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 CITY COMMISSION WRAP-UP MAKING THEIR CASES THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida February 8, 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


Our desire from the very early days of The Sarasota News Leader has been to provide stories you will not nd elsewhere and to high light events and people deserving of more attention than they have received in other news media. This weeks issue perhaps offers more emphasis on the second part of that goal. Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker has written a touching article about the strong support of the Baltimore Orioles for the Miracle League of Manasota: Orioles All Star pitcher Jim Johnson explains very clearly the teams motivation in helping to create a wonderful, safe environment where children and adults with special needs can play baseball. Sports pundits use a lot of ink and airtime to complain about over paid, spoiled athletes. When you read this story, you will have noth ing but admiration for what Johnson and his team mates are doing. On a very different subject: Scott Proftt took the time to attend the rst Ken Thompson Day cele bration in the city of Sarasota. While Scott does a wonderful job of covering the School Board for us, he also has a tremendous love for this com munitys history. Fortunately, he has been more than willing to share that love with readers by covering Historical Society of Sarasota County panel discussions over the past months. The Thompson Day story is another ne effort to help us all understand more about this commu nity and the people who helped mold it. Finally, you do not have to be a fan of ballet to appreciate critic Elinor Rogosins articles about Sarasota Ballet performances. Elinor has such a fascinating background and so much expertise in the world of dance that we should feature her in a story one day. In the meantime, if you want to read a very well written review, take a look this week at her Very pleasant surprises Editor and Publisher WELCOME


THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE SO EVERYONE CAN PLAY BALLNEWS & COMMENTARY CITY COMMISSION WRAP-UP 11 Domestic violence measures narrowly win approval, while the city attorney wrestles with tangled legal questions Stan Zimmerman MAKING THEIR CASES 17 City Commission candidates shadowbox in front of their neighbors Stan Zimmerman THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE 20 The County Commission gives the City Commission a mid-April deadline to determine whether support exists for a bus rapid transit system Rachel Brown Hackney WHERE IDEAS GO TO DIE 25 Analysis: City, County commissioners consult without conclusions Stan Zimmerman GRANDSON OF DROD 31 Greater density on the drawing board for downtown Stan Zimmerman LESS ENERGY EQUALS MORE MONEY 35 The Sarasota County Schools realize $16 million I savings through a ve-year program to reduce energy consumption Scott Proftt SO EVERYONE CAN PLAY BALL 38 The Orioles come to town for more than spring training Cooper Levey-Baker FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH 41 Ringling Museum, Mote, college staffers helping lead the last of this years One Book programs on Unbroken Cooper Levey-Baker NEW CROSSING CONUNDRUMS 44 Crosswalks on Beach Road and Midnight Pass Road posing different sets of problems for drivers on Siesta Key Rachel Brown Hackney AN AGREEMENT REACHED 47 The Sarasota County Attorneys Ofce will recommend the County Commission pay a Siesta property owner $75,000 and vacate 220 feet of right of way to settle a lawsuit Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover Sarasota Sunset Norm Schimmel Sarasota Leisure Spanish Point Tranquility Norm Schimmel


SARASOTA ON THE SILVER SCREEN VERY PLEASANT SURPRISES A DANGEROUS WORLD 50 Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at the Van Wezel, identies threats to U.S. security Vicki Chatley NEWS BRIEFS 52 OPINION EDITORIAL 63 The dark cloud around tourisms silver lining COMMENTARY 65 Years of reection point to the truth about my best friend Harriet Cuthbert LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 66 SARASOTA LEISURE SARASOTA ON THE SILVER SCREEN 69 Local lmmakers preview their new independent movie, Blind Pass, and talk of their hopes for its impact on the areas future in lm Tyler Whitson ASK OTUS 74 When Penguins y: The Audubon Christmas Bird Count nets some rare nds on Siesta Key Otus Rufous VERY PLEASANT SURPRISES 80 Sarasota Ballets own Jamie Carter shows even more promise, but Will Tuckett truly triumphs with Changing Light Elinor Rogosin CELEBRATING KEN THOMPSON 84 Chidsey Center event draws a crowd to offer fond recollections of the man called the architect of Sarasota Scott Proftt SIESTA SEEN 88 County might consider adding parking spaces to municipal lot; maintenance issues raise questions; Clydesdales coming soon Rachel Brown Hackney ARTS BRIEFS 97 RELIGION BRIEFS 105 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 108 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 109 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


CITY COMMISSION WRAP-UP Domestic violence measures narrowly win approval, while the city attorney wrestles with tangled legal questions Stan Zimmerman A set of recommendations for the Florida Legislature won Saraso ta City Commission approval by the barest of margins on Feb. 4. By a 3-2 vote, the commissioners agreed to seek other partners to strengthen their political clout to push changes to state law in the 2014 legislative session, which begins in March. The proposal came from the citys Independent Police Advisory Panel, and it con cerned details of court-ordered injunctions in domestic violence cases. If a spouse petitions a judge for help from an abusive husband (in rare cases, it could be an abusive wife), the judge issues an injunction ordering the husband to stay away from the wife. However, if deputies cannot hand the husband the necessary court papers, the injunction dies because it was not served. Eileen Normile with the advisory panel also proposed the injunction be accompanied by a civil search warrant to seize threatening weapons in the home. ( Full story here ) MAKING THEIR CASES City Commission candidates shadowbox in front of their neighbors Stan Zimmerman The City of Sarasota seems to conduct retail elections, through which an ofce is won or lost by a handful of votes. And many voters rely on their better-informed neighbors to guide them on their choices. Voters in the city who go to the polls March 12 will be able to cast ballots for two of the six candidates running for the City Commissions at-large seats. The top three vote getters will spar in a May runoff, when the odd person is forced out and the top two earn their seats at City Hall. On Feb. 2, the six candidates faced one of their most critical audiences, members of the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations. These are the men and women who are elected to lead their neighborhoods, and they often help their neighbors gure out whom to support in the elections. They know the issues and are passion ate about their city. ( Full story here ) TOP STORIES AT A GLANCE Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080 T HE WILL OF THE PEOPLE The County Commission gives the City Commission a mid-April deadline to determine whether support exists for a bus rapid transit system Rachel Brown Hackney Facing a federal deadline and the risk of jeopardizing federal funding for its existing bus system, the Sarasota County Commis sion voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 5, to give the Sarasota City Commission until April 15 to determine whether it has suf cient constituent interest to support the pursuit of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system for the community. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, who made the motion, characterized the cre ation of new land-use plans to make a BRT viable along with the transportation system itself as means to generate the necessary revenue to save the city from scal collapse. This all comes down to [the fact that] vibrant, successful, desirable cities make great counties, and we want a great city of Sarasota, Barbetta said. Thats why we are here at the table, asking for some help and some input on whether this is a viable plan. ( Full story here ) WHERE IDEAS GO TO DIE Analysis: City, County commissioners consult without conclusions Stan Zimmerman About once a year the Sarasota City and County commissions sit together and try to work out common solutions to common problems. This week, once again, the venue was the Think Tank on the third oor of the Sarasota County Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard. The room had lots of seats, plenty of video screens and even historical panels on the wall to lend perspective to the hardball discussions. Only four items were on the Tuesday, Feb. 5, agenda. And only one maybe got xed. Efforts to resolve the homeless problem, the creation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, extending the term of the Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency, and stormwater drainage issues in north county all were on the agenda. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


GRANDSON OF DROD Greater density on the drawing board for downtown Stan Zimmerman First there was DROD, then Son of DROD. And now a third gen eration is stirring, Grandson of DROD. No, this is not a Japanese movie serial in which a monster stomps on cardboard constructions and people ee for their lives. This is an old squeaking wheel coming back to life: how to create affordable hous ing downtown. DROD stands for Downtown Residential Overlay District, a two-year experiment that permitted developers to jump to 200 dwelling units per acre instead of their having to adhere to the cap of 50 per acre allowed in the citys comprehensive plan except nobody tried it. By allowing increased density, city planners and the City Commission wanted to see if developers might propose building smaller units but a lot more of them to bring prices down or build large rental complexes. The DROD expired long ago, and only one builder Chris Brown gave the idea a spin, but he decided on a conventional mixed-use condominium we now call 1350 Main. ( Full story here ) LESS ENERGY EQUALS MORE MONEY The Sarasota County Schools realize $16 million in savings through a ve-year program to reduce energy consumption Scott Proftt A ve-year contract initiated by the Sarasota County School Board with Cenergistic Inc. (formerly Energy Education Inc.) has resulted in savings of $16 million, the school district has an nounced. The Sarasota News Leader caught up with the districts chief operating ofcer, Scott Lempe, to see how he felt about the program and nd out what is next. First of all, just because our contract is up, doesnt mean our relationship with Cenergistic stops, Lempe said. The contract with us nancially, where they get 30 percent of the savings, has ended, but our relationship otherwise will continue. So I see us still meeting with their mechanical engineers and see them informing us of new technologies and developments they have learned from other sites, Lempe added. We are at the front end of a very long relationship with Cenergistic, he pointed out. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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A set of recommendations for the Florida Legislature won Sarasota City commission approval by the barest of margins on Feb. 4. By a 3-2 vote, the commissioners agreed to seek other partners to strengthen their polit ical clout to push changes to state law in the 2014 legislative ses sion, which begins in March. The proposal came from the citys Inde pendent Police Ad visory Panel, and it concerned details of court-ordered injunctions in domestic vio lence cases. If a spouse petitions a judge for help from an abusive husband (in rare cases, it could be an abusive wife), the judge issues an injunction ordering the husband to stay away from the wife. However, if deputies cannot hand the hus band the necessary court papers, the in junction dies because it was not served. Ei leen Normile with the advisory panel also proposed the injunc The City Commission listens to public comments during an October 2012 meeting. Photo by Nor man Schimmel DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MEASURES NARROWLY WIN APPROVAL, WHILE THE CITY ATTORNEY WRESTLES WITH TANGLED LEGAL QUESTIONS CITY COMMISSION WRAP-UP Seizing property under a civil action is iffy. Are we going to conscate all the kitchen knives? Shannon Snyder Commissioner City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 12 tion be accompanied by a civil search warrant to seize threatening weapons in the home. When a woman testies shes been threat ened with weapons, the judge writes on the in junction to ask the person to surrender them voluntarily, she said. The third element for which Normile request ed commission support was a push to elimi nate the virtually automatic sunset of such an injunction after one year. Commissioner Shannon Snyder asked Sara sota Police Capt. Lucius Bonner for statistics: How many deaths did we have in the city from rearms in a domestic violence case in the past ve years? I dont have that number, but I will get it, said Bonner. We need to get as many people as we can behind this. The judges and lawyers and as many stakeholders as we can. The proposals were strongly supported by Vice Mayor Willie Shaw. Having my sister killed 18 years ago by domestic violence, I am adamantly supporting you, he said. I raised three girls without a mother because of this. It is of great importance that we stay ahead, on the cutting edge. Mayor Suzanne Atwell mentioned her career experiences in handling domestic violence cases as a mental health counselor. We need to stay in the forefront, she said. The Marina Jack complex on the bayfront has won City Commission approval to take over 275 parking spaces, with a city manager sign-off, for special events. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 13 However, Snyder was unconvinced. Seizing property under a civil action is iffy. Are we going to conscate all the kitchen knives? he asked. Almost one-third of these cases are nolle prossed [by the State Attorneys Ofce]. We are going in the right direction, Snyder continued. Domestic violence homicides are down. But the person serving the restraining order is the one most affected. To tote and store all these seized items, that is outside what we should be involved in as a city. The commission approved moving forward in terms of drafting a resolution for the Legisla ture, in collaboration with the State Attorneys Ofce, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce and other municipalities. Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Snyder were in the minority on the 3-2 vote. JUDGE SMACKS CITY OVER SIGN WAVING City Attorney Bob Fournier put two thorny problems before the commissioners Monday. On Feb. 1, 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Rick DeFuria ordered a temporary injunction on the city, banning interference with anybody standing in public right of way with a sign. Fournier knew the ordinance dating from the 1960s would probably be held uncon stitutional on free speech grounds, so he sent an email last September to the Police Department, recommending ofcers not en force it. He also began the process to repeal the ordinance, which passed the rst reading on Jan. 7. While the second reading, which would con rm the repeal, was scheduled for Jan. 22, city police arrested a man in the public right of way on Jan. 17 for holding up a sign saying. Stranded and Hungry, and put him in jail for ve days. The Sarasota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has been watchdogging the city Police Departments treatment of home less and vagrant people; it jumped on the case. Meanwhile, four days after getting out of jail, the man took his sign to the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Fruitville Road. Al though he was not arrested, he was told twice to move on by the police. DeFuria heard the case the next day. Fournier said this second incident tipped the scales for the judge, and thats why this injunction says these people cant be told to move along be cause they are exercising their First Amend ment rights. Fournier is in a jam only the law could create. He is forced to defend an ordinance he knows is unconstitutional and will be repealed. Yet, he does not want the city to remain under a permanent injunction, because that greatly complicates writing and passing a new and presumably constitutional ordinance regard ing public safety. Fournier suggested the City Commission give him authority to appeal DeFurias injunction, because the law provides only a 30-day win dow within which to le an appeal. In addi tion, he wants to meet with the ACLU chapter to see if its members will ask DeFuria to drop the injunction. The commissioners agreed to the talk rst, appeal if necessary tactic.


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 14 GOODWILL GETS A CO Fourniers second legal tangle was how to grant a nal certicate of occupancy to the new Goodwill store on the North Tamiami Trail. The builder was sued by neighbors in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court after the Sarasota Plan ning Board gave its approval to the site plan. Circuit Judge Lee Haworth found the neigh bors did not have standing to le the suit and dismissed it. The neighbors then appealed to the District Court of Appeal, which agreed to rule on the case. While the court case(s) were ongoing, the de veloper decided at his own risk to con tinue construction of the store. He and the city signed an agreement to issue permits. Now construction is complete, and a tempo rary certicate of occupancy has been issued. But that is not good enough for the develop er to get nancing on the completed building. At the same time, the tenant Goodwill would like to move in and get its business up and running, but it is leery of operating in a building with a temporary occupancy permit. Fournier said he does not normally sec ond-guess judicial decisions, but it is possible the appeals court could rule in the neighbors favor and send the case back to Circuit Court for trial. In turn, that could result in a judge again finding in favor of the neighbors meaning the building could possibly be torn down or repurposed to a legal use. And that would probably violate the nancing agree ments. C ity Commissioner Terry Turner moved to withhold the nal certicate of occupancy until the city receives a letter from the banks lawyer acknowledging the issue is in the courts, or put a stamp on the certicate say ing the same thing. The motion passed unan imously. LAUREL PARK PLAT, PARKING PLANS OKD It is the rst new subdivision plat to be led in years, and it was approved unanimously for one of the citys oldest neighborhoods. The Homes of Laurel Park will provide 18 platted lots for new single-family homes. The area can be explosively touchy for a de veloper, but only two people showed up on the issue, and both blessed the new subdivi sion. Former Laurel Park President Kate Lowman said, To date it seems they have every inten tion of doing a good project that will add to the neighborhood. In another neighborhood matter, the city com missioners spurned a unanimous Planning Board negative vote and approved tandem parking for Golden Gate Point. There are many properties that could use tan dem parking, said Commissioner Turner. The commissioners also approved a zoning code change that allows people to park cars one-behind-the-other, as many families do in narrow driveways. Golden Gates neighborhood association op posed tandem parking, saying it would lead


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 15 to residents parking on the street so both cars could be used easily. City Planner Cliff Smith said staff is looking at tandem parking for the proposed North Trail Overlay District. Tandem parking is a tool, he said. Its not unusual to park one behind the other in a driveway. Its used all the time. While the commissioners agreed to the plan, they added a four-year sunset to it. At that time, the city can reexamine the impact. This is about smaller, more compact cities. It is about density, said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. And the commission unanimously granted ad ministrative approval for Marina Jack Inc., by Bayfront Park, to take over 275 parking spac es for special events, if the city manager ap proves a specic request. Right now anything more than 175 spaces requires City Commis sion approval. Normally, the restaurant and marina business has 84 dedicated spaces. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown told the commission administration approval is not automatic. There have been times when its been denied, when it doesnt meet the need, he said. The commissioners will get one more chance to look over the new plan. It will come back for nal approval in the consent section of an upcoming agenda. % The Laurel Park neighborhood will see new development, thanks to City Commission action on Feb. 4. Photo by Norman Schimmel


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The City of Sarasota seems to conduct re tail elections, through which an ofce is won or lost by a handful of votes. And many vot ers rely on their better-informed neighbors to guide them on their choices. Voters in the city who go to the polls March 12 will be able to cast ballots for two of the six candidates running for the City Commissions at-large seats. The top three vote getters will spar in a May runoff, when the odd person is forced out and the top two earn their seats at City Hall. On Feb. 2, the six candidates faced one of their most critical audiences, members of the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations. These are the men and women who are elect ed to lead their neighborhoods, and they often help their neighbors gure out whom to sup port in the elections. They know the issues and are passionate about their city. This was one of the earliest candidate forums of the season, so the campaigners were not yet stuck in verbal ruts or wedded to cer tain issues. Campaigning was still fun, and it showed. THE BIG ISSUES? The forum encompassed six candidates, 11 questions, 90 minutes, a full house and one news reporter. Question one: What are the main issues fac ing the city? Kelvin Lumpkin : Crime and violence in North Sarasota, the looming budget crisis, nding an honorable solution for our home less. Suzanne Atwell: The State Street [park ing] garage; break the impasse over the Quay [property, which remains undeveloped in the City Commission Candidate Kelvin Lumpkin has the mike. Next to him and going down the row are Suzanne Atwell, Richard Dorfman, Pete Theisen, Linda Holland and Susan Chapman. Photo by Stan Zimmerman CITY COMMISSION CANDIDATES SHADOWBOX IN FRONT OF THEIR NEIGHBORS MAKING THEIR CASES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 18 wake of the Great Recession]; reinvigorate the cultural district; more mixed-use on North Trail; and revitalize Rosemary. Richard Dorfman: How we treat our home less, how we deal with policing. The single overriding issue is scal health. A no-growth attitude isnt the road to health. Youre going to be paying more in taxes; count on it. Pete Theisen: I also spoke with [City Fi nance Director Chris] Lyons. He didnt tell me we had to double taxes. He did say we were funding an awful lot of things that are not core government functions. In other words, theres fat in our funding. Linda Holland: The three things Im commit ted to work on: a balance between the devel opment community and our neighborhoods; we need to provide quality public safety; third, we need to promote our cultural, educational and environmental assets. We could do a bet ter job on that. Susan Chapman: Maintain our high quality of life. Economic development. Government stability. Our quality of life is the goose that lays the golden eggs; its why most of us came here. We should not compromise our stan dards for economic development. WHO ARE THEY? In a nutshell, three of the candidates are re tirees: Atwell, Dorfman and Theisen. Atwell was a clinical psychologist; Dorfman was a sports promoter; Theisen was an acupunctur ist. Three hold down jobs: Lumpkin is a Prot estant church leader; Holland is a property manager; Chapman is an attorney. How long have they been here, and where do they live? Lumpkin was born here and lives in north Sarasota. Holland has 30-plus years in Gillespie Park. Chapman has more than 20 years in town; she lives near Hudson Bayou. Atwell has been in town less than 20 years and lives on Bird Key. Theisen lives in Alta Vista near Payne Park and has also lived in Sarasota less than 20 years. Dorfman is the only condominium resident (near the North Tamiami Trail Publix) and has been in town about four years. Four of the candidates have run for City Com mission at least once before: Atwell, Dorfman, Theisen and Holland. Chapman previously ran for a judgeship. Lumpkin is making his rst run for public ofce. THE MOMENTS The big anti-incumbent moment during the CCNA debate involved responses to a question about the sale of city parkland at the Beneva and Fruitville roads intersection to Benderson Development Co. Five of the six candidates had unattering things to say about the pro posed $1 million sale. The fan-dance moment went to the only in cumbent in the race Atwell: Yes it was a 3-2 vote, and certainly I value parkland. But this is a very different case. The diplomatic moment went to Chapman. She was the rst to respond to a very clever question: Since voters can vote for two, who is your second choice? With almost no pause, she responded: I choose Linda [Holland] because of her his tory in the community. And I choose Pete [Theisen] because he makes me laugh. And I choose Suzanne [Atwell] because she has the soft skills. I choose Kelvin [Lumpkin] be cause of his commitment to the High Point [N.C. community policing] strategy. And I choose Richard [Dorfman] for his show busi ness skills and good listening. The other five were basically speechless after that. %


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


Facing a federal deadline and the risk of jeop ardizing federal funding for its existing bus system, the Sarasota County Commission vot ed unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 5, to give the Sarasota City Commission until April 15 to de termine whether it has sufcient constituent interest to support the pursuit of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system for the community. County Commission er Joe Barbetta, who made the motion, characterized the creation of new land-use plans to make a BRT viable along with the transportation system itself as means to generate the necessary revenue to save the city from scal collapse. This all comes down to [the fact that] vi brant, successful, de sirable cities make great counties, and we want a great city of Sarasota, Barbetta said. Thats why we The bus rapid transit system in Portland, OR, is one of the premier systems in the United States, according to Sarasota County staff. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION GIVES THE CITY COMMISSION A MID-APRIL DEADLINE TO DETERMINE WHETHER SUPPORT EXISTS FOR A BUS RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE Do I think the city is emotionally ready to do this? The answers, No. Shannon Snyder Commissioner City of Sarasota By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 21 are here at the table, asking for some help and some input on whether this is a viable plan. Barbetta added, As a resident of the city of Sarasota, I see a stagnant tax base, and if you guys dont redevelop pursuing land-use changes youre going to die. Theres not enough money coming in now to keep up with the expenses, he pointed out, alluding to the citys difculties in trying to gure out how to cover the costs of its pension plans and its police force. A transit system is an added municipal ameni ty, Barbetta noted. All thriving, successful cit ies in the United States offer such service, he added. Although the county BRT application pending with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) focuses on use of the CSX railroad corridor, Barbetta said, the U.S. 41 corridor is the only one that makes sense of all the alternatives the two boards could consider. You can have quality mixed use along that U.S. 41 corridor, with redevelopment similar to Citrus Square downtown, Barbetta contin ued, and end up with a super vibrant corridor that adds [tremendously] to your tax base. City Commissioner Shannon Snyder agreed with Barbetta regard ing the tax base. We are more than stag nant, Snyder said. However, he contin ued, From a politi cal standpoint, I dont think that were ready to do the density that is required to do what you describe. Its political will, Barbetta replied. Unfortunately, we live in this democracy, Snyder said, adding that Barbetta should come to the next City Commission meeting. Do I think the city is emotionally ready to do this? The answers, No. City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said, We need to really have a serious heart-to-heart with folks along the North [Tamiami] Trail and say, How serious are you about redevelop ment? He asked the County Commission to give the City Commission at least 60 days to hold such discussions, adding he hoped his constituents would be able to understand the need to cre ate a sounder scal future for the city. City Commissioner Terry Turner said he was very optimistic that in a two-year or 30-month time frame, we could make very signicant changes in land use. The effort would entail educating city res idents about the multiple issues involved, Turner noted. Adding that the idea would have to be sold to neighborhood residents as well as business owners, County Commissioner Nora Patter son told the city com missioners, If you guys really dont want to undertake [this], its dead to start with, because you are the elected city leaders. Patterson also ex pressed reservations about whether the As a resident of the city of Sarasota, I see a stagnant tax base, and if you guys dont redevelop youre going to die. Theres not enough money coming in now to keep up with the expenses. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 22 city commissioners would be able to sell the idea to enough city residents to pursue the necessary comprehensive plan and zoning code changes to make the needed land-use initiatives possible. Barbetta pointed out, We get elected to make tough decisions. Some tough decisions are go ing to have to be made here, but the alterna tive is a potential 200 percent increase in city property taxes He added, Im not trying to scare anybody, but I dont know how else the city can sur vive. I said a year ago were broke, Snyder re sponded. I have no problem dying on the bat tleeld, but Im telling you I dont think our community will fully embrace this. THE TIMING FACTOR Earlier, Jonathan B. Paul, the countys interim transportation planning director and the principal author of Alachua Countys mobil ity plan explained that if the two boards chose not to pursue the railroad corridor, they would have until September 2014 to le a new BRT application with the FTA. However, Paul pointed out, County Adminis trator Randall Reid needs to know within two months whether the commissions denitely want to pursue a different corridor. He [just] doesnt need to know all the details of it, Paul said of Reid. Turner asked what would happen if the City Commission was approaching the September 2014 deadline with no apparent success in A suggested land-use model that would support a successful bus rapid transit system shows people would not have to walk more than a quarter-mile to a bus stop. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 23 gaining the necessary public support for the land-use changes. Whats the implication for the rest of our non-BRT transit system? Reid replied that he could explain to FTA of cials the initiative fell apart. We wouldnt be the only community that was unsuccessful in doing this, Reid added. However, his preference would be to tell the FTA well before then if it appeared the city and county commissions would be unable to pursue a BRT system, Reid said. On the other hand, Reid pointed out, the coun tys lobbyist had made it plain that once the county was out of the funding cycle for a BRT, it would take many years to gain consider ation again. Barbetta noted, Charlotte County got bounced out [of the funding cycle] for 10 Suggested corridor treatments for a bus rapid transit system show how the bus drivers could use electronic devices to change trafc signals to enable the buses to pull into trafc ahead of other vehi cles. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 24 y ears, and now theyre ghting their way back in. We need millions for [Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)] funding from now on, Reid said. Being out of BRT [consideration] is a minor issue compared to being out of favor with federal ofcials who can hold up money for grants and operating [expenses for SCAT], because that will fall back on us. THE EXPENSES Glama Carter, the countys new general man ager of SCAT, pointed out that the cost of an analysis of an alternate route to the railroad corridor would be about $850,000. Thats even a serious commitment, said Pat terson, unless our city commissioners are go ing to tell us [they want to pursue the U.S. 41 corridor]. During his presentation a shorter version of one he made on Jan. 29 to the County Com mission Paul pointed out that the applica tion the two boards had on le with the FTA was part of the federal governments Small Starts program. With a maximum capital in vestment of $250 million in such a program, he said, the FTA could provide the county a grant of up to $75 million. If the county pursued a BRT system costing $100 million, Paul said, the county would be required to pay $25 million. Paul suggested other grant funds could be found to cover about half million of that ex pense. Paul did caution, More and more this is be coming a very competitive process, so some communities are aiming to cover half their costs on their own. With use of the railroad corridor for the sys tem from downtown Sarasota to Sarasota-Bra denton International Airport, Paul continued, and use of a road corridor such as U.S. 41 to Southgate Mall, the annual operating expense would be about $1.5 million. Alternatives without the use of the railroad corridor would cost about $2.5 million per year to operate, he added. The FTA will put considerable emphasis on how the community plans to pay for the ongo ing costs of a BRT system, Paul pointed out. Reid noted that some communities in the United States are implementing transit taxes to cover BRT system costs. County Commissioner Christine Robinson told the city commissioners the county board learned last week that the cost of providing shelters for all of its existing SCAT stops, as well as replacing 59 SCAT buses, would total close to $80 million. The BRT expenses, she said, would be on top of that. Robinson also cautioned that residents in the southern part of the county would have to be convinced of the importance of putting county resources into the BRT system, even though it would not extend into that part of the county. This is a defining moment for the North Trail, Mayor Suzanne Atwell said. Agreeing with Barbetta on the need to move forward with creating a BRT system, she added, Id like to get it done as soon as possible. %


About once a year the Sarasota City and Coun ty commissions sit together and try to work out common solutions to common problems. This week, once again, the venue was the Think Tank on the third oor of the Saraso ta County Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard. The room had lots of seats, plenty of vid eo screens and even historical panels on the wall to lend per spective to the hard ball discussions. Only four items were on the Tuesday, Feb. 5, agenda. And only one may be got xed. HELP WITH THE HOMELESS By a uke both County Administrator Randall Reid and City Manager Tom Barwin are rela tive newcomers to the community. Reid has tenure of a bit more than a year; Barwin is working on the sixmonth mark. Almost from Day One, Barwin has been con fronted with problems with the homeless and vagrants. Citizen com The Sarasota City Commission and Sarasota County Commission meet in the Think Tank at the County Administration Center in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: CITY, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CONSULT WITHOUT CONCLUSIONS WHERE IDEAS GO TO DIE We would ask the county to mirror what we do in the city. We do not need the city to be a bigger magnet for the homeless. Tom Barwin City Manager Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 26 plaints and American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits have pushed the issue. He came to the joint meeting Feb. 5 hoping to get some county assistance. He earlier empaneled an ad hoc working group to help him understand the local prob lem. The members report the City of Sarasota has about three times the number of homeless people it should, using national statistics re garding the general population and the aver age incidence of homelessness. This is a large squeaking wheel, in other words. Homeless and vagrant people in downtowns Five Points Park prompted Mayor Suzanne Atwell to tell a City Commission audience and viewers watching on TV last fall she did not feel safe downtown. Police pressure moved those groups to Gillespie Park, where neighbors complained. Police pressure then moved them to Central Avenue and the Rose mary Cemetery where they remain. Our [police] ofcers on the streets would ap preciate some thoughtful help. What can we do? Barwin asked both commissions. The preliminary answer from his working group is to put more social workers on the street. We dont have enough caseworkers. These folks are strained to their limits, said Barwin. They believe up to 60 percent [of the home less] are dealing with serious mental health and substance abuse issues. The No. 1 priority is caseworkers. We would ask the county to mirror what we do in the city. We do not need the city to be a bigger magnet for the homeless, he added. Homeless people gather on Central Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 27 But we dont want to push the problem into our sister cities in the county. TRYING FOR TRACTION Barwin was like a runner on a soap-scummed racetrack; he made a lot of effort but very lit tle headway. I have a problem wrapping my arms around government entities taking this on, said County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason. Barwin kept pumping. This will migrate into a discussion of housing. They need to come up with $2,000 for rst and last [months rent] and utilities, he said. There are ways to do this for $400 to $500 per month. If you do the math, I know youll be saving money. They wont end up in the emergency room. I think youll nd well be saving money. Barwin has asked the Community Founda tion of Sarasota County for funding to hire one full-time and two part-time caseworkers. They would cooperate with the police and try to nd help for homeless people. But he ran into a county bureaucratic buzz saw. The myth out there is the county doesnt do a thing for the homeless, said County Com missioner Christine Robinson. Last year our health and human services budget was just under $5 million. In order to get funding, there is a strenuous process those agencies go through with our Human Services Advisory Council. Did you look at what were providing as a county? she asked. Why do you believe it shouldnt be done through another agency? I didnt want to spend months going through all the hoops, said Barwin. Im not sure that will be quicker, said Rob inson. You need to have more of these conversa tions, Mr. Barwin, said Mason. It didnt get like this overnight, and we cant x it over night. Mason concluded the agenda item by saying What Im hearing from my board is, we dont have enough information to make a decision. Robinson softened the blow. Youve heard questions, not a No. The next joint meeting? Maybe a year from now. THE RAILROAD IS DEAD The bus rapid transit (BRT) discussion (cov ered in-depth elsewhere in this issue) was the second item on the agenda, and it was another kill in the Think Tank. City Manager Tom Barwin raises an issue during the joint meeting of the City and County commissions on Feb. 5. Photo by Nor man Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 28 After enormous wrangling, the BRT route was proposed to use the old CSX Railroad route from the airport to near downtown. That was the ofcial and approved plan. But on Tues day, the city and county commissioners killed that idea and picked U.S. 41 instead. The decision will require an explanation to the federal government, which paid more than $800,000 to fund a study that decided the rail road was the best route. To propose U.S. 41, the county must pay $850,000 more for anoth er study explaining why the Tamiami Trail is the best path for a BRT line. THE $4 MILLION GOLD MINE In 2016, when most of the current city and county commissioners will be retired and gone from power, the Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will expire after 30 years of existence. The CRA uses a complex device called tax-increment nanc ing to provide the city today with an extra $4 million in annual tax income. Furthermore, this is $4 million the city can spend as it wants. The only limit: The funds must be spent downtown to ght slum and blight. Over the decades the CRA has paid for a wide variety of uses more police, for example; beautication and infrastructure and much more. But in 2016, the CRA is over. Or is it? City commissioners were all in favor of con tinuing the CRA. None opined how far into the future it should continue, though. County commissioners opinions were divided. Commissioner Joe Barbetta said, Its been successful. We all win if we reinvest in our community. Im for extending it. His only beef: change the administration of it. Commissioner Nora Patterson: The county needs that extra $4 million a year. Im as com mitted to the downtown as anybody at this ta ble. I live in the city. I love the city. But I think extending this is not a good idea. Both the city and county governments have used nancial reserves (e.g., savings) to bal ance their budgets for the past several years during the economic downturn. Those re serves are running dry. County nancial staff ers are already budgeting the CRAs $4 mil lion to return to county coffers in 2016. That means if the CRA is not allowed to die, the county budget starts in the hole in 2016. In other words, this was a prickly discussion between two boards facing another year of decits in their proposed budgets. Their sav ings are dwindling, and neither board wants to propose a property tax increase. A Feb. 5 memo to both boards sent in advance of the meeting notes that county contributions to the CRA through the 2013 scal year have totaled $53.7 million. The estimated remaining county contributions through the CRAs expi ration in Fiscal Year 2016 total $11.4 million. The easy out was to kick the can down the road. Both commissions agreed to nominate people to an ad hoc advisory committee to work with the city manager and county ad ministrator to help them reach a conclusion on the fate of the $4 million. Ordained with unanimous votes of both bodies, the ad hoc fu ture-of-the-CRA advisory board was afrmed. On the way out of the meeting, City Attorney Bob Fournier said the whatever-it-would-be-


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 29 called group should be subject to Floridas Government in the Sunshine Laws. Will the CRA expire in 2016? Politicians yetto-be-elected will decide that question. But in February 2013, the endorsement did not ring. Chalk another one up to as one city staffer described it the Dunk Tank. CLEAN THE DITCH! The only agenda item that may repeat, may result in action concerns stormwater. Northern Sarasota east of the Tamiami Trail still suffers after all these decades from ooding after a major deluge. Flooding is a county responsibility. Reid proposed either a joint meeting or a special brieng for the city commissioners on stormwater mitigation designs such as low-impact development. The combined com missions decided a special brieng was best. Then it was time for public comment. Barbara Langston, the liaison from the Am aryllis Park Neighborhood, wanted to know when the city or the county was going to clear the weeds from the deep ditches along Myrtle Avenue. During heavy rains the road is totally under water, she said. The ditches are overgrown. Weve been trying to get the city to address them. Can we get a schedule when the ditches are cleaned and maintained, and how often that will be done? The county commissioners told Reid to pro vide Langston with a ditch-cleaning schedule. The action concluded the meeting with a de cisive outcome: Clean the ditch! % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. 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


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


The Downtown Improvement District has begun discussions about how to encourage new, denser development other than condominiums in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel GREATER DENSITY ON THE DRAWING BOARD FOR DOWNTOWN GRANDSON OF DROD By Stan Zimmerman City Editor First there was DROD, then Son of DROD. And now a third gener ation is stirring, Grandson of DROD. No this is not a Japanese movie serial in which a monster stomps on cardboard constructions and people ee for their lives.


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 32 This is an old squeaking wheel coming back to life: how to create affordable housing down town. DROD stands for Downtown Residen tial Overlay District, a two-year experiment that permitted devel opers to jump to 200 dwelling units per acre instead of their having to adhere to the cap of 50 per acre allowed in the citys comprehen sive plan except nobody tried it. By allowing increased density, city planners and the City Commission wanted to see if de velopers might propose building smaller units but a lot more of them to bring prices down or build large rental complexes. The DROD expired long ago, and only one builder Chris Brown gave the idea a spin, but he decided on a conventional mixeduse condominium we now call 1350 Main. The idea of increasing density is coming back, and the Downtown Improvement District ap pears ready to embark on an education and persuasion campaign to convince residents, voters and politicians density is not all bad. Under the DROD, it wasnt economically fea sible to provide attainable units unless it was with a 300 to 400 percent density increase, or 150 to 200 [dwelling units per acre], said Dick Smith, the city planner who is the gen eral manager for integration. The minimum prot developers were looking at was in the 23-25 percent range. Nationally, the gure was around 18 percent, but with the high cost of land and construction, it wasnt doable. District Chairman Ernie Ritz said one problem is putting together a parcel. It is nearly im possible for a develop er to assemble an acre of land downtown, he said. But a small er parcel, say 20,000 square feet, you could build 22 units. For a rental, you could probably get $1,000 per month. Or you could build 22 condominiums and charge $800,000 and make $16 million in stead. Ritzs numbers make a point. A condo deal ($800,000 x 22 units = $17,600,000, minus land, construction and marketing costs) is certainly more attractive than $264,000 in annual rent payments, assuming all units are full all the time. The rent money might not even pay the interest on the construction loan. The DROD offer sunsetted in 2006. A Son of DROD proposal offered similar density in creases but over a smaller area; it, too, died. Ritz and others are gearing up to try it again, and they think the environment may be more favorable this time. Land prices are roughly half what they were at the peak of the boom, for example. This will need broad community support, said Smith. You might want to start in a small er area. Last year the City Commission held a retreat to talk about big issues and to set ambitious From what Ive seen over the years, the city and county have missed the boat on developing Sarasota. William Pettey Member Downtown Improvement District


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 33 The 1350 Main condominium complex towers over neighbors along Main Street in downtown Sara sota. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 34 goals. Increasing downtown density is one of the City Commissions strategic goals, said Senior Planner Steve Stancel. It is cheaper to put more people in already developed areas because they will not need new roads, new sewer lines, new water lines, new libraries and schools and all the rest. However, that has not been the Florida expe rience. Growth management in the state is kind of a failure, said Smith. Counties are providing urban services at very low densities, one unit on a quarter-acre lot. It makes eco nomic sense to have higher densities in urban boundaries. DID board member William Pettey is normal ly quiet at the meetings. But on this issue, he erupted. I like Sarasota the way it was in 1960. Thats my philosophy. From what Ive seen over the years, the city and county have missed the boat on developing Sarasota, he said. My concept is, to increase density downtown, we need the [proposed transpor tation] circulator already in place. They stim ulate economic development. We need to have something in place to get developers to want to come in and develop the area. Without in centives for developers to come in, its not go ing to y. We will need some type of density increase. The board members agreed to do homework on DROD and Son of DROD, then discuss their thoughts at the next meeting. By coincidence later in the afternoon, the city and county commissioners talked about changing land use along the North Tamiami Trail to support a bus rapid transit system another possible density change in the land development regulations. % 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


A ve-year contract initiated by the Saraso ta County School Board with Cenergistic Inc. (formerly Energy Education Inc.) has resulted in savings of $16 million, the school district has announced. The Sarasota News Leader caught up with the districts chief operating ofcer, Scott Lempe, to see how he felt about the program and nd out what is next. First of all, just because our contract is up, doesnt mean our relationship with Cenergis tic stops, Lempe said. The contract with us nancially, where they get 30 percent of the savings, has ended, but our relationship oth erwise will continue. So I see us still meeting with their mechanical engineers and see them informing us of new technologies and devel opments they have learned from other sites, Lempe added. We are at the front end of a very long rela tionship with Cenergistic, he pointed out. According to the press release, the Polk Coun ty school district has continued working with Cenergistic for free and for a very long time. The [Polk County] district has been out of contract with the company for over 20 years, but [it] still [receives] training for new ener gy managers, data assistance free nation Thermal energy storage tanks are used at Riverview High School in Sarasota. All photos courtesy Sarasota County Schools THE SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOLS REALIZED $16 MILLION IN SAVINGS THROUGH A FIVE-YEAR PROGRAM TO REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION LESS ENERGY EQUALS MORE MONEY By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 36 al training conferences and engineering ser vices, said Alisha Burris, an energy manager with the Sarasota district, in the release. However, Cenergistic is by no means an elee mosynary organization. Referring to the rms receipt of 30 percent of the savings, Lempe pointed out, They proba bly got about a million dollars a year The contract began in 2007 after Lempe con vinced the School Board of the programs po tential, after meeting with representatives of the rm. The program was funded solely by the sav ings it generated, and it allowed the district to allocate those savings to other priorities, ac Equipment monitors the temperature and humidity level in each classroom at McIntosh Middle School in Sarasota. A multizone air handler also has a carbon di oxide sensor to ensure good air quality.


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 37 cording to district Communications Specialist Scott Ferguson in the press release. In 2007, when the program began our kilo watt-per-hour usage was almost 100 million, said district Energy Manager Jon Hampton in the press release. By 2011 that usage was reduced by 13 million to 87 million kilowatts per hour, even though we added three new schools during that period. On top of all that, the district was able to take advantage of rebates offered by Florida Pow er & Light Co. to realize about $2.2 million in additional savings, the news release notes. Part of what we do is take the rebates we get from FPL and reinvest [them] in further ener gy-saving technologies, added Lempe. School Board member Caroline Zucker, who was on the board when the Cenergistics agree ment was approved, concurred with Lempe that the contract period may be over, but the work will go on, not only to maintain but also to enhance energy conservation measures. I think we need to continue to move for ward, she said. We need to encourage the behavioral changes turning off lights, turn ing off computers, things like that. We wont see the large decreases in energy usage, she added. Weve accomplished that, but we can still improve, Zucker said. Lempe agreed. I think we still need to work on behavior, he said. I think you need to remind people of that all the time, like when you walk out the door, turn off the light. That sounds silly, but weve got 8.8 million square feet of oor space [throughout the district]. Turning off the lights matters. And then well continue to look at things like systematically shutting down or putting to sleep the computer systems when they are not in use. Some of the highlights of the energy conser vation program have been reported to the School Board, the release noted: Three district schools recently earned the Energy Star Award from the U.S. Environ mental Protection Agency: Atwater Ele mentary in North Port, Pine View School in Osprey and Riverview High School in Sarasota. Earning the award means these schools operate in the top 25 percent of schools across the U.S. in responsible en ergy use. The bus garage at the districts Transporta tion Department uses energy-saving induc tion lighting in its service bays. Demand-controlled ventilation, a method of ensuring cost-effective air ventilation while maximizing indoor air quality, has been in stalled district-wide where appropriate. Efcient, cost-saving light-emitting diode (LED) lighting has been installed at Gulf Gate Elementary and McIntosh Middle schools, both in Sarasota. The district continuously researches alterna tive energy technologies, such as solar and wind. Solar-panel arrays are in place at Atwa ter Elementary, Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota and Pine View School, and as the initial cost of implementing this cost-sav ing technology continues to decrease, district ofcials hope to add more solar arrays. %


Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson/Photo courtesy Jeff Lantz SO EVERYONE CAN PLAY BALL


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 39 A Sarasota nonprofit that gives kids and adults with special needs the chance to play the American pastime is set to get a nancial boost from the Baltimore Orioles and their All Star closer on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The Miracle League of Manasota came togeth er ve years ago with a plan to build a rubber ized baseball eld to allow those with special needs the chance to swing a bat, round the bases and shag y balls. Working with Saraso ta County, the League took over an underuti lized softball eld in Longwood Park, just south of University Parkway. Last March, the League hosted its rst 10week season, with games held every Saturday morning. It drew a little more than 50 partici pants right off the bat, a number that jumped to more than 90 during the Leagues subse quent fall season. While the county has been a major partner, the League has also received big-league help from the two pro teams that spend their spring in the area: the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles, who together contrib uted $150,000 for the eld. For the Orioles, the commitment is ongoing. The team, whose spring training session kicks off in Sarasota in just two weeks, will hold its third annual Bird land Golf Classic at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher Scott McGregor (far right), Orioles closer Jim Johnson (sec ond from right) and other Birdland Golf Classic participants. Photo courtesy Jeff Lantz THE ORIOLES COME TO TOWN FOR MORE THAN SPRING TRAINING By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 40 Who made the connection with the Orioles happen? All Star closer and Sarasota resident Jim Johnson, says Sherwin Taradash, the Bird land event chairman and a Miracle League board member. Three years ago, Jim Johnson spearhead ed the movement with the Orioles after they came to town, to develop a relationship with a charity, Taradash says. And he heard of the Miracle League and thought it would be a per fect t, baseball-baseball. He basically lobbied the Orioles to take it on as a charity of choice and he was going to take the lead on it. Taradash calls past Birdland tournaments an amazing success. In two years, the event has raised more than $56,000 for the Miracle League, according to an Orioles press release. Johnson says the goal for this years tourna ment is to raise something in the high 30-thou sands. While phase one of construction is complete, the League wants to build a conces sion stand, accessible bathrooms, a storage facility and a covered patio, and that is where future donations will go. Johnson brought teammates to last years Miracle League season, and their response was beyond enthusiastic. This year, Ive got to keep guys away from the tournament, be cause I dont have enough spots for everyone, he says. Taradash notes there are more than 200 elds like the Miracle Leagues around the country, and that the impact of playing baseball on the life of a child or adult with special needs is tremendous. The chance to play baseball in a safe environment, on a eld that is easy to get around on with a wheelchair or other as sistance, gives players the opportunity to ex perience something that was previously com pletely off-limits, he says. The greatest experience to understand it is to come to a game, and youll see the smiles on the kids and youll see the tears in their parents eyes, Taradash adds. Its really a heartfelt thing. Its a great opportunity for the parent or the guardian to have a bit of a break in a fun way. When you go and watch and see what hap pens when those kids get on the eld, you re alize that what youre doing is worthwhile, Johnson says. Theres really no other reason to do it. There are some things you have to witness yourself. Johnson says that once the Longwood eld is complete, the next step is to help the Mir acle League sustain itself from year to year. Taradash agrees, and thinks the Birdland Golf Classic will be a reliable source of operating capital for the long term. Hopefully itll be on autopilot in a couple years, where the tournaments just sold out every year and we can relax and have fun, Johnson says, and I can move on to another project. The Birdland Golf Classic begins with registration and lunch at 11 a.m. Wednes day, Feb. 20, with a shotgun start set for 12:30 p.m. The tournament is held at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 7650 Legacy Blvd., Bradenton. For more information, contact the Miracle League of Manasota at 941-225-2966 or via info@ %


The cover of Laura Hillenbrands Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Re demption, the One Book One Community vote winner. Photo courtesy FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 42 One Book One Community the Sarasota County Libraries attempt to get as many res idents reading the same book at the same time as possible, hits its big nale this month, with a string of free events that dovetail with the books major themes. Last summer, county residents were asked to help pick which book the community should read, and thousands of voters weighed in on line and at libraries, Sarasotas Bookstore 1 and Venices Books-a-Million, eventually se lecting Laura Hillenbrands Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Re demption The books popularity should be no surprise: It spent 100 consecutive weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and it has picked up a dandy handful of prizes. Unbroken is the nonction odyssey of Louis Zamperini, an American Olympian-turned-air man whose bomber crashed in the Pacic Ocean in 1943. Surviving 47 days at sea, Zam perini was eventually captured by the Japa nese and kept in a prisoner of war camp till the end of World War II. Hillenbrand, best known as the author of Seabiscuit spent sev en years writing the book, and when it was nally published in 2010, she had a hit on her hands. According to libraries Outreach Coordinator Barb McDonald, Hillenbrand is not well and unable to travel to Sarasota for the One Book festivities or to participate via Skype. So rath er than build their event calendar around the authors participation, the libraries reached out to a wide range of community partners to create events that echo the books themes and history. Next Wednesday, Feb. 13, for example, New College history professor Justus Doenecke will discuss the origins of the war in the Pa cic, specically the events that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor, on the New Col lege campus. And the day after that, Ringling Museum librarian Alexa Torchynowycz will discuss the Merci Train, the boxcars loaded with gifts of thanks from the French people that were distributed around the U.S. after World War II. The Ringling Museum ended up with some of the Florida trains contents, and Torchynowycz will present and discuss some one-of-a-kind books, propaganda posters and advertisements the museum has in its posses sion. McDonald says the Unbroken selection is bringing out a different One Book crowd. It is the rst nonction work selected in the past few years, and the last two winners ( The Book Thief and The Hunger Games) were young adult titles. Unbroken book discussion groups and related lm screenings have been going solid for a while now, and McDonald says the events are drawing hundreds of folks, skew ing older than in past years. She does not know how many folks will at tend the urry of February dates, but a Hun ger Games event drew 350 residents, so her expectations are high. McDonald is building buzz for the home stretch by schlepping all COMMUNITY MEMBERS, RINGLING MUSEUM STAFF HELPING LEAD THE LAST OF THIS YEARS ONE BOOK PROGRAMS ON UNBROKEN By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 43 over the county, handing out posters and y ers to get the word out. There are only a few weeks left. Ive had four cups of coffee, she says, so Im a driving machine. This months remaining One Book One Com munity events, from the One Book website : 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 : Professor Emeritus of History Justus Doenecke will present The Coming of the Pacic War: The Events That Led to the Attack on Pearl Harbor at Sainer Auditorium, New College of Florida, 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14: Librarian Al exa 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 at the Uni versity of South Florida Sarasota-Manatees Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Topics include Broadcasting Consent: War Propaganda on the Airways; The B-24 and Beyond; Hideki Tojo: Un derstanding the Enemy; Bushido: Contex tualizing Japanese POW Treatment; and The Scars That Dont Show: The POW Ef fect. 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 : Stacy Spriggs, community and school gardens co ordinator with Sarasota County University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultur al Sciences Extension, will present The History of Victory Gardens: A World War II Homefront Effort at the Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota. % You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions. Naguib Mahfouz


With Sarasota County expecting bids on Feb. 13 for the illumination of seven crosswalks in Siesta Village, two new crosswalk issues arose during the Feb. 5 general meeting of the Siesta Key Village Association. Peter van Roekens, vice president of the Si esta Key Association and a Terrace East rep resentative to the SKVA meetings, raised the new matter this week: The four pedestrian crossing caution signs near the main entrance to Siesta Public Beach are constantly blink ing, van Roekens said. (Van Roekens is also the person who broached the need for Village crosswalk lighting in Jan uary 2012.) Drivers become so inured to the situation on Beach Road, he indicated, that the lights are ignored. It looks like somebodys coming, always crossing, he said, and, obviously, thats a dangerous thing. When he checked with Ryan Montague in the countys Trafc/Mobility Ofce the same person involved with the bollards initiative for the Village crosswalks van Roekens said, Montague reported, Its a matter of program ming the signs. The lights could be adjusted to come on only when someone pushes the button on the sign Siesta Key business owners say pedestrians are not watching for trafc before entering new cross walks on Midnight Pass Road. At the same time, some vehicles are stopping because of the Stop here signs (far right), even when no one is in a crosswalk. File photo CROSSWALKS ON BEACH ROAD AND MIDNIGHT PASS ROAD POSING DIFFERENT SETS OF PROBLEMS FOR DRIVERS ON SIESTA KEY NEW CROSSING CONUNDRUMS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


in preparation for crossing Beach Road, van Roekens added. Obviously, that is the way its supposed to be, he noted. Montague had no idea why the signs have been blinking continuously, Van Roekens said. Deputy Chris McGregor of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce pointed out that when ofcers asked about the lights a cou ple of years ago, they were told sand ac cumulation had caused problems with the programming. We brought up the same concerns, McGregor said: that they are constantly blinking. Van Roekens responded that Montague gave him no indication that sand was the reason for the need to reprogram the mech anisms. Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 45 The minute they push that button, the lights come on and these people cross the street. Maura Thompson Jonnys Free Beach Rides


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 46 Van Roekens remarks prompted comments from other members about problems with the six new pedestrian crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road between the Beach Road and Stick ney Point Road intersections. Those were in stalled last year at the request of residents who wanted to improve pedestrian safety along that 1.2-mile stretch of road. Maura Thompson with Jonnys Free Beach Rides at rst thought van Roekens was re ferring to those new crossings. After he ex plained he was discussing the crosswalks near the public beach, she pointed out that pedes trians especially in the area of Palm Bay Club are not staying alert to trafc as they enter Midnight Pass Road. The minute they push that button, the lights come on and these people cross the street, she told the approximately 22 SKVA members present. Although her vehicle does not operate faster than 25 mph, she added, she barely has had time to stop for people in the crosswalks. The problem is thats a state road, McGregor said, while Beach Road is a county road. McGregor added that the state ordinance gov erning such crosswalks makes it clear that a person has to look for trafc before walking into the road. I totally understand, he told Thompson. Theyve jumped out in front of me before and they go, Hey! Youve got to stop! McGregor added, I always pull over and I ed ucate them. Van Roekens suggested the possibility of in stalling signs at those crosswalks, right above the buttons that activate the lights, advising people to make certain trafc stops before they start crossing. However, Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who was attending the meet ing, questioned whether anyone would take time to read a sign. Youre right; theyre not, Thompson said. One SKVA member suggested that in spite of the problems, the new crosswalks still create a safer environment for pedestrians on that part of Midnight Pass Road. Nonetheless, Thompson said, Im telling you, Im really concerned. Well look into that [situation], van Roekens replied. It scares me, Thompson added. I actual ly slow down at every one, even if no ones there, because Im so petried. Common sense, I would believe, says that you look [before crossing], SKA Director Michael Shay interjected, even if a pedestri an does have the right of way at those cross walks. These are all new this year to snowbirds, McGregor pointed out of the crosswalks, add ing that education will be the key to resolving the problems. Yet one other problem with those six new crosswalks, SKVA Director Mark Smith not ed, is confusion created by the signs erected yards in front of the crosswalks, which advise motorists about where to stop. He was recent ly following one vehicle that slammed on the brakes parallel to that sign, even though no one was in the crosswalk, he said. %


Sarasota County attorneys reached a tentative settlement with Siesta Village property own er Chris Brown during mediation on Feb. 1 regarding his third lawsuit against the county since 2007, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh told The Sarasota News Leader this week. It is tentative because any settlement must be approved by the [County] Commission, De Marsh wrote in an email. The administration and Ofce of the County Attorney will rec ommend the settlement and seek Commission action, he added. On Feb. 5, DeMarsh wrote the News Leader I will be sending the Commission a memo to day. The Commission will be asked to consid er the tentative settlement at its next regular meeting. The two essential terms are that the County will pay Plaintiffs $75,000 for a full and nal release and the Commission will need to vacate a very small section of right-of-way. The Hub Baja Grill stands at the four-way-stop intersection on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village. It is partly obscured by the gazebo as trafc approaches the intersection on Canal Road. Photo by Nor man Schimmel THE SARASOTA COUNTY ATTORNEYS OFFICE WILL RECOMMEND THE COUNTY COMMISSION PAY A SIESTA PROPERTY OWNER $75,000 AND VACATE 220 FEET OF RIGHT OF WAY TO SETTLE A LAWSUIT AN AGREEMENT REACHED By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 48 The 220 square feet of right of way is along Avenida Messina, adjacent to Browns restau rant The Hub Baja Grill. The Hub is located at the intersection of Avenida Messina and Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village. The agreement says the payment should be made within 20 days of the County Commis sions approval of the settlement at the next available Board meeting. The boards next regular meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 in Venice. It also stipulates that each party shall pay their own costs and fees. DeMarshs memo to the County Commission pointed out that Brown claimed more than $1.7 million in damages. Brown led the lawsuit after his 2011 tax bill showed three of his assessments in an ongo ing effort to pay off Siesta Villages cost of the municipal parking lot between Avenida Made ra and Avenida de Mayo had gone up for that year. At the same time, assessments for all the other parcels had gone down in Siesta Village. Some of the other Village properties had seen decreases of up to 30 percent. Browns assessments for The Hub and The Cottage doubled in 2011. The assessment for his Avenida Messina parcel where Blu Que Is land Grill stands went up about 1,500 percent, according to the lawsuit. Reached by the News Leader on Feb. 5, Brown said he would prefer not to comment until af The municipal parking lot in Siesta Village has been a factor in all three lawsuits Chris Brown has led against Sarasota County. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 49 ter the County Commission votes on the set tlement. However, Browns attorney, Morgan Bentley of Bentley & Bruning in Sarasota, did say of DeMarshs memo, This looks like a fair sum mary of the agreement. We are very hopeful that this will be approved by the Commission and the parties can put this unfortunate situ ation behind them once and for all. During their Jan. 30 regular meeting, the com missioners turned down a $315,000 offer from Brown to settle the case. That unanimous vote followed a 90-minute executive session the board held with DeMarsh and Assistant County Attorney David M. Pearce, who has been handling the case. An Aug. 16, 2012 memo DeMarsh provided to the County Commission as part of his Feb. 5 memo noted that Browns rst lawsuit against the county was led in 2007. It involved allega tions that a last-minute decision by then-Zon ing Administrator Tina Crawford to deny Brown a certicate of occupancy for his new Hub Baja Grill in Siesta Village caused Brown to lose about three months of revenue. The case revolved around the number of parking spaces for the restaurant relative to its seating capacity. That lawsuit eventually was amended in July 2009. The county settled it in November 2009 after mediation. Brown had claimed about $180,000 in damages and attorneys fees. The settlement in that case, the memo notes, comprised the following terms: The county paid $35,000 to Brown. The county vacated a portion of the right of way along Ocean Boulevard adjacent to The Hub to resolve a pending code enforcement issue. (Brown had been cited for having restaurant tables over his boundary line.) The county afrmed his special music ex ception, which allows him to provide live music later into the night than any other establishment in the Village: from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. seven days a week; the sound level cannot exceed 85 decibels as measured at the property boundary. Browns second lawsuit against the county, led on Jan. 31, 2011, alleged he once again had been assessed inappropriately for park ing expenses. The county settled that suit by paying Brown $2,500. It was about a month after he received that payment, he said, when he received the 2011 tax bill with the charges that were the focus of the third lawsuit. The County Commission voted 4-1 on Dec. 4, 2012 to pay off the rest of the cost of the municipal parking lot in Siesta Village, citing inequity in the way staff had gured the park ing assessments through the years. (Commis sioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, cast the No vote.) A memo to the board from county Chief Engineer James K. Harriott Jr., also sent on Dec. 4, said anticipated reve nues from assessments for the 2013 scal year were $47,811, leaving an anticipated debt of $286,868 for the lot. The countys general fund would absorb the remaining amount, Harriotts memo noted. %


The security challenges facing the United States were the focus of remarks by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Feb. 5 before a full auditorium at the Van Wezel Per forming Arts Hall in Sarasota. Gates, the second speaker in the Ringling College Library Associations Town Hall 2013 lecture series, began his career in public service in 1966 as an entry-level employee of the Central Intelli gence Agency (CIA). In 1974 he joined the staff of the National Security Council, serving under three pres idents before returning to the CIA in 1979, where he later became deputy director and, in 1991, director. His rst retirement from government service came in 1993, but he an swered the call again when nominated to be come secretary of defense in 2006. In describing the areas that present security threats, Gates briey mentioned Korea. He dealt in more depth with China, which he described as a growing power that has huge Becky Gates holds the Bible as Robert M. Gates (center) is sworn in as the 22nd secretary of defense by Vice President Dick Cheney (right) at the Pentagon, Dec. 18, 2006. President George W. Bush (left) looks on. Gates was conrmed Dec. 6, 2006, by the U.S. Senate in a 95-2 vote. Defense Depart ment photo by Helene C. Stikkel FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES, SPEAKING AT THE VAN WEZEL, IDENTIFIES THREATS TO U.S. SECURITY A DANGEROUS WORLD Not a single Arab state has building blocks for democracy. Robert Gates U.S. Secretary of Defense Retired By Vicki Chatley Contributing Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 51 cash reserves. However, he views China as seeking to sustain economic growth that is fundamentally unsustainable. To divert atten tion from economic problems resulting from slowing export trade, Chinese leaders are pro moting nationalism. Gates sees no reason for China and the U.S. to be enemies. The Middle East received detailed attention. In Gates opinion the tectonic plate of the Middle East has shattered. Old regimes have been destroyed with nothing to replace them. Fledgling governments, such as in Egypt and Syria, are weak. He stated, Not a single Arab state has building blocks for democracy. According to Gates, Iran does present a nucle ar threat, particularly with respect to Israel. He stated it would be catastrophic if Israel, which lacks the capability to destroy all [Ira nian] nuclear facilities, were to attack Iran, a country that has virtually no military ability to attack the U.S. The assault could result in a signicant disrup tion in the ow of oil, he pointed out. He believes the United States must retain mil itary forces in the Middle East. Gates described Afghanistan as presenting steep challenges. He is concerned that if the U.S. exits too quickly, the Taliban will take over and increase its power. He believes the U.S. objective should be to degrade the mil itary ability of the Taliban and increase sup port, including nancial aid, for the Afghan government. Although he believes military force should be the last resort, not the rst option, in Gates opinion slashing the defense budget makes no sense. He also addressed the dysfunction in Wash ington, calling the capital a place where few are lost in thought because its unfamiliar ter ritory. He cited gerrymandering, the decline of tough power brokers in Congress and the extremist voices of the media as reasons for the inability to reach bipartisan agreement on the issues of the day. In addition, the country must get its nances in order while, at the same time, he said, the United States leaders must put patriotism and national interest above party politics. In spite of a world that is getting more bel ligerent and dangerous, Gates is fundamen tally optimistic that the United States has the power and means to overcome its problems. A lively question-and-answer session followed the formal presentation. Among the highlights: Gates supports women in combat; a voluntary military force is preferable to returning to the draft; and he has never seen a movie or read a book that gets the CIA right except Argo which he says is for the most part an amaz ingly accurate portrayal. % Robert Gates (right) meets with then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Jan. 14, 2007. Photo by Cherie A. Thurlby, Department of Defense


F or the third consecutive year, Sarasota Coun ty libraries and the Baltimore Orioles are teaming up to promote reading through the Orioles Big League Reader program. Children who sign up for the program and read three or more books in the month of Feb ruary will receive a reserved grandstand ticket to the Thursday, March 14, game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium, the team and the county have announced. During the month of February, children ages 6 and up who check out three or more books from any Sarasota County public library will receive a Home Run Reading Card, a county news release says. After they nish the books and return them to the library, a library staff member will initial the childrens Home Run Reading Cards, which they may trade in for a reserved grandstand ticket to the game at Ed Smith Stadium. Its a great program that kids love to take part in, said Sarabeth Kalajian, director of Saraso ta County Libraries, in the release. Most start out with the intention of reading the books so they can get a ticket to the game, and in the end they win not only a great day at the ball park, but also a lifetime of discovery through reading. Last season, more than 130 Sarasota-area chil dren completed the program and were eligible to receive a free ticket to an Orioles spring training game. LIBRARIES AND BALTIMORE ORIOLES TEAM UP TO PROMOTE READING NEWS BRIEFS The boxes begin to stack up outside the Baseball Operations Center, awaiting the baseball players themselves. The rst Orioles home game in Sarasota is set for Feb. 23 against the Minnesota Twins. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 53 March 14 is also Kids Run the Bases Day, the release points out. Following the game, all youngsters 14 and under will be invited onto the eld to take their turn running the bases. The Baltimore Orioles are proud to team with Sarasota Countys libraries to encour age youngsters to read, said Greg Bader, vice president of communications & marketing for the Orioles, in the release. Youth literacy is a key community initiative supported by the Orioles, and we are excited to reward Big League Readers with a day at Ed Smith Sta dium. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask about the Big League Reader program or visit www. The rst Von Paris moving and storage truck, representing the rm that has moved the Baltimore Orioles between their spring training and home facilities since 1991, arrived at Ed Smith Stadium on the morning of Feb. 3 a sure sign games will be getting under way soon in Sarasota. Orioles staff was on hand to greet the truck and begin unloading equipment into the Baseball Operations Center near the corner of Euclid Avenue and 11th Street. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 54 The 100th domestic partnership was regis tered within the City of Sarasota last week, less than three months after the program be gan, the city has announced. The success of the registry has generated in terest from other Florida municipalities inquir ing about possibly using the City of Sarasotas program as a model, a city news release says. After the City Commission approved the pro gram, registrations began Nov. 6, 2012. The registry offers domestic partners many rights within the city limits, including health care decisions, hospital visitations, correc tional facility visitations and funeral decisions, 100TH DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRATION RECORDED IN CITY the release notes. City of Sarasota residents as well as non-residents may register. Partners may register in the Ofce of the City Auditor and Clerk, located in Room 110 with in City Hall, 1565 First St. Registration hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. Appointments also may be scheduled by contacting the Ofce of the City Auditor and Clerk: 954-4160. More information on the domestic partnership registry may be found here where frequently asked questions and other important informa tion is posted, the release points out. Sarasota County will hold seven open housestyle meetings this month on the draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. Attendees will have the opportunity to view the draft plan and maps, which identify ex isting facilities and high-priority areas for im provements, and to ask questions and provide comments, a county news release says. The meetings, 5 to 7 p.m., will be held as fol lows in north county: Wednesday, Feb. 6, Longwood Run Park, 6050 Longwood Run Blvd., Sarasota. Monday, Feb. 11, Sabal Palm Bank, 5101 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Wednesday, Feb. 13, Robert L. Taylor Com munity Complex, 1845 34th St., Sarasota. SEVEN OPEN HOUSES SET ON DRAFT BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN PLAN Wednesday, Feb. 20, Bee Ridge Park, 4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road. Thursday, Feb. 21, Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota. Tuesday, Feb. 26, Siesta Key Chapel, 4615 Gleason Ave., Siesta Key. Wednesday, Feb. 27, Selby Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota. Five open houses were held in south county in January, the release points out. The draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan iden ties a vision, mission and purpose for a bi cycle and pedestrian network and provides a framework to promote and encourage safe and efcient bicycle and pedestrian travel within Sarasota County, the release adds. It recognizes key partnerships and ongoing ef


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 55 forts to increase the safety and education of bicyclists and pedestrians, the release notes. The draft plan includes facility design types and graphics, points out existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities and recommended con nections and identies opportunities and de ciencies in the network for improvements, the release says. The plan is an essential tool for the county to use when applying for grant funds from state, federal and nonprot orga nizations, it points out. In addition to the open houses, the county has extended through Feb. 28 the opportunity for public input and comments on the draft plan via the countys wiki site. A link to the wiki may be found online at the Sarasota County The Sarasota County draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan includes a map showing existing bike paths. Map courtesy Sarasota County website, keyword Pedestri an. After submitting a valid email address and agreeing to follow the civility code, users will be sent a password via email for this citizen feedback tool. After the wiki is closed and the open hous es have been held, county staff will prepare a summary on the citizen feedback for the County Commission and present the draft plan to the commission this spring, the release says. For additional information, contact the Sara sota County Call Center at 861-5000 or email


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 56 A distinguished panel will discuss What You Need to Know about ObamaCare at the NOVA Republican Clubs monthly meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 6:15 to 8 p.m. at the Nokomis Community Center, 234 Nippino Trail, No komis, the club has announced. The event is free. Non-members and guests are welcome. NOVA CLUB TO DISCUSS OBAMACARE The panelists will include Dr. Michael Patete, an otolaryngologist; Joan Farnham, an insur ance expert with AFLAC; Andres Malave with Americans for Prosperity; and Frank Patti, a retired health pension and benet executive, a club news release says. Dr. Joe Neunder, with Sarasota Spinal Mechanics, will moderate. For additional information, contact Frank Pat ti at 408-7423 or visit With more than $970,000 in donations so far, the generous Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto region is nearing the $1 million fundraising goal for Season of Sharing, the annual campaign that benets thousands of individuals and families on the verge of home lessness, The Patterson Foundation has an nounced. This year, however, there is still the oppor tunity for approximately $60,000 in new or increased donations to be matched through The Patterson Foundation funds that can be used to help an additional 500 families on the verge of homelessness, a news release notes. To inspire the community to fulll the match, Charles and Margie Barancik stepped in with a $100,000 capping challenge. This means the Baranciks will donate $100,000 if the commu nity raises the $60,000 in new or increased donations, the release points out. If both are achieved, The Patterson Foundations offer of a $500,000 match will be a success. Weve come to love Sarasota over decades and Season of Sharing is a demonstration of the generosity we love about this communi ty, says Margie Barancik in the release. Our eyes have been opened that not everyone can share in such an enhanced life here. We know Sarasota will rise to the occasion, she adds. Each year, Season of Sharing thrives from the generosity of many people from all walks of life. Nearly three quarters of the 3,100 gifts re ceived during last years campaign were $100 or less, the release points out. The all-encom passing community support makes the differ ence for those in need. As a front line agency, the Community Co alition on Homelessness relies on the com passion and generosity of our community, says Joe Mercado, operations manager for the Manatee County based Coalition, in the release. In the last few years, we have seen a huge increase in families and children need ing help and these numbers continue to grow. We have received thousands of applications for assistance in the last couple of months and if it wasnt for Season of Sharing, we just wouldnt be able to help. To make a new or increased donation, click here The Herald-Tribune Media Group founded season of Sharing in 2000 to provide emer gency assistance to families on the brink of homelessness. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County administers the Season of Sharing fund at no cost; therefore 100 percent of the money collected is distributed to those in need. SEASON OF SHARING HOPING TO REACH $1 MILLION MARK


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 57 For the fth consecutive year, educational ma terials are on display at City Hall, 1565 First St., commemorating Black History Month. The displays include photographs and news paper articles charting African-American trail blazers in Sarasota and the history of racial integration in Sarasota County, a city news release notes. The exhibit will be open to the public all this month, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A display also will be open to the public at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 34th Street, starting Saturday, Feb. 9. The exhibits document the achievements of athletes, elected ofcials, entertainers, teach e rs and others who were and are at the fore front of black achievers in our community, the release notes. One photo shows Dorothye Smith, the rst African-American Teacher of the Year and rst African-American principal in Sarasota County. Another depicts two of the earliest members of Sarasotas African-Ameri can community, Irene and Louis Colson, who, in 1897, donated land to the Bethlehem Bap tist Church, which became the center for ed ucational, cultural and recreational activities in the community, the release adds. The display has been organized again this year by Sarasota residents Dorothye Smith and Mary Edmunds, the release points out. Educational materials are on display in City Hall to commemorate Black History Month. Contrib uted photo SARASOTA CITY HALL MARKING BLACK HISTORY MONTH


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 58 New College of Florida has been ranked the No. 3 Best Value Public College in America for 2013 by The Princeton Review, one of Amer icas best known education services compa nies, the college has announced. The Princeton Reviews 2013 list features 75 public and 75 private colleges; it ranks the top 10 in each category, a news release says. New College was the only Florida institution to ap pear on either Top 10 list this year, the release points out. The appearance continues a ve-year run of recognition for New College, the release notes. This is the fth year The Princeton Review has teamed with USA Today to publish a list of the nations top public and private colleges, and each year New College has been among the top three public schools for offering students exceptional academics at an affordable price, the release adds. New College was ranked the No. 2 Best Value Public College in 2011 and 2009, and No. 3 in 2012 and 2010. Only three other U.S. public colleges made the list all ve years, the re lease points out. New College is honored to be recognized once again by The Princeton Review and USA Today as one of the nations best value public colleges, said New College President Donal OShea in the release. During this time of economic uncertainty for so many families, we take great pride in delivering the highest level of academic quality at a cost that is sub stantially lower than almost all other leading colleges and universities in the country. New College of Florida is the State of Flor idas honors college for the liberal arts and sciences. With a student population of slightly more than 800, New College emphasizes indi vidualized learning for academically talented students from 40 states and some 25 foreign countries. For the 2011-2012 academic year, New Col leges in-state tuition and fees are $6,783. Among colleges in the Princeton Reviews Best Value public college list, the average cost of attendance for in-state students is about $8,300, the release says. The Princeton Review used institutional data and student surveys from fall 2011 to fall 2012 to assess 650 colleges nationwide, the release says. It examined 30 criteria, including aca demic performance, costs and nancial aid. The Review also considers the percentage of students who take out loans and the average debt those students have at graduation. It then selects 75 public and 75 private colleges as the best values, ranks the top 10 schools in each category and lists the rest in alphabetical order. The Best Value Colleges lists are available on The Princeton Review website PRINCETON REVIEW RANKS NEW COLLEGE NO. 3 Press Releases & News Tips


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 59 On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Farmhouse at Phillippi Estate Park will host the Arts/Crafts and Authors Event, featuring more than 25 artisans and authors to satisfy every persons desire for one-of-a-kind items, event organiz ers have announced. People will be able to choose from a wide se lection of books, for every age level by local authors, many of whom will be on hand for autographing their work, a news release says. The Sarasota Humane Society also will be on site with adorable adoptable pets and a Smooch a Pooch Booth! the release notes. ARTS/CRAFTS/AUTHORS EVENT PLANNED FOR FARMHOUSE MARKET Additionally, Theresa Wilcox from Soho Downtown hair salon will be on hand to snip braids at least 10 inches long and pony tails to donate to Locks of Love. The Market, which is open every Wednesday at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It regularly features 50 ven dors who sell locally grown produce, seafood, breads and pastries, oils, soaps and craft cre ations of all kinds, and it offers music and free parking. For details, visit www.farmhouse LEARN HOW SARASOTA BECAME A REAL ESTATE DESTINATION Sarasota ofcially became a real estate des tination in 1885 when 60 men, women and children from Scotland (called the Ormiston Colony), who had purchased land in the area from the Edinburgh-based Florida Mortgage and Investment Co., arrived on an uncharac teristically chilly December day at what is now lower Main Street. They were mighti ly unimpressed with the mud and wood huts they saw. They thought they were coming to sunny Florida to become gentlemen farmers. Then it snowed, a Historical Society of Sara sota County news release says. Want to know what happened next? Then be sure to be in the audience at the Crocker Me morial Church (1260 12th St., Pioneer Park, Sarasota) on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. for an entertaining and illuminating panel dis cussion called Pay Dirt: How Sarasota Be came a Real Estate Destination the release points out. The discussion will be about those who were deceived by promises of paradise but also about key developers and visionaries who cre ated a specic kind of paradise, the release notes. The event is free to Historical Society mem bers and $10 for members of the general pub lic. The moderator of the panel will be Bob Plun ket, who has been writing about Sarasotas people and places for more than 30 years. His articles appear regularly in Sarasota Maga zine plus national publications such as Bar rons For several years he also appeared on ABC 7 as The Real Estate Junkie, the release notes. After owning eight different houses in Sara sota over the years, he says in the release, Im as obsessed as ever about all the amazing places you can own, rent, and be foreclosed in. Joining him will be author/historian Jeff


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 60 LaHurd, who has written 15 books about the history of the community. His newest is The Rise of Sarasota, Ken Thompson and the Re birth of Paradise. Also on the panel will be two long-time ex perts in selling real estate, realtors Lynn Rob bins and David Jennings, the release adds. With 38 years in the business, Robbins con sistently earns her top honors in Sarasota and recognition throughout the country, the release points out. Jennings lives in a vintage home in Sarasota and is a real estate professional dedicated to helping to preserve Sarasotas early examples of residential architecture, the release adds. Being the past president of the Sarasota Alli ance for Historic Preservation and the direc tor of Sarasotas Tour of Historic Homes for nine years has given me a great deal of experi ence in dealing with preservation, restoration and historic designation issues and how all of David Jennings/Contributed photo that impacts the buying and selling of proper ty in Sarasota County, he says in the release. The Pay Dirt event at the Crocker Memorial Church is the fth in a series of panel discus sions this year that have been organized and produced by the Historical Society of Sarasota County. Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specic aspects of Sarasotas past and examine pivotal events and people who have inuenced Sarasota today, the release points out. Proceeds from the series help to maintain the Historical Societys two heritage properties at Pioneer Park the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasotas oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Do cent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events. For additional information, visit the web site: Lynn Robbins/Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 61 On Feb. 6, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce Fugitive Apprehension Unit, working in con junction with the U.S. Marshals Florida Re gional Fugitive Task Force, captured Henry Lee Morganstern, a convicted felon who has been on the run for the past nine months, the Sheriffs Ofce reported. Morganstern was wanted for Aggravated As sault with a Deadly Weapon and Larceny for trying to steal a $200 reciprocating saw from Ace Hardware, 2881 Clark Road, last March, a report says. The saw was valued at $199.99 plus tax, according to the report. Morganstern had tried to conceal the saw in the front of his pants, the report adds. After being confronted by the manager, he ed the store and tried to run down an em ployee who was writing down the tag number on his vehicle, it adds. Investigators identied Morganstern as the suspect and obtained an arrest warrant in May 2012, the report notes. Morganstern was taken into custody on the morning of Feb. 6 in Osprey without incident, the report says. Henry Morganstern/Contributed photo FUGITIVE FELON CAPTURED IN OSPREY AFTER DISAPPEARING LAST MAY Morganstern was released from Florida State Prison in August 2010 after serving seven years for trafcking methamphetamines, the report notes. He was also previously convict ed of Carrying a Concealed Firearm by a Con victed Felon, Burglary and other narcotics-re lated crimes, the report adds. % Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among sub scribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click to Subscribe


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EDITORIAL EDITORIAL When winter arrives elsewhere in the na tion, accompanied by ice, snow and frigid temperatures, we continue to bask in balmy temperatures here in Southwest Florida. Winter also brings outbreaks even epidem ics of the u. Epidemiologists tell us that cold, dry air dries out our mucous membranes and makes us more susceptible to viral infec tions, which helps to explain why being sick is another ill effect of the season. And it should present yet another benet of our warmer weather. Not breathing frigid, dry air should make us less prone to catching the u. THE DARK CLOUD AROUND TOURISMS SILVER LINING However, when the current epidemic made its inexorable way across the country, Florida was not spared as one of the hot spots of in fection. And we have had a warmer-than-usual winter so far. So why are we suffering this much? The an swer might just come down to one word: tour ists. As much as we love their visits to our little corner of paradise, especially their generous spending, visitors to Southwest Florida come from all over the fro zen wasteland to our north. Too often the pernicious flu virus hitch es a ride with them, and our warmer Everyone reading this likely has been affected by the u this season, either personally or through a loved one.


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 64 a ir is no longer a defense for us. We are sitting ducks for the bug. Consequently, everyone reading this likely has been affected by the u this season, either personally or through a loved one. The chills and fever, the aching, the cough, the conges tion and sneezing, the wheezing it is misery personied. Earlier in the u season we were gratied that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Pre vention had determined that the most preva lent strains actually were represented in the vaccine this year. Typically, it is something of an epidemiological crapshoot, since vaccines normally are devel oped months before a particular u season, so the vaccine can be produced in needed quan tities once the infection rate rises. Some years the vaccines simply do not provide much pro tection against the nasty bugs. But this year was supposed to be different. That is, until you consider the caveats: Warn ings of a severe u season have created spo radic shortages of the vaccine. In addition, the u vaccine must be taken at least two weeks before exposure to the virus for one to be ful ly protected. And even when one is fully pro tected, the vaccine only reduces the odds of getting the u about 60 percent. That might sound OK to most, but we would wa ger few would y on a plane that had only a 60 percent chance of landing safely. However, given the risk of complications of the u, particularly in high-risk groups such as children, the elderly and those with immuno compromising diseases, the vaccine is a wise choice. And the odds still are much better than those for blackjack or the slots. If we get the u, is there any shortcut to re covery? It appears not. Even the much-hyped Tamiu and similar drugs have been oversold as a quick remedy for the u. Recent research indicates that, on average, such antiviral drugs known as neuraminidase inhibitors shorten symptoms by only 21 hours. If the drugs are not administered within hours of the onset of symptoms, efcacy is reduced even further. So we nd ourselves, despite being in a warm, sunny region, still exposed to a disease that, at best, causes days or weeks of misery and, at worst, can put victims in intensive care with life-threatening complications. Moreover, the drugs touted ubiquitously on TV as a quick solution to our suffering apparently do not de liver on those promises. The medical advice that has persisted for gen erations still offers the wisest course: Stay in bed and drink lots of liquids and be grateful you no longer live in a time when there were only three TV networks and they showed only game shows or soap operas all day. After all, distraction seems to be the best balm of all. %


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 65 COMMENTARY Recently, a friend asked me to go with her to the Sarasota Designer Show house, and I told her, No thanks, Id rather go by myself. What? Is this I talking, social buttery that I am, telling my friend that I am going solo and liking the idea? When did I become my own best friend? And when did I begin to prefer my own company rather than joining a circle of many? Maybe, this realization was always brewing, but I got sidetracked along the way by life. College encourages social interaction (i.e., sharing dorm rooms, studying for exams in groups, hanging out at local pubs). We do not think much of doing our own thing at that point, because we are still nding our own way. After college, some of us get married and later have children two huge reasons that con tinue to make us likely to interact with oth ers. After all, it is our family members whom we love and with whom we choose to spend most of our time. Yet, all of us are growing up together, but separately, and we do show some independence to display our individual growth. I used to think that if I were doing something alone that more traditionally would involve the company of another person, then people would stare at me and consider me a social outcast because I was not with a friend such as going to the beach, movies, museum, etc. Even going for a walk or a run seemed to require companionship anything to appear as though I t in. Holding a job was a situation even more likely to encourage togetherness group lunches in the cafeteria, weekly group meetings, brain storming as a group. It is amazing we ever gain the condence or realize we have enough personal interest in something to choose to pursue activities by ourselves. It took me awhile to realize that if I did not go by myself to my favorite events or local plac es, I would miss out on all of them and then where would I be? Back home, wallowing in self-pity because I did not have the courage to do my own thing and enjoy it. When you stop to consider how easy it is to feel free to decide for yourself, it almost makes a group activity too much of a burden. It seems as if there are far fewer time con straints when you are a group of one. Wan YEARS OF REFLECTION POINT TO THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BEST FRIEND COMMENTARY By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 66 dering around a park or a zoo, for example, is very enjoyable when you are by yourself. People watching is best done alone, as well, and the beach is my preferred environment. It does not take long to go from feeling self-conscious to feeling self-condent. Silent thoughts are good for the soul. Opinions do not have to be expressed out loud or to an other person. A friend says we grow into our comfort zones and as a result, we can actually look forward to spending leisure time alone. After all, think of how much more we can accomplish with out waiting for other people. Table for one, anyone? % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR To the editor: No matter how much money may be available to an individual candidate in these, our local elections, the ordinary folks can have an im pact that cant be bought by simply choosing the right candidate to allow to put a sign in their yards. Regardless of what they paid for their little pieces of real estate, their property has be come a most valuable commodity this election season. Essentially, we can reform the electoral pro cess in Sarasota diminishing the signi cance of the Large Donor Class by letting their candidates signs go to waste in the warehouse while we offer our guy (or gal) a special place on our lawn. After all, it is our neighborhood that will suffer the most if Mr. Big and his wallet hold sway. So, choose wisely and then call your favorite son/daughter and invite the person to place a sign in your yard to let your neighbors know what you think is best for Sarasota and that your vote is not for sale. Charles Senf Sarasota LET CANDIDATES KNOW YOUR VOTE IS NOT FOR SALE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber 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 other factors. We reserve the right to edit any let ters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the prop erty of The Sarasota News Leader. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR




Viktoria Richar ds Chocolates


When Sarasota-area director Steve Tatone and actress Danielle White previewed their new psychological thriller, Blind Pass to a packed house of crew members, potential investors and media representatives at Burns Court Cin ema on the evening of Jan. 26, the atmosphere in the room was one of great excitement, not just for the lm itself and all the effort that went into it, but for what it could mean to the future economy of the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Tatone and White who co-produced Blind Pass for their production company, Midnight Pass Productions had previously worked together on the Sarasota-based musical Beau tiful Noise They have made it clear they see Blind Pass as a statement that the Saraso ta-Bradenton area has the potential to com pete with powerhouse lm production loca tions such as Los Angeles and New York in producing independent lms shot on location with the hard work and support of local pro fessionals and community members. Its denitely a watershed moment, Tatone, who directed his latest lm on what he re ferred to as a low budget, told The Sarasota News Leader in an interview the day before the screening. Were building something here that doesnt exist, he continued: Indie lm making thats not brought from the outside in Burns Court Cinema in downtown Sarasota, where the private screening of Blind Pass was held, is a small, independent theater known for showing indie or limited-release lms that are often not available at major movie theaters. All photos by Arielle Scherr LOCAL FILMMAKERS PREVIEW THEIR NEW INDEPENDENT MOVIE, BLIND PASS AND TALK OF THEIR HOPES FOR ITS IMPACT ON THE AREAS FUTURE IN FILM SARASOTA ON THE SILVER SCREEN By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 70 but something thats growing organically from the inside out. Tatone said Blind Pass which features recog nizable outdoor locations on Siesta Key Public Beach and in Lakewood Ranch, among other local places, could not have been made with out the assistance and cooperation of com munity members and organizations. In fact, in certain cases, he noted, the collaboration has been integral to the plot of the movie. The lm follows the life of Carrie James, a privileged, mercurial Sarasota heiress in her early 20s, played by White, who discovers she has an untreatable, congenital, ocular disease which remains unnamed in the lm. She learns it will render her blind over the course of about three months. Much of the plot focuses on her treatment by an acclaimed Sarasota psychologist named Dr. Michael Roselli, played by Los Angeles-based television and film actor Chris McKenna ( House Castle ) and his efforts to help her cope emotionally with the inevitability of her visual impairment. Part of this adjustment involves Whites char acters learning how to use tools and technolo Blind Pass, which was screened for a private audience at Burns Court Cinema on Jan. 26, is the second lm produced by Sarasota-based Midnight Pass Productions, following Beau tiful Noise in 2010. The next project Mid night Pass will be working on is the musical Serenade, a sequel to Beautiful Noise.` ( From left) Ed Lauter, Steve Tatone, Danielle White and James Sexton pose for a photo following the Blind Pass preview at Burns Court Cinema on Jan. 26.


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 71 gy designed to aid the visually impaired, which is where, Tatone explained, the expertise of local not-for-prot organizations Southeast ern Guide Dogs and Lighthouse of Manasota came in. We didnt just take the storyline and pretend, he said. We actually went out and sought the help and assistance of people who deal with individuals in this community and throughout the region who are sight-impaired. This collaboration had reciprocal benets, Ta tone explained. On one end, featuring South eastern handlers and guide dogs as well as Lighthouse instructors and technology in the lm imbues it with a certain level of authen ticity. On the other end, the organizations are credited at the end of the lm, which Tatone hopes will help raise awareness of them and their humanitarian efforts. Aside from highlighting local organizations and locations, Tatone added, shooting and producing independent lms in the Saraso ta-Bradenton area has the benet of providing talented individuals who live nearby actors, actresses, screenwriters, cinematographers, graphic designers, lighting specialists, micro phone operators, promoters, producers and more with employment opportunities they might otherwise have to leave town to pursue. Of course, not every part of the lm pulls its resources from the local community. Tatone worked with casting directors in Tampa and Los Angeles to secure the talents of veteran blockbuster actors Armand Assante ( Judge Dredd The Mambo Kings American Gang ( From left) Ed Lauter, Danielle White, Steve Tatone and James Sexton answer questions from the audience about the lming of Blind Pass after the preview at Burns Court Cinema on Jan. 26. When Sexton told a couple of stories about the portion of lming that took place in Dublin, Ireland with locals at small pubs he had the audience laughing heartily.


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 72 ster ), who is cast as Richard James, the main characters deceased father, and Ed Lauter ( The Artist The Longest Yard Trouble with the Curve ), who plays the pastor who presides at the fathers funeral. In addition, a portion of the lm was shot over the course of a week in Dublin, Ireland, with the assistance of Irish actor and Blind Pass Associate Producer James Sexton, who acted in the lm as well as guided the cast and crew to various locales, such as pubs, restaurants, castles and vistas that are prominently fea tured in the movie. While Tatone and White are condent the in clusion of well-known actors and footage of the streets, establishments and landscapes of Dublin will help to increase the mass appeal of the lm, they also hope the resulting ex posure will demonstrate to those in the lm industry that the Sarasota-Bradenton area has enough attractive locations, talented artists and skilled technicians to be seen as a viable place to produce independent movies. White, in fact, was so dedicated to the idea that she moved back to Sarasota from Los An geles, where she was pursuing a career as an actress, to take up the leading role in Blind Pass join Tatones Midnight Pass Productions as co-producer and collaborate with Tatone on his draft of the script for the lm, in which she also sings. I became very excited about the idea of be ing able to produce and being able to really make the script come to life, White told the audience during a question-and-answer ses sion with Tatone, Lauter and Sexton after the Blind Pass screening. I was trying to get a job in L.A. while I had a job here. It made no sense, she continued. I had a really cool op portunity here to learn and to grow an indus try in this area my hometown and that was very exciting to me. Those not from the Sarasota-Bradenton area who were involved with Blind Pass also have high hopes for what the lm could portend for the community. In an interview with the News Leader the day prior to the preview, Sexton said he is condent it will boost tourism, par ticularly from Ireland. Generally, [when] Irish people think Florida, they think Orlando, Mi ami; they think of the bigger cities, he said. I think the movie showing in Ireland will do a lot for Sarasota because people will look at it as a destination. Only time will tell if Blind Pass proves to have the national or international impact its pro ducers are hoping for in regard to the future of the Sarasota-Bradenton area. As Tatone noted following the preview, the next step is to market the movie: attract investors, submit it to lm festivals and secure a release. Tatone added that he hopes Blind Pass like his pre vious lm, Beautiful Noise will be shown at the upcoming Sarasota Film Festival. Since the screening of Blind Pass there have been a few developments. In a follow-up email interview with the News Leader on Jan. 30, Ta tone wrote the response to the private screen ing had been terric. He added that he also has been elding a tremendous amount of calls and inquiries from international lm dis tributors interested in bidding on the lm to secure worldwide distribution rights. Regardless of what transpires, those involved with the movie have expressed much satisfac tion with the nal product. I think its a very good movie and its going to entertain a lot of people, Lauter said on stage after the screening, having seen Blind Pass for the rst time. Im just proud to be in this lm. %


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, Having carefully explained how important the results of the Jan. 5 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Siesta Key are to the health and well-being of our keys birds and, by extension, its residents, I was expecting hundreds of letters from readers anxiously asking, Well, how did it go? Is it safe to eat that bay-caught Red Drum I lleted and froze last month? As it was, I received only one question from a reader. It was my editor asking me if I had ever heard of Spell Chick, a device that wood make me spell bettor; or something too that affect. So, as long as no one asked, here goes! The count was a huge success for the team as well as for all Siesta residents and visitors to our lovely isle. Everyone, not just the CBC team, has bragging rights to two species of birds that never, ever before have been seen and documented on Siesta Key. And thanks to Rick Greenspun, SKs CBC team leader, read ers now have the exquisitely beautiful pho tographs to prove our claim to fame. Seventy-seven species of birds were sought, found and checked off the list. Can you name 20 bird species? Seagull, little bird WHEN PENGUINS FLY: THE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT NETS SOME RARE FINDS ON SIESTA KEY A Razorbill/Photo courtesy of Rick Greenspun


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 75 A Black Scoter/Photo courtesy of Rick Greenspun


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 76 and duck do not count! Two thousand, sev en hundred and fty-ve birds were seen (or heard) and tallied. As I have written before, numbers and statis tics are a dry, meaningless lot unless a story accompanies them. I shall highlight a few spe cies checked in this game of Hide and Seek and explain what they should mean to people and SKs fragile ecosystem and why it is so exciting to be a part of an Audubon CBC: Osprey ( Pandion haliaetus ) .......... 15 Razorbill ( Alca torda ) ................. 1 Black Scoter ( Melanitta americana ) ... 38 Laughing Gull ( Leucophaeus atricilla ) .. 1,240 Green Heron ( Butorides virescens ) ..... 0 Eastern Screech-owl ( Megascops asio) (That is me!) ......................... 2 The 15 Osprey, particularly when found in their established or new nesting sites, con rm the health and well-being of the sh in our Gulf waters and Little Sarasota Bay, thus assuring sher-folk to consume their catch of the day. The teams documentation of the one Razor bill conrms the mental well being of every one on Siesta Key. It attests to their sanity and sobriety. It means that people here are not as crazy or drunk as some would believe. You see, beginning in mid-December 2012, people around Floridas coastal areas, starting in Miami-Dade, began reporting seeing ying Penguins. Well, there is no such thing as a ying Penguin. Nevertheless, more and more sightings poured in and this mass hysteria reached almost epidemic proportions, spread ing throughout various Florida counties and A Green Heron. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 77 nally impacting Siesta Key. People shing in our Gulf or walking the pristine sands of Si esta Beach would come home and say, You wouldnt believe what I saw. And, of course, no one did! Sitting on my favorite oak branch, I overheard every cruel rebuttal, from, You really need to make that ophthalmologists appointment to I know youre drinking again. The atmo sphere was getting pretty ugly and hostile around here until the CBC team discovered that Razorbill. It is not related to Penguins; it is a close relative of the now-extinct Great Auk, and it sure does look like a penguin, par ticularly in ight. Please click on this Cornell University link to the Razorbill and see if you do not agree that it really does look exactly like a ying penguin. And do read some of the interesting facts of its life history. The teams elation upon sighting this migra tory Razorbill faded rather quickly because this sub-Arctic dweller is as much out of its element in Floridas warm clime as a true Pen guin would be. And our waters do not provide the food its specialized diet requires. On a cheerier note: The newbies, that cou ple who moved here from Wisconsin, discov ered the second rara avis the Black Scoter quite inadvertently, of course. They were photographing the Red-Breasted Mergansers who had ocked into Little Sarasota Bay in unprecedented numbers, and among them were some other sitting ducks. The newbies had no idea what any of these birds were, but, as second year-CBC tutees, they knew they Nebougepas and Otus Rufous/File photo`


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 78 Mme. Osprey ies off from her nest before its relocation. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 79 had seen something unusual and had the com mon sense to document the birds in a series of grainy, over-exposed photographs. The teams delight upon this discovery does not fade because the sub-arctic Black Scoter will fare well here during its migratory so journ. And, rest assured, concerned ornithol ogists and conservationists are already on the job analyzing the data to discover the cause of these aberrant avian migratory patterns. Last, but not least, what does it mean to peo ple on Siesta that some 1,240 Laughing Gulls were counted? Well, it means that a lot of property maintenance crews, homeowners, boat owners and car owners will spend a lot of time scraping up gull poop from docks, tarps, car roofs, walkways, kayaks, etc. He who laughs last?? Now to what the count means to us avians ... Since the Audubon CBCs inception, 112 years ago, it has been the privilege of Eastern Screech Owls to preside over the ceremonial awards presentation in which First Prize for Best-in-Hiding and Booby Prize for Worst-inHiding are bestowed upon meritorious avian subjects. The reason my species has been sin gled out for this particular honor has nothing to do with the fact that Eastern Screech Owls are wise, prescient and charmingly photoge nic. It has to do with the fact that we are noc turnal and most of the subjects of the awards are diurnal. Therefore, as we night owls love to nap during the day, our awards cere monies are mercifully brief no intermina ble speeches; no forced, gratuitous humor or commercial interruptions. It is Heres your prize. Now, nap! This years SK CBC Best-in-Hiding Prize was awarded to Green Heron. Day in, day out, like clockwork, Little Green perches on the bridge railing of Heron Lagoon at noon. But he was simply nowhere to be found CBC day! Good no-show, Little Green! Booby Prize. Hmmm. That was shared by two Eastern Screech Owls. Nebougepas (which means dont move! in French. And she doesnt!) and Otus. (Thats me!) You see, I was watching the team members look for Lit tle Green Heron and laughing so hard at them that my hoots betrayed our position. Uh oh! This years Honorable Mention goes to Mme. Osprey, who valiantly tried to escape being checked. The day before Siesta Keys CBC, Helen Clifford, a director of the Siesta Key Association and the Siesta Condo Council, ratted out Mme. Ospreys nesting site to SNL and the team honed right in on it! Noble and valiant try, Mme. Osprey! (For even more on that story, I direct you to a follow-up article in the SNL .) As I am a poor loser, it is with begrudging admiration and respect that I thank the CBC team, even those pesky newbies, for seeking us out that day; the owners of private prop erty on SK who allowed the team access to their lands; and Helen Clifford all for car ing enough to make the 2012 Audubon CBC a huge success and also for making it a won derfully fun day! Otus ABOUT OTUS Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Sies ta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of natures secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. So please send your questions and photos to askotus@sarasotanews Thank you.


Ricardo Rhodes and Christine Peixoto dance their duet in Between Longing and Yearning. Photo by Frank Atura SARASOTA BALLETS OWN JAMIE CARTER SHOWS EVEN MORE PROMISE, BUT WILL TUCKETT TRULY TRIUMPHS WITH CHANGING LIGHT VERY PLEASANT SURPRISES By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer It was a cold night in usually balmy Sara sota, and along with the unusual sight of fur jackets was a tangible feeling of anticipation as everyone, myself included, knew that Will Tuckett had choreographed a new piece for The Sarasota Ballet. However, no one knew anything about it. Sir Frederick Ashtons Birthday Of fering the 1956 ballet that had been lovingly restaged by Margaret Barbieri, remained a mystery; and there was also a question about including edging chore ographer Jamie Carters ballet on the same program with works of two ex traordinary, established artists. The pre-performance socializing came to an all-too-quick end. Programs were handed out, people took their seats and the sound of Alexander Glazunovs emotional, rhapsodic music lled the theater as the curtain rose on the formal ar rangement of women in jeweled and gilded tutus positioned in front


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 81 of their partners dressed in equally dazzling outts. Yes: a colorful and familiar sight sig naling a familiar but dated staging of a ballet. Birthday Offering was created to celebrate the struggling Sadler Wells Ballet Companys elevation into The Royal Ballet. To honor each of the seven ballerinas in the company, Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed solos that revealed their personalities. Recreating the individual qualities of these celebrated danc ers was a challenge that Barbieri tackled with determination and grace. However, I would say that of the seven variations lyrical Amy Wood (in the part created for Svetlana Beri osova), who danced with deliberate, slow con trol as though the steps had meaning for her; and Ellen Overstreet (Violetta Elvin), with her irtatious, neat solo, presented the most suc cessful interpretations. Victoria Hulland (Margot Fonteyn) had the most challenging variation, and though she is a musical dancer and her technique is aw less, there was little to remind me of Fonteyns easy gracefulness. The seven men including three new danc ers were competently energetic in the Ma zurka and able partners. Ashton likes busy footwork, and each solo had as many small batterie and mincing steps as he could put into a variation; but in general, the dancers wore too many pasted-on smiles on their faces and showed little connection to the choreography as they automatically danced their way through the classical vo cabulary. Still, all was forgiven in the nale as the soaring Glazanov score swept the seven couples around the stage in a sparkling waltz, Victoria Hulland has the Fonteyn role in Birthday Offering. Photo by Frank Atura Will Tuckett lifts Rita Duclos during a rehears al of Changing Light. Photo by Shirley Blair


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 82 capping this ballet doccasion with a feeling of delight. The rst surprise of the evening was Jamie Carters reworked ballet, Between Longing and Yearning Set to Bachs Chaconne in D Minor, his ballet followed the architectural quality and structure of the music with an emphasis on controlled, geometric patterning as the dancers moved in unison or separated for ve different duets. It is an intense ballet of different couplings set against a changing backdrop lit to reect the emotions of the convoluted, acrobatic duets that were both smooth and inventive. In the different duets: Rita Duclos was fasci nating and boneless as a snake, coiled around Ricki Bertoni; Victoria Hulland and Steven Windsor were elegant, reecting Hullands regal bearing; and Login Learned was an able partner for Elizabeth Sykes, but his duet with Bertoni was the most intense and sexually suggestive. It reected changing social atti tudes that could accept a sexually charged duet between two men, but I felt it became repetitious and could have been shorter. The nal duet between Ricardo Rhodes and Christine Peixto was a pleasant and conven tional one that gave each of the dancers an opportunity to show their strengths. There is no question that this ballet proves Jamie Carter is talented, but I wonder wheth er the work he is choreographing for the May performances will reveal a developing aes thetic. Logan Learned (left) and Ricki Bertoni perform a sexually charged duet in Between Longing and Yearning. Photo by Frank Atura


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 83 I had a feeling of curious anticipation about Tucketts Changing Light not really know ing what to expect, as both the work of the composer and the choreographer were un known to me. As the curtain lifted to reveal a sea of 25 orange-and-blue costumed dancers oating across the stage in strong, energized dancing, I knew we had stepped into the 21st century. It might have been last on the pro gram, but Changing Light set to Jeremy Hol land-Smiths contemporary, percussive and exhilarating score, promised to be a sophis ticated joy ride. The ballet is constructed in a series of con stantly changing, complex patterns with varying moods that alternate sections of free wheeling dancers sliding, leaping and turning in congurations that shift like the tide: solos, couples, groups all coming together and then parting, with the music intrinsically con nected to both the emotions and the choreog raphy. At rst the focus was on three couples who circled around as if in a giant square dance. There was a quiet intensity to the dancing of Ricardo Rhodes and Ricardo Graziano and their partners Danielle Brown and Kate Honea as they mirrored each others cho reography of overhead lifts and squared-off sh dives. In another section of duets, Sara Sardelli and Logan Learned were happily reunited. Throughout and in between the solos and the duets, a group of happy women, whom I called the bluebirds, came and went arms stretched out into the universe, as they hopped in unison, moving backwards in quick little steps like birds skimming along the shore. Though the nonstop, energetic choreography had to be challenging, the company appeared to dive into the work, dancing with an open ease that contrasted with the stiffness appar ent earlier in the evening. At the nale, with all 25 dancers back on stage, there was an ex plosion of joyful dancing as the ballet came to a close. Little had I or anyone else guessed that the evening would reveal Changing Light to be such an extraordinary world debut of both music and dance, and how lucky we were to come away with such a gift of having been at this premiere of a rare experience in the ballet world: an original, successful, new work. I know, I could have turned around and gone back into the warmth of the theater and watched the ballet all over again. % Will Tuckett/Contributed photo


Elected ofcials of the City of Sarasota, mem bers of the Friends of the Sarasota County History Center and friends and family of Ken Thompson celebrated the life and times of the man on Feb. 1 during a program at the Chid sey Bayfront Community Center. Not coincidentally, the day marked the First Ken Thompson Day celebration in the city, an occasion marked by speeches, tales of days gone by and fond memories of the man who was the manager of the City of Sarasota from 1950 until 1988. Thompson still holds the re cord for being the longest serving city manag er in the United States. Jeff LaHurd, a history specialist at the Sara sota County History Center, held court as the master of ceremonies and the author of The Rise of Sarasota a history of Thompson and the town Thompson helped build. Speeches by Mayor Suzanne Atwell, Vice May or Willie Shaw, previous mayors and Thomp son family members mixed pleasantly with food and beverages supplied by the Friends of the History Center. LaHurd has written 15 books on Sarasota and is perhaps as well known for his presentations as he is for his publications. A monument to Ken Thompson stands in the park named for him, which looks out over Sarasota Bay. Photo by Norman Schimmel CHIDSEY CENTER EVENT DRAWS A CROWD TO OFFER FOND RECOLLECTIONS OF THE MAN CALLED THE ARCHITECT OF SARASOTA CELEBRATING KEN THOMPSON By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 85 If you came to Sarasota in 1920 and then again in 1950, you came to basically the same place, LaHurd began his remarks. The intervening 30 years were a period of recession, depression, stagnation and world war, he continued. That was all about to change. After World War II, Sarasota and much of Florida saw growth that has been unmatched by any other period of the states history. And that was just when Ken Thompson showed up in town. He built the thing from scratch. Sarasota went from a one-stoplight town to the city it is today, said former state Sen. Bob Johnson. Thompson shepherded the community through that period, and, by all accounts did much good. In LaHurds book, mention is of ten made of Thompsons engineering back ground and his common sense approach to getting the infrastructure laid for the growth to come. Thompson secured the Verna well fields, where our drinking water comes from, and planning for the needs and a future he would not live to see, said current City Manager Tom Barwin. The wastewater facilities, the water treatment plants its amazing what was built under the direction of Ken Thomp son. Sarasota will never be involved in those water wars rocking so many communities, Barwin added. This is due to Ken Thompson. A prime mover in getting Feb. 1 recognized as Ken Thompson Day, Atwell read the City Com mission proclamation marking the occasion. In the document, signed by all of the city com missioners, Atwell referred to Thompsons in tegrity, his visionary planning and his develop ment of everything from Island Park to Marina Jack to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to the current City Hall, and the many ways City Manager Tom Barwin addresses the au dience. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 86 Vice Mayor Willie Shaw speaks during the program. Photo by Scott Proftt Former Sarasota Mayor Elmer Berkel reects on the Thompson legacy. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 87 he helped bring Sarasota from a small resort town to the modern city it is today. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw offered praise for the man and a different perspective that of a black man in a segregated community. I have to let you know that Mr. Thomp son was more than the visionary who saw the need to build the streets and great build ings. He had to build a people. And at a time in 1957 when four black students came and wanted to check out books in this very build ing (the Chidsey facility was the city library at that time), it was beyond the librarians ability to give them books. So she called Ken Thompson. Mr. Thompson made the deci sion, called the librarian back and books were granted unto these young men, Shaw told the audience. If we dont make this an inclusive communi ty, we will just about remain that Sarasota that had that span of time that nothing happened. We thank God for Mr. Thompson, Shaw con cluded. Thompson is still referred to as the architect of Sarasota, and he is remembered for his upstanding nature. In 35 years, there has never been so much as a whisper about Thompsons integrity, not so much as a free lunch, it is said, or a cocktail, said Rick Barry, a former reporter and editor at The Tampa Tribune and former reporter at the Pelican Press Barry is a long-time Sara sota resident. Twenty-ve years after Thompsons retire ment, Barwin said, I was introduced at a Rotary meeting the other day. The man intro duced me as the person who has Ken Thomp sons job. % Mayor Suzanne Atwell talks about Thompsons accomplishments. Photo by Scott Proftt


Siesta Seen COUNTY MIGHT CONSIDER ADDING PARKING SPACES TO MUNICIPAL LOT; MAINTENANCE ISSUES RAISE QUESTIONS; CLYDESDALES COMING SOON Are you interested in adding a few extra spac es to the municipal parking lot in Siesta Vil lage? That was the question Sarasota County Com missioner Nora Patterson posed to about 22 members of the Siesta Key Village As sociation during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Patterson pointed out that she had been con tacted by realtor Lee DeLieto about the fact that the Add-A-Closet storage space business right next to the parking lot, on Avenida de Mayo is for sale. If you think its something that landowners in the Village might be interested in, Patter son said, it really should be up to you guys to bring it to the county The asking price, according to the DeLieto & Associates website, is $499,000. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor The property where the Add-A-Closet storage business is located on Avenida de Mayo abuts the mu nicipal parking lot in Siesta Village. Photo by Rachel Hackney


The Sarasota County Property Appraisers website says the parcel comprises 12,797 square feet; its taxable value is $400,500. Of course, Patterson noted, I dont know whether the commissioners would be willing to do something again, adding, It seemed like a pretty good deal. Last December, the County Commission voted formally to absorb the remaining cost of the municipal parking lot in the Village, with Pat terson casting the lone No vote. The decision stemmed from the lawsuits Chris Brown, owner of The Hub Baja Grill, The Cot tage and the Beach Club, had led against the county over the past ve years regarding ineq uity in how Village property owners have been charged assessments to cover their share of the lots construction costs. (See the related story in this issue.) Past SKVA President and Siesta Key Cham ber of Commerce board member Mark Smith pointed out that the northern part of the AddA-Closet property is a lawn zoned for residen tial purposes; the front part is zoned Commer cial. If the county purchased the property, Patter son said, the land could be rezoned for gov ernment use. Asked how big the parcel is, Patterson re plied, Its smallish, but it abuts the [munici pal] parking lot. If we could get it rezoned, then it wouldnt be an issue, Smith told her. Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Coalition of Neighborhood Associa tions, pointed out that changing the zoning from Residential to Commercial would not be allowed under the countys comprehensive plan; that would be a matter of up-zoning. Patterson told her that removing a business use to put in parking spaces doesnt really do that. Patterson added, In the end, it would be up to the commissioners. She told Smith she would send him the in formation she had received from the realtor, so he and other SKVA members could take a more thorough look at the site and the pro posal. MAINTENANCE ISSUES During the SKVA meeting, Mark Smith offered a bit of a curious tale about a county contrac tor trimming the hedges in the municipal park ing lot. It was a story strange enough to prompt Pat terson to say, Thats weird. In discussing the work of Championship Land scape Maintenance Professionals of Fort My ers, which won the Village maintenance con tract in August 2012, Smith said he had asked the rm to give him a bid on painting the wall now exposed by the hedge trimming. What he had learned, Smith reported, was that workers with Wilhelm Brothers Inc., a county contractor, did the trimming. Wilhelm had been in charge of the Village landscaping while the county was responsible for the Vil lage maintenance during the approximately 13 Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 89


Second, he pointed out, the Siesta Key Vil lage Maintenance Corp., which oversees the upkeep, had not asked for the hedges to be trimmed. Is county staff under the impression that the parking lot remains its responsibility? Patter son asked. Smith had talked with both Ryan Montague and Gary Spraggins in the countys Public Works Department both of whom have been involved in the maintenance issues for the Village to kind of clear that up, he replied. months it took to get a new proposal put out for bid and approved. Championship workers talked to the people from Wilhelm after seeing them doing the trimming, Smith continued, and the Wilhelm employees said, We have a contract with the county, and they just kept on trimming. Smith added that he had made a point to coun ty staff that Siesta Key property owners who are assessed annual charges for the upkeep better not be double-billed for Wilhelms work, since Championship took over the mainte nance in September. Hedge trimming by a Sarasota County contractor has left the wall exposed in the municipal park ing lot on Siesta Key. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 90


THE STORMWATER PROJECT In other comments during the SKVA meeting, Patterson reported on her worries about fur ther delays with the beginning of the storm water project at Siesta Public Beach. Not only did county Procurement Department staff have to extend the bid period because of lack of response, but the lowest of the three bids it nally received was almost three times the $1.5 million staff estimate for the work, as The Sarasota News Leader reported on Jan. 25. Thats a pretty big swing in cost estimates, Patterson told the SKVA members. I just dont He had not heard an answer from them so far, Smith said. When I called Tom Maroney, general manag er of business operations in the Public Works Department, this week he said, Were still looking into it. However, Maroney told me he had found the situation curious, too. You cant have two sets of people not com municating, taking care of the same thing, Patterson told the SKVA members, adding she also would check into the matter. A Sarasota County diagram shows plans for the stormwater project pipeline to discharge efuent into the Gulf of Mexico. Graphic illustration courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 91


really less important than [avoiding] beach closures. The stormwater project was designed to pre vent future situations like those that had aris en in the past, with runoff from Beach Road and the beach parking lot creating such high bacterial counts in the Gulf of Mexico that the Sarasota County Health Department had to post No Swimming signs on Siesta Public Beach. Patterson added that, according to her under standing of the project, the most expensive portion of it is the construction of the pipeline into the Gulf of Mexico to discharge overow efuent from the new stormwater collection pond. That efuent is to be treated by ultraviolet light before it is carried offshore. When SKVA President Russell Matthes asked how far the pipeline will extend into the gulf, Patterson said she thought the distance was about ,000 feet or so. She added, The permits are very specic as to the engineering of that thing. Then Mark Smith said he had talked recently with a landscape architect in the Kimley-Horn and Associates rm, which has been the coun tys consultant on the beach park beautica tion project. He had asked the architect why the treated stormwater could not be used for irrigation of the new park landscaping as well as to hose down the parking lot every night. know what were going to do with that. But its for sure going to delay the project. The latest update to the commissioners that I could nd from Chief Engineer James K. Har riott Jr. was issued on Jan. 28. It said, Capital Projects staff has ... Environmental Services/ Utilities (Jody Kirkman) staff [preparing] to nalize a report to administration and the Board. The report provides the history of the project (piping the stormwater into the Gulf), results of the recent bids, and how the bids relate to the project estimate. Patterson told members of the Siesta Key Con dominium Council during their Jan. 15 meet ing that the stormwater project had been set to begin just after Easter, which is March 31. (The holiday generally is considered the end of the winter tourist season.) When Siesta Key Association Director Mi chael Shay asked Patterson about the fate of the grant for the project that had been com mitted by the Southwest Florida Water Man agement District, Patterson said county staff had been working with SWFWMD represen tatives to keep them apprised of the delays. They like the project, she added, indicating her hopefulness they would continue to work with county staff to keep the funds in place. SWFWMD has committed up to $975,000 to the project, with the funds to be reimbursed to the county when the project is complete. As far as Im concerned, Patterson pointed out, the beautication of the beach [park] is Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 92


The fair was rescheduled so as not to conict with the Super Bowl, he explained. Future schedules also have been planned to avoid that conict, he pointed out. Next, on Valentines Day Feb. 14 the Vil lage will host its Valentine Stroll from 5 to 8 p.m. Participating businesses will be ying pink and red balloons, and every member of the public who participates will get a kiss a Hersheys Kiss. Musical entertainment will be offered, as well, at the gazebo located at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard, Canal Road and Avenida Messina. The architect had told him, Well, that was somebody elses thing, referring to the storm water project. There is expertise that put the entirety of the project together, Patterson replied. Moreover, she told Smith, Think about it log ically: The time you need to get rid of extra stormwater is when its raining, when you re ally probably dont have plants in need of ir rigation. I hear you, Smith said. Then Patterson pointed out that the countys original proposal for the stormwater project called for the efuent to be discharged into the Grand Canal on Siesta Key, and residents living along the canal became unglued about it. So this [pipeline to the gulf] was the solu tion. Finally, Patterson said, Im not an engineer, [but] I do know [the Siesta Beach projects were not] engineered with three different peo ple not talking to each other. VILLAGE EVENTS This weekend, Feb. 9-10, Siesta Village will host its annual Arts and Crafts Fair, put on by Howard Alan Events and American Craft Endeavors SKVA President Matthes pointed out the ven dors will have booths along the sidewalks on Ocean Boulevard, not in the street, as they do during Siesta Fiesta. Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 93


When Smith mentioned, unload, SKA Direc tor Michael Shay asked someone seated next to him, What do they mean, unload? (Shay is the person who heads up the Adopt A Road cleanup program on the island.) When Shay asked his question more loudly, reminding everyone that Smith is well known for his sense of humor, Smith replied that he meant the unloading of the horses from their trailer. Get the shovel, Matthes said, prompting laughter. Ive got plastic bags, but theyre not big enough, Shay responded, prompting even heartier laughter. % Then, on March 1, Matthes said, the Budweis er Clydesdales will return to the Village. It is a neat draw, he said. A lot of families bring the kids out The horses will have their harnesses put on and get hooked up to the Budweiser wagon around 3:30 or 4 p.m. that day behind Circle K on Ocean Boulevard, he continued. Then they will make two circuits of Siesta Village starting at 5 p.m. Kay Kouvatsos, co-owner of Village Caf, said the circuits usually took about 90 minutes. The real show is watching them unload and getting ready, Smith said. These things are the most pampered horses Ive ever seen. A pair of Budweiser Clydesdales awaits the start of the parade through Siesta Village in January 2011. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 94


The famed Clydesdales pull the Budweiser wagon through Siesta Village in January 2011. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Find us onFacebook PHOTO BY FRANK ATURA Sir Frederick Ashtons { The Wayward Daughter}This spectacular full-length ballet will be accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra and is perfect for all ages!1 8 -1 9 April 2 01 3Van Wezel Performing Arts HallB o x Off i ce: 359-0099 x101 |


For 10 years, Embracing Our Differences has drawn on the passion and perception of art ists, children and others to create powerful statements of diversity and acceptance in its annual outdoor public art exhibition consist ing of 39 billboard-sized works of art, each ac companied by an inspirational quote, a news release says. The response to this years call for artwork and quotes was strong with more than 2,400 entries pouring in from 44 coun tries and 32 states, the release adds. The winning quotes and art will be showcased in the 10th anniversary edition of the exhib it in Sarasotas Bayfront Park from March 31 through June 2. It also will be on view at the Anthony T. Rossi Waterfront Park in down town Bradenton from March 31 to April 29 and at North Port High School from May 1 to June 2, the release notes. Our jury committee spent the past two weeks in almost total lockdown reviewing thousands of submissions, says Michael Shelton, exec utive director of Embracing Our Differences, in the release issued the last week of January. Throughout the process, weve been excited by the high quality of the work and moved by the heartfelt passion that animates it, he adds. The winning art is judged on how effectively its message can be read when enlarged to bill board size, Shelton points out in the release. Awards are given for Best in Show Adult, Best in Show Student and Peoples Choice catego ries, with the last chosen by visitors to the exhibit. Each winner receives $1,000. The Best in Show Adult winner is Liat Waks from Petach-Tigwa, Israel, for her work titled, Differences Work, Just Ask a Fork by Liat Waks is the Best in Show Adult winner for 2013. Contributed photo EMBRACING OUR DIFFERENCES ANNOUNCES EXHIBIT WINNERS ARTS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 98 Differences Work, Just Ask a Fork the release says. The Best in Show student winner is Cyber Bullying: Beware of the Big Bad Predator by Steven Staub, Bobby Alvarez and Gennad ity Kazimirov, seventh-graders at Heron Creek Middle School in North Port. Dottie Cory is their art teacher, the release notes. Submissions for the exhibit arrived from peo ple of all ages from countries including the United Kingdom, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Iran and the Philippines, as well as the United States, the release points out. Students in 85 elementary, junior and high schools made up almost 60 percent of the individuals submit ting art and quotes, including students from 43 schools in Sarasota, Manatee and Port Char lotte counties, the release adds. Were always especially impressed with the entries we receive from our own communi ty, says Shelton in the release, adding that work from 25 local residents was selected for display in this years show, including artwork entered by an entire kindergarten class from Phillippi Shores Elementary School. Works by two Ringling College of Art and Design stu dents were also among the winners. A critical part of the exhibit, says Shelton, are the quotations that accompany the artwork. The combination of visual art and the written Cyber Bullying: Beware of the Big Bad Predator, the Best in Show Student winner, is by Steven Staub, Bobby Alvarez and Gennadity Kazimirovo. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 99 word adds a deeper dimension to the overall experience, he explains in the release. Weve received over 2,000 quotes for consideration and, with the artwork selected, we can now begin the process of nding those perfect companion quotes. The annual outdoor art exhibit is the center piece of a year-round program of activities de signed to further Embracing Our Differences mission to use art as a catalyst for creating awareness and promoting the value of diver sity, the release points out. Aside from the an nual outdoor exhibition, Embracing Our Differences ongoing education al outreach programs and initiatives include the following: Teacher workshops developed by nationally acclaimed educators to provide curricula and lesson plans relating to art appreciation, char acter building and diversity edu cation. The Make-a-Day-of-It! program, providing free bus transportation for area students and teachers to the outdoor exhibit and to other cultural venues, including Florida Stu dio Theatre, Mote Marine Aquarium and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. A docent program that, via partner ships with Riverview, Southeast and North Port high schools, provides stu dent-led tours of the annual exhibit, with more than 200 student docents partici pating in 2012. According to Embracing Our Differenc es founding co-chairman, Dennis McGil licuddy, Of the nearly 24,000 students who visited last years exhibit, 18,000 were area students brought in via our free bus pro gram. Since 2004, he adds in the release, more than 117,000 students have participated in Embrac ing Our Differences various education initia tives. We look forward to expanding on this during this 10th anniversary season. For more information about this exhibit or Em bracing Our Differences, please call 323-1010 or visit You Me Them Everybody is by Olivia Junghans. Con tributed photo Siblings is by Melanie Chatot. Contributed Photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 100 The Philadelphia Orchestra, with Musical Di rector Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Conductor Ra fael Fruhbeck de Burgos and soloist Andre Watts (piano), will be at the Van Wezel Per forming Arts Hall on Feb. 9, the hall has an nounced. Nezet-Seguin has been making signicant waves and garnering some of the best reviews that the Philadelphia Orchestra has received in recent history, a news release says. Critics have been saying he appears to be exactly what the Philadelphia needs to revitalize it self during one of the lowest points in its ex istence, the release adds. The Philadelphia Orchestra is known as one of The Big 5 orchestras in the world, the release notes, and with Nezet-Seguin at the helm, it is poised to retake its position as one of the preeminent orchestras in the world. Tickets are priced from $30 to $150. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform in Sarasota on Feb. 9. Contributed photo PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA TO PERFORM AT THE VAN WEZEL

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 101 Faith Lutheran Church in Sarasota is offering a concert that will cap this years Valentine weekend with the highly romantic and rev olutionary music of two composers whose private passions inspired some of the greatest music of all time, the church has announced. The extraordinary music of Ludwig van Bee thoven and Franz Schubert will be presented at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, featuring Rachel Assi, mezzo-soprano; Joseph Assi on French horn; and Joseph Holt and Michael Stuart on piano, a news release says. A meet-the-artist reception will be held afterward in the Fel lowship Hall. Beethoven and Schubert bridged the gap between the Classical and Romantic eras in music, says Holt, Faiths music director, in the release. The selections to be performed in this concert will offer a lush and ttingly romantic end to the Valentine weekend, he adds. Rachel Assi will sing some of the most be loved lieder by Schubert, and her husband, Joseph Assi, will play Beethovens unique composition for horn and piano the rare ly performed Horn Sonata in F Major Holt notes. Stuart and Holt will play Military Marches by Schubert as well as Beethovens entire Sym phony No. 1 as arranged for piano, four-hands. Rachel Assi has performed with several opera companies, including the St. Petersburg Opera, the New Jersey Opera Theatre and Rutgers Op era at Rutgers University, the release points out. In addition to her singing activities, she is the grants ofcer for the Sarasota Opera. ROMANTIC REVOLUTIONARIES TO FEATURE BEETHOVEN AND SCHUBERT Faith Lutheran Church Music Director Jo seph Holt/Contributed photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 102 Joseph Assi is a principal horn for the Saraso ta Orchestra. Holt, a pianist for the U.S. Army Chorus for 20 years, is also the artistic director for Gloria Musicae, and Stuart is Faiths associate music director. This February Romantic Revolutionaries concert is part of a three-concert series of fered by Faith Lutheran; tickets are $15, the release says. The second concert will feature the U.S. Army Chorus Vocal Quartet on March 15, followed by a season-ending April 14 con cert featuring Sarasotas own Maria Wirries in a benet for Haiti. Single-concert tickets are available online at by phone at 924-4664 or in person at the church; a $40 three-concert package is also available. Faith Lutheran Church is located at 7750 Be neva Road in Sarasota; for more information, visit the website or call 924-4664. Mezzo-soprano Rachel Assi/Contributed photo French horn artist Joseph Assi/Contributed photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 103 Theatre Odyssey has announced that Thera py, a 10-minute play written by Sabrina Vio ta and Summer Begalka from Saint Stephens Episcopal School, has won this years Student Playwriting Festival. Therapy was directed by Cinda Goeken. Friends Forever, written by Francesca Di Maio, Melina Cuffaro and Amanda Robbins from Lakewood Ranch High School, received an Honorable Mention award; Julie Look di rected it, a news release says. The competition took place at State College of Florida. The winner received a cash prize of $300, donated by Theatre Odyssey trustees Terry and Susan Romine. Saint Stevens Episcopal School will receive an engraved trophy in rec ognition of its students accomplishment, the release adds. The trophy will rotate annually. Therapy, will be featured at Theatre Odysseys annual Ten-Minute Play Festival, set for March 29-31 at the Westcoast Black Theater Troupes home, 1646 10th Way in Sarasota. For ticket information, visit While the jury was evaluating this years plays, Theatre Odyssey conducted a playwright workshop for the audience, the release points out. Tom Aposporos was the host, along with local playwrights Ron Pantello, Marvin Albert and Bernie Yanelli. Each discussed the chal lenges of writing short plays, the release adds. Theatre Odyssey was founded in 2006 to en courage and promote the efforts of local play wrights and actors. Over the years, the group has premiered more than 50 plays written, directed and performed by Gulf Coast play wrights, actors and directors. WINNERS OF STUDENT PLAYWRITING FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED (Back row, from left) Terry Romine, Susan Romine, Catherine Randazzo, Sabrina Viota (with tro phy), Kemery Colbert; (middle row, from left) Kenneth Erickson, Howard Millman, Jay Handelman, Tami Vaughan, Summer Begalka, Francesca DiMaio; and (kneeling) Preston Boyd. Contributed photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 104 Florida Studio Theatre has announced a change to its 2012-2013 cabaret season. The season was scheduled to end with the musical revue Caribbean Soul The nal show in the series will now be By Gershwin: A Trib ute to George and Ira Gershwin opening in FSTs Goldstein Cabaret on Friday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m., the theater has announced. According to FST Artistic Director Richard Hopkins in a news release, This change in season has occurred due to the additional de velopment time needed for Caribbean Soul The show will go back into development this spring with the hope of returning it to the schedule for next year. By Gershwin is a revue previously developed and scheduled for the 2014 cabaret season, TRIBUTE TO GERSHWINS ADDED TO FST SCHEDULE Hopkins added in the release. The 2013-2014 schedule has yet to be announced. In the meantime, Hopkins notes in the re lease, By Gershwin will be an elegant and spirited rendition of the greatest songwriting team of the 20th century. Weve wanted to get back to the Gershwin brothers for over a decade now, and Im delighted that we will nally have the opportunity to undertake the sweep, the brilliance and the wonderful sense of humor that only the Gershwins can create. Tickets for the premiere music revue will be on sale through June 2 and may be purchased by phone at 366-9000, online at FloridaStu or by visiting the box ofce at 1241 N. Palm Ave. on March 29 and 30 will be at 8 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinees are set for March 30 and 31. Parts are available for nine men and eight women, ages 20-60, the release says. Some actors may be cast to play more than one role, the release notes. Interested persons should bring a headshot and resume to the audition. Lines to be read will be given out at the auditions. For more information call 799-7224. % Theatre Odyssey has released date and time for actors auditions for this years 10-Minute Play Festival. The auditions will take place on Monday, Feb. 11, beginning at 6 p.m. in the conference room at the Arts and Cultural Alliance building, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The plays for the 2013 festival are four com edies and four dramas. The festival will open on Friday, March 29, and run through Sunday, March 31, a news release notes. Performances AUDITIONS TO BE HELD FOR 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night

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The Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., in downtown Sarasota, invites members of the community to a special Kirkin o the Tartan Solemn Evensong on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 5:15 p.m., which will include a performance by the City of Sarasota Pipe Band. The Evensong anthem will be Highland Ca thedral presented with choir, organ and bag pipes; music for the service will be by T. Ter tius Noble, a church news release says. Scots of the St. Andrew Society of Sarasota, dressed in full Scottish regalia, will bring for ward their clan tartan banners to be blessed at the altar, the release notes. The Kirkin tradi tion dates back to the 18th century, when the English prohibited the public display of tartans and Scots began secretly to bring pieces of them to church to be blessed, the release notes. A catered parish dinner with British fare will follow in the churchs Gillespie Hall named after the Father of Sarasota, John Hamilton Gillespie, who came to Sarasota in 1886 and subsequently helped found Redeemer and was one of its earliest parishioners, the release adds. The buffet-style dinner will offer meat pies, several side dishes and bread pudding dessert. The Pipe Band will perform again for dinner guests. Tickets for the dinner, which are $10, must be purchased in advance by calling or visiting the parish ofce (955-4263); the deadline for ticket purchase is Friday, Feb. 15. For more information, visit redeemersarasota. org or call 955-4263. Members of the City of Sarasota Pipe Band will perform at the Church of the Redeemer on Feb. 17. Contributed photo REDEEMER TO BLESS SCOTTISH TARTANS DURING EVENSONG RELIGION BRIEFS

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 106 On Sunday, Feb. 10, at noon, the social hall of Temple Emanu-El, 151 McIntosh Road in Sara sota, will come alive with the exotic sounds, tastes and visions of all things Sephardic. A term used to refer to Jews of Middle Eastern, Spanish or North African origin, Sephardic encompasses a unique style of Jewish food, music, art and folklore; these lesser-known aspects of Jewish culture will be brought to life by Temple Emanu-Els director of re ligious education, Sabrina Silverberg, in an adult learning program titled, From Madrid to Marrakesh a Temple news release says. After a Mediterranean lunch catered by the Oasis Caf, Silverberg herself a proud Sep hardic Jew, the release says will present an interactive workshop about Sephardic Jew ish life. Covering topics such as the history of Sephardic Jews; their holidays and life-cycle customs and ceremonies; the contributions of notable Sephardic Jews; and more obscure subjects such as superstitions, mysticism and taboos, the lecture will include a video pre sentation of short lms and music samples as well as a question-and-answer session. The session will conclude with a surprise handson activity prepared by Silverberg, the release notes. When I was asked to give a presentation on Sephardic Jews, I was intrigued, Silverberg says in the release. I saw it as an opportunity to get in touch with my Sephardic roots and speak about a subject that is dear to my heart. I was thrilled to learn more about Sephardic Jewry, and I am excited to share this richness and diversity. The cost of From Madrid to Marrakesh which includes lunch, is $10 for Temple Ema nu-El members and $15 for guests. For more information, call Judilee Sterne at 349-9287 or email FROM MADRID TO MARRAKESH PLANNED AT TEMPLE EMANU-EL Sabrina Silverberg/Contributed photo The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism will present 37 Postcard s on Feb. 8, a laughout-loud comedy about a zany family with a prodigal son who is unprepared for what he nds after his long absence, a news release says. Having been performed in various U.S. and German venues, this staged reading will be presented in Sarasota by members of the Bir CONGREGATION TO PRESENT THE COMEDY 37 POSTCARDS mingham (MI) Temple: Mike Beltzman, Judy Schneider, John and Noreen Zimmer, Ruth Goldman, Jerri Sasson and Sandy Altman, the release adds. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Unity, 3023 Proctor Road, Sarasota. CHJ members will be admitted free; for non-members, the cost is $10. Reservations are required by calling 929-7771.

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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 Page 107 Seth Miller, executive director of the Inno cence Project of Florida, will be the guest speaker following a Purim service hosted by the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 at Unity of Sarasota. An adjunct professor at the Florida State University College of Law, where he teaches about post-conviction remedies, Miller serves on the boards of the International Innocence Network and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a news release notes. He provides pro-bono representation, teaches litigation training to lawyers and speaks out to raise awareness of wrongful convictions, the release adds. The program is free and open to the public. Unity is located at 3023 Proctor Road in Sara sota. For more information, call 929-7771 or visit % FLORIDAS INNOCENCE PROJECT DIRECTOR TO SPEAK IN SARASOTA Seth Miller (left) and Juan Melendez, who was released after 17 years on Floridas Death Row, speak to an audience. Image courtesy Innocence Project of Florida 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

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08 FEB FST Improv Feb. 8, 8:30 p.m.; Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Admission: $12. Information: 366-9000 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 09+ FEB Siesta Village Arts and Crafts Fair Feb. 9-10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the sidewalks along Ocean Boulevard, Siesta Key. For details, visit 14 FEB Valentine Stroll Feb. 14, 5-8 p.m., Siesta Village on Siesta Key, with kisses for all. Participating businesses will be ying pink and red balloons. Golf carts and pedi-cabs will be available at the Siesta Public Beach parking lot to help with transportation. Click here for more information. 14 FEB Chillounge presents Jon Secada in concert Feb. 14, 7 to 11 p.m., Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota Tickets: $140-160, includes food, open bar. Click here to purchase tickets 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:

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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 SHADOW MAGIC ON THE HIGH WIRE SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS