A letter from Bradenton Mayor, Gene Brown

A letter from Mayor Gene Brown:

First of all, it’s important to say this: I understand that the staffing difficulties in our Solid Waste Department have impacted your life. I know it’s inconvenient to have alternate-week pickup for recycling and yard waste instead of having both picked up every week. Change is difficult, even when that change is necessary and temporary, and I thank you for being patient and understanding. 

I want you to know that we at the City of Bradenton understand your frustration. We know it has been difficult.

We can also see up close something that you can’t – how hard our Solid Waste employees, and other employees, are working to keep some semblance of order in your Solid Waste collection and to try and keep our City clean. They are navigating daily difficulties such as the multiple staff openings in the department, not enough CDL drivers, and not knowing how many employees will be available on any given day.

Note – they haven’t had a full team in a very long time. Sometimes, our Solid Waste employees can’t do their jobs because there is no one properly licensed to drive the truck for them. When it becomes necessary, supervisors, who are usually back in the office, help out on the trucks as well. Sometimes, employees who don’t even work in our Solid Waste Division volunteer to work on a Saturday throwing yard waste into the back of their own pickup trucks.

I want you to know that, while we are aware of the problems, we are also taking steps to keep you updated and informed during the waste-collection week. Our Facebook page has updates with that day’s staffing information, and that information is also on our website. We want to communicate with you, and we want you to know that we are working hard to do our best. Our Solid Waste team is staffed with hard-working employees, but sometimes the situation is far beyond their control.

Please know that we understand, and like other cities and counties nationwide, we are actively taking steps to remedy this situation. For our workers.

And for you.

BPD officers help Kentucky towns after tornadoes

Last week, Bradenton Police Officers Chris & Logan Ellis departed Bradenton with a truckload of donations for the tornado victims in Kentucky, where they formerly served with the Louisville Police Department. They have many friends and family affected by the recent tornadoes and spent time there volunteering in some of the hardest hit areas. In a letter back to Bradenton, Chris and Logan had this, in part, to say:

Even after all the loss, destruction, and devastation it has been inspiring to see people come together to support one another. We’ve been absolutely honored and humbled by this entire experience. It’s been tough fighting back the tears after hearing stories from the first responders and seeing in-person the magnitude of damage.

We can’t thank you all enough for making this happen. Bradenton stepping up to help small towns in our home state is just something we can’t put into words. We love you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Be home soon, Chris and Logan Ellis

City of Bradenton Yard Waste extra effort is making a difference

A severe shortage of workers in the Solid Waste industry has caused Public Works & Utilities departments nationwide to resort to drastic measures to account for the collection of garbage, recycling and yard waste. Here in Bradenton, while we continue to pick up garbage every week, we have temporarily shifted the collection of yard waste and recycling to alternate weeks.

That every-other-week plan has affected our pickup of yard waste the most. Those bunches of leaves, grass, and tree branches pile up quickly, and once a truck is full to brimming, it has to be emptied before it can hold more.

The real issue, though – drivers. The City has increased pay for CDL drivers and is currently offering a sign-on bonus and retention incentives. The more immediate issue – picking up your yard waste.

Twice now, and maybe a third time upcoming, Public Works & Utilities employees have volunteered to work on Saturday to help the City catch up with yard waste collection. These are not just employees from the Solid Waste Division. Some of them are from Landscape & Grounds, Electrical, and Water Treatment divisions.

These Saturday efforts are to the tune of $10,369.60 in overtime pay so far to help the City get more caught up where yard waste is concerned. Mayor Gene and Gina Brown, and Jim McLellan, Director of Public Works & Utilities, have been among the Saturday crews. At a recent City Council meeting, the Mayor read the names of all the Saturday workers because he wanted them to get their proper due. That’s why we’re doing it here, too:

First of all, four people – Craig Keys (Public Works); Gabriel Hornes (Streets); Mike Armato (Water Distribution); and Roberto Ramirez (Drainage) – have worked both Saturdays. Others who gave up a Saturday to help out were: Bert Lawton, Brian Cho, Calvert White, Corbett Matthews, Garrett Falcon, Jason McNeil, Juan Colon, Lamont Stuckey, Wes Silenceux, Ollie Anderson, Stanley King, and Pierce Johnson, all of the Solid Waste Division; Jatazious Wright, Kelvet Fuller, Lester Johnson, Scott Marciano, Todd O’Donnell, and Billy Jones of the Landscape & Grounds Division; Marco Edmond and Jude Placide of Streets; Jesse Gonzalez and Sunil Ditta of Electrical; Lavanus Bowen of Fleet; Phillip Campbell of Water Distribution; Quinton Jamison of Sewer; John Simmons of Drainage; and James Eberstein of Water Treatment.

Using nine rear-load garbage trucks, four boom grapple trucks, a pickup truck/trailer combo, and CDL drivers from other divisions, Saturday workers collected a combined 136 tons on the two days; a usual weekday solid waste run is approximately 15-20 tons.

Well done!

These employees deserve more than a little extra pay and a pat on the back, and our thanks is truly genuine. Director McLellan, whose respect and appreciation for his employees is already noteworthy, had this to say about the Saturday efforts: “I could not be prouder of our staff. Knowing that our Solid Waste team is dealing with an unprecedented problem, these folks volunteered to give up part of their weekends to help Solid Waste meet the needs of our City. No better definition of a team.”

City officials celebrate Marauders championship

City Council members and Mayor Gene Brown attended a celebration of the Bradenton Marauders’ achievement of their Southeast League Championship. City Council member Marianne Barnebey was unable to attend, but Marty the Marauder knows she was there at LECOM Park in spirit.

Congrats to BPD for achieving re-accreditation

Bradenton Police achieved re-accreditation by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, having complied with approximately 260 standards. Accreditation recognizes law enforcement professional excellence and certifies that the Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services comply with CFA standards.

Council Corner: Ward Five, Pam Coachman

Pam Coachman was victorious in her first attempt at public office and calls her area of the city – Ward 5 – “alive.” She is looking forward to being “a voice for all of Ward 5 on the Bradenton City Council,” and adds that she will “advocate for progress across the City of Bradenton,” and “make equity real for everyone.” – https://cityofbradenton.com/coachman

As the 2020-21 fiscal year is about to end, I look back and see so many things to celebrate:

* With new staff in key positions (City Administrator, Planning & Community Development Director, and CRA Executive Director) and existing staff, we have positioned the City for future growth and success.

* We are partnering with developers to create new workforce and affordable housing units (approximately 330 workforce units and approximately 180 affordable housing units.)

* We started a micromobility study to give residents, businesses, & visitors multimodal transportation options and connect several parts of our city.

* We supported community events such as the DeSoto Grand Parade, July 4th fireworks celebration, Earth Day in the Central CRA, Polish the Park (Riverwalk), and many more.

* We reestablished the Central CRA Advisory Board and are creating a new Public Art Advisory Board.

Congratulations to the Manatee Chamber of Commerce for a successful annual Planning Retreat and Leadership Conference.

We appreciate all City employees who are true essential heroes for going beyond (and then some) to collect yard waste after hours including Saturday. I would be remiss to not express appreciation to our citizens through this time.

Fall is officially here and this seasonal change is a good reminder that change is critical for a society and it starts with us. I encourage you to be part of our community events, functions, and responsibilities and assist your local government in creating a better tomorrow.

The Downtown Bradenton Public Market is Back

The Downtown Bradenton Public Market, formerly the Bradenton Farmers’ Market, returns this Saturday and will run every Saturday through May from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Old Main Street downtown.

Fresh produce, local art, live music, free parking. Bring your dog if you like.

What’s not to love? We’ll see you at the Public Market!

City employees conduct Saturday citywide collection of yard waste

Kudos to our entire Public Works & Utilities staff who gave up their Saturday to help the Solid Waste division catch up with yard waste collection. These nonSanitation employees collected this impressive small mountain of solid waste. Thanks to these hard workers, and to all of our Public Works team, for their efforts to continue serving our citizens despite the severe shortage of CDL drivers. To keep up with alternating weeks of yard waste and recycling, please keep an eye on www.cityofbradenton.com/news.

Laugh and Learn Daycare employee facing aggravated child abuse charges

On September 16, 2021, Bradenton PD detectives responded to Manatee Memorial Hospital to assist Child Protective Services with an injured child investigation. The report stated a four-month-old child suffered a leg fracture and was being transferred to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Thalia Camarillo

Subsequent investigation determined the incident took place at the Laugh and Learn Daycare, 200 3rd Ave E in Bradenton. Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant for security camera footage from the daycare. The footage showed an employee, Thalia Camarillo of Ellenton, hitting the infant with an open hand several times. The video then shows her aggressively twisting and bending the infant’s right leg, causing the injury.

Today, September 22, 2021, Camarillo was arrested and charged with Aggravated Child Abuse, a first-degree felony. This investigation is ongoing. The video is evidence and will not be released at this time.

Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Santana at (941) 932-9355. You may also email your information to BPDTIPS@BRADENTONPD.COM or remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000, call Crime Stoppers (toll-free) 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or send an anonymous E-Tip thru the web at www.manateecrimestoppers.com.

Bradenton Police Department Forfeiture Grant Program Awards

Today, at the Bradenton City Council Meeting, Chief Melanie Bevan awarded eight organizations over $18,000 in funding from the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Fund Award Program. The purpose of this program is to provide support to neighborhood agencies and organizations engaged in projects that seek to improve neighborhood safety, promote crime prevention, drug prevention, drug education, drug treatment services, or school resource officer programs. This is accomplished by offering to fund neighborhood groups, associations, or organizations which have developed specific projects to address these areas of concern.

The Funding Approval Committee reviewed all applications and approved the allocation of funds for the following organizations:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Manatee County
  • Manatee County Girls Club, Inc. “Just for Girls”
  • Bradenton Police Explorer Post #1004
  • New Manatee Broncos
  • Drug-Free Manatee
  • Pace Center for Girls
  • Humane Society of Manatee County
  • Replay Outreach, Inc.

This program is a highlight of our unofficial motto, “One City, One Team,” fostering relationships and investing in the future of our community.