Sarasota News Leader


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

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COVER Inside WHO ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? THE OL ONE-TWO PUNCH SOME HITS, SOME MISSES Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida February 15, 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


This was one of those weeks where a LOT was going on! So much happened, in fact, that you will see some carryover of reports into our next issue. Although I have been covering local government meetings for more than 30 years (I am not shy about my age), and Stan Zimmerman has been covering them even longer than that (I do not ask his age), I expect he joins me in nding a lot of tedium to go along with the excitement. A close friend has said she never would be able to sit through hours of discussion and distill it down to a good accounting of what hap pened. Of course, we are not as concise in our reporting for the News Leader as many publications are, but we obviously cannot include every word or a description of every gesture that helps con vey a city or county commissioners thoughts about a certain topic and expect you to keep reading! That means we have to pick and choose among all the comments we hear and gestures we see to convey clearly what went on. Recently, I sat through several County Commis sion discussions on single topics that lasted more than an hour. Working for a weekly publi cation affords me more time to pore back over my notes and review recordings to make sure I understood statements clearly and wrote down accurate details. Nevertheless, I have to gure out what the most crucial elements of the sto ry are and how best to help you understand what happened. I look upon that as a highly engaging game: When the pieces of the puzzle all come together smoothly, the accomplish ment is like popping a chocolate trufe in my mouth. Of course, reader comments on our news coverage are always welcome. That is the only way we know if our puzzles t together in as ne a fashion as we thought they did. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


PRESSING THE POINT GOING NOWHERE FOR NOW NEWS & COMMENTARY WHO ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? 12 Walmart appeal to be a battle of the planners Stan Zimmerman THE OL ONE-TWO PUNCH 17 City slammed with two injunctions over the homeless Stan Zimmerman SOME HITS, SOME MISSES 21 Plans for the countys new Emergency Operations Center came in $4 million over budget, but other capital projects are in good shape Rachel Brown Hackney LINGERING IN LIMBO 26 Legal sticuffs may be coming in Warm Mineral Springs debate Cooper Levey-Baker PRESSING THE POINT 28 The Sarasota County Commission urges the School Board to preserve signicant characterdening elements in a Sarasota High building Rachel Brown Hackney PENSION CHIEF RESIGNS 32 Citing stress and inadequate preparation for the City of Sarasota post, Wendy Clutter leaves after just seven months Stan Zimmerman GOING NOWHERE FOR NOW 34 A domestic partnership registry is on hold in North Port Cooper Levey-Baker HOPING TO CATCH UP 36 Higher bids for the Siesta Key Beach stormwater project have pulled county funds from road projects Rachel Brown Hackney SPLIT VIEWS 40 The County Commission changes a residency requirement, but forgoes a new subcontractor guideline for companies seeking local preference status in bidding on projects Rachel Brown Hackney NO GOOD DEED 45 Help offered for owners of historically challenged buildings Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover Tidal lagoon, Selby Gardens Robert Hackney Sarasota Leisure Quiet path, Selby Gardens Robert Hackney


PAY DIRT NORM FINDS NEMO FULL STEAM AHEAD 48 The Sarasota County Commission adds its endorsement to Benderson Parks bid for the 2017 World Rowing Championships Rachel Brown Hackney A COMPROMISE AFOOT 52 The Siesta Key Association will work with the Siesta Isles Association to nd a better way to help pedestrians cross Beach Road Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 55 OPINION EDITORIAL 62 Taxing Internet sales is Congress problem COMMENTARY 64 Farewell, Kabul! David Staats Meet the parents Harriet Cuthbert SARASOTA LEISURE PAY DIRT 71 Real estate and humor vie for supremacy during Crocker lecture Scott Proftt NORM FINDS NEMO 76 A long weekend in New York proves to be an extraordinarily quiet one Staff Reports ASK OTUS 82 Zebra Longwing butteries appear to be making a strong comeback and the keys Bobcats also seem to be thriving Otus Rufous SIESTA SEEN 87 Chris Browns lawsuit settlement is put off, one bid comes in for Siesta Villages crosswalk lighting and the island clean-up is set for Feb. 16 Rachel Brown Hackney ARTS BRIEFS 91 RELIGION BRIEFS 96 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 99 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 100 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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


WHO ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? Walmart appeal to be a battle of the planners Stan Zimmerman Over the weekend, diligent Sarasota City commissioners will be sorting through more than 300 pages of materials concerning a neighborhood appeal of the Planning Boards approval of a new Walmart store on Charles Ringling Boulevard. The issue will be presented all over again, from the top. Fundamentally, the decision will hinge on differing interpretations of the term department store. City planners say the Walmart is not a department store. But a recently retired senior city planner is on the neighborhoods side, and he says it is. The face-off is set for Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, at City Hall. Tim Litchett, director of the Neighborhood and Development Services Department, will defend the staff recommendation and Planning Board decision. He will be opposed by his former No. 2, Deputy Director Mike Taylor. ( Full story here ) THE OL ONE-TWO PUNCH City slammed with two injunctions over the homeless Stan Zimmerman Two city responses to homelessness one at the top of the food chain and the other at the grassroots level have been halted by a pair of legal challenges. One judicial decision stops any meeting of City Manager Tom Barwins ad hoc committee looking for fast responses to homelessness unless its meetings are properly noticed under Floridas Open Meetings and Public Records laws. The other decision stops the city police from arresting homeless people for using signs to solicit donations from motorists. On Feb. 13, the city agreed to a 60-day ban on enforcement of an already-repealed solicitation ordinance. In both cases, City Attorney Bob Fournier tried to head off court action but was stied by bureaucratic inertia on one hand and Barwins reluctance to open up his meetings on the other. Barwin was unavailable for comment, away on vacation in Ireland. ( Full story here ) TOP STORIES AT A GLANCE Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


SOME HITS, SOME MISSES Plans for the countys new Emergency Operations Center came in $4 million over budget, but other capital projects are in good shape Rachel Brown Hackney As Sarasota County staff moved quickly through updates on the status of capital projects during a Feb. 8 budget workshop with the County Commission, one comment drew some groans. Bob Stuckey, general manager of public safety communications, was talking about the work of a stakeholders group in the design of the new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) when he mentioned the initial plans had come in over budget. Commissioner Christine Robinson allowed him to complete his presentation before asking how much expenses appeared to be over budget. The answer: $3.9 million. Thats almost 25 percent over budget, Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out. The PowerPoint slide about the EOC project shows its construction cost pegged at $13.2 million, with another $830,000 for equipment. The county has received federal grants totaling $1.3 million to help pay for the facility. ( Full story here ) LINGERING IN LIMBO Legal sticuffs may be coming in Warm Mineral Springs debate Cooper Levey-Baker Terrible. That is how North Port Vice Mayor Jim Blucher described the Sarasota County Commissions $2 million offer for the citys share of Warm Mineral Springs during a City Commission hearing held Monday evening, Feb. 11. Apparently the rest of the commission agreed, voting unanimously to reject the deal and leaving the future of the springs once again in limbo. North Port and the county jointly acquired the 81-acre springs property for $5.5 million in 2010, but the city wants out of the 50-50 arrangement and offered to sell its share to the county last month. The county said OK and oated the $2 million number along with a host of specications among them a requirement that the city contract its municipal boundaries to return the springs to unincorporated Sarasota County. North Port Mayor Linda Yates told The Sarasota News Leader two weeks ago that the offer represented a major, signicant nancial burden on south county residents. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


PRESSING THE POINT The Sarasota County Commission urges the School Board to preserve signicant char acter-dening elements in a Sarasota High building Rachel Brown Hackney At the request of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation [SAF], the Sarasota County Commission voted 4-1 Feb. 13 to send a letter to the Sarasota County School Board asking it to direct its architect to amend renovation plans for the interior of Sarasota High School Building 4 to preserve original elements designed by renowned architect Paul Rudolph. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason cast the No vote, saying she could not support Commissioner Joe Barbettas motion to send the correspondence. The letter seeks a redesign of the Building 4 interior that would incorporate and rehabilitate the signicant character-dening elements which are: (i) the oating walkway, (ii) linear light wells and, (iii) the steel door frames. It adds, We believe that involvement of the School Boards preservation architect and the Sarasota Architectural Foundation in the design process is essential to the successful implementation of an appropriate rehabilitation. ( Full story here ) PENSION CHIEF RESIGNS Citing stress and inadequate preparation for the City of Sarasota post, Wendy Clutter leaves after just seven months Stan Zimmerman While a bevy of new hires have been coming to city government, one has not worked out. Wendy Clutter, hired in June to be the pension director, resigned in late January. She wrote out her resignation letter Monday, Jan. 22, then put it on her desk in a windowless ofce in the bowels of the Sarasota City Auditor and Clerks Ofce, and she did not come to work the next day. Clutter notied City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini of her resignation by email. Good morning, Pamela, I sincerely apologize for the severe inconvenience, how ever I will not be returning to the ofce, Clutter said in the email. My city-issued belongings are in my ofce, along with my letter of resignation. I am very thankful for this opportunity that I was given and again, I apologize for my immediate de parture. ( Full story here ) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 11 Make plans to join the conversation 6pm February 28, 2013 FOCUS FOCUS ON FLORIDA: PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN OUR SCHOOLS The FOCUS ON FLORIDA Conversation Series is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. F o g a r tyvi l le COMMUNITY MEDIA AND ARTS CENTER CONTACT AT ( 941 ) 894-6469WSLR OR INFO@WSLR.ORG SARASOTA CHAPTER ACLU: Sarasotas Own Community SARASOTA BRANCH OF THE Join WSLR, the Sarasota Branch of the NAACP, the Sarasota News Leader and the ACLU of Sarasota/Manatee for a Community Conversation on Preventing Violence in our Schools and Community. Featured guests include:Monica Cherry, Licensed Mental Health Counselor Bernadette DiPino, Sarasota Chief of Police Dr. Laura Kingsley, Principal, Fruitville Elementary School Heart Phoenix, President, River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding The rst hour of the conversation at 6pm will be broadcast live on WSLR-LP 96.5fm locally (also available via live stream at At 7pm the audience will be invited to share their insights and join the conversation with our featured guests. 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


Over the weekend, diligent Sarasota City com missioners will be sorting through more than 300 pages of materials concerning a neighbor hood appeal of the Planning Boards approval of a new Walmart store on Charles Ringling Boulevard. The issue will be presented all over again, from the top. Fundamentally, the decision will hinge on differing interpretations of the term department store. City planners say the Walmart is not a department store. But a recently retired senior city planner is on the neighborhoods side, and he says it is. The face-off is set for Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, at City Hall. Tim Litchett, director of the Neighborhood and Development Services De partment, will defend the staff recommenda tion and Planning Board decision. He will be opposed by his former No. 2, Deputy Director Mike Taylor. WHAT IS A DEPARTMENT STORE? Taylor quotes in his 42-page report the deni tion of a department store in the city code: a store of 15,000 or more square feet of gross oor area selling a wide variety of retail goods arranged in general departments. And he fur ther notes a department store structure is not permitted in a CSC-N zone (neighborhood commercial shopping center). The new Walmart would be constructed in a shopping center where Publix once stood on Ringling Boulevard. Photo by Norman Schimmel WALMART APPEAL TO BE A BATTLE OF THE PLANNERS WHO ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 13 Walmart wants to build a 98,000-square-foot store with about one-third of the space de voted to a grocery and the remainder to gen eral merchandise. The site is at the corner of Lime Avenue and Ringling Boulevard in the old Publix shopping center. The company paid the city $16,491 to review its plans. The company is not seeking any rezoning or special exceptions. It did need approval of the Planning Board for its site plan, which it re ceived by 3-2 vote on Nov. 14. At that meeting, Senior Planner Courtnez Mendez said, This is basically a replacement of an existing shop ping center with a new Walmart that is nearly equivalent in size. The Alta Vista Neighborhood, which is adja cent to the site, appealed the Planning Board decision to the Sarasota City Commission. It cost the association $1,597. The formal appeal says, The City report ad vocating approval of the site plan references Walmart as a Large Store which is dened in the Code as a retail store of 25,000 square feet or more. However this use is not listed among Walmart plans submitted to the City of Sarasota show elevations for various sections of the pro posed store on Ringling Boulevard. Image courtesy City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader Februar y 15, 2013 Page 14 the permitted uses in the Neighborhood Com -mercial Shopping Center Zone. Nor can the proposed Walmart Store be classied as a De -partment Store dened in the code as a retail store greater than 15,000 square feet, as this use is prohibited in the zone. A variety retail store is permitted in the zone but by denition such a store is less than 15,000 square feet. The proposed Walmart Store also fails to qual -ify as a shopping center, which by denition includes at least ve storefronts connected or freestanding.The neighborhood appeal closes by saying, The petitioners conclusion and major nd -ing is that the Walmart site plan is a use that i s not permitted in the CSC-N zone and that City staff and [the] Planning Board have erred in not nding that the proposed use for this site plan was not a permitted use in the sub -ject zone. As such this site plan should not have been forwarded to the Planning Board for consideration of approval, much less to the City Commission on an appeal.The department store issue came up at the Planning Board meeting in November. Walmart representatives arranged for the pro -ceedings to be recorded by a court reporter, with a transcript produced. City Planner Men -dez explained how staff members re ached The Walmart site plan shows parking in relation to the store. Image courtesy City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 15 their conclusion that the proposed Walmart store is not a department store: Ms. Mendez : When we look at a zoning dis trict and what is a permitted use, a lot of items will have a match, but certainly when we have a laundry list of uses like this in the older zon ing districts, we look at what it is similar to. We determine that it does not meet the de nition of a department store. So then we look at the individual uses that would make it up. So, it may not be one single use on there, but its a variety of those different uses, including retail. Ms. [Susan] Chapman [Planning Board member] : But in department store, CSC-N, its not permitted. Ms. Mendez : Thats correct. A department store would not be, but we have determined that this is not a department store. Mendez will not plead the citys case on Tues day. She is on maternity leave. Her boss, Li tchett, will carry the argument. Jim Porter, an attorney representing Walmart, will handle that role on the other side. In a let ter to the city commissioners on Jan. 4 (before their 4-1 decision to hear the appeal), Porter wrote: It is important to note that the process the City directed Walmart to apply was for site plan approval by the Citys Planning Board, not a rezoning, because the existing zoning allows the proposed use. The Citys staff is charged with making that determination. The letter continues, The [Planning] Boards decision was based on competent substantial evidence as required by law in quasi-judicial proceedings. The expert testimony of the ap plicants team, the exhibits submitted by the applicant and the recommendation of the City Staff all constitute competent substantial evi dence that supports the decision of the Plan ning [Board]. To support the city planning staffs ndings, Porter brought his own planner Susan Fitch to testify before the Planning Board. The minutes of the meeting say, From a compat ibility standpoint, which is what she looks at as a land-use planner, the use complies with site plan review standards because it is zoned properly for all of the uses that Walmart in tends. The site plan, in her professional opin ion, does meet all of the citys site plan review standards. Tuesday will be a long night. A total of 34 peo ple have signed up as affected parties, giving them extra time to speak and the ability to cross-examine witnesses. % I am so incredibly pleased, with my beautiful smile and my comfortable and natural bite. Barbara LeeFor a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. |


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T wo city responses to homelessness one at the top of the food chain and the other at the grassroots level have been halted by a pair of legal challenges. One judicial decision stops any meeting of City Manager Tom Barwins ad hoc commit tee looking for fast responses to homeless ness unless its meetings are properly noticed under Floridas Open Meetings and Public Re cords laws. The other decision stops the city police from arresting homeless people for using signs to solicit donations from motorists. On Feb. 13, the city agreed to a 60-day ban on enforcement of an already-repealed solicita tion o rdinance. In both cases, City Attorney Bob Fournier tried to head off court action but was stied by bureaucratic inertia on one hand and Bar wins reluctance to open up his meetings on the other. Barwin was unavailable for comment, away on vacation in Ireland. THE MEETING WAS NOT CALLED TO ORDER When participants in Barwins ad hoc commit tee arrived for the 9 a.m. meeting on Wednes day, Feb. 13, they were met by Sarasota Police Capt. Paul Sutton, who told them the ses sion had been cancelled. He explained that Fournier had recommended the meeting not proceed because of a legal challenge raised Homeless people gather during the daytime along Central Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY SLAMMED WITH TWO INJUNCTIONS OVER THE HOMELESS THE OL ONE-TWO PUNCH By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 18 by the Sarasota nonprot group Citizens for Sunshine. Meanwhile, Fournier was at the 12th Judicial Circuit courthouse, standing before Judge Lee Haworth, knowing he did not have a defense to mount. Fournier had warned Barwin the status of the ad hoc committee meant ade quate notices of its meetings had to be sent out, minutes had to be kept and the sessions had to be made open to the public. According to the complaint by Citizens for Sunshine, the committee is composed of representatives of the Sarasota Police De partment, Sarasota County, Sheriffs Ofce, Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, the Salvation Army, Resurrection House, First Step, Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, Saraso ta Memorial Hospital and individual members [Deputy County Administrator] Bill Little, [Po lice Capt.] Paul Sutton, Tom Pfaaf, Ali Kleber, Ken Alexander, Miriam Lacher, David Proch, John Annis, Leslie Loveless and Peter Fan ning. The complaint says the group, all or in part, met Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. The ad hoc committee recommended in Janu ary that the city hire social service casework ers to help the homeless nd assistance. The recommendation included a business plan and a budget, according to exhibits produced in the court le. Haworths order noted two tripwires upon which Barwins ad hoc committee had stum bled. His injunction banned any meeting with out public notice of at least 72 hours in ad vance. And it halts implementing any action or recommendation including the expendi ture of public funds that occurred as a result o f any prior meeting that was not noticed to the public. On Feb. 5, Barwin briefed a joint meeting of the Sarasota City and County commissions and laid out a program to hire caseworkers; he said he already had a commitment from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to assist the initiative. We look to you, the county, to be partners with us, he said. We need to jump in, be ex ible, be nimble and get after the issue a little more aggressively. Barwin has been Sarasotas city manager less than six months, having moved here from Illi nois. He has attended a mandatory seminar on Floridas Open Meetings and Public Records laws. This is the third successful action by Citizens for Sunshine against the City of Sarasota. Last year a judge ruled the citys Civil Service Board violated Sunshine laws by discussing the termination of a police ofcer outsid e a Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier/Pho to by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 19 noti ced meeting. A second suit involved a committee on public art that met outside a noticed meeting. Citizens for Sunshine was established in 2008. CITY DUCKS APPEAL For a short moment in time on Feb. 13, City Attorney Fournier could breathe. He had ne gotiated a resolution to a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union over the arrest by a city police ofcer on Jan. 17 of a man on public right of way. The man was holding up a sign saying, Stranded and hun gry. Ironically, Jon Hills arrest was for violat ing a city ordinance in the process of be ing repealed, because Fournier realized the 1960s-era law was unconstitutional, could not be defended in court and was well into the repeal process. The police chief circulated an email telling ofcers not to enforce the ordi nance. The arresting ofcer did not get the word, though, and Hill spent ve days in the county jail. 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Rick DeFu ria noted that streets and sidewalks have im memorially been held in trust for the use of the public. When Hill was hassled a second time by city police for the same behavior after his release from jail, DeFuria was informed of the situa tion. The judge hit the city with an injunction. Fournier said the second incident tipped the scales for the judge As we reported in our Feb. 8 issue, Fourni er 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 worked to get an agreement with the ACLU to abide by a 60-day injunction stop ping police ofcers from interfering with the exercise of First Amendment rights. But the injunction would not be permanent, allowing the city to develop a new constitutional ordi nance. The stipulation became ofcial Feb. 13, the same morning Citizens for Sunshine and Fournier went before Judge Haworth regard ing the ad ho c homeless issues committees Sunshine problems. % Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin ad dresses issues regarding the citys homeless during a joint meeting of the City and Coun ty commissions on Feb. 5. Photo by Norman Schimmel


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As Sarasota County staff moved quickly through updates on the status of capital proj ects during a Feb. 8 budget workshop with the County Commission, one comment drew some groans. Bob Stuckey, gener al manager of pub lic safety communi cations, was talking about the work of a stakeholders group in the design of the new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) when he mentioned the initial plans had come in over budget. Commissioner Christine Robinson allowed him to complete his presentation before asking how much ex penses appeared to be over budget. The answer: $3.9 mil lion. A Sarasota County graphic illustration shows the site plan for the new Emergency Operations Cen ter. Image courtesy Sarasota County PLANS FOR THE COUNTYS NEW EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER CAME IN $4 MILLION OVER BUDGET, BUT OTHER CAPITAL PROJECTS ARE IN GOOD SHAPE SOME HITS, SOME MISSES Thats almost 25 percent over budget. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 22 Thats almost 25 percent over budget, Com missioner Joe Barbetta pointed out. The PowerPoint slide about the EOC project shows its construction cost pegged at $13.2 million, with another $830,000 for equipment. The county has received federal grants total ing $1.3 million to help pay for the facility. Stuckey told the commissioners staff already had determined it could reduce the overage by $1 million by modifying plans for window glazing. Additionally, Stuckey said, the EOCs central energy plant originally had been designed to stand apart from the building; connecting it to the facility will save a lot of money, he added. And youre going to run this by the stakehold er group? Robinson asked. Oh, denitely, Stuckey told her. The stakeholders had about 40 meetings over the past 10 months, he noted. Along with county Emergency Management Department ofcials, the group includes representatives from the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, the 911 Call Center and the countys Call Center. He added that the group would like about three more weeks to examine the latest cost estimate and consider alternatives before re porting its ndings to the County Commission. Stuckey anticipated the presentation would be ready in about a month. Although plans had called for a two-way trafc ow as part of the Siesta Beach Park improvements, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has asked county staff to maintain a one-way ow for safety reasons. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 23 T he facility, which will be built at the intersec tion of Cattlemen Road and Porter Way, is at the 60-percent design stage, Stuckey said. Per mitting for it is scheduled to be completed by fall, with construction to be nished in time for personnel to move into the center before the June 1 start of the 2014 hurricane season, he pointed out. The two-story structure will be able to with stand a Category 5 hurricane. The Sarasota County Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota, where the current Emergency Management Department is located, cannot withstand a storm stronger than a Category 2 or 3, Stuckey noted. The new EOC, he said, will nally give us a safe haven, with staff able to stay continu ously in the facility for up to 72 hours. Among the other project updates during the budget session were the following: Bee Ridge Road : Thai Tran, mobility man ager in the Public Works Department, report ed that the design and permitting of the Bee Ridge Road improvements are to be complet ed in March, with anticipation that the con struction contract will be awarded in the fall. The design is at the 90-percent stage, Tran said, so it should be complete within a couple of months. The project has been split into two segments. The 1.8-mile section from Mauna Loa Road to Bent Tree Boulevard will be widened from two lanes to four, with landscaping, bike lanes, sidewalks, lighting and roundabouts added. The .89-mile section from Bent Tree Boulevard to Iona Road will include resurfacing, paved shoulders, bike lanes, sidewalks and lighting. Siesta Public Beach : Carolyn Brown, gen eral manager of the Parks and Recreation D e The new Gulf Gate Library will stand on the same Curtiss Avenue site where the original building was constructed. Image courtesy Sarasota County`


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 24 partment, reported the design of the beach im provements is expected to be completed this summer, with construction to start in the fall. In working with the Sheriffs Ofce about var ious aspects of the plan, she said, staff had learned the Sheriffs Ofce preferred to main tain a one-way trafc circulation in the park ing lot. The original design called for two-way trafc throughout the park. The design consultant had evaluated that pro posed change and made adjustments, Brown added, which staff will ask the Sheriffs Ofce to review. I think were on the right track, she said. Additionally, Brown noted, the county Pro curement Department received nine propos als in response to its advertisement for a con struction manager at risk to handle the beach project. (This type of construction manager is responsible for hiring people to do the work and making sure everything adheres to the budget.) A committee is scheduled to review those proposals on Feb. 27, she said, and it will pare down the list. Those rms remaining in consideration will be asked to present oral presentations in March, she added. On Feb. 28, Brown continued, staff will pres ent the latest plans for the beach project to residents of the Siesta Isles Association on Siesta Key. Gulf Gate Library : Gulf Gate Library will reopen in its temporary headquarters in Westeld Sarasota Square Mall at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, Sarabeth Kalajian, di rector of the countys library system, told the commissioners. It will be located at the southern end of the mall, next to JC Penney. The move is necessary for the new, $7.5 mil lion, 25,000-square-foot library to be built on the same Curtiss Avenue site where the origi nal, 17,200-square-foot library was construct ed, Kalajian pointed out. Two weeks ago, when I toured the space [in the mall], she said on Feb. 8, it looked like an empty store. When she went back last week, she added, the space had been trans formed into a library. A ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the temporary facility will include remarks by commissioners, representatives of the Friends of the Library and library staff, according to a news release. The engagement of the librarys users in the design of the new facility, Kalajian added, has been one of the true highlights of this project. Many of the same people came to each of the open houses county staff and the consultants held, she said, and they looked to see whether their ideas were reected in the latest render ings and plans. Kalajian also noted that staff continues to seek out the best practices to serve library users in the new facility. The library is scheduled to be completed in the spring or early summer of 2014. %


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Terrible. That is how North Port Vice Mayor Jim Bluch er described the Sarasota County Commis sions $2 million offer for the citys share of Warm Mineral Springs during a City Commis sion hearing held Monday evening, Feb. 11. Apparently the rest of the commission agreed, voting unanimously to reject the deal and leaving the future of the springs once again in limbo. North Port and the county jointly acquired the 81-acre springs property for $5.5 mil lion in 2010, but the city wants out of the 50-50 arrangement and offered to sell its share to the county last month. The county said OK and oated the $2 million number along with a host of specications among them a requirement that the city con tract its municipal boundaries to return the springs to unincorporated Sarasota County. North Port Mayor Linda Yates told The Sara sota News Leader two weeks ago that the of fer represented a major, signicant nancial burden on south county residents. North Port Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco echoed Bluchers terrible comment Monday night. I dont like the idea of de-annexing Warm Mineral Springs from the city, she said. I think every thing that the county offered was No way, Jose. Im tired thats what its just coming People long have talked of the positive impact on their health from bathing in Warm Mineral Springs. Photo courtesy State of Florida via Wikipedia Commons SUBHEAD: LEGAL FISTICUFFS MAY BE COMING IN WARM MINERAL SPRINGS DEBATE LINGERING IN LIMBO I dont think [the countys] going to make another counter-offer, and the private sector is not going to be interested in working with the county. Jim Blucher Vice Mayor City of North Port By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 27 down to, DiFranco summarized. Lets get moving on other city business. But what is the citys alternative when it comes to selling the springs? That is where things get sticky. While Blucher had harsh words for the coun tys proposal, he was blunt about the likeli hood of nding another suitable buyer. I dont think [the countys] going to make an other counter-offer, he said, and the private sector is not going to be interested in working with the county. In the meantime, the city still co-owns the land. Were going to be back addressing this again shortly, he said. What are we going to do with the springs? Responding to the North Port decision during their Tuesday meeting, county commissioners were frustrated. Commissioner Charles Hines said a proper response from the city would have included a counter-offer. I think weve not been treated with huge re spect on this, said Commissioner Nora Pat terson, adding that she would like to gure out a short-term agreement for springs man agement that would kick in when the current management contract runs out June 30. But, of course, any agreement would require ap proval from the North Port board. The county eventually approved a motion to have staff come back to the board with a sum mary of all its legal options. North Port City Attorney Robert Robinson told his commission Monday that a move to sell the citys share of the land to a private entity would likely lead to a lawsuit. He suggested two possible paths: One, meet with the county and come to an amicable longterm arrangement; or two, le a partition law suit, which would put the property through a sales process and force the two owners to split the proceeds. Of course, there is no guar antee the city would earn back what it paid for the springs, or even as much as the county is offering today. Robinson also explained that state law re quires that two government bodies attempt to resolve their differences at a mandatory meeting before a lawsuit can be led. Its not the end of the world to put you in the same room, he said. The boards could even hire a mediator. The idea being that the meeting is to try to work out an agreement prior to st icuffs. Commissioner DiFranco tells the News Lead er she is condent the city and county can avoid any legal confrontation if we would check our egos at the door. On Monday, the city did move to explore the possibility of selling its portion to a state or federal agency, an idea DiFranco calls excel lent. Everyone needs to be patient and diligent while we complete our research, she writes in an email. We hope to bring a plan or agree ment to the county in the near future. It may be [sic] a possibility to sever our partnership to protect and preserve the springs. Additional reporting contributed by Sara sota News Leader Editor Rachel Brown Hackney. % A sign welcomes visitors to Warm Mineral Springs. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikipedia Commons


At the request of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation [SAF], the Sarasota County Com mission voted 4-1 Feb. 13 to send a letter to the Sarasota County School Board asking it to direct its architect to amend renovation plans for the interior of Sarasota High School Build ing 4 to preserve original elements designed by renowned architect Paul Rudolph. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason cast the No vote, saying she could not support Commis sioner Joe Barbettas motion to send the correspondence. The letter seeks a re design of the Building 4 interior that would incorporate and reha bilitate the signicant character-dening el ements which are: (i) the oating walkway, (ii) linear light wells and, (iii) the steel door frames. It adds, We believe that involvement of the School Boards preservation architect and the Sarasota Architectural Foundation in the design process is essential to the successful implementation of an appropriate rehabilita tion. In making his mo tion, Barbetta said he thought the letter was pretty straightfor ward. County Administrator Randall Reid said he preferred to have Ma son sign the letter. I Sarasota architect Paul Rudolph, who was an internationally recognized member of the Sarasota School of Architecture, designed Building 4 at Sarasota High School in the late 1950s. Photo by Nor man Schimmel THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION URGES THE SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD TO PRESERVE SIGNIFICANT CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS IN A SARASOTA HIGH BUILDING PRESSING THE POINT I voted against [sending the letter] because I believe the School Board has worked with the [Sarasota] Architectural Foundation to address the concerns. Carolyn Mason Chairwoman County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 29 think it would be more effective coming from the governing body than me, Reid added be fore the vote. In a telephone interview after the County Commissions regular meeting on Feb. 13, Ma son told The Sarasota News Leader I voted against [sending the letter] because I believe the School Board has worked with the Archi tectural Foundation to address the concerns. She added she did not know whether the School Board could afford to make further changes in the design of Building 4s rehabil itation. Mason continued, I am a huge supporter of historic preservation, [but] I just didnt agree with the letter. An update on the Sarasota High campus re building is one topic on the School Boards agenda for its Feb. 19 work session. The meet ing will begin at 10 a.m. in the School Board Chambers at the districts complex at The Landings on U.S. 41. During a Jan. 18 Convocation of Governments at Sarasota County Technical Institute, School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin told the county commissioners and representatives of all the municipalities in the county that she had met on Jan. 16 with SAF board members and discussed going back to the drawing board on the design of Building 4. SAF President Janet Minker and Sarasota ar chitect Carl Abbott were among the speakers during the public comment portion of that meeting who pleaded with the School Board The Sarasota County School Board meets in regular session in December. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 30 to preserve as much of the Rudolph design elements as possible in the structure during a rebuilding of the campus. The School Board has said renovations are necessary to enable Sarasota High to meet 21st century education al and safety demands. Abbott, who has been in practice about 46 years, pointed out that Building 4 is one of the most important buildings in the South in terms of architectural integrity He added, The interior of the building is as integral a part of the building as the exterior itself. In a Feb. 4 email to Mason, Minker wrote that during the Convocation of Governments, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation was encouraged by the indication of support ex pressed by Commissioners Barbetta and [Nora] Patterson in requesting that the Sara sota County School Board honor the histori cal aspects of the Paul Rudolph Addition to Sarasota High School during its renovation. Minker added, The Foundation is requesting that the County Commission send a letter to the Sarasota County School Board asking that they honor the School Boards own 2007 stip ulation that they would appropriately rehabil itate the Rudolph Addition. The County Commission letter to the School Board notes, Our county is known interna tionally for its Sarasota School of Architec ture and the iconic buildings that represent the work of renowned architects such as Paul Rudolph. When you commenced the construc tion planning for the new Riverview High School, which involved demolition of that Rudolph designed building, we expressed our concern at the loss of a signicant piece of the Countys architectural fabric. At that time it was agreed through the 2007 site and devel opment plan approval that was given that, in consideration for the loss of that building, the School Board would insure that the Rudolph Addition to Sarasota High School was protect ed through an appropriate rehabilitation. Before it began new construction on the Riv erview campus, the School Board gave the SAF time to raise funds to preserve the orig inal 1958 Rudolph Riverview building, so it could be used for another purpose. When the SAF was unsuccessful in that effort, the board voted to proceed with the demolition of the structure. The rebuilt Riverview High opened at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. After months of discussion with local pres ervationists regarding that project, School Board members agreed to make every possi County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 31 ble effort to preserve the remaining Rudolph structures on its campuses. During an April 17, 2012 work session, School Board member Carol Todd said, I think there was an incredible amount of unnecessary con troversy [about the Riverview project], and I dont want to see us go through that again. Nevertheless, all the board members agreed during that work session that their primary concern with the $26.5 million rebuilding of Sarasota High should be the safety and secu rity of the students. The County Commission letter to the School Board adds, We recognize the need to move ahead with construction at Sarasota High School so that our students can receive the best possible 21st century learning experi ence. We also know that a properly rehabil itated architectural treasure is an asset that benets the entire community. This is the time to honor an important commitment that was made with a specic purpose. In the interview with the News Leader Mason pointed out that she is a mentor for Sarasota High students. The space that they need in [Building 4] for a science lab is important, she said, adding she hoped the School Board and the SAF can be satised that the building is going to be preserved as much as it can. Mark Smith, the school districts director of construction services, told the News Lead er in late January that the design/develop ment phase of the Sarasota High rebuild is scheduled to be completed in June, with con struction set to start in July; the renovations tentatively are scheduled to be nished in De cember 2015. % Care.No matter what. Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central FloridaSarasota Join us for our 47th Annual Dinner Celebration! Become a sponsor or silent auction donor! 941.365.3913 x1124 For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP


While a bevy of new hires have been coming to city government, one has not worked out. Wendy Clutter, hired in June to be the pension director, resigned in late January. She wrote out her resignation letter Monday, Jan. 22, then put it on her desk in a window less ofce in the bow els of the Sarasota City Auditor and Clerks Ofce, and she did not come to work the next day. Clutter notified City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini of her resignation by email. Good morning, Pamela, I sincerely apologize for the severe inconvenience, however I will not be returning to the ofce, Clutter said in the email. My city-issued belongings are in my ofce, along with my letter of resignation. I am very thankful for this opportunity that I was given and again, I apologize for my imme diate departure. The letter cited several reasons for her resig nation. The stress and difficulties that has [sic] transpired from this position is caus ing undue troubles. My physical health is suffering a nd more im One recent hire at City Hall already has left her position. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITING STRESS AND INADEQUATE PREPARATION FOR THE CITY OF SARASOTA POST, WENDY CLUTTER LEAVES AFTER ABOUT SEVEN MONTHS PENSION CHIEF RESIGNS I understand this is not an ideal exit; I need to focus on my health and also feel that the position as Pension Plans Administrator was not a proper t for me and my qualications. Wendy Clutter Former Pension Director City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 33 portantly, my mental and emotional health is weakening. Nadalini told The Sarasota News Leader Clut ter certainly did a good job. Clutter followed long-time pension chief Ben ita Saldutti in the position. The city is now grappling with massive unfunded liabilities in its three pension plans because of poor in vestment returns during the recession. Those poor rates of return are continuing, ac cording to a report from a nancial manage ment rm on Feb. 11. Polen Capital was hired last March to manage some of the money in the citys General Employees Pension fund. Polen Relationship Manager John Gunther said that for 2012, the rm lost 2.99 percent of the citys money it had invested in the stock market. We did lose a little money but you did make it back in January, Gunther told the pension boards trustees. JOB WAS BAD FIT Clutter came to the job as an experienced pen sion administrator. But she said the job actual ly was nothing like she expected it would be. This positions primary focus is financial and is beyond [the] education that I have re ceived, she wrote in the letter. I feel that the percentage that actually pertains to the pen sion is very small. I am nding I am training myself in many areas of the job. She added, I feel this position would be more appropriate for someone with a strong ac counting and nancial background. And then there was the politics. Also, due to my unfa miliarity, I do not possess the condence to be able to be in the political arena, she wrote. Clutter did not leave the ofce in chaos. I have completed the Audits and Valuations to the best of my ability, as I feel that I have han dled every task that was presented. Since my experience is very limited, I do not feel that I would be able to offer proper training to a replacement, the letter said. The letter concludes: I understand this is not an ideal exit; I need to focus on my health and also feel that the position as Pension Plans Administrator was not a proper t for me and my qualications. Nadalini told the pension board she has brought back Saldutti as a contract employee to make sure we dont run into any issues. I feel pretty good going forward. Its an import ant position. And for now, a vacant one. % Sarasota City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nad alini/Photo by Norman Schimmel


Former Sarasota City Commissioner Ken Shelin made his domestic partnership regis try pitch to the North Port City Commission Monday, Feb. 11, getting mostly crickets in response. Shelin, backed by local marketing execu tive Grace Carlson, ran through the main points of how a domes tic partnership registry works, concepts long since familiar to Sara sota and Venice resi dents who have em braced the registry. The program confers a set of seven specic rights on unmarried couples who choose to join the registry: healthcare visitation privi leges, healthcare and burial decision-making rights, emergency notications, etc. what Carlson called essential, basic, fundamental human rights. The registry is gender-neutral, allowing same-sex couples some of the same rights as those accorded to married individuals. The ordinance were suggesting to you is very constrained and The North Port City Commission did not move forward this week with plans for a domestic partner ship registry. Image courtesy A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRY IS ON HOLD IN NORTH PORT GOING NOWHERE FOR NOW The ordinance were suggesting to you is very constrained and very specic and very narrow in scope. Ken Shelin Advocate Domestic Partnership Registries By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 35 very specic and very narrow in scope, Shelin said Monday evening. He warned that inequal ity will continue if you dont take action, and pointed out that more than 100 couples have already registered for the benets in Sarasota. Carlson called the registry a really positive and progressive ideal for any community, and urged North Port to support the measure. Sev eral North Port residents dressed in red shirts and attended the meeting to show their sup port, and a handful spoke out in favor of the registry. The only vocal opposition came from North Port citizen Thomas Logie, who called the reg istry a Trojan horse and said it was rife with legal complications for the city. He tells The Sarasota News Leader he be lieves the registry contradicts the anti-gay marriage amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008. I think the City Commission or the County Commission would be perfectly prudent to let this pass over for the time be ing, he says. That indeed is what the City Commission did Monday night, at least on the surface. After Shelin and Carlsons presentation and the public comments, commissioners had very little to say about the registry. Commis sioner Cheryl Cook asked to be provided with some additional data, while Mayor Linda Yates merely said the item would be taken under consideration, before moving on. But that does not mean the issue is going away. Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco tells the News Leader she thought the presentation was fabulous, as I expected. I support Domestic Registry 100 percent, she writes in an email. She declined to take action Monday because of the ongoing ab sence of Commissioner Tom Jones, who was hospitalized last month. I did not make a motion since I suspected it would meet with a 2-2 vote which would be a no vote, she writes. I will wait for a fth vote which may allow for a chance in favor for it to succeed. Shelin agrees that the registry is not dead in North Port; it is just pending. He tells the News Leader he thinks he can win a majority vote when Jones returns. When that will hap pen, though, remains unclear. In the meantime, Shelin is not resting on his laurels. This week, he made a formal request to appear again before the Sarasota County Commission in March, hoping to force a vote on the issue with that governing body. And he will be traveling to Tallahassee ear ly next week to testify in the Florida Senate in support of a statewide registry program. He is not optimistic the bill in question will pass. Similar measures have failed repeatedly in recent years, both because of the Florida Legislatures ultra-conservative makeup and because the state law is much more expansive than the more narrowly tailored local rules. He would love to see the state version become a reality, but as he told the North Port Com mission Monday, We clearly have not reached that tipping point yet. For now, that means it is up to cities and coun ties. %


Higher than expected bids for the Siesta Key Public Beach stormwater project have had an immediate impact of reducing available funds for road resurfacing, the Sarasota County Commission learned during its Feb. 8 budget workshop. Commissioner Chris tine Robinson ex pressed frustration over being able to do no more than accept a staff recommendation that day for approving funding transfers to enable the completion of the resurfacing of South River Road in south county. Im really looking forward to solutions, she said, instead of further discussions about the need to move through the backlog of road projects. However, George Giovino in the Capital/ Grant Budget section of the countys Ofce of Financial Planning pointed to the need to shift county surtax Sarasota County staff photos show sections of Tuttle Avenue and Wilkinson Road that are rated be tween an Overall Condition Index of 70 and 80, meaning they are in very good condition. Photos courtesy Sarasota County HIGHER BIDS FOR THE SIESTA KEY BEACH STORMWATER PROJECT HAVE NECESSITATED A SHIFT OF COUNTY FUNDS FROM SOME PLANNED ROAD PROJECTS HOPING TO CATCH UP This isnt getting any better for us. The complaints keep rolling in, and the roads keep deteriorating. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 37 revenue funding to cover the higher stormwa ter project expense. Although staff had estimated the cost of the stormwater project at $1.5 million, the lowest bid the county received was for $4,251,633.30; the highest of the three bids was $4,788,622.70. When no bids came in by the set date, Pro curement Department ofcials extended the deadline, resulting in the three bids. The funding needed to complete the South River Road resurfacing is $1,538,000, Tom Maroney, general manager of business oper ations in the Public Works Department, told the commissioners. By taking $1.5 million from the fund to pay for a roundabout at the intersection of Honore Avenue and Ashton Road and $38,000 from the available surtax fund balance, the resur facing could be completed, Maroney pointed out. Staff probably could come back in early April with a plan to pay for the remaining unfunded road projects for the 2013 scal year, Steve Botelho, the countys chief nancial planning ofcer, told the board. Commissioner Nora Patterson asked whether the commissioners would be able to approve a contract for the stormwater project in time for work to begin shortly after season ends, after A chart presented to the County Commission on Feb. 8 shows the rising cost of resurfacing roads. Graph courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 38 Easter. County Administrator Randall Reid in dicated that was the plan. My recollec tion is that it is a 270-day project, Patterson point ed out, and thatll mean the beach is going to be torn up next Christmas if we delay [the proj ect] a lot lon ger. Patterson re cently has told members of the Siesta Key Con dominium Council and the Siesta Key Village Association about the critical need to get the stormwater project completed, to try to pre vent future closures of the beach to swimming because of high bacterial counts in the Gulf of Mexico related to runoff from the beach parking lot and Beach Road. Making the additional funding possible to cov er the bids, Giovino said, left very little room for other projects, such as the resurfacing of roads. THE BACKLOG During his presentation, Maroney pointed out that staff was working on a program to move the county to the point of spending about $10 million a year to handle repaving. Over the past 10 years, he said, the average ex pense on resur facing has been $4.9 million per year. However, he also noted that the cost of as phalt has been rising. Between 2003 and 2013, Maroney said, that cost has nearly tripled. In 2003, he add ed, the county could pave 22 lane miles for the same amount of money it costs to pave about 12 lane miles today. The target for the Public Works Department, he continued, is to prevent more than 40 per cent of the countys roads from falling below the rating of Overall Condition Index (OCI) 60 at any one time; a rating below OCI 60 in dicates resurfacing is needed. To resurface all 695 miles of county roads with an OCI below 60 would take about $65 mil lion, Maroney pointed out. However, such an effort would be unrealistic, he said, because of a lack of local capacity to provide both the amount of asphalt and the number of contrac tors needed. A Google map shows the location of South River Road in south Sarasota County. Image courtesy Google Maps


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 39 As Maroney reviewed a history of the coun tys resurfacing program, Patterson noted, In 2012, youre saying we did less than $1 million of resurfacing? Thats correct, Maroney told her, adding, It was more a matter of capacity. Not only did the county lose two contract managers, he said, but the Procurement De partment staff also implemented a higher level of scrutiny in reviewing any effort to obtain goods or services for the county. The paving projects scheduled for 2013 reect a lot of carryover from 2012, Maroney point ed out. When Patterson then said it appeared the county would be spending about $9.5 million on resurfacing in the 2013 scal year, he re plied, Thats precisely correct. Maroney added that the county already had put out paving contracts worth more than $8 million. Then he explained that with another contract to be let this week, the county would have only $1 million left for resurfacing projects. That was why staff was recommending the transfer of funds to make it possible to resur face South River Road. The other projects planned for the current s cal year are the repaving of Verna, Singletary and Richardson roads in the northeastern part of the county and Area D of the Phillip pi Creek Septic System Replacement Program Area, including sections of Webber and McIn tosh roads. The total cost of those projects is about $4.5 million, Maroney said. Commissioner Joe Barbetta protested putting off the Ashton Road/Honore roundabout proj ect, saying, Were getting a lot of complaints about it, because numerous accidents have occurred there. Thai Tran, mobility manager in the Public Works Department, responded that the inter section of Honore and Clark roads is sched uled to be completed this year. That will help [trafc] conditions there tremendously at the Ashton/Honore intersection, Truong added. Patterson also asked staff members to make sure that if the surtax revenue climbs higher than projected for the current scal year, they make an effort to accelerate project timeta bles instead of waiting for the 2014 scal year. Maroney said the Public Works staff would work with the Financial Planning staff on that point. Robinson then protested that she had expect ed staff to present a plan during the budget workshop to help the county catch up with the backlog of resurfacing projects. Were in a downward direction as far as the overall condition of our roads, Maroney con curred. However, he said, staff planned to dis cuss the situation with the commission during an upcoming budget session, when the board could consider it in the context of all other planned capital improvement projects. We asked for that in December, Robinson said. This isnt getting any better for us. The complaints keep rolling in, and the roads keep deteriorating. %


Wit h split votes on two points on Feb. 12, the Sarasota County Commission increased the number of employees a company must have in one of three counties to qualify for local preference sta tus in bidding on Sara sota County projects and it agreed for the time being not to give an outside firm local preference status for agree ing to specific guidelines regarding the use of local subcon tractors. The biggest sticking point for the board during the discussion proved to be how to handle situations in which outside companies say they will use local subcontractors then fail to follow through on that. Sarasota County Commissioners Charles Hines and Nora Patterson consider agenda material during a recent meeting in Sarasota. File photo THE COUNTY COMMISSION CHANGES A RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT BUT FORGOES A NEW SUBCONTRACTOR GUIDELINE FOR COMPANIES SEEKING LOCAL PREFERENCE STATUS IN BIDDING ON PROJECTS SPLIT VIEWS Are we getting too detailed once [a contract is] awarded? Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 41 The 3-2 vote reversed a tentative decision the commission made in November that an outside rm could win local preference status by agreeing to use local subcontrac tors for at least 50 per cent of the contract award. Commissioners Nora Patterson, Christine Robinson and Charles Hines voted in favor of that reversal, while Chairwoman Carolyn Mason and Commissioner Joe Barbetta voted against it. On the other 3-2 vote, the commissioners agreed to allow a company to qualify for local preference if it has ve full-time employees or one corporate ofcer residing in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte counties. Previously, the standard was at least one full-time em ployee or one corpo rate ofcer. Patterson, Hines and Mason voted to put the new condition into effect, with Barbetta and Robinson in oppo sition. The board agreed by consensus to designate rms as local if they are located in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte counties, having decid ed on Nov. 13 to drop DeSoto County from that list because it does not include Sarasota County in its local preference list A chart in a PowerPoint presentation shown to the County Commission on Feb. 12 shows the dates when outreach was made to vendors to seek their views on local preference guidelines. Chart courte sy Sarasota County Ive watched a lot of money get siphoned out of here by [a rms] having one employee sitting in the county. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 42 P rocurement Ofcial Ted Coyman told the commissioners their decisions would be in corporated into the revised Procurement Code, which he hopes to bring back to them for review on Feb. 26. The goal is to hold a public hearing on the code on March 16, he added, with the board adopting it afterward. Were trying to move this thing right along, Coyman said. The revision of the code was one of the rec ommendations of the National Institute of Government Purchasing Inc. after unethical practices were discovered in the Procurement Department in the spring of 2011. Although the board voted tentatively on sev en local preference guidelines in November, it asked Coyman and his staff to make extra efforts to learn vendors views of those stip ulations. Among the other qualications receiving unan imous support on Feb. 13 were the following: A company must have one year of residency in one of the three designated counties to qualify for local preference. Patterson noted that 69 percent of the com panies the Procurement Department staff had surveyed supported that provision. A rms business tax receipt will be the pri mary means of validation for its qualica tion for local preference. Coyman pointed out, The challenge is that Manatee County does not have that exact tax document. Therefore, he said, staff had to use another source, such as a rms corpo rate records led with the Florida Secretary of States Division of Corporations, or Sunbiz to determine where a rms home ofce is lo cated. Coyman also noted that it is up to businesses applying for local preference to provide af davits to show they comply with the criteria. [They are] basically swearing that these are the facts, he added. If we felt the afdavit was suspect, we would ask for additional doc uments. For bids, a local rm that is within 10 per cent of a non-local rm in the bid price is afforded an opportunity to match the low est bid price. For Requests for Proposals, local vendors that qualify will receive 10 percent of the total available proposal points. THE UGLY ONES Then came the discussions regarding the num ber and type of employees for the residency qualication and the use of subcontractors. These last two are the ugly ones, Commis sioner Christine Robinson said. I dont know how you can get this right, Pat terson added. The current rule requiring that one full-time employee or one corporate ofcer reside in one of the three counties for a rm to receive local preference status, she noted, was an easy one to abuse. Ive watched a lot of money get siphoned out of here by [a rms] having one employee sit ting in the county, Barbetta said.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 43 Patterson nally put forth the motion calling for ve full-time employees or one corporate ofcer. Hines seconded it. If everythings equal, he said, it tilts a little bit toward the local guy. Theres no perfect answer. Having grown up in a family that owned a con struction busi ness, Robinson said, I like what we have, actually: one and one. However, Barbet ta pointed to an incident that had occurred in the past, when a company in Gainesville placed one full-time employee in Sarasota County to win local preference status while the compa ny was based in Idaho. It happened, and all of a sudden $7 million left the county, he said. Thats why were here, because our local con tractors were getting beaten up pretty good. Mason told her fellow board members she felt Pattersons motion is a little better than what we currently do As an attorney, Hines said he knows how easy it is to designate one person as a corporate ofcer in company documents without that persons actually fullling an ofcers respon sibilities in the rm. Thats the part I like least, Patterson said. ENFORCEMENT CONCERNS After that 3-2 vote, the commissioners pro ceeded on to the discussion about use of sub contractors. What we found recently with some of these, Barbetta had said earlier, [was that] they qual ify and then we get a call from the sub, Hey, they forgot about me. I havent heard from the contractor. I think we see it more in the ar chitect and engineering end, he added. Still, he asked, Do we do anything? Coyman respond ed that the chal lenge is to write the use of sub contractors into the agreement if a firm qualifies for local prefer ence by saying it will employ local subcontractors. Then the agreement has to be administered, Coyman pointed out. We need to have some teeth, Barbetta told him. Hines referenced Coymans comment that a county employee would manage the contract once it was signed: Is that forcing you to do a whole lot of work? Are we getting too detailed once [a contract is] awarded? Its certainly an extra step were not doing now, Coyman said. The county employee identied as the contract administrator, he added, would be responsible for making sure this happens, just like any other component of the agreement. This is no different from holding price or meeting delivery or holding quality. If a rm did not follow through on the use of subcontractors, Coyman continued, then [it] would risk moving into a default situation. A Sarasota County report shows the percentage of ven dors surveyed who supported the current residency re quirement for a company to win local preference status. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 44 However, Coyman explained, If the contrac tor wants to change his subs and has a legit imate case to do that, the county would cer tainly want to consider that. Later, Coyman pointed out that the county ad ministrator of the contract would require a rm to demonstrate the validity of any prob lem that led up to its request to modify the agreement in regard to use of subcontractors. The process would be no different, he contin ued, than the one in which a rm came back to the county to request more money for a project. In the latter situation, Coyman said, the rm would have to prove, for example, that the cost of raw materials went up. The countys contract administrator also would contact the subcontractors to verify the rms statements. I am just looking at an administrative night mare in this, Hines said. The administration would certainly be work, Coyman responded. No doubt about that. When Patterson pointed out that the current local preference rules have no stipulation re garding use of subcontractors, Coyman told her, That is correct. Referring to the vendor survey, Barbetta and Patterson both noted that only 52 percent approved of the subcontrac tor stipulation. There must be a good many folks who think its going to be trouble some, Patterson said. I think the potential for abuse is high, Robinson pointed out. Patterson made the motion to leave the subcontractor language out of the new loca l preference qualications. How ever, she told Coyman she would like for him and his staff to let it be known that the com missioners wanted to see an effort made to use local subcontractors on projects. Im not going to support [the motion] because I think we really need to address the issue, Barbetta said. Given the other stipulations provided for local preference status, Hines said, thats a lot of steps, a lot of planning time for an outside contractor to come into one of the three desig nated counties and try to win status as a local company. REPORT ON BID AWARDS After the vote, Patterson said she had heard that Manatee County rarely awards bids to Sarasota County businesses. Without being in the least bit offensive to Manatee County, she said, I would love to know if this is so. If it is true, she added, that skews the whole local vendor process. She suggested staff review past bid awards to rms considered for local preference not only in Manatee County but in Sarasota and Charlotte counties as well. Sort of a report card on all three counties? Coyman asked for clari cation. Robinson said she would support the creation of such a report once staff had completed the revision of the countys Procurement Code. That makes sense, Patterson agreed. % Ted Coyman/Con tributed photo


Sometimes when you do the right thing, it can rebound and hurt you for a long time. One of Sarasotas favorite newspapermen, Bob Ard ren, found himself in that position once. Ardren lived in a 1911 shermans cottage one block west of the Selby Library on Second Street. It did not have air conditioning or heat, but it suited him to a tee. He decided to get his home enrolled on the historical register, and he ended up with a nice brass plaque on the front door. He also ended up with a letter from his insur ance company cancelling his policy. We dont insure historic buildings, the letter said. He never was able to obtain conventional in surance after that, relying instead on the su per-expensive insurance with minimal cov erage that banks use to cover a mortgage balance. Ardren was not alone. Many who list a home, business, church or other not-for-profit property on a histori cal registry nd them selves in the same quandary. The interior of the Payne Mansion at Selby Gardens reects historic preservation efforts in Sarasota County. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikipedia Commons HELP OFFERED FOR OWNERS OF HISTORICALLY CHALLENGED BUILDINGS NO GOOD DEED The elephant in the room is, insurance is expensive for many historic properties, and it is inadequate. David McMahon Atlas Insurance By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 46 The Sarasota Opera House is insured through a program that covers historic structures. Photo by Norman Schimmel` At the Wednesday, Feb. 13, meeting of the citys Historic Preservation Board, a small ray of light appeared to penetrate this dark circumstance. Its a void in the industry, said David McMahon with Atlas Insurance. Not just in Florida but in the United States. Theres a dire need for it. For the past year, Atlas has been carving out a niche insuring historic structures. The el ephant in the room is, insurance is expen sive for many historic properties, and it is inadequate, said McMahon. The painful fact is many insurance companies will offer min imal and inappropriate protection at best. And it is very expensive.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 47 In 1993 the National Trust for Historic Pres ervation came up with a product called NTIS National Trust Insurance Services. It now protects buildings owned by 17,000 clients churches, theaters, museums, hotels and oth er old structures. Its tailored to manage collections, tax cred its, restoration costs, the building and con tents, as well as standard liabilities, McMa hon said. Conventional insurance often uses depreciat ed values for a structure in case of loss. A lot of time, we nd historic property is severely undervalued. What is the value? he asked. We start with the historic replacement cost, using the same materials, workmanship and architectural features. Were going to try to mirror what it was with what it will be, said McMahon. Unfortunately, the NTIS approach is only for commercial or nonprot structures. It does not apply to residential buildings. However, Atlas agent Brenda Baty will work to connect owners of residential historic properties with other insurance companies that offer pro grams to that of the NTIS. The home does not have to be on a historic registry to qualify. McMahon said Atlas and NTIS now cover the Sarasota Opera, Selby Gardens, the Mira Mar and the First Baptist Church in Bradenton. He is actively seeking other clients, such as the John and Mable Ringling home, Ca dZan; the original Sarasota High School being re purposed into the Sarasota Museum of Art; Historic Spanish Point; and the First Baptist Church downtown. Long-time local architect Stuart Barger was in the audience for McMahons presentation. He has been responsible for several, if not many, historical renovations. He reminded the board, Historic structures are at most risk from us. The great majority is lost during restoration. Overloaded electrical circuits; a dropped cigarette; a plumbing breakdown. If true, that explains McMahons comment that the insurance rates under the NTIS program are often equal or lower than those of con ventional policies. Historic structures have demonstrated they are survivors, and thus at less risk than other, newer properties. For Bradentons First Baptist Church, we were below premium, said McMahon. For others, weve been equal, and often they were underinsured. % David McMahon/Photo by Stan Zimmerman


With the potential for more than $24 million in economic impact on the region, the Sarasota County Commission on Feb. 12 gave unani mous approval to the proposal of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA) to submit a preliminary bid for the 2017 World Rowing Championships. The Sarasota County Tourist Development Council gave its unanimous approval to the proposal after hearing a presentation during its Jan. 17 meeting. The event would be held at Nathan Bend erson Park off Univer sity Parkway. Paul Blackketter, ex ecutive director of planning for Bender son Development Co. which is oversee ing the construction of the rowing facility at Benderson Park pointed out to the County Commission as he had to the TDC, We are the United States delegation to put in for the bid. During the TDC meeting last month, Blackket ter said, The impression that we get is that this is basically ours to lose. The last time the World Rowing Champion ships was held in the United States, he told the County Commis sion this week, was in 1994; yet, the U.S. has more rowers than the European countries do. When it is complet ed, he said, the Bend erson Park facility will Two teams of rowers sweep across Benderson Lake during a regatta in May 2011. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION ADDS ITS ENDORSEMENT TO BENDERSON PARKS BID FOR THE 2017 WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS FULL STEAM AHEAD If you can host a World Rowing Championship, you can host practically anything. Paul Blackketter Benderson Development Co. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 49 be the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Manatee County ofcials are partnering with Sarasota County on the initiative, he added. The Manatee County Tourist Development Council endorsed the bid during a meeting the previous day, Blackketter said; he will appear before the Manatee County Commission on Feb. 23 to seek its approval. The $24 million gure is a very conservative number, Blackketter said. The eight-day-long World Rowing Championships would bring in athletes from all over the world well in ad vance of the beginning of competition, so they could train, Blackketter explained. Commissioner Joe Barbetta noted members of the public might not realize how signicant an impact sports tourism has on the commu nity. Its exponential how things happen, he added. Not only do hoteliers and restaurants see more income, Barbetta pointed out, but peo ple who come to Benderson Park events from areas other than Sarasota County can become so interested in the community they end up deciding to purchase homes, adding to the tax base. It probably has been 12 to 14 years since the County Commission approved a property tax increase, he noted, thanks to the overall strength of the tax base. Blackketter told the commissioners the rms conservative estimates had shown a $4.5 mil A Sarasota County graphic illustration prepared for the County Commission in January 2011 shows plans for the extension of Cattlemen Road to Benderson Park. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 50 lion economic impact on the region from the rst few regattas the park hosted in 2009. Barbetta also pointed out that the county had invested about $20 million from Tourist De velopment Tax revenue into the project not general fund revenue; it paid for the renova tions of Ed Smith Stadium for the Baltimore Orioles with TDT funds as well. People who come to the regattas contribute to the TDT revenue pool by staying in area hotels and motels, Blackketter added. Fifteen university rowing teams have prac ticed at the facility this year, including those from Harvard, Northeastern and Georgetown, Blackketter noted. With the completion of the rowing venues and the potential for other international events as well as the World Championships, Blackket ter said visitors will be coming not just from Michigan or New Jersey. Now its going to be the United Kingdom, Germany, paying for this venue. Blackketter also referenced the infrastructure available in Sarasota and Manatee counties: If you can host a World Rowing Champion ship, you can host practically anything. The bid award will be made in early Septem ber in Korea, Blackketter said. The prelimi nary bid submittal is due Feb. 28, with the nal bid submission set for the end of May. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has given SANCA a $150,000 matching grant for which Benderson Development Co. put up the other $150,000, he said to make certain the bid in May is second to none. In the interim, International Federation of Rowing (FISA) representatives are scheduled to visit the region and Benderson Park April 16-17, when they will take a look at the avail ability of area hotels and examine the rowing facility itself. Blackketter said they will offer SANCA suggestions for any changes that need to be made in the bid package after they com plete that visit. An artists rendering from January 2011 depicts the completed rowing facility at Nathan Bender son Park. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 51 FISA CEO Matt Smith will be among those in the FISA delegation, Blackketter added, not ing Smiths inclusion indicates the depth of FISAs support of the Benderson bid. FACILITIES UPDATE Blackketter also explained to the County Commission that the construction of facilities at the park is about a year ahead of schedule. Regatta Island should be completed in time for the rowing competitions the park will host this year, he noted. The rst of 13 events scheduled in the park this year will be an international triathlon on March 16, Blackketter said. Additionally, the extension of Cattlemen Road from Fruitville Road to University Parkway will be nished in April, improving transpor tation to the venue, according to county staff reports. The commissioners learned during their bud get workshop on Feb. 8 that the $14.5 million, four-lane road project is about 85 percent complete. Recapping what he told the TDC, Blackket ter said SANCA will be raising $5 million in private funds to complete the necessary in frastructure in time for the World Champion ships, if the Sarasota/Manatee group wins the bid. SANCA MEMBERS Asked about his SANCA board members, Blackketter replied that among them is Bob Delaney, a former NBA referee who has in credible contacts with ESPN and is working with veterans as well as rst responders suf fering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Another board member is Bill Robinson, for mer owner of Robbys Sporting Goods, which was sold to Champs Sports. Robinson now heads up Fit2Run, the largest specialized shoe store in the country, Blackketter said. A third board member is Ron Shapo, senior counsel with the Holland & Knight law rm in Tampa. Randy Benderson, executive director of Bend erson Development, is also a board member. I think we all know [of] his personal invest ment in this venue for many years, Blackket ter pointed out, adding that Benderson was the person with the vision to take property overgrown with Brazilian pepper trees and transform it into a physical tness venue. So Randy is in it for the long term, Blackketter said. (Sarasota County does own the park, a Feb. 12 memo to the County Commission points out.) Both Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid and Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker will be ex ofcio members of the board, he noted. When Commissioner Christine Robinson asked Blackketter about SANCAs business plan for raising the extra $5 million to com plete the rowing facility, he replied that he and the board should have the plan nalized with in the next three to four weeks. Robinson asked for a copy of it when it was ready; Blackketter promised to make it avail able to the commissioners. Robinson also asked Reid to report to the County Commission if SANCA encounters any delays in that timetable. %


Siesta Key Association Vice President Peter van Roekens believes he and representatives of the Siesta Isles Association can resolve concerns about constantly blinking lights at four crosswalks near Siesta Public Beach, he told The Sarasota News Leader Van Roekens raised the matter of the lights during the Feb. 5 meet ing of the Siesta Key Village Association, saying their constant ashing at the cross walks is dangerous be cause drivers who have become inured to them fail to look for pedestrians in the crosswalks. During the Feb. 7 SKA meeting, van Roekens brought up the issue again. He had discussed the lights with Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations in the Sarasota County Public Works Depart ment, he added, and Maroney had told him someone had request ed the lights blink con tinuously. A light blinks continuously at the Beach Way crosswalk on Beach Road. File photo THE SIESTA KEY ASSOCIATION WILL WORK WITH THE SIESTA ISLES ASSOCIATION TO FIND A BETTER MEANS OF HELPING PEDESTRIANS CROSS BEACH ROAD TO REACH THE PUBLIC BEACH A COMPROMISE AFOOT We insist that the [blinking] light stay, and therell be a riot from my [neighborhood] association if it goes. Deet Jonker Director Siesta Key Association By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 53 Nonetheless, van Roekens said, When a light is always blinking, you just sort of ignore it. Therefore, he made a motion for the SKA to send Maroney a letter seeking a change in the programming of the lights so they would blink only when a person pushed a button to acti vate them before crossing the road. The motion included a caveat that the Siesta Key Condominium Council board needed to agree to the change before the letter could be sent. Then SKA Director Deet Jonker, who lives in Siesta Isles, asked for clarication about van Roekens motion. After van Roekens repeated his intent, Jonker responded, I want to make sure that doesnt get altered, referring to the constant ashing. Hes the guy! van Roekens said with a chuck le, alluding to Maroneys comment. The Siesta Isles Association has fought for that light over the years, Jonker added. Its still not satised with that crosswalk by any means, he pointed out, referring to the one at the Beach Way intersection. We want the same kind of warning that Mid night Pass has, because thats effective, he continued. Last fall, the Florida Department of Transpor tation constructed six pedestrian crosswalks on the approximately 1.2-mile stretch of Mid night Pass Road between the Stickney Point Road and Beach Road intersections. Surveys conducted by an FDOT consultant in 2011 of residents who live in the condominium com One of the six new Florida Department of Transportation crosswalks is located near the Excelsior condominium complex on Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 54 plexes along that segment of the road showed a majority of respondents wanted a safer way to cross the street, especially during the height of season when trafc is heavy. The Beach Way crosswalk, Jonker noted, is a major crossing for our community to [reach] the beach. Adding that Siesta Isles has 300 homes, he said, We insist that the [blinking] light stay, and therell be a riot from my association if it goes. For clarication, SKA President Catherine Luckner pointed out, What were talking about is [the constant blinking]. When peo ple see a crosswalk and the lights are ashing, that means someone is in it. Van Roekens added that is the way the new Midnight Pass crosswalk lights work: A per son pushes a button to activate the lights be fore crossing. But if the light goes away [at Beach Way], there will not be anything else but a sign, Jonker replied. SKA Director Joe Volpe emphasized Luckner and van Roekens point: [The lights] should not be ashing all the time. He added that he agreed with van Roekens about the need for reprogramming them. Before the lights were programmed to keep ashing at the crosswalks, Jonker insisted, people who wanted to cross from the east side of the road to the beach faced considerable difculty in getting trafc to stop for them. If theres always a warning, warning, van Roekens told Jonker, people ignore it. And I tend to agree, Jonker replied. Still, Jonker said, residents of Siesta Isles fought very hard for those blinking lights. Its not a perfect sign by any means, he add ed, repeating his assertion that the Siesta Isles Association members would be satised with crosswalks like those on Midnight Pass Road. Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patter son, who was a guest at the meeting, told the SKA directors, We can look at the cost and the model of the Midnight Pass crosswalks as a possible new safety feature at Beach Way. Beach Road is a county-maintained road, so Sarasota County would have to pay for any new crosswalk work. Otherwise, Patterson said, Im not going to enter this argument, evoking ripples of laugh ter among audience members and SKA direc tors. Then van Roekens withdrew his motion, pend ing discussions with Jonker and other Siesta Isles representatives. He pointed out he did not want to jam something down somebodys throat. Drawing more laughter, van Roekens reiterat ed, At least we found the guy. They did not name names, Luckner said of county staff members, chuckling herself. After the meeting, Tony Romanus, president of the Siesta Isles Association who was at tending his rst SKA meeting talked with van Roekens and Jonker. Van Roekens told the News Leader afterward that he was condent the SKA and the associ ation could nd a better solution to the Beach Way crossing issues. %


T he Parking Operations Division (POD) of the City of Sarasota will relocate from the Sara sota Police Headquarters to the lobby of City Hall, 1565 First St., as of Wednesday, Feb. 20, at noon, the city has announced. The current location will close at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 19, so the move can take place, a city news release says. Members of the public who would like to pay a parking citation or take care of other pub lic parking matters in person should note the temporary closing and new location begin ning Feb. 20, the release says. Consideration will be provided to anyone unable to make payment during the ofce relocation time, it adds. Regular business hours for the POD will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Citations also can be paid online by clicking here As City Manager Tom Barwin settles into his fth month on the job, he is assessing the lo cation of some key functions and staff mem bers, the release notes. With the POD based in City Hall, it will be more conveniently locat ed for members of the public as well as staff, the release points out. People are accustomed to doing business at City Hall, said Parking Division Chief Mark Lyons in the release. Having the POD in one centralized location downtown will make it easier for people to come in and take care of their parking business. The City of Sarasota is moving its Parking Operations Division from the Police Department to City Hall next week. Photo by Norman Schimmel PARKING OPERATIONS DIVISION RELOCATES TO CITY HALL NEWS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 56 How well do you play tennis? Did you begin to play with a wood racquet? For an opportunity to test your skill and have some fun, the Serendipity Racquet Club will host the rst Great Gatsby Wood Racquet Ten nis Tournament on Feb. 16, with net proceeds from the event beneting the American Can cer Society, a news release says. Participants ideally will wear long white pants and long skirts, the release notes. They will play with wooden racquets and use white balls, it adds. After the round robin of tennis, players and guests will meet in Serendipitys Spin restau rant and sports bar for a celebration and awards, the release continues. WOODEN RACQUET TOURNAMENT TO BE HELD FEB. 16 Along with the wooden racquets and 1930s tennis attire, the event will allow players to buy do-overs and points. Miss a shot? Dou ble fault? Use your do-over and hit again just as with a golfers mulligan. And if you want to win a game quickly or get back into it, use one of your points. All proceeds from the do-overs and points will go to the American Cancer Society. Do-overs will cost $5 each; points, $10. To register, contact Serendipity Racquet Club at 993-2244, Ext. 3. The $20 entry fee also will benet the American Cancer Society. Check-in will be at noon; play will begin at 1 p.m., the release says. Most Sarasota County government ofces will be closed Monday, Feb. 18, to observe the na tional holiday celebrated as Presidents Day. All Sarasota County libraries will be closed, as well as Sarasota County recreation centers, with the exception of the following: Payne Park Tennis Center, which will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Arlington Park Recre ation Center, which will be open from noon to 5 p.m., a county news release says. Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will be on a normal bus schedule. The collection schedule for solid waste, yard waste and recyclables will not be affected by the holiday, the release adds. The landll at 4000 Knights Trail Road in Nokomis will be open, but the administrative ofce will be closed. Sarasota Countys chemical collection centers at 8750 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota and 250 S. Jackson Road in Venice will be closed as well. The Citizens Convenience Center at 4010 Knights Trail Road, Nokomis, will be open. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. City of Sarasota administration ofces will be closed Monday, Feb. 18, as well, in observance of Presidents Day. The regular City Commission meeting will be held the following day, Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 2:30 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. in the Commis sion Chambers in City Hall, 1565 First St. Weekly garbage and recycling collection will not be impacted by the holiday, a city news release says. COUNTY, CITY OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR PRESIDENTS DAY


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 57 For only the second time in its history and the rst time in 46 years, New College of Florida will conduct a formal presidential inaugura tion. The ceremony and weekend of special events will celebrate the appointment of Dr. Donal OShea as the fth president of New College, a news release notes. The inauguration ceremony, on Friday, Feb. 15, will begin with the rarely seen pageantry of a formal procession, with more than 150 New College professors and delegates from universities including Oxford, Harvard, Yale and Princeton, all in colorful academic rega lia, the release points out. The ceremony will feature prominent speak ers from government and education: Jennifer Carroll, lieutenant governor of the state of Florida. William R. Johnston, chairman of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees; Frank T. Brogan, chancellor of the State University System of Florida. Joanne Creighton, interim president of Haverford College and former president of Mount Holyoke College. The ceremony will continue with the presen tation of the Symbols of Ofce, including the historic Presidential Medallion given to Pres ident John G. Elmendorf at his inauguration in 1967, the release notes. Following the presentation, OShea will deliv er his inaugural address. The ceremony will include performances by Acappelago, the New College student a cap pella group, and the Riverview High School Kiltie Band Bagpipers. A post-inauguration reception will feature the Kiltie Band and New Colleges New Cats jazz group. Inauguration weekend activities will con tinue on Saturday, Feb. 16, with an academic showcase on the international impact of the liberal arts, with college presidents and New College alumni from around the globe, the release says. Among the events will be panel discussions on the New College education, in volving alumni such as William Dudley, pres ident of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A black-tie Inaugural Ball on the New College bayfront will close the festivities on Saturday evening. All events, with the exception of the Inaugural Ball, are free and open to the public. NEW COLLEGE TO INAUGURATE NEW PRESIDENT Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 58 A s the Baltimore Orioles get ready for spring training in Sarasota, the club will host ve Divi sion I college baseball teams for the Snowbird Classic at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck ONeil Baseball Complex this weekend, Friday, Feb. 15, through Sun day, Feb. 17, the team has announced. Five college teams Florida Gulf Coast Uni versity, the University of Notre Dame, Ohio State University, St. Johns University and Mer cer University will participate. Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter (left) chats with other coaches as pitchers and catchers report for spring training on Feb. 13. Photo by Norman Schimmel ORIOLES TO HOST SNOWBIRD CLASSIC FEB. 15-17 IN SARASOTA One game, on Feb. 17, will be played at the Buck ONeil Base ball Complex at Twin Lakes Park, a news release says. More than 6,000 fans are ex pected to attend the three-day event, the release adds. Day passes for the games may be pur chased for $10 by calling 893-6300. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ed Smith Stadi um box ofce, which is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parking will be available for $5 per vehicle in the East lot at the stadium, the release notes.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 59 The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested two suspects for shoplifting, thanks in part to how well known one of them was to law enforcement, the Sheriffs Ofce has an nounced. Jan. 22 surveillance video from Marshalls, lo cated at 6561 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, showed the man acted as a lookout while the woman allegedly put more than $300 worth of clothing into two bags, a report says. Security personnel approached the pair as they left the store, but the man ran off while the female suspect shoved security ofcers out of the way, the report adds. Detectives shared surveillance images in an attempt to identify the two suspects and re ceived three immediate responses from law enforcement ofcers who knew the woman was 48-year-old Cynthia Turner, the report notes. When detectives went to Turners home on Fountain Circle with an arrest warrant on Feb. 7, they also found 46-year-old Daryl Thomas, the man in the video, the report adds. Turner and Thomas have criminal histories more than two decades long, with a total of 86 local arrests between them, the report points out. Turner has been arrested 24 times for re tail theft and robbery charges, and she was jailed another 29 times for violating probation or contempt of court, the report says. Thomas has a record of 17 arrests for violent crimes and drug charges, and he was jailed another 16 times for violating probation or contempt of court. Despite their histories, Thomas has been sen tenced to prison only once, for ve months; Turner was sentenced to prison three times, for less than two years altogether, the release adds. Both suspects were charged with Grand Theft and Resisting a Retail Merchant in the latest case. Turner is being held on $15,000 bond, while Thomas is being held on $1,500 bond. Daryl Thomas/Contributed photo Cynthia Turner/Contributed photo SHOPLIFTING SUSPECTS HAVE 86 ARRESTS BETWEEN THEM


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 60 The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested Diana Urban, 41, of 2903 Brewster Road, North Port, for allegedly stealing hun dreds of thousands of dollars from her em ployer over the past year, the ofce has an nounced. The owner of Precision Fabrication in No komis red Urban in December for claiming vacation time to which she was not entitled, a report says. At that time, a review of the books revealed Urban had written checks to herself and forged the company ledger to show they were written to company vendors, a report says. Detectives found Urban wrote and cashed 119 checks totaling $234,470.24 between Novem ber 2011 and December 2012, the report adds. She was arrested Feb. 12 and charged with First Degree Felony Scheme to Defraud, the report says. Urban is being held on $50,000 bond. % Diana Urban/Contributed photo OFFICE MANAGER CHARGED WITH SCHEME TO DEFRAUD FIRM 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 Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from me diocre minds. Albert Einstein


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EDITORIAL EDITORIAL The sidestep polka that state and nation al legislators do whenever taxation is dis cussed is nothing new. In days of yore and were really talking about yore here the popular refrain in legislatures was, Dont tax you. Dont tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree. In other words, the best tax was one that could be assessed on someone who was not around to protest being taxed. To a certain extent, the perennial grandstand ing in our own Legislature over the millions nay, billions of dollars in tax revenue be ing lost to out-of-state merchants is rarely couched in terms of the Florida treasury being ripped off by online merchants. No, it almost always is framed as an issue of fairness TAXING INTERNET SALES IS CONGRESS PROBLEM our poor in-state merchants are being driven out of business because Internet merchants have this massive tax advantage to make them more competitive. Of course, despite bricks-and-mortar mer chants facing a price differential because of the addition of sales tax to their pricing, few are being driven out of business. But the state Legislature, whose members have never had much of a head for money, is intoxicated by the potential windfall that collecting sales tax on Internet sales represents. And why not? It is a tax on the fellow behind the tree a face less website that exists somewhere in cyber space. The latest effort has taken shape in Senate Bill 316, which is taking the fairness claim to an extreme by seeking an additional mythic goal :


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 63 revenue neutrality. In other words, the mon ey collected in taxes from Internet merchants (the fellows behind the tree) will be used to reduce the tax burden on in-state merchants (you and, to the extent that certain legisla tors also are engaged in retail trade, me). There has been no shortage of patriotic fer vor in advancing this cause yet again, and not just in the Legislature. Editorial pages around the state have been opining that it is time to make online merchants pay their fair share, and level the playing eld with in-state mer chants. If history has taught us anything on this mat ter, however, the latest effort will terminate in one of two eventualities: The Legislature will manage to scrub this bill and the matter will go away for another year; or the law actually will pass and be declared unconstitutional by the courts. The former is more likely, given the penchant for high drama in Tallahassee. Like so many other issues that, regardless of importance to the well being of the state or its citizens, are simply vehicles for posturing and shame less opportunism, the Internet sales tax likely will never rise above the status of legislative diversion. No one who supports this cause should feel badly, though. Probably threefourths of everything dealt with in the Legis lature would fall under this heading. But just suppose that, by chance, the bill makes it through the labyrinthine committees and both the House and Senate, then is signed by the governor and becomes law. What next? The likelihood is that the courts will invalidate the law because it appropriates to the state powers that are reserved to the federal gov ernment by the U.S. Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. If Florida or any of the other states that have been clamoring to capture this elusive tax rev enue want to accomplish what they have not been able to achieve before now, then they will have to turn to Congress because Con gress could solve this matter quickly and ef ciently. Very simply, the Congress could establish a national Internet sales tax of 4 percent. This tax, like the federal unemployment tax, would be mitigated by sales taxes remitted by mer chants to the states, eliminating the liability if the state tax exceeded 4 percent. But, if not mitigated by a state sales tax, this revenue would pass directly to the states whose res idents received shipments of goods sold by Internet merchants. Every online merchant would collect this tax from every transaction for which goods were delivered to any of the 50 states. At the end of each month, the merchant would remit the appropriate amount to each state where the goods went, that states share of the 4 percent tax collected. No longer would merchants be required to keep track of a hodgepodge of state and lo cal sales taxes. Amazon, for example, would collect 4 percent of its gross sales delivered within the United States. It then would cut 50 checks each month to each of the 50 states,


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 64 r emitting to them their pro rata share of the Internet sales tax collected. The states would not receive as much tax revenue as they might if their full tax rates were assessed, but they also would not need to keep track of the tax. It would be a national assessment collected by Internet merchants on behalf of the 50 states. The bricks-and-mortar merchants in each state would feel less competitive pressure from online merchants. And a complex net work of tax rates and regulations would not burden mom-and-pop merchants who also sold online. Since Internet retail sales in the United States are estimated to exceed $200 billion, the 50 states would be divvying up $8 billion or more each year. And if a state wanted to use that windfall to reduce the tax burden of in-state merchants, that would be its choice. Unfortunately, no one has been able to ascer tain the amount of public funds that are squan dered each year by the 50 states in their con stant striving for this tax they have no power to impose. If they took even a fraction of that money and invested it in lobbying Congress to pass a at sales tax on Internet sales, they likely would succeed. Perhaps the time has come for the states to try such a unied approach. They have worked together for a common goal before, such as the settlement with the major tobacco com panies, which pours billions of dollars into states healthcare budgets each year. Since Florida had little trouble enlisting many states to join it in opposing the Affordable Care Act, it surely could enlist those same al lies in a drive to get Congress to pass a nation al online sales tax. We can think of at least 8 billion reasons to give it a try. % (FAREWELL, KABUL!) By David Staats Columnist COMMENTARY Today is the an niversary of the 1989 withdrawal of the last Soviet troops from Afghanistan after nine years of war during which an estimated 14,500 Soviet troops were killed. The United States is preparing to withdraw most of its remaining 66,000 troops in Afghan i stan, leaving behind a force of about 8,000 by the conclusion in 2014 of NATOs mission. The human cost so far: 2,177 Americans killed. By 2017, the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is projected to be 1,000. These projections assume the acceptance of a status of forces agreement by the Karzai government that by no means is guaranteed. COMMENTARY


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 65 T he Soviet withdrawal and post-withdrawal strategy was formulated by Marshal Sergei F. Akhromeev, then chief of the General Staff of Soviet Armed Forces. In March 1986, Akhro meev reported to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the So viet Union that the war in Afghanistan was irretrievably lost. He recommended the fol lowing: (1) undertake a speedy withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan; (2) keep the communist government in Kabul in power; (3) prevent a clear victory for the mujaheddin; (4) assure the ability to conduct counterinsurgen cy operations post withdrawal; and (5) cre ate conditions for a political settlement of the conict. Akhromeev believed that if the above condi tions were met, and the Kabul regime had a sufciently strong military force supporting it and it were supplied with enough military equipment, then it would be able to function as rst among equals on a decentralized polit ical and military landscape. Accordingly, communist Afghan forces (mili tary, police and state security) were increased to 302,000. This was the ofcial gure, which was understood as inated, but at the time was accepted as an optimistic goal. The de sertion rate in all services, however, was high; more than 10 percent annually. In 1987, the Afghan communist regime initi ated a policy of national reconciliation. This c onsisted of trying to build bridges to the mu jaheddin. Ultimately, it came to nothing and no political solution to the conict was forth coming. After the February 1989 Soviet withdrawal, Moscow continued to support its Kabul cli ent, the Najibullah regime. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, how ever, that support ended. In April 1992, Na jibullah was unable to pay his mercenaries, principal among them, Abdulrashid Dostum, who commanded the 20,000-strong 53rd Jowz jani Tribal Militia, a formidable Uzbek ghting force. Dostum changed sides, and Najibullah and his government fell in a matter of days. In many respects, the Obama Administrations formula for withdrawing from Afghanistan copies Akhromeevs exit strategy: (1) speedy withdrawal; (2) maintain President Hamid Karzai in power; (3) deny the Taliban a clear victory; and (4) create the conditions for a political settlement. Importantly, there is no provision in the U.S. plan to conduct counter insurgency operations after withdrawal. The Obama Administrations goals are Pan glossian: 1. The withdrawal pace of U.S. troops is in deed swift: an 87 percent drawdown of forces in less than 18 months with more to follow. One wonders, however, what effect can 1,000 American troops have in 2017 that eluded more than 100 times as many troops a decade earlier?


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 66 2. In t he face of no organized indigenous op position, other than the Taliban, the U.S. has no option other than to maintain the Karzai government in power. The Karzai kleptocracy is the Tar Baby which the U.S. has willingly embraced for more than a de cade. 3. No prospect for a political settlement like ly exists. All realistic chances of a political settlement with the Taliban ended with the assa ssination by the Taliban on Sept. 20, 2011 of Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Af ghan president who was then serving as the head of the High Peace Council. That coun cil sought to facilitate a political accommo dation between the Karzai government and the Taliban. Although touted as the main bulwark against the Taliban, the Afghan National Securi ty Force (ANSF) is neither a cohesive nor committed ghting force. It has a theoretical strength of 352,000, but according to NATO statistics, nearly 15 percent deserted during the rst half of 2012. Desertion is not a pun ishable offense under current Afghan law. Continuing training of the ANSF will be the principal function of U.S. troops post-2014. The ability of the ANSF to receive training forces is limited, in part, by its troops lev el of literacy. In May 2011, the International Security Assistance Force Training Mission estimated that by January 2012, only half of the Afghan military personnel would be able to read and write at the rst-grade level. Lat er that same year, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, commander of NATOs training mission in Afghanistan, was relieved of his duties after stating publicly that the Afghan leadership is isolated from reality with respect to ANSF troops combat readiness. Fullers comments were not far off the mark. In April 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense reported that 7 percent of Afghan army and 9 percent of police units were rated at highest level of capability, which is dened as in dependent with advisors. This means that NATO troops still had to lead the ANSF. This is a signicant change from the earlier Penta gon rating of independent, which meant that ANSF units were able to operate at a level of NATO troops. A report to Congress issued earlier this week by the U.S. Government Accountability Ofce ( Afghanistan: Key Oversight Issues Feb ruary, 2013) noted that the tests measuring ANSF capabilities have changed several times and criteria for validating effectiveness have been eliminated, thereby allowing more ANSF units to be rated at the highest level. Simply put, standards measuring training outcomes were dumbed down. The GAO also addressed the cost of sustain ing the ANSF during the period of Fiscal Year 2013 through FY 2017. It estimated those costs at $25 billion. The Afghan government has insufcient nancial resources to pay these


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 67 costs. This raises concerns about the sustain ability of the ANSF over time. Pledges by the U.S. and its NATO allies to cover the bulk of these costs were made at the Chicago Summit in May 2012. They were inuenced, in part, by the projection that the strength of the ANSF would decline from 352,000 in 2013 to 228,500 in 2017. Future nancial contributions toward sustain ing the ANSF by foreign donors will be in pro portion to its success as a counterinsurgency force. If its units are defeated, desert or defect to the Taliban, then there will be little incen tive for the U.S. and its NATO allies to fulll their funding commitments. If the ow of cash is interrupted (as was the ow of Najibullas payments to Dostum), the remaining ANSF forces and the Taliban will likely reach some sort of accommodation with one another in dependent of the Karzai government, and Af ghanistan will revert to its historic patchwork of warlords, tribal rulers and mullahs. Akhromeev perfectly understood that Afghan istan could never function as a unied citizen state. There were strong centripetal forces in play: ethnic differences, tribal loyalties and the Sunni/Shia divide. He also understood that in order to maintain power in Kabul, one had to build inuence, not authority, in the provinces. Zaher Shah, the last Afghan king (he ruled from 1934 to 1974) understood this principle, as does Hamid Karzai. Americans seem not to have grasped this con cept. As a nation, they reason, Afghanistan should have a federal system that exercises enforceable authority evenly and without ex ception over the whole of its territory. Within the Afghan context, however, this is a awed concept. In Afghanistan, political power is based regionally, not centrally. Society is Is lamic and organized along tribal lines. Tran sition to a religion-neutral, interconnected global village has scant appeal for Afghans. So, as we prepare after a dozen years to take our turn in bidding farewell to Kabul, we fol low in the footsteps of the Russians, the Brit ish and the Persians, to name but three. The foreigners leave; the Afghans remain to settle scores by traditional means. % MEET THE PARENTS By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY It is not often that people who are 60+ become parents for the rst time. I am not talking about grandparents assigned the chore or p lea sure of babysitting their chil drens chil dren. I am actually talking about my friends who have just become Mom and Dad to a beautiful, dark-haired little sweetheart with enormous brown eyes, who weighed about 2 COMMENTARY


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 68 ounces at birth and will probably achieve a nal weight of 3 pounds. Meet Mademoiselle Monique, a lively, affec tionate, adorable uff who is actually 100 per cent toy poodle. When I met her, we became immediate BFFs. We bonded for life, and when she let me take her photo (I think she already had learned to pose for the camera), she completely won me over. Moniques parents are my close friends. For the past 30-some years, they traveled the world, sometimes because his career required it; other times, just for pleasure. Having a pet in their lives during that period would not have been fair to them or the animal. In addition, neither of these people had a pet during childhood, so this parenting excite ment is all a brand new experience. As rst-time parents, they are jubilant about even the smallest and, perhaps, most annoy ing tasks. One of my friends, who is a con rmed night owl calling 1 a.m. her normal bedtime is now happily getting up two or Monique already has mastered the perfect pose. three times a night to make sure Monique has her bathroom breaks and that they will be out side the bedroom. It really does not take many skills to nurture this new creature in their lives and to give her love and affection. Most of the time, as I know from being a pet owner, they will be rewarded with sloppy wet kisses and big smiles. Monique is magical. How does she already know that she is the house diva and that she will continue to run things at least for the time being and that her parents will just have to obey her? (OK, I confess to a tiny bit of exaggeration at the moment, but we know where this is going. I hope this enthusiasm and love that Monique and her mom and dad have for each other will last forever.) It really is a dogs life after all. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Lead er welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Let ters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and oth er factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spell ing, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader.




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When y ou have a discussion panel that in cludes Bob Plunket and Jeff LaHurd, enter tainment is guaranteed. The Historical So ciety of Sarasota County program in which they participated on Feb. 12 Pay Dirt: How Sarasota Became a Real Estate Destination proved no exception. Plunket has written about Sarasota for de cades; he is perhaps best known for his work in Sarasota Magazine a sponsor of this sea s ons Historical Society lectures on local his tory, called Conversations at the Crocker LaHurd, a history specialist at the Sarasota County History Center, has written a number of books on local history. In fact, Plunket asked LaHurd during the pro gram how many books he had written about Sarasota was it 15 or 50; there being some disagreement o ver the total. Burns Square in Sarasota is home to a number of buildings designed in the Mediterranean style. Photo by Scott Proftt REAL ESTATE AND HUMOR VIE FOR SUPREMACY DURING CROCKER LECTURE PAY DIRT By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 72 People think Ive written 15 books. Ac tually, I just wrote one book and changed the cover 14 times, La Hurd replied. Plunket jokingly bragged about why he is considered an ex pert on local real es tate: I got a tour of the Githler home, for sale for $14.9 million. (The Githlers are a wellknown local couple who made their fortune through many business ventures, including a number involving real estate.) I knew Charlie in real estate, Plunket continued, referring to Githler and as was men tioned, I have bought and sold eight homes in Sarasota. Last night, I added up what [those hous es] cost me and what I sold them for. Ive made $7,000 in the real estate market. What does this mean? Is one of us smarter? Plunket added. But anyway, Sarasota real estate is what this town is all about, and if you think about it, its kind of all we have I mean, there is the art, but the [artists] can get their own panel, Plunkett noted. ( From left) Bob Plunkett, Lynn Robbins, Jeff LaHurd and David Jennings comprised the Pay Dirt panel. Photo by Scott Proftt Sarasota real estate is what this town is all about, and if you think about it, its kind of all we have I mean, there is the art, but [the artists] can get their own panel. Robert Plunket Sarasota journalist


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 73 Houston has oil. Silicon Valley has real smart people Tampa has nothing. But we have beautiful beaches and natural beauty and won derful year-round weather, and for 100 years, people have been moving here and real estate has been the story, Plunket pointed out. In 1902, 53 men got together on the old dock and voted to create a town and chose as th e town motto, May Sarasota Prosper, LaHurd said. Now in 1902, nobody knew where we were, or if they did know where we were, they couldnt get here, so it was a very difcult sit uation. We had the beaches; we had the beau tiful climate, but [progress] didnt just happen automatically. What it took to happen were some visionary capitalists, LaHurd continued. The C dZan, John and Mable Ringlings mansion, was designed by Dwight James Baum. Photo by Taty2007, via Wikipedia Common


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 74 During the Roaring Twenties, the Sarasota that so many of us re member with so much fondness came into being, LaHurd noted. In just a handful of years, the churches, the schools, the bridg es, the buildings all the things that made up the old Sarasota for the next 30 years came into being, he added. Basically thats what we had until the 1950s. The panel included two local realtors: Lynn Robbins, who has 38 years of real estate ex perience in Sarasota; and David Jennings, an agent known for his interest in historical homes. Jennings elaborated on LaHurds comments regarding how fast things happened in the 1920s. In 1926, the Mediterranean Revival houses were coming out of the ground so fast [build ers] couldnt get enough of the hollow tile blocks, Jennings said, so they used chicken wire and 2 by 4s. Not a lot changed until the s, LaHurd said. First, we had the Depression; then, the war. So the s was [the period] when things start ed to really change. The veterans who trained here came back, he added. Three million G.I.s trained in Florida, Jen nings said. And Ringling College [of Art and Design] was the rst school in Florida to be certied to accept the G.I. bill. While Sarasota fell into a cocoon in the s and s, Ring ling Coll ege and the G.I. bill brought peo ple like Syd Solomon and Ben Stahl [a wellknown architect and an artist, respective ly]. Suddenly, Sarasota had writers and paint ers and architects all working together. Sarasota has a history of remarkable wom en: Bertha Palmer, the McClellan sisters, Mary Hook, Michael Saunders, and here is one more, Lynn Robbins, Plunket said in intro ducing Robbins to the crowd spilling out of the pews at Crocker Church. When we came in 1968, Bird Key was being developed by Arvida [Realty Inc.], Robbins said. Perhaps the greatest change since then is the renewal of downtown. In the 1970s, a lot of the downtown was boarded up, Robbins added. Bird Key really set the tone for Sarasota, and [Arvidas work] in general. It was very contro versial because of the dredging, Plunket said, referring to the creation of Bird Key. (Arvida dredged 180 acres of Sarasota bay bottom to create the 200-acre, 511-lot Bird Key, according to historical documents.) It was a seminal event, the beginning of the new Sarasota, along with the [construction of the] second Ringling Bridge and moving [U.S.] 41 along the bayfront, LaHurd said. Jennings then discussed various architectural periods of Sarasota: The settlers from about 1860 to 1910 built what I like to call authen tic architecture, like the Bidwell-Wood house In 1926, the Mediterranean Revival houses were coming out of the ground so fast [builders] couldnt get enough of the hollow tile blocks, so they used chicken wire and 2 by 4s. David Jennings Realtor


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 75 right here [in Sarasotas Pioneer Park], with porches all the way around and a hallway run ning through. This style is also called Frame Vernacular. They built this way because they had to, Jen nings said. You needed shade and breeze. But by the 1920s, and the John Ringling circus era, things began to change. What people think of as the Florida house is the Mediterranean Revival [style], Jennings said, adding that he felt people such as Ring ling and the circus entrepreneurs architect, Dwight James Baum; then architect Ralph Twitchell, who was known as one of princi pal members of the Sarasota School of Archi tecture, all followed the example of Addison Mizener on the East Coast. Ninety-nine percent of the market went Med iterranean Revival, Jennings said. They had to create an architecture that created a mys tique, made a place look historic and stable. Ca dZan [the Ringling bayfront mansion] is the epitome of the faux ornamentation com mon in houses of that period, he added. Jennings quoted Mizener: I sometimes start a house with a Romanesque corner [and] pre tend it has fallen into disrepair and been add ed onto in the Gothic spirit when suddenly the great wealth of the New World [was] poured into it and the owners added a very rich Re naissance addition. Plunket asked the panelists if the plethora of homes of that style diminished the quality of the communitys architecture, referring to the Mediterranean houses as numbingly similar. It s what people coming here want, the Miz ener Mediterranean, Robbins replied. I personally feel I would like to have enough money to buy a mega mansion and tear it down and put up a two-bedroom house, said LaHurd. While the Sarasota School of Architecture and the modern architecture movement blos somed in the 1940s and 1950s, perhaps the greatest impact on Sarasota was the middle class production houses, or atomic ranch es, also called Mid-Century Modern, Jennings said. These were built in Sarasota by the thou sands. Plunket brought things to a close with one question for the panel: What does the near future hold for Sarasota real estate? Robbins responded, I think it looks very rosy. Sarasota is such a unique, special place. We are seeing increases in our property values. All the trend lines are pointing up, in residen tial since late 2009, and commercial has been pointing up since late 2012, Jennings added. In real estate, I subscribe to the pendulum theory: It will come back as sure as you are sitting there, LaHurd said. The Conversations at the Crocker will con tinue Tuesday, March 12, with the program, Why We Look The Way We Do: a discussion of architectural styles that characterize Saraso ta. The moderator will be Harold Bubil, real estate editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The Crocker Church is located in Pioneer Park, 1260 12th St., Sarasota. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 3649076. %


A very blue sky provides a stark contrast to the Shinnecock Beach setting. A LONG WEEKEND IN NEW YORK PROVES TO BE AN EXTRAORDINARILY QUIET ONE NORM FINDS NEMO Staff Photographer Norm Schimmel, a native New York er, ventured north over the past weekend, in search of bagels, real pizza and clam chowder, he said. What he found was something very different % Staff Reports


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 77 Facing the Hamptons, the gazebo and bridge are frozen in solitude. The trawlers sit quietly at the docks on Hampton Bay.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 78 An icicle glistens in Riverhead.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 79 Snow adds a spun-sugar coating to the trees in East Quogue. The evergreens in Southampton are perfect for a 2013 Christmas card scene. The sun nally reappears in Flanders.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 80 Patti Schimmel has fun creating a snow angel in Southampton.


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 81 No one seems willing to take a chilly seat on this East Hampton bench.


ASK OTUS Dear Otus, My little sister, Molly, took this buttery photo and I think its so pretty. Weve never seen it before, but there were lots of them in our back garden and lots more in our woods. What are they? Jen Dear Jen, Not only is the buttery lovely, but so is Mol lys photo of it! I like how the pink from the blossoms reects on the white of the buttery. I hope everyone in your family is encouraged to go out and seek all the beautiful creatures in gardens and woods and take many more wonderful photos. The Zebra Longwing ( Heliconius charito nius ) is Floridas state buttery! And it is a marvel that you and others are again see ing them in such great numbers because the ghastly cold winter of December 2009 to March 2010 killed off most of these delicate creatures, along with their eggs, larvae and pupae. People were genuinely concerned that their numbers would never recover. Now they have! ZEBRA LONGWING BUTTERFLIES APPEAR TO BE MAKING A STRONG COMEBACK AND THE KEYS BOBCATS ALSO SEEM TO BE THRIVING The Zebra Longwing buttery. Photo courtesy of Molly


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 83 The adult Zebra Heliconian (that is what they are commonly called by lepidopterists and buttery acionados) can live for sever al months. That is a long time in the butter y world! Scientists believe it is because not only do they nectar like other butteries but on top of that, they collect and absorb pollen into their bodies, which most other butteries do not do. The nutrients from the pollen add two to three more months to this butterys life. In the photo I have provided, you can see how much yellow pollen this Zebra H. has col lected on his proboscis. The female Zebra H. lays tiny, yellow eggs on the leaves and tendrils of the Purple Passion ower plant. You see, whereas butteries are opportunistic eaters and will nectar on most owers, particularly our Florida native ones, they can lay their eggs only on a very specic plant. It must be a plant they know their cat erpillars, which hatch from their eggs, can eat and thus use its nutrients to turn into a lovely, healthy buttery. So I guess that your woods has lots of native Passionowers growing in it and that is why these butteries are enjoying living in it and in your garden. As you probably have noticed, butteries can it by so quickly. One second they are nectar ing on a ower and the next second they are chasing another buttery way up a tree. The ight of the Zebra H. is quick but also languor ous. Sometimes it appears they are engaging in a graceful ballet. You look for that quality the next time you see them and let me know if you agree. Thank you for writing and including your sis ter Mollys lovely and perfect buttery photo. Otus This Zebra Longwing is carrying a bit of pollen on his proboscis. File photo


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 84 D ear Readers, Ever since the local press began publishing photos of Siesta Keys bobcats in the fall of 2005, sightings of these elusive creatures have grown as these cats have increased their num bers, in part, by adapting themselves to the keys suburban lifestyle. The most recent evidence of the existence of a thriving bobcat clowder or glaring (as a bobcat colony is called) is a recent photo by Dlorah Hayden, who lives on the south end of the key. In it, a ludicrously adorable (i.e., almost as cute as an owlet!) baby bobcat has stopped by Dlorahs pool for a drink of water. The most endearing feature of this fabulous photo is the kittens stuck-out tongue. Why do cats often forget to put their tongues back in their mouths? Veterinarians explain that because a cat spends one-third of its life tongue-preening itself this a natural response to feeling very comfortable and at ease in its surroundings. In other words, it got distracted and forgot to put its tongue back in! In this case, I think baby bobcat knows it looks pho togenically irresistible and is practicing that look on its reection in the pool. What luck for Dlorah and our readers! Dlorahs bobcat is about four-months old. This means that mommy is close by and watching. Bobcats stay with their mothers for the rst six months of their lives. Once the juveniles have mastered hunting and other critical survival skills taught them by their mothers, they turn solitary until they are ready to mate. This normally occurs at two years of age. So, you might catch a glimpse of a female and male pair during mating season, but you will never actually see a clowder or glaring of bobcats. But some etymologist worked very hard to research group terms for them, so I thought I should include that ter minology. A female bobcat, called a queen, may give birth to six kittens, although a litter of three A bobcat kitten laps at water in a pool on Siesta Key. Photo courtesy of Dlorah Hayden


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 85 or four young is more common. The male, or tom, does not stick around once the kits are born. This is just as well as male bobcats are very aggressive and territorial and therefore more likely to kill their offspring than to play Catch the Bunny with them. Bobcats are not picky eaters. Their food sources are habitat dependent and they are opportunistic feeders. Happily, Siesta Key bobcats will eat iguanas, which eat owl eggs! Other local dietetic choices include ea-infest ed tree rats (i.e., gray squirrels), birds, rodents (yummy!) and insects (also yummy!). Insects are a source of high protein and play a very important nutritional role in the meals of bob cats, raccoons and other mammals. The bobcats lifespan in the wild averages 10 to 12 years. Because they rank near the top of the food chain they are of Least Concern to state and federal conservation authorities. On Siesta Key (where hunting them is not per mitted), the bobcats principal predator is the Jaguar and other species of automobiles. Our bobcats are magnicent suburban car nivores, and sighting them, when they allow themselves to be seen, and in their adorable kittenhood, is a great thrill. Just ask Dlorah! 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. 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 Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP


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


Siesta Seen CHRIS BROWNS LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT IS PUT OFF, ONE BID COMES IN FOR SIESTA VILLAGES CROSSWALK LIGHTING AND THE ISLAND CLEANUP IS SET FOR FEB. 16 Sarasota County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh told me last week he would recommend to the County Commission on Feb. 12 that it approve a settlement agreement in the third lawsuit led against the county by Siesta Village prop erty owner Chris Brown. However, it appears the settlement has hit a slight snag. During his report to the board on Feb. 12, De Marsh said only that he and his staff needed to work through a factual matter. However, Browns attorney, Morgan Bentley of Bentley & Bruning in Sarasota, told me the snag revolves around what county staff had thought was about 220 square feet of right of By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Peter van Roekens was kind enough to share this spectacular shot of a recent sunset on Siesta Key Beach.


THOSE BOLLARDS Noon on Feb. 13 was the deadline for bids to be submitted to resolve another Siesta Village matter the lighting of crosswalks. After initially receiving no bids on time one came in late Sarasota County Procurement Department staff had to re-advertise the proj ect to provide and install bollards with LED illumination, so drivers can see pedestrians more clearly as they cross Ocean Boulevard at night. A relatively new procurement analyst in the Procurement Department named Carmen Go mez was kind enough on Feb. 14 to provide me the information about the single bid that came in this time and, it is an eye-popper: $118,500. way county attorneys tentatively had agreed t o give Brown as part of the settlement. (The County Attorneys Ofce also will recommend the county pay him $75,000.) The right of way is along Avenida Messina, adjacent to Browns restaurant The Hub Baja Grill. Bentley explained that the property ended up being about twice the size county staff had estimated. Beyond that, it is bordered on all four sides by county property; therefore, by law, the county cannot give the right of way to Brown, Bentley said. Its not contiguous to anything [Brown owns], Bentley added. Although the roofline of the building that houses The Hub extends to the county prop erty line legally, Bentley was quick to point out some sort of accommodation will have to be made with the right of way. The county could just deed over about 8 more feet to the property line of The Hub, Bentley said, which would resolve the issue. I dont think they want to kill the deal over 8 feet, Bentley added. The lawsuit, which was led in October 2011, involves allegations that county staff singled out Brown in raising parking assessments for three of his Village businesses in 2011 in cluding The Hub while it lowered assess ments for all other parcels in the Village that were taxed to pay off the cost of the munici pal parking lot. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh/Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 88


With Siesta Village having hosted the 19th annual Craft Festival last weekend, organizers of the Adopt A Road program felt Feb. 16 would be a good day for the quarterly cleanup effort. Photo by Norman Schimmel


T he company submitting the bid was C-Squared CGC, a local rm. County staff had estimated the cost of the bollards at seven Village intersections would be about $31,500. After no bids were received in the rst round of requests for responses, Chief Engineer James K. Harriott Jr. indicated in an email to the county commissioners that the cost might have been the reason. He sug gested a formal bid be advertised, since one vendor apparently indicated that bids would come in at $50,000 or higher necessitating the alternate procurement procedure. Gomez wrote in a Feb. 14 email, This project is a specialized service that includes the man ufacturing of concrete bollards to illuminate the crosswalk without interfering with trafc as well as installing and connecting the bol lards with existing electrical lines. The ven dor is a local vendor and has worked with the County in the past. The responsiveness and responsibility verication for this vendor is currently in progress. Because of our weekly deadline, I did not have time to seek comments from Siesta Key As sociation Vice President Peter van Roekens, who rst brought up the need for the cross walk lighting in January 2012; or Mark Smith, immediate past chairman of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce; or Russell Matthes, president of the Siesta Key Village Associa tion. All three worked with county staff on demonstrations last summer in the Village, with two vendors providing sample bollards. During the Feb. 7 SKA meeting, van Roekens reported that county staff had told him, pro vided bids did come in this time and they were acceptable, the contract could be awarded in about two weeks. Somehow, I believe the county commission ers are going to be as upset about this as they were when they learned the Siesta Beach stormwater project bids came in about three times higher than expected just a few weeks ago. A CLEANER KEY SKA Director Michael Shay is reminding all in terested persons that members of his organi zation will join forces with Siesta Key Village Association members on Saturday, Feb. 16, for the quarterly Adopt A Road cleanup effort. Tom and Kay Kouvatsos, owners of Village Caf, will serve a free breakfast to the volun teers at 8 a.m. on Saturday, with the trash and debris collection set to begin at 9. Shay who recently took over the Adopt A Road mantle from Peter van Roekens re minds everyone to leave heavy tips for the Vil lage Caf servers. The cleanup crew will cover Ocean Boulevard as well as Higel Avenue and Siesta Drive up to the north Siesta bridge. As usual, grabbers, gloves and trash bags will be provided. As my mother-in-law was fond of telling my children: Many hands make for light work. % Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 90


Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art gallery will presents Tidal Works featuring paintings and prints by Carol Mickett and Robert Stack house, through March 23, the gallery has an nounced. The exhibition offers works by the artists that exemplify their exploration into the interre latedness of the world, a news release says. Mickett and Stackhouse have been working collaboratively for more than 12 years, the release adds, creating paintings, prints and large-scale, site-specic sculpture. Mickett comes from a background in philosophy, lm, radio, poetry and theater, the release notes, while Stackhouse has followed a traditional visual arts path. In this exhibit, the viewer sees iconic images of structures, water and the moon, which en ter into our larger conversation about identi ty and the interconnectedness of the world, says Mickett in the release. Our goal is not to realistically depict water or the moon, but to capture the idea of these. Aspects of Identity: Tarpon is by Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse. Contributed photo TIDAL WORKS TO FEATURE WORKS OF MICKETT AND STACKHOUSE ARTS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 92 S tackhouses works are included in the col lections of The Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Australia, The Walker Art Center and The Art Institute of Chicago among many others, the release points out. He has held endowed chairs at Hartford University, the University of Denver and the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. In addition to her work in the visual arts, Mick ett is the host and originator of the series Our Town at the Dal Museum in St. Petersburg, the release says. She sits on the Arts Advisory Committee for the city of St. Petersburg, and she served as the director of History Speaks a video archive of the history of Kansas City, the release notes. Mickett also has published essays, poems and interviews in numerous publications, the release adds. A reception with the artists will be held Feb. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information about the exhibit, call 366-2454 or visit www. The gallery is located at 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. First Moon is by Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse. Contributed photo American Print is by Carol Mickett and Rob ert Stackhouse. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 93 Hermitage Artist Retreat Fellow and To ny-nominated playwright Arthur Kopit will be the featured speaker at a public program at the Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. West in Venice, on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m., the Hermitage has announced. Venice Theatre Executive/Artistic Director Murray Chase will interview Kopit about his life and work in the theater, a news release says. Arthur Kopit is one of Americas most re nowned playwrights, says Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage, in the re lease. Not only is he talented and well known, he has also been very generous with his input and praise of the other artists fortunate to be sharing time at the Hermitage during his resi dencies. We are so pleased to be able to share him with the community for this wonderful afternoon about his life in American theater. Kopit is the author of: Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mammas Hung You in the Closet and Im Feelin So Sad ; Indians (Tony nominee and a nalist for the Pulitzer Prize); Wings (also a Tony nominee and a nalist for the Pulitzer Prize); a new translation of Ibsens Ghosts ; the book for the musical Nine (score by Maury Yeston; Tony Award for Best Musical, 1982; Tony Award for Best Musical revival, 2003); End of the World, with Symposium to Follow ; the book for the musical Phantom (score by Maury Yeston); the book for the musical High Society (score by Cole Porter, additional lyrics by Susan Birkenhead); Road to Nirvana ; Be cause He Can (originally entitled Y2K ); Chad Curtiss, Lost Again and numerous one-act plays, the release points out. His current projects include Discovery of America a play based on the journals of the Spanish conquistador, Cabeza de Vaca; a new musical, Eureka!; and four other new plays: Autumn Light Secrets of the Rich, The Incur ables and A Dram of Drumchhicit the latter written with Anton Dudley, the release points out. Kopits program is a give-back requested of all artists invited for residencies at the Her mitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key, the release notes. In exchange for time and space to make art on Floridas Gulf coast, each artist is asked to provide two programs in the com munity during his or her stay. The Venice Theatre program is free, but space is limited, so reservations are requested. They may be made by calling the box ofce at 4881115. Those seats not reserved will be offered on a rst-come, rst-serve basis, the release points out. For more information about Kopits talk or the Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 475-2098 or visit Arthur Kopit/Contributed photo PLAYWRIGHT KOPIT TO BE FEATURED IN FREE PROGRAM


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 94 Kenneth Dake, organist at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, will be featured in a concert at First United Methodist Church in downtown Sarasota on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. Dake is a stellar organist who demonstrates technical precision and musical prowess, a MARBLE COLLEGIATE CHURCH ORGANIST TO PRESENT CONCERT news release says. He studied with renowned organist John Weaver, the release adds. A $10 ticket donation is requested. Tickets are available online at or at the church ofce (955-0935). Parking will be available in the Zenith parking garage on Mira Mar Court. First Church is located at 104 S. Pineapple Ave. One of the longest running Broadway shows of all time, A Chorus Line is the story of 17 dancers who embark on an audition process which proves to be far more than just an inqui ry into their skill, a news release notes. The musical has drawn record audiences since 1975, the release adds. Adding to its legacy, A Chorus Line has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards and has taken CHORUS LINE ADDS A MATINEE TO VAN WEZEL SCHEDULE An extra performance of A Chorus Line will be performed at the Van Wezel. Contributed photo home nine, even earning itself a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This new production boasts a highly talented cast and promises to be the best incarnation to date, the release adds. Tickets are priced from $10 to $75. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 95 The Florida State University/Asolo Conserva tory for Actor Training program will present Stop Kiss by Diana Son from Feb. 19 through March 10 in the Cook Theatre in the FSU Cen ter for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, the company has announced. In Stop Kiss two young women in New York spend a quiet evening together talking about their boyfriends and life, a news release points out. In the process, as they sense a growing, unspoken attraction for each other, an inno cent kiss results in a savage gay-bashing, re sulting in a complex story about hatred, love and the difculties of living life fully, the re lease adds. This is an extraordinarily tender and mov ing play about love, loss, ignorance and ac ceptance, says Greg Leaming, director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, in the release. It shows both the brutal and nurturing side of humanity without a trace of sentimentality. The production will be directed by Matthew Arbour, who adds in the release, One of my favorite things about this play is how it in sists that we strive for an authentic life, a life true to ourselves and how, for all the risks and pitfalls we encounter doing that, it is by accepting, embracing and taking responsibil ity for who and what and how we love, that makes sure love wins in the end. Its such a moving and often funny journey, and the roles couldnt be better suited for the talents of the Asolo Conservatory class. Productions of Stop Kiss will be offered Tues days at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays through Satur days at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $29 for evening shows and $28 for mati nees. Students receive 50 percent off the price with advance ticket purchases. Tickets may be bought in ad vance at the Asolo Reps box ofce at the FSU Center for Performing Arts; or by calling 351-8000. On Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m., audi ence members are invited to attend a production of Stop Kiss and pay what they can afford for their tickets. These special tickets are available only on the day of per formance, the release notes. % (From left) Lucy Lavely, Jefferson McDonald, Tori Grace Hines and Cale Haupert in FSU/Asolo Conservatorys production of Stop Kiss. Photo by Frank Atura. STOP KISS TO BE NEXT ASOLO CONSERVATORY PRODUCTION


Temple Emanu-Els director of religious ed ucation, Sabrina Silverberg, took nearly 100 attendees on a journey through Spanish and North African Jewish culture during a Feb. 10 multimedia educational program titled, From Madrid to Marrakesh Sponsored by Temple Emanu-Els Adult Ed ucation Committee, From Madrid to Mar rakesh provided a unique opportunity to learn about the little-known beliefs, practic es and customs of Spanish and North African (also called Sephardic) Jews, a Temple news release says. A proud Sephardic Jew herself, Silverberg shared stories of her familys Jew ish life in Egypt, and she taught the attendees about outstanding Sephardic Jews, Sephardic Jewish history and the fascinating supersti tions and taboos held by Sephardic Jews, the release notes. In addition to listening to Silverbergs pre sentation, participants enjoyed a Mediterra nean-style lunch and dessert, Sephardic music and even henna tattoos a Sephardic form of body art. 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 excited to share this richness and diversity, she adds. For more information, call 378-5567. (From left) Among those who attended From Madrid to Marrakesh were Alena Barwick, Norty Bick and Temple Emanu-El Adult Education Co-Chairwoman Beth Ann Saltzman. Contributed photo TEMPLE EMANU-EL GOES FROM MADRID TO MARRAKESH RELIGION BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 97 Rabbi Brenner Glickman receives a henna tattoo from artist Yumi Kondorsky. Contributed photo Temple Emanu-El Director of Education Sabrina Silverberg led the program From Madrid to Mar rakesh. Contributed photo Temple Emanu-El Adult Education Co-Chairwoman Judilee Sterne and Judy Thibault enjoyed the afternoon. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 15, 2013 Page 98 Carol Green of Sarasota, author of Spiritual Transformation in America asks a question people usually avoid: Just what exactly do we mean when we say we believe in God? That will be the focal point of a program she will present at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, in the Lexow Wing of the Unitarian Universal ist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, the Sarasota Bradenton Womens Interfaith Network (WIN) has announced. Major changes are taking place in afliation, practices and observances, a news release says. Exposure to different cultures, religions and spiritual practices is inuencing how we think and what we believe, the release adds. There is a generational religious gap that will lead to political changes. Everyone is welcome to attend the program, the release points out. Donations will be gratefully accepted and turned over to Moth ers Helping Mothers, the release adds. The event is being sponsored by WIN. For more information about the event or about WIN, call 377-1003. % AUTHOR GREEN TO PRESENT PROGRAM ON BELIEF IN GOD 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 Press Releases & News Tips


15 FEB Last performance FST Improv Troupe Feb. 15, 8:30 p.m., Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Tickets: $12; 366-9000 or 16 FEB WSLR presents Holly Williams in concert Feb. 16, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Tickets: $10; available online at 17 FEB Romantic Revolutionaries Beethoven and Schubert Feb. 17, 4 p.m., Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Beneva Road. Tickets: $15; 924-4664 or 23+ FEB 2013 Plant & Garden Festival Feb. 23-24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Selby Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave. Non-members $12, Members and all children 11 & under admitted free, member guests $5. For details, visit 24 FEB Wenonah Hauter to discuss book, Foodopoly Feb. 24, 3 p.m., at WSLR Radio Station, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Hauter is the author of Foodopoly the shocking and revealing account of the busi ness behind the meat, vegetables, grains and milk that most Americans eat every day, including some customers favorite and most respected organic and health-conscious brands, according to a news release. Foodopoly is available for pre-order at Book Store1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., or by calling the store at 365-7900. More event info at 26 FEB PMP/Suncoast presents the Ariel Quartet Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Beatrice Freidman Theater, 580 McIntosh Road. Admission free with registration: 371-4546 or ComMunity CALendar The best of the upcoming week To get all the details on these and other great ac tivities food, nightlife, music, art, theater, chil drens events, learning opportunities and more go to Sarasotas No. 1 source for local events, hot spots, fun activities and hidden gems:

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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 MOON OVER (TA)MIAMI SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS