+ Napiers arrested on additional charges
Officials arrested Alan and Sheree Napier June 3 on additional charges related to the ongoing animal cruelty case.
The couple, who faces 15 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, along with Alan Napier’s fraud charge, were charged with additional unlawful solicitation of funds (fraud) charges and scheme to defraud, according to a statement from Sheriff Brad Steube.
Alan Napier’s bail totaled $23,000, and Sheree Napier’s totaled $21,500.
The Napiers bonded out last week. They may face additional charges as the Sheriff’s Department continues the investigation.
Edward Dunham, a licensed veterinarian who worked with the Napiers, also faces one count of aggravated animal cruelty.
His trial date has been set for Oct. 20, while the Napiers’ next hearing remains unknown.
Officials raided the couple’s State Road 64 property, Napier’s Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary, Feb. 5, after months of undercover investigative work and various tips on animal neglect from concerned neighbors. The Sheriff’s Department confiscated more than 300 animals.
+ Bus returns with free summer meals for children
The Summer Food Service Program, also known as Summer BreakSpot — an air-conditioned bus filled with food that travels to 50 locations countywide to help feed in-need children this summer — has returned to provide free lunches and snacks to children ages 18 and under now through Aug. 8. All sites serve lunch; some also serve breakfast and snacks.
East County locations include: Lakewood Ranch High School, Lakewood Ranch YMCA and Freedom Elementary School.
Skye T. Grundy, Manatee County School District nutrition coordinator, said the bus will feed more than 3,000 children a day.
The program, which the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services funds, aims to feed children over the summer who typically receive free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year.
For locations and other information, call 751-6550 or visit summerfoodflorida.org.
+ Audubon Society, Orioles celebrate environment day
As a result of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) selection of Sarasota County as a host for an environmental celebration — World Environment Day — the Sarasota Audubon Society and representatives of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team attended various events in Sarasota last week, including a celebration at the site of the future nature center at Celery Fields.
The team’s mascot — The Oriole Bird — and the team’s vice president, David Rovine, launched the Shovel-by-Shovel “friend-raising” campaign to generate interest in the site of the future nature center. Construction will begin on the estimated $1 million nature center in the fall.
In the May 29 issue of the East County Observer, the story “Residents unclear on county’s fertilizer ordinance” incorrectly stated information on education efforts regarding the county’s fertilizer ordinance. Representatives of Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, River Club and the University of Florida, such as Dr. Paul Monaghan, Dr. Shangshun Hu and Emily Ott and Ryan Heise, have continued to educate community residents about the ordinance since it went into effect in 2012.
Social behavioral researchers from the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology at UF, Ott and Monaghan conducted the research in Lakewood Ranch and compiled the results.