Tag Archives: 08-14-2019

Anna Maria mayor updates county tourism officials on pier

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Bicycling, Brendan Sweetman and son Rangi Sweetman, 14, of Nashville, Tennessee, wait for relatives at the Anna Maria City Pier, which remained closed to the public Aug. 7. Islander Photos: Kathy Prucnell

August and September hold promise for progress on the Anna Maria City Pier.

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy updated county tourism officials Aug. 1 on the status of the pier construction, as well as the planned construction of a restaurant and bait shop at the T-end.

Contributions from Manatee County, totaling $1.935 million after an expected $435,000 addition in August, will be “100 percent from tourist development tax,” said Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor Bureau director Elliott Falcione.

The project — from the commission’s decision to replace and not repair the pier to letting contracts for the walkway and understructure as well as the restaurant and bait shop — has been ongoing for two years, since Hurricane Irma damaged the pier and its amenities in September 2017.

Falcione said the county reimburses Anna Maria after the city facilitates and pays contractors, and he expects county commissioners will vote for the increase in funding Aug. 20 because “he meets one-on-one with them” prior to his budget recommendations.

In an email to Monica Luff, assistant to Falcione, Murphy reported the status of the pier.

  • Piles, supports and stringers for the walkway are covered with plywood, awaiting the permanent hardwood ipe decking, so workers can access the end of the pier.
  • A concrete platform at the T-end is complete.
  • Conduits for utilities are partially in place.

Looking forward, Murphy anticipated:

  • Electrical lines were to be installed the week of Aug. 5 for light posts on the walkway.
  • Throughout August, weather permitting, a small boat landing will be framed. Pier planks and T-end fascia also will be installed in August.

According to the mayor, there is an open issue about a fire suppression line.

“We will follow the code. But, as far as its location, material and size, the engineers are wrestling with that,” Murphy told The Islander Aug. 8, adding there should be a resolution in the next couple of months.

In July, Anna Maria commissioners approved a $967,000 contract with Mason Martin of Holmes Beach to construct the restaurant and bait shop. The contract has a Feb. 10, 2020, completion date.

Still undecided is who will be responsible for some of the improvements.

Mario Schoenfelder holds the lease for the restaurant until December 2020, and rent payments have been abated since Hurricane Irma caused much of the pier damage in September 2017.

In November 2018, the city engaged i+conSOUTHEAST with a $3.3 million contract for pier understructure and walkway improvements. The contract completion date, adjusted by change orders, is now Sept. 16, according to Murphy.

The total cost of the pier — demolition, construction and improvements — is budgeted at $5.9 million.

In addition to the county tourist development dollars, the city expects reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state.

The new pier replaces the historic pier built in 1911, which underwent numerous remodels before it was declared destroyed in 2017.

Officer moves up

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Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer and Officer Mike Walker — newly named a sergeant — show the sergeant stripes Walker will wear effective Aug. 24. Walker will be recognized for his promotion at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, in the Patricia A. Geyer Commission Chambers, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy HBPD

Holmes Beach Police Officer Mike Walker ranks.

Walker will be promoted Aug. 24 to sergeant.

Walker was named HBPD’s Officer of the Year in 2009, 2013, 2016 and 2019, and twice received a congressional award for dedication and professionalism.

In 2009, he received a security management professional association service award.

With the HBPD, Walker served as a field training officer as well as a member of the honor guard and as the HBPD representative to the city police pension board.

He and his wife Maria are proud parents of a 10-month-old daughter, Kinsley.

Good news or bad?: Cortez Bridge years from replacement

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The view from the Seafood Shack Marina Bar and Grill includes the draw opening on the Cortez Bridge Aug. 4. The DOT has recommended replacing the drawbridge with a high-fixed span bridge. Islander Photos: Sarah Brice
Tide Tables restaurant owner Bobby Woodson is confident loyal patrons will still find his waterfront restaurant — at the southeast corner of the Cortez Bridge in Cortez — during construction and after the new bridge is built. Islander Photos: Sarah Brice
Kim Shepherd, 26-year owner of Annie’s Bait and Tackle at the base of the Cortez Bridge, is concerned that a megabridge linking Cortez to Bradenton Beach would harm the Cortez community.
Joe Rogers, chief operating officer of the Seafood Shack Marina Bar and Grill, says a new bridge is needed but he believes how big a span should reopen for debate.
Michael Bazzy, whose family has owned the Bradenton Beach Marina since 1981, says although construction may affect his business at the base of the bridge in Bradenton Beach, he’s not concerned. He added, he has good relations with the DOT.
The view looking north across the deck at Annie’s Bait and Tackle in Cortez includes activity at the Seafood Shack Marina Bar and Grill in the fishing village of Cortez. The views from Annie’s and the Seafood Shack include the span of the Cortez Bridge across Sarasota Bay from Cortez.
Annie’s Bait and Tackle offers patrons outdoor seating with a view of the Cortez Bridge.

If you’ve been looking forward to — or dreading — the proposed replacement of the Cortez drawbridge with a 65-foot-clearance fixed-span bridge, you’re going to have to wait a while. Quite a while.

“It’s not going to happen immediately,” said Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Brian R. Rick.

Most likely, if it happens, it won’t be for another 10 years or so.

The DOT is expected to release results of its Cortez Bridge Project Development and Environment Study by the end of the year. The study, started in 2013, determines what environmental, economic, social, cultural and physical effects the new bridge would have on the area, particularly the historic fishing village of Cortez.

After that would come the design phase, then right-of-way acquisition, then finally construction.

About $6.4 million has been allocated for design, which has been awarded to the engineering firm H.W. Lochner Inc., but design work has not started, the DOT’s Rick said in a phone interview Aug. 5.

Once design begins, it will take about two years to complete. The DOT likely will hold public meetings during that time period, Rick said.

Right-of-way acquisition is expected to be funded for fiscal years 2024-27, beyond the scope of the DOT’s current five-year work program, which ends in 2023-24. So that aspect of the new bridge is not funded.

Construction is not funded either.

An April 23, 2018, announcement by DOT communications manager Zachary Burch said the agency recommended the fixed span and design was scheduled to begin later that year and right-of-way acquisition was funded for fiscal 2020 and 2021. But Rick told The Islander additional work needed on the project development and environment study delayed the timetable.

Some Cortez merchants are in no hurry to see the new bridge built. Count Kim Shepherd among them.

“They’re dissecting the village,” said Shepherd, owner of Annie’s Bait and Tackle Shop for the past 26 years. “I don’t agree with that. They’re dissecting a town.”

Annie’s is situated on the waterfront in Cortez at the northeast corner of the bridge.

Preliminary plans call for the eastern part of the bridge to ramp up on Cortez Road at 123rd Street West. Parts of the village on either side of Cortez Road between 123rd Street and Sarasota Bay would be connected under the bridge. Service roads would deliver vehicular traffic to that area, which is home to several businesses.

But Shepherd is not sure that would be enough.

“I think it’s going to be hard for people to get to us even with the access road,” she said in an interview in her vintage bait shop. “It’s going to affect the whole village.”

Disruption during construction would be even worse, she said, pointing to what happened during repair work to the bridge in 2015.

“Even with signs, we took a hit,” she said.

Some other Cortez merchants take a more wait-and-see attitude.

“I’ve been told by the DOT it’s at least eight years up the road,” said Bobby Woodson, owner of Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina on the waterfront at the base of the bridge in Cortez.

The DOT will have to keep a pathway open to his restaurant during construction, Woodson said. And he’s counting on his customers.

“We’ve built a clientele during the past 5 1/2 years,” he said. “They’ll find us.”

And by the time construction starts, Woodson said, the restaurant will have built an even larger clientele.

“We’re going to be just fine,” he said during an interview at the restaurant.

Joe Rogers, chief operating officer at the Seafood Shack Marina Bar and Grill, also expressed optimism that the Shack will thrive.

“Hopefully, people will still find us,” he said from the marina behind the restaurant. “People seek out waterfront restaurants. It’s just going to take them a while longer.

“We’ll have a ton of signage.”

On the western side of the bridge, Michael Bazzy, owner of the Bradenton Beach Marina, said he doesn’t expect to see a new span any time soon.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Bazzy, whose family has owned the marina since 1981.

Regardless, he expects to come out fine.

“I’m not really concerned,” he said. “We’ve always had real good relations with the DOT.”

Rogers agrees that a new bridge is needed. He’s just not sure that it has to be the 65-foot-clearance fixed span, as recommended by the DOT last year.

“We need a bridge,” he said. “What size is debatable.”

The DOT notes that the bridge, which was built in 1956, has already had three major repair projects — in 1996, 2010 and 2015 — and needs to be replaced.

“Future repair projects would likely increase in scope, traffic disruptions and cost, and yet decrease in effectiveness due to continued deterioration of the bridge,” the agency said in the April 2018 announcement.

Rogers said whatever is built needs to last.

“They have to think long term,” he said. “It’s got to be good for another 50 years.”

The DOT says a new fixed-span bridge would have a 75-year life span.

“A fixed bridge is resoundingly the best financial investment for taxpayers,” the announcement said.

Other options were drawbridges with vertical clearances of 21 or 35 feet.

The DOT said the high span would cost $72 million to build and maintains that “construction costs, including design and construction, saves approximately $23.9 million compared to a new mid-level drawbridge.”

The high bridge, the DOT said, would save $11.2 million in maintenance and construction costs compared to a new drawbridge.

Indications six years ago were that most local residents opposed any new bridge, no matter the height.

A DOT mail survey answered by nearly 850 local residents in spring 2013 showed 51% of respondents were in favor of rehabilitating the Cortez Bridge, while 43% favored replacement.

Of those in favor of bridge replacement, 56 percent were opposed to a high-level fixed span and 38 percent were in favor of a mega-bridge.

Of those opposed to a high bridge, 19% wanted a mid-level drawbridge and 33% wanted a low-level drawbridge.

Among local communities, Cortez had the highest level of opposition to a replacement bridge. Sixty-two percent of respondents favored rehabilitation and 33% wanted a replacement.

Anna Maria respondents wanted rehabilitation over replacement 54-43. Bradenton Beach was 52-39.

Holmes Beach and Longboat Key respondents favored replacement.

Holmes Beach came in at 50-45 in favor of a new bridge and Longboat Key answered 86-14 in favor of a replacement

But the DOT decided in 2016 not to rehabilitate the bridge.

Longboat Key town manager Tom Harmer said he has been talking with the DOT about making it easier for motorists to get on and off the Key. But he said in a phone interview Aug. 6 that he realizes a new Cortez Bridge is only part of the solution.

Longboat Key residents driving off the island to the north still have traffic chokepoints at the Longboat Pass drawbridge and the intersection at Gulf Drive and Cortez Road in Bradenton Beach.

And the initial plans for the high-level bridge call for only two lanes of vehicular traffic, same as the current span.

“Our issue really is traffic congestion,” Harmer said. “We do think they should consider additional lanes [on the bridge] and intersection improvements.”

Harmer said he has made those suggestions to the DOT.

DOT officials note that a high-clearance fixed bridge would allow boat traffic to pass unimpeded, which would result in less traffic disruption.

According to the DOT, the Cortez Bridge had 3,101 openings in 2017, averaging about 258 a month. They attributed fewer openings in 2018 to the extended red tide outbreak, so it’s not representative of a typical year. Bridge openings so far this year are comparable to 2017 levels, the agency said.

Over at Annie’s, where you can almost reach out and touch the bridge, Shepherd says the DOT’s construction delay is great news. She wants her small spot in paradise to stay just like it is.

“It’s a little village that’s been here forever,” she said. “It’s one of the last working fishing villages still around.”

Hatchling loggerheads keep the peace

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Sixteen hatchling loggerheads were discovered Aug. 9 trapped inside a peace sign sand sculpture on the beach near 52nd Street in Holmes Beach. The sea turtles hatched overnight from a nest on the beach near Martinique South condominium, then disoriented away from the water, toward the sand sculpture. They were later released by AMITW to the Gulf of Mexico. Islander Photo: Courtesy AMITW
loggerhead hatchlings are rescued and held in a bucket after being trapped in a sand sculpture Aug. 9 by AmitW volunteers. the 16 tiny sea turtles were released on the beach, where they leave their imprint on the sand and make their own way to the gulf of mexico. islander Photo: chrisAnn Silver esformes

Anna Maria Island is neck and neck with last year’s sea turtle nesting numbers.

Most nesting is finished, but many hatchlings are yet to emerge.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring reported Aug. 9 that 513 nests had been laid on island beaches since nesting season started May 1.

As of Aug. 9, 336 nests remained to hatch.

In 2018, there were 534 loggerhead nests by Oct. 31, breaking the 2017 record of 488.

“We are approaching another record-breaking season,” Fox said. “Now we just have to make sure lighting is compliant so the hatchlings make it to the water.”

Lighting is a concern for turtle-watchers.

Hatchlings, as with nesting female sea turtles, follow their instincts toward the reflection of the moon and stars on the Gulf of Mexico. Light visible from the shoreline can disorient them, leading to predation, dehydration, exhaustion and death.

Beachfront properties are required to have low, shielded exterior lighting that meets Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission standards and indoor lights must be turned off or shielded by curtains or blinds.

Fox said her volunteers — who walk the beach each morning during nesting season, looking for signs of nesting or hatching activity just after sunrise — said some interior lights are unshielded, which can lead to disorientations.

“It’s difficult because the turnover at resorts and rentals is high,” she said. “A lot of people are here having fun and just don’t know they are supposed to close their blinds.”

According to Fox, most of the island is in compliance with sea turtle regulations for lighting, but some property owners — mostly in Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach — are still in the process of upgrading to turtle-friendly bulbs and fixtures.

She said volunteers walking the north end of Anna Maria reported nearly 100 nests as of Aug. 7 — nearly twice the number of nests documented there in 2018.

“People have been really good about their lights up there,” adding that turtle watch volunteer Debbie Haynes is also the city’s code compliance officer.

Bill Booher, a turtle watch volunteer who walks a section of the beach in Anna Maria, said he’s spotted 20 nests on his patrol so far this season.

“I’m only having the best season I’ve ever had,” Booher said. “We can speculate as to why we are getting so many nests. But we don’t really know. So all we can do is be thankful and appreciate how lucky we are to have our turtles here.”

Parties in BB Sunshine lawsuit head to post-trial hearing

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People rise July 19 in preparation for the judge’s ruling at the conclusion of a trial pitting Bradenton Beach and ex-Mayor Jack Clarke against six former board members at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. Islander File Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

The trial is over, the verdict is in. But there’s one more hearing to come.

At the conclusion of a trial July 15-19, 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas ruled in favor of Bradenton Beach and ex-Mayor Jack Clarke, finding the defendants, six residents who served as volunteer city board members, violated Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law.

The next phase in the case of Bradenton Beach and Clarke versus the six citizens will focus on costs and fees.

Now it’s about the money.

A hearing for post-trial motions, including any requests for fees and costs, is set for 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

The ex-board members filed requests July 29 for documents detailing the city’s legal fees for the lawsuit, which, as of Aug. 6, totaled $326,306.08, not including outstanding invoices for the week of the trial.

The city and Clarke filed a similar request July 30, and also a motion for an award of attorneys’ fees and tax costs.

Clarke was absolved by the city from any costs or fees related to the lawsuit.

In July, the ex-board members said their combined costs for the lawsuit nearly matched the expenses of the city.

The suit, begun by Clarke and the joined by the city in August 2017, alleged Sunshine Law violations by former P&Z board members Reed Mapes, John Metz, Patty Shay and Bill Vincent, and former Scenic Waves Partnership Committee members Tjet Martin and Rose Vincent, all of whom were members of the now-defunct grass-roots group Concerned Neighbors of Bradenton Beach. Mapes has since moved to Bradenton.

Clarke and the city, represented by attorney Robert Watrous and paralegal Michael Barfield, alleged the board members violated the Sunshine Law by discussing city matters at CNOBB meetings and through emails, texts and phone calls.

At the conclusion of a trial, Nicholas ruled in favor of the city and Clarke, finding the six former board members violated the Sunshine Law.

The judge said there would be another hearing to determine sanctions, including costs and fees.

Barfield said Aug. 6 that the parties are in the process of selecting witnesses to testify to entitlements.

The expert witnesses will be attorneys — one for each side — who will have tasked with evaluating the invoices and determining a reasonable division of costs and fees, which the judge will take into account, according to Barfield.

Sea turtle nesting slows, hatchlings surge to the Gulf

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Joellah Bouwman, left, 9, and her sister Jonathah, both of Grand Rapids, Michigan, listen Aug. 9 as AMITW volunteer Kathy Doddridge shows them two sea turtle eggs — one hatched and one unhatched — following a nest excavation on the beach near 22nd Street in Bradenton Beach. Islander Photos: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes
As of Aug. 9, 336 sea turtle nests remain to hatch on Anna Maria Island beaches.
Daniela Garcia, AMITW volunteer, excavates a loggerhead nest on the beach near 22nd Street in Bradenton Beach. Turtle watch volunteers wait 72 hours after a nest hatches to collect data. This nest contained 76 hatched and seven unhatched eggs.

Anna Maria Island is neck and neck with last year’s sea turtle nesting numbers.

Most nesting is finished, but many hatchlings are yet to emerge.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring reported Aug. 9 that 513 nests had been laid on island beaches since nesting season started May 1.

As of Aug. 9, 336 nests remained to hatch.

In 2018, there were 534 loggerhead nests by Oct. 31, breaking the 2017 record of 488.

“We are approaching another record-breaking season,” Fox said. “Now we just have to make sure lighting is compliant so the hatchlings make it to the water.”

Lighting is a concern for turtle-watchers.

Hatchlings, as with nesting female sea turtles, follow their instincts toward the reflection of the moon and stars on the Gulf of Mexico. Light visible from the shoreline can disorient them, leading to predation, dehydration, exhaustion and death.

Beachfront properties are required to have low, shielded exterior lighting that meets Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission standards and indoor lights must be turned off or shielded by curtains or blinds.

Fox said her volunteers — who walk the beach each morning during nesting season, looking for signs of nesting or hatching activity just after sunrise — said some interior lights are unshielded, which can lead to disorientations.

“It’s difficult, because the turnover at resorts and rentals is high,” she said. “A lot of people are here having fun and just don’t know they are supposed to close their blinds.”

According to Fox, most of the island is in compliance with sea turtle regulations for lighting, but some property owners — mostly in Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach — are still in the process of upgrading to turtle-friendly bulbs and fixtures.

She said volunteers walking the north end of Anna Maria reported nearly 100 nests as of Aug. 7 — nearly twice the number of nests documented there in 2018.

“People have been really good about their lights up there,” adding that turtle watch volunteer Debbie Haynes is also the city’s code compliance officer.

Bill Booher, a turtle watch volunteer who walks a section of the beach in Anna Maria, said he’s spotted 20 nests on his patrol so far this season.

“I’m only having the best season I’ve ever had,” Booher said. “We can speculate as to why we are getting so many nests. But we don’t really know. So all we can do is be thankful and appreciate how lucky we are to have our turtles here.”

Students, parents, PTO begin ‘exceptional’ school year

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AME kindergarten teacher Kelly Crawford welcomes student Jack Palmer and his mother, Lauren, Aug. 12 on the first day of school. With her left hand in a cast, says Crawford, “I’m going to show my brand new students who sometimes tell me how they can’t write or read, that we are in this together and, for once, this lefty will be right.” Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
AME fifth-grader Kaiyla Mitchell, left, with mother Chawntel Mackey and fourth-grade daughter Tah Alieya hug at the Holmes Beach school. Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
AME art teacher Gary Wooten leads a group of bus-riding students from the bus to the reception area on the first day of the 2019-20 school year. Classes began Aug. 12. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
Anna Maria Elementary welcomes students Aug. 12 for the 2019-20 school year. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
AME third-grade students Colin Bankert and John Monetti walk towards the school entrance ahead of Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer, Aug. 12 on the first day of school. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer opens the door and welcomes students and parents on the first day of school. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
Anna Maria Elementary’s staff in the front office serve parents, new and returning students and staff, especially with questions about the new year, at the start of the first day of school, Aug. 12. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
AME students line up to check out for breakfast Aug. 12. Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
AME children sit in a line with books before the first class begins on the first day of school. Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
Students reunite Aug. 12 at Anna Maria Elementary, ready to start a new school year. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
The Anna Maria Elementary school cafeteria bustles Aug. 12 with students, staff and parents on the first day of the 2019-20 school year. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison

By Brook Morrison

Islander Reporter

There is no question the A-grade “little school by the bay” is a tight community.

Anna Maria Elementary principal Jackie Featherston said Aug. 9 that she is “looking forward to seeing all of our students motivated to learn and grow in a positive learning environment, creating waves of great island memories.”

AME fifth-grader Heidi Querrard said she was happy to go back to school for her last year as she greeted third-grade students and parents in her mother Bridget’s classroom Aug. 8 during back-to-school night.

Bridget Querrard taught kindergarten for eight years at AME before being moved to the third-grade this year due to low kindergarten enrollment.

Querrard’s experience teaching fourth-grade for 10 years, as well as receiving National Board Certification in literacy, reading and language arts for early and middle childhood, prepared her for a “great third-grade year,” she said.

Several of Querrard’s former kindergarten students will be in her third-grade class.

Ceegan Cusack is one such boy. He said he is “very lucky to have” Querrard as his teacher again.

All 2018-2019 staff and teachers returned to AME for 2019-20, according to Featherston.

The 2019-20 school year will be filled with new memories and a focus on academic achievement.

New in 2020, there will be a time capsule with artifacts and drawings buried on the school grounds, similar to the capsule buried in 1994 and opened in May.

AME students will benefit from the “small classroom sizes, high standards and caring community feel,” said parent Meghann Bankert who has first- and third-grade students enrolled at AME.

Life is good when you’re an AME student.

And also when you are an AME parent, teacher or principal.

Sex offender registers Holmes Beach address

A 33-year-old male sex offender has registered a Holmes Beach address.

The man reported a temporary residence in the 100 block of 66th Street, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Aug. 8 report.

He was convicted in March 2007 of endangering a child in Mercer County, New Jersey.

The FDLE registry shows other sex offenders in the area as of Aug. 8:

  • A 57-year-old male offender in the 4200 block of the 129th Street West in Cortez.
  • A 54-year-old male offender in the 100 block of Crescent Drive in Anna Maria.
  • A 61-year-old male offender in the 100 block of Ninth Street North in Bradenton Beach.

Sex offenders must register permanent and temporary addresses with the sheriff in the county where he or she resides as well as transient locations unless otherwise ordered by a court.

Eyes on the road

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following for the week of Aug. 12:

  • Longboat Pass Bridge: Major repairs on the Longboat Pass Bridge on Gulf Drive between Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key take place through the summer. Overnight work requires decreasing lane sizes, flagging operations and occasional lane closures. Also, the DOT cautioned boaters to watch for equipment in the water. Work will end in September.
  • State Road 684/Cortez Road: Crews are installing new lighting at various locations along State Road 684/Cortez Road from Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach to Ninth Street West in Bradenton. Expect nighttime/overnight lane closures. PowerCore Inc. is the contractor.

For the latest road watch information, go online to fl511.com and swflroads.com or dial 511.

        To view traffic conditions, go online to smarttrafficinfo.org.

 

DUI arrestee opts for DETER program

A Bradenton man arrested for driving while intoxicated in Holmes Beach was offered an opportunity to go into the new Driver Enhanced Treatment Education Rehabilitation Program.

Joel D. Christian, 43, a former Manatee County environmental manager, was arrested in 2017 and agreed July 16 to enter a pre-plea requiring work days, education and 60 days of alcohol monitoring.

According to the 12th Circuit Court website, Christian agreed to remain crime-free, compliant with his bond conditions, enroll in a DUI program and complete a Mothers Against Drunk Driving online victim-impact panel, four jail workdays and alcohol monitoring.

In addition to driving impaired, Christian was cited for possessing 2.4 grams of marijuana and paraphernalia, speeding, failing to drive in a single lane, no proof of insurance, failure to change the address on his driver’s license and a seatbelt violation.

Christian was released on $1,500 bond in 2017.

His next court date is set for 1:25 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

The traffic citations were consolidated into a separate case, which also has a Sept. 10 court date.