Tag Archives: News

Woman arrested for spitting on county code officers

Angie Prater, 49, homeless, was arrested June 27 for spitting on two Manatee County code enforcement officers at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

According to the police report, Prater was involved in an altercation with a family over the use of a picnic table. When code enforcement officer John Howard intervened, he observed Prater “intentionally coughing at beach patrons during this sensitive time with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

When Howard asked Prater to leave, he observed the woman spit on the back of another code enforcement officer, Peter Chadziewicz.

Howard then told Prater she had just committed battery on a code officer, after which she spit on Howard’s chest.

A Holmes Beach police officer arrived and arrested Prater for one charge of aggravated battery on a code enforcement officer.

Prater was transported to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton after complaining of chest pains. After being cleared from the hospital, she was taken to the Manatee County jail.

She was released July 1 on $1,500 bail.

Prater is scheduled to appear in court July 24.

— ChrisAnn Allen


Eyes on the road – 07-08-2020

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following notices:

  • Multiple locations in Bradenton Beach: A county pipeline replacement project continues. Impacted areas include Bay Drive South, Bridge Street, Church Avenue and Cortez Road. Expect construction in rights of way and increased truck traffic.
  • Cortez Road and 119th Street West in Cortez: Work to realign the intersection of 119th Street West on Cortez Road/State Road 684 continues. Drivers can expect lane closures on Cortez Road from 123rd Street West to 86th Street West 10 p.m.-6 a.m. and on the south side of 119th Street West during the same period. Pedestrians can expect sidewalk closures.
  • State Road 64/Manatee Avenue over Perico Bayou and Palma Sola Bay: Crews are working on the bridges. Motorists can expect lane closures 7 p.m.-6 a.m. Completion will be in the fall.

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

And, a reminder, a fare-free trolley operates daily on Anna Maria Island.

— Lisa Neff

Advisory lifted Bayfront North

The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County lifted a “no swim” advisory July 1 for Bayfront Park North in Anna Maria.

The advisory was issued June 25, indicating water contact posed a risk of infectious diseases to humans due to an elevated level of enterococci bacteria.

Water samples in the area are analyzed for enteric bacteria — enterococci — which may cause human disease, infections or rashes.

For more information, call the health department at 941-714-7593 or go online to www.floridahealth.gov.

Manatee County COVID-19 cases by city, ZIP code

According to the Florida Department of Health website by Florida Division of Emergency Management July 5, positive cases of COVID-19 in Manatee County were reported by city as:

  • 2,556 Bradenton;
  • 578 Palmetto;
  • 141 Parrish;
  • 138 Sarasota/Manatee;
  • 103 Ellenton;
  • 56 Myakka City;
  • 36 missing data;
  • 29 Lakewood Ranch;
  • 10 Bradenton Beach;
  • 9 Longboat Key;
  • 8 Holmes Beach;
  • 5 Terra Ceia;
  • 2 Braden River;
  • 2 University Park;
  • 2 Palma Sola;
  • 2 Tallevast;
  • 2 Rubonia;
  • 1 Wimauma;
  • 1 Bayshore Gardens;
  • 1 West Bradenton;
  • 1 Bonita Springs;
  • 1 Anna Maria.


Cases by ZIP code were reported as:

  • 34201: 16;
  • 34202: 144;
  • 34203: 444;
  • 34205: 353;
  • 34207: 381;
  • 34208: 747;
  • 34209: 224;
  • 34210: 121;
  • 34211: 60;
  • 34212: 118;
  • 34215: 0;
  • 34216: <5;
  • 34217: 16;
  • 34219: 141;
  • 34221: 577;
  • 34222: 104;
  • 34228: 10;
  • 34243: 136;
  • 34240: 0;
  • 34251: 56.

The Islander’s 2020 Top Notch photo contest launches

The Islander’s Top Notch contest begins anew.

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

The contest includes six weekly front-page winners. Each will claim an Islander “More than a mullet wrapper” T-shirt or coffee mug.

One weekly shot will take the top prize in the Top Notch contest, earning the photographer a $100 cash prize from The Islander and certificates from local merchants.

A pet photo winner is announced in the final week.

Please, note, each original JPG must be included in a single email 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 and deadlines can be found online at www.islander.org.

Bonner Joy

2020 deadlines and rules:

Boom! July 4 memories could be everlasting on the cover of The Islander, and if you’ve got a great snapshot, the coveted spot could be yours.

The Islander Top Notch digital photo contest will begin in the June 26 edition. Six weekly winning photos will be featured on the cover of The Islander, with one grand prize winner of $100 from The Islander and a collection of prizes and gift certificates from local merchants. Weekly winners receive a “More-Than-a Mullet-Wrapper” Islander T-shirt.

The first deadline for weekly entries is July 10 for publication July 15 and each subsequent Friday for six weeks.

The photo judges hope to see some great photos from the July 4 holiday — but everything is game in this contest.

Top Notch entries can include family photos, landscapes and scenics, candid snapshots, action, humor and animal pictures. Nothing is overlooked, including kid pics, sentimental moments and moments of personal triumph.

In a separate contest, judges also will be looking for top pet photos with a prize appropriate to pets from Perks 4 Pets and $50 from The Islander.

Contest entries must be submitted in original JPG format via email to topnotch@islander.org.

Digital submission is required. No retouching, enhancements, computer manipulation or app enhancements are allowed.

One photo per email is allowed along with entry information in the e-mail text. There is no limit to the number of weekly entries. Also, entries need not be repeated, as select photos are retained by the judges.

Entries that fail to meet the contest requirements are disqualified.


Top Notch contest rules

1) The Islander Newspaper Top Notch Photo Contest is strictly for amateur photographers — those who derive less than 5 percent of their income from photography.

2) Black-and-white and color photographs taken after Jan. 1, 2019, are eligible. Photos previously published (in any format/media) or entered in any Islander or other competition are not eligible.

3) Photographs may be taken with any camera. No retouching or alteration other than cropping is permitted; no composite or multiple print images will be accepted. Only original digital photos in JPG file format are accepted.

4) The date or approximate date along with entrant’s name, address and phone number must be included in the e-mail with the digital photo. One e-mail per photo submission. E-mail single entries to topnotch@islander.org.

5) Entrants by their entry agree that The Islander may publish their pictures for local promotion. Entrants must provide the original digital image. All images submitted become the property of The Islander. Digital files will not be returned. The Islander and contest sponsors assume no responsibility for materials submitted. Entrant must provide the name and address of any recognizable persons appearing in the picture with the entry.

6) Employees and paid contributors to The Islander and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter the contest.

The first deadline for weekly entries is July 10 for publication July 15 and each subsequent Friday for six weeks.

Holmes Beach considers owner-resident parking permits

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Holmes Beach is considering revising its parking plan to include resident-only parking in a zone indicated in blue on the map. The yellow zone depicts areas where parking is unrestricted. Islander Courtesy Graphic
A family walks the path to the shoreline June 24 at the White Avenue beach access in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Allen

HOLMES BEACH — He said it was a “work in progress.”

Now, progress is proceeding.

When Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer recommended the removal of about 1,100 on-street parking spaces in late April, commissioners agreed to the plan on Tokajer’s assurance it would be tweaked.

At a teleconferenced commission meeting June 23, Tokajer presented a draft ordinance for a “parking-by-permit-only zone.” If approved, residents and owners would obtain decals for parking 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in 619 of the 1,100 prohibited parking spots.

After 5 p.m., parking in the zone would open to the public.

“We do not think that our sunset crowd is our concern,” he said. “Plus, if you have a dinner party at your house, chances are that would be after 5 p.m.”

Tokajer’s effort to inventory and remove on-street parking was made at the behest of Mayor Judy Titsworth in the wake of coronavirus closures.

The move was meant to reduce congestion and trash near neighborhood beach accesses.

However, people from on and off the island were divided over the decision, which limited parking near publicly funded beaches and, some said, pushed traffic into Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria.

In letters to officials and on social media, some people complained the decision was made too quickly, with little input, while others commended the city action.

A similar permit parking ordinance was approved 3-2 by the commission in 2016, but was vetoed by then-Mayor Bob Johnson. Mayor Judy Titsworth said June 23 the new proposal was adapted from the 2016 ordinance.

Tokajer said a two-hour parking limit was removed from the original ordinance. Full-time residents with proof of residency would be provided a vehicle decal. Unlicensed golf carts would not require a permit.

Decals would be renewed annually, at a cost probably less than $20, according to Tokajer.

Vacation rental owners would be allowed two decals, not to be shared with renters, and permits would be nontransferable to other vehicles.

“If we see that some congestion is pushed into a different neighborhood and the remedy for that would be to make the area permit parking, it gives us the opportunity to do that as we move forward,” Tokajer said.

Former Commissioner Rick Hurst, who is running for another term in 2020, and has been opposed to the parking reduction, said he is OK with the plan.

He said, “It is moving in the right direction,” but he would like to see renewals every other year.

Commission Chair Jim Kihm said beach access parking in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach is limited, so Holmes Beach, as the largest city, carries “most of the burden.”

“This is a good solution toward mitigating the overall problem,” Kihm said of the plan, adding that as population grows and tourism increases, the island must work with the state and county to find solutions.

“When people bought in 20-30 years ago, these were residential neighborhoods,” he said. “We didn’t have the development. We didn’t have the amount of rental housing and we certainly didn’t have the number of people in the county.”

Commissioners reached consensus to move the permit parking plan to first reading and public hearing.

The next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, or by teleconference, with instructions on the city website at holmesbeachfl.org.

Nesting activity slows, hatchlings anticipated

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Brightly marked rows of relocated sea turtle nests stretch seaward June 24 on the beach in Anna Maria. The nests were relocated to Anna Maria from Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach ahead of a renourishment project. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Allen

ANNA MARIA ISLAND — It’s almost the time when sea turtle nesting wanes and hatchlings wax on Anna Maria Island beaches.

“Nesting is down a bit from 15 a day,” Suzi Fox, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring executive director, said June 24. “That gives us a chance to catch our breath.”

As Fox and her league of volunteers take a breath, Manatee County is gearing up a beach renourishment project on Anna Maria Island, working from 78th Street in Holmes Beach to Longboat Pass in Bradenton Beach.

As of June 25, turtle watch volunteers had spotted and relocated 209 nests from the shoreline in Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach to areas north of the Manatee County beach renourishment project zone, so eggs were not destroyed by equipment or covered by sand pumped in to restore the eroded beaches.

Fox said she has worked closely with the county biologist and project contractor to ensure nesting turtles and hatchlings will not be in harm’s way during the work.

The county planned to begin beach renourishment July 2, weather permitting, and will continue through Oct. 31 — coinciding with the end of sea turtle nesting season.

Since the season began May 1, nests laid on beaches slated for renourishment have been relocated to human-made nests on beaches in Anna Maria, outside the project area.

However, Fox said nests laid in newly renourished sections, after equipment has passed through, will not be relocated.

“It won’t be as many, since things are slowing down, but people could see some nests marked in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach,” Fox said.

For each nest in the relocation zone, volunteers collect the eggs, retain them until after sunrise and deposit them in a hole dug in the sand to mimic the shape of a sea turtle nest cavity, following Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations.

Nests laid outside the relocation zone in Anna Maria are not marked or reported, but turtle watch tracks the dates laid and location.

As of June 25, AMITW logged 67 nests laid in Anna Maria.

Fox said, any day now, hatchlings from the first nests of the season will start emerging from the nests and heading to the Gulf of Mexico.

Each nest contains about 100 eggs, which all will hatch at once, after about 45-70 days of incubation.

After that, males never leave the water and females only come ashore to nest.

Turtle watch volunteers excavate nests 72 hours after hatching to count hatched, unhatched and partially developed eggs and collect other data, which is shared with federal, state and county agencies.

Previously, AMITW invited the public to attend excavations. This year, with concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, volunteers will work without a gallery.

“We want to do what is safest for everyone,” Fox said. “We can protect the turtles while protecting ourselves.”

For more information about turtle watch, people can visit the AMITW website at islandturtlewatch.com or contact Fox at 941-778-5638 or suzilfox@gmail.com.

To find out more about beach renourishment, including anticipated scheduling, visit mymanatee.org.

Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles or birds to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or text tip@myfwc.com.

Census advocates: Celebrate America, be counted

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Did you know? On the first page in the 2020 census questionnaire, Question No. 1 asks: “How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2020?” If the questionnaire went to a second home or vacation home, the answer is probably zero.

An estimated 2.5 million people lived in a newly independent nation July 4, 1776.

That’s according to the “facts-for-features” stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, which is conducting the decennial census, counting the 2020 population.

For the July 4 holiday, the bureau encourages people to “reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution the importance of statistics as a vital tool for measuring our people, places and economy” and respond to their census invitations.

The decennial census is used to determine legislative representation, allocate $675 billion in federal funding every year, guide decisions about schools, housing, transportation, health care and assistance and chart changes in a community.

A local push is focused on boosting participation from Anna Maria Island, where response rates thus far are below the county, state and nation.

The national self-response to the census was 61.7% as of June 26 and the state response rate was 58.8%. Manatee County’s response rate was 55.7%, but Anna Maria’s rate was 23.4%, Bradenton Beach’s 22.8% and Holmes Beach’s 33%.

Community advocates, including the Patterson Foundation, plan to encourage participation using social media networks, especially NextDoor, as well as outreach at libraries, city halls and through home associations and nonprofits.

Meanwhile, census takers will go door to door through Oct. 31 and the census bureau will mail reminders — about 1.3 million postcards were to be sent this week in communities required to use P.O. boxes, including Anna Maria.

Key to the local outreach is educating owners of vacation properties — either second homes or rental properties, according to Neal Dollar of the Census Bureau.

Owners of multiple homes might have responded to census invitations at their permanent address in another state but disregarded an invite sent to a second home.

But the invitation to the second home needs a response to the first question, which asks, “How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2020?”

Respondents would answer zero if the property is a second home or vacation rental, and their replies improve the community response rate, inform the Census Bureau about the property and also ensure each person appears in the decennial count only once.

“It’s critical, the census,” said Hannah Saeger Karnei of the Patterson Foundation, but also easy to complete.

In less than 10 minutes, respondents can impact their community for the next 10 years.

To participate in the census, go online to my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020.


Did you know?

The Census Act of 1790 established the concept of “usual residence,” which is the place where a person lives and sleeps most of the time.

Every census since has been based on the concept.

A “usual residence” is not always the same as a legal residence, voting residence or even the location where a person prefers to be counted.

COVID-19 cases surge in Florida, island numbers swell

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Some people wear masks at a June 23 county commission meeting as Jake Saur, Manatee County public safety director, presents information about COVID-19 to the board at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto. Islander Courtesy Photo
Department of Health-Manatee nurses and support staff gear up June 25 for COVID-19 specimen collection at Colony Cove Mobile Home Park in Ellenton. Health officials recommend the use of face coverings and social distancing to help prevent the spread as positive cases increase countywide. Islander Photo: Courtesy DOH-Manatee

In this instance, safety does not lie in numbers.

Manatee County confirmed a new record 270 positive cases in one day June 26.

The previous daily county record of 166 positive cases was June 25, according to the Florida Department of Health.

From June 19-25, 12% of those tested in Manatee County tested positive.

As of June 25, 2,002 had tested positive of 34,662 people tested in the county, while Sarasota County reported 1,139 positive cases of 32,277 tested.

Of people who tested positive in Manatee, 1,103 were recovered, according to DOH-Manatee.

A total of 253 people had been hospitalized and 128 people have died due to the virus in Manatee.

As of June 28, eight people in Bradenton Beach, seven people in Holmes Beach and one person in Anna Maria tested positive compared with May 29, when one person in Bradenton Beach and one in Holmes Beach tested positive — out of 1,000 positive residents countywide.

Additionally, 17 nonresidents visiting the county tested positive as of June 28 compared with seven nonresidents at the end of May.

Nonresidents in the health statistics are people who test positive in Florida but reside in another state.

At a June 23 teleconferenced county commission meeting, county public safety director Jake Saur reported on COVID-19.

He said the recent increase in positive cases was not within long-term care facilities, as previously was the case.

As of June 25, 7.2% of positive cases were residents and employees of LTCF’s, compared with 26.5% of cases May 10.

He also said the increase was not due to increased testing, as testing has remained at about the same rate since June 1.

“This further suggests community spread is occurring and is the primary driver in the increase in positive cases,” Saur said.

He said wearing a mask remains one of the best ways to stop the spread, by inhibiting the transfer of droplets containing the virus.

The DOH-Manatee has distributed 300,000 masks, with 15 million more available to people that need them, Saur said.

The Manatee County Chamber of Commerce also is providing cloth face covers to businesses for employees at no charge until the supply of 30,000 is exhausted. Businesses do not need to be members to receive masks from the chamber.

The county considered implementing a face-covering mandate at a June 23 meeting, with the matter continued to June 24, but instead opted to support the Florida Surgeon General’s advisory, which states, “All individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.”

On the island, the cities of Anna Maria and Holmes Beach approved orders June 25 mandating face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained, with some exceptions.

Bradenton Beach had not implemented a mask plan as of press time for The Islander.


Know the virus, stop the spread

There is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 — COVID-19.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is spread:

  • Mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another — within about 6 feet.
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or may be inhaled.
  • The virus may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Public health officials recommend people:

  • Wear a cloth face cover when in public, except children under the age of 2 and those who have breathing difficulties.
  • Wash hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even at home.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people outside the home.
  • Discard used tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Be alert for symptoms.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention