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 MEET THE CANDIDATES HALFWAY POINT BATTERS UP! Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida February 22, 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 week, we begin our own countdown to the March 12 election for two at-large seats on the Sarasota City Commission. City Editor Stan Zimmerman consulted with the other members of our Editorial Board in developing a list of questions before he sat down for extensive interviews with all six candidates for those seats. And I do mean extensive. These are not the quick-read, hit just the highlights types of proles you will nd in the average publication. I have had the privilege in years past of watching Stan in action during candidate interviews. He is a master at putting people at ease and drawing them out on their answers. Our production manager, Cleve Posey, did just as masterful job of putting together the layout as Stan did with the interviews which, I should add, Stan transcribed from hours of notes. This week, we offer the questions and answers posed of Richard Dorfman, Kelvin Lumpkin and Pete Theisen. Next week, we will feature Stans interviews with the three women in the race Su zanne Atwell, Susan Chapman and Linda Holland. Although we tout our publication for its very green factor of being available digitally instead of in print, Copy Editor Vicki Chatley offers an excellent suggestion: If you use a computer to read the News Leader instead of an iPad, you might want to print out the interviews to study them at length in a comfortable setting (this will require downloading the PDF version). There is quite a lot to take in; trust me. Yet, we believe the time all of us have invested in this process and the time you will spend reading the results will serve you very well. Those of you registered to vote in the city should end up being the most informed people possible when you cast your ballots. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


MEET THE CANDIDATES BATTERS UP NEWS & COMMENTARY MEET THE CANDIDATES 8 City Commission candidates Richard Dorfman, Kelvin Lumpkin and Pete Theisen answer questions posed by The Sarasota News Leader in advance of the March 12 election Stan Zimmerman HALFWAY POINT 33 Walmart hearing puts residents eyeball to eyeball with corporate heavyweight Stan Zimmerman BATTERS UP! 37 Welcome to Birdland as the Orioles prepare for another season in Sarasota Staff Reports MEDDLING DECRIED 46 The School Board votes unanimously to move forward with plans to save the exterior but not the interior of a Rudolph building at Sarasota High Scott Proftt THE -POUND GORILLA 50 City Commission bows to ACLU, allowing amplied music Stan Zimmerman WHOLE LOTTA PLANNIN 52 Analysis: It is ultimately up to the voters to decide whether the city of Sarasota can realize genuine growth out of the acronym soup Stan Zimmerman THAT BENDERSON DEAL ... 58 Parks advisory board oh-so-gently slaps City Commission Stan Zimmerman ABOUT THOSE BIDS 60 County staff recommends the County Commission proceed with awarding the Siesta Beach stormwater project once the contract is ready Rachel Brown Hackney LEGISLATIVE INTERVENTION 64 The County Commission urges its Tallahassee delegation to support bills that would give it control over smoking on county property Rachel Brown Hackney A NASTY LITTLE BUGGER 67 Volunteers will seek private homeowners permission to try to kill red ant colonies endangering bird and turtle eggs on Siesta Key Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover The Bird is back! Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure Selby Gardens Robert Hackney


WINTER SLIDES AWAY BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS A HAPPY NEW HOME 71 Gulf Gate Library welcomes patrons in its temporary quarters Rachel Brown Hackney A NEW NEIGHBOR 76 Goodwill Manasota opens its store on the North Tamiami Trail Stan Zimmerman NEWS BRIEFS 78 OBITUARY 88 OPINION EDITORIAL 90 The city commissioners need to become champions of the BRTs potential COMMENTARY 92 Sexual healing David Staats LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 94 SARASOTA LEISURE WINTER SLIDES AWAY 97 Signs of spring dapple the landscape Fran Palmeri BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS 103 New College graduate Erica Gressman combines various art forms in her piece, Wall of Skin at the latest installment of New Music New College Tyler Whitson ASK OTUS 10 9 Red tide has a long history in Florida, though people still seem far too ignorant of its capacity to harm them Otus Rufous SIESTA SEEN 116 Code Enforcement seminar planned; information about the countys Noise Ordinance to be provided during the March SKA meeting Rachel Brown Hackney ARTS BRIEFS 121 RELIGION BRIEFS 130 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 133 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 134 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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The basics: Top education? Richard Dorfman : Bachelor of Arts in busi ness and communications, American Univer sity. Kelvin Lumpkin : Bachelor of Arts in ac counting; working on an MBA at the Uni versity of Florida. Pete Theisen : (Pre-interview note: Mr. Theisen asked to make a video recording of our conver sation. I did not object.) Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Marital status? Dorfman: Single but in a committed relation ship. Lumpkin: Married. Theisen: Single Children? Dorfman: One-third of the com mitted relationships child. Lumpkin: Two beautiful girls. Theisen: None. Candidates prepare to address members of the Arlington Park Neighborhood Association on the eve ning of Feb. 19: (From left) Pete Theisen, Linda Holland, Kelvin Lumpkin and Richard Dorfman. Photo by Robert Hackney CITY COMMISSION CANDIDATES RICHARD DORFMAN, KELVIN LUMPKIN AND PETE THEISEN ANSWER QUESTIONS POSED BY THE SARASOTA NEWS LEADER IN ADVANCE OF THE MARCH 12 ELECTION MEET THE CANDIDATES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor SCC CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS: THEISEN, LUMPKIN AND DORFMAN


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 9 Years in the community? Dorfman: Full-time, four years. Part-time, eight years. Lumpkin: 39 (born in Sarasota). Theisen: About 30. How many times have you run for ofce? Dorfman: Two: rst time, two years ago. Lumpkin: First time. Theisen: This is the third. Do you have a website? Is there a tele phone number people can call you? Dorfman: ; 320-5937, my personal cell phone. Lumpkin: ; 266-2072. Theisen: Website: http://elect-pete-Theisen. com ; 365-9439 Some of these are yes or no ques tions; there is a lot of territory to cover, so Are you satised with the performance of the three city charter ofcials: city at torney, clerk and auditor and city man ager? Dorfman: I would not say I was satised with all three as I am with any one in particular. It varies by individual. I dont know if I want to go into a rating. Tom [Barwin, city manager] has only been here a little while. I wouldnt even begin to rate him. Im very satised with Pamela Nadalini [audi tor and clerk]. In terms of Bob Fournier [city attorney], Im satised with Bob. Im not sure if the current system of the way we get our legal advice is the best way for the city to be doing it. Care to elaborate? Dorfman: I wont elaborate at this time, but I do have something else in mind. Are you satised with the performance of the three city charter ofcials: city at torney, clerk and auditor, city manager? Lumpkin: Yes I am. If I was a commissioner, I would be better able to evaluate their perfor mance. But from the outside looking in, I see no problems. I think with the city manager, it Richard Dorfman/Photo by Norman Schim mel


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 10 may be too early, but Ive heard nothing but good things so far. But hes fairly new. Are you satised with the performance of the three city charter ofcials: city at torney, clerk and auditor, city manager? Theisen: Mr. Barwin is a little too new. I have only one impression of him. He didnt like the Sunshine idea [of open meetings with an ad hoc committee on the citys homelessness situation]. He has a reputation. People are starting to know he doesnt like Sunshine. Of course, thats kind of dangerous because we have a law rm making their whole living out of Sunshine suits. We might just as well avoid the appearance of any closure. Specically, I went to a meeting with him and asked, Are we in the Sunshine? I was holding up the video camera, and he said, Id rather you didnt. So I didnt. But I think thats dangerous. I understand the ve commissioners and the manager once a week have a closed-door meeting. Yes, one-on-one. Theisen Its not all ve? No. Theisen: Then I was misinformed. I wonder what the justication is of keeping that secret. OK, so the minutes of that are posted? I dont think they take minutes. Theisen: So somebody could come in and sit on those? N o more than I could come in and sit in when you go talk to a professional. Theisen: So theyre secret or theyre not. Those meetings are not subject to the Sunshine Law. Theisen: So theyll never get sued over it. If it were the ve commissioners togeth er, that would be an ofcial meeting, noticed, with people able to attend and minutes being taken. But one-on-one meetings are not subject to the Sunshine Law. Theisen: I was a little bit raised eyebrows he didnt want it videotaped. But, well, all right. And the other city charter ofcials? Theisen: I cant evaluate Mr. whatev er-his-name is the lawyer. Bob Fournier. Theisen: Yeah. But as a city commissioner you would evaluate him. Theisen: I think I would judge him on wheth er or not he was forthcoming with answers to legal questions. Id say my impression of him is neutral at this point. And the city auditor and clerk? Theisen: Id say shes right there. Shes on top of everything. You know, I go over there and ask for a public information request, and they never say, No. Sometimes they take an embarrassingly long time and always the explanation is they have trouble getting the information, which isnt su rprising when you


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 11 c onsider they dont have a unied database. They have a bunch of little databases, and they are distributed; every department has its own database. So its sort of an anachronism of systems using different software in dif ferent departments. But as far as the auditor and clerk, Id say shes a worthy successor to Mr. [Billy] Robin son [the previous auditor and clerk]. Your preference: city manager or elect ed mayor with management responsibil ities? Dorfman: My preference would be an elect ed mayor with ve commissioners and a city manager to assist him. Thats ve single-dis trict commissioners. Lumpkin: I would denitely lean towards an elected mayor. Having said that, I do believe that our present form of government can be effective if we have commissioners who are committed to working for the people and working together. I dont have a problem with people disagree ing with me. I do have a problem with people being disrespectful. Im not thinking of any particular instance, but as long as we can go in with a mind to serve people and not be con descending to other peoples views. Some of the tone I hear I dont like. But I think we can work together. I dont think we need to belittle others views with sarcasm or a sarcastic tone. But it could work if we got the right blend of commissioners who are seless and willing to listen. Stop me if Im goi ng on too far. Please, go ahead. Lumpkin: If a commissioner goes to a meet ing and has already decided what they are going to do before a public hearing, I dont think thats good. I think you should hear ev erything. Obviously, you can come in with some preconceived ideas, but I think our re sponsibilities are to be exible enough to hear everybody out and be slow to judgment. If you cant process it fast enough some people can think fast on their feet but if you cant, you can say, Lets decide this next month. Its better to do that than make a hasty decision. If I cant think fast on my feet on a particular issue, I say we postpone it. Its better to get it right than be forced into a decision, even by your own supporters. Your supporters will get you there, but you have to serve your non-supporters once you get in there. Pete Theisen/Photo by Stan Zimmerman


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 12 There is a big difference between run ning for ofce and governing. Lumpkin: Ill try to be very measured and so ber in my views, because I know should I get elected, the game is going to change. Your preference: a city manager or an elected mayor with management respon sibilities? Theisen: I think that the city manager sys tem is my preference, in light of the fact that all attempts at the electoral level have failed to change it. Like, you dont push something down peoples throats. Youve run for election twice and failed twice. The elected mayor thing has run for approval and failed three times. Does that mean you shouldnt be running now? Theisen: I run at my own expense. This elect ed mayor business costs thousands and thou sands of dollars. Unless theres a groundswell of support [for me], this will be my last. Were going to miss you. Theisen: Theres a value in my running. Today four of the ve city commissioners are retired. Should city commissioners be paid a living wage? Dorfman: I dont think you go into elected ofce as a moneymaking proposition. You go into elected ofce because you want to serve. So it wouldnt make any difference to me. Its a more-than-full-time job, in my opinion. But again, the wage has nothing to do with it, as far as Im concerned. I f not, how will the city attract commis sioners who are not retired people? Dorfman: I dont know that should be a cri teria for the job. Ostensibly, you would want people who could work full-time in the posi tion, which is obviously why you get a lot of retired folks going after the position. I dont see whether youre retired or not retired makes any difference. What is the persons ex perience? What is his depth of experience in various disciplines? What do they know of the world? What can they bring from their expe riences that could translate well to Sarasota? I personally would rather have someone with experience in the outside world, who has business experience, who knows how other communities and other countries work. I dont think that being retired has anything to do with it, quite frankly. If you get good candidates, retired or not, you have good candidates. But they do have to eat and feed their family. Dorfman: Again, it depends on the person. If the question is, if we paid a living wage would we get a broader spectrum of candidates? Possibly. But I dont know that is an absolute. Look at the people running now. [Candidate] Susan Chapman: I assume shes working fulltime. She sits on numerous boards. Shes found time to give back to the community. Look at [Candidate] Linda Holland: Shes working full-time and found time to give back to the community. Again, I guess it depends on the person.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 13 Tod a y four of the ve city commissioners are retired. Should city commissioners be paid a living wage? If not how will the city attract commissioners who are not retired people? Lumpkin: A living wage as in more than what they are currently making? I wrestle with that. Part of me says commissioners should be paid more because that is not a part-time job, no matter what anybody tells you. And if youre not retired, or, like me, have the exibility of being [an executive] pastor, where I have a great assistant ... and make my own schedule, then how can someone like me run? I think thats why Kelly [Kirschner, former city com missioner and mayor] left. I think the only thing that would make me caution against that is the citys nancial prob lems. But then again, if we had a living wage, you might be able to attract some of the talent that could actually pay off in the long run. I think I would lean toward a living wage be cause [the current salary] eliminates so many qualied people from the board who could bring so much. There is no other way. You eliminate a whole segment of our community who have great ideas and great perspective. I think we need di versity on the commission. I dont mean racial diversity. I mean age diversity. I dont mean to get super-deep or spiritual, but the Bible says, He calls the old because they know the way. He calls the young because they are strong. You need both those who have been there in life the wisdom of their hindsight becomes our foresight. But you need the energy [of younger people]. Its a full-time job. It may have been a part-time job, but those days are long gone and probably never coming back. Today four of the ve city commissioners are retired. Should city commissioners be paid a living wage? Theisen: The city cant afford another cent. Were $459 million behind on pensions [ SNL fact check: not true] depending on who is counting. If not, how will the city attract commis sion candidates who are not retired? Theisen: I think theyll attract people with good incomes from businesses who want to have an inuence in their business environ ment. Can you give an example? Theisen: [City Commissioner] Paul Caragi ulo. Hes the one guy whos not retired. Hes got an ax to grind. Its not a bad ax. I would nt City Commission Election March 12: Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting begins March 2 and runs through March 9, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Supervisor of Elections Ofce, The Terrace Building, 101 S. Washington Blvd. (U.S. 301), Sarasota. Runoff, if necessary: May 14 For more information visit


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 14 say he shou ld not be concerned with the busi ness environment downtown. I wouldnt say that at all. I think hes sort of turning a deaf ear to the cries of the condo people who are trying to sleep at night. But they will have a voice too. Do you support the continued operation of the two civilian police review panels? Dorfman: I do not. Have you attended any of their meet ings? Dorfman: I have read the transcripts, but I have not attended meetings. Do you support the continued operation of the two civilian police review panels? Lumpkin: In their present form, I dont know they are being effective, and I serve on one of them. I think Peter Graham [staff coordi nator] is a great mind, but I think we need to give some serious thought to what their role is going to be. Maybe we can be the eyes and ears of the chief and say this is whats going on in the community. But if it was knee-jerk reaction to an incident, I dont know if it was best reason to have them. Dont get me wrong: I believe everyone needs to be accountable, from the City Commission to police ofcers. Maybe we need to re-think the role, or clearly dene it, or maybe theyve outlived their purpose. It took us some time to win the cops over. Talk about a cold recep tion. But if I were in their shoes, Id under stand why, because they feel persecuted, and there are a lot of great cops. Just like with anything, you have good apples and bad apples. Im a preacher and there are some preachers who just want the gold and the girls, but for every one who chased the gold and the girls you have ve who are sin cere and want to help people. I think [the police] believe it was a witch-hunt, and our group was able to hopefully bridge some of that. I was very purposeful in trying to ride with these guys, to show them my mo tive for serving. I see what they are doing, and I know how many young people Ive buried. I was able to win some guys over, and I think they sense I understand where theyre coming from. Do you support the continued operation of the two civilian police review panels? Have you attended any of their meet ings? Theisen: No. I havent attended their meet ings, but Ive read all the accounts. The Sarasota Police Department (SPD) consumes the largest fraction of the citys budget, using more than the sum of all property taxes collected annually. Is there room for improvement in how Sarasota polices itself? If so, where and how? Dorfman: I think there is probably room for improvement for any industry, in any business and any person on the planet. Specically the police department: I think the police need to be given clear direction in some of their duties. They need cle ar rules of engagement.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 15 They need le adership. And hopefully Chief Bernadette [DiPino] will be able to provide that. In any industry you will nd some people who are better than other people. Hopefully, theres a weeding-out process that allows you to sep arate the wheat from the chaff. Theres always room for improvement, and I think from what Ive read about Chief Ber nie shes on the way to doing some of those things. I think our SPD is fantastic. I really do. I know many of the ofcers. Theyre very, very dedicated ofcers. They love doing what they are doing. I think to some extent theyve had a rudder less ship for the last few years. With leader ship comes direction, and you get a better po lice force because of it. The Sarasota Police Department (SPD) consumes the largest fraction of the citys budget, using more than the sum of all property taxes collected annually. Is there room for improvement in how Sarasota polices itself? If so, where and how? Lumpkin: Im sure [there is room for im provement]. Obviously the Police Depart ment needs to run as efciently as possible. I believe we have the right chief who is going to look for ways to run the department ef ciently. Some have suggested to me, and Im looking into it, that parts of the budget are inated anyway. When a police ofcer goes to get an oil change, its going to cost quadruple the amount and the money is sent somewhere else. The budget may b e a bit bloated. Then weve got to nd a solution to the pen sion issue. Well talk about that a bit later. Lumpkin: OK. The rst thing the chief of po lice has to do is to make sure that the depart ment runs as efciently as possible. There can be many ways to do that, to do the best we can. I think it would be a good idea to give some incentive to have ofcers live in the city. I know there was, at one point, but I thought it was a very small amount. It might be cheaper in the long run if it was a yearly bonus, $5,000 for living in the city. Because Ive heard of SPD cars in Tampa and Port Charlotte. Kelvin Lumpkin/Photo by Robert Hackney


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 16 And No rth Port. Lumpkin: The oil change, the tires, the gas, has to add up to be pretty big over time. Im careful because I havent veried this myself, but Ive heard it could run up to $600,000 a year. If they lived in the city and we gave them a bonus, it would still be a lot cheaper. If we do let them drive their cars, and they live in the neighborhood, I would like to live next door to a cop and have that deterrent [to crime]. Police consume the largest fraction of the citys budget, using more than the sum of all property taxes collected an nually. Is there room for improvement in how Sarasota polices itself? If yes, where and how? Theisen: Theres more spent on them than is collected in taxes? Property taxes. There is other revenue too. Theisen: Theres room for improvement in all human endeavors, of course. I think the High Point [N.C.] initiative [regarding more effec tive community policing efforts] has been a good start. It sounds like a good idea. Well know more about it in a year or so. Thats one thing. Anything else is rmly resisted by the police union, but I have suggested that they use a little less expensive cruiser. Those things cost $50,000. I dont know if we have to spend $50,000 on each one. Would you con sider merging the SPD and the Sarasota County Sheriffs Of ce? Dorfman: No, I wouldnt. Lumpkin: No, I dont think so. The SPD for the most part gives the TLC the city needs. Having ridden with them, Ive seen how the re lationships theyve built up over a lifetime are valuable. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I dont live in Newtown, but I was born and raised there. I even had a stigma against the police at one point. When I was a young man, in high school and college, I was getting stopped all the time. My breakthrough came from my mother. She said, Listen, dont judge a whole race of peo ple based on the acts of a few. There are good, and there are bad. So dont have a complex. Some of these guys have built relationships over years that are invaluable in helping them solve crimes. A lot of people in Newtown dont cooper ate, and when theres a shooting, somebody knows. I can go to the barbershop and say, Who did it? and I can get an answer. Will they tell the investigator? Probably not. As I understand it, the ratio in the city is great er for cops to citizens, and I think thats a good thing. If we dont nd some solutions, its go ing to be hard to stop that cry for merger. Theisen: The ofce duplication. I see no rea son to have duplication in ofce functions, such as maintaining a property room. You must make the property room a little bit big ger and you know, you can merge those de partments. Ive been in those property rooms and there doesnt seem to be a hell of a lot


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 17 in there. S eems like theres a lot of room and a lot of desks with people sitting there. Of course this was years ago. They may not have had computers then. They may not have as many people sitting at desks anymore. For street ofcers, the county and the city are different skill sets as far as working the street. You might have noticed the last two shoot ings have been Sheriffs deputies rather than city police, and that stuck out in my mind. I cant imagine Sarasota City Police reacting in the same way because they have a different skill set. Its a different population. City peo ple, theyve got their own idiosyncrasies. And county people have a little different idiosyn crasies. I dont think I want to merge the street of cers. I dont think we have enough street of cers Should we merge some special teams such as Marine Patrol, Bomb Squad, SWAT and others? Dorfman: I think its a misnomer when you look at that. You would achieve no savings by merging those special groups. The ofcers who man those groups are patrol ofcers. They dont sit around waiting for a bomb call or a K-9 call. As needed they come together as a group and do whatever service it is. They train on company time. Dorfman: All cops are supposed to train. Im all for training, its part of the job. One unfor tunate thing is the cops are not getting enough training. I believe the training budget has been cut back. Id like to see more training. I dont think you achieve any cost savings whatsoev er by merging those out ts. Should we merge some special teams such as Marine Patrol, Bomb Squad, SWAT and others? Lumpkin: I think there should be a combined SWAT team. In areas like that, we should strongly consider merging those. I dont know there is great benet from having two SWAT teams or bomb squads. Theisen: For instance if theres a bomb scare, Id hope both teams would respond. Especial ly K-9. Id like to see more use of K-9 because the dogs can run way faster than the ofcers can. Its unlikely someone running away from an ofcer would outrun [the ofcers] dog. The city continues to run a decit in its annual budget, making up the difference from reserves. Will you raise taxes, cut services or continue tapping into sav ings? Dorfman: I think input from staff is like gold dust, and we should continue to get input from staff. They are there on the ground deal ing with things every day. If they have ideas where you can cut, where you can improve, we need to listen to them. I am not an advocate of raising taxes. I think you will be hard-pressed to nd any politician who says, I want to raise taxes. I would like to see the city become more friendly to other sources of commercial rev enue. Commercial revenue? Dorfman: Commercial revenue meaning busi ness. Development. If y ou nd other sources


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 18 of revenue, you create more money going into your budget. Thats normally considered a tax. Dorfman: Yes, but it goes into the budget. Property taxes. Business taxes. Penny sales tax that and everything else. Im an advo cate of bringing more business in and growth into the city to generate more tax income. Were in a budget cycle right now. If you are elected, you will participate in establishing the budget for next year. What can you do between now and Oct. 1, when the new scal year starts, that would generate sufcient commercial in come to cover the decit? Dorfman: I dont see anything happening between now and the rst of October, other than going through the line items. The budget is established; theres nothing I can do about it. I cannot cut the budget. I cannot eliminate things in this years budget. Not this years budget. Youre right: Its xed. But budget workshops are going to begin probably very soon after elections. You will be privy to the development of the budget that begins Oct. 1. These are the kinds of decisions you will have to make: Do we cut services? Cut staff? Raise taxes? Dip into reserves? Turn it over to staff to let them gure it out? Its one thing to say we want more busi ness, and grow our way out of this, but you have to build the buildings that will pay the taxes, and thats a long-term process. Were in a short-term, today, crisis. Dorfman: And I dont think the crisis will be solved this year or next year. There are cer tain items in the budget, things weve spoken about, that I would eliminate. I dont think that will make massive cost savings. But there are items. You mentioned the police review boards, I dont see much of a need for them. Theres $60,000 to pay the man whos running it. Without an absolute encyclopedic knowledge of the budget, I couldnt tell you what else to cut. There are things I see that I would look at. Again, Im not an advocate of raising taxes. The city continues to run a decit in its annual budget, making up the difference from reserves. Will you raise taxes, cut services or continue tapping into sav ings? Lumpkin: Those are all tough options. The ac countant in me has a problem passing a bud get thats in the red and dipping into reserves. I dont believe we can tax our way out, but we may have to consider, among other things, a modest increase in the millage rate. I dont see that as something forever, but in my mind, for a season, that may be something we cant throw off the table. If we continue cutting services, you are talking about the quality of our living, and how many more people can we cut? I stand in the line to pay my water bill, and staff is overwhelmed. I know years ago you had more [people]. I know we have fewer people doing the work. I dont know if thats a good option. I dont believe in raising taxes. God knows I dont. But we have so me hard realities. Obvi


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 19 ously, we have some hard realities, and the commission will have to rely on staff for rec ommendations. Ultimately, we have to lead it and make the decisions. I havent spoken to one current or former commissioner who hasnt said, Theres a big learning curve. You can say things and talk in platitudes on the campaign trail, but when you get in the seat and speak with city staff, youll see some harsh realities. We have to work hard to meet that learning curve, so when city staff advises us, if we dont know anything, well have to learn and accept their advice. Well listen, but ultimately we have to lead. Thats what we were elected to do: to lead the way. The city manager wont be our boss. Well be his boss. The city continues to run a decit in its annual budget, making up the difference from reserves. Will you raise taxes, cut services or continue tapping into sav ings? Theisen: I dont think theyre going to be able to do that much longer without something. My take on it and Ive researched this theres a lot of things in the budget that are not core government services. Can you give an example? Theisen: They do an awful lot of landscaping. Ill look at it one day, and it will be changed the next day. They were both ne, nice little owerbeds, but completely changed. Its go ing from beautiful to beautiful, and so what? That is really an obvious example. But there are others too. So you woul d cut services? Theisen: If you want to call that a service, I suppose so. You could call it a service but its a little bit of a distraction. I guess you could say I would cut services. The past six years, taxes went down be cause assessments went down. We have had six successive years of tax cuts. Why would I not want to stabilize my taxes? Dorfman: I think were going to get a tax in crease anyway, because I think the [property] values are going to go up; the economys start ing to turn around. As the natural growth of the economy starts to shift into an up-mode instead of this retraction, retreat, its going to go the other way. That will come naturally. There are things we could do right now that would save us signicant amounts of money. Lumpkin: Youre right. Somehow we have to stop the bleeding. Put it this way: Ill be slow to raising taxes, but the reality is, this might be the least painful time to raise taxes for the reasons you stated, because for all of us, our tax bill has gone down signicantly. If our property values were where wed want them to be, we would be paying higher taxes. Im not saying bring them up to where our highest property values were, even if we came up part of the way, it would slow the bleeding. Were in a tough spot. We may have to do what we may have to do.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 20 Pensions: did we over-promise and un der-deliver? Dorfman: I understand the over-promise is [what happened], but in terms of the under-de liver, we continue to be in the process of de livery. So I dont think we can talk about un der-delivery yet. I think there were a lot of decisions made in the go-go years that may have come back to bite us in the bottom. But thats the deal we have, and now we have to gure out how to work with that deal. I think theres a recognition on the part of the Police Department and the union that a lot of things are just not supportable and were go ing to have to gure out a way to meet in the middle and achieve some cost savings. I think theres recognition on the part of the PD that we have to keep talking. I dont think the year-and-a-half of intransi gence in the last negotiations helped either party. I think there was a better way to do that. Its a discussion that will have to contin ue to evolve. Have you ever attended any of the three pension board meetings? Dorfman: I have not. Wait, thats not true. I was actually at the last one very briey. About two weeks ago. I sat down and listened for about 10 minutes. It was quite arcane. Is a tax increase the answer to our prom ises? If not, would you support a bond issue to cover the shortfall (as Fort Lau derdale did last November)? Dorfman: At this time, no. Pensions: did w e over-promise and un der-deliver? Lumpkin: Im going to take the long way around. Commissioners are elected, and we have to develop the art of the long view. We have to do our best to see into the future and the impact and the bestand worst-case sce narios. Its easy to do the expedient thing for now, to please people, [but that] could create a conundrum for future commissions. One of the things Im looking at, Lord help me to see down the road so that Im not making life difcult for commissioners after me, or take the wrong path. Weve obviously been able to draw great [po lice] ofcers because we have a great [ben ets] package. There are some days I think I should have become a police ofcer right out of college. Id be sitting good right now. I believe law enforcement ofcers should be compensated well for the risk they take. Every night I ride [along], something crazy happens. Its scary. These guys and girls are risking their lives every day, and we should compensate them reasonably and give them some security. Maybe we didnt have the long view in mind. Maybe we assumed our property prices would keep going up, but you always have to prepare for famine. There is a saying: Whoever does not sow in the spring will beg in the winter. Were going through a wintertime where may be we didnt make preparations in the spring, thinking spring would last and it hasnt. Theres things you cant anticipate in life or the economy. My hope is the economy will get better for the country and e verywhere and we


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 21 can start grow ing our way out of this, because I want to be able to attract good ofcers, and Im sure weve been able to attract some ex perienced guys from other departments be cause of our competitive package. Ive heard that. But maybe we went too far. I dont know. Maybe we did. But we have the challenge now. Going for ward we have to do something. Would you support a bond issue to cov er the shortfall (as Fort Lauderdale did last November)? Lumpkin: That might create more challenges than it solves. Weve got to be out-of-the-box. But thats something I would have to ponder and study. Pensions: did we over-promise and un der-deliver? Theisen: You think? That was discussed when Kelly Kirschner was mayor, and Mr. [Kurt] Hoverter [then city personnel director] said about the pre-1993 health care, if it was a promise, youve got to deliver. Its an IOU. Maybe its not on paper, but its on paper now because he said that. I was waiting for the pres to sue, but they didnt. It was like taking candy away from a baby. They lost their free healthcare. There was something like 700 of them, which is equiva lent to the whole staff today. Is a tax increase the answer to our prom ises? Theisen: It would be a last resort. I asked [City Finance Director] Christopher Lyons, Is there enough nonessentials in the budget to cover all of this, and he said, Yes, there is. I think hes probably in a position to know. Did he give you an example? Theisen: No. I didnt ask him for them. Where are we going to nd those dollars? Theisen: I would put it to Mr. Barwin. I would like to know what the core functions of gov ernment are, and once we know this, the next question is, How much do we need? I am not going to make that determination myself. There are four or ve other people in this, maybe more. Would you support a bond issue to cov er the shortfall (as Fort Lauderdale did last November)? Theisen: If you do issue bonds you have to have a dedicated source of revenue for it. And all our sources of revenue are already dedi cated. Youd have to put another item on the TRIM notice. The public would vote on it. Would I support it? First we try the budget cut. Then if that doesnt do it, then yes, of course. Particularly if theres an outcry. Youve cut the program that I just love. Well, yes, we did and would you like a bond issue for that? We need other peoples money to do this. Well, OK, put it on the ballot and let other people decide if they want to fund it. Have you ever attended any of the three pension board meetings? Theisen: I have not.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 22 Do you s upport Paul Caragiulos efforts to re-evaluate the noise ordinance? Dorfman: Yes I do. Attended any of the meetings? Dorfman: All of them. Do you support Paul Caragiulos efforts to reevaluate the noise ordinance? Lumpkin: I do, yes. Thats a balancing act. You have some who want a more vibrant downtown, which I do as well. Part of that [is] re-evaluating the sound ordinance to allow for live music, maybe a little louder or for a longer time. Maybe an entertainment overlay district is the answer. But then I think you have people who live downtown. Some say, if youre going to live there you should have known that. But we have to consider those who live there and pay taxes there. We dont want to run them out of downtown because we want them to live there and work there and eat there. And then we want to draw not just restau rants to Main Street. We want retail as well. Now we have a Brooks Brothers, a great place like that. But if you have a loud bar across the street, would they want to remain there? I believe theres a middle ground that is going to help everybody. I like seeing downtown alive. I remember, and you do as well, when Main Street was a ghost town. Now me and my wife are doing our best to get down to Main Street at least once a week, and not just for the Farmers Market. I like a lively downtown. Im not a clubber myself, but I do want to see people go there and do that, God bless em. Its a juggling act. I listened to Commissioner Caragiulo and I went to one of his meetings, and it appeared to me he tried to consider ev erybodys point of view. Finding that middle ground is going to be tough, but I think clearly we have to re-evaluate it. Do you support Paul Caragiulos efforts to re-evaluate the noise ordinance? Theisen: You can re-evaluate it if you like, but I cant imagine any other determination than saying you are going to have to cut it back at 10 oclock. So you support the current noise ordi nance? Theisen: Well its 65 decibels, and if they hold it at 65 decibels outside, in some of these dis cussions Ive offered a compromise. If peo ple just cant hear it for some reason, look at the Van Wezel [Performing Arts Hall] with the Sennheizer [headphone] sound system. Let them have individual earphones and let them have 130 decibels, if that pleases them, as long as it doesnt spill out to the other people. You should see the outcry: You cant do that! Expand the Domestic Partnership Reg istry? Dorfman: Would I support Sarasota or city government lobbying other cities? I dont see where it is appropriate. Im not sure thats the citys job.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 23 Lumpkin: I d ont think its our citys respon sibility to go and expand it. Thats for other communities to decide. Theisen: I think its a sideshow. People who want to take advantage of it could move to Sarasota. Its like half the price of a marriage license. Eliminate it? Dorfman : I support the registry of partners. Im a freedom person. Lumpkin: Ive heard former Commissioner [Ken] Shelin talk about it. I dont fully under stand it; its not something Ive really studied. Theisen: I dont think its causing any prob lems. The people who are using it are just tick led with it. Do you have an opinion of Agenda 21 and how do you think it impacts the City of Sarasota? Dorfman: Ive had discussions about Agenda 21 so often now. I think there is a real possi bility it is going to impact the county. And if it impacts the county, its going to impact the city. And it does give me cause for concern. I dont think anyone is aware, as they should be, relative to Agenda 21. What do you think the change is? Dorfman: Im no expert on Agenda 21, but it seems to be a catalyst through the United Na tions. The United Nations is the one pushing it the hardest, but then it lters out into a lot of different lobbying groups a s well. Do you ha ve an opinion of Agenda 21 and how do you think it impacts the City of Sarasota? Lumpkin: Thats something up until a week ago I had not heard of. But somebody asked me about it, and Im still studying it. The UN initiative. I have to absorb it. I was meeting with some supporters and they asked what I thought about Agenda 21, so Ive been reading up on it. Do you have an opinion on something called Agenda 21? Theisen: I do. They keep using the language from it. Smart growth, which is ordinary growth dressed up with a new adjective. So youre supposed to approve this and let us have more density. Agenda 21 is putting the growth all in one spot. They want to practically eliminate hu man use of many, many properties outside the city. In general Im not a fan of the United Na tions. They kind of want to dictate our laws, and I think thats a sovereignty issue. Parts of Sarasota including St. Ar mands Circle are prone to ooding when high tides or storms create a rise in sea level. Should the city continue to encourage development on its barrier is lands? Dorfman: Dene development. You name it: commercial, residential. Dorfman: I think there is some opportuni ty for nonprots to ma ke some good use of


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 24 those barrier islan ds and the particular things nonprots do. Mote [Marine Laboratory], for example. I would not be an advocate of housing on the barrier islands, for example. I certainly wouldnt want a Walmart on a barrier island. If you can take a barrier island and make it a living laboratory, I would be an advocate of that if it was appropriate. I wouldnt use them for commercial use, I dont think. Or residential? Dorfman: No. Renourish beaches? Dorfman: Absolutely. And theres a lot more we can do to renourish the beaches. I wonder if there is a way for the city to work with other cities to build an economy of scale to work together in beach renourishment. Parts of Sarasota including St. Ar mands Circle are prone to ooding when high tides or storms create a rise in sea level. Should the city continue to encourage development on its barrier is lands? Lumpkin: I dont know the answer to that. I would have to consider the benets of current development. Does the city take in signicant ly more revenue by having people build hous es and pay taxes than it is costing us to deal with these issues? And is there a way to nd a long-term solution to the problem? If there is no way to nd a long-term solution to that ooding problem, then maybe we shouldnt; maybe that would be irresponsible. If there is a soluti on or a way to mitigate it, maybe we should allow people to build there. Renourish beaches? Lumpkin: Adding more sand? Obviously our beaches are our crown jewel of things that attract people. I think investment should be made in our biggest tourist attraction. You see on TV or read in magazines, Best beaches; whitest sand. On the surface, Id say yes, but Id have to study the environmental impact of that. Clear ly there should be an effort to invest in our biggest draws. Parts of Sarasota including St. Ar mands Circle are prone to ooding when high tides or storms create a rise in sea level. Should the city continue to encourage development on its barrier is lands? Theisen: No. If somebody wants to develop there, they need to understand their rst oor is going to get washed out every few years. Or every 100. I also think the insurance compa nies need to put their surcharges right there instead of spread them out over the whole community, which they do. Renourish beaches? Theisen: [The city] shouldnt be taxing the local people for that. They are mostly getting the money from grants for that purpose. But some of it is local. They say, You really prot from this, and we do. There was one year we renourished the beach and a storm came through and took it all out.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 25 I would thin k it depends on whos paying, where the money comes from. If theyre get ting the money from the ordinary Joe and Jane anyway, living from paycheck to pay check and they tack this on, its an iffy situa tion. I wouldnt push it. If it came up for a City Commission vote, depending on the funding source, I probably would vote no on it. The following are planning questions, dealing with land-use issues. A century ago the villages of Sarasota and Fort Lauderdale were virtually identical. Why doesnt Sarasota have the skyline or the canals of a Fort Lauderdale? Dorfman: Do we want the skyline and canals of Fort Lauderdale? Im not sure we do. What makes us different in our historical development? Dorfman: The easier answer is, Sarasota didnt want it. I dont have enough knowledge to answer that question. Back in that peri od, my understanding is there were massive landowners in Sarasota. The Palmers and the Ringlings. I think they held herd over the kind of development that might have happened in Sarasota. I dont want to say they prevented it, but they had a vision of what they wanted Sarasota to be and held to that vision. Im not sure Sara sota was on everybodys radar the way Miami and Fort Lauderdale were. The following are planning questions, dealing with land-use issues. A century ago the villages of Sarasota and Fort Lauderdale were virtually identical. Why doesnt Sarasota have the skyline or the canals of a Fort Lauderdale? Lumpkin: Thats a tough one. I get the sense, I think there are many in this town who want it to stay cozy and small. Obviously, weve had the wealth and resources to be that and could be that. And some have a vision where we could be like that. I think what draws people to Sarasota is they dont want Sarasota to be that. They like it the way it is. They want to closely monitor its growth. Its a small town. I think people want it to be small, and as big as it is, I think it makes some people feel uncomfortable. Ive spoken with people whove lived here for years and who long for it to be that sleepy shing village again. The following are some questions on planning and land use. The rst is a philosophical/historical question. In 1910 the cities of Sarasota and Fort Lau derdale looked a lot alike. Today the Fort Lauderdale waterfront is all high-rises, and there are deep canals throughout the entire city. Why doesnt Sarasota have a skyline like Fort Lauderdale? Theisen: Probably people dont want a sky line exactly like that. The county commission ers do want it. They completely eliminated height limits. [ SNL fact check: untrue.] The oretically, you could build the tallest building in the world. It doesnt apply within the city. Up to now the people havent wanted it, or they have elected people who voted against it. Just the other day th ey talked about 200 units


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 26 per acre, but how are you going to handle the trafc? And it turns out we have a problem with sewers, too all these sewer problems weve been having. Weve got a number of infrastructure prob lems we have to grapple with the next time something comes before the board. With 800 projects already approved and 12 large build ings, thats a lot of building to be done. But theyre not being built because it is not eco nomical. I called up [Sarasota County Area Transit], and they said they had a 10-year improvement plan. It costs $700 million. But they wont be able to keep up with what the developers want to do. We have to do something differ ent about transportation and look at sewers and other infrastructure if we go with a Fort Lauderdale skyline. Would you favor expanding adminis trative site plan approval to the North Trail? Dorfman: Yes I would. Citywide? Dorfman: No. So this is case-by-case, neighbor hood-by-neighborhood? Dorfman: Even node by node. When I ran the last time, and this time, the North Trail is my bug-a-boo. That is one of the two or three causes I have if I sit on the City Commission. When you go in as a commissioner, you should not go in completely reactive. You should go in to be proactive. You hav e to have a few items on your list yo u actually want to accomplish and you work to accomplish them. The North Trail is way high on my list. Ive spoken to a lot of people about it spo ken to builders, spoken to developers, spoken to neighborhood people. You have a pletho ra of different zoning up there, and a lot of it is outmoded, outdated. It doesnt work; it doesnt allow you to optimize what we have. Even on a node-by-node basis, I would like to see changes. I dont think an 11-acre plot should be treated the same as a half-acre plot. And vice versa. So with administrative review everything is within code and ready to go, boom, boom, boom yes, lets do it. Lets try to streamline this process. When we have issues that require zoning changes, code changes, land-use changes, then we have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. But I am an advocate of changing the zoning, but not on a wholesale basis. Really, it comes down to almost a beyond node-bynode, but almost parcel-by-parcel in a lot of cases. Would you favor expanding adminis trative site plan approval to the North Trail? Lumpkin: I would certainly consider that. I lean to supporting that. Supporting adminis trative approval is not tantamount to muting the voice of the people. Some would suggest if you support administrative approval thats how you feel. For me, thats not the case. How do we have an efcient process and give potential inves


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 27 tors some certaint y? I see great value, and Ive listened to some Laurel Park residents and some of the Alta Vista residents and they bring good points. You know, Alta Vista and Walmart. If I lived there, Id have some of those con cerns as well. But how do you not run people away who want to invest in our town who can add to the tax base or bring jobs. Every thing isnt good for our city, I understand that. How do you nd that middle ground? Its something I wrestle with every day as a candidate. If somebodys building something on the edge of Laurel Park and the [residents] dont hear [about it] and dont understand, well I under stand some of [the neighborhoods] concerns. I really do. Or maybe [the developers are] not sensitive to the neighborhood with their site plan, even if its moving a generator or a light or something. Those are reasonable things. How do you nd a process that doesnt slow down the process? I try not to listen to just one side. I try to consider both views. Its a conversation we should have. Citywide? Lumpkin: I would denitely want to have that conversation. Would you favor expanding adminis trative site plan approval to the North Trail? Theisen: No. People can have meetings. Its sort of with the Sunshine idea. No backroom deals. You say you want to grow the tax base. Would you consider high-rise develop ment north of 10th Street? Dorfman: Thats not the density Im advocat ing right now. Im advocating the kind of den sity required to provide housing that is more affordable for young professionals. Im for density that allows us to build rental housing, from 650 square feet to 1,500 square feet. I like DROD [the Downtown Residential Over lay District]. Its been sunsetted. But I see that density as allowing us and Ive had a lot of meetings on this to start to move areas of the North Trail forward. I think the North Trail is the place to look at that kind of density. Im not a wholesale proponent of putting up more luxury condos. I think our need right now is rental units. Im a proponent of [rent al property] downtown; Im a proponent of it along the North Trail, possibly in the Rose mary District. Thats the kind of density Id be advocating. You know the equation: To build an acre you have to sell X-number of units at $1.2 million. They become 3,000-square-foot-units, and thats not what we need in Sarasota. Ive had four meetings now, with two separate groups, and Ive seen the numbers. Ive seen the plans. Ive seen how it can work and it ac tually doesnt require that big a tweak to our density. It requires a tweak on height not much, but a little bit. But its doable. For $1,000 per month? Dorfman: Even less. You can go from roughly $750 per month up to $2,000 if youre going for a two-bedroom [unit]. And this is rental hous ing, not condominiums. A nd it does work.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 28 And the return on investment? Dorfman: They wouldnt be doing it if they didnt think they werent going to make mon ey. Plus you bring in your retail on the bot tom, on the ground oor, which boosts your income. I think you would have a difcult time mak ing the numbers work without a mixed-use retail component on the ground oor. The people Im talking to are a number of different groups, but all thinking the same way. But take the North Trail. If you build it, will they come? Once youve got the rooftops and people there, youre going to attract retail. Thats part of the equation. But you will at tract even more retail to service the people who are living in those units. In other inter views, Ive said its a domino effect. It broadens the tax base; it creates a hous ing level we desperately need in Sarasota. Its inll and moves crime out. Hopefully, it will provide jobs for residents in northern Saraso ta. You kill a lot of birds with one stone, and it wont take that big a tweak to do it. Thats why we have to look at the possibilities on these parcels of land on a node-by-node ba sis. Can we do it here? Obviously, you cant do it everywhere. But there are places you can. If we could make the environment legislatively welcoming to do it, I think well have a market for it. Do you think the legislative environment is adverse to development? Dorfman: From what Ive seen, yes. Can you g ive an example? Dorfman: All I know is we sit in Planning Board meetings and its just, No, no, no ev ery time. Laurel Park overlay, No, no, no. When one persons property rights are alleged ly more valuable than another persons prop erty rights, I dont think thats a terribly good thing. The [proposed] doctors ofce at Tahiti Park: What is so objectionable to that? What I nd amazing is, people will buy homes that abut major highways and expect nothing to go in there and ght against anything to go in there. I remember the hell they put poor Marietta [through] and her Museum of Whimsy, which is a nonprot good deed, like no good deed goes unpunished. Thats the attitude: Its No at any cost. I dont think its good for the city. I talk to a lot of young families up and down the North Trail. They would love to have more amenities on the North Trail; they would love to have the crime pushed in, but we continue to have a very vocal minority group of people who, thats their job; they say, No. They have the time to come to City Hall and the time to do the protests and write the articles and make the speeches, while the young folks are out trying to raise their families and their jobs. Thats sort of my soapbox, and probably not what I should be saying in this interview, but we need to look to the future, not the past. One refrain we hear is the need to grow the city. If you are talking about in creasing the tax base, then you are talking about density a nd height. Down


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 29 town is bu ilt out. Would you consid er high-rise development north of 10th Street? Lumpkin: I live in the Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores neighborhood, and I couldnt imagine a high-rise tting in that area. It would be to tally out of place and change the charm of that neighborhood. Im one of the ones in favor of increasing the tax base, but that doesnt mean a blank check. We love living in that neighborhood. No, I cant see that right now. Theisen: There is one already, a retirement center. Again you have to have the trafc ca pacity to serve it. They are trying to reduce trafc on U.S. 41 and reduce the speed. They certainly arent going to add lanes. Would you consider development south of Hudson Bayou? Dorfman: I guess wed have to look at the parcel, look at compatibility, look at how it would affect the surrounding neighborhoods. I dont want to say I would not consider it. We have to take it on a case-by-case basis. Lumpkin: Its hard to picture anywhere where a high-rise would work. If it was limited to ve stories, possibly. But as I go through those neighborhoods, in my mind, its hard for me to imagine anywhere that wouldnt be disruptive to those neighborhoods. And those are both charming neighborhoods. If not, then where? With all this talk of increasing the tax base and increas ing density and increasing population, where? Lumpkin: I thi nk we can increase density without going higher, but thats a good point. But going that high, I dont see that happening. In Newtown, virtually all streets have sidewalks (many on both sides of the street), curbs and gutters. A majority of the streets elsewhere in town have none of that. Is it time for the city to pay the same attention to other neighborhoods? Dorfman: Dont single Newtown out. As Im door-knocking the Shade Street corridor and the streets [named for owers] on the east side of U.S .41, you have no idea how many people have said that: How come we dont have sidewalks? How come nobody is listen ing to us? Yes, the answer is yes, absolutely. They get treated what was the expression as the silent majority. Yes, we have to look at them. Its not a Newtown-versus-the-rest-of-theneighborhoods equation. Its, Yes, we need to look at these neighborhoods. One lady on one of the ower streets, theyre ooding every single time we get a rainfall. What curbs they have are broken and cracked; no sidewalks whatsoever. Were doing this canvassing, and one block you do have side walks, and the next block you have nothing. I dont know how that happened. Developers? City ordinances? Does everybody deserve a sidewalk? A curb? Dorfman: Easy answer: Yes. Does everybody want a sidewalk? I cant answer that question,


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 30 but Ive spoke to a lot of people who sure would like to have one. In Newtown virtually all streets have sidewalks (many on both sides of the street), curbs and gutters. A majority of the streets elsewhere in town have none of that. Is it time for the city to pay the same attention to other neighborhoods? Lumpkin: I dont think any neighborhood should be neglected. I think every neighbor hood adds some charm to the city. I cant an swer why the city is paying more attention to Newtown. I didnt know that and I dont know why. As far as sidewalks and things, I dont think Newtown needs any more attention than any other neighborhood. There are some problems in Newtown that are more acute: crime and shooting. And the city should give attention to that, whatever neighborhood its in, because it affects the whole city. In Newtown virtually all of the streets have sidewalks, most on both sides. And the streets have curbs and gutters. A majority of the streets elsewhere in the city have neither. Is it time for the city to pay the same attention to other neigh borhoods? Theisen: Its past time, but they dont have the money. Does everybody deserve a sidewalk? Theisen: Whether they deserve it or not, the money isnt there. I ts one of the beauties of Newtown. You can walk wherever you want to go. I think it would help the walking, par ticularly people my age or older. On a 1-10 scale, with 1 being of highest importance, how would you rate them? Concurrency: Dorfman: Five. Lumpkin: Two. Theisen: Id say one. Impact Fees: Dorfman: Five. Lumpkin: Two. Theisen: Two. Growth Management: Dorfman: Four. Lumpkin: One. Theisen: One. Final question: Should you succeed and win a seat on the Sarasota City Commis sion, is there a tangible goal you want to achieve? Dorfman: Its changing the face of the North Trail. Lumpkin: Two tangible things. I would like to help steward the High Po int [policing] strate


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 31 gy and reduce the violence in the whole city and maybe [more so] in Newtown just like High Point, North Carolina did: They saw a clear drop in the incidents of violent crime. I would love that to be part of my legacy. And I would love to help nd a solution to the homeless population in Sarasota to help be a part of the team to help people transi tion their lives. Jesus said the poor youll al ways have with you. There are some who are mentally ill, and thats a challenge. But I think there are enough in our homeless population who can get their lives turned around. If I could help accomplish those things, pro vide leadership on those things, then Ill feel I have done my city well. Theisen: I started with an intangible the spitting decision. Anybody can spit; its color blind. Somebody said the spitting ordinance is racist and there was a stampede to repeal it. Its things like that where you look and say, What? Thats intangible. I suppose I dont have a tangible. What do you want to accomplish? Dorfman: I would denitely like to change, redo our zoning. I think there are a lot of city ordinances that I would like to redo that are very grossly outdated. I think I would like to nd a way to make Sarasota more attractive to young people and lower our age demograph ics. Were still the No. 1 county for 85-plus, and No. 3 for 65-plus. Lumpkin: I would love to clear up some of the toxicity in our city, to be a bridge between neighborhood and business and maybe even [the] races. Im running at large for a reason. Theres the automatic assumption we live in District One. We dont. I really believe Im condent an African-America can win city wide. I think there are some who dont give the white citizens of this community enough credit. Im not crazy to say theres no racism here in this city. One of the things a commissioner has to do is lead by example and be above the fray. When we start getting down and dirty, the city doesnt have a chance. We have to serve ev erybody. Im not saying its not a ght. Its pressure, even now [even though] I havent gotten elect ed, Ive got people maybe theyre counting on my having not run for election before: We can use you; you can be our ventriloquists dummy. Whatever. Theyll be in for a surprise. Theisen: That would be concurrency. % 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


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There are few joys ner for a student of law than watching a good lawyer salt the record for an appeal. Just as uncommon is the sub tle use of political muscle in a quasi-judicial process. Tuesday, Feb. 19, saw both types of exercis es, as Walmarts attorneys tried to counter an appeal by the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association that would stop the com pany from opening a 98,000-square-foot store at the former Ringling Boulevard Publix site. The ground rules called for the applicant and city to start from scratch to explain the peti tion for site plan approval. Walmart is not ask ing for a rezoning or approval of any special exceptions or other conditions. At issue is a straightforward site plan approval process. The second ground rule called for a quasi-ju dicial hearing during which decisions can be made only on the basis of evidence and sworn testimony entered into the record. That was the record Walmarts attorney Jim Porter salted with particular A new Walmart opened on the North Tamiami Trail in September. Photo by Norman Schimmel WALMART HEARING PUTS RESIDENTS EYEBALL TO EYEBALL WITH CORPORATE HEAVYWEIGHT HALFWAY POINT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor My role was not to review site plans or interpret the code. Mike Taylor Former Planning Chief City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 34 items throughout the proceedings, apparently anticipating the case would end up in court. As for the muscle, Porter brought it out in his very rst sentence: Bill Galvano, our litiga tion counsel, is sitting next to me. Galvano is a Florida state senator from Bra denton. By calling him our litigation coun sel, Porter put the City Commission on notice that if it fails to approve Walmarts request, the company is ready and able to take the is sue to Circuit Court. While evidence and testimony are supposed ly the only things commissioners can consider in making their decision, staring across the table for hours at a state senator ready to sue them surely cast a psychological pall over the proceedings. Site plan material provided by Walmart to the City of Sarasota shows landscaping plans for the parking lot. Image courtesy City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 35 P orter called upon the land-use planner hired by Walmart to work with city staff to shepherd its case. Susan Finch was brief: It is my pro fessional opinion this meets the citys require ments, she said. Walmart has gone out of its way to be sensitive to the neighborhood. Porter addressed one specic complaint heard repeatedly from the time when the one and only neighborhood meeting was held on the store proposal through the Planning Boards 3-2 vote in October to approve the site plan. Traditionally, people cut through the southern end of the property to access Payne Park. It is common to see bicyclists, dog-walkers, moth ers with strollers and others use that route. Walmart representatives said repeatedly that would be unsafe, and they would not accom modate the continued use. But Tuesday Por ter said company representatives had changed their minds. Joshua Bryant, project engineer, added, We propose an additional sidewalk connection. It allows pedestrians to get from the east side of the site to the west side of the site. He achieved that by moving the site of the building nine feet to the north. The path is not intended to be used after dark, he noted. It was Walmarts sole concession in the ap peal. City staff was up next, defending its consis tent support for Walmarts plan. Tim Litchet, head of building, zoning and neighborhoods, was blunt. This is considered consistent with the Sarasota City Plan. The general manager of planning and develop ment was just as terse. The project meets the comprehensive plan, including the use ques tion. The project meets compatibility with the planned enhancements. The Planning Board approved it 3-2, said Gretchen Schneider. Then it was the challengers turn. Alta Vistas lawyer, Bob Turffs, told the commission, We believe this is a simple decision. Does this conform to your zoning code? No. Other zones could have this store, but its not permitted; it is not allowed. This is not about aesthetics, design details or a class-warfare issue. Its about issues raised by citizens who want the city to live by its own regulations. Former city planning chief Mike Taylor said, Compatibility with the Sarasota City Plan does not exist. Galvano took over at that point for the cross-examination of Taylor. You never prepared a memo outlining these concerns, never an email expressing con cerns? he asked Taylor. Why didnt you have any input into Walmart? My role was not to review site plans or in terpret the code, said Taylor. I dont recall [when] the application came in. The hour had grown late, and Galvanos cross-examination ended one phase of the proceedings. The public will get to weigh in on Tuesday, Feb. 26, starting at 6 p.m., followed by rebuttal from all parties. Only then will the commis sioners be able to discuss the issues and make their nding. %


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With the Baltimore Orioles kicking off spring training at 1:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, against the Minnesota Twins, the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota has been a sea of orange. Fans are welcome to watch the team work out from approximately 9:15 a.m. to noon each day, the Orioles have announced, leading up to opening day. The Orioles website notes that this is the fourth consecutive Spring Training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the third in the ren ovated Ed Smith Stadium. With its modern amenities mixed with historical Florida archi tecture, Ed Smith Stadium has truly become Birdland South. Visit Sarasota County representatives last year pointed to the teams draw as a signi cant contributor to rising tourism revenue for the county. Tickets for the Orioles home games are avail able at and at the stadium box ofce each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The stadium is located at the intersection of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. % Orioles Manager Buck Showalters words of inspiration line the teams locker room in the Baseball Operations Center at Ed Smith Stadium. All photos by Norman Schimmel WELCOME TO BIRDLAND AS THE ORIOLES PREPARE FOR ANOTHER SEASON IN SARASOTA BATTERS UP! Staff Reports


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 38 The Orioles weathervane overlooks the Orioles matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies in March 2012.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 39 Fans are welcome to watch practices this week.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 40 Bird, the Orioles mascot, stands in the chandelier of the stadium, where championship banners y. Stadium renovations were completed before the start of the teams second season in Sarasota.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 41 Not surprisingly, orange is the primary color in the BOC.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 42 An Orioles player signs autographs for fans of many ages in Sarasota. Manager Buck Showalter (in black jacket, left center) talks with team members before the start of practice on a recent day.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 43 Equipment on the eld signals a game soon to begin.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 44 The Baseball Operations Center (BOC) includes an expansive tness area. It all starts here Manager Buck Showalters ofce in Sarasota.


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


Expressing ire at last-ditch efforts by the Sara sota County Commission and the Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) to halt the process, the Sarasota County School Board voted unanimously Feb. 19 to proceed with restoring most of the exterior features of an historic struc ture on the Sarasota High campus but to demolish several key elements of the interior. The School Bo ard will send a spot survey of its plans for the structure to state educa tion ofcials, district ofcials said. That sur vey documents the planned square foot age, the number of stu dent stations and oth er details, according to Communications Spe cialist Scott Ferguson. With the School Boards Feb. 19 agen da calling for an up date on the campus A diagram of the Sarasota High campus shows Option 5, which participants in a June charrette agreed was the best plan for the rebuilt campus. The Paul Rudolph building is labeled File photo THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTES UNANIMOUSLY TO MOVE FORWARD WITH PLANS TO SAVE THE EXTERIOR BUT NOT THE INTERIOR OF A RUDOLPH BUILDING AT SARASOTA HIGH MEDDLING DECRIED It was incredibly disrespectful to us as a School Board and incredibly inappropriate for one governmental agency to tell another governmental agency how to in any way conduct their business. Caroline Zucker Member Sarasota County School Board By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 47 re buil ding project at Sarasota High, the SAF which also fought unsuccessfully to save the original, historic Riverview High building Rudolph designed made one more attempt to sway the School Board through a letter. The communication, dated Feb. 18, says the SAF members readily admit the School Boards prior decision to renovate the interior of Building 4 appeared irreversible. However, the letter pointed out, If distor tions, deception, misinformation, disregard for agreements and process, arrogance and closed minds are examples of acting in good faith, then the district has indeed succeeded. During Convocation of Governments on Jan. 18, during which the School Board hosted the County Commission and representatives of all the countys municipalities, SAF members used public comment time to criticize Sara sota County Schools administrative staff for putting off meetings requested by SAF mem bers to discuss the plans for Building 4. During their Feb. 19 discussion, School Board members were indignant. Incredibly rude was how School Board member Carol Todd described the SAF mem bers. I am appalled, added School Board member Caroline Zucker. They werent making any friends, said board member Shirley Brown. It was the most demeaning, arrogant, conde scending communication Ive ever gotten in a ll my years on the board, said School Board member Frank Kovach of the SAF letter. Scott Lempe, chief operating ofcer of the Sarasota County Schools, (standing) discuss es the Sarasota High School plans during the Jan. 18 Convocation of Governments, held at the Sarasota County Technical Institute. Pho to by Rachel Hackney A Harvard Jolly artists rendering shows an early proposal for glassing in the front of Building 4. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 48 Those comments came during the boards morning workshop, which preceded the vote on Building 4 during the regular board meet ing that afternoon. A Feb. 13 letter from the County Commis sion irked the board members as well, as evi denced by further comments. On a 4-1 vote, the County Commission ap proved a letter to the School Board that said, To insure that the unique architectural fea tures of this nationally designated historic structure are preserved, we request that the School Board direct Harvard Jolly Architects to revise their plans [for the interior]. Commissioner Carolyn Mason signed the letter in her capacity as chairwoman, but she voted against sending it, telling The Sarasota News Leader she worried about the School Board being asked to shoulder higher costs for the campus renovations. Moreover, as a mentor at Sarasota High, Maso n said she un derstood the need to do what was best for the students. The interior features on which the county let ter focused are a oating walkway, linear light wells and steel doorframes. Referring to the County Commission, Kovach said, Though they cant get their own house in order, [they] want to stick their nose in our business. And they cant even seem to run a purchasing department. As you can see, Im just a little aggravated over this. Kovach was referring to the 2011 scandal in volving employees in the countys Procure ment Department. It was incredibly disrespectful to us as a School Board and incredibly inappropriate for one governmental agency to tell another gov ernmental agency how to in any way conduct their business, added Zucker. Preservation efforts at Southside Elementa ry School and Bay Haven School for Basics Plus both in Sarasota show the School Boards willingness to save historic structures, added Todd. Building 4 on the Sarasota High School campus is an example of Paul Rudolphs designs in the Sarasota School of Architecture. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 49 THE CHARRETTE The planning for the rebuilding of the Sara sota High campus has been going on for a number of years. A charrette the district ad ministrative staff hosted in June 2012 about how best to incorporate the historic buildings into a 21st century learning environment drew numerous members of the SAF as well as par ents and students. All the participants signed off on the plans at the conclusion of the twoday event. On Tuesday, when Brown queried Scott Lem pe, the districts chief operating ofcer, about whether the Building 4 interior was discussed at the charrette, he conceded the focus was on the exterior issues. In terms of the architecture, we only talked about the outside, and only the specic items that drove the need for the charrette, he said, noting the primary concern was over the [proposed] glassing in of the breezeway and the demolition of the west gym. Most of the charrette focused on the appropriate re habilitation of the west side of the campus, Lempe pointed out. Building 4 is showing evidence of signicant settling, a point School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin mentioned during the Convo cation of Governments and a fact brought up again Feb. 19. Is it structurally sound? Brown asked. Are we still going to have sinking hallways? I hope this goes without saying, Lempe re plied, but we are not going to move kids into a building that is not safe and does not comply with building codes. The west side is settling and the plan is to go down with micro-pilings and support the structure, he noted. Changes to the Harvard Jolly design for the new interior, which would make it possible to preserve the Rudolph architectural features, would severely limit the amount of space available for a variety of uses, Lempe pointed out. It would have a domino effect, he said. If we were to leave the interior as it is, we would have to leave Administration where it is. Then we leave Media where it is. Then where does Food Service go? I think [moving forward with the interior ren ovations] will make the majority of the people of this community happy, Brown said. Kovach was more direct. I do know the rami cations are about $6.5 million more, and sig nicantly less usable square footage, with changes at this point to save the interior fea tures of import to the preservationists. Kovach continued, If the SAF has issues, then we should sell this building to the [coun ty commissioners], because they never have enough space, and they can work with [the SAF] and properly rehabilitate the building. Building 4 is directly east of the original Sara sota High School, which is situated on U.S. 41. The 1928 high school structure is being transformed into the Sarasota Museum of Art. Rudolph served as dean of the Yale School of Architecture for six years, beginning in 1958. With landmark buildings in Hong Kong, Sin gapore and the Northeast as well as Florida, he is an architect with worldwide following. He is known as a principal in what is called the Sarasota School of Architecture because of its design features. %


The chairman of the Sarasota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said during the organizations Feb. 7 board meeting, We nev er threaten to sue. But when Sarasota ACLU legal representative Michael Bareld spoke during the public com ment section of the Feb. 19 Sarasota City Commission meeting, he not-so-softly sug gested the commis sion direct staff to re consider enforcement of a certain restriction on music. The [zoning] code bans amplied music, he said. We believe that is unconstitutional on its face. History was on his side. The ACLU several years ago challenged a city ordinance banning loud music from vehicles. The city defended the ordinance in Circuit Court, the District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court and lost at every step in the pro cess. So when Bareld sug gested backing off the amplied music ban, Although residents of the high-rise condominiums complain about amplied music at restaurants, the City Commission has backed away from enforcing a ban on that type of entertainment. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY COMMISSION BOWS TO ACLU, ALLOWING AMPLIFIED MUSIC THE -POUND GORILLA By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The [zoning] code bans amplied music. We believe that is unconstitutional on its face. Michael Bareld ACLU Chapter Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 51 c ity commissioners were hasty in comply ing. I think its something we need to look at sooner rather than later, said Commissioner Paul Caragiulo. City Attorney Bob Fournier has been battling Bareld and the ACLU in court without much success. The commission could suspend it right now and take the safe road, he said. Commissioner Shannon Snyder said, He came down here and told us we had a prob lem. I dont want to be writing another check. The commissioners agreed unanimously to suspend enforcement of the zoning code ban ning amplied music. Make sure staff gets the information within the hour, said Snyder. He was referring to another case when the commission was repealin g an ordinance on solicitation through use of a sign. Although police ofcers were instructed not to enforce the ordinance, one did not get that word and sent a man to jail for a violation. The judge, who was not pleased, handed down an injunc tion. The move on Feb. 19 is a victory for down town restaurants that repeatedly have violat ed the zoning code to pipe live or recorded music to their patrons. However, the move does not touch the citys so-called Noise Ordinance, which sets limits on the volume of sound generated primarily by musical entertainment and when that en tertainment can be allowed. Despite that, musicians cheered the move during the commissions evening session. % City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo (right) listen as City At torney Bob Fournier addresses the City Commission. Photo by Norman Schimmel


A substantial amount of political gas is being expended on conceptual planning in Saraso ta. Some ideas are further along than others. While efforts are now focused on the North Tamiami Trail and downtown, there could be a spillover into other areas. DROD, DID, BRT, TOD, EEZ and NTOD these are acronyms that pepper conversa tions about the citys future. Toss in com plete streets and a mobility study and you will need a scorecard to keep your TOD away from your DROD. With that in mind, here is a play-by-play of the actors and ideas that are itting across the city stage. THE DROD The Downtown Residential Overlay District is a planning device that could quadruple densi ty wherever the overlay is put. About 10 years ago, a DROD settled over the downtown area, allowing a developer to bump density up to 200 units per acre from the normal downtown limit of 50 units per acre. Hello, Tokyo. The bump was linked to the creation of afford able/attainable/cheaper downtown housing. Three developers studied the idea, but only one tried to take advantage of it. Jeff Brown at 1350 Main signed up for 170 units per acre, but he found that was not economical. Diagrams show how a bus rapid transit system could operate along a highway median. Image cour tesy Sarasota County ANALYSIS: IT IS ULTIMATELY UP TO THE VOTERS TO DECIDE WHETHER THE CITY OF SARASOTA CAN REALIZE GENUINE GROWTH OUT OF THE ACRONYM SOUP WHOLE LOTTA PLANNIN By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 53 The citys draft North Trail Overlay District plan shows examples of desirable urban frontage con struction. Image courtesy City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 54 It was kind of a bad example, said Down town Improvement District Chairman Ernie Ritz. Why would I build $1,000 rentals when I could sell $800,000 condos? The rst DROD died after two years, expiring from lack of interest and application. There was a short-lived attempt to revive it called Son of DROD. Ritz and his DID board members are inviting the author of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time (Jeff Speck) to speak in March as a prelude to hold ing workshops or even a charrette to push an other DROD. Call it Grandson of DROD. Last year the City Commission set a strategic goal to grow the city. Because the city is ef fectively built out, increasing density of new construction is one answer. Density pays off in several ways, including more units to sell and higher taxable values per acre. The current political campaign for two at-large City Commission seats opens up a wide range of opinions on the density question. Many can didates are ready to board the DROD train. Im willing to look at the DROD, said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. I like the DROD, said Can didate Richard Dorfman. Candidate Susan Chapman, who sits on the Planning Board, says the DROD puts the cart before the horse: We talk a lot about creat ing supply without analyzing whether there is demand. THE NTOD The North Trail Overlay District is anoth er planning scheme, and it, too, is a work in progress. Late last month, the Planning Board took its rst ofcial look at the NTOD. The plan is the fruit of three years of labor by dedicated volunteers called the North Trail Redevelop ment Partnership. That group is composed of businessmen, professionals, landowners and neighborhood residents eager to do something to improve Sarasotas seedy front doorste p. The draft NTOD plan features examples of at tractive options for buildings that will be locat ed on corners. Image courtesy City of Sarasota The draft NTOD plan shows good and bad examples of parking layouts. Image courtesy City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 55 After a long evening of staff presentations and public comments, staff hoped the Plan ning Board would keep to the schedule, stamp OK on the plan and send it to the City Com mission for consideration in March. It does not look as though it is going to work out that way. Can we go off schedule and take six months? asked Planning Board Member Chris Galla gher. He turned to his colleagues and asked, How many comments do you have? At least 50, said Vald Svekis. Me too, said Jennifer Ahearn-Koch. We should go off schedule, said Chapman. And I hope the North Trail Redevelopment Partnership will meet and consider some of our comments. In fact there is already an overlay district in place for the North Tamiami Trail. So the new one could be called Son of NTOD, and it uses administrative site plan approval. That is a sticking point with neighbors and at least one Planning Board member. The administrative approval is worrisome, said Ahearn-Koch. Not one neighborhood has signed on to this, and thats an issue. You have to have buy-in from the neighborhoods. The current NTOD gives builders exibility. Someone constructing a project could utilize A federal map from 2011 shows planned and existing bus rapid transit systems in the U.S. Map courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 56 existin g zoning regulations for part of the work as well as some of those in the existing NTOD. But if the Son of NTOD were adopt ed, the developer would have to opt in or out of it; the exibility would be gone. Further complicating North Trail development is the Economic Enterprise Zone (the EEZ), which was expanded to include that area. It gives incentives for in-zone employment, al lows sales tax breaks on equipment purchases and proffers other carrots to businesses that land in the zone. The recently retired city planner who drafted the NTOD Mike Taylor told the Plan ning Board, This standard will really jumpstart development. If you dont want to change the North Trail, dont do this. If you do want change, take the time to work with the staff. It will set the stage for the next century, with transit-oriented development. TOD AND BRT Transit-Oriented Development is needed if the city and county want to install a bus rapid transit system, or BRT, which is like an aboveground subway, with frequent buses and ded icated travel lanes. The thinking goes like this: When mass transit becomes easy to use, not only will more peo ple want to use it, but they will want to live near it. As any big-city dweller will tell you, life is easier when you live one block from de pendable, reliable and frequent mass transit. Thus, a BRT corridor would become a desir able place to live. That is where TOD kicks in. After spending $850,000 in federal money, the City and County commissions decided the BRT route would follow the old CSX railroad right of way from the airport to near down town. It would go straight through some of the least desirable property in the city. Parallel ing Central and Lemon Avenues, the corridor would have been a developers dream. Flanked by inexpensive, blighted properties that would sell for a song, the BRT would be an urban pioneers fantasy and it would to tally transform the face of northeast Sarasota. That is TOD in action. Alas that will not be. At a joint City-County commission meeting Feb. 5, the boards decid ed to scrap the CSX route, jump west and run the BRT down Tamiami Trail. Instead of an exclusive and unobstructed route, the aboveground subway would share U.S. 41 with ev ery tourist in a car that visits town plus residents. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta urged the city commissioners to begin thinking about land-use changes along the North Trail and get on the TOD bandwagon. The shift was so abrupt, nobody paid a single thought to the consequences to the NTOD. Meanwhile, if the City Commission agrees to go along with the latest BRT idea, the county will have to pony up about $850,000 for a new study justifying the route switch from CSX to U.S. 41, because the whole BRT idea is im possible without major federal funding. The feds paid for the rst study, which picked the CSX route. But they will not pay for a second one. Such is the cost of the changing mind of government. CAN YOUR BRT GET TO THE DID THROUGH THE DROD AND THE NTOD? The costs of making a mistake can run much higher than paying another consultants fee. These kinds of plans get promoted by well promoters. And that means winners and losers. The stars at this moment are aligning around the NTOD, the BRT and TOD. The feasibility


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 57 of bus rapid transit down U.S. 41 seems a bit oxymoronic. More buses with priority would appear likely to further snarl trafc. One of the objectives of the NTOD is to slow traffic, so maybe there is serendipity be tween BRT and NTOD. Trafc could be such a mess, it would be forced to slow down which would send smart local drivers rushing through the neighborhoods. The only winners in that circumstance would be the owners of the larger parcels along the North Trail properties with enough room for parking to support a mid-rise construc tion say ve stories, enough to see the wa ter. Should NTOD and BRT become a reali ty, it will be a big payday for the owners of the problematic motels along the North Trail. Yes, the same ones we read about in the police reports. All of this is happening across the spectrum of civic discourse. From a partnership of stake holders along the North Trail, downtown property owners at the DID, the volunteers at the Planning Board, the elected politicians on the City and County commissions all like the blind men in the fable are holding a piece of the proverbial elephant. Density cries one. Transit cries another. Tax base shouts a third. If we believe we must grow our way out of the current bud get problems, how big do we need to be? Will 10,000 more people solve our current trou bles? DROD, DID, BRT, TOD, EEZ and NTOD each and every one of these acronyms is pro moted to encourage growth. Ultimately, the future of the community is in the hands of vot ers. Now when you hear these acronyms, you know what they mean. % 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


I magine you are on a parks advisory board and the City Commission cuts a deal to sell 11 acres of parkland but does not tell you. Steamed yet? The park in question is at the northeast corner of Fruitville and Bene va roads. After con ducting secret negoti ations with Benderson Development Co. for more tha n a year, the city agreed to sell the property to the rm for $1 million. When word got out, there was a big hullaba loo. Another buyer surfaced and offered twice as much. Right now the deal is in embar rassing limbo. Throughout it all, city staff never once asked or even informed the Pa rks Recre The parkland on part of the property Benderson Development Co. wants to purchase from the city is at the intersection of Beneva and Fruitville roads. Photo by Robert Hackney PARKS ADVISORY BOARD OH-SO-GENTLY SLAPS CITY COMMISSION THAT BENDERSON DEAL ... The PREP board will review any future sales of parkland. Marlon Brown Deputy Manager City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 59 ation and Env ironmental Protection Advisory Board members about the initiative to deter mine whether they had an opinion on it. Well, they do and they let it y at the Feb. 19 City Commission meeting. Elsie Souza, chairwoman of the PREP board, was quite polite about the affair, reading the minutes of her groups Jan. 17 meeting: All expressed concern about not being involved from the beginning. We recommend any future sale of parkland come to the PREP board, she said. We fully understand the Sarasota City Commission has the nal say. All we ask is the opportunity to provide feedback and recommendations before your decisions. The controversial sale over the objection of neighbors and others has become a hot issue on the campaign trail. Mayor Suzanne Atwell voted for the sale, but she is nding it hard to defend the decision in public forums. The commissioners were mute after Souzas report. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown promised her, The PREP board will review any future sales of parkland. % The site the City of Sarasota is considering selling to Benderson Development Co. has a pond that the company would have to ll in before starting construction. Photo by Robert Hackney


Although all three bids came in about three times higher than expected, Sarasota County staff is recommend ing the County Com mission proceed with awarding a contract to the lowest respon sive and responsible bidder for the Sies ta Beach stormwater project. That recommenda tion came in a Feb. 13 memo from Jody C. Kirkman, director of En vironmental Utili ties; Warren Davis, surface water manager for Environmental Utili ties; and Curtis Smith, project manager in the Capital Assets Group. Smith is the manag er of the stormwater project. County commission ers expressed concern when they learned that of the three bids for The Siesta Key Beach stormwater project has been planned to prevent future closures of the beach to swimming. File photo COUNTY STAFF RECOMMENDS THE COUNTY COMMISSION PROCEED WITH AWARDING THE SIESTA BEACH STORMWATER PROJECT ONCE THE CONTRACT IS READY ABOUT THOSE BIDS Staff is currently awaiting receipt of an additional amendment to the [Southwest Florida Water Management District] Agreement that will extend the Complete Construction milestone to Dec. 31, 2013 and the agreement expiration date to March 31, 2014. County Staff Memo Feb. 13, 2013 By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 61 the project that were opened on Jan. 23, the lowest was $4,251,633.30. The highest was $4,788,622.70. Staff and consultants had estimated the to tal cost of the work which includes con structing a pipeline into the Gulf of Mexico to discharge ultraviolet light-treated stormwater runoff would be $1.5 million. The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) agreed in March 2008 to give the county a grant of up to $975,000 for the project, with the funds to be paid when the work is completed. Commissioners also have voiced concern about losing that grant as a result of continu ing delays in starting the work. The Feb. 13 memo says, Staff is currently awaiting receipt of an additional amendment to the SWFWMD Agreement that will extend the Complete Construction milestone to Dec. 31, 2013 and the agreement expiration date to March 31, 2014. It is [staffs] understanding that this amendment has been drafted, and it is undergoing internal review at SWFWMD. In response to a question this week from The Sarasota News Leader county spokesman Curt Preisser said he was not able to deter mine a timeline for when a bid award recom mendation will come before the County Com mission for approval. However, Preisser said Program Manager Carolyn Eastwood, who is supervising the stormwater project, is sched uled to make a presentation to the commis A Sarasota County consultants graphic illustration shows the area planned for construction of the stormwater project. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 62 sion on March 19 regarding the disposition of spoils from the stormwater project. During an Aug. 20, 2012 budget workshop, Eastwood explained that stockpiling on-site the material excavated for the stormwater project could save the county about $250,000 and prove less disruptive for Siesta Key resi dents. About 10,000 cubic yards of that materi al could be used for the planned Siesta Beach Park improvements, she pointed out. Without use of that ll, she said, the county probably would have to gure on about 1,500 dump-truck loads coming onto the island. Commissioners expressed reservations, say ing the stockpiled material would prove an eyesore. Eastwood replied that staff could look into ways to screen it from public view. Preisser told the News Leader Feb. 19 that while Eastwood specically will be provid ing an update on that matter on March 19, he expects commissioners will ask about other aspects of the stormwater project. During the commissioners Feb. 8 budget workshop, Commissioner Nora Patterson who lives on Siesta Key voiced worries about any further delays in the start of the A graphic illustration shows plans for vegetation mitigation related to the stormwater project. Im age courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 63 project, which had been scheduled to begin after Easter, which is March 31. The work is supposed to take about 270 days, she point ed out, which already meant it could hamper seasonal beach visitors in December. THE BIDS The Feb. 13 memo also provides analysis about why the bids came in higher than ex pected. The design and permitting of the project was divided among three engineers of record (EOR), the memo notes, with the division of responsibility based upon both specialty and proximity to elements of the Siesta Beach Park Improvements. The geographic sections of the stormwater project, it continues, are the outfall pipe into the Gulf of Mexico, the treatment area on the east end of the park and the stormwater col lection system north of Beach Road. Erickson Consulting Engineers, which worked on the installation cost for the most challeng ing portion of the pipeline, estimated the cost at $681,475, the memo says. The correspond ing portion in the lowest bid was $2,291,200, the memo adds. Kimley-Horn and Associates worked on the treatment system, but the rm did not include an estimated cost for one facet of the work, the memo adds, resulting in a $335,000 short fall The WilsonMiller/Stantee estimate for en gineering costs was $24,000, compared to $30,800 in the relevant portion of the lowest bid, the memo continues. Apparently that number was carried forward from a 2008 es timate, the memo notes. Additionally, the memo says the project is the rst in Florida of its kind. THE SHORTFALL Because the bids came in higher than expect ed, the memo points out, the project has a funding shortfall of about $2.7 million. Howev er, that amount is available through the Surtax II fund balance from projects completed in the 2012 scal year, the memo says. As a high priority project related to water quality at the beach, the memo continues, staff suggested that the Surtax fund balance be used for the stormwater project a point staff made during the Feb. 8 budget workshop. The memo says all the necessary federal and state permits have been obtained for the proj ect. Therefore, a budget amendment will be pre pared and presented to the County Commis sion for review at the same time the construc tion contract comes before the board, the memo concludes. Patterson has emphasized recently to two groups on Siesta that the stormwater project is vital to preventing future closures of Siesta Public Beach to swimming. The memo notes that the stormwater project was initiated in 2005 when high levels of bacteria were detect ed within the Beach Road stormwater convey ance system. It was determined the bacteria were of animal nature and introduced at Siesta Beach by stormwater runoff from Beach Road and the Siesta Beach parking lot. %


The Sarasota County Commission has sent a letter to state Sen. Nancy Detert of Venice and the other members of the countys legislative delegation, urging them to support two bills introduced in the 2013 session that would al low the county once again to restrict smoking on certain public prop erties. Detert is the chair woman of the Saraso ta County Legislative Delegation. The Feb. 12 letter, signed by commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason, points out, The ability to restrict smoking in Sarasota County parks and properties is an issue of importance to our community. It notes that while the county adopted an or dinance in 2007 to re strict smoking in coun ty parks, on county property where youth activities are in prog ress and on public beaches, a 12th Judi cial Circuit judges rul ing in December on a The cleanliness of Siesta Public Beach has helped it remain a major tourist draw, county ofcials say. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE COUNTY COMMISSION URGES ITS TALLAHASSEE DELEGATION TO SUPPORT BILLS THAT WOULD GIVE IT CONTROL OVER SMOKING ON COUNTY PROPERTY LEGISLATIVE INTERVENTION We do not believe it was the intent of the Legislature in 2003 to prevent counties from regulating activity on county-owned outdoor properties. Sarasota County Commission Feb. 12, 2013 letter By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 65 Although smoking restriction signs remain up on Siesta Key Public Beach, law enforcement of cials are not enforcing them, based on a judicial ruling in December. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 66 City of Sarasota ordinance held that any local government effort to restrict smoking was a violation of the states Clean Indoor Air Act. We do not believe it was the intent of the Legislature in 2003 to prevent counties from regulating activity on county-owned outdoor properties, the letter continues. This is in consistent with county responsibility for man agement of its properties and its ability to regulate such factors as hours of operation, alcohol use, and littering on its properties and parks. Senate Bill 258 introduced on Jan. 11 by Sen. Rob Bradley, a Republican from Orange Park, was scheduled to be heard in the Senates Reg ulated Industries Committee at 11 a.m. on Feb. 21, with action not expected to be post ed on the Legislatures website until after The Sarasota News Leader s deadline this week. The bill was referred to the Senates Health Policy and Community Affairs Committees as well. House Bill 439 which was led on Jan. 22 by Republican state Rep. Bill Hager of Delray Beach, remains in the Health Quality Subcom mittee, where it was referred on Jan. 30, ac cording to a check of the bills status on Feb. 20. Additionally, that bill is scheduled to be heard by the Local and Federal Affairs Committee and the Health & Human Services Committee in the House. The two bills are almost identical, with just slight variations in their language. Senate Bill 258 says, for example, Counties may further r estrict outdoor smoking on county proper ty, while House Bill 439 states, A county may impose additional smoking restrictions on outdoor county property with designated smoking areas. The language in the bills is also comparable regarding delegation of smoking-restriction authority to municipalities. Masons letter from the County Commission cites several reasons for the legislative dele gation to support the bills. Among them: The limited smoking restrictions on Sara sota County property enhance a healthy en vironment at our beaches and our public recreation areas for the safe enjoyment by all individuals, especially children and oth ers most vulnerable to the effects of sec ondhand smoke. The county smoking restriction on its pub lic beaches was a critical component to Si esta Keys beach being named Number 1 in the nation by Steve Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, in 2011. Allowing smoking on public beaches would incur additional costs for cleanup at taxpayer expense. The Sarasota County smoking ordinance has been in effect for ve years without problems these bills allow continuation of its implementation, so this would not be a new level of regulation. If approved by the Legislature, the change in the Clean Indoor Air Act would go into effect on July 1. %


To ght an invasive species of re ant on Si esta Keys beach that is threatening bird and turtle nests, two mem bers of the Siesta Key Association soon will begin seeking proper ty owners permission to kill the ants with an environmentally friendly poison. On Feb. 7, Bob Luck ner, a chemical engi neer, and Allan Worms, a wildlife biologist, told about 22 members of the Siesta Key Asso ciation about their plans to try to eradicate as many of the re ants as possible by treat ing the ants nests a couple of times a year, starting this spring. Both Sarasota Audu bon volunteers, Luck ner and Worms be came involved in the initiative because of their efforts over the past several years to A Sarasota County illustration shows the location of snowy plover nests on Siesta Key last winter and the proposed areas for a pilot program to eradicate re ant nests. Image courtesy Sarasota County VOLUNTEERS WILL SEEK PRIVATE HOMEOWNERS PERMISSION TO TRY TO KILL RED ANT COLONIES ENDANGERING BIRD AND TURTLE EGGS ON SIESTA KEY A NASTY LITTLE BUGGER By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor A photo taken by staff at Texas A&M Univer sity shows an imported red re ant mound. Photo by Drees/Texas A&M


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 68 t rack the nesting of the endangered snowy plovers on Siesta Key, they said. We are starting to lose a fair number of [snowy plover nests] to re ants each year, Luckner explained. The ants will bite into the eggs with their saw-like jaws and suck the eggs dry. Moreover, Luckner pointed out, the re ants will attack a chick that is lying in a nest, dry ing out after it has hatched, and its an ugly death. Were losing at least 10 percent of the nests every year to this kind of thing, Luckner add ed. Mote Marine Laboratory has recorded the loss of some turtle eggs to re ants, Luckner said. Allan Worms/Photo by Rachel Hackney The red marker shows the location of Tivoli by the Sea in relation to the Gulf of Mexico on Siesta Key. Map courtesy Google Maps


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 69 The ants also are harmful to other wildlife, Worms noted, including mice and rabbits. They bite people, too, Worms cautioned, leav ing a circle of small incisions that forms a pus tule. Dont scratch it! he admonished the audience members, because that can cause infection. The fire ant species on Siesta Key has no known natural predator in the United States, Worms explained. The rst of these ants, ac cording to researchers, may have come to the country in soil used as ballast for ships. Re ports of the species go back to 1953 in Biloxi, Miss., Worms said, though other reports say the species rst was seen in the U.S. in 1944. The ant species has been documented in the Southeastern states, from Tennessee and Georgia to Texas, Worms noted, calling it a nasty little bugger. The ant nests appear to be concentrated be tween Beach Accesses 9 and 11, Luckner said, with about 22 nests per acre. The snowy plo vers generally nest between Siesta Village and Siesta Public Beach, he added, with most of their nests discovered annually between Ac cess 8 and the public beach. The area he and Worms propose to treat, Luckner continued, encompasses 10 to 15 acres, from the property on the beach owned by the Tivoli by the Sea condominium com plex, which is located at 625 Beach Road, to the public beach. The area has land belonging to 21 homeown ers and seven condominium complexes, he added. When he and Worms approached the Tivoli association board, he continued, they were told, Well, no, thank you. However, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, which manages a conservation easement on the beach, gave its go-ahead for the treatment, Luckner said. Nonetheless, Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid noted in a discussion with the county commissioners on Feb. 12 that the county would have to change the terms of the countys conservation easement agreement to allow the treatment. County staff wanted to see the results of the initiative before committing to that action, Reid added. Additionally, a Feb. 6 memo to the County commission from Amy Meese, director of the countys Natural Resources Department, and Rachel A. Herman, a project scientist in that department, says Natural Resources will continue to work with volunteers to monitor Bob Luckner explains Siesta Keys re ant problem during the Feb. 7 meeting of the Sies ta Key Association. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 70 [snowy plover] nesting on County beaches and further assess the impact, if any, of red imported re ants on the nesting success. It continues, Since there does not appear to be a problem on County beaches, we do not recommend [use of the pesticides] on public beach and dune systems at this time. Well treat where we get permission, Luck ner told the SKA members. Were going to start ringing doorbells in the next month. Luckner and Worms said they will use a com bination of the poisons Amdro and Extinguish; the latter makes the queen in each colony ster ile. The mix looks like cornmeal, Luckner added. Asked about the toxicity of the mix, Luckner responded of Extinguish, Its 60 times less toxic than salt to a human being. Amdro, he noted, is about ve times less toxic. If a person were to eat approximately 6.8 pounds of the combination, he continued, that would be harmful. Mote personnel use Amdro if they nd re ants attacking a sea turtle nest, Luckner point ed out. The poisons potency has a 24-hour lifetime, Worms said. Moreover, for it to be effective, he added, the temperature must be no lower than 60 degrees at night and the warmer the better in the daytime. Whos going to apply it? Luckner asked. Well, youre looking at it, he said, pointing to himself and Worms. The men plan to conduct another survey of the re ant nests which look like mounds on the surface near the dune area before they begin the treatment, they noted. Each red ant nest is about the size of a basket ball, Worms told the SKA audience. THE PRINGLES TEST At the prompting of SKA President Catherine Luckner Bobs wife Worms explained that the ants are attracted to various types of oils and juices. To be sure he and Bob Luckner have located a re ant mound, Worms contin ued, they will sprinkle bits of Pringles potato chips in the area and leave for about 15 min utes. When they return, he said, the area will be covered black with ants if, indeed, the mound represents a re ant nest. Not even 15 minutes, Catherine Luckner, in terjected, pointing out how fast the ants pick up the Pringles pieces. And they will carry that substance back into the nest, Worms said, cautioning, This is not an avocation of a particular brand [of chips]. It is just easy to work with Pringles because they come in cans, he noted, drawing chuck les among the audience members. Because the pesticide mix they plan to use has a soybean oil taste to the ants, Luckner said, the ants will clean this stuff up in a matter of a few hours. He pointed out, Its not going to wash into the water table or out into the Gulf. This has been a year in coming, Catherine Luckner told the SKA members, adding that she wanted to compliment staff in the coun tys Natural Resources Department as well as Florida Department of Agriculture personnel for their assistance. %


As the crowd began gathering outside the temporary quarters of Gulf Gate Library in Westeld Sarasota Square Mall on Feb. 20, Ka trina Verzosa of Bradenton was eager to start browsing the stacks. An employee at LensCrafters in the mall, she told The Sarasota News Leader she never has had time to get to a library, so Im really ex cited about this. Verzosa added, Its a little more accessible now. While the 40-year-old Gulf Gate Library on Curtiss Avenue is torn down and replaced by a new, two-story structure, library patrons will call the 18,000-square-foot mall storefront home. Just after 10 a.m. on Feb. 20, Sarabeth Kala jian, general manager of the Sarasota County GULF GATE LIBRARY WELCOMES PATRONS IN ITS TEMPORARY QUARTERS A HAPPY NEW HOME By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor The childrens area has constant patrons in the form of stuffed animals seated atop a shelf as well as a dollhouse (right front).


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 72 Library System, stepped to a podium in front of the temporary quarters to welcome every one. This is a beautiful site, she told the crowd, which had grown to about 60 people. Carolyn Mason, chairwoman of the County Commission, pointed out, A library is more than just a building It is a catalyst for cre ativity, entrepreneurial spirit and well being. She added, The temporary library offers vir tually everything the old Gulf Gate Library did and I doubt there will be parking issues. The latter comment drew laughter from the crowd members, many of them regular library patrons who have struggled with the cramped parking at the Curtiss Avenue location. County Commissioner Nora Patterson ad dresses the crowd in Westeld Sarasota Square Mall. (From left) Sarasota County Commissioners Nora Patterson, Charles Hines and Carolyn Mason are joined by Gulf Gate Library Manager Jim Mitchell and Deanie Erb, president of the Friends of Gulf Gate Library, for the ribbon cutting. Photos by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 73 A library employee helps a customer at the front desk. The stacks feature an array of materials to check out from large-print books to DVDs. A library is more than just a building It is a catalyst for creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and well being. Carolyn Mason Chairwoman County Commission


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 74 Mason encouraged all those present to shop till you drop at the mall and make sure when you do drop, its in a chair at the Gulf Gate Library. Kalajian then introduced Commissioner Nora Patterson, calling her the champion of the ef fort to build a new library. I have certainly heard for years, When are we going to get a new facility for the busiest library in the Sarasota County Library Sys tem? Patterson pointed out. That new library is set to open in late 2014. In the meantime, Patterson said, Our staff and all the volunteers have pulled off this incred ible miracle. The library is near the entrance to JC Penney in the mall, which is located at 8201 S. Tami ami Trail. It is only 1.5 miles from the Curtiss Avenue library site. Kalajian also introduced the library manager, Jim Mitchell, and Deanie Erb, president of the Friends of Gulf Gate Library, calling Erb the heart and the soul of the library. Erb pointed out that it costs only $15 in annu al dues to be a member of the Friends organi zation, but if you want to go up to a million [dollars], we have no problem with that. So I encourage you to be friendly and to become a Friend of Gulf Gate Library or any other li brary. The organization, which has about 380 mem bers, raises funds for resources beyond those the county can afford, Kalajian noted, adding Patrons are quick to start roaming the stacks and using the librarys other services.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 75 that t he group has more space in the tempo rary facility for its used book sales. Kalajian commended the library staff, mem bers of the Friends group and county employ ees. It was amazing to see, when those folks got together, she said, how much care they took in transforming the storefront into a li brary. As Commissioners Charles Hines and Pat terson watched, Mason then cut the big blue ribbon at the doorway, prompting whoops, cheers and whistles. Inside, patrons took aim at computer termi nals and the stacks. Its wonderful, Erb told the News Leader with a big smile as people bustled around her. Conni Wheeler, a member of the Friends board of directors, took this reporter on a tour, pointing out that younger library patrons already are asking for beanbag chairs for the teen section, while children will nd a much more expansive area than they had in the old facility. At the back of the single meeting room, a line of changing rooms is the most notable sign the space once housed a clothing store. Through swinging doors on one side, in the area that used to stock the latest fashion ar rivals before they went out on racks, library staff has carved out ofces and room to mend books. I love the childrens area, said former Com missioner Shannon Staub, now president of the Library Foundation for Sarasota County. Su rveying the whole public part of the facili ty, Staub added, This is big. We could have a ballroom dance here. We might! The foundation is a nonprot organization es tablished last year to raise private funds to supplement county support of the library sys tem. Back near the circulation desk, Ginger Dvor ak, who has been a library volunteer since 2004, was checking out books for her daugh ter. I think its great, she told the News Lead er Lots of room. I like that. Sarasota County Library Advisory Board mem ber William Kegel congratulated Mitchell near the front. Its superior. It really is. We are prepared to be a good mall neighbor, Mitchell told the N ews Leader % The seats at the computer terminals are mostly occupied.


Florida is a rag-pickers delight. Transplants bring too much stuff, and they unburden themselves. People age and no longer t into their tuxedos (if they need them at all). Con dominiums do not allow yard sales. And, alas, people die. All of which makes for a cornucopia of goods going to charitable organizations for resale. One of these services opened a new facility on the North Tamiami Trail Feb. 19, and the line waiting for the doors to be unlocked at 9 a.m. the next day was more than 200 people long. The store is a departure for Goodwill Manaso ta, the rst time the organization has a brand new and purpose-built facility. This store re places the one at Trail Plaza at the intersec tion of Myrtle Street and U.S. 41. This one is located at 5150 N. Tamiami Trail. The 30,000-square-foot facility also hosts a community center that will hold free classes for the public on a variety of topics from arts and crafts to computer tutorials. Goodwill sells donated items, using the pro ceeds for job training and rehabilitation. Peo ple can also search for jobs online and get per sonal help to look for employment. The City of Sarasotas decision to allow the store to be constructed is still under legal challenge. Neighbors took the city and devel oper to court, and the case is now with the Second District Court of Appeal. None of that deterred shoppers on a cloudy Wednesday morning. The crowd ranged from socialites to down-and-outers, all waiting pa tiently for the doors to open and the treasures to be revealed. % Under cloudy skies, Goodwill opened its North Tamiami Trail store on Feb. 19. Photos by Stan Zimmerman GOODWILL MANASOTA OPENS ITS STORE ON THE NORTH TAMIAMI TRAIL A NEW NEIGHBOR By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 77 Bargain hunters stood in a line that reached around the back of the store and into the parking lot, waiting for the doors to open at 9 a.m. Shoppers dashed into the new Goodwill store to be among the rst to examine the inventory. Row upon row of clean and pressed clothing greeted the inaugural crowd.


This ye ar, Selby Gardens annual Plant and Garden Festival, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Feb. 23-24, will include a diverse array of live music and theatrical performances, demonstrations and art exhibitions in addition to stunning plants, gardening tools and supplies offered by some of Floridas premier retailers, the Gardens has announced. A complete lineup of programming activities is available at The two-day horticultural extravaganza rep resents a limited-time opportunity to visit mul tiple exhibits, enjoy the Plant and Garden Fes tival, and access the Gardens for a discounted price. Adults may visit for $12, while member guests will be admitted for $5; free admission is offered to all members and children age 11 and under. This special event will benet Selby Gardens education, horticulture and research efforts, a news release says. Guest passes, coupons and reciprocal offers, therefore, will not be accepted during Plant & Garden Festival. A grant from The Womans Exchange enabled Selby Gardens to produce the visual and per forming arts selections for this years festi val, which are being presented as The Art of Plants the release adds. SELBY GARDENS OFFERING REDUCED ADMISSION FOR FESTIVAL Butteries will not be the only visitors drawn to Selby Gardens this weekend. Photo by Norman Schimmel NEWS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 79 The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested 30 people in Operation Intercept II, the second such sting designed to protect Sara sota Countys children from online predators, the ofce announced Feb. 20. The suspects responded to Internet-based ads or social media posts and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conver sations, ultimately traveling to a location in Sarasota County with the intent to have sex with a child or children, a news release says. When the suspects arrived, detectives placed them under arrest, it adds. This was our second operation to see what criminals prowled the Internet for the pur pose of sexually exploiting children, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. We saw some frightening things that parents need to be aware of to properly protect their kids. In one case, the alleged predator met a per son he thought was a child on a GPS-based online dating platform that tells people who is in their area and allows them to chat with the persons and send photos, the release notes. In another, the suspect posted an ad on a web site known for prostitution and indicated in the ad that his interest was in young girls only, the release adds. The sting was structured to make him think he had met a 14-year-old girl recently placed with new foster parents; he planned to pay her $60 for her services, ac cording to the report. The Sheriffs Ofce conducted this manpow er-intensive operation in cooperation with the State Attorneys Ofce and memb ers of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Osceola County Sheriffs Ofce, Polk County Sheriffs Ofce, Winter Haven Police Depart ment, Citrus County Sheriffs Ofce, Seminole County Sheriffs Ofce, Bradenton Police De partment, Manatee County Sheriffs Ofce, Or ange County Sheriffs Ofce and Lake County Sheriffs Ofce, the release points out. Assistance was also provided by members of the FBI Innocent Images Task Force, Clewis ton Police Department, Lee County Sheriffs Ofce and Charlotte County Sheriffs Ofce. 30 ARRESTED IN SHERIFFS OFFICES ONLINE PREDATOR STING Sheriff Tom Knight/Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 80 Osprey Avenue from Mound Street to Broth er Geenen Way is scheduled to be closed to northbound trafc for one week beginning Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 a.m., the City of Sarasota has announced. The road is to be reopened to through trafc by Friday, March 1, at 5 p.m., a city news release says. Southbound trafc will be maintained through this section of Osprey Avenue, the release adds. Construction crews will be working on the Lift Station 87 force main installation during this period, the release notes. Once again, northbound Osprey Avenue will be closed to trafc at Mound Street. Photo by Norman Schimmel OSPREY TO BE CLOSED AGAIN TO NORTHBOUND TRAFFIC During February, Sarasota County libraries are celebrating Library Lovers Month by in viting community members to design the next generation of Sarasota County library cards. Sarasota County is such a creative commu nity that we thought, why not ask our cus tomers what they would like to see on their library card, says Fruitville Library Manager Ann Ivey in a news release. The library card is basically a persons passport to unlimited possibilities. By accessing the library systems rich collection of resources, using computers and attending programs, an individual can choose from a variety of educational, enter tainment and enrichment experiences, she adds in the release. Applications for the Design-A-Card contest are available from any Sarasota County library or on the library website at The theme for all designs is What my library means to me, the release points out. Entries may be submitted at any Sarasota County li brary. The deadline is 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20, the release notes. The top 10 entries will be chosen by a pan el of judges, including representatives from the Sarasota County Commission, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota County schools and the Sarasota County Library Sys tem, the release adds. The public will be invited to visit the Saraso ta County Library website during the month of May to select the top two designs, the re lease says. The two winning designs will be unveiled in September during National Library Card sign-up month, it adds. Library cards featuring the two new designs and a key chain version will be available to the public later this year, the release notes. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000, or visit www. LIBRARY LOVERS MONTH FEATURES DESIGN-A-CARD CONTEST


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 81 Voters in the upcoming City of Sarasota and Town of Longboat Key elections who choose absentee voting may track their ballots online from the time they request the ballots until the voted ballots have safely reached the Saraso ta County Supervisor of Elections Ofce, the ofce has announced. The online service also allows voters to check their registration status, party afliation and local polling place information, as well as to request an absentee ballot, a news release says. Voters may go to the Supervisor of Elec tions website at Se lect the Vote by Mail icon at the top of the home page, then choose Track your Absentee Ballot from the menu and enter the requested information to track your absentee ballot and access other voter information. Requests for absentee ballots to be mailed to voters for the March 12 City of Sarasota and Town of Longboat Key elections must be re ceived by the ofce no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, the release points out. Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent reminds absentee voters that, to be counted, their vot ed ballots must be received in her ofce no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Marked ab sentee ballots may not be turned in at a poll ing place on Election Day. Dent also reminds voters whose signatures may have changed since they last voted that signature updates must be made on a Florida Voter Registration Application and presented to the Supervisor of Elections Ofce prior to the start of the absentee ballot canvass, which is at noon on Monday, March 11, the release notes MUNICIPAL VOTERS MAY TRACK ABSENTEE BALLOTS ONLINE Sarasotas newest extreme tness event will put athletes to the test and give runners of all skill levels a chance to experience the fun and fatigue of a 21st century foot race, organizers of the rst Pound the Ground Sarasota event have announced. In the tradition of Tough Mudder and Mud dy Buddy adventure races, Pound the Ground Sarasota is a homegrown 5K obstacle chal lenge inviting athletes to get dirty, get sweaty, and have fun doing it, a news release says. Pound the Ground Sarasota will take place March 9 at the Celery Fields (6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota), with subsequent monthly challenges planned, the release says. The POUND THE GROUND 5K CHALLENGE SET FOR MARCH 9 course was designed by a Sarasota tness in structor to challenge and reward adventurous tness buffs and to raise money for local char ities, the release adds. Runners will climb walls, crawl through pipes and face a number of other obstacles and mystery event challenges throughout the 3.37-mile course, the release notes. There will be no time limit. The event is for ages 14 and up. Gym teams will be welcome, the release says. The cost will be $40 before March 3; $50 on the day of the event. Information and registration are available at


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 82 Starting at 7 a.m. on March 5 and running through 7 p.m. on March 6, local residents will donate through computers and smartphones to help raise funds for local nonprots as part of the second annual 36-Hour Giving Chal lenge. Last years event resulted in a total of $2.4 mil lion raised through 10,700 gifts to benet the 109 participating nonprots; this years event includes 285 organizations, according to a news release from the Community Founda tion of Sarasota County. The participating nonprots all have proles in The Giving Partner an online tool that enables informed philanthropy, the release points out. They also can earn their share of $645,000 in grant incentives and 1:1 matching support for new and increased gifts over the last Challenge, the release adds. The 36-Hour Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota Coun ty in partnership with The Patterson Foun dation, with support from Gulf Coast Com munity Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, Charlotte Community Founda tion and the William G. and Marie Selby Foun dation. The Herald-Tri bune Media Group, ClearChannel Radio and SNN6 have joined in the effort to pro mote the power of giv ing during this event, the release notes. This community-wide giving event is an excellent opportunity for everyone to be a philanthropist, supporting the causes they are passionate about while providing need ed support for local nonprots, says Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, in the release. It also provides an opportunity for participating nonprots to increase fundraising and communications capacity, resulting in new donors and more revenue to support their missions. During the Giving Challenge, everyone wins and has fun giving! We support the smart use of technology to help our regions philanthropists make more informed decisions and, in turn, help strength en the role of philanthropy in our communi ty, says Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, in the release. We heartily believe everyone can be a philan thropist and are excited to support the 36Hour Giving Challenge with a $430,000 dol lar-for-dollar match for new or increased gifts up to $1,000 per donor. Last year, all of the participating organi zations received do nations, and approx imately 40 percent of all gifts were $25, driving home just how valuable individu als can be when look ing at the collective impact of their gen erosity, the release points out. NONPROFIT COMMUNITY PREPARING FOR 36-HOUR GIVING CHALLENGE


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 83 New wrinkles this year are $5,000 prizes for Best Partnership with a Local Business and Best Overall Campaign, the release notes. Area professionals will judge these categories, which will showcase nonprot creativity and the ability to engage community partners, it adds. A repeat feature this year will be the awarding of hourly prizes to random donors, to keep the excitement going throughout the Challenge, the release says. Donations are 100 percent tax-deductible. Anyone who wishes to give during the chal lenge may make a secure donation (minimum Former state Sen. Lisa Carlton will moderate a panel discussion among the six candidates contending for City Commission during the Sarasota Republican Clubs monthly dinner Wednesday, March 6, at the Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, the club has announced. As a nale, each candidate will ask a ques tion of the others in a sixty-second challenge round, a club news release says. The social hour will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 for members and $35 for non-members. SARASOTA REPUBLICAN CLUB TO MEET ON MARCH 6 For additional information and reservations, visit or contact Donna Arenschield at 312-5279. The event is open to the public, the release says. The candidates scheduled to participate are Suzanne Atwell (current mayor of Sarasota), Susan Chapman, Richard Dorfman, Linda Hol land, Kelvin Lumpkin and Pete Theisen. Cur rent issues and the long-term future of Sara sota will be among topics to be discussed, the release adds. CORRECTION An article in the Feb. 15 issue of The Sara sota News Leader titled, Split Views did not make it clear that Sarasota County had no local preference stipulation regarding com pany employee residency until the County Commission voted on a requirement during its Feb. 12 meeting. During its Nov. 13, 2012 discussion of how companies could gain local vendor prefer ence, the commission tentatively voted to establish a residency requirement of one fulltime employee or one corporate ofcer or managing partner or principal owner residing in Sarasota, Charlotte or Manatee counties. However, that vote was put on hold while county staff assessed views of more area rms on a variety of measures. The relevant requirement the commission settled on during its Feb. 12 meeting was ve full-time employees or one corporate ofcer residing in Sarasota, Charlotte or Manatee counties. gift is $25) by debit or credit card at www. Jerde explains in the release that the 36-Hour Giving Challenge is designed to ensure the community utilizes the information-rich Giv ing Partner proles to inform their contribu tions. The Giving Partner allows local non prots to broadly share their needs and the vital services they provide in Sarasota, Man atee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties, says Jerde. Our goal has been to make philan thropy accessible, fun and easy for the entire community.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 84 S arasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White has named a Virginia educator as the next principal of Pine View School in Osprey. Stephen Covert, 41, who currently serves as executive director of human resources for the Spotsylvania County Schools in Virginia, is scheduled to begin July 1 as principal of Pine View, pending School Board approval, a district news release says. He will succeed Steve Largo, who has been principal of Pine View since 1988. The school serves intellectu ally gifted students in grades two through 12. I am being entrusted with a unique gift, said Covert in the release. Pine View is one of the most widely recognized and acclaimed schools for gifted students in the nation. I also know I have some big shoes to ll as Steve Largo retires, but I couldnt be more excited to build on the schools reputation and suc cess. The principal search began with a site anal ysis at the school in November, the release notes. Pine View students, parents, staff and community members were invited to attend two meetings to offer their ideas about the qualities they would like to see in their next principal. A panel of interviewers, including Steve Cantees, executive director of high schools for Sarasota County Schools; Sonia Figaredo-Alberts, executive director of the Pu pil Support Services Ofce; other district and school administrators; Pine View teachers; a parent and a student met with six nalists for the position, the release adds. Cantees and Figaredo-Alberts considered the input from those sessions and narrowed the eld. After another round of interviews with the remain ing candidates, including meetings with White, the release says, Covert emerged as the top contender. Dr. Covert is an excellent choice as the next principal of Pine View, said Cantees in the release. It was no easy task to nd someone who will t that school community as well as Steve Largo has for 25 years, but with help from parents, students, staff and administra tors, I believe weve accomplished it. Covert began his career in 1993 as a Spanish teacher at Spotsylvania High School. For the Spotsylvania district, he also served as assis tant principal and as principal of high schools and middle schools and as director of human resources and assistant superintendent before being named executive director of human re sources in July 2012, the news release points out. Covert has served as an adjunct faculty mem ber at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA, and a collateral faculty member at the Central Virginia Leadership Academy at Virginia Commonwealth Universi ty in Richmond, VA, the release adds. He also was a member of the Gifted Advisory Board for the Spotsylvania district. Covert and his wife, Amy, have two sons: Ben jamin, 9, and Barrett, 4, the release notes. NEW PRINCIPAL NAMED FOR PINE VIEW SCHOOL Stephen Covert/Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 85 The Sarasota County Commission awarded four construction contracts totaling about $3.9 million for capital improvement projects at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12. The projects are as follows: New restroom and concession facility with related improvements at North Jetty Beach Park at the south end of Casey Key: The existing 30-year-old restroom building will be replaced with a new facility that will al most double the restroom xtures, includ ing two family restrooms, combined with a family-friendly food concession, a county news release says. Zirkelbach Construction Inc. of Palmetto was awarded the $1.4 mil lion project, which will be funded by the in frastructure surtax (1-cent sales tax). Con struction is expected to begin this month, with completion targeted in January 2014. Gun Range expansion at Knight Trail Park: The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce leases and operates the Gun Range at Knight Trail Park, 3445 Rustic Road, Nokomis. Opera tions there include a Criminal Justice Fir ing Range, mounted patrol, K-9 Unit and an obstacle course, the release points out. The Shooting Range Pavilion was completed in September 2010. The new contract provides for the addition of a 2,400-square-foot metal building for training of Sheriffs Ofce staff members in live, scenario-based situations such as building searches, search/arrest warrant services, victim rescue drills, hos tage rescue and family disturbances. This will be the rst facility of its kind in Saraso ta County. Southern Cross Construction Inc. of Sarasota was awarded the approximately $175,000 contract, which will be paid for through the Capital Improvements fund. Construction is slated to begin in March, with completion in August, the release says. Road resurfacing for the Plantation commu nity and various roads in Venice and south Sarasota County: This project involves the milling and resurfacing, along with resto ration work, of approximately 16.5 lane miles of roads. Sections of the following roads will be repaved: Rockley Boulevard, Wexford Boulevard, Woodbridge Drive, Gulf Coast Boulevard, Myrtle Avenue, Pineland Avenue, Second Street, Groveland Avenue and First Street. Ajax Paving Industries of Florida LLC in Nokomis was selected as the contractor for the $1.25 million project funded by the Environmental Land Man agement Study (ELMS) gas tax, the release adds. The project is expected to begin in March, with substantial completion in June. Replacement of the clay tile roof of the his toric Courthouse, 2000 Main St., in down town Sarasota. Currently housing the oper ations of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the courthouse was listed on the National Reg ister of Historic Places in 1984, the release notes. The roof is nearly 50 years old and is leaking in several areas, the release adds. Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. of Sara sota will perform the $1.06 million project, which is being funded in part by the Court Fund for Capital Outlay. Construction will start in March with an estimated comple tion in November. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. COUNTY COMMISSION AWARDS ALMOST $3.9 MILLION FOR PROJECTS


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 86 The County Commission has awarded a contract for the replacement of the clay tile roof on the His toric Courthouse in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 87 Dr. Kumar Mahadevan president and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory, will move to presi dent emeritus status in May after 27 years of leadership, Mote has announced. Mahadevan will continue to work for Mote as a strong advocate and ambassador in the role of President Emeritus for at least the next two years to enable a smooth transition to new leadership, a news release says. He will as sist the new CEO in promoting and developing support for Motes world-class research and education programs, the release adds. At the strong recommendation of Mahadevan, Motes Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Mi chael Crosby, the Labs senior vice president for research, to president and CEO, the re lease notes. These changes will become of cial May 16, following Motes annual board of trustees meeting, it adds. Mahadevan said assuming non-operational du ties will allow him to spend more time with his family, the release notes. Ive been thinking about slowing down for several years now, he says in the release. My wife and I would like to travel. We have grandchildren that we want to spend time with its time. Mahadevan joined Mote in 1978 as a senior scientist; he has served as CEO since 1986. He has been the longest-serving leader in the or ganizations 58-year history, the release points out. Kumars tenu re at Mote has been transforma tive, says Bob Carter, chairman of the board of trustees, in the release. Under his leader ship, Mote has grown from a small research group to a full-edged scientic laboratory with a reputation for excellence not just here locally or in Florida, but nationally and internationally as well, he adds in the release. Mote has also gained a public aquarium that today is one of the regions most popular at tractions, Carter continues in the release. We are deeply appreciative of his contribu tions and excited that he will continue to sup port Mote as the national scientic treasure that it has become. Crosby joined Mote in 2010, when he was ap pointed to lead the Labs scientic endeavors, the release notes. He previously was associ ate vice president for research and economic development at George Mason University and vice chancellor for research at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, the release points out. In his three years at Mote, Crosby has helped develop the Labs current guiding document the 2020 Vision and Strategic Plan [view it online at ]; developed the Mote Marine Laboratory Postdoctoral Fel lowship Program, which provides support and mentorship for recent doctoral graduates; and is working on several international initiatives expanding Motes marine science leadership worldwide, the release says. MOTES MAHADEVAN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT Press Releases & News Tips


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 88 Bruce L. Manilla, 83, of Williamsburg, VA, and formerly of Sarasota, passed away on Feb. 13, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Manilla. An entrepreneur, Bruce was a professional artist and art show promoter. Loving nature and spending time outdoors, he was a master gardener who particularly enjoyed owers. He was a member of Selby Gardens in Sarasota. He is survived by his children: Bruce L. Ma nilla and partner, Andy; David W. Manilla and wife, Gail; Michael T. Manilla and wife, Pam; Mary L. Manilla-Smith and husband, Dave; and Margaret Meg Murto and husband, Craig; nine grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and two great-grandchildren on the way. The family received friends on Monday, Feb. 18, at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawber ry Plains Road, Williamsburg, VA. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. at St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, VA, with in terment in the St. Bede Gardens. To honor Bruces lifelong love of gardening, please plant a tree in his memory. Online con dolences may be expressed at www.nelsen Nelson Funeral Home of Williamsburg, VA, is serving the Manilla family. % OBITUARY BRUCE L. MANILLA


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EDITORIAL THE CITY COMMISSIONERS NEED TO BECOME CHAMPIONS OF THE BRTS POTENTIAL EDITORIAL No one truthfully knows at this point whether a bus rapid transit (BRT) system can be a phenomenal success in Sarasota County, but what has been woefully clear has been the lack of leadership on the part of the City Com mission in working toward such a goal and adding vitality to the city in the process. In fact, it was left to a county commission er Joe Barbetta to call for action when his board held a joint discussion with the City Commission on Feb. 5 to talk about BRT and a host of other issues. Of the city commissioners, only Terry Turn er seemed to project optimism that Sarasota residents can be sold on the need for land-use changes to spur the type of inll development essential to the success of a BRT along the Tamiami Trail from New College to the West eld Southgate Mall. City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo at least made an offer to meet with constituents to ascertain their view of the possibilities, but Barbettas call for leadership on the part of the City Commission seemed to spark more than a little resentment. It is no secret the city government has hefty bills to keep paying, thanks to its pension plans and the cost of its Police Department. It also is no secret that the North Tamiami Trail has been the proverbial redheaded step child in terms of development. City Editor Stan Zimmerman recently provided thor ough and thoughtful analysis in past issues of


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 91 The Sarasota News Leader regarding past plans to energize the North Trail and the latest initiative for a new overlay district. During a County Commission meeting prior to the joint board discussions, Jonathan B. Paul, the countys interim transportation planning director, utilized video, graphics and a wide array of photos and diagrams to illustrate the use of BRT systems in cities as diverse as Portland, OR, and Orlando. The key to these systems success is that middle word in the acronym rapid. If people can expect to wait no more than 10 to 15 minutes for an attractive, comfortable bus that will travel a corridor with lots of popular stops, the bus becomes a particularly attractive alternative to the automobile. Although the City and County commissions not quite a year ago remained focused on us ing the CRX railroad corridor for a large part of a proposed BRT system, Barbetta made it plain during his boards late-January dis cussion that U.S. 41 is the only corridor that makes sense. Students from New College and the Ringling College of Art and Design would love the ease of getting to and from down town and the mall, we suspect. Given the location of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and other destinations along the Trail, Barbet ta is correct: That is the only corridor that has genuine potential. Why cannot all the city commissioners see the same picture and relish the opportunity of convincing the public of its value? City Commissioner Shannon Snyder talked during the joint meeting about democracy and how his board has to deal with the will of the people. Fortunately, Barbetta was having none of it. We get elected to make tough de cisions, Barbetta said. The BRT is not inexpensive by any means. County Commissioner Christine Robinson, for one, made it clear that nding the funds to pay for ongoing operations would be a se rious concern. For that matter, just winning enough federal and other grant funds to build the system is not going to be an easy quest, we gather from the two presentations we have seen Paul and Sarasota County Area Transit General Manag er Glama Carter make. Yet, the payoff does have huge potential. Barbetta rightfully characterized the pur suit of BRT and the land-use changes that would be critical to its success as a way to save the city from scal collapse. We whole heartedly agree with him. In the process, we believe the city also, at long last, would realize a vibrant North Trail, able to relegate to its past the sordid tales of prostitution and drug deals that have been synonymous with that section of U.S. 41 for decades. We urge all the city commissioners to seize this opportunity, to make it clear to their con stituents the rewards that can come of this process. It is time for them to stop their handwringing and become champions of a project with nu merous benets that could prove the end to the citys scal woes. %


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 92 COMMENTARY The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS, is a single-message ministry: God hates! According to church leader Fred Phelps, God hates fags, Jews, Catholics, Hin dus, America, the Antichrist Obama, and Vas sar College, to name but a few. A former civil rights lawyer and activist on be half of Al Gores 1988 presidential bid, Phelps believes that the U.S. government is responsi ble for the spread of homosexuality. For this reason the churchs 40-some-odd members have disrupted military funerals around the country, cheering the fallen soldiers deaths. Thank God for IEDs [roadside bombs]! church members shout at mourners. Even the Ku Klux Klan nds Westboros disruptions of military funerals reprehensible. Westboro plans to demonstrate at the funeral of U.S. Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf at West Point on the morning of Feb. 28. After lunch that same day, the Westboro protesters plan a 45-minute whistle-stop in Poughkeepsie, NY, to picket Vassar College. Why Vassar? God Hates Vassar College for following the satanic Zeitgeist by professing the soul-damning lie that it is OK to be gay. That is what the men of Sodom and Gomorrah professed and we see how well that worked out for them. WBC will kindly warn everyone afliated with Vassar College that the Lord that destroyed those ancient cities on the plain yet reigns. Repent or Perish More on the protest can be found on the churchs website On Feb. 12, Jon Chenette, acting president of Vassar College, sent an email message to the extended college community. In part, his mes sage read: Yesterday I sent an email to the campus com munity about plans announced by the West boro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, to picket Vassar on February 28 in protest of our open support of LGBTQ students, employees, and alums. As I said in that message, we look forward as a college to any opportunity to counter messages of hate and bigotry and to underscore our values. Since the campus and alumnae/i became aware of Westboros plan, we have received an outpouring of support for reafrming our commitment to inclusion. Many of you have posted similar sentiments on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. The responses from members of our commu nity, while not surprising, have been remark able and have made all of us who have read them proud to be part of Vassar. In the face of Westboros statements, we want to celebrate the inclusiveness of our commu nity and the multitude of backgrounds, inter ests, and preferences that enrich our experi ences. In an effort to coordinate activities that members of the campus and alumnae/i com munities are planning, the senior staff of the college has organized a group representative of students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i to serve as a clearinghouse and sounding board. By David Staats Contributing Writer SEXUAL HEALING COMMENTARY


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 93 I know they will foster an array of events that will speak powerfully to our values. Just to be clear, LGBTQ means those persons who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgen dered and Questioning their sexuality. Members of the Sarasota Vassar Club were invited to comment on the Westboro protest. A sampling of opinions follows: Sallie van Arsdale: As reported, the West boro Baptist Churchs protest against Vas sars support for equal citizenship rights for lesbians and gays appears to be far outside mainstream attitudes in the 21st century. The church is, of course, entitled to its be liefs no matter how ridiculous its statement and offensive those beliefs are to others. Virginia Lange: I do feel strongly that in order to show our Political Correctness, at Vassar, and indeed North America, we lose sight of what I believe are still the silent majority. It is reverse discrimination in its own way. Just as I said in my email to the college and the local group, What about H for heterosexual? Or dont we count any more? I believe that sexual orientation is mostly NOT a choice, but a gene, and there fore, those who have it, in whatever degree, should not be discriminated for it. But nei ther should we who do not have that gene be ignored/discriminated against. Westboro Baptists have a right to believe what they like, but also have no right to force their beliefs on others. Tatiana Staats: I am appalled at the sharp decline in academic standards at Vassar College. The English alphabet has 26 letters, yet students have only mastered 5, and not in their proper order. Until Vassar requires students to master the entire alphabet; that is, from Aphrodisiomania (abnormal sexual desire) to Zoonosis (disease stemming from Zoophilia, i.e. bestiality), I will not consider making further donations to the college. Although sexual orientation is not a protected characteristic under current civil rights laws, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Hu man Rights reminds us that progress toward the protection of gays and lesbians from dis crimination in employment and housing has nevertheless been made. It also reminds us that progress has been slow. Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation prohibiting discrimi nation in the private sector workplace on the basis of sexual orientation. Federal law only prevents the federal government itself from engaging in such discrimination. If the Em ployment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which was rst introduced in Congress in 1994, ever does become federal law, then any civilian, non-religious employer with at least 15 employees would be required to end all an ti-gay discrimination in its hiring and employ ment practices. Vassar seems determined to respond to West boros provocation. How it plans to respond is not clear. Whatever the colleges response, its very act will likely serve only to amplify West boros message. Publicity is what it wants. On the other hand, ignoring the pickets rel egates the protest to a non-event, which in fact it is. Aquila non captat muscas (an eagle doesnt snap at ies). In other words, do not sweat the small stuff. And there is nothing smaller than the amoebic life forms occupying Westboros pews. %


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 94 To the editor: How much is it costing to revisit the 2050 Growth Management Comprehensive Plan? Staff time. Planning Commission time. Board of County Commissioners time. We Sarasota County taxpayers are funding the your plan isnt workable meetings between the devel opment community and County staff. There have been 10 meetings so far. We are also paying for staff outreach efforts to seek community input on how unworkable the 2050 Plan is. I got a personal call on our taxpayer dollars. Did you? We know what follows: more staff time to do an analysis and put together statistics show ing the 2050 Plans unworkability followed by Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners meetings to verify and codify whats unworkable, culminating perhaps in a unanimous vote to rework the 2050 Plan AT OUR EXPENSE. It appears we are paying a lot to nd out what developers want. What do we taxpayers want for the county? Preserve open space, agriculture and envi ronmentally sensitive land and build new, compact, mixed use, walkable developments in appropriate areas. (Sarasota County Plan ning Department Summary of the 2050 Plan) Are these goals still applicable? Throwing them out will be costly to the environment and to future generations. Laurel Schiller Sarasota LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and oth er factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spell ing, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR REVISITING THE 2050 PLAN IS A BURDEN ON TAXPAYERS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR






From deep within Oscar Scherer State Park, the call comes soft and tentative, as if the vocalist is rehearsing his song. Just one note, but it is in the right key so I wait a moment and then there he is Bob White, Bob White announcing spring this cool winter day. Like a querulous child, I am always asking, Is it spring yet? In reply, Mother Nature sends another icy blast down the peninsula. Cold fronts descend but usually retreat in a day or two. Though fewer now, the average in south Florida is eight cold fronts in December, nine in both January and February. Winter/spring; winter/spring: The seasons swing back and forth like a pendulum, sometimes within the space of hours. On cold winter mornings, I hurry to capture tiny diamonds of ice coating the saw palmetto. Minutes later I am catapulted into spring by fetterbush put ting forth delicate pink blossoms weeks ahead of schedule. Red maples are in a hurry, too. Like bea cons in the landscape, they wear different colors one, ne claret; another, burnt orange. The new green of oaks oats like mist in the tree tops. On warm afternoons, fog drifts in from the Gulf of Mexico. Grateful for the suns advance, like some Midas, I tote up the minutes added to each day. By May, my accounting is put aside. Sunlight is so plentiful it is almost expendable. Winter does have much to commend itself. Mosqui toes are gone. Warblers, swallows and robins have arrived to congregate in parks and gardens. Sandhill cranes dance at the Celery Fields. Flocks of cedar waxwings pass through downtown Sarasota, strip ping trees and shrubs of berries, a small price for their company. Sometimes when winter overstays its welcome, a longing as ancient as our species overtakes me. Invok ing spring, I dance to the full moon. The great horned owl in a nearby pine looks sternly down at me. % Sandhill cranes cavort in the Celery Fields. SIGNS OF SPRING DAPPLE THE LANDSCAPE WINTER SLIDES AWAY Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 98 Red Maple shows off its spring attire.


Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 99 Fog tiptoes ashore. Oaks put on their spring green.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 100 A Great Horned Owl holds court in a pine.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 101 Fetterbush already is putting forth delicate blossoms. The Bobwhite has announced the arrival of spring.

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

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Performance artist Erica Gressman is not afraid to challenge herself when it comes to preparing and performing her pieces. In fact, she sees great artistic value in developing complex processes to produce a desired re sult when others might have taken an easier route. Im a big fan of making elaborate ways to just press a simple button, Gressman said during an audience Q-and-A session following her performance of Wall of Skin for a packed house at New Music New College (NMNC) in New College of Floridas Black Box Theater on the evening of Friday, Feb. 8. The piece consists of numerous art forms including performance, sculpture and draw ing that fuse to create the intricate process Gressman had described. That process pushes the metaphorical button that determines the characteristics of the music lling the room during her performance. Erica Gressman begins the performance of Wall of Skin in New College of Floridas Black Box The ater on the evening of Feb. 8. In an interview with The Sarasota News Leader, Gressman referred to her character in the performance as a cyborg or avatar with an ambiguous identity. I do like making technology as volatile as, say, a female body, she said in regard to her portrayal. All photos by Arielle Scherr NEW COLLEGE GRADUATE ERICA GRESSMAN COMBINES VARIOUS ART FORMS IN HER PIECE, WALL OF SKIN AT THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF NEW MUSIC NEW COLLEGE BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 104 EXPERIENCING WALL OF SKIN Wall of Skin began in almost complete dark ness, with the exception of a small stage suf fused with a muted, purple glow. Gressman, dressed in a white bodysuit that covered her from head to toe, stood motionless in front of a large, square sculpture of white drywall. She was bound to it by thin, white wires that appeared to be attached to her back. A faint, white light radiated from a thin aperture be tween the panels while a hushed, low frequen cy electronic drone emanated from the speak ers on either side of the sculpture. The volume and pitch wavered slightly with each motion she made. The changes inten sied as Gressman began to perform more elaborate movements that eventually led to her peeling off the bodysuit to reveal another underneath it. Gressman then slowly began to struggle with the wires attached to her back, tearing through the drywall behind her and creating a light drawing by revealing lines of the bril liant white glow trapped within the sculpture. The more light that shone through, the higher the volume and pitch of the sound. Eventual ly, Gressman began to violently tear out large pieces of drywall, demolishing the facade of the sculpture and revealing the xtures of u orescent bulbs behind it. The whole space be came bathed in radiant white light and intense noise. After all the light had been revealed and Gress man had shed a few more layers of her body suit though never to the point of revealing Erica Gressman prior to the start of Wall of Skin. The performance was the most recent installment of New Music New College, which is known for live performances that frequently blur the lines be tween music and other forms of artistic expression. The series challenges audience members to re think their conceptions of what can be considered music.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 105 Erica Gressman performs improvisational movements prior to the nale of Wall of Skin. In an in terview with the News Leader, Gressman said her piece confronts modern societys sometimes over zealous attitude toward adopting new technology and many peoples tendency to idealize it. The human cyborg, I think, is an interesting critique, she added, because technology is advancing so much and I feel like feminism is struggling so much and that kind of represents society.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 106 more than another layer she moved around the stage in a manner that could have ex pressed triumph, lamentation or both, before dropping to the oor in a fetal position. After a few moments, all light and sound abruptly ceased, and the room was enveloped in dark ness and silence. This lasted for a short peri od, following which the house lights came up and Gressman bowed to enthusiastic applause from the audience. BEHIND WALL OF SKIN After Wall of Skin had concluded, NMNC Di rector Stephen Miles took to the microphone to commend the work and acknowledge oth ers who had helped with the event, includ ing NMNC Technical Producer R.L. Silver and NMNC event sponsors Art and Marcella Levin. Once she had changed into her street clothes, Gressman returned to the oor to take ques tions from the audience about her inspiration for the piece, its technical design and perfor mance and some of her own personal experi ences as a performance artist. Gressman explained she had developed Wall of Skin as part of her masters thesis project at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received a Master of Fine Arts in Performance Art in 2012. However, she clari ed, certain aspects of the piece traced back to her undergraduate work at New College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Hu manities in 2009. In the latter case, Gressman was referring to the technology that produces the sound and the way that it interacts with light. Erica Gressman prepares to tear the rst piece of drywall from the sculpture in Wall of Skin. In the Q-&-A session following the piece, Gressman explained that part of the reason she chose to use drywall was because of its associations. I think its a very intimate and personal object that many youths use as a way to let out anger, she noted.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 107 Its a very simple oscillator machine, which creates a series of click noises, and the more light that hits this machine, the faster the clicks and the higher the pitch becomes. Its a lot like a theremin, she explained. For my thesis in my undergrad, I was creating these instruments and studying and researching how sound and light interact in a musical and compositional context, she continued. Wall of Skin operates with three light-activat ed sensors that are strategically placed on the stage, Gressman said. Obscured by the shad ows of her movement, they create the varia tions in sound. She went on to describe this as a very large scale version of the work she had been doing at New College. Gressman then revealed more about technical and performative aspects of the piece, which she had performed six times previously. Her movements, for example, are improvisational, though she said that performing the piece so many times has led to her developing certain strategies and ideas that she utilizes at her dis cretion. There is far more to Wall of Skin than initially meets the eye, Gressman explained further. The lines torn by the cables in the drywall are not random, for example; in fact, they represent a pre determined drawing. Gressman said that, in constructing the sculpture, she sketches the lines on the back of the drywall in the way she wants it to tear during the performance, then uses a tool to gouge grooves into which the cables are embedded. WITHIN WALL OF SKIN Aside from revealing some of the practical as pects of Wall of Skin Gressman has been very open about its underlying theoretical concepts as well as the outside factors that inuenced her when she conceived the piece. On the eve ning of Feb. 7, she sat down with The Saraso ta News Leader to offer more details. Gressman explained that the performative aspect of Wall of Skin has been heavily inu enced by her studies at New College, partic ularly in the elds of sound art, experimental music and kinetic sculpture. In addition, it has been impacted by some of the aesthetic as pects of the underground music scene, partic ularly in Florida, in which she has participated for several years. Those were denitely performative musical acts that I slowly started to incorporate into my music and my art, Gressman explained. I saw, as well, a lot of aws or things that were missing in music and things that were missing Erica Gressman answers a question from an audience member after performing Wall of Skin. Asked why she decided to attend New College, she said there is a magic to the school, along with a sense of freedom and hard work ethic.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 108 in performance art, so I decided to fuse it, she continued. And fusion is a big part of it. In my work, I always am trying to fuse ideas, mediums and bodies. Gressman pointed out that the process of fu sion often begins with an instrument. In the case of Wall of Skin, that instrument was the light-sensitive oscillator she had constructed. In other pieces, she has used live drums which she has been playing since she was 10 years old or other instruments, sometimes in conjunction with each other. In terms of conceptual inuences, Gressman explained that her academic studies, including those at New College, have played a signi cant role. Feminism and sociological perspec tives on the pervasiveness of technology in modern society are two major factors in Wall of Skin. I guess I see myself as a cyborg or some kind of person that struggles with identity immersed in this land of technology and how we value its perfection, Gressman said of her character in the piece. Also, I think technol ogy and female bodies theres something monstrous about it. It seems like technology corrupts the female image, she continued. So, I like attaching technology to my body in some way, or depending on it, or even domi nating it somehow as a female artist. An important part of Wall of Skin, Gressman added, is the idea of looking at technology through a new perspective. We put so much emphasis on nding ways to make life easier with technology and we fetishize its perfec tion. I think we dont value basic human needs and human equality enough, and thats kind of regressing as technology advances, she said. Gressmans character in the piece, she ex plained, symbolizes this conict. Its a way to poke fun at how much I feel people suffer with their outer skin, because of the media or because of societal issues that are current ly happening, she said. I think technology should be shown as just as imperfect, volatile or vulnerable as a human is and not shown as this perfect, desirable, fetishized object. BEYOND WALL OF SKIN Asked by an audience member after the per formance what she plans for her art in the future, Gressman commented on the difcult tasks artists face in expressing themselves in modern society. Its a strange road to go down as an artist here in the U.S., she said. Its a very lonely road at times, she contin ued. But whats next for me is a big question mark and thats what I like the most about it. Gressman said, in an email follow-up with the News Leader that she plans to do more col laborative work in the future, which includes adapting Wall of Skin into a piece for two performers. She has upcoming performances comprising different pieces, and she is look ing into artist residencies in Germany and Ice land. However, Gressman explained, pursuing a ca reer as an artist is not always glorious and is often challenging. So far, she said, its been enduring the re cession and waiting tables and waiting for an other show. %

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Dear Readers, Last month an outbreak of red tide made its way onto the beaches of Siesta Key, leaving a carpet of dead sh in its wake. Thankfully, this disturbance was mild and brief. Red tide is of concern to public health of cials, scientists and business people. Siesta Keys economic well-being depends on tour ism during high season. Tourists are likely to go elsewhere, however, if red tide conditions exist. For this reason, the very mention of red tide is pas comme il faut if not outright ta boo. It was even reported that some unscru pulous rental agents will advise prospective tourists of a red tide disturbance only if the tourist specically enquires about it. Hard to believe, is it not? So, as long as no one wants to talk about it, here goes! When red tide overwhelms our fair isle, many people (and I shant name names) advise emu lating the ostrich by burying ones head in the sand and ignoring the problem. Unfortunately, rotting sh will have washed up on the beach rst, blanketing the sand and leaving no patch of ground into which red tide Pollyannas can dig themselves. RED TIDE HAS A LONG HISTORY IN FLORIDA, THOUGH PEOPLE STILL SEEM FAR TOO IGNORANT OF ITS CAPACITY TO HARM THEM Turkey vultures dine alfresco on Turtle Beach during the recent red tide outbreak. File photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 110 No one on our key can escape the debilitat ing effects of a red tide. Its pervasive nox ious odor is as bad as Tabu, the forbidden fragrance, unless, of course, you are partial to the concentrated scent of patchouli and musky glandular secretions. The toxins it re leases into the water are spread by spume and winds and cause respiratory distress. Florida public health ofcials warn that people inhal ing these brevetoxins can suffer dry coughing ts, sneezing and teary eyes. Skin irritation can be another effect. Usually these symp toms are short-lived. On the bright side, Floridians should take pride in the following: First, Florida has its very own variety of red tide ( Karenia bre vis ), which exists only in the Gulf of Mexico. K. brevis outbreaks occur sporadically and unpredictably when a dinoagellate (Greek for whirling scourge), a tiny, fragile organ ism, breaks open and spews its toxins into the Gulfs waters. Essentially, it is plankton in algal form, which explains the term algal bloom. Second, not a single case of Neurotoxic Shell sh Poisoning has ever been reported in Flor ida by people who have eaten commercially harvested shellsh. The instant an outbreak of red tide that has formed far offshore has been detected, government agencies and private research institutes immediately take draconian measures to monitor the shing industry closely so people can shop at Siesta Keys Big Water Fish Market for their bouilla baisse ingredients or dine on ceviche at Javi ers Restaurant, for example. There are two basic facts that people should know about red tide disturbances. First, this algal bloom occurs sporadically. In some years no outbreaks occur; then a massive outbreak unexpectedly erupts, such as that of 2005, or this years, which came seemingly out of the blue no pun intended. Second, the bloom begins miles out to sea, far away from our shoreline; but depending on tide and wind activity, it usually will impact our coastline at some point. Why does red tide occur? It may be Mother Natures way of restoring the balance to the Gulf, which might have become overpopulat ed by a single species of sh, or of eliminat ing weakened or parasite-infested organisms starting with coral reefs and moving right on up the food chain. It is a leveler, a natural scourge that can create dead zones in which nothing survives. However, unlike the manmade dead zones in our seas, life returns after red tide and repopulates the waters it devastated. The law of nature is not eat or be eaten. It is prey and be preyed upon. Somewhere along our shores, in our bays and estuaries, is red tides natural enemy, one capable of slowing its spread and eventually eliminating it. Two likely predators come to my mind a xeno phobic microbe, a bacterium, defending its territory that could attach itself to this agel late and eventually destroy it. Or, let us think in bigger terms and imagine the Gulf menha den (a type of herring). It is a forage sh that lters and claries ocean waters. Menhaden swim in tightly compressed schools, and a sin gle adult menhaden can lter and clarify up to four gallons of water a minute. This sh lays its eggs out in the open seas, but those eggs, numbering in the millions, are borne by cur rents, tides and winds into coastal estuaries,

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 111 where they hatch and instantly start munching on plankton and ltering. Over the past couple of decades it has become routine for some environmental activists to assign responsibility for any form of ecocide to human bad practices. Man cannot claim credit for red tide, but he may be responsible for aiding or abetting it. I would even say mol lycoddling it! What worries scientists is the fact that when red tide nally does reach our shores and inland waterways, monitoring studies show that it is intensifying and lingering longer than normal. This suggests that man-made coast al runoff and pollutants are exacerbating and prolonging the bloom. Let us examine this on a very small scale. Some 30 years ago, a few rich and inuential homeowners on south Siesta Key caused Mid night Pass to be closed. Dolphins and mana tees could no longer transit between the Gulf and the bay and currents stopped owing be tween the bay and Gulf. As a result, the ecology of Little Sarasota Bay changed dramatically. The bay began to mim ic the characteristics of a pond and silted up. Once-familiar species of sh left its waters, as did the ocks of egrets and herons that ate them. Simply put, mans poorly considered inter vention in the natural order of things compro mised the bays immune system. When rain washes herbicides and fertilizers into the bay, there is no ow into the Gulf that would dissi pate and eventually eradicate them. Bacteria that might have latched onto the red tide ag ellates are trapped in the bay, or perhaps they had even been eradicated; and menhaden roe are washed onto the Gulf beaches along with the dead sh and never get a chance to enter our Bay, hatch and start ltering. THE HISTORICAL RECORD Current research on red tide reaches into the past to retrieve descriptions and establish patterns. Beginning more than 350 years ago, records written by European New World ex plorers and settlers described massive sh kills along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. The earliest account of red tide is incorrect ly attributed to lvar Nez Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer shipwrecked in 1527 in the Tampa Bay area. He spent eight years as a slave of, and a trade emissary to, various American Indian tribes. In 1536, he was reunit ed with Spanish colonial authorities in Mex ico. Cabeza de Vacas written account of sh kills in the Gulf was within the context of his admiration of an Indian tribe with no lunar or solar calendar and which, therefore, divided the seasons according to the position of the stars, the ripening of berries and the sh kills brought about by the annual cold front. The sh kills recorded by Cabeza de Vaca had nothing to do with red tide because red tide is not an annually occurring event. If it were, scientists would be able to forewarn people: Expect red tide at 9:17 a.m. on Jan. 22 on Turtle Beach! And everyone could get to the beach and bury their heads in the sand before the dead sh washed ashore! Why mention Cabeza de Vaca if he was not the rst to have documented red tide? Because he is the rst one credited with a report of natu ral sh kills in our Gulf and it is important to know that these events are the consequence of annual temperature uctuations, not red

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 112 tide. Also, it is fun to contradict a competent authority who states that Cabeza de Vaca was the rst person to document red tide in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1530s. Did not! Did too! Did not! The topic can stimulate and enliven dinner table conversations. For those interested in early Florida history, Cabeza de Vaca was the rst true anthropolo gist (although not by choice!) to have studied and written intelligently about Native Amer icans in the 16th century. Readers interested in this subject may enjoy this book by Paul Schneider, a part-time resident of Bradenton, Brutal Journey: Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America It is avail able used in paperback from Amazon, starting at $4.26. In November 1792, a government ofcial in Ve racruz, Mexico, wrote of red tide in terms con sistent with todays reporting. He described masses of dead sh washing onto the beaches, human deaths associated with the consump tion of those sh and a government ban on the sale of river and sea sh until they had been inspected by proper authorities and declared safe to eat. Records of red tide disturbances along Flor idas west coast date to 1844. For a complete listing, please click on this link But my absolute favorite historical account is the following: By 1879, there were several mentions in the Veracruz ofcial records of huge sh kills and associated human respira tory problems. Subsequent reports of sh kills in Veracruz, Mexico, come from Nuez Orte ga, who traveled in 1879 to Veracruz, Mexico, to investigate an outbreak of respiratory irri tation among the population and reported the following: In the last days of October 1875, the inhabi tants of the city of Veracruz were repeatedly bothered by a dry cough caused by an irrita tion of the throat. This malady also affected horses, dogs, and other animals. The north wind blew with major intensity, and the au thorities took notice that all along the entire coast of Barlovento an enormous quantity of dead sh had washed ashore along the beach. I love that description because it brings me to my favorite subject animals. You see, even pets can suffer from a red tide lingering on our shoreline. It is important that pet owners safeguard dogs from an outbreak and keep them away from affected waters. THE HUMAN FACTORS Now, in fairness to my readers (and if anyone is still awake), I should address the issue of red tides effect on people, rather than on dol phins, cormorants and our beloved manatees. Let us examine the case of the dedicated and determined beachgoers. After all, it is high season The outcry from people over the reversal of the smoking ban on public beaches reinforced in me the knowledge that humans were en dowed with common sense: Secondhand smoke stinks and violates my right to the clean sea air by polluting my respiratory sys tem. Cigarette butts in the pristine sands are an eyesore to me and a threat to birds and sh. Such words make people sound normal and rational, do they not? But come red tide, some thing strange happens to people. Beachgoers arrive at the beach. They see and smell the piles of dead, rotting sh lining it.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 113 The only signs of life are a few other beach worshippers and a kettle of turkey vultures circling above them and a venue of turkey vul tures tugging and squabbling over a dead sh, as though they did not have a million other putrid sh from which to choose. Oh, some times they will see a discombobulated Brown Pelican purposelessly waddling the dunes, a tired look in its eyes. So, what do these people do? They nd a spot upwind of the rotting sh carcasses, raise their umbrellas, plunk them selves down in their beach chairs, sit and read and sunbathe for hours, sometimes walking along the shore for exercise. And they do all this in their bare feet! Whatever are they thinking? Obviously, they are not. Could it be that red tides brevetoxins have circumvented all human immunological defenses to detoxify harmful substances be fore they reach the brain? Secondhand ciga rette smoke on the beach does not produce miles-long piles of dead fish or itchy eyes and dry coughing spells. And stepping on a half-buried cigarette butt cannot give a bare foot a puncture wound that a sh barb infest ed with staph bacteria can. The study of chronic effects of Karenia bre vis on people may still be in its infancy, but people have recourse to a vast amount of free and easily accessible information provided by government and private institutions. Beach goers must learn to take advantage of that in formation, just as sherfolk do. To me, that also means that the tourism industry in Flor ida needs to take a far more proactive role in disseminating information on red tide to the public. To date, it has erred too far on the side of discretion or dissembling. If you believe you are suffering from red tide poisoning, call the Aquatic Toxins tollfree hotline: 1-888-232-8635. The hotline is staffed by medical professionals 24/7. See how easy it is to post useful information? Mote Marine Laboratory, in conjunction with NOAA, updates red tide information on Sara sota County beach conditions at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. For more information, click on the link During a red tide disturbance, Motes website and Florida toll-free telephone number (1-866-300-9399) or local number (941-BEACHES) should be posted where ev ery seasonal renter can nd it. If Turtle Beach is plagued by red tide, beachgoers should be told which beaches are not. It is rather like the Macys Santa sending shoppers to Gimbels in the classic 1947 lm Miracle on 34th Street. That goodwill gesture worked nicely because it instilled a sense of faith and trust in people. There is no point in downplaying (and in some cases, downright obfuscating) the effects of red tide when it splashes over our beaches. THE SENSE OF BIRDS People should be more aware of their natural surroundings. We birds are the canaries in the coal mine. When we fall silent, take warning! Now, back to the salient point in this dis course The origin of the phrase to bury ones head in the sand, meaning to ignore or hide from danger, arose from Pliny the Elders (A.D. 23 to A.D. 79) description of an ostrich hiding its head in a bush, condent that no one could see it. Pliny the Elder was a naturalist and an astute observer of human nature. However, birds were not his forte. On avian topics, I be

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 114 lieve he actually borrowed heavily from Hero dotus works of some ve centuries earlier. In fact, in my Ask Otus column, The Prescient Ibis I went so far as to suggest that Pliny de liberately cribbed, not innocently borrowed, from Herodotus. Herodotus wrote of the Ibis in rather glow ing terms; so did Pliny. Herodotus only men tion of the ostrich is the ostrich skins worn by African tribal dignitaries; nothing about the live bird. Not having much to go on (or crib from), Pliny decided to portray the ostrich as a creature so stupid that it would believe its very large self invisible to all once its head was hidden. Well, I have been observing nature and birds on our key for some time now and must dis agree with Pliny and c onclude the opposite. The proof of its invisibility lies in the fact that you can check out every bush and stretch of sand on all of Siesta Key and you will not see a single ostrich. Take it from me: The ostrich is one clever bird! 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. 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.

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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

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By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor CODE ENFORCEMENT SEMINAR PLANNED; INFORMATION ABOUT THE COUNTYS NOISE ORDINANCE TO BE PROVIDED DURING THE MARCH SKA MEETING At the request of Siesta Key Village Associa tion (SKVA) members, Sarasota County Com missioner Nora Patterson who lives on the island has been working with county staff to arrange a seminar on what Code Enforce ment allows and does not allow in the Villages overlay district. Staff was scheduled to meet with the SKVA Board of Directors during its meeting on Feb. 19 to ascertain some of the key topics for the seminar, according to county email. Assistant County Administrator Mark Cun ningham wrote County Commissioner Nora Patterson in a Feb. 14 email that after that ses sion, we will organize a team of appropriate staff who will attend the [seminar]. He also planned to attend, he added. The idea of the educational session was raised during the SKVAs regular meeting on Feb. 5. Kay Kouvatsos, co-owner of Village Caf, pointed out, Forget noise. There are dozens of violations going on in the Village. Since the overlay district was implemented about 14 years ago, she added, many new busi nesses had opened in the Village, and owners and managers are unaware of Code Enforce ment rules. For example, Kouvatsos said, dumpsters sit uncovered and business is illegally conducted off-premises. A guest at the meeting, Patterson responded that she felt sure she could arrange for such a seminar. In conjunction, we really need more staff in Code Enforcement, Peter van Roekens, vice president of the Siesta Key Association, add ed. I think its important that we let people know what is and isnt allowed, Kouvatsos respond ed, before businesses are visited by Code En forcement ofcers who will write them cita tions. Still, Patterson noted, There is a Code En forcement issue Peters got a point.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 117 Patterson reminded the SKVA members that although pleas were made last summer for new full-time Code Enforcement staff, the commission didnt want to pay for that. The result, she continued, was that the com mission approved funding for 15 hours of overtime for an officer each week to deal with violations that occur after normal work ing hours. Thats probably not going to do it, Patterson said of the part-time help. Its not just the Key where complaints are registered, she added. Violations occur all over the coun ty, she noted. You dont want the Gestapo, Patterson con tinued. On the other hand, she added, the code should be enforced fairly. We do want to keep our Village nice, SKVA President Russell Matthes said. With Code Enforcement Ofcer John Lally having been out of work over recent weeks because of health problems, Matthes said, problems in the Village have multiplied. When the cats away, the mice will play, Mat thes pointed out. Sarasota County Sheriffs Deputy Chris Mc Gregor told the SKVA members he tries to ed ucate new business owners about the county code when he sees violations in the Village. The last thing I want to do is write a business a citation, McGregor said. The idea of holding a seminar, he added, is a great idea, noting t hat Sheriffs deputies should be present as well as business owners and Code Enforce ment staff. Deputies have to deal with illegal soliciting for business and transactions conducted on rights of way, he noted. Referring to the code, Matthes said, Its quite complex. There are so many different rules and regulations in the overlay district. Speaking to Patterson, he continued, If you come out here at 6 oclock at night, youll be amazed at the violations. When Patterson expressed concern about whether the seminar would draw a signicant number of business owners, Matthes replied, I think you would certainly be surprised at how many people will come. Patterson suggested the SKVA members also think about whether aspects of the code for the overlay district should be simplied. If there are some things in there that are really unnecessarily complex, that could be brought out in your own meetings, Patterson said, then the SKVA members could raise those points with county staff. Patterson added, As a body, you all are more effective than just one commissioner. Matthes responded that SKVA board members might be able to come up with some proposed changes before the seminar is held.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 118 Mark Smith, immediate past chairman of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, noted that other suggestions probably would come out of the seminar itself. Were obviously not going to be able to micro manage all the little things, Kouvatsos said, but some of the big things just need blanket educating. When Matthes asked Patterson to let him know who will conduct the seminar, she told him she hoped to have the chief of Code En forcement handle that responsibility, because t hat person should be the one most informed about the code. THE NOISE AND THE SOUND On a related note, during its regular meeting on March 7, the Siesta Key Association will host county staff members for a discussion of the current noise and sound ordinance, Pres ident Catherine Luckner told me this week. That presentation will include information about the science involved in measuring sound, Luckner said. Blas Caf in Siesta Village continues to be a focal point for noise complaints. A Jan. 24 email to the County Commission from a Siesta condominium resident says the music at Blas regularly exceeds the allowable level on the bass, or C, scale in the countys Noise Ordinance. Gilligans, the Hub and the Daiquiri Deck are saints and responsible, the resident adds.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 119 Its not specically about music and its not specically about bands, she added of the concern about noise on the island. Its a larg er issue. Sound pollution is a matter of great focus in neighborhoods, Luckner pointed out a fact underscored by comments a resident made during the Feb. 7 SKA meeting. Katherine Zimmerman pointed out that she hardly can nd a time to go outside and relax, with all the lawn service personnel working at homes around her house, using blowers to get rid of yard debris. On Sept. 25, 2012, the County Commission voted to extend the sunset date for the Air and Sound Pollution Ordinance for one year until Nov. 18, 2013, Tom Polk, director of the planning and development services for the county, noted in a Dec. 14, 2012 memo to County Administrator Randall Reid. Polk pointed out that the extension was request ed to afford staff the opportunity to engage citizens for input with regards to noise levels, enforcement and penalties. Since September, Polk continued, Zoning and Code Enforcement staff members have en gaged the assistance of Neighborhood Ser vices staff for community outreach and coor dination efforts relating to possible changes to the ordinance and consideration of removing the enforcement of Noise and Sound from the County Code and including it in the Zoning Ordinance. Polk added that he anticipated those out reach efforts to include business owners of entertainment establishments and business groups in geographically targeted areas such as Gulf Gate and Siesta Key, the Chambers of Commerce, as well as County neighborhood groups. The anticipated outcomes from these efforts are to nd a common ground for dif fering opinions on the Noise Ordinance [and] establish standards that are amicable to all and enforceable. During the Feb. 5 SKVA meeting, President Russell Matthes said that as a business owner (co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck and the Dai quiri Deck Raw Bar), I like to push the enve lope as [much] as anyone else, but our goal is to get customers in our front door with music, signs or whatever. Nonetheless, he added, We do have guide lines for a reason, because we like to keep our Village a quaint Village. Ugly signs are not going to bring tourists. Band noise is not going to bring tourists TURTLE BEACH IMPROVEMENTS During the County Commissions Feb. 8 bud get workshop, Carolyn Brown, general man ager of the Parks and Recreation Department, reported that design and permitting are ex pected to be completed in November for the latest improvements to Turtle Beach Park on the southern part of Siesta Key. Those new amenities are as follows: A 30-foot gazebo.

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 120 Additional covered picnic areas About two dozen new parking spaces plus about six more spaces to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Pedestrian connections to the new gazebo. A relocated playground. An upgrade of the existing kayak launch at Blind Pass. The design contract cost is $149,996, accord ing to a PowerPoint presentation to the Coun ty Commission. Once the design work and permitting are com pleted, Brown said, a public information meet ing will be scheduled. The amenities have been in the works for a number of years. % Over the past several years, Sarasota County staff has been working to improve the amenities at Tur tle Beach Park on Siesta Key, including walkways and boat ramps. Photo courtesy Sarasota County A Sarasota County map shows the area of Turtle Beach Park on Siesta Key. Map courte sy Sarasota County

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Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has announced that Soul Crooners 2, a companion piece to its previously sold-out Soul Crooners, will open on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Troupes theater at 1646 10th Way in Sarasota. Highlighting the soul music of the 1970s, the all-male cast will offer up a revue of some of that eras classic hits, a news release says. Nate Jacobs, founding artistic director of WBTT, has written and adapted the show, much like the rst, but with an entire new group of musical favorites and smooth dance routines, the release adds. We ran the original Soul Crooners as a short er-run, summer show and the response was so tremendous that we included it again in the following regular season, says Jacobs in the release. The audiences just loved the music and many came back more than once. One fan even ew the cast and musicians to Germany to perform the piece for his birthday celebra tion, Jacobs continues in the release. The selection of African American music that transformed the s seems sometimes end less, he adds. Cant wait for the audiences to experience another strong dose of soul from the Troupe. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is music that arose out of the black experience in America through the trans (From left) The cast members of Soul Crooners 2 are Leon Pitts II, Chris Eisenberg, Nate Jacobs and Michael Mendez. (Not pictured: Barry Byrd.) Contributed photo SOUL CROONERS 2 OPENS FEB. 22 AT WBTTS THEATER ARTS BRIEFS

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 122 mutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular, testifying lyrics, the release points out. Among its characteristics are catchy rhythms, hand claps and extem poraneous body moves, along with calls and responses between the soloists and the cho ruses, the release notes. Performers such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Smokey Robinson were all a part of the movement that continued for more than a decade until disco and funk be gan to dominate the charts, the release points out. The shows will be performed Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets, which are $29.50, may be pur chased online at or by calling the box ofce at 366-1505. The show runs through March 24. The Sarasota Brass Quintet to will bring its unique brand of winds to the Sanctuary Con certs series on February 24 at 2:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, the church has announced. Founded in 1986, the Sarasota Brass Quintet (formerly the Florida Brass Quintet) is one of the most popular ensembles of the Sara sota Orchestra, a news release says. It per forms chamber music as part of the orches tras Chamber Soiree series. Additionally, the group has performed throughout Florida and performs for and works with students at schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the release adds. The group includes Michael Dobrinski (trum pet), Greg Knudsen (trumpet), Laurence Solowey (horn), Brad Williams (trombone) and Jay Hunsberger (tuba). Sarasota Brass Quintet concerts offer a de lightful mix of diverse programming, including the great classics of the standard repertoire to refreshingly entertaining pops selections, says Don DeMaio, concert coordinator, in the release. Among selections for this concert will be Claudio Monteverdis Suite from LOrfeo Alan Civils Dance Suite music of J.S. Bach, and selections from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, the release notes. The performance is the part of the six-concert 2012-2013 Sanctuary Concerts series, which gives audiences opportunities to experience great music in an old European style, per formed in a church sanctuary and followed by courtyard reception with the artists, the release adds. Tickets, which are $15, include the compli mentary wine and cheese reception. For more information, call 371-4974 or visit www. SARASOTA BRASS QUINTET TO PERFORM IN SANCTUARY CONCERT Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 123 Sarasota Ballet Director Iain Webb is repris ing three unique and beautiful pieces from the past for the companys fth performance of the 2012-2013 season, the Ballet has an nounced. This program Ashton, Tudor, Walsh will offer audience members three different styles of ballet, a news release notes. Highlighting classical ballet through Sir Frederick Ashtons Les Rendezvous, storytelling ballet with Ant ony Tudors Lilac Garden and a contempo rary ballet with Dominic Walshs I Napoletani, Program Five is sure to have something for everyone, the release adds. Presented at the Florida State University Cen ter for the Performing Arts, Ashton, Tudor, Walsh will open on March 1 and run until March 3. Originally performed by The Sarasota Ballet in 2010, Les Rendezvous will be the rst bal let danced during Program Five, the release says. A light-hearted suite of dances in which young people meet, irt and part, this classic was intended to showcase the chemistry and technical virtuosity of those who dance within the solos and pas de deux, the release notes. Staged by Margaret Barbieri, Les Rendezvous is set to the interlude of a popular French op era, LEnfant Prodigue. Following the cheery choreography of Les Rendezvous will be Tudors Lilac Garden. With a straightforward but emotionally po tent plot, this ballet follows the story of a young woman who attends a lilac-scented par ty on the evening before her marriage of con venience, the release continues. With her be trothed, her lover and a mystery woman also at the social gathering, the quartet of crossed lovers passes among the guests in a series of brief encounters of passion and frustration that are displayed in dramatic lines and lifts, it points out. Tudors works always favor a deeply felt hu man and psychological truth, says Webb in The Sarasota Ballet will perform Les Rendezvous as part of its Ashton, Tudor, Walsh performances March 1-3. Photo by Frank Atura SARASOTA BALLET TO SHOWCASE DIVERSITY OF BALLET

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 124 the release. This dance is elegant and pow erful and Im pleased to be bringing it back. The Sarasota Ballet rst performed it in Octo ber 2008, the release notes. Concluding the diversied program will be Walshs smash hit I Napoletani. Inspired by the vitality of Naples, this contemporary bal let is light-hearted and set to popular Neapol itan music from the late 1800s, the release adds. First presented by The Sarasota Ballet in 2009, this charming display of optimistic viewpoints is uplifting and fun for all ages, the release says. Life brings an assortment of situations and emotions irtatious rst encounters, tear ful farewells and through it all we must have an optimistic vigor for life, says Webb in the release. This program, while displaying three very different ballets, is really all about remaining positive and making the best out of every situation. In addition to the traditional five perfor mances, on March 4 an extra performance of Walshs I Napoletani will be offered, along with a demonstration of dance by Barbieri and the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory of Dance students, the release notes. This special event will be hosted by The Sarasota Ballet to ben et All Childrens Hospital in St. Petersburg. With 100 premium seats donated to All Chil drens staff, the rest of the house will be sold to the public at a discounted rate of $25 a seat. All proceeds from that performance will be donated to the not-for-prot hospital. The FSU Center for the Performing Arts is located at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, visit or call 359-0099. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has created an original piece combining song, dance and drama to pay tribute to important people who contributed to black history in America, the Troupe has announced. We Are Because They Were will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. in the WBTT theater, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota, a news re lease says. As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to bring home the message by making history come alive, says Nate Jacobs, WBTT artistic director, in the release. We decided to commission a piece that could energize the community around the many important stories that changed not only our world but our countrys culture. With our network of dynamic and talented performers, we hope to captivate and educate the audience about the many historic voices that contributed to our rich African-American culture and expe rience. We Are Because They Were will explore the concepts, ideas, and artistic realms of the black diaspora through creative perfor mance, the release adds. It will celebrate many famous, inspiring and amazing Afri can Americans who have paved the way for today, the release continues. The show will feature works from Langston Hughes, August Wilson, Maya Angelou and Mahalia Jackson. Important voices such as those of Martin Lu ther King Jr. and Malcolm X will be heard among the many great African Americans, the release notes. Tickets, which are $20, may be bought by call ing the box ofce at 366-1505 or going online at TROUPE TO COMMEMORATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 125 Around Here a one-woman exhibition of re cent watercolor paintings by Sarasota artist Rita Rust, opens Feb. 23 and runs to March 30 at Art Uptown, 1367 Main St., Sarasota. An artists reception is scheduled for Friday, March 22, from 6 to 9 p.m., the gallery has an nounced. The public is invited. Rust has twice served as president of Art Up town, where she exhibits her paintings on a regular basis, a news release notes. She is a signature member and past president of the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society and has exhibited and won numerous awards through out Florida, the release adds. A graduate of Georgetown University, she spent 11 years working in New York City in graphic arts, primarily in publishing, the re lease notes. Her work is widely held in cor porate and private collections, and she often is invited to serve as a juror for juried art ex hibitions, it adds. Watercolor is her passion, she says in the re lease, for its translucence, spontaneity and proclivity to create unintended results. Her subjects can be anything interestingly illu minated, because its all about the quality of light, she notes. I try to capture the beauty that surrounds us but is so often overlooked in our fast-paced lives. Scenes of Sarasota will be featured in her ex hibition. Even after living in the community for more than 20 years, Rust continues in the ART UPTOWN TO FEATURE WATERCOLORS BY RITA RUST Bayside Morning by Rita Rust/Contributed photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 126 release, Sarasotas beauty continues to amaze me. My paintings, whether done in plein air or in the studio, are meant to convey a sense of the glorious moment which inspired them, she adds. Art Uptown, owned by its member artists, is Sarasotas oldest continuously operated coop erative ne art gallery. The works of a high ly talented group of local artists and crafts people have been exhibited in the same Main Street location for more than 30 years, the release points out. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the monthly First Friday Gallery Walks on Palm and Main streets, the evening hours are 6-9. For more information, call 955-5409 or visit Best Beach by Rita Rust/Contributed photo One Selby Palm by Rita Rust/Contributed photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 127 Faculty and staff of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee College of Educa tion worked with students in Susan Ambrio sios fth-grade art class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School to create original works of art titled, What I Can Be With a College Degree which will be displayed at the college beginning Feb. 22. A reception introducing the works will be held in the USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Edu cation from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, the college has announced. What I Can Be with a College Degree is an ef fort to promote the value of higher education among students who are culturally, linguisti cally, racially/ethnically and socioeconomical ly diverse, a USF news release says. It grew out of the College of Educations Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching (PAInT) Center, which infuses the arts into all teacher prepa ration, the release adds. Booker Elementary School serves as a host for USFSMs teacher candidates completing their internships, the release points out. The Edu cators Alliance at USFSM encourages future educators to work with diverse students and encourage their growth and success through professional development and community ser vice, it continues. To prepare for the display, students were given a homework assignment to research various state universities to learn what college degrees are offered and which would interest them, the release adds. They looked into how long it would take to acquire specic degrees, what clothes they would wear in their chosen pro fessions, what tools they would use and what salary ranges they would earn once they were working in those elds, the release notes. Each student had a photo of his or her face taken, which was converted into a comput erized line drawing that personalizes each work of art and helped the young artists focus on the professions rather than their drawing skills, the release says. The students came upon the realization that college was a possibility rather something that was out of their grasp and it wasnt that far in the future, Ambriosio notes in the release. They also gured out that some professions require a college degree and some need a spe cial training route instead. This was a special initiative because it gave us the opportunity to see the potential these students have and to encourage their dreams, USFSM College of Education student Bailey Leonard, a student teacher at Tatum Ridge El ementary, points out in the release. As edu cators, one of our goals is to help every child reach their potential in life and to help them succeed. We really got to see that connection being made! Colorful self-portraits of fth-graders ex pressing What I Can Be With a College Degree will be displayed in the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee College of Educa tion beginning Feb. 22. EMMA BOOKER SCHOOL STUDENTS ARTWORK TO BE DISPLAYED

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 128 The Jazz Club of Sarasotas Jazz at Two 20122013 concert series will continue in March with Al Hixon (March 1); Heffner and Hefner (March 15); and Metro Connection (March 22), the club has announced. On Friday, March 1, from 2 to 4 p.m., jazz drummer Hixon will be joined by vocalist June Garber and a roster of other talented lo cal musicians dubbed the Underheard Herd, a news release says. Theyre not my usual band, notes Hixon in the release, but theyre all great, undiscov ered players who I guarantee the audience will love! Hixon, who has been playing drums and per forming since age 7, is a retired urban planner who has been a crowd-pleaser on Sarasota s jazz scene for more than 22 years, the release points out. The series continues on Friday, March 15, from 2 to 4 p.m., with Heffner and Hefner, featuring Katt Heffner and her brother, Stan Hefner. Known for her compelling voice that ranks in the top echelons of respected female jazz sing ers, Katt Heffner has worked in off-Broadway musicals, television and movies, the release points out. She has shared the stage with the likes of Patti LaBelle, The Temptations, Lu ther Vandross and the renowned bassist John Lamb, it adds. Al Hixon/Contributed photo JAZZ AT TWO CONCERT TO PRESENT AL HIXON ON MARCH 1

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 129 Her brother, Stan the Man Hefner, multitasks as a keyboardist, producer, arranger and songwriter, the release notes. As a duo, this brother and sister are known for their skillful delivery of music from the heart and soul, the release says. The March series concludes with Metro Con nection on Friday, March 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. The group was founded in 2006 by Greg Lece wicz; the lineup for the concert will consist of Lecewicz on trombone, Kevin Celebri on trumpet, David Pruyn on drums, Rodney Ro jas on sax and Bruce Wallace on bass, the re lease says. According to Lecewicz in the release, the group has a very distinct sound, making it immediately recognizable among any num ber of similar sextets. This particular quality has kept us going strong through the years. The ensemble plays smooth renditions of beloved jazz standards, the release adds. The Jazz Club of Sarasota also will present the 33rd annual Sarasota Jazz Festival March 3-10. This years lineup includes JB Scott and his Swinging Allstars (March 5, 7:30 p.m.); Gi acomo Gates (March 7, 7:30 p.m.); a Benny Goodman Tribute by the Terry Myers Orches tra (March 8, 7:30 p.m.) and The Four Fresh men (March 9, 7:30 p.m.). Those four concerts will be at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information about Jazz at Two the Sarasota Jazz Festi val, and the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 366-1552 or visit www.jazz clubsarasota. org % Katt Heffner and Stan Hefner/Contributed photo

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At a time when many people have been turn ing away from organized religion, the Unitar ian Universalist Church of Sarasota (UUCS), already the largest of its kind in Florida, saw its membership grow 8 percent in 2012, the church has announced. Members cite the open-minded, inclusive na ture of the faith, a new minister, an invigorat ed religious education program and stronger marketing among the reasons for the uptick, according to a news release. A 2012 Pew Charitable Center survey found that 16 percent of American adults claim no religious afliation up from 2 percent in 1950, the release points out. This group dubbed the nones because they say, None, when asked to state their religion is over whelmingly socially liberal and includes athe ists and agnostics as well many who say that they are spiritual or pray every day, the re lease adds. The inclusive nature of our congregation makes us a perfect t for nones and others who are looking for a spiritual home without dogma, says the Rev. Roger Fritts, the UUCS minister since August 2011, in the release. We welcome people of all religious backgrounds, including theists, atheists and agnostics. Our members represent a variety of racial, so cio-economic, ethnic and sexual orientations, [and they] come here to be part of a friend ly, caring, socially conscious community that helps each person nd meaning in their lives, he adds in the release. The UUCS has also attracted families through its revitalized religious education program. In addition to overseeing the childcare and Sunday School programs offered weekly, the congregations new director of religious ed ucation, John Irvin, has started a Coming of Age program geared toward middle schoolage children, and he has supervised the reno vations of the religious education classrooms, the release notes. From January through March, the church also offers a family-friend ly, contemporary service on Sundays at 9 a.m. The Unitarian Universalist Church is located on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney LOCAL CHURCH BUCKS NATIONAL TREND IN GROWING BY 8 PERCENT RELIGION BRIEFS

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 131 Members of the Sarasota-Manatee communi ty may have heard about the religious edu cation program, Sunday sermons and other UUCS events, such as the Freethinkers dis cussions and weekly forums, through the churchs increased marketing and public rela tions efforts, the release adds. To broaden its reach, the church has revamped its website, started advertising on Facebook and Google and strengthened its relationships with local media through consistent releases and event postings, the release points out. The Unitarian Universalist denomination has roots going back to the founding of the United States. Four Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft were Unitarian, the release says. The church in Sarasota was founded in 1952. For more information, visit the website or call 371-4974. Rick Recht the worlds top-touring artist in Jewish music and a leading composer of sacred and pop Jewish tunes will give a concert at Temple Emanu-El, 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, on Saturday, March 9, at 7 p.m., the Temple has announced. The performance is being co-sponsored by Temple Emanu-El and Temple Beth Sholom, a news release says, with net proceeds of the show beneting All Faiths Food Bank, Every day Blessings and Jewish Family & Childrens Service. As he performs his acclaimed songs such as hits The Hope Tear Down the Walls and Good Thing Recht will be joined onstage by local talent, including Jeff Weber, the can tor at Temple Beth Sholom; Hannah Beatt, a seventh-grader at Temple Emanu-El Religious School who has sung on Broadway and who most recently starred in Annie at The Play ers Theatre; and Sam Silverberg, a graduate of Temple Emanu-El Religious School who has performed extensively with Sarasotas youth opera and who recently sang the national anthem at a University of Florida basketball game, the release notes. Concert tickets are available during business hours at Temple Emanu-El and Temple Beth Sholom. Call 371-2788 or 955-8121 for more information. TOP JEWISH TOURING MUSICIAN RECHT TO PERFORM MARCH 9 Internationally known Jewish musician Rick Recht will perform at Temple Emanu-El next month. Contributed photo Rick Recht/Contributed photo

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Sarasota News Leader February 22, 2013 Page 132 Temple Sinai will return to the Roaring Twen ties for a music and comedy adaptation of the traditional Purim story on Saturday, Feb. 23, the Temple has announced. Members of the public are welcome to join Temple members at 5 p.m. Feb. 23 for the orig inal program The Queen said, No! featuring The Bruno Trio with Rabbi Geoffrey Huntting and Chazzan Cliff Abramson. Other stars of the show will be adult and youth congregants, a news release says. A din ner will be served after the service, with beer TEMPLE SINAI TO HOST SHUSHAN 1928 A PURIM PROGRAM and wine available. Carnival games and other festivities will be on the program as well, the release notes. Dinner reservations are required. The cost for adult guests is $15; for guest families, $30. People are welcome to come in formal dinner attire or their Purim nest, the release adds. Temple Sinai is located at 4631 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota. (Enter the grounds from Proctor Road.) For more information, visit Templesinai-sara or call 924-1802. % Most people would rather be certain theyre miserable, than risk being happy. Robert Anthony Purchase a full-page, advertising twelve pack between now and January 31st, 2013 and receive four of these fantastic SNL 16oz Tervis Tumblers. Show your support for e Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida around the house, around the oce, wherever you go with these locally manufactured, high-quality insulated tumblers. or (941) 227-1080 Advertisers must meet all terms and conditions of sale for the 12-pack advertising package. Limit of one set of four tumblers per advertiser. Offer is valid while supplies last. Tervis is a registered trademark of Tervis Tumbler Company. The Sarasota News Leader is not afliated with Tervis Tumbler Company. A Very Special Oer For Advertisers

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22+ FEB WBTT presents Soul Crooners 2 Feb. 22 to March 24, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50; 366-1505 or 23 FEB WSLR presents Jack Williams and Gove Scrivenor Feb. 23, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at door; 23+ FEB 2013 Plant & Garden Festival Feb. 23-24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Selby Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave. Special admission: $12 for non-members; members adult guests, $5; children 11 & under and members, admitted free. For details, visit 23+ FEB Art Uptown presents Around Here a one-woman exhibition by artist Rita Rust Feb. 23 to March 30, 1367 Main St., Sarasota. Free admission; 955-5409 or 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 business behind the meat, vegetables, grains and milk that most Americans eat every day, includ ing some customers favorite and most respected organic and health-conscious brands, according to a news release. Foodopoly is available for pre-order at BookStore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., or by calling the store at 365-7900. More event info at www.bookstore1sara 26 FEB PMP/Suncoast presents the Ariel Quartet Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Beatrice Freidman Theater, 580 McIntosh Road, Sarasota. 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 WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PELICANT? SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS