Tag Archives: 01-04-2012

Privateer ransom paid, Holmes Beach mayor released

When the Anna Maria Island Privateers crew invaded Holmes Beach City Hall at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger was nowhere to be found — at least for a few long minutes.

Privateers searched city hall, starting at the mayor’s office, where a ruse had been initiated. Code enforcement officer David Forbes was waiting at the mayor’s desk, and he put up a valiant fight, but was outnumbered. Several members of the public works department staff joined Forbes in a counter attack, to no avail.

The Privateers continued their search for the mayor, including behind the dais, in staff offices, the conference room, the break room, and both rest rooms. They searched and searched, but a second check in the break room revealed the mayor was hiding behind a closet door.

Capture! Bohnenberger was led kicking and screaming outdoors to the Privateers ship, Skullywag, where he was taken aboard and tied to the ship’s main mast and flogged.

Privateer Tim “Hammer” Thompson announced the crew’s 40th anniversary demands for the city to pay a hefty ransom for the mayor’s release, including a key to the city and a writ from allowing the Privateers to pillage and plunder Holmes Beach for all of 2012.

Privateer Roger “Hoodat” Murphree passed a hat among the crowd of citizens, staff and officials, and announced it wasn’t nearly enough.

The Islander newspaper offered a bounty of champagne, but still the Privateers demanded more.

After a lengthy debate among the audience — some suggested they leave Bohnenberger where he was — a suitable ransom was paid to the Privateers. Holmes Beach City Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens then read a proclamation signed by city commissioners and the mayor that gave the Privateers the key to the city and the right to plunder.

Following the mayor’s release, the champagne flowed and Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce board of directors chair Karen LaPensee and other board members presented the Privateers with a plaque commending them for all their good deeds.

The capture of the mayor and ransom was all in good fun, and a good way for the Privateers to raise money for their annual goal of scholarships for deserving Island students headed to college.

The Privateers celebrated their 40th anniversary throughout 2011 and “Hammer” Thompson was the chair of the anniversary committee.

Following Bohnenberger’s release, apparently unharmed despite the lashing, Thompson received a plaque and a big round of applause from the Privateers and the audience for his anniversary celebration efforts.

When all the ceremonies, plaques, toasts and official proclamations were completed, food donated by a number of Holmes Beach businesses were served along with the champagne and Privateer grog.

In the past 12 months, the Privateers have held more than 40 events on Anna Maria Island that contributed to the scholarship fund and the anniversary celebration.

Islanders of the year: Privateers repeat at No. 1

To the Anna Maria Island Privateers: A toast to those who do the most.

Whether you love them for the scholarships they award, the parades on Fourth of July and at Christmas, the Privateers bring color, spirit and excitement to Anna Maria Island. They are synonymous with the rowdy Island nature of the past, and the cheer they promise to bring to young and old in the future.

The 40-year anniversary has been an all-out celebration of Privateer proportions, from captures at all three Island cities — who doesn’t love the sight of their mayor shackled to the Privateer ship awaiting the payment of ransom and delivery of the key to the city? — to new, fun events that included a Pirate soup cookoff, and a grog party.

The Privateers added flavor this year to the Anna Maria City Pier Centennial event, Holmes Beach Founder’s Day and more. They also hosted their tried and true events, Thieves Markets, mullet smokes, Christmas for kids, including visits with Santa after the parade, and more opportunities for kids to visit Santa at community events, Bayfest and Cortez Fishing Festival appearances, and a party at the Manatee Public Beach on July 4 for all the many scholarship winners — all with revelry, cannons roaring, swords clashing, mayhem and “Arrrrrrgh.”  Privateer trademarks.

There was booty to be paid on Anna Maria Island to the Privateers, and, in turn, a bounty of scholarships were distributed — the highest dollar amount ever for the men and women of the benevolent Privateers.

And perhaps you didn’t know, but for years and years, women were not allowed to be Privateers — in the tradition of the 17th and 18th centuries, when privateers were authorized to attack foreign warriors in place of or in addition to the naval fleet. And Privateers often captured pirates and recovered their hordes of stolen goods. Sometimes their investors profited from the booty brought back by the crew of Privateers.

So think of Anna Maria Island as investors, enjoying the booty and the bounty provided by our Privateers.

They provide a fabulous trademark for all the pleasures we enjoy on Anna Maria Island…. Paradise for Privateers. We salute you, AMI Privateers.

Islanders honored, remembered

The Islander takes pride in recognizing members of the Anna Maria Island community for their unselfish contributions and genuine concern for making this slice of paradise an even better place to live.

Since the newspaper started up in 1992, its path was to partner with community organizations, report the news of record, and tell the tales of people who live and work on AMI.

We launched an Islander of the Year award to recognize deserving people. The honor was presented posthumously to the late Anna Maria Mayor Ernie Cagnina in 1993 and Anna Maria Mayor Ray Simches in 1994.

Katie Pierola was the 1995 recipient of The Islander’s annual award. During her six years as mayor of Bradenton Beach, the city underwent a renaissance.

She embodied the definition of a public servant in her tireless efforts to improve both her city and Anna Maria Island.

Pierola played an instrumental role in the beach renourishment program and the prevention of a proposed Cortez megabridge.

W.H. “Snooks” Adams was 1996 Islander of the year. He was born in Cortez, and spent much of his life on Anna Maria Island as a law enforcement officer who used common sense as his guide.

He started Snooks Adams Kids Day in 1954, an end-of-school tradition that was later taken over by the Anna Maria Island Privateers.

Charles Lester and Jo Ann Lester fell in love with Anna Maria Island and along with it, the Anna Maria Island Community Center. They put their money where their hearts are, both here and in the small towns in Wisconsin where they also reside half the year.

The established an endowment for the Anna Maria Island Community Center, and sponsor a yearly fundraising campaign. We honored them as 1997 Islanders of the year.

Jim Kronus, retired from 25 years as Anna Maria Island Elementary School principal, and was named 1998 Islander of the Year.

Suzi Fox was recognized for her efforts in organizing a volunteers to protect sea turtles in 1999.

Nancy Ambrose was named 2000 Islander of the year for her impact on the Holmes Beach Butterfly Park.

The original keeper of the Island’s history is Carolyne Norwood, Islander of the year 2001. Anna Maria Island Historical Society, its museum and the old jail and Belle Haven Cottage all are thanks to the vision of Carolyne Norwood.

Billie Martini, 2002. Her finest achievement while a commissioner for Holmes Beach may be the realization of the Grassy Point Preserve. The undeveloped area was first eyed by Martini for preservation.

Ilona and Jeff Kenrick were The Islander newspaper’s Islanders of the rear for 2003.

While managing the Taylor Family Foundation, whose international aid amounted to about $1 million a year, the Kenricks created a blood drive that included a reward for blood donors, a cash payout to the donor’s choice of four Island charities. It was a win-win and we thank them for their positive impact here and beyond.

Jeff Croley, 2004 Islander of the Year, represented all the good qualities we could ask for in a volunteer —he quietly went about doing anything and everything he could to aid those in need after Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.

Although, if there is a symbol for Anna Maria Island, it is the sword-wielding, cannon-firing, ship-riding benevolent crew of the Anna Maria Island Privateers.

For all the good they do year after year, 2005 stood out for their efforts on behalf of one unfortunate little boy.

It only took a phone call to bring the Privateers and their ship to greet a young boy with a failing heart on a “wish” trip to Anna Maria Island.

The Privateers also came to the rescue with Hurricane Katrina relief. They initiated a memorial scholarship fund for an Island teen Bridget Miller, who had been killed in a car crash.

They did all this and more —despite the sudden illness and deaths of president Greg “Shiprek” Davidson and

Dick Cline.

They were our 2005 choice for Islanders of the year..

Pete Lannon, 2006 Islander of the Year. If there ever was a person who brought out the best in the Anna Maria Island community, it was Pete Lannon.

He was more than a Holmes Beach police officer, he was a mentor for our children, a confidant for people in need and a friendly face at Anna Maria Elementary School, where he was resource office for more than five years.

He lost a tough battle with cancer that year and he is still missed by many.

Following the death of Christine Olson’s 22-year-old daughter, Tiffiany, in a motorcycle crash, Olson sought to connect people in emergency situations with loved ones and family members who “need to know.”

Her crusade to allow emergency contact information be included with driver’s licenses was a success. We thank Olson for making a difference in the lives of many, and for taking her quest to other states and the federal government.

Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, 2008 Islander of the Year: Cheers to the organization that runs the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, and dedicates the proceeds to preserving Cortez, including the Burton store, the old schoolhouse, and the 90-plus acres that provide a buffer to the village from encroaching development.

It was an honor for Anna Maria Island to be home to the first lady of Florida, Rhea Chiles, and to have her return after the death of Gov. Lawton Chiles.

AMI embraced Rhea. Little did we know she would bring with her culture, education, arts and artists, and a sense of nature and the beauty around us — the Studio at Gulf and Pine.

Combined with the generosity and vision of son Ed Chiles, owner of a trio of landmark restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, we have a legacy for the future.

Rhea and Ed Chiles were our honorees in 2009.

The Geyer family was our 2010 Islander of the year. You may know Pat as mayor or commissioner, or maybe Mom, but for many years, hundreds, if not thousands of Islanders grew to love her as Miss Duffy.

Patricia A. Geyer, proprietress of Duffy’s Tavern, died May 1, 2010, at age 79, but she is remembered.

She served 18 years on the city commission and was elected mayor from 1990-94. During her public service, she demonstrated her courage and conviction, and her willingness to always listen to the people.

And listen she did. She had an ear — and respect — for all opinions that came across the bar at Duffy’s Tavern, the quaint and quirky hamburger joint she ran for more than 35 years.

The Geyers began operating Duffy’s Tavern on Gulf Drive across from the Manatee Public Beach in 1971.

But it wasn’t just Miss Duffy who did the Island proud. She had loads of help from husband Ed, who kept a pot of bean soup at the ready and kept calls about politics at bay. They raised five girls, who all put in their time at the grill, at the bar, or whatever was needed by Mom.

Pat Geyer was known for her quiet good humor, as well as for her fierce loyalty to family, work, causes, politics and principle, and she managed to pass that along to her girls.

And they — and now their families, too — all contribute to community events, fundraisers and the family business.

Miss Duffy earned many accolades, but surely none pleased her more than the simple appreciation for her family, her political service and her food.

Pat Geyer gave her family and Anna Maria Island a great gift — and they carry on her traditions.

For those reasons, the Geyers were our choice for Islander of the year 2010.

Which brings us to the Privateers, Islanders of the year for 2011, and our only repeat winner in 19 years of news-making.

Much deserved, much applauded and cheered.

Arrrrrgh! Here’s to 40 years of Privateers … and many more.

Anna Maria starts ‘loud noise’ discussion

Anna Maria’s planning and zoning board might be opening a Pandora’s box of issues at its Jan. 10 meeting when it begins discussion of loud noise problems after 10 p.m. That’s the city’s time to quiet noise and for neighbors and residents to enjoy peace and quiet.

Board chair Sandy Mattick said the board decided to discuss the noise issue because of a recent variance granted Penelope Naylor of Elm Street, and other complaints about noise.

Naylor received a variance to build an 8-foot-high fence at the rear of her property to help reduce noise levels coming from an adjacent vacation rental property.

Mattick, however, realizes the issue has been discussed many times previously in the city and law enforcement officials have said a noise ordinance is difficult to enforce.

Sgt. Dave Turner of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office-Anna Maria substation has said, “All we can do is tell them to turn the noise down.”

Trying to ticket someone for a noise violation would require noise-level meters and recorded decibel readings and that’s proven impossible to enforce in Manatee County, he said.

Mattick, however, said the board wants to discuss the issue because it’s been hearing more and more complaints about noise, caused, in particular, by renters.

She’s aware that discussion of noise at vacation rental properties could lead to discussion about rental property problems in the city.

That might not be a bad idea, she said, considering the complaints that many Holmes Beach residents have made recently about the influx of new duplexes that can accommodate a number of families — and are disrupting the family lifestyle there.

“We’re going to start with discussing the noise levels in the city, and we’d like to get as much public input as possible,” she said. If more questions and complaints arise from the noise discussion, the board will hear those issues as well, she said.

Any P&Z recommendations will be forwarded to the city commission for discussion and recommendations for possible ordinance adoption.

The noise issue from rental properties doesn’t appear to be diminishing and the number of rental properties on Anna Maria Island appears to be on the increase.

According to the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office, the number of homestead exemption applications in Anna Maria has declined by 66 percent since 2006. That’s an indication that houses are being converted to vacation rental properties, said Dale Freidley of the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office.

A reported decline in Island city populations and a drop in the number of registered voters would support Freidley’s suggestion that Islanders in recent years have been converting their homes to vacation rentals.

The P&Z work session on noise is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.



The BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, was the host for the biggest, most sparkling New Year’s Eve party, with a fireworks show staged from the beach at midnight. Hundreds of people joined those at the restaurant for the finale. Islander Photos: Dara Caudill, islandphotography.org

Anna Maria mayor takes on center complaint

A controversy over alleged bad behavior and illegal activities at an adult dodgeball tournament Nov. 26 at the Anna Maria Island Community Center resulted in Mayor Mike Selby conducting his own investigation into the conduct of players at the tournament.

The mayor said his investigation confirmed that alcohol consumption by some of the adult participants did occur at the event, and also revealed that the person in charge of the center that day was a young woman who was covering the front desk and answering phones.

“We can’t have this situation happen again. I’ve been told by members of the board that a senior supervisor would always be at the center when it’s open,” the mayor said.

The mayor said he plans to have serious talks with the board of directors about policies, procedures and staffing, and he’ll bring Commissioner Chuck Webb, the commission liaison to the center, into the discussions.

The problems at the tournament were first brought up by Hardin Avenue resident Hal Badger in a letter to The Islander that was published Dec. 14 on the opinion page.

Badger, whose back yard is on Palm Avenue adjacent to the athletic field, wrote that he saw drinking, loud music, intoxicated behavior and profanity on Palm Avenue by some tournament players the day of the tournament. Badger said he reported the incidents to the center and to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation.

He said sheriff’s deputies appeared several times during the tournament and the behavior was halted. However, after the deputies left, the drinking and profanity resumed, Badger said. He also claimed senior center staff were not present for the tournament.

Badger’s letter prompted a response from center board chair Greg Ross in The Islander Dec. 28.

        Ross said Badger’s letter was a misrepresentation of what actually happened. The activities in question took place in the city-owned parking lot along Palm Avenue, he said, implying the center was not responsible.

Ross said another board member told him Badger’s complaints were “almost completely false.”

Ross said he got information on the tournament from another board member who was at the event.

Badger said he didn’t want a “he said, he said” discussion with Ross, but he believes his integrity and honesty are at stake.

He produced pictures of beer cans and bottles left behind that day, and said the mayor told him he conducted his own investigation that confirmed players were drinking beer at the tournament and no senior staff was present.

“I just want people to know that I did not make up the facts of what happened. What I wrote was not ‘almost 99 percent false,’” as Ross said in the Dec. 28 story. “What I wrote was 100 percent true,” Badger said.

He has pictures and Selby’s own investigation into the matter to clear his name, but perhaps the center’s board should do its own investigation, he suggested.

“I don’t want to get into an argument with Ross about what somebody may have told him. I just want people to know I didn’t make this up. I think the center’s board should do its own investigation and I thank Mayor Selby for looking into this issue.”

Badger said that as an 11-year resident of Hardin Avenue, the dodgeball tournament is not the first time drinking has occurred at center events.

Selby confirmed there was drinking at the tournament, but there was also an apparent misunderstanding when a deputy from Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation arrived at the center.

Selby said he learned that the deputy believed the center and the parking spaces on Palm Avenue were private property and he had no jurisdiction. Although the deputy told the people parked along Palm to halt the drinking and profanity, no citations were issued.

Also during his investigation, Selby learned the center supervisor was a young woman at the front desk.

The mayor also observed there are no signs posted at the Palm Avenue parking spaces that state drinking, profanity and loud music are prohibited. It might be a good idea to post such signs around the entire property, he suggested.

“I plan to talk with Webb, then he and I will meet with the board of directors to get these things clear with everyone,” he said.

Selby also will meet with MCSO Sgt. Dave Turner, the officer in charge of the substation, to ensure all deputies know that the center and Palm Avenue parking spaces are city property.

“We can’t have adult activities at the center with drinking and swearing going on while kids are playing there and no senior supervisor present,” Selby said.

The next meeting of the center board will be at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. Likely agenda topics include the continuing discussion of a child protection policy, a cell tower on center property, and the campaign to burn the mortgage, among other 2011–12 financial matters.

Panty case to reopen

Prosecutors are looking to re-file and re-open the previously closed case of a Holmes Beach man charged with raiding a neighbor’s dresser for panties.

Assistant state attorney Julie Binkley, who is assigned to the case, filed a notice of nolle prosequi Dec. 2 at the Manatee County Judicial Center. She was reported to be on vacation last week.

Brian Iten, a 12th Judicial Circuit felony division chief and assistant state attorney, said Dec. 28 that the decision not to prosecute was due to the unavailability of witnesses.

Ernest Kendler, 63, of Neptune Lane, had been scheduled for trial as early as December, after a number of disputes arose concerning the validity of the warrant that led to his arrest and the collection of evidence by the Holmes Beach Police Department.

Iten said the state will re-file the case sometime in January, look to re-arraign Kendler and set a new trial date. The judge would not allow a continuance under the previous case, he said.

Kendler was arrested and charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, a second-degree felony, in November 2010. He is accused of entering a residence near his home without authorization and stealing underwear from two women.

This fall defense attorney Connie Mederos-Jacobs entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of Kendler and demanded police reports and prosecutorial information in the case.

Mederos-Jacob did not return a phone call for comment.

Registration opens for AME’s Dolphin Dash

Registration has begun for the Anna Maria Elementary School-Parent Teacher Organization sixth annual Dolphin Dash, a 5k-run and 1-mile fun-run/walk through Holmes Beach Jan. 14.

The event is again being organized by Becky Walter as a fundraiser for the AME PTO.

Registration forms are available in the school administration office, 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, or online at www.runnergirl.com.

Runners of all ages are welcome to participate. Registration fees are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 18 if paid by Jan. 12. There is an additional $5 charge for those who register after Jan. 12, including on the day of the race.

Walters is hosting a packet pickup party for those who register early from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, at Holy Cow Ice Cream, 3234 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach.

Those runners who pre-register will receive a goodie bag donated by Island Real Estate.

All participants will receive a Dolphin Dash T-shirt which, this year, has been designed by AME second-grade student Andrew Austin.

For more information, contact Walter at 941-383-9675.

Legal issues abound in 27th Street dispute

        The ball will be in the city of Bradenton Beach’s court Jan. 5, following Holmes Beach’s vote last month on a settlement proposal to end the wrangling between the two cities over the 27th Street quitclaim to Sandpiper Resort.

        The proposal seeks to resolve the border dispute surrounding the 50-foot-wide unimproved street in Bradenton Beach that Holmes Beach claims was improperly quitclaimed to the Sandpiper Resort Coop. in 2008. Bradenton Beach claims Holmes Beach does not have legal standing to dispute their action.

        Currently involved in a statutory conflict resolution process, the neighboring cities face additional fees for lawyers, a mediator and possibly court action if a settlement is not reached.

        The city of Bradenton Beach’s position is Holmes Beach does not have sufficient interest in 27th Street, or legal “standing” to challenge its 2008 quitclaim to the mobile home park.

        According to the draft minutes of the first conflict resolution meeting Dec. 7, Bradenton Beach attorney Ricinda Perry said, “until a court tells the city of Bradenton Beach they were wrong,” the city’s position is that “Holmes Beach does not have standing.” She said the matter is a “private issue” between property owners, Sandpiper Resort and the city of Bradenton Beach.

        In a recent phone interview, Holmes Beach attorney Patricia Petruff conceded that a court ultimately would decide the “standing” issue, but she believes the city of Holmes Beach has a sufficient connection to object to Bradenton Beach’s 2008 quitclaim ordinance, which she said, “clearly violates Florida law.”

        At press time, Perry had not returned a phone call for comment.


Settlement proposed

        Holmes Beach commissioners voted Dec. 13 to present a formal offer of settlement that proposes to the city of Bradenton Beach that it request Sandpiper quitclaim to Bradenton Beach the northern 30 feet of the former 50-foot-wide street.

        In a letter dated Dec. 16, Petruff said the Holmes Beach city commission directed her to submit the following proposal:

        “After review of surveys contained in city of Bradenton Beach files and inspection of the property, the northern 30 feet of the 27th Street 50-foot right of way is clearly being utilized for right-of-way purposes, including a 10-foot-wide paved road, parking, utilities and stormwater drainage. Mobile homes and other improvements appear to encroach on the remaining 20 feet of the right of way.

        “In order to restore the status quo with respect to this 30-foot area, the city of Holmes Beach proposes that the city of Bradenton Beach request that the Sandpiper Co-op quitclaim the northern 30 feet of the 27th Street right of way back to the City of Bradenton Beach.

        “Further, Holmes Beach proposes that the current signs on the fence which state the property is private be removed, and alternatively, signage stating that the area is available for public and or beach access be installed.

        “Finally, the city commission is requesting that the two existing gates at Avenues B and C be removed and that an additional opening be installed in the fence so that there can be public access through the existing alley. The remaining fence along the northern boundary of the 27th Street right of way can remain in place.”

        Petruff added that the “understanding at the conflict assessment meeting” was that the city of Bradenton Beach would meet with Sandpiper Co-op representatives “to discuss this approach to resolve the matter.”


Point, counterpoint

        Petruff was the attorney when Bradenton Beach first considered the quitclaim of 27th Street to the Sandpiper in 2008. It was done to help the resort clarify ownership while financing some improvements in the mobile home park.

        Petruff said that a letter she wrote in December 2008 “lays it all out.”

        Her Dec. 3, 2008, letter to the then-Bradenton Beach Mayor Michael Pierce contends that a quitclaim deed by the city would be improper, and that vacating 27th Street was the city’s only option.

        “As a properly dedicated roadway, the city of Bradenton Beach holds 27th Street in trust for the public and the only way the city may lawfully relinquish its duties as trustee is to vacate the property.

        “Pursuant to Florida law, vacation of 27th Street would result in fee title to property vesting 100 percent in the adjacent Ilexhurst property owners, and not in Sandpiper.”

        Perry responded to Petruff’s “vacation” argument at the Dec. 7 meeting, saying it is “not a workable solution” and that Sandpiper had relied on the quitclaim deed when it obtained a bank loan.

        Perry also said that the Sandpiper co-op board should be represented in the conflict resolution procedures due to having a substantial interest in the outcome.

2008 position, and response

        In 2008, attorney Charles H. Webb, now an Anna Maria city commissioner, represented the Sandpiper and prepared the quitclaim deed. The deed, recorded in Manatee County, cites a Florida statute allowing re-conveyances as the authority for the deed.

        The statute referenced in the deed is inapplicable, Petruff said, because it pertains to a “re-conveyance” by quitclaim only if the land had been conveyed for a specific purpose, and was not so used for 60 months.

        Webb addressed the city of Bradenton Beach in 2008, stating Florida law allows the city to convey unimproved roads, including 27th Street, by quitclaim deed. He also said that because the Sandpiper had exercised private control over the road, a quitclaim deed was proper to clear up ownership issues.

        Petruff disagreed with Webb in 2008, stating that as a properly dedicated road, the Sandpiper could not acquire 27th Street by adverse possession. In a recent interview, Petruff also pointed to utilities and drainage as “improvements” on the street.

        At press time, Webb had not returned a phone call for comment.

        Shortly after sending its 2008 letter of legal objections, Holmes Beach city commissioners backed off the issue at their Dec. 9, 2008, meeting. Commissioners agreed not to spend additional city dollars pursuing the matter.


Dispute re-ignites

        However, the matter resurfaced in August 2011 after a fence and gates were erected and no trespassing signs were posted along the 27th Street boundary with Holmes Beach.

        Nearby property owner and Holmes Beach Commissioner John Monetti said residents want to use the street to reach the bay and the beach. Meanwhile the Sandpiper residents maintain the bayfront is their private property.

The Sandpiper Resort Association currently awaits a proposal from Bradenton Beach before considering its options, but its board reportedly will not meet until Feb. 1.

And Bradenton Beach has not considered the issue as a voting body because it has lacked a quorum of voting commissioners.

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Gay Breuler and Mayor John Shaughnessy — a voting member of the commission — have recused themselves because they reside at Sandpiper Resort. And the city is lacking a Ward 3 commissioner due to former commissioner Janie Robertson’s term-limit expiration. No one ran for the seat in the November election.

The commission is expected to appoint a commissioner at its Jan. 5 meeting.

In December, the two cities participated in the first of multiple meetings prescribed under a state conflict resolution statute. It outlines a process and deadlines to be followed before one governmental entity files suit against another.

Because the towns failed to resolve the dispute at the first Dec. 7 meeting, a joint public meeting is now required. It was  required by Dec. 20, 50 days after the Holmes Beach letter of Oct. 27 that first invoked the process was received by the city of Bradenton Beach.

However, Petruff’s Dec. 16 letter suggested the cities schedule a joint public meeting Jan. 17 or  Jan.18, given the fact the next meeting of the Bradenton Beach city commission is Jan. 5.

According to its Jan. 5 meeting agenda, Bradenton Beach will address appointing a commissioner — which will allow a quorum of three voting members — and the Holmes Beach settlement offer.

If no agreement is reached at the joint meeting later in January, mandatory mediation is required, the costs of which are to be equally divided between the cities, according to the conflict resolution statute.

Cortez search ends in arrest, arraignment

A three-hour search Dec. 19 involving law enforcement units and a helicopter from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and support from Bradenton and Palmetto police departments began in the area of a mobile home park on 115th Street Court West and ended on Cortez Road.

        The search resulted in the arrest of Charles Leonard, 19, of Bradenton, on multiple counts of armed burglary and at least one count of grand theft of a vehicle.

        Deputies were first dispatched to a call of an attempted stolen vehicle at 3:34 a.m. in the area of Sunny Shores Mobile Home Park after receiving a call that an unknown man was attempting to push his neighbor’s truck from its owner’s driveway.

        The initial report states that the witness had yelled to the person pushing the truck, questioning what he was doing. The witness did not recognize the person to be the truck’s owner. The suspect then ran westbound through the mobile homes, according to the report.

        As deputies arrived, sheriff’s office reports indicate that a white Ford Escort, which was later determined to be a stolen vehicle by Bradenton Police Department, was observed quickly leaving the area.

A deputy attempted to stop the vehicle upon arriving at the scene, one report indicated, but the Escort went around him at a “high rate of speed.” Reports indicated that police next spotted the Escort off the road, stuck in brush on the south side of Cortez Road West where it had crashed.

According to one sheriff’s deputy report, a caller from Paradise Bay Mobile Home Park had reported a male walking through the area, asking to use a phone.  Callers had reported multiple vehicles were ransacked, “likely in the suspect’s attempt to find yet another car to steal,” according to the deputy’s report.

During the morning, numerous items were reported missing in the neighborhood, including clothes from a shed and a bicycle.

A gun also was found inside the Escort, and was later deemed stolen in another Sunny Shore burglary, according to a report.

At approximately 8:19 a.m., a deputy found a man — Leonard — with freshly scratched legs and wet shoes.

The report also said Leonard admitted to fleeing, changing his clothes, leaving his cell phone in the Escort and walking into the water “because someone told him if he cools his body the (search) helicopter wouldn’t pick him up.”

According to the report, Leonard said an air bag went off and hit him in the face when the Escort crashed.

He confessed to “car hopping,” entering unlocked vehicles and rummaging with the intent to steal loose change and small items, according to the sheriff’s report. The report also indicates Leonard admitted to involvement in 18 burglaries that morning. Leonard also admitted involvement in multiple other burglaries and stolen vehicle cases, and that he had a drug problem.

A Jan. 13 arraignment is set for 9 a.m. at the Manatee Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.