.

The city held a special meeting Aug. 28 to discuss an issue brought up by CNOBB attorney Bob Hendrickson of Harrison & Kirkland P.A. of Bradenton, in an Aug. 22 email to Sanclemente. Hendrickson contends that, according to state statutes, initiatives can be placed on the ballot by ordinance or petition.

And if the city does not comply by the SOE deadline, Hendrickson said he has been directed to pursue the matter in the circuit court.

The commission voted Aug. 28 to include the initiatives on the ballot, but maintained the petitions contain “defects.”

Mapes and Hendrickson met Aug. 30 with Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett to discuss the ballot question.

According to Mapes’ Aug. 30 email, Bennett said the city must provide a resolution and city-approved ballot summaries for each of the resolutions.

Hendrickson prepared and emailed the ballot summaries Aug. 30 to Bennett and the city, including a letter explaining the city was invited to assist with the summaries but declined.

But the deadline is tight and likely cannot be met, Mapes wrote.

“Obviously the city may have to call another meeting to have a resolution, which they can, of course, stall on and will cause us to miss the deadline,” Mapes wrote.

Farrington’s Aug. 31 email said the SOE extended the original Sept. 1 deadline for “a week” to give CNOBB and the city more time.

In response to Farrington’s email, Hendrickson wrote Mapes, “If the city continues to refuse to adopt a resolution, your group will need to decide whether to sue … it should be a pretty easy lawsuit because the only issue will be whether the city is required to adopt an ordinance or resolution and, if so, ordering the city to adopt an ordinance or resolution as a ministerial task.”

Tops in Top Notch

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New Top Notch photo contest deadline July 21

The Islander’s Top Notch contest is underway.

The contest celebrates what still is known as the “Kodak moment,” despite the widespread switch from lm to digital technology.

Look now to July 21 for the second week’s dead-line.The contest includes six weekly front-page win- ners. Each receives an Islander “More than a mullet wrapper” T-shirt.

One weekly photo will take the top prize in the Top Notch contest, earning the photographer $100 from The Islander and an array of gifts and gift cards from local merchants.

A pet photo winner and pet prize is announced in the nal week.

Look online for complete rules and details.

Please, note, each photo must be included in a single email to topnotch@islander.org with the name of the photographer; date the photo was taken; location and description, names of recognizable people; and address and phone number for the photographer.

More rules — Top Notch Announcement Rules — must be observed.