Sarasota News Leader


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

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COVER Inside DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA PONDERING A FIX NIK SKYWALKER Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida February 1, 2013




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 Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer David Staats Columnist Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer Scott Proftt Staff Writer Tyler Whitson Staff Writer TWhitson John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD


Professional photographers say the best photo is the one you take with the camera you have. How many of us have gazed at a beautiful sunset, watched a babys rst steps or spotted puppies frolicking in the grass and wished wed had a camera? The biggest story in Sarasota this week was Nik Wallendas dare devil trek across U.S. 41 on the citys bayfront. Norm Schimmel, our staff photographer, was in an ideal position to capture it from the roof of One Watergate, and you will see his excellent chronicle in this issue. But the photo that adorns our cover was taken by Tatyana Sharou bim, owner of T. Georgianos Shoe Salon, using her iPhone. We think you will agree that it was a fantastic shot, and it was taken with the camera she had. Of course, while Wallendas walk was a welcome respite from the usual news this week, we found no dearth of other issues that demanded coverage. The County Commission pondered everything from updating its 2050 master plan to Siesta Key trolleys to offering to buy out North Ports inter est in Warm Mineral Springs. The City Commission considered options for its pension funding shortfall, as it prepared for an other busy regular meeting on Feb. 4 which City Editor Stan Zimmerman kindly previews for us. We also have a story about a Palestinian phy sician who suffered a heart-wrenching loss in the Palestinian conict with Israel but still preaches peace and Tyler Whitsons informa tive article on Humanistic Judaism and our local Congregation for Humanistic Judaism. And I will warn you: Otuss column will leave you misty-eyed as he wraps up his install ments on the lives of Great Egrets. Your only question now is, where to begin? Editor and Publisher WELCOME


DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA WHITHER THE SPRINGS? NEWS & COMMENTARY DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA 11 Proposed changes to the Sarasota 2050 plan headed to the public for comments Cooper Levey-Baker PONDERING A FIX 15 The Sarasota City Commission agrees to consider using an employee life insurance plan to try to help plug the pension debt hole Stan Zimmerman NIK SKYWALKER 19 International star Nik Wallenda makes it look easy as he walks a high wire across the bayfront on a sunny Sarasota morning Staff Reports LIGHTEN UP A LITTLE 25 A consultant with a national organization tells the County Commission Sarasota County has become too restrictive in employee use of purchase cards Rachel Brown Hackney REBUILDING TRUST 30 Sarasotas new police chief begins multiple initiatives Stan Zimmerman THAT MUCH?! 33 Sarasota County commissioners express shock over the cost of bus shelters and the time it takes to construct them Rachel Brown Hackney WHITHER THE SPRINGS? 37 The Sarasota County Commission offers $2 million to purchase Warm Mineral Springs at the same time a petition drive surfaces Cooper Levey-Baker WHICH WAY? 40 The Sarasota County commissioners ask a lot of questions but hesitate to make a decision about the future of bus rapid transit before meeting with the City Commission next week Rachel Brown Hackney A DIFFERENT MOTIVATION 44 Palestinian doctor to bring message of peace to Sarasota Cooper Levey-Baker NOT QUITE READY 46 City of Sarasota staff and Floridays Development are still at work on nal agreements for the new hotel planned for downtown Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover Nik Wallenda blows a kiss Tatyana Sharoubim Sarasota Leisure Beached canoe at Selby Gardens Robert Hackney


HUMANGELIZING ASK OTUS CITY COMMISSION PREVIEW 48 Wife beaters, tandem parking and kayak storage on the agenda for Feb. 4 Stan Zimmerman ON TO MEDIATION 51 The Sarasota County Commission rejects a second settlement offer in a lawsuit led in 2011 by Siesta Key business owner Chris Brown Rachel Brown Hackney TROLLEY TIME 54 The Sarasota County Commission approves funding for new public bus system employees needed to make trolley service possible for Siesta Key Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 58 OPINION EDITORIAL 67 Will the real Rick Scott please stand up? COMMENTARY 70 Upcoming centennial of the ratication of the 16th Amendment prompts reections on death and taxes David Staats SARASOTA LEISURE HUMANGELIZING 75 Rabbi Adam Chalom carries on the legacy of a man who had a profound inuence on his own life and work Tyler Whitson ASK OTUS 81 The story of Ardea and Alba reaches its nal chapter Otus Rufous ARTS BRIEFS 85 RELIGION BRIEFS 93 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 95 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 96 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA Proposed changes to the Sarasota 2050 plan headed to the public for comments Cooper Levey-Baker A list of proposed changes to the rules that guide new develop ment in Sarasota County may soon be coming to a community meeting near you. The County Commission voted Wednesday, Jan. 30, to have staff schedule a series of public meetings over the next 90 days to present and discuss potential changes to Sarasota 2050, the detailed land-use plan adopted a decade ago to encourage New Urbanist neighborhoods, particularly east of Interstate 75. Developers have been pushing for the 2050 alterations, arguing that the regulations are too restrictive and present numerous obstacles to new construction. Support ers of 2050, meanwhile, have argued that the relatively small number of projects approved under the plan in recent years has more to do with the calamitous real estate crash than excessive government regulation. ( Full story here ) PONDERING A FIX The Sarasota City Commission agrees to consider using an employee life insurance plan to try to help plug the pension debt hole Stan Zimmerman It was as if a Gothic curse were hanging in the air Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the chambers of the Sarasota City Commission: The world will be a better place without you. Nobody said that, of course. But cutting through all the verbal underbrush in a meeting about pension fund shortfalls, the solution on the table was grisly. It is a solution adopted by thousands of banks and corporations, and the city is among the rst municipalities to consider it. In a nutshell, the city takes out a life insurance policy on its employees and retirees. When the grim reaper comes calling, the city makes a bundle and applies it to the enormous shortfall in the pension plans. It is a double windfall for the city: no more retiree to pay for and a big check from the life insurance company. ( Full story here ) TOP STORIES AT A GLANCE Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


LIGHTEN UP A LITTLE A consultant with a national organization says the County Commission Sarasota County has become too restrictive in employee use of purchase cards Rachel Brown Hackney A representative of the National Institute of Government Pur chasing Inc. (NIGP) this week commended the progress Saraso ta County government has made to implement better standards and practices in its Procurement Department, but he also told the County Commission some of the countys self-imposed restrictions following a 2011 scandal in that department were excessive. Louis Moore, lead consultant for the NIGPs review of measures the county has taken to improve procurement practices in the wake of that scandal, said on Jan. 30 that he and his team see some denite productivity problems with the restrictions on employees use of county credit cards, or P-cards. During discussions in late November with about 40 employees in the countys Pro curement Department and its business units, he said he and his fellow NIGP consult ing team members heard one story about an employee who had to make a 20-minute round trip to get a fuse, instead of being able as would have been the procedure in the past to use a P-card to buy one at a nearby store. ( Full story here ) REBUILDING TRUST Sarasotas new police chief begins multiple initiatives Stan Zimmerman After a month on the job, Sarasotas new police chief has gured out two major problems and is making efforts to remedy them. Chief Bernadette DiPino will be improving training for the force she leads, and she will work to restore trust between members of the public and ofcers. She also will push for changes in the court system. We have to re-establish and gain trust in the community, she said. I believe out reach and education is important. Within a few days, she hopes to announce the formation of a Citizens Police Acad emy. It will start out as a once-a-year course for city residents through which they will take classes, go on tours, visit the gun range, mingle with special police teams and try their hands at simulated street confrontations. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


THAT MUCH?! Sarasota County commissioners express shock over the cost of bus shelters and the time it takes to construct them Rachel Brown Hackney After Sarasota County commissioners expressed shock this week at the cost and length of time it takes to erect shelters for Sara sota County Area Transit bus stops, new SCAT Manager Glama Carter promised to provide an in-depth analysis of the issues during an upcoming budget workshop. As part of a two-hour presentation during the commissioners Jan. 29 meeting in Venice, Carter pointed out that of the 2,000 SCAT stops across the county, only 138 have shelters. She then provided a breakdown of the estimated total cost of $30,000 to $40,000 involved in putting up a single shelter: $6,000 for land acquisition. $15,000 to $25,000 for design, permits and construction. $6,000 for the bench and shelter itself. $2,000 for the installation of the structure. $4,000 for annual maintenance of each shelter, which has remained unfunded. ( Full story here ) WHITHER THE SPRINGS The Sarasota County Commission offers $2 million to purchase Warm Mineral Springs at the same time a petition drive surfaces Cooper Levey-Baker North Port wants to sell Warm Mineral Springs, and it looks like it may have a buyer: Sarasota County. Two weeks back, after a month of wrangling, the North Port City Commission doubled down on its decision to rid itself of Warm Mineral Springs, the 81-acre tourist attraction it jointly owns with the county, asking the County Commis sion if it was interested in buying out the citys interest. This week, the county said yes, offering the city $2 million. The original city/county purchase was $5.5 million. County Commissioner Christine Robinson outlined her plan for how to proceed with the purchase Tuesday, Jan. 29. Included: details on how the $2 million would be paid out over time, requirements that the city alter its boundaries so the springs sits on county land and thoughts on how the city and county might manage the property in the interim. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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A list of proposed changes to the rules that guide new development in Sarasota County may soon be coming to a community meeting near you. The County Commission voted Wednesday, Jan. 30, to have staff schedule a series of public meetings over the next 90 days to present and discuss potential changes to Sarasota 2050, the de tailed land-use plan adopted a decade ago to encourage New Ur banist neighborhoods, particularly east of In terstate 75. Developers have been pushing for the 2050 al terations, arguing that the regulations are too restrictive and present numerous obstacles to new construction. Supporters of 2050, mean while, have argued that the relatively small number of projects approved under the plan in recent years has more to do with the calami tous real estate crash than excessive govern ment regulation. The commission asked staff last fall to meet with development companies to nd out which aspects of the Following the 2012 elections, the County Commission hears public comments in November. Photo by Norman Schimmel PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE SARASOTA 2050 PLAN HEADED TO THE PUBLIC FOR COMMENTS DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA If the developers cant make this business model work, then they should do the American thing they should be innovators and adapters. Lourdes Ramirez President Sarasota County Coalition of Neighborhood Associations By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 12 2050 blueprint they would like to see tweaked. County employees held 10 such meetings, with companies ranging from Palmer Ranch to Schroeder-Manatee and Neal Communities, and submitted 37 suggested changes to the commission last week. Just a few examples of those tweaks: Eliminate requirements that builders con tinue to prove the scal neutrality of their projects throughout the development pro cess, in order to improve projects predict ability. Allow developers to classify lakes as Open Space in their planning. Loosen up walk ability stipulations because of the population age group within Sara sota County and because there are other ways to address this issue such as incentiviz ing Low Speed Ve hicles. Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Charles Hines and Christine Robinson all made specic requests for more data, but they voiced support for changes of some kind. Barbetta argued at a meeting last year that the 2050 plan will never work, saying: You cant airlift an urban community and put it eight or nine miles out east. On Wednesday, he reiter ated his doubts, but he said the county needs to gure out a solution within the 2050 frame work. We have to try to make this work, he said, as much as Id like to scrap this. If 2050 proves to be too restrictive over the long run, the end result would be unplanned veand 10-acre ranchettes out east, Bar betta cautioned. I guess Ive got a lit tle different perspec tive, Commission er Nora Patterson chimed in, citing the fact that she is the only sitting commis sioner to have voted for the 2050 plan in the rst place. We said to every body, as long as we save open space and do it in a better way, were going to give everybody east of I-75 the ability to develop their land in something other than veand 10-acre ranchettes, Patter son said, offering ex amples of waivers the county had granted to help projects mov e A chart included in the 2050 plan provides minimum specications for Village devel opments. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 13 forward. She warned that adopting all of the developers suggestions would lead to hap hazard growth and an escalating burden on county infrastructure. One name that kept coming up throughout the hearing: Neal Communities. Neals Grand Palm development is the rst project to meet the carefully-crafted, low-im pact standards of Sarasota Countys Sarasota 2050 Initiative (according to a Neal press release) and Hines and Robin son both cited the seven years the project took to come to fruition as evidence that 2050 is fundamentally awed. Council of Neighborhood Associa tions President (and potential 2014 commission candidate) Lourdes Ramirez also mentioned Grand Palm, but she instead argued that Neals success shows how works. If the developers cant make this business model work, then they should do the Amer ican thing they should be innovators and adapters, she said. Developers are just looking for corporate en titlements and bailouts, she said. It is not the responsibility of our county taxpay ers to ensure their prots. The commission eventually moved to approve bringing the proposed changes to a series of public meet ings. The plan is for staff to bring back to the commission within 90 days a formal list of adjustments. % Commissioner Nora Patterson/ File photo Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services


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I t was as if a Gothic curse were hanging in the air Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the chambers of the Sarasota City Commission: The world will be a better place without you. Nobody said that, of course. But cutting through all the verbal underbrush in a meet ing about pension fund shortfalls, the solution on the table was grisly. It is a solution adopted by thousands of banks and corporations, and the city is among the rst municipalities to consider it. In a nutshell, the city takes out a life insurance policy on its employees and retirees. When the grim reaper comes calling, the city makes a bundle and applies it to the enormous short fall in the pension plans. It is a double windfall for the city: no more retiree to pay for and a big check from the life insurance company. DEVILISH DETAILS There was doom and gloom in the room as Mark Pollock pointed out the holes in the citys pension and healthcare plans for its re tirees. He is the principal in the Pollock Finan cial Group of Novelty, OH, and he is a self-ad mitted salesman for the plan he pitched to the city commissioners. His street address is on Trappers Trail. The Sarasota City Commission hears public comments during a recent meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SARASOTA CITY COMMISSION AGREES TO CONSIDER USING AN EMPLOYEE LIFE INSURANCE PLAN TO TRY TO HELP PLUG THE PENSION DEBT HOLE PONDERING A FIX By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 16 Using citysupplied gures, Pollock pointed out the city faces an estimated $514 million in pension costs, but it has only $370 million to back them up. That means a $144 million shortfall. For the healthcare promises to retir ees, the cost is estimated to be $135 million, but the city has only $13 million available a $122 million gap. Together, the city has promised $265 million in benets to retirees that it does not have. Blame the stock mar ket meltdown. About 18 months ago, we set out to nd a solution, said Pollock. We came across a group that had done this before. He noted of the insurance, Seventy percent of Fortune 1,000 companies and 4,000 banks have bought this type of product. Pollock explained the city would have no lia bility, even if the scheme blew up. And the city does not have to put up any money now or later. Like many modern nancial techniques, this one is a little tricky. The rst step requires the city to set up an in dependent multi-life trust, Pollock explained. He is working with a company called Wilming ton Trust that will administer the plan, borrow the money and buy the life insurance. Each employee will be asked if he wants to partic ipate. The trust borrows money from a bank at 3 percent interest; then, it buys an annuity that pays income to the trust. The trust takes out a $250,000 life insurance policy on each and ev ery participating employee and retiree, and it pays the premiums from the annuity income. When a participating employee or retiree dies, the insurance benet is split among the trust, the city and the decedents beneciary. The trust gets half, or $125,000 to cover tax es on the annuity in come, interest on the loan, the insurance premiums and some trust fees, said Pol lock. The other half is split further, with the city receiving $100,000 and the decedents bene ciary getting $25,000 (an insurance payout for which the employee paid nothing). Pollock said the plan is called TRIPEB, an ac ronym for trust-owned insurance for post-em ployment benets. And if every one of the citys current and prior employees all 850 of them desire to participate and receive a free $25,000 life insurance policy, the citys share of the deal is $85 million. That is not enough to fix the $265 million shortfall in pension and healthcare promises. But without paying a penny, the city could re duce the decit by about one-third. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? This was never meant to quote solve the problem, said Chris Lyons, the citys nance director. What would happen if the trust went belly-up? The employee wouldnt get their coverage, and the city wouldnt get any money. But neither is paying for this benet. Seventy percent of Fortune 1,000 companies and 4,000 banks have bought this type of product. Mark Pollock Pollock Financial Group Novelty, OH


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 17 The city commissioners were not too worried about the trust going belly-up. They were worried future commissions might see this revenue as a questionable kitty. I understand the city may get $85 million, said City Commissioner Shannon Snyder. Were talking about somebody else taking all the risks and doing all the work. We are po tentially looking at covering about 25 percent of our unfunded liabilities at no cost, Snyder added. Im worried future commissions will use this as a slush fund to hide the unfunded liability. The idea was to use this money to supple ment the citys usual contribution, said Lyons. To help buy us down [reduce the shortfall]. He stressed that neither the city nor employ ees nor retirees are investing a single penny in the plan. Pollock said if nancial conditions improve dramatically and the pension funds invest ments soar, his plan could be converted to a bigger death benet for the employees bene ciaries. If the market goes gangbusters and the un funded liability is taken care of, you could in crease the benet to the employees, he said. Several other cities are looking at the TRIPEB scheme, said City Manager Tom Barwin. Some communities in Illinois are looking at it, as well as in Michigan. The commissioners agreed to continue look ing at the plan, referring it to the city attorney for a thorough evaluation. % Sarasota City Commissioner Shannon Sny der/Photo by Norman Schimmel I am so incredibly pleased, with my beautiful smile and my comfortable and natural bite. Barbara LeeFor a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. Dwight D. Eisenhower


ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.A smile is the first thing I notice about someone. However, that was the part of me I wanted to hide from everyone, including myself. In 2007, my family dentist of 30 years told me he could help. He then crowned all of my teeth. They looked better, but they immediately started to crack, one by one. He kept promising me he could correct them by re-making them. He was frustrated, but I was devastated. I then realized that I never received a stable, comfortable position to chew. My bite was totally off. After four consultations with different dentists and lots of research, I chose Dr. Christine Koval for her warmth, reassurance, confidence, and experience in correcting bites and making teeth beautiful! Dr. Kovals team is very caring and professional, and her skill level is second to none. I am so incredibly pleased, not only with my beautiful smile but also with my comfortable and natural bite. I feel so thankful and blessed for this second chance on my smile!For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit Christine Koval, D.M.D. Restorative, Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry General Dentistry 2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 216A Sarasota, FL 941.923.5406 www.askdrkoval.comAwarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Barbara Lee


Just as they did almost exactly three years ago, thousands thronged Sarasotas bayfront Tuesday morning, Jan. 29, to see the man who conquered Niagara Falls last summer take a relatively short hike over U.S. 41 from 200 feet in the air. Aerialist Nik Wallenda made it look easy again just as he did in 2010, when he walked a high wire stretched between the One Water gate condominium complex and the Ritz-Carl ton Sarasota. This time, he and Pedro Reis, CEO and co-founder of Circus Sarasota took a cage to the top of a crane situated on the west side of U.S. 41. From there, Wallenda took his 45-footlong balancing pole and began the trek over to Marina Tower. Just as Wallenda told the Sarasota City Com mission last week he was hoping to do, he framed his latest escapade against a pic ture-perfect Southwest Florida morning, with boats bobbing on crystal-blue water in the bay. The walk took approximately 11 minutes, or about a minute shy of his 2010 feat. Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel recorded the event from his perch at One Watergate. % INTERNATIONAL STAR NIK WALLENDA MAKES IT LOOK EASY AS HE WALKS A HIGH WIRE ACROSS THE BAYFRONT ON A SUNNY SARASOTA MORNING NIK SKYWALKER Staff Reports Nik Wallenda starts downhill after leaving the crane. Click to watch video from Niks perspective


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 20 The crane stands ready and waiting for Nik Wallenda, just to the right of the Unconditional Surren der statue on Sarasotas bayfront.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 21 Wallenda stands atop the crane on the bayfront, preparing to start his walk. Pedro Reis (left), co-founder and CEO of Circus Sarasota, and Wallenda ride to the top of the crane in a cage.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 22 Wallenda wows the crowd by kneeling on the wire as he approaches Marina Tower. This closeup shows Wallenda high in the air on Jan. 29.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 23 Wallenda is directly over U.S. 41 as the crowd watches his every move. From this perspective, Wallenda seems to walk along the edge of the roof of Dolphin Tower.


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


A representative of the National Institute of Government Purchasing Inc. (NIGP) this week commended the progress Sarasota County government has made to implement better standards and practic es in its Procurement Department, but he also told the County Commission some of the countys self-im posed restrictions fol lowing a 2011 scandal in that department were excessive Louis Mo ore, lead consultant for the NIGPs review of measures the county has taken to improve procurement practices in the wake of that scandal, said on Jan. 30 that he and his team see some de nite productivity prob lems with the restric tions on employees use of county credit cards, or P-cards. During discussions in late November with about 40 county em ployees in the Proc ure Sarasota County Procurement Ofcial Ted Coyman addresses the County Commission. File photo A CONSULTANT WITH A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION TELLS THE COUNTY COMMISSION SARASOTA COUNTY HAS BECOME TOO RESTRICTIVE IN EMPLOYEE USE OF PURCHASE CARDS LIGHTEN UP A LITTLE If [employees are] not responsible with their own nances, its likely they are not going to be responsible with a P-card. Louis Moore Lead Consultant National Institute of Government Purchasing Inc. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 26 ment Department and its business units, he said he and his fellow NIGP consulting team members heard one story about an employee who had to make a 20-minute round trip to get a fuse, instead of being able as would have been the procedure in the past to use a P-card to buy one at a nearby store. During a 90-minute presentation, Moore rec ommended the County Commission not only allow more employees once again to use the P-cards but that it also raise the purchase lim its on the cards from $3,000 to $5,000. Ade quate controls are in place now, Moore added, to prevent inappropriate use of the cards. In 2012, Moore pointed out, 44 percent of the countys purchases were less than $5,000, and they represented only 1.4 percent of the coun tys total expenditures. P-card abuse was one factor uncovered in re views of Procurement Department practices when the 2011 scandal erupted. Moore also pointed out that the county could undertake credit checks on employees being considered for use of P-cards. Such checks cost about $7 each, Moore pointed out, add ing, If [employees are] not responsible with their own nances, its likely they are not go ing to be responsible with a P-card. Still, he told the board, Were not just sug gesting you give everybody a P-card. An audit undertaken in July 2011 by the Ofce of the Clerk of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court found that of the countys 2,000 employees at the time, 1,000 had P-cards, Commissioner Nora Patterson noted. That struck me as ri diculous to supervise. Moore countered that his team had never seen documentation of more than 500 cards being held by county workers at any one time, and the research went back several years. In response to a question from Commission er Christine Robinson, Moore pointed out, County Commissioners Charles Hines and Christine Robinson listen to a presentation during a recent board meeting. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 27 You didnt have a P-card administrator that focused on the program when the scandal broke. No one was really monitoring what was going on. A full-time administrator has been in place since 2011 as one of the recommended mea sures to improve practices, he said. The county should look at changing the P-card guidelines over a period of three to ve years, he added. Problems didnt happen overnight, and youre not going to x them overnight. Moore also pointed out that the county did not have a single procurement specialist on staff two years ago. Although a 50 percent turnover in Procure ment staff has taken place, he added, the four new employees have an average of 16 years of experience, and three of them have multiple certications. Youre getting much better quality of people in Procurement as you proceed, he said. We have a certain number of vendors we deal with, Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out. Why dont we just have an account with [those] vendors? You should, Moore responded. When Barbetta said, We seem to be the only county I read about having this problem with P-cards, County Administrator Randall Reid replied that he felt the problem had been lack of appropriate controls in the past, as Moore had noted. Reid added that cards could be coded to pre vent their being used except for specic types of purchases. Other counties use P-cards all the time and they dont run into issues like those Sarasota County had experienced, Reid said. OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS Of the 263 changes in procurement practices offered in the original NIGP review after prob lems arose in 2011, Moore said, the biggest ones yet to be completed are the updating of the Procurement Code, the rewriting of the Procurement Manual to reect the changes and subsequent use of that manual to train employees. A report to the County Commission by the National Institute of Government Purchasing Inc. in cludes a chart showing county purchase orders by dollar range in Fiscal Year 2012. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 28 The code is crucial to the success of the pro curement program, he pointed out. Additionally, Moore encouraged the County Commission to oversee a shift of focus in the Procurement Department work from a trans actional nature to a strategic one. Moore also suggested the county raise its threshold for use of competitive bids for pur chases from $50,000 to $100,000. That would free staff to deal more efciently with the 80 percent of purchases that are be low the $100,000 level, he pointed out. Yet another recommendation was for the county to shift to more efcient technolo gy in the Procurement Department. In June 2011, the employees were using six different systems to handle transactions, Moore said. They still have that today, Moore noted, add ing that one system should be used for all the work. Moreover, he pointed out, This is one of the few organizations around the state that still issues purchase orders through the U.S. Mail. POSITIVE SIGNS Moore told the County Commission that the consulting team had seen improvement in st aff morale in the Procurement Department. However, he did note that the consulting teams November visit found employees in that ofce still are afraid of taking risks and are fearful of criticism from the commission ers and auditors. That situation, Moore pointed out, is inhibit ing their ability to do their jobs well. During the original NIGP visit in June 2011, Moore said, the department had a backlog of 263 objectives. In November, he added, that had dropped to 125. For January, he noted, the number was 53. Theyre working very hard to mitigate that backlog, he pointed out. The new focus on ethics and compliance is an area in which the county has done extreme ly well, he added. SINGLE BIDS Robinson also took the opportunity to ask Moores views on recent instances when the county received just one bid for a project. Some of them just defy logic to me, she said, citing tree-trimming bids and roof repair proj ects as examples. While lots of rms names may be visible in the Yellow Pages, Moore said, that does not mean all of them a re qualie d to undertake The National Institute of Government Purchasing report to the County Commission shows the use of county purchase cards from 2010 to 2012. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 29 county projects. He pointed out that some may lack the necessary bonding and others simply may be too busy. In some cases, he noted, a rm might not bid on work because its owners know another company has spe cialized equipment that will make its bid more competitive. In cases when the county receives only one qualied bid and brings that to the commis sion for approval, Moore told Robinson, the board members should not shy away from asking Procurement staff to call other vendors with which it is familiar to ask why they did not bid. Im glad you said that, Robinson told him. Its not a criticism when we ask that to be done. Nonetheless, she said, the word has gotten back to commissioners that it appears they have not had condence in the work of staff members. I think in time both sides are going to get more comfort level on this, Moore said, pointing out, for example, that Procurement Ofcial Ted Coyman still is relatively new in the job. (Reid appointed Coyman to the post in July 2012.) He will learn what to expect, Moore said. Ted is going to start anticipating your ques tions. In summarizing the consulting teams ndings, Moore told the commissioners, The staff here has done a phenomenal job in a short period of time. Im just amazed that theyre able to get this much done, and I think that bodes well for the future. % 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 For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP


Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino/Photo by Norman Schimmel REBUILDING TRUST After a month on the job, Sarasotas new po lice chief has gured out two major problems and is making efforts to remedy them. Chief Bernadette DiPino will be improving training for the force she leads, and she will work to restore trust between members of the public and ofcers. She also will push for changes in the court system. We have to re-establish and gain trust in the community, she said. I believe outreach and education is important. Within a few days, she hopes to announce the formation of a Citizens Police Academy. It will start out as a once-a-year course for city residents through which they will take class SARASOTAS NEW POLICE CHIEF BEGINS MULTIPLE INITIATIVES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 31 es, go on tours, visit the gun range, mingle with special police teams and try their hands at simulated street confrontations. She hopes to begin recruiting students in March, and they will be screened, she says. This is not a new idea. Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight offers such a course, and DiPino in her old job as police chief in Ocean City, MD, oversaw one. The academy could begin as early as May. Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin congratulates Police Chief Bernadette DiPino after her swear ing in on Jan. 18. Photo courtesy of Jan Thornburg/City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 32 I think thats going to help bridge some gaps. Its up to us police to gain that trust, she told The Sarasota News Leader. More quietly she also will institute internal training for ofcers. STAFF REASSIGNMENTS Among other measures, DiPino plans to re-es tablish the full-time position of crime preven tion ofcer. You cannot have community policing without it, she said. You can have a crime prevention ofcer without community policing, but if you want community policing, you have to have a crime prevention ofcer. In addition to having the ofcer make the residential associa tion rounds to inform people about how to protect their homes, DiPino wants this de partment represen tative to experiment with social media to reach beyond the stan dard neighborhood meetings. Maybe they could write a column for the local newspa per, she mused. She plans to make permanent the temporary reassignment of an ofcer to monitor home lessness and vagrancy downtown. Her prede cessor slotted an ofcer to that task tempo rarily after Mayor Suzanne Atwell complained last year of feeling unsafe downtown after dark. DiPino expects the position to be much more than keeping tabs on Five Points Park. The homeless are not a police problem unless they are breaking the law, she said. There are mental issues or addiction issues or just the personal choice to be homeless, she said. Theres not enough facilities, counselors or doctors to handle this problem. She said City Manager Tom Barwins ad hoc committee on the homeless will be coming up with suggestions soon. We need to spend money to help these people with rehabilita tion and social work, she said. Police of cers know how to write tickets and arrest peo ple, to enforce the law. Is there another way we can handle these individuals? To that end, she is working with Sarasota paralegal Michael Bareld and the local chap ter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Bar field and the ACLU have played a watch dog role recently in defending the rights of homeless people. I met with Bareld to day. We both agreed to see if the judicial sys tem can help us, she said on Jan. 30. Maybe we can get our mental health court to expand its parameters. The po lice dont want to keep arresting people over and over. Her hand is not free. Sarasotas police ofcers do not have a contract with the city, despite months and months of negotiations and me diations. Meanwhile, city budget preparation is getting under way for next year, and DiPi no must conform to the scal reality that the citys police force is the most expensive item in it. % We have to re-establish and gain trust in the community. I believe outreach and education is important. Bernadette DiPino Police Chief Sarasota


After Sarasota County commissioners ex pressed shock this week at the cost and length of time it takes to erect shelters for Saraso ta County Area Transit bus stops, new SCAT Manager Glama Carter promised to provide an in-depth analysis of the issues during an upcoming budget workshop. As part of a two-hour presentation during the commissioners Jan. 29 meeting in Venice, Car ter pointed out that of the 2,000 SCAT stops across the county, only 138 have shelters. She then provided a breakdown of the esti mated total cost of $30,000 to $40,000 involved in putting up a single shelter: $6,000 for land acquisition. $15,000 to $25,000 for design, permits and construction. $6,000 for the bench and shelter itself. $2,000 for the installation of the structure. $4,000 for annual maintenance of each shel ter, which has remained unfunded. Now, Glama, please dont take this wrong, Commissioner Joe Barbetta began. You are new to this, but weve been talking about this [shelter issue] for the six years Ive been on the commission from day one. I have The planned route system for Sarasota County Area Transit shows the widespread area where bus shelters are needed. Image courtesy Sarasota County SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS EXPRESS SHOCK OVER THE COST OF BUS SHELTERS AND THE TIME IT TAKES TO CONSTRUCT THEM THAT MUCH?! By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 34 a hard time with the $6,000 land acquisition fee. (Carter began working for the county on Aug. 27, 2012.) As for the design, permitting and construction costs, he added, Im shocked at that. These [shelters] should be prototypes Regarding the maintenance fee, he continued, I nd that extremely shocking also. Referencing Carters estimate that the county would double its number of shelters from 7 percent of the total to 14 percent in ve years, Barbetta said, We should be close to 100 per cent as soon as possible. Nothing was worse than driving down the road and seeing people standing in the hot sun, waiting for a bus to come, he added. Staff should be working to nd companies that could put up the shelters at a much lower price, Barbetta said, adding that former Sarasota May or Jack Gurney several years ago had broached the idea of using chickee huts for shelters, be cause they could be erected quickly. (Chickee huts are shelters supported by posts with raised oors, thatched roofs and open sides. The Seminole and Miccosukee Indians have built them for centuries.) I absolutely agree, Carter said. SCAT Senior Planner Sarah Blanchard ex plained that part of the cost is associated with making bus shelters compliant with the feder al Americans with Disabilities Act. When Blanchard reiterated that all the facets involved in the completion of a shelter result ed in the cost ranging between $30,000 and $40,000, Commissioner Nora Patterson re sponded, Thats just nuts. Each design had to be specic to its location, Blanchard explained. Among other issues, she continued, the design has to deal with existing culverts and adequate drainage of the proper ty. Each shelter also has to have a sidewalk lead ing up to it, she pointed out. Carter suggested that perhaps more of the construction could be done in-house. First of all, Patterson said, most of the shel ters I see look like they were prefab or put in whole. So were paying $6,000 for this little box? Blanchard responded that the cost of the shel ter structure itself is about $5,500, while the bench is another $300 to $400. Thats just a lot for what we get for it, Patter son said and asked whether staff had checked with other counties to determine how they handle bus shelters. A chickee hut stands on the Brighton Semi nole Indian Reservation in Glades County. Photo by Ebyabe/Wikipedia Commons


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 35 Having served on the Sarasota/Manatee Met ropolitan Planning Organization [MPO] for a number of years, Patterson added, she had seen Manatee County win approval for 20 or more shelters at one time. Is there a grant possible were not taking advantage of? she asked. We have the opportunity to go after funding, Carter replied. So we could get more? Patterson responded. Yes, we could, Carter said, pointing out that she had been attending meetings of the MPO, a regional planning transportation agency, since she came to work for Sarasota County, so she could learn more about any funding opportunities available. Patterson suggested Carter discuss grant pos sibilities with MPO staff. TIMING, TOO Then Commissioner Christine Robinson asked how long it takes from the time the County Commission approves locations for shelters before the structures are completed. Approximately one to two years, Blanchard replied. Oh, for Gods sake, Patterson said. A slide from the SCAT presentation to the County Commission on Jan. 29 offers details about bus shelter costs. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 36 Robinson pointed out that it had been more than two years since the board had approved shelters for the City of Venice, and those still were not in place. It just doesnt seem logical to me that it takes that long, she added. Im just abbergasted by this whole thing. Theres just got to be a better way Robinson asked Carter to tell the County Commission what it could do to assist her and her staff in speeding up the process. Im a rm believer we can construct a shel ter in less than one year, Carter said, noting she and her staff need to gure out a better plan for the process. Regarding the shelters in Venice, Carter add ed that the ve approved are scheduled to be completed by October. Thats almost three years, Robinson said. County Administrator Randall Reid weighed in at that point, saying he believed a reduction in county staff in the Operations and Mainte nance [O&M] Department to save expenses in the economic downturn was part of the rea son for the delay in getting shelters construct ed. I do think you can do this faster, he added of getting the shelters in place. However, Blanchard said she did not believe the O&M Department staff reduction had made that much of a difference, though its employees had helped with some of the side walk construction nec essary for the shelters. Reid pointed out an other factor was the need to work through the countys procure ment process to hire contractors. Our efciencies have to really be examined in cost and time, Robinson said. Commissioner Charles Hines encouraged Carter to come to the board members with problems she identies, to ask for their help in improving situations. Say, This is a mess. This is wrong. Offer to us ways to save money and do things quicker. Help us make these decisions rather than pushing them back to you. I totally agree, and great advice, Carter told him. Barbetta then pointed out that when the Walmart was constructed in Osprey a num ber of years ago, the County Commission had requested the developer put in a SCAT shelter. Construction started within months, he add ed. The private sector got it done quickly. Barbetta added, Theres got to be best prac tices that other communities are utilizing. We will look into the numbers, Carter told the commissioners, adding that she would be prepared to discuss them in detail during a budget workshop. % First of all, most of the shelters I see look like they were prefab or put in whole. So were paying $6,000 for this little box? Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County


North Port wants to sell Warm Mineral Springs, and it looks like it may have a buyer: Sarasota County. Two weeks back, after a month of wrangling, the North Port City Commission doubled down on its decision to rid itself of Warm Mineral Springs, the 81-acre tourist attrac tion it jointly owns with the county, ask ing the County Com mission if it was in terested in buying out the citys interest. This week, the county said yes, offering the city $2 million. The original city/county purchase was $5.5 million. County Commissioner Christine Robinson outlined her plan for how to proceed with the purchase Tues day, Jan. 29. Includ ed: details on how the $2 million would be paid out over time, requirements that the city alter its boundar ies so the springs sits on county land and thoughts on how the The purported healing properties of the water in Warm Mineral Springs draws thousands of tourists to the site each year. Photo by Rachel Levey-Baker THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION OFFERS $2 MILLION TO PURCHASE WARM MINERAL SPRINGS AT THE SAME TIME A PETITION DRIVE SURFACES WHITHER THE SPRINGS? I think there can be a positive spin on this, in that having one governmental entity controlling [the springs] is probably the way to go. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 38 city and county might manage the property in the interim. Commissioner Joe Barbetta quickly spoke up in favor of the blueprint. We owe it to the tax payers of the entire county, and the citizens of North Port also, to come up with a viable solution, he said. We cant sit in limbo here and allow things to deteriorate. I think there can be a positive spin on this, Commissioner Charles Hines said, in that having one governmental entity controlling [the springs] is probably the way to go. Commissioner Nora Patterson supported the motion, but expressed disappointment that the city had opted out of joint management. I feel as if a trust has kind of been broken on this thing, she said, but well see what North Port has to say. North Port Mayor Linda Yates was cautious when asked her thoughts on the offer. On the surface, Yates told The Sarasota News Leader the countys offer represents a major, signicant nancial burden on South County residents. Declining to go into more detail, Yates said, The most important thing is to allow staff the time to gather all of the information the [city] commission needs. And add another twist to the Warm Mineral Springs saga: a new, anonymous petition op posed to the countys proposal to solicit ideas on how to redevelop the springs property. A Sarasota County graphic illustration shows the location of Warm Mineral Springs in south Sara sota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 39 The petition objects to the countys Invitation to Negotiate process and the fast-tracking of the economic development of Warm Mineral Springs, which does not advance the best interests of long term eco-tourism and the health of the springs. The statement calls for objective environ mental research and rehabilitation before any new development is planned, and it ar gues that the springs is best left as primarily a public nature park. The person or persons behind the petition declined to speak about the statement when contacted by email. The website hosting the petition belongs to New Hope an anger man agement counseling service based in Houston, TX. The News Leader received no response when it contacted New Hope or the websites administrative contact, Donel King who also appears to have posted a PowerPoint slide show, promoted alongside the petition, at the site. It was the North Port City Commission that originally put the brakes on the ITN process late last year, so, should the city accept the countys $2 million offer, the ITN denounced in the petition would likely get a boost. But the only certainty in the Warm Mineral Springs debate these last few months has been uncer tainty. What will happen next week? Or the week after? I do not think anyone knows for sure. Sarasota News Leader Editor Rachel Brown Hackney contributed to reporting on this story. % Purchase a full-page, advertising twelve pack between now and January 31st, 2013 and receive four of these fantastic SNL 16oz Tervis Tumblers. Show your support for e Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida around the house, around the oce, wherever you go with these locally manufactured, high-quality insulated tumblers. or (941) 227-1080 Advertisers must meet all terms and conditions of sale for the 12-pack advertising package. Limit of one set of four tumblers per advertiser. Offer is valid while supplies last. Tervis is a registered trademark of Tervis Tumbler Company. The Sarasota News Leader is not afliated with Tervis Tumbler Company. A Very Special Oer For Advertisers


Because of changes in federal guidelines, the corridor the Sarasota city commissioners and the County Commission settled on sev eral years ago for a bus rapid transit system (BRT) probably will not gain approval, County Administrator Randall Reid told the county commissioners during their regular meeting on Jan. 30. The federal focus has shifted to land use and redevelopment, Ran dall Reid said. Denser development is needed along the cho sen corridor or the BRT doesnt really work, he added. The County and City commissions are facing a September deadline for proceeding on the CSX railroad line corridor they reafrmed for their BRT plan in April 2010. If the boards choose to pursue an alternative corridor, they could submit ma terial about that plan to the Federal Transit Administration in Sep tember 2014, Jonathan Orlando is one of the Florida cities that has a bus rapid transit line in operation. Photo courtesy Sarasota County THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS BUT HESITATE TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF BUS RAPID TRANSIT BEFORE MEETING WITH THE CITY COMMISSION NEXT WEEK WHICH WAY? The question today is what do we really want our community to look like in the future. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 41 B. Paul, the countys interim transportation planning director, said during a Jan. 30 pre sentation to the County Commission about its options. Reid told the commissioners that when he met with FTA ofcials last summer, they made it clear to him that it was crucial for the County Commission to decide whether it really want ed to pursue a BRT project. However, if the county chose not to go for ward, he pointed out, Once were out of the federal funding cycle, were out for a very long time. When the city and county boards held a joint meeting on April 17, 2012, the BRT focus shift ed to using Old Bradenton Road instead of the CSX Railroad right of way. We would probably have better opportunity to capture future multi-family housing along Old Bradenton Road, City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said at the time. County Commissioner Nora Patterson said she had not thought of that route. I have to admit, she added, Ive been looking at the project and wondering if we have chosen the best corridor. However, discussion also focused on a U.S. 41 corridor and land-use issues. After that meeting, Rob Lewis, then the coun tys director of planning and development ser vices, told The Sarasota News Leader BRT is more than just a transit project. It is really more about economic development. With another joint meeting coming up on Feb. 5 with the City Commission, the county commissioners on Jan. 30 indicated hesitancy about proceeding with any BRT plan, given the potential expense. A graphic illustration shows major destinations in Sarasota County that could be linked by a bus rapid transit line. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 42 Yet, some again pointed to the advantages of using the U.S. 41 corridor compared to the CSX, U.S. 301 or Old Bradenton Road corri dors. With time running out before they were sched uled to hold an executive session over a legal matter, the questions hung in the air with no consensus. ECONOMIC FACTORS During his presentation to the County Com mission, Paul put considerable focus on the land-use factor. How are you going to get ridership on your corridor? he asked. Paul pointed out that the application the coun ty had submitted to the FTA for the rail corri dor was solely [about] people moving. The new transit system, Reid stressed, should be a tool for redevelopment, based on his discussions with federal ofcials. Whatever corridor is chosen, Paul noted, the local government that has jurisdiction over it will have to commit to zoning code and com prehensive plan to encourage the type of de velopment along the BRT line that will make it more attractive to riders. Yet, Patterson pointed out, It takes a long time to pursue such changes. CORRIDOR CONSIDERATIONS The U.S. 41 corridor is solely within the city of Sarasota, Paul said, which would entail the citys making the necessary changes. If the city and the county decided to go with a cor ridor along U.S. 301, for example, b oth local Maps show options for a bus rapid transit system route through Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 43 governments would have to modify their com prehensive plans. In his recent conversations about the BRT with City of Sarasota staff members, Paul noted, they had indicated more interest in the U.S. 41 corridor, as it would encompass a number of parks as well as the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. By using the U.S. 41 corridor, Paul also point ed out, the county would have more opportu nities for private partnerships to help cover its expenses. For example, he said, staff could work with the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, the Van Wezel and Publix to pay for BRT stops branded with their names. The FTA program to which the county already had applied would provide up to $75 million in grant funds, Paul said. That Small Starts program calls for total expenses not to exceed $250 million. Commissioner Joe Barbetta said he supported the shift to a U.S. 41 corridor, pointing out that a BRT line from the Sarasota-Bradenton Inter national Airport and New College to South gate Mall would have the potential to draw sufcient ridership to make it practical. He also noted that the City of Sarasota already is at work on a draft North Trail Overlay Dis trict plan that would satisfy the type of landuse goals for the northern part of the line that Paul had referenced. Additionally, Barbetta said the BRT would be attractive to students attending New College and the Ringling College of Art and Design. Right now, the students dont come down town, he pointed out. They stay on campus; they cant get downtown. Paul concurred that student demand for use of the line would be strong. P atterson focused on the potential operating costs of the line. Further, while she agreed on the advantages of using the U.S. 41 corridor, she noted the right of way on 41 is extreme ly limited, posing problems for adding a bus lane and other infrastructure. Regarding the U.S. 301 corridor, Patterson added, [there is] quite a residential popula tion that I am sure would love to see real tran sit there. Moreover, she noted, that corridor has tons of property that would be very appropriate for redevelopment. The question today is what do we really want our community to look like in the future, Commissioner Charles Hines said. I think [U.S.] 41s a better way to look at it from a planning aspect, he added. When Commissioner Christine Robinson asked about more detailed cost estimates for the project, Paul said he would have those ready by the Feb. 5 joint meeting with the City Commission. For me, thats critical, Robinson said. Hines concurred with Robinson. Paul earlier told the board that by using exist ing infrastructure for a BRT system, the cost would range from $1 million to $5 million per mile, depending on how much private assis tance the county could get through sponsor ships such as those he had mentioned. If the County Commission chooses not to pro ceed with a BRT project, Paul said, the board members still would need to address how they can use transit dollars most efciently. Its a bigger philosophical discussion, he added. %


I shall not hate. Thats the simple message coming to Saraso ta next week with the arrival of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish a Palestinian doctor whose ef forts to bring peace to the Middle East were sparked when three of his daughters were killed by Israeli shells in Gaza in 2009. After the explosions, Abuelaish placed a call to an Israeli journalist, who ended up carrying the conversation on live television, a moment captured and posted on YouTube As devastat ing as his daughters deaths were, Abuelaish decided on a mission: to tell his familys sto ry and, in doing so, prove to the world that not every Palestinian is motivated only by re venge, in the words of the The Observer According to Dan Boxser, who invited Abue laish to Sarasota on behalf of The Herman & Sally Boxser Diversity Initiative (named for his parents and afliated with Temple Beth Sholom), Abuelaish had two options: seek re venge or go beyond politics to try to bring peo ple together. He chose the latter. He created a foundation to promote educational opportu nities for girls and young women in the Mid dle East and speaks out forcefully for peace, earning a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and publishing a memoir, I Shall Not Hate PALESTINIAN DOCTOR TO BRING MESSAGE OF PEACE TO SARASOTA By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish/Photo by Jacob Stevens via Wikimedia Commons. I Shall Not Hate is the memoir of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. A DIFFERENT MOTIVATION


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 45 Now living in Toronto, Abuelaish will journey to Sarasota for a dinner and program at Tem ple Beth Sholom and for a visit with local stu dents at Florida Studio Theatre. Embracing Our Differences is joining the Boxser Initia tive and FST as a sponsor of the doctors visit. Boxser says he hopes for a diverse crowd at the talks emphasizing the importance of bringing together Jewish, Christian and Mus lim residents in Sarasota, which rarely ac knowledges how segregated it is. That push is particularly vital in the wake of a December appearance by anti-Islam re brand Brigitte Gabriel at a Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee event. Gabriel has been named to the Southern Poverty Law Centers Anti-Muslim Inner Circle, and she has fre quently been criticized for her hateful rheto ric. According to Boxser, after some initial skep ticism, the Abuelaish visit has gotten an in credible reaction, and the doctors appear ances should have venues overowing with audience members. Abuelaishs message may be simple, but it is obviously one we need to hear. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaishs appearances will be as follows: 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7: Dinner, Tem ple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave., Sara sota, $50; call 552-2780 to RSVP. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7: Program, Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, free; call 552-2780 to RSVP. 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8: Student program, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, free. % Click to watch the video


A little more hammering is needed to nish off the agreements between the City of Sara sota and the developers of the Floridays hotel proposed for downtown at the intersection of Cocoanut and Palm avenues. The issue came up Thursday, Jan. 31, during the Community Redevelopment Agency Ad visory Board meeting, when Sarasota Senior Planner Steve Stancel said the deals were not quite ready for primetime. The city sold the property to Floridays in Oc tober 2012 for $2.5 million. At that time, staff was told to wrap up two additional agree ments in 60 days. Stancel says the parkin g agreement is nearly done, but the redevelop ment document is not quite ready. H e blamed the holidays and subsequent inu enza season for the delays. It is just a matter of getting people together, he said. Theres not sticking points so far. The land is zoned for a 10-story building. Flor idays principal and founder Angus Rogers of Sarasota says it will be a $40 million project with retail space on the ground oor and 180 rooms. Rogers told the advisory board last July, My vision is to design something authentic and specic to Sarasota. Lets play to our strengths the arts. This will be a boutique hotel that plays to the arts theme. The hotel will utilize parking in the adjacent Palm Avenue garage. The number of spac The new Floridays hotel will be built on a parcel at the intersection of Cocoanut and Palm avenues in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY OF SARASOTA STAFF AND FLORIDAYS DEVELOPMENT ARE STILL AT WORK ON FINAL AGREEMENTS FOR THE NEW HOTEL PLANNED FOR DOWNTOWN NOT QUITE READY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


es and cost to Floridays will comprise the parking agreement. There are 735 spaces in the garage; Floridays would like to use 300 of them, but negotiations are not yet nal. Stancel hopes to bring the two agree ments before the advisory board at its February meeting, and to the City Commission in March. Rogers would like to open the hotel in 2014. Stancel says the major is sues of the redevelopment agreement were ham mered out when city staff and the Floridays representatives were writing the purchase and sale documents, including pay ment for underground utility improvements. The redevelopment agreement shouldnt be a big issue, he added. The purchase and sale agreement was ap proved unanimously Oct. 1 by the City Commission. After the vote, Mayor Suzanne Atwell punned, Not to be funny but this is a wonder ful day in the neighborhood. Its the right time, the right fit and the right style for the City of Sarasota. % The City of Sarasota is working with Floridays Development on an agreement for use of the Palm Avenue garage for hotel guest parking. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 47


The Sarasota City Commissioners will sit down Monday, Feb. 4, to face a local rearms issue, a proposal for easy kayak storage in city parks and some citizens from Golden Gate Point upset about a proposal for changing their parking. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONCERNS The citys Independent Police Advisory Panel took on two major initiatives in its rst year. One was the use of mediation to reduce the number of ofcial complaints citizens are l ing over police behavior. The second was an examination of domestic violence. Monday afternoon, the panel will s uggest the commission approve and forward to the State Attorneys Ofce and the Florida Legislature three measures that could save the lives of battered spouses. The first would add a domestic violence weapons search warrant to any Domestic Vi olence Injunction issued by local judges. The violence could turn lethal if there is a handgun in the house. The search warrant would allow police to hunt for weapons as part of the pro cess of serving the injunction papers. The second measure seeks a change in the state law to prevent the expiration of tempo rary injunctions if the accused violator cannot Residents of Golden Gate Point are upset about a new parking proposal for their neighborhood. Pho to by Norman Schimmel WIFE BEATERS, TANDEM PARKING AND KAYAK STORAGE ON THE AGENDA FOR FEB. 4 CITY COMMISSION PREVIEW By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 49 be served with legal papers. In other words, the victim [who] applied for and received a temporary injunction based on her allegations of abuse should not wait for additional abuse to occur so that she can reapply and start the process over, writes the panels chairwoman, Eileen Normile. Another change to the law would prevent a judge from putting automatic expiration dates on Final Domestic Violence Injunctions. Nor mally, nal injunctions expire after a year. Normile is asking that the restraining order remain in effect until a court hears why it should be cancelled. An earlier recommendation from the panel was approved last summer when the Sarasota Police Department re-established a victims advocate position on the force. KAYAK STORAGE FOR PADDLERS The Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection advisory board is recommending the city issue invitations to negotiate to build one or more kayak storage facilities at city parks along the bay. The board notes most kayakers load their craft on car-top carriers, but lifting them on and off is difcult for some people. Condo minium-dwellers often do not have a place to store a kayak, and even homeowners face regulations in areas with homeowner associ ations. Sarasota County built a kayak storage facility in the Robinson Preserve, and it has proved very successful, operating at full capacity vir tually since it opened. Units rent for $30 per Kayakers are hoping the City of Sarasota will create storage space for them in city parks. Photo courtesy Sarasota Bay Estuary Program


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 50 m onth, and there is a waiting list. Total con struction cost $73,000 and the annual rents provide $14,400. The advisory board looked at nine city parks, from Sapphire Shores in the north to South Lido Park. It zeroed in on South Lido, Centen nial, Ken Thompson and Bayfront parks as the best areas to create a demonstration project. The city commissioners will be asked if the city should proceed. WHACK THE SPEED LIMIT In the evening, the commissioners will hold a public hearing and then determine wheth er the city engineer should have the power to recommend lowering neighborhood speed limits to 20 mph. Right now the engineer can suggest a limit at 25 mph. City Engineer Alex Davis-Shaw has studied several neighborhoods with an eye to lower ing the limits, but under the current ordinance she is unable to make that recommendation. TANDEM PARKING AT GOLDEN GATE The commissioners will also hold a public hearing on a staff-endorsed proposal to allow a Golden Gate condominium development to allow two cars per unit by parking them noseto-tail so-called tandem parking. The Planning Board voted unanimously to re ject the idea. The Golden Gate Point Associ ation is dead-set against the proposal. A Dec. 10 letter notes the association oated a $5.8 million bond issue to improve the streetscape and add 100 parking spaces in the neighbor hood. Nei ghborhood President Brent Parker fears this change to the zoning code for his neigh borhood will help just a specic landowner. This text amendment has been created to benet a proposed project of eight units, he wrote. So in this scenario, we will now have eight new units, with one-half of the cars park ing in the street! (At $58K apiece, we are giv ing away $464,000 of value to the developer via the neighborhood taxpayers). This is un-acceptable [sic]. Our neighbor hood paid for this streetscape. It was not created to benet a developer so he could squeeze another unit or two into the develop ment, wrote Parker. % City Hall will be the site of the Feb. 4 City Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Once again, the Sarasota County Commission has rejected a settlement offer in the October 2011 lawsuit Siesta Village property owner Chris Brown led after parking assessments rose substantially on three of his parcels while assessments on other Village parcels dropped. Following a 90-min ute executive session on Jan. 30 with Coun ty Attorney Stephen DeMarsh and Assis tant County Attorney David Pearce who has been handling the case for the county DeMarsh announced at the start of the com missions afternoon session in Sarasota that Browns attorney, Morgan Bentley of Bentley and Bruning in Sarasota, had offered to settle the case for $315,000. DeMarsh added that the matter is scheduled for mediation in the very near future, then recommended against the settlement. Mediation has been planned for Friday, Feb. 1, court records show. The Hub Baja Grill (right) and The Cottage are two of Chris Browns properties in Siesta Village. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION REJECTS A SECOND SETTLEMENT OFFER IN A LAWSUIT FILED IN 2011 BY SIESTA KEY BUSINESS OWNER CHRIS BROWN ON TO MEDIATION The [settlement] terms are not what we wanted not what I wanted, anyway. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 52 With Commissioner Charles Hines prevented from voting because of a conict of interest, the vote was unanimous to oppose the offer. (Hines, an attorney, led a Memorandum of Voting Conict with the clerk to the board say ing he previously had represented Brown in legal matters.) Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, made the motion. Commissioner Christine Robinson seconded it. Im of the impression that these issues were settled earlier, Patterson said of her motion, referring to a revised lawsuit Brown filed against the county in July 2009 regarding park ing assessments and other matters related to The Hub Baja Grill in Siesta Village. Brown has maintained he never would have signed that agreement if he had known county staff would continue to assess him unfairly for parking fees related to a municipal lot in the Village. Last year, the County Commission citing inequity issues that had arisen in deter mining those assessments voted to cover the remaining expense of the parking lot and no longer bill Siesta property owners for it. During the Jan. 30 meeting, Commissioner Joe Barbetta who has argued in the past that the latest lawsuit should be settled reiterated that point. However, Barbetta said he would support Pattersons mo tion. The [settlement] terms are not what we wanted not what I wanted, anyway, he added. C ontacted after the vote, Brown said he had no comment. Bentley told The Sarasota News Leader on Jan. 30 I wasnt aware that a vote on the set tlement was scheduled for today. I was under the impression [the executive session] was to discuss the upcoming mediation per the court rules on mediation. Bentley added, Its always disappointing when the county chooses litigation rather than resolution, particularly when the litigation is against a small business owner. Still, I am al ways optimistic that the parties can come to a resolution that works for everyone. On Aug. 21, the County Commission voted 3-2 to reject a $277,219.22 settlement offer from Brown. At that time, Robinson joined Barbetta in voting to accept the offer, while Commis sioners Thaxton and Mason joined Patterson in opposing it. Barbetta pointed out then that some of the parking assessments for businesses in Siesta Village went down 15 percent to 30 percent in 2010, while Browns assessments for The Hub Baja Grill and The Cottage restaurant doubled. The assessment for the Aveni da Messina parcel where Blu Que Island Grill stands went up about 1,500 percent, according to the lawsuit. If that isnt singling somebody out I think we have some in credible exposure here, Bar betta added during that discus sion. Commissioner Joe Barbet ta/File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 53 THE HISTORY Brown originally led a lawsuit against the county in the fall of 2007, alleging that actions by then-Zoning Administrator Tina Brown, un der pressure from various parties, resulted in his being unable to open The Hub when it was completed, costing him about three months of revenue. The county ended up settling with Brown over the amended lawsuit led in that case in 2009. He received $35,000 in damages. Additionally, the county vacated a portion of the right of way along Ocean Boulevard adjacent to The Hub to resolve a pending code enforcement action. (Brown had been accused of allowing outside tables at The Hub to encroach upon the right of way.) Finally, the county conrmed that a special exception Brown had for live entertainment on the property had not elapsed, allowing him to have music played from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. seven days a week, with the noise level not to exceed 85 decibels from the property line. On Jan. 31, 2011, Brown led his second law suit against the county, alleging he had been charged an excessive amount for his parking assessments for The Hub, the Beach Club and Blu Que and contesting the special assess ment charged businesses for upkeep of Siesta Village. That lawsuit ultimately led to a revision of the ordinance governing that upkeep as well as to a yearlong process to hire a new contractor to handle Village maintenance. The county reimbursed Brown $2,500 in park ing assessments in that case. Brown has said it was only about a month after he received the reimbursement that he also received the 2011 tax bill with the new set of high assessments. % Care.No matter what. Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central FloridaSarasota Join us for our 47th Annual Dinner Celebration! Become a sponsor or silent auction donor! 941.365.3913 x1124 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


It will take two new Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) buses and nine new operators to serve Siesta Key, with one route going from Southgate Mall to Turtle Beach, according to plans presented to the Sarasota County Com mission this week. By a 4-1 vote on Jan. 29, the commissioners approved the hiring of the new employees after hearing from a manager in the Saraso ta County Area Transit department tha t sala ries for those workers could be used to match a state grant to fund operating costs of the new Siesta service. Glama Carter, the new general manager of SCAT, explained to the County Commission on Jan. 29 that unlike normal grant process es, the Florida Depart ment of Transporta tion had provided the county $1,087,500 to fund operations of the trolley service to Sies ta in 2014-15, with the Siesta Village business owners have been asking county staff for a number of years to establish trol ley service to the barrier island, where parking can be problematic at busy times of the year. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES FUNDING FOR NEW PUBLIC BUS SYSTEM EMPLOYEES NEEDED TO MAKE TROLLEY SERVICE POSSIBLE FOR SIESTA KEY TROLLEY TIME The kit is a little cuter, but [the wrap], to me, is ne, if were going to save $61,000. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 55 county required to match that amount. Usual ly, FDOT provides capital funds for such proj ects, she pointed out. The grant is to be used over three years. Af ter that, the county would have to cover all the expenses for the service out of its general budget, Carter explained. Cindy Zambella, the scal program manager for SCAT, told the commissioners the salaries for the new bus operators would qualify as the countys match. The County Commission then voted 4-1 to authorize the nine new full-time SCAT posi tions. Commissioner Christine Robinson cas t the No vote, saying she felt she did not have adequate information to approve the proposal. Though she supported the motion, Com missioner Nora Patterson cautioned Carter, Please dont take this vote as a [sign] we have a lot of extra money to add to SCAT in the next year or so. When Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, asked how soon the service could start, Car ter said it takes about 18 months for buses to be delivered after they are ordered. Once SCAT has the buses and the new personnel, she noted, the service could begin. A Sarasota County graphic shows planned bus route schedules for proposed new service to Siesta Key. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 56 The two buses would cost about $760,000 al together, Carter pointed out. Carter noted that the existing Route 11 from downtown Sarasota to Siesta would be com bined with the new route from Southgate to Turtle Beach, with operations from 6 a.m. to about 11 p.m. When Patterson asked how often the buses would run to Siesta Key, Sarah Blanchard, SCATs senior planner, explained that Route 11 would stop for passengers from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes, depending on the time of day. It would pick up riders every 20 to 30 minutes and a bit more frequently during peak times, she added. The Turtle Beach route would take about an hour between stops, she noted; it also would stop in Gulf Gate. The buses would run Monday through Sunday, Blanchard said. In a related matter, Carter explained that a typical kit to transform a bus into a vehicle that looks like a trolley costs about $68,000. However, a wrap is only about $7,000, which is why she would recommend that option. It accomplishes the goal of helping our buses t into the island atmosphere, she added. The wraps pretty cute, Patterson said as she looked at a slide Carter presented to the com mission. Photos presented to the Sarasota County Commission show the difference between a kit and a wrap for making buses look like trolleys. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 57 Zambella pointed out that with county plans calling for ve buses to look like trolleys, the savings between the kit and wrap almost would pay for another bus. In talking with representatives of both the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the Siesta Key Village Association the previous evening, Patterson said, she had mentioned the county might opt for the wrap. Their re sponse, she said, was, Thats ne. We need the transportation. Patterson added to Carter, So I dont think youre going to get a lot of push-back. Thats fantastic news, Carter replied. The kit is a little cuter, Patterson said, but [the wrap], to me, is ne, if were going to save $61,000. Carter also noted that the colors and design of the wrap could be different from those depict ed in a PowerPoint presentation she provided to the commission. Patterson said she felt the Siesta Key trol ley would prove very popular in transporting tourists to the island. SOME STATS During her presentation, Carter pointed out that except for a 3 percent decrease in rid ership on the SCAT routes in the 2012 scal year, usage of the bus service has grown con sistently over the past several years. The countys cost per rider is $4.89, Carter noted, with 70 percent of that paid by the countys general fund; 20 percent by grants; and 10-13 percent by rider fares. From 2008 to 2012, Carter explained, the per centage of fare revenue covering the cost of ridership had increased from 8 percent to 14 percent. A major reason for that, she said, was the popularity of the countys express bus ser vice. Rider fares on those routes pay for 30 percent of the countys expense, she noted. Regarding headway, the amount of time a rider has to wait for a bus on a specic route, Carter said the headway is 30 minutes on ve county routes and 60 minutes on 17 routes. The express routes take about 75 minutes one-way, she added. Except for the express routes, she said, SCATs goal is to have most routes working with a 30-minute headway. Carter also pointed out that the routes with 30 minutes of headway or less are the most popular with riders. The newest express bus route, 90X, began on Jan. 28. It has stops in North Port and Venice as it brings passengers to Sarasota. EFFICIENCIES In one other SCAT vote on Jan. 29, Robinson did join her fellow board members in support ing Carters request to convert 17 part-time positions to seven that would be full-time, a move Carter and her staff characterized as creating more efciency and saving money in the long run. Robinson pointed out that, unlike the earlier vote, it did not represent a shift from private rms handling work to county staff doing it, so she would approve it. Patterson said she relied on condence in Car ters cost analyses that the move would not end up adding to county expense for the SCAT system. %


Since October 2012, the Community Founda tion of Sarasota County (CFSC) has awarded two grants $45,000 through the Season of Sharing Fund and $30,000 through the Kath leen K. Catlin Fund of the Community Foun dation of Sarasota County to help replenish food stores at All Faiths Food Bank, the Foun dation has announced. Last fall, news of empty shelves at All Faiths Food Bank spread throughout the communi ty, a news release notes. CFSC immediate ly sprang into action, granting $45,000 to All Faiths so that the shelves could be relled, and the hungry in Sarasota and DeSoto coun ties fed, the release notes. These funds were raised through the Season of Sharing cam paign, which provides emergency assistance to rescue families on the brink of homeless ness in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, the release adds. In late 2012, CFSC awarded another $30,000 to All Faiths through a holiday needs grant from the Kathleen K. Catlin Fund. For a num ber of years, the Catlin Fund has supported All Faiths, which is in keeping with Catlins caring for the most vulnerable in our com munity, the release points out. With the lingering recession, the basic need for food has been magnified, says Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, in the release. The generosity and giving spirit of our com munity in caring for others is demonstrated by the overwhelming support of Season of Shar ing. To have funds available to ll the shelves Community Foundation of Sarasota County President and CEO Roxie Jerde (left) makes a grant presentation to All Faiths Food Bank Executive Director Sandra Frank. Photo contributed by Com munity Foundation FOUNDATION PROVIDES $75,000 TO ALL FAITHS FOOD BANK NEWS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 59 at All Faiths when they are bare is just what Season of Sharing is intended to do, she adds. The problem of hunger in our community is far greater than most people realize, says All Faiths Food Bank Executive Director San dra Frank in the release. We cannot help feed those in need if our shelves are empty; we are so grateful to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for recognizing the over whelming and ongoing need, and lling it. The Season of Sharing campaign, which be gan in 2000 as a partnership between the Her ald-Tribune Media Group and the Commu nity Foundation of Sarasota County, raised approximately $1.8 million in 2011-2012 for distribution to human service organizations in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties last year. Over the years, Season of Sharing has distributed more than $7.2 mil lion to area nonprots serving those in need; last year alone the program helped more than 2,400 people keep the lights on, put food on the table, receive child care and stay in their homes, the release notes. The Kathleen K. Catlin fund is administered by an advisory committee of Community Foun dation of Sarasota County. An open, compet itive grant cycle is available to organizations meeting qualications and guidelines of the fund, the release adds. For more information, call 955-3000 or visit Sarasota County Parks and Recreations pop ular Say I Do Again wedding vow renewal event will return to Siesta Public Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key, at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, the county has announced. Every year on Valentines Day, hundreds of people renew their commitment to the special person in their lives during a ceremony on the powdery soft white sand of Siesta Beach, which was designated as the No, 1 Beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2011, a county news release says. Advance registration is required by Feb. 11; it can be undertaken online at www.parkson or by calling 861-7275, the re lease notes. The cost is $5 per couple. Its one our most popular events that draws hundreds of couples from all over the area, says Jonathan Poyner, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation program coordinator, in the release. One of the highlights is the announce ment of the couple that has been married the longest, he adds. Its the perfect way to spend Valentines Day, he points out, sharing a gor geous sunset on Americas best beach with the person most special in your life. The vow renewal ceremony will be ofciated by Magistrate Ed Wilson, the release notes. New to this years event will be the Good Time Groove, one of the regions most popular 10-piece orchestras, which will play Big Band and swing music from 4 to 5 p.m., the release points out. Event sponsor Marriage-Works also will provide music and giveaways. Following the ceremony, each couple will re ceive a commemorative certicate and enjoy wedding cake from Beautiful Cakes by Ron, the release says. Music will be provided by radio station WCTQ, 106.5 FM. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit www. SAY I DO AGAIN RETURNS TO SIESTA BEACH FOR VALENTINES DAY


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 60 The Sarasota County Library System and com munity partners have planned the February Finale Month events that will conclude this years One Book, One Community project, the county has announced. Each event will focus on the programs cur rent selection, Unbroken: A World War II Sto ry of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. A variety of events are scheduled, including the following, a county news release says: 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7: NOAA Scientist and Mote Marine Laboratory visiting sci entist Dr. Jos Castro will present Sharks and Men at the Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 W. Price Blvd., North Port. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13: Justus Doe necke, professor emeritus of history, will present The Coming of the Pacic War: The events that led to the attack on Pearl Har bor at Sainer Auditorium on the New Col lege campus, 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sara sota. 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14: Librarian Alexa Torchynowycz and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library will present The Merci Train: A World War II Tribute to America from France at the Historic Asolo Theatre, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19: A conversation with student historians on topics inspired by Unbroken will be presented in the Sel by Auditorium at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Among the topics discussed will be Broadcasting Consent: War Propaganda on the Airways ; The B-24 and Beyond ; Hideki Tojo: Understanding the Enemy ; Bushido: Contextualizing Jap anese POW Treatment ; and The Scars that Dont Show: The POW Effect 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20: Stacy Spriggs, community and school gardens coordinator with Sarasota Countys Extension Ofce of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will present The History of Victory Gardens: A World War II Homefront Effort at the Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota. Event details are available at on the events calendar. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is the true story of Louis Zamperini, who competed in the Ber lin Olympics, crashed into the Pacic Ocean during World War II, was lost at sea for 47 days, and served time in a Japanese prison camp, the release points out. Since 2003, the Sarasota County Library Sys tem and partner organizations have sponsored the popular One Book, One Community pro gram, which brings people together to discuss a specic story. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000, or visit the One Book website at LIBRARY SYSTEM ANNOUNCES ONE BOOK FEBRUARY LINEUP


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 61 Stacie Mason has been appointed interim hu man resources director of the City of Sara sota by City Manager Tom Barwin, the city announced Jan. 25. Mason is a general manager overseeing em ployee compensation, benets, and risk and safety management, a city news release says. For the past several months, she has been transitioning into the new position, the release notes. She will ofcially take on the interim position beginning Friday, Feb. 1, the release adds. Stacie played a key role in facilitating the hir ing of our new chief of police and incoming nance director and utilities director, said Barwin in the release. I was very impressed with her and her attention to detail with those important processes, which are culminating in an assembly of exceptional talent and dedica tion, he added in the release. Mason has worked for the City of Sarasota for 10 years, the release notes. Through the Affordable Care Act, she helped the city se cure a $675,000 reimbursement for the citys medical fund, the release points out. The City of Sarasota was one of the rst municipalities in the nation to enroll in the program before funding was depleted, the release adds. Mason also has assisted with Teamster ne gotiations and facilitated the opening of an employee health center to help lower medical costs for the city, the release says. In addi tion, she has managed the citys self-insurance funds for medical, workers compensation and liability issues, it notes. This is the fourth major department chiefs po sition Barwin has lled since starting work as city manager in early September, the release points out. His rst appointment was Chief of Police Bernadette DiPino. He subsequent ly announced the hiring of Finance Director John Lege and Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell, it adds. CITY HIRES INTERIM HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) has received an EdExploreNEXT Grant to support environmental education beneting local students, the nonprot organization has announced. The $25,000 grant was awarded by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County to support the SBEP PIER Education Program, a news release says. PIER stands for Protection, Involvement, Education and Restoration, the release points out. More than 40,000 students from public and private schools have partic ipated in the program since 2003, the release adds. SBEP RECEIVES GRANT TO SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION SBEP partners for the grant include Saraso ta County Natural Resources and Around the Bend Nature Tours. The funds will be used to purchase equipment teachers can use in their classrooms to enhance student activities, the release notes. PIER includes eld trips and curriculum lesson plans. The EdExploreNEXT Grants are part of a larg er focus by The Patterson Foundation to sup port community education, the release says. The initiative includes a public website hosted by the Sarasota School District that is designed to give teachers access to learning opportunities, the release adds.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 62 Free help is available at AARP tax aid sites and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations throughout Sarasota County for quick ling of federal individual income tax returns, the county has announced. Residents who earned $51,000 or less last year can use the VITA sites operated by the United Way Suncoast, a news release says. The Unit ed Way Suncoast also is offering free online tax preparation for people who want to le their own taxes. The website is myfreetaxes. com/sarasota The income limit for online tax preparation support is $57,000. There are no income limits or age limits at the AARP sites, the release adds. This service is not for business returns or complex tax is sues, it points out. The United Way Suncoast will operate four VITA sites in Sarasota County as part of a co ordinated effort between the United Ways Fi nancial Stability Partnership and the Saraso ta County Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Task Force, the release notes. The goal is to help ensure that residents who are eligible for the various tax credits receive their earned share. The other 12 tax aid sites will be oper ated by the AARP foundation. There are no appointments at the AARP or VITA sites, the release adds. Both the AARP and VITA free tax sites allow residents to electronically le their tax returns so they can receive refunds sooner, if they are eligible for them. Generally, a refund can be posted to a persons bank account within sev en to 10 days after the visit to one of the AARP or VITA sites, the release says. Trained IRS-certied volunteers will be at each location to provide free personal income tax assistance to EITC-eligible residents and older adults (some guidelines apply). Services include responding to questions; assisting eli gible persons, including older adults, in ling their taxes; and support in reporting and re ceiving the benet of all available and eligi ble credits, including the EITC and Child Tax Credit. Many people will qualify for the EITC for the rst time because their income declined, their marital status changed or they added children to their families, the release points out. Fami lies with three or more children also get an ex tra boost with a larger EITC this year, it adds. Taxpayers should bring the following to the sites to help determine their EITC eligibility and to help prepare their tax returns: photo identication; valid Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents; birth dates for primary and secondary lers and dependents on the tax return current years tax package, if received; wage and earning statement(s) Forms W-2, W-2G or 1099-R from all employers; interest and dividend state ments from banks (Form 1099); Form 1098, mortgage interest/property tax information, if applicable; a copy of last years federal and state returns, if available; bank routing num bers and account numbers for direct deposit; other relevant information about income and expenses; total paid for daycare; and the day care providers taxpayer identifying number. For more information, including a link to online EITC ling, visit the Sarasota County government website at Those with mobile or pay phones may call 308-4357. There are no appointments offered, the re lease says, but walk-ins are welcome at all locations. SARASOTA COUNTY OFFERING FREE TAX AID


Sarasota News Leader Februar y 1, 2013 Page 63 Sarasota County Parks and Recreations pop-ular Sunrise Beach Walks return to Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key, and No -komis Beach, 100 Casey Key Road, Nokomis, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 6, the county has announced. Walking on the beaches of Sarasota Coun ty is a great way to stay in shape, relax and enjoy the most beautiful sunrise on Floridas Gulf Coast, a county news release says. Res -idents and visitors are invited to feel the sand between their toes while strolling on some of the best beaches in the country, including the 2011 Best Beach in America, Siesta Beach, the release adds.SUNRISE BEACH WALKS WELCOME MEMBERS OF THE PUBLICEvery Wednesday in February and March, walkers can meet new friends and enjoy get -ting in shape, the release notes. For a one-time $1 registration fee, all participants receive a punch card to keep track of their walks. After completing four beach walks, each participant receives a free T-shirt. Registration runs from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Sies -ta Beach and Nokomis Beach each week, the release adds.For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask about the Sunrise Beach Walks. Sarasota County is inviting the public to Siesta Public Beach for sunrise walks by the Gulf of Mexi co. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 64 Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota have been named winners of a national award for community development for their efforts to revitalize the Newtown neighborhood. The county and city will receive the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achieve ment Award from the National Community Development Association (NCDA) during a ceremony Feb. 1 in Washington, D.C. the county has announced. The award recognizes the efforts by the county and city to work with residents and community organizations to achieve a holis tic change in the Newtown Neighborhood, a news release says. Those efforts include Janies Garden, the Robert Taylor Commu nity Center, the Newtown Training Center, commercial storefront improvements, the King Stone and St. Monica apartment rede velopments, Fredd Glossie Atkins Park and playground and drainage improvements, the release points out. This award recognizes the tremendous prog ress Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota have made to revitalize the Newtown area, said Carolyn Mason, County Commission chairwoman, in the release. These improve ments address the needs of our residents for high-quality safe housing, provide facilitie s COUNTY, CITY WIN AWARD FOR NEWTOWN REVITALIZATION for recreation and community events and im prove the communitys infrastructure. The award also is a tribute to all of the community organizations that served as partners in these projects, she added in the release. The county and city have made improvements in Newtown valued at more than $60 million, using funds that included a $23 million Neigh borhood Stabilization Program grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devel opment, the release notes. The NCDA established the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award to recognize outstanding uses of the Commu nity Development Block Grant Program and partnerships between local governments and nonprofit organizations to assist lowand moderate-income persons, the release says. Audrey Nelson was the rst deputy executive secretary of NCDA. The NCDA is a non-partisan national nonprot membership organization that represents lo cal governments that administer federally sup ported community, economic development and affordable housing programs. For additional information, contact the Sara sota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit the Sarasota County website at For The Best Reading Experience Get Sarasota News Leader On Your Tablet


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 65 The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, has captured 57-year-old Demares Beatrice Castillo-Isa, aka Lourdes Milagros Ortiz Canuelas, of 3100 Hawthorne Street, Lot No. 69, Sarasota, the ofce announced Jan. 25. She has been wanted since August 2012 for her role in a large heroin trafcking opera tion, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. Castillo-Isa was part of a group distributing signicant quantities of heroin from La Universal Carniceria, 2862 Ringling Blvd., as well as her home, the report adds. Un dercover detectives from the FUGITIVE WANTED FOR HEROIN TRAFFICKING ARRESTED Sheriffs Ofce and the Sarasota Police De partment obtained heroin from her and two co-defendants, who were arrested in June and now face federal charges in the case, the re port notes. One witness allegedly obtained more than 500 grams of heroin from Castillo-Isa for approxi mately $20,000 over a period of several months, according to the report. C astillo-Isa was arrested on the night of Jan. 24 in the 2100 block of 34th Street West in Bradenton. She was charged with Conspiracy to Trafc Her oin and is being held without bond. She was arrested on sim ilar charges in Boston in 2009, the report points out. Demares Beatrice Castil lo-Isa/Contributed photo NURSE ARRESTED FOR OBTAINING OXYCODONE BY FRAUD The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested Evelyn Kay Weisenborn, 53, of 4112 26th Avenue East, Bradenton, for fraudulent ly ordering more 100 bottles of Oxycodone through her employer for personal use, the ofce has announced. Associates at Premier Sur gery Center contacted in vestigators with the Phar maceutical Diversion Unit after discovering an unau thorized shipment of Oxy codone, a medication that is not prescribed by any of the physicians at the center, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. Detectives learned that from January 2010 to July 2012, Weisenborn, a registered nurse responsible for ordering medication for the practice, had created fraudulent purchase orders for 30 mg 100-count bottles from the centers two distributors, the report adds. During that time, she allegedly obtained 111 bot tles of Oxycodone, totaling 11,100 pills, the report con tinues. Weisenborn was arrested Jan. 28 and charged with 54 counts of Obtaining a Con trolled Substance by Fraud, the report says. % Evelyn Weisenborn/Contributed photo


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EDITORIAL EDITORIAL In the late 1950s and 1960s there was a game show on the CBS network called To Tell the Truth A panel of four celebrities would face three contestants, one of whom had an unusual occupation. The other two panelists were impostors, pretending to be the third contestant. The celebrity panelists would quiz the three contestants in an effort to correctly discern the true holder of the strange occupation. At the end, the host would order, Will the real (whoever) please stand up. For each wrong panel vote, the genuine con testant received a larger price. If none of the panelists guessed correctly, the prize was larg er still. WILL THE REAL RICK SCOTT PLEASE STAND UP? The vicarious fun for the audience was root ing for the contestant to fool all of the ce lebrity panelists, so they would vote for the wrong person. It was great entertainment, as evidenced by the fact the show enjoyed 12 seasons on the network, followed by an even longer run in syndication. And no real harm was done by the playful subterfuge that was the centerpiece of the show. Unfortunately, were the celebrity panelists actually voters in a state let us say, Florida and the contestant was trying to trick those panelists out of their hard-earned tax dollars or, worse, planning to despoil their homes and property well, that would have been a tad too sinister for family television. The scenario likely would not have enjoyed a record-break ing television run.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 68 In 2010, Rick Scott ran for governor, tout ing his business record and a promise to put Floridas unemployed back to work, building a vibrant state economy in the process. He drove home his talking points with thousands of commercials bought with more than $70 million of his own fortune. When the dust set tled at the end of Election Day, Scott had won only 23.7 percent of registered voters less than a fourth. Fortunately for him, only 48.5 percent of registered voters actually bothered to go to the polls, so he received 48.9 percent of the votes cast. In a perfect world, a candidate would have to enjoy the support of at least a majority of those voting, but in Florida, a plurality car ried the day for Scott, as he bested Democrat Alex Sink and a host of lesser candidates, who collectively had the other 51.1 percent of the votes. He became governor of Florida with the assent of fewer than 14 percent of the citizens of the state. Once sworn into ofce, Scott along with his legislative allies went about fullling his pledge to emasculate state government by ring thousands of state workers; slashing $1.3 billion from the education budget; vir tually eliminating environmental oversight; handing out tax breaks to corporations; sys tematically disenfranchising minority, elderly and young (collectively, Democratic ) voters; and effectively transforming insurance from a risk-management mechanism for the people to a cash-cow for unfettered insurance com panies. When he stopped to catch his breath, he was perhaps taken aback to learn that his approv al ratings among voters had dropped into the 20s. Oops! The next year he championed a billion dol lars in new education spending, pointing out how valuable our schools are to the future of Florida. When the Legislature went along, he crowed about his newfound generosity. Some how, it was never mentioned that the states education system was still $300 million poorer than it had been before Scott had begun his austerity drive in 2011. Fast-forward another year and the 2014 guber natorial election looms. With Scott struggling to get his approval rating slightly higher than that of castor oil, something had to change. A wholesale image makeover was needed. And Rick Scott knew just what to do. In the aftermath of a humiliating election debacle brought on by Republican voter suppression, Scott suddenly has proposed comprehensive election reform, including ex tending early voting days to 14, allowing local supervisors of election more latitude in set ting hours and expanding polling places and limiting the length of ballots. Never mind that every change was simply to undo the ne farious depredations Scott and his legislative henchmen had visited upon the citizenry. Next, Scott decided that teachers were un derpaid something that could be attribut ed to his move to cut their pay by 3 percent


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 69 through forced contributions to their pension plans, which always had been 100 percent state-funded. He decreed each teacher need ed an extra $2,500 per year, with the total ex pected to add almost half-a-billion dollars to the state budget (but actually only putting us $200 million ahead of where we were before Scott rst slashed education spending). All told, Scott wants the Legislature to in crease education spending by $1.2 billion this year. For those keeping track at home, that is a $1.3 billion cut and a total of $2.2 billion added back, for a net increase in education spending during his rst term of less than $1 billion. Undoubtedly, Scott is sowing the seeds for his 2014 campaign, when he will harvest the sound bites and fudged data to make the case that he deserves a second term, a case to be vigorously prosecuted by another massive commitment from his vast personal wealth. But are Floridians to fall for this scam twice? Fortunately, Scotts approval ratings are so low that even a majority of Republicans hope that someone else bests him in the primary. Charlie Crist, the former Republican gover nor who recently became a Democrat, is poll ing 14 points ahead of Scott in a theoretical matchup between the two. To counter this, Rick Scott is hoping voters in Florida will believe he is in favor of expanding government, increasing education spending, helping voters to exercise their constitutional rights, and caring for the states fragile envi ronment. But he is none of those things. He has eviscerated the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, ring scores of experienced stewards of the public lands and replacing them with industry toadies who are ready to sell what is left of our waterways and pastoral lands to the highest bidder. He has demonized state workers in gener al, and teachers in particular, as leeches on the collective body of the state, siphoning off hard-earned tax dollars he intimated they used for their plush lifestyles. And he besmirched these workers further by requiring them all to submit to random drug tests, a folly prudently blocked by the courts. He has steadfastly refused to allow Floridas participation in the Affordable Care Act, sac ricing billions of dollars in federal assistance to implement the programs, and potentially costing hospitals and their paying patients even more billions by denying a needed ex pansion of the Medicaid program. He has backed away from his pledge to cre ate 700,000 new jobs in addition to those a re covering state economy would create anyway. He fudges the job creation numbers to make his record appear better than it is, but when unemployment data indicate he is not mak ing much progress, he dismisses the gures as federal numbers. Of course, his recent choice to head the Department of Econom ic Opportunity, a very important post when


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 70 it comes to creating those promised 700,000 jobs, is a 32-year-old lawyer whose only expe rience in creating jobs is the government po sitions he has created for himself since grad uating from law school. The voters were clearly deceived by Scott in 2010 as borne out by his approval ratings throughout his rst term. If he has his way, they will be deceived again next year. But the voters task in 2014 would be far easi er if the real Rick Scott would please stand up ... and this ersatz humanitarian pretending to be our governor would disappear. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Lead er welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Let ters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and oth er factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spell ing, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. COMMENTARY Feb. 3, 2013, marks the cen tennial of the ratication of the 16th Amend ment to the U.S. Constitution, which created the federal income tax. And while taxes, along with death, may be inevitable, most people try to avoid both for as long as possible. A Sarasota friend complained to me recently that his 2013 take-home pay is less than it was in 2012. He earns $43,000 annually, putting him in the top 50 percent of American wage earn ers. A stalwart Democrat, my friend voted to reelect the president to ensure, among other things, that the rich paid a hefty tax premium on their sizeable incomes. He had expected that his own taxes would decline as the rich shouldered more of the burden. His own tax obligation, he believed, should not have bal looned 18 percent overnight. It is unfair, he said. Unfair or not, most middle class wage earn ers will pay more in taxes in 2013. According to the non-partisan, Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institutions Tax Policy Center, 77 UPCOMING CENTENNIAL OF THE RATIFICATION OF THE 16TH AMENDMENT PROMPTS REFLECTIONS ON DEATH AND TAXES By David Staats Columnist COMMENTARY


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 71 p ercent of all U.S. households will face higher federal taxes this year. Individuals like my friend who earn $40,000 to $50,000 per year can look forward to an average increase of $822, most of which is due to the expiration of the 2-percent Social Security payroll tax cut. The full weight of the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare) has yet to be felt by middle class taxpayers. They will not have to wait long. Tax hikes are never popular, especially when they come as surprises. Reactions by those af fected vary widely. Last month former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, 58, announced plans to move to London to escape his social ist successors proposed 75 percent tax on the countrys very rich. Also in January, French actor Grard Depardieu, 64, became a Russian citizen rather than submit to the conscatory new taxes. Russia has a at tax rate of 13 per cent. My friend said that he did not want, and in any case could not afford, to relocate to England or Russia. (He has left Florida only twice in his life to visit his aunt in Mobile, AL.) But he also did not want to bring home less this year than he did last. Wisely, he went to his boss and explained the problem. His boss of fered to increase his take-home pay to last years level, as well as to add 2 percent to his take-home pay as a cost of living increase in recognition of the value of his contribution to the business. U nwisely, some people choose to pay no in come tax whatsoever. That decision can have undesired consequences. Orlando, FL-born actor Wesley Snipes, 50, known to many for his starring role in the Blade lm series, was sentenced in 2008 by the Federal District Court in Ocala, FL, to three years of imprison ment for willfully failing to le tax returns. He was also ordered to pay $17 million in taxes, penalties and interest. Convicted of tax fraud in 1989, New York City hotelier Leona (only the little people pay tax es) Helmsley (1920-2007) served four years in prison and was ordered to pay $7.1 million in restitution. In 1931, Chicago mobster Al Capone (18991947) was convicted of tax evasion and sen tenced to 11 years of imprisonment, ve of which he spent in Alcatraz. Capone is quoted as having said at trial, The income tax law is a lot of bunk. The government cant collect legal taxes from illegal money. Big Al was wrong. On occasion tax policy has profoundly inu enced the course of American history. British nancial and tax policy toward the American colonies was a major cause of the American Revolution. For example, the Tea Act was passed by Par liament on May 10, 1773, for the sole purpose of bailing out the nancially distressed British East India Co. Established by royal charter in


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 72 1600 with ,000 contributed by 125 prom i nent investors, the company had 17 million pounds of unsold tea and was in urgent need of a stimulus. The act granted the company a monopoly on the American tea trade. The companys newly sanctioned exclusive rights allowed its tea to be sold directly and untaxed to colonial markets. Earlier it had been compelled to sell tea at auction in Lon don, where it was taxed. The taxes would now be paid by the Colonials. The companys monopoly threatened the live lihood of American tea merchants. It was also a troubling precedent. If the tea trade were monopolized by order of Parliament, could not the textile or china trade be as well? On the night of Dec. 16, 1773, members of the Sons of Liberty lightly disguised as a Mohawk raiding party rowed to three British merchant ships lying at anchor in Boston harbor, over powered their crews and threw 340 chests containing 92,000 pounds of tea into the har bors frigid waters. While the Tea Act may have been the nal step in a procession of ill-considered British nancial and tax policies toward the Colonies, the Stamp Act of 1765 was among the rst. Briey, the Stamp Act imposed for the rst time a direct tax on the Colonists by requiring that legal documents, newspapers, pamphlets, etc., be exclusively printed on paper manufac tured in England that carried an embossed tax stamp. Further, these taxed documents had to be purchased in hard currency (pounds ster ling) and not in Colonial paper script. Reaction in the Colonies against the Stamp Act was swift and acute. Parliament repealed it on March 18, 1766. On that same day, how ever, Parliament also passed the Declaratory Act, which asserted Parliaments full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufcient force and validity to bind the col onies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever. Many Colonists interpreted this to mean that further parliamentary acts of tax ation over which they themselves would have no say were being contemplated. Its passage, together with subsequent missteps, set the colonies on an irreversible collision course with England. Death is also taxed. More precisely, it is the transferable estate of a deceased person that is subject to taxation under federal law; that is, the Revenue Act of 1916, as amended. Federal estate taxes (or death duties) were repealed during the whole of 2010, but they have since been restored. The District of Co lumbia and several states impose their own death duties. Other states, like Florida, do not. No one cheats death and few avoid the watch ful scrutiny of the U.S. Internal Revenue Ser vice. Both are lifelong companions on the road to reaching ones destiny. But if you master your destiny, as someone quipped, you will nd that there is a destiny tax waiting for you. %




Viktoria Richar ds Chocolates


To say Rabbi Adam Chalom, dean for North America of the International Institute for Sec ular Humanistic Judaism, has been incredibly busy the past several years is an understate ment. Not only is he a major leader for Humanistic Judaism, but he is also an academic scholar; author and lecturer; and the rabbi for the Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in Chicago. Chalom nonetheless marked off days on his crowded calendar for a trip to Sarasota Jan. 17-20, to lead traditional Jewish Shabbat and weekend services and to offer a series of ed ucational lectures for the Sarasota Congrega tion for Humanistic Judaism. With a doctorate in Near Eastern Studies and a masters degree in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies both from the University of Michigan as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies from Yale University, Chalom delivered talks on a variety of topics over the long week end. They ranged from Jewish history based on archaeology and contemporary analysis to insights into the present realities of Jewish peo ple and their cultures all over the world to the philosophical underpinnings and practical daily applications of Humanistic Judaism. Rabbi Adam Chalom gladly signs copies of Rabbi Sherwin T. Wines A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews for audience members who purchased it after he completed his lecture at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Jan. 17. All photos by Arielle Scherr RABBI ADAM CHALOM CARRIES ON THE LEGACY OF A MAN WHO HAD A PROFOUND INFLUENCE ON HIS OWN LIFE AND WORK HUMANGELIZING By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 76 THE HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY FOR HUMANISTIC JUDAISM (SHJ) Chaloms lecture at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee on Jan. 17 served as an in troduction to the SHJ and the life and works of its founder, Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, who es tablished the organization in 1969. Of particu lar focus was Wines nal book, A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews which, though not nished at the time of Wines pass ing in 2007, was published in June 2012 after Chalom edited it and wrote an introduction for it. Initially I was a bit trepidatious to tackle it, Chalom told the audience, describing his re action when the manuscript found its way to his desk. After all, it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to write a survey history of the Jews of all times and places, he said, eliciting chuckles from the crowd for his use of the Yiddish word for audacity. Its another level of chutzpah to edit someone whos written a survey history of the Jews of all times and places. In examining the book, Chalom who had been taught, bar mitzvahed, conrmed, or dained and married by Wine offered a brief overview of Wines life leading up to the es tablishment of SHJ. He discussed Wines tra ditional Jewish upbringing, extensive educa tion in philosophy, training and ordination as a Rabbi and the formation of a philosophical viewpoint that would lay the foundation for the organizations teachings. Sherwin Wine took the pursuit of truth very seriously truth in philosophy, truth in sci ence, truth in the history of his people, Cha lom said. He ultimately found his calling, even though there was no one really on the other end of the phone, in the early 1960s, Chalom continued, when he formed the Bir Rabbi Sherwin T. Wines A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews, was published posthu mously last year. The introduction, which Rabbi Adam Chalom wrote, describes the book as argu ably Wines magnum opus, the culmination of half a century of reading, writing and teaching on Jewish history and its meanings.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 77 mingham Temple, which became the rst Hu manistic Jewish Congregation in the world. Chalom explained that Wine followed three important conceptual steps, which inspired him to establish Humanistic Judaism. Wine began with the philosophical viewpoint that is also the basis of much humanistic thought, Chalom said: We are the only conscious force for good in the universe. This means that there is no benevolent divine personality directing or intervening in histo ry, Chalom said, [that] the Jews created the Torah, not the other way around, and, nally, that Jewish survival is a function of tenacity, creativity and useful skills like literacy not a miracle from above and beyond. Wines second step was to nd a way to apply this truth to Jewish life, Chalom explained. When you take that more secular approach, youre willing to apply this lesson of a secu lar world to Jewish history; you are willing and even eager to embrace new Jewish cre ativity and new Jewish culture, he added. It may also be the case that the new secularized reality of Jewish life is a natural outcome of Jewish history even to be celebrated and not a disaster. The third and nal step was to continue the search for truth, to begin to nd out what really happened, to understand who Jews are today, Chalom said. What does archaeology really say about this period? Does it conrm what the Bible claims, or does it challenge what the Bible claims? Sometimes it does one and sometimes it does the other, he con tinued. A secular history can provide those kinds of fascinating insights into Jewish life, past and present. Chalom went on to explain how Humanistic Judaism relates to the current state of Juda ism in the world. He put special focus on the increasing secularization of people of Jewish background in society, highlighting the con The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, where Rabbi Adam Chaloms lecture was held on the eve ning of Jan. 17, frequently hosts events at its headquarters in Sarasota and within the community. It describes its vision on its website, as promoting a vibrant Jewish community.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 78 trast between the decreasing proportions of those who follow orthodox laws or keep kosher and the relatively large proportion of those who continue to celebrate Hannukkah as a family holiday. This trend, Chalom explained, could be viewed as signaling an opportunity for Humanistic Judaism, rather than as a loss for Judaism overall, because involvement in the commu nity allows people of Jewish background an opportunity to hold onto their history, culture and traditions, even if they no longer believe in a supernatural power. When you look at Jewish history from a secu lar perspective, Jewish politics and economics can actually be more interesting than theolo gy, Chalom said. It turns out religion is an important aspect, but it is just one aspect of a wide-ranging Jewish cultural experience. THE SHJ TODAY On the afternoon of Jan. 18, Chalom sat down with The Sarasota News Leader for an exten sive interview in which he provided furthe r details about Jewish people maintaining their cultural identities as well as other signicant aspects of the SHJ and Humanistic Judaism overall in the modern world. What weve done, Chalom said of Human istic Judaism, is take what people choose to do as connecting to being Jewish in a more secular way and make that the center of what they do, make that dignied and appropriate and meaningful and relevant. The idea, Chalom continued, is to relate to how people actually already are Jewish rather than tell them to do things theyre not inter ested in doing anyways. This approach, he explained, has helped Jew ish people who may have lost interest in Ju daism as a religion nd positive reasons to actively pursue or associate with their cultural heritage, something he said he has seen hap pen on many occasions. Another aspect of the SHJ that attracts many people, Chalom said, is the communitys open ness. The SHJ does not concern itself with Rabbi Adam Chalom answers questions from the audience after completing his lecture at the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee on Jan. 17. Among the questions were those focused on statistics about how many Americans believe in a supernatural power, differing denitions of the word secular and how members of the Society for Humanistic Judaism celebrate or observe traditional Jewish holidays.


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 79 beliefs, gender or sexual orientations, racial backgrounds or any other characteristics that could be discriminated against. We create a humanistic celebration of Jewish life, thats what we do, Chalom explained. If you nd that relevant, meaningful, inspiration al, then thats wonderful! As a humanistic organization that looks be yond questions of the supernatural, the SHJ emphasizes the positive potential and value of the members of its congregation. Were focused on what we can know, what we can do here and now, Chalom said. So you think theres no personality intervening in the world. What next? What do you do now? How do you live a good life? How do you connect to your past? he continued. Theres so many more things to do than spend time worrying about what isnt there, or at least what isnt involved in your life if there may be something there. The time freed up by moving past these ques tions, Chalom explained, can be utilized in a number of ways, including examining Jewish culture both historical and present-day conducting academic or scientic research and providing aid or services to those in need. Most of our communities have either a com munity service or a social action committee that does works, Chalom said when asked about the SHJs involvement in helping others. We absolutely try to involve ourselves in the world, at least in part because we dont know that anyone or anything else is going to do it for us, he added. In the end, it does lead to a kind of human activist approach because you cant rely on anyone else to do it. THE CONTINUOUS PATH In addition to his work as a rabbi, lecturer and academic scholar, Chalom puts a substantial amount of effort into maintaining the mem bership of his congregation and promoting Humanistic Judaism as a whole, a process, he told the News Leader he sometimes refers to as humangelizing. I think weve been steady for the last few years, Chalom said in regard to member ship of the SHJ: Not growing, but not falling apart. Chalom explained that the organization had to reorient its structure after Wines death and that divvying up the founders responsibilities among the current leadership has been an in tense process. However, he said, the SHJ continues to push forward through the 21st century, adapting its outreach to new forms of social media, includ ing Facebook and Twitter, releasing some of its publications in eBook-compatible formats and offering freebies as much as it possibly can to increase awareness. As an organization funded largely through dues and donations, Chalom said, it is im portant that the SHJ strike the right balance between what can be given away for free and what should be sold, so it can continue to cov er overhead costs and support its leaders nancially. Despite the challenges it has faced with the loss of its founder, Chalom is condent the SHJ will carry on its tenacious mission. Im still convinced, he said, that if were relevant and interesting, then well continue to attract members. %


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


ASK OTUS Dear Readers, This is the end of Ardeas story. She and Alba remained a devoted pair for three breeding seasons, and each season they renewed their affections through courtship, mating and nest ing. One day Alba failed to return to the nest. I heard rumors he had died in a boating acci dent. This happened after two of their chicks had edged and the third was about to do so. Ardea could still ensure the survival of the two older chicks. Had Alba died a few days earlier, she could not have managed feeding all three on her own, and within minutes of her leaving the nest to hunt for their meals, her chicks would have been exposed and vulnerable to any predator seeking an easy takeout meal. Fortunately, the next mating season, Ardea easily attracted another Alba and they nested together over the next two years. Ardea is now dying. She is in her eighth year and has lived a longer-than-normal span of life for a Great Egret in the wild. People often ask me if birds are capable of mourning or if they understand death and loss. The answer is that birds suffer terribly when they lose their mates or when a pair los es a nest. THE STORY OF ARDEA AND ALBA REACHES ITS FINAL CHAPTER Aging gracefully, Ardea grooms herself in the mangroves. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 82 It is not only the loss from the physical and emotional dependency on a mate or the in vestment and sacrices made in order to pro create that are mourned, it is also the loss of tenderness experienced in a harsh, demanding and unforgiving world. Outside of its mate, trust and joyful intimacy do not exist in an adult Egrets life. No one will mourn the loss of Ardea. She is old, barren and alone. Her children, even if not busy with their children and mates, would not even know her. I spotted her several times at Turtle Beach Park. She is still immaculately groomed and lovely, but so pitifully thin. It is then I recall A Streetcar Named Desire. Ardea, like Blanche, is relying more on the kindness of strangers. And people are ever so kind to her sh scraps, sometimes even a whole pinsh from the shermen; and picnickers toss her bits of their hamburgers and chips. They are thrilled to have her come so close to their table and delight in taking photos of their children standing near her. There is a very special time of evening, and it does not happen every evening, when the col or of the sky exactly matches the color of the water and they blend to a dusky gloom where white objects suddenly appear opalescent and whiter than white. Mediterranean shermen refer to this dusk as the hour of the pearl. One such dusk, I ew back to my oak by the mangroves, the very same oak from which I rst saw Ardea feistily pecking her way out of that turquoise-blue egg. She was deep inside the mangroves, grooming her glowing white feathers, one by one. I quickly ew away as that beak of hers was still a formidable weap on. That may have been the last time I ever saw her. Ardea has had a full life since she hatched from one of those turquoise-blue eggs. Photo courtesy Rick Greenspun


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 83 The hesitation in that statement comes from my wonderful sojourn at the Sarasota Audu bons Celery Fields. There were so many Ar dea Alba there ocks of them were shing, preening, merrily chasing one another; all vy ing for their very own places in the sun. A couple of times I thought I caught a glimpse of Ardea in a certain strut, with a toss of the beak or glint in the eye. But it was not she. Then the most wonderful thing happened to me. I suddenly awoke from a noon nap, looked into the skies and saw her gracefully gliding right above me. The sun hit my eyes and I blinked. When I looked up again, there was only ... Otus Ardea ies through the Celery Fields. Photo used with kind permission of the Sarasota Audubon Society ABOUT OTUS Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Sies ta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of natures secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. So please send your questions and photos to askotus@sarasotanews Thank you.


Sir Frederick Ashtons Birthday OfferingPlus Between Longing & Yearning by Jamie Carter and the World Premiere of Changing Light by Will Tuckett1, 2, 3 February 2013 | FSU Center Attend the Evening Performance on Sunday, February 3 and you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win numerous prizes including a 32" LCD TV! BOX OFFICE: 359 x101 | SARASOTABALLET.ORGFind us onFacebook PHOTO BY FRANK ATURA


The Jazz Club of Sarasotas Joy of Jazz con cert series will continue with the Venice High School Jazz Band and Kitt and Mike Moran on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in Centen nial Park in downtown Venice. The concert is free, but donations will be ac cepted in support of the Jazz Clubs scholar ship fund, a news release says. Guests are en couraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Under the direction of Venice High School Band Director Jonathan Case, the 10-member Venice High School Jazz Band is an audition group that changes every school year, the re lease notes. This years band includes a full rhythm section and features young musicians playing piano, bass, drums, guitar, trombone, trumpet and sax. The band will be performing works by Charlie Parker, Thad Jones, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, George Gersh win and Neal Hefti. Following its performance, jazz vocalist Kitt Moran and her husband, pianist Mike Moran, will take the stage, the release adds. The Mo rans have been regulars on the New York City jazz club circuit, performing at such venues as Michaels Pub, the Village Vanguard, The Blue Note and Shanghai Jazz, the release con tinues. Kitt Moran has opened for Jay Leno, Rodney Dangereld and Jackie Mason and has performed with a number of other jazz greats, it notes. The Venice High School Jazz Band will perform in Centennial Park in Venice on Feb. 3. Contributed photo CENTENNIAL PARK TO HOST JOY OF JAZZ CONCERT ARTS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 86 Bassist Dominic Mancini and drummer Dane Hassan will join the Morans; the quartet will perform songs by their friend, Dave Frishberg, and other jazz standards, the release says. This concert lineup showcases the present and future of the rich tradition of jazz music in our community, says Bill Beckman, a Jazz Club of Sarasota board member and produc er of this series, in the release. It should be a perfect way to kick off Super Bowl Sunday! The 2012-2013 Joy of Jazz series will conclude on March 17 with Ron Kraemer and the Hur ricanes. For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 366-1552 or visit www.jazz Kitt and Mike Moran will perform in the Joy of Jazz Concert on Feb. 3. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 87 Florida Studio Theatre will present David Au burns The Columnist the story of noted po litical writer Joseph Alsops fall from power in the 1960s, in the Keating Theatre from Friday, Feb. 1, through April 7. For decades, political columnist Joseph Al sop was beloved, feared and courted in equal measure by the people whose careers he de termined, an FST press release says. He sat at the center of Washington life as one of the most powerful journalists in the country, it adds. Based on the true events of his life, The Col umnist explores the turmoil of the s, the Vietnam conict and the profound personal cost of Joe Alsops political involvement at a time of dizzying change, the release points out. Auburn, whose Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning Proof dazzled critics and audienc es alike, brings this riveting story to the stage, the release notes. The show is being directed by FST Associate Director Kate Alexander. The Columnist is a refreshing play, full of intrigue and passion, Alexander says in the release. During the period it covers, she adds, Every aspect of our lives changed; every in stitution, from the very personal, such as mar riage, to our grand institutions, such as our government. Powerful people and powerful organizations once thought sacrosanct were brought down. A quest for the truth emerged from the youth generation and a new idea of truth was born. The cast includes returning FST favorites Jeff Plunkett as Joe Alsop, Rachel Moulton as Su san Mary Alsop, Rob Gomes as Stewart Alsop and Seth Teegarden as Philip. New faces to the FST stage will be John Keabler as Andrei, Marie Claire Roussel as Abigail and Michael Zlabinger as Halberstam, the release adds. Single tickets are $18 to $36. Season subscrip tions are still available. Tickets may be pur chased from the FST box ofce in person, (1241 N. Palm Ave.), by calling 366-9000 or going online at Jeffrey Plunkett is Joseph Alsop in The Columnist at Florida Studio Theatre. Contributed photo by Brian Braun. THE COLUMNIST OPENS FEB. 1 AT FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 88 The mixed-media/collage works of Sarasota artist Sharon Stewart are being featured in a month-long, one-woman show under way at Art Uptown, 1367 Main St., Sarasota. An artists reception is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the gallery. The public is invited. Before moving to Sarasota 20 years ago, the self-taught artist was active in the Michigan art scene for a dozen years, serving in leader ship positions for several arts organizations, a news release says. Her works, which have earned numerous awards, are held in private collections across the U.S. and around the world, it adds. Stewart notes that much of the art she cre ates is done on a commission basis. She offers home consultation, custom design and indi vidual color choices. She offers visits to her Sarasota studio by appointment, the release points out. She has worked with a wide range of creative media, including clay, pencil, wood, fabric, oils, acrylics and pastels, the release says. Today she primarily works with mixed media on canvas and three-dimensional collage for home dcor, some on gallery-wrapped canvas as large as 60 inches by 48 inches, using acryl ics and collage techniques, the release notes. I love to create something that catches your eye as you enter a room and makes you stop, look and then move closer to experience the richness of the compositions, she says in the release. Stewarts featured exhibit will run through Feb. 23 at Art Uptown, Sarasotas oldest coop erative ne art gallery, representing the work of 28 area artists. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the monthly First Friday Gallery Walks on Palm and Main streets, eve ning hours are 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 955-5409 or visit Sharon Stewart/Contributed photo ART UPTOWN TO FEATURE WORKS OF SHARON STEWART Inner Circles is among the Sharon Stewart art work on exhibit at Art Uptown. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 89 First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineap ple Ave. in downtown Sarasota, will host An Evening of Dinner and Music with Robin Fernandez on Friday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. Fernandez has performed in musical theater in Europe, New York City and other major U.S. cities, a news release says. She also has appeared locally at the Asolo Repertory and Venice theatres, the release note s. FIRST CHURCH TO HOST EVENT WITH VOCALIST ROBIN FERNANDEZ The evenings performance will include ex cerpts from her one-woman show, That Thing Called Love the release adds. Liz Goldstein, First Churchs director of music, will accom pany Fernandez. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 10 and under. The reservation deadline is Monday, Feb. 11. For tickets or additional infor mation, contact the church ofce at 955-0935. Running on the fuel of last years successful event, The Favorite Poem Project, this spring will bring Poetry Life Weekend to Sarasota, Florida Studio Theatre has announced. Scheduled for May 3 and 4, the weekend will provide memorable opportunities for stu dents, educators and any others who love po etry, allowing them to listen to and celebrate works by individuals in the Sarasota commu nity and notable guest poets, a news release says. The weekend will be a culmination of sev eral months work in cultivating the love of poetry in Sarasota, the release adds. Leading the events will be two honored guests: Nao mi Shihab Nye and W.S. Merwin. Nye is a prize-winning poet dedicated to exploring her Palestinian-American heritage, and Merwin, a two-time Pulitzer winner and former U.S. poet laureate, is known for his prolic work and penetrating themes, the release adds. Nye and Merwin will explore their work and methods with teachers at a dinner honoring c ommunity educators, the release notes. Students will have the chance to submit their own work to present to the poets for the Stu dent Poetry Readings part of the weekend, the release adds. All members of the community are encour aged to submit their favorite poems written by an established poet for the opportunity to participate as part of the Favorite Poem Reading, the release says. In addition, teach ers are invited to perform in a Teacher Poetry Slam. Details and applications may be found at co-sponsor Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota, or at www.bookstore1sarasota. com The weekend will conclude with a dinner and celebration of poetry with Nye and Merwin to raise money for local educators, the release says. These funds will aid educators in their efforts to grow and foster poetry in Sarasota classrooms, it notes. FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE ANNOUNCES POETRY LIFE WEEKEND


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 90 The Sarasota Concert Associations 2013 Great Performers Series will continue with the acclaimed Vienna Boys Choir on Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, the associa tion has announced. The Vienna Boys Choir comprises boys ages 10 to 14 who are trebles and altos based in Vienna, a news release says. They are divided into four touring choirs named for Bruck ner, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert and they perform about 300 concerts each year, the re lease adds. During the Sarasota concert, the choir will perform more than 15 songs, including selec tions by Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Rob ert Schumann and Johann Strauss, as well as folk songs from Austria and other parts of the world, the release notes. The Great Performers season will continue with violinist and local resident James Ehnes, accompanied by pianist Andrew Armstrong, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, the release notes. Ehnes has been called the Jascha Heifetz of our day, while Armstrong is an award-win ning artist who has given solo performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, the release points out. Tickets are $40, $50, $60 and $70. Tickets and information for the series are available by call ing 955-0040 or visiting CONCERT ASSOCIATION TO PRESENT THE VIENNA BOYS CHOIR The Vienna Boys Choir will perform at the Van Wezel on Feb. 13. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 91 Violinists Dan Jordan and Chung-Yon Hong and harpist Cheryl Losey, members of the Sarasota Orchestra, will present a Munchtime Musicales performance on Feb. 20 at noon in David Cohen Hall inside the Beatrice Fried man Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Sponsored by the Sarasota Concert Asso ciation, the concert is free and open to the public. The three musicians will present a selection of duets and trios encompassing music from the Baroque period through the 20th centu ry, a news release says. Among the highlights will be Bachs Double Concerto with the harp playing the role of the orchestra; Massenets Meditation from the opera Thais ; and tangos by Astor Piazzola, the release notes. Jordan has been a concertmaster of the Sara sota Orchestra and a member of the Saraso Dan Jordan/Contributed photo VIOLINISTS AND HARPIST TO PERFORM IN MUNCHTIME MUSICALE


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 92 ta String Quartet since 1998. He was also concertmaster at the New World Symphonys 20th anniversary alumni concert in Miami, an achievement that he considers a high point in his career, the release points out. Hong joined the Sarasota Orchestra in 2002, the release says. An avid traveler, Hong lived in South Korea, England and Australia before landing in New York, where she earned both a bachelors degree and a masters degree from The Juilliard School, the release adds. She spent the past two summers playing the 10week summer season for the prestigious San ta Fe Opera, it notes. Losey began playing harp at age 5, and she has been fascinated by the seemingly innite possibilities of the instrument ever since, the release points out. She joined the Sarasota Or chestra in 2008. In addition to performing in 18 countries on four continents in such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House Losey is a past winner of the Alice Rosner Prize at the Munich International Competition, one of the music worlds most prestigious contests, the release adds. Munchtime Musicales is a series of free con certs featuring performances by high-caliber, area-based artists, the release notes. The se ries is designed to offer a wide variety of mu sical genres, including classical, folk and jazz, with both vocal and instrumental performers. All performances are at noon at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center in Sarasota. Seat ing is open; no reservations are taken. For more information about Munchtime Musicales call 351-7467 or visit % Cheryl Losey/Contributed photo Chung Yon Hong/Contributed photo


J Street and Temple Sinai will present Dr. Ger shon Baskin lecturing on The Secret Conduit to Freedom the Story of Negotiations be tween Israel and Hamas To Free Gilad Schal it at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3. Baskin is the veteran peace activist who was instrumental in creating the breakthrough that brought the abducted soldier Gilad Schalit home safely after Schalit was held as a pris oner of Hamas for more than ve years, a news release says. A long line of diplomats from Egypt, Germa ny, France, Turkey and other countries tried for more than ve years to reach a deal be tween Israel and Hamas to free Schalit, the release points out. Baskin will share the de tails and fascinating story of the secret and direct channels of talk that were held with Hamas, the release notes. This program is free and open to the public; however, reservations to Sarasota would be appreciated, the release says. J Street is a somewhat controversial orga nization, the release points out. Though it is pro-Israel, it believes that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conict is the single best chance we have to secure Israels future as a Jewish democracy, the release says. Rabbi Geoffrey Huntting of Temple Sinai is a member of J Streets Rabbinic Council, the release adds A Super Bowl party with big-screen viewing and food will follow the presentation, the re lease continues. The cost of the dinner is $20. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to 924-1802. For more information visit Tem Temple Sinai is located at 4631 South Lock wood Ridge Road in Sarasota. It welcomes guests, the release points out. For more in formation about the temple, visit Templesi Gilad Schalit (left) and Dr. Gershon Baskin/Contributed photo TEMPLE TO HOST SHOWING OF THE SECRET CONDUIT TO FREEDOM RELIGION BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 94 Shabbat Alive! an all-musical celebration of Shabbat featuring upbeat, contemporary ar rangements of the traditional prayers will return to Temple Emanu-El on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m., the Temple has announced. The Temple is located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. Conducted by a full band of pro fessional and volunteer musicians and vocal ists, Shabbat Alive! has become one of Temple Emanu-Els signature programs, a news re lease says. This installment of Shabbat Alive! will feature the music of Rick Recht, one of the leading young composers of Jewish pop ular and sacred music, the release adds. The (Top row, from left) Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman, Sam Silverberg, Deborah Cam eron, Dawn Dill; (bottom row, from left) Dan Cartlidge, Stuart Miller, music director Cynthia Rob erts-Greene and Joe Bruno will lead the Shabbat Alive! service on Feb. 8 at Temple Emanu-El. SHABBAT ALIVE! RETURNS TO TEMPLE EMANU-EL FEB. 8 public is warmly invited to this unique and inspiring service, the release says. The Shabbat Alive! service will be preceded by a catered Shabbat dinner at 6:15 p.m. Paid reservations for the dinner are due by Feb. 4, the release adds; the cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-12, with no charge for children under 6. Reservations may be mailed to Dinner Com mittee, Temple Emanu-El, 151 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, Florida 34232. The Shabbat Alive! service is free, with no res ervations required. For more information, call 371-2788. %


01 FEB Jazz Club of Sarasota presents Skip Conklings Dixie Mix Feb. 1, 2 to 4 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road. Tickets: $7 for members/$12 for non-members. Information: 366-1552 or jazzclubsarasota. org 01 FEB Old Friends, New Paintings a show featuring artists Craig Ruba doux and Robert Baxter Feb. 1, 6 to 8:30 p.m., opening reception at the Dabbert Gallery, 76 S. Palm Ave.; free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 02 FEB FST Improv Feb. 2 & 8, 8:30 p.m.; Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Admission: $12. Infor mation: 366-9000 or 04 FEB Author Yue Chi discusses her world travels Feb. 4, 6 p.m., Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main Street Free admission. Information: 365-7900 or 08 FEB WSLR presents Richard Smith and Julie Adams Feb. 8, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sara sota. Tickets: $12 ($15 at door); buy tickets at 09 FEB Philadelphia Orchestra with pianist Andre Watts Feb. 9, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Admission: $30-150; 953-3368 or 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 SPANISH MOSS AT SPANISH POINT SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS