Sarasota News Leader


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

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COVER Inside ECONOMIST ON BOARD $1 BILLION JUST A BID AWARD BLIP Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida No. 52 September 13, 2013




Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Roger Drouin County Editor Roger Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Letters To the Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney Opinion Editor / General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD The Sarasota News Leader and The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida are registered trademarks of New Sheriff Publishing, Inc., which publishes The Sarasota News Leader. 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 Post Ofce Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277 941-227-1080


The completion of this weeks issue marks an auspicious occasion for us. It is the 52nd issue since we began using our PDF-based, published version of The Sarasota News Leader It is hard to believe we will begin our second year of publication next week. When we started posting content on our website in April 2012, our goal was to design a standalone publication that would be printed in digital form, rather than on paper. We put out that rst issue on Sept. 21, 2012. A number of people made this milestone possible. Cooper Levey-Baker, Stan Zimmerman, Vicki Chatley, John Riley, Nor man Schimmel, Fran Palmeri, Harriet Cuthbert, Elinor Rogosin and, of course, Cleve Posey, have been with us since the formal publication appeared. And we were fortunate to add Roger Drouin to the staff this summer. But those most responsible for the success of our publication are you our readers. We launched the News Leader with a few hundred subscribers. Now we have about 6,000, and more subscribe each week. Your steadfast sup port and your desire for a more comprehensive accounting of the news in Sarasota County have inspired us and encouraged us. Our vow is to continue to do all we can to provide complete and accurate coverage of Sarasota events, along with a mix of fascinat ing features, so you can be the best-informed residents of this community. We hope you will continue to let us know what you like about the News Leader and how you think it can be improved. And please continue to recommend us to your friends and acquaintances. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


ENTICING MORE TOURISTS AN UNTAPPED $8 MILLION NEWS & COMMENTARY E CONOMIST ON BOARD 8 County inks deal for 2050 scal neutrality review Cooper Levey-Baker $1 BILLION 11 The Sarasota County Commission approves the Fiscal Year 2014 budget on a rst reading, after paring almost $1 million in expenses Rachel Brown Hackney JUST A BID AWARD BLIP 18 The Warm Mineral Springs bid award will not be executed until more extensive background checks have been undertaken on the rm recommended as the short-term operator Rachel Brown Hackney FOOT ROUTE 25 Main Streets sidewalk improvements are more than halfway complete, providing a little more walking space in downtown Sarasota, along with high hopes for this tourist season Roger Drouin BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD 31 The City of Sarasota will reconsider the selection guidelines and process for the State Street public-private project Roger Drouin THINKING AHEAD 35 Nonprots, county government lay out 2014 legislative priorities Cooper Levey-Baker A NEW AND UGLY TRICK 39 Foreclosure mess not even close to being over Stan Zimmerman ENTICING MORE TOURISTS 42 The County Commission agrees to hold a public hearing on a new program designed to increase visitors overnight stays in Sarasota County Rachel Brown Hackney JARGON AND REALITIES 47 Analysis: Sarasotas Urban Design Studio team is encouraging dialogue with the public as it works to reshape the citys zoning code Stan Zimmerman SCC PREVIEW 52 A Sailing Squadron request, expansion of the bayfront mooring eld and more discussion of a homeless shelter are on the agenda for Sept. 16 Stan Zimmerman A BIG BOOST 55 Members of the committee weighing the future of the Community Redevelopment Agency in downtown Sarasota say it should go on beyond 2016 Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Tidal Pool Robert Hackney Sarasota Leisure: Fiery Skies Norman Schimmel No. 52 September 13, 2013


GROWING NATIVE SIESTA SEEN AN UNTAPPED $8 MILLION 59 The county commissioners concluded their nal budget workshop without utilizing funds freed up by a change in their disaster reserve policy Rachel Brown Hackney RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY 62 The project manager for a new stormwater system next to Siesta Public Beach is hoping for drier weather so work can get under way again Rachel Brown Hackney AN 80-PERCENT SUCCESS RATE 66 Four of ve snowy plover chicks that hatched survived this summer on Siesta Key, Sarasota Audubon volunteers report Rachel Brown Hackney REMEMBERING A TRAGIC DAY 71 The Sarasota Police Department hosts a 12th anniversary observance of 9/11 Staff Reports NEWS BRIEFS 77 CRIME BLOTTER 86 OPINON EDITORIAL 91 A few bad apples threaten the barrel LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 93 SARASOTA LEISURE GROWING NATIVE 96 Reasons abound for giving a home to plants native to the state Laurel Schiller and Fran Palmeri SIESTA SEEN 103 The low-speed vehicle debate rages on; the International Coastal Cleanup is coming up; and the county moves ahead with planning for the Turtle Beach renourishment project Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 111 RELIGION BRIEFS 117 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 119 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 120 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article No. 52 September 13, 2013 FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080


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Sarasota County Adm inistrator Randy Reid last week signed off on a $90,000 deal that puts a Tennessee-based economic research and consulting rm w ith ties to the Reagan Administration in charge of reviewing Sarasota 2050s scal neutrality rules. The regulations have been one of the most con troversial points in the debate over the coun tys o verhaul of 2050, a land-use plan approved a decade ago to encourage the construction of walkable, mixed-use communities. Fiscal n eutrality is simply the requirement that any new growth pay its way, Allen Parsons, the coun tys long-range plan ning manager, told the County Commission in July. Under 2050, de velopers must show Sarasota Countys 2050 plan was designed to create walkable communities east of Interstate 75. Im age courtesy of Sarasota County COUNTY INKS DEAL FOR 2050 FISCAL NEUTRALITY REVIEW ECONOMIST ON BOARD Were 11 years into this thing and theres not a stick in the ground. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


that a n ew project will generate enough rev enue through elements such as impact fees and taxes to compensate for the increased de mand on county resources and infrastructure. Developers have long argued 2050s rules are too restrictive, and scal neutrality was at the top of their list of complaints when they met with county staff last year to begin the process of rewriting the plan. The staff report Parsons presented in July asked the commission for authorization to hire an academic team from Florida State University (FSU) to review scal neutrality. The report argued that bringing in an inde pendent, non-biased, academic institution would defuse accusations that results are pushing any particular agenda. Environmen tal and controlled-growth groups have fre quently charged that rather than simply mod ifying 2050, the County Commission is, in fact, gutting it at the behest of politically powerful developers. The commission shot down the academic request in July. Commissioner Joe Barbetta criticized the $85,000 price tag and argued that all the county needed was a good, qual ity economist who has development project experience. He later told the Sarasota Her ald-Tribune that he had warned Reid not to put forward the academic team proposal, ac cusing Reid of acting like a sixth commis sioner. Instead of the academics, Barbetta recom mended three names. Among them: Donna Arduin, who worked with the county to ana lyze the economic impact of the new Nathan Benderso n Park rowing facility. Donna Arduin. Photo courtesy of Virginia In stitute for Public Policy Commissioner Joe Barbetta. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 9


Arduin wa s also the architect of Gov. Rick Scotts -7-7 plan which he touted through out his 2010 campaign, and she later served on Scotts budget advisory team. She co-found ed a Tallahassee consulting rm with Arthur Laffer, identied on the companys website as the father of supply-side economics for his role in the Reagan Administration. After weeks of negotiations, Reid nalized the scope of work with Laffer Associates Laf fers Tennessee company on Sept. 5. It calls for a policy assessment that will examine how the county should assess and monitor scal neutrality. Laffer Associates will rst report back on its ndings to the County Com mission in early December, with two addition al meetings scheduled for early 2014. A draft of the companys report is due within 60 days of the deal. For its part, Laffer Associates promises to provide a supply-side economic overview on the costs and benets of New Urbanism/ Smart Growth development, and pledges the participation of Arduin, Laffer and others. The contract is worth $85,000, plus another $5,000 set aside for travel and costs. Arduin did not respond to Sarasota News Leader emails and phone calls. While Barbetta criticized the original pro posed cost of the academic team, he tells the News Leader hes OK with Laffer Associates $90,000 bill. He says Tim Chapin, the FSU pro fessor Reid originally wanted to bring in to review scal neutrality, doesnt have the right credentials. Its got to be an economist who can make predictions, Barbetta points out. Were 11 years into this thing and theres not a stick in the groun d. % 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 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 September 13, 2013 Page 10


With Commissioner Christine Robinson dis senting, the Sarasota County Commission on Sept. 9 approved the proposed $1,077,919,038 Fiscal Year 2014 budget on a rst reading, keeping the total millage rate the same at 3.3912. Because property values rose 4.2 percent this year, a number of homeowners will see in creases in their property tax bills. The nal public hear ing and adoption of the spending plan will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the R.L. An derson Administration Center, 4000 Tamiami Trail in Venice. Robinson has expressed her displeasure nu merous times over the past months with the countys dipping into its economic uncertainty reserve fund to balance the budget. Most recently, during the boards last budget workshop on Sept. 6 which she requested she pointed out, We cant erase the fact that were spending more than our growth rate What were not doing is holding the rate on what were consuming and spending. The FY 2014 budget is about 20 percent high er than the FY 2013 budget that went into effect on Oct. 1, 2012. However, commission decisions made during The County Commission holds a budget workshop on Aug. 20. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES THE FISCAL YEAR 2014 BUDGET ON A FIRST READING, AFTER PARING ALMOST $1 MILLION IN EXPENSES $1 BILLION By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Going forward, I think our budgeting is going to have to be whats more realistic. Charles Hines Vice Chairman Sarasota County Commission


the current s cal year have added to that $897 million spending plan. Altogether, the board has approved the hiring of 67.8 new full-time employees (FTEs) since Nov. 2012. The ma jority of those 24 were to help keep up with county mowing demands, at a cost of $663,000. That Feb. 8 action was coupled with a deci sion to hire 18.8 FTEs to handle athletic eld maintenance, at a cost of $1,340,000. The total budget impact of the mid-year deci sions was $3,670,682, according to a chart the countys Ofce of Financial Planning provided the commission during the Sept. 6 workshop. On the other hand, staff was able to shave $986,800 through funding shifts, deferred ex penditures and level of service reductions. Additionally, a one-ti me revenue infusion of about $4.5 mi llion could be reected in the FY 2014 budget after the County Commis sion approves the individual transfers later this month. Among them will be a return of $1.5 million from the risk fund to the gener al fund. The countys risk fund had a good year, Steve Botelho, the countys chief nan cial planning ofcer, told the board on Sept. 6. The claims were low. Another $2 million would be available from unspent mone y in the Sarasota County Area Commissioner Christine Robinson peruses budget documents on Sept. 6. Photo by Rachel Hackney Chief Financial Planning Ofcer Steve Botel ho listens to comments during the Sept. 6 bud get workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 12 It would be different if we were doing this strategically, but were not. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County


Transit (SCAT) budget. However, Commis sioner Nora Patterson pointed out that Glama Carter, the SCAT director, told the board ear lier this year that about 20 buses were falling apart. Patterson conceded that characteriza tion was a little severe, but some of that $2 million might be better spent on new buses. Botelho replied that Carter is working on an other presentation to the board, which will include the status of equipment. OTHER POTENTIAL COST SAVINGS Botelho also offered the board the option of retreating on a couple of decisions it made in June: an $100,000 increase in funding for library collections and the purchase of a longarm mower for tree trimming in county rights of ways, at a cost of $246,950. Another $572,800 could be saved by reducing the level of mowing in the dry season, he said, and $40,000 could be cut by reducing radar and LED signage across the county. Im not willing to go along with that, Patter son said of the proposed library line item re duction. Im assuming and trusting Sarabeths estimate that she needs it, Patterson added, referring to Sarabeth Kalajian, the countys director of libraries and historical resources. The $100,000 is a need, Kalajian told the board. Weve had numerous years of reduc tions in this specic part of our budget. Six or seven years ago, she continued, when county budgets reected the booming econ omy, her allocation for new materials was as high as $1.5 million. At the lowest level of the A chart presented to the public on Sept. 9 shows a reduction in expenses the County Commission ap proved on Sept. 6. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 13


Great Recession, it was about $300,000, Ka lajian noted. The sharp decline had led to an erosion of the collection, she pointed out. Without the extra funds the board approved in June, she said, her collections budget for FY 2014 would be slightly more than $400,000 the total amount of state funding assistance the library system will receive. The system will be losing federal aid, too, Ka lajian added. And even though the library system is pur chasing more e-books, she noted, Electronic books are not cheaper. This is a good example, to hear this debate, Vice Chairman Charles Hines said. No one is opposed to buying books, but we are spending more than we are taking in. He added to Kalajian, You [are] the poster child of what were trying to balance here. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason said she was convinced by Kalajians remarks as well as those of former County Commissioner Shan non Staub, president of the Library Founda tion of Sarasota County that the funding is necessary. I feel the same way, Commissioner Joe Bar betta said. Because they had voted to approve the fund ing in June, Botelho said, no new vote was needed to keep the $100,000 in the FY 2014 budget. During a subsequent discussion about back tracking on the purchase of the long-arm mower and reducing the mowing level of ser A chart shows projected use of the countys economic uncertainty reserve funds (in blue) from Fis cal Year 2012 through FY 2014. The purple cylinder in FY 2012 reects actual expenditures from the fund. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 14


vice, Patterson asked how the latter situation would compare to before Mowingate start ed, say three, four years ago? She was refer ring to complaints and contract changes with companies bowing out after being unable to keep up with the work as the county has tried to maintain its right of way and median maintenance. Jim Oppy of the Field Services Ofce stand ing in for his boss, Spencer Anderson told the commissioners he believed the reduction would have minimal visual impact. Patterson made the motion, which was sec onded by Robinson, to accept the staff pro posals for the reduction of service in mowing and the radar and LED signage cutbacks, for a total of $612,800. However, Patterson said she felt the county needed the long-arm mower. We need to do a lot more of this, Robinson said of the budget cutting. The motion passed unanimously. SPENDING AND SAVING During the morning session of the Sept. 6 bud get workshop, Botelho explained the county has seen a 3.5-percent increase in revenue col lections through 11 months of the current s cal year, which Barbetta noted translates into about $7 million more for the general fund. Therefore, the county might end up using $11 million out of its economic uncertainty re serves to balance the current budget instead of the $18 million projected, Barbetta added. The nal gure will not be known until De cember, Botelho replied while conrming Bar bettas math. A chart shows some of the County Commission decisions that affect department expenses for the 2014 scal year. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 15


Botelho also said that at the end of FY 2012, when the board last certied its reserve poli cy, the county had about $165 million in all its reserve funds. Robinson reiterated that the county should not be dipping into its economic uncertainty reserve pot to balance the budget. Moreover, she said, staff should have made clear what type of future budget impact would result from each funding decision the board made after the start of the current scal year. The commissioners should not have to ask for charts explaining the scenarios, she added. It would be different if we were doing this strategically, Robinson said, but were not. I agree that we need to be conservative, Pat terson replied. Nonetheless, This board got fed up with the reductions of maintenance of our sports fields, and this board asked for the staff to come back with a plan to in crease the maintenance and, in fact, go be yond well-maintained elds to elds that are capable of holding tournaments, Patterson continued. That was this boards decision, and this board decided it was logical to bring some staff back aboard to handle the mowing. I disagree completely that we have done this without responsible planning. She added, And I think were going to end up just ne. I just think we need to be really cautious. Hines agreed with Robinson that the com mission needed to see models showing how future budget amendments and unexpected contract changes such as those for mowing would aff ect the timing for the depletion of the economic uncertainty reserve fund. This is good positive debate, he said. Robinson reiterated her point that county ad ministration should have been showing the commissioners all along what the impact on reserves would be. It should be inherent that we dont have a budget in front of us that goes over the projected [revenue] growth. Patterson countered that such budget updates would have come to us in one of our dis cussions. I dont think we can cast blame on anything. County Administrator Randall Reid said he felt he and the Financial Planning staff had presented the budget material in a responsible manner. I understand rhetoric, and I under stand conversations also, he said, adding that he earlier had suggested the commissioners start focusing on a two-year budget cycle to plan spending more effectively. Mr. Reid, did I just hear you call our deci sions rhetoric? Robinson asked. I deal in facts, he replied. I used the words rhetoric and discussion. Thats not appropriate for a healthy board discussion, Robinson told him. Then I apologize, Reid said, adding that be cause she had referred to the administration, that did not mean just him. He pointed out that staff from the Ofce of Financial Planning was present at the table with him. After briey turning again to a discussion of the reserve funds, Hines said, Going forward, I think our budgeting is going to have to be whats more realistic. % Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 16


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People eager to see the reopening of Warm Mineral Springs will have to wait just a bit lon ger, so more extensive background checks can be undertaken on the principals of the rm recommended to receive a one-year contract to operate the facility. That was the decision of the Sarasota Coun ty Commission during its regular meeting in Venice on Sept. 10. Although the North Port City Commission on Sept. 9 approved awarding the contract to WMS Sarasota Man agement LLC one of just two bidders county commissioners sought assurance that the rms ofcers have clean criminal and business records. The City of North Port was open to more ex tensive background checks, Sarasota County Parks and Rec reation Director Car olyn Brown told the county board in a brief pre s entation. Warm Mineral Springs has been closed since June 30. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE WARM MINERAL SPRINGS BID AWARD WILL NOT BE EXECUTED UNTIL MORE EXTENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECKS HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN ON THE FIRM RECOMMENDED AS THE SHORT-TERM OPERATOR JUST A BID AWARD BLIP The only reason I was looking at this aspect of this was because of the nature and value of the asset and the jewel that it is in the city of North Port. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


In fact, Vice Mayor James Blucher made that a part of his motion on Monday, which passed on a 3-1 vote. (Mayor Linda Yates was not present for the meeting. City Commissioner Cheryl Cook cast the No vote.) That caveat, Blucher said, was to prevent the need for the City Commission to address the matter again if the county board wanted more extensive checks. According to the interlocal agreement the City and County commissions approved in June, any contract changes pro posed by one commission would have to win the other commissions approval before the agreement could be nalized. Therefore, according to a motion put forward by County Commissioner Nora Patterson on Sept. 10, County Commission Chairwoman Car olyn Mason will not execute the agree ment with WMS Sarasota Management until after County Administrator Randall Reid and North Port City Manager Jonathan Lewis have completed their research. The motion passed unanimously. The only reason I was looking at this aspect of this was because of the nature and value of the asset and the jewel that it is in the city of North Port, County Commissioner Christine Robinson said. It wasnt a reection of this vendor or a reection of the other one. I just was trying to make sure of that extra level of safety. This communitys been burned too many times by peo ple that move here, Vice Chair Prior to closing this summer, Warm Mineral Springs offered exercise classes for visitors. Photo cour tesy of City of North Port Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 19


man Charles Hines added. A thorough back ground check needs to become more stan dard operating procedure, he told staff. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta said he anticipated the more extensive background check would take no longer than a week. WMS Sarasota Management indicated it could reopen the Springs for swimming within ve days of the execution of the agreement, Coun ty Parks and Recreation Director Carolyn Brown pointed out. The resort has been closed since June 30, be cause the city and county commissions were unable to reach an agreement on short-term management in time to seek a new operator. WMS Sarasota Managements bid was signed by Dr. Grigory Pogrebinsky, who has been a li censed physician for more than 30 years, spe cializing in orthopedics and pain management, according to the bid material. Documentation the rm provided shows the company led its incorporation papers with the state on Aug. 1. Alla Skipper, contracts specialist with the City of North Ports Procurement Department, ex plained to the County Commission that the standard background review had been under taken. It included checks of the records of the property appraiser and tax collector in both Sarasota and Charlotte counties; criminal and civil case checks were pursued through the ofces of the Clerks of Court in both counties. And, of course, Google, Skipper added. In response to further questions, Ted Coyman, the county procurement ofcial, said that be cause WMS Sarasota Management LLC is only days old, he felt a Dun & Bradstreet re port should be sought. You want to look for bankruptcy, foreclosure, liens and their credit score, he added. I think that makes sense. Coyman advised the board that his staff would ask the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce to un dertake the extensive criminal background check on the principals of the rm. He pointed out that any discovery would be brought back to the commissions for their consideration. A vintage postcard shows a building at Warm Mineral Springs. Image courtesy of Sarasota County The sign at Warm Mineral Springs prior to its June 30 closing touted facilities on the site. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 20


North Port City Manager Lewis told the coun ty commissioners the city already has a Dun & Bradstreet account, so city staff could seek an assessment from that rm. Generally, he said, such reports come back fairly quickly, but I hate to make an estimate. You know, its unusual, Patterson said, but [Warm Mineral Springs] is such a big asset. When the North Port Commission approved the WMS Sarasota Management bid on Sept. 9, Blucher said, I think our ultimate goal is to reopen the Springs. I believe we have a player that can do that and enhance [the resort]. Cook said she could not support his motion to award the bid to WMS Sarasota Management, because the request for bids called for docu mentation of successful prior experience in the management of a publicly used natural spring or water attraction, and the rm had been organized too recently to demonstrate that. I think our ultimate goal is to protect the Springs and I dont see in these [bid] docu ments anywhere that the item I just read is accommodated USE OF THE WATER Earlier in the County Commission discussion, Patterson raised a concern about language in the proposed contract with WMS Sarasota Management that she feared could allow it to withdraw a large quantity of water from the Springs. That clause says, LICENSEE shall not remove any water or minerals from the Springs, nor allow any individual or group to remove any water or minerals from the Springs, except that LICENSEE may remove wat er for use in spa services provided on the Premises. I know that part of the concept at one point though it was not approved by the County Commission, she noted was installing es sentially separate little hot tub facilities. Such structures had been constructed at other springs, changing those resorts character, she added. His understanding, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh replied, was there is a pretty signif icant limitation on how much water can be removed. Brown pointed out that that the agreement language reected use of water from Warm Mineral Springs in aesthetician services such as facials and massages. And thats not what Im concerned about, Patterson said. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh addresses a county commissioner during a recent bud get workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 21


She wanted to be c ertain, she said, that no one could pipe water to a new facility built on the site. DeMarsh pointed to other language in the con tract that would control and limit [such ac tivity]. Brown added that removal of more than 100,000 gallons from the Springs would ne cessitate a permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. One hundred thousand gallons of water is a lot Patterson told her. Brown also noted that a 400-foot buffer zone around the Springs would prevent the type of scenario Patterson envisioned. Theres very strict limits as to what can be done, Brown added. Vice Chairman Charles Hines shared Patter sons concern, he said, because of comments he has heard among members of the public. I would rather make [the agreement] clear now. Barbetta and Hines both suggested inserting language to specify that no water removal could occur without the written permission of the county and the City of North Port. However, Robinson reminded her colleagues that any modification of the agreements wording would necessitate the documents return to the North Port City Commission for concurrence. It will delay the opening of the Springs, she pointed out. In response to a question from Robinson, Brown conrmed the City of North Port would have to issue a permit for any piping of the water proposed by the new management rm. DeMarsh said he believed the section of the contract he had cited earlier would prohibit such construction or the installation of hot tubs on the site without the city and coun tys approval: Any and all such alterations, repairs, replacements or additions, except those that would constitute an emergency, shall be made upon consultation with and pri or written consent of [the city and county]. The LICENSEE must notify the LICENSOR of an emergency repair immediately and provide copies of all documentation related to the re pair. We do believe we would have the right to deny [a request such as Patterson indicated], based on that provision, Lewis conrmed. BID SPECIFICS Brown told the County Commission WMS Sarasota Management had agreed to pay 24 percent of its gross monthly revenue to the city and county as the short-term operator of Warm Mineral Springs. Jonathan Lewis is the manager of the City of North Port. Photo courtesy City of North Port Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 22


In its bid, WMS Sarasota Management says it is a joint venture with A2Z Hospitality Man agement Co. LLC and WMS Sarasota Holdings LLC. WMS Sarasota has plans to develop its sixteen acres of land immediately adjacent to Warm Mineral Springs in establishment of environmentally responsible health and well ness destination while A2Z Hospitality Man agement is a hospitality expert that operates ve hotels and resorts in Southwest Florida, the bid says. The latter rms Four Points Punta Gorda has an excellent rating with internet travel sites and consumer reviews, the bid material continues. Specically, it has a 92% approv al rating from travelers on Further, it says, A2Zs most recent venture involves remodeling and reopening of new Ra mada Venice Resort in South Sarasota County that has received positive media attention and is becoming a prominent hotel in the area. According to its bid, WMS Sarasota Manage ment also plans to extend the operating hours of Warm Mineral Springs and the resorts wa ter tness therapy programs to accommodate local residents who cannot come to the site during what had been the normal hours of op eration. The rm further proposes to establish medical spa and wellness programs under medical guidance and supervision and offer shuttle bus service from local hotels. The other rm that bid on the short-term con tract was Cambridgeshire Investment LLC, based in Port Charlotte. Its principal, Michael Meagher, says in his bid that he spent 22 years in the motel and restaurant business before moving to P ort Charlotte in 1979. % A memo to the County Commission explains background on the bid process to reopen Warm Mineral Springs. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 23


This may take a while. Some things are just hard to resist. Like The Sarasota News Leader Its a feast of in-depth local news, delightful and entertaining features, and a community calendar that highlights the best upcoming events in the area. The rst impulse is just to gobble it all up. But its better to take it slow and relish every news morsel. Theres no rush. You have a whole week. Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida


In one phase of the improvements, crews constructed wider brick sidewalk areas at the busier pedes trian stretches in front of the Gator Club (pictured above), Pastry Art and Cest La Vie on Main Street. Photo by Norman Schimmel FOOT ROUTE Once it is all nished and we get into season and all the restaurants have their tables out, this is going to be a dynamite street. Georgia Court Owner Bookstore1Sarasota


On Sept. 9, Chip Beeman marked a welcome sight for early September, one of the slower months for downtown Sarasota businesses: More than two-thirds of the outdoor caf ta bles in front of Pastry Art were lled. There were a lot of lattes and newspapers out there, said Beeman, who owns the cafe with his wife, Katie. The sight gave Beeman high hopes for the up coming tourist season, which kicks off this month as vacationers and seasonal residents from states such as Ohio and Michigan begin to return. As the weather cools, Pastry Art will be ready for the tourists. The restaurant has been able to put ve more caf tables outside, thanks to one phase of Main Streets recent facelift. Crews are wrapping up three different seg ments of work that added stretches of wider brick sidewalks along the middle and lower On the north side of lower Main Street, crews are replacing diagonal parking with parallel parking, making space for eight additional feet of sidewalk. Photo by Norman Schimmel MAIN STREETS SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENTS ARE MORE THAN HALFWAY COMPLETE, PROVIDING A LITTLE MORE WALKING SPACE IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA, ALONG WITH HIGH HOPES FOR THIS TOURIST SEASON By Roger Drouin County Editor Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 26


portions of Main Street. The total project cost of $1.9 million was paid by the Downtown Im provement District. In one phase, workers expanded the brick sidewalk at the busier pedestrian stretches in front of the Gator Club, Pastry Art and Cest La Vie on Main Street. That phase, from Lem on Avenue to Orange Avenue, is complete. The wider sidewalk sections or bulbouts are designed to encompass additional outdoor caf seating while making downtown more walkable. As crews constructed the bulbouts, lampposts also were repainted; brighter light bulbs also are in the works. Beeman thinks the bulbouts will become a boon for all of Main Street. The more word gets out that weve got good outdoor dining, the more it will bring people to our downtown, Beeman said. The largest segment of work, currently under way, would replace diagonal parking spac es on the north side of lower Main Street from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points Park with parallel spaces, which would free up more room for sidewalk expansion. The side walk in that area will gain eight feet. The third segment of work will bring enhance ments to the intersection of Main Street and Palm Avenue, one of the busiest and most vis ible downtown. The Sarasota city commissioners voted in July to install brick pavers at the four crosswalks Construction continued along Main Street near Gulfstream Avenue last week. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 27


at that intersection. The intersection will be closed to trafc until Sept. 25. Richard Winder, the city coordinator of capi tal improvement projects, estimates the entire initiative is more than halfway complete; he expects all three segments to be nished in November. Because the construction is happening in such a bustling area with many businesses, crews built a temporary sidewalk on lower Main Street to provide access to shops and restaurants, and the city has worked to keep merchants updated Weve been trying to go door-to-door to com municate, Winder said. A DY N AMITE STREET Bookstore1Sarasota, at 1359 Main St., fronts the new 8-foot wider sidewalk on lower Main. While the project entailed removing some parking spaces to make the wider sidewalk possible, Georgia Court, owner of the book store, thinks the expanded footpath is worth it. We didnt lose much [of the parking space], Court said. I think its a fabulous project. Court added that the bookstore plans to hold a poetry reading on the sidewalk this spring. More space will be available for people to gather a nd listen to the selections. Main Street work was under way on the south side in July. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 28


Once it is all nished and we get into season and all the restaurants have their tables out, this is going to be a dynamite street, Court said. John Anderson, co-owner of Mozaic Restau rant and a proponent of the lower Main im provements, pointed out the sidewalk area was not accommodating for outdoor seating before the project began, because motorists would pull in to park right next to the side walk. Drivers quick movements often pro duced scary experiences for outdoor diners adjacent to the parking spaces. The combination of the new sidewalk and par allel parking is more welcoming for patrons enjoying meals al fresco and safer, he not ed. Anderson is designing an outdoor caf area in front of his restaurant; he hopes to add six or eight tables in the space a new feature for his restaurant. The wider sidewalks will favor pedestrians, not cars, Anderson added. It will be a more desirable area for people to enjoy on foot, he said, concurring with Courts sentiment. Some merchants were opposed to the side walk widening because of the loss of parking slots, but Anderson agrees with Court. The loss of some spaces is a small conces sion to make downtown more walkable, An derson said. OTHER NEEDS Although the facelift is making downtown more pleasant for pedestrians, several mer chants say the wider sidewalks and bulbouts do not address downtowns most pressing needs. Brian OConnell, owner of Hodgell Gallery on Palm Avenue, pointed out that the big prob lem is downtown does not have enough retail shops. Specically, what it needs are areas zoned for retail merchandise, which would create blocks to entice shoppers, OConnell said. They didnt develop downtown properly for retail, Hodgell noted. Thats the story not how wide our sidewalks are or how beautiful the trees are. The city and county also need to spend more on marketing downtown to tourists, OConnell suggested. The other counties are spending much more on that, he said. Ron Kennedy, co-owner of Kennedy Studios at 1472 Main St., said that although the sidewalk facelift is an improvement, he has concerns about the city keeping up the maintenance. The brick pavers disguise stains and dirt bet ter, Kennedy said, but they still need to be pressure-cleaned regularly, and the city has had problems recently trying to retain a con tractor to spruce up the sidewalks. Ive been on a two-year mission to get the sidewalks cleaned, Kennedy added. The city goes with the low bidder, and [the contractor] cant do it, and the city res that contractor and tries someone else. Parking also remains one of the biggest is sues downtown, especially during peak tourist season. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 29


Beeman is oppose d to paid parking down town, but he thinks the citys initiative to set aside spaces for downtown employees for $10 a month might help alleviate some of the park ing shortages. Anderson, the Mozaic co-owner, agrees that the city needs to work on parking, but he dis agrees with Beeman on the approach. Ander son thinks meters on Main Street are a neces sity. Tiered parking fees are one option, he said. Charging for parking only in the Palm Avenue garage is not the way to go, Anderson added. They are charging for less desirable parking, he pointed out. The city should rst charge for the best parking on Main Street and make public garages more accessible, he said. Anderson a lso sees the need for a comprehen sive plan that supports and encourages retail so shops can coexist alongside restaurants and nightlife downtown. The anticipated, and long-planned, Pineap ple Square will give a boost to retail if and when it is built, he added. What we really need downtown is for Pineapple Square to open, Anderson said. The few shops theyve brought [such as Brooks Brothers and Sur La Table] are destination locations. In the meantime, the new bricks on Main Street are a welcome sight to Jeanne Katz, as sistant manager at Happy Feet Plus, located at 1453 Main St. We think everything looks great, said Katz. We are looking forward to staying open for extended business hours now that our snow birds are comi ng back, she added. % Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 30


City com missioners envisioned a mix of uses from a hotel to shops and cafes to condos on the State Street acre that is now a parking lot. The goal was to bring 300-plus public garage parking spaces and a vibrant mix of uses to the city-owned land, comm issioners said at a June meeting. They also focused on a 2015 completion date. The city collected proposals from six inter ested developers, and the city, working with down town real estate broker Ian Black, se lected developer Jim Bridges concept for a 100-room hotel and 30 condos in the $250, 000 price-r ange above a parking deck. Jim Bridges Jeb co Ventures Inc. would have also purchased 18,000 square feet of retail space on the rst oor and lled that area with tenants. T he City Commission was slated to vote Aug. 29 on the public-private partnership. Several downtown advocates had even emailed com missioners in support of Bridges proposal. But after a big step back, the project was re turned to th e drawing bo ard: It was abruptly h alted when City At torney Bob Fournier voiced concerns about the selection process. Fournier said the pro cedure violated the states Government in the Sunshine laws and The State Street parking garage project was halted abruptly last month when City Attorney Bob Fourni er voiced concerns about the selection process. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY OF SARASOTA WILL RECONSIDER THE SELECTION GUIDELINES AND PROCESS FOR THE STATE STREET PUBLIC-PRIVATE PROJECT BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD By Roger Drouin County Editor We worked very hard to get our proposal together. We still have a desire to do something nice within the city. Jim Bridges CEO Jebco Ventures Inc


Six developers submitted proposals for the public-private partnership. Now it is unclear whether any of them will even be considered. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 32


there were no clear parameters for prospec tive developers. That left the city open to a legal challenge, Fournier pointed out, which would have caused a lengthy delay in the schedule. Now it is unclear whether any of the six pro posals will even be considered. Fournier will lead a discussion of the issues at the City Commission meeting Monday, Sept. 16. That is the rst step to getting the mixeduse project back on track. This will be a beginning, Fournier noted. He is hopeful that the delay will not be a lin gering one. LOOKING AHEAD The city remains under pressure to build 300 public spaces in the parking deck. That is because of the 2010 agreement the city reached with Pineapple Square when the city acquired the 43,700-square-foot lot; the city was to build a parking garage with at least 300 spaces within four years; that means a dead line of February 2015. The citys parking mas ter plan in 2005 also identied the State Street lot as a priority designation for a garage. The site is home to a 139 parking space surface lot. The city has set aside $7.29 million in tax-in crement nancing for the project. Were looking ahead right now, said Senior Planner Steve Stancel. We are trying to see what processes will work best. The city has three options for the State Street land, Fournier wrote in a memo he sent to the city commissioners on Sept. 9. The rst option is to build a garage with a rst oor of retail space. That structure would look similar to the Palm Avenue garage that opened in 2010. The city would then market the rst oor shell to prospective buyers. The second option is to sell the air rights above the parking levels in addition to the ground oor. The developer chosen would Jebco Ventures Inc. proposed a 100-room Hampton Inn and Suites and 30 condos above the parking deck. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 33


handl e the additional use and also pay any costs of reinforcing the structure to handle the extra oors. The third option is to sell a smaller parcel fronting Lemon Avenue. A developer could then build condos or a hotel on the so-called pad parcel. A CLEAR PROCEDURE Whichever option it chooses, the city has to set a clear procedure for accepting develop ment plans, Fournier pointed out. The larger challenge is for the city commis sioners to specify what kind of project they would like to see. Once the parameters are set, the city can call for proposals that meet those guidelines, Fournier added. That was not how the procedure was handled previously. In June, the city commissioners said they were open to all three concepts pre sented to them. Fournier said he believes aws in that process were inadvertent, but he does not want to see a repeat of what transpired then. The lack of project expectations and guide lines could have left some potential develop ers in the dark. People who are interested should know what is expected by commissioners so people dont waste their time, Fournier said. For instance, it was unclear that the city would have allowed a project as high as 10 stories which is what Jebco Ventures pro posed. The other problem was that the selection pro cess did not take place during public meet ings, a fact that could have been challenged as a violation of the Sunshine law, Fournier pointed out. A pu blic process will allow all developers who submit a proposal to see why the eventual winner is chosen. CRITICAL OF THE PROCESS Downtown advocate Diana Hamilton said she thought some creative proposals had been submitted to the city. However, she was criti cal of the selection process. Had they just did that in the Sunshine, it would have been a good thing, Hamilton said. Hamilton believes the entire process lacked clarity, and she wants to see more City Hall focus on creating development on the cityowned land. Its the biggest project going on in the city, Hamilton said. Its huge. Where was the city manager? Hamilton added that she hopes everybody who brought ideas to the table stays in and resubmits their plans. A lot of work went into those proposals, and a lot of that work is still viable, Hamilton said. That is the most important thing. I dont want to lose any ground we made. I dont want these peoples hard work and creative ideas to be tainted because the process was awed. Bridges said he was in a holding pattern. We worked very hard to get our proposal to gether, Bridges said. We still have a desire to do something nice within the city. Bridges said he t hinks there is a market for a hotel on the site. And he had proposed keep ing the costs of the condo units at around $250,000. We believe a lot of people would have interest in moving into th e building, Bridges added. % Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 34


A week before a public hearing with our local legislative delegation, representatives from the Community Alliance of Sarasota Coun ty gathered on Sept. 12 to discuss what they want to see happen in Tallahassee next spring. The coalition of health and human services nonprots generated tons of ideas, touch ing on issues from aging to homelessness to healthcare and beyond. The Allian ces Second Annual Legislative Summit was intended to generate a rundown of priority issues for Alliance members to present to the regions legislati ve delegation at its Oct. 17 breakfast. The president and CEO of The Florida Center for Early Childhood and the chairwoman of the Alliances legislative advocacy commit tee, Kathyrn Shea, says last years event was a success, evidenced by the local delegations support for Alliance priorities. Work g roups that were organized around topics such as behav ioral health and crim inal justice broke out from the main meeting Thursday to identify pressing issues and potential solutions. Speakers called for re The modern Florida legislative building rises behind the historic capitol. Photo from iStockphoto NONPROFITS, COUNTY GOVERNMENT LAY OUT 2014 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES THINKING AHEAD Weve got to create those relationships. Ted Granger President United Way of Florida By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


storing bu dgets that were slashed during the recession and for blocking laws that might re strict the countys ability to strictly regulate pill mills, among many other recommenda tions. The healthcare working group named the ex pansion of Medicaid through ObamaCare as its top priority, a request that was also a ma jor feature of last falls legislative breakfast. Thirty-ve thousand Sarasota residents could lose out on healthcare coverage if the Legis lature doesnt act, one participant noted. De spite advocacy on the issue from a variety of healthcare groups, the Legislature this spring rejected roughly $50 billion in federal mon ey to fund the Medicaid expansion over the next 10 years. But the issue may not be dead. Gov. Rick Scott, who launched his political career op posing ObamaCare, has done a 180-degree turn on the issue, coming out in favor of the Medicaid expansion. And state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, told the Sarasota Coun ty Commission in August that he thought the expansion debate would return at legislative committee meetings this fall, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Shea and other nonprot leaders will address the legislative delegation directly at a pub lic hearing next Wednesday morning, Sept. 18, when lawmakers are scheduled to meet with county and city ofcials. Shea is going to drive home the importance of working with ObamaCare and accepting federal funding. Ted Granger, president of the United Way of Florida, addresses a group. Image via Flickr Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 36


The Alliance isnt the only local organiza tion gearing up for 2014. Rob Lewis, Sarasota Countys director of community and intergov ernmental relations, presented the countys list of legislative priorities to the County Com mission Wednesday. That boards top priority is to be left alone. Lewis tells the Sarasota News Leader that one of the most pressing concerns each year is any legislation that might override local initiatives such as pain clinic and fertilizer rules. The county would also like its author ity expanded, to be able to, for example, re strict smoking on county-owned properties. Additionally, it supports expanding Medicaid through ObamaCare. Lewis outline of priorities was generated through meetings with and input from several county departments. At the staff level, each of our major subject matter disciplines keep an eye on whats being proposed, Lewis says. The Legislature doesnt ofcially bang the gavel on its 2014 session till next March, but bills are already being led, and committee meetings begin in just 10 days. Lewis says any where between 2,000 and 3,000 bills will be led with maybe 400 of them potentially affecting local government. We have our ra dar on all year round. The County Commission quickly approved Lewis report, with little feedback. The county works through the Florida Associ ation of Counties to push some of its agenda in Tallahassee. That coalition will meet over the next few months to hammer out priority issues that affect local governments around the state. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent, if not 100 percent of the time, we are in absolute consistency with the state association posi tion, says Lewis. The Community Alliance will be lobbying in Tallahassee directly. Ted Granger, president of the United Way of Florida, told Legislative Summit attendees this week that, far and away, the best means of having an impact on the leg islative process is in-person visits. We gotta do it life is about relationships, he said. Wev e got to create those relationships. % A man is not nished when hes defeated; hes nished when he quits. Richard M. Nixon Neal Schafers ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit My interest in photography reminded me about how my smile made me unhappy. A childhood accident caused my permanent teeth to come in askew. I had seen how Dr. Koval restored the smile of a friends father. With Dr. Koval, we discovered I also had cracked fillings and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. I am 100% satisfied with Dr. Kovals meticulous work and sincere care to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.Christine Koval, D.M.D.Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 37


Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Neal Schafers My interest in photography reminded me about how my former smile made me uncomfortable to have my own picture taken. A childhood accident resulted in lost teeth. When my permanent teeth came in they were askew and very small in proportion to my smile. I had seen how Dr. Koval perfectly restored the smile of my friends father. Upon my own exam with Dr. Koval, we discovered that I also had worn and cracked fillings, and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. Dr. Koval sincerely cares about her patients and their smiles. I am 100% satisfied with her meticulous work to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit Christine Koval, D.M.D. Restorative, Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry General Dentistry 2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 216A Sarasota, FL 941.923.5406


You would neve r know the nancial crisis is alive and well, unless you listened to April Charney on Monday, Sept. 9. Home prices are rising again, foreclosures are no longer frontpage news and employment is up all the indicators are positive. Charney made a repeat visit to a meeting of the Sarasota Cou nty Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA). Last year, a packed house heard Charneys remarks; this year, she still drew a crowd. Charney is an attorney specializing in foreclo sure law, an d through activism and her educational efforts focused on her fellow lawyers, she is a nationally rec ognized expert on the subject. She no longer accepts personal clients, con centrating instead on helping a new genera tion of attorneys learn the perils of greedgone-mad n ancial institutions. Since last year, things are worse, said Char ney at the CONA meet ing this week. Noth ing is better. From the 30,000-foot view to the view from the court room and the view New wrinkles in the foreclosure issue are plaguing homeowners. Photo by respres via Wikimedia Commons FORECLOSURE MESS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING OVER A NEW AND UGLY TRICK I have no interest in making money. I only want space to provide this very sophisticated education. April Charney Foreclosure Expert By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


from the communities and neighborhood or ganizations, everybody has foreclosure fa tigue. She and an associate were responsible for courts across the nation throwing out thou sands of foreclosure cases because of what they called robo-signing, when banks pro duced fraudulent documents in attempts to seize property. No bank ofcers were ever prosecuted for trying to hoodwink the courts, though. Instead, the infection of bogus nancial in struments is spreading. The latest wrinkle: forced placement of insurance. Follow along on this trail of bad corporate behavior: A bank gives you a loan to buy a house, even though it knows you are not qualied. Then the bank gets rid of your mortgage by selling it to an ag gregator, who bundles up the bad paper like a bale of rags (called securitization) and sells that product to investors around the world. Pension funds loved those bundles an in vestment literally safe as houses, or at least that was what the aggregators said. Today many municipal and state worker pension funds are backed by securitized mortgages. Meanwhile, your home loan is serviced by a company that cashes your mortgage pay ment checks and keeps an eye on your escrow for insurance. Now here is the new wrinkle, called forced placement. If you miss a payment, the servicing company can say part of the money was for escrow to pay for insurance. And since you missed the payment, your insurance is no good, but the rm will provide you another policy for a much steeper rate, and with a savage catch: It no longer will be an insurance policy for re, theft and other losses. This new and expen sive policy will cover no more than a default on your mortgage. Forced placement covers only the public amount of the debt, said Charney. The lend er secures this single-interest product, what I would call a toxic product, from a collusion of entities, including the banks. This is not prop erty insurance. The problem affects more than the homebuy er falling one month behind on the mortgage. Why does it matter? asked Charney. If this is an insurance product sold at a 600-percent markup, this affects my insurance, too. And these debts are becoming part of our pension plans and trusts. Meanwhile, property values over the past ve years have drifted down. Al most everybody is underwater. Inaction or slow action by the federal gov ernment allows the nancial shenanigans to ourish. Loans th at were sub-prime were not April Charney/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 40


sup posed to be securitized. These are noth ing-backed securities and do not meet the re quirements of the IRS for pensions to invest in them, she pointed out. But sophisticated bankers and nanciers outpaced and outfoxed federal regulations. It is, as she put it, Full employment for law yers t ime. All except Charney, that is. She has retired to Venice. Its my give-back to the community that helped raise my children, she told the audience. Im begging the city and county to provide homeowner and consumer education, she added. I have no interest in making money. I only want space to provide this very sophisti cated educati on. % Image courtesy of Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 41


The majo rity of the Sarasota County commis sioners voiced approval this week for desig nating a revenue stream to fund capital proj ects and new destination events to bring even more visitors to the area. Although she joined her colleagues in unanimously agreeing to advertise a public hearing on amending the county ordinance governing Tourist De velopme nt Tax (TDT) revenue allocations, Commissioner Christine Robinson expressed concerns that more es tablished organizations with experienced ex ecutive directors would have greater success snaring the funding just as she says they do each year when the county divvies up its arts and cultural Grant Awards. The public hearing has been set for the after noon of Sept. 25 at the Sarasota County Ad The Biltmore Estate is the primary tourist attraction in the city of Asheville, NC. Photo from Wiki media Commons THE COUNTY COMMISSION AGREES TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON A NEW PROGRAM DESIGNED TO INCREASE VISITORS OVERNIGHT STAYS IN SARASOTA COUNTY ENTICING MORE TOURISTS This process is remarkably similar to the arts grants funds, and Im concerned about putting a similar process in place when we dont quite have it right with [those] yet. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


The Ringling Museum of Art is one of Sarasotas well-known tourist attractions. Photo by Norman Schimmel ministration Center on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. The worst-case scenario, Chief Financial Planning Ofcer Steve Botel ho told the County Commission, would be the opening and immediate closing of the hearing and advertisement of another public hearing if tweaks the board and the countys Tourism Development Council (TDC) recommended in the ordinance language were too signicant to enable the proceeding to go forward. However, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh said he felt the changes commissioners sug gested during their Sept. 10 discussion would not hamper holding the public hearing. Although the TDC already discussed the pro posed ordinance changes during its June 20 regular meeting, that board will consider them again on Sept. 19 during a session from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Commission Chambers in Sara sota. THE DETAILS During her Sept. 10 presentation to the Coun ty Commission, Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County the countys tourism ofce explained that the funds generated by 12.5 percent of one penny of the TDT rev enue is expected to generate about $400,000 a year. (See related story in this issue.) Her boards idea, she said, was to use that money primarily for projects that would entice more visitors to stay overnight in Sarasota County, with the emphasis on new or increased tour ism. A portion of the revenue could be allocated to a major destination event, she pointed out. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 43


According to the guidelines her board envi sioned, she continued, the funding pool would not pay for more than 50 percent of any proj ect. An organization could apply for up to $350,000 per year or $700,000 spread over two years. The funding cycle would be two years, Haley noted. To be eligible, the resulting capital project would have to be open to the public and locat ed in Sarasota County. It would also have to be publicly owned and operated and fall into one of the following categories: convention center, sports stadium, sports arena, coliseum or auditorium. It also could be an aquarium or museum, zoological park or shing pier or nature center that was either publicly owned and operated or operated by a nonprot or A chart shows how funds from each of the ve pennies of the countys Tourist Development Tax are allocated. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Ha ley addresses the County Commission in July. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 44


ganization Those are state stipulations that would apply, Haley explained. The rst funding cycle would be in the 2016 scal year, she noted. HEARTBURN This process is remarkably similar to the arts grants funds, Robinson told Haley, and Im concerned about putting a similar process in place when we dont quite have it right with [those] yet. Although she has argued that arts organiza tions in South County have had difculty win ning the arts grants awarded each year, Rob inson continued, entities in the more northern part of the county also have encountered problems with the application process. This new program would not provide mon ey to a multitude of projects in each cy cle, as the arts grants program does, Haley responded. Therefore, Visit Sarasota County staff would have greater exibility in assisting potential applicants, she added. Youre not working with 30 groups like you are with the arts. Then Robinson asked how an entity applying for one of the grants would show it could cre ate more tourist room nights. Haley explained that the concept for the cap ital projects funding came from a model she and Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Nora Patterson had learned about several years ago in Asheville, NC. The example tourism leaders in that city provided, Haley contin ued, involved expanding the citys childrens A chart explains facets of a new capital project program for tourist development in Sarasota County. Image courtesy of Visit Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 45


museum. Mu seum staff undertook marketing research to show they could entice families to stay an extra day in Asheville to tour the improved facility. Before the childrens museum was expand ed, Haley said, research showed most visitors came to Asheville for one day, to see the Bilt more Estate Then they headed on to other nearby destinations. Both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway are in the vicinity of Asheville. The backers of the childrens museum had to have a rigorous marketing program outside the area to attract visitors, Haley also pointed out. County Administrator Randall Reid, who was the Alachua County manager before he came to Sarasota in January 2012, noted that re search in that community showed people typ ically came to that county on day-long trips. County ofcials worked to develop new tour ist attractions there to encourage people to stay overnight, he added. Patterson told Haley she wanted to make sure the emphasis was put on capital projects in Sarasota County, not destination events. It was very much the intention of my board and the TDC, Haley said, that that would be the programs emphasis. However, her board felt exibility should be allowed to fund a very special event if something came along. I tend to agree with Nora, Barbetta said. Assistance for existing events should come out of the increasing TDT revenue, Barbetta pointed out, adding that he felt the commis sion should set a base for TDT money allo cated for specic purposes. Then, any funds generated above that base could be used for other tourism-related activities. Botelho claried for Barbetta that any extra money generated by the 5-percent TDT tax automatically goes into the funds to which the ve pennies are apportioned. Thats troublesome to me, Barbetta said. Thats a windfall to each of those recipients. In fact, Barbetta argued as he had in earlier discussions the percentage of the TDT pen ny going into the capital project pool Haley was addressing should be raised to 25 percent or even 50 percent, instead of staying at 12.5 percent. For me, it depends on what the needs are, Patterson told him. Finally, Patterson agreed to a later discussion of Barbettas proposal. One other amendment to the ordinance would allow TDT revenue to be used for the opera tions of regattas at aquatic nature centers. Nathan Benderson Park, off University Park way, has been hosting regattas since 2009. Last week, it won the bid to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Robinson agreed to vote to advertise the pub lic hearing on the amendments to the ordi nance, but she reiterated her concerns that some eligible entities would not end up with funding. Ive got some heartburn over this whole proce ss. % Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 46


On Sat urday, Sept. 6, a pair of planners brought the newest thinking in urban rule making to the Sarasota City Neighborhood Association (CCNA) meeting and pitched it way over au dience members heads. Karin Murphy and Andrew Georgiadis have been hired by the city to establish an Urban Design Studio in the Federal Building at Or ange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard. Inside, they will begin to fabricate new zoning regu lations for the city based on something called form-ba sed codes. We wa nt to use an incremental and phased approach, said Murphy. Community comfort is a critical component. But when she added, We dont care about the style of building, we care about the form, and struggled to explain some of the planning jargon, audience mem bers grew restive. It is unfortunate we had representatives at the meeting who had no experience in land use or zoning regulations, said CCNA regular attendee Ka Benz. I think Karin was talking to the choir, to people who already had some basis of understa ndin g. New city zoning regulations include an overlay district for Laurel Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: SARASOTAS URBAN DESIGN STUDIO TEAM IS ENCOURAGING DIALOGUE WITH THE PUBLIC AS IT WORKS TO RESHAPE THE CITYS ZONING CODE JARGON AND REALITIES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The 1974 zoning code is now just a pile of stuff, added Avondale Representative and former Mayor Mollie Cardamone. In my opin ion, were asking this group to write a new zoning code for the entire city. Depending on your point of view, the effort to introduce a form-based code to the city comes at an auspicious or awful time. ONE MORE BALL TO JUGGLE Ultimately, staff and the City Commission must monitor and guide Murphys efforts. But she is not alone in needing guidance. The city and county wanted a Bus Rapid Tran sit route from the airport to downtown. The actual path is now in question after the county declined last month to conduct an alternative route study. Success of such a route is linked to zoning along the line because density is a major determinant of its success. Two new overlay districts have been ap proved in the city, one for Laurel Park and one for the North Tamiami Trail. They have different aims. Laurel Park is a historic dis trict adjacent to intense downtown zoning; its overlay gives the neighborhood residents the right to undertake additional scrutiny of de velopment plans proposed along their border. The North Trail overlay is designed to encour age revitalization and rebuilding of Sarasotas northern gateway. Despite the existence of three colleges and a regional-class art mu seum, the gateway continues to evidence decades-long problems with drug sales and prostitution. Old motels proliferate, and while Sarasotas North Trail Overlay District was planned to provide design incentives to encourage devel opers to propose projects for the citys gateway. Image courtesy of City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 48


pressure for change is high, non-criminal ac tivity is low. As recent rains show, stormwater remains an unsolved problem in many parts of the city. Can form-based codes encourage the use of low impact design (LID) solutions to storm water removal and treatment? Student housing along the North Trail and af fordable housing for working families in the downtown area are two more unsolved prob lems that could be addressed with a new zon ing code. Meanwhile, developers are waking from a long slumber to begin new projects. In other words, Murphy and Georgiadis are not working in a vacuum. Their form-based code must address existing and emerging problems without fundamentally changing long-established relationships. Were trying to break this down into manage able bites, Murphy told the CCNA. We need to get in front of this. Its ramping up. THE WAY AHEAD The Urban Design Studio is located in the southwest corner of the Federal Building. Murphy says the team has an open-door policy on Friday afternoons, making time for ques tions and even presentations. Just as Murphy has made overtures to the citys neighborhoods suggesting brown-bag lunchtime chats, for example the citys de velopers are making suggestions, too. The citys Urban Design Studio is in the Federal Building at the corner of Orange Avenue and Ring ling Boulevard. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 49


Ringling College of Art and Design is one of three institutions of higher learning in the north part of Sarasota. Image courtesy of Ringling College of Art and Design homepage Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 50


Georgia dis sa id he and Murphy are already helping guide existing development projects to meet the spirit of form-based codes even before they are adopted. Both neighbors and developers can look to Bradenton, where Mur phy and Georgiadis created a form-based code system last year for the central part of the city. Both neighbors and developers want the same thing certainty. Neighborhoods are tired of bait-and-switch plans, while developers fear slowdown or turndown of their approvals over picayune rules. One incentive that could be dangled to en courage residential development in areas that need it student housing on the North Trail, for example is a density bonus. It would keep the [building] height the same, but in crease the number of units per acre, noted Murphy. She has singled out ve specic catalyst proj ects to demonstrate how form-based codes can get results that old Euclidian zoning could not. She mentioned the Marian Ander son browneld site at U.S. 301 and Dr. Mar tin Luther King Jr. Way; North Watertower Park, now a hotbed of criminal activity day and night; the section of U.S. 41 south to Web ber Street; the area of Ringling Boulevard to Payne Park; and sprawl along Beneva Road north of Ringling Boulevard. The Urban Design Studio plans an open house from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4. The team will use the patio surrounding the Federal Building, and perhaps the small pocket park to the north, when it welcomes guests. % SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota 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 September 13, 2013 Page 51


Monday, S ept. 16, will be a watery one for the Sarasota city commissioners. Three ma jor water-related items are on their agenda. Two concern volunteer efforts, and one marks progress in a decade-long journey to create a managed mooring eld downtown. A Sarasota Sailing Squadron issue on the consent agenda is a request for approval of a lease modication allowing the Squadron to spend $250,828 to upgrade three docks. The organization rents its site in Ken Thompson Park from the city, and it is responsible for all upgrades. Members are proud they have never asked the city for a dime in the past 65 years to maintain and improve their facility, considered among the nest volunteer sailing clubs in the world. This stands in contrast with the $20 million in county funds used to create a rowing facility from a gravel pit near the interstate, members point out. The second group of nautical volunteers to ap pear will brief the commission on the nancial results of the 2013 Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival. Lucy Nicandri, festival director, will report the effort raised almost $71,000 for childrens charities. Boats moored at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron create a white-dot vista for motorists driving over the Ringling Bridge. Photo by Norman Schimmel A SAILING SQUADRON REQUEST, EXPANSION OF THE BAYFRONT MOORING FIELD AND MORE DISCUSSION OF A HOMELESS SHELTER ARE ON THE AGENDA FOR SEPT. 16 SCC PREVIEW By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


T he multiple eve nts generated more than a quarter of a million dollars in state sales tax and local resort taxes. The total estimated nancial impact on the community was $17 mil lion, an 18.8 percent increase from last year. More than 40,000 people witnessed the races in person, either from Lido Beach or in boats on the water, according to the agenda mate rial. As an aside, one of Nicandris prepared slides indicates not a single person from Sarasota attended any of the Grand Prix events. It says 65 percent of the participants were from other parts of Florida, 23 percent were from other states and 12 percent were from foreign coun tries. With luck, the numbers on the third aquatic presentation do reect reality. It is Phase Two of the citys effort to create a 109-slip mooring facility in the old downtown anchorage. The commission will be asked to approve the se lection of Dock and Marine Construction to install 64 moorings and test additional ones in the bay bottom for $336,400. Phase Two calls for adding 35 anchors, but the funding from the West Coast Inland Nav igation District (which is paying for the vast majority of the work) will allow the contrac tor to go ahead and put in place 29 of the 39 anchors that were proposed for Phase Three of the project. The plan calls for the Phase Three installation to be nished next year, with a $200,000 grant coming from the navigation district. LOOKING TO PINELLAS FOR HOPE The issue of homelessness continues to perco late for the City Commission. After nishing a discussion of the State Street parking garage, the commissioners will share their thoughts and observations after visiting a full-service homeless shelter run by the Pinellas County Sheriffs Ofce. It is being held up as a regional model by Dr. Robert Marbut, an expert hired by Sarasota County and its municipalities. The shelter is called Pinellas Safe Harbor, and it relocates the homeless far away from downtown St. Pe tersburg. City Commissioner Susan Chapman wrote up eld notes after her tour of the facility on Sept. 6. She concluded, Pinellas Safe Har The city has been making steady progress with its bayfront mooring eld. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 53


bor is more th an a homeless shelter. It is a regional behavior modication facility serv ing the most difcult population of homeless individuals in which individual case manage ment safety, security and structure are para mount. This facility has assisted many chronic homeless people in receiving the services they need and in substantially eliminating feeding in parks and public spaces and other enabling behaviors. There are separate sections for women, vet erans and chronic mists. The unit is a jail diversion facility with a capacity for 470 resi dents. When Chapman visited, it held about 387, she wrote. It is signicantly cheaper than incarceration, with a cost of about $13 per day, compared to $106 per day for a stay in the Pinellas County jail. The annual operating budget for Pinel las Safe Harbor is $1.6 million, with ve cit ies contributing $50,000 each and the county providing $200,000 per year. A SHORT EVENING, MAYBE While the commissions afternoon session looks busy, the evening meeting, starting at 6 p.m., looks light. A couple of certicate pre sentations, recognition of the Sarasota Or chestras new maestro plus a resolution rec ognizing the life and work of former Sarasota Fire Department Chief Harold Stinchcomb will open the meeting. What could have been a tumultuous public hearing on the Hampton Road project to put a medical spa in the Tahiti Park neighborhood will not happen. Instead, the owners are offer ing to reboot their initiative. Staff has approved the project, but the Plan ning Board h as turned it down. Neighbors are furious about a land-use change that hap pened under what some of them call myste rious circumstances. In a letter to the commissioners dated Sept. 11, property owner Dr. Steve Bedi said he would voluntarily offer a site plan. We are aware this decision will essentially require that we reboot the process by once again un dergoing review by the Development Review Committee and by participating in another public hearing before the planning board. We are eager to do this if it achieves our ultimate goal of securing the rezoning, he wrote. The commissioners could rebuff Bedis offer and proceed to make a decision on his request without a site plan. Hours of public hearings have been held, so there is no lack of evidence and testimony on the issue. All that remains in the process to date is rebuttal, commission discussion and a motion. % City Commissioner Susan Chapman. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 54


Barring so me great upset, there will be a fu ture for Sarasotas Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). At least mem bers of the committee charged with giving their opinion think so. On Tuesday, Sept. 10, the CRA Extension Study Committee was of the unanimous opinion that the life of the taxing district should be extended beyond 201 6. I think I he ard everybody say they are in fa vor of extending the CRA, said Chairman David Merrill. None of the seven members attending dissented. The nine-member group got off to a slow start with work this week, as only three members were pres ent at 5:30 p.m. Merrill decided to move for ward in the guise of a discussion group, not requiring a qu orum. As A map shows the boundaries of the downtown CRA district in Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE WEIGHING THE FUTURE OF THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA SAY IT SHOULD GO ON BEYOND 2016 A BIG BOOST By Stan Zimmerman City Editor My fear is if we dont put a tool in place that will give us a clear vision of where were going and provide a means, downtown will become an area you pass when you go from Lakewood Ranch to Siesta Key. Ernie DuBose Member CRA Extension Study Committee


the evening wore on, four more members ap peared. Katie Leonard sent word she was quit ting because she was moving away from the area, while member Michael Beaumier failed to attend. The agenda was a bit odd. The members were meeting to decide what should be de cided. Should the CRA be extended? If so, for how long? Should its boundaries be changed? Should it be governed in a different way? Those questions were reserved for later. But the big issue of survival was answered. At stake is about $7 million dollars every year that is now spent mostly on downtown Sarasota. The CRA uses a tax-increment nancing scheme that skims city and county property tax revenue from downtown prop erty owners payments to be used only in that conned area to ght slum and blight. When the district was established for a 30year term in 1986, you could argue downtown had sections of slum and blight. To argue the same today would raise an eyebrow or two, among the brick pavers and fancy streetlights and rejuvenated building faades. Because the taxing scheme depends on com pounding, the amount it raises has grown sub stantially. The district froze at the 1986 level the amount of property tax revenue the city and county collect in the dened area. Any revenue coming in above that amount in sub sequent years has been used to fund the CRA. As property values rose, so did the tax roll. This year the CRA pulled in roughly $7 million. Members of the CRA extension committee meet in the City Commission Chambers in July. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 56


Most people would argue that the image downtown Sarasota presents these days is not one of slum and blight. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 57


The m oney can be used for almost anything, the committee has been told. The group has met since January; it began by taking evidence and testimony about Sarasotas CRA and CRAs in other areas, and it heard from CRA experts. Now it is trying to formulate recom mendations. The rst and most critical decision was made Tuesday, with the committee proposing the CRA continue into the future. That recommen dation will be presented to both the Sarasota City and County commissions, which must both agree to the terms for a new interlocal agreement concerning any CRA in the future. County commissioners suspect their nearly $4 million annual share of the tax revenue could be better spent elsewhere. They shot off a rather testy letter to the committee dated Sept. 6 after it asked for input from other areas in the county that might want a CRA of their own. Soliciting input regarding es tablishment of future CRAs is within the pur view of the Board of County Commissioners, wrote Chairwoman Carolyn Mason. The city is in a bind as well. It uses much of its $3 million annual contribution to pay for police and landscaping, not to invest in the downtowns improvement. The use of CRA money for regular operations has drawn the concern of the committee, and that could re sult in a recommendation to both commis sions as well. Several com mittee members suggested the city should produce another plan to show the county commissioners where the mon ey would go if the CRA were extended. The current plan is actually the citys downtown master plan, adopted in 2001. In 2004, the City Commission modied it to allow spending on police and public works. At one point in the Tuesday discussion, Mer rill suggested, Lets declare success. The Downtown CRA did its job. The new tool is the Downtown Improvement District. This is not slum and blight anymore. Just put the ad ditional taxes in the general fund. But in the end, nobody else was willing to sup port the idea of termination. My fear is if we dont put a tool in place that will give us a clear vision of where were going and provide a means, downtown will become an area you pass when you go from Lakewood Ranch to Siesta Key, said member Ernie Du Bose. The committee is not afraid of big thinking. We do need to extend the CRA as long as possible, with different boundaries for sure, said member Joel Freedman. Carve out some of the downtown areas that are done. But east and north really need more work. The signicance of downtown as an econom ic engine should be important to our deliber ations, said member Mark Huey. The future development of Sarasota County will go as downtown goes. His is more than a lay viewpoint as he is the president and CEO of the countys Economic Development Corp. The committee resumes its decision-making on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in Sara sota City Hall. % Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 58


By the time they concluded their nal, threehour budget workshop on Sept. 6, the Saraso ta County commissioners still had not com mitted one pot of money to any expenses the $8 million they ofcially freed up by changing their disaster reserve policy in an Aug. 27 vote. Is this $8 million a sa cred cow? Commis sioner Joe Barbetta asked with a chuck le. Because it sounds like every time I try to use some of it for the re asons we brought it out, we push it aside. He added, It sounds like were going to leave today and still have the $8 million intact. We have differing opinions [on that money], Co mmissioner Nora Patterson reminded him. During their May 14 budget workshop, the commissioners split on a 3 -2 vot e to A child competes in a BMX Strider event at the Sarasota complex. Image courtesy of Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CONCLUDED THEIR FINAL BUDGET WORKSHOP WITHOUT UTILIZING FUNDS FREED UP BY A CHANGE IN THEIR DISASTER RESERVE POLICY AN UNTAPPED $8 MILLION It sounds like were going to leave today and still have the $8 million intact. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


approve a reduction in the countys disaster reserve to reect 75 days of operations instead of 90. That action freed up about $8.1 million that could be used on capital projects with an anticipated signicant return on investment, Barbetta pointed out at the time. Patterson and Commissioner Christine Robin son were in the minority on that vote, as they were again on Aug. 27. One of the projects Barbetta pointed to during the May discussion involved the addition of a 5-meter ramp and the reconguration of the track at the countys BMX facility to make it the only one of its kind on the U.S. East Coast and only the second in the nation. However, when the commissioners voted unanimously on Aug. 27 to approve funding for that project, they agreed to have staff re search whether the expense could come from Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue in stead of that $8 million pool. On Sept. 6, Patterson told her colleagues she had consulted with Deputy County Attorney Kathleen Schneider about the TDT money. Schneider had conrmed, Patterson said, that if the board designated the BMX project a tourist development agent, then the TDT rev enue could cover the $1 million needed for the improvements at the countys 17th Street complex The money could come out of a TDT revenue pool allocated for capital expenses or improv ing existing facilities, Patterson pointed out, based on her discussion with Schneider. That portion generates about $400,000 per year, Patterson added. Therefore, the commission could allocate the money generated by that portion of a Vice Chairman Charles Hines and Commissioner Nora Patterson review budget material during a Sept. 6 workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 60


TDT penny f or two years and possibly take the remaining $200,000 from another fund set up to pay back the bond issue it used to fund improvements at Ed Smith Stadium as part of the deal to bring the Baltimore Orioles to Sarasota for spring training. Patterson said she also had discussed the sit uation with Virginia Haley, president of Vis it Sarasota County (VSC), who indicated the VSC board would be agreeable to the com missions using the TDT money for the BMX facility. Because of the need to move forward quickly with the BMX project, Patterson continued with another Florida city interested in build ing a track with the features proposed for Sarasota Schneider said the commission could borrow the money now from the beach renourishment fund toward which another portion of TDT revenue goes. That loan could be paid back from the other TDT revenue pot, Patterson added. The beach renourishment money would not be needed in the next two years, Patterson pointed out. That would leave the $8 million for some lat er discussions, she said. When Barbetta asked County Attorney Ste phen DeMarsh to weigh in on Pattersons pro posal, DeMarsh replied, It is doable. It will require a minor amendment to the [TDT] or dinance Patterson made a motion to direct County Administrator Randall Reid to work with the Ofce of the County Attorney and other staff to prepare a plan as quickly as possible that would encumber the aforem entioned portion of the TDT revenue to pay for as much of the BMX project as possible. Robinson seconded the motion. Both she and Barbetta thanked Patterson for the effort she put into the research. At some future point, Barbetta said, he would like for the board to discuss increasing the amount of TDT revenue that can be used for capital projects possibly raising it from 12.5 percent to as much as 25 percent. (See the related article in this issue.) He pointed out that TDT revenue is up about 11 percent yearto-date, so the board should utilize more of it on other projects that could generate a good return on investment, such as new soccer and lacrosse elds in the county. If the board had that discussion, Robinson told him, she would prefer it came after Haley and her board, as well as the countys Tour ism Development Council, had opportunities to weigh in rst. Barbetta was agreeable to that. % Commissioner Joe Barbetta contemplates bud get material during a June workshop. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 61


Although the Beach Road Drainage Project on Siesta Key adjacent to the public beach has been on hold for about two weeks because of almost incessant rain, county staff planned to collect water samples on Sept. 11 that could lead soon to the resumption of work, the proj ect manager told The Sarasota News Leader this week. Original pla ns called for a November com pletion date, but the rain has led the contractor to push that back to Feb ruary 2014, Alex Boudreau said on Sept. 11. Weve not accepted that schedule, he pointed out. Referring to contractors, he continued, You ask big and see what happens. Still, Boudreau said, the project should be substantially complet ed by Jan. 20, 2014, barring any further ex tended delays. On April 23, the Coun ty Commission ap proved the award of The stormwater project adjacent to Siesta Public Beach has been designed to keep the Gulf of Mexico clean enough to prevent future no swimming advisories. File photo THE PROJECT MANAGER FOR A NEW STORMWATER SYSTEM NEXT TO SIESTA PUBLIC BEACH IS HOPING FOR DRIER WEATHER SO WORK CAN GET UNDER WAY AGAIN RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY We plan for how to handle water, but you plan for what you can reasonably expect. Curtis Smith Project Manager Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


a $4,550,683.28 bid to Forsberg Construction Inc. of Punta Gorda to undertake the stormwa ter work that is designed to prevent future No swimming advisories at Siesta Public Beach because of unhealthful bacterial counts. The innovative 3,000-foot pipeline into the Gulf of Mexico one of the projects prima ry elements has been completed, Boudreau told the News Leader However, high bacterial counts in rainwater pooled at the site where a new one-acre retention pond will be built have held up the rest of the work, he pointed out. Results of water samples collected on Sept. 11 should be back in about 24 hours, he noted. Then, Boudreau continued, staff would work with the contractor to determine the next steps. If the bacterial counts are low enough, the wa ter either could be pumped into the Gulf of Mexic o through the new pipeline or pumped into the existing ditch that runs across the beach, through which the water would ow into the gulf, he explained. Staff is working on obtaining permits to pump the water through the pipeline, Boudreau added, in the event that appears to be the better option. He was hopeful that a combination of the bac terias exposure to sunlight with less rain this week and natural evaporation have produced desirable enough results to enable the contractor to get back to work. Forsberg Construction did create a number of settling ponds on the site when it began the project, Boudreau pointed out, to allow sediment to settle out so the water could be allowed to ow through that existing ditch across the beach. However, no one anticipat ed the amount of rainfall the region would see this summer, he added. The Gulf and Bay Club condos tower over the site where clearing was under way in August for the stormwater project. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 63


Siesta Key Associ ation President Catherine Luckner said during that organizations Sept. 5 meeting that representatives of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) told her the island has had 30 inches of rain since late June. We have had an exorbitant amount of rain this season, Boudreau agreed. Way out of the ordinary, is how Curtis Smith, another manager of the stormwater project, characterized it during an interview with the News Leader on Sept. 11. We plan for how to handle water, Smith said, but you plan for what you can reasonably ex pect. CONDO RESIDENTS COMPLAINTS The site of the new retention pond is at the end point of the upstream drainage system on that part of Siesta Key, Boudreau explained, which has exacerbated the rainwater pooling effect. Residents and the manager of the Gulf & Bay Club condominium complex, adjacent to the stormwater project site, complained to Com missioner Nora Patterson about the pump ing of water from the site before the work stopped. Smith said county staff have strived to deter mine the best way to handle those complaints. A graphic shows plans for vegetation mitigation after the Beach Road Drainage Project has been com pleted on Siesta Key. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 64


Luckner note d during the SKA meeting that she and her directors also had heard com plaints from Gulf & Bay Club residents. They have been very concerned about runoff from the project. However, one factor apparently linked to the condominium complexs worries was the brown tint of that runoff, Luckner noted. Man groves in a freshwater area tend to produce high amounts of tannic acid, she explained, which can make water appear brown without creating any type of harmful effect. Still, Luckner said, Its kind of frightening to see that shade of water on the beach. Luckner also pointed out that Patterson pro vided her with a copy of a recent report from the county Health Department that reassured her no significant mosquito problems had been detected at the site. On Aug. 31, Matthew Smith, the countys mos quito control manager, sent an email to Assis tant County Administrator Lee Ann Lowery, saying, he had visited the stormwater project site and found most of the areas with standing water did not have breeding mosquito popu lations. He did treat areas where he discov ered low-level breeding, he continued. No adult mosquitoes were found in landing rate surveys, he added, noting, The site will be under regular surveillance until the project is nished. Smith added that he was unable to reach Tom Fastiggi, manager of the Gulf & Bay Club, when he was at the site, but he would try again on Sept. 3. Smith was hopeful he could gain access to space under the complexs F build ing, because a dry well or retention-type area under that building was ooded, although [that] does not appear to be a result of the county construction site [issues]. Patterso n subsequently emailed Fastiggi to let him know Smith wanted to assist with the situation. EXTRA GRANT AID On one other positive note, Curtis Smith told the News Leader the county was able to ob tain about $22,000 more in grant funds from the Southwest Florida Water Management Dis trict (SWFWMD) to help pay for the project. The districts board originally approved a grant up to $975,000 when the project was estimated to cost $1.5 million. Before the County Commission approved the bid award on March 19, commissioners com plained about project consultants being far off the mark of the nal cost. When Patterson asked whether SWFWMD would consider in creasing its grant amount, Program Manager Carolyn Eastwood explained that staff already was corresponding with district representa tives on that point. % (From left) Siesta Key Association Director Deet Jonker, President Catherine Luckner and Directors Beverly Arias and Ron Flynn pre pare for the start of their Sept. 5 meeting. Pho to by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 65


The good news is that Sarasota Audubon vol unteers realized an 80-percent success rate this season with the number of endangered snowy plovers on Siesta Public Beach that reached the edging stage after hatching meaning they could y on their own. The bad news is that even an adult plover has succumbed to what appears to be a type of neurotoxin that has attacked all types of birds on Siestas beach, volunteers re ported during the Sept. 5 Siesta Key Associa tion (SKA) meeting. B ob Luckner of Siesta Key, who coordinat ed the work of the volunteers or chick checkers during the snowy plover nesting season, told about 20 people at the monthly SKA session that not only did four of the ve snowy plover hatchlings survive, but Sarasota Audubon also recorded four edglings from Least Tern nests in the area of Beach Access 4 this year. We were really happy about that, Luckner added. Last year, only one snowy plover chick (Above) A snowy plover chick explores its home on Sanibel Island. Photo by Hans Hillewaert via Wi kimedia Commons FOUR OF FIVE SNOWY PLOVER CHICKS THAT HATCHED SURVIVED THIS SUMMER ON SIESTA KEY, SARASOTA AUDUBON VOLUNTEERS REPORT AN 80-PERCENT SUCCESS RATE We know the population we have on the [Siesta] beach is running from about 16 to 22 birds. Dr. Allan Worms Wildlife Biologist By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


made it to the edg ing stage, which takes about 40 days, according to statistics Luckner provided. Sarasota Audubon representatives who at tended a recent Florida Shorebird Alliance meeting in Clearwater learned that Siesta had the most successful snowy plover nesting sea son of all communities this year on the west coast of Florida, Luckner pointed out. He offered the other following details: 13 snowy plover nests were discovered on Siesta Public Beach, with two producing chicks. Seventy-four percent of the nest failures were attributed to human disturbances of the seven established buffer s. Twenty-seven percent of the failures were a result of predation by snakes, crows and re ants. Nine percent of the failures were attribut ed to the beach ooding that resulted from Tropical Storm Andreas passage offshore in June. Volunteers checked the nesting areas twice a day, putting in 1,200 hours. After incidents earlier this year during which people violated buffers set up to protect the plovers, Luckner continued, representatives of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce stepped up patrols. Addition ally, he said, on two occasions, a deputy and an FWC ofcer with guns and badges spoke The Siesta Key Association on Sept. 5 recognized Sarasota Audubon volunteers who kept a close watch on snowy plovers during the past nesting season. Volunteer coordinator Bob Luckner (right) gives SKA T-shirts to (from left) Joy Turner, Pat Sharp and Dick Miles. Not pictured is Allan Worms. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 67


to pe ople who had been identied as perpe trating the vandalism and told them to cease disturbing the buffers. And, you know what, Luckner said. They did! It seems to make a difference when a guy with a gun shows up. When SKA Director Joe Volpe asked whether it would be better for the Sarasota Audubon group to keep up permanent buffers for the plovers, Luckner said the volunteers were not inclined to do that. We like the people in the winter to enjoy the beach, he added. Sgt. Scott Osborne, leader of the Sheriffs Of ces Community Policing Station in Siesta Village, has told The Sarasota News Leader in the past that some people who live along the beach have been resentful of the buffers, claiming the roped-off areas impede their ac cess to the shore. Well be back in April, Luckner told the SKA audi ence, adding, with a chuckle, that putting up the buffers made him think of the lm Field of Dreams : Build it and theyll come. The snowy plovers seem to show up after the buf fers are erected, he pointed out. Moreover, the birds tend to come back to the areas where they hatch. Retired wildlife biologist Worms, who is also a Sarasota Audubon volunteer, told SKA members during their August meeting that a number of snowy plovers live on Siesta Key. The birds may leave occasionally to visit Lido Beach, he noted, and sometimes in the fall and winter they y to the Bahamas for warmer weather, but they return. Moreover, he pointed out, We know the popu lation we have on the [Siesta] beach is running from about 16 to 22 birds. Altogether, Worms told The Sarasota News Leader in July, only about 220 snowy plovers remain in Florida, according to well-known FWC wildlife biologist Nancy Douglass. An adult snowy plover makes its home on Siesta Key. Photo courtesy of Catherine Luckner Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 68


A sign at Beach Access 7 on Siesta Key is designed to educate the public about snowy plovers. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 69


An Aug. 22 a rticle by Gyorgy Szimuly of World Waders notes that s nowy plovers are on the Yellow list of the US Watchlist, a joint proj ect of the American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. That designa tion means the species is in decline but at a much slower rate than species in the Red category. However, the article notes, evidence shows the snowy plover population is suffer ing from increasing human and pet dis turbance, and Beaches intensively used by humans will keep [the species] vulnerable to further population declines. These factors indicate the bird could be moved to the Red list at some point, the ar ticle adds. FWC has issued a plan of action to try to en courage expansion of the snowy plover popu lation or, at least, preservation of the current level on Florida beaches, the article reports. DYING BIRDS On the negative side of the report during the SKA meeting, Catherine Luckner Bobs wife and the SKA president said that during the previous eight to 10 days, a number of birds had died because of paralysis of their legs and subsequent inability to obtain food. Those birds had been located in areas where rainwater pooling occurred, near the dunes, she pointed out. One school of thought was that the birds had been exposed to a chemical produced by decaying vegetative material in the water. We have had all bird species impacted, she noted. One adult snowy plover found in dis tress on Labor Day, Luckner continued, died on Sept. 3 Phone numbers for the Venice Wildlife Center and Save Our Seabirds, located on Longboat Key, are available on the SKAs homepage she added. (For Save Our Seabirds, the number is 388-3010. For the Venice Wildlife Center, the regular number is 484-9657; the after-hours emergency number is 416-4967.) Anyone seeing a suffering bird should call one of those numbers; each of the centers has personnel available to come pick up the bird and try to treat it, Luckner said. Dont try to [transport a bird] yourself. When SKA Director Beverly B. Arias asked whether this incidence of illness is unusual, Catherine Luckner responded that FWC rep resentatives told her that 30 inches of rain had been recorded on the island since late June, with showers almost every day. According to statistics provided by the South west Florida Water Management District, ac tual rainfall in the South Region of the state which includes Sarasota County was 40.94 inches from January through August, com pared to a historical average of 38.12 inches. Bob Luckner added that the effect on the birds resembled the type of adverse neurological impact produced by red tide, though red tide does not appear to be the culprit. Large num bers of migrating birds sharing territory can spread disease, he pointed out, so it is possi ble the problem is avian botulism. Both Sa ve Our Seabirds and FWC are doing necropsies on the deceased birds, he contin ued, with the hope of determining the cause of the il lness. % Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 70


The Sarasota Police Department on Adams Lane was the setting for the somber obser vance this week of the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Police ofcers gathered with representatives of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce and Fire Department as well as city leaders to pay respects to the 2,996 people who died on 9/11 in New York City and Washington, D.C. and in the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. % Sarasota Military Academy student Houston Scott plays the bagpipes. Photo by Kelly French THE SARASOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT HOSTS A 12TH ANNIVERSARY OBSERVANCE OF 9/11 REMEMBERING A TRAGIC DAY Staff Reports


Members of the Sarasota Police Department gather at the ceremony. Photo by Kelly French Among the audience members are County Fire Chief Mike Tobias (second from right), City Com missioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman (third and fourth from right), Mayor Shannon Snyder (fth from right) and Vice Mayor Willie Shaw (fourth from left). Photo by Kelly French Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 72


The American ag waves from the snorkel of a county re truck. Photo by Kelly French Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 73


Wreaths stand in the Police Department lobby. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 74


The citys 9/11 memorial is inside the Police Department. Photo by Kelly French Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 75


Mayor Shannon Snyder addresses those gathered for the observance. Photo by Kelly French Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 76


Sarasota County Sh eriffs Ofce Animal Ser vices division will participate in PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend this Friday through Sunday, Sept. 13-15, the ofce has announced. Volunteers from People-4-Paws will bring adoptable dogs and cats from the shelter to PetSmart in The Landings shopping plaza, lo cated at 4942 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, a news release says. The PetSmart Charities adoption center in side PetSmart will be o pen from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Frida y and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. More than 2,000 animal adoption partners are participating in this special event throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, the release notes. PetSmart will also post up dates and photos to its social media accounts throughout the weekend. To learn more about the event visit http://pets. petsma m/adoptions Shelter dogs and cats needing good homes will be among those available for adoption Sept. 13-15 at PetSmart in The Landings. Photo by Arantz via Wikimedia Commons ANIMAL SERVICES TO BE PART OF NATIONAL ADOPTION EVENT NEWS BRIEFS


The negotiating teams for the Sarasota Coun ty School Board and the Sarasota Classied/ Teachers Association reached an agreement Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 11, on a contract for the 2013-14 school year, the school district has announced. The agreement provides that all bargaining unit employees, including teachers and sup port staff such as classroom aides, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, will receive a 3.25-per cent raise for the 2013-14 school year, a news release says. It is the rst across-the-board increase in the salary schedules in ve years. That increase will be funded primarily by $6.3 million that the Florida Legislature mandated for the specic purpose of employee raises, the release notes. The School Board will add $1.5 million to that amount to allow all bar gaining unit employees to receive a 3.25-per cent raise, the release continues. The parties agreed that, in the event the Legislature does not continue the special salary appropriation, the salary schedules will be reduced by 3.25 percent in the future. The parties also agreed to restore life insur ance coverage for employees to the level of $50,000; it had been reduced to $25,000. The increase was negotiated with a new insurance provider at no additional cost to the School Board, the release points out. The nal agreement must be approved by the School Board and ratied by the employees before it can take effect. It is anticipated the approvals will occur in mid-October, the re lease adds. All salary increases will be retro active to July 1. SCHOOL BOARD REACHES CONTRACT AGREEMENT WITH UNION Sarasota County Schools Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner (right) discusses the budget with the School Board earlier this year. Photo by Scott Proftt Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 78


The City of Sarasota will hold two meetings this month to provide updates to the public on the Lift Station 87 (LS 87) Project: a project team session that will be open to the public and a community meeting, the city has an nounced. The LS 87 Project team session has been set for Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the SRQ Media Room in the City Hall Annex, 1565 First St., Sarasota. The community meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 1565 First St. We are committed to an open and transpar ent process as we move forward with this project, said Sarasota Utility Director Mitt Tidwell in a news release. Both meetings will include a discussion of the rst phase of project work as well as the work schedule, the release notes. T he meetings will be conducted by city staff and the citys new engineer of record for the project, McKim & Creed, the release adds Once completed, the LS 87 Project will im prove wastewater service and reliability for the City of Sarasota customers and protect the environment, the release says. The new lift station will replace existing Lift Station 7, located at 935 Pomelo Ave. Wastewater ow will be redirected from LS 7 to LS 87, located in Luke Wood Park, via a new gravity sewer pipeline that will need to be constructed un der Hudson Bayou, the release points out. A project website will be developed to keep residents informed about the projects sched ule. For more information about the LS 87 Project, visit Utility_Project/ Interested parties also may subscribe to email updates at www.egovlink. com/sarasota/subscriptio ns/subscribe.asp RESIDENTS INVITED TO LIFT STATION 87 MEETINGS Before the city halted the project late last year, the sign for the Lift Station 87 project was highly vis ible near downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 79


The Baltim ore Orioles will host the annual Walk for the Kids to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County on Sept. 14 at Ed Smith Stadium, the team has announced. The Oriole Bird will lead hundreds of walkers in a one-mile circuit around the Orioles yearround sports and entertainment facility to raise funds for the four local clubs, which are located in Newtown, central Sarasota, Venice and North Port, a news release says. We are thrilled that the Orioles are once again a lead partner in Walk for the Kids, which is the major annual fundraiser for our clubs [through which] we strive to provide a world-class experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors, said Bill Sadlo, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, in the release. Our goal is to have all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship and living a healthy lifestyle. The clubs provide afterschool and summer programs for more than 5,500 children and youth ages 6 to 18 throughout Sarasota Coun ty, the release notes. The Boys & Girls Clubs and Major League Baseball share a special, national partner ship, and the Orioles are strong supporters of the local organization, said David Rovine, vice president for the Orioles in Sarasota in the release. Following last years successful Walk for the Kids at Ed Smith Stadium, we are pleased to again host the event and donate our celebrity mascot, the Oriole Bird, to pro mote the major annual fundraiser for our local clubs in Sarasota County. The Orioles strongly encourage Sarasota County residents to join a Walk team or pledge online to support the Boys & Girls Clubs, an organization that is helping to shape the future of our community by inuencing youth in a positive way, Rovine added in the release. The Walk is $25 for adults and free for chil dren under 18, the release notes. Participants will complete a one-mile circuit around the outside of the stadium and then enter the sta dium for lots of fun, free activities, the re lease concludes. ORIOLES TO HOST WALK FOR THE KIDS ON SEPT. 14 The Oriole Bird poses on the pitchers mound at Ed Smith Stadium. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 80


The Saras ota City Commission next week will honor students who wrote thought-provoking and heartfelt essays during summer vacation about how to Stop the Violence in Sarasota, the city has announced. The recognition will take place Monday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. during the regular City Commis sion meeting at City Hall, 1565 First St. Each of the top essay winners will receive a cer ticate of appreciation from Mayor Shannon Snyder and the commission, a news release says. A total of 81 students attending summer pro grams at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club and Newtown Estates volunteered to pen es says on the theme, What Can I Do (Or What Am I Doing) To Stop The Violence In My Com munity, the release notes. The participants ranged in age from 7 to 19. One 12-year-old boy wrote, The robberies and drugs I see and hear about are a wound to my heart One thing I can do to stop the vio lence in my community is by speaking up and setting examples for the many other people around me. Click here to see a video of the top winners reading their essays The essays w ere eye-opening and demon strated just how aware our youth really are of the violence and crime that is going on around them, said Jerry Fogle, Robert L. Taylor Com munity Complex manager, who interacts with many of the young writers regularly. It breaks my heart to know that our youth are dealing with things that would be difcult for adults. I was truly inspired by the amazing ideas of our youth to decrease violence and crime and the bravery and courage to stand up to the bad guy, which is a valuable lesson for adults. Youth are an integral aspect of the newly re-established community policing effort by the Sarasota Police Department, the release points out. With the recent violence in the region, a Stop the Violence campaign was launched in partnership with the Police De partment and the FOCUS Ministerial Alli ance, the release continues. Shortly after a deadly shooting at a commu nity event in neighboring Manatee County, Sarasota police ofcers and Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce deputies talked with children at the Taylor Complex, Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club and Newtown Estates about vio lence and the right and wrong ways to solve disputes, the release notes. STUDENTS TO BE HONORED FOR STOP THE VIOLENCE ESSAYS On Tuesday, Sept. 17, NOVA the Nokomis Osprey Venice Area Republican Club will host a frontline panel of experts to Meet the Media from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Nokomis Com munity Center, 234 Nippino Trail, Nokomis. The panelists who have been invited to par ticipate are Eric Ernst, a columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Kat Hughes, editor of the Business Observer; and Bill Church, NOVA REPUBLICAN CLUB TO MEET THE MEDIA executive editor of the Herald-Tribune. The panel will be moderated by Rochelle Dudley, co-founder of and president of OnMessage Strategic Communi cations. The event is free. Non-members and guests are welcome. For additional information, contact Frank Patti at 408-7423 or visit www. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 81


U.S. News & World Report has ranked New College of Florida the nations No. 5 public liberal arts college in the magazines 2014 Best Colleges edition, New College has an nounced. The rankings were released Sept. 10 on the magazines website New College ranked 89th among all national liberal arts colleges, public and private, the ninth consecutive year the school has placed in the top 100, a news release notes. It is also the ninth consecutive year that New College has placed in the top six public liberal arts colleges, the release adds. New College is the only Florida liberal arts college to be listed among the magazines top 100. U.S. News & World Report cited several sta tistics behind New Colleges strong showing: One-quarter of students have SAT scores of 1410 or higher. T hirty-ve percent of New College fresh men were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Seventy-three percent of New College class es have fewer than 20 students. Only 1 percent of New College classes have 50 or more students. U.S. News & World Report also ranked New College No. 21 for colleges whose students graduate with the least amount of debt, av eraging $18,276. The magazine reported that only 39 percent of the New College graduates had any debt at all at graduation, the fth-low est percentage among the listed colleges, the release points out. In January, U.S. News & World Report re leased supplemental data showing that New College ranks sixth in the country for the per centage of students who go on to graduate school within a year of graduation, the release continues. NEW COLLEGE RANKED NO. 5 AMONG PUBLIC LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES The intersection of River Road and U.S. 41 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Sun day, Sept. 15, through Monday, Sept. 16, for the installation of a signal truss over the road way, Sarasota County has announced. The timing of the installation is planned to minimize trafc delays for motorists, a news release says. The county will have message boards located at nearby major intersections and on Interstate 75 to remind motorists of the pending tempo rary closure. RIVER ROAD/US. 41 INTERSECTION TO CLOSE TEMPORARILY Saras ota Co unty Sheriffs deputies will be posted at the intersections entrances to con trol trafc the release notes. Motorists are en couraged to seek alternate routes during this time frame. For more information, visit or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask about the River Road and U.S. 41 Inter section Improvements Project. FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080 Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 82


The Baltimore Orioles will host the teams Fall Instructional League at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota with games that will be free and open to the public from Sept. 16 through Oct. 8, the team has announced. The Instructional League program focuses on specic individual development while pro viding additional playing time to accelerate a players progress through the minor league system, an Orioles news release says. Games will be played on the main field, with parking available in the East Lot at no charge. Spectators may enter the ballpark through the East Gate. The full Instructional League season schedule is available online at asota The 2013 home schedule is below: Monday, Sept. 16: 1 p.m. versus the Rays. Thursday, Sept. 19: 1 p.m. versus the Rays. Friday, Sept. 20: noon versus the Twins. Saturday, Sept. 21: 10 a.m. versus St. Peters burg College. Monday, Sept. 23: 1 p.m. versus the Red Sox. Monday, Sept. 30 noon versus the Twins. Tuesday, Oct. 1: 1 p.m. versus the Red Sox. Saturday, Oct. 5: 10 a.m. versus the Phillies. Tuesday, Oct. 8: 10 a.m. versus the Pirates. ORIOLES TO HOST GAMES SEPT. 16 THROUGH OCT. 8 Fall Instructional League games will be played in Ed Smith Stadium starting next week. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 83


The Florida Hous e Institute recently installed a pervious pavement system featuring 1,800 square feet of pavers with support from a Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) Bay Partners Grant, SBEP has announced. Other project supporters were Sarasota County, Oldcastle Coastal, Mullett Brothers, MasterRock, Rand Carter and Todd Foster Landscape Design, a news release says. The installed system features pavers that meet low impact development (LID) standards, the re lease points out. They offer homeowners a great way to make a useful hardscape patio or drive while reducing stormwater runoff into the bay. Two ERIC Inltrometers were installed in the pavement to provide on going monitoring of storag e performance and the inltration of water, the release continues. Florida House Institute is committed to demonstrating LID strategies that help homeowners reduce the impact of stormwater pollution to enhance water quality, it adds. Florida House expects to reopen in the fall. Since 2003, the SBEP has awarded nearly $232,000 in Bay Partners Grants to support 113 organizations. A subcommittee with the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) selects the recipients. The next deadline for submitting grant applications is March 1, 2014. Visit to learn more about the Bay Partners Grant Program. FLORIDA HOUSE COMPLETES PAVER PROJECT WITH GRANT AID The Florida House is on Beneva Road in Sarasota. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 84


The intersection of Main Street and Palm Av enue in Sarasota has been closed temporarily through Sept. 25 while crews install brick pav er crosswalks as part of a downtown improve ment project, the city has announced. The City Commission directed staff to com plete the work prior to the return of seasonal residents and tourists to the area, a news re lease notes. Click here to view a map of the suggested detour route We understand this will be an inconvenience, said Richard Winder, downtown improve ment projects manager, in the release. Were striving to keep it to a minimum by doing the improvements all at once and out of season. Once the brick crosswalks are installed, in MAIN STREET/PALM AVENUE INTERSECTION CLOSED TEMPORARILY addition to the other new pavers in the area, downtown Sarasota will be that much more attractive and inviting for visitors. City staff notied nearby business owners and residents about the pending closure, the re lease adds. The city is collaborating with the Downtown Improvement District to make $1.8 million in improvements at various locations stretching from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points and up to Goodrich Avenue. (See the related article in this issue.) To receive email updates about the project, register online at Also, follow the progress on Twitter @City ofSarasota % Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a weekly notication when the latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 85


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested two men following a trafc stop and search of their vehicle, which revealed con cealed, loaded weapons, the ofce has an nounced. Just after 1 a.m. on Sept. 11, near U.S. 301 and Northgate Boulevard in Sarasota, a patrol dep uty pulled over a blue four-door Chevrolet for several trafc violations, a news release says. When the deputy approached the car, both occupants were acting nervously, the release adds. When the deputy approached the car, the re port says, he could smell alcohol, and he saw a red plastic cup had been dumped over on the oorboard of the passenger side of the vehicle. After the deputy asked the driver whether any thing illegal was in the car, the report notes, the driver hesitated, looked at the passenger, and looked back at me and said no. When the deputy went back to his patrol car to check background on the driver, the report continues, the deputy learned the driver was on inmate release. Then the deputy called a Sarasota Police Department K9 unit to the scene. The dog alerted [deputies] to the smell of marijuana, the news release notes. A search of the vehicle turned up a small amount of marijuana as well as two rearms in the pocket on the back of the front pas senger seat, the release continues. Both were fully loaded with chambered rounds and both Loaded concealed weapons were recovered during a Sheriffs Ofce trafc stop early on the morning of Sept. 11. Contributed photo TRAFFIC STOP LEADS TO CONFISCATION OF LOADED WEAPONS CRIME BLOTTER


were accessible by the driver and passenger. The Ruger 9mm contained 18 rounds, four of which were hollow point bullets, the release continues. The 9mm Smith and Wesson also contained 18 rounds; it was found to have been stolen in Palmetto, the release adds. James Wiggs, 49, of 1282 42nd St., Sarasota, who has 15 prior felony convictions and is on inmate release status for the sale, manu facture and delivery of cocaine, was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of Ammunition by a Con victed Felon, and Possession of a Concealed Weapon, the release says. Talvick Morton, 24, of 3107 Noble Ave., Sara sota, who is on felony probation for Grand Theft, was charged with Possession of a Con cealed Weapon and Violation of Probation, the release continues. James Wiggs/Contributed photo Morton Talvick/Contributed photo The weapons recovered in the trafc stop were found in the pocket on the back of the sedans front passenger seat, ofcers say. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 87


During August sa turation patrols to remove dangerous, uninsured or impaired drivers from local roads, the Sarasota County Sher iffs Ofce made 24 DUI arrests and issued 197 citations for other trafc offenses, the ofce has announced. Because of Sheriff Tom Knights commitment to keep the public aware of these ongoing ed ucation and enforcement efforts, results are provided at the end of each month and dates for the following months activities are an nounced, a news release says. In August, deputies conducted saturation patrols on seven different days, the release SHERIFFS OFFICE ANNOUNCES LATEST SATURATION PATROL RESULTS adds. I n addition, deputies participated in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from Aug. 16 to Sept. 2, the release notes, resulting in 32 DUI arrests agency-wide. These numbers do not include DUI arrests made during the month outside these specic initiatives, the release points out. This months saturation patrols are scheduled for Sept. 7, 13, 14, 21, 27 and 28. Saturation patrols are mobile by design, the release adds, so they take place in different parts of th e county. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce will be included in the premiere of Cops when the series 26th season debuts on its new home, Spike TV, this Saturday night, the Sheriffs Of ce has announced. A crew from Cops that rode along with dep uties in May and June created nearly a doz en segments that will air during different ep isodes of Cops this season, beginning at 8 p.m. on Sept. 14. It was an honor to have an American docu mentary television series of this caliber ask to follow our deputies throughout Sarasota County, said Sheriff Tom Knight in a news release. Im also glad that our citizens will SHERIFFS OFFICE TO BE IN INCLUDED IN SEASON PREMIERE OF COPS get to see s ome of what deputies have to deal with on a daily basis in a format that is true, unscripted reality television. Cops is produced by Langley Productions. It premiered in 1989, making it one of the lon gest-running shows on television. Visit www. for programming information and web extras that will be posted, offering ex tended versions of some of the encounters that have been edited for television, the re lease points out. To view a behind-the-scenes video of Cops lming in Sarasota County visit the Sheriffs Ofce YouT ube channel SEVEN ARRESTED AT CASPERSEN BEACH PARK Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce detectives working in an undercover capacity at Caspers en Beach Park arrested seven men during a three-day operation last week, the ofce has announced. I n each incident, the men discussed having sex and exposed themselves to undercover detectives who were monitoring activity along the trails and near the waterway, a news re lease says. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 88


Eric Jacoby/Contributed photo Brian Pound/Contributed photo Richard Smithson/Contributed photo Gerald Clark/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 89


Jay Aiello, 67, of 825 Riviera St., Venice; Bri an Pound, 56, of 1300 North River Road, Ven ice; Richard Smithson, 77, of 34 Pebble Rock Drive, Venice; Gerald Clark, 49, of 308 Gar denia Road, Venice; Eric Jacoby, 45, of 4160 Fruitville Road, Sarasota; Daniel McAvoy, 61, of 6966 Roslyn Court, North Port; and Donald Myrberg, 63, of 4898 Escalante Drive, North Port, were charged with one count each of Exposure of Sexual Organs, a misdemeanor. The Sheriffs Ofce routinely conducts this type of operation in response to citizen com plaints and will continue to do so to ensure residents and visitors can enjoy the venue without encountering illegal activity at the public park, the release adds. % Donald Myrberg/Contributed photo Jay Aiello/Contributed photo Daniel McAvoy/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 90


EDITORIAL OPINON A FEW BAD APPLES THREATEN THE BARREL EDITORIAL In our Jan. 4 issue, we took exception to downtown residents seeking to turn the cen ter of Sarasota into a place devoid of sound, a joyless place where going to bed at 8 p.m. would be the most exciting entertainment op tion. As we pointed out, the urban center of a city is an odd place to come for sepulchral stillness. We felt then and still do that the city must be more accommodating of entertain ment venues that cater to those who do not want to, well go to bed at eight oclock. But the cause of any such accommodation is helped by courteous understanding of and re spect for each viewpoint, as both sides work toward a reasonable compromise that pre serves the vitality of downtown without ruin ing the quality of life for the areas residents. At the time, we felt many of those living in the high-rise condos were being intransigent, insisting on a virtual cone of silence that would descend over the city at sunset. Still, we have shared the hope of restaurants downtown that the city eventually would rec ognize the necessity of an active nightlife and come up with more reasonable sound limits and operating hours for establishments offer ing musical entertainment to their patrons. It is for that reason that we also share the cha grin of those establishments at the actions of a few bars downtown whose managers have decided their response to the existing noise ordinance is to ignore it.


Last week we reported on the citys ongoing game of cat and mouse with these bar own ers. These particular establishments will open their doors with the music playing loudly and station a monitor out front. At the rst sight of a uniformed police ofcer, the mon itor will close the doors and drop the music level so it is within compliance of the citys Noise Ordinance. Then, as soon as the ofcer has left the area, the doors will reopen and the music level will rocket back to its former loud level. This is the worst possible course of action if a compromise over noise levels and op erating hours is to be achieved. Nothing will galvanize the down town condo residents as much as excessive noise that flouts ex isting regulations, en suring that the prover bial pitchforks and torches show up at every City Commission meeting. Every reasonable request for some modera tion of the existing regulations will be beaten back by this inexible opposition, and right fully so. But apparently these scofaw bar owners care little about the atmosphere of downtown or reasonable coexistence. They have decided that their selsh interests trump all others, and their actions make a mockery of both existing regulat ions and the honest efforts of other establishments to nd a middle ground on the noise issue. Fortunately, the city appears to have reached the end of its patience with these renegade bars. Staff and the City Commission have be gun to look into ways to curtail this lawless response to the regulations. While we do not often agree with Mayor Shan non Snyders proposals, we think his sugges tion that service of alcoholic beverages could be cut off at 11 p.m. has merit. That would rob the ba rs of the fuel that drives their business late at night, which also gives rise to their thoughtless defiance of the noise ordinance. M ost establishments would not be unduly penalized by such a move, but those that serve primarily alco holi c beverages essen tially would be forced to close by 11 p.m. if sales had to cease at that hour. And if they are not op en, they are not playing loud music that disturbs others. Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino also suggested revoking the liquor licenses of busi nesses continually in violation of the Noise Ordinance. The problem we see with that pro posal is that the police are having difculty citing these errant bar owners for violations, because of the game of cat and mouse. These scofflaw bar owners have decided that their selsh interests trump all others, and their actions make a mockery of both existing regulations and the honest efforts of other establishments to nd a middle ground on the noise issue. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 92


Even if citations are issued, they must be adju dicated in court. If a business were looking at complete ruin upon conviction, assuming that would result in the loss of the establishments liquor license, the owner would hire capable attorneys to present a defense in court. More over, judges would be more reluctant to sum marily convict a business owner if they knew a single offense would result in the closure of the establishment. And that says nothing of costly appeals if the businesses are convicted. No, we think it will be much simpler to curtail the hours when alcohol is served downtown. Making 11 p.m. the cutoff might be somewhat arbitrary, but it might be necessary to get a ha ndle on the problem. Then the city could consider extending hours once the coopera tion of all establishments had been secured. There is no reason for downtown to become a deserted landscape bereft of those wishing to enjoy some late-night revelry. There also is no reason for downtown residents to en dure such revelry into the wee hours of the morning. A compromise is needed, but that will not happen until the offending bar owners are brought into compliance. Their inconsiderate actions hurt everyone, residents and entertainment establishments alike. They must be reined in. % To the editor: Im amazed that someone who lives in a tower fashioned from a blob of concrete that looms over Sarasota like a dark, threatening cloud would complain about the proposed Kress Plaza design ( Taking shape Aug. 30). Charles Clifton Sarasota WRITER QUESTIONS CRITICISM OF RESTAURANT DESIGN LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and tele phone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Letters actually print ed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters sub mitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 93




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There is no day in Florida when nothing is blooming. More than 2,800 native plants grow in this state, which has the third great est diversity among ora of all the states in the union. Some wildowers blanket ower, duck potato and coreopsis, our state wildower bloom all year. Many others are around from spring through the heat of summer to years end. Is spring or fall the most beautiful time of year? Spring holds a slight edge because it starts early. Sky-blue lupine, blue-eyed grass and pawpaw arrive soon after the new year rolls in. But fall is a winner, too, with blazing star, golden aster, paintbrush and its ace in the hole the bright red pine lily. You are not in Kansas anymore! You can enjoy Florida wildowers, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees right at home. Pick a spot in your yard in sun or shade where you would like to see a bit of color and put in some na tive plants. They will thrive in our sandy soil and rainfall. Once established, they will tol erate drought, wet summers and cold blasts in winter. A yard with Florida native plants also features a mix of modern and classic statuary. All photos by Fran Palmeri REASONS ABOUND FOR GIVING A HOME TO PLANTS NATIVE TO THE STATE GROWING NATIVE By Fran Palmeri and and Laurel Schiller Contributing Writers


Birds, butte ries and other benecial critters will soon arrive. Firebush is a mecca for the zebra longwing buttery, for example. Ru by-throated hummingbirds love coral bean. Cardinals, blue jays and mockingbirds will feast on beautyberry. You will not just be put ting in plants your yard will become part of natures amazing web of life. Gardening will be twice as enjoyable! The following are 10 reasons to plant native: 1. Year-round color in the garden. 2. Less work. Aside from weeding, the gar den can pretty much take care of itself if you plan it right. Put in native trees and shrubs that need little if any pruning. 3. Savings. No mowing. No fertilizers. No ex penses aside from buying plants. Once you convert your neighbors to the idea, you can always trade plants over the fence. 4. Less watering. Native plants rarely need supplemental watering the way non-na tives do because natives are adapted to local conditions. Water new plants every day for a week, every other day for the second week and every third day for the third week. Then let Mother Nature do the job. In droughts, water plants that show signs of stress. 5. No pest control. Native plants attract lo cal insects, which keep harmful ones at bay. The benecials are a gardeners best A child is fascinated by a zebra longwing buttery. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 97


Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 98


frie nd because they eat pests. No need for poisons. Ever. 6. It is good for the planet. You will keep our natives going and provide a home for local wildlife and a respite for migrants. 7. Sustainability. You can compost food scraps and install rain barrels. 8. Natural air conditioning. Gardens diminish the heat island effect. Plants absorb heat and give off oxygen. Concrete increases heat. 9. Previous experience is not necessary. Your county University of Florida Extension Service ofce, local chapter of the Florida Native Plant S ociety the Florida Associ ation of Native Nurseries and books and magazines can provide gardening informa tion for your area. (See Resources below). 10. It is balm for the body and soul. A garden cleans the air and cuts down on noise pol lution. It calms the mind. Nature becomes not just a place to visit but also a place to live. You will enjoy birds and butteries year-round. From inside your house, you will look out on trees, shrubs and owers instead of a lawn, streets and other houses. Start today. Plant a native wildower. See how it does. Soon you will learn what to plant where. Growing native grows on you. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 99

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Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 100

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RESOUR CES Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN) publishes a free Guide for Real Flor ida Gardeners and lists native plant nurseries throughout the state. Among the native plant nurseries in our area are the following: Hawthorn Hill St. Peters burg; Twigs and Leaves St. Petersburg; Wil cox Nursery and Landscape Largo; Sweet Bay Nursery Parrish; Florida Native Plants Nursery & Landscaping Sarasota; All Native Garden Center & Plant Center Punta Gorda and Fort Myers; Bayshore Garden Center Fort Myers. A number of organizations can offer help as well. The Florida Native Plant Society has 37 chapters statewide. The Serenoa Chapter which includes Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Hardee counties, meets the third Mon day of the month, September through May, at 7 p.m. at Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota. M eetings and eld trips are free and open to the public. Books also offer good advice: Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife and Na tive Wildowers and Other Ground Covers for Florida Landscapes by Craig N. Huegel; Floridas Best Native Landscape Plants by Gil Nelson; A Gardeners Guide to Floridas Native Plants by Runo Osorio; Bringing Na ture Home by Douglas Tallamy; The Guide to Florida Wildowers by Walter Kingsley Tay lor; Natural Florida Landscaping by Dan Walton and Laurel Schiller. Additionally, most Florida counties have an ofce of the University of Florida Extension Service, which offers information and multi ple programs, including daylong workshops. Access it on the web ( www.sarasota.ifas.u. edu or ) or visit your local ofce. Further, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program is offered through the Extension Ser vice. Find out how your y ard can qualify. % Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 101

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

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SIESTA SEEN At the request of Sarasota County Commis sioner Nora Patterson, county staff has put back online a survey regarding low-speed ve hicles on Siesta Key That survey will stay up until another presen tation for the County Commission is sched uled about the issue, Paula Wiggins, the coun tys transportation planning manager, told me on Sept. 10. Wiggins added that she does not know yet when the item will appear on a board agenda. Although she did not have the exact gure, Wiggins estimated the number of survey re sponses between 300 and 400 during the initial month the survey was posted. In a recent report to the County Commission, Chief County Engineer James K. Harriott wrote that of the survey responses received Pedicabs and other low-speed vehicles are a common sight in Siesta Village. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE LOW-SPEED VEHICLE DEBATE RAGES ON; THE INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEANUP IS COMING UP; AND THE COUNTY MOVES AHEAD WITH PLANNING FOR THE TURTLE BEACH RENOURISHMENT PROJECT By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor

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by Aug. 31, Approxim ately 70% of the respon dents support lowering the speed limit on Midnight Pass between Vista Hermosa Circle and Sanderling Road from 40 to 35 mph Further, about 74 percent would be against the operation of low-speed vehicles on Midnight Pass Road if the speed limit were reduced to 35 mph, Harriott added, and 89 percent op pos ed the use of such vehicles on all public roadways on Siesta Key where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. Harriott also wrote, It should be [noted] that on August 22nd, we received 193 responses, all with the same results, typically in groups of 10+, within a few seconds of each other. A map shows the area where a speed limit reduction has been requested for South Midnight Pass Road. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 104

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Discussions about low-speed vehicles on the island ensued last week at the monthly meet ings of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA), with some misunderstanding evident. After hearing a petition in early May from a resident of The Sanderling Club who wants to drive a golf cart on the portion of South Midnight Pass Road from Sanderling Road to Vista Hermosa Circle, the County Commission directed staff to hold at least one public meet ing on Siesta to determine views about use of low-speed vehicles all over the island. In response to that, staff put up the online sur vey and held a public session on Aug. 20 at Siesta Key Chapel. It was very interesting at the public meeting, Wiggins told me diplomatically on Sept. 10. Low-speed vehicles are classied as those that can travel between 20 mph and 25 mph, Wig gins explained to the County Commission on May 8. On April 10, the countys Traffic Advisory Council (TAC) rst heard the petition about the request to lower the speed limit from 40 Families enjoy an afternoon on Turtle Beach in July. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 105

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mph to 35 mph on Midnight Pass Road from Vista Hermosa Circle to Sanderling Road. The TAC recommended the change, but Wiggins explained that a low-speed vehicle may oper ate on any road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less. Such a vehicle does have to be registered with the state and it must have a windshield, tail and front lights and efcient brakes. However, Wiggins said at the time, a county commission could prohibit the use of low-speed vehicles on any road in the interest of safety. During the Sept. 5 SKA meeting, President Catherine Luckner pointed out that the stretch of Midnight Pass Road at the center of the dis cussion is only about an eighth of a mile long. Its a very short distance, she said. Theres no forgiveness in that section of the road, she added, as it does not have much sidewalk space and the bike lane is narrow, posing po tential hazards to people walking or biking, if vehicles try to pass golf carts in that area. Luckner also referenced a point Commis sioner Nora Patterson herself made during Even though Siesta Public Beach is not as crowded in the summer as it is during season, volunteers expect to nd plenty of trash during the International Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 21. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 106

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An aerial map shows the area where the southern part of Siesta Keys beach will be renourished in a couple of years. Graphic courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 107

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the Cou n ty Commissions May discussion: A lot of Siesta residents drive back and forth to work. The island, Luckner said, [is] not just a resort. My concern is that people are going to want to pass, said Patterson, who was present for the SKA meeting. That is happening, SKA Vice President Mi chael Shay weighed in, referring to low-speed vehicles already operating on the island. Tourists not infrequently have difculty de termining where they need to go on the key, Luckner also pointed out a situation that poses additional trafc hazards. Patterson told the SKA members present that the County Commission had not committed either to lowering the speed limit or prohibit ing low-speed vehicles on any portion of the island. I would hesitate to predict the position the majority of board members would take, Pat terson said. She stressed the importance of people weigh ing in with their views, as the commissioners take public comments into consideration. When Patterson asked whether the SKA had taken a position on the issue, Luckner said it had not. However, she told Patterson, the organization has received a lot of information from the public. The SKA board does plan to discuss the matter, Lu ckner added. It might be a good idea for the County Com mission to ask staff to talk with representa tives of businesses that serve customers on the island, SKA Director Joe Volpe said, to determine how they would feel about their commercial vehicles operating in the midst of more low-speed vehicles. He also pointed out that the small three-wheel vehicles Siesta businesses rent to tourists travel illegally on Higel Avenue, which has a speed limit of 40 mph. Those trikes, he said, irritate residents who live on the island and have to drive onto the mainland for work. To be frank with you, SKA Director Deet Jonker noted, Ive sat behind a number of those vehicles, being held up. He added, I think theyre a dangerous thing. Patterson emphasized that those vehicles are legal only on neighborhood streets, which have lower speed limits, and on Ocean Bou levard, which has a 20 mph speed limit. I personally feel like no harm, no foul on that, Patterson said, referring to the trikes. Speaking about t he issue in general, she con tinued, I welcome the feedback from people. KEEPING THE COAST CLEAN During the Sept. 5 SKA meeting, Vice Presi dent Michael Shay reminded audience mem bers that the next International Coastal Clean up has been scheduled for Sept. 21. Volunteers will work under the aegis of Keep Sarasota County Beautifu l (KSCB) to pick up trash and debris on Siesta Public Beach, he added. Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 108

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This year, par ticipants are being asked to meet at 8 a.m. at the picnic tables at the pavilion. Then, they will split into two groups, working in one direction down to Access 3 and in the other, to Point of Rocks. Already, Shay said, he had 15 volunteers lined up as of Sept. 5. SKA Director Beverly Arias had another 11, he noted. More details about the countywide initiative are available on the KSCB website (above). TURTLE BEACH RENOURISHMENT The County Commission took another step this week in preparation for its next renour ishment of Turtle Beach. On Sept. 10, as part of its consent agenda, the board authorized County Administrator Randall Reid or his designee to submit an ap plication to the Florida Department of Envi ronmental Protection for grant funds in the 2014-15 scal year to help cover the cost of the project. The earlier renourishment of Turtle Beach was completed on April 30, 2007, a memo to the board notes. On April 13, 2011, the board directed staff to move forward with the sec ond effort to replenish the sand. The latest memo points out that current state law provides for an annual allotment of $30 million into the Florida Ecosystem Manage ment and Restoration Trust Fund to provide money for 50 percent of eligible costs of beach erosion control projects. An April 22 memo to the County Commission from Laird Wreford, the countys coastal re sources manager, indicated that $5 million in the Tourist Development Tax revenue pool dedicated to beach maintenance would be al located to the Turtle Beach project in the 2015 scal year. PROJECT UPDATES Sarasota County Chief Engineer Harriott has provided the County Commission a couple of updates over the past two weeks on issues regarding Siesta Key. First, in his report for the week of Aug. 26, Harriott wrote that staff has completed the design and analysis of the parking layout for North Shell Road. The estimate for the materi als is slightly more than $20,000, he added. A report is being nalized and will be provided to the Board. In his report for the week of Aug. 19, Harriott noted that regular inspections had identied washed-out areas behind the wing walls ad jacent to the abutments at several of the is lands bridges. The wing walls act as retaining structures. The repair work is being added to the list in the countys Bridge Improvement Program, he added. ABOUT THAT WRECK Regular readers will recall the item in this col umn last week about a Labor Day car crash near The Banyan Club on Siesta Key. Sgt. Scott Osborne, leader of the Sheriffs Of ce Community Policing Station on Siesta, Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 109

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had so me interesting comments on that inci dent when he appeared before the SKA last week. The man arrested in the case Jason Allen Robey, 30 was identied in the initial arrest report as a server at Caf Gabbiano in Siesta Village. The formal Sheriffs Ofce report says Robey is homeless, which Osborne conrmed. Robey allegedly stole the 2014 Innity sedan from a 45-year-old man who had rented it at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The theft was reported on Sept. 2 at 139 Beach Road. At 3:06 p.m. on Sept. 2, the Sheriffs Ofce re ceived a call about a man sitting in a vehicle that matched the description of the Innity. When a deputy arrived, he found Robey in the vehicle and arrested him for Grand Theft Auto and Resisting Without Violence. The lat ter charge, the report notes, was due to other actions during the course of the arrest. The sedan had damage on the right side, in cluding a broken mirror, the report continues. When the deputy arrived, the car was out of gas, stopped in front of a concrete wall on Sand Dollar [Lane]. The damage estimate was $10,000. Osborne told the SKA audience that Robey ap parently lay down on the front seat and went to sleep after he collided with the wall. He tried to kick the window out of the car when the deputy showed up, Osborne added. Robey was put in jail under no bond, Osborne said. On a side note, Osborne pointed out that an other homeless person was arrested recently on charges unrelated to thefts this summer of peoples bags left unattended on the beach. However, deputies had been keeping an eye out for homeless suspects in those cases. Since that other homeless person and Robey both had been arrested, Osborne continued, the beach thefts had stopped. % Sgt. Scott Osborne addresses the audience at the Sept. 5 Siesta Key Association meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 110

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Florida Studio Theatres Write a Play season will kick off on Sept. 24 in the Keating Theatre with Androcles and the Lion by Aurand Harris and Glenn Mack, the theater has announced. Directed by Associate Artist Jason Cannon, performances will continue through Novem ber and be presented to more than 11,000 stude nts from Sarasota and Manatee county schools, a news release says. Autumn mornings at Florida Studio Theatre begin with the arrival of bright yellow school buses on the FST Campus, the release notes. The sound of hundreds of young childrens excited chatter echoes throughout the lobby and into the th eatre. This [latest] production (Above) Cast members participate in a Florida Studio Theatre childrens production during the 201213 season. Contributed photo WRITE A PLAY SEASON TO KICK OFF WITH CHILDRENS PRODUCTION A&E BRIEFS

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light s the path for young writers of the future, the release notes, inspiring them to create their own works for submission to FSTs an nual Young Playwrights Festival in the spring. Androcles and the Lion the story of a slave who befriends a lion, is a refreshingly antic, irreverent treatment of Aesops fable, written in the style of Italian Commedia Dell Arte, the release adds. A group of players sets up the stage and gives a performance capturing many of the Commedia s stock characters: the miserly Pantalone, the bragging Cap tain, the romantic Lovers, the trickster and the endearing Lion, the release says. This centuries-old tale is one of the most popular childrens plays ever written, with its enduring themes of freedom and friendship. The production will mark the debut of mem bers of the FST 13-14 Acting Apprentice Com pany, the release notes. This includes Patrick A. Jackson in the role of Androcles, Zach Shot well as The Lion, Matt Ebling as Lelio, Maggie Langlais as Isabella, Dean Bowden as Capita no and Dan Higgs as Pantalone. The creative team includes set and costume designer April Soroko. Performances of Androcles and the Lion will be held Monday through Friday at 9:45 and 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tickets for the pub lic, which are $6, may be purchased through FSTs Write a Play manager, Jennie Cole, at 366-9797. Florida Studio Theatre is located at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. FSU/ASOLO CONSERVATORY ANNOUNCES 42ND SEASON PRODUCTIONS The Florida State University/Asolo Conser vatorys 42nd season, under the leadership of Director Greg Leaming, will include a transl aptation of Molires The Misanthrope ; a farce by one of the 20th centurys most an archic playwrights; a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about disturbing family relationships; and a retelling of a famous Greek tragedy about the collision between the state and personal responsibility, the company has announced. According to Leaming, the 2013-2014 season will be a continuation of the Conservatorys tradition of edgy, progressive and innovative theatrical productions, a news release notes. Were delighted to present four one-of-a-kind plays, he says in the release. Well start with some twisted time travel in the form of Da vid Ives rousing take on The Misanthrope, Molires milestone of classical theater. Well follow that with Joe Ortons most acclaimed play, Loot a work of darkly comic perfec tion, Leaming adds. Our third production, Paula Vogels How I Learned to Drive, has been praised for its haunting lyric tone. Final ly, well be treated to Jean Anouilhs Antigone a tragedy inspired by Greek mythology and the play of the same name. Leaming notes that this seasons creative blend of styles, epochs and playwrights re ects the FSU/Asolo Conservatorys dual mis sion of training acting students and engaging audiences, the release continues. Students in their second year will perform the roles. Leaming adds that this season the Conservato ry will continue to feature a special $100 sub scription price for all four plays. While were eager to raise much-needed funds for the Con servatory, we also want to make sure that our Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 112

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ticket prices sta y affordable, he points out in the release. The dates for the productions are as follows: The School for Lies (Oct. 29 to Nov. 17); Loot (Dec. 31 to Jan. 19); How I learned to Drive (Feb. 18 to March 9); and Antigone (April 8-27). Tickets are $27 for preview nights; $28 for matinees; and $29 for evening shows. Single tickets for subscribers went on sale Sept. 11; single tickets for the general public will be available online beginning Sept. 29; and at the FSU/Asolo Center for Performing Arts box of ce on Sept. 30. All productions are in the Jane B. Cook The atre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. The box ofce may be reached at 351-8000. Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory productions are held in the Asolo Theatre on North Tami ami Trail in Sarasota. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 113

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Sarasota -based independent lm production company Midnight Pass Entertainment has announced that its feature-length lm Blind Pass will be shown at the prestigious Wood stock Film Festival in Woodstock, NY, on Fri day, Oct. 4. The movie has enjoyed a Florida lm festival run, beginning with its world premiere at Tam pas highly regarded Gasparilla Film Festival earlier this year and back-to back wins as Best Feature Film at the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival and Best Florida Feature at Orlandos Central Florida Film Festival, a news release notes. Blind Pass Writer/Producer/Director Steve Tatone announced his indie drama/ thriller will have two screenings at the 14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival: Oct. 4 and 6. Its really quite an honor to be embraced by such an amazing world-class lm festival like Woodstock, Tatone said in the release. Blind Pass continues to gain attention on the indie circuit this year, he added. Blind Pass features an ensemble cast led by Emmy Award winner and international lm and television star Armand Assante and Sun coast resident Danielle White. Co-starring are Los Angeles-based actor Chris L. McKenna; critically acclaimed veteran Hollywood char acter actors Michael McGlone and Ed Lauter; Tampa-based actress Mary Rachel Dudley; and up-and-coming child star Sydney Rou viere, the release notes. BLIND PASS TO BE SHOWN DURING WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL Blind Pass had its debut at Burns Court Cinema in Sarasota in January. Photo by Arielle Scherr Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 114

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The bands Hymn fo r Her and Come Back Al ice will perform at the Sarasota Bay Water Festival on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Ken Thomp son Park in Sarasota, festival organizers have announced. They will join popular guitarist Ben Ham mond, who will be back again as the perform ing master of ceremony on the music stage, a news release notes. The festival hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the live music running from noon until 7 p.m. The band members of Hymn for Her have been touring the U.S. for three months in their vintage 1961 Bambi Airstream trailer, the re lease adds. Their home base is Philadelphia. The bands music style has been described as juiced-up backwoods country blues with a dose of desert rock psychedelia or Hells An gels meets the Amish, the release notes. Come Back Alice is a funky eclectic rock band featuring Tony Tyler on lead guitar, har monica and vocals; Dani Faye on ddle, guitar and vocals; and Big Bad John Werner on bass, the release continues. Hammond has shared his unique brand of live-looped acoustic soul-pop with audiences at hundreds of venues and festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the release points out. One more band and two solo performers will be added to the music lineup over the com ing weeks, the release says. The nal perfor mance schedul e will be posted on the festival website later this month. The purpose of the water festival is to cele brate the importance of Sarasota Bay to the regions environment and economy, the re lease notes. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Pro gram is the presenting sponsor, and HDR Inc. is the host spon sor, the release says. Along with the musical performances, festival high lights will include dragon boat races, artists selling gift items, boat displays, panel discus sions on bay-friendly living, the winning sub missions in the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest dip netting and nature walks for chil dren and exhibits on boating, shing, kayak ing, paddleboard sports, scuba and cycling, the release adds. % HYMN FOR HER AND COME BACK ALICE SLATED FOR BAY FESTIVAL Come Back Alice is a funky eclectic rock band. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 115

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Hymn for Her will perform at the Sarasota Bay Water Festival. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 116

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Lightning ashed and thunder rumbled in the distance, but the rain stayed away as 80 Tem ple Emanu-El members and friends gathered Saturday evening, Sept. 7, for a beautiful Tashlich service at Twin Lakes Park, a news release says. Rabbi Brenner Glickman explained the sig nicance of Tashlich. Based on the prophet Micahs promise that God will hurl our sins into the depths of the sea, the High Holy Day ceremony allows participants to symbolically cast away their wrongdoings of the past year by throwing bread crumbs into the water, the release notes. Glickman led a brief Tashlich service; attendees then enjoyed apples and honey a nd a picnic dinner, the release adds, with delicious desserts provided by the Rit ual Committee. The evening concluded with a special blessing for Lisa Thomas and David Abolaa, who had celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary the night before as well as friendly socializing and a havdalah service separating the Sab bath from the week ahead, the release says. Temple Emanu-El Ritual Committee Chair woman Marian Raupp coordinated the Tash lich event. For more information about hol iday observances at Temple Emanu-El, call 371-2788. Cutline: Temple Emanu-El members and guests symbolically cast away their sins by throwing pieces of bread into the water at Twin Lakes Park. Contributed photo TEMPLE MEMBERS MARK A BEAUTIFUL TASHLICH EVENING RELIGION BRIEFS

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Members of F irst U nited Methodist Church, located at 104 S. Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota, are inviting women to join an eightweek group study of James: Mercy Triumphs presented by Beth Moore, the church has an nounced. The group will meet Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning Oct. 2, a news release says. Among the topics covered will be joy, hardship, reversal of fortunes for the rich and poor, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mind edness, dangers of having too much humility and prayer, the release adds. The class will include a DVD presentation and facilitated group discussion. The church is asking participants to donate $20 for mate rials. Attendees will be welcome to bring brownbag lunches if they wish, the release notes. Call the church ofce at 955-0935 for addition al information or to register. % Temple Emanu-El members Fred and Michelle Davis and Barry and Barbara Gerber enjoyed the picnic dinner together at the Tashlich service at Twin Lakes Park. Contributed photo FIRST CHURCH TO OFFER GROUP STUDY OF JAMES: MERCY TRIUMPHS Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 118

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 13+ SEPTEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Summer Showcase Through Sept. 30, 76 S. Palm Ave. Admission: free. Information: 955-1315 or DabbertGal 13+ SEPTEMBER Allyn Gallup Gallery presents Some Wonderful Abstractions Through Oct. 5, 1288 N. Palm Ave. Free admission. Information: 366-2454 or 14 SEPTEMBER WSLR presents Passerine CD Release Party Sept. 14, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Tick ets: $5 in advance; $7 at the door. Information: 894-6469 or 14 SEPTEMBER Venice Theatre presents Yesterdayze in concert Sept. 14, 8 p.m., 140 W. Tampa Ave. Tickets: $20. Information: 488-1115 or 20 SEPTEMBER Rocking through the Ages Gatsby Soire (beneting Make-AWish Central & Northern Florida) Sept. 20, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Michaels On East, 1212 S. East Ave. Tickets: $75 in advance; $100 at the door. Information: 952-WISH or RockingThroughTheAges page 03 OCTOBER Halloween Bash Pre-party: Second Annual Safe Sex Kiki Oct. 3, 8:30 to 11 p.m., Darwins on 4th, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. Admission: Free. In formation at Safe Sex Kiki page 04 OCTOBER Jazz Club of Sarasota presents Jazz at Two featuring Betty Co moras Happy Jazz Band Oct. 4, 2 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Tickets: $7 ($12 for non-members). Information: 366-1552 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 119

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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 A BRIDGE NOT TOO FAR SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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