Sarasota News Leader


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Sarasota News Leader
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Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
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Sarasota, FL
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July 12, 2013
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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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COVER Inside NAWLINS DESIGN TAKES A TACK A PATH TO COMPLIANCE CONFIDENCE AND CONTENTION Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida Vol. 2, No. 1 September 20, 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


Althoug h we began celebrating last week, as we anticipated the start of the News Leader s second year, as I write this, I truly am savoring what a momentous occasion we are marking. My husband never takes enough credit for his role in envisioning a digital weekly news publication that would serve not only my interest in staying on top of local events but also allow him to keep his writing and management skills honed. And while I took the opportunity last week to credit the team members who have been with us from the outset, I cannot begin to lavish enough praise on them and Roger Drouin, who joined us this summer. I have been extraordinarily fortunate to work with some incredible journalists through the years, and our News Leader staff is most assuredly among them. Many, many years ago, when I was a lowly col lege intern at The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC, an editor told me it was very difcult to nd people who could write and report equally well. Yet, Cooper Levey-Baker, Stan Zimmerman and Roger Drouin all t that hard-to-nd prole. It is not just a pleasure to work with them, it is an honor. I also want to put in much-deserved plugs once again for Norman Schimmel, Cleve Posey and Vicki Chatley. Without excellent photos, superior layouts and exemplary copy editing, our stories would not shine. Labor of love may be a clich, but it does describe what we do every week at the News Leader And we love hearing from you, our readers. After all, you are the ones who truly have made this possible. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


NAWLINS DESIGN TAKES A TACK REOPENING AN OLD WOUND NEWS & COMMENTARY NAWLINS DESIGN TAKES A TACK 8 Plan for Gulfstream Avenue tower inches forward Stan Zimmerman A PATH TO COMPLIANCE 12 Owners of a Siesta Key house a renter characterized as a re hazard have obtained county permits to remove structures that violate county and federal building regulations Rachel Brown Hackney CONFIDENCE AND CONTENTION 18 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it can dredge Big Pass for the Lido Beach renourishment and install groins on Lido without harming Siesta Key, but public skepticism remains Rachel Brown Hackney REOPENING AN OLD WOUND 25 The new project engineering rm holds its rst open meeting as the City of Sarasota tries once more to complete Lift Station 87 Stan Zimmerman WALMART AND PARKING WOES 29 The City Commission learns of a new lawsuit in the Walmart/Ringling Shopping Center saga, makes little progress on the State Street garage and hears Burns Square parking woes Stan Zimmerman SAY PLEASE 35 Lawmakers get an earful about 2014 legislative priorities Cooper Levey-Baker CONDOS WANT IN, TOO 39 The Downtown Improvement District board learns residents of the downtown high-rises would pay extra property taxes if the money went for more security Stan Zimmerman DIGGING IN 43 The County Commission and Longboat Town Commission hear an update on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans for renourishing Lido Beach Roger Drouin BID WINS ON SECOND VOTE 47 A new vote by St. Armands Circle property owners will make it possible for extra tax revenue to continue to be used in the districts upkeep Stan Zimmerman SLOW GROWTH 49 County revenues are rising, but not enough to keep up with projected expenses Roger Drouin TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Boaters Paradise Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: Shimmering Palms Norman Schimmel Vol. 2, No. 1 September 20, 2013


SIESTA SEEN A&E BRIEFS CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH 54 Inspectors nd no problems at Save Our Seabirds Cooper Levey-Baker THE ECONOMY, ONCE AGAIN 57 The 2013 Sarasota County Citizens Survey found that while economy/jobs held onto the top ranking as the most important issue, the percent viewing it that way fell by half Rachel Brown Hackney TRYING TO MAKE IT WORK 62 With companies citing limitations hampering their ability to gain Economic Energy Zone incentives, the County Commission will hold a public hearing on amending facets of the program Rachel Brown Hackney ROOMS WITH A VIEW 67 Sarasota Memorial marks the opening of its new Courtyard Tower Staff Reports NEWS BRIEFS 72 CRIME BLOTTER 82 OPINION EDITORIAL 89 The daisy approach to parking fees COMMENTARY 92 Planning a trip is its own form of adventure Harriet Cuthbert SARASOTA LEISURE SIESTA SEEN 96 A tiny new pocket park has been created along Ocean Boulevard; Sgt. Scott Osborne provides a primer on 911 calls; the Siesta Key Crystal Classic needs sponsor support Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 105 RELIGION BRIEFS 111 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 114 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 115 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article Vol. 2, No. 1 September 20, 2013 FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080


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Plans for another 18-story tower went before the City of Sarasotas Development Review Committee on Wednesday morning, Sept. 18. While there were snags and literal bumps mentioned by city staffers, the initiative will continue moving forward. The $100 million project is called the Sarasota Gulfstream, and it will sit adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Gulfst ream Avenue. The developer plans a 250-room Westin hotel and 144 condominiums on the higher oors. On Wednesday, the developers staff respond ed to 12 pages of comments by city staffers. The discussion of tree removal and replanting took some time, as the developer proposed continuing the l ine of royal palm trees ank ing th e entrance to the Ritz-Carlton while re moving other trees from the lot. Old-timers will recall the property used to be home to a Dennys restaurant and a Holiday Inn. Those prior uses help the current owner meet trafc concurrency regulations, because those uses grandfather the current plans. One transportation headache remains, however, and that is how the development will permit continuation of the multi-use recreational trail that passes by the property. Because the land use goes well back in Sara sota history, the site is a maze of underground utilities. Some of them are now considered environmentally unfriendly, while others need to be rerouted to make way for the new tower. Plans call for the 18-story tower at Gulfstream Avenue and U.S. 41 to be a Westin hotel and condos. Photo by Norman Schimmel PLAN FOR GULFSTREAM AVENUE TOWER INCHES FORWARD NAWLINS DESIGN TAKES A TACK By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


Businessman Chris Brown will proceed with seeking City Commission approval for the galleries he wants to include in a redesign of the building at 1400 Main St. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 9


Another possible change to the architectural design is the need for windows at the end of hotel and condo corridors on the U.S. 41 side that will be large enough to handle evacuation via re trucks in case of disaster. Another re-truck issue is the grade of the driveway to the entrance. At one point it is 8 degrees, which is marginal for the bigger rigs. These and other issues on those 12 pages will be ironed out over the coming months. And when all is done, there will be a community meeting to allow the public to examine the nal plans. BIG EASY BALCONY DISCUSSION DEFERRED Also on the DRC agenda this week but pulled off was businessman Chris Browns plan for wrought-iron balconies (technically calle d galleries) that would jut out from the second oor of the old Patricks building on Five Points, at 1400 Main St. The proposal has a distinct French Quarter air. The construction requires a major encroach ment under city zoning and building rules, which can be granted only by the City Com mission. Therefore, Brown pulled his plans from the DRC agenda and will ask the com mission directly for permission to create the design he and his architect have in mind. If the commission gives its approval, Brown will return to the DRC to seek its OK of his plans and engineering drawings. Meanwhile, Brown has purchased the adjacent property at 1410 Main St. He paid $1.35 million for that prope rty. % Bruce Franklin, representative of the developer of the Gulfstream hotel/condo project, notes details in documents at the citys Development Review Committee meeting this week. Photo by Stan Zimmer man Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 10


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A Bradenton contractor told The Sarasota News Leader this week he plans to pick up county permits in about a week or so to tear out structures of a Siesta Key house that has been the focus of a legal complaint Sarasota County led in July. Acco r ding to John Lally, the Code En forcement ofcer who works on Siesta Key, the permits were is sued on Sept. 12. The contractor is Sarasota Co nstruction and Remodeling Co. of Braden ton, owned by Spiro Paizes. A county Building Department spokeswoman told the News Leader this week that the con tracto r needed only to pay for the permits and pick them up before the work can begin. Wh en asked by the News Leader how long it would take to complete the p roject at 6537 Sabal Drive on the sout h end of the is The owners of 6537 Sabal Drive have been granted county permits to remove noncompliant construc tion on the property. File photo OWNERS OF A SIESTA KEY HOUSE A RENTER CHARACTERIZED AS A FIRE HAZARD HAVE OBTAINED COUNTY PERMITS TO REMOVE STRUCTURES THAT VIOLATE COUNTY AND FEDERAL BUILDING REGULATIONS A PATH TO COMPLIANCE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Our system is not designed to collect money. Its designed to bring people into compliance. David M. Pearce Assistant County Attorney Sarasota County


land, Paizes said on Sept. 17, I have no idea right now. On July 9, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh won approval from the County Commission to le a civil complaint against the owners of the Sabal Drive house because features of the structure violate facets of both the countys building code and Federal Emergency Man agement Act (FEMA) regulations for con struction in a ood zone. After a tourist renting the house notied coun ty staff in November 2012 about her concerns that it was a retrap, Code Enforcement staff cited the owner, Siesta Resorts LLC, for mul tiple violations. Julie Miller Jones of Arden Hills, MN, wrote in a formal statement for Sarasota County Fire Safe ty Inspector Katelyn Qualey that when Jones and her family members arrived at the house, [W]e were concerned about the safe ty of all, but particularly families with babies staying in the lower level. None of the six rooms in the basement, billed as bedrooms, had windows, egress or sprinkler systems. For the entire space, there was only one door for egress and a plate glass window in the kitch en which would need to be broken in the event of a re blocking the other door. With no response from the owner or the attor ney listed as the owners agent, Code Enforce ment brought the two matters before a Special Magistrate in June. Those hearings resulted in the imposition of a ne of $250 per day in each case for the rst day of noncompliance, with the ne goin g up to $500 a day for each An aerial view shows the location of the Sabal Drive house near Old Stickney Point Road (upper left) on Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 13


subsequent day the property remained in non compliance. That action still brought no response from Sarasota chiropractor Dr. Craig Siegel who was listed in Sarasota County Property Ap praiser Ofce records as having a life estate in the house; Siesta Resorts LLC, listed as the trustee of the land trust for the property; or The Daniels Law Firm, which county records showed to be the registered agent for Siesta Resorts LLC. David M. Pearce, the assistant county attor ney handling the case, told the News Lead er in late August that he subsequently led a motion seeking a temporary injunction to compel Siesta Resorts LLC to deal with the noncompliance issues. That motion is set to be heard Oct. 21 in 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sara sota, Pearce said on Sept. 17. However, if the violating structures were removed pri or to that date, it would be up to the County Commission to determine whether it wanted to proceed with the case. The complaint says a permanent mandatory injunction requires demonstration that a clear legal right has been violated; irreparable harm has been threatened; and an adequate legal remedy is unavailable. Even if the house is brought into compliance, Pearce pointed out on Sept. 17, There are the running nes. Siesta Resorts LLC could go ahead and pay the full amount, Pearce said, or it has the op tion of trying to demonstrate nancial hard ship and ask the Special Magistrate to reduce the liens the county has placed on the house. An outside staircase leads to the second oor of the house. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 14


In the worst-case scenario, if Siesta Resorts LLC refused to pay the nes or even to negoti ate with the county over them, Pearce pointed out, the county could foreclose on the prop erty. However, Pearce said, Our system is not de signed to collect money. Its designed to bring people into compliance. THE LAWSUIT Prior to the recent permit action, Brandon M. Daniels of Daniels & Hannan on Fruitville Road in Sarasota acted as the attorney for Si esta Resorts LLC in ling an answer to the countys civil complaint on Aug. 6. In response to 11 of the 35 supporting state ments Pearce included in the suit, Daniels wrote, Defendants are without knowledge and therefore deny the same. Among the statements to which Daniels re plied in that manner were the facts that Lally issued a Notice of Violation/Notice to Obtain Permit to The Daniels Law Firm on Nov. 19, 2012, regarding the noncompliant structures at the house; that the property was owned by Siesta Resorts at the time Lally issued the no tice; that Lally issued an Afdavit of Violation to The Daniels Law Firm, as the registered agent for Siesta Resorts, on March 25 of this year, stating the violations continued to exist on the property; and that on June 14 of this year, the Code Enforcement Special Magis trate found Siesta Resorts in continuing vio lation of the compliance order and imposed the nes. The Vacation Rentals by Owner website features 62 properties on Siesta Key, but the Sabal Drive list ing no longer can be found. Image from VRBO Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 15


Daniels did adm it in his answer that both Sie gel and Siesta Resorts have an interest in the Sabal Drive house. The county complaint says that on Dec. 31, 2012, Siegel as Trustee ex ecuted and recorded a Grant of Possessory Right and Benecial Interest in ofcial Sara sota County records. However, Pearce also stated in the complaint that no copy of the Land Trust Agreement purporting to convey that right to Siegel could be located in county records. A Sept. 17 search of the Sarasota County Prop erty Appraisers records still showed Siegel listed as an owner with a life estate. Although the News Leader also learned in July that Siegel had applied for a homestead exemption for the Sabal Drive property, the record shows no exemptions associated with this parcel. The 2013 just market value of the building and land is $646,300. NO MORE LISTING County documents showed Siegel was rent ing the house to tourists through the website Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). A News Leader check of that site on Sept. 17 found 6537 Sabal Drive no longer was listed among Siesta properties. A search incorporating the houses code number resulted in the response, Oops, you stumped the VRBO search engine! Nonetheless, the New s Leader received an email from a person on Sept. 6 identifying himself and family members as snowbirds from up north, Southern Ontario and from Western New York, who recently reserved the house for dates in March 2014 the rst trip they had planned to S iesta Key. The writer said they were completely shocked to nd the News Leader s July 19 article about the county legal complaint, because we just sub mitted a down payment for [the rental]. After the News Leader suggested the writer get in touch with Sarasota County Code En forcement staff or the County Attorneys Of ce for an update on the civil case, the writer responded that he and his family members will also be contacting our bank to try to re solve the situation. The writer added, We are extremely con cerned as no calls or emails have been re turned to us regarding this property In Jul y, the VRBO website listing said the house could accommodate up to 40 people, with a total of 10 bedrooms and ve bath rooms. The site said rent was $4,500 a week from January through April but it dropped to $3,900 a week from September through December. % John Lally addresses members of the Siesta Key Village Association in August. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 16


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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manager in charge of the planned $22.7 million Lido Beach renourishment project expressed con dence this week that dredging sand from Big Pass and placing three gro ins on the southern end of Lido would not harm either the pass or Siesta Key Public Beach. The only logical solu tion for initial con struction and subse quent reno urishment material is to recycle the accumulated sand [from Big Pass], which originally came from Lido Key, Milan A. Mora told members of the Sarasota County Coastal Advisory Committee and about 30 audience mem bers on Sept. 18 in Sarasota. Mora said the project team hopes to start the permitting process with the Florida De partment of Environ mental Protection in the next mo nth or two A graphic shows the predicted effects on Big Pass from dredging and groin placement on Lido Key. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAYS IT CAN DREDGE BIG PASS FOR THE LIDO BEACH RENOURISHMENT AND INSTALL GROINS ON LIDO WITHOUT HARMING SIESTA KEY, BUT PUBLIC SKEPTICISM REMAINS CONFIDENCE AND CONTENTION By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor We think the results that have been provided are reasonable and that they do accurately predict what the effects might be, or lack thereof in this particular case. Thomas P. Pierro Director Coastal Planning & Engineering Inc.


late Oc tober or early November. He was hopeful, he added, that the state would grant the permit within a year, though he conceded he had no idea how long the review would take. Nonetheless, funding for the Lido project is not included in the federal budget for 2014. Mora added that he hopes the funding would be granted for the 2015 scal year. Thats the goal, he pointed out. I cannot comment on internal policy of the Corps, but it could be as early as 2015 It all depends on what Con gress decides to appropriate, and right now, all I know is were asking for it. The Corps is responsible for 65 percent of the expense, while the City of Sarasota will be covering the rest of the cost, using Tourist Development Tax revenue set aside for that purpose. In response to an audience members ques tion, Mora explained that if the groins were removed from the project, it could take 12 to 15 years to complete new studies necessary to redesign the project. Several of the approximately 30 audience members took the opportunity to address Mora and his team. Among them was Jono Miller, a member of the Environmental Stud ies faculty at New College of Florida. Were looking at a proposal thats trying to x a location for these coastal resources, he said of the plan to dredge the ebb shoal of Big Pass and then use the groins to keep the re nourished sand stabilized on Lido Beach. This A graphic shows the best places to obtain sand for the Lido renourishment are from Big Pass. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 19


project, along with a ne w initiative to reopen Midnight Pass on Siesta Key, Miller added, I think are evidence of just how out of touch we are with our coastal strategy in Sarasota County. THE PLAN AND MODELS Using a PowerPoint presentation, Mora ex plained that 1.2 million cubic yards of sand would be dredged from Big Pass and pos sibly New Pass, as well to ll in Lido Beach over a 1.6-mile stretch from just north of John Ringling Boulevard to Lido Key Park. The plan calls for renourishment intervals over a 50-year period, he continued. Every ve years, another 615,000 cubic yards of sand would be used in those subsequent projects. Mor a also said that if a major erosion event occurred between the ve-year renourishment periods, he was hopeful Congress would au thorize emergency funding for an earlier ini tiative to restore the beach to pre-storm con ditions. Regarding the three groins proposed on the southern end of Lido Key, Mora said, [They] are constructed to anchor the nourishment template, not to intercept sediment at the ex pense of down-drift beaches. In other words, they are being planned to keep the new sand in place on Lido without harming Siesta Public Beach, as sand on Floridas west coast tends to drift from north to south. The Corps and its consultants have been work ing on models of Big Pass and the affected area over the past 18 months, Mora explained. A diagram shows where three groins would be constructed on the southern end of Lido Key. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 20


A major concern during that process would be the effect of the dredging and groins on Siesta Key, Mora said. When using ebb shoal sand from any pass, you must be careful not to change its characteristics, he pointed out. The modeling had shown no indication of in creased erosion over the existing condition at Siesta Key, he added. As far as effects on the Big Pass channel for boaters, Mora said the models also had pro vided assurance of no signicant differences in navigable water depth. Thomas P. Pierro, director of Coastal Planning & Engineering Inc. in Boca Raton a consul tant who has been working with the Corps on the project since the feasibility studies began several years ago concurred with Mora that Big Pass is the best source of sand. We think the results that have been provided are rea sonable, he said, and that they do accurate ly predict what the effects might be, or lack thereof in this particular case. Peo ple had asked a number of questions about the groins designed for Lido, Mora continued. The northernmost structure would be 250 feet long; the middle one, 500 feet; and the south ernmost one, 460 feet in length. Eight hundred feet would separate the middle one from the southernmost groin, he added, while 600 feet would be the distance between the middle one and the northernmost groin. On the beach, he said, They will be practically covered. However, enough of the structures should be visible to swimmers and people on jet skis, for example, in the Gulf of Mexico. A groin is not a navigation hazard, he pointed out. If the groins are installed and the federal gov ernment decides it will authorize no more funding for beach renourishment projects, Mora continued, youre gonna have some build-up of material here on the southern end of Lido. Coastal Advisory Committee member Dean Mades (left) talks with Chairman Gary Comp. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 21


Pierro concu rred again, saying that some structure stabilization is required at the south ern end [of Lido] to maintain the 80-foot-wide renourished expanse of beach. Even with a 20-year storm event, Pierro said, the 80 feet of sand should remain if the groins are put in place. Pierro also pointed out that groins are be coming a more preferred process in renour ishment projects. When CAC Chairman Gary Comp asked whether the effect of wind might expose the groins on the beach over time, Pierro respond ed that sand often piles up at the back of the beach, especially given wind conditions on Lido. There, he noted, it often mounds against the fronts of buildings. However, he said, that effect could be lessened through the planting of grasses. Its generally not a major factor, Pierro added of the windblown sand. CAC member Dean Mades asked for more de tails about the modeling, especially in regard to the effects of wave height and direction as well as the current in the Gulf of Mexico during a storm. Have you looked at the ro bustness of this design? Another consultant working with the Corps explained that such factors had been taken into consideration. Some of the data incorpo rated in the study, the consultant said, was generated between May and November 2004, when Florida experienced a very active hur ricane season. Milan A. Mora, the project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, addresses the committee members. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 22


When audience member David Munro, a resi dent of the area since 1998 and an avid boater, asked whether the Corps team used LIDAR data in the modeling, the answer was Yes, but that data was from 2004. One of the con sultants pointed out the high cost of request ing a ight over a specic area roughly $1 million, to accumulate that information. The consultant added that she did not believe new LIDAR data was necessary, but I believe its prudent to understand long-term trends [in Big Pass]. NEXT STEPS Mora said his team would repeat its Sept. 18 presentation during a joint meeting of the Sarasota City and County commissions on Oct. 22. (See related story in this issue.) On Dec. 5, the team will meet with members of the Siesta Key Association to present the models. Then, on Dec. 7, the Corps group will make the presentation to the Boaters Coali tion at the Sarasota Yacht Club. Laird Wreford, the countys coastal resourc es manager, told the CAC members that the County Commission had not requested specif ic action from them this week. However, such direction might come after the Oct. 22 session. Members agreed they wanted more informa tion and to await any direction from the County Commission before weighing in on the renourishment plan. Theres an awful lot to digest today, Mades said. % David Munro addresses the project team and the Coastal Advisory Committee members. Photo by Ra chel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 23


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Construction cr ews are coming back to Avon dale and Luke Wood Park, as work begins anew on Lift Station 87. In some ways, it is all starting from scratch. Robert Garland is the project manager for McKim & Creed, the new engineering rm taking over where the failed contractor stopped. On Wednes day evening, Sept. 18, he introduced his team to City of Sarasota util ity ofcials and began to outline his plan. This is Phase One of a two-phase project, said Garland. We will review the existing plans and information. Theres going to be a lot of ac tivity at one time, a lot of overlapping tasks. The rst phase is set to end Dec. 13 with dis tri bution of a report containing four tech nical manuals on how to move forward. He comes to the proj ect fresh: McKim has not had any responsi bility for anything that has been done and built in the past. Luke Wood Park stored stacks of construction material while the Lift Station 87 project was on hold last year. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE NEW PROJECT ENGINEERING FIRM HOLDS ITS FIRST OPEN MEETING AS THE CITY OF SARASOTA TRIES ONCE MORE TO COMPLETE LIFT STATION 87 REOPENING AN OLD WOUND The current design used a microtunnel under Hudson Bayou. Well look at that, may look at going deeper. Well also look at horizontal directional drilling. Robert Garland Project Manager McKim & Creed By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


CHECK AND RECHECK Lift Station 87 will handle about one-third of Sarasotas sewage. If you live south of Fruit ville Road, you have a personal stake in the success of LS 87. It will handle as much as 2.7 million gallons per day, every day. Failure is not an option. But the old system did fail. Lift Station 7 made repeated discharges of raw sewage into Hud son Bayou, right past the home of now-City Commissioner Susan Chapman. At times, this project has been her personal crusade mar shaling neighbors and neighborhoods to force the city to acknowledge the failures and then push through a solution. The solution was a new lift station, capable of handling up to 9.7 million gallons of peak o w. It would have redundancy, so if one part of the system failed or needed repairs, a paral lel structure would be ready. For peak ows, both would operate. Most of the citys sewage flows under the force of gravity, which means that as the pipe goes further, it has to go deeper. By the time the collection pipes arrive at the site of the new Lift Station 87, they must be signicantly below the bottom of Hudson Bayou. To mak e that happen, the old contractor without any prior experience selected a technique called micro tunneling. While the reasons are in dispute (and in court), the contractor could not create the tunnel for the pipe. Eventually, he withdrew in a urry of lawsuits Osprey Avenue was closed at Mound Street for months while work proceeded on the lift station project. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 26


Now Garland is taking up the mantle. He is in charge of a $1.1 million contract to devise a plan to x the project. OPTIONS CONSIDERED The current design used a micro-tunnel un der Hudson Bayou, said Garland at the Sept. 18 meeting. Well look at that, may look at going deeper. Well also look at horizontal di rectional drilling. And well look at alternative alignments, shifting to the right or left. The horizontal directional scheme would cre ate an inverted siphon under the Bayou. Starting next month, test borings will be con ducted to recheck existing conditions. Well need to get our drill rigs started, noted Gar land. Well have them in the eld Oct. 7. In addition, the company will undertake a hydro graphic survey of the lime rock base of Hud son Bayou and examine the footers of the Os prey Avenue bridge. Steve Topovski, the citys project manager, said the neighborhoods will be alerted. And teams from McKim and Creed must follow the rules about using city right of way. So youll need to give us a little earlier heads-up, point ed out Steve Crumpton, a utilities manager for the city. PUBLIC OUTREACH This could be the most open project the city ever has attempted. There is a full-time public relations specialist involved, Michelle Robin The Lift Station 87 group meets on Sept. 18. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 27


son. There is a com plaint line at 356-0871. And Robinson is building a website (not yet up) at Following the Wednesday technical meeting, the group held a Thursday evening meet-andgreet in the City Commission chambers with a short brieng and Q&A session. But what really is out of the ordinary are plans to hold open meetings in the City Hall An nex on the second and fourth Mondays every month at 10 a.m. This is when the contractor and city staff will swap information, ask ques tions and make decisions. The twice-monthly meetings are open to anyone, so people can ask questions of the experts. The city has invested about $8 million so far in the project. If all goes well, the new lift station should be in full op eration by August 2015. % City Commissioner Susan Chapman. Photo by Norman Schimmel 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 20, 2013 Page 28


The Wa lmart Corp. has terminated its contract with the owners of the Ringling Shopping Cen ter, the City Commission learned on Monday, Sept. 16. That ends the companys attempt to build a nearly 100,000-square-foot super center on the site of the citys oldest retail complex. However, the own ers of the center have led a second lawsuit against the city seek ing a declaratory judg ment. City Attorney Bob Fo urnier notied the commissioners of the ac tion at the end of the afternoon portion of the regular board meeting. Two California entities identied as Doyle and the Doyle Family Trust own the proper ty. They allege the so-called appeal hearing the City Commission held in the spring to address the Planning Boards recommen dation of the Walmart plan should not have started over from scratch, as city rules The Ringling Shopping Center in downtown Sarasota stood ready for a new Walmart before a neigh borhood groups protests early this year derailed the plans. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY COMMISSION LEARNS OF A NEW LAWSUIT IN THE WALMART/ RINGLING SHOPPING CENTER SAGA, MAKES LITTLE PROGRESS ON THE STATE STREET GARAGE AND HEARS BURNS SQUARE PARKING WOES WALMART AND PARKING WOES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor We need to spell all this out to potential buyers. The broker needs to know. Robert Fournier City Attorney Sarasota


demanded As Fou rnier put it: They said the hearing should not have been de novo The new suit also claims the electronic ling for an appeal by the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association should not have been accepted by the city, that only a paper application would have been valid. Fournier added that the suit alleges Walmart has terminated the contract. MORE STATE STREET DITHERING Two separate parking issues occupied most of the afternoon session. One rose during the open-to-the-public section; the second came from the exasperated city attorney trying to prod the commissioners into making a deci sion on the State Street parking garage. The city is under contract with Pineapple Square to open a par king garage with at least 300 spaces by early 2015. The city wants to sell parts of the building to help cover the cost of the garage. For example, it could sell the rst oor for re tail, ofce or restaurant space to defray three additional oors of parking. Or it could envi sion a 10-story building with rst-oor retail, several oors of parking and several more oors of ofce or residential space. So far no decision has been made, which makes life nearly impossible for Ian Black, the Realtor hired to sell the property. What do you want to sell? asked Fournier. Each of the three options he proposed would require adjustments to the zoning code. But one subjective decision still remains. The code requires exemplary architecture on all municipal buildings. Because the project starts with the city, staff assumes the exem plary architecture requirement stands. The City Commission Chambers was packed on Feb. 26, awaiting the decision on the Walmart pro posed for the Ringling Shopping Center. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 30


We n eed to spell all this out to potential buy ers. The broker needs to know, said Fourni er. If you cant decide, then we may have to issue a request for proposals (RFP). The less sure you are, the more reason to go with an RFP. And that will have implications for the Pineapple Square agreement. City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said, I would like to build something beautiful, some thing we can be proud of and something we dont see the front end of cars sticking out of. Im in favor of sending our [Urban Design Stu dio] guru out for two renderings. One design would maximize the use of all the oors. The Urban Design Studio has already nished three conceptual designs, one in Mediterra nean Revival style, one in Art Deco and one using multip le styles. The studio is an in-house collabor ation between the city and two con sultants to develop a form-based code for the city over the next three years. The motion passed unanimously. However, until the commission decides what it wants to sell, neither Black nor any potential buyers have anything to review. Meanwhile, the clock is running. MORE PARKING WOES A parking study long ago pointed out four ar eas downtown that needed garages. Two of those structures have been built at Whole Foods and on Palm Avenue. The third, on State Street, is under what might be character ized as leisurely discussion. Now the fourth is starting to squeak, so to speak. Burns Square merchants are pleading with the City Commission to renew a parking lot lease for their employees and customers. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 31


At the opening of the commission meeting, during the public comment period, a gaggle of Burns Square merchants paraded before the commission to ask for parking relief. For several years, the city leased a lot on Orange Avenue from real estate rm Michael Saun ders & Co. But this year the city terminated the arrangement. Last week, the lot was roped off and closed to the public. That action sent the merchants squawking. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in a state of holy agitation to deliver a petition from the Burns Square merchants, said Cher yl Van Kirk to the commission. We now have 161 employees and 155 parking spaces. The president of the merchants association for that area of the city asked for reinstate ment of the lease. Her members backed her up. We are really, really in desperate need of parking, said one. Another added, Im seeing owners and employees jockeying their cars around. Meanwhile, for clients and customers, theres no where to park. Because the Burns Square merchants spoke during the open-to-the-public session of the meeting, the commissioners could not re spond. But during the Commissioner Com ments segment of the session, Caragiulo said he had met with 19 people about the issue. He suggested using contingency money from the downtown Community Redevelopment Agen cy account to pay for renting the lot and begin talks anew with Realtor Michael Saunders. North Sarasota residents are pleading for city help to make Atkins Park safer. Photo by Robert Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 32


There is a n interest in reopening discussion on the lot, said Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown. HAMPTON ROAD The Tahiti Park Neighborhood Association scored a big win when the City Commission agreed to open a discussion on a 2008 change in the comprehensive plan that has paved the way for use of a parcel on Hampton Road without the neighbors knowing such plans were afoot. The change allowed a physician to propose a medical spa on the property, to the neighbors chagrin. On Monday, the project was set for its fourth and nal public hearing. Then the developer asked that the item be removed from the agen da while he prepared a full site plan for City Commission scrutiny before the board took a nal vote on his plan. Commissioner Susan Chapman said, I have serious issues about the notice to the public on this comprehensive plan amendment. Many maps did not include this change. I would like to set an agenda item for discussion. Fournier replied, This has to be done before the applicant submits his site plan. FREDD ATKINS PARK Three North Sarasota community leaders stepped forward under the open-to-the pub lic section of the meeting to ask for city help with Fredd Atkins Park. Businessman Jetson Grimes said, We are not trying to close the park. But at a community meeting, a Sarasota Police ofcer said of 87 crime events in Newtown, 86 were in Atkins Park. We need to look at the design of the park. The park is named after Fredd Glossie At kins, a long-serving city commissioner who represented north Sarasota and the Afri can-American community. The facility is locat ed at the southwest corner of the intersection of U.S. 301 and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Shea Ba rnett added, Over the past few years, there has been a steady erosion of some of the positive aspects of the park. We see a lot of loitering, crime and drug activity. It reects negatively on the community and is a point of discourag ement. % A map shows the site of the planned State Street parking garage in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 33


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


Dozens of government and nonprot leaders stepped to the mic Wednesday, Sept. 18, to tell Sarasota Countys state legislative delegation about their priorities for the 2014 legislative session, and while the list of issues was long and varied, one message kept being repeated: Expand access to healthcare. Repre sentatives from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Planned Par enthood, First Step, Healthy Start and the League of Women Vot ers all called on the delegation to push ei ther fo r the expansion of Medicaid called for in ObamaCare, or some thing similar to the plan presented last year by state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. Negrons plan would have used federal healthcare dol lars to offer low-income Floridians access to private health insurance, rather than enrolling them in Medicaid. It passed in the state Sen ate, b ut failed in the House, which refused to accept any money made available by the federal government to expand healthcare. The state has the op portunity to care for more p eople and to State Sen. Nancy Detert of Venice addresses legislators. Photo courtesy of LAWMAKERS GET AN EARFUL ABOUT 2014 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES SAY PLEASE We have the opportunity to access $50 billion in federal funds over many years to extend care. We hope you will consider this vital issue again this year. David Verinder Chief Operating Ofcer Sarasota Memorial Hospital By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


State Rep. Jim Boyd and City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo stand outside the County Commission Chambers. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 36


save millions of dollars, said Caitlyn Miller, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Cen tral Florida grassroots outreach manager, who argued the move would grant 641,000 women in Florida vital healthcare access. Every dol lar spent on publicly funded family planning saves taxpayers six dollars in Medicaid spend ing alone. Sarasota Memorial Chief Operating Ofcer David Verinder said Florida sits at a critical decision point. We have the opportunity to access $50 billion in federal funds over many years to extend care, he pointed out. We hope you will con sider this vital issue again this year. Verinder, like others, said the hospital would support either expanding Medicaid or a Ne gron-style proposal. No one from the delegation specically com mented on the decision the Legislature will face over ObamaCare, but state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, who was absent Wednes day, has said in the past he thinks the issue will reemerge during this falls committee hearings. The delegation, which was also lacking Republican state Rep. Greg Steube on Wednesday, did grow vocal over one proposal oated by the City of Sarasota: to revisit the states controversial Stand Your Ground law. The measure, approved in 2005, says a citi zen has no duty to retreat and allows one A City Commission request regarding the Stand Your Ground law has become controversial. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 37


to use de adly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm. A recent study by gun-control groups found the number of justied homicides has increased 53 percent in the 22 states that have such laws. Minutes from the citys Sept. 3 meeting show that Vice Mayor Willie Shaw suggested that revisiting the States Stand Your Ground law should be added to the citys list of leg islative priorities. Indeed, revisiting was the exact word Shaw used. But the document eventually sent to Republican state Sen. Nan cy Detert, the chairwoman of the delegation, indicates the city was calling for a repeal of the law. Republican state Reps. Doug Holder and Ray Pilon both cited the high level of support for the law theyve read via email and social me dia while criticizing the citys request. Pilon said the Legislature would be holding hear ings on Stand Your Ground. Its my hope that there will be clarity as to what the law does, he added, and that we will be able to divide fact from media ction. City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, who is running as a Republican for a seat on the County Commission, represented the city at the legislative delegation meeting Wednesday. He made it clear that the inclusion of revis iting Stand Your Ground in the citys legis lative priorities was not a unanimous posi tion. During the Sept. 3 meeting he told his colleagues he wasnt comfortable knowing enough about the issue, but he was OK with carrying the message. Democratic state Rep. Darryl Rouson said he didnt support repealing Stand Your Ground, but it absolutely needs clarication. People o ught to be able to defend themselves in their castle or in certain places against im minent peril or even death, but this is a pow erful issue across the state, he pointed out. We owe it to the people to look at it and do as much clarication as we can. Delegation members also pointedly criticized Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White for what they called a lack of commu nication. The school system had asked the Legislature to delay assessments and perfor mance pay metrics set to take effect in the 2014-2015 school year. White told the delegation the Legislature could wait for chaos to occur and then try to x it, or we could thoughtfully work together. She added that the school system still does not have details about what next years standards might look like. The use of chaos annoys me, Detert shot back. We want to be collaborative, but if we dont have a partner, then we make a deci sion with no input from the local people, and I wouldnt know who to call. Holder echoed Deterts complaint that he nev er hears from White. We dont meet, he said. People that visit me regularly bring their problems and we try to get the job done, De tert added. White hasnt done that, she point ed out. So dont show up and say we created chaos for you. The Legislatures committee meetings begin next Monday, Sept. 23, but the full session doesnt kick off till March 4. % Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 38


The Sarasot a Downtown Improvement Dis trict (DID) meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17, held two surprises, and they initially appeared contradictory. The rst was a report from the Sarasota Police Department. The second was a request by downtown condo owners for higher taxes. The DID is composed of commercial proper ty owners in a dened downtown area. They levy a property tax on themselves to make improvements in the district. The DID member ship also serves as a springboard for ideas that can migrate to oth er bodies, such as the Community Redevelop ment Area and the Sarasota City Commission. With the increased focus on homelessness and vagrancy in the downtown area, the DID board asked the police to provide some fig ures on crime. It turns out that arrests are virtually unchanged between the rst eight months of both 2012 and 2013. The Plaza at Five Points is a prominent structure in that part of downtown Sarasota. Photo by Nor man Schimmel THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT BOARD LEARNS RESIDENTS OF THE DOWNTOWN HIGH-RISES WOULD PAY EXTRA PROPERTY TAXES IF THE MONEY WENT FOR MORE SECURITY CONDOS WANT IN, TOO This is big for the DID. Residential condo owners have not had representation. Tom Manaussa Board Member Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The Orange Blossom building is at the intersection of Palm Avenue and Main Street. Photo by Nor man Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 40


Ofcer Ron Roberson, an analyst with crimi nal investigations, portrayed a static picture of crime in zone ve, which is slightly larger than the area the DID encompasses. Roberson said the gures were through Sept. 12 of each year. He offered the following results: Strong-arm robbery: seven cases in 2012; 11 in 2013. Aggravated assault: 82 cases in 2012; 84 in 2013. Theft (petty and grand): 157 cases in 2012; 145 in 2013. Burglary: 24 cases in 2012; 26 in 2013. Criminal mischief: 41 cases in 2012; 49 in 2013. Open container: 187 cases in 2012; 142 in 2013. Lodging (sleeping out of doors): 53 cases in 2012; 76 in 2013. Clearly, the big jump was in the number of violations of the citys Lodging Ordinance, which prohibits sleeping outside without the permission of the property owner. This may reect increased police attention to the issue of vagrancy and homelessness. These are pretty at numbers, said Deputy Police Chief Steve Moyers. Overall, it looks like about a 4 percent downward trend. He added that in the next couple of months, Youll see more foot patrols downtown. CONDO OWNERS SEEK MORE SECURITY While the statistics are at in the word of the deputy chief the perception of crime by downtown residents is obviously up. Were not very well protected after 9 p.m., said Ron Rayevich, chairman of the residen tial portion of the Plaza at Five Points. He came before the DID with a proposal: Can the downtown condos join the DID and pay high er taxes if the money goes to greater security efforts? He added that the residents of the Plaza have voted to join the DID and agreed to a property tax levy of one-half mill if the money is used for safety and security purposes. He said Pla za residents are interested in paying for a foot patrol from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. He also proposed the DID board be expanded to seven members, with two additional ones coming from the ve downtown condomini ums (Orange Blossom, 1350 Main, 50 Central, 100 Central and the Plaza). Peter Fanning, representing the Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association, said those residents would add between $90,000 and $100,000 annually to the DIDs coffers. Right now the DIDs annual levy on commer cial property owners raises about $340,000. Weve got $40 million in residential property values in the Plaza, said Rayevich. We dont want people throwing up on our front steps and bums hanging out in our lobby. The DID is a creation of the City Commission, which has the power to alter it in any way. The commissioners could expand the geographic area, allow in residential owners as well as commercial ones, modify the levy or make other changes. With your suppor t, were ready to go to the city attorney, said Fanning. Commissioners have told us if the re is a large opposition Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 41


that could be ve people with bags on their heads they wont approve it. Fanning was referring to the tactic used by anti-parking meter advocates to kill the down town paid parking plan. DID member Dr. Mark Kaufman said he was opposed to seven-member boards; he wa s supported on that by member Tom Manaussa. Rayevich agreed to their decision, but he said he needed to run the change by the boards of directors of the ve condominium complexes. This is big for the DID, said Manaus sa. Residential condo owners have not had representation. % The condominium complex at 1350 Main towers over nearby storefronts and restaurants. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 42


During a joint m eeting of the Sarasota County and the Longboat Town commissions on Tues day, Sept. 17, county staff provided an update on the planned renourishment of Lido Beach, a city project that has aroused concern among Siesta Key reside nts and boaters. The $22 m illio n under taking would rebuild the beach that has been eroding at a rate of about 20 feet per year, according to the states Department of Envi ronmental P r otection. But one option for a sand source has revived intense political debate and opposition from the past. Under the plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engi neers is proposing the dredging of New Pass and, for the rst time, Big Pass. The latter prospect is one that historically has wor ried some Siesta res idents who are con cerned it could have an adverse impact on the accretion of sand on Siesta Key Beach. Longboat Town Mayor Jim Brown and Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason are side-by-side for the meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COUNTY COMMISSION AND LONGBOAT TOWN COMMISSION HEAR AN UPDATE ON THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PLANS FOR RENOURISHING LIDO BEACH DIGGING IN The Corps has to address that the use of sand from [Big Pass] will not be detrimental at this time. Laird Wreford Coastal Resources Manager Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


During the j oint meeting Tuesday, County Commissioner Nora Patterson noted the con troversial history related to past efforts to dredge Big Pass. Sand dredged from either of the two passes would be used to rebuild Lido Keys beach, which most recently suffered severe erosion when Tropical Storm Debby stayed offshore for several days in June 2012. According to Sarasota County staff, the over all renourishment plan would solve mutual problems by providing needed dredging in the two inlets and less expensive near-shore sand for Lido Beach. Long story short, there is an opportunity here, at least potentially, to solve a lot of dif ferent problems, Laird Wreford, the countys coastal resources manager, said at the joint meeting. The Lido Beach project has been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, which will fund 65 percent of the cost. The initiative would pump close to 1.2 million cubic yards of sand onto the beach. The big challenge has been nding the sand source. Because of shifting sands and the ever decreasing volumes of suitable offshore submerged sand deposits in the area, federal ofcials have been seek ing a suitable source to replenish the beach, according to a Sept. 17 memo from Sarasota County staff. NEW PASS The Corps has dredged New Pass in the past to keep it navigable, but it has hit a federal funding cap for such work, Wreford told the two boards. As a result, future navigational dredging will not happen without authorization of addition al federal funding. But there is another alter native that can permit the pass to be dredged again. If sand from the pass specically were to be used for Lidos renourishment, the dredging could be covered by the federal funding set aside for the beach project. Any sand taken from New Pass has to be alternated between the city of Sarasota and Longboat Key under a longstanding agreement. Laird Wreford (left) addresses the County Commission and Longboat Key Town Commission as County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh (center) and County Administrator Randall Reid listen. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 44


Even if sand is removed from New Pass, fed eral and local ofcials will likely have to nd an additional source. The volume of sand that is needed for the Lido Beach renourishment exceeds the expected available supply of sand that currently exists in New Pass, reads the Sept. 17 county memo. BIG PASS Because of the amount of sand in Big Pass, that inlet appears to be the most viable sand source for the Lido project, Wreford said. Just north of Siesta Key, Big Pass has become the focal point for the Corps, Wreford added. The Corps is working on a plan with the City of Sarasota to dredge the inlet. In that scenar io, the main purpose of the undertaking would be to harvest sand to mitigate erosion dam age on Lido, but dredging could also have a secondary effect at least temporarily of mak ing the inlet more navigable for boaters, county staff says. At Tuesdays meeting, Patterson referenced the controversial history related to past ef forts to dredge the pass. Some of that history would be good to bring back to our board, she said. A consulting team that studied the possibility of dredging Big Pass a number of years ago showed that some removal of sand from the passs ebb shoals on the seaward southern portion of the pass would be more posi tive than negative for the nearby stretches of beach. But the recommendation was that amounts [dredged] be limited, Patterson pointed out. Past attempts to dredge the pass have led to lawsuits and intense political debate. Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid (right) and Longboat Town Manager Dave Bullock are ready for the joint meeting Tuesday. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 45


After Tuesdays meeting, Patterson told The Sarasota News Leader that members of the community are not only largely divided over whether to dredge the pass but also split over how the work could be done. While many Siesta residents are concerned about the Corps interest in Big Pass, some limited dredging along the lines of what the past consultants suggested could gar ner some residents support, she indicated. There has seemed partial acceptance of a dredge on the exterior part of the Big Pass shoal, a dredge suggested some years back, but this would not likely be navigational in nature from the rst presentation we had ex ploring this idea, Patterson wrote in an April email when she rst learned of the renewed effort to dredge Big Pass. Some area boaters, however, are in favor of a deep dredge that would improve navigation in the pass; the channel depth remains about ve-and-a-half feet. But that approach would require follow-up dredging every few years, Patterson said, adding she was not sure the county should fund that expense on a regular basis. There are challenges, Patterson added. The Big Pass option is a preliminary one, with several public meetings scheduled to take place over the next few months, Wreford told the commissions. Corps ofcials have been studying the local coastal system, including how sand moves through it. The Corps has to address that the use of sand from [Big Pass] will not be detrimental at this time, Wreford added. The Cor ps sent its engineering team to Sara sota this week to present information about the project during a Sept. 18 Sarasota County Coastal Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting. (See the related article in this issue.) Federal ofcials will hold upcoming public workshops and talk to boaters and various associations that may be involved, Wreford pointed out. In addition to the Sept. 18 CAC meeting, on Oct. 22, federal ofcials will make a presen tation to a joint session of the Sarasota Coun ty Commission and the City Commission. On Dec. 5, the Corps will discuss its plan with members of the Siesta Key Association. Then, on Dec. 7, the Corps will provide the same presentation to the Boaters Coalition at the Sarasota Yacht Club. BEACH GROINS One other aspect of the beach project that could prove challenging is the Corps propos al for three rock groins on Lido Beach. The structures, essentially rock walls per pendicular to the beach, would be placed on the south end of Lido, according to current Corps plans. The groins are intended to trap the newly placed sand on the beach. However, groins are discouraged in the coun tys comprehensive plan: While there are a number of groins and jetties in Sarasota Coun ty, the Countys current management guide lines discourage shoreline stabilization tech niques that interrupt natural beach processes. Non structural approaches to beach/dune res toration are p referred. % Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 46


The directors of the St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID) earlier this year asked property owners in the swanky shop ping district if they wanted to continue a prop erty surtax to keep the place looking nice. To the great surprise of the BID board, the pro posal failed by a sub stantial margin. That mean t the end of special promotions, special sidewalk clean ing, Muzak, landscap ing and a host of small amenities to help peo ple enj oy t heir time on the circle. How could that happen? BID Chairman Marty Rappaport found it hard to believe until he started looking at his mem bership We had a big turnover in ownership in the last 10 years, he s ai d So Rappaport convinced the Saraso ta City Commission to let him try for another election. Timing was tight, be cause t he city fiscal St. Armands is a popular shopping and dining venue, especially during the height of season. File photo A NEW VOTE BY ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE PROPERTY OWNERS WILL MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR EXTRA TAX REVENUE TO CONTINUE TO BE USED IN THE DISTRICTS UPKEEP BID WINS ON SECOND VOTE A lot of people were new to this process, and there were many new landlords over the last 10 years. Marty Rappaport Chairman St. Armands Business Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


year ends on Sept 30. With election deadlines and mailing times and other details, prepara tions for the election went to the wire. Rappaport and other BID supporters manned telephones to contact the new property own ers, who were presumably unaware of what the BID does. This is not a one-man, one-vote election. Each ballot carries the weight of the amount of acreage owned along the circle. Thus, a person with three lots casts a ballot three times as important as a one-lot owner. To make it even tougher to get a majority, any ballot not returned counts as a No vote. A lot of people were new to this process, and there were many new landlords over the last 10 years, Rappaport said. On Wednesday, Sept. 18, the ballots were in and opened one at a time. When all 58 were tallied, 68 percent of the property owners had agreed to extend the BID for another decade. Only 6 percent actually voted no. Eleven ballots were not returned, making up the remaining 26 percent. Whats next for the rejuvenated district? Rap paport is conducting a feasibility study for a parking garage (or maybe two?) on cityowned lots. Hopefully well get a garage, he said. % Sarasota City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini opens a BID ballot. Photo by Stan Zimmerman St. Armands Business Improvement District Chairman Marty Rappaport creates his own tally of votes. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 48


In 2009, S arasota County nance staff format ted an Excel forecasting program designed to gauge future county budgets based on pro jected revenues and expenses. The county im plemented the spreadsheet program to guide administrat ors and county commission ers as they planned up comin g budgets during uncertain economic times. The program now shows steady project ed revenue growth from 2015 to 2018. Sources of tax revenue from property tax values to sales tax volume are on the up swing, as the County Commission prepares to adopt the Fiscal Year 2014 budget on Sept. 23. For instance, property tax values across the county increased a to tal of 4.2 percent this year compared to a 1.1 percent decrease the previous year. State ofcials predict property values will go up another 4.1 percent in 201 5. Construction of University Town Center was well under way in early May. Photo by Norman Schimmel COUNTY REVENUES ARE RISING, BUT NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP UP WITH PROJECTED EXPENSES SLOW GROWTH We are hopeful these positive increases in ad valorem property values will happen. I dont know if it will be 8 to 10 percent. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


State re ven ue sharing sales taxes are also trending upward as consumer spending in creases. And county Tourist Development Tax dollars have increased 11.1 percent for the rst 11 months of 2013. The news on the scal horizon is not all rosy for county ofcials, however. Over the past six years, taxable property values sank 35 per cent, and the county saw a nearly $100 mil lion reduction in major revenues. Even with projected property value increases every year out to 2018, the extra money is not enough to negate that 35 percent downswing. Expens es are also expected to continue to rise, and despite the uptick in revenue, the forecasting model predicts a $21 million shortfall in 2018. (See the accompanying General Fund Outlook chart.) The economy is coming back slowly but cer tainly not at the pace it went down, said Curt Preisser, public information ofcer for Sara sota Count y. Proper ty values and other revenue estimates are only projections; they can uctuate as the still fragile economy slowly rebounds. ADDITIONS TO THE TAX ROLLS A source of more quantiable increases is forthcoming in the form of several slated new developments. Those projects, as long as they are built, will bring in additional tax revenue, but some of that money will not be seen until 2016. Benderson Developments mega mall, The Mall at University Town Center, is expected to bring in an estimated $350,000 annually in property tax revenue. That additional property tax revenue probably will not come onto the tax rolls until 2016, said Steve Botelho, chief nancial planning ofcer for Sarasota County. Along with the higher ad valorem tax money will come another source of county income: As we build new hotels and the new mall, sales tax revenue will likely go up, Botelho pointed out. Vice Chairman Charles Hines and Commissioner Nora Patterson review budget material on Sept. 6. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 50


The 77-acre, 247 home Esplanade develop ment on Clark Road is also projected to boost revenue by an estimated $210,000 from annual property taxes. BUDGET DEBATE The county commissioners had a lively budget discussion at their Sept. 6 budget workshop, and part of it centered on projected revenue. Commissioner Christine Robinson has been arguing against the countys dipping into its economic uncertainty reserve fund to bal ance the budget. We cant erase the fact that were spending more than our growth rate, she pointed out at that meeting. Robi nson favors a more conservative ap proach to projecting revenues, and she wants to see more of a focus on trying to trim ex penses. The County Commission voted to keep the total millage rate the same for the 2014 scal year, at 3.3912. Nonetheless, because property values rose 4.2 percent this year, a number of homeowners will see increases in their prop erty tax bills. During the Sept. 6 workshop, Robinson not ed the County Commission did not approve a rolled back rate that would have kept prop erty tax bills level. A chart projects county revenue and expenses for coming scal years. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 51


Charts show comparisons of the number of home permits approved for Sarasota County for scal years from 2009 to 2013, through August. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 52


We are spendi ng more than our growth rate. Period, R obinson pointed out. And as we are spending more than our growth rate, we are depleting our reserves. Even though revenue sources across the board are expected to rise, Robinson said she does not like the idea of banking too much on projected high tax increases. Busi nesses and individuals dont plan for money they dont have, or dont plan for money that theyre not sure when they will get, and we cant plan that way, she told her colleagues The county could cut more than the 1 percent it has trimmed from the budget, she added. Commissioner Joe Barbetta has emphasized projected revenue growth, noting that eco nomic development and an expanded tax base are the keys to continued future growth in the county. Barbetta already sees some positive revenue trends. If property values rise 6 to 7 percent in 2015 which would be higher than the state-projected 4.1 percent that will be enough of a boost to sustain the general fund with no shortfall. If it comes in at 6 or 7 percent, we will be ne for another two or three years, Barbetta said at the Sept. 6 workshop. The red numbers in Botelhos charts, which indicate shortfalls in the forecasting model, would disappear if the county expands the economic base, Barbetta added. The most positive indications for Barbetta are the new developm ents coming online. He raised a few laughs at the Sept. 6 workshop when he suggested the possibility of another (presumably hypothetical) big development Lakewood Ra nch South that would add more property to the tax rolls. He said economic development must remain a priority in the county. This year the county is expected to use $11 million of its economic uncertainty reserve fund. If we dont use [those] monies we might as well just give them back to the taxpayer, Barbetta said. I look at my job as investing that money properly to expand our tax base so that we dont have to raise taxes and so we stay at the third lowest tax rate in the state in millage. Commissioner Charles Hines also hopes prop erty values continue on the upswing. We are hopeful these positive increases in ad valorem property values will happen, Hines said. I dont know if it will be 8 to 10 percent. Commissioner Nora Patterson talked about how local governments across the state could see revenue align with spending within the next few years. The time will come where income meets your expenses, Patterson said. As things get bet ter, I think boards should see that. Patterson attributed the countys solid budget ary standing to the forecast model and longterm planning over the past few years. If we werent looking several years down the road, we wouldnt be in the good nancial position we are in, she poin ted out. % Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 53


Former volunteers and staffers this summer charged Save Our Seabirds (SOS), the Sara sota nonprot that rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured birds, with a wide range of misdeeds. The organization was improperly housing birds, euthanizing them unnecessarily and operating without the proper licensing, they said. But a new round of inspections, ordered by the Sara sota City Commission, shows eve rything is in fact hunky-dory. In July, the City Com mission vo ted unani mously to have staffers and state regulators conduct a new round of visits at the SOS site on Ken Thompson Parkway and to compile any past inspections for review. Two days af ter the city meeting, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Inspecting Ofcer La r Gregory toured SOS and found the site in overall good condition with all pools clean, adequate perching and enclo sure safe for birds, according to a report submitted to the city. Gregory wrote that Save Our Seabirds has won a clean bill of health from inspectors. Photo by Norman Schimmel INSPECTORS FIND NO PROBLEMS AT SAVE OUR SEABIRDS CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH This is a great example of city government working properly for the public. Foremost the birds are much better off and the public benets from the forced improvements Greg Para Former Volunteer Save Our Seabirds By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


the records-keeping system at SOS had been vastly improved since a 2011 inspection and that the only discrepancy was the need for additional shelter for larger birds during se vere rain. A former SOS employee, Cally Lajeunesse, testied to the City Commission in July that rats had been brutally killing birds, but Jack Landess, a vet with Nokomis Veterinary & Ex otics Clinic, visited SOS on July 18 and wrote in his report that he did not notice any dam age to caging, wire, wood, food and water bowls or to any birds themselves that could be caused by rodents. A Fahey Pest Management inspection, mean while, turned up no evidence of live activity A sign welcomes visitors to Save Our Seabirds on City Island in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 55


from rodents, although it did note gnawing marks on piping near the ofce and hospital facilities. The inspector, Kyle Varona, wrote that the birdcages were well-built to exclude rodents. Landess found all the birds to be in very good condition overall, and he called the facility leaps and bounds above the Pelican Man, the old City Island nonprot replaced by Save Our Seabirds in 2008. Former SOS volunteer Greg Para began rais ing alarm bells about the condition of the fa cility after the departure of founder Lee Fox this spring. Para also has severely criticized the management of CEO David Pilston, who was hired in 2012. Para calls the positive news from the recent inspections an example of re sponsive governance. Everyone was pleased that the SOS organi zation addressed all of the allegations I made and passed all ordered inspections, he writes in an email. This is a great example of city government working properly for the public. Foremost the birds are much better off and the public benets from the forced improve ments. I dont know anything, says Fox, who was terminated earlier this year after turning down a one-year contract that would have had her working in Wimauma instead of Sarasota. She says she doesnt hear news about whats hap pening at SOS; shes put the issue behind her. The guy hijacked the organization, she says of Pilston. If he had problems after that it was up to him to solv e them. % Parakeets share a cage at Save Our Seabirds in June. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 56


(Above) Fifty-four percent of the respondents to the 2013 Citizens Survey ranked the quality of life in neighborhoods as excellent. File photo THE ECONOMY, ONCE AGAIN For the sixth consecutive year, economy/ jobs won the top ranking as the most import ant issue facing Sarasota County, according to the 2013 Citizens Survey, but only 18 percent of the 801 respondents put that in rst place, compared to 36 percent in 2012. Regarding the countys current economic condition, the survey shows 69 percent of re spondents think the county is on the road to recovery, up from 56 percent in 2012. How ever, the surveys executive summary points out, many still believe the economy is subject THE 2013 SARASOTA COUNTY CITIZENS SURVEY FOUND THAT WHILE ECONOMY/JOBS HELD ONTO THE TOP RANKING AS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE, THE PERCENT VIEWING IT THAT WAY FELL BY HALF By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


to some very real threats, a pattern that has been observed nationally. Overall, 48 percent of the respondents rated the quality of life in the county as excellent, compared to 55 percent in 2012. The propor tion ranking it good, though, increased from 36 percent last year to 43 percent in 2013, ac cording to the survey conducted under the ae gis of Susan A. MacManus at the Florida Insti tute of Government, located at the University of South Florida in Tampa. This is the countys 22nd survey of citizens views on a variety of topics. MacManus is scheduled to discuss the latest ndings with the County Commission during its regular meeting on Sept. 24, County Admin istrator Randall Reid told the board last week. Her presentation is tentatively set as the rst agenda item following the Open to the Public portion of the afternoon session, which starts at 1:30 p.m., Leigh Sprimont, commission ser vices manager, told The Sarasota News Lead er Other topics cited in 2013 as the most im portant ones facing the county are Trafc/ transportation and Population growth/new Two people whose work puts them at the center of many economic development discussions in the county are Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, and Jeff Maultsby, director of business and economic development. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 58


developme nt, tied at 10 percent, followed by Taxes at 7 percent and Government and elected ofcials at 6 percent. The ve most common responses to the ques tion regarding the biggest threat to the coun tys scal health are as follows: Economy/jobs: 41 percent. Government waste and inefciency: 20 per cent. Out-migration of people and industry: 13 percent. Property tax rates: 12 percent. (The County Commission has committed to keeping the total county millage rate at 3.3912 for the 2014 scal year. Indications are that it will remain the third-lowest rate in the state, according to gures County Ad ministrator Reid has provided.) Deterioration of the environment: 5 per cent. The executive summary also points out that over the pas t ve years of asking the question about the biggest threat, respondents con sistently have perceived loss of jobs as the most serious. The summary continues, The same pattern occurred with regard to govern ment waste and inefciency, with the per centage citing it as the biggest threat falling slightly from 23 percent in 2011 to 20 percent this year. Among other year-over-year changes, the over all rating for quality of life in neighborhoods dropped slightly, with 54 percent of those sur veyed calling it excellent compared to 55 percent in 2012. On a personal level, the survey shows that among the 58 percent of 2013 respondents who acknowledged they are experiencing their own scal stress, the most commonly cited reasons were linked to the following: Employment/jobs: 9 percent. Healthcare costs: 9 percent. Property taxes: 7 percent. Home insurance: 6 percent. Personal debt: 6 percent. Gas prices: 5 percent. The 2013 Citizens Survey ranks respondents views of recommendations for improving neighbor hoods. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 59


There has been a steady decline [emphasis in the report] in the mention of issues that have a direct impact on personal economic well-be ing (economy/jobs; taxes; declining property values; health care; foreclosures; insurance; energy costs; affordable housing), the execu tive summary points out. Cumulatively, the g ure for those topics has fallen from the 51-per cent level in 2010 to the 29-percent mark in 2013, the summary notes. Conversely, the summary says, There are signs of the reemergence of issues related to population growth/new development. For ex ample, the summary points out that Trafc/ transportation was mentioned as a concern by 5 percent of respondents in 2011 compared to 10 percent in 2013. Population growth/new development was at the 3-percent mark in 2011 and at the 10-percent level in 2013, while Taxes was mentioned by 4 percent of the 2012 respondents and 7 percent of them this year. The summary notes that the biggest decline recorded came in citizens citation of crime as a concern. That fell from 5 percent in 2012 to 2 percent this year. C ONTACT WITH THE COUNTY In a new section, the 2013 survey asked about the method respondents used most frequently to contact county ofces or leaders. (It notes that 24 percent of respondents had communi cated with a county ofce or ofcial to com plain about something or to get information over the past year, down from 29 percent in 2012.) The answers were ranked as follows: Making a phone call directly to the person: 56 percent. Phoning the countys Call Center: 47 percent. Sending an email: 29 percent. Meeting in person: 20 percent. Sending a letter: 8 percent. The survey also shows a rise in negative rea sons for the contact. Voicing a concern rose from the 24-percent level in 2012 to the 29-per cent mark in 2013, while reporting some thing was up from 12 percent to 22 percent this year. The 2013 Citizens Survey listed respondents views on the biggest threats to the countys economy. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 60


At t he same ti me, the survey section regarding responsiveness of county ofcials recorded its sharpest decline in the assessment of wheth er help came in a timely fashion. In 2012, 84 percent of those surveyed felt the assistance was prompt, compared to 70 percent this year. Yet, [t]he negative timeliness ratings were highest among unemployed residents looking for work, the summary points out. BUDGET FACTORS Another area that saw a big change, the sum mary continues, involved respondents views about the countys budget and spending pri orities. The 2013 survey shows 34 percent of the re spondents wanted to keep property taxes and services at the same level, while 15 percent said taxes should be cut and less vital services reduced. In 2012, 43 percent of respondents wanted to keep property taxes and service levels where they are. Support for creating a new revenue source not linked to prop erty taxes that could be used for a specic service or project rose from 26 percent last ye ar to 34 percent this year. Asked w heth er the countys spending priori ties were about right, 47 percent said repri oritization is needed. Another 34 percent char acterized the spending priorities as about right this year, while 19 percent had no opin ion on the question. The summary says little agreement was found among the 32 percent of respondents who were disgruntled because they felt the coun ty was spending too much money on certain things. The results found 16 percent citing public ofcials salaries and perks; 14 percent pointing to parks, art and beautication; and 12 percent citing low priorities and waste. Among the more positive notes, 32 percent of respondents said they felt they could trust a Sarasota County leader almost always or most of the time, compared to 28 percent saying the same for state government leaders and the 25 percent who provided those an swers for federal government leaders. To read the 2013 Citizens Survey Executive Summary and past sur veys, click here. % 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 20, 2013 Page 61


With no success realized yet in a program cre ated to boost green economic development in the community, the Sarasota County Com mission has agreed to hold an Oct. 9 public hearing on more tweaks to the program with the hope, finally, of spurring progress. The public hearing has been set for Oct. 23. The changes to be ad dressed in that hearing are the relaxing of the geographic boundar ies of the Energy Eco nomic Zone (EEZ), revising energy usage standards for businesses applying for incen tives offered through the zone and rebranding the effort as the Sustainable Energy Economic District (SEED) Incentive Program. The commissioners unanimously approved a motion by Commis sioner Joe Barbetta to proceed with advertis ing the public hearing. Why have a program if its not working, Vice Chairman Charles A map shows the current Economic Energy Zone boundaries. Image courtesy Sarasota County WITH COMPANIES CITING LIMITATIONS HAMPERING THEIR ABILITY TO GAIN ECONOMIC ENERGY ZONE INCENTIVES, THE COUNTY COMMISSION WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON AMENDING FACETS OF THE PROGRAM TRYING TO MAKE IT WORK This is an economic development tool. I think the better we can make it, the better tool it becomes for expansion of our economic base. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Hines pointed o ut. What can we do to tweak it to make it work? THE BACKGROUND A memo provided to the County Commission by Jeff Maultsby, director of business and eco nomic development for the county, explains that the Florida Legislature created the EEZ Pilot Program in 2009 to assist communities in the development of a model to cultivate green economic development, encourage renewable electric energy generation and promote the manufacturing of products that contribute to energy conservation and green jobs. Sarasota County and the City of Miami Beach were selected for the pilot pr ograms. Miami Beach has not had any success with its pro gram, either, staff told the County Commis sion. In 2011, the Legislature amended the state law governing the EEZ Pilot Program to provide that all the statutory incentives and benets available to Enterprise Zones (EZ) also be available within an EEZ, the memo points out. To qualify for the state program, the Coun ty Commission had to adopt an ordinance on March 31, 2012 dening the EEZs boundar ies, specifying applicable energy-efciency standards for businesses within the EEZ and determining eligibility criteria for companies applying for EEZ incentives, the memo con tinues. A map shows the proposed new Economic Energy Zone boundaries. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 63


As out lined in the existing county ordinance, Lisa Damschroder of the Ofce of Business and Economic Development, explained to the board on Sept. 11, EEZ incentives are avail able to businesses located only within the State Road 681 corridor, major employment centers (MECs) and urban service areas with in the cities of Sarasota and Venice, which have authorized resolutions to participate in the program. The county landll, by virtue of its location, also is within the EEZ boundaries, she noted. The City of North Port, she added, is in the process of adopting an urban service bound ary so it also can participate. Damschroder and Lee Hayes Byron, man ager of the countys sustainability program, discussed limitations that businesses have pointed to as the reasons the program has not worked thus far. An aerial map shows the location of State Road 681 in South County. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 64


For example, D ams chroder said, 88.5 percent of the countys businesses are located outside the MECs. Additionally, a business job credit the County Commission approved on Sept. 12, 2012, is available only if the company hires a new employee who lives within the EEZ. How ever, Damschroder said, very few residences are in the zone. Byron said businesses have had difficulty showing they can meet the energy standards for the zone. Under those standards, she explained, a build ing must have an Energy Star rating of 60 or higher, which essentially is about 10 percent more efcient than the average building [of the same] type. Second, a new building has to have an energy rating that is at least 5 percent above the state code requirement for new construction. Final ly, if a building gets LEED or Florida Green Building certication, it is eligible to be in the EEZ. SUGGESTIONS In many cases, Byron said, buildings may be too old or inefcient to meet the energy stan dards or because of the nature of tenants use of space in them it may be difcult to determine the necessary data from meters that record the electricity usage. A performance-based standard, she pointed out, would make it easier for businesses to comply with the energy standards. She pro posed that a company applying for the EEZ commit to a 10-percent reduction in energy usage over six months. That would lead to more energy efciency, Byron noted, but it wouldnt be an absolute standard, which is what we currently hav e. Another sug gestion for the EEZ, posed by Damschroder, is to change the EEZ bound aries to encompass all of the unincorporated areas of the county and include the zones ad opted by municipalities. Finally, Byron suggested rebranding the pro gram with a more representative name that is actually appealing to businesses: Sus tainable Energy Economic District (SEED). That would communicate that we are grow ing local and sustainable businesses through this program, she added. After Damschroder and Byron asked for di rection from the County Commission, Com missioner Nora Patterson said, From my per spective, this whole concept has completely migrated from wha t it started to be. It was Commissioner Nora Patterson. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 65


really roughly c entered in the areas immedi ately surrounding [State Road] 681 The project was, in a way, a gift to that part of the county, Patterson continued, as it opened up SR 681 as a transportation artery. Additionally, Patterson noted, the $300,000 the state agreed to provide annually for incentives for energy-efcient businesses really [is not] a lot. Spreading that countywide, she point ed out, meant only one or two grants a year probably could be awarded. Otherwise, she said, its going to be like a micro loan, which could be a good thing, but its a far cry from where the intent really was. Commissioner Christine Robinson responded that the Legislatures intent had been to pro vide more money for the incentives, but the impact of the Great Recession on the states budget had hampered that. The Legislature then decided to include the Enterprise Zone incentives in the EEZ pilot program to make up for the lack of extra funding. Patterson said she felt it was appropriate for an Enterprise Zone such as the one in New town to incorporate the waiving of impact fee payments to the county, because that encour aged businesses to open in Newtown. How ever, she had reservations about making that option available to any company applying for the EEZ. That would be a serious detriment to the [county] road program, she noted. When Patterson said she wondered wheth er we should return to the roots of the idea when the EEZ was proposed in 2009, Robin son explained th at because the Legislature had amended the program, she was uncertain the board could take such a step. Damschroder indicated Robinson was correct in that assumption. Heres something that weve created hop ing to be a carrot for [economic develop ment], Hines pointed out, and nothings hap pened, [and staff] spent a lot of time on this. If its not going to work, either we step back a little bit, he added, or report to the state that the EEZ model does not work. Finally, Barbetta claried with Damschroder and Byron that they were seeking a board vote on advertising a public hearing to consider making the proposed changes part of the or dinance the new boundaries, revising how companies could prove they meet the ener gy-efciency standards and the rebranding. I think all three are ne, Barbetta said. I think the energy standard has been a hold-up. He added, This is an economic development tool. I think the better we can make it, the better tool it becomes for expansion of our economic base. Patterson told him she would go along with the motion if there was no way the county could go back to the original concept. If these new modications in the program still did not lead to success, she continued, then future county commissioners might just have to seek permission to withdraw as host of a pilot pro gram. The board members needed to keep in mind, Patterson pointed out, that a small amount of money sometimes works better when its precisely targeted. % Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 66


Kara Saunders and Laurie Dowd pause along the ninth-oor connector to the original section of the hospital. ROOMS WITH A VIEW SARASOTA MEMORIAL MARKS THE OPENING OF ITS NEW COURTYARD TOWER Staff Reports Sarasota Memorial Hospital welcomed members of the public to an open house Sept. 7 that celebrated the completion of its new Courtyard Tower. The nine-story, $186 million patient care fa cility includes cardiac and orthopedic units, an expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and spacious labor and delivery and moth er/baby suites, a news release notes.


Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 68 The ninth-oor connector offers a birds-eye perspective on the rest of the medical complex.


Designed to enhance patient, physician and staff satisfaction, improve safety and meet the communitys changing health needs, Sarasota Memorials Courtyard Tower replaces some of the oldest areas of the hospital, the release points out. The project also includes a com pletely redesigned entryway to help patients get to the care they need, quickly and ef ciently. Medical services in the new patient care tower are connected to their counter parts in the existing hospital, making it easi er for people to nd their way throughout the facility, the release continues. Perhaps most importantly from patients point of view, 70 percent of the Courtyard Towers rooms are private and feature the most advanced, pa tient-friendly, patient safe design amenities. The new building also has the latest hurricane Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 69


Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 70


proong available to help ensure continuing patient care in the event of a severe storm, as well as energy efcient lighting. People entering the Courtyard Tower at the ground level nd themselves in a two-story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows and a courtyard artfully landscaped with luscious trees and shrubbery and tranquil water fea tures, the release notes. Along with the Information Desk, patient reg istration, pre-admission testing, surgery re ception, and the Courtyard Caf patients and visitors will nd wellness stations where they can check their blood pressure, pulse, weight and body mass indexes, the release adds. The new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the fth oor has 33 private rooms, neonatolo gists on site 24/7 as well as unrestricted visit ing hours for mothers, their support persons and two guests, the release points out. Sarasota News Leader Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel was among those who took the tour of the facility on Sept. 7, providing readers with views of the new features. % Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 71 All photos by Norman Schimmel.


In celebration of National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 24, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Ofce will be conducting a number of voter drives during the week of Sept. 23-27, the ofce has announced. SOE staff will be out in the community to re mind people of the importance of registering to vote and ensuring their voter information is current with the elections ofce, a news release says. Every year, citizens forfeit the right to vote because they do not register or they register too late, Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said in the release. In recognition of the 2013 National Voter Registration campaign, we want to highlight the importance of partici pating in the electoral process and give people another opportunity to register or to update their voter records prior to the 2014 election cycle, she added. The following voter registration drives are scheduled: Monday, Sept. 23: North Port Library (13800 Tamiami Trail), 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24: Venice YMCA lobby (701 Center Road), 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.; State College of Florida Venice Campus (8000 S. Tamiami Trail), 10 a.m. to noon; FCCI In surance Group (6300 University Parkway), 10 a.m. to noon; Riverview High School (1 Ram Way, off Proctor Road) in Sarasota, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; North Port Library, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25: Englewood YMCA lobby (262 S. Indiana Ave.), 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.; Frank G. Berlin branch of the Saraso Sarasota County will mark National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 24. Image from Americanspir it-Dreamstime SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS SCHEDULES VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES NEWS BRIEFS


ta YMCA (1075 S. Eu clid Ave.), 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 26: Booker High School (3201 N. Orange Ave.) in Sarasota, 10:15 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27: Venice High School (1 In dian Ave.), senior government classes all day; Imagine School in North Port (1000 In novation Ave.), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A voter registration application may also be downloaded from the SOE website at Any business, organization or school that would like to partner with the Supervisor of Elections Ofce to host a voter registra tion drive, or anyone who would like more information about scheduled events, may call 861-8619. Do you serve o n a government board or ad visory committee? Do you represent others who do? Are you confused about social media, emails, text messages, social gatherings and the implications for Floridas Government in the Sunshine and Public Records laws? Given todays technology and the increasing explo sion of electronic communications, you are not alone, a Sarasota County Bar Association news release says. On Friday, Oct. 11, attorney Pat Gleason, spe cial counsel for open government for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, will present a practical, real world scenario information session designed for those who serve on local government boards or advisory boards, those who represent them and individuals interested in the intricacies of open meetings and public BAR ASSOCIATION TO SPONSOR CITIZENS IN SUNSHINE SESSION reco rds laws, the release adds. Bring your questions and get the answers you need, it continues. The workshop will be held in the Michaels on East ballroom beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. The program will run from 9 to 11 a.m. The cost is $20 per person. Advanced registration is required; reserva tions may be made by clicking on the follow ing link: This session is made possible by the support of two area law rms Icard Merrill and Williams Parker in conjunction with the Sarasota County Bar Association, the release notes. For more information, contact Jan Jung at Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 73


With tens of thou sands of visitors having enjoyed the Payne Park playground since it opened in June 2012, the heavy usage neces sitates an annual inspection and subsequent upkeep projects, the City of Sarasota has an nounced. The playground will be temporarily closed for approximately two weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 23, so workers can inspect, clean and maintain the equipment, a news release says. The swings, childrens bridge and crawling tunnel will be replaced, the release notes. PAYNE PARK PLAYGROUND CLOSING TEMPORARILY ON SEPT. 23 Payne Parks popular playground will close temporarily for maintenance beginning Sept. 23. Photo by Norman Schimmel In addition, the shade sails over the toddler play area will be replaced with one large can opy; more drains will be installed at the splash pad; a curb will be installed around the perim eter of the play area sidewalk; and the mulch around the trees will be replaced with a dif ferent material, the release continues. As part of the safety inspection, every fastener on the playground will be checked, the release adds. It is anticipated the playground will reopen on or before Monday, Oct. 7. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 74


Members of the Laure l Osprey Venice No komis (LOVN) Community Health Action Team, along with local participants, will take to the streets Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 a.m. to raise awareness for mental health and well ness, Sarasota County has announced. The event is free and open to the public. Reg istration will begin at 7:45 a.m. on the grounds of Summit at Venice, 200 Nassau St. North in Venice. Walkers donning lime-green clothing and ribbons the color representing men tal health awareness will travel down Ven ice Avenue to Esplanade Avenue and back, a news release says. Although medications have improved, we at Mental Health Community Centers are well aware of the impact of healthy lifestyles and their vital contributions to a persons recovery from mental illness, said Carolyn Eagen, ex ecutive director of Mental Health Community Centers Inc., in the release. The Community Wellness Walk is designed to promote healthful lifestyles while drawing attention to health concerns facing the com munity and fostering partnerships that pos itively addre ss those concerns, the release adds. Through this active display of public support, the LOVN Community Health Action Team intends to help break down the stigma associated with mental illness and get people talking about mental health and wellness, added Eagen. Exercise makes one more alert and increas es feelings of well-being, the release quotes Dr. David V. Habif Jr., a physician, researcher and trustee of Washington University in St. Louis. It negates emotional pain and negative thoughts. It enhances learning in the post-ex ercise period. It is a natural mood stabilizer, attitude adjuster and sleep enhancer, accord ing to Habif. Information tables will be set up on the grounds of Summit at Venice, the release notes. Water and light refreshments will be provided. Representatives of businesses and other orga nizations who would like to join the event may contact Blair Monnett at 237-1777 or email ad COMMUNITY WELLNESS WALK PLANNED FOR SEPT. 21 The Sara sota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is joining its 27 sister National Estuary Programs around the U.S. in a nationwide Toast to the Coast in honor of National Estuaries Day on Saturday, Sept. 28, the organization has an nounced. We invite you to join us by lifting a glass, mug or cup in a salute to our very own Sarasota Bay, a news release says. Snap a picture of yourself or a group of friends toasting to Sarasota Bay and email [it] to to enter SBEPs Toast to the Coast photo contest, the release continues NATIONAL ESTUARIES DAY PHOTO CONTEST ANNOUNCED Creati vity is encouraged, but all pictures must show Sarasota Bay in the photograph. Please be sure to reference where the photo was taken, the release adds. Those wanting to participate should submit a picture by Monday, Sept. 23, the release points out. Later that day, an album will be posted on the SBEP Facebook page with all the submis sions. The picture that gets the most likes via the album will be named the winner on National Estuaries Day, Sept. 28. The winning submission will receive four Sarasota Bay Ex plorers tickets, the release notes. Anyone with questions may contact Stephanie Hames at i or at 955-8085. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 75


The Marina Jack restaurant (left) is a prominent structure on Sarasotas bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel On Sept. 26, the meeting of the Sarasota Re publican Club will feature a discussion of the thorniest issue in Sarasota County, a news release says: the 2050 Comprehensive Development Plan. The panel will include Dan Lobeck, a local attorney and president of Control Growth Now ; Lourdes Ramirez, president of CONA (Sarasota C ounty Council of Neighborhood Associ ations); Jody Hudgins, a local banker who has served on the Sarasota Housing Au thority and the Sarasota Planning Commis sion; and prominent environmental attorney Casey Colburn, the release adds. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Marina Jack, located at 2 Marina Plaza on the Sara sota bayfront. SARASOTA 2050 PLAN TO BE FOCUS OF CLUB DISCUSSION Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 76


To mark Nationa l P ublic Lands Day on Sat urday, Sept. 28, Sarasota County Natural Re sources and Parks and Recreation staff mem bers will host a volunteer event from 9 a.m. to noon at Red Bug Slough Preserve, located at 5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota, the county has announced. This event is an excellent opportunity for vol unteers to help maintain the preserves ame nities and natural features, said Jeff Weber, environmental specialist and land manager for Red Bug Slough Preserve, in a news release. Staff will work with volunteers to improve the existing buttery garden with weeding, prun ing, the replacement of nuisance exotic plants with Florida-friendly vegetation, installation of landscaping and mulch around the new restroom facility and erection of interpretive signs, the release notes. To participate in the event, volunteers should register in advance online at Select the Calendar tab on the left, then click on September from the dr op-down list and click Go. Finally, choose National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28. Space for the event is limited to 25 volunteers, the release notes. Volunteers are encouraged to bring loppers or hand pruners, work gloves, hats, sunglasses, water, bug spray and sunscreen, the release says. Volunteers should also wear closed-toe, closed-heel shoes such as hiking boots or sneakers. National Public Lands Day is the nations largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance Americas public lands, the re lease points out. Last year more than 170,000 volunteers nationwide built trails and bridges, planted trees and plants and removed trash and invasive plants. This effort contributed an estimated $17 million to the improvement of public lands across the country, the release adds. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask for Natural Resources or visit NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY CELEBRATION SET FOR SEPT. 28 Red Bug Slough on Beneva Road will be the site of the National Public Lands Day celebration on Sept. 28. Photo courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 77


The downtown S arasota intersection of Main Street and Palm Avenue reopened late on the afternoon of Sept. 13 12 days ahead of schedule with newly installed brick cross walks, the city announced. Our goal was to get the job done right as quickly as possible, so our merchants, res idents and visitors would not be inconve nienced any longer than necessary, said Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown in a news release. We appreciate our contrac tor, Jon F. Swift, working so diligently to n ish ahead of schedule and reopen in time for weekend trafc. The work was completed in ve days, the re lease notes. The City Commission had direct ed staff to temporarily close the intersection in September and complete the work prior to the return of seasonal residents and tourists to the area, the release points out. The city is collaborating with the Downtown Improvement District to make $1.8 million in improvements at various locations downtown, from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points and up to Goodrich Avenue, the release adds. To receive email updates about the project, register online at MAIN-PALM INTERSECTION REOPENED 12 DAYS EARLY Improvements at the intersection of Main Street and Palm Avenue were completed ahead of time. Pho to courtesy of the City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 78


During the month of October, Goodwill Mana sota will host a free, ve-week-long workshop on conversational and practical Spanish as part of the nonprots Good Neighbor Pro gram, Goodwill has announced. Workshop classes, which are open to all mem bers of the public, will be held every Tuesday, Oct. 1-29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Goodwill North Trail at Mecca Community Room, locat ed at 5150 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Rosa Payson, a gifted, tri-lingual entrepre neur born and raised in Colombia, and Ju lissa Baez-Pavon, co-owner of a local Allstate Insurance Co. ofce and a native of the Do GOODWILL TO HOST FREE SPANISH LANGUAGE WORKSHOP minican Republic, will teach the classes, a news release says. Each week, they will teach new vocabulary words using a method de signed to make the language easy for students to speak and comprehend, the release adds. The course will cover use of Spanish in meet ing and greeting people, restaurant patronage and travel; it also will provide tips on how to improve communication with Spanish-speak ing service providers and employees, the re lease notes. To register for the course, call 355-2721, Ext. 163, or ema il The National Me rit Scholarship Corp. has an nounced that 40 students attending Sarasota County public high schools are among the ap proximately 16,000 seminalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The seminalists have an opportunity to con tinue in the competition for about 8,000 Na tional Merit Scholarships valued at about $35 million, a Sarasota County Schools news re lease points out. To advance to the nalist level for a Merit Scholarship, seminalists must meet several requirements, the release says. About 15,000 seminalists are expected to attain nalist standing; those who do will be notied in Feb ruary 2014. More than half of those nalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title, the release adds. About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Schol FORTY COUNTY STUDENTS NAMED NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS arship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screening of program entrants, the release continues. The nationwide pool of seminalists, which rep resents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. To become a nalist, a seminalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommend ed by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that conrm the students earlier per formance on the qualifying test. The seminal ist and a high school ofcial must submit a de tailed scholarship application, which includes an essay by the student and information about his or her participation and leadership in school and community activities, the release says. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of thei r skills, accomplishments and Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 79


potential for success in rigorous college stud ies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic ori gin or religious preference, the release notes. Three types of National Merit Scholarship will be offered in the spring of 2014. Every nalist will compete for one of 2,500 Nation al Merit scholarships valued at $2,500, which will be awarded on a state representational basis, the release says. About 1,000 corpo rate-sponsored scholarships will be provid ed by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for nalists who meet their specied criteria, such as children of the Noelle Moon, a National Merit Scholarship seminalist at Venice High School, accepts a certicate from her principal, Jack Turgeon. Contributed photo grantors emp loyees or residents of communi ties where sponsor plants or ofces are locat ed, the release points out. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to nance some 4,500 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for nalists who will at tend the sponsor institutions. The 2014 National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced from April through July. They will join more than 300,000 other dis tinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title, the release concludes. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 80


Sarasota Count y Sheriff Tom Knight promoted Lt. Jeff Slapp to captain on Sept. 11, the Sher iffs Ofce has announced. Slapp joined the sheriffs ofce in 1985 and rose through the ranks, becoming a lieutenant in 2006, a news release says. He has served the agency in a number of areas, most recent ly supervising the Training Section, and he is credited with introducing progressive skills and technologies to training programs agen cy-wide, the release adds. Sla pp will now bring his management skills to the Public Safety Communications Cen ter, the releas e notes. Jeff is always striving to better the produc tion of his command, said Knight in the re lease. He earned his new position through hard work and dedication. Slapp has a masters degree in criminology from the University of South Florida. He is a 2009 graduate of the St. Leo University Com mand Ofcer Development Training Course and an adjunct professor at Keiser University, the release says. % SLAPP PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN IN SHERIFFS OFFICE Capt. Jeff Slapp (left) accepts congratulations from Sheriff Tom Knight. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 81


The Sarasota Co unty Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested a Venice man for Driving Under the Inuence and other charges after he crashed into the back of a patrol car on the morning of Sept. 18 and tried to drive away, the ofce has reported. Deputy Todd Mitchell was at the intersection of Center Road and Rockley Boulevard at 8:07 a.m. when another car struck the rear of his agency vehicle and then pulled around the car as the driver tried to leave the scene, the re port says. Mitchell was not injured. The driver, John Tauber, 26, of 409 Menen dez St., Apt. 102, Venice, had [a] very strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath, ac cording to the report led by another deputy who responded to the scene. [Tauber] had to be held several times so he didnt fall over or into trafc, the report continues. Tauber was extremely belligerent to deputies, claimed he hadnt been drinking and refused to perform standard eld sobriety tests, a news release adds. However, once he was taken to jail he took the breath test and blew a .353 and .365, more than four times the legal limit. Tauber is charged with DUI with Breath Al cohol Content above .15, DUI with Property Damage and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage. The vehicle driven by John Tauber has visible damage after the crash. Contributed photo CRIME BLOTTER DRUNK DRIVER CRASHES INTO DEPUTYS CRUISER


Rear-end damage is evident in the Sheriffs Ofce patrol car. Contributed photo John Tauber/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 83


A 27-year-old Sarasota man who tried to es cape from a Sarasota Police Department ve hicle taking him to the North County Jail was detained and immediately rearrested on Sept. 16, the Police Department has reported. About 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 16, ofcers were dis patched to the intersection of Second Street and Central Avenue in Sarasota, a news re lease says, where a passerby alerted them to a person sleeping on a bench in front of the Selby Public Library. The ofcers awoke Brandon R. Kesti, described in the report as a transient, and asked him for identication. He could not provide any, the report says. Then he gave the ofcers a false name. When one of the ofcers ran a check on that name, the report says, no record could be found. MAN RE-ARRESTED AFTER TRYING TO ESCAPE FROM POLICE OFFICERS A Sarasota Police car crosses the pedestrian walkway near the Criminal Justice Center as it heads westward on Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney Brandon Kesti/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 84


The ofcers advised Kesti they needed his real name, the report continues. When Kesti provided another name, a records check on it brought up a photo that did not match Kes ti, the report adds. The ofcers then arrested him for Lodging Out of Doors, a misdemeanor, and Giving a False Name After Being Lawfully Detained. The ofcers handcuffed Kesti and placed him in the back seat of the patrol car, the report says. Again, they asked him for his name, and, again, he gave them another false one. Kesti did not provide his real name until the ofcers were approaching the Sarasota County Jail on Ringling Boulevard, the report continues. Just after the ofcers passed the pedestrian walkway on Ringling, they heard movement in the rear of the patrol car, the report says. Kesti had moved his handcuffs to the front and was escaping through the rear window on the drivers side, which had been partially down for air ow, the report notes. The ofcers immediately exited the patrol car and detained Kesti, the report says. Kesti tried to pull away and was able to stand up and ee, injuring an ofcer in the process, the report adds. After the ofcers were able to regain control of him, the report continues, they escorted Kesti into the jail. He also was charged with a felony count of Escape, the report notes, as well as a misde meanor count of Resisting Without Violence. Sarasota Police D etective Megan Buck and other ofcers of the Sarasota Police Depart ment worked with the FBI to arrest and charge Ryan E. Bartley, 42, of 2226 Pineview Circle, Sarasota, with one federal count of Distribu tion of Child Pornography and one federal count of Child Pornography, the department announced on Sept. 18. Bartley was arrested on Sept. 16, after detec tives say he was found to have been trading child pornography over the Internet, a news release adds. Over the course of a week, de tectives conducted an undercover sting and provided enough probable cause for a federal search warrant, the release notes. SARASOTA MAN CHARGED FOR TRADING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY The purpo se o f [the] Child Exploitive Task force is to aggressively go out and seek people who commit crimes against children, Buck said in the release. This taskforce is in place to protect our children from the predators on the Internet and the real world. The Child Exploitive Taskforce is made up of representatives of the Bradenton Police Department, Cape Coral Police Department, Charlotte County Sheriffs Ofce, Clewiston Police Department, Collier County Sheriffs Ofce, Lee County Sheriffs Ofce and the Sarasota Police Department, the release adds. The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 85


A 19-year-old B radenton man was arrested on Sept. 15 in connection with the report of an attempted abduction about 6:20 a.m. that day, the Sarasota Police Department has reported. The male victim told ofcers the driver of a white Honda Civic saw him standing near the intersection of 17th Street and U.S. 41 in Sara sota and instructed him to get into the passen ger side of the vehicle, according to the report. After the victim entered the car, the driver headed southbound on North Tamiami Trail and allegedly brandished a handgun that he had stowed in the back seat, the report adds. The victim told ofcers the driver pointed the gun at him and said, We are going to do this the hard way or the easy way, according to the report. The victim told ofcers no agreement had been made for prostitution, but the driver wanted to have sex with the victim, the re port continues. After making a stop on the top oor of the Regions Bank parking garage at 1626 Ringling Blvd. in downtown Sarasota, the victim said the driver drove back to the area of 17th Street and North Tamiami Trail, where he dropped off the victim. Then the vic tim called 911 and provided a description of the vehicle, the suspect and the license tag number, the report says. A few minutes later, ofcers observed a vehi cle matching that description, the report con tinues. It was headed southbound on U.S. 41; then, it turned east on Boulevard of the Arts. When ofcers tried to stop the vehicle, it ed, the report adds. Ofcers pursued it and were able to stop the Honda at the intersection of University Parkway an d North Lockwood Ridge Road. Ofcers recovered a BB hand gun from the vehicle, the report notes, and it looked like a real rearm, the report adds. The operator of the vehicle was Dion Barnes of 3422 29th St. East, Bradenton, according to the report. He told ofcers he originally thought the victim was a female and that they had agreed on a price for a certain sexual act, the report says. However, after they stopped at the bank parking garage, Barnes told of cers he began to question the gender of the victim and an argument ensued over the fee to which they earlier had agreed, the report continues. Barnes was charged with Fleeing to Elude and Reckless Driving. BRADENTON MAN ARRESTED IN ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION CASE Dion Barnes/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 86


Members of the Crime Stoppers executive board pose with their new sign on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota: (from left) Dan Valentino, Cal Erb, Sheriff Tom Knight, Howard Phipps, Lucy Nicandri and Bob Freedy. The nonprot organization was established locally in 1985 to help law enforcement ofcers ght crime. Callers may remain anonymous, and they are eligible to re ceive cash rewards of up to $3,000 for information leading to arrests. Simply put, Crime Stoppers relies upon the cooperation between the police the media and the community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 87


her as well: one count of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, four counts of Criminal Use of Personal Identication, four counts of Deal ing in Stolen Property and four counts of De frauding a Pawnbroker/Secondhand Dealer, the news release notes. Anyone with information about the incidents is encouraged to call Detective Kim Laster at 364-7327; leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477) or going online at ww w.sarasot % Detectives wit h the Sarasota Police Depart ment arrested Peter Mohr, 22, of 3266 Jolson Drive, Sarasota, this week on several felo ny charges after they say he used his grand mothers debit card and a Sears MasterCard to make 166 fraudulent transactions totaling $11,651.33. On June 11, the 83-year-old victim told detec tives Mohr and his girlfriend, Cristina Artea ga (no address given), fraudulently used her cards, according to the police report. Since May 1, approximately 47 fraudulent transac tions were recorded on the victims debit card in the city of Sarasota, totaling $6,361.06, the report says. During the same time frame involving the same debit card about 119 fraudulent transactions occurred in Sarasota County totaling $5,290.27, the report adds. Mohr has been charged with felony counts of Exploitation of the Elderly, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card and Criminal Use of Personal Identication. More charges are pending and the actual amount of total loss is expected to go up, a news release says. As of Sept. 17, Mohrs girlfriend had not been arrested but charges were pending against SARASOTA MAN CHARGED WITH STEALING FROM HIS GRANDMOTHER Peter Mohr/Contributed photo For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 88


EDITORIAL OPINION THE DAISY APPROACH TO PARKING FEES EDITORIAL A huge sigh of relief was breathed following the Sarasota City Commission meeting on Sept. 3 by the staff of the citys Parking En forcement Division. The commissioners had just voted 3-2 to resume charging for parking in the 740-space Palm Avenue garage, an ap parent reprieve for a division costing city tax payers more than a million dollars each year. Not so relieved are those same taxpayers, who might have hoped the commission instead would have scaled back parking enforcement to match the requirements of a downtown that featured free parking. Only 547 days had passed since the City Com mission, knuckling under to protests from down town merchants, voted 3-2 to remove paid pa rk ing from the citys streets and garages, scrapping practically new parking meters in the process. The parking charges started with the installa tion of those $10,000 parking meters in May 2011. Protests from downtown merchants be gan almost immediately, so the City Commis sion then voted in July to suspend charges for parking for three months. In October, parking fees resumed for ve months. Then the City Commission pulled all of the meters and reestablished free parking downtown in March 2012. The citys approach to paid parking has been somewhat like a childs plucking of petals from a daisy, saying, He loves me. He loves me not only the city is saying, We charge them. We char ge t hem not.


The city had beefed up its Parking Enforce ment Division, with an annual budget in ex cess of $1 million. When the parking revenues were realized, along with nes from parking infractions, the cost of parking enforcement would be shouldered by downtown parkers, not by city taxpayers. At least, that was the theory. The city spent around $1 million to purchase and install the sophis ticated parking meters on downtown streets. Since they were in use only a tot al of seven months, that meant each month cost taxpayers not parkers more than $140,000 just for equipment. Meanwhile, parking revenue amounted to barely a quarter of a million dollars before the commission pulled the plug, leaving city taxpayers holding the bag for three-quarters of a million dollars in equipment costs and the entire operating budget for the Parking Enforcement Division, which exceeded reve nues by more than $600,000. A prudent person might have asked why the City Commission, when it decided to forego an estimated $1.6 million in parking revenue, did not at the same time scale back the Park ing Enforcement Division. After all, if parking were to be free downtown, there should not be the need for such elaborate enforcement. The stafng level for the division during Fis cal Year 2012 the year that parking charges were in effect amounted to nine individu als: four parking enforcement specialists; one parking maintenance technician (presumably to keep the meters working); one park ing collection special ist; one garage con cierge; one manager of parking; and one supervisor of parking services. For the current scal year, during which parking was free, the staf ng level declined by only one. There are now ve parking enforcement specialists, one parking attendant and still both a manager of parking and a supervisor of parking services. One would not need to be an accountant to guess that the largest salaries are being paid to the parking manager and the supervisor of parking services. One also should be excused for wondering why, with such a small staff, there has been a need for both a manager and a supervisor. Practically speaking, with free parking, only three or four enforcement specialists should be needed, and they could report to an admin istrative ofcer in the Sarasota Police Depart ment no need for a special manager or a supervisor just for them. There also should be no need for expensive automobiles outtted w ith costly scanning The citys approach to paid parking has been somewhat like a childs plucking of petals from a daisy, saying, He loves me. He loves me not only the city is saying We charge them. We charge them not. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 90


equipmen t to read license plates of parked cars (which, in case you are wondering, is why it is illegal downtown to park backed in). The reality is that the decision to end paid parking should have been accompanied by an immediate reduction in the Parking En forcement Division to ensure taxpayers did not continue to subsidize that cost. Instead, the city commissioners have been wringing their hands at the prospect of losing almost half a million dollars again this year a loss that must be supported by a subsidy from the general fund (i.e., taxpayers). The commissioners grand solution? Start charging for parking in the Palm Avenue garage to trim an estimated $285,000 from the taxpayers subsidy of parking enforcement. Never mind that the Palm Avenue garage was mostly underutilized until the opening in April of Louies Modern, a new restaurant on the rst oor of the garage complex. Somehow we are supposed to believe that this time things will be different. But even the most casual observer would pru dently conclude that charging for the garage but no t charging for street parking will simply clog up prime parking spots on the streets and make the Palm Avenue garage the Maytag re pairman it was a year ago. If any parking charge were to make sense, it would be charging for street parking and keeping garage parking free. But then mer chants and their employees would not be able to park in front of their establishments, and the same angry crowds would be back in front of the City Commission demanding the board remove the meters. The city either should charge for all parking or make all parking free. And if parking is to be free and we believe it should be the scope of parking enforcement must be scaled ba ck commensurately. The city taxpayers sim ply cannot be expected to pay more than a million dollars a year for parking executive positions and expensive unnecessary equip ment. Take some or all of that $485,000 budget shortfall out of the Parking Enforcement Division budget. How much simpler could it b e? % The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 91


COMMENTARY Re cently, a friend to ld me he was planning a trip to the West Coast to visit his sons and his grandson. And as I thought about his excursion, I realized I have my own per sonal denitions regarding various types of travel, especially the difference between a trip and a vacation. Trip can mean a business excursion, some thing arduous or possibly enjoyable, but still some kind of obligatory assignment from your manager or a necessity related to your job de scription. For many people, the act of going on a business trip connotes having a presti gious job wherein your company pays you to show up and represent it. In other words, the rm respects and trusts your expertise and hopes it can benet from them. And you, the traveler, might enjoy staying at nice hotels and eating at high-end restaurants (maybe even in interesting locales), all on the companys dime, so to speak. And let us not forget the fun of earning frequent yer miles if an airplane is required for transportation. A second kind of trip involves visiting family/ relatives. Whether you y or drive to your des tination, the end result is the same you are going to check in with your loved ones. That is your priority on this trip. You might get lucky and ha ve relatives who live in a city or coun try you have always wanted to explore. Then you can combine the family visit with the bo nus of sightseeing. But, usually, this does not happen on a trip, because family takes pre cedence (aka time), and you have not seen these particular relatives because you have been busy. Additionally, many times on these types of trips, family members practically force you to stay with them, which means you miss out on the pleasure of spending time in a hotel and making all your own decisions about the activities you pursue. All of the above leads me to that wonderful word, vacation. Aaaaaahhh Just writing the word makes me feel much better. I can en vision the wrinkles fading and a smile appear ing on my face. Planning a vacation is always a positive experience, always something ex cellent to anticipate. The results will be worth your time in planning the details. You will be taking time off from work; leaving your daily routine behind; going to a brand-new place that might be on your bucket list; and feeling great about spending your hard-earned mon ey on a vacation that is just for you, with no strings attached. PLANNING A TRIP IS ITS OWN FORM OF ADVENTURE By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 92


You migh t even want to leave all your elec tronics behind, too, or at least store them in your bag until departure time arrives at the end of your trip. Personally, I think the fewer reminders we have of our daily lives, the more enjoyable our vacations are. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to separate our types of travel, having the luxury of visiting relatives on some occasions and then, at other times, journeying to exciting lo cales. I would rather have my family members visit me at home. That way, as they leave, I can wave goodbye and go off on my own wellearned vacation. The adventure continues % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any let ters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the prop erty of The Sarasota News Leader. 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 20, 2013 Page 93




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A TINY NEW PUBLIC SPACE HAS BEEN CREATED ALONG OCEAN BOULEVARD; SGT. SCOTT OSBORNE PROVIDES A PRIMER ON 911 CALLS; THE SIESTA KEY CRYSTAL CLASSIC NEEDS SPONSOR SUPPORT SIESTA SEEN Sarasota County Parks and Recreation De partment staff quietly has carved out a tiny public space on right of way next to a very popular parcel on Ocean Boulevard. The news about this spots existence arose during the August meeting of the Siesta Key Association, but it took me a little time to nail down details about its creation. Regular readers may remember that the lots adjacent to the right of way formerly were the focus of a Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast initiative to create a pocket park By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor A truck is in the space created along county right of way on Ocean Boulevard, while another vehicle is parked parallel to the road. Photo by Rachel Hackney


an a ttempt neighboring condominium owners shot down in 2012. The two pieces of property that create the Gulf-front vista which are listed for sale with prominent Sarasota real estate rm Mi chael Saunders & Co. are just south of Si esta Village. The entrance to the parcels is across Ocean Boulevard from Givens Street and next to the Windward Passage condo complex. Beginning in the spring, county staff started working as time permitted on post-andrope fencing to carve out one parking space on the right of way, county spokesman Curt Preisser told me this week. Eventually, a typ ical Parks and Rec kiosk was erected to make clear the site is public access. The total investment for the work was about $5,000, Preisser said. On a side note, Preisser added that county re search indicated the public right of way was established in the early 1900s. This tiny areas makeover was news to Chris tine Johnson, president of the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, who rst ad dressed Siesta Key Association members in February 2012 about the possibility of the foundations seeking private funding to pur chase the two parcels on the Gulf of Mexico. How ever, Johnson told me almost exactly a year ago, There wasnt enough community support for [the proposal]. Moreover, she said, the owner was intractable on the price, which was reported to be between $3.5 mil lion an d $4 million. A kiosk provides standard county Parks and Recreation Department information next to the post-and-rope fencing. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 97


Wh en I phoned Johnson in late August to ask whether she had heard about a new coun ty pocket park there, she was skeptical. It sounds like its the Coconut Telegraph [spreading the news], she added. Preisser conrmed the public spaces trans formation with George Tatge, a Parks and Recreation Department manager. SKA Vice President Michael Shay had communicated with Tatge about the changes on the site after Shay noticed them in late spring. In June, Shay emailed Tatge, suggesting the installation of one of the departments iconic kiosks to make it clear the right of way is public property. One factor behind that request, Shay told me, was that he had observed a couple of appar ently homeless people camping on the site. Because such overnight stays are not permit ted in county parks, deputies with the Sara sota County Sheriffs Ofce have been able to keep people off the property between mid night and 6 a.m., Shay said. A PRIMER ON CALLS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AID During the Sept. 5 Siesta Key Association meeting, Sgt. Scott Osborne leader of the Sheriffs Ofces Community Policing Station on the island offered some advice and dis pelled some myths regarding calls for ofcer assistance. First, Osborne pointed out, if anyone in any situation is perplexed about whether to call 911 or the non-emergency number for the Sheriffs Ofce (31 6-1201), the person should go ahea d and call 911. All calls go to the same room of about 30 to 40 dispatchers, he stressed. A dispatcher might nd herself re sponding to a non-emergency call right after she has handled a 911 call, Osborne said. In response to questions about why dispatch ers ask so many specic questions includ ing a callers location Osborne explained that the Legislature passed a bill after a trag ic case in 2008 involving the abduction of a North Port woman She was able to make a 911 call, he said, but it was routed to Charlotte County. Ofcers were not able to locate her in time, he added; she was sexually assault ed and murdered. The Denise Amber Lee Bill, which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2012, deals with specic training procedures for 911 dis patchers to try to prevent such tragedies in the future. Sometimes [dispatchers are] going to ask questions that are going to aggravate you, Os borne told SKA members. While he acknowl edged that callers already might be under a lot of stress, the dispatchers are only trying to follow the new state law and make sure they have all the information they need to handle the call appropriately. SKA Director Ron Flynn pointed out that he and a neighbor both were upset earlier in the summer when they called with complaints about loud music emanating late at night from the countys Turtle Beach Campground on the south end of the key. The dispatch er asked him to meet a deputy at the camp ground, Flynn continued, and at 11 oclock at night, I was in bed. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 98


Osborne pointed out that the dispatcher in that incident was new and did not understand that it was unnecessary to have a caller meet a deputy. If you dont feel comfortable leaving your home, Osborne added, dont. Dispatchers may take up to 400 calls in a typ ical shift, he explained. Sometimes, theyll make mistakes, like all of us. An audience member who volunteered to watch out for nesting snowy plovers on the beach this summer complained that she did not always know her location when she called for assistance. All yo u h ave to do is say, Im at Access 5, for example, Osborne told her. When the dis patcher relays that detail to a deputy, he said, the address automatically pops up in a display in the ofcers vehicle. In response to another question, Osborne said it is untrue that a report is not to be written about a disturbance if the person who called to complain refused to meet with a deputy. A report would be led regardless of whether the caller wished to speak one-on-one with an ofcer, Osborne emphasized. SKA President Catherine Luckner then men tioned report s from neighbors on North Shell Neighbors on North Shell Road have complained about people partying with loud music late at night as they enjoy Beach Access 1 at the end of the road. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 99

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Road about peopl e creating a disturbance at Beach Access 1 at the end of that road. She referenced an occasion when residents told SKA ofcers that people had turned up the stereo system in a vehicle and left it running so they could hear the music by the water. Osborne told the audience state law makes it illegal to leave an unattended vehicle run ning. The non-moving violation results in a $116 ne, he added. The law was intended to prevent people from leaving pets in their vehi cles w hile they went shopping or ran errands, he explained. Well, thank you, SKA Deet Jonker replied with a chuckle. I learned something. A deputy responding to a complaint about mu sic blaring from a running vehicle would have to nd the owner or driver, Osborne added. We cant just write a ticket and leave it on the car. Ive never had any issues nding somebody, Osborne continued. If the o wner could not be Sculptors Karen Fralich and Sue McGrew work on their eye-grabbing depiction of a cat-covered Vi king. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 100

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located, a dep uty could call a tow truck to re move the vehicle from the scene. When a tow truck shows up, Osborne continued with a laugh, the driver invariably shows up to claim the vehicle. CRYSTAL CLASSIC SPONSORS With September on its downhill roll, autumn will be here in no time and with it will come the fourth Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. The event, which draws tens of thousands of visitors to Siesta Key Public Beach, has been scheduled for Nov. 15-18. The Crystal Classic has begun offering spon sorship, ticket sales and donation opportuni ties online, organizers have announced. Our sponsors receive high visibility before and during the event, a news release points out. It is the opportunity to participate in a collab orative community event and a way to visibly support the cultural arts and our beautiful Si esta Beach, a news release says. All proceeds benet Mote Marine Laborato rys sea turtle research and conservation pro grams. Online, visitors may do all of the following: Purchase admission tickets, with four-day passes only $10. Purchase four-day VIP parking permits for $49. Purchase a sponsorship package, starting at $100. Donate an y amount through the homepage, For more information about sponsorships or to offer donations, visit the website or contact Chastanna Niemann at the Siesta Key Cham ber of Commerce, 349-3800. For more information about Mote Marine Lab oratorys work, visit LIDO RENOURISHMENT The Sarasota County Commission and the Longboat Town Commission tackled the Lido Beach renourishment project this week, as did the countys Coastal Advisory Committee (see the related stories in this issue). As the subject is of particular interest to Siesta Key residents thanks to the talk of dredging Big Pass for the rst time to provide the nec essary sand the Siesta Key Association will host representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Dec. 5 SKA meeting at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, SKA President Catherine Luckner reminded members during the Sept. 5 session. Because of the Corps need for drop-down screens to present some material, she said, the December gathering will be held in the big community room at the church where the SKA holds its annual breakfast meeting each spring. And instead of the usual starting time of 4:30 p.m., she pointed out, the Dec. 5 session will begin at 5 p.m. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 101

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Master Sand Sculptor Abe Waterman works on a 2012 winning Crystal Classic entry called Fine Print. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 102

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Corps representatives are anticipated to pres ent their latest recommendations at that time regarding the dredging of Big Pass and the in stallation of permeable adjustable groins on the south end of Lido Key, to try to keep the sand in place after the latest renourishment has been completed, Luckner added. The City of Sarasota is working with the Corps on the project, which is not expected to be gin for at least two more years. The timetable could be delayed, Luckner added, if too little su pport is found for the dredging of Big Pass and the Corps has to research and plan alter natives. When an SKA member asked whether the or ganization has taken a position on the project, Luckner said it has not, but board members have been especially concerned about the groins as they could affect the continued ac cretion of sand on the northern part of Siesta. You can count on us protecting the key, she poi nted out. % Big Pass separates Siesta and Lido keys. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 103

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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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Art Center Sarasota has a cool new ambience and a bright new look thanks to several generous donors, the gallery has announced. Weve always had challenges keeping the atri um gallery comfortable when hosting large crowds, says Lisa Berger, Art Center Sara sotas director, in a news release. The old air conditioning system couldnt keep our space cool during our receptions, which often draw hundreds of people. Guests would grumble about the stuffiness, but most considered higher temperatures the price they paid to see inspired art. Now, with the new system, every one can spend more time at the events enjoy ing the art without the sweltering heat. Berger stresses this was not a repair or up grade to the system, which was installed many years ago. This is a brand new, state-of-theart system that was custom-designed for our needs. Were grateful to Howard and Betty Isermann for their gift in making Art Center Sarasota a cool place to visit. Berge r adds in the release that the Isermanns have consistently supported facility renova tions in the past, including helping with gal lery lighting, classroom windows and other projects. An additional gift from longtime board mem ber and former board president Sam Shapiro was used to purchase and install new light ing in the entrance area, Berger also notes in the release. A third gift from Art Center Sarasota member, volunteer and artist Elaine Charney went toward renovating an entire gallery. Elaine always felt that the walls of Gallery 3 were dark and unwelcoming, says Berg er. Thanks to her help, we were able to take down the former walls, which were covered with black carpet, install fresh drywall and paint the new walls. Berger points out that the renovations were completed just in ti me for the Florida Water The 42nd Annual Florida Watercolor Society Exhibition opens on Sept. 20 at Art Center Sarasota. Image from ART CENTER SARASOTA UNDERGOES RENOVATION A&E BRIEFS

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color Society exhibition, which opens on Sept 20. We anticipate 600 people visiting the show at the opening reception, she says in the re lease. At least we can rest assured theyll all keep their cool. Art Center Sarasota will launch its 20132014 season on Nov. 7 with CUBEMUSIC a site-specic installation created by renowned artist Craig Colorusso, who explores the in tersection of sound, light and space in his sculpture, the release continues. The work comprises six, four-foot metal cubes that em anate light and music. This exhibition will be accompanied by Sun Boxes a solar-powered sound installation, also created by Colorusso. Twenty speaker boxes will be placed around Sarasota County, invit ing viewers to experience an ever-chang ing environment of space, sound and light, the release notes. The season opener also will include Pulp Culture a group exhibition showcasing the many ways paper can be used to create art, the release says. Further, a juried exhibition titled miniatures will showcase works small er than 12 inches by 12 inches. Finally, Art Center Sarasotas Instructors Ex hibit featuring works by its class and work shop instructors, will be exhibited during the same cycle, which will run through Jan. 3, 2014. For more information about Art Center Saraso ta, call 365-2032 or visit Over the ne xt three months, three exhibi tions on view at the South Florida Museum will draw attention to the delicate world of botanical art and scientic illustration, the museum has announced. One of the oldest art forms, botanical art is a history of the development of human civi lization, a news release points out. Matthew Woodside, the museums director of exhibi tions and chief curator, says in a news re lease, These works of art are reections of how humans have played a role inuencing global change through the discovery, study, cultivation and global dispersion of plants we use for medicine, commerce, fashion, rit ual and survival. The exhibits will delight our senses, giving an opportunity to explore mod ern-day masterpieces and understand them for their beauty as well as the technical bra vado artists use to execute these rened and life-like images. SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM TO FEATURE BOTANICAL ART He adds in the release, More than compul sion drives these artists to relentlessly pursue an art form that has the power to transform our complex, three-dimensional world into two-dimensional, idealized microcosms. The nationally traveling exhibition Follow ing in the Bartrams Footsteps: Work from the American Society of Botanical Artists opened in the South Florida Museums East Gallery on Sept. 19. A collaboration between the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) and Bartrams Garden in Philadelphia, the exhibition features contemporary botan ical art works depicting plants observed and described by 18th century naturalists John and William Bartram during their travels, the release continues. Those plants often were studied and cultivated at Bartrams Garden in Philadelphia, PA, the release notes. Native Florida species observed d uring William Bar Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 106

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Fine Art Botanicals by O.M. Braida features the work of Olivia Braida, founder and an in structor at the Academy of Botanical Art in Sarasota and a member of the American Soci ety of Botanical Artists and the Copley Society of Art. This exhibition will be located in the Rincon Gallery. Aspects of Art by Julia Rega will be displayed in the Riverine Gallery. An alumna of the Academy of Botanical Art in Sarasota, Riga studied with Braida before focusing on art in college and becoming a professional graphic designer, the release continues. The abilities and sensitivities she gained through the bo tanical arts paved the way for her career, the release says. The South Florida Museum is located at 201 10th St. West in Bradenton. For more informa tion, visit The South Florida Museum in Bradenton is presenting exhibitions on botanical art and scientic illustration. Photo by Norman Schimmel trams pionee ring travels through Florida as a naturalist in the late 18th century are includ ed, the release adds. The exhibition reects John and Williams passionate observation and discovery of nature, which has inuenced generations of artists and explorers through out the world. An opening reception will be held for the ex hibition on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. In addition to the national show, the South Florida Museum has coordinated two support ing exhibitions to further communicate the art and skill of botanical art. These exhibitions will be showcased on the second oor of the museums galleries, running concurrently with Following in the Bartrams Footsteps through Dec. 29, t he release adds. Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 107

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The Florida State University/Asolo Conserva tory for Actor Training will present Oleanna, a Special Late Night Series Event, at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, the company has an nounced. Produced and directed entirely by the Con servatory students, the two-character play by David Mamet explores the power struggle be tween a university professor and his student, a news release says. The one-night-only pro duction will star second-year FSU/Asolo Con servatory students Allie Henkel and Matthew Olson. The play will be performed in the Cook The atre at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art. The event is free and open to the public, the release notes. FSU/ASOLO CONSERVATORY TO PRESENT OLEANNA ON SEPT. 30 David Mamet appears at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Art Uptown, S arasotas oldest continuously operated cooperative ne art gallery, will fea ture guest artists Mary Chadsey, Nancy Morris and Carole Reiss during October in an exhi bition of pottery and ber art titled, Thrown and Sewn the gallery has announced. The show will run from Sept. 28 to Oct. 25, with an artists reception scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 4. The gallery is located at 1367 Main St. The three artists work out of the studio they call Mariooch on South Tamiami Trail in Sara sota, a news release notes. Chadsey works in multiple media, including pottery and fab ric arts, while Morris works in clay, producing pots and other functional vessels, and Reiss creates unique artwork with fabrics, the re lease continues. POTTERY AND FIBER ART TO BE FEATURED AT ART UPTOWN Canisters, a ower purse and scarves will be among the works by Mary Chadsey, Nancy Morris and Carole Reiss on exhibit at Art Up town during October. Contributed photos Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 108

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The artists are planning a body butter demonstration on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 11 a.m. at the gallery, featuring ceramic pots designed to contain organic butters and essential oils that are used to nourish the skin, the release adds. Art Uptown is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. During the monthly First Friday Gallery Walks on Palm and Main streets, evening hours are 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 955-5409 or visit Owned by its members, Art Uptown has been continuously operating in its current location on Main Street for 33 years, representing local artists and offering affordable art and gifts, the release notes. Works by Mary Chadsey, Nancy Morris and Carole Reiss will be on exhibit at Art Uptown during Oc tober. Contributed photos Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 109

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The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sara sota, which has been a partner in education with the Sarasota County School Board for 16 years, has received a highly competitive edu cation grant given to just 10 theatres across the country by The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, the halls staff has announced. The Broadway League is composed of more than 700 theatre owners and operators, pro ducers, presenters and general managers in North America, a news release notes. The grant will enable the Van Wezel to collab orate with the new Booker High School Law Academy, a program that offers students the opportunity to receive an educational foun dation in the legal profession and criminal justice system at the local, state and national level, the release continues. The project will focus on Chicago: The Musical The main objective of the program is to con nect Chicago: The Musical s provocative dra matic themes and characters to contemporary issues in criminal law while reinforcing the students knowledge and ability to participate in the theatrics of the Academys mock tri al proceedings, the release points out. The goal also is to stimulate an appreciation of the value of Broadway theatre, especially among high school students who may other wise lack meaningful arts experiences, the release points out. Kelli Bragdon, the Van Wezels director of ed ucation and community engagement, said in the release, This is a very exciting opportuni ty, to partner with Booker High Schools Law Aca demy to provide innovative arts integra tion stra tegies [in] a law and criminal studies curriculum. We look forward to exploring the ethics and glamorization of todays legal system through the lens of the Broadway pro duction Chicago: The Musical I think this will be a truly innovative approach and model how arts organizations can partner with school programs to provide content-rich experiences [for] students. The project, which will begin in October, will include five monthly workshops featuring guest speakers with expertise in the legal sys tem, journalism and the arts; those speakers will facilitate discussions on topics such as the celebrity criminal, the release points out. After the March performance of Chicago: The Musical at the Van Wezel, a wrap-up roundta ble discussion will be held and a project eval uation will be conducted, the release says. % VAN WEZEL PARTNERING WITH BOOKER HIGH LAW ACADEMY The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is located at 777 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Photo by Arielle Scherr Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 110

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It is no secret that intermarriage rates in the North American Jewish community are higher than ever before, a Temple Sinai news release points out. When an interfaith couple has children, the grandparents often feel unsure of how they can cultivate the religious identi ties of their grandchildren, especially when it is not always clear as to how the children will be raised. The Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) has creat ed a program called the Grandparents Circle that offers Jewish grandparents the skills and techniques to nurture, and in some cases es tablish, their interfaith grandchildrens Jewish identity, the release continues. The program, which was piloted in Los Angeles, is rapid ly expanding to new communities across the country. Starting Oct. 15, it will land at Temple Sinai in Sarasota. Im excit ed to be able to bring the Grandpar ents Circle to my community, said Sue Hunt ting of Temple Sinai in the release. Grandpar ents can have such a strong inuence on the religious identity of their grandchildren, even from a long distance, and this course will help them share Judaism with their grandchildren in an engaging and interesting way. The Grandparents Circle program, which is being funded by Temple Sinais Adult Educa tion program, has a number of components, the release notes. The Grandparents Circle Course is a ve-session educational program that will meet weekly. Family-friendly events for grandparents and their grandchildren of ten held during or close to Jewish holidays or school breaks will supplement the course. The Grandparents Circle also offers a nation al email discussion listserv fo r all grandpar Image courtesy of the Temple Sinai THE GRANDPARENTS CIRCLE COMES TO SARASOTA RELIGION BRIEFS

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ents, i nclu ding t hose who have not yet taken the course or who live in a city where it is not offered, the release points out. The listserv provides a supportive online community of peers from across the country to share their experiences, thoughts and questions, the re lease adds. Jewish Outreach Institute program ofcer An drea LeVine, who is the national coordinator of the Grandparents Circle, explains in the re lease that the Grandparents Circle provides a safe, open-minded environment where peo ple can share their achievements, express their concerns and acknowledge their challenges. It serves the Jewish communitys needs by em powering grandparents who might be question ing their role in regard to their grandchildren who are being raised in interfaith homes. But more importantly, it gives grandparents the tools to help ensure that their familys Jewish identity is carried on for another generation. The pro gram is free of charge and open to all grandparents whose grandchildren are being raised in intermarried homes, the release con tinues. Class size is limited, but space is still available. The Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) is an in dependent, national, trans-denominational organization reaching out to unengaged and intermarried Jewish families, the release says. It is helping the organized Jewish communi ty better welcome them, it points out. JOI conducts research, runs programs and serves as a national training institution and network for outreach professionals, guiding and sup porting innovative outreach in communities throughout North America. For more information, contact Temple Sinai at 9241802 or email GrandPare New and returning preschoolers at the Temple Emanu-El Early Learning Center are enjoying a freshly renovated playground, buttery gar den and grow boxes for planting vegetables, the Temple has announced. With the handiwork and planting having been undertaken by volunteers and families from Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood, the refur bished playground is a labor of love and a gift to the young students, a news release says. Temple Emanu-El Early Learning Center facul ty member Tammy Libera expressed gratitude to the volunteers who made the playground improvements possible. Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy, she said in the release. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live TEMPLE EMANU-EL PRESCHOOLERS ENJOY RENOVATED PLAYGROUND in. We are fortunate to have a wonderful com munity of volunteers. Coordinating Temple Emanu-El Brotherhoods efforts were president Neil Klaber and ofcers Uzi Baram and David Steinbach, the release notes. Leading construction on the buttery garden and grow boxes were Alex Zalkin and Christian Harris. Harris is a botanist who also volunteers with Selby Gardens, the re lease adds. Members of Temple Emanu-Els new Green Committee served as advisors on the project, ensuring the playground renovation incorpo rated eco-friendly elements such as sustain able mulch, the release says. For more information about the Temple Ema nu-El Early Learning Center, call 377-8074. % Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 112

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(From left) Jacob Menard, Lauren Lestorto, instructor Tammy Libera and Sloane Greer enjoy the refurbished playground at Temple Emanu-El Early Learning Center. Contributed photo Temple Emanu-El Early Learning Center students Jude Menard, Mark Lowell, and Viki Cserni play in the renovated sandbox. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 20, 2013 Page 113

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 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 20+ SEPTEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Summer Showcase Through Sept. 30, 76 S. Palm Ave. Admission: free. Information: 955-1315 or 20+ SEPTEMBER Allyn Gallup Gallery presents Some Wonderful Abstractions Through Oct. 5, 1288 N. Palm Ave. Free admission. Information: 366-2454 or 27 SEPTEMBER Weve Got You Covered: A Toga Party! (a Halloween Bash pre-party) Sept. 27, 8 to 10 p.m., Mr. Beerys in Gulf Gate, 2645 Mall Drive. Admission: Free ($1 of ev ery Magic Hat beer sold goes to Planned Parenthood). Information: Toga Party Event 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 20, 2013 Page 114

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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 AHHHH, SOME PEACE BEFORE THOSE ROWERS COME BACK SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS