Cortez Bridge: Battle fatigue or new resolve?

By Jennifer Glenfield Special to The Islander In 1989, it seemed a done deal. The Cortez Bridge would be replaced with a high, fixed-span bridge. Commuters today might note the seemingly done deal proposed by the Florida Department of Transportation never came to fruition. The DOT proposal announced April 23 is the latest development in a decades-old debate over the 17.5-foot clearance bascule bridge constructed in 1957. The cyclical...

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Center operations director named new executive director

By Bianca Benedí and Kathy Prucnell Islander Reporter The Center of Anna Maria Island has a new executive director, and it looks like the solution was close to home. Chris Culhane, a lifelong islander who has served as the center’s operations director since 2015, will succeed interim director Carl Weeks as the leader of the nonprofit at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. The center board issued a statement May 4 announcing the hire....

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Bradenton Beach officials address Cortez Bridge concerns

Will a big bridge destroy the character of the communities it connects? Opinions are flying about the recent Florida Department of Transportation recommendation to replace the Cortez Bridge — a drawbridge built in 1956 — with a 65-foot-clearance, fixed-span bridge. The roadbed for the proposed bridge would be 75 to 80 feet high. Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie led a discussion about the proposed megabridge at the May 3 commission...

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Prosecutor: Bradenton Beach officer justified in shooting

Bradenton Beach Police Officer Eric Hill is doubly honored. Official word from the state is Hill was justified in the use of deadly force in the Dec. 30, 2017, officer-involved shooting in Anna Maria. Chief Assistant State Attorney Heather Doyle sent the decision in a May 1 letter to BBPD Chief Sam Speciale, saying she’d made a “thorough and complete review” of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation. The letter came...

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Soccer continues to spike center, horseshoes, golf play on

After another week of youth soccer at the Center of Anna Maria Island, there’s one unbeaten team remaining, but Signarama had a bye so its 2-0 record wasn’t challenged. Bins Be Clean moved into first place thanks to a tie that moved them to 2-1-1 in the standings. Planet Stone and Progressive Cabinetry are tied for third place with matching 1-1-1 records, while Salty Printing holds down the cellar with an 0-3-1 record. Soccer action...

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May brings consistently good weather, fishing, too

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is consistently good for another week — mild air temperatures and water temps still hovering in the mid-70s. Spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook are responding positively to the conditions, which makes the perfect recipe for a day on the water with a rod in your hand. Offshore fishing is following suit as reports roll in of numerous catches of blackfin tuna, kingfish, amberjack and permit....

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