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COVER Inside AN ISSUE OF FAIRNESS NEW PLANNING PARADIGM PROPOSED NO BUTS OVER BUTTS Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida January 11, 2013
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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. Member National Newspaper Association 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 Rachel@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Cooper@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Stan Zimmerman City Editor Stan@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer NSchimmel@SarasotaNewsLeader.com David Staats Columnist DStaats@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer FPalmeri@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer HCuthbert@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer ERogosin@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Scott Proftt Staff Writer SProftt@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Tyler Whitson Staff Writer TWhitson @SarasotaNewsLeader.com John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Riley@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Vicki@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Cleve@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Robert S. Hackney General Manager Robert@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Advertising Sales Sales@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Subscription Services Subs@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Press Releases & News Tips News@SarasotaNewsLeader.com MASTHEAD
For a hard news junkie, this was a very good week. The City Commission cheered local residents by deciding to al low an appeal of the Planning Boards decision on the proposed Walmart in the Ringling Shopping Center, and it took a signicant step regarding how future growth might be managed. The County Commission handled so many issues this week we tried to tackle the biggest ones and save others for next week. Not all of the topics were on the agendas, either. For example, new board Chairwoman Carolyn Mason broached the idea of a county domestic partnership registry and new Vice Chairman Charles Hines sought support for a policy regarding the removal of advi sory board members for cause. The School Board also made its biggest news this week by deal ing with a non-agenda item: a request by preser vationists that the National Register-listed, Paul Rudolph-designed Building 4 not be gutted as part of the rebuilding of Sarasota High School. Thankfully, to balance out all the serious mat ters, our This Week in Sarasota partner, Matt Orr, delivered another one of his travel stories avored with whimsical observations. I keep telling Matt he is going to give well-known novelist/essayist David Sedaris a run for his money. Tyler Whitson has a great piece, too, on poet Tony Leuzzis recent program at Bookstore 1 in Sarasota, and I certainly would be remiss if I did not encourage you to check out Otus Rufous second installment about the birds half of the birds and the bees. This is one week I denitely feel I can say every reader can nd something to suit his or her taste. Editor and Publisher WELCOME
COVER PHOTOS: Front Norman Schimmel; Sarasota Leisure Norman Schimmel AN ISSUE OF FAIRNESS MILLIMETERS FROM DEATH NEWS & COMMENTARY AN ISSUE OF FAIRNESS 12 New County Commission chairwoman gets lots of questions in seeking consensus on county action regarding a domestic partnership registry Rachel Brown Hackney NEW PLANNING PARADIGM PROPOSED 16 Analysis: City Commission will weigh appeal of Walmart decision for Ringling Shopping Center site Stan Zimmerman NO BUTS OVER BUTTS 23 Sarasota court ruling means the county no longer will be able to enforce its no-smoking ordinance for its beaches and parks Rachel Brown Hackney MILLIMETERS FROM DEATH 30 A Sarasota Police Department ofcer draws guns on a Realtor and client on New Years Eve, mistaking them for burglars Stan Zimmerman TOO INTENSE 32 The Sarasota County Commission unanimously denies two requests for variances to construct homes on Siesta Key lots that have been underwater in years past Rachel Brown Hackney NO OTHER TAKERS 38 Hines the sole county commissioner to indicate an interest in new policy regarding removal of advisory board members for cause Rachel Brown Hackney ON THE STUMP CIRCUIT 41 Sarasotas new police chief makes the round at meetings as she gets to know the residents of her new home Stan Zimmerman STANDING FIRM 45 The School Board will not revisit its decision on plans for renovating the interior of a Paul Rudolph building at Sarasota High Scott Proftt GUM AND GARBAGE 49 St. Armands business owners are complaining about overowing trash cans and City of Sarasota inattention to their sidewalks Stan Zimmerman TRIAL AND COMPLAINT 51 Trial date set in case involving runners death on Siesta Key in January 2012 as her family brings a negligence suit against the Sheriffs Ofce Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article
A SIX-PACK INSPIRATION A ROAR OF SUPPORT A TOE IN THE WATER 54 Visitors parking passes trial run under way along South Washington Drive on St. Armands Key Stan Zimmerman NEWS BRIEFS 55 OPINION EDITORIAL 62 Siesta Beach: Americas No. 1 ashtray? COMMENTARY 6 4 Observations offered on the Mugwumps Tea Party David Staats SARASOTA LEISURE A SIX-PACK INSPIRATION 69 A resort vacation can be just the answer to worries about a slowing metabolism and the need to be more health-conscious Matt Orr A POETS POET 78 Tony Leuzzi shares his experiences from interviewing more than 20 American poets for his new book, Passwords Primeval Tyler Whitson ASK OTUS 82 For Part II on how birds do it, let us take a look at the avian childhood; then, on to a snake question Otus Rufous A ROAR OF SUPPORT 88 Thunder by the Bay brings in tens of thousands of people as it raises funds for Suncoast Charities for Children Staff Reports ARTS BRIEFS 93 RELIGION BRIEFS 98 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 101 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 102 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article
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AN ISSUE OF FAIRNESS New County Commission chairwoman gets lots of questions in seeking consensus on county action regarding a domestic partnership registry Rachel Brown Hackney The Sarasota County Commission agreed this week to hold off on any move to establish a domestic partnership registry while awaiting action on a Florida Legislature bill regarding a statewide registry. The purported bill, however, may not be introduced before 2014, according to for mer Sarasota City Commissioner Ken Shelin. Having won approval of a domestic partnership registry in the City of Sarasota, She lin has been working with County Commissioner Carolyn Mason since last fall on a similar measure for the county, as well as with the Venice City Council and North Port City Commission on ordinances in those municipalities. ( Full story here ) NEW PLANNING PARADIGM PROPOSED Analysis: City Commission will weigh appeal of Walmart decision for Ringling Shopping Center site Stan Zimmerman Two issues fraught with acute neighborhood concern were re solved Monday, Jan. 7, by the Sarasota City Commission. After testimony and discussion, both were approved a compromise will give Laurel Park two workshops on any nearby development before city ap proval, and Alta Vista will be able to challenge a new Walmart. The two actions one in the afternoon and the other in the evening session fore shadow what might be a new planning scheme in the city. More than the concerns of Alta Vista and Laurel Park are at stake. This could be the beginning of something big, said Mayor Suzanne Atwell at the conclusion of the afternoon session. ( Full story here ) TOP STORIES AT A GLANCE Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For Advertising Info Sales@SarasotaNewsLeader.com (941) 227-1080
NO BUTS OVER BUTTS Sarasota court ruling means the county no longer will be able to enforce its no-smoking ordinance for its beaches and parks Rachel Brown Hackney New signage may be coming soon to Sarasota County parks in cluding Siesta Public Beach encouraging people not to smoke but leaving them free from Sheriffs Ofce citations if they do so. As a result of a December court decision involving the City of Sarasota, Sarasota County no longer will be able to enforce an ordinance that bans smoking outdoors on public property. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has not been enforcing the prohibition since the court ruling was handed down, Sgt. Scott Osborne, chief of the ofces Community Policing Station on Siesta Key, told The Sarasota News Leader on Jan. 9. Osborne said the Sheriffs Ofces counsel had advised deputies to write no more citations as a result of the judges ruling. ( Full story here ) MILLIMETERS FROM DEATH A Sarasota Police Department ofcer draws gun on a realtor and client on New Years Eve, mistaking them for burglars Stan Zimmerman On Dec. 31, a local realtor and her client were confronted by a Sarasota police ofcer and forced at gunpoint to lie on a dirty concrete oor, they have reported. For at least ve minutes, the pair was facedown on a gritty carport with a loaded pistol aimed at the tops of their heads. Realtor Susan Christy says it happened about 1 p.m. at a home adjacent to the Publix grocery store on South Lime Avenue, west of South Shade Street. She and a client, who asked not to be identied, were inspecting a house for sale. Christy says she understands how the female ofcer could have misinterpreted things initially. We parked in the [Publix] parking lot and walked over, so there was no car in the driveway, she said. There was no For Sale sign in the yard, and you couldnt see the [realty company] lockbox because the door was in the carport. They later said a neighbor called in a burglary, she added. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article
TOO INTENSE The Sarasota County Commission unanimously denies two requests for variances to construct homes on Siesta Key lots that have been underwater in years past Rachel Brown Hackney It took almost exactly two-and-a-half hours of presentations, pub lic comments and rebuttals, but the Sarasota County Commission on Jan. 9 unanimously denied petitions by a couple seeking to build two three-story homes on Siesta Key lots that have been underwater at vari ous times. Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on the barrier island, made the motion in each case. The action followed advice from County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh that the com mission should not continue the public hearing in the wake of a suggestion made late in the discussion by the petitioners attorney, William W. Merrill III, that the construction plans could be modied to appease one set of adjacent homeowners. This is not in a position that lends itself to continuance, DeMarsh told the com missioners. ( Full story here ) NO OTHER TAKERS Hines is the sole county commissioner to indicate an interest in a new policy regarding removal of advisory board members for cause Rachel Brown Hackney With Robert Waechter having resigned on Jan. 6 from the Saraso ta County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and the Tourist Devel opment Council (TDC), no other Sarasota County commissioner joined Commissioner Charles Hines this week in voicing interest in a new policy regarding removal of advisory board members for cause. Hines raised the issue during the Commission Reports part of the regular meeting on Jan. 8 without mentioning Waechter by name. Hines said he had received queries from several constituents about Waechters continued service on the two advisory boards after Waechter was charged Dec. 14 with a third-degree felony. According to a Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce report, Waechter allegedly used per sonal identity information to purchase a prepaid VISA card in the name of Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, to make campaign contributions to Democratic candidates Keith Fitzgerald and Liz Alpert in the 2012 campaign. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article
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The Sarasota County Commission agreed this week to hold off on any move to establish a domestic partnership registry while awaiting action on a Florida Legislature bill regarding a statewide registry. The purported bill, however, may not be intro duced before 2014, according to former Sara sota City Commissioner Ken Shelin. Having won approval of a domestic partner ship registry in the City of Sarasota, Shelin has been working with County Commissioner Car olyn Mason since last fall on a similar measure for the county, as well as with the Venice City Council and North Port City Commission on ordinances in those municipalities. The City of Sarasota registry began Nov. 6. Ap plicants may le their paperwork in the City Hall Annex on the rst oor in the newly re named SRQ Media Studio. Mason raised the issue during the Commis sion Reports part of her boards Jan. 8 regular meeting her rst as chairwoman saying she was not certain Shelin had had the oppor tunity to talk with all her fellow board mem bers about the proposal. I wanted to get consensus to have the admin istration look at this and get back to us on the feasibility of it, Mason said. As The Sarasota News Leader previously re ported, Mason had promised to bring up the matter after the 2012 elections. Actually, Id like the [County] Attorneys Of ce to look at it, Commissioner Nora Patter son told Mason. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason presides over her rst meeting of the Sarasota County Commission Jan. 8, after being elected to the position last month. Photo by Norman Schimmel NEW COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRWOMAN GETS LOTS OF QUESTIONS IN SEEKING CONSENSUS ON COUNTY ACTION REGARDING A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRY AN ISSUE OF FAIRNESS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 13 Her concern, Patterson said, is that the coun ty not get dragged into a bunch of lawsuits over a registry that might not be recognized by other jurisdictions. I just dont want to end up in court on this, Patterson added. In asking for consensus, Mason said, she was making the assumption that County Admin istrator Randall Reid was going to drag in the attorney, prompting chuckles from other board members. Commissioner Christine Robinson said she had reviewed the City of Sarasotas ordinance establishing a domestic registry, and I have some structural concerns Given her family law background, Robinson added, a few portions of the ordinance made my eyes bug out I see some big issues not about subject matter, but about using the ordinance as a model for a county registry. Robinson pointed out that she had talked with Shelin and had asked him to provide answers to questions she had posed. We denitely need a legal analysis, Commis sioner Joe Barbetta said, adding he also want ed to be sure any county registry was reve nue-neutral that fees covered county costs. Commissioner Charles Hines prompted more chuckles when he said, Theres a problem with having so many attorneys on this board. Like Robinson, both Hines and Barbetta are attorneys. Patterson is married to an attorney. Hines said he also had had questions for Shelin regarding how variations in domestic It is uncertain whether the Florida Legislature will see a bill led this year that would establish a statewide domestic partnership registry. iStock photo
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 14 partnership registries in different local gov ernment jurisdictions would be handled. He wanted to be certain, he added, that provi sions of a county do mestic partnership registry would reect language of power of attorney documents accepted statewide for health care matters and other personal is sues. County Attorney Ste phen DeMarsh asked the commissioners to recognize that there are some complex legal issues here, so you do not set a short dead line for a report from his ofce on establish ment of a county registry. Then Barbetta said he understood a bill preled for the 2013 session of the Florida Legis lature sought to establish a statewide domes tic partnership registry. State Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, had told him about it, Barbetta added. Well wind up be ing preempted out of this, probably, Barbetta said. When Mason again asked whether she had consensus to allow Reid and DeMarsh to su pervise staff members in researching the issue of a county registry, Patterson said, Maybe, before they invest hundreds of lawyer hours in this, we should see what happens in the legislative session. I would agree, Hines said. If this is some thing that the public wants, it really should be statewide, and it would match with other estate planning documents. Regarding the bill Barbetta referenced, She lin told the News Leader Its my understand ing that it has not been led. He added that he had had an email exchange on Jan. 7 informing him of that situation. The legislator who had proposed such a bill said he was going to wait a year, Shelin pointed out. That legislator, Shelin said, is Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Fort Lauderdale. When Saunders was running for his House seat in 2012, the news media reported he is openly gay and in support of domestic part nership registries. Shelin said he planned to speak with Mason later this week. In the meantime, Shelin said, he had received enthusiastic support from the Venice City Council for his proposal of a domestic part nership registry for that municipality. He also is scheduled to appear before the North Port City Commission on Jan. 28 to discuss a reg istry for that city. He plans to talk individually with the North Port commissioners on Jan. 17, Shelin added. We really ought to have the whole county covered, he said. Mason told the News Leader after the Jan. 8 meeting that the commissioners just need to decide whether were going to do it or not. She added, I want to be fair to everybody in the county. % If this is something that the public wants, it really should be statewide, and it would match with other estate planning documents. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County
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Two issues fraught with acute neighborhood concern were resolved Monday, Jan. 7, by the Sarasota City Commission. After testimo ny and discussion, both were approved a compromise will give Laurel Park two work shops on any nearby development before city approval, and Alta Vista will be able to chal lenge a new Walmart. The two actions one in the afternoon and the other in the evening session foreshad ow what might be a new planning scheme in the city. More than the concerns of Alta Vista and Laurel Park are at stake. This could be the beginning of something big, said Mayor Suzanne Atwell at the conclusion of the after noon session. LAUREL PARKS HALF LOAF Ten years ago, everything was booming in Sarasota except downtown. Developers com plained red tape and politics stymied their every effort. A pro from Dover consultant named Andres Duany was hired to push new urbanism. A new form-based zoning code was ap proved and new zoning categories were cre ated to match the reworked future land use map that remains crucial to the citys com City residents opposed to a Walmart in the Ringling Shopping Center ll much of the Commission Chambers on Jan. 7. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: CITY COMMISSION WILL WEIGH APPEAL OF WALMART DECISION FOR RINGLING SHOPPING CENTER SITE NEW PLANNING PARADIGM PROPOSED By Stan Zimmerman City Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 17 prehensive plan. One of the features Duany pushed was called administrative approval. Instead of red tape and politics, developers would have certainty. If their downtown projects met the requirements of the citys zoning and building codes, they would get a building permit with out the necessity of messy public hearings and City Commission votes, Duany pointed out. One part of downtown ran scared from all this activity. Laurel Park is a time-warp neighborhood from the 1920s, full of bungalows on small lots, cheek-by-cheek duplexes and now-rustic apartment buildings. The residents fought and received their own zoning category during the Duany frenzy, one that had nothing to do with administrative approval or form-based codes. When the smoke cleared, the legal challenge was satisfied and the paperwork was all straight for the new downtown plan, Laurel Park was a true enclave surrounded on all sides by downtown zoning and administra tive approval cases. Thus, when a towering condominium was proposed just across the street from the bungalows, there was no need to notify the neighbors because everything was handled administratively. And because there was no neighborhood input, the condo representatives turned its backside to the old community. Trash pickup, delivery trucks and moving vans were the face of the building for the neighbors. Laurel Park residents started lobbying hard to get a voice in adjacent construction. At rst they wanted a comprehensive plan change to require public hearings for new projects in an overlay zone next to the neighborhood. The building and de velopment community fought back, and city staffers constructed a compromise. If Lau rel Park would agree to scrap its proposed change to the comprehensive plan, the res idents could have two community work shops with a developer seeking to put up a project next door. The rst workshop would come when the project was initially proposed: Nearby res idents could offer suggestions to make the building more sympatico The second would come just before the builder led plans for the administrative review process. On Monday afternoon, the proposed compro mise went before the City Commission for an up-or-down vote after the commission took public testimony. We tried to obtain a voice in big projects next to our neighborhood, said Laurel Park Asso ciation President Kate Lowman. We request ed an overlay with a public approval process and the Planning Board [involvement]. The city has proposed a compromise, which pre serves the administrative approval process with two community meetings. A community meeting is much better than a public hearing. Its intended to foster communication back and forth. Maybe it should be considered in lieu of a review of site plans for use citywide. Mike Taylor Retired Planner City of Sarasota
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 18 A tarred and feathered Walmart logo sits outside City Hall. Photo by Norman Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 19 SETTING A PRECEDENT Not everybody was wild about the compro mise. Local realty mogul Michael Saunders said, We worked long and diligently to create the system we have now. It creates a certainty of cost and time for developers. Saunders has a dog in the ght, as owner of what she called a prime piece of property for development on the neighborhoods edge. What is before you is to create something to make this one section of your jurisdiction dif ferent from all the others, said Saunders. If this passes, there will be different rules and regulations for these properties. It creates an unlevel playing eld. Then Mike Taylor showed up. He was a se nior city planner who retired in October. He also is the author of many, many city planning documents. A community meeting is much better than a public hearing. Its intended to foster communication back and forth, he said. Maybe it should be considered in lieu of a review of site plans for use citywide. After the public hearing ended, City Com missioner Shannon Snyder picked up on Tay lors remark and ran with it. Weve stumbled across something to makes things cheaper, faster and better for the entire city, he said. This could be a model for the rest of the city. Right now administrative approval applies only to downtown zoning and certain areas of north Sarasota near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way. I think were onto something, said Commissioner Paul Caragiulo. Snyder piled on. Weve been grappling with expanding administrative review for the past 10 years and I think weve found it, he said. Have a couple of community meetings and a site plan review, but no Planning Board re view. Its nice to walk out with something bet ter than what we had going in. I will support this, said Atwell. So did ev erybody else, and the compromise passed 5-0. Even Saunders thought the idea held promise. I can live with this, she told The Sarasota News Leader after the vote. Id love to see how they clean up this draft. THE CURIOUSLY SIMILAR WALMART EXPERIENCE The future of a new Walmart store in the old Ringling Shopping Center hung in the balance as well on Jan. 7. Neighbors asked the Sara sota City Commission for permission to ap peal the 3-2 Planning Board vote approving the project. The decision to appeal required a supermajority vote of 4-1 or 5-0. And the neighbors got it. Only City Commis sioner Paul Caragiulo voted against the ap peal proposal. It was a moment of drama neighbors cheering the decision inside City Hall while protesters outside defaced an old Walmart logo with molasses and feathers. On the face of it, the two neighborhoods Laurel Park and Alta Vista were staring at dissimilar problems. For Laurel Park, it was a matter of residential condominiums towering over their bungalows; for Alta Vista, it was a low-rise, big-box store planning to operate 24/7/365. But the Laurel Park proto-compro mise is almost exactly the process Alta Vista actually experienced.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 20 On Aug. 15 last year, Walmart executives met with Alta Vista and other Sarasota res idents at the Payne Park Municipal Audito rium. The Walmart group unveiled plans for a 98,000-square-foot small format Walmart supercenter with a full-service grocery. The architect explained he tried to incorporate some urban elements and added windows and awnings. The second community meeting was in reality a public hearing before the Sarasota Planning Board on Nov. 14, when the board reviewed the nal plans. Presidents of both nearby neighborhood associations came for ward to support the Walmart concept. I think the project would be a great thing, said Alta Vista President Candy Spaulding. I dont want to see this project killed, said Myron Nichol, president of the Gardens of Ringling Park. City planners agreed. Your expert planner says this is allowed, said Walmart attorney Jim Porter. At this second community meeting cum public hearing, the stars aligned. Walmart representatives, residents of the two adjacent neighborhoods, the city planning staff all were happy except two Planning Board members unpaid citizen volunteers who pointed to a gaping problem. Citing the zoning (From left) City Commissioners Shannon Snyder, Willie Shaw, Terry Turner and Paul Caragiulo listen to comments on Jan. 7. Photo by Norman Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 21 code, they said the project did not meet city zoning requirements. For the specic area, the Walmart was too big, they pointed out. But they were outvoted by three other Planning Board members, and what should have been the nal vote on the project was 3-2. Because no rezoning or vari ances were requested, the City Commission would not hear the item. Had the Walmart saga incorporated the ex panded Laurel Park compromise approach tacitly approved by three city commissioners on Monday afternoon, Alta Vista would have had only one recourse. THE NUCLEAR OPTION As Alta Vista residents pondered the view that the Walmart project was not appropriate for the site, several neighbors decided to appeal the Planning Board decision. It cost them $1,597. Residents put up some of the money; the neighborhood association put up some as well. All that guaranteed was Mondays City Commission deliberation on whether to hear an appeal. This is exactly the same process required by the Laurel Park compromise plan. Walmarts situation is unusual, however, be cause the companys research and city staff analysis indicated the project was a per fect t in the old Ringling Shopping Center. No rezoning or special exceptions or varianc es would be required. It was: like replacing like. Inside the downtown zone, only admin istrative approval was required for the proj ect: no neighborhood notice; no signs posted on the property; nada. T he Ringing Shopping Center borders on the downtown zone, but it is not inside the line. Therefore, the process went by the existing rules requiring a Planning Board hearing, even for this like-replaces-like project. And it was at the Planning Board stage where the self-ed ucated volunteers discovered what could be a lethal snag in Walmarts plans. Expanding administrative approval citywide would be a blessing for the development and construction communities. By cutting out the Planning Board and City Commission, it would place heavy reliance on the profession al city staff. Professionals would work with professionals and add certainty to the pro cess, supporters would say. Certainly nobody in Alta Vista checked the zoning code to see if a 98,000-square-foot store was larger than the 15,000 square feet allowed in the zone. Only a pair of volunteer Planning Board members caught the discrepancy. You could call catching a lethal discrepancy another example of red tape. And if during the actual appeal in early February, the City Commission votes the project down because of this red tape, critics can add the political interference charge, too. However, the true fault if there is a fault lies not with the Planning Board volunteers but with the professional city staff who ap proved the project twice at the Development Review Committee level and once again be fore sending it to the Planning Board. This is the same staff entrusted with administrative review should the city decide to push the Laurel Park Compromise citywide. %
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. SarasotaNewsLeader.com Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida
New signage may be coming soon to Sarasota County parks including Siesta Public Beach encouraging people not to smoke but leav ing them free from Sheriffs Ofce citations if they do so. As a result of a December court decision in volving the City of Sarasota, Sarasota County no longer will be able to enforce an ordi nance that bans smok ing outdoors on public property. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has not been enforcing the prohibition since the court ruling was handed down, Sgt. Scott Osborne, chief of the ofces Community Policing Sta tion on Siesta Key, told The Sarasota News Leader on Jan. 9. Osborne said the Sheriffs Ofces counsel had advised deputies to write no more citations as a result of the judges ruling. Still, Osborne said, the deputies practice pri or to that had been to warn people about the county ordinance for The Sarasota County Commission sits in session on Jan. 8, 2013 in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel SARASOTA COURT RULING MEANS THE COUNTY NO LONGER WILL BE ABLE TO ENFORCE ITS NO-SMOKING ORDINANCE FOR ITS BEACHES AND PARKS NO BUTS OVER BUTTS I wish the Legislature hadnt put us in this position. Robert Fournier City Attorney City of Sarasota By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 24 bidding smoking on the beaches. Seldom did someone fail to comply with the warning, he added. The fee for a citation was $100, Osborne said. After hearing the news about the December court ruling during the County Commissions regular meeting on Jan. 8, Commissioner Joe Barbetta said, This is really disturbing to me. I cant believe this is happening The news prompted Commissioner Nora Pat terson to make a motion to seek a change in the Florida State Statute regulating smoking to give local governments the ability to ban smoking in and around publicly owned lands. The motion passed unanimously. The action came almost exactly three months after Barbetta made a motion during a regular meeting on Oct. 9 to request staff to work on an ordinance prohibiting smoking at all the countys public libraries. That motion also passed unanimously. Barbetta said in October that his action had been prompted by the numerous public com plaints he had received about smoking outside Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota. He voiced frustration that parents and chil dren entering and leaving the facility had to put up with smokers outside the doors. On top of that, he said, Sarasota Police Depart ment ofcers had asked him why the county had not honored a commitment it had made to prohibit smoking outside public places. On Dec. 6, County Administrator Randall Reid sent an email to all the commissioners, point ing out that he and staff were awaiting the outcome of a court hearing on the status of t he City of Sarasotas ordinance prohibiting outdoor smoking on its property. The County Attorneys Ofce, Reid added, had suggested we watch the outcome of [the citys case] before moving forward with our own ordinance as requested by the BCC. THE RULING During the Jan. 8 meeting, Reid distributed a memo to the commissioners outlining the court decision in the City of Sarasota case. The judges Dec. 10 ruling found that prohib iting the use of tobacco products in non-des ignated areas of city parks is unenforceable Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier ad dresses the City Commission. Photo by Nor man Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 25 and in conict with the state statute known as the Clean Indoor Air Act. The purpose of that law, which was passed in 1985 but did not go into effect until 2003, ac cording to the Florida Department of Health, is to protect people from the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke . In her Dec. 10 ruling, Judge Maryann Boehm of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota pointed to the citys claim that it is unclear whether the Legislature intended to preempt t o the State the regulation of all smoking [in doors and outdoors] She added, There is no case law directly on point that construes the preemption provi sion at issue in this case. The Defendant cites several favorable legal opinions rendered by the Florida Attorney General on the subject. Although such opinions have no binding prec edential value, the Court nds their reasoning to be sound and is persuaded that [the stat ute] constitutes an express and unambiguous statement of the Legislatures intent to pre Internationally renowned participants in the annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition have told event founder Brian Wigelsworth they relish working in Siestas cigarette-free sand. In 2012, Canadian sculptors Abe Waterman and Peter Vogelaar drew crowds as they crafted second-place winner Fine Print. Photo by Norman Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 26 empt the regulation of all smoking, wherever located, to the State. A July 21, 2011 opinion issued by the Florida Attorney Generals Ofce in a case involving the St. Johns River Water Management Dis trict provided to the News Leader by the County Attorneys Ofce is one example of the opinions Boehm referenced. It says, In sum: The Regulation of smoking is preempt ed to the state pursu ant to [the Clean In door Air Act], and the District may not adopt a policy prohib iting smoking or tobac co use that is broader than the terms of [that statute]. The Jan. 4 memo to the County Commission points out that the statute contains the follow ing provision: This part expressly preempts regulation of smoking to the state and super sedes any municipal or county ordinance on the subject; however, school districts may fur ther restrict smoking by persons on school district property. What gets me, Barbetta said on Jan. 8, is [the Legislature] carved out that exception for school district property, because, obvious ly, many children use libraries. Its such a double standard. The legislators ought to be ashamed of themselves for doing this, that we cant restrict smoking on public proper ty when cigarettes kill. They cause cancer, and we have to sit here on a public safety and health issue. Were powerless. Im shocked that this is happening. He added, I dont know how the Legislature can pass the straight-face test on this one. I agree completely with what Commission er Barbetta said, Patterson told her fellow board members. A huge portion of the states budget is Medicaid, she pointed out, [and] a pretty good portion of ours, too, by the way. Smoking increases medical expenses with people, especially as they grow older. Then Patterson asked County Attorney Ste phen DeMarsh, Does this mean the beach as well? Yes, it does, De Marsh replied. Even before Patterson put forth her motion, DeMarsh warned of a slim likelihood that the Legislature could be persuaded to amend the statute to give local governments more control over smoking. With the meeting televised as usual, Reid took the opportunity to point out to county employees that they still would be prohibited from smoking, as the ruling did not have any bearing on employers regulation of workers tobacco usage. Commissioner Charles Hines voiced con cerns about people smoking at Little League games held in county parks. When he said it appeared the operator of a facility for a par ticular sporting event would be unable to ask someone to stop smoking next to children, DeMarsh replied that appeared to be the cor rect interpretation of the ruling. The legislators ought to be ashamed of themselves for doing this, that we cant restrict smoking on public property when cigarettes kill. They cause cancer, and we have to sit here on a public safety and health issue. Were powerless. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 27 However, DeMarsh said, the Baltimore Ori oles would be able to continue to ban smok ing during spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, because members of the public pay admission fees to attend the games, even though the facility is county-owned. There are signs everywhere saying, This is a non-smoking facility, Hines continued. As things have stood, Hines pointed out, if some one was asked to stop smoking at a childrens baseball game, and the person refused, a rep resentative of the hosting entity could ask the person to leave and request that the Sheriffs Ofce issue the person a trespass warning to prevent his returning to the facility while the game went on. I think I would like the opportunity to look at that particular fact pattern, DeMarsh replied, to see if theres an ability of the user of the facility to do that or not in the wake of the judges decision. Are you going to do that? Patterson asked. DeMarsh responded that he and his staff will be glad to do that. Its an everyday occurrence, Hines added of such smoking situations. Reid also emphasized that staff would deter mine whether the county had any options in volving smoking in parks or at the beaches. RAMIFICATIONS AND REMEDIES After the meeting, Reid pointed out to the News Leader that one of the criteria Dr. Ste phen P. Leatherman of Florida International University aka Dr. Beach uses to deter mine his No. 1 beach in the nation each year and his Top Ten Beaches list is whether smok ing is allowed at the facilities. Leatherman named Siesta Key Public Beach No. 1 just before Memorial Day weekend in 2011. Visit Sarasota County ofcials have cred ited that designation with helping the county set recent records in tourist development tax collections. In an interview, DeMarsh pointed out that if the City of Sarasota appealed the judges De cember decision, an appellate court might in terpret the state statute differently. Robert Fournier, the attorney for the City of Sarasota, told the News Leader in a telephone interview Jan. 9 that he did not foresee the City Commission pushing for an appeal. He had thought the matter might come up during the City Commissions meeting on Jan. 7, he added, but no member of his board men tioned it. I think it would be a waste of our money and our legal resources to try to appeal this, Fournier said. The city ordinance was adopted in June 2011, Fournier said. Before the vote, he added, he advised the City Commission there was a fair chance something like this might happen, based on the opinions issued by the Florida Attorney Generals Ofce. The state law last was amended in 2011, Fournier pointed out. That was when the sec tion giving school districts more latitude was added, he said.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 28 The best options he saw for changing the law, he added, involved local governments working through the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties to persuade the Legislature to change the law. State Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, in Lake County, introduced a bill in the Florida Senate during the 2012 legislative term to allow mu nicipalities and counties to regulate smoking on public property, Fournier said. The Florida Senate website shows the bill passed the Health Regulation Committee unanimously on Jan. 13, 2012; it then died in the Community Affairs Committee. I think this is an issue the public should be made aware of, Fournier added, pointing out that some state parks prohibit smoking. Why would you tell a local government they couldnt do the same thing? he added. I think thats a bit ridiculous, myself. Fournier also noted that an organization called the Tobacco Prevention Network of Florida has maintained that Florida State Gov ernment has had a history of preempting local anti-tobacco measures as a result of strong lobbying by the tobacco industry. The Networks website says, This grassroots organization was formed in 2010 to link local Tobacco Control groups throughout Florida and give them a voice at the state level. Fournier said it seemed logical to him that lo cal governments should be allowed to regulate tobacco use on public property. I wish the Legislature hadnt put us in this position. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | www.askdrkoval.com 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. SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Full Service Salon 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota John-NormanTuck.com
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 www.askdrkoval.com 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 askdrkoval.com ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.
On Dec. 31, a local realtor and her client were confronted by a Sarasota police ofcer and forced at gunpoint to lie on a dirty concrete oor, they have reported. For at least ve min utes, the pair was facedown on a gritty car port with a loaded pistol aimed at the tops of their heads. Realtor Susan Christy says it happened about 1 p.m. at a home adja cent to the Publix gro cery store on South Lime Avenue, west of South Shade Street. She and a client, who asked not to be identi ed, were inspecting a house for sale. Christy says she understands how the female ofcer could have misinterpreted things ini tially. We parked in the [Publix] parking lot and walked over, so there was no car in the drive way, she said. There was no For Sale sign in the yard, and you couldnt see the [realty company] lockbox be cause the door was in the carport. They later said a neighbor called in a burglary, she added. The Sarasota Police Department headquarters on Adams Lane is a short distance from where an unidentied ofcer mistook a Realtor and client for burglars. Photo by Norman Schimmel A SARASOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER DRAWS GUN ON A REALTOR AND CLIENT ON NEW YEARS EVE, MISTAKING THEM FOR BURGLARS MILLIMETERS FROM DEATH I gure we were facedown with a gun on us for ve minutes. Susan Christy Realtor By Stan Zimmerman City Editor
Sarasota News Leader Januar y 11, 2013 Page 31 Despite Christys claim to be a realtor, the of -cer forced both her and her client down at gunpoint, then called for backup. Get on the ground. Get on the ground, the ofcer shout -ed, said Christy. I gure we were facedown with a gun on us for ve minutes.When the backup ofcers arrived, at least a few of them drew their guns, too, she added. There was a point they let us sit up on the cold concrete, she said. I was cool because I knew we had not done anything wrong. The whole thing was humiliating and aggra -vating, the client told The Sarasota News Leader. I had left the house and was in the carport when [the ofcer] came at me with her gun drawn, he said. She was really worked up. I was looking down the barrel at a very excited ofcer. I wanted to talk to her, said Christy.She did not get the name of the ofcer, but she described the woman as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall and Caucasian, with her hair pulled back. The client remembers Christy asking the fe -male ofcer for an apology. Im not apolo -gizing for doing my job, the client recalls the ofcer responding.Neither Christy nor her client was interested in ling a complaint.New Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPi -no started work ofcially on New Years Day, the day after the takedown on South Lime Av -enue. DiPino already has been meeting with city residents to let them become acquainted with her leadership style. (See On the stump circuit in todays News Leader .) DiPino told a Newtown audience Tuesday evening, Jan. 8, Starting right now, it is our job as police to put our hand out to you. % Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino/Pho to by Norman Schimmel
It took almost exactly two-and-a-half hours of presentations, public comments and rebuttals, but the Sarasota County Commission on Jan. 9 unanimously denied petitions by a couple seeking to build two three-story homes on Si esta Key lots that have been underwater at various times. Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on the barrier island, made the motion in each case. The action followed advice from County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh that the commis sion should not continue the public hearing in the wake of a suggestion made late in the discussion by the petitioners attorney, Wil liam W. Merrill III, that the construction plans could be modied to appease one set of adja cent homeowners. This is not in a posi tion that lends itself to continuance, De Marsh told the com missioners, adding his recommendation that they should vote up or down on each of the variance requests. County Commissioners Charles Hines and Nora Patterson consider documents and testimony during a meeting this week. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY DENIES TWO REQUESTS FOR VARIANCES TO CONSTRUCT HOMES ON SIESTA KEY LOTS THAT HAVE BEEN UNDERWATER IN YEARS PAST TOO INTENSE This thing, I think, was dead from the start. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 33 Just after 6 p.m. on Jan. 9, Patterson put forth the rst motion, saying, If I could roll the clock back, a long ways, a lot of the develop ment that I think is in harms way probably wouldnt have been approved today Patterson said any commission discussion about a variance request was tough. Refer ring to the property owners, Ronald and Sania Allen of Osprey, she added, These folks did pay good money for [their property]. The Allens were seeking permission to build the houses on lots they own at 162 and 168 Beach Road. Patterson said she had absolutely seen that whole area [under water] and [was] still worried what to do with that other section of Beach Road thats falling in the water as we speak. Wind and wave action produced by Hurricane Sandy in late October damaged the north part of Beach Road so extensively that part of it crumbled, necessitating emergency county repairs. Because of the circumstances regarding the history of the Allens lots and that part of Sies ta Key, Patterson said, Its really rough for me to even envision somebody wanting to build on those properties. In seconding the motion, Commissioner Chris tine Robinson said, Theres so much wrong in this particular instance, including adjacent property owners reporting they did not re ceive the required legal notice from the coun ty about the petitions. Included in that is the intensity of the con struction the Allens proposed, she added. Theres so much [with these requests], you couldnt begin to unravel it Nonetheless, Robinson said, Ultimately, there is a solution to this. I do believe that, but this isnt it. Commissioner Joe Barbetta also weighed in: The criteria [for granting variances] is pretty clear, and this one certainly doesnt meet the minimum criteria necessary for the reason able use of the property. This thing, I think, was dead from the start. Barbetta added that he was not surprised peo ple had lled the Commission Chambers for discussion of that agenda item, based on the number of emails the commissioners had re ceived over the past few weeks. Howard Berna, environmental supervisor in the countys Natural Resources Department, told the board he had received 85 emails about the variance requests, with only 11 of them supportive of the Allens. A diagram shows the site plan for pro posed construction at 168 Beach Road on Siesta Key. Image courtesy Sarasota County
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 34 THE REQUESTS During his presentation, Berna said the Al lens proposed building a 7,429-square-foot house on the 162 Beach Road parcel and a 7,679-square-foot house at 168 Beach Road. Both properties, he pointed out, are complete ly seaward of the countys Gulf Beach Setback Line, and both consist entirely of dune habi tat. Some Australian pine trees considered an invasive species are on the lots, Berna added, but the tallest ones are just waist high. The foundation for the house at 162 Beach Road would have a footprint of 1,428 square feet, he pointed out, but because of the planned cantilevered design for the upper floors with balconies the upper two oors would have 2,300 square feet each. That house would have 45 feet of frontage on the Gulf of Mexico side of the property, he added. The lot at 168 Beach Road is slightly larger, though it has only 40 feet on the Gulf side, Berna said. Its ground-level footprint would be 1,645 feet. The upper levels of that house would have 2,069 feet each. Both houses would have pools and decks, as well as a retaining wall about 1 foot tall around the pool deck, Berna noted. Referring to the lots, he added, This area has been known to ood. These properties are relatively low elevation. Using aerial photographs, Berna proceeded to show the commissioners views of the proper ty from 1948 to the present. It is a very inter esting area because it has changed very dra matically, he added. Some of the photos showed the property un derwater. As recent as 2009, the vegetation that had grown up on the property had re treated, he pointed out. However, by 2012, the dune area had regenerated, he said. In 1992, Berna pointed out, the County Com mission received a variance request for a sin gle-family home on the combined lots; it de nied the request in 1993. MERRILLS PRESENTATION Without this variance, there is no econom ically viable or reasonable use available on either one of the lots, Merrill, the Allens a t A county aerial map shows the area of the two Beach Road parcels in 2007. Image courtesy Sarasota County A county aerial map shows the area of the two Beach Road parcels (one outlined in blue) in 1948. Image courtesy Sarasota County
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 35 torney, told the commission during his pre sentation. The Allens paid $5.4 million for the two par cels on May 29, 2009, Merrill said. Since 2008, the property taxes on the lots had increased by nearly 2,000 percent, he added from $595 per year to more than $12,000 per year per lot. When Patterson asked whether the Allens had talked with the countys property tax assessor about the fact they could not build on the lots unless they received variances, Merrill replied that they had. Did they go to the Value Adjustment Board, which hears appeals of tax assessments, Bar betta asked. Merrill replied, I do not believe they did. Thats how you get [the taxes] reduced, Bar betta pointed out. The odd thing is, Patterson added, [the county] purchased, not that long ago, one of these lots [near the Allens parcels], and we didnt pay that much for it, so I dont know whats going on. She said she believed the reason the county was able to pay a much lower price was be cause Everyone knew [the land] was unbuild able. My client didnt know that [their land] was unbuildable, Merrill told her. Denial of the variances, Merrill pointed out, would be a categorical taking and thus an unreasonable hardship. When Robinson asked DeMarsh to elaborate on the hardship point, DeMarsh said that if A county staff photograph shows a view of Beach Road from a position on the 168 Beach Road lot. Im age courtesy Sarasota County
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 36 the commission were to deny all use of the property, it could be a compensable taking. However, DeMarsh pointed out, if the com mission denied the re quests before it that day, the Allens would not be prevented from making another peti tion for some type of construction on the property. DeMarsh also noted that the history here may support the con cept that [the lots] should be treated as one parcel. Merrill pointed out that the lots were platted in 1926 as part of the Miramar Beach subdivi sion. Other than the Allens lots and two oth ers both vacant and both bought to allow residents of condominium complexes across Beach Road from the beach to have a Gulf view every other lot, from Beach Access 3 to the Siesta Public Beach seaward of the Gulf Beach Setback Line and fronting on Beach Road, has at least one or more residential structures on it. Were asking for the same thing the neighbors got, he said. Additionally, Merrill noted, 70 percent of the homes constructed on Beach Road since 1999 have pools. Commissioner Charles Hines replied that the statement was misleading, because the com missioners had no way of knowing how many of those pools were approved beyond the Gulf Beach Setback Line. Merrill said he had not intended to be mis leading. Its been quite a few years since weve ap proved a pool seaward of [a] building on that stretch of the island, Patterson told him. When Merrill replied that the commission had done so just with in the past year, Pat terson and Robinson both pointed out that a judge overturned the decision. Patterson added that she had opposed grant ing that variance in the rst place. Moreover, Patterson said, Where a pool has been allowed, theyve not been huge pools, and they have not been seaward of the homes. She added, Its a tricky thing when you say you want what the neighbors got. Merrill also showed the board a graphic il lustration with white blocks representing the two proposed houses, to compare them with neighboring buildings. He said the structures would be consistent in this area. Patterson told Merrill the houses on his illus tration look awfully big next to the homes that go further in the other direction. When he replied, I think part of that is the coloration, because the blocks representing This isnt a typical neighborhood dispute. This, to me, is about the principle of building big expensive things that your owners will want to protect on two small lots in an area that I know has been awash with seawater not once but over a period of years [and] I think theres a fairly good likelihood [it] will be again. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 37 the Allens houses were lighter than the other structures, the audience broke into laughter, necessitating Chairwoman Carolyn Masons asking for order. Merrill also pointed out the houses would be built on concrete pilings, with the rst level 19.4 feet above the ground, as required by Federal Emergency Management Agency reg ulations for new construction in oodplains. LAST-MINUTE NEGOTIATIONS During the public comments portion of the hearing, 12 people addressed the commission, but only one gave full support to the Allens request. One speaker Sarasota attorney Morgan Bentley of Bentley & Bruning told the com missioners he was representing the Terrace Condominium, whose board was open to suggestions ... While he did not have the authority to offer specics, Bent ley said, he did mention that if the houses were shorter and further from the beach, the Terrace board might be willing to support the requests. Merrill told the commissioners he had spoken with Bentley twice. The Al lens would be willing to consider what he had suggested, Merrill added. When Hines asked whether Merrill was seek ing a continuance of the requests for the vari ances, Merrill said he was, so that we can try to work with the neighbors to amend this application. Patterson told him, This isnt a typical neigh borhood dispute. This, to me, is about the principle of building big expensive things that your owners will want to protect on two small lots in an area that I know has been awash with seawater not once but over a period of years [and] I think theres a fairly good likelihood they will be again. She continued, All the properties on Casey Key that built really big stuff and came to us for seawalls they didnt think 10 years later they were going to have seawater lapping at the foundations. Prior to discussion of the Allens petition, the commission unanimously de nied a request for construction of a seawall on Casey Key. After Patterson made her mo tion to deny the second variance request, she added, This is a classic exam ple of wanting to build a lot in harms way. % A slide from a county staff presentation notes impacts to the vegetation on the 168 Beach Road parcel if construc tion is allowed. Chart courtesy Sarasota County
With Robert Waechter having resigned on Jan. 6 from the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and the Tourist Development Council (TDC), no other Sarasota County commissioner joined Commissioner Charles Hines this week in voicing interest in a new policy regarding removal of advisory board members for cause. Hines raised the is sue during the Com mission Reports part of the regular meet ing on Jan. 8 without mentioning Waechter by name. Hines said he had received queries from several constituents about Waechters continued service on the two advisory boards after Waechter was charged Dec. 14 with a third-degree felony. According to a Saraso ta County Sheriffs Of ce report, Waechter allegedly used person al identity information to purchase a prepaid VISA card in the name of Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sara County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh/Photo by Norman Schimmel HINES IS THE SOLE COUNTY COMMISSIONER TO INDICATE AN INTEREST IN A NEW POLICY REGARDING REMOVAL OF ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS FOR CAUSE NO OTHER TAKERS I would also say Im coming up on my 21st year in Sarasota County, and Ive actually never had this issue arise before. One of your potential actions is to say, Well, this has only happened once in 20-some years, so is that necessary? Stephen DeMarsh County Attorney Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 39 sota County Council of Neighborhood Asso ciations, to make campaign contributions to Democratic candidates Keith Fitzgerald and Liz Alpert in the 2012 campaign. Ramirez, a registered Republican, served with Waechter a past chairman of the county Republican Party for a number of years on the Siesta Key Association Board of Directors. As of the Jan. 3 SKA meeting, Waechter had not resigned from that board, SKA President Catherine Luckner said. Waechter did withdraw his name from con sideration for reappointment to the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority, Frederick Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of the Airport Authority, told The Sarasota News Leader on Dec. 18. Whats our authority? Hines asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh during the Jan. 8 commission meeting. What process was available for the County Commission if it felt someone serving on an advisory board should be removed, Hines add ed. First, DeMarsh explained the County Com mission has a number of advisory boards that were created by resolution and others that were created by ordinance. Among the latter are the TDC and the BZA, DeMarsh added. With the other boards, he said, rules of pro cedure indicate people serve at your pleasure, but they are appointed for a term. The ordinance creating the BZA, he contin ued, says people serving on that board can be removed for cause. Regarding the TDC, he added, Theres silence in the ordinance and in the statutes about whether people can be removed for cause. In his staffs review of case law, DeMarsh said, it appeared someone could be removed from a board for cause only after the County Com mission gave that person notice and provided the person an opportunity to be heard. I dont believe that there are standards that exist within any of your existing ordinances Carolyn Mason is the new chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commission, while Charles Hines is the new vice chairman. Photo by Norman Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 40 or resolutions indicating what cause would be, DeMarsh pointed out. Moreover, he said, he and his staff had not undertaken legal research to determine standards for such cause. Still, generally, he said, he thought the commission could make a nding of cause and it would be upheld. If the commission directed him to do so, De Marsh added, he and his staff would research how such matters are handled in other juris dictions. I would also say Im coming up on my 21st year in Sarasota County, DeMarsh pointed out, and Ive actually never had this issue arise before. One of your potential actions is to say, Well, this has only happened once in 20-some years, so is [a new policy] neces sary? Nonetheless, he said, the County Commission had removed people from advisory boards in the past because of poor attendance records. While he also did not mention Waechter by name, DeMarsh noted Waechter had submit ted a letter of resignation and the commission already had instructed staff to ll the positions on the BZA and the TDC. I guess Im glad to hear that this doesnt come up very often, Hines said, adding that he just wanted to inquire about whether a process for removal was available. Unfortunately, a situation like this will come up in the future, Hines said, and I just want ed to see your insight, if there is a process that should it not work itself out, the commission could act. Hines added, I dont know if anyone else thinks we need to look any further. No one else offered a comment. WAECHTERS LETTER In his resignation letter, Waech ter wrote, Over the past 35 plus years I have invested thousands of volunteer hours on mul tiple boards and community organizations. If I had to make a list I doubt I would recall them all. He added, In all of that time, I dont believe I have ever appeared before the Board of Coun ty Commissioners in my own behalf and I do not propose to do so now despite the ap parent willingness to forego due process and the rush to judgment by some in our commu nity. Questions have been raised by a few indi viduals as to whether I should continue my service on two county boards: the Tourist De velopment Council; and the Board of Zoning Appeals. It has always been my intention that when my term on the Airport Authority expires, upon the appointment by the Governor of the new Board, to concurrently resign from the TDC as that appointment was initially predi cated on my involvement with the airport as a representative of the tourism industry, he wrote. % Robert Waechter/Photo courtesy of Sheriffs Ofce
As her introduction drones on, Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino ddles with her new business cards before speaking to the City Council of Neighborhood Associations. Photo by Stan Zimmerman ON THE STUMP CIRCUIT I understand there have been problems in the community. Starting right now, it is our job as police to put our hand out to you. Please reach out your hand to us. Bernadette DiPino Police Chief City of Sarasota
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 42 While she is a third-generation police ofcer, there is a little bit of politician in Sarasota Po lice Chief Bernadette DiPino. This week she has been on a whirlwind tour of civic orga nizations while settling in as the citys new chief. She started the job Jan. 1, and on Saturday, Jan. 5, she was addressing grassroots leaders at the Coalition of City Neighborhood Asso ciations. I have three priorities: visibility, to strictly en force the law and professionalism, she said. True to the word she gave panelists during the selection process last fall, she handed out new business cards with her cell phone number. Its not for emergencies. Thats 911. This is for telling me stuff you think I need to know, she said. Its the phone thats in my purse. The number is 780-2746. Sporting a uniform tailored for her petite size plus bulletproof vest, she told the neighbor hood leaders, Communication is important to me. I want to be accessible to you. Ultimately, the buck stops with me. She noted two initiatives under way involving the department. One is a strategy used in High Point, NC, to reduce crime by mass arrests of the citys vilest offenders, with an eye to making the case for their getting hard pris on time. Then well show the second-worst [set of offenders] the cases [we have] against them, and [say], All will be forgiven if you go straight, she said. The second initiative forces the department to react to activities of the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is really targeting the SPD, she said. She brought up the occupation of Gilles pie Park by the homeless. Were going to do some things there, she said. NEXT STOP, NEWTOWN The following Tuesday, Jan 8, she was at the District One town hall meeting at the Robert L. Taylor Recreation Center in north Sarasota. She started off with a self-deprecating joke. The punch line: You dont look like a police chief. Even in uniform with the patent leather utility belt, she looks like a pre-teen dressing in dad dys work clothes. But appearances deceive. She went from rookie to chief in 17 years, and she stayed a chief for a decade longer. A spe cial weapons and tactics team leader, narcot ics detective, undercover operator there is little she has not done with distinction. Many, I am sure, have seriously underestimated Ber nadette DiPino. She started the job in Sarasota even before she was supposed to. While Jan. 1 was to be her rst day, on New Years Eve, she went on patrol. She was one of the rst responders to a stabbing downtown, and then she was in New town as midnight neared. SARASOTAS NEW POLICE CHIEF MAKES THE ROUND AT MEETINGS AS SHE GETS TO KNOW THE RESIDENTS OF HER NEW HOME By Stan Zimmerman City Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 43 City Manager Tom Barwin introduces Bernadette DiPino (right) as the new Sarasota police chief on Oct. 16 at City Hall. Mayor Suzanne Atwell is at left. Photo by Norman Schimmel I heard a lot of gunre, she said. Whats up with that? People celebrating Middle East style by dis charging rearms in the air, she was told. She noted police ofcers in the area were taking shelter under concrete eaves to escape the danger of plunging bullets. Thats unacceptable to me, she said. Were going to put a stop to that. Something else she put a stop to was the homeless takeover of Gillespie Park. Five days ago, I met with Ms. Orlando [a resi dent of the adjacent neighborhood] about the park, she said. I put some presen ce in the
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 44 park, and when I drove by while showing my parents the city, it looked like a new park. And she repeated her remarks to the CCNA about the High Point strategy. We deal with the same people over and over, she said. We are looking at the most violent offenders in our community. Her main point was trust. I understand there have been problems in the community. Start ing right now, it is our job as police to put our hand out to you. Please reach out your hand to us. CIVILIAN REVIEW GETS RAVES The Sarasota News Leader is the only news organization covering the monthly meetings of the citys Police Complaint Committee. The civilian panel reviews old and cold cases of the Internal Affairs Division of the citys po lice force. Florida is one of the very few states to make these investigations public once they are concluded, even if no disciplinary action is required and ofcers are cleared of miscon duct. In existence a little more than one year, it has had a bumpy ride. Initially, the civilians were concerned, and sometimes appalled, at how little punishment is meted out for bad police behavior. And the police were leery of any air ing of their dirty laundry. But time has brought accommodation and even some understand ing to both sides. The public seems never to attend (although the meetings are open and advertised), and nobody comes to complain. But on Wednes day, Jan. 9, Bernadette DiPino showed up to listen. And she happened to come to a meeting when the case of a senior ofcer was aired. Police Lt. Steven Breakstone eventually re signed following a series of charges, allega tions and investigations. As the civilians reviewed the old case of abuse of position, they learned a senior member of the department had been selling jewelry to other senior members while on duty. And those same senior ofcers had judged the case as members of the Disciplinary Action Board. The chief and captains bought jewelry, and then some sat on the disciplinary board, said Lt. John LeBlanc, the head of Internal Inves tigations. We do not make ndings or rec ommend disciplinary action. Thats up to the chief. DiPino sat quietly in the front row of seats, an audience of one. At the end of the meeting, Chairman William Fuller asked if she would like to say a few words. Ive heard about panels like this before. I wasnt sure what to expect, she said. Im quite impressed with this operation. I feel good you are taking another look. I dont have an issue continuing with this, she added. I have not approved having a disci plinary review board. Ultimately, it is my de cision. DiPino comes from Ocean City, MD, where the rules are different. In Maryland, internal affairs are totally sealed. You wouldnt even know what the penalty was, she said. This is a great open system, and I dont have a problem with that. Even after the fact, it helps me gauge a cit izens perspective on what is appropriate or not. %
When three members of the Sarasota Archi tectural Foundation (SAF), a local nonprof it, spoke before the Sarasota County School Board during its rst meeting of 2013, the Foundation members made it plain they were not happy with the board, and a majority of the board members made it clear they were not happy with the SAF members. At issue was the im minent rehabilitation of one of the Paul Rudolph buildings at Sarasota High School, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The SAF has been actively involved for a number of years in the boards plans to renovate the building. During the Jan. 8 School Board meeting, SAF President Janet Minker said, The exterior ele vations of the classroom building No. 4 appear to meet the require ment for the appropri ate rehabilitation stip ulation as authored by the Sarasota County School Board in their June 12, 2007 memo randum. The main Paul Rudolph building at Sarasota High School is shown soon after its completion in 1959. Photo courtesy Sarasota History Center SCHOOL BOARD WILL NOT REVISIT ITS DECISION ON PLANS FOR RENOVATING THE INTERIOR OF A PAUL RUDOLPH BUILDING AT SARASOTA HIGH STANDING FIRM By Scott Proftt Staff Writer The interior has been reduced to a gutted empty shell, devoid of every one of its dening features. Janet Minker President Sarasota Architectural Foundation
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 46 S he added, The interior, on the other hand, has been reduced to a gutted empty shell, de void of every one of its dening features. Most notable in its absence is the oating walkway that spans much of the building . I propose that the glass is half full, said SAF member Elliot Himelfarb. We still have an option that can address the stakeholders needs while at the same time preserving an irreplaceable architectural gem specically, a redesign of Building No. 4s interior, start ing with the objective of retaining the oating walkway and other dening de tails. Normally we dont make an answer to citi zens speaking at our meetings, Chairwoman Jane Goodwin told the SAF members follow ing their public comments, but we are going to make an exception tonight, because we have some School board members that would like to say something. The rst to speak was board member Shirley Brown. I voted to work with groups [who wanted to save the original Riverview High School building also designed by Rudolph], and I voted to give them a chance, and while we tried to preserve the building, I dont feel A photo shows a closeup of one exterior feature of architect Paul Rudolphs Building 4 at Sarasota High School. Image courtesy Sarasota County History Center
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 47 An architects rendering released in the spring of 2012 showed a suggested design for part of Build ing 4s rehabilitated interior. Image courtesy Sarasota County School Board World-renowned architect Paul Rudolph designed Building 4 at Sarasota High School. Photo by Nor man Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 48 we made a lot of progress and what it end ed up doing is costing us more money. Brown continued, Looking back, I feel I made a mistake on that vote. I was surprised at the changes that were made to the design but I know that when we try to solve everyones problems it ends up costing us money and causing other problems down the line. It cost us more money on Riverview because of the delays that we did that I voted on. Brown added, We have these continuing de lays now on Sarasota High School. I went out on a limb for you over Riverview. Im not going to do it this time. Board member Caroline Zucker continued in the same vein. While you said that the glass is half full, I would just like to say that the glass is full, because we are keeping the Rudolph Building as it was proposed on the sheets that you all signed off on [following an early June charrette on the project]. We have done noth ing different. We have worked with you in good faith. We have done exactly what we said we would do. Weve spent an extra $5 mil lion to make the changes that were required. Zucker went on, It is almost impossible to make everyone happy at this time . Board member Carol Todd voiced a similar reluctance to revisit the matter: I just dont see where this is an issue that is worthy of conversation at this point in time, for me. Goodwin added, I have reviewed with the ar chitects the plans, and the one concern that I have personally was the oating hallway, be cause of security, and the ability of students to jump down or fall down or drop books down i s of great concern to me. The thing that I am most concerned with is safety and security. Scott Lempe, the school districts chief oper ating ofcer, told the board, Compare it to Riverview High School. We demolished the buildings. At Sarasota High School, we start off by not demolishing the buildings. The Ru dolph addition is staying there. The bottom line is they are gutting the inte rior totally, Minker told The Sarasota News Leader after the board meeting. There are ways you can address some of the things they are doing. We want to honor some basic de tails that make [the Rudolph building] so spe cial. Goodwin told the News Leader the demolition of the interior is expected to begin shortly. % A Sarasota Architectural Foundation publi cation addresses the coming renovations at Sarasota High School, focusing on original design work of Paul Rudolph, who was an eminent member of the Sarasota School of Architecture. Photo by Scott Proftt
Trash is beginning to be a problem on St. Ar mands Circle. New cans promised by the city government have not appeared, and the old cans are overwhelmed almost every day, busi ness owners say. The issue came up Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the St. Armands Business Improvement District meeting. Every morning by the Starbucks, the trash is overflowing, said Jackie Fletcher with J-Mar Cleaning Ser vices. The guys on the truck say they pick up every day, but it cant wait until mid-after noon. Fletcher has a contract with the district to keep the shopping Mecca clean. The biggest problem is in front of the restau rants, said the districts chairman, Marty Rappaport. Were still trying to get cans from three years ago. Todd Kucharski with the City of Sarasotas Public Works Depart ST. ARMANDS BUSINESS OWNERS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT OVERFLOWING TRASH CANS AND CITY OF SARASOTA INATTENTION TO THEIR SIDEWALKS GUM AND GARBAGE Every morning by the Starbucks, the trash is overowing. Jackie Fletcher J-Mar Cleaning Services By Stan Zimmerman City Editor With season bringing more people to St. Armands, business owners are fretting about how fast gar bage lls up cans on the circle. Photo by Norman Schimmel
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 50 ment said his pickup crews are servicing ev ery park in the city daily. We cant give an exact time for them, he added. Maybe you could put us on the beginning of the run? asked Rappaport. What were looking for is a big-belly compac tor like the one we put on Main Street at the ice cream shop. Its a gloried garbage can that compacts [trash], said Kucharski. Were looking to get that ordered. The problem with the trash cans, some of the lids are missing, and some are smashed down, said Diana Corrigan with the St. Ar mands Association. So many of them are in poor repair and need to be replaced. Of special interest are the trash cans in the center of the circle. Even when we dont have special events, the trash cans in the park are always overowing, said Corrigan. Then Rappaport pulled out his trump card: I am about ready to go before the [City] Com mission and complain about the services we are getting, he said. We are doing our part, but the city is not. Every time we bring it up here, you say youre going to take care of it, but nothing ever happens. GUM PATROL Chewing gum may be the new cigarette butt, as noted during another discussion at the meeting. Gum discarded on sidewalks is not only a problem for sightseers shoe soles, but the blots on the sidewalk seemingly last for ever. We can remove the gum, said Fletcher, but no way we can nish the circle with a razor. The gum has been there so long, and the side walks have not been well kept. It will take too much labor. We gured if the city did it twice a year, and Jackie did it in between, that would be suf cient. But in the past couple of years, its only been done once [by city workers], said Rap paport. I thought they would do it before the holi days, but it didnt happen, said Mary Tucker, the citys purchasing director, of city staff. % Photo courtesy MorgueFile.com
The driver of the car that struck and killed a Siesta Key runner on Jan. 7, 2012 is expect ed to go on trial Sept. 9 on criminal charges stemming from the incident, Assistant State Attorney Amanda Gambert told The Sarasota News Leader in an email this week. Because both she and Blake C. Talmans de fense attorney had a number of trials already scheduled this year, Gambert wrote in an ear lier email, she had not expected a date could be set before late summer. In the meantime, the Sarasota County Attor neys Ofce is preparing an answer to a com plaint led by the womans family against the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce 12 days be fore the rst anniversary of her death. The complaint seeks $15,000 in damages. Wellington C. Chen, husband of Donna L. Chen, who was 53 when she died last year, says in the complaint that Talman, whose 2000 Nissan Altima struck his wife on Mid night Pass Road, was clearly intoxicated and had an open bottle of liquor in one hand and his car keys in his other hand when deputies stopped him on Siesta Public Beach earlier the same day. A vehicle driven by an allegedly drunken driver struck runner Donna L. Chen on Siesta Key in the curve near St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church on Jan. 7, 2012. File photo TRIAL DATE SET IN CRIMINAL CASE INVOLVING RUNNERS DEATH ON SIESTA KEY IN JANUARY 2012 AS HER FAMILY BRINGS A NEGLIGENCE SUIT AGAINST THE SHERIFFS OFFICE TRIAL AND COMPLAINT By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 52 At the time of the detention and/or question ing of [driver] Blake C. Talman who was a 22-year-old Bradenton resident at the time the deputies instructed Mr. Talman that he must leave [the beach] or he would be arrest ed, the complaint continues. By instructing Mr. Talman to leave while [he was] clearly in toxicated and with his car keys in his hand, it says, deputies knew, or through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that Mr. Talman would proceed to his car in the nearby parking lot and drive away from the beach. The complaint adds, In fact, after being in structed to leave the beach or be arrested, Mr. Talman walked to the parking lot, got into his car and drove away from the beach traveling on Midnight Pass Road. The complaint points out Donna Chen had two surviving minor chil dren who suffered lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance and mental pain and suf fering from the date of injury, while Welling ton Chen has suffered loss of the decedents companionship and pro tection and mental pain and suffering, and he incurred medical and fu neral expenses. The attorney represent ing the family is Damian B. Mallard of the Mallard Law Firm in Sarasota. As required by law, Mallard led notice on April 25, 2012 of his intent to bring suit against the Sheriffs Ofce. State law says a sheriff or sheriffs ofce must have six months notice prior to being sued. The Sheriffs Ofce issued a statement after the complaint was led on Dec. 27, saying, It is Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce policy not to comment on pending litigation. SHERIFFS OFFICE REPORTS In response to questions from this reporter in January 2012, Wendy Rose, community affairs manager for the Sheriffs Ofce, reported that on Jan. 7, 2012, deputies had conversations on three separate occasions with Talman and his companion, David J. Brewer, who was 24. Brewer was a passenger in the vehicle at the time it struck Chen, according to the Florida Highway Patrol report. Deputies first encoun tered the two men with a third person, Michael E. Blakey of North Port, then 26, Rose said. When deputies ran checks for outstanding warrants on all three men after the rst encounter, she add ed, the checks did not turn up anything. Sher iffs Ofce research into Talmans criminal his tory after Chens death showed he had a record of six felony and 23 mis demeanor charges, while Blake Talman was treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital after his arrest on Jan. 7, 2012. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 53 Brewer had a record of four felony and 11 mis demeanor arrests. Prior to the Chen incident, Sarasota County Clerk of Court records showed, Talmans most recent arrest had been in April 2011 for driv ing while his license was suspended. Additionally, Rose wrote this reporter on Jan. 10, 2012, When David Brewer rst encoun tered our deputies, he called one of them by name and said the deputy had recently arrest ed him at [the] North Shell Road beach access for having an open container and remarked that he spent 24 days in jail because of it and didnt want trouble. Deputies did end up arresting Blakey on a charge of Disorderly Intoxication, because he was being rude, Rose said. However, neither Talman nor Brewer displayed rude behavior, she pointed out in January 2012. Therefore, she said, deputies had no grounds to arrest them. After the last encounter the deputies had with the two men, Rose said, the deputies watched Talman and Brewer walk toward the beach. Sheriffs Ofce records show Blakey was ar rested about 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 7. The High w ay Patrol report says Donna Chen was killed about 1:10 p.m. Wellington Chens complaint says that be cause of the Sheriffs Ofces interactions with Talman, a dangerous situation was created; to wit, a severely intoxicated person driving on the roads near Siesta Key beach, which dangerous situation did not exist prior to [the deputies] interaction with Mr. Talman. TALMAN OUT ON BOND Talman, who was charged with DUI man slaughter, vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident (a charge related to an incident prior to his vehicles striking Chen) and DUI property damage, was released on $118,000 bond on June 20. He was ordered to remain under house arrest with a GPS system that allows law enforce ment ofcers to track his location at all times. He also was ordered not to consume alcohol or use drugs. Beyond those measures, Talman was ordered to wear a SCRAM device, which measures the amount of alcohol in a persons respiration, according to law enforcement ofcials. The tamper-resistant equipment ts around a de fendants ankle. % 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
Big-city residents know them well the little windshield stickers that say, Resident, and exempt the car from tickets for violating time restrictions. Sarasota is sticking a little toe in that water for visitors along St. Armands South Wash ington Drive. Parking Manager Mark Lyons told the Down town Improvement District on Jan. 8 that he is testing the idea of a visitors sticker at the Kingston Arms Apartment Complex on St. Ar mands Key. Kingston residents were hit hard when the City of Sarasota instituted uniform regulations for parking, because their guests could not es cape parking tickets under the new regime. Its an impossible situation, Jim Morrison, a resident of the complex, said in late October. Although the city dropped its one-size-ts-all parking regulations, Kingston was still in a bind. Situated on South Washington Drive, its parking area is often swamped by employees of St. Armands businesses. Weve been testing for the last month or so, Lyons said. The visitor passes allow cars to remain without tickets. The venture is the rst attempt by the city to use parking passes for specic groups. The drivers could be visitors, residents or workers in a specic area. Lyons says, Weve been on a rollercoaster ride over parking for the past 18 months. The ride is not over. DID member Tom Man nausa said he had seen, while walking around lower Main Street, visitors didnt know its three hours. Just to clarify: Its two hours downtown, said Lyons of the current parking time limit. % Sarasota city parking ofcials still are trying to remedy parking problems on St. Armands Key. Photo by Norman Schimmel VISITORS PARKING PASSES TRIAL RUN UNDER WAY ALONG SOUTH WASHINGTON DRIVE ON ST. ARMANDS KEY A TOE IN THE WATER By Stan Zimmerman City Editor
The candidate qualifying period for the two atlarge seats on the Sarasota City Commission began Jan. 7 and will continue through noon Friday, Jan. 11, the city has announced. Candidates, including those who pre-qualied, must qualify during the specied time frame to have their names placed on the ballot for the Tuesday, March 12, election, a city news release says. To qualify each person must do the following: Provide a petition with 25 signatures of reg istered voters within the city limits. Open a campaign account and appoint a treasurer. Sign a loyalty oath. Provide a nancial disclosure statement. Submit a $249.83 election assessment fee or le an afdavit of undue burden. Early voting for the election will be held Sat urday, March 2, through Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If a runoff is required, it will take place on Tuesday, May 14, the news release says. Early voting would be held Saturday, May 4, through Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All early voting will take place at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections ofce, 101 S. Washington Blvd. For more information on early voting, call 861-8600 or visit www.SarasotaVotes.com Registered Sarasota voters will cast their ballots for two city commissioners during the March 12 election. Photo from Americanspirit | Dreamstime QUALIFYING PERIOD UNDER WAY FOR CITY COMMISSION CANDIDATES NEWS BRIEFS
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 56 Sarasota County School Board Attorney Art Hardy reported to the board members at their Jan. 8 meeting that the North Port City Com mission gave nal approval Dec. 10 to the dis tricts plans for a new school bus depot in that municipality. Hardy appeared before the City Commission prior to the vote, he said, adding that he was able to overcome City of North Port concerns about loss of property taxes for the parcel where the facility will stand as well as ques tions about the responsibility for upkeep of the private roads that will lead to the depot. The depot will be built on land owned by the school district. It is expected to be completed by the start of the next school year, according to staff reports. Superintendent Lori White told the board, We know that if we can reduce the windshield time and the distance our buses need to travel, we save on fuel and time, which converts to money, so this is something that will be con venient for the bus drivers that are providing transportation for North Port, but it will be also a money-saver. Ken Marsh, director of long-range planning for the district, told The Sarasota News Leader Its a big deal because well be saving consid erable operating dollars. Its all ready to go for August or shortly thereafter. The facility will handle 75 buses, two bays and a mechanic. The bus depot will sit on 8 acres of a 50-acre parcel near Price Boulevard and Toledo Blade Boulevard. Scott Proftt NEW BUS DEPOT EXPECTED TO SAVE MONEY FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT P resident Barack Obama and retired Gen. Col in Powell are diligently promoting National Mentoring Month, as is the Harvard School of Public Health, Sarasota County School Board members heard during their regular meeting on Jan. 8. The program has national as well as local im port, and best of all it has nothing to do with the scal cliff. The School Board on Jan. 8, issued a proc lamation in support of National Mentoring Month and declared January Mentoring Month in Sarasota County. The board also recognized several organiza tions in the community that actively train and recruit mentors, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Suncoast, Jewish Family and Community Services, Girls Inc. of Sarasota County and the YMCA. Kathy Chamberlain, director of the Sarasota Family YMCAs Men tor Program, told the board, This is one of the most important programs we do. Our school district has over 500 mentors in our schools, said Tanice Knopp, coordina tor of the Partnership and Alliances Linking Schools (PALS) program in the district. Her ofce is actively involved in the mentor ing program in Sarasota County. Anyone who has as little as one hour a month to offer to children may contact any of the above organizations or the PALS ofce, pal email@example.com..us. To reach Knopp, call 927-9000, Ext. 31500. Scott Proftt NATIONAL MENTORING MONTH BEING OBSERVED IN SARASOTA
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 57 The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce Fugitive Apprehension Unit, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fu gitive Task Force, has located a sex offend er who has been on the run for 24 years, the Sheriffs Ofce announced this week. Richard Verboys, 60, was convicted in Sara sota County of Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a Child for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. In 1988, he was sentenced to probation and court-ordered mental health counseling, but he ed the area a short time later, the report adds. The Fugitive Apprehension Unit developed leads on his whereabouts and forwarded them to the U.S. Marshal Service Middle District of Pennsylvania Task Force, the report notes. Richard Verboys/Contributed FUGITIVE CAPTURED AFTER 24 YEARS ON THE RUN The Marshal Service took him into custody Jan. 8 in Scranton. Verboys was to be booked into the Lackawa nna County Jail, where he would await extra dition to Florida, the report adds. T ools worth more than $5,000 were reported stolen Jan. 8 from three Goodwill Industries Manasota maintenance trucks parked in the organizations facilities parking lot in Saraso ta, Goodwill reported. According to a Sarasota police report, the thieves cut through the parking lot fence, broke into each truck and helped themselves to the hand tools, a Goodwill news release says. We are a service-based industry and the shameful theft of these tools hits us hard. But it also strikes at the community we serve, said Bob Rosinsky, president of Goodwill Manasota, in the release. The organizations bottom line was more than just the cost of the tools, he added in the release. Were all victims of this crime. These thieves ar e prey TOOLS STOLEN FROM GOODWILL MANASOTA TRUCKS ing on the good will of the Sarasota-Manatee community by stealing from a nonprot that helps thousands of disadvantaged people in our community. Rosinsky continued in the release, Unfortu nately the tools that were stolen from our ve hicles are not covered under insurance. We are looking at an increase in budget of more than $5,000 to replenish the tools and repair the trucks. This was an unconscionable act. Rosinsky said this is an excellent time for the community to step up and show its goodwill. Your donations can undo the harm that this has caused. For information about donating to Goodwill Manasota, call 355-2721 or visit www.Experi enceGoodwill.org
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 58 The holidays are done, the relatives are gone and the decorations are put away until next season. If losing weight and getting in shape are among your resolutions for the New Year, the Venice Community Center (VCC), locat ed at 326 South Nokomis Ave., has the per fect program to help you achieve your goal, a county news release says. Beginners Boot Camp is a fun way to lose those extra pounds you gained eating all those holiday treats, the release adds. Lets face it: The gym is not for everyone and some people dont go because they are self-conscious, said VCC Program Coordina tor Dorian Mattox in the release. These fun classes focus on a low-impact workout with out peer pressure and are taught by a certied clinical exercise specialist. Basic Training: Beginners Boot Camp classes will be held over eight weeks; they began Jan. 8. All ages are welcome, including seniors. Classes are held both inside the VCC and, weather permitting, outside, the release notes. Participants in the class can expect to in crease muscle tone and denition; increase strength and endurance for recreational or everyday activities; increase energy and alert ness; renew their self-condence; and lower cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, the release points out. Registration is available online at www.sara sotabootcamp.com or by calling the Venice Community Center at 861-1380. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. BEGINNERS BOOT CAMP OFFERED AT VENICE COMMUNITY CENTER Senior athletes from across the state will de scend on the Gulf Coast Feb. 19-24 to compete in the 24th Annual Gulf Coast Senior Games, the county has announced. The Gulf Coast Senior Games are held each year to promote health and wellness and to enhance the quality of life for Sarasota and Manatee counties mature population, a coun ty news release says. Among the events offered this year will be archery, basketball shooting, track and eld, bocce, bowling, cribbage, table tennis, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, racquetball, run ning, shufeboard, swimming and tennis. For a complete listing of events and times, visit www.scgov.net/parksandrecreation The deadline for registration for active adults age 50 and older is Feb. 1. The games are held at venues throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. Participants may register online at www.mymanatee,org/parks or download and ll out the ofcial entry form and mail it to Gulf Coast Senior Games, 5502 33rd Avenue Drive W., Bradenton, FL 34209. The entry fee of $12 entitles each participant to an event T-shirt, the release says. An addi tional fee of $3 is charged per participant per event. Some events have an additional facility fee, the release adds. The Gulf Coast Senior Games is a local qual ier for the 2013 Florida Senior Games State Championships to be held in Polk County Dec. 7-15, the release points out. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. REGISTER NOW FOR THE 24TH ANNUAL GULF COAST SENIOR GAMES
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 59 Sarasota County has scheduled three openhouse-style meetings this month on its draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, the county has announced. Each is designed to allow the public to view the plan and maps identifying existing facili ties and high-priority areas for improvements, a county news release says. Participants also will able to ask questions and provide comments. The rst meeting was held Jan. 9. Others will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the following dates and locations: Monday, Jan. 14, Laurel Community Center, 509 Collins Road, Nokomis. Tuesday, Jan. 15, Venice Train Depot, 303 E. Venice Ave., Venice. Dates and locations for north county meetings on the plan will be announced as well, the re lease notes. The draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan identi es a vision, mission and purpose for a bicy cle and pedestrian network and pro vides a framework to promote and encourage safe and efcient bicy cle and pedestrian travel within Sara sota County, the release adds. It recognizes key partnerships and ongoing efforts to increase the safety and education of bicy clists and pedestrians, the release notes. It includes facility design types and graphics, points out existing bicycle and pedestrian fa cilities and recommended connections, and identies opportunities and deciencies in the network for improvements, the release adds. The plan is an essential tool for the county to use when applying for grant funds from state, federal and nonprot organizations. In addition to the open houses, the county has extended through Feb. 28 the opportunity for public input and comments on the draft plan via the countys wiki site. A link to the wiki may be found online at the Sarasota County website, www.scgov.net with the keyword Pedestrian. After submitting a valid email address and agreeing to follow the civility code, users will be sent a password for this citizen feedback tool via email, the release points out. Once the wiki has been closed and the open houses have been held, county staff will pre pare a report summarizing the public feed back and present it and the draft plan to the County Commission this spring, the release says. For additional in formation, con tact the Sarasota County Call Cen ter at 941-861-5000 or email bikeped firstname.lastname@example.org A photo from the Sarasota County draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan shows a bike lane on a new section of county road. Image courtesy Sarasota County OPEN HOUSES PLANNED ON DRAFT BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN PLAN
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 60 Visit Sarasota County, the marketing arm for Sarasota County as a tourism destination, is inviting members of the public to join its staff at planning sessions that will be led by its stra tegic planning consultant, Bill Geist. The process has been designed to gather infor mation to aid in building the countys tourism plan for the next ve years, a Visit Sarasota County news release says. We look to those most invested in our com munity to tell us what [are the] needs that can inuence tourism in this region, the re lease adds. TOURISM OFFICE INVITING PARTICIPATION ON STRATEGIC PLAN Three sessions will be held around the county, to encourage participation: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 4 p.m., south Sarasota County. Thursday, Jan. 17, 8:30 a.m., mid-county. Friday, Jan. 18, 8:30 a.m., north county. For meeting site details and other informa tion, or to RSVP, contact Janis Holland at email@example.com New College of Florida ranks ninth in the Unit ed States for the percentage of students who go on to graduate programs within a year of graduation, according to U.S. News & World Report, the college has announced. U.S. News published the rankings online Jan. 2 in its ongoing series, The Short List which explores the data collected for its annual Best Colleges issue, a New College news release says. It is increasingly clear that navigating and contributing to our ever more complex so ciety requires not only a rigorous baccalau reate degree but further specialized study, said New College of Florida President Donal OShea in the release. It is gratifying to see New College and its students leading the na tion in recognizing this reality and the value of gaining immediate entry to graduate study. On average, 27 percent of college graduates across the country pursue advanced degrees within a year of graduation, the release notes. At New College, however, the rate is 55 per cent, or double the national average, the re lease points out. That placed New College on U.S. News short list of Top 10 Colleges That Lead to Grad School in a three-way tie for ninth place, the release says. The study looked at 377 col leges that provided data on alumni graduate school placement. According to U.S. News & World Report, graduate school admission is signicant be cause it improves students career prospects, the release points out. Citing a 2012 study by Georgetown University, the magazine found that people with advanced degrees earn more money and experience lower unemployment rates throughout their careers. View the U.S. News & World Report article and complete list at this link NEW COLLEGE WINS TOP TEN RANKING FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL SUCCESS
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 61 The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce arrested David Lewis, 25, of 6784 Jarvis Road, Sara sota, on Jan. 9 in connection with a string of crimes allegedly committed from Dec. 23 to Jan. 7, the ofce has announced. Deputies investigating nine vehicle burglar ies, primarily west of Interstate 75 in an area bordered by Sawyer, Bee Ridge and Proctor roads, identied Lewis as the suspect from a Walmart surveillance photo showing him use credit cards allegedly stolen in one of the crimes, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. While deputies were searching for Lewis, the report says, his father showed them items Lewis had brought into the home, including two GPS units, a laptop computer, camera, cell phone, iPod and prepaid credit card all identied as property stolen in the recent burglaries, the release points out. Lewis was charged with one count of Fraud ulent Use of a Credit Card, one count of Lar ceny and nine counts of Burglary. He was be ing held on $46,120 bond. He has previously been arrested for burglary, drug possession and check fraud, the report notes. All nine of the vehicles that he allegedly bur glarized were unlocked, the report adds. This is a crime of opportunity so citizens should take the extra step to protect themselves and lock their vehicles at all times, the release points out. % SARASOTA MAN CHARGED IN STRING OF BURGLARIES David Lewis/Photo courtesy Sheriffs Ofce 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
EDITORIAL & COMMENTARY EDITORIAL Who knew that the City of Sarasotas fullcourt press against the homeless would result in Siesta Beach, last years No. 1 Beach in America, becoming potentially a giant repos itory for thousands and thousands of carcino genic cigarette butts? Apparently, that is ex actly what has happened. The citys ordinance, passed in June 2011, for bade tobacco use outdoors in city parks. It was widely recognized as a further attempt to make those parks less attractive to the homeless who gath ered there. But on Dec. 10, 2012, a judge in the 12th Ju dicial Circuit Court in SIESTA BEACH: AMERICAS NO. 1 ASHTRAY? Sarasota ruled that the ordinance overstepped the citys authority, as the state had reserved to itself sole control of smoking regulation under the Clean Indoor Air Act, which took effect in 2003. As a consequence, all local reg ulation of smoking by municipal and county governments in Florida was invalidated. Included in that sweeping change was Si esta Key Public Beach, on which the coun ty banned smoking several years ago. Those outing the ban were subject to a $100 ne. But no more. Now beachgoers will be encouraged not to smoke, but they will be told they are free to do so if they wish, without fear of nes. The smoking ban on Siesta Beach was a signicant factor in catapulting it from a perennial Top Five ranking to the No. 1 spot.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 63 Sadly, one of the criteria employed by Dr. Ste phen P. Leatherman of Florida International University aka Dr. Beach in compiling his annual list of the top beaches in America, is whether smoking is allowed on the beaches being evaluated. The smoking ban on Siesta Beach, he reportedly has said, was a signi cant factor in catapulting it from a perennial Top Five ranking to the No. 1 spot. The county is powerless to appeal the judges decision unless the city appeals rst. And the city attorney has indicated it is unlikely the city will do so. The only other recourse is to have the Florida Legislature amend the state law to provide local governments with more latitude in regulating smoking in public areas, as it did for local school districts in 2011. That, sadly, is a scant hope. The state Legislature has distinguished itself in recent years as a body controlled almost entirely by lobbyists, particularly since term limits for legislators went into effect. And there are few lobbies more powerful than the tobacco lobby. It already has been suspected o f being behind the effort to limit the state law on smoking regulations from providing too much power to local governments. In fact, a bill to allow local government regula tion was introduced in the Florida Senate last year and passed the Health Regulation Com mittee unanimously. That likely alarmed the tobacco lobby, which went to work against the bill, ensuring its subsequent demise in the Community Affairs Committee. Hectoring the Legislature to do the right thing might be an exercise in Sisyphean futility, but we are not excused from the effort. Local gov ernments and citizens in Sarasota and across Florida must unite to bring pressure to bear on legislators to either ban smoking in all pub lic spaces or extend to local governments the authority to do so. Otherwise that pleasing crunch-crunch feel ing when one walks barefoot on Siesta Beach will not be caused by almost pure crystalline quartz. It will be caused by thousands of dis carded, disease-ridden cellulose butts. Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota 941-953-4060MyPlannedParenthood.org
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 64 COMMENTARY On Dec. 28, Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza wrote that the overall dismal performance of Tea Par ty-backed candidates in the 2012 elections epitomized the tea partys deep decline. Oth er columnists writing in other newspapers made the same observation. They were right, of course. Grassroots political movements are typically short-lived. They burn hot, and then they burn out. Like Shelleys Ozymandias they survive as historical footnotes, if at all. Consider the Mugwumps. During the pres idential election of 1884, a stampede of Re publicans deserted GOP candidate James G. Blaine and threw their support to Democrat Grover Cleveland. They did so in the belief that Cleveland was a committed supporter of good gov e rnment (a goo goo or goody goody in the parlance of the time), especially with respect to reform of the spoils system that allowed the incumbent party to repay its loyalists with government jobs whether or not the party loyalists were qualied to hold them. The editor of the New York Sun Charles A. Dana, called the GOP deserters Mugwumps, a distortion of an Algonquin title that might today be colloquially translated as big shots. Today they might be called country club Re publicans. In the pages of his paper, Dana castigated the Mugwumps as hypocritical moralizers, wholly unt for government service. Still, the party schism helped the Republicans lose the vote in New York State, which, in turn, cost Blaine the White House. Blaines Mugwump electoral troubles were ex acerbated by the remarks of an impassioned amateur. Days before the election, the Rev. Samuel D. Burchard, a Presbyterian minister, delivered a speech to a Republican rally in New York City. Blaine was in the audience. We are Republicans, Burchard said, and dont propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism, and rebellion. We are loyal to our ag. For several days thereafter, Blaine did noth ing to disassociate himself from Burchards speech, a point upon which the Democrats immediately seized. Burchards denigrating reference to Roman ism was highly offensive to many Catholics, especially the recently enfranchised Irish and Italian immigrants. Some Irish voters also ob jected to the word rum as a possible slur: the stereotypical drunken Irishman. They By David Staats Columnist OBSERVATIONS OFFERED ON THE MUGWUMPS TEA PARTY
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 65 expressed their unhappiness by voting over whelmingly for Cleveland. Blaine, whose mother was Irish and whose sisters had been raised Catholics, had expect ed to win the Catholic vote in New York City. Blaines slowness to distance himself from Burchard made sure that did not happen. With Blaines defeat, the Mugwumps faded into predictable oblivion. Some joined the Democratic Party while others became Inde pendents. Within a decade the Mugwumps had been largely forgotten. More than a century and a quarter later, a number of Republicans and Independents coalesced in 2010 around conservative can didates for public ofce. These Tea Party grassroots activists were angry at, and ener gized by, what they perceived as the gross ex cesses of the Obama Administration and the Democratic-dominated House and Senate, including ever-climbing unemployment, hun dreds of billions of dollars wasted on stimu lating a non-responsive economy, soaring na tional debt and Obamacare. The Tea Party movement did exceptionally well in the midterm elections. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and increased their numbers in the Senate. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one beneciary. In some states new Republican governors took ofce and state legislatures reected a more conservative bias. President Obama described the 2010 election results as a shellacking of his party. Two years later, the Tea Partys shellacking of the Democrats was not repeated. The pres ident was re-elected, defeating a seemingly distracted candidate who at times appeared not to have the stomach for the campaign. Worse, Mitt Romney had allowed himself to be dened by the Democrats as a rich man insulated by his vast wealth from the issues of importance to the average voter for whom he had no empathy. His slowness to counter those charges, and his stalling on releasing his income tax returns, simply added credibility to his portrayal by the Democrats. In the 1960 presidential campaign, candidate John F. Kennedy had faced a similar challenge. He defused it quickly and with casual aplomb. It was suggested that the Kennedy family for tune was being spent buying votes. At a press conference, JFK read to reporters a message purportedly sent him by his father: Dear Jack: Dont buy another vote. Ill be damned if Ill pay for a landslide. Romneys tepid campaign was not helped by the fact that two Tea Party-endorsed candi dates for the U.S. Senate made comments that offended many women. One struggled to define legitimate rape; the other pro nounced that pregnancy as the result of rape is something that God intended. Women vot ers ocked to the Democrats, whose partys charge that Republicans were waging war on women found considerable traction. By 2012, the Tea Party had lost much of its original cohesion. Charles Krauthammer wrote in September 2010, that the Tea Party was spontaneous and anarchic with no rec
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 66 ognized leadership or discernible organiza tion. How do you herd cats? You dont. Having achieved their 2010 goals, Tea Party activists wandered into the political sunset down the same road taken by their kindred predecessors: the Mugwumps, Teddy Roos evelts Bull Moose Party, Charles Lindbergs America First and Strom Thurmonds Dixie crats as well as by the more recent spoil er presidential campaigns of George Wallace, Ralph Nader and Ross Perot. George Washington Plunkitt (1842-1924), a New York politician, sachem of the Tammany Hall political machine and skilled practitioner of the art of honest graft, understood better than most the inability of reform movements to sustain themselves and their works over time. The fact is, Plunkitt said, a reformer cant last in politics. He can make a show for a while, but he always comes down like a rock et. Politics is as much a regular business as the grocery or dry-good or the drug business. You got to be trained up to it or youre sure to fail. Suppose a man who knew nothing about the grocery trade suddenly went into the busi ness and tried to conduct it according to his own ideas? Wouldnt he make a mess of it? He might make a splurge of it, as long as his mon ey lasted, but his store would soon be empty. Its just the same with a reformer. He hasnt been brought up in the difcult business of politics and he makes a mess of it every time. (William L. Riorden, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall 1905. Reprint, New York: Signet Clas sics, 1963) In his sonnet, Shelley wrote of nding in a des olate, sand-swept desert a crumbled statue of an ancient king. The inscription on the plinth read, My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Surrounded only by waste and decay, his works and memorial had long since been buried under the sand and forgotten, togeth er with the name Ozymandias and that of Mugwumps and soon that of Tea Party as well. For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn. David Russell
Featuring Sarasota Leisure Inside A SIX-PACK INSPIRATION A POETS POET ASK OTUS SARASOTA LEISURE
Viktoria Richar ds Chocolates
I have never had a six-pack, which sort of means I fail at being gay. I have done all the things our instruction books tell us low-carb diet, plenty of exer cise, drinking lots of fresh water and circuit parties but even in my 20s, I could not seem to get the abs. Trainer after trainer has given me the same dumb advice, such as Just take a short break from wine, You cant eat pizza every night and expect to get a at belly and Matt, if you are paying me, I need you to actually attempt the sit-ups and not just lay there and pretend you cant hear me. I n my 20s, I could sport an easy four-pack by simply following a diet plan of breathing air and eating anything in front of my face. How ever, all that has ended. The days of shirtless circuit parties are a faded memory, and the thought of staying up past midnight on a reg ular basis is completely out of the question. A few weeks ago I was paddleboarding with my Brazilian friend, Tony, who is in his 20s. He droned on and on about gaining a little weight in the belly. Although Tony is straight, I still had to use Jedi mind control when he was around to keep my arms from spontaneously streaking through the air and wrapping them selves around his torso. Canyon Ranch in Miami boasts luxurious rooms. All photos contributed A RESORT VACATION CAN BE JUST THE ANSWER TO WORRIES ABOUT A SLOWING METABOLISM AND THE NEED TO BE MORE HEALTH-CONSCIOUS A SIX-PACK INSPIRATION By Matt Orr Contributing Writer
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 70 Matt Orr works off some calories on the rock-climbing wall with the help of Canyon Ranch staff.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 71 As Tony babbled on and on about his non-is sue, I could not take my eyes off his perfect body. I thought back to times in my life when I was like him and I ignored the metabolism warnings of my elders. Where did time go? Where did my body go? Could I regain my higher rate of metabolism? My thoughts were interrupted by Tonys stern voice, Matt, my eyes are up here, and we paddled home. Aging is a problem. I am too young for sur gery and too old to be boyish. Being a good Southern guy, I nd the best approach to any problem regarding age is to simply run away and not talk about it. Therefore, I called my therapists at Admiral Travel, who readily listened to my desire to reverse the effects of time. After careful consideration and a little wine, I was prescribed a ve-day trip to Can yon Ranch Health Spa in Miami. THE PRESCRIPTION Canyon Ranch is like Glenda the Good Witch for your inner Dorothy. It is a health resort located on South Beach, and it is designed to help you become exactly what you want to be, inside and out, utilizing tness, fresh, unpro cessed food and trainers. Three weeks before my visit, I got a call from Canyon Ranch to discuss my tness goals. I want a stomach so tight you could play quarters off of it, I told the tness guru on the line as I nished leftover pumpkin pie from Christmas. He hesitated and asked my current dimensions. I told him and he kindly responded, Losing that much weight in ve days would be dangerous to your health, but we will put you on a track to a lifestyle to eventually get you there. Review the booklet of classes, menus and property info, and we will take great care of you. Little did this man know, but I happen to have a Ph.D. in spas and food. I know my stuff, so I was out to explore. Canyon Ranch is super nice, and the staff does a terric job of setting the grand stage as you enter the lobby, affecting the attitude, You will never feel fancier while sweating. You do not just walk to a front desk and check in. Nope. You are escorted by the valet and offered fresh spring water infused with herbs as you are seated with your own, personal re ception person. My personal reception person was named Har mony, and she explained that Canyon Ranch was designed to help balance my mental and physical health. Your job is balance and your name is Harmo ny? I asked. She nodded, smiled with her beautiful white teeth and handed me the resort itinerary with her perfectly manicured hands. Matts friend Tony and his longboard.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 72 Faint scents of refreshing botanicals lled the large room. Harmony is attractive from Miami and she played the part of resort shaman like a pro. This is how she set the tone: There is not a resort fee and that is awe some. Many resorts offer up a mighty ne room rate to get you to book, but when you roll up to register, you realize that if you use anything outside the room, you will pay for it in a hidden resort fee. Here, the no resort fee covers access to the spa, the 70,000-square-foot tness facility, the beach, all tness classes (and there are dozens), Internet access, certain consultations, pools and spas. This is a no stare resort. As it turns out, the Canyon Ranch staff wants ev eryone to be super comfort able, so staring is not allowed. Bafed, I asked, Can you give me an example of someone I would stare at so I can be cog nizant about not doing it? As it also turns out, Canyon Ranch is a place where Hol lywood stars go to unwind, so you a re not supposed to stare at anyone, which, frankly, was going to be hard for me. What if I was sitting across from Tatum Channing in the sauna? Do not stare? Humph. Good luck with that dumb rule, Canyon Ranch Spa. The rooms are actually apartments. Each has a living room, kitchen, balconies, a bed room and a huge bathroom. It is like being at home, only way better and with room service. Much of the resort is cell-phone free. That is a big plus. As for the room: My luggage, a duffel bag lled with BPA-free products, and a light and bright sweeping ocean view made me stagger as I walked in the door. A comfy bathrobe and a healthful snack were waiting on the table with a note thanking me for being there. My normal MO when traveling in Miami is dinner at 10 p.m. and then a bar, but for that night, it was differ ent. I was there for health, so healthy I would be. I put on the amazingly soft bathrobe and made a list of the classes I would take the next day. Then I downloaded a workout mix, which had this song that always gets me going, and The resort is right on the beach.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 73 The Canyon Ranch complex is distinctive in the Miami Beach skyline.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 74 s at around like Hugh Hefner with my robe on. I drank hot tea and did something I only do every couple of years: I opened the blackout curtains to let in the sunrise the next morning. Then I closed my eyes at exactly 10 p.m. to be fresh for the next day. I am not sure of the sheet thread count, but I would venture to say it was in the billions. WORKING OFF THAT WEIGHT Canyon Ranch has the largest tness facility in Florida, boasting the 70,000 square feet I men tioned earlier. When I say tness facility, I do not mean a simple little gym, either. Canyon Ranch is equipped with pools, weights, ma chines, rock-climbing walls, studios and jog ging paths. I also would venture to say Canyon Ranchs facility is sort of like the land of milk and honey for anyone who wants to sweat. My day began with sunrise yoga on the beach, followed by a healthful glass of fresh ly squeezed juice. Feeling in the rhythm of t ness, I immediately bounded into a TRX class, then breakfast, water aerobics, a beach run, lunch, rock climbing, power aerobics, a nap, personal training and dinner. By the end of the day my legs were jelly and I could not stay awake past 9 p.m. As for the spa : As soon as the sun came up, I bounded from bed for Day 2 of sunrise yoga, but as soon as my overworked legs touched the ground, I found myself on the oor in a puddle of bathrobe (my new favorite thing to wear around the room). It seems I pushed myself a little too far the previous day, but that is OK, because this was an excuse to hit the spa. I hobbled to that fa cility and made arrangements for massages, scrubs and other energy/healing techniques to make me a mental rock star. All guests of Canyon Ranch have access to the spa pools and amenities, but massages are extra. The detox body wrap was my modality de jour It had won me over with its adver tisement, Relax in the cocooning warmth of our dry otation experience while your skin soaks up the benets of the natural seaweeds, oils and lotions. Once it was complete, I was encouraged to continue my state of well being in the pools. The pools are what my wildest dreams are made of and, as I mentioned earlier, I happen to have my Ph.D. in spa going, so I am really good at this part of my trips. Open-air yoga is just one of the amenities at Canyon Ranch.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 75 The decor of the spa is an Egyptian/Roman sort of thing with water, slippers, heated lounges, tiles, steam, herbs, hot and cold treat ments, aromatherapy, lots of rubbing and no staring. I adhere to the school of thought that says most spa treatments (i.e., color therapy and aura readings) are borderline charlatanesque, but if I encounter a killer spa concierge who explains the mystique, well I am a baited sh and suddenly cured by the energies of crys tals; that is exactly what happened with this spa. My rst stop was the Crystal Steam room, where you cleanse the body with the soothing powers of steam and infusions of aromatic es sential oils and refracted colored light. In t he center of the room, there was a giant quartz crystal to send good vibes my way. Next, I hit the rain showers, which consist ed of my choice of various rains from re gions around the world. I chose the Atlantic Storm, then closed my eyes while lightning ashed, crickets chirped and drops of both warm and cold rain fell on my skin. Can you say, Swanky? Hydro spas, foot spas, and Laconian pools were all part of my blissful day of nding my balance, but The Igloo was a fun spa accouter ment I had never seen. In a nutshell, the Igloo is used between all the steam treatments and relaxing heated chaise lounges. You walk into a dimly lit room small enough to be private but large enough to make you feel as though The food is designed to be healthful but attractive at Canyon Ranch.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 76 you own the place. There you enjoy cool air and three Arctic Mist experiences men thol, mint and eucalyptus as twinkling ber optics ash around you. The mist cools the lungs, and consequently, your blood. The room itself is about 45 degrees, and let us just say to the fellas out there, having that much cold air hit your naked body at once can be a bit humbling, if you know what I mean. Thank fully there is no staring, right? THE DINING EXPERIENCE Because Canyon Ranch wants to make sure you are the best you that you can be, the staff teaches you to be conscious of what you eat. Speaking of the food : The website boasts, Food is more than calories and nutrients; it carries information that your cells need to communicate, perform their metabolic duties, detoxify and eliminate wastes. Understand ing how you turn your food into the fuel th at allows you to operate optimally makes wise (and delicious!) choices far easier. That is speaking my language. The food is mostly salt-free and seasoned with herbs. That can be a little bland; yet, it is understandable. Additionally, you can nd nutritional informa tion next to every menu item, so you know ex actly how much you are eating. Nutritionists are on site to help you nd your best balance in diet, too. The food is locally sourced, sustainable and organic. Even the libations are swanky and organic. THE INNER YOU Canyon Ranch works to educate people about how their thoughts and health are linked. From managing a transition in life to quitting smoking to learning how to deal with stress, there are classes to help you transcend to the next and better you. Additionally, the staff helps you map a future for yourself so you can prance around with this new and improved you all over creation. The week ew by and so did ve pounds (Yay). On my way out of the resort Harmony grabbed my hand, gave me a sincere hug and asked how my stay was. I told her I had learned a lot and I was lighter, so it was time well spent. The freshly squeezed juice in the morning, dai ly sweating and healthful eating had turned my skin into a beacon of what skin should look like. I was relaxed and ready to go back to the real world. My catty shallow side had come to terms with the whole Ill never be as pretty as Tony thing because of the life coaches and my Day 1 Google search, What country do the pretti est people live in? When I read the result was Brazil, I knew I would always be in second place (let me have second for sake of the sto ry, please) compared to the Brazilian Adonis es. That allowed me to open up, breath and fully enjoy my stay at the age-reversing resort on the East Coast. % Editors notes: To see the current prices of Canyon Ranch Spa, click here or phone Ad miral Travel at 951-1801. Matt Orr is a travel writer residing in what ever city he happens to be in that day. His best travel deals can be found here or by dial ing his posse of traveling experts at Admiral Travel
Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida941-953-4060 MyPlannedParenthood.org
When Tony Leuzzi discussed his new book, Passwords Primeval: 20 American Poets in Their Own Words with a small audience at Bookstore 1 in downtown Sarasota the eve -ning of Jan. 2, the award-winning poet, au -thor and tenured college professor made no attempt to hide his excitement.The more deeply Leuzzi delved into the pro -cess of creating the book a collection of interviews conducted over the course of ve years with inuential and acclaimed poets such as Gerald Stern, Patricia Smith, Martn Espada, Dara Weir and Jane Hirsheld the more he revealed his passion for capturing the thoughts and viewpoints of his esteemed col-leagues and how he had been inuenced and inspired by them.THE AUTHOR AND POETS INTERVIEWSId like to become the Bill Moyers of poet -ry, Leuzzi lightheartedly confessed when The Sarasota News Leader asked him during the discussion if he sees himself undertaking a second set of interviews for publication at some point in the future.I love to do the process, he continued. The question would be: Is there enough of an au-dience to buy [a second volume]?The answer, however, seems to be of second -ary concern to Leuzzi, who said he continues Tony Leuzzi says that though many of the poets he contacted were happy to sit with him face-to-face for their interviews, others would speak with him only via phone or email; some simply refused to offer any comments. He also says one poet conversed with him on two occasions but refused to allow the conversation to be recorded or reproduced. All photos by Arielle ScherrTONY LEUZZI SHARES HIS EXPERIENCES FROM INTERVIEWING MORE THAN 20 AMERICAN POETS FOR HIS NEW BOOK, PASSWORDS PRIMEVAL A POETS POET By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 79 to conduct interviews with poets he admires regardless of whether other book prospects may be on the horizon. Not surprisingly, this is the same independent, freelance process that eventually led to the formation of Passwords Primeval which the prestigious publishing house Boa Editions re leased in November. I didnt realize I had a book on my hands until I was about maybe nine or 10 interviews in, Leuzzi explained. When asked by the News Leader if there is an overall message readers might be able to pull from the book regarding a poets relationship with his or her work, Leuzzi responded that, thankfully, there is not. I dont want that to be the case, he said. I think that, for as many different poets as there are out there, there should be that many different relationships. Leuzzi explained that though he had conduct ed many interviews before the idea of a book occurred to him, he has always striven for as much plurality as possible in his work, pre paring at length sometimes even a year in advance for each interview and tailoring it based on the poets work, ideas, aesthetics and even specic passages or texts. The book is essentially a metaphor for the kinds of poetry that are in America today, Leuzzi said, qualifying that despite his in tentions space and resource limitations dic tated that the book does not even adequately represent a fraction of whats available. Leuzzis personalized approach, coupled with the expressed individuality of each featured poets work and approach, could easily have produced a result that would have been ex tremely difcult to tie together. In editing the Tony Leuzzis Passwords Primeval is the second best-selling book published by Boa Editions, follow ing The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 80 interviews and writing his introduction, how ever, Leuzzi said he noticed many of the poets had done part of the work for him by frequent ly referring on their own volition to 18th cen tury American poet Walt Whitman. This for tuitous realization, Leuzzi added, helped lead him to the title of the book, which is the plu ralized form of a quote from Whitmans poem, Song of Myself INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR AND POET After Leuzzi nished reading excerpts from Passwords Primeval answering questions about its development and signing copies, he took a moment to discuss with the News Leader his thoughts on a passage he had read aloud part of the transcription of his inter view with Christian poet Scott Cairns. During the interview, he said to Cairns, You have a poem called Bad Theology What would you call a bad theology? Cairns responded, I guess any theology that presumes to have God in its pocket. Cairns qualied that as any theology that replaces the enormous, immeasurable real with very measurable and very calculated replace ments, adding that it articulates as denitive and conclusive that which is unknowable and without end. Asked by the News Leader if he feels the no tion of bad theology can be applied to secu lar or nonreligious poetry, Leuzzi responded in the afrmative. Anything, any poet or avenue of inquiry that tries to, in some ways, reduce the mystery to a certainty, if it cannot be cer tain, is problematic, he said. After the evenings events concluded, Tony Leuzzi commented to The Sarasota News Leader on the atmosphere he felt during the discussion in Bookstore 1: I liked seeing that many of those people in the audience knew each other already.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 81 He elaborated on this concept with an aph orism that he offers his students at Monroe Community College: A poem is a lot like a good question. The question is always more powerful than the answer you give it. Leuzzi offered an example: Like when a child looks at his father and says, Where do we go when we die? The answer to that is always going to be less than the question, which is enormous and wonderful, he continued. A good poem will preserve the mystery of the question, and I think that any kind of inquiry or path to inquiry should preserve the mystery that led to the inquiry in the rst place. Leuzzi referred to attempts to reduce the an swers to lifes great questions as brutal. In some ways, he said, what youre doing is using the path of inquiry as a way to try and control or manipulate others to think or do as you say or think or do. This happens in religion, obviously, but also in politics. UPCOMING LITERARY HAPPENINGS For those unable to attend Leuzzis reading and discussion, opportunities are available in the near future to attend recurring or stand alone literary events in the area. On Sunday, Jan. 13, from 2 to 3 p.m., Book store 1 will be hosting a free Poetry Local Mic event, which will feature Debra Gingrich, Michelle Frau and Tom Lennox. Most Monday evenings, between 6 and 8 p.m., Pastry Art also in downtown Sarasota hosts a Poetry Open Mic. The next one will take place on Monday, Jan. 14. As for Leuzzi, it is possible he will eventual ly return to Bookstore 1 for another reading, perhaps from a newly published book of po ems, or perhaps even from a second volume of interviews. % Bookstore 1 Proprietor Georgia Court told The Sarasota News Leader after Leuzzis presentation that she feels inviting authors to her store to perform readings or lead discussions adds a tremen dous amount to [the Sarasota] community.
ASK OTUS Dear Readers, The best way to explain how birds do it is by choosing a particular bird and highlighting its life ab ovo usque ad mala. I happened to be quite taken by a particular Great Egret ( Ardea alba ) chick that hatched late one spring. It was a bittersweet time in my life, when I had far too much time to ob serve nature rather than experience it. I was not chosen that spring. The world seemed o ccupied only by happy couples courting, sh ing, nest building and mating, and having a grand time of it. I was actually kicked off my favorite oak branch by this proprietary owl couple intent on nesting in an abandoned woodpecker hole. The fact that this pair was my parents reclaim ing their nest did not provide me much com fort. I moved my lonely, unloved, rejected lit tle self to a smaller oak by the mangroves. It is more dangerous living by the mangroves be cause of the many snakes, rats, raccoons and other preying creatures also living there. On the plus side, the hunting and eating is good. The sweetest part is that my move occurred when Midnight Pass owed and there lived and bred colony after colony of Great Egrets in the emerald aits amid the crystal clear wa ters of Little Sarasota Bay. I had a great view of them. FOR PART II ON HOW BIRDS DO IT, LET US TAKE A LOOK AT THE AVIAN CHILDHOOD; THEN, ON TO A SNAKE QUESTION Ardea is inside the middle of the three turquoise eggs at this stage. Photo courtesy Rick Greenspun
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 83 the brooding, feeding, cleaning and rearing of their offspring and the nest. They mated and raised chicks in the exact same nest last year and are now more experienced parents. A lot is purely instinctual, but much is also a matter of learning through experience. Experience teaches you things such as why it is wise to build the nest above the high-water mark and how to work ones way around the nest and not step on an egg or chick, squashing it at. You try it! It is not an easy maneuver. Now, the nest is down to two eggs. It is not unusual to hear the anguished cries and wildly apping wings of panicked birds in the dark of night. Then a deathly silence prevails for a few minutes until the frogs resume their singsong chirps. In this case, a raccoon has made off with an egg; Ardeas parents were not able to defend their nest in the dark. One morning, an adorable white and ecru, uffy, stubby but partially bald feathered tiny creature fought her way out of a shell and I was simply mesmerized. Within days of her hatching, I was convinced she was a she. I have noted, as most of you readers have, that be they chicks, pups or kits, at the outset, the females are more aggressively curious and outgoing than their male siblings. I thought of naming this one Blanche be cause of the breeds unusual overall impec cably white feathers. But I had recently seen A Streetcar Named Desire and so I decided on Ardea. CHILDHOOD Mama and Papa Great Egret are monogamous for the season and both will tirelessly share in Ardea enjoys an outing with her parents at Turtle Beach. File photo
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 84 Ardea hatches after 23 days of incubation. Her sibling arrives two days later. They are born semi-altricial with wide-open eyes, and they can soon putter about the nest and execute a perfect poop that passes well over the rim of the nest and plops with a satisfying sound into the waters below it. Mama and Papa feed them with regurgitated food and then slowly introduce them to solids by bill-grabbing. This happens when a parent holds prey over the nestling and encourages it to reach out and snatch it up. Then there is one! Ardea has committed siblicide and her parents did nothing to prevent it. The chicks corpse lies by the nest and will putrefy until a rat or ies and their larvae consume it. It is too big for a snake to swallow, and natures clean er-upper, the vulture, is not going anywhere near that ait, jam-packed with the razor-sharp long bills of Cormorants, Anhingas, Ibises and other Egret species all nesting there at the same time. Why is nest siblicide common among many bird species? The common answer is, It is survival of the ttest: The elder chick per ceives its less-developed younger sibling as competition for food and kills it. I have to question that theory as I have observed too many Great Egret or American Bald Eagle nests where all three or four chicks survived and edged. If we cannot ascribe malice aforethought or mature survival skills to these nestlings, what An adult Great Egret holds prey over a nestling and encourages the baby bird to snatch it up. Photo courtesy Rick Greenspun.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 85 might explain siblicide? Well, let us look to the nest itself. Despite the parents constant meticulous attention to cleaning the nest and replacing dirty pieces of it with new materi als, the nest is a putrid bacterial Petri dish of rotting sh scales, swarming ies and mosqui toes and even poop from the Anhinga family living right by it. At an early stage, many nest lings contract various ailments, particularly parasitic diseases. Ardeas sibling, if diseased, would display signs of anorexia and unnatural jerky move ments, thus demonstrating its increasing weakness and discombobulation. Her sibling would no longer be a recognizable bird, but something more like a foundering sh. It is the nature of animals to attack weak prey it is easier and safer to attack something that is not going to ght back as hard as a healthy specimen will. It is also natures way of swiftly weeding out those doomed to a slow death. JMHO (just my humble opinion)! THE NEXT STAGE Ardea edged some six weeks after hatching. She spent her very early adolescence accom panying her parents to their favorite hunt ing grounds bay and Gulf sides as well as around the lagoons and yards of homes and even public parking places. She watched them with the utmost concentration while imitating their hunting tricks, grooming routines and their defensive and offensive postures. She also diligently practiced their vocaliza tions a pity in a way, because the Great Egrets voice is similar to that of a speared bullfrogs and that discordant noise detracts from its ethereal beauty. Otus Dear Otus, The other day I discovered a slender black snake about a foot long in my garage. At rst I thought it was a child version of the much larger (three or four feet in length), harmless black snakes that have taken up residence on my property and terried both my son and daughter who are in their 40s. I was going to just pick it up and return it to the grass when I noticed a narrow red band around its neck. Could this be a snake whose venom would be detrimental to my health should it happen to bite me? Taking no chances, I gently directed the snake to the driveway with a soft broom. I believe you nd snakes to be tasty morsels. Can you identify the one who trespassed in my garage? Curious P.S. I love your column! Dear Curious, All my feathers uffed up when I read your letter. I love it when people give pertinent information and precisely detailed descrip tions. You perfectly described a Ringneck (or Ringed-neck) Snake ( Diadophis punctatus ). It is a common snake around Florida, but, un fortunately, I have not eaten or seen one on south Siesta Key in close to four years. I am delighted to learn that they are thriving elsewhere. Awfully tasty! For more information and some really beauti ful photos of Ringnecks underside, please see the Online Guide to Florida Snakes Dr. Ken neth Krysko is a celebrity herpetologist and renowned scholar at the University of Flori das Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. It was Dr. Krysko who positively identied the
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 86 Black and White (Argentine) Tegu pictured in the rst Ask Otus feature, The truth about te gus (Aug. 23, 2012). People put too much import on whether a snake is venomous or non-venomous. The minute they learn a snake is non-venomous, they get all brave and fuzzy-wuzzily affection ate over it. It is rather like saying, Oh! Its OK if my pet tiger bites me because he isnt poisonous. That is high hyperbole, of course, but I want to grab everyones attention here! Snakes do bite, particularly when cornered, or, during mating season, when someone stands in their path to true love. Snakebites hurt. Bites become infected. Some snakes, such as your charming, tiny Ringneck and the non-venomous Florida Banded Water Snake, will spew a vile musky odor which causes skin irritations or worse non-removable stains on your favorite shirt. Snakebites can also be terribly embarrassing. When you arrive at the hospital emergency room, the intake staff will ask what kind of snake bit you and whether you brought it with y ou for identication. If you neglected to have crammed the snake into your pocket, then the nurses, nurses aides and the doctors will ask you the same question and make you feel like a real dunce for not having done your due dil igence and for having misplaced crucial evi dence. O n the bright side, tetanus shots do not hurt like they used to, assuming you can convince the hospital caregivers that your snake was non-venomous. Now, you were fortunate to see this tiny little creature and because of its size you recog nized it as something quite different from our Black Racer. Just to show other readers how tiny this snake is, I have provided a photo of an ordinary sidewalk with a standard-sized sidewalk crack in it. You can even use the blade of grass on the right side of the photo as a form of measuring stick against the crack to see how tiny the snake is. The Ringneck still has room to maneuver inside that crack! Amazing little creature. BUT PLEASE DONT TOUCH! Thank you for writing. Thank you for being so kind to your little snake and not killing it. And thank you for being curious about Floridas wondrous creatures. 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 leader.com. Thank you. The Ringneck Snake is tiny, as evidenced by its comparison in size to this sidewalk crack. File photo
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. SarasotaNewsLeader.com Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida
An aerial view of downtown Sarasota shows an array of the 80 vendor tents for Thunder By The Bay. All photos by Norman Schimmel A ROAR OF SUPPORT Staff Reports
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 89 Allison Ryan sells ofcial Thunder By The Bay souvenir shirts and accessories. The 15th Annual Thunder By The Bay Motor cycle Festival brought tens of thousands of people into Sarasota Jan. 3-6, with activities aplenty to raise funds for a good cause. Net proceeds benet Suncoast Charities for Children, which serves children and adults with special needs and their families. In 2012, the festival generated an economic impact of $6.4 million for Sarasota County and lled 2,200 hotel room nights, according to a press release. Although a dozen bands played on stages downtown both Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5 and 6, one highlight of the festival this year was the appearance by The Marshall Tucker Band, which performed on Jan. 6. Festival Director Lucy Nicandri pointed out in the news release that Thunder By The Bay extended its schedule by a day this year to include the new Kick Start party on Jan. 3, featuring select whiskeys, wines and ne ci gars at Michaels Tasting Room. Another highlight was the 15-class bike show held Sunday on Palm Avenue. For Sarasota residents, one of the best parts of the event may be the opportunity to check out all the varieties of motorcycles, some with awe-inspiring custom features. % THUNDER BY THE BAY BRINGS IN TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AS IT RAISES FUNDS FOR SUNCOAST CHARITIES FOR CHILDREN
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 90 People enjoy checking out the wide variety of bikes as well as food and biker clothing and accesso ries for sale in downtown Sarasota. Downtown merchants also welcomed the visitors, of course.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 91 Musical performances were just part of the activities over the weekend. Christine Lake presides over the Bika Chic booth.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 92 Motorcycles and pedestrians ll East Main Street.
The Sarasota Concert Association will present the Sarasota String Quartet and the Sarasota Brass Quintet in a Munchtime Musicales con cert on Jan. 16 at noon, in Holley Hall inside the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The concert is free and open to the public. The Sarasota String Quartet and the Saraso ta Brass Quintet are two popular ensembles comprising outstanding musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra, a news release says. The String Quartet is known as one of Flori das premier ensembles, the release adds, not ing, Its performances have been described as a near perfect example of the kind of mu sic-making that can be achieved by talented musicians who have worked together for a long time. The Sarasota Brass Quintet, founded in 1986, is one of Sarasota Orchestras best-known en sembles, celebrated for its entertaining pro grams that cover a broad diversity of musical styles, the release points out. The musicians of the Sarasota String Quar tet have been performing with the Sarasota Orchestra for a combined total of nearly 60 years, according to the release. The musi cians of the Sarasota Brass Quintet are highly accomplished musicians, as well, the release notes. Trumpeter Greg Knudsen has per formed with many ensembles, including the New World Symphony and the Spoleto USA Festival Opera Orchestra. Tuba player Jay Hunsberger is on the faculties of the Univer sity of South Florida and Manatee Communi ty College and has performed with prominent orchestras and ensembles around the country, the release adds. Munchtime Musicales is a series of free con certs featuring performances by high-caliber, area-based artists. It is designed to offer a wide variety of musical genres, including clas sical, folk and jazz, featuring both vocal and instrumental performers, the release points out. Seating is open; no reservations are taken. For more information about Munchtime Musicales, call 351-7467 or visit www.scasarasota.org The Sarasota String Quartet will perform in Sarasota with the Sarasota Brass Quintet on Jan. 16. Contributed photo SARASOTA STRING QUARTET AND BRASS QUINTET TO PERFORM ARTS BRIEFS
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 94 RENOWNED ORGANIST TO PERFORM VIERNES SYMPHONIES Nationally celebrated organist Christopher Houlihan will make a special appearance in Sarasota at the Church of the Redeemer on Sunday, Jan. 20, to perform six organ sym phonies by Louis Vierne, the blind composer who was the organist at the Cathedral of No tre-Dame from 1900 to 1937, Redeemer has announced. Houlihan performed these same symphonies in six major cities across the U.S. and Can ada throughout 2012, a news release notes. His concerts have been hailed as dazzling ( Wall St. Journal ) and as giving a glamorous sheen to Viernes music ( New York Times ). Houlihan performed the symphonies in prom inent venues in New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Montreal, the release notes. The tour marked the 75th anniversary of the death of Vierne, who collapsed and died while performing at the organ in Notre Dame in 1937. Houlihans appearance in Sarasota is a major coup for the area and is the result of impassioned lobbying by Redeemer choir master/organist Ann Stephenson-Moe, who approached his agent last year, the release points out. Sarasota has always had and continues to attract some of the most sophisticated con cert-goers in the country in the world, ac tually, said Stephenson-Moe in the release. I simply explained [to Houlihans agent] that Sarasota is the brightest jewel of Floridas cul tural coast, with audiences who would deep ly appreciate Viernes music and Houlihans playing. With Sarasotas growing reputation, it didnt take much to convince him to add this seventh concert to the North American tour of this very special six-symphony performance. Sarasota is in for an outstanding, world-class concert. The six Vierne symphonies to be performed are Symphony No. 1 in D minor Opus 14 (composed in 1895); Symphony No. 2 in E minor Opus 20 (composed in 1901); Sympho ny No. 3 in F-sharp minor Opus 28 (com posed in 1911); Symphony No. 4 in G minor Opus 32 (composed in 1914); Symphony No. 5 in A mino r, Opus 47 (composed 1923-24); and Symphony No. 5 in B minor Opus 59 (composed 1930). Houlihan will play on Redeemers massive 50stop Nichols & Simpson pipe organ, the re lease points out. The concert, which will begin at 3:30 p.m., will be presented in two parts, with an inter mission at approximately 5:15 p.m., allowing the audience to enjoy an early dinner at any Organist Christopher Houlihan/Contributed photo
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 95 Diane Rose-Solomon, a certified humane educational specialist, and author of JJ The American Street Dog and How He Came to Live In Our House, will appear at two fund raising events this month to promote animal adoptions, awareness and humane education, a news release says. Rose-Solomon will read her new book and sign copies on Sunday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Nates Place, 8437 Cooper Creek Blvd., Sarasota. On the same day, she will give an other book reading from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 7334 Trade Court in Lakewood Ranch. Both events are free and open to the public; parents are encouraged to bring their chil dren, the release says. A percentage of book sale prots from both events will go to animal rescue organizations. JJ The American Street Dog and How He Came to Live In Our House is the rst book in a series by Rose-Solomon. The story ad dresses animal adoption issues, using color ful, whimsical illustrations to tell the story of Maya and her family, the release notes. Chil dren ages 4 to 9 will identify with 6-year-old Maya, who has wanted a dog for as long as she can remember, the release adds. When her uncle nds a homeless puppy named JJ, Maya begs to keep him. But her mom is not sure about that, the release notes. In the end, Maya and her family learn that adopting a rescue pet can be a successful ven ture on many counts. JJ ends up with a loving home, and Maya gets the dog she has always wanted, the release says. The book is available online at www.SOP 3Publishing.com CHILDRENS BOOK AUTHOR TO PROMOTE ANIMAL RESCUE Diane Rose-Solomon with rescue dog Gonzo/ Contributed photo number of nearby, downtown restaurants, the release adds. The concert will resume at 7:30 p.m. and con clude at approximately 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $10 for students. Advance purchase may be m ade online at redeemersarasota.org or by calling the parish ofce at 955-4263. The Church of the Redeemer is located in the heart of downtown Sarasota at 222 S. Palm Ave. Complimentary parking for this concert will be available from 2:45 to 9:30 p.m. at BMO Harris Bank Parking Garage on McAnsh Square.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 96 After selling more than 350 million records and racking up 73 songs on the Billboard charts Johnny Mathis has without a doubt solidied his place in the history books, a news release points out. The traditional male vocalist, who emerged from the pop jazz and adult contemporary scene of the late 1950s, will take the stage at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, on Jan. 16 A three-time inductee into the Grammy Award Hall of Fame, Mathis counts among his top 10 hits Chances Are ; Its Not For Me To Say ; The Twelfth of Never ; Gina ; What Will Mary Say ; and Too Much, Too Little, Too Late the release notes. Tickets are priced from $30 to $85. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit www.VanWezel.org Celebrated singer Johnny Mathis will be at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Jan. 16. Contributed Photo SINGER JOHNNY MATHIS COMING TO SARASOTA On Stage Touring LLC, in association with El vis Presley Enterprises Inc., has announced that the nationally touring show Elvis Lives will be presented in Sarasota at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at 8 p.m. on Jan. 17. Elvis Lives which keeps on capturing the imaginations and interests of fans of all types, including Broadway, concert and Elvis acio nados, is an unforgettable multi-media and live musical journey across Elvis life featur ing nalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises an nual worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest each representing Elvis during differ ent stages in his career, a news release says. ULTIMATE ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST EVENT SET FOR JAN. 17 The Elvis tribute artists will be joined by a live band, backup singers and dancers and an Ann-Margret tribute artist, as well as iconic imagery made available from the Graceland archives, including a new exhibit of life-size images of Elvis stage-wear. The costumes will be on display in the lobby of the theater during the performance, the release adds. The Van Wezel is located at 777 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets are priced from $10 to $55. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit www.VanWezel.org
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 97 While many folks would hesitate to think of bars and art together, a news release notes, In truth, they are a perfect mix. Bars and taverns have played an important role in the organi zation and development of many political and art movements throughout American history. Artists frequented taverns in New York in the early 1950s, where they could meet each oth er and take part in weekly salons, the release adds. Now Mr. Beerys a craft beer bar in Gulf Gate, and www.SarasotaVisualArt.com have com bined ideas and resources to create D.U.I., Drawing Under the Inuence, a unique open call art competition and casual exhibition to benet the Sarasota Public School Elementary Art Programs, the release points out. Its pretty simple to enter, the release notes: All you have to do is buy a craft beer and draw on a supplied beer coast er any day through Feb. 1 at Mr. Beerys. At the end of the competition, the beer coasters (now artworks) will be curat ed and critiqued by a panel of judges consist ing of local art directors and artists, the release adds. Prize money totaling $1,000 will be awarded to the rst-, secondand third-place winners and to the peoples choice award winner. Every year, a portion of the proceeds will ben et a different Sarasota public elementary school art program. This year, the beneciary will be Gulf Gate Elementary, the release says. The submission rules follow: Entrant must create bar coaster on site at Mr. Beerys with supplied drawing materials from behind the bar. Entrant must purchase beverage for entry in competition. Artwork must be created on supplied stan dard 4-inch by 4-inch bar coaster. All artwork must be original and for sale. Entrant must complete a registration form supplied by Mr. Beerys. An entrant may submit work as many times as he wishes. Entrant must be 21 to enter. Any artwork that is deemed inappropri ate will be eliminated. All unsold works will be returned upon re quest. A reception to an nounce the winners will be held on Satur day, Feb. 9. The art work will remain on display through Thurs day, Feb. 28, the re lease adds. % ART SHOW TO BE A BENEFIT FOR PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
The Rev. Philbert Kalisa, founder and direc tor of REACH (Reconciliation Evangelism And Christian Healing) Rwanda, a nonprot organization working to promote healing and reconciliation among Rwandan people in the aftermath of the African countrys period of violence and trauma, will preach at the 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m. Masses at the Church of the Re deemer on Sunday, Jan. 20, the church has announced. He will also speak during the 10:15 a.m. Rec tors Class the same day, a news release says. This will be the fourth time Kalisa has visit ed Redeemer, which has supported REACH Rwanda for several years via donations and other initiatives of its Missions and Outreach programs, a news release notes. Estimates say that as many as 1 million Tutsi Rwandans were massacred by militant Hutus within the shockingly brief period of 100 days in 1994, the release adds. The genocide was the subject of the 2004 Academy Award-nom inated film Hotel Rwanda starring Don Cheadle, Joaquin Phoenix and Nick Nolte. Father Philberts organization works to rec oncile family members of the victims with those who murdered their loved ones, ex plained the Rev. Fredrick Robinson, rector of Redeemer, in the release. Through reconcili ation comes understanding and from there we can work to forgive and heal not just our rela tionships with those who have done us harm, but we can work to heal the world. REACH Rwanda was founded in 1996 by Ka lisa, an ordained minister of the Anglican Church of Burundi. He was born in 1966 to The Rev. Philbert Kalisa will speak at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota on Jan. 20. Contrib uted photo RWANDA GENOCIDE RECONCILIATION WORKER TO SPEAK IN SARASOTA RELIGION BRIEFS
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 99 Rwandan parents who were exiled in a refu gee camp in Burundi because of the killings and other serious human rights violations against Tutsis which started in 1959, the re lease notes. He was ordained in 1989. The rst family Shabbat service of 2013 will be held at Temple Emanu-El, 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m., the Temple has announced. A joyous intergenerational worship expe rience, Temple Emanu-Els family Shabbat services feature lively music with the Family Shabbat Band; traditional prayers led by re ligious school students; a story based on the weekly Torah portion; and the opportunity for The Church of the Redeemer is located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. For more information, call 955-4263 or visit www. redeemersarasota.org Children enjoy participating in family Shabbat services at Temple Emanu-El. Contributed photo TEMPLE EMANU-ELS FAMILY SHABBAT SERVICES CONTINUE every child to ascend the pulpit as the Torah is taken from the Ark and to parade with the holy scrolls through the sanctuary, a news release says. A dessert reception, or oneg follows the ser vice. Family Shabbat services are free and open to the community. For more information, call the Temple ofce at 371-2788.
Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 100 The Sarasota/Manatee Womens Interfaith Network will present Pink Smoke Over the Vatican an international award-winning doc umentary, on Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sarasota. Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and the Rev. Katy Zatsick, who serve as co-pastors of Moth On Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m., the public is invited to hear Rabbi Adam Cholom, editor of Rabbi Sherwin T. Wines magnum opus, Jew ish History through Secular Eyes explore the importance of this new work for the present and the future of the Jewish people, a news release says. PINK SMOKE OVER THE VATICAN DISCUSSION TO FOLLOW FILM er of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, will lead a discussion following the lm. The movie presentation will start at 2 p.m. The church is located at 3975 Fruitville Road. Admission is $2. Everyone is welcome, a news release says. JEWISH HISTORY THROUGH SECULAR EYES TO BE EXPLORED The event is being co-sponsored by The Jew ish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism. Refreshments will be served after the pro gram. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Jan. 14 to 929-7771. The free event will take place at the Federa tion campus, 580 McIntosh Road, Sarasot a. % SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Full Service Salon 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota John-NormanTuck.com Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota 941-953-4060MyPlannedParenthood.org
11 JAN Smokey Joes Cafe Through Jan. 12; times vary; Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Admission: $19 to $42. Information: 366-9000 or oridastudiotheatre.org 11 JAN Urban Cowboys Jan. 11 through March 31; times vary; Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Admis sion: $19 to $36. Information: 366-9000 or oridastudiotheatre.org 16 JAN Johnny Mathis in concert Jan. 16, 8 p.m.; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Admission: $30 to $85. Tickets: 953-3368 or VanWezel.org 20 JAN Christopher Houlihan performs Viernes Six Symphonies Jan. 20 at 3:30 p.m., Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Admission: $20 (students: $10). Tickets: 955-4263 or RedeemerSarasota.org 22 JAN Momix: Botanica Jan. 22, 8 p.m.; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Admission: $10 to $55. Tickets: 953-3368 or VanWezel.org 25 JAN WSLR presents Hardin Burns and Rebekah Pulley Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $10 in advance or $15 at the door; WSLR.org 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 COULD PONCE DE LEN HAVE MISSED THIS? SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS