News Briefs: Suspect sought; commissioners back down on tax

Marco Eagle

Detectives seek suspect in sexual attacks of two Golden Gate women

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to identify a man they think attacked two Golden Gate women in the past year.

Detectives think the man who sexually battered a woman June 18 committed a similar crime last Aug. 1, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Composite sketch of a man authorities suspect in two sexual batteries in Golden Gate

Sgt. Wade Williams said both sexual batteries happened at the victims’ homes in early morning hours, according to a news release. The man used violence both times, officials said.

In last year’s incident, a woman told officials she was attacked between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. in the garage of her home near 19th Place Southwest in Golden Gate.

The woman got out of the shower and noticed the garage door was open and the lights in the driveway were turned off, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report. She went outside to smoke a cigarette and saw a man crouched behind a car parked in the garage, the report states.

The woman told authorities the man lunged at her and grabbed her throat, according to the report. She tried to defend herself by scratching his face.

The man threw her on the ground and at one point put his hands in her pants, officials said. She fought him off when he tried to drag her into bushes behind the house, and he eventually ran away, the report states.

Another woman told deputies a man went into her home on Golden Gate Parkway about 4 a.m. June 18 and attacked her while she slept, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The woman said she felt movement in her bed and looked toward the closet, an incident report states. The woman saw someone bent over, and the man jumped onto the bed, according to the report.The man punched the woman several times in the face, side and stomach,according to officials. The woman told investigators she was “fighting for

her life” and that the man became aggressive with her after she told him she had kids and asked him to stop, the report states.

The woman was taken to an area hospital to be treated for injuries.

The Sheriff’s Office urged Collier residents to be vigilant about security and to lock their doors.

Officials encouraged residents to call 911 to report suspicious activity, such as someone roaming through neighborhoods late at night or before dawn.

The Sheriff’s Office released a composite sketch of the suspect in the 2016 sexual battery case and is asking the public to take a look at it again.

The Sheriff’s Office described the man as a Hispanic in his 30s to late 40s, about 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8 with a medium to “slightly muscular” build. He had short dark hair, possibly was balding, and had facial hair.

Authorities asked that anyone with information that could help the investigation call the Sheriff’s Office at 239-252-9300. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477). -- Alexi C. Cardona/Staff

After criticism, Collier backs down on taxing to conserve land

Collier County commissioners will not raise property taxes this year to buy preservation land, reversing course after strong opposition from local real estate agents, Republican committee members and state representatives.

The county instead will ask voters in a 2018 referendum whether they want to bring back a special tax to fund Conservation Collier to buy and convert preserve land.

Commissioner Burt Saunders, who campaigned last fall promising to bring back the conservation program, said Tuesday he was convinced that voters ultimately should decide after more than a dozen speakers and the offices of three state legislators spoke out against the increase.

The Collier Commission voted 3-2 in February to give preliminary support to the tax increase, with Commissioners Bill McDaniel and Andy Solis opposing it.

Tax rates will not be set until September. Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to set the maximum property tax rate at the same level as last year, meaning they cannot raise it in September.

2017 Distinguished Public Service Awards now accepting nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 Distinguished Public Service Awards (DPSA), which honor Collier County first responders who have performed an extraordinary act or service above and beyond that required in their daily call of duty.

Awards nominees and winners are considered models of public service within and outside the work environment. The categories include Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management Services, Fire Safety and Law Enforcement. The deadline to nominate an individual is August 1, 2017.

To submit a nomination and learn more about the award categories, click

These awards are presented annually by The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce in association with Naples Daily News.

Table sponsorship opportunities are available through Jackie Woodring at or 239-403-2909.

Johnson graduates from Lehigh University

Nicholas Johnson of Marco Island graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mtrls. Sci. & Engr. degree from Lehigh University in Spring 2017.

During Commencement ceremonies on May 22, Lehigh University conferred 1,071 Bachelor's degrees, 360 Master's degrees and 49 Doctoral degrees. Of the nearly 1,500 graduates, degree recipients came from 41 states and 38 countries, majoring in 94 different disciplines.

For more than 150 years, Lehigh University has combined outstanding academic and learning opportunities with leadership in fostering innovative research.

FWC approves Gulf gray triggerfish limited fall season, conservation measures

At its July meeting in Orlando, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several management changes for gray triggerfish caught in Gulf of Mexico state waters including a limited fall season and several conservation measures.

“By approving this limited season and conservation measures, we are hoping to balance harvest opportunities for recreational anglers with continued rebuilding of this species,” said Commissioner Mike Sole.

Due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season was closed in state and federal waters for all of 2017. At a previous FWC meeting, the Commission expressed interest in potentially opening a fall 2017 season. After considering public testimony at the July 2017 meeting, the Commission directed staff to issue an executive order to reopen the fishery for a limited season this fall.

The season will be posted online and will be found at by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”