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 CRICKETS FROM THE PUBLIC THE SOUND MERRY-GO-ROUND QUESTIONING INTERNAL CHARGES Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida March 8, 2013




Copyright 2012 Sarasota News Leader All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Member National Newspaper Association The Sarasota News Leader is a publication of: New Sheriff Publishing, Inc. Post Ofce Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277-5099 Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer David Staats Columnist Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer Scott Proftt Staff Writer Tyler Whitson Staff Writer TWhitson John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD


Each week, two of my primary responsibilities are making a nal rec ommendation on the order of stories in the publication and compiling the News Briefs. Fortunately, since we have progressive in our tagline, some stories easily lend themselves to a front-of-the-book spot. For example, no other publications around town seem to be taking an interest in the domestic partnership registry matter at the county level. Putting a story we write about that near the front of the News Leader is a logical decision. Likewise, while the Walmart proposal for the Ringling shopping center remained in the spotlight, we felt readers were eager to nd out City Editor Stan Zimmermans take on the latest action in the saga. Of course, when we scoop the other news media, we automatically put those articles at or near the top of the list. One beauty of our digital format, however, is that you do not have to turn page after page after page to reach a story that interests you. All you need to do is scan our Table of Contents each week and click on the headlines that grab your attention; that click takes you right to the article. The others, you can save for later. The News Briefs, as they say in Oz, is a horse of a different color. We try very hard to include news about street or facility closings, for example, to save you time and trouble. This weekly compila tion also is a good place for shorter staff-written pieces about matters we feel are noteworthy. The rest of the articles come from a wide variety of news releases. This time of year, especially, there is no dearth of them. We try to provide you a smorgasbord from which to choose non prot news; arrests; upcoming events that need a fuller explanation than our Community Calen dar can provide. As always, we welcome any comments about whether you would like to see more or less of a particular type of item in the News Briefs or elsewhere in the News Leader Editor and Publisher WELCOME


THE SOUND MERRY-GO-ROUND THE DIDS DOINGS NEWS & COMMENTARY CRICKETS FROM THE PUBLIC 8 In debate over Sarasota 2050, county residents will have the opportunity to voice their own views about future development Cooper Levey-Baker THE SOUND MERRY-GO-ROUND 13 Analysis: Ad hoc city panel to kick around the Noise Ordinance Stan Zimmerman QUESTIONING INTERNAL CHARGES 20 The County Commission approves a $1.3 million South Lido Beach restroom project but indicates changes ahead for calculating staff expenses Rachel Brown Hackney THE DIDS DOINGS 25 Tube Dudes, sidewalks and one unusual lawsuit are the focus of downtown groups discussions this week Stan Zimmerman ANOTHER WALMART, ANOTHER PUBLIC HEARING 28 At the petitioners request, the County Commission delays consideration of a zoning change to allow a new Walmart to be built at the Bee Ridge/Beneva roads intersection Rachel Brown Hackney REDUCING THE IMPACT 34 A contractor agrees to a later start and faster schedule for completing work that will close the Honore Avenue/Clark Road intersection Rachel Brown Hackney IT PROBLEMS ONLY 38 Tipster cost the city $636,187.07 Stan Zimmerman UNCHARTERED WATERS 41 As a local charter school attempts to break away from its Virginia-based parent company, the School Board urges mediation Scott Proftt AMNESTY DAY 45 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers no-penalty ways for pet owners to give up creatures of conditional species David Staats PLEA FOR SAFE PASSAGE 48 Residents say the parking overow from Siesta Village onto Avenida de Mayo has created dangerous situations Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Stormy Sunset by Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: Jerry Kaplan and friend by Rachel Brown Hackney


TWICE THE FUN MAGICAL HORSES RAMPING BACK UP 51 Florida House preparing to stand alone while expanding on its original mission Stan Zimmerman A NEW SEAWALL 54 Bay Island Park to see replacement of 40-year-old structure Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 56 OPINION EDITORIAL 69 Vote Holland and Chapman for Sarasota City Commission COMMENTARY 71 Just go ahead and call it an addiction Harriet Cuthbert SARASOTA LEISURE TWICE THE FUN 74 Universitys SM2 event offers a different take on math class Scott Proftt ASK OTUS 78 Leapin lizards: Watch out for those Tegus Otus Rufous MAGICAL HORSES 83 The Budweiser Clydesdales draw adoring fans in Siesta Village Harriet Cuthbert GREAT PERFORMANCES 88 Hulland, Gil earn high plaudits for Sarasota Ballet roles in Tudor, Walsh pieces Elinor Rogosin SIESTA SEEN 91 Planning continues for a Code Enforcement meeting; lack of resolution on Siesta Village crosswalk lighting bemoaned; Easter Bunny to visit Rachel Brown Hackney ARTS BRIEFS 96 RELIGION BRIEFS 105 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 107 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 108 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article




Now it is your turn. Starting next Wednesday evening, March 13, Sarasota County residents will have the chance to sound off about the fate of Sarasota 2050 the detailed land-use plan approved 11 years ago to preserve open space and to en courage the construction of walkable, mixeduse communities. The plan requires builders to follow a set of specic rules crafted to encourage the con struction of village-style neighborhoods rather than traditional suburbs regulations that come in exchange for the ability to increase density. The creation of the plan was an at tempt to strike a bargain between developers hoping to construct housing in new areas, pri marily east of I-75, and communities that were concerned about unchecked urban sprawl. But now that bargain might be headed for the scrap heap. Last September, the Sarasota County Commission voted to have Planning and Development Services staffers begin re A Sarasota County map shows details of how the 2050 plan would be applied to future development. Image courtesy Sarasota County IN DEBATE OVER SARASOTA 2050, COUNTY RESIDENTS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE THEIR OWN VIEWS ABOUT FUTURE DEVELOPMENT CRICKETS FROM THE PUBLIC By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 9 evaluating 2050, specically tasking them with meeting with developers who have worked with the plan to solicit recommendations on how to alter it. Meet they did, and the depart ment returned with a list of 38 issues de velopers said they en countered when deal ing with 2050. One example: fiscal neutrality monitoring rules, which require periodic reports to guarantee that a proj ect will not cost the county money. De velopers want those check-ups, delivered at every phase of a development or on an annual or bi-annual ba sis, eliminated. Another example: stipulations that new neigh borhoods have a mix of different housing types to serve different communities. Devel opers want those regulations amended to provide more latitude. A third example: a requirement that the com mercial portion of a neighborhood be located internally within a project. Developers want that portion of the plan struck. Critics of 2050 point to the fact that only one new development, Neal Communities Grand Palm, has gotten off the ground through 2050 as evidence the regulations are too restrictive. In addition to Grand Palm, Schroeder-Manatee has received the go-ahead for Villages of Lake wood Ranch South, a 5,500-acre, 5,144-unit development that brings the total number of units approved under 20 50 to more than 7,000. Having heard the developers side of things, the County Commission voted in January to schedule a series of public meetings to solic it comment from the public meetings that kick off at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday at Twin Lakes Park. Long-Range Planning Manager Allen Par sons says the meetings will be run in an open house style, complete with table displays on the relevant issues. There will not be any formal presentation. Staff there will be available to answer questions and take in put, he adds. So far, Parsons has not heard much from county residents who are opposed to the changes. Not a whole lot of input, he says. But he does note a high level of interest in the public meetings. An announcement email sent to interested parties this week went out to 283 email addresses, including those of real estate investor Bob Waechter, City Commis sioner Terry Turner and Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities. After Wednesdays meeting, and one like it the following week, Parsons department will organize whatever feedback it receives and present it to the County Commission. Parsons is shooting for a spot on the boards May 8 agenda. The debate over 2050 has so far proven to be relatively low-key, with only a handful of residents speaking out against the proposed changes a marked difference from the in There are a handful of people that have heard what this is about and dont really understand the parameters of 2050, and the majority of those are people who own land thats affected, and then maybe ve or six people that Ive heard from that have taken part in creating the plan that are concerned. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 10 tense con troversy over the Ringling Plaza Walmart, for example. One tireless critic of the proposed 2050 over haul has been attorney Dan Lobeck, the pres ident of Control Growth Now. He calls the developer recommendations an incredible assault on the trade-off between density on one hand and the public interest. Lobeck, who helped craft some aspects of the plan, says none of the 38 recommenda tions are benign. He penned and distributed a 3,600-word critique that tackles the issues in turn, concluding: Each would signicantly undermine or destroy an important protection of the public interest at the heart of the Sara sota 2050 Plan. One example he brings up is the one men tioned above, the request that developers be allowed to build the commercial portions of their projects outside the village s themselves. Picture a new neighborhood with its commer cial sector on its edge, bordering a major thor oughfare. It totally trashes the walkability for the village in the way that it was intended, he tells The Sarasota News Leader Lobeck is not optimistic the upcoming public meetings will lead to much outrage. I hope Im proven wrong, but I strongly suspect its just window dressing, he says. County Commissioner Nora Patterson, for one, is eager to hear what residents have to say. During the January meeting at which the commission approved the open houses, she was the only board member who seemed skeptical of the developers requests. As she noted, she also was the only one sitting on the dais who actually voted in favor of the plan in the rst place. She said she still believes in 2050s principles. The Sarasota County Commission sits in session earlier this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 11 Commi ssioner Christine Robinson took issue with Pattersons analysis. You were inferring that we were agreeing to accept all of these [proposed changes], she said. No way am I suggesting by any means that we end up look ing like Miami. Commissioners Charles Hines and Carolyn Mason chimed in to say they agreed. The strongest criticism of the 2050 plan has repeatedly come from County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, who said in January he would like to scrap the whole thing. Itll never work, he said during a meeting last Septem ber. Patterson tells the News Leader she has not heard from many constituents on the issue. There are a handful of people that have heard what this is about and dont really understand the parameters of 2050, and the majority of those are people who own land thats affect ed, she says, and then maybe ve or six peo ple that Ive heard from that have taken part in creating the plan that are concerned. She says she cant imagine the commission will accept all 38 developer recommendations, but she is not comfortable going public yet with the ones that trouble her. If you gut the regulations, youve approved development thats pretty massive without getting back the advantage to the public of 2050, she says. Its a really complicated plan and it all ts together. But the ght to preserve the fundamentals of 2050 may depend on whether county residents become engaged. If enough people rise up against this push for urban sprawl, its possible it could be de feated, Lobeck points out, stressing how far-reaching the changes might be and argu ing that 2050 is a much more important ght than the Walmart battle. Think of the potential increase in trafc along the major east-west thoroughfares, he says. It is already at a stand still during rush hour. It would be a shame if people dont get aroused until its too late. I spent a number of years working on it and I think we should keep the essence of 2050, Patterson says. She cites the Neal project as a success story. It has really only been nine years since the plan was put on the table, she notes. At least four, maybe ve, of those have been in a deep recession with no housing market whatsoever, and its supposed to be a 50-year plan. Upcoming Sarasota 2050 public meetings: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 20; Green Building Con ference Room, Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota. To join the countys Planning and Develop ment Services email mailing list, send your contact information to % Commissioner Nora Patterson/Photo by Nor man Schimmel


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Downtown condominium owners continue to protest a relaxation of city standards for noise. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SOUND MERRY-GO-ROUND The goose laying the golden egg is the resident and the condo owner. The condo owner provides a huge amount of revenue and doesnt demand a lot of services. If they leave, the citys in deep trouble. Terry Turner Commissioner City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 14 I t is a game with a lot of players, most of whom view the game as zero-sum, win or lose. The game is called The Noise Ordinance, and it has been played before between residents and business people in downtown Sarasota. It pits bar owners attracting crowds against lovers of peace and quiet. So far the peaceand-quiet faction is up 2-0. Right on schedule comes a third round. I went through this in 1986 when I had three bars and three bands going every night, said Ernie Ritz. A quarter-century later, he is still in the business, running the Gator Bar at Lem on and Main. And he is the chairman of the Downtown Improvement District. In the late 1990s, a downtown bar at Lemon and State called the Lemon Coast became the catalyst for todays regulations. The Lemon Coast occupied an empty corner lot. A tiki hut and truckloads of sand turned the vacant lot into a downtown beach bar with everything but the ocean. The owners liked music, so they set up a stage against an adjacent three-story wall. The mu sic was aimed directly at the emerging highrise condos then being sold for serious money. The condo newcomers raised Cain, but the Lemon Coast refused any proposal of com promise. When the dust cleared, the Lemon Coast was out of business and the current Noise Ordi nance had become the law of the land. Right on schedule 14 years later, the dust is rising again as a new generation wants more life downtown after dark. PREMATURE VICTORY Not one but two sets of regulations about noise exist in the city. One is a freestanding regulation, the Noise Ordinance. It stipulates the times music can be played outdoors and the volume. It is enforced by police armed with decibel meters. The other regulation is a portion of the citys zoning code; it bans amplied music of any sort outside. It is enforced by the citys Code Compliance Division of the Department of Neighborhood and Development Services. On Feb. 19, a representative of the Sarasota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union suggested the city reconsider the amplica tion ban. We believe that is unconstitutional on its face, said Michael Bareld. City Attorney Bob Fournier replied, The [City] Commission could suspend it right now and take the safe road. The commissioners did with alacrity and staff was informed not to cite infractions of the zoning code. Barelds comments came after a senior staff er had written a Feb. 8 letter to downtown restaurants and bars, saying the city was about to begin a push to cite amplied music violations. After the suspension, musicians in the audience at the City Commission meeting cheered the move. ANALYSIS: AD HOC CITY PANEL TO KICK AROUND THE NOISE ORDINANCE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 15 However, opp onents of the Noise Ordinance misconstrued the action as renunciation of the standalone ordinance, not just the one lit tle provision in the zoning code. So the mu sic downtown got a little louder and went on a little longer the following two weekends. Thus, downtown residents were primed and ready when the city commissioners sat down Monday, March 4, to discuss the real Noise Ordinance. CARAGULIOS SYMPOSIUM City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo late last year led two community workshops to ex plore the background, impact and implica tions of the citys Noise Ordinance. Between the two, more than 100 people attended. On March 4, Caragiulo brought the show to City Hall, and at the outset he noted the zero-sum nature of the discussion. No matter where you start the conversation, youre going to upset somebody, he said. If we go forward, its going to be complicated. He suggested three different approaches. One would be pursuit of a staff-only study, involv ing planners and police and possibly consul tants. A second would be the formation of an ad hoc committee, and the third would be a mix of the rst two. Caragiulo then invited Planning Board Mem ber Mort Siegel to speak. Siegel is a lawyer with 40 years of national experience in en tertainment law, representing nightclubs such as The Hard Rock Caf and the Playboy Club chain. City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo compares readings with a Sarasota police ofcer checking deci bel levels on St. Armands late last year. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 16 On one sid e you have the neighborhoods, with an interest in preserving their quality of life, he said. On the other are people who rightfully support the idea of entertainment. Siegel gave an air of urgency to the discussion. If we dont get it right, well lose control of this city. You cannot let this go without proper enforcement, he said. We have to get a hold on it and act on it immediately. City Commissioner Terry Turner interrupted: We suspended enforcement of the zoning code portion relating to amplied music be cause it was highly likely we would be sued on First Amendment grounds, he said. You in dicate a balance [is possible] and we can reg ulate sound with respect to time and place. The cardinal rule is, dont prohibit, said Sie gel. Regulate. LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Caragiulo then opened the floor to public comment. It has been proposed the city be made more vibrant. If so, the walls and windows down town will vibrate, said retired New York Judge Frank Brenner. Sarasota does not need to be more vibrant. It needs to be more hab itable. In fact public expectations are framed par tially on when people rst experienced down town. A Gillespie Park resident said, In 1985, downtown was really busy. Then it died. I dont know why people buy property down town and dont consider the noise. Charter boat Capt. Wayne Genther told the commission, My clients are astounded the city goes pretty quiet at night. He added, Were a grow ing town and an urbanizing town, and we need to offer urbanism, a lit tle entertainment and a little extra entertain ment. But a majority of the speakers did not see it that way. This is out of control; its too loud, said condo dweller and former Sarasota Coun ty Commissioner David Mills. Right now its totally out of control. David Eschell lives in one of the condos around Five Points Park. We are very con cerned about after-hours noise and rowdy ism, he said. Were at a crossroads. We really have to control whats happening. Bars and restaurants from OLearys on the bayfront to establishments up and down Main Street to Burns Court were singled out by name as problems. Judge Brenner even n gered a dress shop with an outdoor speaker. Their refrain became a mantra: Its not right to affect the local people who are paying tax es. Musicians and music lovers were badly out numbered Monday. Downtown resident Chris tian Ziegler tried to elevate the conversation. We are the arts capital of the Southeast. Part of that is our music and our musicians. We need to keep that reputation. Music is one of the biggest draws for the city, he said. Make Sarasota a destination. MEANWHILE, 20 BLOCKS NORTH Downtown is not the only part of town with a sound problem. Earlier in the evening, the city commissioners held a public hearing on an ordinance to stop cars from blasting music into neighborhoods in the middle of the night. Some car stereo systems a re so l oud the noise


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 17 can be heard almost a mile away, one police ofcer said. I pray each and every one of you dont have to live with this. I have to put up with it every night. I work two jobs, said Vernell Coleman. When I get to sleep, here it comes, Boom, boom, boom, boom. She offered a partial solution. Maybe we need to borrow some of these cars and go out on Bird Key and see if we can get some progress on this ordinance. An earlier citys anti-boom-car ordinance which allowed impoundment and seizure of vehicles found in violation was held to be unconstitutional by the Second District Court of Appeal. The new ordinance removes the impoundment language and falls in line with higher court guidelines. This has nothing to do with entertainment, said City Attorney Fournier. This is about ve hicles. A violation would be a second-degree misde meanor punishable by 60 days in the county jail and a $500 ne. Police would issue an or der to stop the noise immediately, or offend ers would face the judicial music. Id hate to see an 18-year-old busted. I dont want to see the courts clogged with loud ste The Rivo at Ringling condominium complex is also in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 18 reo stuff, sai d City Commissioner Shannon Snyder. And then [the offender] cant enlist in the military because he has a misdemeanor violation on his record. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw requested the new or dinance, but he backed off after hearing Sny ders comments. The intent is to remove the noise from the street. I want corrective action not punitive action, Shaw said. This is a real issue that needs addressing, but I dont want a record that creates a life-threatening situation when it comes to getting a job. The ordinance standard says if someone can hear the car from 50 feet away, the vehicle is in violation. The ordinance sets time lim its, too between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on the weekdays and 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on the weekends. The commissioners approved the proposed ordinance unanimously. However, Fournier was ordered to tweak the enforce ment section. After a second reading, the or dinance could go into effect in early April. CHASING THE GOOSE The downtown noise problem defies easy solution, in part because the stakes are much higher than late-night blues music. What is Sarasotas business model? asked Commissioner Terry Turner. Its residential development, downtown shopping and dining and regulated entertainment. He noted residents pay 73 percent of the citys income, with 30 percent coming from down town condominium dwellers. The goose laying the golden egg is the resi dent and the condo owner. The condo own er provides a huge amount of revenue and doesnt demand a lot of services. If they leave, the citys in deep trouble, Turner said. We do have a vibrant downtown. Its just not Ybor City. Im up for looking at the sound ordinanc es, but what business model are we evolving towards? I dont know anyone close to this who sees Ybor City. I dont know anyone who wants a totally deregulated New Orleans thing, said Caragiulo. We need more enforcement, more qualied [police] ofcers. There is lots of opportunity to alter some of these things how you permit operations, how you po sition speakers. You cant treat all businesses the same. City Manager Tom Barwin added, We have the message on enforcement. Well report back on that. Id suggest perhaps an ad hoc committee, and perhaps we can retain a con sultant, and we can come back in 90 or 100 days with a list of options. Barwin said he would like the commission to provide some names of people willing to serve on the committee. Well bring back a recom mendation in two weeks, he said. The ad hoc committee, he added, would oper ate under Floridas Open Meetings and Public Records laws. And that means members will need to undergo mandatory training because the ACLU is watching. So is the Downtown Improvement District. Its board members agreed the next day to par ticipate in the process, bringing the voices of the landlords and bar operators to the Noise Ordinance party. Expect it to be a noisy one again. %


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While they approved a contract this week to allow the construction of a new restroom fa cility on South Lido Beach, the Sarasota Coun ty Commission also made it plain to staff members that they want to find a more economical way to manage such projects. More than anything else, Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Nor a Patterso n took issue with how staff bills inter nal costs for time it spends on projects. Barbetta pointed out that almost $280,000 or about 37 percent of the $1.3 million to tal cost of the project reflected time billed for the Public Works Department employ ees working on it plus the expense of hirin g County illustrations show the South Lido Beach restroom facility will resemble other restroom facil ities already constructed or planned. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES A $1.3 MILLION SOUTH LIDO BEACH RESTROOM PROJECT BUT INDICATES CHANGES AHEAD FOR CALCULATING STAFF EXPENSES QUESTIONING INTERNAL CHARGES By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor To take a project like this and have it end up at $1.3 million doesnt make a lot of sense to me. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 21 an outside construction management rm to oversee construction. Its a small project, Barbetta continued. I dont understand why the architect/engineer ing team [or a staff engineer] cant manage this project. The vote was split 3-1, with Commissioner Christine Robinson wanting more detail on the breakdown of internal costs. Nonethe less, she praised Isaac Brownman, the coun tys interim director of Public Works capital projects, for his presentation and readiness to answer questions. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason was absent be cause of illness. The vote had been postponed from Feb. 26, when commissioners questioned what they said appeared to be too high a construction cost for the square footage of the facility. The Procurement Department had recom mended the County Commission approve a bid from Core Construction Services of FL, based in Sarasota, for $859,754.45. Looking at the consent agenda material staff had provided, Patterson said on Feb. 26 that the cost came out to about $533 per square foot. Barbetta pointed to the total project cost of $1,287,000, which was about $798 per square foot. FEATURES AND FACTS Brownman explained on March 6 that the ex isting South Lido Beach restroom facility is not compliant with the Americans with Dis abilities Act (ADA). Moreover, he said, county staff was utilizing a design for ve planned restroom projects throughout the county that would be durable and distinctive, reecting a county brand. The new facility also would be constructed to withstand 130 mph wind, and it would incorporate composite decking material, natural air ventilation, a cistern to collect water for toilet ushing and a new event/registration room. Todd Sweet, principal architect of Sweet Sparkman Architects in Sarasota, which de signed the facility, noted that the structure would be elevated to 13 feet 8 inches from The existing restroom facility at South Lido Beach does not comply with federal guidelines for handicap-accessibility, county staff says. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 22 a mean ele vation above ground level of be tween 4 and 5 feet. Because of that 9-foot ver tical transition, Sweet said, an ADA-accessi ble ramp slightly more than 120 feet long had been incorporated into the design. The total area of the structure, Sweet added, will be 2,858 square feet. Backing out the landscaping cost for the proj ect about $100,000 and the expense for a dumpster enclosure in a parking lot about 100 yards away from the facility, the hard con struction cost was about $663,000, Sweet said. That was about $231 per square foot. The overall expense was comparable to the cost of new restroom facilities at Casperson Beach and Manasota Beach, he pointed out. When Brownman provided a breakdown of the other expenses, he noted that $135,052 was the expense for internal support of Pub lic Works staff. Additionally, the Central Ser vice expense was $46,900. The latter amount reected charges across the organization, he said, including the countys Human Resourc es and Information Technology departments support, as well as support from the Ofce of Financial Planning. Since 2008, he noted, the Public Works De partment had been adding such charges to project totals. THE FIGURES While Barbetta said Sweets cost-per-squarefoot gure was reasonable, he objected to the internal expenses. With the amount well spend on projects for construction manage ment, he added, we might as well hire a full-time, retired architectural engineer and have him work for us and pay him $200,000 or $300,000 a year, and we would save millions of dollars. Moreover, Barbetta said, such a person could manage a lot of our projects To take a proj ect like this and have it end up at $1.3 million doesnt make a lot of sense to me. He added, To have Public Works supported by construction projects is not the right way to do it. Brownman pointed out that the system was set up in 2008 to relieve a burden on the gen eral fund at the time. Its a phantom cost, Barbetta said of the staff time being billed. Barbetta added that he would guess ve or six county employees sit in on meetings once a project has been designed, when one or two probably would be sufcient. Brownman pointed out that staff does coor dinate projects and review consulting archi tects work. A Google Map shows the location of South Lido Beach in Sarasota. Image courtesy Goo gle Maps


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 23 Youre bi llin g hours, Barbetta said. The cost is still there, Brownman told Bar betta. Barbetta agreed but pointed out of the South Lido project, Were not giving money to the contractor. Its an internal charge and thats why I have a problem. To the public, its looking like a $1.3 million project when in re ality its a $900,000 project. Nonetheless, Barbetta continued, At least to day [the gures] alleviate the concern were building a gold-plated restroom facility. Robinson pointed out that the situation was one of accounting. Patterson questioned whether project costs were being inflated through the internal charges system. Brownman replied that he and James K. Har riott Jr., the countys chief engineer, had been discussing the situation with staff in the Ofce of Financial Planning, looking at opportuni ties to change this model, if possible. I sort of wonder if you arent, in your inter nal support gure, sort of double-supervising stuff beyond the point that its actually need ed, Patterson told him. An outside construction manager can spend signicantly more time on a project than our resources can afford, Brownman responded. Furthermore, he said, if the County Commis sion hired someone to assist internally as a construction manager, that person would not be able to work on every project going on at the same time, because of the demands of the work. With smaller projects, Robinson pointed out, the consultants already working on them probably could handle more oversight through the construction phase instead of the county having to hire outside rms. This might be a place where we can hit a sweet spot and save some money, she said. Staff already had been talking with Sweet about expanding the scope of his rms con tract, Brownman told her. We can proceed with that if that is the boards will, he added. We really do need to take a hard look at the practices we have been using, Patterson said, and make sure we are fair. Additionally, Patterson said she would like to see staff spend more time working on the es timate for each new project instead of relying on costs for previous, similar projects, to cal culate expenses. Vice Chairman Charles Hines pointed out that the county needed a change in the way that we have been doing business. This is [notice] going to all staff and the administration, he added, when we have to explain to the public why a bathroom at a beach costs [$1.3 mil lion]. Barbetta made the motion to approve the con tract; Patterson seconded it. Just before the vote, however, Patterson asked Sweet whether the ramp would be the only way to enter the new facility. The ramp is the only way up, he replied. Parks and Recreation Department staff had indicated to his rm, Sweet continued, that li ability issues had arisen in the past with steps. Moreover, he said, if the project had steps, they would be going up 9 feet in the air. %


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


We dont have an ordinance that deals with taste, said John Moran, the operations man ager of the Downtown Improvement District during the groups meeting this week, on March 5. This came up when we thought we had a proliferation of Tube Dudes. Every one [of them] is a sign, said DID Chair man Ernie Ritz of the Tube Dudes around town. Its holding a pizza or a hair blower, I bet theres already a sign ordinance they should meet. In reality, the signa ture sculptu res of Scott Gerber are neither art nor advertising. It is not treat ed as a sign under the sign or dinance, said Steve Stancel, the city planner who is the liaison with the DID. Moran added, I was informed yesterday this is not art and not under the purview of Public Art Committee. They are cute; the public loves em, said Dr. Mark Kaufman. But the proliferation is too much, too much of a cute thing. More than two per block is getting ridiculou s. The popularity of Tube Dudes downtown has sparked discussion about whether they should be regu lated like advertising signage. Photo by Norman Schimmel TUBE DUDES, SIDEWALKS AND ONE UNUSUAL LAWSUIT ARE THE FOCUS OF DOWNTOWN GROUPS DISCUSSIONS THIS WEEK THE DIDS DOINGS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Are you suggesting a specic Tube Dude ordinance? John Moran Operations Manager Downtown Improvement District


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 26 What happens i f there is 30 or more that pop up? Its going to be addressed sooner rather than later, said district member Tom Mannausa. To reect the what is it? tenor of the discus sion, the district members agreed to put the Tube Dude Question on their next agenda, for March 19. The item will focus on art/side walk/signage. Are you suggesting a specic Tube Dude or dinance? asked Moran. Lets just get some input and planning guid ance, said Mannausa. You do not want this to become a signi cant problem after the tenants have spent the money on them, said Kaufman. They are not cheap. Right now the dudes hang out in Gerbers showroom in the old Sarasota Hardware space on Main St reet, as well as in front of several downtown businesses. Despite the whimsy, sidewalk space is becom ing a premium business element in Sarasota. The proliferation of sidewalk cafes with over hanging awnings, sandwich board advertise ments and Tube Dudes is cutting into pedestri an space both downtown and on St. Armands Circle, critics say. There is a right of way problem and a Tube Dude problem, said Kaufman. Sandwich boards are already regulated. DID member Eileen Hampshire quipped in re sponse, Youd never know it. As their nal item on their March 6 agenda, the Sarasota city commissioners talked about table creep at cafes. Theoretically, a busi ness must keep open a ve-foot -wide path for City ofcials remain concerned about cases of downtown outdoor dining areas intruding into side walk space. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 27 pedestri ans, but serving carts, waiters and shifting tables often narrow that gap. The city is about to install much wider side walks downtown and some commissioners hope the pedestrian pathway can be expanded in the process. Were about to undertake a huge public in vestment in widening the sidewalks, and we dont want to end up with just ve feet, said Commissioner Terry Turner. Staff was instructed to start looking into the issue of pedestrian access. THE PUBLIC RECORDS SUIT City Attorney Bob Fournier in past weeks has briefed at least two city advisory boards about what he has called an unprecedented lawsuit led by Michael Bareld, legal advisor to the Sarasota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, to produce public records not on city computers. The suit originated in September, when two members of the Downtown Improvement District said publicly that they delete email. William Pettey noted during a Sept. 18 DID meeting, I routinely delete them. Fellow DID member Kaufman said he did, too. I may have deleted some. I delete and then go through the trash and delete them again. Unfortunately, Bareld at the time was re questing emails from April, and when he heard about the regular deletions, he amended his suit to seek unspecied records. Fournier told the Planning Board on Feb. 27, The case involves allegations board members have emails on their [private email] accounts that are public records. That is not really un lawful. The problem comes up, if you have custody [of the public record] but you cant produce it, he said. [Bareld is] requesting a mandamus injunction to prevent advisory boards from using their personal computers to send public records. We think this might be a strange and unusu al suit, added Fournier. It might not be rec ognized. Its unprecedented. Theres no other suit like it in Florida. Fournier also briefed the Downtown Improve ment District on the subject on March 5. We agree board members should be urged to use their ofcial [email] accounts, he said. If somebody believes somebody individually has a public record on their [private] computer, they should come forward and ask for it. Wed need some indication of what the record was in order to respond. The city would be respon sible for their [legal] defense. This suit isnt about asking to see a specic record. Fournier added that things are moving slow ly. The main allegation is that advisory board members are avoiding public records laws by using personal email accounts, he said. Nothing in the statutes forbids ofcial com munication on personal computers. This also deals with Planning Board members and for mer Charter Review Board members, added Fournier. You cannot enjoin something that is not unlawful. Bareld has participated in several public re cords and open meeting lawsuits in the past several years, prevailing on most. But Fourni er maintains this one is different. This suit isnt about asking to see a specic re cord, he said again March 5. If litigated, I think there is a good chance we will prevail. %


An engineering diagram shows the site plan for the proposed Walmart at the intersection of Bee Ridge and Beneva roads. Image courtesy Sarasota County ANOTHER WALMART, ANOTHER PUBLIC HEARING


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 29 April 24: Th at was the decision of the Sarasota County Commission this week as it sought a new date for a public hearing on a rezoning request to allow a Walmart grocery store to be constructed at the Bee Ridge Road/Beneva Road intersection. With Chairwoman Carolyn Mason out sick, Tom Polk, the countys director of planning and development services, told the commis sioners the petitioners were seeking another date for the hearing. Because a 2-2 tie on the rezoning request would be the same thing as a denial, Polk pointed out, the peti tioners wanted to have the matter heard by all ve commissioners. Already, this latest Walmart proposal has been drawing the ire of nearby residents, three of whom took the opportunity March 6 to tell the commissioners the intersection in question is too busy to support another business such as a Walmart. The site, which has been home to the Rivers Edge Community Church, is zoned Village I Commercial Center. Don Neu, the agent repre senting Beneva Land Trust/Rivers Edge Com munity Church Inc., has requested the zoning be changed to Commercial C orridor. The Saras ota County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the change. The site encompasses 4.03 acres on the south west corner of the intersection, according to a memo from Polk to the County Commission. The zoning change would permit construction of a 41,180-square-foot freestanding Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store. With Vice Chairman Charles Hines presid ing, Polk rst suggest ed moving the pub lic hearing to April 9. However, Polk point ed out that meeting would be in Venice. I can tell you I would be jumping up and down and screaming, Commissioner Christine Robinson said, if she were interested in speaking about the matter and it was heard in south county instead of in Sarasota. Then the commissioners settled on the delay until 1:30 p.m. on April 24. After seconding Robinsons motion to that ef fect, Commissioner Joe Barbetta explained to the audience that no fault for the postpone ment rested with the developer. With this type of quasi-judicial proceeding, he added, it was preferable to have the full com mission present. AT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST, THE COUNTY COMMISSION DELAYS CONSIDERATION OF A ZONING CHANGE TO ALLOW A NEW WALMART TO BE BUILT AT THE BEE RIDGE/BENEVA ROADS INTERSECTION By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor About 300 [signers of a petition] had absolutely no idea this development was under consideration. Sharon Whalen Sarasota resident


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 30 A map shows the area where neighbors were notied about the proposal for a new Walmart on Bee Ridge Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 31 After unanimo usly approving the new date, the board did agree to allow any people who had signed up to speak at the March 6 public hearing to do so. PUBLIC PROTESTS The rst person to take that opportunity was Sharon Whalen, who already had sent Mason an email on March 3 protesting the rezoning. In the email, Whalen wrote, Last month more than 15 individuals testied to the [Planning] Commission to no avail. One by one we shared our concerns about what is already a very dangerous area (for both cars and pedes trians.) We tried to get them to understand that we dont need another grocery store (there are 8 full service grocery stores within a 2 mile radius). She added, We tried to help them see that replacing a church that operates just a few hours a week with a 24 hour a day, 40,000 square foot grocery (or any major commer cial development) is just not neighborhood friendly. It is the opposite of what the [coun tys] comprehensive plan calls for and the op posite of what the neighborhood wants. Whalen continued in the email, The crowd at that [Planning Commission] hearing was near ly speechless when the commissioners asked no questions of us, and ruled unanimously in favor of Walmart without even acknowledging the legitimacy of the concerns of neighbors. We hope that those of you who are elect ed ofcials will be more mindful of the concerns and interests of both taxpayers and voters. A ddressing the commissioners on March 6, Whalen said she had a petition with 318 sig natures opposing the rezoning. About 300 of [the signers] had absolutely no idea this de velopment was under consideration before learning of it through her efforts, she added. Our biggest concern as it relates to our neigh borhood is the zoning creep, Whalen told the board. As commercial development expands in the area, she said, Our neighborhood starts to deteriorate more and more. She also in vited the commissioners to drive through that intersection between 3 and 4 p.m. on a weekday, when, she said, trafc is so thick that drivers have to wait through mul tiple changes of the lights. A Google Map shows the location of the Wal greens that would be catercornered from the new Walmart. Image courtesy Google Map


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 32 Whalen noted that the people who had signed her petition wanted the owners of the church property to be able to sell it, but with the cur rent zoning intact. Finally, Whalen pointed out, the site has nu merous mature trees. Sarasotas green spac es were among the features that convinced her to relocate to the community, she said, bemoaning the potential loss of trees on the church grounds. Referring to a transition of usage on the site from a church to a grocery store that would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Whalen added, is just nothing thats good for our neighborhood. Two other speakers who addressed the com missioners also pointed out how heavy trafc is at the intersection, which includes a shop ping center with a Publix grocery store and a bank; a Walgreens; and a Starbucks. I think its a burden on the applicant to prove this will be safe, Ken Davis said of the Walmart plan. Richard Moran, who noted he has lived in Sarasota for 21 years, repeatedly told the board during his allotted ve minutes, This is a dangerous spot. Moran concluded, You guys are all smart. Use common sense. Think. % The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven. John Milton For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Full Service Salon 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota


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After voicing concerns about the impact on trafc and winning concessions from the contractor the Sarasota County Commis sion voted unanimously on Tuesday, March 5, to approve the closure of 700 feet of Honore Avenue at the Clark Road intersection begin ning no earlier than April 1 to allow work to proceed on a Sara sota Memorial Hospi tal (SMH) project. (Board Chairwom an Carolyn Ma son was absent bec ause of illness, leaving the vote at 4-0.) Although the project originally was sched uled to begin 10 days after the boards action, Commissioner Nora Patterson won agreement from the contractor, Ajax Paving Industries of Florida which has an office in No komis to wait until after Easter (March 31) to begin the work and to adhere to a six-day-a-week sched An aerial map shows the general location of the Honore Avenue/Clark Road intersection in Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County A CONTRACTOR AGREES TO A LATER START AND FASTER SCHEDULE FOR COMPLETING WORK THAT WILL CLOSE THE HONORE AVENUE/CLARK ROAD INTERSECTION REDUCING THE IMPACT March is still high season, and Aprils not far behind. Why are we not waiting until after Easter? Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 35 ule. Th at way, estimates indicate, the project should be complete within three weeks. Originally, Steve Ayers, manager of Ajax, told the board the schedule called for a start in March because of SMHs stipulation that the entire project be nished by early August. Commissioner Joe Barbetta concurred with Pattersons requests, noting how busy the Honore/Clark intersection is. He was on Clark Road over the weekend, he pointed out, and we were backed up to I-75. According to material presented to the Coun ty Commission, northbound trafc will be re routed from Clark at Gantt Road, while south bound trafc will be funneled along Proctor Road at McIntosh Road. Hard barriers will be installed on Honore Avenue parallel to Clark Road during the closure. THE OPTIONS A March 5 memo to the County Commission from county Chief Engineer James K. Harri ott Jr. and Program Manager Thai Tran points out that the intersection improvements are necessary for the hospitals Clark Road cam pus expansion. Those improvements include the installation of stormwater pipes, drainage swales, additional turn lanes and trafc signal replacement. (The county is not paying for any of the work, according to agenda material.) The drainage structures already there needed to be replaced, Harriott told the commission ers during their regular meeting in Venice, be cause they are undersized for this particular improvement. Harriott also pointed out that the existing structures are bur ie d a bout 16 to 18 feet deep. An illustration shows the Gantt Road and Proctor Road detours planned while the intersection is closed at Honore Avenue and Clark Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 36 We try to limit closu res as much as possible, he continued. Although staff and consultants had reviewed alternatives, Harriott explained, the road clo sure seemed the best option. FDOT also had supported that alternative, he said. [It] pro vides the best mix of trafc, he added, and it would not overburden the trafc signals. If just one lane were shut down, he noted, the resulting situation would necessitate trafc moving very close to a large hole. Only a 12-foot-wide travel path could be created to enable the project to proceed, he pointed out. The primary concern was the safety of motor ists and the work crews, Harriott added. Additionally, the Florida Department of Trans portation agreed that keeping a single lane open would result in large qu eues backing up onto Clark Road, which the department found unacceptable, the March 5 memo noted. A second option was use of a jack and bore operation, the memo pointed out. That would entail a multi-stage process consisting [of] a temporary horizontal jacking platform and a starting alignment track in an entrance pit at a desired elevation, the memo explained. A product would be jacked by manual control along the starting alignment track with simul taneous excavation of the soil, with the soil transported back to the entrance pit, it added. While trafc lanes would remain open, the method is not physically possible at this lo cation due to the area needed to set up the entrance pit and the area needed to reach the depth of the entrance pit considering OSHA safety requirements [for] the construction workers, the memo pointed out. An illustration shows details of the work plans for the Honore Avenue/Clark Road intersection. Im age courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 37 OTHE R ALTERNATIVES After Harriott provided a project and options overview, Patterson asked, Shouldnt we be doing [the work] as rapidly as we can? In theory, yes, Harriott replied. However, he continued, if Ajax crews worked at night as well, the noise and lighting would be dis ruptive to guests of a nearby hotel as well as residents. Four weeks to close a main road is a big deal, Patterson said. Ayers then told the commissioners the Ajax team felt daytime work would be safer for everybody. Ayers added, We hope to do [the work] in three weeks, though the company had re quested four in the event of unexpected de lays. I have seen some pretty major projects that were done only at night including the re placement of some major parts on the [north] bridge to Siesta Key, in an area surrounded by residents, Patterson replied. Anyway, three weeks would be better than four. Then Patterson pointed out to Harriott, March is still high season, and Aprils not far behind. Why are we not waiting until after Easter? Harriott emphasized that the project is un der the control of Sarasota Memorial, not the county. When Patterson asked whether county staff had discussed the timing with representatives of the hospital, Harriott reiterated, We dont hold the contract. Nonetheless, he said, coun ty staff had requested the work begin at the end of March. That was when Ayers pointed out that the whole project had to be completed by late summer. If the rm waited until June to start, for example, he said, that would coincide with the usual onset of the rainy season. I have no problem waiting till the rst of April, he added, but if you want much later than that, youre really pushing it. Frankly, even the rst of April would help a great deal, Patterson responded. Barbetta then asked why SMH would pursue a road closure without rst checking with coun ty representatives. That point was raised in a pre-bid meeting, Ayers said, adding that while hospital repre sentatives had asked the contractors to con sider how the work could be handled, [that project aspect] was kind of open-ended. After the boards vote, Commissioner Chris tine Robinson thanked Ayers for the conces sions on the schedule. This is a major inter section, she added, [but] Ajax has always been a good, responsible partner in Sarasota County, and this is just further evidence of that. Noting that Charles Bailey, SMHs attorney, was in the audience, Robinson also asked that if such a situation arose again in the fu ture, the commission would appreciate having someone from the hospital consult with it be fore seeking a vote. It would have been nice for the hospi tal board to be a partner in this, Robinson added. %


When former state Sen. Bob Johnson noti ed a city commissioner in a September 2011 email that then City Manager Bob Bartolot ta was deleting emails at City Hall, little did Johnson imagine his communication would end up costing the city much more than half a million dollars. The investigation into the allegation end ed Monday, March 4, with a nal report to the City Commission by John Jorgensen, the senior forensic analyst of The Sylint Group. Despite an investiga tion by three criminal law enforcement agen cies, no charges were led against any current or former city employees. The initial allegation eventually led to the resignation of Bartolotta, his replacement with Interim City Manager Terry Lewis and the search for a per manent replacement. One employee was placed on administra tive leave with pay for 14 months. The direc tor of the Information Technology Depart ment was red. The Sarasota City Commission prepares to start a recent meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel TIPSTER COST THE CITY $636,187.07 IT PROBLEMS ONLY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor There was not criminal wrongdoing found, and almost all the issues identied are IT operations problems that are the result of lack of funding, staff resources, training or all three. Ari Weinstein iNet Consulting


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 39 After Jorge nsens report March 4, City Com missioner Terry Turner circulated a spread sheet prepared by the citys former nance director, Chris Lyons, detailing the cost of the incident. Nearly $130,000 was paid to Sylint, and $72,434 was spent in legal fees. Bartolotta received $112,760 in severance pay, and nearly $120,000 was paid to the employee on administrative leave from the Information Technology Department. The searches for a new city manager and IT director and the new hires moving costs add ed up to $53,435. The grand total for the investigation and its inconclusive aftermath was $547,017.72. That gure does not include the $89,169.36 paid to Interim City Manager Terry Lewis, which pushes the total to $636,187.07. SYLINTS FINDINGS Sylint was hired by the city on Nov. 8, 2011 to investigate the allegations Johnson raised in an email to City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo. And they did nd a lot of issues over there, Johnson told The Sarasota News Leader Sylint identied unusual activity and signi cant issues regarding the management of the City of Sarasota Information Technology (IT) department operations and the potential mis use of access to City of Sarasota email data and potential exposure of Personal Identi able Information (PII) and Personal Health Information (PHI). A second audit/investiga tion was begun to resolve those issues, the company reported Monday. Sylint tipped law enforcement ofcials to the possibility illegal activities had occurred, and eventually t he Florida Department of Law En forcement, the Federal Bureau of Investiga tion and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development all were brought into the case. None of the three will press charges, ac cording to reports. Sylint found what its report called several serious lapses in IT management. Certain peoples accounts were known by others, so they could use other peoples passwords, Jor gensen told the commission. This has been a very unfortunate time for the city. I dont think any of us thought the com puter system was as bad as it was, said Com missioner Shannon Snyder. Our team was not competent enough to handle it. Jorgensen noted, We do not believe there was a breach [into the computer system], and the information did not get out into the wild. We believe the corrective actions taken by the IT Department are sufcient to protect the City of Sarasota at this time. City Manager Robert Bartolotta resigned in January 2012 in the wake of allegations he had broken the law by accessing certain city emails. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 40 DOUBTS E XPRESSED Another local IT consultant was less than at tering after reading the Sylint report. There was not criminal wrongdoing found, and almost all the issues identied are IT op erations problems that are the result of lack of funding, staff resources, training or all three, wrote Ari Weinstein to Turner. Weinstein is a principal in iNet Consulting. There is a lot of focus on the searching and access of emails that are exempt from pub lic records requests, which seems to ignore the fact that supervisors have the clear legal right to access these emails, wrote Weinstein. [M]any of the so-called security breaches identified are simply out-of-date systems. While this isnt ideal, it isnt the crisis that Sylint portrays it to be. Part of the fallo ut of the investigation was the transfer of the IT Department from the city managers realm to the control of City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini. We are currently working on various IT-re lated policies to bring forward, she told the commission March 4. I would really like [them in] a resolution so the commission can buy into this process. Mayor Suzanne Atwell summed up the saga: We need to remove this cloud of uncertain ty thats been over the city for 16 months. Its been frustrating and drawn out. Its been tough going. Now the staff and us and the cit izens need to get on with the business of the city. The motion to accept the Sylint report passed unanimously. % 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


As a ch arter school, the Imagine School of North Port is operated by a local governing board and a principal at the local level, but it is under the aegis of Imagine Schools, the larg est charter school organization in the country. The North Port school is an A+ rated char ter that has been part of the Sarasota Coun ty Schools district since 2008. Parents and students say they are thrilled with the school, but corporate representatives say parents and faculty ha ve grown unhappy with the parent companys taking $1 million a year from the local schools revenue. The North Port schools governing board has taken steps to legally sever the re lationship with that Virginia-based par ent corporation, but management in Vir ginia says the Sara sota County group is illegally attempting to violate the charter agreem ent and dis Parents of students at the Imagine School in North Port crowd the Sarasota County School Board chambers the evening of March 5. Photo by Scott Proftt AS A LOCAL CHARTER SCHOOL ATTEMPTS TO BREAK AWAY FROM ITS VIRGINIA-BASED PARENT COMPANY, THE SCHOOL BOARD URGES MEDIATION UNCHARTERED WATERS By Scott Proftt Staff Writer This is something that we dont want to get involved in. We encourage all of you to get to the table and to mediate and get this resolved for the good of our children. Jane Goodwin Chairwoman Sarasota County School Board


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 42 rupting the academic year, including seeking renegotiation of faculty contracts at a critical time right before students take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The contrasting perspectives of the situation were presented during the March 5 meeting of the Sarasota County School Board, but it ap pears the issues are far from being resolved. Among the speakers who addressed the board, Ray Lowe, who has two children at the North Port Imagine School, said he and his family are very happy with it. However, Lowe added, he has been frustrated by the parent compa nys repeated failure to expand the school as required. It is about the money. Short of closing the school, there is no other way than the decision by the board and the principal to attempt to sever the ties with the parent corporation. Rod Sas se, executive vice president with Imagine Schools, told the board, We have no answers as to why this action would be tak en. We have had several teachers call us in distress. Sasse accused Principal Justin Matthews of telling teachers to resign then sign new con tracts. Parent Tracy Raleigh said the Imagine School of North Port is the best school of all she has seen in the four states where she has lived and of all those her children have attended. She added that she supports the effort to trans form the school into a standalone entity, sep arate from its corporate parent. Chrissy Bynums child has been attending the school since it opened, she told the board. As a parent, it is reassuring to know [Principal] Matthews keeps such a close eye on our stu Teacher J.J. Andrews addresses the School Board. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 43 dents. I do not believe it is in the best interest to stay with [the parent company]. It makes more sense to keep the money local. Although Imagine Schools is the largest pri vate corporation operating charter schools in the nation, it has a history of school closings as well as investigations into circumstances in which schools purchased with public monies were leased to the local charters at alleged ly unfair rents, according to The Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Since the inception of Imagine, it has com bined two corporations: a for-prot entity and a nonprot one. The company website says, Imagine Schools currently operates through two afliated organizations: Imagine Schools, Inc. and Imagine Schools Non-Prot, Inc. Both Imagine Schools, Inc. and Imagin e Schools Non-Prot, Inc. s erve the exclusive purpose of educating children in grades PreK-12. The Imagine Schools Non-Prot application for federal tax-exempt status is currently under review by the IRS. Subject to favorable rulings from the Internal Revenue Service, the organi zations plan for Imagine Schools Non-Prot, Inc. to acquire ownership of Imagine Schools, Inc., after which Imagine Schools, Inc. would convert to nonprot status. Once this transi tion is complete, the entire Imagine Schools system will operate through nonprot corpo rations exempt from tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Although a favorable IRS ruling came down last year, the integration into a single nonprof it has not occurred, according to other infor mation on the corporate website. Students and parents rode an Imagine School bus to the School Board meeting. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 44 The Scho ol Board members Tuesday con veyed to the audience their awareness of the complexity of the situation. Board member Shirley Brown told the parents, There is a concern when a school becomes a principal, referring to the overwhelming praise parents had bestowed upon Matthews during the public comments portion of the meeting. Does that mean the parents will take their kids out and bring them into our [non-charter] schools? if Matthews is forced out. Brown added, I have concerns with why these actions were taken in the middle of the year. Where are these teachers going to be? Where are these students going to be? School Board member Frank Kovach add ed, Through it all, it appears learning is still taking place. We have to let the legal process proceed and hope our kids are not negatively affected. A short-term answer has come courtesy of 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charles Wil liams, who has sided with the local schools governing board and principal, just until school lets out in May. In a ruling, Williams said he wanted to avoid disruptions to the students. He made it clear his decision would stand on a temporary basis only, leaving the nal resolution unclear. However, parents, students and the local gov erning board members made it clear they are eager to engage the School Board in the dis pute. The schools charter, a contract between the governing board and the School Board, is le gally binding, allowing the charter school sig nicant leewa y in self-governance, district of cials pointed out. The School Boards powers to intervene are usually limited to any breach of the charter. Art Hardy, the School Boards attorney, told The Sarasota News Leader he was unaware of any precedence to guide this matter through the courts. Ive heard today and heard anecdotally about Imagine issues in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, but, honestly, I dont know any details. Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin concluded during the meeting, This is something that we dont want to get involved in. We encourage all of you to get to the table and to mediate and get this resolved for the good of our children. Hardy paraphrased Williams comments, not ing the judge wanted everything to stay as routine as possible until after the school year ended. Then all bet s are off, so to speak. % Parent Tracey Raleigh makes a point to the School Board on March 5. Photo by Scott Proftt


Saturday, March 2 was Amnesty Day. No, it was not the day when amnesty was granted to true penitents who really, really had intended to pay those nearly forgotten, overdue U.S. income taxes but who never quite got around to writing those checks. This was the Nonnative (Exotic) Pet Amnesty Day, which was held in Fort Myers. It was an opportunity for owners of eight conditional species (known as reptiles of concern until 2010), such as Burmese pythons, to surrender them to the care of the Florida Fish and Wild life Conservation Commission, no questions asked. FWC staff members would then place surrendered pets in good health in trusted fos ter homes. In addition to the Burmese python, the condi tional species category includes the Northern African Rock python, Southern African Rock python, amethystine python, reticulated py thon, scrub python, green anaconda and Nile Monitor lizard. After July 1, 201 0, under Flor The Burmese python is a great threat to native Florida species, according to wildlife experts. Photo by Tatiana Staats FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION OFFERS NO-PENALTY WAYS FOR PET OWNERS TO GIVE UP CREATURES OF CONDITIONAL SPECIES AMNESTY DAY By David Staats Contributing Writer


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 46 ida law, these a nimals cannot be legally pos sessed by individuals. Persons who owned these exotic pets before the law went into effect are now obliged to maintain a valid an nual license for these animals, to have an elec tronic identity chip implanted in them and to care faithfully for them for the duration of the animals natural lives. Foster placement is the greatly preferred solution for establishing new homes for ex otic pets that, for whatever reason, have be come too difcult or costly for their owners to continue to care for. Under no circumstances should any conditional species be released to wander freely through the neighborhood or the wilds of, say, Myakka River State Park. Missed the March 2 Amnesty Day? No prob lem. There is another in Miami at the end of March. Please consult the FWCs information on Exotic Pets Amnesty Day events. Amnes ty Day events are held in different locations around the state on a frequent basis. The Burmese python ( Python molurus bivit tatus ) poses an especially serious threat to native Florida wildlife, as it has no natural predator and preys indiscriminately on sev eral native Florida species. First sighted in Ev erglades National Park in 1979, this pythons population is estimated today at as many as 100,000. Importation of these snakes into the U.S. has recently been banned by federal law. During the 2013 Python Challenge, which was held from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, a total of 68 Burmese pythons were harvested from Ev erglades National Park and three other sites. Given the snakes stealthiness, most herpetol ogists concur that 68 kills is indeed an impres sive number. The approxi mately 1,600 regis tered hunters from 38 states and Canada had to be qualied by FWC in order to participate. HOW FAR NORTH? Of particular concern to environmentalists is the prospect that the Burmese pythons will steadily migrate northward from the Ever glades, acclimatizing themselves as they move into the more temperate environment of Sara sota County, where they could establish new breeding colonies. In 2008, then New College Professor Meg Low man, extrapolating from data compiled by her students to create a mathematical model, esti mated that by 2015, a breeding colony of 1,500 Burmese pythons will have been established permanently in Myakka River State Park. This assumes, of course, that no preventative mea sures will have been taken in the meantime by the state and county agencies charged with controlling these snakes. Some scientists regard Lowmans projec tion as vulnerable to challenge. Dr. Kenneth Krysko, the highly respected herpetologist and senior biological scientist at the Univer sity of Floridas Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, wrote in a recent email that although there is evidence that Burmese Py thons have expanded their range from Ever glades National Park northward to at least Lake Okeechobee, it is highly unlikely that there will be 1,500 pythons in Sarasota within two years. There have been multiple pythons removed from Myakka over the last decade, but we believe that these were independent illegally released animals unassociated with the northern range expansion of Everglades pythons. Only time will tell if pythons can be come established i n Sarasota.


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 47 ALTERNA TIVES So, if you do have a pet Burmese python or another exotic pet that you nd increasingly difcult to care for, how do you arrange for its well-being and care going forward? The best way is to call Liz Baracco, the FWC amnesty adoption coordinator (ofce: 1-954-577-6409; cell: 1-561-235-4811; hotline: 1-888-Ive-got-1, that is, 1-888-483-4681). You do not have to wait until the next scheduled Amnesty Day. Amnesty Adoption will arrange pick-ups. The hotline is manned 24/7. You may call it to arrange adoption for any exotic (that is, nonnative to Florida) pet for example, a hedgehog, Tokay gecko, etc. The Amnesty Adoption program is not restricted to Bur mese pythons and other conditional species. Baracco ma intains an active database of qual ied adopters around the state who are pre pared and eager to accept your exotic pets. Some Burmese python owners worry that be cause they do not have the required permits and licenses for their pets, they could face le gal trouble if they were to contact Amnesty Adoption. No worries on that account: There are no penalties for owners of unlicensed or even illegal exotic pets surrendered to Am nesty Adoption. FWC is interested only in the animal, not the owner. If you need to nd a new home for your exotic pet before the next Amnesty Day, please call the hotline to make immediate arrangements for its collection and secure placement. The process is simple and the FWC staff is helpful and friendly. % 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 ) 894-6469 WSLR OR INFO@WSLR.ORG SARASOTA CHAPTER ACLU: Election reform will definitely be on the table during this years Legislative session in Tallahassee. Come join the conversation with representatives of three groups that have it at the top of their priorities list. Sarasotas Own Community SARASOTA BRANCH OF THE 6pm Thursday, March 28th Program Moderator is COOPER LEVY-BAKER, Associate Editor Sarasota News Leader SUSIE COPELAND Manatee NAACP, President PAT PRICE Voter Service Chair --LWVSC for the past 15 plus years DONNA CUBIT-SWOYER Board Secretary for Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) 6pm Thursday, March 28th


Fo r more than a year, Siesta Key resident Mar lene S. Merkle has been working with neigh bors and Sarasota County ofcials to try to rectify what she calls a dangerous situation on Avenida de Mayo. When cars park on the side of the narrow street which they increasingly do at night and on week ends, especially during season trafc is im peded and drivers run the risk of colliding, she says in a Nov. 16, 2012 application to the Sarasota Cou nty Trafc Advisory Council (TAC). On Monday, March 11, the TAC will hear the request of Merkle and several of her neighbors to ban parking on the south side of the street. If the council approves the request, the mat ter will go to the Coun ty Commission, Ryan Montague, a staff member in the Mobil ity/Trafc Ofce, told The Sarasota News Leader on March 5. Typically M ontague A Sarasota County sign on the north side of Avenida de Mayo alerts residents and business owners to the upcoming Trafc Advisory Meeting about parking issues on the street. (An entrance to the Municipal Parking Lot is on the left side of this photo.) Photo by Rachel Hackney RESIDENTS SAY THE PARKING OVERFLOW FROM SIESTA VILLAGE ONTO AVENIDA DE MAYO HAS CREATED DANGEROUS SITUATIONS PLEA FOR SAFE PASSAGE The mail truck especially has difculty and an ambulance or re truck would be at even greater disadvantage. Marlene Merkle Application for the Trafc Advisory Council By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 49 added in an email, it takes eight to 10 weeks to schedule a TAC matter on a County Com mission agenda. Siesta architect Mark Smith raised the up coming TAC vote during the March 5 regular meeting of the Siesta Key Village Association. It might be wise for SKVA President Russell Matthes to send an email to the County Com mission saying Siesta Village needs as much parking space as possible, Smith suggested. Matthes agreed to check into the issue. Thats a big stretch, Glenn Cappetta, own er of Sun Ride Pedicabs, said of the length of Avenida de Mayo. In a telephone interview with the News Lead er Merkle pointed out that she has lived on Aveni da de Mayo for 25 years. Because of curbing along the south side of the road, she said, cars end up parked in the street. That eliminates twoway trafc, she pointed out. It just creates a really danger ous situation, she added, es pecially for people trying to enter Avenida de Mayo from a side street. When vehicles try to exit the municipal park ing lot, which is bound on one side by Avenida de Mayo, she continued, they have a difcult time turning, too. Her application to the TAC adds, The mail truck especially has difculty and an ambu lance or re truck would be at even greater disadvantage. Additionally, she wrote, Entering [the street] from Canal Road is especially difcult as the cars sitting on the right of the road block the right lane of trafc. Moreover, she said of the vehi cles, they park all over the right of way, which damages landscaping. In conclusion, her application says, We re spectfully re quest that you approve No Parking signs for Avenida de Mayo on the side of the street across from the public parking lot. The situation, Merkle to ld the A photo with Marlene Merkles notes shows vehicles parked on the grass on the north side of Avenida de Mayo. Contrib uted photo


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 50 News Leade r is something thats just both ered me for a while. She is appreciative and supportive of tourism on Siesta, she pointed out, but with more and more people visiting the island, the parking spillover has grown worse. Just the previous day, she noted, I was kind of shocked when I came home from work because of the num ber of cars parked along Avenida de Mayo. Although she rst contacted County Commis sioner Nora Patterson more than a year ago to seek help in resolving the problems, Merkle said personal circumstances and the fact that the TAC meets only four tim es a year had re sulted in t he effort stretching out as long as it has. She plans to attend the TAC meeting on Mon day, she added, hoping its members will rec ommend the parking restriction to the County Commission. If they dont, she told the News Leader I did the best I could. The Trafc Advisory Council will meet at 2 p.m. Monday, March 11, in the Commis sion Chambers of the Robert L. Anderson Building, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, in Venice. Merkles request is Item 3 on the agenda. % A photo with Marlene Merkles notes shows vehicles parked in the street on the south side of Avenida de Mayo. Contributed photo


The Florida House is reinventing itself again. Born in a drought to demonstrate water con servation, it morphed into a learning center for sustainable construction and living. After partnering for two decades with government agencies, the Florida House is making a tran sition to a self-supporting enterprise. The Sarasota County School Board still owns the property, and Sarasota County Govern ment still owns the demonstration house. But the Florida House Institute is now moving to standalone status. As a go ing-away grant, Sarasota County last year awarded $100,000 to the organization to prepare the house and grounds for their new role. The original model allowed local and state inventors and businesses to install state-ofthe-art equipment so the public could look at emerging technologies that were econom ical and ecological. The new model will al low those same inventors and businesses to demonstrate their wares through classes and Internet stream ing. Pallets of pervious pavers await the volunteers touch at the Florida House. Photo by Stan Zimmerman FLORIDA HOUSE PREPARING TO STAND ALONE WHILE EXPANDING ON ITS ORIGINAL MISSION RAMPING BACK UP By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 52 This is a Sarasota County asset, neu tral ground for good science-based ac countability and part nerships, said John Lambie, the executive director. This new era is a com ing-home party for him, as he was one of the two co-founders of the idea during a drought in the late 1980s. There was a ballot initiative to halt any new construction for two years, thats how serious the water situation was, he re called. While the initiative did not pass, it result ed in a serious interest in water conservation. In part due to the lead ership of the Florida House, Sarasota Coun ty residents remain statewide champs in low-water usage. The Florida House, for ex ample, uses only 10 percent of its water from the county sup ply. The remainder comes from a cistern and water-conserving techniques. Lambie wants the newest incarnation to be a conduit for local business; a design center; a showroom where we can create educational modules. John Lambie (left) and Rand Carter, volunteer coordinator for the Florida House. Photo by Stan Zimmerman` We really need to create best practices for these things so people can understand its easy to make a real difference in our communitys environment. John Lambie Executive Director Florida House


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 53 One such project under way is the installation of pervious pavers on the southern side of the house. The individual blocks are designed to create small gaps (too small to catch a stiletto heel). The gaps allow rainwater to percolate into an under layer of crushed rock and prevent immediate runoff into the storm sewer and Sarasota Bay. Engineers call it low-impact design, and they are starting to use it along streets and in parking lots. The Florida House is demonstrating how individual homeowners can use it, too. The project is funded by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Lambie pointed to the pervious blocks being installed by volunteers. That rainwater was headed to the bay. But soon it will stay here to water the roots of the plants and trees. And just as important, its freshwater that wont end up in the bay to displace intertidal organ ism like oysters, he said. Another project just starting up involves a demonstration for urban orchards and agri culture. We want to show folks how to grow groceries in their backyard, said Lambie. We really need to create best practices for these things so people can understand its easy to make a real difference in our communitys en vironment. Yet another project is a shaded two-car elec tric vehicle charging station from Apollo Sun guard, a local company. The business model starts with the Florida Houses original mission demonstration of how to apply old and new conservation tech nologies. Hands-on learning, said Lambie. Do-it-yourself projects. A second aspect i s creation of a meeting facil ity. Lambie is planning to enclose a north-fac ing porch to provide meeting space for up to 50 people at one time, with technology incor porated to allow use of Internet streaming, so sessions can reach much larger audiences. The facility would be available to local busi nesses for video-conferencing and long-dis tance learning. Rentals would support the Florida House. And we could take that all on the road, said Lambie. A third arm of the plan would be what he called a think tank. It would seek grants and contract work to expand the foundations aims. At its inception, the Florida House was unique in the United States. There are now eight other demonstration homes across the county built on Lambies model. You have to decide what you want, and we can help with that, he said. Perhaps you want to retrot your home. Well, what do you want to do? Age in place? Plan to give it to your kids to raise their kids? We can help you create a long-term plan that is more efcient conserves resources and enhances efcien cy. I am here to help create a self-sustaining com munity, said Dick Singer, a member of the board of directors. People can come here to get basic information. When they dont know where to turn, there is the Florida House, he added. The Florida House is located at 4454 Be neva Road. It is open by appointment; call 924-2050. %


With no c omments on March 5, the Saraso ta County Commission unanimously voted to award a $997,379 bid to CB Construction Ser vices Corp. of Fort Myers for the construction of a new seawall in Bay Island Park on Siesta Key. The work is scheduled to begin this month, with completion planned before Sept. 30, ac cording to agenda material provided to the commission. About 82 percent of the cost $823,451 will be covered by a West Coast Inland Navigation District grant, a March 5 memo to the commission adds, which is why substantial completion must occur prior to Sept. 30, when the grant will expire. The County Commission approved the item among a block of projects on its Consent Agenda during its regular meeting in Venice. The vote included the adoption of a budget amendment to appropriate a City of Saraso ta contribution for the work in the amount of $114,378 and the approval of an agreement with the city for the project. The City Commission approved the project on Jan. 22, according to material presented to the County Commission. The March 5 memo to the County Commission from Carolyn Brown, general manager of the countys Parks and Recreation Department; The City of Sarasota and Sarasota County jointly own Bay Island Park on Siesta Key, where a new seawall will be built. Photo by Rachel Hackney BAY ISLAND PARK TO SEE REPLACEMENT OF 40-YEAR-OLD STRUCTURE A NEW SEAWALL By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 55 Chief County E ngineer James K. Harriott Jr.; and Brad Robertson, project manager for cap ital projects, points out that Bay Island Park is on the west side of the Siesta Drive bridge. The portion of the park on the south side of Siesta Drive is county-owned, while the city owns the north side of it. The shoreline of the park is hardened with a seawall/bulkhead around the entire perime ter, the memo notes. That seawall is more than 40 years old and in need of replacement, the memo points out. The park, the memo continues, is heavily used for recreational shing; easily acces sible, it is popular with the public. The park also provides a mooring location for marine law enforcement and emergency services for reghting and rescue operations to the near by spoil islands parks and is used by boaters for loading and ofoadin g, the memo says. The project will entail the removal of the current seawall and construction of a new seawall using pre-cast concrete panels, the memo adds. Sidewalk improvements will be undertaken as well. Five contractors submitted bids for the proj ect, the memo notes, with CB Construction Services deemed the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. The highest bid received was $1,554,308, according to a memo from a county Procurement Department analyst. During the Feb. 7 Siesta Key Association meeting, President Catherine Luckner noted that the project would not necessitate con struction trafc in the park. Instead, she said, the contractor plans to use barges to access the area. % The seawall in Bay Island Park shows signs of wear. Photo by Rachel Hackney


The Sarasota County Procurement Depart ment on March 4 issued a notice of a recom mended bid for the stormwater project at Si esta Public Beach. Forsberg Construction Inc. of Punta Gorda was determined to have provided the lowest responsive and responsible bid, according to the notice. The company put in a bid of $4,286,083.28 as the base price, with an extra $264,600 for alternate work proposed for the project, for a total of $4,550,683.28. An analyst in the Procurement Department told The Sarasota News Leader he believed the bid recommendation would come before the Sarasota County Commission on April 23. Only three bids were submitted for the proj ect, and all of them were close to three times higher than the $1.5 million original estimate of staff. An analysis provided to the County Commis sion in a Feb. 13 memo indicated the biggest reason for the higher bids was too low an es timate for w hat the memo called the most challenging portion of the pipeline that will take treated stormwater into the Gulf of Mex ico. While Erickson Consulting Engineers, which worked on that aspect of the project, had put the cost at $681,475, the memo said, the corresponding portion of the lowest bid was $2,291,200. The memo pointed out that this project is the rst in Florida of its kind. The Forsberg bid was the second lowest of the three submitted, according to the Pro curement notice. Gibbs & Register Inc. of Winter Garden submitted the lowest bid: $4,550,683.28, including the alternate work, the notice says. However, Procurement staff found the company could not meet all the qualications specied for the project. The project is designed to prevent future clo sures of Siesta Key Beach to swimming be cause of unhealthful levels of bacteria result ing from stormwater runoff into the Gulf. Rachel Brown Hackne y Swimmers and a paddleboarder enjoy the Gulf of Mexicos warm waters at Siesta Public Beach. Photo by Rachel Hackney SIESTA BEACH STORMWATER PROJECT BID RECOMMENDED NEWS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 57 The Arlington Park gymnasium, located at 2650 Waldemere St. in Sarasota, soon will un dergo a much-needed renovation necessitating the gym to be closed for approximately two weeks, the City of Sarasota has announced. The makeover will begin Monday, March 11; it is expected to be nished Monday, March 25. The project includes installing a new oor, new gym divider curtain and new basketball goals as well as adding padding to the walls ARLINGTON PARK GYM CLOSES FOR RENOVATIONS near the goals, a city news release says. The goal winch system also will be converted from manual to electric, the release notes. This is the rst time the gym will have been updated in 30 years, it adds. The $134,000 project is being funded through the countywide local option sales tax, also known as the penny sales tax, approved by Sarasota County voters, the release points out. The Arlington Park gym is overdue for renovations, according to city staff. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 58 Are you community-minded and interested in joining a unique Sarasota team? Sarasota K-9 Search and Rescue Team (SSAR) is seeking volunteers. A Meet and Greet session for potential re cruits will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 9, in the conference room at Animal Services, 8451 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, the county has announced. This team is a group of highly trained vol unteers who assist in the location of missing persons, a news release notes. The members partner with Sarasota County public safety agencies, including Emergency Management, Fire-Rescue and law enforcement, the release adds. The teams services may be requested only through Sarasota County Emergency Management or the Florida Forest Service, the release points out. K-9 Search and Rescue has earned numerous performance awards, most recently a special resolu tion from Gov. Rick Scott recognizing it for its outstanding work and commitment to nding the lost, the release says. The team has been successful in many high-prole cases throughout the state, the release adds. Members include individuals working in law enforcement, reghting, emergency man agement, the military, medicine, animal care and computer technology, the release notes. Retirees and homemakers also are welcome, it points out. Not all of SSAR team members are dog handlers, the release says. SSAR sponsors its training programs through fundraising efforts, the release continues. Ex perience in fundraising, special event assis tance and administrative work is highly val ued, the release adds. This organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprot. To learn more about it and how to volunteer or assist, visit the website SARASOTA K-9 SEARCH AND RESCUE SEEKING VOLUNTEERS The K-9 Search and Rescue Team is looking for new volunteers. Image courtesy of SSAR


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 59 A panel of ar chitecture experts will convene on Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at The Crock er Memorial Church, 1260 12th St., Sarasota to talk about how Sarasota came to look the way it does. This interactive panel discussion is part of a yearlong series called Conversations at The Crocker presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County. Admission is free to His torical Society members and $10 for guests, a news release notes. The Florida Cracker, vernacular cottage, Med iterranean Revival and Sarasota School of Ar chitecture will be among the design styles dis cussed when Harold Bubil, real estate editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune moderates a panel comprising architects Carl Abbott, Frank Folsom Smith, Guy Peterson and Clif ford Scholz, the release adds. Sarasota has always had important and im posing homes, says Bubil in the release, starting with The Acacias, the Edson Keith Mansion, the Ringling Palaces, Crosley Man sion, and the big ranch homes of the 1950s and 60s. Then we have the high-rises of downtown and the advent of the new Med Rev homes over the past 30 years, as well as the recent trend toward West Indies design. Our panel will discuss the aesthetic inuences that came to shape our city. Abbott opened his Sarasota architecture of ce in the 1960s after studying at Yale under Paul Rudolph, the release notes. Smith is a rst-generation Sarasota School of Architecture stalwart who designed Plym outh Harbor with Louis Schneider. Peterson, a second -generation Sarasota school modernist, made a name for himself as the design architect for Sarasota Memori al Hospitals Emergency Care Center, the re lease continues. Scholzs name has been synonymous with high-end home design in Sarasota for two de cades, the release adds. All proceeds from the panel discussion series help to maintain the Historical Societys two heritage properties at Pioneer Park the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasotas oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memori al Church (1901), the release points out. Do cent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events. For additional information, visit www.HSOSC. com or call Linda Garcia, the Historical Soci ety site manag er, at 364-9076. WHY DOES SARASOTA LOOK THE WAY IT DOES? The Umbrella House was designed by inter nationally renowned architect Paul Rudolph. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 60 During the March 5 regular meeting in Venice, the Sarasota County Commission appointed Norman Schimmel of Sarasota to the seat on the Tourist Development Council (TDC) that had been vacated by Bob Waechter of Siesta Key. Waechter resigned on Jan. 6 from both the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals and the TDC. He was charged Dec. 14 with a third-degree felony after he allegedly used personal identity information to purchase a prepaid VISA card in the name of Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, to make campaign contributions to Democratic candidates Keith Fitzgerald and Liz Alpert in the 2012 campaign. Schimmel was president of Normande Light ing from 2004 to 2008, a company he created that supplies lamps to eight of the top 10 re tailers in the United States, according to his resume. In 2011, he was named The Voice of Saraso ta by the countys tourism ofce now Visit Sarasota County for his work promoting tourism in the area. Schimmel is also a member of the countys Citizen Tax Oversight Committee. He previ ously served on the Public Facilities Financ ing Advisory Board and the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Advisory Board. Two other people had applied for the seat: Vic toria Brill of Longboat Key, a legislative aide to state Sen. Bill Galvano of Manatee County; and Richard Cautero of Venice, managing di rector and president of Executive Advisory Services, a business consulting rm. Brill w as a write-in candidate for the ofce of Sarasota County supervisor of elections during the 2012 campaign, making it impos sible for anyone but a registered Republican to vote in the primary. Incumbent Kathy Dent won the race. Former County Commissioner Jon Thaxton, who could not seek re-election because of term limits, challenged Dent for the seat. Cautero was vice president for nance and corporate planning and strategy for the Altria Group Inc. (formerly Philip Morris Cos.) from 1999 to 2006, his application says. Commissioner Joe Barbetta nominated Schim mel to serve on the TDC. No other nomina tions were offered. The vote on Schimmels appointment was unanimous. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason was unable to attend the meeting because of illness. Rachel Brown Ha ckney SCHIMMEL APPOINTED TO TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL Norman Schimmel/Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 61 Just in time for spring break mommas re lief, the Phillippi Farmhouse Market will host its second Childrens Day at the Market on Wednesday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the market has announced. Parents are invited to bring school-age chil dren to 5500 S. Tamiami Trail to enjoy hand crafted wooden games of skill designed by Krisztina, who wowed the children for hours last year, a news release says. There will be plenty for the children to do while you shop for your fresh, locally produced harvests from farm and sea, it adds. The market also will feature arts and crafts for all ages, face painting and a wide selection of childrens books by local authors. Along with local products, the market fea tures vendors selling prepared foods to enable customers to enjoy picnics on the grounds. Among the selections are Perrys BBQ, hot dogs, crepes, kettle korn, freshly made lem onade, ic e cream milkshakes with fresh mint from the Herb Guys and ice cream from the Purple Cow, the release points out. The teenage Garbage Men Band will be en tertaining with their hand-made instruments made totally from recycled garbage, the re lease points out cereal boxes, empty bot tles, old pipe and Fisher Price outgrown toys. Volunteers with the Sarasota Humane Society will be present as well with their Adorable Adoptables. Market shoppers also are wel come to bring their own well-behaved dogs on leashes, the release notes. An escorted tour of the Historic Edson Keith Mansion will begin at 10 a.m. Interested per sons are asked to meet on the front porch. The market is located on the grounds of Phil lippi Estate Park, which has plenty of free parking. For more information, call 861-5000 or visit PHILLIPPI FARMHOUSE MARKET OFFERING SPRING BREAK RELIEF Sarasota M a yor Suzanne Atwell recognized in ternationally known aerialist Nik Wallenda on March 4 for his Jan. 29 high wire walk across the bayfront. During a presentation that was part of the City Commissions regular meeting, Atwell gave Wallenda a framed photo showing him on the wire mid-walk; the frame held an engraving saying, A Man and His City. The photo, taken by Norman Schimmel of Sarasota, shows Wallenda framed against the downtown skyline along the Tamiami Trail. CITY COMMISSION RECOGNIZES SARASOTAS INTERNATIONAL AERIAL STAR Nik Wallenda addresses the City Commission audience on March 4. Photo by Kelly French


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 62 You are truly a part of our history, Atwell told Wallenda. Virginia Ha ley, president of Visit Sarasota County, had reported to her that day, Atwell said, that the tourism ofce had determined the walk garnered 167,807,055 media impres sions in the United States alone. (A media im pression is any look at a story in a traditional news medium or online.) The photo, Atwell added, highlights not only [Wallendas] walk but the breadth and beauty of his city. This shows a unique and telling perspective of a son of Sarasota. Its about Niks relationship with this city. (From left) Norman Schimmel, Mayor Suzanne Atwell, aerialist Nik Wallenda of Sarasota and Jen nifer Mitchell, marketing director of Circus Sarasota. Photo by Kelly French Wal lenda captur ed international attention last summer when he walked a high wire spread across Niagara Falls the rst person to achieve the feat. The January walk with Wallenda starting from a crane on the Sarasota bayfront and heading to the Marina One condominium tow er on the east side of U.S. 41 was designed to put the city in the spotlight, he told the City Commission in seeking approval for the stunt. Wallenda was a star again of the Circus Sara sota season this year in the city. Rachel Brown Ha ckney


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 63 As part of their Sarasota 365 commitment to the community, the Orioles and Orioles REACH have scheduled three clinics for area youth on the main eld at Ed Smith Stadium over the coming weeks. Two are for pre-selected children from local Boys and Girls Clubs, a news release says, while the third, on April 13, will be open to Sarasota County youth ages 8-14. All partici pants will receive instruction in baseball fun damentals from Orioles players, coaches and staff members, the release points out. The rst clinic was held March 2. The second clinic will take place on Saturday, March 9, at 12:30 p.m. It will include 25 participants from the Gene Matthews Boys and Girls Club in North Port and 25 youth from the Robert and Joan Lee Boys and Girls Club in Venice, the release adds. In addition to baseball instruction, the Orioles will provide transportation to and from the ballpar k and refreshments for all the partic ipants. The nal clinic, scheduled for April 13 at 2 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, will be open to pre-selected Sarasota County youth. Those interested must complete an application form available at the stadium or at www.orioles. com/sarasota (Click on Community Calen dar.) Print and mail the completed form to Ed Smith Stadium, Attn: April 13 Clinic, 2700 12th St., Sarasota, FL 34237 or drop it off at the Herald-Tribune Information Booth behind home plate on any game day by March 30. From the submissions received, 50 boys and girls will be randomly selected to receive in struction in throwing, hitting, elding and base running from Orioles minor league play ers and instructors, the release adds. Those youngsters selected will be notied by April 5. ORIOLES TO CONDUCT YOUTH CLINICS ON MARCH 9 AND APRIL 13 The Baltimore Orioles play the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium on Feb. 27. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 64 Sarasota County Are a Transit (SCAT) will hold meetings this month for the public to review and comment on potential changes to SCATs Transit Development Plan, the county has an nounced. Among the topics will be future bus routes, planned services and existing services, a county news release says. The Transit Development Plan is the 10-year strategic guide for public transportation, the release notes. It includes an evaluation of ex isting services, a review of demographic and travel behavior characteristics of the service area, a summary of local transit policies, the PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED ON SCAT TRANSIT DEVELOPMENT PLAN development of proposed transit enhance ments and 10-year implementation and nan cial plans. Meetings will be held as follows: Monday, March 11, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., confer ence room, North Port Public Library, 13800 S. Tamiami Trail, North Port. Thursday, March 14, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., con ference room, Fruitville Public Library, 10 Co burn Road, Sarasota. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit the SCAT website at The Sara sota County Sheriffs Ofce arrested Kristina Grzep, 41, of 9035 Misty Creek Drive, Sarasota, following a bizarre incident that ended on I-75 on the morning of March 4, the ofce has announced. Deputies received a call around 9 a.m. about a suspicious vehicle at State Road 72 and the Bee Ridge Road extension, a news release says. When the marked units arrived, Grzep ed, driving her Hummer H3 toward a depu tys vehicle and forcing him to take an evasive maneuver, the release adds. As Grzep drove north on Bee Ridge Road, the release continues, deputies twice successfully deployed stop sticks to deate her vehicles tires, but Grzep continued driving, forcing deputies to use a maneuver to bring her vehi cle to a stop at the northbound onramp to I-75. Grzep would not exit the vehicle, so deputies initially feared she was suicidal, the release says. However, once a Sheriffs Ofce nego tiator convinced Grzep to exit the vehicle, deputies found she had been hufng nitrous oxide, the release adds. Grzep was medical ly cleared then taken to the Sarasota County Jail, the release notes. Grzep was charged with Fleeing to Elude, Ag gravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Law Enforcement Ofcer, Unlawful Distribu tion of Nitrous Oxide and two counts of Re sisting Arrest without Violence. Kristina Grzep/Contributed photo WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER BIZARRE INCIDENT ON INTERSTATE


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 65 The Jewish Muse um of Florida-Florida Inter national University (FIU) has announced that Sonia Pressman Fuentes is one of ve winners of the 17th Annual Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award for women who have been successful in elds generally dominated by men. Each of the winners will be honored during a reception and ceremony at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the museum, which is located at 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach. The event will include presentations by the honorees describing the obstacles and inspi rations they encountered on their individual journeys to success, a news release says. In 1965, Fuentes joined the General Counsels ofce of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as its rst woman at torney. She drafted one of the EEOCs earli est Digests of Legal Interpretations, its rst Guidelines on Pregnancy and Childbirth and the decision protecting employment rights of stewardesses, the release points out. In 1966, she became one of 49 founders of the National Organization of Women. She was co-founder of both Federally Employed Wom en and the Womens Equity Action League, and she was a charter member of the Veteran Feminists of America as well as a longtime board member of the National Womans Party, the release notes. In addition to more than 20 years as an at torney with the federal government, she was the highest paid woman at the headquarters of multinational corporations GTE and TRW, the release says. A woman of great energy and zest, she began a second career after retirement, lecturing on womens rights worldwide and writing a lively autobiography, Eat First You Dont Know What Theyll Give You: The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter the release adds. Inspired by her own Polish familys immigra tion story after eeing Berlin in 1933, Fuentes says her identity as an immigrant is central to her lifelong commitment to equity and inclu sion, the release says. The other honorees are as follows: Judge Jeri Beth Cohen a dependency court judge in the State of Florida 11th Judicial Circuit, began her service on the bench in the criminal division at a time when few women held judiciary positions in Miami-Dade County. PRESSMAN TO BE HONORED WITH BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING AWARD Sonia Fuentes/Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 66 Sherryl S usan Evans served as deputy sheriff for Hillsborough County for more than 32 years. Marilyn Hoder-Salmon is the founding director of the Womens Studies Center at Florida International University (FIU). Betsy Kaplan is the mother of public arts education in Miami-Dade County. The Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award was established by the Jewish Museum of Flori da in 1995. More than 75 winners have been honored with this distinction to date, from a wide variety of elds, including banking, politics, law, aviation, journalism, sports and entertainment, t he release notes. The cere mony will include light refreshments. The cost for non-members of the museum is $20; for students, $5. For reservations, contact 786-972-3175 or The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU is the only Museum dedicated to telling the story of 250 years of Florida Jewish heritage, arts and cul ture. The museum is housed in two adjacent restored historic buildings, at 301 Washington Ave. on South Beach, that were once syna gogues for Miami Beachs rst Jewish congre gation. The museums focal point is its core exhibit, MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, 1763 to Present and its temporary history and art exhibits that change periodically. For more information, call 305-672-5044 or This week, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) riders began taking advantage of wireless network access on SCATs eight Ex press buses serving Express routes 100X North Port-Sarasota and 90X North Port-Ven ice-Sarasota, the county has announced. Designed for commuters, the 40-foot Express buses are SCATs largest in the eet, with seats for 40 passengers, a news release notes. The Express buses have limited stops on long routes about 70 minutes for the 100X and 85 minutes for the 90X so riders have time to relax, read or now access the Internet through a wireless network, the release adds. Each bus has a unique wireless network name, the release notes. SCAT is providing riders with the following disclaimers: The SCA T wireless network is an open, un secured network. Riders are advised to use the service at their own risk. Users are required to accept the countys terms of service. Sarasota County does not provide technical support for the riders devices or possible connectivity problems. The county does not guarantee Internet connectivity or 4G performance. Perfor mance may vary, based on the number of active users and the wireless providers net work availability. SCAT also asks Wi-Fi users to be courteous to other riders. For exa mple, the staff advis SCAT EXPRESS BUSES ADD WI-FI ACCESS


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 67 es users to k eep volumes muted or to wear headphones. The Express fares are $2.50 one-way or $5 for round trips, the release points out. A 30-day pass is $85, and a discounted pass costs $42.50 f or per sons 65 years or older and eligible per sons with disabilities. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or TTY: 7-1-1. The Sara sota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested Robert Kondratick, 67, of 11722 Tem pest Harbor Loop, Venice, for allegedly em bezzling more than $50,000 from church funds intended to help parishioners who have fallen on hard times, the ofce has announced. Kondratick was employed as administrator of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church on Sham rock Boulevard, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. Church council members contacted the Sher iffs Ofce at the end of January after discover ing funds had been misused over a six-month period from June to December 2012, the re port notes. Church ofcials red Kondratick at that time, the report adds. Witnesses say Kondratick requested signed blank checks to pay what he said were church expenses, according to the report. Howev er, the investigation revealed he cashed 28 checks, 14 of them made out to cash to taling $25,950 with the remainder made out to himself, totaling $28,000, the report says. A large number of the checks noted in the memo section that they were intended for the Good Samaritan Fund, the report points out. That is a fund the church uses to assist parishio ners who need nancial assistance, the report continues. When questioned about the expenditures, the report says, Kondratick would rarely have an explanation and would not have any docu mentation or receipts. When confronted by church council members at one point, the report adds, Kondratick said, What do you want me to do? Work it off? Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Kondratick, who turned himself in March 6 to face one felony count of Grand Theft, the report adds. The Orthodox Church of America relieved Kondratick of his duties as priest in 2007 fol lowing an investigation into nancial miscon duct while Kondratick was working in Syos set, NY, the report says. Criminal charges were not pursued at that time. % CHURCH ADMINISTRATOR CHARGED WITH GRAND THEFT Robert Kondratick/Contributed photo


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VOTE HOLLAND AND CHAPMAN FOR SARASOTA CITY COMMISSION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL The upcoming elec tion to ll two seats on the Sarasota City Commission already has had its fair share of drama and intrigue. Yet for the discerning voter, the choice really comes down to the familiar versus the unfa miliar With six candidates vying for two seats, such a frame of reference allows the paring away of rhetoric and other campaign hoopla. The familiar candidate is one who has spent many years in the community, but who also has been involved in the affairs of the community. Service on volunteer boards, commissions and advocacy groups provides a clear demonstra tion of both temperament and intention. Involvement in the community allows a per son to advocate for causes and beliefs deeply held. It also becomes an indelible record, for better or worse, if that person aspires to elec tive ofce. Voters can have a certain condence in the future acts of a commissioner who has spent years in such service. The unfamiliar candidate, therefore, is at a distinct disadvantage, because little is known about the person, either because the candi date is a relative newcomer to the city or be cause involvement in community activities has not been a priority or both. There are ways to overcome being lesser known. Endorsements by others who are longterm residents or are themselves involved in the community can dispel some of the uncer tainty that plagues lesser-known candidates. Building a great campaign war chest, to


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 70 nance media advertising and yard signs, is an other way to build familiarity. But in the end, these ersatz strategies do little to reveal the true nature of a candidate. There is no reasonable expectation of how the can didate might serve as a commissioner. The city has a host of major issues that must be addressed in the coming months and years. The two commissioners elected on March 12 must be capable of thoughtful, careful and rational deliberation in dealing with those is sues. To gauge the ability of each candidate to serve in such a deliberative way poses the greatest challenge for voters, and the history of each candidate as both a resident and an actively involved member of the community is the truest barometer of future performance. Linda Holland has been a member of the com munity for more than three decades. In that time, she has served on a number of boards and commissions, and she is well known as an active advocate for neighborhood interests. She has demonstrated not just by her words, but also by her service, that she will reect carefully on the issues she is called upon to address. Likewise, Susan Chapman has been a longterm resident of the city and actively involved in the community. An attorney, she, too, has served on several boards and commissions, including her current seat as chairman of the city Planning Board. Both women have gained valuable experience working with law enforcement, neighborhood preservation and downtown and North Trail revitalization. They have shown a commit ment to address the scal concerns of the city through a balanced approach. When we review both the civic resumes of these two women and their public pronounce ments, including the extensive interviews they gave to The Sarasota News Leader we feel a much greater condence in their abilities than we do in considering any of the other candidates. The City Commission has struggled with di vision in recent years, with commissioners more committed to individualism than pru dent governance. With this election, the pro cess of ending those divisions and creating a cohesive strategy for future progress can be gin. The two candidates who offer the greatest hope for a new inclusiveness and the creation of a thriving city are Linda Holland and Susan Chapman. We urge voters to cast their ballots for Linda Holland and Susan Chapman for Sarasota City Commissioner. % Press Releases & News Tips


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 71 COMMENTARY OK, I admi t it. I have an addic tion, and I am fairly sure many other people have the same one, but it is not mentioned out loud very often. This addiction is unique. It is not bad for my physical or mental well being (quite the con trary); it does not require making a con nection to purchase it (it is free); and when abused, it does not necessarily break up fami lies more than likely, it brings them together. I am addicted to the weather in Sarasota, and especially on Siesta Key. I realized that on a recent day I had spent more than six hours outdoors, thinking of different ways to remain outdoors, which was not very difcult at all. There are the usual choices: the beach; long walks; gardening. But what is really forcing me to stay outside and ignore all my domestic (indoor) responsibilities? Why do I feel com pelled to be outdoors all day? Am I worried that this perfect weather will not last more than one day? Is it the stunning azure sky, lit up by that golden sun with not even one cloud to mar its perfection? Is it the early morning wake-up calls of the birds, also ad dicted to being outside? (If there is a breeze, it is just comforting enough to cool me off from the suns warm rays.) I cannot stop. Why do I nd myself sitting at the beach, just staring into space? Is some thing in the air hypnotizing me? I feel as if I can do this forever. Yes, my addiction to our weather has taken over all my senses. I am inventing excuses to be outside: Snip a branch; dig up a weed; wa ter the shrubs. It is getting ridiculous. Did I not just do all this yesterday? It is so easy to nurse this addiction. It is prob ably the only one that will enhance and extend a life making a person even healthier. Being an outsider in Sarasota should be required, both for residents and tourists. I guess I will have to wait until next winter (or when it snows) to come i nside and vacuum. % JUST GO AHEAD AND CALL IT AN ADDICTION By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any let ters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the proper ty of The Sarasota News Leader. COMMENTARY




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 |


Tricia Hunsader likes math. No, I mean really, she does, as she clearly demonstrated in her responsibilities for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (SM)2 Art Fair. SM 2 or SM squared stands for the Sara sota Manatee Sensational Mathematical Art Fair, which was held Feb. 23. And it was both sensational and mathemati cal. All the arts and crafts projects were edu cational and hands-on, with students learning how to make a wide variety of objects that employ or represent mathematical concepts. Some of the concepts they worked with and utilized in creating things are complex but can be made easily understandable. Ex posing the youngsters to these ideas plants the seed that math cannot only be interesting but even fun. When asked how she came up with the idea of an art fair to teach math, Hunsader told The Sarasota News Leader Im the advisor of the math club, which is [SM] squared, or Sarasota-Manatee Sharing Math, and I get to teach the math methods courses, which is a lot of fun. She added, But we dont have the freedom to do the kind of stuff were doing here at the fair, because there is so much content we have Future teachers Jamilla Ali (right) and Denisha Allen (left) take a quick timeout from working with Candace Dixon on a project. Photo by Scott Proftt UNIVERSITYS SM 2 EVENT OFFERS A DIFFERENT TAKE ON MATH CLASS TWICE THE FUN By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 75 Nicholas Trent is a student at Johnson Middle School in Manatee County. Photo by Scott Proftt Pine View School student Ben demonstrates how much he is relishing the fair. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 76 to get through. So I was looking for something that would get the pre-service teachers [teach ers who have not held posts yet] to engage in this. They are all learning ideas they can use in their classrooms. Hunsader continued, I also get the chance to expose elementary kids to a lot of spatial and mathematical concepts. Im hoping that allowing kids this kind of freedom to explore this kind of stuff gives them the chance to see math in a new way to let them see that math can be fun. I want them to see math can be creative. As a point of fact, Hunsader added, A lot of the stuff they are learning here the math behind it is college-level math. In this second year of the fair, the number of attendees doubled, according to Hunsader. Among the projects, students created kalei doscopes, optical art, fractals and origami. Outside, chalk projects and a live jazz band were the attractions, but the real action was in the Selby Auditorium, where dozens of ta bles were set up and dozens of eager young teachers and students were constructing cool things while Mozart played in the background. The purpose is to see how many different shapes they can create with just one rectan gle, said Jamilla Ali at one table. Ali and Denisha Allen were helping Candace Dixon, a Booker Middle School student, with Rectangle Madness. As this reporter watched, Candace crafted a lovely and color ful piece. Ali and Allen are both working to ward a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education at USF. Pine View fourth-grader Spencer works on a project. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 77 Its a fun way to learn, said Ali. Nicholas Trent of Johnson Middle School in Manatee County was busy making a complex structure out of a at piece of paper. He said he really was enjoying the fair almost as much as the Rick Riordan book he kept close at his side. Amazingly to those perhaps not so math-in clined, all the youngsters came to the fair o f their own free will on a bright and beautiful Saturday, a clear indication of how much fun they truly were having. We got so many emails from students who attended last year, asking when it was going to be, Hunsader said. The kids got so excited. And judging from the results, next year should bring even more youngsters, eager to be at a crafts fair and maybe learn a little math. % Tricia Hunsader/Photo by Scott Proftt


Dear Readers, With springs arrival just days away, the thoughts of many Siesta Key residents and vis itors to our fair isle turn to romance. People are walking hand-in-hand on the beach and sneaking in long kisses as the sun sets, there by missing the opportunity to see our famous green ash. From my oak branch, I observe couples at the bayside dock with their glasses of Chardon nay, again smooching away and missing the opportunity to observe that fat red moon ris ing or the iridescent mullet soaring through the air right in front of them. In other words, love is blind. That is why peo ple need an owl to keep a sharp eye on things and point out what they all have been missing while they were smooching. It is now the height of mating season for many creatures, and from the nightly melodic mat ing songs of the Mockingbirds to the blooming of the heady-scented gardenia, Mother Nature provides the perfect setting for romance, a Garden of Eden. Now you are wondering, Where is that ser pent? Forget the snake! This is Siesta Key, LEAPIN LIZARDS: WATCH OUT FOR THOSE TEGUS Not everyone sees the famous green ash at sunset on Siesta Key. File photo ASK OTUS


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 79 and when it comes to reptiles we can do a lot better than that! Some of you will remember reading my very rst article, published in the Aug. 23, 2012 issue of The Sarasota News Leader In it, I identied a readers photo as that of an Ar gentine Black and White Tegu ( Tupinambis merianae ), a species popular with collectors of exotic reptiles for its relatively docile be havior. The photo was taken on south Siesta Key. The Tegus markings are quite clear. The photo has also captured the lizards huge, red, ex ploring forked tongue. Additionally, the photo shows an adult snowy egret. By comparing sizes, one can estimate the Tegu to be less than 3 feet in length; it is probably a juvenile. The adult Argentine Black and White Tegu (also called an Argentine Giant Tegu) is the largest of all the Tegu species. The male can grow up to 4.5 feet and can live some 15 to 20 years in the wild. This Tegu on Siesta is likely an escaped or an illegally released former pet. Like all reptiles and amphibians, Tegus are ec tothermic and need to draw heat from the sun. During periods of cooler temperatures, they will enter brumation (the reptilian equivalent to mammalian hibernation). This is a type of hibernation that has been described as not un like a state of suspended animation. In spring, they exit brumation when temperatures rise, the days have more hours of sunlight and the barometric pressures change. A reader captured this photo of a Black and White Tegu on Siesta Key last summer. Photo by Rick W.


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 80 Brumation also prepares Tegus for the mating season. Cooler temperatures allow males to produce sperm and females to increase their ovulation cycles. So, when Tegus emerge from their burrows in spring, they will be hungry and randy. I can hardly wait. Unless caught, Tegus will wreak havoc on our key. They are voracious omnivores with a par ticular fondness for eggs especially those of our native sea turtles, alligators, crocodiles and snakes. What is even scarier is that Tegus will go after bird eggs! You see, there are not too many of my Eastern Screech Owl family members left on our key, so I am very con cerned by this new threat to avian survival. A fascinating element of a Tegus haecceity is that it can run on its hind legs! Check out this super cool video by wildlife cinematographer Ojatro (Heiko Kiera). You will be amazed. Ojatro has lmed some of the most astonish ing footage ever taken of invasive species in the Florida Everglades and their interaction with our native ones. The Argentine Black and White Tegu is not the only Tegu species that has been sighted on Siesta Key. Its ill-tempered Venezuelan cous in, the Golden Tegu ( Tupinambis teguixin ), has also taken up residence. This adult Tegu, which measures about 4 feet in length, is also likely a former pet that its owner released when it became too large or expensive to care for. Tegus are an exotic (invasive) species in Florida and are of least concern. This means that they accorded no legal protection. Tegu sightings are recorded by the Florida Muse um of Natural History of Florida University in Gainesville. These sightings used to be inventoried by the U.S. Geological Services Non-native Aquatic Species program, but they have since been dropped from the database after Tegus were declared insufciently aquatic. The redesig nation is troubling because Tegus are champi on swimmers, agile tree climbers and nimble A Golden Tegu also has been spotted on Siesta Key. File photo


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 81 sprinters. A more plausible explanation is that the USGS/NAS Tegu register is an early victim of federal budgetary sequestration. Anyone sighting a Tegu (or for that matter, an iguana or large snake) is asked to report the sighting by calling the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. Also, please see the Flor ida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commis sions posting Tegus in Florida A word of advice to my readers because I want you to enjoy a lovely spring in our Gar den of Eden: It is highly unlikely that a Tegu will offer you an apple. Mangoes are their fa vorite fruit. Should a Tegu offer you one, just say, No! Otus Dear Otus, I would like to address your footnote on your March 1 column ( Mr. Squirrel goes to Wash ington ) regarding the Canadian dumping of the unwanted squirrels on us (and in Wash ington, D.C., no less). You were spot-on in your opening paragraph, but it was not until your footnote that the proverbial penny dropped. The Canadians are no fools. With the arrival of their squir rels in Washington, our D.C. lobby industry has grown in direct proportion to the num ber of the squirrels. One wonders how long it will take the Sciurus c. lobby members to outnumber those of the National Rie Asso ciation lobby. Moreover, the usage of the verb form of squir rel has increased tremendously in this same period of time. Hmmm Best regards, A perceptive fan Dear Perceptive Fan ( Cher Fan Perceptif ), Thank you for your delightful missive. I do so hope the proverbial penny that dropped was Canadian! It might be quite valuable by now. As you know, production of the penny ceased in May 2012, and the Royal Canadian Mint dis continued the distribution of its pennies as of February 4. Canada dumped its unwanted squirrels on us but not its valuable copper coinage. Well, cest la guerre You lose and then you lose again! Otus (Eng.) Otus (Fr.) % 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.


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


Have you seen the horses? I asked a friendly looking lady with bright blue eyes. Theyre right around the corner, getting dressed, she answered. I trotted over to Calle Minorga to see for my self. As I approached the area, I stopped short and just stared (open-mouthed, I am sure). Five feet away was a Clydesdale, walking gingerly but gracefully down the ramp from his traveling RV to the street. Just watching this simple act left me in awe, and my journey alongside the Clydesdales had barely begun on March 1. There are literally hundreds of Internet links to the Clydes, but a quick history is in order. Wikipedia describe s them as being of Scottish descent and named in the 1700s after the Riv er Clyde. They were bred as draught horses those used in heavy plowing and farm labor, which is probably how they originally became known in the U.S. I think we know them best as workers for Budweiser. The marketing geniuses who began using the Clydesdales in TV commercials many years ago seem to have succeeded beyond what they could have ever imagined. Those adver tisements even no longer than they are starring the horses make us laugh, cry, cheer, etc.; they are amazing. I thought about this as I continued walking toward the rest of the eight horses. All the people gathered around them The team leaders are just about ready to start the parade on Ocean Boulevard. All photos by Nor man Schimmel THE BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES DRAW ADORING FANS IN SIESTA VILLAGE MAGICAL HORSES By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer


A handler begins the elaborate process of dressing one of the Clydesdales. Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 84


seemed to be spellbound. They were very qui et, respectful, observant and, I am guessing, somewhat stunned to see all these magni cent horses just two feet away from them in Siesta Village. One of the handlers was lovingly brushing and shining the pure white feet of his charge. The patience of the horse as he stood regally while getting his nal touch-ups was incred ible. Another horse was getting dressed in his best leather straps and shiny accessories. His female handler gazed at him with a look of absolute maternal love, and we fans gazed at all the horses with our own form of adora The Budweiser wagon is ready to roll through Siesta Village. tion. Even the children knew to stay quiet and calm. We learned that the Budweiser Clydes are be tween 5 and 15 years of age. And, like Rock ettes, they are about the same height and size. This group of horses visiting Siesta lives in Merrimac, NH, but they are only home about 45 days a year. One of the handlers told me it can take up to ve hours to get the horses ready for their ap pearances. These creatures are truly the rock stars of the equine world. I nally awoke from my trancelike state and remembered that the horses were actually preparing for a parade along Ocean Boule vard. It was a cold and windy evening, but none of the many people lined up along the street or sitting outdoors (enjoying a Bud?) seemed to notice the weather. Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 85


The harness goes on before the bridle. Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 86


Suddenly, that oh-so-familiar sound rang out clip, clop, clip, clop louder and loud er, closer and closer. Eight of these masterful animals appeared, parading down Ocean Bou levard to the roar and applause of the crowd. The horses have made their permanent im print on the street and in our memories. Siesta Village will never be the same again. % Another handler works to add a section to the wagon tongue for the next pair of horses. Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 87


I was i mpressed and moved by Victoria Hol lands restrained elegance and poignant inter pretation of Caroline, the main character in Lilac Garden Antony Tudors enigmatic ballet about love, performed by The Sarasota Ballet over the weekend. Her role is the focus of the piece, and she gave a heartbreaking interpretation of a woman forced to marry a man she does not love. The plot is simple: Caroline must leave Her Lov er (Ricarado Graziano) for the Man She Must Marry (David Tlaiye), who, in turn, is leaving An Episode in His Past (Danielle Brown). Set in the Edwardian time period, the ballet is a commentary on repressed and remembered emotions of love, rapture, hope and disap pointment, which are universal and timeless. It seemed as if little was happening while I watched the dancers move through Antony Tudors choreography, but at the end I felt the ballet had cast a rare spell, as if time had stopped. The Chausson score ( Poeme for Violin & Or chestra) was a haunting background for the stark simplicity of both the choreography and the staging that reected Tudors interest in exploring human psychology through subtle movement: a simple gesture of hands covering a bowed head; an o verhead lift; two women Sarasota Ballet dancers are exuberant in a scene from Dominic Walshs I Napoletani. Photo by Frank Atura HULLAND, GIL EARN HIGH PLAUDITS FOR SARASOTA BALLET ROLES IN TUDOR, WALSH PIECES GREAT PERFORMANCES By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 89 gazing at one another for a split second; cou ples entering and leaving the scene at inter vals, lling out the social world of the main characters. But it was Victoria Hullands con trolled performance that communicated the emotional center of the ballet as her seem ingly boneless body swooned into an arched back bend, or when she transformed a sim plistic recurring gesture of an arm reaching out to her former lover into a desperate need to hold on to love, and then in a nal act of despair, hurled herself from corner to corner of the stage before accepting her fate. David Tlayie was correctly formal and stiff with a proprietary air as the Man She Must Marry, especially as he tucked his future brides arm under his own and walked slow ly with her at the end of the ballet. Ricardo Graziano could have shown more ardor as the lover left behind, but a forlorn Danielle Brown was well cast as the forgotten woman. And through grace and the ease of true artist ry, Hulland joined the group of extraordinary ballerinas who have inhabited Tudors world of deep, hidden emotions since Lilac Garden (Jardin aux Lilas) was rst performed in 1936. Don ald Mahler, who set the ballet on the company, must have been pleased. Another highlight of the evening was the sur prise breakout performance by Juan Gil in Dominic Walshs lively ballet I Napoletani which is set to a group of popular, toe-tap ping, Neapolitan songs from the late 1800s. The ballet offered an opportunity for some ex uberant dancing by the entire cast, but it was Gils surprisingly deft, magical dancing in his solo that was the biggest surprise. In the series of irtatious vignettes set in a caf, a charming Sara Scherer exuberant ly showed off as she tried unsuccessfully to tempt a coffee-drinking Ricardo Graziano; Lo gan Learned, as a baggy-kneed Charlie Chap lin character, chased after an indifferent Vic toria Hulland; and Ricki Bertoni swaggered nonchalantly as a quartet of girls followed him, hoping for his attention, before Danielle Brown appeared and it was Bertonis turn to run after a dream. Kate Honea is lifted high in a scene from Les Rendezvous. Photo by Frank Atura (From left) Victoria Hulland, Saneyuki Kawashima and Danielle Brown perform a scene from the 2008 Sarasota Ballet produc tion of Lilac Garden. Photo by Frank Atura


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 90 One note: The stunning opening section of I Napoletani was set in an opera house in Na ples, and though ballet has its roots in Italian history, I could not make the connection be tween a group of dancers in overblown white feathers rolling around the stage as if in a nightmare version of Swan Lake with the rest of the ballet set in a caf. The pursuit of love was a theme shared by all the ballets in the evenings program. Les Ren dezvous, one of Sir Frederick Ashtons early and light-hearted ballets, explored that theme in a series of vignettes irtations, meetings and eeting relationships that offered an opportunity for technical brilliance in intri cately choreographed solos, pas de trois pas de deux and small groups. Ricardo Rhodes, who danced as if he were enjoying himself, wowed the audience in his high split jumps. Kate Honea was credible in the lead, but abstract lyrical roles do not suit her as well as when she has a chance to create a character. The faux tango danced in unison by the six men was fast and brought life to the ballet. Since The Sarasota Ballet is now known in the United States for having the most Ashton ballets in its repertory, it was not surprising for the company to reprise this ballet and give the new members an opportunity to become more familiar with the classic academic re quirements of Ashtons choreography. One last caveat: There are still too many frozen smiles hopefully, they were not meant as a com ment about Sir Frederick Ashtons ballets. % Italy is the backdrop for I Napoletani. Photo by Frank Atura Miquel Piquer and Victoria Hulland are The Man She Must Marry and Caroline in the 2008 production of Lilac Garden. Photo by Frank Atura


SIESTA SEEN In its c ontinuing effort to set up an informa tional meeting about zoning restrictions in Siesta Village, the Siesta Key Village Associ ation Board of Directors met with Sarasota County Assistant Zoning Administrator Don na Thompson and Code Enforcement Ofcer Kevin Burns on Feb. 19, SKVA President Rus sell Matthes told about 25 members during the organizations regular meeting on March 5. The discussion focused on noise complaints and signage violations, Matthes added. Al though he had requested that Thompson and PLANNING CONTINUES FOR A CODE ENFORCEMENT MEETING; LACK OF RESOLUTION ON SIESTA VILLAGE CROSSWALK LIGHTING BEMOANED; EASTER BUNNY TO VISIT By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Siesta Key Village Association President Russell Matthes wants to maintain a tourist-attractive Vil lage, free of signs violating county code, he has told members. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 92 Bur ns bring the SKVA board detailed informa tion about what is and is not allowed in the Village overlay district, he said, they focused more on the noise issues, including the special exceptions for Village businesses and permis sible sound levels and time restrictions. In fact, it was a little confusing, Matthes not ed of the discussion, because [Thompson and Burns] werent on the same page with some of the issues at hand, from A-frame signs to retail out on the front of your business to making ice cream [at a sidewalk stand]. However, Matthes continued, Theyre getting on the same page; theyre working on it. During the Feb. 5 SKVA meeting, members requested that Matthes try to schedule a pro gram for Village business owners and manag ers to learn about the zoning code stipulations in the overlay district. Village Caf co-owner Kay Kouvatsos noted that many new people have started businesses in the Village since the overlay district was created about 14 years ago, and they do not know all the rules. During the Feb. 19 SKVA board meeting, Mat thes said, Thompson and Burns expressed res ervations about gathering together members of the Village Association, the Siesta Key As sociation, the Siesta Key Condominium Coun cil and the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce all at one time to go over the zoning code. They were concerned that might be a bit of a free-for-all, Matthes pointed out. I assu red them we have done this in the past, he said. We can work with the condo asso ciation, the SKA and the Chamber to resolve some of these issues as a group. Thompson and Burns told the SKVA board members they rst would talk with the SKA and the Condominium Council boards and possibly the Chamber board before holding the group meeting, Matthes added. The biggest concern remains enforcement, he continued. Although Commissioner Nora Pat terson had suggested the SKVA and the other organizations needed to exercise a louder voice in venting frustrations to county of cials, Matthes said, he told her the problem is We dont have any enforcement. John Lally, the long-time Code Enforcement ofcer for Siesta Key, has been out on sick leave for a number of weeks, Matthes ex plained during the Feb. 5 SKVA meeting. During the 2012 scal year, the County Com mission approved paying Burns for 15 hours of overtime work to handle code violations, but Burns works all over the county, Matthes pointed out. So we dont have any enforce ment. Matthes added, When I come into the Village in the morning, its nice and neat and orga nized and, I think, attractive to a tourist. When I leave the Village [in the evening], it looks pretty rough, because theres a lot of different signs and activity prohibited in the overlay district, and I think it creates an un even playing eld.


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 93 He said he h ad heard no more from anyone with the county since that Feb. 19 board meet ing. Nonetheless, he continued, he would talk with representatives of the SKA and Condo Council boards about planning for the joint meeting. Kouvatsos emphasized that the program be informational. An informational meeting, Matthes con curred, adding, There will be some ques tion-and-answer time whats allowed; whats not allowed. Then Glenn Cappetta, owner of Sun Ride Pedi cabs, pointed out that he had seen Burns just recently, and he had 600 signs in the back of his pickup truck. Cappetta added that he understood county ofcials had sent a letter to business owners in violation of the overlay districts signage regulations, pointing out they had two weeks to come into compliance or their signs would be conscated. He did pull the signs, Sarasota County Sher iffs Deputy Chris McGregor interjected of Burns. Twenty of em are in our ofce, Mc Gregor added. During the Feb. 5 SKVA meeting, McGregor pointed out that Burns shares ofce space with the deputies in the Community Policing Station on Ocean Boulevard in the Village. McGregor said on March 5 that Burns did al low business owner s to retrieve signs from the ofce. However, Burns told them there would be a $10 fee to pick up A-frame signs if he found any more in violation of the code, McGregor continued. He had seen a big dif ference in the Village without the non-con forming A-frame signs McGregor noted. He was cool, very cool, Cappetta said of Burns actions. CROSSWALK TALK During the SKVA meeting, Matthes asked Pe ter van Roekens, vice president of the SKA and a Terrace East representative to the Vil lage Association, for the latest news about the more than yearlong effort to secure illumina tion for Village crosswalks. Van Roekens reminded the members that the bid Sarasota County staff received in February for the proposed bollards with LED lighting at seven Village crosswalks had come in well above the estimate county staff had provided. (While staff had indicated to the County Com mission that providing and installing the bol lards would cost about $31,500, the only bid that came in was $118,500. It was submitted by a local rm, C-Squared CGC. No responses came in when the Procurement Department rst sought to keep the bids under $50,000.) The bid was ridiculously high, van Roekens told the SKVA members this week. Ryan Montague, the county staff member in the Trafc/Mobility Ofce charged with over seeing the project, had told him, van Roeke ns


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 94 continued, t hat staff was going to propose the county purchase bollards and install them on its own. However, a memo to that effect had not been completed for the County Commis sion as of his March 4 conversation with Mon tague, van Roekens added. Montague had written the memo on Feb. 22 and passed it along to higher-level staff for approval, van Roekens indicated. His own discussions with staff had led him to believe that memo will be [in front of the commis sioners] in a day or two, van Roekens added. Regarding the whole process, van Roekens continued, Its gone on and on and on well see what happens now. In mid-February, after the single bid came in, I contacted Mark Smith, the immediate past chairman of the Siesta Chamber, who had worked with van Roekens, Matthes, Montague and other county employees to set up bollard demonstrations in the Village last summer. Smith had not heard the bid amount; when I told him, he replied, Its absolutely unbe lievable. He added, I guess the economys picking up, if a contractor felt he could put in that amount. Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations in the Public Works Department who also has been working on the project told me, Absolutely, we have no idea where that bid came from. Commissioner Patterson, who lives on Sies ta Key, concurred that the bid was a quite a bit higher than she had anticipated. I cant be sure the commission would back doing the project for that amount, she added. I sold [the effort] on the premise that it would cost about $30,000. When I spoke with Montague on Feb. 15, he told me, Originally, the goal was to get [the bollards] in before season started, and now were in the midst of season. It is a time-sensitive pro ject. As of early this week, county staff had not completed a memo to the County Commis sion regarding a new recommendation for providing bollard lighting at Siesta Village crosswalks. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 95 ON THE BU N NY TRAIL On a happier note: The Siesta Key Village As sociation will host its annual Childrens Easter Party and Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to noon at Beach Access 5, lo cated at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road. All children ages 1 to 6 are invited to register and participate, an SKVA news release notes. The event, sponsored by the SKVA and Beach Bazaar, features the traditional Easter egg hunt, face painting, games, photo opportunities with the Easter bunny, a retruck and ambulance to explore and the Sheriffs mounted patrol. All Easter eggs will contain prizes donated by Siesta Key Village merchants, the release points out. Each child who registers will also receive a bag lled with goodies, it adds. Children are asked to bring something to car ry their collected eggs. Registration is required for the Easter Egg hunt, because participation is limited to 125 children. The fee is $10 per child. Registration forms are available online at or at the following locations: Beach Bazaar, 5211 Ocean Blvd.; Village Caf, 5133 Ocean Blvd.; and the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, 5118 Ocean Blvd. For registration information, contact Roz Hyman at 349-2770, Ext. 227. % Siesta Village is preparing for its own version of an Easter egg hunt on March 30. Photo by Gerbil via Wikimedia Commons


Generations o f audiences more than 60 mil lion people from 68 countries have seen Lord of the Dance created by Michael Flatley. On March 12, the show will return to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Creator and Artistic Director Michael Flatley, who added fresh costumes, a visually stim ulating set featuring an LED wall and revised lighting and set designs this year, still oversees all aspects of the production, a news release notes. Lord of the Dance is a classic tale of good versus evil based on mythical Irish folk lore that brings a romantic and passionate love story to stage, the release adds. Don Dorcha, Lord of Darkness, challenges the ethereal lord of light, the Lord of the Dance, in the story, the release points out. Battle lines are d rawn, passions ignite and a love story fu eled by the dramatic leaps and turns of danc ers bodies be gins to build against a backdrop of Celtic rhythm, says Flatley in the release. Fans can expect a vast number of scenes of precision dancing, dramatic music, colorful wardrobes and state-of-the-art staging and lighting. Along with Dance Director Marie Duffy-Pask, Flatley handpicks the cast of more than 40 dancers; each has achieved individual rec ognition as a national or worldwide dance champion, the release notes. Flatley also conceptualized and staged the show in a mere 16 weeks but also paid particular attention to the costumes, lighting and staging, which are cinematic in scope, the release says. Tickets are priced from $30 to $65. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit Lord of the Dance will take the Van Wezel stage on March 12. Contributed photo LORD OF THE DANCE RETURNING TO THE VAN WEZEL ARTS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 97 A quartet of sol oists from the celebrated U.S. Army Chorus will travel from Washington, D.C., to Sarasota this month to perform in sev eral free concerts for the community. The quartet will visit locations in Sarasota and Boca Grande, singing the National Anthem, popular tunes from Broadway musicals and favorite arias from select operas, a news re lease notes. On Friday, March 15, the Army quartet will appear at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Bene va Road in Sarasota, for a 7 p.m., concert fol lowed by a meet-the-artists reception. The U.S. Army Chorus, a national treasure, is the last all-male performing ensemble left in the military, says Faith Lutheran Music Di rector Dr. Joseph Holt in the release. They are highly trained professional singers, accus tomed to performing for U.S. presidents, the Queen of England, the Pope, dignitaries from all across the world and, most importantly, for the American public which they serve. Holt, who was principal pianist for the Cho rus for 20 years, will accompany the quartet of singers as well as perform a special solo during the concert, the release points out. Holt retired as Master Sergeant from the U.S. Army in 2010. He subsequently moved from Washington, D.C., to Sarasota, where, in addi tion to his position at Faith Lutheran, he also serves as artistic director for Gloria Musicae, the release continues. Musicians from The U.S. Army Band and Chorus (Pershings Own) have performed at Faith Lutheran several times over the last few years and each time, every seat is lled, says Holt in the release Al l Arm y Chorus concerts are free and open to the public; however, goodwill ticket dona tions of $15 will be gratefully accepted by the church to help defray event costs, the release notes. Advance ticket donations may be made online at or by calling or visiting the church ofce. The quartet will also perform on March 15 during military appreciation day at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the Baltimore Orioles spring training home. On March 17, the singers will perform in Boca Grande at St. Andrews Episcopal Church; their performances in the area will conclude with a concert for the stu dents, parents and faculty of Sarasota Military Academy on March 19, the release adds. Faith Lutheran Church is located at 7750 Be neva Road in Sarasota, close to the Sarasota Square Mall near the intersection of U.S. 41 and Beneva Road. For more information, call 924-4664 or visit www.faithsa A quartet of soloists from the U.S. Army Cho rus will perform several times in Sarasota this month. Contributed photo U.S. ARMY CHORUS QUARTET TO PERFORM


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 98 Cirq ue des Voix, the upcoming collaboration among Key Chorale, Sarasota Young Voices and Circus Sarasota, is intended to blend and contrast the sublime beauty of the human voice with the graceful strength of the human body, Circus Sarasota has announced. With four performances only from March 8 through March 10, Cirque des Voix will take audiences on a journey which celebrates the musical arts and circus arts together, a news release says. The show blends the grace and thrills of the worlds greatest circus perform ers with stunning choral music from com posers such as John Williams, Danny Elfman, Paul Schwartz, Beethoven, Orff and Jenkins, all in the unique setting of the Sailor Circus arena, the release adds. Among the movie themes incorporated into the show will be Ennio Morricones Gabriels Oboe which will accompany the aerial per formance of Sarasotas own Dolly Jacobs, the release continues. Tino Wallenda and The Flying Wallendas will defy gravity and belief while the orchestra performs John Williams The Lost World and Hans Zimmers Gladiator for another exam ple of the blending of music and acts, the re lease adds. For details about the performances, including ticket information, visit www.CircusSarasota. org or call 355-9805. The Flying Wallendas perform during a 2012 production of Cirque des Voix. Photo by Norman Schimmel CIRCUS SARASOTA TO PRESENT FOUR CIRQUE DES VOIX SHOWS


Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 99 Black & White and Red All Over featuring works by Barbara Krupp and Allan Teger, is the featured exhibit at Dabbert Gallery through March 30, the gallery has announced. Barbara Krupps large paintings set your imagination free as you are immersed in ex hilarating color, a visual symphony of vibrant harmony, a news release says. Tegers dual reality Bodyscapes have been cre ated with single-shot, traditional lm photog raphy, the release points out. The show introduces four one-of-a-kind exam ples of Tegers work with the negative of each included, the release adds. Dabbert Gallery is located at 76 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. For more information, visit or call 955-1315. DABBERT GALLERY PRESENTS BLACK & WHITE AND RED ALL OVER Adirondack by Allan Teger/Contributed im age The Treasured Toys of Nature by Barbara Krupp/Contributed image Log Cabin by Allan Teger/Contributed image Champagne Sunset by Barbara Krupp/Con tributed image

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Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 100 Sara sota Concert Associations 2013 Great Performers Series will present the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn with Stefan Blunier, con ductor, and Louis Lortie, pianist, on March 19 at 8 p.m. The concert will be held at the Van Wezel Per forming Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sara sota. Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the 106-piece Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn has maintained a busy schedule of domes tic and international touring, a news release says. In addition to presenting master class es and operas, the orchestras wide-ranging commitment to social causes has become a xture in the German cultural spectrum, the release notes. Blunier, who was born in 1964 in Bern, Ger many, became the general musical director of the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn in 2008, the release continues. He has since appeared as a guest conductor with more than 90 sym phony orchestras across Europe and Asia, the release adds. French-Canadian pianist Lortie has attracted critical acclaim throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, renowned for his interpre tations of Chopin, Ravel and Beethoven, the release points out. Lortie has extended his interpretative voice across a broad range of repertoire rather than choosing to specialize in one particular style, it adds. The London Times describing his playing as ever immac ulate, ever imaginative, has identied the artists combination of total spontaneity and CONCERT ASSOCIATION TO PRESENT BEETHOVEN ORCHESTRA OF BONN The Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn/Photo courtesy of the orchestra

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Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 101 meditated ripeness that only great pianists have. The concert will feature Beethovens overture from The Ruins of Athens ; Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 ; and Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 Tickets are $40, $50, $60 and $70. Tickets and information for the Great Performers Series are available by calling 955-0040 or visiting SCA also presents Munchtime Musicales, a se ries of free concerts featuring performances by high-caliber, area-based artists. The series continues with studio artists from the Sara sota Opera on March 20 and the Mike Marka verich Trio on April 17, the news release adds. All performances are at noon at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Seating is open; no reserva tions are taken. For more information about Munchtime Musicales, call 351-7467 or visit Louis Lortie/Photo courtesy of the artist Stefan Blunier/Photo courtesy of the artist

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Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 102 To co mmemorate the 65th anniversary of the modern state of Israel, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has selected six new, award-winning lms for its 2013 Israel Film Festival, the Federation has announced. The festival, presented in partnership with the Sarasota Film Festival, is scheduled for March 17-21 at various venues in Sarasota and Man atee counties, a news release says. Showings will be followed by discussions with the au diences. The lms were chosen by Roz Goldberg, chair woman of the festival, and her committee, in consultation with Yitzi Zablocki, director of the Israel Film Center in New York City, the release notes. Festival attendees will experi ence an outstanding roster of lms about Isra el: its people, its aspirations, its triumphs and its challenges, says Goldberg in the release, adding that the festival will also host special guests to participate in post-lm discussions. Although all of the lms are about Israel this year, they could not be more different, notes Goldberg in the release. One lm transports the audience to 1936 Tel Aviv; another, to Tel Aviv of today; and a third, to kibbutzim established nearly 100 years ago. Another lm remembers the drama of the miraculous Entebbe hostage rescue, and a fth offers a glimpse into the hopeful interaction between Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, she con tinues. Josh Aronson, the director, screenwriter, and producer of Orchestra of Exiles the festi vals opening night lm, will be present for the screening on March 17 on the Federation campus and a second screening on March 20 at Temple Beth Israel. Orchestra is an exciting documentary about the remarkable musician whose prescient ef forts brought the Israel Philharmonic into be ing, says Goldberg in the release, noting that local philanthropist Gerry Daniel, who was in Tel Aviv in 1936 for the rst performance of what was then the Palestine Philharmonic, will join the post-lm discussion on March 20. Tickets are $7 per lm. A six-lm festival pass is $36, while a $50 patron pass offers reserved seating to all six lms. Tickets may be pur chased online at or by calling 552-6304. For more information about The Jewish Fed eration of Sarasota-Manatee, call 371-4546 or visit JEWISH FEDERATION TO HOLD ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL A Bottle in the Gaza Sea will be shown March 18 and March 19. Contributed art

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Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 103 Follow Me will be shown March 19 and March 20. Contributed art

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Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 104 Usi ng a mere handful of brush strokes, artists have captured the essence of nature for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Sumi-e Exhibition the Gardens has announced. The Sarasota Chapter of the Sumi-e Societys oriental brush paintings will be on display in the Historical Selby House through March 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a news release notes. Rather than attempting to paint an exact replica of an object or scene, Sumi-e mas ters assertively conc entrate the spirit of their SELBY GARDENS HOSTING SUMI-E EXHIBITION Artwork by Marilyn Offer is among the Sumi-e paintings on display at Selby Gardens. Contributed photo muse into the fewest brush strokes possible, the release points out. This Asian art form, among other practices of oriental brush paint ing, proves to be an intellectual and spiritual pursuit as well as an artistic wont, the release adds. This exhibition is free with regular Gardens admission. For more information and admis sion fees, visit or call 366-5731. The Gardens is located at 900 S. Palm Ave. in Sarasota. %

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The popular monthly Lunch with the Rab bi program will continue its third year on Wednesday, March 13, at noon at Temple Ema nu-El, 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. An afternoon of casual socializing and stimu lating discussion with Rabbi Brenner J. Glick man, Lunch with the Rabbi centers on topics of current Jewish interest and news from Isra el, a Temple news release says. This month, Glickman will report on his recent participa tion in the American Israel Public Affairs Com mittee (AIPAC) National Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., where more than 13,000 at tendees gathered to discuss American policy towards Israel and hear from governmental leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Florida congressional delegation. Each attendee is asked to bring a brown bag lunch; homemade cookies are provided for dessert. Lunch with the Rabbi is free and open to the entire community, the news release adds. For more information, call the Temple Emanu-El ofce at 371-2788. Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman serves homemade dessert to Evelyn Osterweil at a Temple Emanu-Els Lunch with the Rabbi program. Contributed photo LUNCH WITH THE RABBI CONTINUES ON MARCH 13 RELIGION BRIEFS

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Sarasota News Leader March 8, 2013 Page 106 At 7:30 p.m. on March 15, the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) will welcome guest speaker Sean Faircloth, the director of strategy and policy at the Dawkins Founda tion for Reason and Science. Faircloths topic will be How the Religious Right Harms All of Us and What We Can Do About It a news release says. Prior to joining the Dawkins Foundation, Faircloth served as the executive director of the Secular Coalition of America, the release notes. An accomplished legislator, the release con tinues, Faircloth served for a decade in the Maine Legislature. He spearheaded more 30 pieces of legislation and is the recipient of in numerable awards, the release adds. Additionally, Faircloth is the author of Attack of the Theocrats of which a reviewer said, Theres no doubt in my mind that were he zapped back in time to meet Thomas Jeffer son, the founding father would clap him on the shoulder and say Thanks, the release notes. CHJ meets at Unity, located at 3023 Proctor Road in Sarasota. The program is free and open to the public. For more information call 929-7771 or visit Sean Faircloth/Contributed photo FAIRCLOTH TO DISCUSS THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night

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08+ MAR Art Uptown presents Around Here a one-woman exhibition by artist Rita Rust March 8-30, 1367 Main St., Sarasota. Free admission; 955-5409 or 08+ MAR A Tribal Collection: Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica March 8 to April 19, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave. Exhibit free with regular admission. Free to members and to children under age 6. Admission for non-member adults, $17; for children 6-11, $6. Information: 366-5731 or 10 MAR Paul Duffy, Michial Hickmott and Greg Holt in A Tribute to St. Patricks Day March 10, 4 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road. Admission: $15, includes wine and cheese reception. Information: 371-4974 or 13 MAR The Pirates of Penzance March 13, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail. Admission: $1050. For tickets: 953-3368 or 15 MAR WSLR presents Spider John Koerner March 15, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Admission: $12 in advance or $15 at the door; tickets available at 17 MAR Chautauqua Sunday After Brunch Soire March 17, 2 p.m., Sherra Babcock, director of education at the world-famous Chautauqua Institution, will be at Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota, to talk about the role the written word plays in Chautauquas mission. She also will introduce the 2013 picks for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientic Circle the oldest continuous book club in the U.S. More event information at or 365-7900. ComMunity CALendar The best of upcoming EVENTS 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 CITY HALL RECREATION AREA? SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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