Sarasota News Leader

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Sarasota News Leader
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Newspaper
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Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
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New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
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Sarasota, FL
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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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COVER Inside FLIP-FLOP MORE NOISE OVER SOUND THE SURVEY SAYS ... Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida April 19, 2013

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GET TO KNOW US HELP A.K.A. HELP

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Copyright 2013 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 Digital Press 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 Rachel@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Cooper@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Stan Zimmerman City Editor Stan@SarasotaNewsLeader.com David Staats Columnist DStaats@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer FPalmeri@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer HCuthbert@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer ERogosin@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Scott Proftt Staff Writer SProftt@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Tyler Whitson Staff Writer TWhitson @SarasotaNewsLeader.com John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Riley@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Vicki@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Letters To the Editor Letters@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Cleve@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Robert S. Hackney General Manager Robert@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Advertising Sales Sales@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Subscription Services Subs@SarasotaNewsLeader.com Press Releases & News Tips News@SarasotaNewsLeader.com MASTHEAD

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The national focus has been on the tragedy in Boston this week, but locally, the news just did not seem to stop owing. Stan Zimmerman probably will need a really restful weekend to catch up after the looooong City Commission meeting Monday, but Stan sure had plenty of fodder from the hours he invested in the afternoon and evening sessions. Cooper Levey-Baker had a very long day himself on Wednesday, when the North Port City and Sarasota County commissions gath ered for mediation over the future of Warm Mineral Springs. Then, just as Cooper was putting the nishing touches on that story, break ing news forced him into rewrite mode. Scott Proftt soon will be our resident expert on the Sarasota County School Boards nances, after another budget workshop this week. And I spent Tuesday afternoon listening to a wide array of topics on the agenda for the joint Saraso ta County/Manatee County commissions meeting. Add in Coopers report regarding new statistics on the homeless population along with some noteworthy tidbits I had left over from the County Commission meetings last week, and you will nd plenty of in-depth news to occupy your time. On another front this week: In our Opinion section, we are delighted to welcome a per son very well known in this area Waldo Proftt. Having been at the helm of the Sara sota Herald-Tribune for many years, then a columnist for that publication, he has his own invaluable insights into what makes this community tick. Editor and Publisher WELCOME

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FLIP-FLOP A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION OUTLOOK NEWS & COMMENTARY FLIP-FLOP 8 Commissioners change of mind eliminates tentative Warm Mineral Springs deal Cooper Levey-Baker MORE NOISE OVER SOUND 13 The City Commission wrestles again with controlling noise downtown, seeking a moratorium on new bars, among other measures Stan Zimmerman THE SURVEY SAYS ... 18 Report shows spike in number of Suncoast homeless Cooper Levey-Baker GOVERNING A CITY 21 City Commission tackles golden eggs, oil spill damages, vagrants and more Stan Zimmerman AVOIDING ANOTHER MOWING FIASCO 27 The County Commission continues a vote to award a new eet fuel contract after questions arise over big differences between the bids Rachel Brown Hackney A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION OUTLOOK 31 The Sarasota and Manatee county commissions agree to pursue a bus rapid transit system along U.S. 41 and the possibility of hiring a private operator for regular bus service Rachel Brown Hackney ON THE WAY OUT 36 The attempt to save media specialists jobs appears to have failed as the School Board faces more red ink Scott Proftt BUMBLING FORWARD AS USUAL 39 The latest Chalk Festival request for fee waivers leads to a proposal for a city policy discussion about such events Stan Zimmerman CASTING FATE TO THE COUNTY 42 Analysis: City appears poised to opt out of future CRA plans Stan Zimmerman DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME 46 A Manatee County expert on new emergency communications technology says problems can be avoided by making the necessary investment at the outset Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Selby Gardens Sentinel Robert Hackney Sarasota Leisure: Fiery Sunset Norman Schimmel

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A BIG SPLASH ON THE EVE OF INVASION: PART III MOVEMENT ON MYRTLE 51 County Commission approves design of next phase of improvements Rachel Brown Hackney ANOTHER EMBARRASSMENT 54 Downtown Improvement District members debate the future of lights after numerous problems in Five Points Park Stan Zimmerman NEWS BRIEFS 56 OPINION EDITORIAL 66 The United States of Revulsion COMMENTARY 68 Former marathoner reects on the Boston bombings Norman Schimmel COMMENTARY 70 Walmart may never build there, but other possibilities exist for the Ringling Shopping Center site Waldo Proftt SARASOTA LEISURE A BIG SPLASH 74 Blacksh makes waves at the 2013 Sarasota Film Festivals opening night Tyler Whitson ON THE EVE OF INVASION: PART III 79 The men who owned Florida were defeated by it Stan Zimmerman ASK OTUS 84 A&E BRIEFS 85 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 92 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 93 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For The Best Reading Experience Try Reading The Sarasota News Leader On Your Tablet SarasotaNewsLeader.com/webapp

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Count y Commissioner Carolyn Mason com pared the meeting to a root canal painful, but cathartic. It might have also been point less. The Sarasota County Commission and the North Port City Com mission spent eight hours Wednesday de bating the future of Warm Mineral Springs, eventually coming to some agreement about how the two boards should manage the property they jointly purchased in 2010. But an email sent early Thursday morning, April 18, by North Port City Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco might have killed any hope of a way forward. After caref ul consid eration, she wrote, I determined that I can not support the [Invitation to Nego tiate] process that was proposed at the joint mediation meet ing. Please notify the County Com mission Chairs line the banks of the springs at Warm Mineral Springs. Photo courtesy City of North Port COMMISSIONERS CHANGE OF MIND ELIMINATES TENTATIVE WARM MINERAL SPRINGS DEAL FLIP-FLOP This was an agreement that we came together to shake hands on, and we gave a little in the discussions, so I expect the City of North Port to honor that handshake. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY

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A graphic shows the location of Warm Mineral Springs near North Port. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 9

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of my decision so that no further time and re sources are committed to develop an ITN. Those sentences switched a 3-2 city majority in favor of soliciting ideas for how to develop Warm Mineral Springs to a 2-3 minority, es sentially leaving the long-range process ham mered out Wednesday DOA. County Commissioner Christine Robinson says the move surprised her. This was not an la carte agreement, she tells The Sarasota News Leader This was an agreement that we came together to shake hands on, and we gave a little in the discussions, so I expect the City of North Port to honor that handshake. That handshake agreement arrived late Wednesday, after hours of discussion. One early surprise was the appearance of North Port Commissioner Tom Jones, who participated in his rst public hearing since suffering a stroke in early January. He joined his four fellow city commissioners, the county board, the county administrator, the city man ager, city and county lawyers and mediator Steve Seibert all seated around a square of tables on the oor of the County Commission Chambers in Sarasota. The commissions spent the morning airing all the questions that have popped up in recent months (Does the city still want to sell its 50 percent share of the springs? Might the coun ty cede control to the city?), then got down to brass tacks in the afternoon, when Seibert directly asked whether North Port was willing to revisit the process to solicit private sector proposals for the property. The North Port commission scuttled the origi nal ITN last fall, after the election of Commis sioners DiF ranco and Cheryl Cook provided two No votes. Much of the debate Wednesday centered on how open-ended the ITN process was. North Port Mayor Linda Yates said she hoped for a meeting of the minds on how Warm Mineral Springs will be developed (or not) in the com ing years, arguing the boards should select a concept they want to pursue. Ideas have ranged from a full-service hotel and spa to a park-like preser ve with no business activity. Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 10

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The county ha s largely been open to commer cial development, while North Port has been skeptical of the plan. Cook asked why she should support any ITN, even a narrowly dened one, if she doesnt want anything built on the property. There will be building on the property if I have anything to do with it, countered Coun ty Commissioner Joe Barbetta. His fellow county board members were less adamant that something be built, but they said they wanted to review any and all proposals to imagine possibilities. A majority on the North Port commission, af ter a long extended, protracted debate, even tually embraced an ITN-like process, but with an expansive list of stipulations. All that work was undone when DiFranco sent her email at 5:33 a.m. the next morning. She did not respond to a News Leader call and email, nor did she inform county commis sioners why she changed her mind. You have what I have, Robinson tells the News Leader I have nothing else. Barbetta tells the News Leader DiFrancos re versal pretty much eliminates any chance of a deal. Shortly after Wednesdays meeting began, Barbetta asked the North Port reps if there was any will to accept new construction on the property. If not, he said, there was no point in continuing the discussion. Barbetta sees few options besides litigation at this point. It doesnt seem like theres any alternative, he says, because meeting with them doesnt accomplish anything. County A dministrator Randy Reid tells the News Leader his staff will continue working on the details of a short-term lease to keep the springs open after the current contract with the management company runs out June 30. But hes not even sure a short-term lease would nd support with the North Port com mission. I dont know how we can proceed, Reid says. The county, at Barbettas request, will tackle next steps at its meeting on Tuesday, April 23, in Sarasota. Near the end of Wednesdays meeting, Coun ty Commissioner Carolyn Mason thanked the North Port ofcials for their patience and open-mindedness. This has been painful for some of us, she said, but it was really nec essary to have this conversation so we could get to where we are now, and we can move forward. So I want to thank you all for this root canal exercise. Painful, yes. And maybe futile. % A sign welcomes visitors to Warm Miner al Springs. Photo by Ebaybe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 11

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The i ss ue of downtown sound keeps widening as pressures multiply. First it was musicians and entertainers asking to play a little longer. Then there was a backlash from downtown residents who claimed existing ordinances are not enforced. When city staffers promised heightened attention to amplied music, civil libertari ans stepped in. Then the argument morphed to one about noise in the streets when the downtown bars close at 2 a.m. The Sarasota City Commission has waded into the fray three times in the past six weeks, and the members have reversed themselves twice. They earlier accepted the offer of City Man ager Tom Barwin to put together an advisory panel, then killed the idea. On Monday, April 15, they approved Barwins proposal. The ve members presumably are still standing by. Meanwhile, the drum beat of public testi mony has continued. Nine people trooped to the microphone on Monday afternoon downtown residents all to decry lack of action on the part of The owner of the Gator Club says he has led foreclosure papers because of nonpayment of a second mortgage. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY COMMISSION WRESTLES AGAIN WITH CONTROLLING NOISE DOWNTOWN, SEEKING A MORATORIUM ON NEW BARS, AMONG OTHER MEASURES MORE NOISE OVER SOUND We have a problem with six bars generating noise, and a seventh has been proposed. Unless we get this under control, well wake up and nd we have 10 bars downtown. Terry Turner Commissioner City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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Residents of the 100 Central condominium complex have been among those most vocally opposed to loud music in downtown Sarasota at night. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 14

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the city. The current Sound Control Ordinance (better known as the Noise Ordinance) dates to 2003, when the Lemon Coast Grill began blasting live music at downtowns new condominiums intentionally. The impetus was music venues being bad neighbors, Dennis Adams told the commis sioners. Now there are more neighbors: 1350 Main; Rivo on Ringling; Plaza at Five Points; 100 Central. There are lots more people with skin in the game now. LAND USE OR LOUDNESS? One of those lots more people is Barwin himself, who moved here in January to take the job. I live downtown and can relate a whole lot to what was said today, he told the commission. At 2 a.m. when the bars close, its a big issue, often the busiest time for our police department. Barwin put the Sarasota Police Department on the case in March, increasing the number of ofcers trained to use sound meters. Now 17 people up from two are qualied. And Barwin told the force to get pro-active instead of waiting for a complaint. One of the many issues with t he current ordinance is the fact that callers may remain anonymous when al leging violations. The perceived lack of enforcement was what led Commissioner Paul Caragiulo to back off establishment of an ad hoc sound committee on March 18. During the commissions March 4 meeting, Caragiulo said, You need to look at it as a land-use issue and a planning issue. The Downtown Improvement District weighed in later that month. We need to decide what we want to be when we grow up, said dis trict member Dr. Mark Kaufman. An enter tainment district? A shopping district? I think the residents here have a real problem. One of the tools the city has used in the past is a zoning code provision banning outdoor amplied music. But that tool was broken by the threat of a constitutional challenge; now it hangs in limbo. Restoring it would require a rewriting of that element of the zoning code. The Noise Ordinance is the second tool. It limits the strength of outdoor sound to 75 decibels. The level is measured by police of cers with sound meters City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo (right) and City Clerk Pam Nadalini listen to City Attorney Robert Fournier during a regular commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 15

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FORCES TO GATHER The commission wrestled with how to move ahead. A motion by Caragiulo to instruct the city attorney to prepare by May 20 a memo reviewing the situation, to be followed by con sideration of forming an ad hoc committee, died for lack of a second. A motion by Commissioner Terry Turner to convene the ad hoc committee and conduct a legal review of the ordinance also died for lack of a second. A third try by Commissioner Shannon Snyder directed the city attorney to report back in two weeks (April 29). His motion also called for the city manager to put together an ad hoc committee for study of long-term issues, with the committee members to begin working af ter the city clerk has educated them about the states public meetings laws. He further asked Barwin to bring back a resolution establishing the committee by the next meeting, which would be on May 6. That motion passed unanimously. Turner said, I support accelerating the city at torneys report. These people are losing sleep every night. Caragiulo had a larger aim. The purpose of starting out is looking at land use to see what downtown is going to look like. Finally, Turner proposed a three-fold strike against noise offenders: enforcement of the zoning codes amplied music ban, a mora torium on conditional use permits for noise and new applications for bars downtown. That motion passed unanimously. With that, the mayor closed the afternoon session of the meeting. Turners moratori um motion and the entire is sue came up again late in the evening as the commissioners w ere struggling to adjourn by midnigh t. We have a problem with six bars generating noise, and a seventh has been pro posed, said Turner. Unless we get this under control, well wake up and nd we have 10 bars downtown. City Attorney Bob Fournier said the morato rium motion would need to be eshed out. Some applications may have already been led. Whats the geography of the moratori um? Downtown? The downtown core? Is this for establishments with live music or just [those that] serve alcohol without live music? You need a resolution with reasons and a du ration, he said. City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini then told the commission, I was going to ask for a clar ication of your motion. Turner moved to reconsider his afternoon ac tion. Once that passed, he moved to replace the motion with direction to the city attorney to brief us at our special meeting on Tuesday [April 23] on actions we can take to prevent the proliferation of bars on Main Street. With out objection, the motion passed unanimous ly. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown says three applications are on le for alcohol-serv ing establishments. Two are restaurants ex panding, and one is a bar without [live] mu sic, he reported. The operators of the former Sports Page on lower Main Street are looking at the space previously occupied by the vitamins and sup plements store in the 1400 block, across from Smokin Joes, and they would like to open up another package store. Yet anot her establishment may be changing hands. Ernie Ritz told The Sarasota News Leader he has led foreclosure papers on the Gator Club for nonpayment of a second mortg age. % Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 16

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The une mployment rate may be down and the housing market might be rebounding, but that doesnt mean there are fewer homeless in the area. In fact, the opposite is true. A new report issued by the Suncoast Partner ship to End Homelessness shows a 65 percent increase in Sarasota and Manatee counties homeless population since 2011 including a 10-fold increase in the number of homeless children. Those numbers sound shocking, but the spike is due at least in part to shifting de nitions of homeless ness, as well as more rened survey techniques, according to Part nership Executive Director Leslie Loveless. Overall, the Partnerships 2011 Homeless Census showed 1,242 homeless, while this years Point-in-Time Count identied 2,054 homeless. The number of homeless kids grew from 44 to 444 a gure Loveless calls heart breaking. Whats worse: Those new numbers are probably on the low end. It certainly is repre sentative of the home less population in the community, but that doesn t mean we were A homeless person sleeps on the ground in Five Points Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel REPORT SHOWS SPIKE IN NUMBER OF SUNCOAST HOMELESS THE SURVEY SAYS ... By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor If you dont have housing, then you cant get your shower and get your clean clothes and get to work on time. Leslie Loveless Executive Director Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness

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able to capture interviews with everyone, says Loveless. The increase in the number of homeless chil dren in part reects better reporting, including cooperation with the schools and the YMCA, according to Loveless. But still, bottom line, we have a substantial number of homeless. Another troubling number: 9 percent of the areas homeless are between the ages of 18 and 24. That suggests a growing number of young people are leaving school and unable to afford a place to live, says Loveless. A full quarter of the homeless who responded to the Partnerships survey said they had been homeless longer than a year, and 41 percent said they had lived in the area for more than a year before becoming hom eless. Eve n as the economy slowly rebounds and the unemployment rate drops, homelessness is a vicious cycle, Loveless says. If you dont have housing, then you cant get your shower and get your clean clothes and get to work on time. Even for people who have jobs, the area lacks affordable housing for those who earn around the minimum wage. So whats the Partnerships plan of attack? What were looking to do is develop goals and plans to move people from homelessness into housing, says Loveless. And while the new report will help the Partnership tailor those programs, theres a long way to go: Weve still got a lot of work to do. % Even though the City of Sarasota removed the benches from Five Points Park, homeless people con tinue to gather there. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 19

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A disputed el ection was upheld, a tax was in creased, a class-action lawsuit was joined, a hotel was delayed and sign ying took a hit. It was a busy meeting on Monday, April 15, for the Sarasota City Commission. BUSINESS MATTERS The ongoing drama of the St. Armands Busi ness Improvement District election came to a close. An election to determine if prop erty owners wanted to continue taxing them selves 2 mills to make physical and social improvemen ts to the shopping Mecca ended with a surprising 65 percent to 35 percent lev el of rejection as the ballots were tallied. Marty Rappaport, chairman of the district, raised objections. He suggested the ballots were mailed to the wrong addresses, because more than half the electors did not bother to return their ballots. A mailing from the dis trict to the same voters to explain the reason for the election had a signicant number re turned to sender by the post ofce. At the intersection of Gulfstream Avenue and U.S. 41 on a recent afternoon, people stand with signs in the medians, seeking handouts. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY COMMISSION TACKLES GOLDEN EGGS, OIL SPILL DAMAGES, VAGRANTS AND MORE GOVERNING A CITY Please dont kill the Golden Gate goose that lays the Golden Gate eggs. Cathy Antunes Resident Golden Gate Point By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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But City Attorney Bob Fournier said at Mon days meeting the ballots went to the correct addresses, and none of the actual ballots was marked return to sender. Rappaport and district supporters are now trying to determine whether a second election can be held, and, if so, how. The recent vote means the district will go out of business on Sept. 30, even though an audit indicates it will still owe $150,000 to the city on a line of credit to Bank of America. In other business matters, the City Commis sion voted to bump up the old occupational license fee now called the business tax by 5 percent. If you want economic development, increas ing taxes on business is no way to get it, said City Commissioner Terry Turner. He and Com missioner Shannon Staub voted against the tax hike, but it passed 3-2. GROUNDING SIGN FLIERS When theres no enforcement, word does get around, said Fournier, talking about the re vocation of an ordinance in January banning panhandling from city roadways. Suddenly, ying a sign in the median became a cash cow for Sarasotas homeless and vagrants. The commissioners approved a new ordinance Monday, making panhandling illegal again, but this time using language Fournier thinks will pass court scrutiny. The old ordinance, he feared, was constitutionally indefensible on First Amendment grounds. Writing it was a challenge, he said of the new law. Asking for money or begging is ex pressive conduct and protected by the First Amendment. The new ord inance uses trafc safety as its thrust. The commissioners passed it unani mously on a rst reading. It is scheduled to go before the commission again on Tuesday, April 23, during a special meeting before the commission begins a budget workshop. The ordinance could go into effect before May 1. DOWNTOWN HOTEL PLANS PUSHED BACK Fournier was busy Monday, explaining why a lingering lawsuit will delay the development of a new downtown hotel by as much as a year. Construction was supposed to start early next year. My best guess, it would take a year or two to solve these problems because of the Buck/ Leiter lawsuit, said Fournier. The Leiter Group/John Buck Co. wanted to build a hotel with retail area and a 400-space parking lot on Palm Avenue near Main Street. But the deal fell through July 17, 2008 on a 3-2 vote by the City Commission. It was the fth attempt to put together a public-private partnership on the city-owned land. The deal collapsed as the economy began to founder. The developers led a suit in court that effectively has tied up the citys use or transfer of the property. Meanwhile, a new developer, Angus Rogers, has reached a deal to erect a Floridays ho tel at the intersection of Cocoanut and Palm avenues. He has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the city, and both entities are under a deadline to sign two additional agree ments on parking and r edevelopment. Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 22

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However, the law suit is a signicant legal im pediment to completing the agreements be cause the suit is considered a title defect on the citys unencumbered ownership of the property. Rogers told the commissioners Monday, We are very frustrated the project is stymied by forces beyond our control. But we will end up with a wonderful hotel well all be proud of. Rogers lawyer, Brenda Patten, added, Ive read all the Buck/Leiter material, and a lot of it is just posturing to get a settlement from the city. We want to stick with this. The commission approved an addendum to its agreement with Rogers, keeping the deal intact and allowing Fournier a free hand to defend against the lawsuit. ROLLING AND PARKING Vehicles are never far removed from the urban planning process. They came up twice Mon day. City staffers received approval to start talking with their counterparts in the county about changing the road impact fee into a mo bility fee. City Engineer Alexandrea Davis Shaw urged the move, because it will allow the money to be used for pedestrian, bicycle and transit use not just the construction of more roads. The impact fee is paid by developers to soften the cost of road improvements necessitated by increased usage. Mayor Suzanne Atwell noted several other places in Florida are look ing to switch to mobility fees, including Lee A lawsuit will delay construction of the new Floridays hotel next to the Palm Avenue parking garage in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 23

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County and the City of Jacksonville. We need to take advantage of this, she said. The measure passed 4-1, with Commissioner Turner in the minority. For residents of Golden Gate Point on the southern side of the Ringling Causeway, a g uratively bumpy road came to an end. They have been protesting a proposal to authorize tandem parking throughout the city. They were not concerned about the city, though, just their cul-de-sac. They have taxed themselves and spent almost $6 million beautifying that cul-de-sac. But plans to allow tandem parking nose-to-tail storage in stalls in a new condominium com plex raised fears that a buyer of one of those new units would simply park one vehi cle in the stall and the other on the street. Tandem parking is awed, said resident Alan Porter. Several others echoed his sentiment. In what was probably the quote of the eve ning, resident Cathy Antunes referred to the increasing property values in the area and said, Please dont kill the Golden Gate goose that lays the Golden Gate eggs. When the testimony ended, Turner made a motion, which was approved, to approve tan dem parking everywhere in the city except at Golden Gate Point. The City Commission ruled out tandem parking for Golden Gate Point residents. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 24

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ANOTHER GOLDEN EGG BECKONS The City of S arasota has he ld back from trying to get a piece of the potential cash bonanza from class-action lawsuits seeking damages as a result of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. But on Monday, the commissioners heard the gurative sirens song and submitted to the process. The siren was Bill Robertson with the Kirk-Pinkerton legal rm, who said the city had only until April 19 to get on the gra vy train. Theres a three-year statute of limitations, he said. You have until next Friday or Saturday to present estimated damage claims to BP and allow us to join the class action. The citys beaches were untouched by the spilled oil, but Robertson reminded the com mission, We had seven months when people just didnt come here. The law rm will take one-third of any settle ment if the city wins funds. We wouldnt be taking this on contingency if we didnt believe there were recoverable damages, said Rob ertson. He noted Longboat Key is asking for $6 million and Clearwater, $20 million. The commissioners approved Robertsons pitch unanimously. They instructed staff to get busy calculating any and all damages they could think of. % Oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico reached the Pensacola beaches in 2010. Photo by Ebaybe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 25

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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. SarasotaNewsLeader.com Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida

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In an effo rt to prevent a recurrence of road side mowing problems that have haunted them since last year, the Sarasota County Commissioners on April 23 will consider again the awarding of a new county fuel contract that raised questions on April 9. The staff recommen dation called for the three-year contract to go to Manseld Oil Co. of Gainesville Inc., with automatic renewal for two additional oneyear terms. A companion item put an upper lim it on the contract of $8 million per scal year. Commissioner Joe Barbetta pulled the item for discussion on April 9 at the boards meet ing in Venice, point ing to what he called a pretty substantial discrepancy between the bid from Manseld and those from the other two companies seeking the contract. According to a memo from the countys P ro Sarasota County used about 1.7 million gallons of fuel for its vehicles in the 2012 scal year, staff says. Photo by Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons THE COUNTY COMMISSION CONTINUES A VOTE TO AWARD A NEW FLEET FUEL CONTRACT AFTER QUESTIONS ARISE OVER BIG DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BIDS AVOIDING ANOTHER MOWING FIASCO This parallels exactly what I saw with mowing. We had one extremely low bid, and the next two were much higher, and Mr. Thiele stood up there and said, Responsible company. These guys are great, and ve months later, nonperformance. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor

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curem ent Department, Manselds bid was $91.62 for a unit price, while J. H. Williams Oil Co. of Bradenton put in a bid of $225.25 and Petroleum Traders Corp. of Fort Wayne in Allen County offered a bid of $307.43. The Procurement memo says, A bid multi plier of $100.00 has been included on the bid form for the calculation with the markup/dis count rate (+/-) as bid. Bidders will be con sidered non-responsive if they do not bid all items. Prices shall be exclusive of Federal Ex cise Tax. The contract is for gasoline, biodiesel and die sel motor fuel. I need a better comfort level, Barbetta said as he pointed to the differences between the bids. Ed Gable, director of the General Services Ofce for the county, explained that one ma jor consideration with the bids was whether the companies were willing to assure county staff they could provide fuel in the event of a hurricane at no extra charge. That made a big difference [in the amounts], Gable added. There was a co nsiderable spread there A pie chart shows the amount and percentage of operating expenses for the countys eet as part of the Operations and Maintenance De partment budget in the 2012 scal year. Im age courtesy Sarasota County The County Commission meets in regular session earlier this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 28

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Which worrie s me even more, Barbetta re sponded. This is an $8 million contract, so I dont want to get into this thing and nd out they cant perform, he continued. Weve had this happen before. It happened with mow ing. In January 2012, then Procurement Ofcial Mark Thiele recommended the board award a mowing contract for all three county zones to Bloomings Landscape and Turf Manage ment Inc. of Sarasota, whose bid was about half what the second-lowest bidder in each zone had proposed. Although commissioners including Bar betta questioned the differences in the bid amounts, Thiele said, We have all the con dence that this particular vendor, who has been doing most of the [mowing] work for the last six years [in the county] can continue do ing the work. On May 22, 2012, Thiele appeared before the commissioners to tell them the county would be dismissing Bloomings because it was un able to perform the work as expected. Commissioner Nora Patterson told members of the Siesta Key Association during their an nual meeting this year on March 23, In the middle of the summer, in the rainy season, you couldnt go anywhere in the county and see anything that wasnt just a disgrace in terms of grass that was high, weeds all over the place It was the single most embarrassing thing that has happened to me since I was in ofce. It took months for the county to get contracts in place for all the zones, and staff had to as sist with some of the backlog while commis sioners elded numerous complaints through phone calls and ema ils. THE QUESTIONING Referring to the c omments about Bloomings and its mowing bid in January 2012, Barbetta told Gable on April 9 that Thiele had said the company was great, cheap, no problem. Five months later we got hammered, and were still trying to recover from that. Gable said of Manseld, Theyre a very legit imate company, adding that documentation employees had provided to the county showed it could supply the fuel at the price it had bid. Were comfortable with it, although it is a substantial spread, Gable noted again of the bids. Then Greg Morris, the countys eet manag er, stepped to the podium. I, too, was con cerned about the bids, he told the board. When he looked into Manselds background, he continued, he learn ed it is a Fortune 500 Commissioner Joe Barbetta. Photo by Nor man Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 29

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company. They are supplying Hillsborough County and many others with fuel, Morris added. I feel very condent. I think they will serve us extremely well He pointed out that Manseld is one of the top [fuel] companies. If I could buy stock in em, I would. Barbetta reiterated, Again, this parallels ex actly what I saw with mowing. We had one ex tremely low bid, and the next two were much higher, and Mr. Thiele stood up there and said, Responsible company. These guys are great, and ve months later, nonperformance. I cant support this unless you give me some thing really good to hang my hat on here. Barbetta also pointed out that Hillsborough County is closer to Gainesville than Sarasota County. Morris said the savings between the Manseld bid and that of J.H. Williams was only $10,744. Im not totally sure what youre looking at, he told Barbetta. Im looking at your chart [in the agenda ma terial], Barbetta replied. Then Karen Yeo of Fleet Services told the commissioners, We didnt have hurricane preparedness in the last [fuel] bid and we thought that it was very necessary this time, and the other companies bid a lot higher on that Manseld is giving this service to us at no price. Moreover, she said, We have dealt with Man seld in the past and they have been an excel lent vendor. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh suggested that someone explain to the board how the multiplier ref erenced in the agenda material was used to arrive at the bid totals. Is there another way to look at this? he asked. All county departments together purchase about 1.7 million gallons of fuel a year, Yeo replied. But [no amounts] are guaranteed to the vendor. Based on the 2012 scal year fuel purchas es, she continued, staff estimated that Man seld would be paid about $4,558,000 a year, while the gure for J.H. Williams would be $4,580,000. The bid for Petroleum Traders would be $4,570,000, she said. However, the Procurement memo regarding the bid award notes that Petroleum Traders was deemed in eligible for the contract because it did not sup ply requested information, including copies of active fuel supply contracts. This makes no sense, Patterson said of the gures Yeo mentioned. Barbetta concurred. When Barbetta asked whether the ability of the other two companies to supply fuel fol lowing a hurricane raised their bids that much higher than Manselds, Yeo said, Depending on how many hurricanes we have. I have a feeling the problem is in what you presented to us [in the agenda material], Pat terson told Yeo and Morris, because it doesnt jive at all with what you guys are saying. We can get additional information to you, Yeo said. Barbetta made the motion to continue the item to the boards April 23 consent agenda, allowing time for staff to provide that extra material for the board to review. % Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 30

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The S arasota and Manatee county commis sions not only are looking at regional coop eration on a bus rapid transit system, but this week they also approved an interlocal agree ment to explore jointly hiring a private rm to operate their existing bus systems. During their combined meeting on April 16 in Sarasota, the focus re mained on the U.S. 41 corridor for a bus rap id transit (BRT) sys tem the plan to which the Sarasota board committed earlier this year. Manate e County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said he would like to talk with City of Bra denton and City of Pal metto ofcials, so they can weigh in as well on planning for a BRT system. Jonathan Paul, Sara sota Countys interim transportation plan ning director, pointed Orlando has a bus rapid transit system in place. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE SARASOTA AND MANATEE COUNTY COMMISSIONS AGREE TO PURSUE A BUS RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM ALONG U.S. 41 AND THE POSSIBILITY OF HIRING A PRIVATE OPERATOR FOR REGULAR BUS SERVICE A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION OUTLOOK Were starting to put together a puzzle here to actually show what you have in place today could work. Jonathan Paul Interim Director Transportation Planning Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor

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out that in rec ent discussions with City of Sarasota staff, he had learned current zon ing along U.S. 41 allows for sufcient landuse planning to make a BRT system feasible. There is a higher density than what was ex pected on that corridor, he told the two coun ty commissions. While that density is roughly seven to 10 units per acre in the city of Sarasota along U.S. 41, Paul noted, an overlay district allows for up to 33 units per acre. The current densities along that corridor are probably some of the highest in the community, he said. The City of Sarasota has hired a consultant to look at the levels of density, he continued. Sarasota County also is examining zoning al lowances along U.S. 301 in Manatee and Sara sota counties, Paul added Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie and Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Rob inson consider a matter during the boards joint meeting April 16. Photo by Rachel Hackney Manatee County Commissioner Betsy Benac. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 32

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A report on all the ndings should be ready in late May or June, Paul said. Regardless of the positive aspects of the city of Sarasotas density levels, Paul explained, parking and other issues will have to be ad dressed. Commissioner Nora Patterson who served on the City Commission before running for County Commission pointed out that while the density lev els may be sufcient, parcels along U.S. 41 are very shallow. If your parcel is only 150 feet deep, theres not that much poten tial for development. You raise very good concerns, Paul told her. Still, he said, the number of destinations along the U.S. 41 corridor such as Ringling Col lege of Art and Design and the Van Wezel Per forming Arts Hall in Sarasota also make that route more attractive for a BRT system. Moreover, he said, There are a number of people that could easily walk a quarter of a mile to U.S. 41 to catch a bus. During presentations to the County and City commissions in January and February, Paul pointed out studies have shown that a quarter of a mile is the maximum distance people in Floridas weather can be expected to walk to catch a bus. Paul also said staff is looking at nine potential stops for a BRT system in Sarasota County, noting that some townhouse and duplex de velopments are within a qu arter of a mile of each of those potential stops. Were starting to put together a puzzle here to actually show what you have in place today could work, he told the boards. Thats not to say that there arent more changes that are needed. Then Sarasota County Commissioner Chris tine Robinson pointed out the major concern that arose from the boards joint meeting with the Sarasota City Commission on Feb. 5 was whether there [was] the political will to make those [landuse] decisions that have to happen for a BRT system to be successful. City commissioners could not answer that question, she said. Im not sure that we have any other infor mation that really makes this [discussion] any different than when we last met with the City Commission, Robinson added. You are correct, Paul told her. However, he said, the analysis that is due by June should have the necessary information from the City of Sarasota about whether it is interested in redevelopment along the U.S. 41 corridor, to make a BRT system more viable. As he had noted during the joint meeting with the City Commission, Sarasota County Com missioner Joe Barbetta said he is a city resi dent. Im concerned ab out the scal survival I hope its something that we all have the political fortitude to do. Betsy Benac Commissioner Manatee County Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 33

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of the city of Sarasota. Redevelopment is the only way theyre going to survive. Barbetta added that a focus on North Tami ami Trail improvements is one of the keys to improving the citys nancial health. I hope we can get them to the table to get this thing moving, he said of the City commissioners and the BRT proposal. Manatee Commissioner Betsy Benac told her fellow board members, Im excited about the opportunity to look for redevelopment. I was very excited about the [ Urban Land Insti tute ] saying U.S. 41 should be our spine. (The Manatee Commission is awaiting a re port from the institute on May 14 regarding the future of its U.S. 41 corridor, Hunzeker said.) I hope its something that we all have the political fortitude to do, Benac continued of redeveloping that route. Its been proven if you can get [transit waits] under 30 minutes, you can increase your ridership. Manatee Commissioner Michael Gallen added that he hoped his board could meet with city ofcials from Palmetto and Bradenton, and maybe even the State College of Florida and IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton, to discuss how a BRT system could benet all of them. When she heard that U.S. 41 was Sarasota Countys focus for a BRT system, Manatee A Sarasota County Area Transit bus makes a stop at Westeld Southgate Mall in Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 34

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Commissioner Robin DiSabatino said, It was music to my ears, because [that corridor] has been left behind. DiSabatino pointed out that U.S 301 in Mana tee County has much less density than it does in Sarasota County. BUS SYSTEMS During a discussion about the Sarasota Coun ty and Manatee County bus systems, Hunzeker pointed out that some economic efciencies probably could be gained if the two counties hired one private rm to operate both bus sys tems. The counties would continue to own and pay for the systems, he said. In an earlier career, Hunzeker noted, he spent 10 years with an authority in the St. Louis area that contracted out the operation of bus ser vices in six counties across two states, and it was quite successful. Hunzeker pointed out that an interlocal agree ment would be necessary for the county staffs to proceed on a regional proposal. When Manatee Commissioner Benac asked whether the counties would be better posi tioned to gain federal funding which pays for much of their bus system costs if they had one operator, Hunzeker replied, I think we would like to think so. Usually federal and state ofcials are more amenable to fund ing regional systems, he noted. Sarasota Commissioner Barbetta pointed out that a regional approach probably would make it easier for the counties to continue to obtain federal grants. When Man atee Commissioner DiSabatino asked whether he had any private rms in mind, Hunzeker responded that he did not. If the two boards approved an interlocal agree ment, he said, one of the counties would have its procurement ofce prepare a request for proposals to seek a rm. The question is who would submit the best proposal for this region and how it ts within the boards needs and the [counties] needs, Hunzeker added. Sarasota Chairwoman Carolyn Mason asked, At what point do we go to the community and say, Hey, this is what were talking about? This isnt the way that the public should nd out about it, she pointed out. I think its just really important that the public be brought in on the front end than from the middle or the back. Many opportunities exist for bringing the public into the discussion, Hunzeker told her, especially in regard to proposals for expand ing the bus systems, use of passes and fees. Those are all questions that we should seek public input on as we go down the path. Manatee Commissioner Vanessa Baugh not ed that news media coverage of the meeting would alert the public to the discussion. Barbetta made the motion to have Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid work with Hunzeker on the interlocal agreement, which would lead to the request for proposals for a private rm to operate the systems. Manatee Commissioner John R. Chappie made the motion for his board. Both motions won unanimous ap proval. % Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 35

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Beca use of the need to maintain a level of 7.5 percent in its reserve fund, the Sarasota Coun ty School Board members agreed during a meeting on Tuesday, April 16, that they would have to cut media specialists positions in dis trict middle and high schools next year. Those specialists will be replaced by para professional aides at a savings of $595,086, according to budget projections. Du ring an hour-long budget presentation to the board, Deputy Chief Fi nancial Ofcer Al Weidner not ed that spending for the next several years would con tinue to outpace income. While the district has reserves, Weidner pointed out that because funding comes into the district early each s cal year, by summer, schools often have to re sort to reserves for their operating costs. The scal year starts on Oct. 1. If we have no, or lim ited, reserves we have to borrow money, costing us even more, Weidner said. Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner discusses budget matters with the School Board in November 2012. Photo by Scott Proftt THE ATTEMPT TO SAVE MEDIA SPECIALISTS JOBS APPEARS TO HAVE FAILED AS THE SCHOOL BOARD FACES MORE RED INK Were looking at a $9 million hole. Frank Kovach Member Sarasota County School Board By Scott Proftt Staff Writer ON THE WAY OUT

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According to state law, the school district has to maintain a reserve, or rainy day fund, equal to at least 3 percent of its budget. How ever, district policy calls for that reserve not to drop below 7.5 percent. Though that fund is approximately at the 8 percent level now, at this time two years ago, it was close to 15 percent, Weidner said. Th e estimat ed reserve balance pro jected as of June 30 would repre sent 10.5 per cent of ap propriations, according to the financial report pro vided to the School Board for its April 16 meeting. The figure is based on operations through Feb. 28. The School Board is awaiting the final state budget from the Legisla ture, at which time it will know exact ly how much state revenue to expect for the next school year. Weidner pointed out that the current difference in education funding between the House and the Senate budgets is only about 4 percent. Were looking at a $9 million hole, said School Board member Frank Kovach. Board member Car oline Zucker referred to the situation as a budget crisis. Additionally, the increased cost of health insurance for employees has risen over time, and it appears the 2013-14 scal year will see no exception, Weidner said, adding he an ticipates the cost to con tinue to go up over the next few years. Mitsi Corcor an, the dis tricts chief financial of ficer, told The Sarasota News Leader that the bu d A chart from the adopted School Board budget for the current scal year shows the changes in appropriations. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools. Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 37

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get for the 2014 scal year calls for a 4 per cent increase in employee health insurance premiums. She pointed out that the estimate was based on our claims experience which is the normal factor used to determine changes in premiums from one year to the next, along with anticipated impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Corcoran added in an email, We have re ceived some preliminary estimates from our health insurance carrier that we should ex pect about a 3.8% increase from just fees and taxes associated with the ACA. That would amount to about $1.5 million more annually beginning in January 2014, she point ed out. Moreover, Corcoran wrote, the ACA requires that the district provide health insurance to any worker whether appointed by the School Board, a substitute or a contract work er if the person works an average of 30 hours or more per week. Therefore, she said, the annual impact of that change will be about $2.6 million over and above any premium changes associated with our claims history. The additional impact has not yet been includ ed in the budget because the implementation guidance is still being interpreted and is con stantly changing. The Sarasota district has cut its budget by 30 percent since 2007, Weidner noted during the workshop. Superintendent Lori White, who is responsible for presenting options to the board for trim ming spending, added that the suggestions she poses are decisions made to stop the bleeding, not choices I would make if I saw another way. As f or the media specialists situation: Claire Miller, a visiting instructor librarian from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, addressed the board Tuesday about research focusing on students who attended a school with a media specialist compared to those who went to schools without the positions. According to Miller, In every case across the board, students educational outcomes in col lege were improved by the presence of a me dia specialist in high school. Donna Heath, a district media specialist, pointed out that the charter schools and pri vate schools in the county still will have media specialists if the board cuts the positions in the other public schools. The district has spent millions of dollars on several campuses to build new media centers that will now be managed by staff without me dia specialist qualications, she added. Media specialists already have been eliminat ed in the district elementary schools. The board members nonetheless indicated the position is likely to disappear in the middle and high schools so the district can save more than half a million dollars. % Superintendent Lori White. File photo Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 38

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The r eaders of SRQ Magazine rate the Sara sota Chalk Festival as their favorite outdoor event. But for city and county commissioners and their staffers, it may rate as their No. 1 nightmare a highly popular event that never follows the rules. It was no different Monday, April 15, when organizer Denise Kowal came before the Sarasota City Commis sion to ask for funding support once again. It is understandable that the com missioners were leery. L ast year, she did not tell them it was a 10-day festival. This year, she was clear that it will last six days. Were entering our sixth season. Were the only international [chalk] festival in the U.S. We are the chalk of the world, with the most debuts of new tech niques. We receive more than 500 applica tions from around the world to participate, at no transportation cost to us, she told the commiss ion. Chalk Festival founder Denise Kowal poses with artwork from the 2012 event. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE LATEST CHALK FESTIVAL REQUEST FOR FEE WAIVERS LEADS TO A PROPOSAL FOR A CITY POLICY DISCUSSION ABOUT SUCH EVENTS BUMBLING FORWARD AS USUAL Were the only international [chalk] festival in the U.S. We are the chalk of the world, with the most debuts of new techniques. Denise Kowal Founder Sarasota Chalk Festival By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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This year the theme is honoring veterans; we call it the Legacy of Valor Freedom is not free, and neither is the chalk festival. It needs $1.2 million every year, she said. Kowal has left bewildered and befuddled of cials in her wake for ve years, while picking up funding that nobody else would dare seek. Monday, she came to seek a waiver of unde ned and uncounted fees, even though her ap plication for the November event was incom plete or as City Manager Tom Barwin put it, The application is in the process of being completed. Among the missing elements is proof of insurance, for example. While Kowal was looking for fee waivers, what she actually needed were grants. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown explained, Any fee waived, we have to make the department whole. The event area fee is $1,650, and we have to give [that amount] back to make them whole. Commissioner Terry Turner noted the city does not have a grant budget or policy that applies to the situation. We decided not to have a grant program, he said. It would be helpful when we have a policy not to bring us stuff that is inconsistent with policy. We dont have a grant program downtown. Brown defensively said, We brought this for ward at the specic request of the festival. We dont stop anybody from coming before the commission. Commissioner Paul Caragiulo joined in Turn ers high curmudgeon. People overwhelm High Wire was among the circus-themed entries in the 2012 Chalk Festival. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 40

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ingly want to see t his happen. But it seems like on the staff side there is a huge discon nection, he said. Its [like] Groundhog Day trying to get through this every year. Commissioner Shannon Snyder joined in. Last year it was a 10-day festival, but we were never told that. Every year were having to dis cuss this. At some point we should have this down by now. Every year is the last minute. Every year is something else. Not to be left out, Commissioner Willie Shaw added, And the application is not complete. Looking ahead Caragiulo said, I dont want to be here again doing the same thing. Predict ability, predictability, predictability. To which Barwin replied, We will be here next year unless we ge t some direction. Then we should sit here now and give some guidance, said Turner. I see four problems: The length of the event. Affected parties who are they? Grant policy. And noise. Lets have a discussion and give concrete guid ance. At that point the issue had moved far beyond the agenda item of Kowals request for fee waivers. City Clerk and Auditor Pam Nadali ni intervened. I would recommend you bring this item back, she said. Because you really havent noticed this item. I can put it on the next regular meeting. Snyder moved to do that, specically men tioning in his motion Turners four policy objectives. The motion passed unanimously. Once again, Kowal and the Chalk Festival had thrown local govern ment into a tizzy. % Artist Truman incorporated a 3D effect in his work in 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 41

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The Sarasota city commissioners hurled a curve ball at the Sarasota County Commission Monday, April 15. They had agreed earlier to empanel an 11-per son committee to evaluate the future of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), which is set to expire in 2016. On Monday, by a 4-1 vote, they said the city will not be nancially participating. Commissioner Wil lie Shaw was the lone vote against the new poli cy. THE SNEAKY GOLD MINE The CRA is a legislative creation, giving cities and counties a way to earmark property taxes for long-range goals without dipping into their general revenues every year. It uses a clever trick to raise the money. Back when t he CRA was established in 1986, it froze the property tax income to the city and county from the properties in the speci ed area. Any increase in revenue since then has gone t o the CRA. Future extra funding for downtown Sarasota remains in question as a committee prepares to re view the Community Redevelopment Agency. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: CITY APPEARS POISED TO OPT OUT OF FUTURE CRA PLANS CASTING FATE TO THE COUNTY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Before this committee marches on, assuming there will be money coming from us, there needs to be a different way of doing this. Shannon Snyder Commissioner City of Sarasota

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For the rst ye ar, of course, the amount was zero. This year it is $6,981,172. Theoretically, this is money neither the city nor the county would miss, because it is all new money from rising property values. That was the whole idea. CRAs would ght slum and blight by allowing cities and counties to pour money into areas that needed help. Sarasotas CRA was set up for a dened area around downtown. And over the years, it has poured millions into downtown, with the tax differential supporting bond issues for large public projects as well as for additional ser vices such as heightened police protection. Sarasota County has been a passive player, relinquishing the money (this year, $3.5 mil lion) and watching the city spend it. That fact has produced some sour grapes at times, but county commissioners over the decades real ized that if the city failed, the situation would drag down the county, too. Every city success reected well on the coun ty. The city is not only the county seat but also the areas center of arts, commerce, nance and entertainment. Both city and county governments are eyeing the CRA money. County commissioners have already plugged their contribution into pre dictions of future budgets. When 2016 arrives, their $3.5 million will help plug a long-running decit, with reserves having been used in past years to make up the loss of property tax in come as a result of the Great Depression. The city could use its $3.2 million portion to pay for other projects or necessities beyond downtown. When the two commissions sat down in a joint meeting on Feb. 5, they instructed City Manager Tom Barwin and County Administra tor Randall Reid to devise a plan to address the post-CRA environment. Barwin and Reid came up with the 11-person committee. The city and county commissions meet together on Feb. 5. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 43

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RAPIDS AHEAD! Even before their rst meeting, the commit tees ride is appearing to be bumpy. And the city commissioners keep adding bumps. Two weeks ago, City Commissioner Terry Turner raised the idea that the city should stop par ticipating in the CRA after 2016. He said the city contribution could and should be used to help out other areas of town. He cited the need for a parking garage on St. Armands and another near Hillview Street, with its popular Southside shopping and dining district. And he raised the fear that any post-2016 scheme could have an unelected body de ciding how to spend the CRA money, saying that was unacceptable. The remainder of the commission was cool to his analysis, but two weeks later, others clearly had given the mat ter some thought. We can no longer afford to participate nan cially, said Commissioner Shannon Snyder. Before this committee marches on, assum ing there will be money coming from us, there needs to be a different way of doing this. Commissioner Paul Caragiulo seemed to agree. This is what the committee is sup posed to do to nd alternative modes to do things. Snyder suggested staff provide the county with a list of projects needed in the city. Well switch roles and let the county decide what gets funded, he said. The money would come from the county, he added, because, I dont see how we can afford to do the CRA any more. With the county alr eady counting on the mon ey in its future budget s, the 11-person com mittee will have a hard sell convincing the county commissioners to open a multi-mil lion-dollar pipeline to fund city projects. Ven ice, Longboat and North Port would not be far behind Sarasota; they have argued for CRAs for years, but the county has blocked them. Nonetheless, Snyders motion was explicit: As we move forward with the CRA extension committee, the city will not be nancially par ticipating. The motion passed, with Shaw casting the only No vote. At least two commissioners later were uncer tain about the consequences of their after noon decision. As the evening session moved The City of Sarasota has relied on CRA funds to pay for some expenses observers say its general fund should have covered. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 44

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past 11 p.m., S haw asked, On the CRA, did we kill it? Snyder said, The motion I made is we are not going to nancially participate in it. Leave the money in general revenue. Are we just opting out? asked Caragiulo. Snyder replied, We need to get out of it and stop playing these shell games. Attorney Fournier stepped in before the con fusion spread: Well put it on the next agen da. DUAL TAXATION REDUX The CRA has been a visible and tangible way for the county to ght the citys arguments about dual taxation, with city residents pay ing county property taxes but saying they get nothing in return. This is a perennial hot topic in Florida. If the CRA sunsets, and the county takes its contribution out of the city, it is likely a dual taxation lawsuit will not be far away. There is now sufcient case law and legislation that the legal battle could be extensive. The county nance staff for years has prepared for anoth er round of dual-taxation litigation, keeping a set of books showing how the county showers benets on its other municipalities. If the CRA is extended, will it use the 1986 baseline to calculate the county contribu tion? Or will the baseline be reset to 2016, starting the cycle anew? And who will decide where and how the money will be spent? If the city makes no contributions, should it be calling the shots? Or would an unelected and independent body be responsible for them, as at least one county commissioner has sug gested? The 11-member committees role will be com plicated further by the close observation of its political masters, as well as by the other cities in the county. If Sarasota County opts to provide capital funding for city projects, Long boat, Venice and North Port will be standing with their hands out, as well. Governm ent throughout the ages has been pri marily a matter of allocation of resources who gets what from whom and how much. A despot can take all the resources and let peo ple starve; governments have evolved from that starting point until today, when they have to live with dual taxation and CRA funding schemes. This new 11-member group will be one com mittee well w orth watching. % Vice Mayor Willie Shaw. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 45

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Most of the problems U.S. metropolitan ar eas have encountered with a new type of emergency communications equipment have resulted from insufcient investment in the systems, Manatee Countys public safety ra dio communications director explained in a joint meeting April 16 of the Sarasota and Manatee county com missions. Sarasota County Com missioner Christine Robinson raised the concerns on April 10 prior to her boards 3-2 vote to proceed with implementing a P25 sys tem in Sarasota County. Robinson and Com missioner Nora Patterson were in the minority on that vote. Referring to problems Robinson had uncov ered in a 15-minute Internet search, Wil lie Miranda explained of the systems, They were underfunded and therefore underbuilt, and thats a very im Sarasota and Manatee county commissioners meet in the Think Tank at the County Administration Center in Sarasota on April 16. Photo by Norman Schimmel A MANATEE COUNTY EXPERT ON NEW EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SAYS PROBLEMS CAN BE AVOIDED BY MAKING THE NECESSARY INVESTMENT AT THE OUTSET DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME We need to build it the right way the first time. We cannot spend more money by putting patches here, putting patches there. Willie Miranda Director, Public Safety Radio Communications Manatee County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor

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portant term here. If you under-build, you will have problems. Sarasota County is working with Manatee County on implementing a regional P25 sys tem. We need to build it the right way the rst time, Miranda continued. We cannot spend more money by putting patches here, putting patches there. The cost of the new system for Sarasota Coun ty will be about $18.5 million, Miranda told the boards; for Manatee, it will be about $15 million. Sarasota County Fire Chief and Emergency Services Director Mike Tobias explained at the outset of the presentation on April 16 that all the stakeholders in the two counties are meeting every two weeks and making sure everybo dy has a chance to be heard. One subcommittee, Tobias added, is work ing on policies, procedures and the scope of the systems, while another is focusing on the technology itself. Miranda is heading up that second group, Tobias noted. This is a mission critical radio network, Mi randa told the boards, and we need to keep it as reliable as possible. When Robinson pressed him regarding arti cles she had read about hacking into the P25 systems and encryption issues, Miranda told her that hacking problems did arise with the earliest P25 equipment. However, he point ed out, no Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) was in place nationally to ensure all the P25 systems could communicate with each other. In the early stages, he said, manufactur ers were trying to create their own niches in the market, resulting in a number of problems. Thats wiped away with the CAP program, he pointed out. As for encryption concerns: The [U.S.] De partment of Homeland Security has issued guidelines specically to address [that], Mi randa added. Its a matter of using [the tech nology] properly Robinson said she was concerned that none of the staff making the presentation to the Sara sota County Commission last week had done research similar to what she had pursued. Im surprised that both of these teams didnt have any of that before we stepped into this, she said. However, Bill Hutchison, the former Manatee County public safety director who is work ing as a private consultant to that county, ex plained that Miranda was supposed to have been present for the Sarasota County discus Sarasota County Fire Chief Mike Tobias ad dresses the two boards. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 47

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sion last week; he was unable to attend be cause of a death in the family. Miranda is a true expert on the technology, Hutchison added. Hes the propeller head in our group. He would have been able to an swer [questions] unprompted and unscripted on the y at that meeting. Nonetheless, Robinson told The Sarasota News Leader after the April 16 discussion that she still is concerned none of the other team members was familiar with the points she raised last week. It bothers me that there was no team discussion on these issues, she said. During the April 16 discussion, Patterson pointed out that she cast the other No vote regarding pursuit of the new system. She added that she was thinking back to the year 2000, when Emergency Management said that the world was going to come to an Manatee County Commissioner Robin DiSabatino. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 48

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end when we switched centuries and that we wouldnt be able to communicate with any body, [that] all our systems would fail unless we spent several million dollars to do up grades. Lo and behold, those who didnt spend several million dollars the world didnt come to an end for them. There wasnt even a hiccup. She also was surprised last week when staff could not answer Robinsons questions, Patter son continued. She asked staff for a report on the responses to Robinsons questions, includ ing details about when staff did its research. There is some hesitancy in buying into a tech nology thats new, she pointed out. When the Charlotte County commissioners told the Sarasota County commissioners in a joint meeting last month that they had de cided to spend several million dollars on an emergency communications system upgrade that would last for several more years, that sounded kind of appealing, she added. We are really going to struggle a bit in order to be able to make this happen, especially with buying new radios. A staff presentation shows the tentative timeline for installing the new emergency communications system. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 49

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COST S AND SAVINGS Tobias told the Sarasota commissioners last week that the $18.5 million estimate for the system covers the infrastructure only. Approx imately $13 million will have to be spent on new radios to work with it. Nonetheless, Patterson said, The presenta tion that we had today makes me feel more secure about where were going on it and I absolutely do think a multi-county approach makes all the sense in the world. Ed Hunzeker, the Manatee County adminis trator, promised to provide a written report to both commissions regarding Mirandas an swers to Robinsons questions. When Manatee Commissioner Betsy Benac asked whether the counties working together would save money, Miranda replied, Denite ly. Yes. He told the board that only one network, the brains of the entire system, would be neces sary, and thats an expensive piece of equip ment. Moreover, Miranda said, the most signicant savings would come through efciencies in operating costs. Instead of two maintenance contracts, for example, only one will be nec essary, he pointed out. Manatee Commissioner Carol Whitmore said, It just never made sense that the two coun ties were not using a regional system, noting that Emergency Services personnel cannot communicate directly with each other. Our two count ies working together [on the regional infrastructure], it makes absolute sense, said Sarasota Commissioner Charles Hines. Both of our systems are coming to ward failure at the same time. Its a unique opportunity to take advantage of all of this. Miranda pointed out that 17 Florida counties including Pinellas, Hardee, Alachua, Duval and Orange already have P25 systems in place, but none of them is cooperating on a regional basis. Hopefully, well be the lead on that, he added. When Manatee Commissioner Robin DiSaba tino asked about the timeline for putting in the new system, Miranda said the Sarasota infrastructure needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Tobias explained that the Procurement De partment is nalizing a request for propos als (RFP) for a consultant to help the team choose the best type of system. A PowerPoint presentation provided to the boards shows the projected timeline calling for vendor bids to be solicited in the fourth quarter of this year, with a bid award and implementation of the new equipment beginning in the second quar ter of 2014. Manatee County is almost at the point where a replacement system is necessary, Miranda added. I have been doing some audits of the system, and Im not that comfortable with it on the reliability part Were basically work ing on Band-Aids. Tobias said that it would take about 18 months to install the new equipment once it is purchased. % Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 50

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With fe w comments last week, the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved a $499,496 contract with Kimley-Horn and Asso ciates Inc. for the design of the Myrtle Street Improvement Project from U.S. 41 to west of U.S. 301. The design, which should be completed in March 2014, according to an April 10 memo to the commissioners, is for the widening of the existing two-lane street with shoulders, bicycle lanes, closed drainage, sidewalks and street lighting. These feature s will be along about 1.25 miles o f Myrtle, the memo notes. Thai Tran, a program manager in the Public Works Department, pointed out to the com missioners during their regular meeting on April 10 in Sarasota that Phase I of the Myr tle Street project including a turn lane and sidewalk improvements at the U.S. 301 in tersection is in the final stage of design. Construction bids will be sought this sum mer, he added. During an April 17, 2012 joint meeting of A graphic shows the area for the planned improvements along Myrtle Street in Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES DESIGN OF NEXT PHASE OF IMPROVEMENTS MOVEMENT ON MYRTLE Weve been begging for something to be done to that road. Barbara Langston Liaison Amaryllis Park Neighborhood By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor

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the Sarasota City Commission and the Coun ty Commission, the boards approved Phase 2 with sidewalks on both the north and south sides of the street. During that joint meeting, Barbara Langston, a liaison from the Amaryllis Park Neighborhood, chastised the commissioners for not moving faster on the project. Weve been begging for something to be done to that road, she said of residents. Really, that road is very danger ous, she added. At night, you can hardly see on it. Moreover, Langston told the boards, when that area gets heavy rain, [The road] is total ly ooded. Langston also pointed out that with the re building of Booker High School scheduled to be completed this year, it was vital the street improvements be completed in a timely man ner. Referring to Myrtle, she said, That road serves that school only. You need to be se riously looking at getting as much of that road [work] constructed [as possible] by 2013. She added, My biggest anger right now is that you all are raising Cain over funding sources for the project. A presentation Tran made to the County Com mission on April 10 showed the funding for the design work would be coming from coun ty and city Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies $272,936 from the county and $226,560 from the city. Funding for the construction will be divided up as follows, Tran added: $2,324,798 from A chart explains background on the Myrtle Street improvements project. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 52

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various c i ty and county sources and another $800,000 in county CDBG funds that will be available in October 2015. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason told Tran, I would like to see a one-page document cause this is a hot topic in Newtown that clearly says what Phase I is and [what is in Phase II] and that its fully funded or how the funding is broken down Is that possi ble? Commissioner Joe Barbetta suggested the fact sheet also contain the timeline for the work. Sure, Tran responded. I will send it out to you, he told Mason. Tran then explained that the design of Phase II should be complete in 2014; the right of way acquisition is scheduled for 2014-2015; and construction is set for 2015-2016, with the latter matched to that last portion of CDBG funding for the work. I think it gives people an idea of what to ex pect when, Mason replied. Barbetta asked why the timeframe was so long for right of way acquisition, adding he thought the city own most of the property. Tran responded that the city and county to gether do own the right of way. Therefore, Barbetta continued, the acquisition should take little time. Absolutely correct Tran said. It sho uld be 30 days, Barbetta told him. Staff will try to expedite that process, Tran responded, adding that staff had talked with its consultant about speeding up the design and right of way acquisition so that we can put the project under construction as soon as possible. Commissioner Christine Robinson suggested noting a season for the right of way acquisi tion would be a better indicator of the time involved, as in fall of this year, adding, Itll probably make the timeline a little more un derstandable. Then Mason passed the gavel to Vice Chair man Charles Hines so she could make the motion to approve the contract with Kim ley-Horn. Robinson s econded it. % Commissioner Carolyn Mason. Photo by Nor man Schimmel The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 53

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Five Poi nts Park is high ground in Sarasota. Perhaps before the white men came, it was sacred ground possibly a burial or ensing site. But in the early 21 st century, it seemed a great hex began to emanate from the park. It devoured artwork used to decorate the park. It devoured the benches used to rest the tired. It de voured the sleep of residents who live in towers nearby. It even devoured the lights in the trees. Two years ago, as one of the earliest projects of the Downtown Improve ment District (DID), col or-changing lights were installed in the trees of Five Points Park. When we started, we had ve companies and we w ere excited about it and said, Lets go all-out, said district Operations Manag er John Moran during the regular DID meeting on Tuesday, April 16. The system is costing a lot more than expected while under warranty, and a lot more when it comes off warranty, he added. At an annualized rate, you could be looking at $35,000 to $40,000 annual main tenance for those light strands. Right now, three strands are working. The other 28 are dead. In the latest re port of failure, 28 strands failed due to tree growth or rodents, said Moran. Our three-year warran ty ends in less than a year, he told the district members. Only a few of the light strands are working in Five Points Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT MEMBERS DEBATE THE FUTURE OF LIGHTS AFTER NUMEROUS PROBLEMS IN FIVE POINTS PARK ANOTHER EMBARRASSMENT People are going to say we blew $90,000. Ernie Ritz Chairman Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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The lights cost $81,000 to install, but the warranty does not include issues such as tree growth, vandal ism or acts of God (which includes His lowly crea tures such as squirrels and rats). The district has already spent $18,000 in repairs. Moran contacted three other lighting rms. They said it wasnt for them, he reported. People are going to say we blew $90,000, said dis trict Chairman Ernie Ritz. Should we protect our selves by taking them down and cutting our losses? Those losses include one outstanding invoice to be paid for $8,203 for repairs not covered by warranty and three others at $400 each for monthly service. Thats more than $10,000, said Ritz. Should we in vite them to the next meeting and cut the cord right now? he asked, referring to Synergy Lighting Supply of Bradenton, which installed the lights. Last November the district approved a $400 per month contract to keep the lights working. It de clined to pay the latest bills until it hears from Syn ergy, extending the reach of the hex all the way to Bradenton. % A map shows the area of Five Points Park bordered by First Street, Central Avenue and North Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sara sota. Image courtesy Google Maps Gene Burgess and Melonie Burgess, licensed acupuncture physicians Serving Sarasota since 2008 Treatment rates are on a sliding scale, from $15-$35; new patients pay a onetime additional fee of $10 AFFORDABLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR EVERYONE 3615 Webber St Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4611 SarasotaCommunityAcupuncture.com Open Tuesday through Saturday Our Mission To provide our community with high quality and affordable acupuncture and herbal medicine and to create a treatment space that connects people and builds community. Click for larger map and driving directions Click To Schedule An Appointment Online MENTION THIS AD TO RECEIVE $5 OFF THE NEW PATIENT FEE Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 55

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At the op ening of a joint meeting of the Sara sota and Manatee county commissions, the respective chairmen Carolyn Mason and Larry Bustle proclaimed April 16 Rowing Appreciation Day. The two elected ofcials addressed a team from the International Federation of Row ing (FISA), which visited the area this week to inspect facilities at Fort Hamer Park near Parrish, Bay Preserve at Osprey and Nathan Benderson Park in conjunction with the coun ties bid to host the 2017 World Rowing Cham pionships. Reading rst from the proclamation, Mason noted the two counties had partnered to make the region a world wide competitive rowing destination, with their efforts focused on see ing Benderson Park off University Parkway become the premier aquatic facility in the world. She added to the FISA group, We want to thank you for coming and gracing our commu nity with your presence and please dont be strangers, drawing laughter from the packed audience in the Think Tank in the countys Ad ministration Center in Sarasota. While the counties had partnered on many projects in the past, Bustle continued, This one tops the scale [in] importance and you folks hold the secret to that. Matt Smith, the executive director of FISA, drew more laughter when he responded, We (From left) Sarasota County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason and Manatee County Com mission Chairman Larry Bustle present a proclamation on April 16 to the International Rowing Federation (FISA) team visiting the area: Matt Smith, the executive director of FISA; Svetla Otzeto va, the events director and a world champion rower; and Andy Couper, the sports marketing spe cialist. Photo by Norman Schimmel ROWING APPRECIATION DAY PROCLAIMED BY COUNTIES NEWS BRIEFS

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didnt know that [this was Rowing Apprecia tion Day] when we booked the ights. He pointed out that 2017 will mark the 55 th year of the World Rowing Championships. FISA, he added, is the oldest international sports federation in the world. His team will report its ndings from the in spection visit at a meeting of the FISA Coun cil on July 14 in Lucerne, Switzerland, Smith added. The bid will be announced on Sept. 2 in South Korea. In late Febr uary, the Suncoast Aquatic Na ture Center Association (SANCA), on behalf of Benderson Park, submitted its preliminary bid for the 2017 event. The nal bid is due in May, along with a fee of $26,000, according to material supplied earlier this year to both county commissions. SANCA has estimated that holding the World Rowing Champion ships would have an economic impact on the region of about $24.6 million. Rachel Brown Hackney The Greater Sar asota Chamber of Commerce has come out in favor of overhauling the coun tys Sarasota 2050 plan, and the organizations president and CEO will be on hand to defend that position at a forum held next Tuesday evening, April 23. Chamber board Chairman Nick Gladding wrote to county staff and commissioners on April 2 that the Chambers board had voted unanimously to encourage the commission to reopen the 2050 plan, arguing that no new construction has begun under the plan, that jobs have gone elsewhere as a result and that, bottom line, times have changed. Glad ding added that revamping 2050 is one of the Chambers key priorities. Those issues will all come up at next weeks debate, which will feature Control Growth Now President Dan Lobeck squaring off against Chamber President and CEO Steve Queior. Lobeck has been one of the most out spoken critics of the County Commissions plan to reevaluate 2050, the detailed land-use plan created a decade ago to encourage en viron mentally friendly, village-style develop ment east of Interstate 75. The Sarasota County Council of Neighbor hood Associations (CONA) has already come out swinging at the Chambers position, argu ing that 2050 projects are indeed under way and that one of the recessions important les sons is that overdevelopment can damage a community. There is a counter-offer by the [Public Inter est Coalition] that states if the County reopens 2050, they should consider more, not fewer, protections of the environment and neighbor hoods, CONA President Lourdes Ramirez wrote in a release this week. In the end, the winners will probably be just the print shops and newspapers with all of the advertising dollars that will be spent by oppos ing groups, Ramirez concluded. Lets hope by newspapers she means digital weeklies. The Sarasota 2050 forum will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at the Waldemere Fire Sta tion, 2070 Waldemere St., Sarasota. Cooper Levey-Baker CHAMBER OF COMMERCE COMES OUT IN FAVOR OF 2050 OVERHAUL Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 57

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A luncheon meeting designed to equip faithbased organizations for the upcoming hurri cane season will take place on Wednesday, April 24, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sara sota County Administration Center in the Emergency Operations Command Center on the sixth oor, the county has announced. The Administration Center is located at 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. There is no charge for the event; registration will begin at 11:30 a.m., a news release notes. A group of local experts will present the most current strategies for emergency prepared ness to help ensure that churches, synagogues and other faith-based organizations have an effective response for their communities, the release adds. Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane will provide an overview of his depa rtment along with a glimpse into this coming hurricane season, which ofcially be gins on June 1, the release notes. Sarasota Po lice Chief Bernadette DiPino will discuss se curity and community safety; the Rev. Marion R. Sortore of Charlotte Harbor Trinity United Methodist Church will speak about the impor tance of identifying roles of volunteers, based on her experiences during a ood event that impacted her church community; and Mindi Rohan of Volunteer Community Connections and Daniel Compana of Face Ministries will discuss how people in the community can get involved, the release notes. Volunteer Community Connections is the lead organizer of this event. The Sarasota Community Organizations Ac tive in Disaster (COAD) is a network of groups working tog ether to promote the efcient, Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane (left) addresses the County Commis sion about Tropical Storm Isaac in August 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel LUNCHEON TO EQUIP FAITH-BASED GROUPS FOR HURRICANE SEASON Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 58

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Sarasota County Parks and Recreation and the Friends of The Legacy Trail will host an open house celebration and Trail Safety Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 20, at the new Osprey Junction Trailhead, 939 East Bay St., Osprey, the county has announced. Osprey Junction Trailhead is at the east end of Bay Street at The Legacy Trail. Sarasota Coun ty purchased the 10-acre property in late 2008 with funds from the Neighborhood Parkland Acquisition Program, a county news release says. The new park is one of seven trailheads for The Legacy Trail. The dog-friendly neighborhood park provides picnicking opportunities and parking for ac cess to The Legacy Trail, the release adds. The park hours will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April through October and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Novem ber through March. Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, the Friends of The Legacy Trail and the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce are working together to educate the public about safe and courte ous use of nonmotorized, multiuse trails, the release notes. Safety displays and educational materials will be available at the open house, it says. Free drawstring backpacks and bicycle bells will be given out while supplies last to those people who arrive by bicycle or on foot and are willing to sign a pledge to follow safe ty and courtesy guidelines, the release notes. Free bicycle helmets for children also will be provided. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 (TTY: 711) or visit the Sarasota County website at www.sc gov.net TRAIL SAFETY DAY TO BE HELD AT OSPREY JUNCTION TRAILHEAD s treamlined service delivery and coordination throughout the four phases of disaster: prepa ration, response, recovery and mitigation, the release says. The Sarasota COAD continual ly prepares for any type of hazard response, which may include pandemics, terrorism, nat ural disasters and mass causalities, the release points out. The COAD was created after Sarasota Coun ty participated in the response and recovery effort following Hurricane Charley, it notes. The COAD member organizations engage community leaders in discussions to doc ument the lessons learned, it says. They also look for ways to foster partnerships and streamline response and recovery processes to support Sarasota County Emergency Man agement if and when a weather-related or other type of disaster hits Sarasota Coun ty. To register for the April 24 meeting or for more information about disaster volunteer needs, call Volunteer Community Connections at 953-5965 or email info@vccorida.org by Monday, April 21. For more information about the Saraso ta COAD, visit the organizations website at www.sarasotacoad.org Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 59

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The Sarasota Cou nty Victim Advisory Council will host its annual Victim Tribute on Friday, April 19, at the Sarasota County Technical In stitute (SCTI) Conference Center, 4748 Bene va Road, Sarasota, at 6:30 p.m., the organiza tion has announced. This years theme, New Challenges. New Solu tions celebrates the spirit that advances the progress of crime victims rights in this community and across the country, a news release says. The tribute will also launch Na TRIBUTE PLANNED APRIL 19 FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME tiona l C rime Victims Rights Week, which is April 21-27. The public is invited to attend the vigil and learn more about available community re sources, the release says. The keynote speak er will be Mandy OMalley of the Child Protec tion Center. The council includes representatives from the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, Sarasota Po lice Department, State Attorneys Ofce, Par ents of Murdered Children (POMC) and Moth ers Agains t Drun k Driving (MADD). Sarasota, Suncoast Polytechnical and North Port high schools will host Student-Parent In formation Nights (SPIN) in April and May, the school district has announced. Suncoast Polytechnical High School will host SPIN Night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, in the schools cafeteria, a news re lease says. A technology magnet high school whose stu dents come from throughout the county, SPHS features a college-preparatory curriculum in tegrated within an economics and business core, the release notes. Twenty-rst century workplace skills are taught and assessed in all classes. Instruction for every student in cludes one-to-one computer access, ePortfo lios, alternative assessments and business and industry involvement, the release adds. More information about SPIN Night is avail able by calling Suncoast Polytechnical High at 921-3981 or by visiting www.SarasotaCounty Schools.net/sunco astpolytechnical Suncoast P olytechnical High is located at 4650 Beneva Road, Sarasota. Sarasota High School will host SPIN Night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, in the auditorium and east cafeteria. The event will include information about courses and pro grams, including the Advanced Internation al Certificate of Education, or AICE, and the Math, Science and Technology Institute (MaST), the rele ase points out. COUNTY HIGH SCHOOLS TO HOST STUDENT-PARENT INFORMATION NIGHTS Sarasota High School will host Student-Par ent Information Night on April 30. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 60

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In Atlanta on April 13, the Alliance for Innova tion announced it had selected Sarasota Coun ty to host the 2014 National Big Ideas Con ference, County Administrator Randall Reid informed the County Commission this week. The event probably will be held in October or November, Reid added in an email. This is an invitation-only event for thought leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as nonprot organizations, who can have an impact on communities, he added. A theme based upon community assets and na SARASOTA COUNTY TO HOST 2014 NATIONAL BIG IDEAS CONFERENCE tional issues will be developed to create the assembly of guests and insure provocative and insightful dialogue. The 2013 conference is being held in West Hol lywood in November, he noted. According to its website, the Alliance for Inno vation works to transform local government and advance community excellence through the discovery and application of leading ideas and practices. Rachel Brown Hackney More information is available by calling Sara sota High at 955-0181 or by visiting the SHS website at www.SarasotaCountySchools.net/ schools/sarasotahigh Sarasota High is located at 1000 S. School Ave., Sarasota. North Port High School will host SPIN night from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2. The event will begin with a presentation in the Performing Arts Center about graduation re quirements, courses and programs, including the Advanced International Certicate of Ed uc ation, or AICE new to NPHS in 2013-14, the release notes. Following the presentation, parents are en couraged to visit information stations in the courtyard to learn about athletics, clubs, de partments and activities. More information is available by calling North Port High at 423-8558 or by visiting the NPHS website at www.SarasotaCountySchools.net/ schools/northporthigh North Port High is located at 6400 W. Price Blv d., North Port. Sarasota County and the University of Flori da/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension (UF/IFAS) will celebrate Arbor Day 2013 with two educational events, the county has announced. Pruning for Tree Health will be held for homeowners from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, and a Tree School focusing on best practices and proper tree care for commercial COUNTY TO CELEBRATE ARBOR DAY WITH EDUCATIONAL EVENTS audiences, will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, April 30, according to a county news release. (Continuing education units will be available: ISA, FNGLA). Both classes will be held at the UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County ofces at Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota. Trees are an important part of our environ ment and improve our q uality of life here in Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 61

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Sarasot a County, said County Commissioner Christine Robinson in the release. This is a day to recognize the importance of trees and to learn about how we as citizens can come together and beautify our community. In the spirit of Arbor Day, these educational programs will extend beyond simply planting trees to teaching people how to care for trees after planting to maximize their health, life span and impact on the environment, the re lease points out. Properly managed tree can opies provide shade and wildlife habitat and help reduce stormwater runoff, it notes. In addition, trees signicantly increase the value of homes and properties. Th e homeowner program will focus on prop er pruning techniques to maintain healthy, well-structured trees, the release says. The pro gram for commercial audiences will cover prun ing, planting and establishment; selection of tree species; and disease and pest management. For registration, visit sarasota.ifas.u.edu or call 861-5000. For more information about planting and car ing for trees, visit UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County at sarasota.ifas.u.edu or Florida Forest Service at www.oridaforestservice.com For more information on Arbor Day celebra tions, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. Sarasota prides itself on its Canopy Roads. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 62

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The Sarasota Count y School District will host an informational meeting and orientation session on April 24 for anyone interested in opening a new charter school in the 2014-2015 school year, the district has announced. The session will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the districts admin istrative ofces, 1980 Landings Blvd. (brown awning building), rooms A and B. Atten dance is recommended for all potential char ter school applicants, a news release says. Registration for the session is encouraged. School district representatives will present in formation on charter school legislation, appli cation procedures, review and approval pro cesses and timelines, the release notes. After the presentation, staff will answer questions from the applicants and arrange for technical assistance. Proposals for new charter schools may be made by individuals or groups, teachers, par ents, municipalities or legal entities organized under the laws of the state of Florida, the re lease points out. As the sponsor of all charter schools in the district, the School Board of Sarasota County monitors and reviews each charter schools compliance with Florida De partment of Education requirements and the achievement of student performance goals es tablished in the charter school contract. Applications for new charter schools for the 2014-2015 school year will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, the release adds. Application submission requirements are post ed at www.tinyurl.com/7663sdr The applica tions may be submitted in person or by mail to Charter Schools Supervisor Katrina Ward, 1960 Landings Blvd., Sarasota, 34231. Anyone with questions may call 927-9000, ext. 32171. DISTRICT ORIENTATION SESSION SET FOR CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICANTS The Sarasot a County Sheriffs Ofce arrested a 42-year-old woman this week who witnesses say had sex with two teens over spring break while others watched. Special Victims Unit detectives arrested Jeanine Shimandle of 6406 First Avenue W., Bradenton, after hearing reports she had sex ual relations with 13and 17-year-old boys on March 11 at a Sarasota home where she was house-sitting, according to the Sheriffs Ofce. Another male and two female teenag ers who were also there listened to and, at times, watched the sex acts take place, the report says. WOMAN ARRESTED FOR HAVING SEX IN FRONT OF TEENS Jeanine Shimandle/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 63

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One time durin g the evening, the report says, one of the boys came out of the bedroom without a shirt on and sat down on the couch. A little while later both [Shimandle] (wearing a towel) and [another boy] came out of the room and went outside to have cigarettes. The report says one teen told an investigat ing ofcer that Shimandle also stopped at a shop that sells alcohol around 9:45 p.m. and bought two bottles of Vodka, one avored Cookie Dough and the other avored Cake. As of April 15, Shimandle had been charged with four counts of Lewd and Lascivious Ex hibition and two counts of Contributing to the D elinquency of a Minor, but the investigation was continuing, the report notes; additional charges were pending. Anyone with more information is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477), going online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com or sending a text message by texting TIP109 plus a mes sage to CRIME S (274637). % Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, tter to bruise than polish. Anne Bradstreet, poet SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota John-NormanTuck.com Located Upstairs In the Green Ginger Salon 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. Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 64

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Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida941-953-4060 MyPlannedParenthood.org

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EDITORIAL THE UNITED STATES OF REVULSION EDITORIAL N othing demonstrates the contentious nature of the national political discourse quite like the lull that follows a national tragedy. Sud denly, all of the invidious backbiting is forgot ten, if only for a while, as the nation comes together to mourn the dead, care about the injured and survivors, and search for meaning on occasions devoid of meaning. For a mo ment, the country truly is the United States, even if it is the United States of Revulsion. Whether it is a natural disaster such as Hurri cane Katrina or Super storm Sandy, an act of terror such as visited upon the country on 9/11, or the actions of a madman, such as the killer s in Aurora, CO, or Newtown, CT, the nation nds its soul in such moments of despair. The peoples deep wellspring of kinship and caritas is tapped, as unity trumps division and compassion replac es enmity. So it is that we nd ourselves yet again in the midst of tragedy. Two bombs were detonated on April 15 near the conclusion of the legend ary Boston Marathon, killing at least three per sons, wounding scores of others and leaving millions of Americans once again to ponder, Why? Yet even in the midst of the mayhem and gore, our spirits were lifted by seles s acts The blissful innocence of never contemplating an attack is the precious thing rst stolen from us in the aftermath of a massacre.

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ourselves with the steadfast belief that certain justice might act as a deterrent in the future. Sometimes that retribution is swift, as in the quick apprehension and punishment of the Oklahoma City bombers. Sometimes it comes after years of effort, as in the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan almost 10 years after the destruction of the World Trade Centers and the attack on the Pentagon. With the vil lains brought to account, the inevitability of retribution provides us with a sense of closure for events that we will never forget. Before the smoke cleared on Monday, mem bers of the law enforcement community al ready were launching an investigation into what happened and who was responsible. In the hours that followed, the scope of that in vestigation widened to include ofcials at the local, state and federal level. The combined might of that investigative effort will provide us all with explanations of the who, how and why, even if the answers do not not come quickly. T he tragedy that likely will become known as the Boston Marathon Bombing has been etched in the national consciousness, its im pact a permanent part of how we think of our selves and the world around us. But in the courage of those who responded heroically in the rst moments, in the stoicism of the survivors and victims families and in the ded ication and zeal of those who seek the identi cation and punishment of the offenders, we nd the greatest measure of ourselves. And we nd hope. % of heroism, as spect ators and rst responders immediately set about caring for the victims, disregarding their own peril; as runners who had completed the course reportedly contin ued running to the hospital to give blood; or as dozens of Bostonians opened their homes to race participants needing meals or a place to spend the night. For those of us viewing photographs and vid eos of the attack and its aftermath, images of this courageous corps provide an enduring afrmation of, as Abraham Lincoln termed it, the better angels of our nature. Our collective awe at those on the scene who risked their lives to help the victims, and our sympathy for the victims and their families, does not blunt the incipient rage at yet anoth er affront to a freedom all hold dear free dom from fear. In every earlier example of an attack on in nocent civilians, whether by a lone perpetra tor or a malevolent organization, we all have suffered a loss of our sense of security. The blissful innocence of never contemplating an attack is the precious thing rst stolen from us in the aftermath of a massacre. It is tragi cally the bell that can never be un-rung in the national psyche. To salve our anxiety and sorrow, we look to the exposing of those responsible for the at tacks, and the reasons for it. In the identica tion of the killers, and their eventual punish ment for the crime, we regain a small sense of control over the uncon trollable. We console Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 67

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COMMENTARY N ewspaper and television ana lysts have offered their insights into the hor ror that rose out of the 2013 Boston Marathon. As a distance runner and former Manhattan resident who lived through 9/11, I truly under stand how devastating terrorist activities are to a community, state and country. The timing of the Patriots Day blasts in Bos ton has been fully explained: If you want to make a statement to America, you choose a target or time that has historical merit. For marathoners, it was especially devastat ing. Many new runners are very satised with a morning outing or work on a treadmill. Others choose to become road racers, regardless of the age when they start. Running is the only sport I know in which professionals and am ateurs are on the eld at the same time. You see world-class runners turning in ve-minute miles and winning races and prizes. This is their living. Following them occasionally at times twice theirs or even higher are the amateur runners. Everyone who enters a race wins when he or she nishes. It is that type of com radeship and enjoyment of sport and maybe a cold beer afterwards that makes competing so worthwhile and almost an addiction. The rul e generally is if you can run 6.2 miles (a 10K race), you have the capability to train and run a marathon. Many who start running claim they have no such goal only to catch the fever and start striving for the marathon distance. There are even a few who go beyond FORMER MARATHONER REFLECTS ON THE BOSTON BOMBINGS By Norman Schimmel Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Norman Schimmel competes in the Boston Marathon in 1987. Photo courtesy of Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 68

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Ther e ar e runners who will never quali fy for the most treasured road race in the world but still want to feel as though they are participating. They can contribute to the Dana Farber Cancer Fund and get a running number. They also are near the nish line at about the same time with their families awaiting them. Their loved ones represented even more targets on Monday. On April 15, the day all marathon people dream of tu rned into a nightmare. In New York after 9/11, the running commu nity staged a United We Stand series of rac es. It included an event that passed Ground Zero in the third mile, just three months after the tragedy. It is the only road race I ever ran in which everyone stopped running at that point, said a prayer, then continued the race. The American spirit and our way of life our love of freedom will never be broken by anyone. Next year in Boston that state ment will be made loud and clear, just as it was in New York in 2001. Editors note: Norman Schimmel of Saraso ta ran 1,000 road races between 1982 and 2002, including 40 half marathons and 21 marathons. % that, the o nes called ultra marathoners or en durance athletes. All marathons present the lure of glorious completion. Only one necessitates a runner qualify for it: the Boston Marathon. It is prob ably the dream of almost every marathoner to run Boston Qualifying times are weighted by age, so people train to achieve their neces sary goal. Most never reach it. Patriots weekend in Boston is very festive. Family and friends can come to the Expo, where you purchase Boston Marathon cloth ing and mementos. The Carbo Up held prior to the race, is never to be forgotten. It is usu ally held near the site of the Boston Tea Party. On the day of the marathon, runners are as signed starting positions according to their speed, with the pros in the front pigpen in Hopkinton. Understanding how that positioning works makes it plain that the terrorists action was not designed to kill runners. It was planned to kill spectators. The winning runners typically nish in 2:10 to 2:25. Most of the runners ar rive at the nish line around 4 hours or later. That means the greatest number of spectators will be on the streets, all around the nish line and along the route closest to it, later in the race. On Monday, these spectators and family members were the targets. Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 69

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side but not r eally excited about the issue and not likely to remember it at the next election. The commis sion voted not to allow the Walmart. I would like to be able to say, Thats that. But it isnt. The Ringling center is a very valuable piece of property, well located, lending itself to use by many kinds of prot-making enter prises, some of which might be acceptable to the neighbors and some of which might not, but many of which might be accomplished with no need for commission approval of any zoning changes. Sooner or later, something could be built that would be less attractive to the neighbors than a Walmart. I can see one simple way to avert that out come: for the city or county to acquire the property. That is not a bad idea in any case. The same factors that make it attractive for private users make it attractive for public use, plus the added consideration that it is adja cent to the count y courthouse. COMMENTARY There is an Old Sa ying: All pol itics is local. Like most Old Sayings, this one is not entirely true. It would be more accurate to say that much politics is local. But in a respectful gesture to Old Sayings, I will begin my rst submission to The Sarasota News Leader with a column about an episode in local politics the dispute over the future of the about-to-be-defunct Ringling Shopping Center. You may recall that Walmart wanted to put a new store in the old center and went before the Sarasota City Commission to seek nal approval for its plan. Residents living close to the proposed Walmart rose up in vehement and vocal protest. This brought about a classic situation very familiar to members of elected bodies at every level of government where you nd a rela tively small group of highly motivated people (the neighbors) on one side and a large group of people (most city residents) on the other By Waldo Proftt Contributing Writer WALMART MAY NEVER BUILD THERE, BUT OTHER POSSIBILITIES EXIST FOR THE RINGLING SHOPPING CENTER SITE COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 70

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He served in the Army Air Force in Italy during World War II and was recalled to ac tive duty during the Korean War, when he worked in the Pentagon in the ofce of the Chief Scientist of the Air Force. He was married to the late Anne Proftt for 47 years. He has ve children, two of whom, Geoffrey and Scott live in Sarasota. % The co unty is alway s looking for more space. Indeed, as I write this, Sarasota County Sher iff Tom Knight is looking for a spot to house more of his personnel in one plac e. Or, if that can not be worked out, the Ring ling center could be converted into a public park. You could put in benches, swings, wad ing pools and lots of owers and make it a place for children to play and ofce workers to come for lunch. For such uses and others you might come up with, I would be willing to give up the tax rev enue the Ringling center pays under private ownership. Waldo Proftt was managing editor or editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune from 1961 to 1998, and he wr ote a weekly column for the paper for 15 years after his retirement. He was born in Texas, grew up in Oklahoma, graduated from Harvard College and worked for newspapers in Maine, North Carolina, and Ohio before moving to Sarasota. The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting 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 in clude the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to Letters@SarasotaNewsLeader.com with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Letters ac tually printed will be selected based on space avail able, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted be come the property of The Sarasota News Leader. Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 71

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Featuring Sarasota Leisure SARASOTA LEISURE Inside A BIG SPLASH ON THE EVE OF INVASION: PART III

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

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The forces beh ind the 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) demonstrated to audienc es this year that contemporary lmmakers are not afraid to intellectually stimulate and chal lenge viewers, despite what seems to have be come the norm in Hollywood. The SFF staff and Board of Directors worked to drive the point home from the very start of the program which kicked off on April 5 by choosing the provocative documentary Blacksh as the opening night lm. In a short interview with The Sarasota News Leader a few minutes be fore Blacksh was screened at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, SFF Director Tom Hall ex pressed his excitement about the audience turnout before explaining he trusted the at tendees would appreciate the lm. Its not a conventional choice, I think, for opening night, he said. When people see the movie, I think theyll understand why we did it. BLACKFISH Blacksh which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is an emo tional lm about orcas, or killer whales, cap The party following the 2013 Sarasota Film Festivals opening night screening of Blacksh took place on the ground oor of the Van Wezel on April 5. All photos by Arielle Scherr BLACKFISH MAKES WAVES AT THE 2013 SARASOTA FILM FESTIVALS OPENING NIGHT A BIG SPLASH By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer

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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 75 tured in the wild by hired hunters and shipped to water-theme animal entertainment parks in North America and Europe. There, the mam mals have been trained to perform tricks. They also have been bred, sold and traded among parks. The documentary combines professional and amateur footage and interviews with former SeaWorld trainers, marine biologists, theme park attendees and others to examine the tensions many believe have resulted from practices employed by some of the sea parks. Throughout the lm, the clear assertion is that restricting the intelligent, emotionally devel oped orcas to articial and cramped habi tats with other somewhat arbitrarily select ed whales deprives them of innate physical, psychological and social needs, causing them to become unusually aggressive to each other and to humans. Although Blacksh documents numerous cas es of orcas in theme parks harming or killing their trainers, it focuses on the fatal attack by notorious orca Tilikum on experienced Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. The lm challenges SeaWorlds ofcial account of the events leading to Brancheaus death, con tending that Tilikum did not pull her into his tank by her ponytail which she was sup posed to have tied up in a bun but that he dragged her into the pool by her arm. Blacksh also dives into a six-month U.S. Oc cupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation following Brancheaus death, which resulted in a May 2012 ruling by an administrative law judge that SeaWor ld trainers must be separated from orcas by a protective physical barrier during perfor mances. Brancheaus death is not the only aspect of Ti likums life noted in the lm, however. Black sh follows Tilikum from the time he was captured near Iceland in 1983 at two or three years of age to his current life in captivity at Former SeaWorld trainers Jeff Ventre, Samantha Berg, John Jett and John Hargrove answer ques tions from Sarasota Film Festival Director Tom Hall and audience members on April 5.

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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 76 SeaWorld Orlando, where he still performs oc casionally, though the lm contends he spends the majority of his time in isolation. The lm also notes that, despite Tilikums having been involved in the deaths of three people over the span of two decades, the whales sperm has been used in the articial insemination of nu merous female orcas, resulting in the breeding of many offspring at SeaWorld. Q&A It was clear from the applause resounding through the crowded theater when the nal credits began to roll that the audience was very impressed with the lm. After the house lights came up, Hall was joined on stage for a Q&A session by Blacksh Direc tor Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Producer Manu el Oteyz a and four former SeaWorld trainers prominently featured in the lm: Jeff Ventre, Samantha Berg, John Jett and John Hargrove. Hall proceeded to ask Cowperthwaite what inspired her to present the story of Tilikum and other captive orcas and how the process began. She explained that in a past life she occasionally brought her two young sons to SeaWorld San Diego, where she felt something was not quite right. I would look around me at the crowd and think to myself, How could a place that makes so many people laugh and so many people smile be really bad? Cowperthwaite said. These feelings transformed into something more profound when news of Brancheaus death began t o spread, Cowperthwaite add (From left) Lay Me in the River (short) Directors and Screenwriters Ashley Lynn Bonn and Allison Morton pose for a photo prior to the screening of Blacksh on April 5.

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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 77 ed. I started researching it, trying to under stand what had happened there, and the more I peeled back the onion the more I found and the more shocked I became. Hall then asked the former SeaWorld trainers to explain how they became involved in the production. The rst to answer, Ventre, of fered a response that could have represented his entire group: I think were kind of here by default, because most of the people that still work in the marine park industry were unwill ing to come out and say anything. Berg said many current sea park employees who feel critical of the industry are unwilling or afraid to voice their opinions. When youre in the animal entertainment industry, its very hard to get a job once you leave, if you say anything, she pointed out. She went on to admit that she was still ner vous and hesitant when she nally voiced her opinions about six months after Brancheaus death. Even though I was 17 or 18 years out [of the industry], there was still part of me that felt like I was betraying my colleagues by talking. Jett, an outspoken critic of SeaWorld and oth er sea parks, said trainers have doubted the industry for decades. This conversation ac tually began when Jeff [Ventre] and I worked together at Shamu Stadium 20 years ago, he Blacksh Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite.

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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 78 told the audience. Even then we were saying, If the public ever really knows the truth, this whole thing is going to fall apart. Hargrove, the most recent former SeaWorld trainer to come out against orca captivity, ex plained that SeaWorlds ofcial responses to the deaths of Brancheau and other trainers be gan to disenchant him with the theme park: I always believed that SeaWorld would stand by me and protect me and support me for taking the amount of risk that I took at my job every single day. Hargrove went on to express disbelief about events that have taken place in the past four years, including Brancheaus death and the OSH A hearing. It just showed me that they werent going to do that, that they were go ing to not protect me and blame me just like theyve always blamed every one of us who have been in a major incident with one of the whales. MORE PROVOCATIVE FILMS Blacksh of course, was not the only provoc ative or challenging lm that was shown at the SFF this year. Check in with the News Leader next week for more coverage of the festival, which will include details about lms honored at the SFFs closing night Filmmaker Tribute Awards on April 13. % Maria the Korean Bride (documentary feature) Director, Producer, Screenwriter and star Maria Yoon prior to the screening of Blacksh on April 5.

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Editors not e: I n this third installment from City Editor Stan Zimmermans forthcoming book, Maritime History of Florida, Ponce de Len becomes the rst but not the last unsuccessful conqueror of Florida. This year is the 500 th anniversary of the rst arrival of Europeans in Florida. After discovering Florida in 1513, Ponce de Len went back to Spain, renewed his license as an Adelantado a governor in a Spanish colony in 1514 and came back to the New World the following year. His return to Flori da, however, was delayed for seven years, to satisfy a royal command to pacify the erce and cannibal Caribs, who were pr eying on Spanish and indigenous peoples in the Carib bean. His navigator, Anton de Alaminos, remained busy between the two voyages of Ponce de Len. In 1517, he led the ships of Hernandez de Cordoba into San Carlos Bay near Sani bel for refuge during a storm. The ships were returning to Cuba after the discovery of the Yucatan peninsula. Alaminos most timely and economic feat of navigation came in 1519. After Hernan Corts subdued and subjugated the Aztec Empire, he sent back what would be the rst treasure eet from the New World. This map is upside down with north at the bottom. It is dated 1542, and it would have benetted from the rst three Spanish excursions into Florida. The details are surprising, considering Colum bus rst voyage was only 50 years earlier. Image courtesy U.S. Library of Congress THE MEN WHO OWNED FLORIDA WERE DEFEATED BY IT ON THE EVE OF INVASION: PART III By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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Cortez appoin ted Alaminos as the pilot. Ala minos took the then unused and untried route north along the Florida coast to take advan tage of the strong current he had experienced earlier on his voyage with Ponce de Len. He then discovered that this current was not con ned to Florida [waters] but continued for thousands of miles bending eastward and car ried him in record time three-quarters of the way across the sea to Spain, wrote Douglas Peck in Ponce de Leon and the Discovery of Florida By 1521, Ponce was an experienced leader, ex plorer and conqui stador of both Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands. On his second voy age to Florida, Ponce would attempt to estab lish a colony. He sailed from Puerto Rico on February 26, 1521 in two ships loaded with settlers and sup porting gear necessary to establish a perma nent Spanish town and fort on the shores of La Florida, wrote Peck. The two-ship eet carried 200 men, Catholic clergymen, seed for planting crops, 50 horses, and other live stock including cows, sheep and goats, added Peck. Sanibel Island was the target. Having sparred with the Calusa Indians on his rst voyage, Ponce believed the islan d was de This is the ofcial route of DeSotos campaign through the southeastern United States. It remains a mystery why after all the time and great expense preparing to found a colony in Florida DeSo to marched away from a great harbor into the wilderness. Image courtesy U.S. Library of Congress Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 80

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fendable against attack. However, canoes full of Calusa warriors soon proved him wrong. The settlers were ercely attacked from the moment they landed. They were attacked while they were erecting their buildings, and attacked when they attempted to plant their crops and tend their cattle. Many settlers died from the incessant attacks. Others died from illness brought on from being forced to live huddled together in the compound in un healthy conditions, afraid to venture forth for fear of being attacked. Ponce de Len tried to stick it out for a few months but nally, after receiving a painful wound in the thigh, decid ed to abandon the project and withdrew the company to the safety of Cuba, wrote Peck. Ponce died from his wound in Puerto Prin cipe, Cuba, in July 1521. He is buried in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Spains rst at tempt to add Florida to its growing New World empire was repelled with military force. The Calusa were the only Native American population in North and South America to compel a Spanish re treat from its territory. Florida had claimed its rst conquistador, but not its last. Ponce did make one contribution to Florida that the state enjoys to this day. He introduced the orange tree during his Sanibel stay. Within 200 years, such trees would grow all over the peninsula. UP NEXT: TWO MORE LOSERS The next Spanish adventurer to try his luck in Florida was Pnlo de Narvez. His expedition resulted in the first piece of classic liter ature in the New World, An Account of the First Dis covery and Natural His tory of Flori da by Cabeza de Vaca. That small but im portant book was the only positive result of the second attempt to conquer and colonize Flor ida. Only five men survived the 1527 expe dition, which landed some This is a map from 1562 that appears in a Spanish book. However, close comparison with other maps of the same peri od and earlier ones indicates this was an artistic rendering. Image courtesy U.S. Library of Congress Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 81

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where between Tampa and Clearwater and then marched north into utter ruin. The third man to try was Don Hernando de Soto, a soldiers soldier, a Knight Commander of the noble Order of Santiago. He won expe rience with intrigue, plunder and slaving while riding with Pizzaro in the conquest of the In can empire. When de Soto went back to Spain with riches, glory and fame at the age of 37, his king Charles V, grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella proclaimed De Soto the Ad elantado of all the lands he could conquer. De Soto picked Florida as a starting point. He landed in 1539 somewhere between Char lotte Harbor and Tampa Bay. The ofcially proclaimed landing site is in Manatee Coun ty near the mouth of the Manatee River. He planned to colonize the area, but he suc cumbed to the yearning for gold and marched north for plunder. As native guides led him through every swamp and bog and around every village, his 750 men helped spread the diseases that would even tually destroy the indigenous population and their societies. An adult male infected with measles becomes sterile, for example, and will produce no further children. The native Floridians had no defense against the host of diseases introduced and disseminated by DeSotos march through Florida. DeSoto eventually trekked off into Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee and died in Ar kansas in 1541. Florida had expelled another Adelantado and claimed all but a handful of his followers. Astounded that the peninsula had consumed three well-prepared expedi tions, Charles V banned further exploration of Florida. CHANGE OF VENUE A decade later, the new Spanish king, Philip II, called on Don Tristn de Luna y Arellano to establish a colony in the Florida Panhandle. He arrived in 1559 at the height of hurricane season, accompanied by 1,000 colonists and 500 soldiers. To celebrate their safe arrival, Don Tristn called for celebrations and sports, with boat and horse racing along the beach. Supplies were left aboard 13 ships. On Aug. 20, a tropi cal storm whipped through Pensacola Bay and nine ships sank at anchor. Remaining supplies were quickly used up. Soldiers foraged for food, but the decimated indigenous popula tion was too small to offer much help. A relief eet appeared on April 1, 1561 with supplies and a new governor. The Pensaco la colony was abandoned. Philip II decided Florida was hopeless and like his father, Charles V banned any further Spanish ex ploration of the peninsula. Only Florida would defeat and expel the Spanish invaders of the New World. Three of the four Adelantados De Len, De Soto and Narvez were experienced conquista dors, with conquests under their belts. The Spanish plundered and enslaved the Aztec and Incan civilizations with single incursions (in Spanish, entradas ). In the southwestern North America, native resistance was negli gible. Across the Caribbean, resistance was crushed. Only Florida prevailed against the alien invasions, all four of them. % Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 82

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

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Staff Reports The Sarasota News Leader s resident wildlife ex pert, Otus Rufous, has found himself hosting rel atives and friends who wanted to wait until after spring break was over to visit Siesta Key and other parts of Sarasota County. All of us who have entertained houseguests know it is a time-consuming process. Otus sends his apologies and says he will return to his writing responsibilities as soon as all of his guests have exhausted themselves and him! on vacation and own back home. In the meantime Otus suggests exploring some of the past install ments of Ask Otus. ASK OTUS OTUS ON LEAVE TO PLAY HOST HOW BIRDS DO IT FLYING PENGUINS? ZEBRA LONGWING BUTTERFLIES LEAPIN LIZARDS RED TIDE MR. SQUIRREL

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The South Florid a Museum (SFM) will kick off a new Film Fridays series, They Came From Outer Space on Friday, April 19, at 6 p.m. in the Bishop Planetarium Theater. Flying saucers, UFOs, aliens and creepy crea tures abound throughout this survey of the history of space invaders on lm, a news re lease says. Join in the fun as SFM explores how lmmakers have depicted the threat of little green men over the decades. All Film Fridays screenings will begin at 6 p.m. in the museums B ishop Planetarium The ater, an all-d igital, multipurpose, domed facil ity incorporating unidirectional stadium-style seating, high-denition DVD projection and a digital 25,000 watt Dolby 5.1 surround sound system, the release adds. It is located at 201 10 th Street W. in downtown Bradenton. The lm on April 19 will be It Came From Outer Space released in 1953. Among the upcoming features will be the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds ; It: The Ter ror From Beyond Space and the 1986 lm Lit tle Shop of Horrors. The South Florida Museum is located in Bradenton. Photo by Ebaybe via Wikimedia Commons SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM TO PRESENT OUTER SPACE SERIES A&E BRIEFS

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Film Fridays is a year-round South Florida Museum program showcasing lms and docu mentaries that focus on varied cultural, social and scientic topics, the release notes. All screenings take place in the Bishop Plan etarium Theater. Tickets to each lm are $5 per person for gen eral admission, with discounted rates of $3 per person available for museum members. Group rates are also offered for parties of 15 or more people. T he mu seum offers concessions, too, includ ing beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks. Seating is limited, so reservations are strongly recom mended, the release points out. Sweaters or jackets are suggested, as the theater may be cold, it adds. For reservations and additional information about They Came From Outer Space and oth er Film Fridays offerings, call 746-4131 or vis it www.s outhoridamuseum.org Julie Leach, chairwoman of the board of trust ees, has announced that the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe (WBTT) has purchased the site where it has been performing for the past three years. The site consists of two acres and two build ings, a news release says. The theater building has 15,250 square feet, and the Binz building offers an additional 11,632 square feet. After 14 seasons on the move, WBTT has a perma nent home located at 1646 10 th Way [in Sara sota], a news release says. In four short years, we have gone from living season to season and not knowing what to morrow would bring, says founder and Artis tic Director Nate Jacobs, to having one place to call home and being able to own it. WBTT can now grow its roots among the giants in the Sarasota cultural community, he adds in the release. WBTT uses only one-third of the theater build ing, the release notes. Plans are to use the Binz structure for set construction, rehearsals and storag e for costumes and scenery. Even tually the combined space will also house ed ucational program space and administrative ofces, the release says. We have so many wonderful opportunities now that we own the buildings and know that our location is secure, says CEO Christine Jennings in the release. We will announce a capital campaign in the fall to help with build ing improvements, education and endowment. Over time, we plan to enhance the WBTT the ater experience by making improvements in side and out. Therell be lots to do and well need the continued help of our supporters, who have been and we hope will continue to be, such a big part of our story. Jacobs founded the WBTT in December 1999. It is the only professional black theater com pany on Floridas West Coast. For more information on WBTT, visit the web site at www.wbttroupe.org follow it on Face book or call 366-1 505. WBTT BUYS THEATER, SECURING A HOME AT LAST Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 86

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Art Uptown, Sarasotas oldest, continuously operating ne art cooperative gallery, will host artist and botanist Karen J. Schunk in a spe cial Earth Day Awareness exhibit on April 22 from 6 to 8 p.m., the gallery has announced. Schunks paintings will be featured in the gal lerys front window during that week. Schunk holds a masters degree in botany from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and she attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati, a news release notes. Her expressive botanical paintings reect her intense interest in both art and botanical conservation, it adds. Schunk will display literature, photos and paintings that relate to local and global plant BOTANIST/ARTIST FEATURED AT ART UPTOWN ON EARTH DAY Karen Schunks painting of a Florida Clamshell Orchid, which is on the Endangered Species list, will be part of her exhibit at Art Uptown gallery on April 22. Contributed photo conservation efforts with which she has been involved over the years, the release says. She looks forward to discussing her work with at tendees, it adds. Her recent botanical images were inspired by her work with the plant collections at Sara sotas Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the re lease continues. Since moving to Sarasota in 2000, Karen has assisted with herbarium proj ects at Selby, as a staff member and longtime volunteer, it notes. A Signature Member of the Ohio Watercol or Society and Cincinnati Art Club, Schunks works are in corporate and private collec tions, the release says. Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 87

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WBTT TO PRESENT A RAISIN IN THE SUN ON MERTZ STAGE (From left) Will Little, Alice Gatling and Dkakeria Cunningham will present a staged reading of A Raisin in the Sun on April 22 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Photo courtesy of West coast Black Theatre Troupe Asolo Rep is partnering with WBTT to of fer audiences the rare opportunity to travel on the journey that unfolds over the course of these two remarkable plays, a news release notes. Jim Weaver will direct this production, which was originally presented by WBTT in January and February 2012. A Q&A session and a champagne toast with the cast will follow the reading, the release adds. The Mertz Theatre is located at 5555 N. Tami ami Trail in Sarasota. Tickets are $15 to $20 for the reading, Q&A and champagne toast (or just $5 if purchased together with a ticket for Clybourne Park ). A $35 ticket includes the reading and a pre-per formance reception beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Asolo Rep box of ce; they can only be purchased in person or by phone at 351-8000, the release notes. A staged read ing of Lorraine Hansberrys American classic, A Raisin in the Sun will be performed by members of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 22, in the Mertz Theatre at the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts in Sarasota Since [the Asolo Repertory Theatre produc tion of] Clybourne Park takes its cues from the discussions about race and real estate originally set forth in A Raisin in the Sun Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 88

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With the feature lm not due out until the summer of 2014, the legions of diehard 50 Shades of Grey book series fans are chomping at the bit for their next installment of Chris tian Grey and Anastasia Steele, a news release says. Enter, 50 Shades: The Musical parody! the release adds. Appearing at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on April 23, this hilarious portrayal of a womens book club which decides to take on the risqu book series is a laugh-out-loud romp through the groups various interpreta tions of the books erotic love story, the re lease notes. The show comes complete with witty songs, fun dance sequences and a satir Who needs the book? The musical version of 50 Shades of Grey will hit the Van Wezel stage this month. Contributed photo 50 SHADES: THE MUSICAL COMING TO SARASOTA ic al cast featuring a more realistic embodi ment of Christian and Anastasia, the release adds. A perfect ladies night out or even date night, the show does a wonderful job of mak ing light of an uncomfortable topic and leaves the viewer aching from nonstop belly laugh ter, the release says. Like the book series, 50 Shades: The Musical is not for those under the age of 18, but it does not cross boundaries that would make general audiences squirm, the release notes. Tickets are priced from $10 to $40. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit www.VanWezel.org Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 89

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Widely regarded as the most signicant con tributing band to pop/rock music, The Beat les touched millions of lives through their po etic lyrics and their incredible musicality, a news release says. At the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sara sota on April 26, Experience The Beatles with Rain will take the audience back to that glori ous time when the British Invasion was in full swing, and The Beatles ruled the airwaves, the release says. Rain has mastered every song, movement and nuance that made The RAIN TO PERFORM THE MUSIC OF THE BEATLES ON APRIL 26 Rain will pay tribute to the Beatles at the Van Wezel on April 26. Contributed photo Beatl e s into an international powerhouse, the release adds. At this throwback performance, you can ex pect to hear all-time favorites such as I Want To Hold Your Hand Hard Days Night and Hey Jude the release notes. Additionally, you will be privileged to hear some of The Beat les more complex songs, which were never heard outside a recording studio, it adds. Tickets are priced from $30 to $65. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit www.VanWezel.o rg Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 90

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The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast (PMP/ Suncoast) has announced that the acclaimed Ariel Quartet will be in schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties May 1-7 as part of The Perlman Music Program/Suncoasts Educa tion Outreach Program Now in its fourth year, the outreach program brings Perlman Music Program alumni into area schools as professional teaching artists for three weeks on an annual basis to present interactive performances and hands-on train ing for music students and their teachers, a news release notes. In May, the Ariel Quar tet will visit Johnson Middle School, South east High School and Manatee School for the Arts in Manatee County; and McIntosh Middle School and Laurel Nokomis School in Saraso ta County. As part of PMP/Suncoasts Emerging Artists Performance Series the Ariel Quartet will perform a free concert on May 4 at 7 p.m. at Venice Church of the Nazarene, 1535 E. Ven ice Ave., Venice, the release says. For early admission seating (with a $5 surcharge), visit http://www.perlmanmusicprogramsuncoast. org/Venue/12/Details/ The Ariel Quartet will also perform an in teractive chamber music concert on May 6 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Polo Grill & Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, in Lakewood Ranch. This free performance, presented in collaboration with the Polo Grill & Bar, is sponsored by the Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club. This concert offers area audiences a unique opportunity to experience the Ariel Quartets in-school interactive presentations, explains Elizabeth Power, executive director of PMP/ Suncoast, in the release. Audiences can listen to inspired chamber music in a non-tradition al setting and, at the same time, learn what to listen for and what makes the musical selec tions special. Power adds in the release that the perfor mance will include an informal conversation about the music and the composers, offering opportunities for the audience to ask ques tions. A vital part of our mission is to create unique, non-traditional ways to bring classical music alive for audiences, says Power. We break down the barriers between artist and audi ence so audiences see that classical music is a living creation happening now, not a museum piece from the past, Power points out. The May 6 performance is free with seating on a rst-come basis; doors will open at 6:30 p.m. A cash bar will be available. For more infor mation about this event, visit www.PMPSun coast.org or contact Power at 955-4942. % ARIEL QUARTET TO PERFORM FREE CONCERTS (From left) The Ariel Quartet comprises Al exandra Kazovsky, Gershon Gerchikov, Amit Even-Tov and Jan Grning. Photo courtesy of the Ariel Quarter Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 91

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19 APRIL Toby Twining Music Artist Conversation April 19, 3:30 p.m. Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road New College of Florida, Sarasota part of the New Music New College series. Free and open to the public; no reservations necessary. For more information, call 487-4888 or visit newmusicnewcollege.org 19+ APRIL FST Improv presents April Fools April 19, 20, 26 & 27, 8:30 p.m., John C. Court Cabaret, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Tickets: $12; 366-9000 or FloridaStudioTheatre.org 19+ APRIL Venus in Fur (for mature audiences) Through April 28, 8 p.m. and some matinees; Historic Asolo Theater, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets: $25 to $40; purchase at 351-8000 or AsoloRep.org 19+ APRIL Dabbert Gallery presents Lasting Impressions featuring ve local artists Through April 29, Dabbert Gallery, 76 S. Palm Ave. Free admission. Visit DabbertGallery.com 20 APRIL WSLR presents Aztec Two Step April 20, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Admission: $20 in advance; $25 at door. Buy tickets at WSLR.org 22 APRIL The Addams Family April 22, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets: $30 to 75; 953-3368 or VanWezel.org 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 AH, WHAT A GREAT DAY FOR SOME SUNBATHING SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS


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