Tag Archives: Police

License-plate reader contracts clarified, approved in Holmes Beach

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Thomas Thanus, acting city attorney in Holmes Beach, reviews contracts Jan. 8 for a license-plate reader system during a city commission meeting at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

The contracts have been clarified and Holmes Beach is cruising toward a license-plate reader system.

The city commission Jan. 8 authorized Mayor Judy Titsworth to execute an agreement for reader equipment from contractor Vetted Security Solutions of St. Petersburg and a second agreement for software with Vigilant Solutions of Livermore, California.

In November 2018, the commission approved the system, not to exceed $105,240, but questions remained regarding the contracts with the two companies and the cost. So the contracts were reconsidered Jan. 8.

Attorney Thomas Thanus, filling in for city attorney Patricia Petruff, clarified the difference between the Vetted and Vigilant contracts.

He said Vigilant is the software creator and provides support for the system and it works closely with Vetted, which provides hardware and installation.

The city will pay Vetted $105,240 upon completion of the project. There is no payment the first year to Vigilant — it is included in the Vetted fee, according to Thanus.

Upon the second year of operation, the city will pay Vigilant an annual licensing fee of about $2,625 each year, which includes $525 for five cameras.

The attorney said the contract could be terminated at any time and that it is a sole-source contract, piggybacked on the Longboat Key and Manatee County, which operate the same system.

“It’s very important for the police department to be able to communicate and share information with those other law enforcement agencies,” Thanus said.

Commission Chair Jim Kihm realized some attachments were mixed-up in the copy provided to commissioners, so he asked for a clean copy of the updated contracts with clarifications between the responsibilities and costs for both companies.

The mayor and commissioners moved the vote to the end of the meeting to allow time to read the updated contracts.

Thanus said the software fee with Vetted could increase each year, but annually caps at 4 percent.

Commissioner Kim Rash said he’d like Vigilant to provide a five-year spreadsheet detailing what the increases in cost are each year.

“”I’d like to see that so we know what kind of money we are going to be spending,” he said.

Thanus said the annual increase would be about $110 at most and, in a previous conversation, Police Chief Bill Tokajer said he would include the increase in future budget requests.

At the end of the meeting, the updated contract was distributed to the mayor and commissioners, and a vote was taken.

A motion for the mayor to execute the contracts with Vetted and Vigilant passed 4-1, with Rash voting “nay.”

The next city commission meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, to be followed by a work session.

Eyes on the road – 01-16-2019

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following notices for the week of Jan. 14:

Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach: As part of a pipeline replacement project, crews are performing tie-ins at Ninth Street North and the Cortez Road embankment, as well as sodding the embankment. Paving on Gulf Drive from Cortez Road northward to 10th Street North has been delayed. When it begins this winter, work will be during daytime hours and require traffic maintenance.

Avenue C in Bradenton Beach: As part of a pipeline replacement project, right-of-way restoration work is taking place, including paving operations on 23rd, 24th and 25th streets.

Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach: As part of a pipeline replacement project, Gulf Drive is closed to northbound traffic at 81st Street, with northbound traffic detoured onto 81st Street to access Palm Drive. Trolley stations remain accessible. Pedestrians should avoid any attempts to cross over pipes or other construction materials. A reduced speed limit is in place and motorists may experience temporary, single-lane closures.

For more information about the pipeline replacement projects on the island, go online to amipipereplacement.com.

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

FISH hopes to grow fishing festival, improve ‘catch’

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T-shirts at this year’s Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will feature a design by Rose Lipke, chair of the 37th annual fishing festival in Cortez. The festival will be Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17, between Cortez Road West and the working waterfront on Sarasota Bay. Islander Courtesy Graphic

Commercial fishers battle many odds to bring in a catch.

“Changing Tides” is this year’s theme for the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage Commercial Fishing Festival — the annual fundraiser for the now 229-member group, dedicated to preserving commercial fishing and maritime cultures as well as the coastal environment.

The event is set for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17.

Since August, Cortez fishers have been battling losses due to red tide while their support group has been preparing for the fest.

FISH vice president Jane von Hahmann and artist Rose Lipke, festival chair since 2015, said this year’s fest won’t be that different from last year’s, although FISH will increase its advertising on social media, with paid-Facebook boosts and other tools.

Festival planners hope to improve their catch — proceeds from the event.

The fest will kick off at 10 a.m. Feb. 16 with a “blessing of the fleet” and feature 60 art vendors, 20 food vendors and other exhibits, as well as the annual favorite, Dock Talks, a feature organized by FISH member John Stevely, a former University of Florida Sea Grant scientist.

Lipke said some vendors will be brought closer to the streets than last year but she and her committee still must iron out the details.

In the past, a nonprofit group of Cortez fishers, Fishing for Freedom, sponsored touch tanks and cast net demonstrations, but their 2019 contribution is uncertain, according to FFF president Mark Coarsey.

“The boys are having to fish farther away,” Lipke said about red tide’s effect on local fishers and their catch — including losses from the stone crab season.

“Although the bait is coming inshore now, the mullet fishers are working down south, Everglade City, and trucking it back,” she added.

Coarsey planned to meet with his members in the next week to decide on the group’s participation in the festival.

Entertainment for Feb. 16 includes the Shanty Singers, Doug Demming, Eric von Band and Koko Ray.

The Feb. 17 lineup includes Soupy Davis and his band, Ted Stevens & the Doo Shots, Jason Haram and the Karen and Jimmy Band, as well as the Eric von Band on the Bratton Store porch.

“We definitely don’t want beautiful beach weather,” von Hahmann said, as last year’s dismal turnout was blamed on sunny skies, poor signage and more festivals competing for seasonal traffic, including the Thunder by the Bay Music & Motorcycle Festival in Sarasota.

In 2018, FISH recorded 13,000 attendees, with $54,000 in profits. In 2017, a first-day rainout saw lower attendance at 17,000 — but slightly better profits at $80,000. In 2016, the celebration drew an estimated 18,000-19,000 visitors and raised $118,000 in net proceeds.

With the online applications, food vendors have been encouraged to identify their source of products. For artists, 70 percent of their work must reflect commercial fishing, historic preservation, the Florida coastal ecosystem or traditional crafts.

Festival profits support habitat restoration on the 100-acre FISH Preserve bordering Sarasota Bay, as well as the group’s historic buildings and educational and environmental pursuits.

For more information about the fest or vendor applications, go to: www.cortez-fish.org/fishing-festival.

2 of 6 intruders in Anna Maria detained by homeowner

An upstairs apartment in the 300 block of Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria became the scene of an alleged burglary when the resident returned home and discovered six young men in her residence.

At about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 7, resident Laurie Jo Higgins returned home with Amanda Miller Culpepper and saw six males run out her back door and down the stairs.

Higgins reported $50 stolen from the home, adding Jan. 10 that she is still taking inventory.

Higgins said her two sons were home at the time, but one son was in the shower and the other was in a bedroom wearing headphones and did not hear or see the intruders.

She recognized one of the perpetrators, but said no one in her family had invited them to the residence.

Higgins said they exited through the back of the house, and she believes they came in the front door to look for money and valuables.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, according to Sgt. Mike Jones, who heads the Anna Maria substation. No one had been arrested or charged in the incident as of Jan. 11.

Jones said he is not sure if the intrusion was a burglary or trespass. MCSO will be conducting multiple interviews, he said.

In Higgins’ attempt to apprehend the intruders, she said they “overpowered her,” but she did stop two of the six intruders and brought them to authorities.

She also said the group attempted to enter another house in the neighborhood.

Streetlife – 01-16-2019

Anna Maria

Jan. 7, 500 block of Villa Rosa Way, juvenile disturbance. A father went to the MCSO-Anna Maria substation to report his daughter ran away, while the daughter called 911 to report her father “went crazy.” At the house, a deputy reported the mother “began antagonizing” deputies and the daughter fled on foot. The daughter returned to the house and was taken by Florida Department of Children and Families to stay the night elsewhere.

Anna Maria is policed by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Bradenton Beach

Jan. 6, 700 block of Gulf Drive North, warrant/drugs. Bradenton Beach police, assisting Sarasota Police Department with an investigation, arrested a 54-year-old Pensacola man wanted on warrants for grand theft. The man initially lied, giving officers the name of his twin brother. Police determined the man’s identity and arrested him on the warrant and for giving a false name. On a pat-down, officers found he had unprescribed pills in his shirt pocket and added charges for possessing controlled substances. Police determined the 2009 BMW the man and his wife were using stolen, so it was transported to the BBPD station for safekeeping.

Bradenton Beach is policed by BBPD.


Jan. 4, 3700 block of 117th Street, battery police/domestic. A 44-year-old woman was arrested for pushing a sheriff’s deputy after officers responded to a domestic disturbance between the woman and her boyfriend. The woman became enraged when the officer said he would give her boyfriend a wallet he had left behind.

Cortez is policed by the MCSO.

Holmes Beach

Dec. 20, 600 block of Manatee Avenue, marijuana. After pulling over a vehicle for nonfunctioning tag lights, Holmes Beach police ticketed a 29-year-old passenger for possessing 5.6 grams of marijuana in violation of the city ordinance.

Dec. 23, 2700 block of Avenue C, disturbance. A 911 call alerted Holmes Beach police to a woman screaming. When officers responded, they found a 13-year-old girl in a driveway, who told police she had refused to get in a car with her mother’s boyfriend and an altercation ensued. She also told police she hated the boyfriend due to his past abuse to her mother. The teen was visiting her grandmother, who struggled with the boyfriend as he tried to force the girl into the car. HBPD requested the state attorney review the case for charges against the boyfriend.

Dec. 26, Palm Harbor Drive, noise. Holmes Beach police were dispatched at 12:20 p.m. in response to noise complaints. From the street, officers reported hearing loud music and yelling. An officer observed eight vehicles at the residence and three people shouting on the deck of the house. The noisemakers went inside when they saw the officer attempting to take decibel meter readings. The officer spoke to the property owner and reported the owner seemed unaware and unconcerned about the noise. The report was flagged for follow-up.

Dec. 31, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, traffic. Numerous people approached a Holmes Beach police officer about a yellow pickup truck almost hitting people in the beach parking lot. The officer then observed a woman driver almost collide with vehicles in front and behind her. When the light turned green, she accelerated and nearly hit another vehicle and curb before the yellow truck came to rest in the grass. The officer requested Manatee County Sheriff’s Office backup for an investigation into a possibly impaired driver, but a deputy was unable to respond. The woman was ticketed for careless driving, failure to wear a seat belt and violating a vehicle registration law. An HBPD officer escorted her home and her vehicle was towed.

Jan. 1, 7300 block of Gulf Drive at the beach, alcohol. Two men and a woman in their 20s from St. Petersburg, Tampa and Atlantic Beach were drinking beer and running with a dog in the surf. They were cited for possessing alcohol on the beach.

Jan. 1, 100 block of 50th Street, criminal mischief. A 62-year-old person reported an unknown person threw a rock that shattered the vehicle sunroof.

Jan. 1, Sunbow Bay, 3800 block of East Bay Drive, burglary/theft. Unknown persons cut a bicycle lock and stole a woman’s bicycle valued at $500.

Holmes Beach is policed by the Holmes Beach Police Department.

Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the BBPD, HBPD and MCSO.

Man arrested for DUI, drugs in Holmes Beach

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Ethan Brannock, 29

Turning east onto Manatee Avenue from Gulf Drive, a man weaved into a cement curb and was arrested for
impaired driving.

Ethan Brannock, 29, of Bradenton, was arrested at 2:53 a.m. Dec.15, 2018, for driving under the influence and
possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana.

Holmes Beach police stopped Brannock in a 2016 Toyota Tundra in the 700 block of Manatee Avenue.

According to the report, Brannock denied driving the vehicle, and the report noted the motorist’s answers were sarcastic.

He also told officers he had nothing to drink, but changed his story several times to consuming one beer, two beers and six beers, the report stated.

The officer noted the odor of marijuana after approaching Brannock and, in a search of the vehicle, found open beer cans and 2.7 grams of marijuana in the center console. Police also ticketed the motorist for violating the open container law.

Brannock was taken into custody and transported to the Manatee County jail.

He posted a $620 bond and was released.

Brannock’s arraignment is set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Man arrested for DUI in Holmes Beach

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Joshua Peurifoy, 33

Polite initially and then uncooperative was how Holmes Beach police described a Bradenton man arrested for driving under the influence.

Motorist Joshua Peurifoy, 33, was arrested at 12:53 a.m. Dec. 21, 2018, by the HBPD on Gulf Drive at East Bay Drive after an officer observed him swerving and weaving as he traveled south on East Bay.

Peurifoy told police he drank one-two beers at D.Coy Ducks Tavern, was sober and on his way to another bar. According to the HBPD report, Peurifoy had poor balance and refused to place his hands behind his back and get into the patrol vehicle.

The report also states police “cajoled” Peurifoy into the patrol vehicle and transported him to the Manatee County jail, where he refused to provide breath samples for a blood alcohol content test.

Peurifoy posted $120 bond and was released, pending his 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, arraignment at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

High-speed, high-priced sports car crash ends in Holmes Beach in DUI arrest

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2016 Lamborghini
Kiri Stewart, 30

A Bradenton woman fishtailed, spun and crashed into two street signs while driving a 2016 Lamborghini on Manatee Avenue in Holmes Beach.

The driver, Kiri Stewart, 30, and her passenger, island businessman Shawn Kaleta, exited the vehicle uninjured, according to a Holmes Beach police report.

Stewart, 30, was arrested at 1:29 a.m. Dec. 29, 2018, for driving under the influence with property damage by Holmes Beach police.

From a parking lot at 4000 Gulf Drive, HB police officer witnessed the Lamborghini travel south on Gulf Drive and take a wide, left turn onto Manatee Avenue at a high rate of speed.

According to his report, the motorist accelerated aggressively, swerving off and back on the road, nearly hitting another eastbound vehicle from behind. The Lamborghini braked, passed the vehicle on its right, spun 180 degrees and struck two signs.

HB police officer approached the vehicle, determined there were no injuries and observed the passenger exit the vehicle, ignoring requests to remain in the car.

Stewart removed her high heels and began performing the field-sobriety test.

Kaleta said, “You don’t have to do this,” according to the report.

Several times HB Police Officer told Kaleta to step away and not to interfere with his investigation.

Stewart performed poorly on the roadside tests and was taken to the Holmes Beach police station, where she refused to take a blood-alcohol breath test.

At the station, Stewart told the officers, “Shawn said we have a get out of jail free card. I guess we don’t.”

West Manatee Fire Rescue was called to the scene due to smoke and odor from the vehicle, and disabled the Lamborghini power system.

With only 7,000 miles and an estimated $150,000 in damages, the vehicle was towed.

The Florida Highway Patrol also responded, reported the crash was due to “inattentive,” careless operation, exceeding the posted speed, running off the road and over-correction.

Stewart was transported to the Manatee County jail, where she posted a $500 bond and was released.

Her arraignment is set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Eyes on the road – 01-09-2019

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following notices for the week of Jan. 7:

Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach: As part of a pipeline replacement project, crews were working on Gulf Drive between Ninth Street North and Cortez Road. Paving on Gulf Drive from Cortez Road to 10th Street will take place this month, during daytime hours.

Avenue C in Bradenton Beach: As part of a pipeline replacement project, right-of-way restoration work is taking place, including paving operations on 23rd, 24th and 25th streets.

Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach: As part of a pipeline replacement project, Gulf Drive is closed to northbound traffic at 81st Street, with northbound traffic being detoured on 81st Street to access Palm Drive.

For more information about the pipeline replacement projects on the island, go online to amipipereplacement.com.

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

Island cops resolve to serve, protect in 2019

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Lights, sirens — and even cameras — will help focus law enforcement on their task on Anna Maria Island in 2019.

As 2018 waned, top officers in Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach resolved to continue serving and protecting the citizenry.

“For the past year, we’ve had a good year. And we’re looking forward to another year of reducing crime,” Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said Dec. 27.

Resolving “to do the best to protect the citizens, visitors and businesses,” the chief anticipated a license-plate recognition system approved by city commissioners would be operational by March.

The roadside cameras will capture license tag numbers and provide directional information for tracking suspects in police investigations. Tokajer expects it will be a “valuable tool” for his department. Manatee County and Longboat Key have similar systems in place.

The system will include five cameras that are positioned to scan license plates as vehicles enter and leave Holmes Beach and alert police of stolen vehicles or those connected with suspended licenses and warrants.

Cameras will be positioned at the Anna Maria Island Bridge to read tags on vehicles traveling east and west, one at East Bay Drive and two will track tags on vehicles traveling north and south on Gulf Drive at the city’s southern border with Bradenton Beach at 27th Street.

Tokajer said he looks forward to a safe year for residents, visitors and business owners, as well as a healthy year for staff.

“We’ve made some high-profile arrests” in 2018, he added, including the alleged burglar who assaulted a woman in her home on 75th Street and expects continued diligence in policing and investigations.

The chief thanked the sponsors of National Night Out, as well as the programs that brought people and cops together for coffee and ice cream, and said he looks forward to continuing HBPD’s outreach efforts in the new year.

In Bradenton Beach, Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz said he’s hopeful the city will continue its trajectory as a tourist destination and that police officers ensure “everybody goes home safe at night.”

This was Sgt. Mike Jones first full year heading the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office substation in Anna Maria. He was assigned to the position in mid-December 2017.

In 2018, the city contracted with MCSO for two additional officers, creating four overlapping shifts throughout the day, he said.

Jones also noted MCSO has been working well with HBPD and he observed a downward trend of reported crimes.

Anna Maria’s top cop is looking forward to a safe 2019, with residents and visitors continuing to report suspicious activity. He emphasizes if people “see something” to “say something.”

“Please, remember to lock up your valuables and always be cognizant of young children near water hazards,” Jones added.