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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COVER Inside GOING LIVE FLOODING AND INSURANCE NOT JUST PICNIC TABLES Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida Vol. 2, No. 2 September 27, 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


As I write this, I feel I am channeling the guy in that old FedEx commercial who talked so fast it was almost hard to understand him. I believe I would have to spit out the words just as quickly if I wanted to announce all of this weeks headlines in a 60-second spot. Not only do we have a lot of news, we also have multiple feature stories, thanks to City Editor Stan Zimmerman, our beloved con tributor Fran Palmeri and gardening guru Rick Wielgorecki. Every week the County Commission meets, I think the discus sions will be bound to generate fewer stories than the previous sessions did. There is that law of averages, after all. Nevertheless, County Editor Roger Drouin and I continue to nd plenty of fodder. And there was a consider able degree of diversity in those deliberations this week. Although Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Bak er was all prepared to weigh in with his own County Commission story regarding the 2050 Plan, he felt the simple vote to advertise a pub lic hearing on proposed changes did not yield enough new news. Instead, he concentrated primarily on one of the top hot-button issues in the country ObamaCare. For Cooper, that also meant trying to dispel many myths. Among all the news we offer this week, we are proud again to include a number of stories I have not seen in any other publi cation. It may take some time for you to peruse all this news, but we feel you will have a very good idea of what transpired in Sarasota County this week if you do. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


GOING LIVE FLOODING AND INSURANCE NEWS & COMMENTARY GOING LIVE 9 With the governments new online health insurance marketplace set to open Oct. 1, locals are working hard to spread the word Cooper Levey-Baker FLOODING AND INSURANCE 14 During a week of torrential rain, the County Commission learns Sarasota County homeowners will still get discounts on ood insurance, in spite of coming changes to a federal program Rachel Brown Hackney NOT JUST PICNIC TABLES 22 County commissioners agree to set aside a portion of the voter-approved park lands tax to make newly acquired property accessible to the public Roger Drouin WHOSE SAY-SO? 26 A county commissioner has asked for a legal opinion on whether his board can move the date of the next referendum on a special 1 mill school tax Rachel Brown Hackney WATER WORRIES 30 A county commissioner asks for frequent updates on the Siesta Key stormwater project and says she hopes the county will help restore the beach in front of one condominium complex to its pre-project condition Rachel Brown Hackney UNDER FIRE 36 County commissioners criticize actions of the chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency Extension Committee Stan Zimmerman OPENING SOON 40 With the short-term operators background checks all clear, the county and the City of North Port are working to get Warm Mineral Springs ready again for visitors Rachel Brown Hackney AN AIRING OF FRUSTRATIONS 47 County Commissioner Christine Robinson renews her efforts to help South County organizations win arts and cultural grants Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Evening Glow Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: At Anchor Norman Schimmel Vol. 2, No. 2 September 27, 2013


NO PASSAGE NO SURPRISES $5,000 MORE 53 Former Sarasota Republican chairman ned again Cooper Levey-Baker A WATER WISH LIST 55 The County Commission approves a priority list for SWFWMD grants that could fund projects to lter nutrients from rainwater before they wash into area waterways Roger Drouin NO PASSAGE 60 A sidewalk waiver request related to the redevelopment of Pelican Plaza spurs disagreement on the County Commission Roger Drouin TWO MORE YEARS 64 The schedule calls for new Lift Station 87 in Sarasota to be operational by August 2015 Stan Zimmerman LOTS OF POTENTIAL 66 The countys Tourist Development Council gives its blessing to a funding strategy for the planned BMX track improvements Rachel Brown Hackney NO SURPRISES 72 The City and County of Sarasota approved their scal year 2014 budgets this week with no changes in board members earlier votes Stan Zimmerman and Rachel Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 75 CRIME BLOTTER 83 OPINION EDITORIAL 89 Three Sarasota commissioners stand their ground COMMENTARY 91 The modern phenomenon of E-Buds Harriet Cuthbert LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 92 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article Vol. 2, No. 2 September 27, 2013 FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080


CELEBRATING A CENTURY RAIN SARASOTA LEISURE CELEBRATING A CENTURY 95 Sarasota High School has called a number of buildings home over the years, but the Mighty Sailor spirit roars on Stan Zimmerman RAIN 100 All the precipitation this summer has replenished the aquifers and resulted in very happy creatures Fran Palmeri FRIEND OR FOE? 106 People remain divided in their views of Australian pines Rick Wielgorecki SIESTA SEEN 109 Gidgets Coastal Provisions gets its construction permit; the county seeks state funding for more facilities at Turtle Beach Park; the Village Association will get an update on the Siesta Public Beach project Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 118 RELIGION BRIEFS 128 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 132 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 133 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article Vol. 2, No. 2 September 27, 2013 For The Best Reading Experience Get Sarasota News Leader On Your Tablet


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After a tooth-a nd-nail ght in Congress, a dra matic Christmas Eve Senate vote and a cli mactic Supreme Court battle, the Patient Pro tection and Affordable Care Act is about to hit another milestone: rollout. Next Tuesday, Oct. 1, Americans will nal ly be able to log on to to compare and pur chase health insurance plans and to nd out if theyre eligible for ex panded programs such as Medicaid or the Childrens Health Insur ance Program. While some ObamaCare pro visions including the one that allows young adults to stay on their parents plans till age 26 have been in place for years, new coverage wont actually kick in till Jan. 1. Next weeks launch represents the biggest step yet in the implementation of the law. But misin formation runs rampant, fueled by both the laws com plex mechanisms and a concerte d effort on President Barack Obama. Photo by Pete Souza via Flickr WITH THE GOVERNMENTS NEW ONLINE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE SET TO OPEN OCT. 1, LOCALS ARE WORKING HARD TO SPREAD THE WORD GOING LIVE They will give anybody the amount of help that they request. Linda Stone CEO Community Health Center of North Port By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


the part of conse rvative lawmakers and ac tivists to discourage Americans from partici pating in the new marketplaces. One already notorious ad, featuring a man in a menacing Uncle Sam costume, playing gynecologist, ex plicitly encourages young Americans not to use the new online marketplaces. The orga nization running the clip, Generation Oppor tunity, received $5 million from a group with ties to the Koch brothers To counter all that, healthcare organizations are hitting the pavement, hoping to educate Americans face-to-face about what the law actually does and how they can go about re searching their options. But with 3.8 million uninsured Floridians out there the third highest total in the nation thats an enor mous undertaking. In August, the University of South Florida (USF) won a one-year $4.2 million federal grant to oversee outreach in large swaths of the state, the largest total in Florida and the second largest nationwide. The college wont be directly hiring navigators, the term for specialists trained to help Americans under stand ObamaCare, but it will be working with consortium partners around the state to do so. Here in Sarasota County, the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida will be imple menting the USF grant, hiring navigators and putting them to work. The Planning Council is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promot ing efcient and cost-effective health services in a seven-county area from Sarasota south to Collier and east to Glades and Hendry. But theyre not alone. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County also received a $171,544 grant to run outreach programs. The department has hired three outreach and en rollment experts who will fan out around the county to spread the word, says Linda Stone, the CEO of the Community Health Center of North Port. Those advisors will answer questions about the ObamaCare application, and they are trained to help applicants gure out the form to le. They will give anybody the amount of help that they request, Stone says. She calls each employee an ofce on wheels, equipped with computer, printer, scanner, etc., to expedite the process. The organization also will have a presence in county libraries, the Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center in Sarasota, Goodwill, the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in Newtown and more places. Its important to underscore that peoples pri vacy is of the utmost importance, and our em ployees have been vetted through the Depart ment of Health theyve been ngerprinted, Stone says. Applicants will need to supply personal information such as a Social Secu rity number and W-2 data, but none of that will be stored by navigators. We will keep no identifying information at all, Stone points out. And contrary to rumors (oated even by elected ofcials), personal health information, including preexisting conditions, will not be collected at all. In addition to outreach, the county Health De partment is conducting inreach, Stone says, training staffers to become application coun selors. They must pass tests to receive that certication. While the state Department of Health has spe cically banned navigators from sett ing foot Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 10


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Barack Obama. Photo by Pete Souza via Flickr Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 11


on the grounds of county health departments, that directive wont affect efforts in Sarasota County because of the local ofces federal grant. Critics have charged that the state de partments actions are an attempt to intimi date and frustrate those tasked with helping uninsured Floridians sign up through the mar ketplace, another example of the states hos tility toward the healthcare reform law. The Florida Legislature declined to create its own state-level insurance marketplace, which led to the federal government stepping in, and the Legislature rejected tens of billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid through ObamaCare. Caitlyn Miller, grassroots outreach manager with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, says the decision to reject Medicaid leaves 1.2 million Floridians without access to healthcare. She joined representa tives from Sarasota County government, Sara sota Memorial Hospital, First Step Healthy Start and the League of Women Voters at a meeting last week to call on local lawmakers to support expanding Medicaid. Planned Parenthood doesnt have navigators or certied application counselors, but the organization is working hard to contact the newly eligible, Miller points out. That in cludes phone banks and foot canvasses tar geted at populations with a high percentage of the uninsured. People are largely aware that something is going to happen, but theyre not sure how its going to affect them, Miller says. Of cou rse, till next Tuesday, some of those questions are unanswerable. The federal gov ernment released a report this week showing that estimated insurance premiums available through the marketplace will be cheaper in Florida than previously thought, but those numbers remain preliminary. Once the actual rates are released, Miller continues, Planned Parenthood volunteers will be able to give Floridians a more specic overview of the system. The ma rketplaces open enrollment period for 2014 runs from Oct. 1 through March 31; groups will be rushing to help as many resi dents as possible during that six-month win dow. It is denitely a sprint, says Stone, but the people that were working with are up to the challen ge. % The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was designed to expand healthcare in surance coverage in the United States. Image from the National Cancer Institute via Wiki media Commons Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 12


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Because Sarasota County has been a partici pant in a ood insurance rating initiative since 1992, homeowners will still receive a discount of up to 25 percent on National Flood Insur ance Program (NFIP) policies, regardless of federal efforts to eliminate subsidies in the NFIP, the Sarasota County Commission learned this week. In an example provided by Desiree Compan ion of the countys Environmental Utilities De partment, one Sarasota resident who owns a house built in the 1970s that is 1.9 feet below base ood elevation has been paying $1,500 a year for an NFIP policy. The homeowner has received a $418 discount because of the countys participation in the Community Rat ing System (CRS), Companion said in a Sept. 25 presentation to the commission. Even if the residents ood insurance bill goes up to $3,000 a year under the Biggert-Waters Act the homeowner still would enjoy savings, Companion pointed out. So that discount actually becomes more mean ingful, said Commissioner Nora Patterson. Absolutely, Com panion replied. Rain-laden clouds loom over Golden Gate Point in Sarasota on the morning of Sept. 25. Photo by Nor man Schimmel DURING A WEEK OF TORRENTIAL RAIN, THE COUNTY COMMISSION LEARNS SARASOTA COUNTY HOMEOWNERS WILL STILL GET DISCOUNTS ON FLOOD INSURANCE, IN SPITE OF COMING CHANGES TO A FEDERAL PROGRAM FLOODING AND INSURANCE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


The Comm unity Rating System (CRS) pro gram, Companion continued, is similar to one for re insurance, with homeowners eligible for discounts because of the best practices pursued in the county since it became part of the national initiative. Among those measures are protecting new buildings beyond mini mum NFIP levels; preserving and/or restoring natural functions of oodplains; and helping people obtain ood insurance, according to a Sept. 25 memo to the commission from the Environmental Utilities Department. However, Companion told the board the coun tys 25 percent CRS discount likely could fall to 20 percent because of federal changes to the NFIP. Still, she said, she was hopeful the county could meet the new requirements and maintain the higher level. Patterso n had asked about the effect on local NFIP policies as a result of the Biggert-Wa ters Act, which was signed into law in 2012. According to national news accounts, Loui sianas congressional delegation has been leading the charge to at least delay the im plementation of the act, which calls for ood insurance rates to rise 20 percent a year over ve years to eliminate the federal subsidy. At the outset of her annual Floodplain Man agement Report for the board, Companion ex plained that Sarasota County was part of an elite group of only 20,000 communities that voluntarily joined the NFIP in 1971. As a result, Companion pointed out, home owners in the county received $7.1 million in discounts t his year. Moreover, for every dollar A graphic shows the value of coverage for homes insured under the National Flood Insurance Pro gram, divided by Sarasota County Commission district. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 15


A graphic shows the percentage of Sarasota County residents living in the oodplain. Image cour tesy Sarasota County A chart shows hurricane tracks over the past 77 years. Image from the National Oceanic and At mospheric Administration Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 16


they spent on ood insurance, she said, statis tics showed they saved $4. During her presentation, Companion showed the board a National Oceanic and Atmospher ic Administration (NOAA) map marking hurri cane landfalls in the area since 1946. Some of the 77 storms had no names, she pointed out, but a number of them came within 65 miles of Sarasota County. Still, hurricanes are not the only source of ooding, she noted. As we are quite aware and especially this week duration/sat uration [linked to rainfall] can make quite a difference. Patterson also asked Companion a question about storm surge coverage. A person pur porting to be knowledgeable about the NFIP told her it is only marginally useful in Florida because so much of the damage occurs from stor m surge, and the policies actually dont cover storm surge, Patterson said. Thats incorrect, Companion responded. Al though she is not an insurance agent, Com panion continued, she could reassure the board that ood damage covered by the pro gram can be from either a rainfall source or storm surge. ABOUT THAT RAIN While Companion was making her remarks to the County Commission on Sept. 25, both City and County of Sarasota workers were dealing with problems related to the rainfall that be gan Monday. According to NOAA observations at the Sara sota-Bradenton International Airport, from Monday through 4:53 p.m. on Sept. 25, 6.9 inches of rainfall was recorded. The site of the proposed new Westin hotel and condos at the corner of Gulfstream and U.S. 41 in down town Sarasota is soggy on Sept. 25. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 17


Southside Elementary Schools landscaping is drinking up the rainfall on Sept. 24. Photo by Cleve Posey Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 18


The Southwest Florida Water Management District reports that the historic rainfall aver age for September in its South District, which includes Sarasota County, is 7.53 inches. That area recorded 4.92 inches of rain from Sept. 1 to Sept. 18. City utilities crews worked throughout the day on Sept. 25, as they did the previous night, to relieve pressure from the wastewater system, which continued to experience an unusually high ow rate due to the excessive heavy rain fall, a city news release said. Pumper trucks were diverting wastewater from the sanitary system under the streets to minimize over ows, the release noted. Typically, the citys wastewater ow rate is 5 to 6 million gallons per day, the release said. The rain elevated that to approximately 27 million gallons on the morning of Sept 24. Were better off this morning than we were [Tuesday], Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell add ed in the release. Our ow rate dropped ap proximately 2 million gallons, from 27 yester day to 25 million this morning, so, thats good news. But were still running at ve times the normal ow rate. The unusually heavy flow rate resulted in high water alerts at 18 lift stations and six conrmed manhole overows into streets on Sept. 24, the release pointed out. Two manhole overows occurred on the morning of Sept. 25. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was notied, the release said. Manhole covers are designed to automatical ly pop off to relieve pressure when the ow rate exceeds capacity, Tidwell explained in the release. Once the storm passe d, the news release continued, the impacted streets would be sanitized. Around the county, a number of roads and neighborhoods were dealing with ooding, Spencer Anderson, the countys Field Services Department director, notied county adminis trative staff by email. Typical issues involve pockets of roadway ooding near intersections with some areas of standing water along entire stretches of road, Anderson wrote. The majority of these are the result of rain amounts overwhelming adjacent drainage systems. Previous lulls or gaps in rain events have resulted in the quick recovery of most areas. Some areas will have prolonged standing water until adjacent sys tems drain, which may not occur until longer periods without rain, he continued. There have been several calls from residents/ property owners with claims of ooded structures (water inside ho mes/businesses), The playground at Southside Elementary School in Sarasota was mostly underwater on Sept. 24. Photo by Cleve Posey Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 19


he added. Staff found most of those situations to involve water close to but not within build ings, he pointed out. However, just after 3 p.m. on Sept. 25, two structures had experienced flooding; one was a garage. Those issues were resolved, he pointed out, after clearing of trapped debris from adjacent stormwater systems. Anderson continued, The Celery Fields Re gional Stormwater Facility (CFRSF) is being operated to retain water, manage downstream levels along Phillippi Creek and levels up stream of the CFRSF. Current levels on Phil lippi Creek are 0.5 [feet] lower than the same time yesterday. Levels within [his emphasis] the CFRSF are approximately 2 [feet] higher than the same time yesterday. Among the North County areas of ooding were 17th Street westbound across from the 17th Street Park, Goodrich Avenue at Sixth and Eighth streets, Myakka Road, Tuttle Ave nue, Verna Road, Siesta Drive and Beach Road on Siesta Key, St. Armands Key, Orange Ave nue and McIntosh Road north of Bahia Vista Street. The affected South County areas included Winchester Road, River Road, Azure Road, Pompano Road, Heron Road, Mangrove Road, Colonia Road, Elm Street, Indiana Avenue/ State Road 776, Morningside Drive and sur rounding roads, Bayshore Drive and Manasota Key Road. HEALTH PRECAUTIONS The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County was advising residents and visitors to take precautions against disease-causing or ganisms that could be in oodwaters: Avoid e ating or drinking anything that has touched ood waters. Wash hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected before preparing or eating food, after toilet use, after partic ipating in ood cleanup activities and after handling items that touched ood water or sewage. Do not wade through, play in or allow chil dren to play in standing water. If oodwater cannot be avoided, bathe and put on clean clothes as soon as possible. Avoid contact between oodwaters and open cuts or sores. If such wounded areas come into contact with oodwaters, wash them thoroughly with soap to control infec tion. If a wound develops redness, swelling or drainage, seek a medical provider imme diately. Anyone who has not had a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years should get a tetanus booster. If there is a backow of sewage into the home, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup. Remove and throw away home goods that cannot be thorough ly cleaned, such as wall coverings, cloth items, rugs and drywall. Clean hard surfac es with soap and water, then disinfect them with a solution of one-quarter cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Thoroughly disinfect food-contact surfaces (countertops, refrigerators, tables) and ar eas where small children play. Wash all linens and clothing in hot water. Air-dry larger items in the sun and spray them with a disinfectant. Steam clean all carpe ting. % Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 20


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Since 1999, Sarasota County has purchased 35,000 acres through the voter-approved En vironmentally Sensitive Lands program. It has bought another 144 acres since 2007 through its Neighborhood Parkland Acquisition program. The purchases are funded through revenue generated by a 0.25 mill ad valorem tax. Whenever Sarasota County makes these purchases, it usually has to cover separate ex penses for open ing the properties to public access. County crews will often have to clear away trash that was dumped on the property, cut through thick vegetation and blaze trails for hikers, birders and horseback riders. We will put some signage in to let people know where they are and set aside a clear parking area, Amy Meese, director of natural resourc es for Sarasota County, told the County Com mission this wee k. The T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Reserve has more than 80 miles of hiking and biking trails, including the 12-mile Myakka Island Wilderness Trail, which connects the Carlton Reserve with Myakka River State Park. Photo courtesy of Sarasota County COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AGREE TO SET ASIDE A PORTION OF THE VOTER-APPROVED PARKLANDS TAX TO MAKE NEWLY ACQUIRED PROPERTY ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC NOT JUST PICNIC TABLES By Roger Drouin County Editor


Funding for these start-up costs has been pulled from a variety of sources in the past, from surtax dollars to the capital improve ment fund. Two ordinance amendments unanimously ap proved by the commissioners on Wednesday, Sept. 25, set aside a dedicated portion of the revenue from the 0.25 mill tax approved by voters in 2005 as part of the land acquisition programs for the start-up costs. Now the same tax fund that fuels the purchase of the environmentally sensitive and neighborhood parklands will also pay for making these prop erties accessible to the public. One concern county staff voiced on Wednes day was that without the ordinance amend ments, as the county continued to purchase and set aside more preserved space, the pro cess could lead to a reliance on the surtax and general fund money, Meese said. Some of the things that may have been bud geted through surtax can [now] be funded through the program funds, Meese told The Sarasota News Leader The rst ordinance change sets aside up to 15 percent of the purchase costs for startup projects when the county buys property through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP). The other amendment sets aside up to 25 percent of the acqui sition expenses for start-up projects when the county buys park space through the Neighborhood Park lands Program (NPP). OPPOSING VIEWS Lourdes Ramirez, president of Sarasota Coun ty Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) objected to the changes, calling for a 10-percent cap on how much of the land fund can be set aside for the start-up costs. When voters decided to tax themselves, they didnt have intentions to buy picnic tables, Ramirez told the commissioners at Wednes days regular meeting. They wanted to pro tect pa rklands, not buy picnic tables. Ramirez said she un derstood the need for some small start-up costs, but she did not want to see a large portion of the revenue One of the biggest complaints I heard is how [long] it takes us to allow public access to the lands. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County The 129-acre Old Miakka Preserve was pur chased in 2006 through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program. It has a network of trails. Photo courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 23


from the vo ter -approved tax paying for such things as picnic tables instead of land acqui sition. Ramirez added that the 10-percent cap was appropriate. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta said the ordinance amendments were not just about picnic tables. Multiple projects are necessary, including re lines, vegetation removal, erection of signage, cleaning up fencing that created boundar ies, hauling trash that was dumped on sites, among other work, he pointed out, to enable people to enjoy the lands. Commissioner Christine Robinson said that when she was campaigning for the County Commission in 2012, she heard from residents who valued the ability to use newly purchased preserves and parklands. One of the biggest complaints I heard is how [long] it takes us to allow public access to the lands, Robinson said. This is about being re sponsible. Its about safety; its about cleanup. Robinson added that if the county did not pro vide that access, voters would not approve an ad valorem tax increase and bond issue in the future to keep the lands acquisition program in place. The current 0.25 mill tax lasts through 2029. Commissioner Nora Patterson said setting aside a specic funding source for start-up work would ensure the ESLPP and NPP pro grams remained viable. This board had the option during the reces sion to stop buying parklands. To the countys credit, that was never discussed, Patterson pointed out. We remained completely com mitted to this program. Patterson added that other funding options for start-up expenses could be explored as the economy rebounds. I support doing this, Patterson said of ap proving the amendments. I am hoping when the tax base recovers and it is not necessary to use park funds to do this sort of thing, we will do things differently. % A buttery makes a landing at Red Bug Slough. The 72-acre preserve was purchased in 2000 and 2001 through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program, with funding assistance provided by Florida Communities Trust. It has several miles of hiking trails, a small playground, picnic shel ters and a shing dock. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 24


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


A Sara sota County commissioner has asked the county attorney to research what author ity, if any, the county board has regarding the scheduling of the next Sarasota County School Board referendum on continuing the school systems special 1 mill tax. On Sept. 24, Commis sioner Joe Barbetta said he understood the School Board had set the referendum for March 25, 2014, to co ordinate with the next elect ion of commis sioners for the Town of Longboat Key. Do we have any jurisdiction over that? Barbetta asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh. DeMarsh told Barbetta, I dont know the ex tent of the [County Commissions] preroga tive. However, De Marsh said he believed the commission had to vote to approve the March 25 ballot. On Sept. 25, Scott Ferguson, communi cations specialist for the school district, The County Commission prepares for its regular meeting to begin on Sept. 24. Photo by Norman Schimmel A COUNTY COMMISSIONER HAS ASKED FOR A LEGAL OPINION ON WHETHER HIS BOARD CAN MOVE THE DATE OF THE NEXT REFERENDUM ON A SPECIAL 1 MILL SCHOOL TAX WHOSE SAY-SO? If we were to lose $40 million, its more than what our [reserve] fund balance is. We just cant do that. Caroline Zucker Member Sarasota County School Board By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


told The Sarasota News Leader the School Board ofcially will vote on the March 25 date when it holds its next meeting, on Tuesday, Oct. 1. That session will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the School Board Chambers at The Landings, where the district ofces are located. In conrming DeMarshs comment to Bar betta, Ferguson pointed to the resolution on the School Boards Oct. 1 agenda. It says, [P] ursuant to Section 1011.73(2), Florida Stat utes, the Board of County Commissioners of Sarasota County is hereby directed to call an election for March 25, 2014, for the qualied electors of the Sarasota County School Dis trict to vote on a continuation of the ad valor em millage increase for operating expenses of the School District approved in March 2002, March 2006, and March 2010 as authorized by Section 1011.71(9), Florida Statutes. Regarding any other authority the County Commission has relative to the referendum, DeMarsh told Barbetta, I will begin to re search [that] and provide a report. DeMarsh told the News Leader on Sept. 26 that he is working toward having that report ready when the commission meets on Oct. 8. Barbetta also said during the Sept. 24 discus sion that he believed the March election would cost the taxpayers about $200,000. Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent told the News Leader through a spokeswom an on Sept. 25 that the actual expense would be between $400,000 and $425,000. School Board members discuss budget matters with Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner (far left) and Chief Financial Ofcer Mitsi Corcoran (next to Weidner) in 2012. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 27


Barbetta continued, L ets not kid anybody: The voter turnout is really good in November versus March, especially given that the No vember 2014 ballot will feature congressional and statewide races including the election of the governor. Caroline Zucker, who has served a total of 15 years on the School Board, told the News Leader during an interview on Sept. 25 that the district literally could not afford to wait until November 2014 to conduct the referen dum. We cannot wait until [then] because that would mean we would lose a whole year of income from that tax, she said, adding that the School Board budget, by law, has to be completed in July each year. If the board moved the referendum to November, That doesnt leave us any leeway, s he pointed out. The district received about $40 million from that tax this year, she noted. If we were to lose $40 million, Zucker said, its more than what our [reserve] fund balance is. We just cant do that. Moreover, she added of the referendum, Were doing it before the snowbirds leave, to get as many people as possible to vote. She pointed out that March 25 is before Eas ter, which is the latest many seasonal resi dents stay in Sarasota County each spring. The School Board originally considered hold ing the referendum in early March, Zucker said, but the Town of Longboat Key asked the board to move it to the date of the towns next commissioner elections. Booker High School, which has been undergoing a rebuild, is known for its visual and performing arts program. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 28


That ba llot also will include races for seats on the Holiday Park and Recreation District Board THE MILL MONEY Al Weidner, the deputy chief nancial ofcer for the school district, told the News Leader on Sept. 25 that the revenue from the special 1 mill tax is paying for 497 district positions in the current school year. Zucker pointed out that the rst attempt to hold a referendum on the tax failed in 2000. When the School Board tried again in 2002, it was successful. Voters have renewed the tax every four years since then. According to the Executive Summary provid ed with the School Boards 2014 scal year budget, $20,571,471 appropriated from the special tax revenue after the rst referendum paid the salaries of 235 teachers, 23 teach er aides, nine guidance counselors and nine school secretaries, for a total of 276 positions. It also covered a 3-percent, cost-of-living in crease for employees. Because of decreased educational funding from the Legislature since the 2008-09 school year, the summary continues, referendum dol lars are paying for art and music teachers, se curity aides, guidance counselors and media personnel. For example, in the current school year, $4,709,706 is covering the salaries of the districts visual and performing arts coordi nator, performing arts technicians at Booker and North Port high schools, foreign language teachers for the school systems gifted stu dents, the Young Marines program at Venice Middle School and dance teachers at specic elementary schools. Another $1,998,846 is being used to enable the district to continue providing assistant prin cipal positions for all its Title I schools with fewer than 800 students, as well as interns to help with non-Title I schools with fewer than 800 students. Funding for elementary science teachers also comes out of the special tax rev enue: $1,609,517. Additionally, $1,533,112 is paying for liai sons or extra duty day support provided to schools with signicant numbers of students who do not speak English as their native lan guage, the summary notes. Again, due to inadequate state funding, the summary says, $629,811 is paying for guidance counselors/behavior specialists in the school system. % School Board member Caroline Zucker. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 29


Saying the site looks like a disaster area, Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patter son this week asked staff to provide frequent updates to the manager of the Gulf & Bay Club as well as the com mission i tself on the status of the Beach Road stormwater proj ect on Siesta Key. Additionally, Patter son said she hoped the county would be able t o help with cleanup of th e stained area of beach in front of the complex once the project is completed. Tom Fastig gi, manager of the 392-condomini um unit Gulf & Bay Club which stands adjacent to the storm water project work area appeared be fore the board during the public comments portion of its Sept. 24 meeting in Sarasota to ask for reassurance Gulf & Bay Club buildings stood out behind the site of the new Siesta Key stormwater project when the area was being cleared in early August. File photo A COUNTY COMMISSIONER ASKS FOR FREQUENT UPDATES ON THE SIESTA KEY STORMWATER PROJECT AND SAYS SHE HOPES THE COUNTY WILL HELP RESTORE THE BEACH IN FRONT OF ONE CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX TO ITS PRE-PROJECT CONDITION WATER WORRIES What Mr. Fastiggi describes is accurate. A lot of area that used to be white beach really is Gulf & Bay property.. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


that the county would restore the complexs beach property. In June, Fastiggi told the board, the contractor unwittingly pumped water into a swale be tween our two properties, and it had ooded our beach area. More than 3 acres of beach that belongs to the Gulf & Bay Club is covered with a brown mucky substance, Fastiggi pointed out. With each rain, we get more of it. Last week, before the heavy downpours be gan, he continued, the complexs 850-foot wide beach was ooded all the way down to the Jamaica Royale condominiums. Fastiggi explained that for many years, storm water owed along the north side of the Gulf & Bay Club property into a swale that ran across Siesta Public Beach and then into the Gulf of Mexico. Records of that swales exis tence go back at least to 1995, he added. HEALTH RISKS What we are most concerned about are the solids, the sediment thats running onto the property and the composition of the solids, Fastiggi told the County Commission. On Sept. 13, he emailed Patterson the prelimi nary results of the most recent water samples The stained sand in front of the Gulf & Bay Club contrasts with the white public beach area. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 31


of the surface water ow onto Gulf and Bay property from the Siesta Key Beach [storm water project] site, which he had requested on behalf of the complex. The lab report, which he included in his email, referenced analysis of aqueous fecal samples as indicated below (CFU is the unit of mea sure for the number of viable bacteria): Site Result (CFU/100 milliliters)Dumpster yard 20 North of F Building 340 Grassy outow 1,600 Mangroves 590 Outow from mangroves 2,500 Fastiggi ad ded in that email, These levels are unacceptable and constitute a danger to the health, welfare and safety of the public. We are therefore requesting that Sarasota County take immediate action to curtail the levels of fecal coliform and water discharge onto Gulf and Bay property. Tom Higginbotham, director of environ mental health for the Florida Department of Health-Sarasota County, told The Sarasota News Leader in an interview on Sept. 25 that the departments main concern is fecal coli form bacteria counts in recreational waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. Results of the most recent samples, taken Monday, Sept. 23, are excellent for all 16 of the countys beach es, including Siesta Public Beach, where the Gulf & Bay Club is located, he said. Water stands in the grass in front of the Gulf & Bay Club in mid-September. Photo courtesy of Sara sota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 32


If the sample result s Fastiggi referenced in the email to Patterson were recorded from the Gulf of Mexico or freshwater bodies in the area where people swim or pursue other water activities, Higginbotham pointed out, They would certainly be of a health concern. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection regulation regarding water quality says that, to ensure protection of the publics health, no samples shall average a gure high er than 200 or exceed 400 in 10 percent of the samples, he continued. The samples also can not exceed 800 in any single given day. With stormwater, which is not considered rec reational water, he pointed out, We expect to see high levels of bacteria, adding that storm water systems are designed to allow good bacteria and the suns ultraviolet rays to break down harmful nutrients. That is why the sys tems have retention ponds, he added, to let nature take its course. As for concerns about people walking through the areas of the Gulf & Bay property where the samples were taken, Higginbotham said his recommendation would be that anyone who has to wade through such standing wa ter or any area suspected to be unhealthful Another photo contrasts the stained sand with the white sand on the public beach. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 33


should wash his feet in the Gulf of Mexico afterward. A person with an open wound on a foot would be advised to avoid such areas and nd another route to the gulf, he said. COUNTY ACTION Following Fastiggis remarks, Patterson told her colleagues that she and county staff members, along with a consultant from Kim ley-Horn and Associates Inc. one of the firms that designed the new Beach Road stormwater project met at the site about a month ago to survey the conditions. We also walked on the Gulf & Bay property, she said. It was pretty clear that the old pattern of drainage has been disrupted by the work that has been done, and I assume that it will be restored. However, the rainfall even prior to this weeks downpours put the project on hold, she point ed out a fact county Project Manager Alex Boudreau explained to the News Leader ear lier this month. It is impossible to build the new 1-acre retention pond on the site with out pumping water out of the area, Patterson noted, which is a fairly ludicrous attempt at this poin t. A Kimley-Horn and Associates engineering diagram shows the location of the Siesta stormwater project next to the public beach. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 34


She added that she un derstood the contractor had left the site for the time being. What Mr. Fastiggi describes is accurate, she said: A lot of area that used to be white beach really is Gulf & Bay property, although the public can cross the property, according to a state law governing beach access. Ive told [Fastiggi] that Im sure that the coun ty will help with cleanup efforts after the project is completed, Patterson continued. In the meantime, she said, she wanted her col leagues support to request fairly frequent reports to Fastiggi and the commissioners. After all, Patterson noted, the Gulf & Bay Club is probably the largest condo complex on Siesta Key maybe even the largest in the county with a lot of residents, a lot of tour ists saying, Whats going on? Patterson also voiced worries about when the stormwater project would be completed. Bou dreau told the News Leader a couple of weeks ago that the contractor had just notied him the work should be done by Jan. 20, except for the punch list of nal adjustments, which would be nished in February. The original schedule called for completion in November. This may get pushed into season, and Im hoping well do everything we can to avoid that happening, Patterson said on Sept. 25. It would be really nice to get updated on it as quickly as possible. None of the other commissioners offered any dissent to her requests. % A map shows the location of the Gulf & Bay condominium complex on Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 35


Many ag ree a community redevelopment agency (CRA) is a good idea. It allocates city and county property tax revenue into a spe cic area to ght slum and blight. Downtown Sarasota has enjoyed a CRA for 27 years. Over that time, Sarasota County has diverted nearly $60 million in to downtown initiatives. Three years from now, the CRA is sched uled to g o out of busi ness unless the city and county agree to give it new life. Us ing conservative fig ures, if the operation was to conti nue an other 30 years, about $160 million more in county money would end up downtown. Earlier this year, a study committee was ap pointed by the city and county commission ers to evaluate the value and implications of a 30-year extension of the CRA. But questions raised by committee Chairman David Mer rill ar e raising County Commission hackles. Without straining the metaphor, this has be come a David versus Goliath affair, with Go The Downtown Community Redevelopment Area Extension Committee meets on Sept. 25 to evaluate the pros and cons of another 30 years of tax-increment nancing. On an easel against the wall is a map of the two CRAs in Sarasota one downtown and the other in north Sarasota. Photo by Stan Zimmerman COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CRITICIZE ACTIONS OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY EXTENSION COMMITTEE UNDER FIRE In my opinion, he either ought to resign as chair or as committee member Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


liath being a m inimum of three county com missioners. Doubling the irony, one might say, is the fact that Michelangelos statue of David is the citys logo. THE SHOW SHOULD GO ON On Wednesday, Sept. 25, for the second time in two weeks, the committee ofcially the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area Extension Study Committee agreed by con sensus that the CRA should be continued. The members have not voted on the question, but their intent is clear. What troubles the County Commission are Merrills questions about the impact on the remainder of the county of the downto wn S arasota wealth transfer. In the past, county commissioners have rebuffed efforts by the City of Venice and the unincorporated area of Nokomis to create their own CRAs. In a July email to Sarasota Deputy City Man ager Marlon Brown and Assistant County Ad ministrator Mark Cunningham, Merrill wrote, My thoughts include asking mayors or com missioners from the other three cities to come and discuss the topic, especially the south ern cities that dont interact with downtown Sarasota on a regular basis. (I like the idea of encouraging them to start their own CRAs so that we dont put them in a position of oppos ing Sarasotas.) Downtown Sarasota has beneted from the infusion of money through the Community Redevelop ment Agency. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 37


He co ntinued, Another agenda discussion would be the nancial implications for the city and the county. If the CRA is extended, and the control of the CRA is wrested from the city, you would have a hard time replacing the $2.6 million that you transfer into the gen eral fund if the agency stopped the transfer. On the other hand, the county has budgeted their $3.5 million back into their general fund in 2017, so they will have to ll that hole if the CRA is extended with the 1986 tax base intact. County Commissioner Christine Robinson red back the next day. Your board is get ting in front of the county commission on this issue, which should not be happening, she wrote Merrill. These discussions have coun ty-wide tax ramication and ramications for a particular area. While equity is an issue, I am troubled where this conversation is heading as far as recommendations outside of your charge, she added. He responded to her four days later: The logic of having the study committee look at multiple CRAs is simple. If Sarasotas CRA has had a positive impact, and, if there ex ists the criticism that its inequitable, then one of the solutions to ending the inequity might be to extend the positive benets of a CRA to other cities. Another way to end the ineq uity is to eliminate all CRAs, and the study committee should also debate the merits of this appro ac h. RANCOR INTENSIFIES When Robinson brought up the CRA study committees activities to the full County Com mission, it voted to instruct Chairwoman Carolyn Mason to wr ite Merrill a letter. That Sept. 6 correspondence said, in part: It has come to our attention that discussions have been held during your meetings regarding contacting other mu nicipalities to solicit input on the estab lishment of CRAs. We would like to cl arify that the scope of your committee is to review and explore options for the extension of the City of Sarasota Downtown CRA. Soliciting input regarding establishment of future CRAs is within the purview of the Board of County Commissioners. Merrill defended the committees inquiries by email: Since other areas of the county have previously requested CRAs, it would be highly likely that the requests would be repeated if the downtown CRA is extended. Therefore, it would be a glaring omission on the part of the committee to ignore this reality and the possible impact on your budget from requests to establish more CRAs. Mason tried to schedule a call with Merrill, but he rebuffed it. With all due respect, the best way to keep our communication clear so that it can be conveyed to the study commit tee would be to communicate by either email or writing, he responded in writing on Sept. 13. To be honest, I am shocked by the attempt of the county comm ission to limit the ideas To be honest, I am shocked by the attempt of the County Commission to limit the ideas that can be considered in our study. David Merrill Chairman CRA Extension Study Committee Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 38


that can be considered in our study. There currently [exist] in the countys handling of CRAs and redevelopment activities great in consistencies. Merrills refusal to bow to the County Com missions requests boiled over at the County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24. At the end of the session during the Commis sion Reports segment, Robinson said Merrill is casting an entire cloud on this for me right now. Commissioner Joe Barbetta piled on. Theres almost a denite intent on [the part of] this chairman, Mr. Merrill, to rouse up animosity between the municipalities and the county. I think hes gone way beyond the scope of his board appointment. In my opinion, Barbetta added, He either ought to resign as chair or as a committee member The committees being totally side tracked and its most unfortunate. Absent so far from the fray is the Sarasota City Commission, which has a heavy stake ($3 million per year) in the outcome. If not soon er, it will be dragged into the scrum on Oct. 22, when the City and County commissions hold a joint meeting. Both bodies have asked that the CRA issue be put on the agenda. Sometime between now and 2016, the two commissions will have to come to an agree ment on the downtown CRA. Merrill and his committee hope to provide guidance to create a model CRA for the commissions to evalu ate. His committee is due to deliver a report next Ja nuary. % County Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson study budget material during a work shop. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 39


Staff memb er s with the City of North Port and Sarasota County had planned to make an an nouncement this week about the reopening of Warm Mineral Springs. The torrential rains and the necessity of dealing with repercus sions from all that water have delayed the news until early next week, county spokes man Curt Preisser said in a brief interview with The Sarasota News Leader on Sept. 26. Were hoping to have a date for [the reopen ing] real soon, North Port Assistant City Manager Danny Schult told the News Leader on Sept. 25. Still, on the positive side, North Port City Man ager Jonathan Lewis reported on Sept. 20 to his board and the County Commission that the criminal background checks and the request ed Dun & Bradstreet report on the principals of WMS Sarasota Management have cleared the rm to take over the short-term operation of the resort. The national criminal background checks on Dr. Grigory Pogrebinsky and Joseph Zacca ri reected No reportable records found, Lewis wrote. The D&B reports did not reect any business discrepancies that should raise any concerns, he added in a memo. City of North Port and county ofcials hope to announce next week when Warm Mineral Springs will reopen. Image courtesy City of North Port WITH THE SHORT-TERM OPERATORS BACKGROUND CHECKS ALL CLEAR, THE COUNTY AND THE CITY OF NORTH PORT ARE WORKING TO GET WARM MINERAL SPRINGS READY AGAIN FOR VISITORS OPENING SOON By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


The reports have been reviewed by me and [County Administrator Randall Reid] and we concur there is no information contained in any of the reports that should prevent the execution of the [management] agreement, Lewis continued. The County Commission requested the back ground checks as a condition of executing the contract with WMS Sarasota Management, the recommended winner of the bid. The county boards unanimous Sept. 10 vote followed a 3-1 North Port City Commission vote a day earlier that recomm ended the rm as the short-term An aerial view shows Buildings 1 and 2 at Warm Mineral Springs. Image courtesy of the Sarasota County Property Appraisers Ofce Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 41


A diagram explains details of rafter problems at Warm Mineral Springs. Image courtesy City of North Port Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 42


manag er. City Commissioner Cheryl Cook was in the minority on that action. Because the two local governments own Warm Mineral Springs together, and they approved an interlocal agreement this summer regard ing the operation of the resort for up to a year, both boards had to approve the awarding of the bid. The County Commission sought the background checks as a precaution. It wasnt a reection of this vendor or a reection of the other one, Commissioner Christine Rob inson said on Sept. 10. I just was trying to make sure of that extra level of safety. The other rm that bid on the short-term con tract was Cambridgeshire Investment LLC, based in Po rt Charlotte. Whil e WMS Sarasota Management operates the resort, city and county ofcials hope once again to reach an agreement on the long-term future of the popular tourist attraction. THE FACILITIES Even before the City and County commissions voted on the conditional award of the shortterm management contract, city staff was en gaged in efforts to make necessary repairs to the facilities, so the resort would be ready to reopen. It has been closed since June 30, a re sult of a dispute between the city and county over whether Warm Mineral Springs should be developed or left in its more natural state. A $100,000 contingency fund for the repairs was established in the citys 2013 scal year budget, Assistant City Manager Schult told A photo shows a corroded pump casing and piping at Warm Mineral Springs. Photo courtesy City of North Port Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 43


A Kimley-Horn and Associates chart shows some of the cost estimates for repairs at Warm Mineral Springs. Image courtesy of City of North Port Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 44


the News Le ader this week. Although $40,000 from that fund was allocated for the work, he said he would not have the total of the ex penses until after Oct. 1, when he expects all of the bills to have been tallied. The city and county are sharing all expenses equally, he pointed out. North Port city staff also provided the coun ty a report on an assessment of the facilities, which was prepared by Kimley-Horn and As sociates Inc. A Sept. 5 memo from North Port Neighbor hood Development Services Director Scott E. Williams to Schult and North Port City Man ager Lewis pointed out that repairs could be made by Oct. 1 to several areas that especially demanded attention. Williams noted the following: Water and sanitary waste systems: While op erational, they will be monitored and main tained after the Springs reopens, he wrote. Inadequate support of fuel gas piping: North Port Property Maintenance staff will under take this work. Unsafe electrical systems (exposed junction boxes and improvised wiring, among them): All problems have been corrected. Three deteriorating interior roof rafters in the womens locker room: North Port Prop erty Maintenance staff also plans to handle that work. Once all those repairs were completed, Lewis Sept. 5 memo said, a Certicate of Occupancy could be issued. A Sept. 6 m emo from Lewis to the City Com mission noted that one repair staff was not pursuing right away was the septic tank/eld issue. Lewis added, City staff believes that with proper monitoring the system can contin ue as it has for the duration [of the short-term operation]. DETAILS FROM THE INSPECTION The Kimley-Horn report on the assessment of the Warm Mineral Springs facilities says, The buildings are generally in poor but serviceable condition. Numerous construction and main tenance deciencies were observed Cor recting all [of them] would require substantial improvements that likely would trigger addi tional upgrades to fully comply with current building codes. The report points out that the two main build ings are separated by about 60 feet, but they are joined by a promenade. They have re strooms and lockers for visitors. Additional facilities include meeting, exercise and spa treatment rooms, the report says, as well as a gift shop and small dining room. Water for the buildings comes from two irri gation wells and one domestic water well, the report continues. Sanitary waste is minimally treated and disposed of on site, it adds. Among the deciencies observed in those sys tems at the time of the assessment were the following: The domestic water system is non-potable. The pump body, discharge piping and suc tion piping of the well pump west of Build ing 1 are heavily corroded. Piping is not properly supported Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 45


The sa nitary system did not meet current standards for on-site disposal. For example, the drain eld was too close to the surface water body. Regarding life safety/re protection concerns, the report says neither of the buildings has a re protection sprinkler system, and no hy drants are available within a reasonable dis tance. While the spring itself provides a suf cient volume of water, the report notes, truck access is blocked by site fencing. Among structural deciencies, the assessment found the following: Steel building columns are not braced in one or more directions or are marginally braced with glass walls or windows Major roof rafters bear weight on the ply wood sheathing of the minor roof. R oof rafters are not anchored to resist wind uplift. Framing does not provide an adequate di aphragm to laterally brace the walls of the building. Exterior doors are not adequate for hurri cane loading. The threshold of the Nail Salon door is not adequate to prevent water intrusion. Roof covering is deteriorated or penetrat ed at numerous locations and is approach ing the end of its useful life. Kimley-Horn did not provide a total estimate for all the repairs. The report said further in vestigation was needed, as well as direction from the city and county, before a gure could be ge ner ated. % 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 27, 2013 Page 46


Sarasota Co unty Commissioner Christine Robinson failed this week in an effort to re quire the countys Arts and Cultural Alliance staff to make at least 12 visits a year to South County to assist organizations trying to win some of the arts and cultural grants the coun ty distributes annually. However, sh e did gain her fellow commis sioners support on two other votes: in creasing funding for one type of arts grant program and direction to administrati ve staff that futur e discussions of the arts and cultur al grants, including the Alliances annual con tract, be scheduled as regular agenda items, not as part of a consent agenda. Only Chairwoman Carolyn Mason joined Robinson in supporting the 12 visits to South County. Vice Chairman Charles Hines and Commis sioner Nora Patterson voted with Commis sioner Joe Barbetta in approving an amend ed motion that did in clude a requirement Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance, answers questions during the Sept. 24 County Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel COUNTY COMMISSIONER CHRISTINE ROBINSON RENEWS HER EFFORTS TO HELP SOUTH COUNTY ORGANIZATIONS WIN ARTS AND CULTURAL GRANTS AN AIRING OF FRUSTRATIONS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Frankly, I think this is a sad conversation. I thought the Civil War ended in 1865. The process has to be fair. Charles Hines Vice Chairman Sarasota County Commission


also at Robinsons request that the doc umentation of endeavors to increase South County participation in the grants process be provided to the County Commission and the Tourist Development Council (TDC) at least seven days prior to the TDC meeting when the grants will be considered. The motion said that failure of the Arts and Cultural Alliance to provide that documenta tion in a timely fashion may be cause to delay the decision of the awards Robinson ultimately joined her colleagues in unanimous support of the new contract with the Alliance. CONTINUING COMPLAINTS At the start of the Countys Commissions reg ular meeting on Sept. 24 in Sarasota, Robin son pulled the item regarding the Alliances FY 2014 con tract so she could bring up a number of points. Im still hearing from South County organi zations that are struggling and having prob lems, Robinson said. During two County Commission meetings in 2012, prior to the boards approval of the an nual arts grants, she told her colleagues that representatives of South County entities had expressed to her the difculty of winning any of the grants, saying in some cases they felt they were at a disadvantage in competition with larger, well-established arts and cultur al organizations in North County, especially those with staff members who understood the application process far better than they did. In 2011, Robinson asked Jim Shirley, exec utive director of th e Arts and Cultural Alli Circus Sarasota has been a regular recipient of the countys arts and cultural grants. Photo by Nor man Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 48


ance, to make a great er effort to meet with South County groups to provide them the assistance they need ed. However, she criti cized him last year for failing to supply ade quate documentation of those subsequent meetings even af ter the board delayed a vote on the FY 2013 grants to allow Shirley time to produce it. Robinson also cast the only No vote on the distribution of $1.3 million in funding last year. During the discussion this week, she told her colleagues she had heard from people repre senting two South County organizations who are ext remely upset over this whole pro cess. They feel like they cant come for ward because it might jeopardize their oppor tunity for [even] lesser grants. Im sad to hear that constituen ts dont feel that they can call us and contact us, Hines said. This board is open We answer our phones; we answer our emails. While he had heard no complaints this year, Hines continued, he did hear some two years ago from South County groups citing the same concerns Robins on had heard. The Sarasota Chalk Festivals early efforts to get county arts funding support led to some changes in the grants process, Commissioner Nora Patterson says. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 49 We need to somehow get away from this discussion of territorialism. Were all in this as a county. I dont think its a quid pro quo [situation]. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


Patterson said it was unrealistic for the South County entities to have the fears Robinson ref erenced. Its hard to calm somebodys fears, Robinson responded. We need to somehow get away from this dis cussion of territorialism, Barbetta told his colleagues. Were all in this as a county. I dont think its a quid pro quo [situation]. Then Robinson asked Shirley for clarication of some of the documentation he had provid ed regarding meetings over the past year with South County arts and cultural group repre sentatives, especially a countywide orienta tion session held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Shirley c haracterized the annual celebration of each years grants winners, conducted at the Van Wezel, as an opportunity for people representing arts and cultural organizations all over the county to approach him and his staff. Throughout that evening, were talking to everyone there about the availability of these grants, he pointed out. It is a way of reaching people. Hines concurred with Robinson that it was not appropriate for Shirley to document that Van Wezel gathering as a meeting for South County groups. Have [a session] in South County, he told Shirley. That may be extra work, but its a long drive for South County groups to come to Sarasota. Banyan Theater, whose 2013 series included Heroes, won a 2014 scal year arts grant to support its next summer season. Photo courtesy of Banyan Theater Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 50


Robinson then pr esented the proposed amend ment she had prepared for the contract, speci fying the 12 South County meetings during the 2014 scal year. I think its verging on micromanaging, Pat terson said. I dont nd it unreasonable, Robinson re sponded. I understand its well-intended, Patterson told her, but honestly, if we dont trust these people to appropriately administer these grants, then we ought to nd another group to do it. I would agree with that, Shirley said. I dont want to be micromanaging, Robinson said. I tried to be as gentle as possible [last year] to prevent getting to this point. But it hasnt worked. Patterson also pointed out that the arts grants are not designed to make it more convenient for people to stay closer to their homes to at tend productions. There are people who drive from other coun ties, not just from South County, to go to a performance at the Van Wezel, which, by the way, Patterson told Robinson, is the Van Way-zel, correcting Robinsons earlier pro nunciation. These organizations arent about conve nience, Robinson replied of the South County groups she had referenced. She had veried that, she added. They are developing pro grams specically for tourism. When Mason asked Robinson why she had settled on 12 visits, R obinson replied, Quite frankly, spending one day a month in South County, I think, is not too much to ask for when it serves half of our population. Still, Robinson continued, if the majority of the commissioners felt that request was un reasonable, she would abide by their decision. Id be comfortable if you want to demon strate that these conversations have occurred between the Alliance staff and South County groups, Patterson said. After Robinson made her motion to amend the contract with the language calling for 12 South County visits, Hines said, Frankly, I think this is a sad conversation. I thought the Civil War ended in 1865. The process has to be fair. He added to Shirley, For us to tell you you must do this 12 times well, guess what: Youll do it 12 times and you wont do it anymore. County Commissioner Christine Robinson. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 51


Hines continued, If all the moneys going to North County, theres something wrong. In making his amended motion, Barbetta pointed out that while he appreciated Robin sons efforts to help her South County constit uents, [Shirley is] a professional. Ive known him for a long time. He hears the message. Hes doing his best. Barbetta added that he felt it behooves repre sentatives of the two organizations Robinson referenced to sit down and discuss their views with Shirley. Robinson reiterated that she had encouraged them to make their concerns public, but they had declined. I would denitely love to hear from the or ganizations that have indicated fear in talking to us, Shirley said. There should be no fear, because every grant program we have is evaluated by an independent panel. I do not participate on those panels. Our job is to support the arts in Sarasota County. Finally, Barbetta said, Lets revisit this at a future date and see how Jim does with it. Robinson responded that she could not sup port Barbettas motion. The process is failing an area of our county right now. Its not xed; its getting worse. SUPPORT ON OTHER POINTS Robinson did w in support from her fellow commissioners on two other, related motions. The rst called for increasing the amount of funding for the Arts Opportunity Grants pro gram from $20,000 to $50,000. However, the motion calls for the Tourist Development Council to weigh in on that change during its Novem ber meeting, before the issue comes back to the County Commission for nal ap proval. Those grants provide support for organiza tions that do not qualify for, or did not receive, one of the regular arts and cultural grants, the Alliance website says. I would hope that were not just talking about brand new organizations [applying for these grants], Patterson said, but also those that feel like they could bring more tourists into the county with the extra funding support. Absolutely; absolutely, Robinson replied. Patterson noted the only caveat she would add to that would be if nobodys worthy, [a grant] doesnt have to be distributed. The entire commission also supported Rob insons motion to direct staff to make certain that future Arts and Cultural Alliance discus sions are not included anymore on the con sent ag enda. % Commission Vice Chairman Charles Hines. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 52


Former Republican Party of Sarasota County head honcho Bob Waechter has been hit with another ne, this one from the Federal Elec tion Commission (FEC), for his alleged role in a series of fake campaign donations made to 2012 Democratic candidates. On Sept. 17, the FEC notied the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce that it had reached a $5,000 settlement with Waechter in the matter, which was referred to the FEC by the Sheriffs Ofce on behalf of Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) Presi dent Lourdes Ramirez. Prosecutors here have led identity theft charges against Waechter, alleging he illegally used Ramirezs name to contribute money to Democratic campaigns. Ramirez, a Republican, is positioning herself to run for a seat on the Sarasota County Com mission next year. The Sheriffs Ofce rst contacted the FEC last New Years Eve, writing that Ramirez be lieved Waechter had made a $200 contribution to Democrat Keith Fitzgerald, a congressional candidate, in her name in order to inuence the voting public from supporting her in the future. In a Jan. 30 follow-up letter, the Sher iffs Ofce wrote that detectives had discov ered another federal donation, $250 to Presi dent Barack Obama, which had been made at the same IP address and with the same pre paid VISA card as the Fitzgerald donation. The VISA card was purchased at a Sarasota Sweetbay by som eone resembling Waechter, Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, addresses the County Commission earlier this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel FORMER SARASOTA REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN FINED AGAIN $5,000 MORE By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


and the IP address is afliated with Waechters company, RWR Installations, according to the Sheriffs Ofce investigation. The January let ter to the FEC notes that the Obama donation was made in the name of Lourdes Ramierz, pointing out the misspelling. Waechter attorney Cleta Mitchell who has represented a number of high-rolling Repub lican federal ofcials, including Sens. James Inhofe and Jim DeMint, and the NRA asked the FEC to drop its investigation in March. She claimed the $200 Fitzgerald donation was too little to warrant the use of Commission resources. But the FEC pressed on, transfer ring the case to its Alternative Dispute Reso lution Ofce in June. Mitchell and Waechter eventually agreed to the settlement process. The agreement was signed by Mitchell on July 1, but it was not approved by Krista Roche, the assistant director of the FECs Alterna tive Dispute Resolution Ofce, till Sept. 10. The settlement does not touch on the third alleged donation, to Florida House candidate Liz Alpert, since the state has jurisdiction in that case. The Florida Elections Commission hit Waechter with a $750 ne for the Alpert do nation last month; it found probable cause of an election law violation. Waechter h as been an inuential Republican fundraiser for years. He served as head of the Republican Party of Sarasota County from 2004 to 2006. His criminal trial was originally set to begin in August, then in October, but it has now been pushed back to January 2014. Since his arrest, Waechter has left posts on the Sarasota County Tourism Development Council, the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals and the Sarasota Manatee Airport Au thority. He has told The Sarasota News Lead er he is not co mmenting on the issue. % Keith Fitzgerald makes his concession speech after losing a local congressional race last year. Photo by Robert Hackney Robert Waechter. Photo from the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 54


One project will divert excess surface water from Cow Pen Slough to the Dona Bay Surface Water Storage facility. This will reduce pollutants and the amount of freshwater entering Dona Bay. Image courtesy Sarasota County A WATER WISH LIST I want to make sure there are quantiable benets, and we are just not chasing grants. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


The wetla nds restoration at Sarasotas Celery Fields has resulted in a 53-percent decrease in nitrogen over the past two years, the Sarasota County Commission learned this week. That is more than 10 times the initial goal of the restoration projects goal of a 5-percent reduction in the presence of a nutrient that can exacerbate the impact of red tide blooms. We blew those goals out of the water, said Molly Williams, the countys interim stormwa ter manager, during the commissions Sept. 24 meeting. Sarasota County staff hopes to see similar re sults from a Dona Bay stormwater treatment project. We have that opportunity for the same kind of success with Dona Bay, Williams told the county commissioners. The project will divert rising rainwater from Cow Pen Slough into a 380-acre water storage facility, where the rainwater will be ltered be fore it is discharged into Dona Bay. This year, the county began the design and permitting process for the multi-phased project, which has an estimated total cost of $7.25 million. Two planned, upcoming phases of the proj ect will cost $3.25 million with half of the money possibly coming in the form of a Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) grant. The green area on this map shows the pro posed water ltration location in North Water Tower Park, where stormwater will be treated before it is discharged into a canal that emp ties in Whitaker Bayou. Image courtesy Sara sota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES A PRIORITY LIST FOR SWFWMD GRANTS THAT COULD FUND PROJECTS TO FILTER NUTRIENTS FROM RAINWATER BEFORE THEY WASH INTO AREA WATERWAYS By Roger Drouin County Editor Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 56


On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the county commission ers approved a priority list of eight projects to send off to SWFWMD for potential funding. SWFWMD will rank all of the proposed proj ects across the region, setting aside money for the top ones, Williams told The Sarasota News Leader after the vote. The project wish list included two phases of the Dona Bay stormwater improvements, along with six other projects. (See the list below.) Altogether, the commissioners are requesting matching funds of $3.31 million (in scal year 2015) for stormwater improvement projects across the county. Commissioners did offer a few comments Tues day about the countys share of the expenses. Commissioner Nora Patterson noted that if the regional stormwater agency approved every project on the priority list, the county would have to come up with the matching $3.31 million. A chart shows the priority rankings staff recommended to the County Commission relative to South west Florida Water Management District grant applications. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 57


Commissioner Joe Barbetta put it this way: When we get a grant, we have to spend our money, too. I want to make sure there are quantiable benets, and we are just not chas ing grants. Williams explained how the Dona Bay proj ect would reduce nitrogen runoff into the bay. She also said county staff chose projects that would increase water quality while also de creasing annual maintenance costs, thus low ering the countys recurring expenses. THE OTHER PROJECTS In addition to the two phases of the Dona Bay project, the County Commission approved six others on the priority list: 1. Hudson Bayou in-stream resto ration and sediment management (two phases of a larger project). SWFWMD cost: $300,000. County cost: $300,000. About 830 acres of stormwater drains into wetlands on the Sarasota High School property. This project would restore habitat there by removing nonnative plants, reshaping the wetlands, ltering stormwater and in stalling bioswales to lter rainwater that runs off the parking lot before it enters Hudson Bayou. The project would include an educational program with interpretive signage and boardwalk access points. If SWFWMD funding is approved, the proj ect is slated for an October 2014 construc tion start date. There are a lot of moving parts to this one, Williams said. It is an interesting project. 2. 10th Street outfall sediment man ageme nt. SWFWMD cost: $500,000. County cost: $500,000. The plan is to reduce debris and sediment pouring from the boat basin into Saraso ta Bay. Future sediment would be direct ed into a specic area in the basin so the sediment would be easier to access and remove during future maintenance of the basin, Williams noted. The project would include installation of bioswales to lter stormwater. Williams said county staff plans to work closely with the City of Sarasota, which has received a West Coast Inland Navi gation District Grant (WCIND) grant to dredge the basin. If SWFWMD funding were approved, the county would add a barrier to conne the sediment as well as a kayak launch. 3. North Water Tower Park stormwa ter improvement. SWFWMD cost: $500,000. County cost: $500,000. Thirty-eight acres of U.S. 41s stormwater drainage area drains through the south ern portion of North Water Tower Park. But that rainwater is not treated before it empties into Whitaker Bayou. This project would redirect stormwater through a series of bioswales placed in the park. Then the ltered water would ow into a canal emptying in Whitaker Bayou. Four or four and a half acres of bioswales can treat that wa ter, Williams said. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 58


4. Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores Beach. SWFWMD cost: $150,000. County cost: $150,000. The neighborhoods of Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores were developed prior to stormwater regulations. As a result, stormwater there pours directly into the bay without treatment. According to plans, this project would route surface rainwater from approxi mately 19 acres of commercial/medium density residential contributing area to bioretention areas within the road rightof-way providing much needed stormwa ter treatment in a priority water body. The project has an anticipated start date of February 2016, if funding is approved. 5. Stormwa ter pond timing and volume. SWFWMD cost: $40,000. County cost: $40,000. This effort would help county staff under stand more about the effects of climate variability and rainfall on nutrients dis charged into the watershed. 6. Watershed model update. SWFWMD cost: $200,000. County cost: $200,000. This effort entails the expansion of work to better dene the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) special ood hazard area; it is a continuation of the districts FEMA map modernization project for Sarasota County. % THANK YOU to our generous sponsors! Friday, October 25 Michaels on East 9pm 1amopen bar DJ imminent live entertainment late nite bites costume contest shocking surprises and more!Mike & Yen Reed Mark Steinwachs & Jarred Wilson Rae & Mark Mulligan Carlson Studios Ludwig-Walpole Company, Inc. by phone: 941.365.3913 x1124 $85 in advance $100 at the door BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 59


On the same day a developer appeared before them to ask for two sidewalk waivers, the Sarasota County commissioners discussed the fact that county residents named sidewalks among their top transportation issues during the 2013 Citizens Survey. While the commissioners conditionally ap proved the waivers, their motion directed staff to try to reach an agreement with the firm doi ng the work Benderson Devel opment Co. LLC to give it additional time to build one sidewalk after it completes re construct ion of Peli can Plaza at the corner of U.S. 41 and Vamo Road. In June, the commissioners approved a rede velopment plan for the plaza, which sits most ly abandoned. The project, however, has yet to receive nal approval. Todd Mathes, director of development at Benderson, told the commissioners during their Sept. 24 meeting that company represen tatives felt the waivers were necessary for several reasons. Along Vamo Road, landscape buffering has been built into the pr ojects south Discussion about a sidewalk on U.S. 41 spurred some disagreement among members of the County Commission. Photo by Roger Drouin A SIDEWALK WAIVER REQUEST RELATED TO THE REDEVELOPMENT OF PELICAN PLAZA SPURS DISAGREEMENT ON THE COUNTY COMMISSION NO PASSAGE This is almost like saying there will be a perpetual gap. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


ern boundary, taking away some of the space necessary for an Americans with Disabili ties Act-complaint sidewalk. Benderson has agreed to construct an updated and signalized crosswalk to the southern portion of Vamo Road in lieu of the sidewalk. There is an ex isting sidewalk on that side of the street. However, the sidewalk along U.S. 41 has proved more problematic. A ditch bordering the property makes con structing a sidewalk there difcult, according to Mathes. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has told Benderson representatives they have to put in a sidewalk. But the state agency will not allow the developer to lay a pipe in the ditch so crews can build a side walk over the ditch. FD OT says that would create maintenance issues, Mathes told the commission. As a result, to make construction of a side walk possible along the eastern side of U.S. 41, Benderson would have to donate a sliver of land to FDOT. That would require Bend erson to remove 25 parking spaces from the plaza plan, according to a memo from Mathes to the commissioners. We dont have enough physical land, Mathes told the board. We are sort of in a tight spot. UNSOUND LOGIC The sidewalk dilemma on U.S. 41 spurred some disagreement on the County Commis sion. Mathes explained another concern: A side walk along U.S. 41 would direct pedestrians A representative of Benderson Development Co. LLC appeared before the County Commission this week to seek two sidewalk waivers for its Pelican Plaza project. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 61


to the intersecti on of U.S. 41 and Vamo Road a high-trafc corner that does not have a signalized crosswalk. We dont want to install a sidewalk that [di rects] people to an intersection that creates a safety issue, Mathes said. In an interview with The Sarasota News Lead er Mathes pointed out that Benderson does want to construct a sidewalk so long as the pathway leads to a safe crossing at U.S. 41 and Vamo Road. Commissioner Nora Patterson told Mathes his reasoning was not sufcient grounds for denying residents a sidewalk in that location. By that logic, all sidewalks on [U.S.] 41 are problematic, Patterson said. Not every intersection on the highway has a signalized crosswalk, but that has not imped ed the construction of sidewalks in the past, she noted. How would [a sidewalk in front of the plaza] be different than other areas on 41 that are a half mile from a signalized cross ing, Patterson asked. This is a tough property to put a sidewalk, and I very much want to see redevelopment of that property. But this is almost like saying there will be a perpetual gap, Patterson said. Commissioner Joe Barbetta disagreed, saying the sidewalk would create a safety issue. Barbetta also pointed out that if Benderson were forced to install the U.S. 41 sidewalk on its property, it could jeopardize the redevel opment because it jeopardizes the parking. An aerial view shows the location of Pelican Plaza. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 62


He called fo r a motion allowing Benderson to move ahead with the redevelopment minus the sidewalk on U.S. 41. Commissioner Chris tine Robinson seconded the motion, voicing frustration with the state transportation de partment. I am really, really upset with FDOT, Robin son said. If the governor knew FDOT was holding up redevelopment, his head would pop off. Robinson added that the state agency was talking out of both sides of its mouth. If [FDOT] really wanted a sidewalk there, they would be helping and wouldnt hold up permitting, Robinson said. Parking is limited in the plaza that once housed Linens n Things, she added. I do not believe to redevelop this property they should have to give up parking to build a sidewalk. However, in a 3-2 vote, Patterson, along with Chairwoman Carolyn Mason and Vice Chair man Charles Hines, shot down Barbettas motion. A POSSIBLE AGREEMENT That action cleared the way for a motion by Patterson to delay the sidewalk approval un til county staff could work out an agreement with Benderson. That agreement would require the firm to build the sidewalk sometime after the plaza redevelopment has been completed. Bend erson would likely be required to obtain a bond and construct both sidewalks within ve years. Hines said he wanted to see the site rede veloped, and he concurred that a sidewalk was needed. A bond agreement could be one means of allowing the developer to put in the sidewalk within six months or a year af ter the completion of the plaza upgrades, he pointed out. The commission would have to vote on the sidewalk agreement and the bond amount. An agreement needs to be worked out and brought back to the commission for ratica tion, said County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh. The issue of where to place the sidewalk on the edge of the property along U.S. 41 still re mains a challenge. Pattersons motion called for it to be situated on FDOT right of way. She said she planned to call FDOT District One Secretary Billy Hattaway to talk with him, to determine whether a solution could be worked out. % A photo shows the view of U.S. 41, looking south at Club Drive. Photo courtesy of Saraso ta County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 63


As promised, the City of Sarasota and contrac tor McKim & Creed held a biweekly meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, to keep each other on the same page regarding the status of Lift Sta tion 87. One important page was the project schedule. Robert Garland, a vice president with the rm, distributed the timeline during that meeting. It indicates everything will be wrapped up by Halloween 2015. That includes demolition of the star-crossed Lift Station 7, where repeated spills demonstrated the need for a new facility. The new lift station dubbed Lift Station 87 is located in Luke Wood Park, where U.S. 41 and U.S 301 join just south of downtown Sarasota. It is designed to have four pumps buried deep underground to handle the usual ow of more than 2 million gallons of sewage daily. However, in extreme weather events, such as the substantial rainfall this week, the sanitary system will handle volumes four times the daily load. Garland said one pump alone could not deal with that capacity, so at any one time, two pumps must be oper ational. The design intent is, with all four pumps in both wet wells, we can cope with maximum ow. An aerial map shows the location of Luke Wood Park just outside downtown Sarasota. Image from Google Maps THE SCHEDULE CALLS FOR NEW LIFT STATION 87 IN SARASOTA TO BE OPERATIONAL BY AUGUST 2015 TWO MORE YEARS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


He ho pes Lift S tation 87 is operational by Aug. 20, 2015. However, the schedule says LS 87 will be commissioned on Feb. 27, 2015. On the latter date, it still would need to be con nected to the piping, including a new 24-inch sanitary sewer line. The original project ran into difculties, and the contractor threw up its metaphorical hands and walked away. Lawsuits have en sued. McKim & Creed is now picking up the pieces, conrming prior information and de vising a way to move forward. Early next month, the company will begin test borings to reconrm earlier ndings. The citys engineers reminded Garland to make sure the public in the area is informed of any trafc delays or street closures. Th ere are a lot of utilities out there, so you may need to do some [water] jetting rst, said city Utility Manager Michael Crumpton. Of special interest is the joint between the footers of the Osprey Avenue bridge over Hud son Bayou. They were not sure what was happening un der the bridge abutments, said Garland of the original contractor and crew. He added that there is concern about the boundary between the bridge supports and the lime rock under neath. We need to conrm the concrete-lime rock interface, he pointed out. According to the schedule, construction is ex pected to begin in late September 2014, start ing with the installation of a 36-inch gravity sewer line. After all the work is nished and tested at LS 87, the old and failing LS 7 will be demolished. % Before and after photos provided by the City of Sarasota show no signicant effects to Luke Wood Park as a result of the Lift Station 87 work. Image courtesy of the City of Sarasota Before After Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 65


With two other communities working on fa cilities that could lure some of the same BMX athletes Saras ota County hopes to attract, the coun tys Tourist Development Council last week unanimous ly recommended the County Commission use a proposed Tour ist Devel opment Tax (TDT) fun ding stream to accelerate upgrades of the local BMX track. The total cost of the improvements is esti ma ted at $1,744,160, Carolyn Brown, the countys Parks and Recreation Depart ment director, told the TDC members during their Sept. 19 regular The Sarasota County BMX track is located in the 17th Street Park. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTYS TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL GIVES ITS BLESSING TO A FUNDING STRATEGY FOR THE PLANNED BMX TRACK IMPROVEMENTS LOTS OF POTENTIAL We actually think [training] will be a huge economic driver. Nicole Rissler Director of Sports Visit Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


meeting. Th e c ounty already has spent about $256,000 on upgrades since 2011, Brown ex plained. Funds already are available for the work, but another $986,000 would be need ed to complete the project, she added. The total expense of the work has been put at $1,333,569.50. If everything stays on the projected schedule, Brown pointed out, the design should be com plete this winter, with construction starting in late 2014 and completed in the summer of 2015. On a motion by TDC member Tony Swain, seconded by Ed Braunlich, the advisory board recommended the County Commission utilize a funding mechanism Commissioner Nora Patterson who is also the TDC chairwom an broached on Sept. 6 to her fellow com missioners. About $800,000 will come from a percentage of TDT funds that will be used in the future to nance new capital projects and events to increase visitors overnight stays in the county. The rest will come out of impact Riders of all ages compete in events. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 67


fee m oney designated for Parks and Recre ation expenditures in North County. PLANS AND POTENTIAL During her presentation to the TDC, Brown pointed out the BMX track improvements will include the following: A steel 8-meter ramp. A starti ng gate system for both the 5-meter and 8-meter ramps. Reconguring the track. Improved electrical service, lighting and drainage. Repositioning of existing bleachers and picnic tables Installation of conduit for a future sound system, control boards and ti ming loops. A shade ca n opy might be constructed, Brown said, if sufcient funding is available. The design work is at the 60-percent mark, she noted. Parks and Recreation staff is hopeful, Brown said, that the improved track will be able to host a major event in the late fall of 2015. Brown told the TDC members that county staff had just learned the previous week that the City of Rock Hill, SC, has a BMX track un der construction, and talks have begun about building a track in the City of Oldsmar in Pi nellas County. When Patterson asked how close the Oldsmar community is to constructing a track, Nicole Rissler, director of sports for Visit Sarasota County th e to urism ofce for the county A chart shows the potential economic impact of future BMX events in the county. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 68


replied indications are that Oldsmar is a lot further away from getting this done than we are. Sarasota Countys track, located at the 17th Street Park, opened in 1974 and is the oldest continuously used BMX facility in the nation, Brown pointed out. The Southwest District Parents Council working as Sarasota BMX operates and maintains the track through a lease with the county, she added. With the planned track improvements, the county could expect to realize an annual eco nomic impact of between $3.77 million and $4.6 million, according to Browns presenta tion. Events would draw up to 3,450 athletes and about 9,500 spectators each year. A schematic shows the planned new ramp design for the BMX track. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 69


Rissler expla ined t hat the only other BMX track in the United States is in Chula Vista, CA and it is open for training by invitation only. Riders competing for slots on the U.S. teams are the only ones allowed to use that facility, she told the TDC board. Because Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and BMX is an Olym pic sport, Rissler pointed out, Sarasota would expect to see a lot of athletes coming to the area to train in advance of those games. We have a climate similar to Rio, she added. Are we convinced that this [project] is a di rect driver for building hotel room-nights and bringing families into Sarasota County, asked Braunlich, who is the resort manager at the Hyatt Siesta Key Beach. Rissle r told him Visit Sarasota County staff had pulled numbers from convention and visitors bureaus in areas that had hosted na tional and international BMX events to deter mine projections for this community. Moreover, she said, Weve been home to the Strider World Championships for the last cou ple of years, and those participants stay on Lido Beach. Rissler added that the VSC staff purposely left out of the economic development statis tics any numbers related to training, because some athletes could end up rooming with oth A chart offers more details about anticipated events. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 70


ers who already live in the area. Still, she not -ed, We actually think [training] will be a huge economic driver.TDC member Norman Schimmel said he felt that because the Chula Vista facility is open by invitation only, the potential for revenue from BMX athletes training at the Sarasota track will be enormous.Patterson pointed out, In all fairness, this is also an asset for the community.Rissler told the TDC members that 20 to 25 percent of the local riders who use the track on a regular basis are from South County. That was really impressive to see [in Saraso -ta BMX data].Patterson added, I will come back and haunt you guys if this thing ends up closed and only for the most exp ert of riders, eliciting chuck -les from TDC members.After asking for a recapitulation of how the funding would be derived from TDT revenue for the project a process Patterson ex -plained earlier with the help of Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County Swain made his motion. I have got condence in what you do and bring to us, he told Patter -son.I vetted it personally with our county attor -neys as well, Patterson responded.Its also interesting that were investing in ourselves, Swain said.Given the past history of events at the Saraso -ta track, Brown said, and the inclusion of BMX in the Olympics, its certainly viewed that, in the future, this [sport] will just explode and become more and more popular. % Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCFChepote Insurance Inc.1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida(941) 366-0100Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Lifeen Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuitiesen Financial Services Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 71


The bu dget votes did not vary at either the Sarasota City Commission or County Commis sion dais this week. On Sept. 24, the City Commission approved its 2014 scal year spending plan on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and Mayor Sha nnon Snyder in the minority. They have been voting against the budget since July, when the preliminary millage rate was set. Despite a 6.8-percent inc rease in that mill age rate, the city still needed to pull $1.1 mil lion from its reserves to balance the budget. Neither Caragiulo nor Snyder offered any suggestions on where the budget could be cut further or how to reduce the reliance on reserves. The y were challenged to speak up by Com missioner Susan Chap man, who asked them what they would pare from the budget to stop th e millag e in The Sarasota City Commission listens to residents during its nal meeting this week on the 2014 scal year budget. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SARASOTA APPROVED THEIR FISCAL YEAR 2014 BUDGETS THIS WEEK WITH NO CHANGES IN BOARD MEMBERS EARLIER VOTES NO SURPRISES What weve realized is weve increased services to the point they cost more than were taking in. Charles Hines Vice Chairman County Commission By Stan Zimmerman and Rachel Brown Hackney Staff Editors


crease. Neither apparently had anticipated the question. Caragiulo said, Theres certainly money that could be saved. Snyder replied, I dont need to get into that, because that is not what I was prepared for. The millage increase on a $200,000 home will cost an additional $50. The total budget is $191 million. Property tax revenue accounts for less than half that sum. THE COUNTY SIDE During the County Commissions second re quired public hearing on the budget, held Sept. 23 in Venice, no one came forward to speak. With Commissioner Christine Robinson again in the minority, the board voted 4-1 to approve its FY 2014 spending plan. She has protested the continued reliance on the countys eco nomic uncertainty reserve fund to balance the budget. The County Commission kept its millage rate at the 2012 level of 3.3912, though that will mean a slight increase in tax bills for some homeowners, as property values went up 4.2 percent across the county this year. The boards resolution regarding the nal millage rates also notes the total is a 3.3 percent in crease over the rolled-back rate of 3.2828. The FY 2014 budget is $1,077,919,038, about 20 percent higher than the 2013 spending plan when it was adopted. Just before the board vote, Robinson told the audience she wan ted to make it clear the com A chart compares total county budgets for the scal years 2010 through 2014. Image courtesy of Sara sota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 73


missioners had engaged in hours and hours and hours of discussion to reach that point. The board held its rst FY 2014 budget work shop in February. A day later, during the Commission Reports part of the boards regular meeting in Saraso ta, Vice Chairman Charles Hines said, I re ally appreciate the debate that occurred and whats been brought out through those public [budget] meetings and workshops. He pointed to how important it is to look at how were spending money and the policies that we set, and he thanked Robinson for raising some ags and constantly reminding us weve got to really look at this hard. Referring to comments in the countys 2013 Citizens Survey, Hines noted that the majority of resp ondents did not want to see their taxes go up. But what weve realized, Hines said, is weve increased services to the point they cost more than were taking in. Steve Botelho, the countys chief nancial planning ofcer, has estimated that $11 mil lion will have to be used from the economic uncertainty reserve fund to balance the FY 2013 budget. During the boards last budget workshop, on Sept. 6, Botelho provided a chart showing the worst-case estimate for the amount needed from that reserve fund to balance the FY 2014 budget: $29,181,951. That gure could be low ered by another increase in property values, reduced expenses and growth in other sourc es of revenue, he pointed out. % A pie chart shows general fund expenditures projected for Sarasota County in the 2014 scal year. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 74


On Sept. 28, for the fourth consecutive year, children who live on Central and Cocoanut avenues in Sarasota and their neighbors in the greater Newtown community will celebrate the 1955 Beach Caravan, a powerful exam ple of the forward-thinking leadership of New town neighbors, a news release says. All members of the broader Sarasota commu nity are invited to join them on Saturday, Sept. 28, beginning at 3 p.m., the release adds. The neighborkids will lead their own caravan, host a beach picnic and share the story of the 1955 Beach Caravan, the release continues. This is a way of celebrating and honoring the communitys signicant civil rights histo ry and a way of inspiring forward-thinking leadership today, the release adds. Over half a century ago, Newtown neighbors made civil rights history when they introduced and championed the idea of fully integrated beaches in Sarasota County and organized weekly car trips to Lido Beach as a way of demonstrating that it was high time for all beaches in Sarasota County to be open to all people, the release points out. This happened before Rosa Parks actions led to the Mont gomery, AL, bus boycott, and before many people in the United States had heard of the Central-Cocoanut neighborkids leading the rst annual celebration of the 1955 Sarasota Beach Caravan in 2010. Contributed photo NEIGHBORKIDS TO LEAD FOURTH CELEBRATION OF BEACH CARAVAN NEWS BRIEFS


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the release continues. It established the community of Newtown in Sarasota as one of the earliest hot spots of civil rights activism, both in the state of Florida and in the broader region of the American South. The 2013 Neighborkids caravan will begin at the corner of 20th Street and Central Avenue in Sarasota and travel to Lido Beach at 400 Ben Franklin Drive. Neighborkids will lead, the release notes; anyone interested in joining the caravan is welcome to follow them. Hotdogs and hamburgers will be served at the beach. Youngsters need to bring at least one parent or another adult with them, the release adds. It does not cost money to participate, but plan to bring stories to share about people in Newtown and the broader Sarasota commu nity who are making a difference, the release concludes. McIntosh Middle School students in a group known as United Against Bullying have orga nized a car wash to raise funds and awareness of the problem of bullying, the Sarasota Coun ty School District has announced. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the T&T Shell Station, 6001 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, at the intersec tion with Packinghouse Road. A donation of $10 is suggested but not required, a news re lease says. United Against Bullying seeks to prevent and intervene in bullying and harassment situa tions, the release points out. The McIntosh Parent-Teacher Organization supports the groups efforts, the release says. This program educates and teaches students to be leaders against bullying and works with parents on recognizing and talking with their children about the issue, said McIntosh PTO President Ann Weidler in the release. Funds raised by the car wash will help cov er the expenses of providing students with McIntosh United Against Bullying T-shirts and materials for use during October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month, and throughout the school year, the release con tinues. The group is planning other activities throughout the year, in classrooms, in the caf eteria and online, the release adds. We focus on education regarding the misbe haviors that constitute bullying and how all can deal with them more effectively, said McIntosh Behavior Specialist Rich Clay in the release. We want to reach students who have bullied others, students who have been bullied and bystanders. Clay added in the release that research indi cates bullying and harassment misbehaviors peak during the middle school years and af fect most students one way or another. The data shows that these misbehaviors have a negative inuence on student attendance and achievement, he noted. Efforts to build a stronger sense of engagement in school help counter this negative inuence. McIntosh Middle School is located at 701 S. McIntosh Road in Sarasota. SCHOOL GROUP TO HOLD CAR WASH AS ANTI-BULLYING INITIATIVE Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 76


COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR RECEIVES STATE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates is one of only 12 tax collectors in the state to earn a special designation this year for excellence in nancial operations. Contributed photo Barbara F ord -Co ates, tax collector for Sara sota County, has earned a special state desig nation for excellence in nancial operations, her ofce has announced. The Legacy Award is one of the highest achievements the Florida Tax Collectors As sociation (FTCA) can award a local tax collec tor, said FTCA President Diane Nelson of Pi nellas County in a news release. The judging process was arduous (Ford-Coates) represents the very top echelon of elected of cials. Last year, Ford-Coates earned the Excellence in Financial Operations Award after demonstrat ing proficiency in four areas: innovation and automation; pr eparation of the annual audit report; customer focus; and budgeting. For the 2013 Legacy Award, Ford-Coates demonstrated that the ofce had further en hanced its nancial operations, the release points out. This year, a ve-person panel com prising government nancial executives from throughout Florida reviewed the processes as related to those same four areas of competen cy, the release notes. The panelists review of her ofce went far and above reviewing her perfect au dit report, added Nelson in the release. The review included methods utilized by Honorable Ford-Coates to deliver service to the people she serves and consideration of the technological innovations she has developed and put into place. Florida tax collectors gather and distribute more than $27 billion in local public funds each year, the release continues. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 77


Local high school students and parents may meet representatives from more than 100 col leges and universities from across the U.S. when Sarasota County Schools hosts the 2013 Fall College Night, the school district has an nounced. The event will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Robarts Sports Arena in Sarasota. Admission is free. Among the schools scheduled to send repre sentatives are post-secondary institutions in the State University System of Florida as well as public and private colleges and universities from around the nation, a news release notes. This year, a representative of the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ofce will be at the event so students and other attendees can register to vote. According to the Supervi sor of Elections Ofce website, SarasotaVotes. com a person who is otherwise qualied may preregister on or after his or her 16th birthday and may vote in any election on or after his or her 18th birthday. Robarts Sports Arena is located at 3000 Ring ling Blvd., Sarasota. More information about the 2012 Fall College Night is available by visiting or calling the Student Services Department of Sarasota County Schools at 927-4036. Among the universities that will be represent ed at the event will be the Berklee College of Music, Brown University, The Citadel, Cor nell, Dartmouth, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida A&M University, Harvard, Indiana University, Johnson and Wales Uni versity, Mercer University, Salem College and Smith C ollege. ANNUAL FALL COLLEGE NIGHT SET FOR OCT. 1 AT ROBARTS ARENA Harvard University will be among the institutions of higher learning represented at Fall College Night on Oct. 1 in Robarts Arena in Sarasota. Photo via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 78


The Phillippi Farmhouse Market, located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, will reopen Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 9 a.m. for its fth season, Sarasota County has announced. The market is a partnership between Saraso ta County Parks and Recreation and Saraso ta County Extension, along with Friends of Sarasota County Parks, a news release notes. It is the countys only mid-week farmers mar ket, open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market offers local plants and produce, including Department of Agriculture-certied organics. The markets grand reopening will feature 45 vendors, music by Ted Stevens and his band, rafes, free treats from Sift Bakehouse and a pup pet story time for children at 9:30 a.m., presented by the Waldorf School, the release continues. In addition to the talented local artisans sell ing their unique handicrafts, there will also be specialty vendors, said Priscilla Brown, Parks and Recreation Department specialist, in the release. Market-goers can enjoy deli cious prepared foods picnic-style on site or take [them] home for quick and easy meals, she added. Additionally, the Phillippi Estate Park and the Farmhouse Market are dog-friendly for well-behaved canines on leashes, Brown pointed out. PHILLIPPI FARMHOUSE MARKET TO REOPEN OCT. 2 FOR FIFTH SEASON The Phillippi Farmhouse Market offers all sorts of local foods from fruits and vegetables to honey and sweets. Images courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 79


The m arket has free parking and is handi cap-accessible. Be sure to stop by the markets welcome tent for information on whats happening in the county and community. You can also meet the Extension Master Gardeners, who will be at the tent to answer gardening questions, said Brown. Further, at noon in the historic Edson Keith Mansion on the Phillippi Estate Park grounds, the countys Extension staff will host an hourlong class on various gardening topics. At 10 a.m. every Wednesday, a free, guided tour of the mansion lasts approximately 30 to 45 minutes. For more information, call 861-5000 or visit The Sarasota Ba y Estuary Program (SBEP) is inviting volunteers to an Air Potato RoundUp on Oct. 19 at North Water Tower Park in Sarasota. Air potato is an invasive vine that covers and shades benecial native plants, a news re lease notes. The vine grows a large tuber that looks like a hanging potato, the release adds. There will be a contest with prizes for the smallest, biggest, weirdest-looking and most air potatoes collected! The event will begin at 9 a.m. and end at noon. Lunch will be provided for all volunteers after the removal process has been completed, the release continues. North Water Tower Park is a community fa cility with one of the most popular disc golf courses in th is part of Florida, the release notes. It is located at 4700 Rilma Ave. This event is suitable for all ages, the release adds. Participants must wear closed-toed shoes (old tennis shoes work great) and prefer ably long-sleeved shirts and pants, the release points out. Additionally, SBEP representatives advise volunteers to wear hats, sunscreen, clothes that can get dirty and work gloves. Also, please bring a reusable water bottle if you have one to reduce our plastic pollution, the release notes, and carpool to the event if possible. An RSVP is required: Click here to register Anyone with questions may contact info@ call 955-8085 or email Kar en@aroundbend .com AIR POTATO ROUND-UP PLANNED FOR OCT. 19 Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 80


On Oct. 8, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent will host the fourth in a series of roundtable discussions between Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and local supervisors of elections to discuss stat utory voter list maintenance programs, Dent has announced. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the 10th oor conference room of the Sarasota County Terrace Building, located at 101 S. Washington Blvd. in down town Sarasota. Voter list maintenance programs are conduct ed by supervisors of elections on a regular basis to protect the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that voter registration re cords in the statewide database are accurate and up-to-date, a news release notes. Members of the public who would like to at tend the session are requested to RSVP to 8618610. Because of limited space, public seating will be on a rst-come, rst-served basis, the release adds. The Supervisor of Elections Ofce is in the Terrace Building in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Scott Proftt COUNTY ELECTIONS OFFICE TO HOST PROJECT INTEGRITY TEAM On Oct. 8, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent will host the fourth in a series of roundtable discussions between Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and local supervisors of elections to discuss statutory voter list maintenance programs, Dent has announced. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the 10th oor con ference room of the Sarasota County Ter race Building, located at 101 S. Washington Blvd. in downtown Sarasota. Voter list maintenance programs are con ducted by supervisors of elections on a regular basis to protect the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that voter registration records in the statewide data base are accurate and up-to-date, a news release notes. Members of the public who would like to attend the session are requested to RSVP to 861-8610. Because of limited space, public seating will be on a rst-come, rst-served basis, the release adds. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 81


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is ac cepting registrations for the next Teen Driv er Challenge, a defensive driving and vehicle control program designed for young drivers, the ofce has announced. The free program includes classroom instruc tion and training behind the wheel, a news release notes. The course is designed to pro vide teen drivers with the knowledge and un derstanding of the forces created by an au tomobile and the effects of the forces on the human body, the release points out. There are two sessions of the Teen Driver Challenge to choose from: Oct. 25-26 or Nov. 1-2. Classroom instruction will be held both Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. (at The Landings in October or Laurel Nokomis School in Novem REGISTRATION OPEN FOR NEXT TEEN DRIVER CHALLENGE ber). Hands-on training will be held both Sat urdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the driving range, 6664 W. Price Blvd., North Port (next to North Port High School). For more information, visit www.Saraso ; under Public Interest, click Youth Programs and then choose Teen Driver Challenge. Registration forms may be down loaded from that part of the website. A new video explains more about the program and its features; it includes local youth who recently took the Teen Driver Challenge. The video is on the website and the agencys You Tube channel the release says. Contact Youth Services at 927-4190 with any additional questions. A Sept. 13 article, A new and ugly trick, in correctly reported that foreclosure law expert April Charney is retired. Charney says she is not presently taking individual cases, although she does consulting work with lawyers who do. I may put out my shingle locally in the fu ture to offer my services directly to individual consumers, she adds. A Sept. 20 article, Condence and conten tion referenced one spe aker at the Sept. 18 Coastal Advi sory Committee meeting whose name was not given, although the News Lead er identied her as a consultant with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The News Leader was unable to reach Corps ofcials to veri fy the spelling of the speakers name prior to deadline. Her name is Kelly Legault, and she is not a consultant but a senior coastal engineer with the fede ral agency. % CORRECTIONS The largest Sarasota/Manatee counties motor cycle road safety and awareness ride and a free concert will be held on Sunday, Oct. 6, organizers have announced. The ride will begin at 1 p.m. at Peggys Corral (4511 U.S. 41, Palmetto) and end at Sharkys on the Pier (1600 Harbor Drive S., Venice). The event is anticipated to draw more than 500 motorcycles, organizers say in a news re MOTORCYCLE ROAD SAFETY AND AWARENESS RIDE PLANNED lease. Particip ation is free. The West Coast Chapter of ABATE of Florida Inc ., a not-forprot organization and the largest motorcycle rights group in the state, has planned the ride. The theme is Look Twice For Motorcycles, with the goal of reducing accidents, the news release adds. The event will conclude with a concert at 3 p.m. at Sharkys, featuring One Night Rodeo. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 82


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is asking the public for help in identifying a suspect and vehicle connected to residential burglaries near Swift and Wilkinson roads in Sarasota. On Sunday, Sept. 22, a teen reported hearing someone knock on the door of his Murdock Avenue home, but he did not answer, a news release says. Moments later, a man broke in through a sliding door but ed when he saw the boy inside. Less than half a mile away on Foremere Place, the same subject attempt ed another burglary but was scared off by a neighbor, the release adds. The accompanying photo shows the suspect getting into a car, which witnesses say was a small white or silver four-door sedan driven by a woman. Any one with information about the incidents, the suspects or the vehicle is asked to call Criminal Investigations at 861-4900 or Crime Stoppers at 366-TIPS (8477) or going online at Burglars often knock on doors to determine if someone is home before going to the back of the house to make entry, the news release points out. If you are not expecting anyone, announce that you are [home] but say you cant come to the door. If they are up to no good your presence will usually cause them to leave, the release adds. If their visit seems suspicious, the release continues, contact the Sheriffs Ofce non-emergency number, 3161201, with as much information as possible so law enforcement ofcers can try to make contact and nd out why [the persons] are in the ar ea. A burglary suspect is shown entering a car on Foremere Place. Contributed photo PUBLICS HELP SOUGHT IN IDENTIFYING SUSPECT A map shows the location of Foremere Place near Wilkinson and Swift roads in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps CRIME BLOTTER


The Sa rasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested a woman in connection with multiple residential burglaries to fuel what she says is an addiction to Roxicodone, the ofce has announced. Joan Williams (aka Joan Baker), 29, of 4006 Maverick Ave., Sarasota, was identied by de tectives as a possible suspect in a burglary in the Bent Tree area last week because she and her vehicle matched witness descriptions of the suspect, a news release says. In a Sept. 18 incident, the victim, who lives on Gator Creek Boulevard located near Bee Ridge Road Extension and State Road 72 told deputies she was awakened by the sound of glass breaking, so she ran downstairs, the report notes. The victim added that she heard noises coming from the bathroom door in the pool area. When the victim approached that location, she spotted a woman later identi ed as Williams, the report notes. The victim said the woman had a tool in her hand and was attempting to open the bathroom door, according to the report. The victim added that the suspect was wearing a small brown fanny pack round her waist; she apparently was keeping tools in that. When the woman spotted the victim, the report continues, the woman ran off. Detectives conducting surveillance on Wil liams on Monday, Sept. 23, watched her knock on the door of a house on Dryden Road, ac cording to the report. When the resident an swered, Williams said she was looking for her lost dog and left. Williams then went to South well Way, where deputies and detectives set up a perimeter, the report continues. She was t aken into custody when she exit ed the rear of a home, wearing white gloves and carrying coins, jewelry and cash in a clear baggie, the report says. Williams also had a brown fanny pack around her waist at that time, the report adds. The victim in that case identied the jewelry in Williams possession as having been removed from the residence, the report continues. The approximate value of the jewelry was $20,000, the report notes. During questioning, Williams admitted com mitting burglaries because she is addicted to Roxicodone, the release adds. The investiga tion is continuing. Williams is charged with two counts of Bur glary of an Occupied Dwelling, three counts of Possession of Burglary Tools and one count of Attempted Burglary. WOMAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH MULTIPLE BURGLARIES Joan Williams/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 84


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested a prolic offender for allegedly dealing in stolen property and for fraud after he re portedly sold jewelry stolen in a Venice bur glary. On Sept. 16, someone broke into a home on Cypress Road in Venice and stole several piec es of jewelry, a news release says. The burglar used a pipe to break a bedroom window and gain entry to the house, accord ing to the report. During the investigation, detectives learned Allen Edwards, 36, whose last known ad dress was 116 N. Verona St., Nokomis, had pawned 11 pieces of jewelry at three different locations within hours of the burglary and re ceived $774, the release adds. The next day, Edwards pawned four more items at another pawnshop for $125, the report says. The vic tim conrmed that all but one of the jewelry items were hers. Edwards was charged with four counts of Dealing in Stolen Property and four counts of fraud for giving False Ownership Information to a Pawn Dealer. He is being held on $60,000 bond for those charges, but no bond for an Escape charge that was added after he tried to run from the South County ofce as detectives prepared to take him to jail, the news release notes. Edwards has 15 prior arrests, including ve for occupied residential burglaries and several for battery and grand theft, the release points out. PROLIFIC OFFENDER ARRESTED FOR DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY Allen Edwards/Contributed photo The Sarasota Police Department is seeking a male suspect in an armed robbery that oc curred about 1 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Marriott Residence Inn at 1040 Univer sity Parkway, Sarasota, the department has reported. When ofcers arrived at the scene, the female clerk told them she was doing her nightly pa perwork in the sitting area of the hotel when the suspect walked in and displayed what POLICE SEARCHING FOR SUSPECT IN ARMED ROBBERY appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun, the report says. The suspect then asked the clerk to give him money as he pointed the gun at her. The clerk refused and as the suspect came closer, she attempted to grab the gun, the re port adds. The suspect pulled the gun back and struck the clerk on the left side of her head, resulting in a laceration and making her fall to the ground, the report continues. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 85


tall with a slender build. He was wearing a black baseball-type hat with a white letter on it, a gray bandana over his face, a black longsleeved shirt with possibly a gray design or just a gray undershirt beneath it, black shorts and shoes. Anyone with information about the suspect is encouraged to call the Sarasota Police Depart ment at 316-1199, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477) or go ing onlin e at She told the of cers she feared the suspect would kill h er, so she went with him to the front desk. The clerk then unlocked the safe and gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money, according to the report. The suspect ordered the clerk to lie facedown on the ground and to stay there, the report says. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall to 5 feet 10 inches The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested 61 people in a lengthy investigation into a widespread prescription fraud ring in volving local residents, the ofce announced on Sept. 19. In July 2011, a person came into a Sarasota County pharmacy to present a fraudulent Oxy codone prescription from a physician at a Mi ami pain management clinic, a news release says. When subsequent scripts were present ed, they were identied as suspicious and de clined, the release points out. The suspects regrouped and on July 18, 2011, just days after the new state law went into effect requiring prescriptions be written on counterfeit-proof paper, the group ordered 400 fraudulent prescriptions on counterfeit-proof paper, listing the Miami doctors name, DEA number and the Sarasota address of 1620 Main St., the release continues. On July 25, 2011, the scripts were delivered to that location, which is a valid address but not the location of a pain management clinic, the release notes. Investigators with the Pharmaceutical Diver sion Unit were able to determine the crime SHERIFFS OFFICES OPERATION MAIN PAIN NETS 61 ARRESTS ring had se veral recruiters who asked runners to enter the pharmacies multiple times a day with identical prescriptions, for which efforts the runners were paid in cash, the release says. The recruiters chose two primary phar macies, Olson Liggett Rexall Drug in Sarasota and Barclay Pharmacy in Venice. The unexpected arrest of one recruiter caused the ring to disband, the release adds. The fraud script ringleader is Cuban, and the ring primarily involved people of Cuban de scent from Sarasota County who were paid for the use of their personal information on the prescriptions, the release points out. Most defendants knew each other and were recruit ed by word of mouth, particularly if they were in need of cash, it says. The investigation eventually revealed that 220 fraudulent prescriptions were written for 19,980 Oxycodone pills, which were diverted from legitimate medical use, as well as for Xanax and ibuprofen, the release adds. The recruiters collected the pills from the runners and turned them over to the ringleader, who lived in Sarasota at the time. The street value Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 86


A poster shows all the people arrested during Operation Main Pain. Image courtesy of the Sheriffs Ofce of this quant ity of O xycodone pills would have been about $300,000, the release notes. As of Sept. 19, the ringleader, Pedro Alcantara, 35, was being held in Miami, where he was wanted on unrelated charges, the release says. He is charged with Conspiracy to Trafc in Oxycodone. Another 60 people were arrested over the past several months and as recently as last week in Sarasota and Manatee coun ties. One woman was tracked to Tampa In ternational Airport, where she tried to board a ight to Cuba, the release adds. The investigation is ongoing. Additional war rants have been signed, with most suspects facing multiple counts of Obtaining Oxyco done by Fraud and Trafcking charges. % Pedro Alcantara/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 87


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EDITORIAL OPINION THREE SARASOTA COMMISSIONERS STAND THEIR GROUND EDITORIAL Earli er this year, the Sarasota City Commis sion heard an appeal of a decision made by the citys Planning Board, which had approved the location of a Walmart Supercenter in the derelict Ringling Shopping Center, an approv al granted after the careful analysis and assent of the citys planning staff. In a 3 -2 decision, the City Commission re versed the Planning Board and killed the Walmart project. The commissioners deliv ered an undeserved rebuke to their planning staff members, who were only following ear lier commission urgings to be more business friendly. Their Planning Board, whose mem bers desire at least a little respect as compen sation for their service, was belittled. And the business community got a wake-up call: The City Commission guratively will stab you in the ba ck. Yet the encomium that followed the City Com missions reversal of the Walmart approval was so pervasive that one might have thought the Israelites had just been freed from Pha raohs bondage. No petitions were started for a recall of com missioners. No Republican stalwarts intoned from on high that the City Commission had committed a heresy of epic proportions. No editorialists droned on about the lack of con sensus. But that is because it was the City of Sarasota versus Walmart, not the City of Sarasota ver sus the National Rie Association. So, on S ept. 3, the city commissioners had another 3-2 vote. At the behest of Vice May or Willie Shaw, they added to their legislative priorities for the coming year a revisiting of Floridas S tand Your Ground law. Commis


sioners Su zanne Atwell and Susan Chapman voted with Shaw to add the request, while Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo opposed it. A tsunami of remonstrance washed over the city in the days that followed. Several petition campaigns were begun, either to seek the re call of the three offending commissioners or to urge them to renounce their apostasy. Republican Party leaders were united in their condemnation of the proposal. And the dis dain of the members of the countys legisla tive delegation upon receiving the citys recommendations left little doubt as to their own dismay at the citys meddling. As we observed last December following the Sandy Hook mas sacre of schoolchil dren and again in July following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the National Rie Association seems to have a stranglehold not only on our Congress and many state leg islatures in this country, but also on the col lective sanity of the people of our nation. The NRA apparently has tapped into the atavistic zeitgeist of the country, exalting weapons as holy relics. It has made the Second Amend ment as sacred as the Ten Commandments or the Apostles Creed. Shaw only pointed out what many reasonable people have been sa ying in Florida: As writ ten, the Stand Your Ground law allows entirely too much latitude in the application of deadly force, making a claim of self-defense virtually impossible for prosecutors to disprove. Only a minor revision, removing immunity if the threatened person became an aggressor, could put the burden back on those threat ened individuals to retreat if that was an op tion. For example, Zimmerman had been or dered by police not to get out of his vehicle or to follow Martin. He ignored them and did so anyway, leading to the fatal confrontation with Martin. Had the law been different in only one small way, Zim merman likely would have been convicted of murdering Martin. What three coura geous commissioners for the City of Sara sota have suggested is that the law can be improved to provide more protection for all people, while retaining the spirit of the pres ent statute. And for that suggestion they have been pilloried in the court of public opinion. The y were not suggesting an outright repeal of the law, although a clerical error at the meeting created that impression. They were not suggesting special requirements for the purchase, ownership or carrying of a rearm. They simply were being good stewards of their citys welfare, seeking to improve a law that, in its current form, could increase street violence r ather than diminish it. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw only pointed out what many reasonable people have been saying in Florida: As written, the Stand Your Ground law allows entirely too much latitude in the application of deadly force, making a claim of self-defense virtually impossible for prosecutors to disprove. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 90


Certainl y, there was not a consensus on the issue. But if consensus were a prerequisite, we might still be subjects of the British crown, given that a substantial number of Colonists were at the least ambivalent about indepen dence from Great Britain. Democratic government is not always unani mous. In fact, it seldom is. It is guided by the maxim, Majority rules; minority rights. Of ten simple majorities are the deciding factor in the creation of ordinances and laws, and when such a majority takes action to protect the interests of a minority appalled and, yes, threatened by a law as capricious as Stand Your Ground, then democracy is gloried. A majority of the city commissioners requested their legislative delegation consider their con cerns about a law that is poorly written and extremely controversial, out of an abundance of concern for the constituents who elected them. They should be praised for their thought ful leadership, not condemned. And those nat tering endlessly about meddling or consen sus should learn from their example. % COMMENTARY No, I am not talking about ear buds, those little white discs people stick in their ears so they can listen to the music on their iPods and try to look cool though they really look strange to me. (I still prefer to hear music projected to my ears from afar, and nice and loud, too.) I am actually talking about a phenomenon I am calling E-Buds, which is the act of email ing a total stranger for varying reasons and having him/her respond in an email to me, which then leads to a follow-up email and establishes a casual informal relationship be tween us. Ten minutes ago (more or less), all I knew was this persons name and the mate rial in the column he/she wrote that inspired me to want to delve further into that persons thinking an d express my own opinion about it. Ten minutes ago, this person was a total stranger to me, and now we are E-Buds. I am interested in a variety of subjects, which often leads to my reading about them in vari ous publications. These topics include sports, music, literature and, occasionally, local poli tics. When the writers list their email address es, they are basically inviting me to have a chat or a debate or offer a rebuttal. I am no longer amazed or surprised when I get re sponses from these busy writers, but I am still very attered that they acknowledge me and actually respond to the subjects I write them about that concern me. And now, I am on a rst-name basis with them and we can enjoy casual cyber, totally G-rated relationships. THE MODERN PHENOMENON OF E-BUDS By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 91


Remember the olden days, when people wrote letters to columnists and addressed their sub jects as Mr. or Miss? That kind of corre spondence hardly ever got a response, and we did not really expect one. But nowadays, emailin g and other forms of chatting make it so easy for us to have E-Buds; the sky is the limit. I wonder what Matt Damons email is. I just know we could be great E-Buds. % To the Editor: Mohammed Ali was asked what he thought about the Boston Marathon bomber sharing his faith. He replied, What do you think about Hitler sharing your faith? Terrorists claim to be of one religion or an other while, in fact, distorting their religious teachings. The best information about Islam can be found at the website of Its one place to learn. Sitting down with your Muslim neighbor or visiting a mosque would be other examples. Charity Navigator, which tracks all registered charities, recently recognized Helping Hands for Relief and Development, a Muslim charity, as one of the top charities in the U.S. Every religion throughout the world has a sim ilar form of the Golden Rule. The Jewish ver sion is that which you would not have done to you, do not do to others. Id like to add one other thought to the Golden Rule that which you would not have done to your children do not do to other children. Arlene J. Pearlman Sarasota Editors note: The writer is the founder of the Womens Interfaith Network of Sarasota/ Bradenton (WIN). TERRORISTS DISTORT RELIGIONS TEACHINGS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and in clude the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Letters ac tually printed will be selected based on space avail able, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted be come the property of The Sarasota News Leader. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 92


Sarasota Leisure SARASOTA LEISURE Your Lifestyle Guide To The Suncoast Inside CELEBRATING A CENTURY RAIN FRIEND OR FOE


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Sarasota was not yet an ofcial city when Sarasota High School opened on Sept. 15, 1913. The new building, which has been com pleted, will open its doors Monday to the 200 and more pupils from primary through the eleventh grades, reported the weekly Sara sota Times in its Sept. 11, 1913, edition. The brick building that stood downtown is long gone. The classic Sarasota High School building of Collegiate Gothic design was built a decade after the original one, when the growth of students totally overwhelmed that rst Sarasota High. In f act, the initial student body was already bigger than the capacity the school was de signed to handle. A week after students en tered the doors, the newspaper reported an enrollment of 253 (on) the first day in a sub-headline. The newspapers enrollment gures are dis puted by Karl Grismer in his book The Sto ry of Sarasota When the new building was opened for classes on Monday, Sept. 15, 1913, more than 350 students were enrolled. To be exact, 2 00 girls and 153 boys, Grismer wrote. Football has always been a part of the Sarasota High School tradition. Here is a scrimmage outside the rst high school on Main Street. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County School Board SARASOTA HIGH SCHOOL HAS CALLED A NUMBER OF BUILDINGS HOME OVER THE YEARS, BUT THE MIGHTY SAILOR SPIRIT ROARS ON CELEBRATING A CENTURY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The visitors and children gathered in the auditorium of the school house, and the 300 seats were not near enough to accommodate the audience, the newspaper article contin ued. A.B. Edwards told the students, [T]he building and the grounds were theirs, and encouraged them to take personal pride in keeping them like they were on the opening day. Edwards later that year became Sarasotas rst mayor, after arti cles of incorporation were received for the municipality. The new school cost $23,000. The old general-pur pose school, built of wood by volunteers in 1904, was moved to another site. The next year, the board of trustees for the school system de cided to make SHS a real high school by extending classes through a 12 th year, along with implement ing an elementary and junior high curricu lum. As the number of students grew, the old 1904 building was re turned to the site an early version of a por table classroom. The rst graduates in 1917 were four young women The rst prin cipal, Professor T.W. Yarbrough, was very proud of this, his rst class to graduate, said the Sarasota Times. At commencement, an issue was raised that would resonate over the coming century. Referencing comments from Yarbrough, the Times article continued, The school had suf fered badly during the term because of the heavy turnover of teachers, due to the fact that they were paid only $50 and $55 a month and it cost them that much to live. He said salaries would have to be raised if higher educational standards were to be maintained. THE POPULATION BOOMS As S arasota moved into the Roaring Twen ties, it split itself off from Manatee Coun ty in 1921. A Sarasota County Commission was appointed to gov ern, and Yarbrough was picked as super visor of public instruc tion. By 1924, two new schools had been built, Central Elemen tary and Booker High School. In 1925, Bay Haven and South side Elementary were erected Sarasotas rst high school opened on Sept. 15, 1913, and the Sarasota Times was there to cover it. Sarasota was not even an ofcial municipality at that time. Image courtesy of the Sarasota County Schools Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 96


A site wa s selected for a new Sarasota High School, and the county paid $317,000 for the lot at the height of the rst Florida land boom. In his book, Grismer notes the sum was more than the original investment company paid for the entire site of the city in 1885, all 50,000 acres of it. A building was designed by Tampa architect M. Leo Elliott, who also designed Bay Haven and Southside in the Mediterranean Revival Style. But the high school was to become a shining example of Collegiate Gothic, a very popular school of architecture, with exam ples on university and high school campuses across the nation. Athletics have always been a part of Sarasota Highs activities, even at the Main Street cam pus. For the new 1927 building, a football eld and track were essential to keep the Fighting Sailors compe titive. With two new high schools in the city Book er to the north and Sarasota High on the South Tamiami trail an athletic rivalry naturally arose and continues to this day. SAVE SARASOTA HIGH! Sarasotas only example of Collegiate Gothic architecture was almost lost to the wrecking ball in the early 2000s. After it had seen nearly three-quarters of a century of hard use, the School Board was ready to tear it down. While the exterior remained as impressive as ever, the interior was obsolete. Students who grew up with air conditioning could not understand how a school would use window units, or lack A/C entirely. But the School Boards plans ran afoul of alumni, fans of architecture and a general community attitude that the iconic building should be saved. After a bitter back-and-forth, Building 4 at Sarasota High School is known internationally as a design created by architect Paul Rudolph. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 97


a group emerged that was willing to accept responsibility for the building. Spearheaded by the Ringling College of Art and Design, it wanted to create the Sarasota Museum of Art. The venture will be a $22 million project, with about $17 million already raised. It will in clude galleries for 20 th century art on the sec ond oor, with the rst oor used by Ringling Colleges Continuing Studies and Special Pro grams. While the plan could still fall through if fund raising stalls, backers believe they can be up and running long before the building cele brates its rst century. With student growth continuing to press on the School Board, in the late 1950s it hired architect Paul Rudolph to sketch out prelim inary designs for a Sarasota School of Archi tecture addition to the SHS campus. His design was for its time revolution ary for a school. It incorporated shaded pas sageways in the open air and natural venti lation before the advent of air conditioning. The building, nished in 1958, is considered a signicant link between Rudolphs Sarasota School homes and the much larger concrete structures he would later design. Rudolph be came the dean of a rchitecture at Yale. This undated photo of Sarasota High does not show a single air conditioner, and the Tamiami Trail is very much a two-lane street without curbs or sidewalks. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County School Board Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 98


But 50 years lat er, just like its predecessor, the addition was showing its age. The School Board proposed a reconstruction of Rudolphs Building 4 on campus along with the tear down of others that architecture fans be lieved would destroy the historic character of the famed architects structure. This followed a community battle royal that resulted in the demolition of Rudolphs other local school, Riverview High. Supporters were not going to lose both examples. Today work is proceeding, but the iconic exterior and breezeways are expected to remain intact. Sarasota High, of course, is more than just a progression of buildings old and new. Today more than 2,000 students study, act, compete and play there. The school has produced many outstanding professional athletes in a variety of sports. It has also produced business and civic leaders. On Friday evenings in the fall, residents of the Alta Vista neighborhood can hear the music of the Mighty Sailor Band and the cheers follow ing every Sailor touchdown. Heres wishing the Sailors and their teachers an awesome second century. % This years SHS cheerleaders led a pep rally on Sept. 20 before the varsity football game that night: (from left) Rachel Mead, Sydney Battie, Ashley Beland and Kaitlyn Needham. Behind them are mem bers of the Mighty Sailors Marching Band. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 99

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ALL THE PRECIPITATION THIS SUMMER HAS REPLENISHED THE AQUIFERS AND RESULTED IN VERY HAPPY CREATURES RAIN Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer It is like the movie, Groundhog Day Each morning we are awakened by the rumble of thunder. The rain comes down in torrents. Again? we ask. All summer, rains have soaked Florida. The National Weather Service reported that in the Tampa area, June, July and August each re ceived 10 inches of rain, which has not hap pened since 1957. Off and on, the Manatee and Myakka Rivers have been at ood stage. Dragonies turn up everywhere there is wa ter. And it seems there is water everywhere. Plants lap it up. Parks are transformed into sumptuous gardens of wildowers golden aster, pale blue mistower, morning glories and dozens more. The brilliant red pine lily

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has put in a rare app earance. Sphagnum moss dotted with yellow carnivorous plants covers trails. Spanish needles, a Mecca for butteries, carpet lawns and roadsides. Ponds and creeks brim over with white water lilies. With the right mixture of heat, humidity and an oblig ing horse, magical mushrooms pop up. In ooded pastures, horses and cattle pick their way over sodden ground, seeking bits of dry land. At home, I am back on waterfront! I drive the main road through My akka River State Park and st op on the bridge. Usually, the river is far below me. Today I can almost step into the water. Gone are the alligators that will have to wait for riverbanks to reappear so once again they can play to an adoring crowd on the bridge. This is the way it is supposed to be. Years ago, summers in Florida were a cycle of precipita tion, absorption, evaporation, condensation and more precipitation. Rainwater percolated down into the Floridan aquifer, the huge wa ter-holding limestone reservoir under the pen insula. More than half t he state was wetlands. Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 102

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As peop le poured into the state, they cleared land for agriculture and residential uses. That activity reduces evaporation rates. Roads and concrete surfaces shunt rainwater directly into bays, the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Years of drought and increased de mand have reduced water levels in the Flori dan aquifer. People are using water faster than it can be replaced, according to the University of South Florida. Fresh water is in short sup ply. Soon the rains will end. Rivers will recede. Yards will dry up. No waking up to thunder. No deluges. But for now, when out your win dow you hear, Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit! relish the gifts the season brings! % Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 105

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Avid g ardene r, Renaissance man and third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson was known to have suffered all his life from migraine headaches because of a debate that ravaged his consciousness. One part of him believed it was vital to pursue a life of public service to mankind and his coun try. The other part argued that it was better for him to live a life close to home and hearth, working on a multitude of projects at his be loved Monticello. He referred to it as an inter nal struggle between his head and his heart. When I consider the pros and cons of the Australian pine, I have similarly conicting thoughts. On one side, my heart beholds the aesthetic beauty of the tree. Growing to a height of 100 feet or more, it stands out spectacularly in our peninsular environment that has few statu esque trees. When growing near our beach es, it provides welcome shady relief from the unrelenting sun. The Casuarina (which in cludes some 17 species) is not without prac tical value, either, serving as a soil acidier when mulched in some of the Pacic islands where it is a native. It also serves as a source of lumber there. More whimsically, I can remember the feel ing of tiptoeing as a barefoot child under Aus tralian pines, vain ly atte mpting to avoid the PEOPLE REMAIN DIVIDED IN THEIR VIEWS OF AUSTRALIAN PINES Australian pines provide shade at Ken Thompson Park. Photo by Rick Wielgorecki FRIEND OR FOE? By Rick Wielgorecki Contributing Writer

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prickly cones. I h ave also enjoyed the sweet sound of the wind blowing through their nee dles at beach picnics. But my warmest (pun intended) memories of ironwood come from recollections of being comforted on a cold winters night by the heat of a seasoned Australian pine burning in my living room re place. Then the head intervenes. To the knowledge able naturalist, beef wood another of the Australian pines monikers is an ecological disaster. It is an invasive, brittle tree subject to damage during storms. Its roots are shallow, and I have seen the trees toppled by beach erosion on the shores of Siesta Key and Cayo Costa. Most damning is that they produce biochemicals that prohibit the growth of all other plant species, both native and exotic, in the same area. When allowed to proliferate, they r ender their habit at sterile and unable to sup port t he fauna that are attracted to more giving species. The planting of Casuarina is outlawed in Florida and many other states, though, re markably, it can still be found for sale on the Internet. Each person must decide for himself what the fate of the Australian pine should be. While I would never suggest anyone should plant more of them, it seems to me that where they exist now and serve a purpose such as the spot in the accompanying photo taken at Ken Thompson Park on City Island perhaps we could just allow them to live out their lives and replace them with native species as they disappear into extinction. Rick Wielgorecki may be contacted at 362-0600 or % County commissioners have sought reassurances that mature Australian pines in the picnic area at Siesta Public Beach will not be removed when park improvements get under way. Photo courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 107

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

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SIESTA SEEN Architect Mark Smith received the county per mit last week for construction to proceed on Gidgets Coastal Provisions, which will occu py the spot where Napolis served pizza and other Italian entres for many years. Workers with Southern Cross Contracting Inc. of Sarasota and Bradenton were planning to start work this week, Smith told me on Sept. 23. They were anxious to get rolling. Although Smith added that he would like to see the new retail shop open by Thanksgiving, the more realistic expectation would be for the construction to be completed before the end of the year. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Siesta resident Peter van Roekens shot this dusky Siesta beach scene before the monsoon season be gan this week. Photo courtesy of Peter van Roekens GIDGETS COASTAL PROVISIONS GETS ITS CONSTRUCTION PERMIT; THE COUNTY SEEKS STATE FUNDING FOR MORE FACILITIES AT TURTLE BEACH PARK; THE VILLAGE ASSOCIATION WILL GET AN UPDATE ON THE SIESTA PUBLIC BEACH PROJECT

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It will be the rst new building in the Village in like forever, Smith pointed out. As for plans to put three transient apartments on the upper level: Those will have to be heard before the county Planning Commission and then the County Commission, Smith added, as a special exception must be granted for that work. With the Gidgets permit in hand, he planned to turn his attention to answering the technical questions county staff has posed regarding the rental units. Mark Loveridge, project manager in the coun tys Planning and Development Services ofce, said this week that he was not able to give me a timeline for those discussions. Smith needs to provide more details about the plans rst, Loveridge added. Once he has all the request ed information, Loveridge continued, he can proceed with scheduling the hearing of the special exception petition at a Planning Com mission meeting. Smith told me he has heard no negative com ments about the proposal for the apartments. However, Commissioner Nora Patterson who lives on the north end of Siesta Key has elded some emails in past weeks from a person who is worried about those living quarters. Pedestrians walk toward Napolis when it was still open in Siesta Village this spring. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 110

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The writer emailed Patterson on Sept. 19 to say he had learned for a fact that the plans for the former Napolis site does include the apartments. The concern is that once this is approved, every building owner in the Village will want approval to put condos or apart ments above the retail space they currently have which will dramatically change the cute little fun village that draws so many people to our area, the man wrote. Patterson forwarded the email to Assistant County Administrator Mark Cunningham, re questing that he verify for her what the zoning code will allow on that site. Smith told me he has not read that email exchange. The a partments would be about 500 square feet each, he said, and they could be rented for no longer than 30 days at a time, according to the county code for short-term rentals. The apartments will be like hotel/motel units with kitchenettes, he added. I just think its a neat idea, right in the heart of Siesta Village, to provide transient accom modations, Smith noted. Its not unprece dented, he added, pointing out that residen tial units also are above Big Olafs ice cream shop and Beach Bazaar in the Village. After all, Smith continued, the idea of living above shops goes back to the founding of the country. As for Gidgets the retail shop with more upscale gifts a nd clothing than the typical Workers began pulling down the Napolis structure on Aug. 6. File photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 111

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T-shirt shop: It will have about 1,750 square feet of space in the new building, whose total footprint will be 2,048 square feet, Smith not ed. The design includes an elevator as well as storage space on the second oor for the time being. Napolis footprint, by the way, was 2,050 square feet, he added. Itll be a nice little building, Smith said. One especially interesting aspect of the de sign for Gidgets is that the retail space will be oodproof, so the structure will not have to be elevated more than 19 feet to meet regula tions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When youre dealing with retail, Smith told me earlier this year, you have to keep the shop close to the street. Gidgets is the project of Siesta residents Bri an and Trudy Wigelsworth. Trudy, manager of Blvd. Beachwear on Ocean Boulevard, has more than 20 years of retail experience, Brian told me in August. SIESTA BEACH PARK UPDATE Brad Gaubatz, manager of the construction portion of the Siesta Beach Park improve ments, and Carolyn Brown, Sarasota Coun tys director of parks and recreation, will provide an update on the $21.5 million plans An artists rendering shows the view of the new east concession area and restrooms at Siesta Public Beach as people head toward those facilities on an elevated walkway. Image courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 112

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and answer questions during the next regu lar meeting of the Siesta Key Village Associ ation (SKVA), President Cheryl Gaddie has announced. The SKVA will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 a.m. at the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, located at 5254 Ocean Blvd. TURTLE BEACH PARK IMPROVEMENTS With no comment on Sept. 24, the County Commission unanimously authorized admin istrative staff to submit a grant application to the Florida Department of Environmental Pro tection (DEP) for the installation of an Amer icans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible Artists renderings show the proposed designs of the new Public Safety Building and the historic pavil ion and west concession area for Siesta Public Beach. Images courtesy of Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 113

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County staff hopes to add an extra Turtle Beach playground that would be accessible to children with disabilities. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 114

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playgrou nd for children ages 2 to 12 and a ga zebo as part of the improvements at Turtle Beach Park. The item was on the boards Sept. 24 consent agenda. The grant amount sought is $111,000, accord ing to a memo Carolyn Brown, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, wrote to the commission. Th e ap plication will go to DEPs Florida Rec reation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP), the memo notes, which provides funding to local government entities for ac quisition and development of land for public outdoor recreation use or to construct recre ational trails, the memo adds. The primary goal of the grant application, the memo notes, is to provide improved public amenities at Turtle Beach Park. An existing small playgro und wou ld be replaced with the Picnic areas and an outdoor shower are located in shady areas of Turtle Beach Park. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 115

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A graphic shows current and planned facilities at Turtle Beach Park. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 116

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new equipmen t paid for through the grant. Additionally, the planned gazebo would pro vide shade and opportunities for picnicking, outdoor classrooms, scenic vistas, and small events, the memo adds. The grant, if awarded, would bring the total project cost of new amenities to $148,000. Regular visitors to Turtle Beach Park know that renovations to the existing community room and restrooms, landscape enhance ments and new signage and fencing already have been completed as part of a multi-year project. The next phase will include better sidewalk connectivity throughout the park, an ADA-complia nt dune walkover, picnic shelters and a kayak launch, the memo notes. WELCOME TO THE VILLAGE The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Sept. 26 for a new busi ness, Studio Rubylake which is located in the Arches at 5219 Avenida Navarra. Among its neighbors are Used Book Heaven and Bonjour French Caf. Studio Rubylake has a noncompetitive and peaceful atmosphere focusing on working out for fun relaxation and releasing stress, its website says. For more information, call 312-0700 or check out the website. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. 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 Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 117

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Venice Theatre will launch its 2013-2014 Main Stage Season with the comedy Beckys New Car the theatre has announced. The play will open on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and run through Sun day, Oct. 20. Beckys New Car was written by popular American playwright Steven Dietz, a news release notes. He introduces audiences to Becky Foster, a woman who is feeling stuck in middle age, middle management and a mid dling marriage, the release says. She has no prospects for change on the horizon until an eccentric grief-struck millionaire stumbles into the car dealership where she works. Soon she is facing a fork in the road that could offer her nothing short of a new life. The release adds, Audiences will be in for some surprising twists and turns as they cruise with Becky down the road not taken. Venice Theatres Executive Artistic Director Murray Chase is directing the show, which stars veteran Venice performer Becky Holah an and an ensemble of six other actors. Chase says he chose the play because of how popu lar it has become among community theatres and describes its theme as being what hap pens when the good choices we make are put to the test, the release points out. Beckys New Car was originally commissioned by and produced at Seattles ACT Theater in 2008. The Seattle Times called the premiere a warmly humorous and nimble romantic farce, the release notes. Performances are Tuesdays through Satur days at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale ($13 to $15 for students; $25 to $28 for adults) at or by contacting the box ofce at 488-1115. A spe cial early-season rate of $20 is available (not online) during the rst week of the show. Box ofce hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before all perfor mances. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Becky Holahan is Becky rst with Walter, played by Neil Levine, then with Joe, played by Neil Ka sanofsky. Photo by Renee McVety BECKYS NEW CAR TO OPEN VENICE THEATRE 2013-14 SEASON A&E BRIEFS

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The Perlman Prog ram/Suncoast (PMP/Sun coast) has added an inspired new concert series to its 2013-2014 line-up celebrating the 10th anniversary of the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency, the program has announced. As part of PMP/Suncoasts Emerging Artists Performances Series, the acclaimed four-mem ber Ariel Quartet will perform The Beethoven Cycle: Complete String Quartets over the course of six concerts in October, February and May, a news release says. The concerts are scheduled for Oct. 2 and 4, Feb. 26 and 27, and May 15 and 16 at Selby Auditorium on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The series kickoff on Oct. 2 includes Break fast with Beethoven a continental spread at 10 a.m.; a Musical Conversation with June LeBell at 10:30 a.m.; and the Ariel Quartet per formance at 11 a.m. The remaining concerts will begin at 7 p.m. LeBell is a well-known classical music lectur er, radio personality and author, the release points out. The public is invited to celebrate the conclu sion of the concert series on May 16 with a Bravo, Beethoven! reception with the artists. Tickets are $100 per subscription or $20 per concert. The Ariels undertaking of the complete Bee thoven string quartets is an epic feat of mu sic-making, says LeBell in the release. We rarely get to hear all of these phenomenal PERLMAN MUSIC PROGRAM TO PRESENT BEETHOVENS STRING QUARTETS The Ariel Quartet will perform all of Beethovens string quartets this season in Sarasota. Photo cour tesy of the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 119

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The bold, colorful, expressive oils of Saraso ta artist Patricia Curtis will make their debut during a public reception on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Womens Resource of Sarasota, 340 S. Tuttle Ave. in Sarasota, the center has announced. The show, titled, As I See It: Finding beauty and uniqueness in unexpected places extends through Nov. 20. It can be seen most weekdays after 10:30 a.m., a news release notes. Curtis inspirations come from the colors, nat ural beauty and diversity that surrounded her as a child when she was growing up in Miami, the news release says. Patricia seeks to nd uniqueness in places others may not want to explore, the release cont inues. She believes there is beauty in all that surrounds us, even that which we may want to turn away from. Sometimes you just have to look a little hard er and reach a little further to see and appre ciate that beauty, she says in the release. Her palette is one of bold strong colors, and her brush strokes are aggressive and sensu al, the release adds. Recent exhibits of Curtis work were held at The Billings Gallery in Sarasota, 25 CPW Gal lery in New York, II Chiostro in Sienna, Italy, and various other galleries in Florida. For more information, call 366-1700. CURTIS WORKS TO MAKE DEBUT AT WOMENS RESOURCE CENTER pieces playe d by such an exemplary group in one lifetime, no less one season, and Sarasota is about to have an extraordinary and monu mental musical feast. The Emerging Artists Performance Series showcases the newest generation of worldclass musicians to regional audiences, the re lease points out. These gifted Perlman Music Program alumni, now acclaimed musicians, perform concerts three times a year at differ ent venues throughout the Sarasota-Manatee region, the release notes. Characterized by its youth, brilliant playing and soulful interpretations, the Ariel Quartet (Gershon Gerchikov, violin; Alexandra Ka zovsky, violin; Jan Grning, viola; and Amit Even-Tov, cello) has quickly earned a glowing international reputation, the release contin ues. In January 2012, the group was named quartet-in-residence at the University of Cin cinnatis Conservatory of Music, an aston ishing accomplishment for such a young en semble and a testament to the Ariels skill and dedication, the release adds. For more information about the Ariel Quartet, visit The Beethoven concerts will feature general admission seating. The lobby will open one hour before each event, and the auditorium will open 30 minutes prior to the concert. For more information, call 350-2338, or visit FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080 Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 120

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The Watcher, oil on canvas, is 24 inches by 36 inches. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 121

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Area au thors will meet their readers at the second annual Sarasota Book Fair on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. This literary festival will showcase indepen dent, self-published authors and illustrators of adults and childrens books, a news release says. The fair is being run in collaboration with ABCBooks4Children Inc., a not-for-prof it organization with members from Tampa to Fort Myers, the release adds. Readers of all ages are invited to meet local writers, peruse a variety of their books and listen to inspired readings by the authors themselves, the re lease continues. Admission is f ree SECOND ANNUAL SARASOTA BOOK FAIR PLANNED FOR OCT. 5 Author Robert Krupp will participate in the Sarasota Book Fair on Oct. 5. Contributed photo Nick Manolukas is a Siesta Key author. Con tributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 122

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Accor ding to event coordinator Brenda Spal ding in the release, Sarasota is famed as a visual artists colony. People forget that its also been a thriving writers colony since the days of John D. MacDonald. Weve got some great living authors here, and theyre anxious to meet their public. She adds that the upcoming book fair will showcase 35 to 50 regionally based authors and illustrators, some of whom are members of the Florida Writers Association, Peace Riv er Writers and the National League of Ameri can Pen Women. The book fair offers the community the op portunity to meet our areas wealth of talented self-published authors and illustrators, says Spalding, adding that the event features liter ature for all ages. Attendees may meet Boston-born Elinor Ro gison, for example, who has lived in many parts of the world. Her book, Chasing Love: A Mothers Journey describes the struggle with her past after her youngest child disappeared in India. Lucy Beebe Tobias, a former jour nalist whose books include 50 Great Walks in Florida highlighting great short walks all over Florida; Florida Gardens Gone Wild with helpful information about gardening in this sub-tropical paradise; and Mary Marga ret Manatee a picture book about a young manatee that learns to go with the ow, also will participate, the release continues. Yet another author to be featured in the fair is Siesta Key resident and thriller writer Nick Manolukas, whose books are The Coming of a New Millennium and 2004: An Olympic Odyssey For more information about the event, call 365-2032 or visit Carole Stevens Bibisi is another local writer conrmed for the Sarasota Book Fair. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 123

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Venice The atre will open its 2013-2014 Stage II Series in the Pinkerton Theatre with Fran kenstein the theatre has announced. This new adaptation will in no way resemble the many comic versions of Frankenstein that our pop culture has grown accustomed to, a news release points out. Audiences should expect a beautifully written drama closely based on Mary Shelleys 1818 Gothic/Roman tic novel. The play will open on Thursday, Oct. 10, and run through Sunday, Oct. 27. Frankenstein playwright Bo List has written and directed for venues such as the Lexington (KY) Shakespeare Festival, Lexington Sum merfest where Frankenstein premiered and River Valley Rep, a professional summer theater company based at Marist College in New York, the release continues. He will be in Venice the rst two nights of the show to lead a talkback after the performances, it adds. Regarding his adaptation of the novel to the stage, List said in a 2011 interview, If anything is surprising to the audience, it may be that the Creature speaks. In the book, it is very el oquent but since the famous Boris Karloff creature does NOT speak (he only grunts and roars, in a fashion oft-imitated on Saturday Night Live etc.) thats how audiences think of him. More heartbreaking is that the creature is acutely aware of his own deformities and difference and can articulate his loneliness. After bein g produced for Lexington Sum merfest, Frankenstein went on to enjoy suc cess in Chicago where it was recommended by Centerstage ChicagoCritic and Chicago Stage Standard the release notes. Venice Theatre has chosen Kelly Wynn Wood land to direct Frankenstein Her recent direc tion of A Behanding in Spokane in Venice Theatres Stage II Series earned the show a 2013 Handy Award for best community the ater play. Boding well for the quality of her upcoming production, she has cast three of the four actors from A Behanding in Spokane in Frankenstein : Jeremy Guerrero as Victor Frankenstein, Steve ODea as the Creature and Alison Prouty as Elizabeth, the release adds. Because of the depiction of graphic violence, Frankenstein is not recommended for chil dren and pre-teens, the release points out. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $25 to $28 for adults and $10 to $15 for stu dents. They are on sale at the theatres box ofce, online at or by phone at 488-1115. Box ofce hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before all perfor mances. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island i n Venice. VENICE THEATRE TO PRESENT FRANKENSTEIN BY BO LIST Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 124

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Jeremy Guerrero as Victor Frankenstein shadowed by Steve ODea as the Creature. Photo by Renee McVety Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 125

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The New Stages to ur of a Florida State Uni versity/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training production of Romeo & Juliet will present two public performances with post-perfor mance discussions on Thursday, Oct. 3, the Asolo Repertory Theatre has announced. The world-premiere of this 45-minute adapta tion will be performed by two different casts of FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Train ing third-year students, a news release notes. A special cocktail reception will be held at 7 p.m. between the productions; it is included in the ticket price. The rst performance will begin at 6 p.m., featuring Team Mont ague, the release notes. The seco nd performance will be at 8:30 p.m., featuring Team Capulet, the release adds. The director is Dmitry Troyanovsky, who co-adapted the play with Lauryn Sasso, Aso lo Reps literary manager and dramaturge, the release points out. Tickets are $25 per performance; they may be purchased by phone at 351-8000 or at the Asolo Repertory Theatre box ofce, located at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art. The performances will be in the Cook Theatre. ASOLO REP TO PRESENT TWO PERFORMANCES OF ROMEO & JULIET An 18th century illustration shows the Montagues and Capulets quarreling in Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet. Image from Sir John Gilbert via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 126

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Florida Studio Theatre (FST) has announced a fundraising collaboration with The Womans Exchange Inc. of Sarasota. FST will take donations from members of the community, consign them through The Wom ans Exchange and receive a percentage of revenue from the sale, a news release says. FST will be collecting donations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Items may be brought to the box ofce reception desk at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota or prearranged for pickup by con tacting For a list of items that can be donated, visit In the news release, Florida Studio Theatre Artistic Director Richard Hopkins says of the partnership, I am delighted that we are deep ening our relationship with The Womans Ex change Inc. They have been staunch support ers of Florida Studio Theatre (and many other Sarasota arts organizations) for nearly four decades. Along with their support of our in tern program, cabaret theatre and Mainstage, they have provided arts scholarships for needy children to attend our theatre educa tion programs for many years. He added in the release, This year we are happy to deepen that partnership by serving as a satellite location for property drop-offs. And remember, the used goods you donate today will be sold to support FST and all the Sarasota arts tomorrow. Karen Koblenz, CEO of The Womans Ex change, noted in the release, In an effort to make theatre accessible and affordable for all, The Womans Exchange Inc. is thrilled to partner with Florida Studio Theatre in a collaborative effort to turn your gently used household, clothing and furniture items into a cash donation. Dedicated to the arts of Sara sota and Manatee counties for more than 50 years, The Womans Exchange Inc. is proud to be a season sponsor of the Florida Studio Theatre. This new program is just one more opportunity to bring the joy of live theatre to so many. Items ac cepted for consignment include cloth ing, linens, lamps, chandeliers, electrical ap pliances, furniture and other large pieces, the release continues. Some items require a preapproval process, the release points out. For a full list of preapproved items, visit The Womans Exchange is a nonprot corpo ration that operates as a self-sustaining, debtfree con signment store. % FST ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH THE WOMANS EXCHANGE The Womans Exchange is located at 539 S. Orange Ave. in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy of The Womans Exchange Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 127

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The Chur ch of the Redeemer, located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota, will hold its annual Blessing of the Animals event on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. The event will be conducted on the Palm Av enue Terrace. All members of the communi ty are warmly invited to bring dogs, turtles, cats, birds, sh or any other pet as long as each pet is safely leashed or caged, a news release sa ys. Redeemer ho lds this public event each year in recognition of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order and patron saint of animals, the release notes. On the Feast Day of St. Francis, which is Fri day, Oct. 4, Redeemer will also offer readings for St. Francis during its 10 a.m. morning Mass. For more information, contact the parish ofce at 955-4263, or visit Ana Pankey watches as her daughter, Valeria, holds the family dog to receive the blessing from the Rev. Fredrick Robinson, rector of the Church of the Redeemer, during the parishs Blessing of the An imals event in 2012. Contributed photo ANNUAL BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS TO BE HELD AT REDEEMER RELIGION BRIEFS

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On Saturday, O ct. 5, during the 10:30 a.m. Shabbat service, the Congregation for Hu manistic Judaism will welcome Dr. Michael P. Crosby, president and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, as a guest speaker on the topic, Mote-Israel Cooperative Marine Research Program the Congregation has an nounced. In May, Crosby was appointed to his new po sition at Mote Marine, a news release notes. Prior to that, he was Motes senior vice presi dent for research. Additionally, he has served as executive director of the National Science Board and as senior advisor for international science policy in the Under Secretarys Ofce of International Affairs at the National Ocean ic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At NOAA, he also was national research coor dinator for ocean and coastal resource man agement and chief scientist for sanctuaries and reserves, the release points out. Crosby has held numerous faculty positions as well. He is adjunct professor of marine sci ence at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Additionally, Crosby has led major national and international, multi-discipline, multi-year research projects, among them the U.S.-Is raeli-Jordanian joint initiative titled, The Red Sea Marine Peace Park Cooperative Research Monitoring and Management Program ; and the Hawaii State EPSCoR project, Pacific High Island Evolutionary Biogeography: Impacts of Invasive Species, Anthropogenic Activity and Climate Change on Hawaiian Focal Species the release adds. He serves as a reviewer and panelist for nu merous scientic journals, and has published more th an 50 articles in the Journal of Shell sh Research Diseases of Aquatic Organ isms Marine Pollution Bulletin Natural Areas Journal and others. He also has edit ed several books and manuals dealing with marine protected areas and coral reefs, the release notes. The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism meets at Unity, located at 3023 Proctor Road, Sarasota. The Oct. 5 program is free for CHJ members; a $5 suggested donation is request ed from non-members. For more information, call 929-7771 or visit www.chj-sar MOTE-ISRAEL COOPERATIVE PROGRAM TO BE TOPIC OF TALK Michael Crosby enjoys a visit to Kiryat Yam, Israel. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 129

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WIN TO HOLD ITS ANNUAL MEETING ON SEPT. 28 The Womens Interfaith Network of Sarasota/Bradenton (WIN) will hold its annual meeting at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the North Sarasota Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota. Guests are welcome to come and learn more about the organization. Those planning to attend are asked to bring a childrens book or DVD, which WIN will donate to the Sarasota YMCA Youth Shelter. Annual dues of $10 will be collected. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 130

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Temple Emanu-El once again observed Yom Kippur the holiest day on the Jewish cal endar, marked by prayer and fasting with a food drive to benet All Faiths Food Bank, the Temple has announced. After services for Rosh Hashanah the Jew ish new year on Sept. 4 and 5, members of Temple Emanu-Els Social Action Committee distributed 600 paper bags, asking worship pers to ll them with nonperishable food and return them on Yom Kippur, Sept. 13 and 14, a news release says. Although the response to the annual High Holy Day food drive has always been strong, program chairwoman He lene Rosenberg commented that this years re sults exceeded her expectations, the release adds. I worried that because Rosh Hashanah was so early this year ... people wouldnt be ready to give, but everyone was very cooperative, Rosenberg said in the release. I ordered sev en [empty] bins [from All Faiths Food Bank] this year one more than last year in the hopes of lling them, and again, they were so full that cans were on the oor. Next year, she added, well order eight bins. The nal tally for the drive was 3,673 pounds of collected food and $2,315 in nancial dona tions for All Faiths Food Bank, which corre sponds to 6,605 meals for the hungry of Sara sota and DeSoto counties, the news release points out. Rosenberg thanked members of Temple Ema nu-Els Social Action Committee and Broth erhood, as well as students of the preschool and Religious School and Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman for their support of the food drive. For more inf ormation, please call 371-2788. % HIGH HOLY DAY FOOD DRIVE BENEFITS ALL FAITHS FOOD BANK Temple Emanu-El High Holy Day food drive chairwoman Helene Rosenberg (center) and Temple Emanu-El Religious School students Sarah Mankowitz and Alena Barwick display some of the collect ed food. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 131

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 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 27+ SEPTEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Summer Showcase Through Sept. 30, 76 S. Palm Ave. Admission: free. Information: 955-1315 or 27+ SEPTEMBER Allyn Gallup Gallery presents Some Wonderful Abstractions Through Oct. 5, 1288 N. Palm Ave. Free admission. Information: 366-2454 or 28 SEPTEMBER WSLR presents Proyecto Son in concert Sept. 28, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $10 in advance/$12 at the door. Information: 894-6469 or 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 05 OCTOBER Second Annual Sarasota Book Fair Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free admis sion. Information: 365-2032 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 Page 132

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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 WATERFRONT DINING SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS