Sarasota News Leader


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Sarasota News Leader
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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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COVER Inside EL CID OR DON QUIXOTE? VOICING OPPOSITION CHANGES IN STORE FOR 2050? Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida December 14, 2012




Copyright 2012 Sarasota News Leader All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. The Sarasota News Leader is a publication of: New Sheriff Publishing, Inc. Post Ofce Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277-5099 Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Norman Schimmel Contributing Photographer David Staats Contributing Writer Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer Scott Proftt Staff Writer Tyler Whitson Contributing Writer TWhitson Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney General Manager Advertising Sales Trish Ivey Advertising Account Executive Trish Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD


In our never-ending quest to help you navigate more easily through our publication, we have taken some new steps this week to facili tate the process. First, we realized that we have never pointed out that all of the head lines in our table of contents are interactive If something catches your eye immediately, just click on that headline if you are using a computer or tap on it if you are using a tablet or smartphone, and you will go directly to that story. If you wish to go back to the very beginning of the issue, all you need to do is click on the double ar row symbol on the left side of the page when you nish reading the article. In addition, our production manager, Cleve Posey, has sprinkled a number of tips throughout our pages. We hope they will help you understand more clearly the options available to you for emailing articles, for example, or posting links to them on Facebook. We certainly want to make it as simple as possible for you to share what we publish each week. As much as we may enjoy writing the stories (some more than others, admittedly, with the enthusi asm level sometimes linked to how long we have sat through a meeting), our efforts are for naught if you cannot quickly nd a particular article or cannot gure out how to send it to someone you know would enjoy it as much as you did. I also want to encourage those of you who read the News Leader on a computer to use the fullscreen toggle to expand each page to a widescreen perspective. That will make it much easier on your eyes. With all the diverse issues going on right now in the city and the county, we feel you have plenty of topics to choose from in this weeks issue as you put our reader tips to use. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


COVER PHOTOS: Front Norman Schimmel; Sarasota Leisure Norman Schimmel EL CID OR DON QUIXOTE? UNDER SCRUTINY NEWS & COMMENTARY EL CID OR DON QUIXOTE? 12 Analysis: Caragiulo tilts at the noise ordinance Stan Zimmerman VOICING OPPOSITION 16 The Siesta Key Association and property owners indicate opposition to efforts to build on two Beach Road parcels that have been under the Gulf of Mexico in years past Rachel Brown Hackney CHANGES IN STORE FOR 2050? 21 With some builders calling the plan too strict, the County Commission may take a hard look at revamping it in 2013 Cooper Levey-Baker PONDERING THE FUTURE 24 City staff asks residents and business owners how they would like to see the Rosemary District transformed Stan Zimmerman MOVING FORWARD WITH BONDS 28 The County Commission authorizes nal design and bidding out of the Siesta Public Beach project, with funding from bond revenue but with a change in how construction management will be handled Rachel Brown Hackney UNDER SCRUTINY 34 Business organizations want to see caf owners keeping umbrellas over outdoor tables out of the way of pedestrians Stan Zimmerman Variance requests questioned MOVING PAST ANY DOUBTS 36 One partner in the construction management team hired by the County Commission to work on the new Emergency Operations Center built a parking garage that collapsed in south Florida Rachel Brown Hackney SHELTER STANDARDS 39 County Commission approves funding to make most of the rebuilt Booker High School suitable as a hurricane shelter Rachel Brown Hackney PAYNE PARK SPOTLIGHT 41 Focus on city facility comes as a result of a possible new leash law, upgraded amenities and a skateboard park package snafu Stan Zimmerman HURRICANE SEASON 2012 43 Storms came and mostly went, until Sandy put its name in the record books with its pre-election devastation Stan Zimmerman NEWS BRIEFS 48 TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


BAUHAUS AND THE ENVIRONMENT MAGICAL ILLUMINATION OPINION EDITORIAL & COMMENTARY 56 SARASOTA LEISURE BAUHAUS AND THE ENVIRONMENT 60 Art lecturer Jean Renoux discusses the history of the design school and its relevance in a green era Tyler Whitson A HUB OF CREATIVITY 66 Local entrepreneurs show off their new quarters downtown as Rich Swier Jr. talks about what it is they do Scott Proftt ASK OTUS 71 Last-minute Christmas gift suggestions offered; disappearance of birds from feeders explained Otus Rufous MAGICAL ILLUMINATION 75 St. Armands bids a warm welcome to the holiday season Staff Reports SIESTA SEEN 78 Bid solicitation nally goes out for Siesta Village crosswalk lighting; parking and towing issues pop up again Rachel Brown Hackney ARTS BRIEFS 84 RELIGION BRIEFS 91 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 95 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 96 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For The Best Reading Experience Try Reading The Sarasota News Leader On Your Tablet


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EL CID OR DON QUIXOTE? Analysis: Caragiulo tilts at the noise ordinance Stan Zimmerman Live and amplied music downtown is a third rail of Sara sota city politics. So it is a great surprise that rst-term City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo is getting ready to joust with the thousands of voters who live downtown and go to bed early. On Oct. 27, he took testimony in a town hall-style meeting packed with mu sicians and people who like music, people who have not heard much music downtown for the past decade since the city imposed a draconian noise ordinance. It is draconian because a complainer may remain anonymous and because the sound level is measured at the source and not at the point of complaint. ( Full story here ) VOICING OPPOSITION The Siesta Key Association and property owners indicate opposition to efforts to build on two Beach Road parcels that have been under the Gulf of Mexico in years past Rachel Brown Hackney Residents of Terrace East and directors of the Siesta Key Association have indicated they will oppose requests for two variances that will be addressed by the Sarasota County Commission on Jan. 9. Both petitions involve construction of new Beach Road homes with swim ming pools and decks, paver driveways and landscape retaining walls about 200 feet seaward of the countys Gulf Beach Setback Line. Peter van Roekens, vice president of the SKA, brought up the matter during the organizations regular meeting on Dec. 6, noting the two lots had been beneath the Gulf of Mexico in the past. He had photos as proof for the County Commission, he pointed out. ( Full story here ) TOP STORIES AT A GLANCE Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


CHANGES IN STORE FOR 2050? With some builders calling the plan too strict, the County Commission may take a hard look at revamping it in 2013 Cooper Levey-Baker Sarasota Countys 2050 plan may not make it past 2013 intact. On Sept. 18, the Sarasota County Commission instructed staff to meet with developers who have had rsthand experience dealing with Sarasota 2050, the ambitious and detailed document created to guide development in the countys eastern portions. The idea: to generate ideas for how to update the 2050 plan, a move which has environmental and man aged growth advocates concerned. Originally approved a decade ago, the 2050 plan was intended to encourage developers working outside the countys Urban Service Area Boundary to incorporate green space into their designs and to ght urban sprawl and reduce automobile trafc as the countys population increases. ( Full story here ) PONDERING THE FUTURE City staff asks residents and business owners how they would like to see the Rosemary District transformed Stan Zimmerman A one-acre parcel sparked a broad community discussion about the future of the Rosemary District on Monday, Dec. 10. City Manager Tom Barwin opened the meeting by say ing the city-owned land could be a catalyst for redevelopment of the his torically depressed area adjacent to downtown, north of Fruitville Road. A varsity team for the city attended the meeting, including a host of plan ners. Chief Planner Ryan Chapdelain was the moderator. The catalyst to which Barwin referred is the old Community Garden par cel on Sixth Street (aka Boulevard of the Arts). It lies adjacent to a cityowned parking lot on Fifth Street; together, they comprise just a tad more than one acre. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


MOVING FORWARD WITH BONDS The County Commission authorizes nal design and bidding out of the Siesta Public Beach project, with funding from bond revenue but with a change in how construction management will be handled Rachel Brown Hackney After close to two hours of discussion and public com ments combined, the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to authorize staff to complete the design of the Siesta Public Beach project and put it out for bid, with the cost not to exceed $21.5 million. The amount includes $16.7 million estimated for the actual construction, with the rest allocated to engineering and architectural consulting fees. The motion also permitted staff to seek supplemental bids for 10 extras for the project that the design team had suggested. ( Full story here ) UNDER SCRUTINY Business organizations want to see caf owners keeping umbrellas over outdoor tables out of the way of pedestrians Stan Zimmerman Sidewalk cafs lend an air of insouciance to Sarasota until the umbrella pokes you in the eye. Then life is not so carefree. Cafs are encroaching on pedestrian space, say the chairmen of both the St. Armands and Downtown improvement dis tricts. And that is going to change. St. Armands Business Improvement District Chairman Marty Rappaport and the Downtown Improvement District Chairman Ernie Ritz took a side walk stroll through both areas, and they separately told the same tale af terward: Tables and chairs are encroaching on sidewalks. The cafs lease the sidewalk area from the City of Sarasota on an annual basis. The city, in return, requires at least a six-foot-wide walkway to re main, to handle foot trafc and wheelchairs. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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Live and amplied music downtown is a third rail of Sarasota city politics. So it is a great surprise that rst-term City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo is getting ready to joust with the thousands of voters who live downtown and go to bed early. On Oct. 27, he took testimony in a town hallstyle meeting packed with musicians and people who like mu sic, people who have not heard much music downtown for the past decade since the city imposed a draco nian noise ordinance. It is draconian because a complainer may re main anonymous and because the sound level is measured at the source and not at the point of complaint. The draconian nature of it is typied by the Starkeeper Caf, a bungalow sandwiched between the GTE monolith and the Rivo on Ringling condominiums on the north side of Charles Ringling Bou levard. Caf operator John Snyder has small speakers for back ground music outside, and that makes him an outlaw. A city map shows the downtown Sarasota zoning districts. Image courtesy City of Sarasota ANALYSIS: CARAGIULO TILTS AT THE NOISE ORDINANCE EL CID OR DON QUIXOTE? I keep getting busted for the noise ordinance because one person complains. John Snyder Starkeeper Caf By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 13 I keep getting busted for the noise ordinance because one person complains, he said. Who is that person? Nobody knows. And where do the police measure the noise? At the speaker, of course. If Snyder does not stand a chance, the odds are members of a blues band would literally sing their own blues if they performed outside in downtown Sarasota. The banned and bust ed musicians congregate once a year to pro duce a recording of their new music named what else? The Noise Ordinance. You can have a Harley with straight pipes or a million-watt boombox-mobile and the cops do not care. Pipe in a little easy listening for the customers? Youre busted, sucker. UNREASONABLE SOUND? During the October meeting, City Planning Board Member Mort Siegel suggested enter tainment-specic areas. He then cautioned, If you are advocating downtown be turned into an overall large entertainment center, you will fail. Caragiulo took the idea of an entertainment center, massaged it with limits on time and volume and shared the idea with Peter Fan ning, president of the Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association. Fanning is quick to note, We do not represent 3,000 residents. We represent the boards who represent the residents. On Oct. 31, DSCA endorsed the idea of an en tertainment district. It delivered that nding Many of the thousands of residents of downtown Sarasota condominiums say they do not like loud music late at night. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 14 on Dec. 11 to the Downtown Improvement District. We are promoting the discussion: What constitutes unreasonable sound? Fan ning said. Should we create different dis tricts? Should we set standards for enforce ment? These are all important issues. The residents main concern is we avoid a discussion that leads to a we-versus-they proposition, added Fanning. We have other important issues downtown. A contingent of residents from the Plaza at Five Points Condominium (aka 50 Central) also showed up at the DID meeting to share their thoughts on an entertainment district downtown. Faye Beloff noted things are already a bit loud. There was dancing in the street at 2 a.m. out side Smokey Joes [on Main Street], she said. What is a special entertainment zone? asked David Eckel, who then said, I dont want to live in a special entertainment zone. Dont spoil it at this particular point. Ironically, he and the others live above a bois terous nightclub called the Ivory Lounge at 50 Central. But because all the noise is inside a building, the noise ordinance does not apply. The proposed entertainment district would be bordered by Fruitville Road to the north, Washington Blvd. to the east, State Street to the south and Central Avenue to the west. The Plaza at Five Points would be at the western edge of the zone. WILL ANY FOLLOW? It has been a decade since the Lemon Coast (aka the downtown beach bar) forced the city to take action on noise. The rock and roll concerts on Fridays and Saturdays were mem orable, but the sound bounced off an ofce building wall and went straight into Sarasotas new downtown condos full of new downtown condo owners. John Vetri is the property manager at 50 Cen tral. The people who live here, the residents, deserve the right to use their property, he said. Vetri suggested moving the boundaries of the entertainment district away from his building. Caragiulo is planning a second town hall meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 19, in the City Hall Annex. We need to modernize the noise policy, he said. We need effective enforce ment and realistic appeals. This is going to be a long process; theres a lot to change. Were juggling science, the First Amendment, how to enforce. In politics, timing is everything. Next March, city voters will elect two at-large commission ers. Caragiulo is not running this time, but candidates could take up the noise issue pro or con and keep it open for discussion. Caragiulo could be betting full-time residents are tired of a sleepy downtown and ready to amp it up. That might give him support on the commission to make a change or vice ver sa. One thing is certain. Not all of the 3,000 anony mous potential complainers who live in down town condominiums are registered to vote in Sarasota. Just look up any summer evening and see who is home. While the rooms are empty, the noise ordinance lives on. %


I like to take my time. Sure, its a temptation to rush. Each issue of The Sarasota News Leader is brimfull of in-depth coverage of all the news and goings-on in Sarasota County. And it has delightful and informative feature stories. Thanks to its partnership with This Week In Sarasota I always know what the most exciting happenings are each week. Plus, it is simply so beautiful, with photography that takes my breath away. There is so much there, I dont know where to begin. So it is hard to resist the urge to read it all at once. But I know better. Take your time and indulge in all that it has to offer. You have a whole week. Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida


Residents of Terrace East and directors of the Siesta Key Association have indicated they will oppose requests for two variances that will be addressed by the Sarasota County Commission on Jan. 9. Both petitions involve construction of new Beach Road homes with swimming pools and decks, paver drive ways and landscape retaining walls about 200 feet seaward of the countys Gulf Beach Setback Line. Peter van Roekens, vice president of the SKA, brought up the matter during the organiza tions regular meeting on Dec. 6, noting the two lots had been beneath the Gulf of Mexico in the past. He had photos as proof for the County Commission, he pointed out. He had just learned notices about the requests had come to adjacent property owners in the mail the previous day, he said. Howev er, I didnt get one, van Roekens said. Neither did the president of Terrace East, he added A Sarasota County diagram shows the overall site plan for the parcel at 162 Beach Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County SIESTA KEY ASSOCIATION, TERRACE EAST RESIDENTS INDICATE PLANS TO FIGHT REQUESTS FOR NEW HOMES ON TWO BEACH ROAD LOTS THAT HAVE BEEN UNDERWATER IN THE PAST VOICING OPPOSITION Were going to meet about it. Its not a good thing. Peter van Roekens Board member Terrace East By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 17 An enlarged view of the site plan for 162 Beach Road shows details of the proposed construction. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 18 Were going to meet about it, van Roekens said of the Terrace East board. Its not a good thing. When SKA Director Bob Waechter asked whether the requests involved parcels north of the Terrace building, van Roekens replied, Yes, adding, There are dunes on them. The lots are vacant, van Roekens said in re sponse to another question from Waechter, though houses stand on lots adjacent to them. Whenever someone wants to build a structure outside the boundary of the countys coastal setback line, SKA President Catherine Luck ner noted, the law requires adjacent property owners to be notied of the fact. Luckner pointed out that the Gulf Beach Set back Line was established to prevent property damage as a result of storms. We take it pret ty seriously, she added. Frequently, we get [notices] because we rep resent the residential community, she said. In this case, we did not get one. Noting that the requests for the variances were led with the county in October, Luck ner said, We found [it] unusual that no tices had not gone out sooner. In response to Sarasota News Leader ques tions about the situation, Howard Berna, en vironmental supervisor in the countys Natural Resources Department, said in an email, The rst [county] code-required mailing was post ed on December 3 by the applicants agent. A second required mailing will also be posted by the applicants agent on or about December 21. Each current notice says, A second mailing will be sent to the appropriate neighborhood associations and all property owners within 500 feet of the property boundaries at a min imum of fteen days prior to the public hear ing. Berna continued in his email, The mailing ad dresses are based on available property ap praiser records linked to our [Geographical Information System (GIS)] and it is quite pos A Sarasota County GIS map shows the two lots that are the focus of the variance requests on Beach Road: 0080-24-0027 and 0080-24-0028, to the left of the Terrace building. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 19 sible that those who have not received [notic es] yet may have a northern address on record [at the Sarasota County] Property Appraiser Ofce and the item is making its way back to Florida if they have forwarded their mail. He added that an applicant for a variance also is required to post the property in question a minimum of 15 days before the public hearing date on the matter. The mailed notices say the County Commis sion will hold the public hearings on those variance requests during the afternoon por tion of its regular meeting on Jan. 9 in Sara sota, which will start at 1:30 p.m. Berna told the News Leader on Dec. 11 that he had received no formal comments so far about the petitions. THE PROPERTY ITSELF A Sarasota News Leader search of county property records shows the 7,429-square-foot parcel at 162 Beach Road is owned by Ronald and Sania Allen of Osprey, who purchased it on May 29, 2009 for $5.4 million. The seller was Brent R. Cooper, trustee. The lot sold in September 2007 for $500,000. The second parcel where a variance has been requested is located at 168 Beach Road. With a total of 7,679 square feet, it was sold by Cooper to Ronald Allen together with the 162 Beach Road lot on May 29, 2009. On Feb. 21, 2012, Allen transferred it for $100 to Siesta Miramar LLC of 2033 Main St., Sarasota. Ac cording to corporate documents, the ofcers of that company are Ronald and Sania Allen. That parcel also was sold in September 2007 for $500,000. The Allens are being represented in both vari ance requests by attorney William W. Merrill III of Sarasota. According to the website for the Icard Merrill law rm in Sarasota, Merrill has a nationally recognized practice in land use, planning, transportation and environmen tal law % Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


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I would think it would raise alarm bells if someone asked the fox how to redesign the henhouse. Thats effectively what the County Commission is doing. Dan Lobeck President Control Growth Now Sarasota Countys 2050 plan may not make it past 2013 intact. On Sept. 18, the Sarasota County Commission instructed staff to meet with developers who have had rsthand experience dealing with Sarasota 2050, the ambitious and detailed document created to guide development in the countys eastern portions. The idea: to generate ideas for how to update the 2050 plan, a move which has environmental and managed growth advo cates concerned. Originally approved a decade ago, the 2050 plan was intended to encourage developers working outside the countys Urban Service Area Boundary to incorporate green space into their designs and to ght urban sprawl and reduce automobi le trafc as the countys population increases. Dan Lobeck, an attorney and the president of Control Growth Now, calls the 2050 plan a grand bargain that allowed developers access to areas east of I-75 in exchange for strict regulation of what could be built. (From left) Sarasota County Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Charles Hines and Christine Robinson have been most vocal about taking another look at the 2050 Plan. Photo by Rachel Hackney WITH SOME BUILDERS CALLING THE PLAN TOO STRICT, THE COUNTY COMMISSION MAY TAKE A HARD LOOK AT REVAMPING IT IN 2013 CHANGES IN STORE FOR 2050? By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 22 But today, critics say the plan has stied the private sector, pointing to the fact that only one new project Neal Communities Grand Palm in Venice has gotten off the ground under the new rules. And that criticism has been well received on the County Commis sion, where at least three commissioners have publicly indicated a desire to overhaul the 2050 rules. Weeks after the County Commissions vote for more information, employees from the countys planning, environmental and zon ing teams met with Neal Communities and Schroeder-Manatee (the company behind the Villages of Lake wood Ranch South), and jotted down many of their concerns and complaints, later sum marized in a memo from Planning Services Director Tom Polk to County Administrator Randy Reid. According to notes from those meetings, concerns centered around how to dene 2050 concepts such as Open Space, what to do about pine at woods (which are conserved but not preserved) and the question of scal neu trality, which requires that developers pro duce documentation showing new projects will not cost the county money in the way of new services. Fiscal neutrality causes uncer tainty for the nancing of a project, reads one note from Schroeder-Manatee. According to Polk, the county has at least two more stakeholder meetings before it will summarize the feedback for the commission on Jan. 30. Polk says the recommendations are mere renements to the plan, and he calls, for example, Neal Communities Presi dent Pat Neal a very big supporter of 2050. A Neal Communities press release, in fact, touts the fact that its Grand Palm develop ment is the rst project to meet the careful ly-crafted, low-impact standards of Saraso ta Countys Sarasota 2050 Initiative. Nev ertheless, through the processing there were some issues we had to work through, Polk says. (Neal Communi ties did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.) In addition to Grand Palm, Schroeder-Man atee has earned ap proval for Villages of Lakewood Ranch South, a 5,500-acre, 5,144-unit devel op ment, according to Planning Services Customer Service Manager Mary Beth A chart in the countys 2050 Plan ranks the priority of resource management ar eas (RMAs) for consideration in transfer of development rights transactions, another controversial issue related to the 2050 Plan. Chart courtesy of Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 23 Humphries. All told, that means more than 7,000 units have been approved under 2050 guidelines. Such successes suggest that 2050 has not been the economic death knell some have claimed, but that has not stopped county commis sioners from calling for fundamental chang es. During a Tiger Bay forum, newly elected Commissioner Charles Hines said he support ed loosening up the 2050 rules, and Commis sioner Christine Robinson wrote in a Sarasota Herald-Tribune candidate questionnaire that 2050 does not promote smart, well thought out planned growth but is instead a barrier to any growth at all. The development community has told us its not workable, Commissioner Joe Barbetta told a man giving a public comment at a Sep tember meeting. Barbetta called 2050 a great plan but said it was not right for the inland area. You cant airlift an urban community and put it eight or nine miles out east, he said. Itll never work. Lobeck says hes alarmed about the poten tial changes. He is particularly worried about the possibility of weakening the countys pro cess for monitoring scal neutrality. Devel opers may argue they simply want to cut red tape, Lobeck says, but the end result is new communities that could become a nancial burden on the countys taxpayers. And while critics may blame 2050 for a pau city of new projects, the real estate collapse has been a far bigger factor, Lobeck says. The most recent tweaks to the 2050 plan came in November 2006 just before the housing im plosion. Nobodys building these huge mixed use developments and youre going to blame 2050? he says. Its the economy. That is a point echoed by Jono Miller, the for mer chairman of the countys Environmental Policy Task Force. Is the lack of new construc tion a reection of a depressed economy or is there some aw in the 2050 implementation thats keeping people from choosing it? he asks. Miller is not opposed to 2050 tweaks, but he says the overall concept remains sound. I think the goals are appropriate or relevant, he says, arguing that without 2050, we could just see the eastern county carved up in lots, with no real guarantee that the habitats are going to be protected and with everything kind of spread out. He calls such develop ment rural sprawl. This question comes up: Well, its only 2012 and weve got a 2050 plan. Do we need to be nervous that its not working or is everything on track? he asks. While he is not directly involved enough to have a strong opinion, and he would like to see statistics on all the different types of new developments being built, Miller says his incli nation would be to let it ride for now. Lobeck calls the situation a payoff to the commissioners patrons. Neal served as an honorary host at a September fundraiser for Robinson; Schroeder-Manatee President and CEO Rex Jensen was on the host com mittee. Neal also backed Hines, and several companies associated with Lakewood Ranch donated to his campaign. I would think it would raise alarm bells if someone asked the fox how to redesign the henhouse, Lobeck says. Thats effectively what the County Commission is doing. %


You have a moment in time where the development world is going to get active again. Interest rates are at an alltime low. Its a heaven-sent opportunity to do an increase in density. Ian Black Realtor A one-acre parcel sparked a broad community discussion about the future of the Rosemary District on Monday, Dec. 10. City Manager Tom Barwin opened the meeting by saying the city-owned land could be a catalyst for redevelopment of the historically depressed area adjacent to down town, north of Fruit ville Road. A varsity team for the city attended the meet ing, including a host of planners. Chief Plan ner Ryan Chapdelain was the moderator. The catalyst to which Barwin referred is the old Community Garden parcel on Sixth Street (aka Boulevard of the Arts). It lies adjacent to a city-owned parking lot on Fifth Street; together, they comprise just a tad more than one acre. Current zoning of the two properties is Downtown Edge, which allows 25 dwell ing units per acre and a ve-story maximum height. But Chapdelain said, Anything is pos sible. There are incen Chain-link fencing surrounds the former Community Garden parcel on Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY STAFF ASKS RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS HOW THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE ROSEMARY DISTRICT TRANSFORMED PONDERING THE FUTURE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 25 tives the city can offer to develop this site. Weve heard in the past mixed-use might t. OPEN MIC Virtually none of the audience members identied themselves as the microphone was passed from speaker to speaker. One question that struck to the heart of the discussion came up early: What does the Rosemary District want to be? Right now, its half blight. Chapdelains answer was surprising to some. It is not the citys role to provide that answer, he said. It should come from the stakehold ers who live and work in the district. Devin Rutkowski suggested the current code allows accessory dwelling units, such as a cottage behind a main house. That could double the density with small apartments, he suggested. But under current rules, the idea does not work, said Tim Litchet, the citys di rector of building, zoning and neighborhoods. Chapdelain em phasized the ap peal of the Rose mary District. As the economy begins to bounce back, we want to make the area as attractive as we can, he said. There is proxim ity to downtown; the zoning is in place; there are a lot of opportuni ties. The Rosemary District is almost like a blank palette, said one stakeholder. A lot of good things are happening there. It seems to me it offers the opportunity to be a bit more edgy than downtown or Towles Court, said one person, referring to the art district near Laurel Park, on the other side of downtown. Downtown Edge zoning allows and encourag es multi-use buildings. Citrus Square on North Orange Avenue is an example, with townho mes above retail space, allowing a live-work experience. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE Chapdelain asked, Is anybody interested in going to Downtown Core [zoning] from Down town Edge? The change would allow signi cantly greater development, with 50 dwelling units per acre possible and a height of up to 10 stories. Yet, the idea drew few takers. Were asking for increased density, but not towers, said property owner Jim Lampl. Realtor Ian Black, who has a vest ed interest in the area, said, You have a moment in time where the development world is going to get active again. Interest rates are at an all-time low. A map shows the boundaries of the Rosemary District. Image from Google Maps


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 26 Its a heaven-sent opportunity to do an in crease in density. Another property owner stressed the need for more than just residential or ofce space. I own a large property on Central Avenue. We need people, but we also need retail, art gal leries, coffee shops. If its development just for people to live in, it will kill the Rosemary District, the person said. Virginia Hoffman, a city advisory committee member, noted that north of the district, the land is zoned Light Industrial. That is prime for an overlay district for live-work. This [plan] must remain affordable, she said. This one-acre lot is not a magic bullet for the Rose mary [District]. Whats around this makes it good, too. A variety of ideas were batted about in the 70-minute session. Condominiums, townhous es, live-work space, overlay district(s), park ing alternatives, tax incentives and more were mentioned. But it all comes back to the two city-owned lots comprising one acre. In the near future, the city will release an intention to negotiate request for proposals for that one acre. It wont say what we want, said one senior city ofcial. You tell us. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Press Releases & News Tips


Tonya Herschberger & Linda Keefe Christine Koval, D.M.D. Restorative, Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry General Dentistry 2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 216A Sarasota, FL 941.923.5406 Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Tonya was the nurse who prepped Linda for surgery after she was hit by a drunk driver while walking with her husband and their dog. In spite of her pain and the anxiety that precedes any surgical procedure, Linda gazed up at the nurse and immediately felt at ease. You have a beautiful smile, she said. Thats when Tonya shared with Linda the person responsible for her beautiful smile, Dr. Christine Koval. For over 25 years, Dr. Koval has been one of the areas most trusted experts in creating beautiful, natural smiles using the latest advances in restorative, cosmetic, laser and general dentistry. Most new patients come to her based on referrals from people who just cant stop smiling. Linda turned to Dr. Koval to repair her smile and jaw which was so misaligned she couldnt chew her food properly. Tonyas comforting smile and advice gave me hope and direction, she says. Im so grateful to her, and of course to Dr. Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone I meet.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 or for a more extensive smile gallery viewing visit ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.


After close to two hours of discussion and public comments combined, the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to authorize staff to com plete the design of the Siesta Public Beach project and put it out for bid, with the cost not to exceed $21.5 million. The amount includes $16.7 million estimated for the actual construction, with the rest al located to engineering and architectural con sulting fees. The motion also permitted staff to seek sup plemental bids for 10 extras for the project that the design team had suggested. I n making the motion, however, Commission er Joe Barbetta went against staff recommen dations for oversight of the actual work. He included in his motion direction for the coun ty to hire a construction manager instead of an outside company to handle construction engineering inspection (CEI). Mark Smith, a Siesta architect and the chair man of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce who reviewed the design plans at the be hest of commissioners had proposed the board pursue the employment of a construc tion manager to save money. A graphic illustration shows the proposed basic Siesta Beach park planned improvements, at a total cost of $21.5 million. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION AUTHORIZES FINAL DESIGN AND BIDDING OUT OF THE SIESTA PUBLIC BEACH PROJECT, WITH FUNDING FROM BOND REVENUE BUT WITH A CHANGE IN HOW CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT WILL BE HANDLED MOVING FORWARD WITH BONDS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 29 Staff and commissioner comments suggested the county would net more than $1 million in savings by taking that step. The commissioners also approved the use of bond funds to pay for the project to be under taken at one time, instead of doing it piece meal as funds were made available through Fiscal Year 2024. Chairwoman Christine Robinson was the only board member to vote No on the bond mo tion. We have dire needs for our roads in our com munity, she said, referencing information provided during the meeting by county Chief Engineer James K. Harriott Jr.: Approximately $14 million had been lost in revenue for pav ing projects. This is a quality of life issue for our community, she said, noting the commis sioners receive complaints every day about the countys dilapidated road surfaces. Robinson also pointed to a statement by Steve Botelho, the countys chief nancial planning ofcer. While the county could afford to sell bonds to pay for both the Siesta Beach proj ect and new infrastructure and radios for the countys emergency services responders, Botelho said the combination would create a lean situation until probably Fiscal Year 2017 or 2018, meaning the board would not have sufcient funds to cover any other major expenses that might arise. This is a very worthy project, Robinson said of the beach improvements. Her vote, she add ed, is not a reection on the project itself. I really have an issue with tying up our future commissioners hands. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Although commissioners since early Novem ber had voiced dismay and criticized staff over the delay in completing the design of the beach park improvements, none of them raised questions during their Dec. 11 regular meeting about why the project had been de layed. Representatives of the consulting rm on the project Kimley-Horn and Associates along with Carolyn Brown, general manager of the countys Parks and Recreation Depart ment; Botelho; and Hank Schneider, opera tions manager of the Mobility/Facilities Of ce, addressed the board following the public comments portion of the meeting. Smith and Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner were among the four members of the public who took the opportunity to speak to the board at the outset of the afternoon ses sion of the meeting. Brown offered a quick overview of the project, followed by Michael L. Sturm of Kimley-Horn, who reviewed the basic proposed improve ments. Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Smith discusses the Siesta Beach im provements during the Dec. 6 Siesta Key As sociation meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 30 Then William D. Waddill of Kimley-Horn ran down a list of 10 optional amenities that could be included in the project at a total cost of $4,125,000. Among them were a cov ered storage and work area structure in the maintenance section of the park ($90,000), replacement of the existing dune walkovers ($300,000) and adding more light poles and xtures as well as upgrading the lighting to state-of-the-art, turtle-friendly amber LED lights ($990,000). (A note regarding the walkovers pointed out, This will upgrade one of the walkovers to al low vehicle loads for maintenance equipment .) Botelho told the board that a $14 million bond issue would provide the funds needed to com plete the project at $21.5 million, as the county already had $7.5 million in hand from surtax revenue. We wouldnt even be coming back with the borrow until late next summer, Bo telho added. However, if the county issued those bonds and $26 million in bonds to pay for the replace ment of the 800 MHz emergency radio system, he noted, 70 percent of the countys revenue would be going toward debt service. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS The rst commissioner comment to be parried by staff focused on the amount of time antici pated to complete the project. After Barbetta mentioned the county could take advantage of lower construction costs by issuing bonds for the funding and getting the work nished in 18 months, Schneider told him, Were proposing 27 months [of] construction time. At once? All at once? Barbetta replied. Id be a little shocked at that. Schneider referred Barbetta to a staff memo about the project dated Nov. 9, which includ ed the 27-month timetable. Then Waddill jumped in: My opinion is that the project could be constructed in a shorter period of time. Commissioner Charles Hines agreed with Bar betta about the need to have the work done all (From left) Sarasota County staff members Rob LaDue, Carolyn Eastwood and Curtis Smith all of whom have been involved with the Siesta Beach project listen to public comments during the Dec. 11 County Commission meeting. At right is Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota Coun ty Council of Neighborhood Associations, who is a Siesta resident. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 31 Weve been frozen [on the beach plan] for five months at 60 percent design. We cant wait another eight months. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County at one time, but he also speculated the proj ect could be completed in less time than 27 months. I support what Commissioners Barbetta and Hines have said about completing the proj ect all at once as a borrow, Vice Chairwoman Carolyn Mason said. I want it bonded, too, said Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, but I dont want it bonded necessarily at the price that is on the table. When Patterson fur ther questioned the additional amenities at the $4,125,000 esti mate, Waddill remind ed her those items could be bid out sepa rately as alternates to the base project. Robinson asked Botelho whether the county would have to delay or cut back any other ini tiatives linked to its surtax revenue if it pur sued bond issues for both the beach and the 800 MHz projects. Botelho responded that he foresaw no problems. County Administrator Randall Reid empha sized, The program is lean, but you can do it all. Robinson later pointed out that the cost of asphalt was rising. Thats where the lean pro gram in the future would have to be looked at, she said. At Robinsons request, Harriott stepped to the podium to point out that the board originally approved $122.5 million in surtax funding for road resurfacing. The downturn in the econo my had resulted in that amount being reduced to $108 million, he said. When Patterson turned the discussion again to the 10 supplemental features for the park plan, Barbetta referenced Smiths estimate that the base project could be completed for $13 million. Barbetta said, I personally think somewhere between Mark Smiths numbers and [the $21.5 million estimate] is the right number. Even with the 10 upgraded features includ ed, Barbetta added, he expected the total cost would end up being between $16 million and $17 million. The longer we wait, the more costly its go ing to be. There might be another 12 to 18 months of decent pric ing in the construc tion industry, he add ed. THE CONSTRUCTION MANAGER FACTOR When Barbetta initiated dialogue about whether the county could hire a construction management rm instead of a CEI for the proj ect, Schneider said it could take up to eight months to get a construction management company on board. Why cant it be done in 30 to 60 days? Bar betta asked. Weve been frozen [on the beach plan] for ve months at 60 percent design. We cant wait another eight months. Schneider replied that it would take six weeks just to schedule a board vote on a construc tion management rm after the Procurement Department put the job out for bids and as sessed the responses. The countys procurement ofcial, Ted Coy man, told the commissioners it would take 90


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 32 to 120 days for his ofce to take care of its part of hiring a construction manager. Sturm and Waddill agreed the county could end up paying much less by using a construc tion manager. Waddill explained how the rm utilized that process to build the new River walk complex in Bradenton. A construction manager would hire the contractors to handle the work and keep the project on schedule, he said. [It] is perhaps a good way to go, he said. Youve selected them as basically your construction partner. Were already on the team as the engineer of record and the architect of record, Sturm said. [You would be] paying [a CEI] to do what weve already done. Schneider then took close to four minutes to read from material explaining how the county uses CEIs, noting they are an impartial third party ensuring adherence to the design as well as quality control. Barbetta said he expected the county could hire a construction manager for $250,000. Schneider noted county staff normally esti mates 10 percent of a project for the cost of CEI; in this case, that would be $1.67 million. Hines concurred with Barbetta that the CEI cost was too high. We could have a couple of engineers for a couple of hundred thousand dollars, Patter son said, and we would come out way ahead. Schneider then said the cost probably would be closer to $300,000 for a construction man ager. Commissioners Charles Hines and Christine Robinson listen to remarks by staff and consultants during the Dec. 11 board meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 33 Thats still ahead, Patterson pointed out. We hear your complaints about the CEI el ement, Schneider said. Well try and turn [this] around in the next few weeks and get that thing advertised about as quick as possi ble. After Barbetta made his motion to proceed with the completion of the design work, the hiring of a construction manager and bidding out the project without exceeding the $21.5 million budget, Patterson said, I think its too much. I think we should try to make it less. Thats why I said not to exceed, Barbetta replied. I guess I just want it clearly understood that I think that cost is too high, Patterson said. I think we all agree its too high, Hines said, and thats why we want to get the bids out there and then we can decide whether to approve [the contract]. THE AFTERMATH Following the vote, SKA President Catherine Luckner told The Sarasota News Leader she felt the commissioners should have subtract ed the CEI cost from the $21.5 million. She was concerned the project still was too ex pensive, she added. She and representatives of other Siesta orga nizations had agreed with Smiths assessment that a number of items could have been omit ted from the base project, she added. The primary concern of the island groups, Luckner has pointed out, is that they want to see the project completed in a timely fash ion; they have said it does not need as many bells and whistles as the design team has proposed. In an interview, Smith told the News Leader I think there is a certain fatigue with the proj ect, but [the commissioners] made the right decision in moving forward. He was pleased the vote included the hiring of a construction manager, he added, to bring this project in on budget. Parks and Recreation General Manager Brown told the News Leader Im happy that we got some direction and can move the project for ward. % Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among sub scribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click to Subscribe


If you are walking and talking to a friend, it would be easy to get jabbed in the eye. Ernie Ritz Chairman Downtown Improvement District Sidewalk cafs lend an air of insouciance to Sarasota until the umbrella pokes you in the eye. Then life is not so carefree. Cafs are encroaching on pedestrian space, say the chairmen of both the St. Armands and Down town improvement districts. And that is going to change. St. Armands Business Improvement District Chairman Marty Rap paport and the Down town Improvement District Chairman Er nie Ritz took a side walk stroll through both areas, and they separately told the same tale afterward: Tables and chairs are en croaching on sidewalks. The cafs lease the sidewalk area from the City of Sarasota on an annual basis. The city, in return, requires at least a six-foot-wide walkway to remain, to handle foot trafc and wheelchairs. For no more than two outdoor tables, the cost is $274; a caf owner or operator pays $50 for each addi tional table. Renewals Outdoor tables are common at restaurants on Main Street and on St. Armands. Photo by Norman Schimmel BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS WANT TO SEE CAF OWNERS KEEPING UMBRELLAS OVER OUTDOOR TABLES OUT OF THE WAY OF PEDESTRIANS UNDER SCRUTINY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 35 are $274 for up to two tables and $25 for each additional table on the city-owned sidewalk. Ritz and Rappaports tour turned up problems, especially with overhanging umbrellas. Theyre at eye level, said Ritz. If you are walking and talking to a friend, it would be easy to get jabbed in the eye. In addition to the umbrellas, the tables and chairs are slowly inching into the walkway, the men indicated. I had trouble with seating in the walking area, said Rappaport. We need regulations to make it safer and easier to implement. Both organizations tax businesses in their ar eas, then provide improvements. One of those services is regular sidewalk cleaning. Over time, representatives of the two organizations report, they have found that the sidewalks by cafs require the most cleaning of any areas. Ritz and Rappaport say they would like to convince caf operators to comply with ex isting regulations instead of opting to receive citations from the citys code enforcement of cers for impeding trafc and blocking side walks. % Business organization representatives on St. Armands and in downtown Sarasota do not want pe destrian trafc to be impeded by umbrellas over caf tables. Photo by Norman Schimmel


With the chairwoman of the Sarasota Coun ty Commission voicing a high level of con dence in the local rm that will be involved in the work, the board voted unanimously Tues day, Dec. 11, to approve a $103,300 pre-con struction construction services management contract for the countys new Emergency Op erations/911 Center. In a Dec. 11 memo to the County Commis sion, Emergency Services Director Mike To bias recommended the contract be approved with Ajax/Tandem Construction. T he contract was an item on the commissions Dec. 11 consent agenda, but Chairwoman Christine Robinson pulled it for discussion. Bob Stuckey, general manager of public safe ty communications, appeared before the board to address concerns about Ajax Build ing Corp.s work on a parking garage at Mi ami-Dade Community College; the garage collapsed Oct. 10 while under construction, killing four people, according to news reports. Ajax President Bill Byrne conrmed to the Hufngton Post on Oct. 12 that a crane had A Sarasota County graphic illustration presented to the County Commission on May 8 showed the tentative site plan for the new Emergency Operations Center at Cattlemen Road and Porter Way. Image courtesy Sarasota County PARTNER IN THE CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT TEAM HIRED BY THE COUNTY COMMISSION TO WORK ON THE NEW EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER BUILT A PARKING GARAGE THAT COLLAPSED IN SOUTH FLORIDA MOVING PAST ANY DOUBTS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 37 struck the garage two days before the col lapse, but he emphasized it was too soon to say whether that incident had contributed to the situation. The collapse still was under investigation, Stuckey told the commissioners. It could take months or a year or so before the cause is de termined, he added. In our research, Stuckey continued, we basically have found that Ajax has been very compliant and very performance-driven in dealing with the construction of EOCs and 911 centers across the state of Florida. Moreover, Stuckey said, it did not appear that any of the construction team involved in the Miami-Dade project would be working on the Sarasota County EOC. Weve been getting nothing but glowing re ports back as far as the professionalism and their performance, he added of comments the Sarasota County Emergency Services staff had been receiving about Ajax. A group from the Sarasota County Public Safe ty Ofce recently traveled to Volusia County, where Ajax is working on a new EOC/911 cen ter, and spent about three or four hours look ing at that project, Stuckey said. The same Ajax team working on that project is expected to handle the Sarasota County EOC work, he added. Sarasota County ofcials also had talked with people in Baker County, where Ajax was the contractor for the Sheriffs public safety com plex, Stuckey said. That project was complet ed about three years ago. A document shows the ranking of companies that bid to handle the construction management work for the new Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center. Chart courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 38 Theyre using it without any problems, he noted. Ajax was ranked the top choice out of 11 re spondents to the Sarasota County EOC proj ect through two different assessments, Stuck ey added. After Robinson claried that Tandem Con struction of Sarasota would be working with Ajax on the countys new EOC/911 center, Stuckey responded that both Ajax and Tan dem had more than 40 years of experience with projects such as the EOC. Tandem has an amazing reputation here, Robinson said. When Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out that this is only the rst section of this job, Stuckey concurred: No dirt [will be] turned on this particular process. The Emergency Management Services team planned to be back before the board in late summer or the fall of 2013 to give the com missioners an opportunity to vote on the next phase of the EOC construction, Stuckey add ed. Tandem gives me a high level of condence in this one, Robinson said. Commissioner Nora Patterson made the mo tion to proceed with the contract. Vice Chair woman Carolyn Mason seconded the motion. Tobias Dec. 11 memo notes that the pre-con struction services Ajax and Tandem will be undertaking include design coordination and constructability reviews, value engineering, preparation of project estimates, schedule re nement, bidding phase services and prepara tion of a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for all Construction Phase Services. Stuckey also took the opportunity during his remarks to point out that the countys public safety team had been able to talk with other emergency management and 911 center direc tors about plans for Sarasota Countys new EOC. What we learned from all of them was that we are on the right track as far as size, functionality and adjacency, he added. The EOC will be constructed on a parcel the county owns on Cattlemen Road at the Por ter Way intersection. The cost of the project has been estimated at $14,269,279. The Coun ty Commission voted May 22 to proceed with the construction. It is to be completed before the start of the 2014 hurricane season, which ofcially begins June 1 each year. % For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP


After being reassured by staff that state law does not require the Sarasota County Schools to make as much of the rebuilt Booker High School suitable for a hurricane shelter as the county needs, the Sarasota County Commis sion voted unanimously on Dec. 11 to fund the completion of the project. Commissioner Joe Barbetta had objected to the $1,004,822 funding request during the boards Dec. 4 regular meeting. The commis sion then postponed the vote one week while staff researched the matter further. A Dec. 11 memo to the commission from Mike Tobias, the countys emergency services exec utive director, says, Local Emergency Man agement agencies are required by the State Di vision of Emergency Management to address shelter decit reduction strategies, which in clude retrots and rebuilds. The State Board of Education requires local School Boards to ensure that new educational facilities can serve as public shelters for emergency man agement purposes. It adds, Within the scope of the upgrades are an increased design wind load from 130 mph to 170 mph and increasing the [Enhanced Hur ricane Protection Area] from the required 50 percent to 100 percent less the Media Center, and any Labs and Administration. The memo notes that once the Booker proj ect is completed in 2013 the county will have a 24-hour shelter with space for about 2,400 people. The districts total cost of the Booker con struction is about $58 million, Scott Ferguson, spokesman for the school district, told The Sarasota News Leader Work continues on the rebuilding of Booker High School on North Orange Avenue in Sarasota. The school had some of the oldest structures in the district. Photo by Norman Schimmel COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES FUNDING TO MAKE MOST OF THE REBUILT BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL SUITABLE AS A HURRICANE SHELTER SHELTER STANDARDS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 40 On Sept. 4, the School Board signed the agree ment to work with the county for the Booker High hurricane shelter project, Tobias memo points out. What we do is work with [the school dis trict] cooperatively to get additional [shel ter] space, Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane told Barbetta on Dec. 11 during the commissions regular meeting in Sarasota. The Booker High agreement would make an extra 36,000 square feet of space available in a very critical area of the community, Mc Crane added. Anne M. Miller, the logistics chief in the coun tys Emergency Management Ofce, pointed out the School Board constructs its facilities to the specications of the Florida Building Code. What we ask them to do is to go be yond that 50 percent [mark] to near 100 per cent, Miller added. Repeating a comment he made Dec. 4, Barbet ta said he wanted to be sure the county did not shoulder an expense that should be the responsibility of the School Board. A Florida statute that went into effect in Jan uary says funds should be available from the Public Education Capital Outlay Fund to help districts meet hurricane-resistance standards in school construction, he noted. The Legislature had not provided money for the PECO fund in the past two years, Miller re sponded. Moreover, she said, she had checked with the Florida Division of Emergency Man agement about other funding options for Booker High, and none was available. I know we have an interlocal or some kind of agreement with the schools for upgrades, Barbetta said. I think what troubled me the most is the perception that there are no funds available for the school district to seek. He added that the state collects taxes on gas sales and commu nication services, and it receives fees from power companies to contribute to the PECO fund. Florida Tax Watch anticipates money being in that fund in 2013, he added. Yet, Scott Lempe, the districts chief operating ofcer, had said the district had not applied for PECO money the past two years, Barbetta continued. I would think they would at least apply be fore we gave them money, Barbetta said. If they get rejected, ne. Then, we work with our legislative delegation, because the statute clearly says that PECO funds are available Miller reiterated that the district was not re quired to provide hurricane enhancements beyond the 50 percent mark. If youre going to assure me that our million dollars are for things that arent required by anybody but us Barbetta said. I can assure you of that, sir, Miller replied. In the future, the district should apply for any available funding for shelters before coming to the county for money, Barbetta said. For future programs, we can work with them on that, Miller replied. Barbetta then made the motion to approve the funding. Vice Chairwoman Carolyn Mason seconded the motion. % What we do is work with [the school district] cooperatively to get additional [shelter] space. Ed McCrane Chief Emergency Management


Sarasota County has rules requiring all dogs to be on leashes in parks, except where cities allow them to run free. The City of Sarasota has ruled all city parks are leash-free except Gillespie Park, Arlington Park and Bayfront (Island) Park, where leashes are required. However, after complaints at Payne Park, city staffers are looking to add it to the areas re quiring leashes. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown says if staff members believe the leash law should be required for health and safety reasons, they will appear before the City Com mission with that recommendation. The commission could ask an ordinance be drafted and set for public hearing before mak ing a nal decision. Staff alone cannot amend the existing ordinance, said Brown. Current regulations allow leashes no longer than 26 feet in the three parks requiring them. One small wrinkle on leashes applies to dogs in Bayfront Park: A dog can go for a swim but must be leashed upon its return from the wa ter. No dog swimming is allowed in the ponds of Gillespie and Arlington parks. In the three parks allowing unleashed dogs, the animals must stay within 100 feet of their owners and respond to voice control. Saraso ta Police Department ofcers enforce these city regulations. A child demonstrates disc golf. Contributed/City of Sarasota FOCUS ON CITY FACILITY COMES AS A RESULT OF A POSSIBLE NEW LEASH LAW, UPGRADED AMENITIES AND A SKATEBOARD PARK PACKAGE SNAFU PAYNE PARK SPOTLIGHT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 42 SHADE AND DISC GOLF COMING City workers nished creating the support structure last week to provide shade for chil dren at the Payne Park playground. Project Manager Neil Gaines said workers installed the footers and cap for the supports. The shade cloth and support cables should arrive in mid-January and be installed over the playground and music area. Shade for the playground for small children has already been installed. The park was closed for the support structure installation, and it will be closed again in mid-January to allow the shade cloth to be put up. Other workers were in the park last week in stalling holes for a disc golf course. Those holes are actually metal baskets with chains; players toss ying discs (aka Frisbees) into the baskets. The Payne Park course will feature nine holes, and it is being designed for begin ners. North Watertower Park has a more chal lenging and larger course that has been used in the past for state champion ship compe tition. An introduc tory course at Payne Park was suggested by a local disc golfer who competes at the pro fessional level. MISSING BOX CAUSES SKATE PARK SHUTDOWN This is another Sarasota ready-re-aim story. When a delivery of $560 worth of gear went missing last week, Sk8Skool Director Dan Giguere shut down the skateboarding section of Payne Park until the stuff was returned. A thief took it, staff gured. Sk8Skool is a nonprot with a three-year con tract to run the city-built facility; it charges membership fees. The shutdown caused howls of outrage from skaters. Lo and behold, the package had been deliv ered across the street to the Sarasota Police Department. Acting Chief Paul Sutton said a police volunteer signed for the package and added it to the pile of stuff in a storage room. A quick de tective job by the United Parcel Ser vice turned up the boxs location, and it was re turned to the Sk8Skool. After the snafu was cleared up, the park re opened on Dec. 12. % Work was being completed this week on shade structures in the Payne Park playground area. Contributed/City of Sarasota


The 2012 hurricane season ended Nov. 30, but considering how it started, we waited to see whether any late-season storms would blow up before putting a cap on this story. Nearly two weeks before the season began, Tropical Storm Alberto was up and running off the coast of South Carolina. It headed off into the mid-Atlantic and threatened nobody. The entire year was a bit like that with the exception of Hurricane Sandy, which we have already reviewed ( SNL Nov. 8). The second storm was also a preemie. Beryl came ashore in St. Marys (north of Jackson ville) on May 28 as a 40 mph tropical storm Sarasota County staff member Weiqi Lin took this photo of waves breaking over North Beach Road on Siesta Key when Tropical Storm Debby was lashing the coastline in June. Photo courtesy Sarasota County STORMS CAME AND MOSTLY WENT, UNTIL SANDY PUT ITS NAME IN THE RECORD BOOKS WITH ITS PRE-ELECTION DEVASTATION HURRICANE SEASON 2012 By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Beryl was a rainmaker from Georgia south to the Tampa-Orlando area. Image courtesy National Weather Service radar


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 44 with an unusually low central pressure 29.53 inches of mercury. Beryls Florida landfall made it the rst tropi cal system to hit the state in 18 months. A far more historic gure is 1908 the last time two tropical systems formed before the 1 June ofcial start of hurricane season. The early pair this year made hash of the pre dictions of storm gurus William Gray and Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University, who said this spring the season would see a low er-than-usual number of storms, with only 10 of them named. In fact, they and AccuWeather marked June 1 by increasing their forecasts. Gray and Klotzbach hiked theirs to 13 storms, and Accuweather bumped its prediction to 12. Meanwhile, on June 1 Sarasota set an absolute record for rainfall at 2.56 inches. The deluge was unrelated to any tropical system, but it reminded one and all to keep their eyes on the weather. On June 21, Chris became the first hurri cane of the season. It was in the mid-Atlantic and predicted to start doing donuts. Other storms would follow the lead of Chris. In the meantime, an area of low pressure was creating clouds and rain in the western Gulf of Mexico; models suggested the system could go anywhere from South Florida to Texas. The system meandered north to near Apalachicola, gained cyclonic characteristics and become Tropical Storm Debby. It drenched Sarasota with up to 13 inches of rain while crossing the peninsula west-to-east to die in the Atlantic. Debby would be Sarasotas only tangible brush with tropical weather in 2012. Because the storm was north of town, the winds were west-to-southwest, and they pushed water over Siesta Key Public Beach as well as the seawalls at the downtown Sarasota bayfront. Local flooding was reported inland in the Myakka River Valley. The winds, while persistent, never topped 40 mph. By June 28, Debby was gone. Isaac would come much, much closer to us but leave hardly a trace. July passed without a single named storm. A couple of weak low-pressure systems formed up over the Florida peninsula, but nothing came of them. In early August, all the major predictors upgraded their forecasts to aver age storm season from below average. The seasons rst African pipeline storm brewing off the Sahara then crossing the Atlantic and heading into the Caribbean showed up in early August: Ernesto. It would become a full hurricane just before tearing into Belize on Aug. 10. As Ernesto crossed Mexico and exited into the Pacic Ocean, three other systems were on the map. One of them would become Trop ical Storm Helene, destined to cross central Mexico and join Ernesto to die in the Pacic. Florence was the next named storm, a mid-At lantic non-hurricane nobody. It was followed by Gordon, which attained hurricane status but followed Florences loop-de-loop in midocean. By Aug. 20, the African pipeline was in full force. The National Hurricane Center identi ed a mid-Atlantic patch of clouds as having a strong potential to develop, and, indeed, two days later, Tropical Storm Isaac approached the Caribbean out-islands. By Aug. 24, its cen


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 45 tral pressure was down to 29.27, but it was not expected to reach hurricane force until after it passed south of Puerto Rico and Hispanola, then went across Cuba and on into the Florida Straits. While the winds did not reach hurricane force, the wind eld expanded and grew. On Aug. 25, hurricane warnings were posted from Bo nita Beach south to Key West and east to Key Largo. We were in a tropical storm watch sit uation. Isaac did not cooperate, pushing ever further west and refusing to strengthen beyond tropi cal storm force. Its landfall was predicted near the Mississippi/Louisiana border as a Catego ry 1 storm. Only the day before, the target had been St. Marks in the Florida Panhandle. On Aug. 27, Isaac was about 200 miles directly west of Sarasota with a central pressure of 29.18 inches. And like Beryl earlier, the low central pressure did not translate into high er winds; this meant a broader coverage of slower winds. Although the storm was close, all watches and warnings were discontinued for the Florida Peninsula. On Aug. 28 in the early evening, Isaac closed its eye to achieve the classic hurricane swirl just as it came ashore at the Mississippi delta of Louisiana; it was a slow mover. Up to 20 inches of rain were predicted, along with a 12-foot storm surge. The storm would eventually break a drought as it tracked through Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois and on into the Ohio River Valley. It eventually ooded Washington, D.C., with 1.64 inches of rain the wettest day of the year, said the Washington Post. In a foreshadowing of Sandy, sections of the D.C. Metro were shut down because of ood ing in the tunnels. Sarasota received very little wind or rain from Isaac, and in this water vapor image, you can see why. Isaacs rain band contained a powerful cell to the east that ended up drenching southeastern Florida. For us, the conditions were just cloudy and breezy. Im age courtesy National Hurricane Center Isaacs wind swath is epic but not strong. All of Cuba and Hispaniola, half of Puerto Rico and half of the Florida peninsula fell under its skirts. Image courtesy National Hurricane Center


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 46 L ABOR DAY DEMARCATION It is a tradition that somewhere on Labor Day weekend, a hurricane is blowing. For 2012, the tradition was maintained by Leslie in the mid-Atlantic. But it did not last long. By Satur day evening, it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Leslie maintained that status for more than a week before passing north of New foundland. Both Leslie and Michael formed in the mid-At lantic and veered northeast. Michael even tually became a Category 3 storm (the only major hurricane of the season). Neither was a threat to land, except for Leslies irt with Newfoundland. Tropical Storm Nadine formed Sept. 13 in the same area of the mid-Atlantic and suffered the same inuence, pushed away from North America. Nadine, however, proved a boomer ang storm, turning east then south and head ing back to the Cape Verde Islands, which are the birthplace of tropical waves that become storms and hurri canes. Nadine endured until Oct. 4, fall ing a week short of setting an alltime record for cy clone longevity. It did tie for second place, however, with 1971s Ginger at 21 days. The re cord-holder is an impressive 28 days a month-lo ng cyclo ne. That record belongs to an unnamed storm in 1899. Tropical storms Oscar and Patty rose up in mid-October, but both were pushed away from the U.S. mainland into the Atlantic by high pressure. Ditto for Hurricane Rafael, which thrashed Bermuda but stayed away from the United States. THE BIG ONE OF THE SEASON With ve weeks to go in the 2012 hurricane season, Invest 99L formed south of Jamai ca. The models seemed to push it in the same direction as Rafael, trending east toward the Bahamas. On Oct. 22 it received its name Sandy. The storm was expected to cross Ja maica and Cuba, with the mountainous terri tory predicted to steal its strength. A tropical storm watch was posted for the Florida Keys at noon Oct. 24. The Washing ton Post scored the weather scoop of the year about 10 p.m. that day when it posted mod els and maps ga lore indicating the storm was headed for landfall north of Chesapeake Bay and expected to raise huge mis chief. The newspa per noted landfall could be at high tide, exacerbating the storm surge. And the Post said that as the storm moved inland, a tremendou s Octo By Oct. 29, Sandy was fully formed and already merging with a strong, early-season cold front. The combined weather systems are immense in size. Image courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 47 ber snowfall could be in the ofng for higher altitudes. (hurricane snow??!!) Some models suggest over a foot of heavy, wet snow could fall in places like western Maryland and central and western Pennsyl vania. This amount of snow on top of exist ing foliage could result in tremendous damage and power outages, the newspaper reported. Sandy survived Jamaica and Cuba then bore down on the Bahamas. The Palm Beach off shore forecast advised seas would be running 22 to 32 feet, with winds to 70 knots. Sandy was at that point a Category 2 storm. The cyclone emerged from the Bahamas as a Category 1 storm, but with a vastly expanded wind eld. By midnight Oct. 27, tropical storm force winds extended out 520 miles from the center, meaning the diameter of tropical storm force winds was 1,000-plus miles. Central pressure in the storm was 28.35 inches. Hurricane Sandy like Isaac had a very difcult time closing the loop to create an eye and all-round circulation. But once it did form an eye again like Isaac, only hours before landfall it strengthened mightily. At 2 p.m. Oct. 29, the central pressure was 27.76 (a one-quarter-inch drop in three hours!) and sustained winds were up to 90 mph. The storm had a forward speed of 28 mph. Thus, on the wrong side e.g., the northeastern side of the storm sustained winds were 118 mph when storm speed was added to wind speed. Tropical storm force winds were felt between South Carolina and Maine. Six million people lost power, some for weeks. Storm surges smashed homes along New Jersey and Long Island. Sandy could be the largest hurricane disaster in United States history, at least in monetary terms. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 toppled New Orleans levees, resulting in massive ooding. The federal government spent $19.6 billion in hurricane aid after Katrina. On Dec. 9 President Barak Obama asked Congress for a $60.4 billion emergency aid package to assist recovery efforts from Hurri cane Sandy. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the storm damaged or destroyed 305,000 homes and 265,000 businesses. Katrina (and Rita a month later) damaged or destroyed 215,000 homes and 18,500 businesses. It could be worse. If you lived at the south pole of the planet Saturn, you would endure a perpetual hurricane with winds of more than 300 miles per hour. % Spotted by the space probe Cassini earlier this year, this cyclone on Saturn is about the diameter of the planet Earth, and it could be more than a billion years old. Image courtesy NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The Gulf Gate Elementary School Student Council recently contributed 79 shoeboxes lled with gifts to the Sarasota Herald-Tri bune s Shoe Boxes for Seniors project. The boxes, which will be distributed to needy seniors in nursing homes, are lled with soap, combs, brushes, nail clippers and other health and beauty items, bedroom slippers, maga zines and more, a school district news release says. As theyve done in the past, our students were happy to help with this worthwhile proj ect, said Gulf Gate Elementary Principal Rob in Magac. Many of our students, parents and staff members contributed items for the boxes and the Student Council members boxed them up for the project. Im so glad our students realize the importance of giving back to their community. The Gulf Gate school family joined other do nors in the area who prepared Shoe Boxes for Seniors and Santas Shoe Boxes lled with items for disadvantaged children, the release points out. Last year more than 8,000 shoe boxes with gifts from people throughout Sara sota, Manatee and Charlotte counties were delivered to seniors and children, the release notes. Members of the Gulf Gate Elementary School Student Council prepare Shoe Boxes for Seniors: (Front row, from left) Anna Edelstein, Lily Houser, Hannah Yost, Joseph Callaway and Matthew Fett; (back row, from left) Student Council Advisor Debbie Lacy, Trent Schnathmann, Raina Mey ers, Isabella Garland, Aundrianna Twigg, Kaia Clark-Toth and Hunter Harting. GULF GATE ELEMENTARY STUDENTS DONATE SHOE BOXES FOR SENIORS NEWS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 49 The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota is sponsoring a bike and bike parts collection on December 15 from noon to 3:00 pm. The event will take place in the UUCS parking lot and is co-sponsored by Suncoast Community Bikes, a start-up nonprot for bikes for the poor. The organization collects, repairs, and CHURCH TO ACCEPT BIKES FOR LOW-INCOME PEOPLE distributes bicycles and bicycle parts, but steady donations are needed to keep the pro gram going. If you cannot stop by on Decem ber 15, you can call Ryan Feller at 894-4333 to arrange a bike pick-up. For more information, contact El Parent at 206-6201. The Sarasota Housing Authority, City of Sara sota Police Department and Target are part nering to provide underprivileged youths with a unique holiday experience, the City of Sara sota has announced. The Sarasota Housing Authoritys Honor the Badge shopping event is a new initiative de signed to help build a good relationship be tween law enforcement ofcials and children of families living in Sarasota Housing Authori ty communities, a city news release says. Hon or the Badge is pairing 75 local underprivi leged children with local law enforcement ofcers, including incoming Sarasota Chief of Police Bernadette DiPino and Acting Chief Paul Sutton, to shop for holiday gifts at a local Target, the release adds. Thanks to donations from local businesses, re ligious organizations and individuals prior to the event, the Sarasota Housing Authority pro vided the funds for the gifts to be purchased by the police ofcers, the release points out. Having a safe, strong, vibrant community begins with having mutual respect and trust between community members and the men and women sworn to protect them, said Sara sota Housing Authoritys Executive Director William Russell in the news release. Honor the Badge works to build this respect and trust through this fun and positive experience during the holiday season. DiPino added in the release, The holiday sea son is the perfect time of year for people to see that law enforcement ofcers have a heart for their community, and what better way for police to show their commitment to the com munity than by taking a child shopping for holiday presents! DiPino pointed out, My family has a long his tory of helping people in need during the hol iday season which I have continued through out my career. I am proud to see the Sarasota police involved in this event, which is what the holidays are all about happy, smiling children being helped by Americas hometown heroes. The holiday shopping experience will be held from 6 to 8 a.m. on Dec. 15 at Target on Fruit ville Road, before the store opens for regular customers, the release adds. HOUSING AUTHORITY, POLICE HELPING UNDERPRIVILEGED YOUTHS


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 50 About eight months after it closed its store in the Shoppes of Bay Isles on Longboat Key, Publix welcomed people to a brand new store during a grand opening on Dec. 13. The 49,000-square-foot facility will employ about 200 people, according to a Publix news release. Along with full-service departments such as a bakery, deli, oral planning and event plan ning, the store even offers wito customers. The store will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the news release notes. The new Publix on Longboat Key is located at 525 Bay Isles Parkway. Photos by Norman Schimmel Assistant Store Manager Chad Falde and Manager Andy Lappin greet customers short ly after the new Publix store opened at 8 a.m. Dec. 13 on Longboat Key. PUBLIX OPENS NEW STORE ON LONGBOAT KEY


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 51 Commissioner Carolyn J. Mason was elected chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commis sion for 2013 during a meeting on Dec. 7. Commissioner Charles D. Hines was elected vice chairman, and Commissioner Joseph A. Commissioner Charles Hines/Photo by Nor man Schimmel Commissioner Carolyn Mason/Photo by Nor man Schimmel MASON, HINES ELECTED TO TOP COMMISSION POSTS Barbetta was chosen to serve as pro tem, a county news release reported. The commissioners vote to select the posi tions, which become effective Jan. 1. Law enforcement agencies across the state are launching Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdowns to stop impaired drivers and to save lives on Floridas roadways, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced. Ofcers will be aggressively looking for im paired drivers and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired, an FDOT news release points out. Enforcement efforts will include sobriety checkpoints and heavy enforcement through Jan. 1, the release adds. The crack down began Dec. 12. Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want everyone to be safe on our roadways said Lora Holling sworth, FDOT chief safety ofcer, in the re lease. Thats why our law enforcement part ners will be stepping up efforts to catch and arrest impaired drivers. If you are caught drinking and driving impaired, you will be ar rested. No warnings. No excuses. During 2011 there were 920 fatalities suspect ed to be alcohol-related in Florida resulting from motor vehicle trafc crashes, the release points out. The holiday season is a particular ly dangerous time, the release notes. Nation ally, in December, approximately 30 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle trafc crashes involve alcohol-impaired drivers, the release adds. It is illegal in Florida to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, the release points out. Violators face jail time, loss of drivers license and steep nancial conse quences such as higher insurance rates, attor ney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job, the release adds. DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER INITIATIVE UNDER WAY


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 52 Shird was booked on the outstanding war rants and charged with one additional count of Domestic Battery by Strangulation and four counts of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, the release says. He has been arrested four times for similar violent crimes in the past three years, the re lease adds. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, this week ar rested a wanted felon known for gun violence. Deputies found Jadavian Shird, 20, of 3217 Newtown Blvd., at the Budget Inn Motel, 8100 North Tamiami Trail, and arrested him with out incident at 1:40 p.m., Dec. 11, the Sheriffs Ofce reported. Shird was wanted for armed robbery with a rearm and domestic battery by strangula tion, but he is facing new charges for attack ing a former girlfriend and threatening her and three other women with a gun Sunday night, a news release points out. The report says the former girlfriend told dep uties she was with her sister and two friends at Newtown Rec when Shird approached them, pulled out a black handgun and point ed it at them. The former girlfriend added that Shird left but returned about 45 minutes later, then approached her and began to choke her. The other three women pulled him away from her, the report says. Jadavian Shird/Contributed VIOLENT FELON CAPTURED BY SHERIFFS OFFICE Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 53 also are available from The History Channel and the Biography channel. Classic Disney adventures can be explored on a computer with Disney Digital Books, the re lease points out. These colorful, interactive eBooks offer opportunities for learning and fun with a magic pen feature that allows chil dren to move a mouse over a specic word and then hear the correct pronunciation with just one click, the release says. Children also can enjoy trivia questions and reference a dictionary that displays denitions without losing their place in the book, the re lease notes. To browse the newly added videos and the Disney online books, library cardholders may go to the librarys download center The sys tem is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000, or visit www. Sarasota County library cardholders now have free access to a wide variety of videos from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E), as well as thousands of Disney Digital Books and Duke Classics eBooks, the county has an nounced. The new formats will give patrons more choices in addition to eBooks and download able audio, plus we have an unlimited supply so patrons will never have to wait for some thing to be checked back in, said Collection Development Librarian Susan Cortright in a county news release. We are always looking for ways to expand the selection of items and formats we can offer to the public. The new service is part of the Sarasota County library systems collaboration with OverDrive, a leading distributor of digital media, the news release says. PBS provides a diverse array of topical programs and popular titles, including Downton Abbey Frontline and Ken Burns National Parks the release notes. Programs COUNTY LIBRARIES OFFER NEW ONLINE VIDEOS AND EBOOKS Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among sub scribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click to Subscribe


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 54 Last week, Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell welcomed 20 student dancers who were vis iting from Tel Mond, Israel, as part of a cul tural exchange with the Sarasota Sister Cities Association. The young women, ages 16 and 17, were from a dance school at the Tel Mond Cultural Cen ter, a city news release says. Prior to meeting Mayor Atwell in the Commis sion Chambers, the dancers toured City Hall. During their visit, which lasted through Dec. 10, the members of the group were scheduled to perform at Temple Emanu-El and the Jew ish Federation. They also planned to explore many of Sarasotas popular attractions, in cluding John and Mable Ringling Art Museum, Sailor Circus, Mote Marine, and the Sarasota Ballet, the city news release says. Tel Mond ofcially became Sarasotas Sis ter City in 1999 with the signing of a mutual agreement, the release notes. Over the years, many delegations have visited from Tel Mond. Sarasota has a total of eight Sister Cities. Along with Tel Mond, they are Dunfermline, Scotland; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Meri da, Mexico; Perpignan, France; Treviso, Italy; Vladimir, Russia; Xiamen, China. The goal of Sister Cities is to strengthen shared interests around the globe and lessen the possibility of world conicts, the release notes. For more information on the Sarasota Sister Cities Association visit www.SarasotaSister CITY OF SARASOTA WELCOMES TEL MOND STUDENTS Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell greets a student group from Tel Mond, Israel. Contributed photo


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EDITORIAL & COMMENTARY EDITORIAL With the election of two at-large City of Sarasota commissioners only three months away, six candidates already are vying for the two available seats, including incumbent May or Suzanne Atwell. Commissioner Terry Turn er recently announced he was declining to seek re-election. The other candidates are Richard Dorfman, Susan Chapman, Linda Holland, Kelvin Lump kin and Pete Theisen. Of course, ling for the two seats does not open ofcially until Jan. 7. By the time the statutory ling period has closed ve days later, more candidates might have come forward to offer themselves to the citys electorate. While we are not yet prepared to offer an opinion as to which announced contenders CITY NEEDS LEADERS WITH VISION AND UNITY might be best qualied to ll the two at-large vacancies, we are prepared to say that nothing proffered to date by them or their surrogates gives us any hope that the maladroit disunity that has characterized the City Commissions struggles in recent years is likely to end any time soon. There are two types of candidates for munic ipal public ofce. The rst is one who has a preset agenda what might be indelicately described as an ax to grind. Such an individ ual typically has strongly held beliefs about what changes in governance might produce the results most likely to conform to those beliefs. Occasionally, a candidate might be so convinced of his own unique talents and abil ities that his only real strongly held belief is in his own greatness, or potential. Regardless, such a candidate is less interested in a syner


gistic integration into the larger organization in this case, the City Commission and more concerned about reshaping it to comply with his preconceptions, which may or may not be in the best interests of the citizenry. The other type of candidate is one who, while perhaps not entirely self-effacing, has a healthy respect for the signicant task of par ticipating in the governance of large munici palities. Such a candidate would have sought out the advice of opinion-makers in the com munity, focusing especially on those whose beliefs might be in direct conict with the can didates own views. It is precisely in challeng ing ones beliefs and preconceptions that one gains a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing the city and the op portunities that might exist for meeting those challenges. The former candidate is an individualist, un interested in building consensus. The latter seeks like minds among other candidates and sitting commissioners in an effort to realize a common vision for the citys future that can be reasonably and realistically achieved. The City of Sarasota has struggled mightily for several years, caroming from one unlike ly debacle to another. While blame has been placed on city management and senior staff, the real blame ultimately rests with the City Commission, which shoulders the burden of articulating a vision for the city and promul gating policies and strategies which will bring the city closer to a realization of that vision. Blame also rests with the voters, of course, but they cannot be blamed when confronted with a Hobsons choice on Election Day. Qualied and motivated citizens, guided by their desire for a better Sarasota, must offer themselves for ofce if the voters are to have a meaningful alternative. While some or all of the announced candi dates might be just that sort of public servant, it remains for each of them to convince us and the citizens of Sarasota of that fact. And it remains for the populace to do some collective soul-searching in the four weeks re maining before ling for the City Commission closes. The City of Sarasota needs two qualied, com mitted candidates who agree on a mutual plan of action for remedying the citys woes. And those two candidates must identify a sitting commissioner with whom they can make com mon cause, giving the city assuming their election what it has lacked for too long: an actual majority striving in the same direction. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and oth er factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spell ing, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader.


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 58 Now we magically slide our sweaty ngers across a panel and touch the screen to make a phone call. Texting seems to be addictive (I would not know), because anyone I see with a smartphone has his/her ngers in constant motion. And what is an app? What does it do and why is it on a phone? I do not know the answer to that, either. All of this talk of sliding and tapping sounds more like references to dance steps to me, not words I would use about a phone. Shall we now move on to Tweeting? Is this to days idea of blogging, only with much shorter messages (less chance to bore people)? Here I go again, being denied, not having a clue about setting up a Twitter account. How do dogs and cats and turtles get Twitter ized and why does anyone care? Who reads all this stuff? Who has all this free time? And, what is a hashtag? I think I used to call it the pound sign. That was in the days when land lines ruled and handheld phones were con nected by jacks in the wall. I am thinking of putting my well-used and user-friendly handheld phone up for sale on eBay, led under Antiques. (And, in our next class, we will discuss Face book and iPads.). % COMMENTARY There are so many d words I could use to describe how digitally impaired I am: deprived; demented; desperate; dumb. Well, you get the picture. I am totally lacking in todays digital technol ogy, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I thought I was so cool when I learned how to be an expert at using my digital camera. And then I impressed myself when I uploaded all my photos to Picasa and tormented friends and family with a constant barrage of emailed photos with stupid comments. Now, when I wander around the world, I no tice that I am practically a minority of one, still taking pictures with an actual camera. Everyone else is clicking away on their slick, shiny, smooth phones, saving their pics and emailing them to their own BFFs. Only a couple of short years ago, I thought I was rather up-to-date with my well-designed, multi-use clamshell cellphone. It was rela tively easy to make calls, send texts and use voicemail. And it even told the time. Sudden ly, out of nowhere, appeared a new species called an iPhone/Droid/smartphone. Punching in phone numbers was gone. Where did I go wrong? JUST CALL ME DIGITALLY DENIED By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer




New College of Floridas recently constructed Academic Center features a number of forward-think ing techniques and strategies to reduce the buildings environmental impact, such as carbon di oxide room sensors that measure air quality, toilets that ush using rainwater collected from un derground tanks and cisterns and highly-reective roong and paving materials that reduce heat absorption. At night, the building exterior is lit partially by energy-efcient LED lights. Photos by Arielle Scherr BAUHAUS AND THE ENVIRONMENT


tion in 1933 because of outside pressure from the Nazi regime; and nally the indelible im pression the short-lived school has made on contemporary architecture and design all over the world. During the lecture and subsequent ques tion-and-answer session, Renoux touched on a number of different themes and concepts that were cornerstones of the Bauhaus move ment, focusing particularly on the schools use of progressive technology to design the most efcient and ergonomic living and work spac es, machines, vehicles, furniture, decorations, toys and other products that would not only be affordable for the working class, but would also be comfortable and durable. The study lounge inside New College of Floridas Academic Center utilizes decor for aesthetic as well as functional purposes. The high backs of the sofas, for example, though not necessarily practical, may provide users with a sense of privacy that could enhance their concentration on tasks without making them feel isolated from the rest of the room. Photo by Arielle Scherr ART LECTURER JEAN RENOUX DISCUSSES THE HISTORY OF THE DESIGN SCHOOL AND ITS RELEVANCE IN A GREEN ERA By Tyler Whitson Contributing Writer Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 61 For almost two hours on a recent evening, a group of people in Sarasota immersed them selves in a Bauhaus experience. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, Sarasota interior design er, academic lecturer and professional archi tectural instructor Jean Renoux delivered a talk on the history and design concepts of Bauhaus meaning School of Building a German philosophy of design that existed during the rst half of the 20th century. Accompanied by vibrant slides and photo graphs, Renoux went into great detail about the institution, explaining its conceptual roots as a synthesis of forward-thinking craftsman ship and fine art; its inception in 1919; its growth; its heyday; its struggles; its dissolu


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 62 APPLYING THE CONCEPTS The following day, The Sarasota News Leader spoke by phone with Renoux, who is a mem ber of the Society of Architectural Historians. The interview focused on the lasting inuence of Bauhaus and the ways its concepts can be applied in a time when efcient, low-impact and progressive designs are becoming increas ingly essential because of concerns about re source scarcity and climate change, especial ly in a place like Florida, with its substantial carbon footprint. Asked how he would construct the ideal en vironmentally friendly building in Sarasota using progressive techniques Renoux responded with a number of specic sugges tions. First of all, it would be made out of materials that are good for the environment and would make sense, he said. As a primary construction material, Renoux recommended autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) which he jokingly described as a new material that is 80 years old, because it has been so underutilized though he clari ed it would be structurally appropriate for a building no taller than six or seven oors. Members of the Bauhaus school designed their own typeface and adopted the practice of writing the name of the school in lowercase letters only. Photo by Tyler Whitson This Bauhaus school building in Dessau was designed by founder Walter Gropius and con structed in 1924. Photo by Tyler Whitson


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 63 One of the most important characteristics of AAC, Renoux explained, is its safety. It doesnt burn, its non-toxic when you make it, its non-toxic when you use it, its non-tox ic when you demolish it and it provides great insulation. Its very light and its a very good material, he said. In terms of auxiliary materials, Renoux ruled out vinyl, especially polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, because of its toxic effects. The next step, Renoux explained, would be to make the building as energy-independent as possible by using geothermal energy for cool ing, installing solar panels for appliances and other power needs and using LED light bulbs, among other energy-efcient, daily-use items. Finally, the building would consume as little water as possible via the utilization of com posting toilets that were not attached to the sewer system and the collection of rainwater from the roof. A building with 3,000 square feet of oor space, Renoux pointed out, has the potential to collect 80,000 gallons of rain water per year. And that would be a green house, he con cluded. Another environmentally pertinent aspect of Bauhaus designs that he discussed in the lec ture and subsequent interview is the deliber ate use of color to make the inhabitants of a space or the users of a product feel more content or at ease. Renoux explained how this could be applied in construction in at least two ways. First, the colors of the roof and facade of a building are particularly relevant in Florida because they have an enormous impact not only on the buildings internal temperature and the comfort of its occupants but also on the environment. Why is it that we have dark roofs in Florida or in Sarasota? Why is it that people paint their houses brown? Renoux asked. The darker the color, the more it will absorb the energy, the heat. Its totally inefcient, he said. They really need to be white or extremely bright colors. Second, the choice of colors used inside a space was a very important aspect of the Bau haus concept because the architects and engi neers were designing living spaces for mem bers of the working class, who would likely be limited in the amount of room they could afford. Exposing the workers to certain col ors at home, the Bauhaus designers deduced, could reduce the stress or anxiety produced by living in a small space they likely would have to share with others. Although Renoux did not make this particular connection, the technique might prove particularly useful in designing environmentally conscious living ar eas that also make intelligent use of available oor space, especially in urban areas. The colors have an inuence, Renoux said. Red is exciting. Green relaxes. Pink relaxes even more. Green is good on your eyes, he continued. RELEVANT EXAMPLES Renoux lamented the underutilization of these strategies in Sarasota, in public buildings and spaces as well as private homes, because they have the potential to enrich peoples lives. Its hard to convince people that it is true, that it is the way it should be, he said.


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 64 Asked whether any buildings in Sarasota ad here to the Bauhaus concepts, Renoux pointed to New College of Floridas set of dormitories dating to 2007. Those buildings, with features complying with Leadership in Energy and En vironmental Design (LEED) requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), were constructed with AAC. Renoux claried, however, that that concrete is present only between columns of the buildings instead of being incorporated throughout the structures; that renders its inclusion less effective. Additionally, in 2011, New College construct ed its Academic Center, which was awarded Gold LEED certication by the USGBC. This building boasts a num ber of environmental ly friendly innovations as well as a student lounge with an interior design that appears to have been influenced by Bauhaus. The lounge features vividly painted walls and bright, mod ern furniture. Not sur prisingly, behind one of the colorful pieces of furniture in the Aca demic Center lies a box with a yet-to-be-assem bled product from the international furniture and accessories store Ikea. The Swedish company, with its simple, often colorful designs and af fordable products which Renoux said are clearly inuenced by the Bauhaus school appears to be thriving in places like Tampa, despite the economic downturn. In fact, the company could actually be benetting from the fact that many consumers are budget-con scious when shopping for their homes, choos ing to buy its modest, affordable products rather than springing for more lavish items. As a result, a number of Americans may be furnishing their homes with Bauhaus-inspired products and designs without knowing it. For people who shop at Ikea, There is noth ing to be ashamed of, Renoux exclaimed. It may not be the Rolls Royce, but its certainly not a Pinto, though its the price of a Pinto, he said. Although Ikeas pop ularity may just be a fad, the various ideas Renoux pointed out il lustrate the numerous ways Bauhaus con cepts have endured over time. Regardless of how they can be im plemented whether in the architecture of an environmentally friend ly home or the design of a simple, sleek desk Renoux made it clear the working class ideas and designs of the Bau haus school continue to be relevant throughout the world. % Jean Renoux chose to pose with Jack Dowds Andy Warhol homage Ones Com pany, Twos a Crowd out of a selection of pieces from the exhibition Artists Who Made Sarasota Famous Part II at Art Center Sarasota. Photo by Tyler Whitson


This may take a while. Some things are just hard to resist. Like The Sarasota News Leader Its a feast of indepth local news, delightful and entertaining features, and thanks to its partnership with This Week In Sarasota access to the best community calendar available. The rst impulse is just to gobble it all up. But its better to take it slow and relish every news morsel. Theres no rush. You have a whole week. Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida


It would be difcult for anyone who has spent more than a few years in Sarasota to attend the grand opening of the newly relocated HuB without more than a little skepticism. Sarasota has a long history of people and com panies arriving with grand plans to change the town and to make lots of money doing so. But lots of sizzle and lots of glossy ads and grand events have been followed by lots of disappointment and lost money. The Dec. 8 event for The HuB included a vi sual extravaganza projected onto an entire side of the four-story building at 1680 Fruit ville Road. It showcased the work of many HuB businesses and the creativity of a slew of Ringling College of Art + Design art students. One theme of the evening was a running stream of comical comments by people in volved in The HuB refusing to admit they knew what it really was. To provide some clarity for readers, The Sara sota News Leader interviewed Rich Swier Jr., HuB founder, about what he and his group do and about Sarasota and his life. The HuBs grand opening at its new quarters in downtown Sarasota included an audio-visual pre sentation projected on the building. Photo by Scott Proftt LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS SHOW OFF THEIR NEW QUARTERS DOWNTOWN AS RICH SWIER JR. TALKS ABOUT WHAT IT IS THEY DO A HUB OF CREATIVITY By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 67 IN THE BEGINNING To be honest, I came [to Sarasota] because my parents were here, Swier admitted. Id graduated from [the University of Florida] and planned to spend a couple of months here and move to California. Of course, at UF we had [the] Internet, and my parents wanted Internet [access] so they would be able to email me, and so I was setting up a modem bank, and then their friends wanted Internet. That was in 1995. I came down here and started my rst busi ness, Sarasota Online, Swier continued. It was the rst Internet provider in this area and one of the rst in Florida. It grew quickly, and within a year, we were approached by Com cast, [which] acquired the company in 1996. The deal entailed his continuing to work for the company for awhile. I helped them roll out the cable modem business in 30 cities across the nation, he said. Swier is calm and casual in an interview, but he nonetheless communicates excitement about his ideas. He readily concedes he was in the right place at the right time. We saw the rst cable modem plugged in and lit up, he pointed out. Sarasota was the rst data market for Comcasts broadband pack age. It was a pretty exciting time, Swier said. Ev erything was dial-up, and to bring a megabit into the home was not an easy thing. We kind of were inventing as we went along; every thing was the rst time. Nobody had done it before. Partygoers enjoy the changing light show as they gather outside the headquarters of The HuB. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 68 Rich Swier Jr. talks about the philosophy behind The HuB. Photo by Scott Proftt We kind of were inventing as we went along; everything was the rst time. Nobody had done it before. Rich Swier Jr. Founder The HuB


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 69 With a degree in math, Swier taught himself all the technical stuff, including all the computer programming he has done. WHAT DO WE DO? Even now, his focus is on the possibilities of the future. I have a lot of businesses in the HuB, he says. I realized I liked startups, so I start ed an incubator along with numerous compa nies. Around 2007-08, I realized that technolo gy was no longer the competitive edge for me, because of several things: Sarasota doesnt have a strong technology base, and in general technology is becoming more commoditized; its more of a tool and less of a true product you can competitively market. I realized cre ativity was more important. He continued, Technology, you can outsource to India. You can write software all day long, but there are thousands of people that can do that. The ones that rise above all that are the ones that are creative, and so thats when I came up with the concept of The HuB not just embracing this fact that creativity was the as set of the future but embracing the fact that Sarasota was more prone to be a creative cen ter than a technology center. Swier pointed out, The town has a creative history and culture, huge supporters of the The grand opening allowed participants to get a look at the interior of The HuB as well. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 70 arts [and] probably the most culture-rich com munity in Florida, certainly per capita. And you have Ringling [College] and New College, which are huge assets. The HuB is by no means on any particular path, any more than Swier was when he ar rived in Sarasota. When I decided to do The HuB, I decided to let it be organic. I wasnt going to dene what it was. I just leased some space in the Rose mary District and opened the doors, and peo ple would come in and ask, What do you do here? and I would ask, What do you like to do? For every business that originated at The HuB, the roots can be traced back to one person walking through the door, he pointed out. And thats why we are so big on the commu nity, Swier said. The community feeds us. The growth of The HuB is just us harnessing the assets of the city. We are reaping the re wards of the collective efforts of the people, the city. I think The HuB is empowering to all the diverse elements of the town. Swier added, I think that the town has hun gered for something like this for a long time, but has been the victim of so many scams people, groups wanting money, and theyll do this or create jobs. But the city can point to [The HuB] as something that is real. There are real people that have done real things. If the city is awesome and keeps and attracts the right minds, he added, then we will be successful. For more information, just go onto the broad band that Swier helped bring to this communi ty and check out or richswi % Even the sign listing HuB tenants reects a colorful take on doing business. Photo by Scott Proftt


ASK OTUS Dear Otus, I know its late, but I still need a few things to put under the Christmas tree. The family likes nature stuff. Any ideas? Bob in Bradenton Dear Bob, My theory of Christmas presents is that it is better to receive than to give, so I may not be as helpful to you as others would. But since you asked, here goes. If your family members like to read, get them good books. My favorite is John James Audu bons Birds of America (four volumes, 1827 to 1838). Unfortunately, there are only 120 original editions that are known to exist. This means that one does not come on the market very often. The last such appearance was in January 2012, when Christies (New York) sold at auction the edition owned by the heirs of the fourth Duke of Portland (died 1854). The hammer price was $7.9 million. Already have a copy? Then I would recom mend wildlife conservationist Gerald Durrells humorously charming account of his boyhood years on the Greek isle of Corfu. Titled My Family and Other Animals the book is avail able in paperback for about $5 from Amazon. The narrative blends anecdotes of his eccen tric family (including his brother, Lawrence, who wrote The Alexandria Quartet ) with de LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFT SUGGESTIONS OFFERED; DISAPPEARANCE OF BIRDS FROM FEEDERS EXPLAINED An American Crocodile is available for adoption at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. File photo


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 72 Putter the Prairie Dog at Sarasota Jungle Gardens welcomes new adoptive parents. File photo scriptions of the natural world that all readers in your family will doubtlessly enjoy. The nal book on my list is George Ceras The Iguana Cookbook: Save Florida, Eat an Iguana which is available in paperback from Amazon for around $10. Iguanas eat eggs and small birds, including Eastern Screech-Owls, meaning me! As far as I am concerned, the more iguanas that go into the stew pot, the better. But if iguana tacos are not to your taste, then please consider iguana hide footwear, hand bags and luggage. Fashion designer Manolo Blahnik offers bespoke stilettos made from genuine iguana skin for $2,000-plus. Matching handbags and luggage cost more. E xotic pets are wildly popular Christmas gifts, and you can adopt an American Crocodile or Black-Tailed Prairie Dog without ever having to take it home or nag the kids to walk, feed or clean up after it. The staff at Sarasota Jun gle Gardens will maintain it for you. The cost begins at $35. For Sarasota Jungle Gardens impressive list of rescued wild and exotic animals who now safely and permanently reside there, click here Finally, you can give your loved ones their very own subscription to The Sarasota News Lead er the Suncoasts premier source of news, information, commentary and, of course, my nature stuff column. The cost: nothing. The best things in life are free! Otus


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 73 Dear Ed, Let me understand this correctly. For many years you have had great success in attract ing birds to your feeder. You scrub the feed er thoroughly every couple of weeks to keep it clean and mold-free; you buy fresh seeds from reliable pet centers; provide a water ba sin for the birds thirst as well as a place to bathe; and you create a safe and attractive en vironment for them by planting bushy, thick shrubs close to their feeder so they can dive into them the instant the shadow of a Coopers Hawk signals danger. And you have always shooed away your neighbors cat (but never turned the hose on it). In fact, you have done everything right and the proof is that the birds immediately visited Dear Otus, After my wife and I returned to our Sarasota home early this fall, we put out birdseed as usual. The rst day, we saw cardinals, blue jays and a few other birds. However, none showed up on subsequent days. Fearing a problem with the seed itself, my wife hauled the bag back to the pet store where we had bought it, and management gave her a new bag. We put out feed from the second bag, but we still have not seen any of those birds we enjoy watching each winter. Did we get a bum rap with bad seed the rst time around? Do birds actually let each other know what yards to avoid? What can we do to entice the birds back to our yard? We miss seeing them. Ed Sarasota This blue jay enjoys a morsel from a feeder. File photo


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 74 your feeder upon your return. They remem bered it and sought it out. So, what happened? Well, something wonder ful! It rained all over Sarasota. And it rained often. The years of drought that drove the birds reg ularly to your feeder were washed away along with the birds dependency on it. Meadows, gullies, woods and even the sandy stretches of dunes and scrublands were suddenly teeming with life insect life! Spanish Needles, Scorpion-tail, Lantana and Firebush revived and bloomed, attracting bees, wasps, butteries and moths. Ponds, lled to their banks, swarmed with ies, bee tles, centipedes and dragonies. I get hungry just writing about it! The insects, a vital component of a backyard birds diet, were again plentiful. The grasses and sedges again provided a vast assortment of seeds. Bushes and trees bore berries, sea grapes, acorns. Mother Natures cornucopia was overowing. The birds, once so depen dent on your feeder, could y much further aeld, nourished on their travels by their fa vorite berries, crunchy (but so juicy inside) beetles and avorsome sea oat seeds. Will they return to your feeder? And when? The answer lies in the opera Carmen by the great composer and ornithologist Georges Bi zet. You see, ever since you wrote, I have not been able to get the Habanera aria out of my head. I have been humming it all night long! In the aria, Carmen explains that a bird is a re bellious and untamable love. The minute you think it is yours, it beats its wings and ies away. It will not come to you when called, but you still call and call to it, quite in vain. So you wait and wait and when least expected, suddenly it is back It is December and we are again in the dry sea son. The days are turning a bit chilly. Plants are starting to shrivel and insects have begun to die or hibernate. Cardinals will crave your black oil sunower seed and the Blue Jays will so appreciate the corn in your feeder. Soon the birds will return to your feeder maybe this week; maybe next month when you least expect them. Trust Carmen! She may have chosen men poorly, but she was downright perspicacious when it came to birds. Lamour est un oiseau rebelle Otus ABOUT OTUS Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Sies ta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of natures secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. So please send your questions and photos to askotus@sarasotanews Thank you. Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night


The holiday tree is bright amid the festivities. Photo by Norman Schimmel ST. ARMANDS BIDS A WARM WELCOME TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON MAGICAL ILLUMINATION Staff Reports With Santa and Mrs. Claus having arrived on St. Armands Dec. 7 during the annual Holiday Night of Lights, Christmas cannot be far away. Crowds lined the streets to get a good look at the special guests, and faces were bright with the lighting of the St. Armands holiday tree. %


Sarasota News Leader December 7, 2012 Page 76 A wreath of holiday lights frames some of the statuary on St. Armands Circle. Photo by Norman Schimmel No holiday event would be complete without the Jolly Old Elf himself. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader December 7, 2012 Page 77 A twinkling Welcome greets event-goers. Photo by Norman Schimmel Mrs. Claus arrives in a less traditional means of transportation. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Siesta Seen BID SOLICITATION FINALLY GOES OUT FOR SIESTA VILLAGE CROSSWALK LIGHTING; PARKING AND TOWING ISSUES POP UP AGAIN It was 11 months ago during a Siesta Key Village Association meeting when Peter van Roekens, vice president of the Siesta Key As sociation and the Terrace East representa tive to the SKVA meetings, rst brought up the need for better lighting of crosswalks in Siesta Village. For older drivers at night, especially, he point ed out, it is difcult to see pedestrians heading from one side of Ocean Boulevard to the other particularly in the area between the Daiqui ri Deck and Gilligans Island Bar and Grill. After several Sarasota County Commission discussions of the topic and a few lighting equipment demonstrations in the Village during the summer, a request for bids speci fying bollards with LED lighting nally went out at midnight on Dec. 8. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Drivers say it is difcult to spot pedestrians in many of the Siesta Village crosswalks at night. Pho to by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 79 All bid responses are due by 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 9. During both the SKA and SKVA regular monthly meetings last week, van Roekens an nounced the action was coming. On Dec. 4 during the SKVA meeting, van Roek ens said he had talked with Ryan Montague, the county Trafc/Mobility Ofce employee who has been overseeing the initiative, and had learned the process was nearing its nal stages. Its been hard to get this thing moving, van Roekens said, but I believe it nally is. Peters been pushing to get this thing done prior to season, SKVA President Russell Mat thes pointed out. Feb. 15, Matthes add ed, is the date Village businesses consider the ofcial start of sea son. These [crosswalks] are important, I think, for the safety of our pedestrians, Matthes said. During the SKA meet ing two days later, van Roekens expressed Montagues hopeful ness that the cross walk bid period would be shorter than the tra ditional 30 days. Well see if thats possible, van Roekens added. Apparently, it was not, based on the informa tion on the countys eProcure website for ven dors. Nonetheless, van Roekens emphasized during the SKA meeting, The good news is this proj ect is nally moving again, so were happy about that. At one point, sever al months ago, it ap peared the County Commission was ready to approve a proposal for lighting to be to be installed at seven crosswalks in the Vil lage. Ultimately, con cerns about cost led them to proceed with the bid process. Even though van Roek ens, Matthes and Si esta Key Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Smith all had agreed during the sum mer on a specic type of bollard lighting to provide the illumina tion, county staff told me that, according to procurement guide A Sarasota County Procurement Department attachment sets out specications for cross walk lighting in Siesta Village. Bid package page courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 80 l ines, the specications would have to be in cluded in a formal bid process. It was not until Sept. 26, however, that the County Commission on a unanimous vote nally authorized the preparation of a bid package for bollard lighting. That vote followed the boards receipt of a Sept. 13 memo from James K. Harriott Jr., the countys chief engineer, which estimated the cost of the bollards and their installation at $31,000. The bid solicitation material on eProcure says in Section 8.3, Do not submit a quote of more than $50,000 If your quotation would be in the amount of $50,001 or more this re quires sealed bids and you will have exposed your pricing. Simply write total exceeds $50,000 in the quote total eld. The specications call for rectangular bollards to be made of precast concrete, with dimen sions from 44 inches by 8 inches by 8 inches to 46 inches by 10 inches by 10 inches. The color must Match Siesta Blend brick pavers and the LED xture for each bollard should be inlaid into housing at a 40 to 80 degree downward angle. The LED lights themselves should be 14 to 18 watts, the specs say. I was unsuccessful this week in getting an es timate from Montague or anyone else on how long it might take for the County Commission to approve whatever bid award is recommend ed. However, I can point out that the due date for bids fo r the Siesta Village maintenance con tract was July 11, and it was not until Aug. 21 that the County Commission approved that contract. THE NOISE Season may not be in full swing yet, but noise complaints have been increasing in Siesta Vil lage. During the Dec. 4 SKVA meeting, President Russell Matthes pointed out, There always will be concern about noise in the Village, given the proximity of residents to the restau rants and bars on Ocean Boulevard. I just want to keep the dialogue open, Mat thes said, so we can communicate when there is an issue. Im willing to be the mid dleman. Im willing to do whatever it takes to just keep the peace. He added, We know what we need to do and we need to be responsible in doing so. On both sides, Blas Caf owner Rami Nehme responded. Correct, Matthes said. Evidence that a violation has occurred should be presented before a complaint is lodged, Nehme added, and not just hearsay. It seems to be always talk about it. I did some research. None of [the people lodging com plaints] actually had evidence. No official complaint was led. They can still voice their opinions, right? Matthes replied.


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 81 Of course, Nehme said, though he added the county was wasting resources in responding to complaints that were not valid. If you want to call it wasted, thats ne, Matthes said. I do, Nehme replied. I wouldnt call it a waste in the fact that theres a lack of Code Enforcement through out the community, anyway, Matthes contin ued, so having Kevin here is not a waste for multiple reasons. (Kevin is Kevin Burns, the Code Enforce ment ofcer the County Commission autho rized to work after hours and on weekends in the Village to handle complaints.) No, no, Nehme agreed. During the Dec. 6 SKA meeting, Peter van Roekens who also has been that organiza tions point person for the noise issue told the audience and board that serious viola tions have happened regarding one local bar. However, he declined to name the business. Even the Beach Terrace, which is some dis tance from Terrace East, has been disturbed, van Roekens pointed out. The address for the Beach Terrace is 5400 Ocean Blvd., while Terrace East is at 5300 Ocean Blvd. Van Roekens said during the SKA meeting that Burns has been checking the A scale read ing only on his noise meter, whereas the real problems have been on the C scale. Thats where the deep thumping bass comes from, he said. Blas Caf owner Rami Nehme has told Siesta Key Village Association members he has received complaints about noise prior to the 10 p.m. curfew for bands to reduce their sound levels. File photo


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 82 He and SKA President Catherine Luckner met the previous day with Sandra Jones, who heads up the countys Code Enforcement of ce, to discuss the matter, van Roekens add ed. Each noise meter prints a receipt that shows the exact time, date and length of the reading and what levels were recorded on both the A and C scales, he continued; he had suggested Code Enforcement staff keep copies of those receipts for reference. We hope that that happens, he said. He and Luckner had stressed to Jones the im portance of building trust with both residents and business owners in the community, he added. THE TOWING ISSUE, TOO Although the noise issue has remained more at the forefront of Siesta Village discussions over the past year, towing is another matter that causes lots of consternation from time to time. During the Dec. 4 SKVA meeting, Matthes told members he and Mark Smith, the Siesta Chamber chairman, had met recently with a couple of representatives of Benderson De velopment Co. regarding towing complaints related to two Benderson properties in the Village. A local towing company had sent out a warn ing notice about inappropriate use of the parking lots for those businesses, Matthes explained, but the n otice kind of misrepre Benderson Development Co. employees have dealt recently with towing complaints re garding the rms Siesta Village properties, including Hanna Plaza on Ocean Boulevard. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 83 It is a battle, Matthes said. Hiring security personnel had produced the best results, he added. Employee parking in the public beach access es close to the Village was another issue Mat thes raised during the meeting. Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patter son had told representatives of the island or ganizations during a recent session of their Presidents Council that county staff planned to take some measures to keep employees out of those accesses, Matthes pointed out, so the public could use the lots, as intended. She was unsure, Matthes said, whether some sort of signage would be erected to that effect. While business owners do not want their workers using the accesses for parking, Mat thes said, it is kind of a sticky wicket, be cause the workers technically are members of the public, and the accesses are for the public. Ideally, he said, the municipal lot at the end of Avenida Madera is where employees should park, but its spaces often are full, especially during season. % sented Benderson, which had not approved the document before it was issued. The Benderson representatives one of whom, David Nelson, was at the SKVA meet ing were very responsive, Matthes contin ued, and I appreciate that. Theyre not going to be doing any excessive towing, obviously. Nelson said the company had been reacting to tenants complaints, adding, Weve had a No towing policy because we dont want to tow The company preference, Nelson said, was for the tenants of its Village properties to police their own lots. They know whats better for their business than we do. The primary problem that led to the discus sion, Nelson continued, was employees of oth er businesses parking long-term in the lots of Bendersons tenants. During season, Matthes pointed out, his Vil lage businesses the Daiquiri Deck and the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar hire security per sonnel to make sure beachgoers do not leave their vehicles in the restaurants lots all day and to keep employees, including Daiquiri Deck workers, from using the lots lo ng-term. Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP


For 11 evenings, Marie Selby Botanical Gar dens will transform its Sarasota bayfront acre age into a fantasyland of themed light displays and holiday enchantment, the Gardens has an nounced. The ninth annual Lights in Bloom: A Tropical Holiday Celebration will be open Dec. 15-23 and 26-27 from 6 to 9 p.m. Lights in Bloom designer Bob McComb is pulling together an unforgettable evening lled with brilliant lights and family-themed fun, a news release says. Every year, my goal is to make Lights in Bloom a fresh expe rience while bringing back everyones favor ites, says McComb in the release. The best part is coming up with new ideas and nding a way to bring them alive and working with t he dozens of fabulous volunteers who help to make this event happen, he adds. Most of the decorations for Lights in Bloom are custom-designed and handcrafted on site, the release points out. Visitors to Lights in Bloom will be welcomed by Tree Man, the events kindly but imposing greeter, the release adds, and they will tra verse a landscape lled with larger-than-life, rainforest-themed light displays, dancing fair ies, a colorful Wishing Tree, a Toyland featur ing oversized games and a brand new snow ake forest, the release notes. Along the way, guests will enjoy live enter tainment, and vendors will offer holiday fare, including Merry Meals for children, sweet Selby Gardens will be transformed into a holiday wonderland when Lights in Bloom opens again on Dec. 15. Photo by Norman Schimmel LIGHTS IN BLOOM TO DECK THE HALLS OF SELBY GARDENS ARTS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 85 treats and festive drinks. Santa and his elves will make an appearance every night prior to Christmas. Children of all ages will enjoy garden-themed crafts in Kids Corner and the popular holiday train village. Near the Payne Mansion, guests may take in Selby Gardens signature Bromeliad Tree, participate in a nightly menorah lighting and explore a Holiday Splendor at Payne Man sion Showhouse, presented by the Florida West Coast Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, the release adds. This years showhouse, which uses bromeliads as its unifying theme, highlights the talents of more than a dozen local decorators, the re lease points out. Admission is $13 for Selby Gardens members and $15 for non-members; children ages 11 and under may enter free. Tickets for Lights in Bloom may be purchased online at www. or in the Welcome Center. Theatre Odyssey has announced the nalists for its rst high school student 10-minute play festival, which will be presented on Friday, Jan. 25, at the David S. and Ann V. Howard Studio Theatre, located on the State College of Florida campus in Bradenton. The nalists are Untitled by Joseph Grosso, Kasey Blanco and Jillian Smith of Lakewood Ranch High School; The Date by Kemery Col bert of St. Stephens Episcopal High School; Therapy by Summer Begalka and Sabrina Vi ota of St. Stephens High; and Friends Forev er by Francesca DiMaio, Melina Cuffaro and Amanda Robbins, of Lakewood Ranch High. A cash prize of $300 will be presented to the winners, along with a trophy for display at their school, a news release says. In addition, the winning play will be presented as part of Theatre Odysseys 2013 10-Minute Play Festi val in April. Theatre Odyssey is thrilled to add a student 10-Minute Play Festival as a community out reach project, said board President Catherine FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR STUDENT 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL Randazzo in the news release. Its the perfect way to expand our programming. Our spring festival supports playwrights, theater and ac tors, giving them a vehicle to present their art. We are excited about the opportunity to take that experience and pass it down to students who may want to pursue the theater arts, she added in the release. Auditions for actors to present the works at the festival will be held on Sunday and Mon day, Dec. 16-17, 6 to 8 p.m., at State College of Florida in Bradenton. They will be in the Collegiate School, Building 19. For more in formation, email or call 799-7224. Theatre Odyssey was founded in 2006 to en courage and promote the efforts of local play wrights and actors. Over the years, the group has premiered more than 50 plays written, directed and performed by Gulf Coast play wrights, actors and directors, the release points out. For more information, visit www.


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 86 The Riverview High School Performing Arts Center will be lled with sounds of the season when the Riverview Chorus joins the Kiltie Band for a holiday performance at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18. The 90-minute show will feature traditional Christmas songs and early English and Rus sian holiday music, a news release says. Do nations of $5 per person will be requested at the door. We love this special event because it show cases our Kiltie Percussion Ensemble, Bag pipers and Highland Dancers and Chorus, said RHS Music Director Mark Spreen in the release. The musical selections will range from Carol of the Bells to a Christmas medley in Big Band s tyle, a unique spin on familiar favorites, the release adds. An arrangement of Christmas carols that combines the talents of the Kilties with the Chorus will be another highlight of the performance, the release notes. Spreen says this is a family-friendly event that will be enjoyed by people of all ages. Its a great way to warm up for the holidays, he added in the release. Reserved seating for larger groups may be arranged by contacting Miriam Thompson at 539-5383 or via email at miriamdenver@nets Tickets are also available from the Riverview High School Music Department. The Riverview High School Performing Arts Center is located at 1 Ram Way in Sarasota. RIVERVIEW HIGH CHORUS AND KILTIE BAND TO PERFORM The Riverview High School Chorus performs a holiday concert in 2011. At front and center are the schools choral directors, David and Whitney Verdoni. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 87 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman has announced that Sarasota Opera is one of 832 nonprot organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The opera was recommended for a $30,000 grant to support performances of Carlisle Floyds opera Of Mice and Men as part of the third year of the Sarasota Operas American Classics Series accompanied by signicant educational programming, a Sarasota Opera news release says. The opera, will stage six performances of Of Mice and Men based on John Steinbecks acclaimed novel and play; the performances will be part of the 2013 Winter Festival season. In 2011, the NEA awarded Sarasota Opera a $20,000 grant toward its production that year of Robert Wards The Crucible The goal of these [ American Classic Series ] events is to increase our current audiences knowledge of these great works and to attract new faces to the opera, the release says. Among the educational events held in con junction with the performances will be screen ings of both the 1939 and 1992 versions of the movie, a conversation with composer Floyd and a repeat of the extremely popular Spoken and Sung program in partnership with the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, the release adds. Check for more information. In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligi ble applications for Art Works that requested more than $74 million in funding, the release notes. The 832 recommended grants total SARASOTA OPERA RECEIVES NEA GRANT FOR EDUCATIONAL EVENTS $22.3 million, spanning 13 artistic disciplines and elds and focusing primarily on the cre ation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benet of American audiences, the release adds. The Sarasota Opera is located on Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Nor man Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 88 The Florida State University/Asolo Conserva tory for Actor Training will present The Aliens by Annie Baker Jan. 2-20 in the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. In Annie Bakers The Aliens, two social mists befriend a naive young coffee shop barista in a sleepy Vermont town, a news release says. In doing so, they teach him about friendship, commitment and what it means to grow into man hood, the release adds. Baker paints a portrait of their friendship with halting, understated and brilliant dialogue, evok ing their sadness and quiet courage with an honesty and precise ob servation worthy of Che kov, the release says. Annie Baker is one of the rising young talents of the modern stage, ALIENS TO TAKE THE COOK THEATRE STAGE JAN. 2-20 s ays Greg Leaming, director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, in the release. When New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood evoked both Beckett and Chekhov in his review of her and this play, he wasnt exaggerating. The Aliens is an extraordinarily beautiful, tender and comic portrait of friendship. Tickets are $29 for evening performances; $28 for matinees. Students receive a 50 percent dis count with advance pur chase. Asolo Reps box ofce at the FSU Center for Performing Arts may be reached at 351-8000. On Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 8 p.m., audience members are invited to attend a production of The Aliens and pay whatever they can afford for their tick ets. This is a day-of-per formance deal only. (From left) Ben Williamson, Brian Nemiroff and Zlatomir Moldovanski star in the FSU/Asolo Conservatorys produc tion of The Aliens. Photo by Frank Atura. SARASOTA-MANATEE DANCE ALLIANCE LAUNCHES WEBSITE The Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alliance (SMDA), a dance-advocacy organization founded in 2011, has launched a website to benefit its members and the general public, the or ganization has announced. The new site serves as an umbrella for dance-relat ed activities, providing information about class es, dance companies, d ance-related services, organizations and events, a news release notes. The website will be a valuable resource for those seeking information about the multitude of dance classes in Sarasota and Manatee counties, in cluding those for adults, teens, children and pre schoolers from ballet to The Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alli ance logo/Contributed


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 89 S ince its inception the SMDA has undertaken projects to promote its goals, the release says. For example, in 2011, in conjunction with The Hermitage Artist Retreat, SMDA sponsored The Creative Process a community workshop conducted by New York choreographer, per formance artist and dancer Ralph Lemon and Maria Jimena Paz, an Argentinian dancer and choreographer. On Jan. 19, as part of the Ringling Museum of Arts ViewPoint series, SMDA is sponsoring The Interplay between Music and Dance a lecture and demonstration by choreographer and dance educator Elizabeth Bergmann, with dancers from Moving Ethos Dance Company, the release adds. Through Dec. 31, the organization is offering discounted memberships. For further informa tion, visit or call 922-5277. hip hop, from pre-professional programs and master intensive workshops to dance classes for persons with special needs, from modern/ contemporary dance to ethnic dancing, and from tap dancing to ballroom, the release adds. The new site also gives individuals and busi nesses that provide dance-related services opportunities to gain exposure, including choreographers, composers and musicians, videographers, costume designers, sound technicians and lighting designers, the release points out. In addition, a section of the web site is dedicated to healthcare providers who offer dance-related services, including Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic(R), massage therapy, physical therapy, exercise classes and acupuncture. The website was made possible in part with grants from the Helios Foundation and an anon ymous family foundation, the release notes. DJ Lance Rock and a cast of colorful char acters are calling all fans in Sarasota to get ready to jump, shake and shimmy during the Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out! tour stop at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on March 21 at 3 and 6 p.m. Yo Gabba Gabba! is an award-winning, live-action tele vision series and live stage show whose unconventional formula has created a triple-stacked fan base, making it one of the most popular entertainment properties among preschoolers, parents and indie music lovers alike, a news release says. Yo Gabba Gabba! premiered in the U.S. on Nickelodeon in Au gust 2007; it ranks as one of the most popular series on television, with broad appeal among preschoolers, parents, teens and adults, the release adds. Visit The television show airs several times a day on Nick Jr. Hip-hop legend Biz Markie will join the cast on stage at the Van Wezel for Bizs Beat of the Day, the news release notes. The show will also feature Super Music Friends and Dancey Dance guest performances. Tickets and Gabba Party Packag es are on sale from $27 to $47. For details, call the box ofce at 9533368 or visit YO GABBA GABBA! TOUR TO TAKE VAN WEZEL STAGE The Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE! tour will be in Sarasota in March. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 90 The Van Wezel Performing Arts Halls 20122013 season has added shows to its January programming schedule. The rhythmic masters of STOMP will perform a matinee show at 4 p.m. on Jan. 3, the hall has announced. The high-energy percussive group creates complex beats utilizing every thing but traditional instruments while incor porating acrobatic dance styles in its move ments, a news release notes. Additionally, The King of Rock n Roll will be making a stop in Sarasota with Elvis Lives on Jan. 17, the release says. This multi-media and live musical journey across Elviss diverse career transports the viewer to another time that will never be for gotten, the release adds. STOMP tickets are priced from $30 to $65. Elvis Lives tickets are $10 to $55. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit % VAN WEZEL ADDS ACTS FOR 2013 Stomp is adding another show at the Van We zel on Jan. 3. Contributed photo Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among sub scribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click to Subscribe


All members of the community are invited to the Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m., for the churchs annual tradition of the Messiah Sing Along a joyous singing of Georg Frie drich Handels Christmas Messiah one of the best-known, most-beloved and most fre quently performed choral works in Western music, a news release says. This years performance will be dedicated to the memory of Redeemers longtime compos er in residence, Dr. Daniel T. Moe, who passed away earlier this year. The festive, family-friendly event features members of the choirs of Redeemer singing along with the congregation, accompanied by a chamber orchestra and guest organist Mi chael Stuart, performing under the direction of conductors Ann Stephenson-Moe and Dan iel Cartlidge. Each year, Redeemers Messiah Sing Along sells out, so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended, the news release says. Ticket donations are $10; they may be made in ad vance online at or by calling or visiting the church. Subject to availability, tickets will also be sold at the door on the day of the event. Complimentary parking will be available at the BMO Harris Bank Parking Garage on McAnsh Square between 6 and 10 p.m. For more information, call 955-4263 or visit The Messiah Sing Along conductors will be Ann Stephenson-Moe and Daniel Cartlidge. Contributed photo MESSIAH SING ALONG TRADITION TO CONTINUE ON DEC. 23 RELIGION BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 92 website of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Congregation Kol HaNeshama hosted Rabbi Richard Hirsh, executive director of the Re constructionist Rabbinical Association, on Sunday, Dec. 2, at Hotel Indigo in downtown Sarasota. Hirsch discussed the topic, Where Have all the Movements Gone and Where Are They Going? referring to the status of the various philosophical groups within Judaism. Hirsch has served as rabbi of Reconstruction ist congregations in Toronto, New Jersey, New York and Chicago. He also served as executive director of the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis/ Jewish Chaplaincy Service of Greater Phil adelphia, according to his biography on the GUEST SPEAKER DISCUSSES MOVEMENTS IN JUDAISM Rabbi Richard Hirsh (right) joins members of Congregation Kol HaNeshama: (from left) Maureen Binderman, president; Phyllis La binger, program co-chairwoman; and Kayla Nile, chairwoman. Contributed photo The Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota, will offer a mid day organ recital on Wednesday, Dec. 19, with organist/choirmaster Ann Stephenson-Moe performing on the churchs massive 50-stop Nichols & Simpson pipe organ. Daniel Mendelow, the former principal trum pet for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, will join Stephenson-Moe in this nal recital of the Advent season. The event will begin at 12:10 p.m. and end promptly at 12:40 p.m., a church news release says. All in the community are invited to at tend this free musical offering in celebration of Advent. For more information, visit www.redeem or call 955-4263. ORGAN RECITAL TO FEATURE FORMER SYDNEY SYMPHONY TRUMPETER Daniel Mendelow/Contributed


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 93 The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism will hold an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, for people wishing to learn more about how its members keep and cele brate their Jewish culture and heritage in this century. Humanistic Judaism, founded by Rabbi Sherwin Wine, combines the best of Jewish CONGREGATION TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE ON DEC. 15 tradition with the best of todays humanistic philosophies, a news release says. The open house will be held at Unity, 3023 Proctor Road, Sarasota, between Tuttle Ave nue and Beneva Road. The congregation welcomes people of all backgrounds and religions, the news release points out. The December holidays will be brighter for local children in need as Temple Emanu-El un dertakes a drive of gently used toys through Dec. 16. Community members are warmly invited to participate in this effort, a news release says. GENTLY USED TOY DRIVE TO BENEFIT NEEDY CHILDREN Although many worthy charities in the area collect gently used toys, several then sell the items and donate proceeds to the agencies, the release notes. Temple Emanu-Els drive will focus on local groups such as Mothers Helping Mothers and the Salvation Army, Advent Lessons & Carols A Gift of Song & Story Sunday, December 16 at 5:15 pm Scripture reading and joyous singing with choirs in preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Christ. A festive, fun, family-friendly event oered free for the community. Light reception follows. e Church of the Redeemer 222 S. Palm Avenue / downtown Sarasota Complimentary parking at BMO Harris Bank Parking Garage 3:30 to 9 pm 955.4263 /


Sarasota News Leader December 14, 2012 Page 94 which deliver toys directly to needy children, the release adds. Temple Emanu-El Religious School parent Amy Meese, who conceived of the drive, ex plained that her idea came as an outgrowth of a holiday tradition she and her husband, David, instituted with their children, the news release notes. As an interfaith family with many generous relatives, the Meeses wanted to be certain that the sea of well-intended presents did not obscure the spirit of the hol idays, the release adds. When the kids were really young, we started our holiday tradition of charity rst, Meese recalled in the release. The rst couple of years we had them pick a child their own age off the Angel Tree at BJs, shop for toys off the childs wish list, and prepare the gifts to deliver back to the store. They looked forward to doing it and were very deliberate in making their choices. Once they got a little older, charity first changed, Meese continued. We wanted them to understand how fortunate they were and have empathy for others. We talked to them in kid-appropriate ways about children who were homeless, living in poverty or had expe rienced catastrophic loss of their belongings, like in a re. Our goals were for them to focus on the needs of others and to understand self lessness. That is when we instituted our lla-box for charity tradition. The rule is, before any new gifts may be opened, each girl has to ll a box to give to charity, she adds in the release. They mostly embrace it, Meese said. The toughest part for them is the rule that they must give away at least one thing they still care about. [But] the tradition had the desired effect: Our kids are excited to do things for others and participate in charitable efforts. Under Meeses leadership, toys will be col lected on Sunday, Dec. 16, from noon to 12:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El Religious School, 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. Temple Emanu-El, located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, invites members of the community to a screening of the lm Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. From the maker of the acclaimed The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg is a documentary spotlighting tele vision pioneer Gertrude Berg, the Emmy-win ning creator of The Goldbergs radio show who paved the way for women in the entertainment industry, a Temple news release says. The lm includes interviews with Supreme Court Jus tice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor Ed Asner and television producer Norman Lear. Admission to the lm is $5. The program is sponsored by Temple Emanu-Els Adult Edu cation Committee; for more information, con tact Beth Salzman at 351-8766. % TEMPLE EMANU-EL TO PRESENT YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG


14 DEC World premiere: John Ringlings Circus Nutcracker Dec. 14, 8 p.m., & Dec. 15, 2 & 8 p.m. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Admission: $10 to $90; 953-3368 or 14 DEC 1776 the Musical Through Dec. 22 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For ticket information, call 351-8000 or visit 14 DEC Annie Dec. 14-16 at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For ticket information, call 365-2494 or visit 15 DEC Ninth Annual Lights in Bloom Dec. 15-23 & 26-27, 6 to 9 p.m., Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave, Sarasota. Admission: $13-15; children under 12 admitted free. Tickets at ; information at 366-5731. 16 DEC Sunday After Brunch Soiree Dec. 16, 2 p.m., at Bookstore1Sarasota, featuring Rodrigo Garcia Lopes Hermitage Artist Retreat artist in residence For more information, visit or call 365-7900. ComMunity CALendar The best of the upcoming week To get all the details on these and other great ac tivities food, nightlife, music, art, theater, chil drens events, learning opportunities and more go to Sarasotas No. 1 source for local events, hot spots, fun activities and hidden gems:


Each week, Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel searches Sarasota County for iconic shots that underscore why the community is a favorite with residents and tourists alike. SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS HOW NOW YOURSELF SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS