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 THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 25 March 7, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. Inside LET IT BE RAISING MORE CONCERNS A STRONG RESPONSE




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 is a registered trademark of New Sheriff Publishing, Inc., which publishes The Sarasota News Leader Copyright 2014 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 P.O. Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277 (941) 227-1080


Last week, as I was reecting on potential content for this issue, it appeared the City Commission meeting would be the only sig nicant source. Oh, how wrong was I proven to be.Not only did Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker produce en -gaging stories outside the local government realm including one about the president of a nonprot called Strong Towns but County Editor Roger Drouin and I also found plenty of news in the County Commission sessions.By no means, though, do I want to discount the hours City Editor Stan Zimmerman spent on his beat this week, covering myriad topics. I am sure he was grateful when his last story reached my desk. And if you are wondering about our cover: I had an incredibly rewarding experience over the weekend. In the chilly, early-morning hours of March 1, I joined a video production team just off the Siesta Key shore. The producer will not release the result of the crews labor of love for several more days, but I highly encourage you to read my story about how a dedicated group of individuals is pleading with the City of Sara -sota and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to let Big Pass be.On our feature side, A&E Writer Elinor Ro -gosin offers another astute review of Sara -sota Ballet performances.Finally, I urge you to peruse our News Briefs No doubt, it is a big chore for Pro -duction Manager Cleve Posey to lay out that section each week, thanks to its length and breadth of topic. And that is all the more reason you really should check it out! Editor and Publisher WELCOME


LET IT BE RAISING MORE CONCERNS NEWS & COMMENTARY LET IT BE 9 A March 1 video production in Big Pass is the latest gambit in the ght to stop the proposed dredging of the shoal to renourish Lido Beach Rachel Brown Hackney RAISING MORE CONCERNS 18 The Sarasota homeless shelter plan strikes sparks again during a City Commission meeting Stan Zimmerman A STRONG RESPONSE 25 Reacting to City Commission criticism on the homeless shelter issue, county commissioners caution against misinformation, saying more details about a plan will follow the completion of studies on two sites Roger Drouin MAKING DENSE 32 The County Commission OKs big changes to Sarasota 2050 for almost 5,000 Clark Road acres Cooper Levey-Baker ACTION THROUGH INACTION 36 The City Commission stops paying legal fees for Susan Chapman in her Sunshine lawsuit as it awaits an update on the case in a few weeks Stan Zimmerman PANHANDLING VOTE POSTPONED 42 The County and City commissions continuing disagreement on how to regulate roadside solicitation leads to delayed county action Roger Drouin MEETING DEMAND 47 The county will add a new University Parkway bus route, but several facets of transit service will change to fund it Roger Drouin TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: A Soggy Tune Rachel Brown Hackney Sarasota Leisure: Exodus at Dusk Norman Schimmel


NEWS BRIEFS OPINION Q&A: CHUCK MAROHN 51 The Strong Towns president visiting Sarasota says traditional suburban growth functions like a Ponzi scheme Cooper Levey-Baker DEBATE CLASS 54 Should taxpayer dollars be going to schools that do not teach evolution? One activist says no Cooper Levey-Baker CITY BRIEFS 57 A new density plan for the Rosemary District wins preliminary city OK, but the cultural district discussion is on hold Stan Zimmerman YOUR THOUGHTS, PLEASE 60 The County Commission wants more public participation and more details from staff about a proposal to allow paddleboard rentals at Siesta Public Beach Rachel Brown Hackney SARASOTA SHUTTLE TALK CONTINUES 66 The Downtown Improvement District hears details of costs for yet another mass transit proposal Stan Zimmerman DIFFERENT TAKES 69 County commissioners engage in an impromptu debate of Siesta Key organizations positions on the Lido Beach Renourishment Project Rachel Brown Hackney LOVE FOR SARASOTA AND HER ISLANDS 74 Commissioner Nora Patterson uses her last address at a Siesta Key Association annual meeting to plead for caution in future development Rachel Brown Hackney CALLS TO KEEP EM IN LINE 81 Siesta Key Village Association Leaders say business owners seeking a change in the outdoor display ordinance need to prove their dedication to the cause Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 86 CRIME BLOTTER 99 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


SIESTA SEEN WOWING THE AUDIENCE OPINION EDITORIAL 103 Half a choice is no choice at all LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 105 Article incorrectly attributed actions to Republican machine Ramirez SARASOTA LEISURE WOWING THE AUDIENCE 107 A ballerina steals the show in Rodeo and a principal company member continues to impress with his choreography as well as his dancing Elinor Rogosin SIESTA SEEN 112 The no right on red situation at the Stickney Point Road intersection continues to cause consternation; a new slate of ofcers and board members has been proposed for the Village Association; and the Siesta Chamber nally has a new executive director Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 120 RELIGION BRIEFS 131 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 137 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 138 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


A camera carried by a drone lms Maria Lane singing Let It Be on the shoal in Big Pass on March 1. All photos by Rachel Hackney LET IT BE There is still a chance that they will see. There will be an answer, let it be Let it be, let it be. John Lennon Paul McCartney NEWS & COMMENTARY


On a picture-perfect day in Big Sarasota Pass, a pretty young woman seated at an organ on the shoal sang one of the last great LennonMcCartney anthems as waves lapped at her feet. A growing band of environmental preserva tionists are pointing to the title of the song that wafted over the water and embracing its lyrics as they ght to let Big Pass be. In about two weeks, a video showcasing the beauty of the waterway will be released in an effort to win even more converts to their cause. They do not want to see Big Pass dredged to renourish Lido Beach. Last week, The Sarasota News Leader reported yet another delay in the U.S. Army Maria Lane and Jimmy Scott enjoy the boat ride out to the sandbar. A MARCH 1 VIDEO PRODUCTION IN BIG PASS IS THE LATEST GAMBIT IN THE FIGHT TO STOP THE PROPOSED DREDGING OF THE SHOAL TO RENOURISH LIDO BEACH Story and Photos By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 10


Mike Hagan is at the helm of the boat, Sarah Fulton is at the bow, and John Lichtenstein holds one end of the towrope with Rich Schineller clasping the other end as he keeps the organ steady on the paddleboards. Gary McDermott chats with Rich Schineller as they prepare for the next step of getting the organ on the sandbar. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 11


Corps of Engi neers timeline for releasing its models and reports on the expected impact of dredging parts of Big Pass to provide sand for a 1.6-mile stretch of Lido Beach as part of a 50-year project to stabilize that shore in the city of Sarasota. Five Siesta Key organizations from the res idential to the business spectrum already have voiced grave concerns about the impact on the pass and Siesta Keys beaches if the Corps can win approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation and funding from Congress to undertake the project. SPARKING AN IDEA Rich Schineller, a Siesta resident and ardent opponent of the dredging proposal, recently was listening to a recording of Let it Be by his niece, Maria Lan e Sulimirski, 22 who sings professionally as Maria Lane when he conceived of a decidedly creative way to draw attention to the Big Pass preservation effort, he told The Sarasota News Leader I thought about how apropos [the song] was to what we want [for the Pass]. As the owner of his own firm, Perception Management, Schineller works to help com panies and organizations develop brand values and strengths for marketing purposes. This time, his client would be Big Pass. Producing a video about the waterway that could go viral would build more pressure to keep the dredges away, he reasoned. Schineller began marshaling resources and a production crew to make the idea a reality. First, local resident Jim Robison was happy to donate a non-working Hammond organ that could be towed out to the shoal for the shoot. Friends signed on to help with the technical Rich Schineller wades out to the shoal as Maria Lane waits by the piano stool and Jimmy Scott (second from right) and John Lichtenstein lift the organ from the paddleboards. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 12


aspects and the logistics. Finally, Schineller announced the undertaking would commence on March 1, with a very low tide predicted at 7:04 a.m. as a result of the new moon. Robison pulled about 220 pounds of electron ics plus the motor and the compressor out of the organ to lighten it. About the only part of the instrument that remained functional, Schineller told the News Leader was the key response. Then Robison stuffed the organ with foam in the event it ended up in the pass. At least the organ would oat, he gured, instead of becoming pollution. Lane, a recent Columbia University gradu ate who works as a professional singer and voice coach, ew down from New York City. Schineller lined up Ryan Perrone to y a drone over the pass to capture aerial images of Lane. Jimmy Scott Jr. would serve as director of photography, manning a handheld camera and operating the drone. Sarah Fulton would be the production assis tant; Mike Hagan and Gary McDermott would captain the camera boats; John Lichtenstein, a reghter and artist, would handle the set design and serve as safety ofcer; Angelique Crete Willette Hair and Makeup would create Lanes look; and Diane Sulimirski Richs sister and Marias mother would take stills on location. Just after 7 a.m., McDermotts boat launched from the north Siesta shore with most of the crew and Lane, headed toward the shoal. Moments later, Hagan began towing Schineller and the organ in the same direction; the organ was strapped to two paddleboards bound together. Seabirds sunning themselves on the shoal scattered as the party approached. Once McDermott had his boat in place, Hagan pulled up alongside so Lane could literally climb aboard the organ and let Schineller and Maria Lane sits at the organ on the shoal as Rich Schineller, John Lichtenstein, Jimmy Scott and Sarah Fulton work on the production. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 13


Rich Schineller holds the shooting slate for Big Pass Piano. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 14


other members of the crew push her out to the sandbar. After the crew positioned the organ on the shoal, the lming began. With the sun rising over the pass, the temperature nally began to climb from its -ish mark. (It was 47 degrees at 6:53 a.m. at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, weather records show.) As Schineller, Scott, Fulton and Lichtenstein worked with Lane on the sandbar, Diane Sulimirski talked of her daughter and brother from her seat on McDermotts boat. Lane has been singing since she was born, Sulimirski said with a laugh, and Rich has always been very close to her. Perrone was keeping an eye on the drone equipment and en joying the weather in spite Jimmy Scott (left) and Ryan Perrone plan how they will undertake the shooting with a camera attached to the drone. Diane Sulimirski keeps an eye on Maria Lane on the shoal; next to her is part of the equipment for the drone. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 15


of the chill. He bought the drone only about two months ago, he explained. His brother had told Schineller about him, Perrone said. Im more than happy [to help]. Rich is a good guy. Richard is a genius, Sulimirski added. No is never an answer when someone asks Schineller for help, Fulton pointed out. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER In an email to supporters early this week, Schineller lauded his team. [C]ast and crew were top-notch the imagery driven by Director of Photography Jimmy Scott is going to be eye-catching and Maria jammed like the star she is, braving cold water and ongoing repetitions to make sure we got the best. Wonderful, wonderful people, Schineller told the News Leader on March 4. Schineller expects to have the video ready for its premiere in about two weeks. The Best Western Plus-Siesta Key has been a big sup porter, he noted. The hotels co-owner, Maria Bankemper, was chairwoman of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce in January when its board backed a resolution calling for no dredging in the pass. Other backers have chosen to remain out of the spotlight, the News Leader has learned. Schinellers own passion for the project was as clear as water in the pass as he talked this week about his determination to see Big Pass remain untouched. He pointed to the link between Siesta Public Beachs No. 1 ranking by Dr. Stephen Leatherma n ( Dr. Beach ) and the natural north-to-south downdrift of sand on Floridas west coast, which has resulted in accretion of the shoal and the beach. Why risk ruining something thats already working well? The prospect of repeated dredging of Big Pass the plan the Army Corps of Engineers has touted to keep Lido Beach in good shape after the initial renourishment alarms him even more. Schineller likens that to offshore oil drilling situations in which the rigs never disappear, leaving the water forever muddied. Lido Beach denitely needs sand, he pointed out. The issue is mankinds insanity in think ing we can control the ocean. For more information about Maria Lane, visit % The slate laying out the production details rests on a seat in Gary McDermotts boat. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 16


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The neighbors do not want a shelter for the homeless and vagrants. Two sites remain under consideration: one across the street from the City of Sarasota sewer treatment plant on Osprey Avenue; the other, at the north end of East Avenue. Neighbors around each par cel are leery, to say the least. Residents who live near the Osprey Avenue site came down en masse on Monday, March 3, to express their con cerns to the City Commission, which was meeting in the County Commission cham bers while its audio-visual equipment was undergoing an upgrade in the city chambers. For months, Vice Mayor Willie Shaw had been trying to force a place on the agenda for residents to have a say in the site selection process. He also asked Sarasota Police Lt. Kev in Stiff to speak to the commission. Stiff has visited several other shelters built on the model pro posed by a consultant working for the city and county. Lt. Kevin Stiff (left) and Capt. Pat Robinson testied about the proposed shelter for homeless and vagrants in north Sarasota. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE SARASOTA HOMELESS SHELTER PLAN STRIKES SPARKS AGAIN DURING A CITY COMMISSION MEETING RAISING MORE CONCERNS If everybody in the area is vociferously against it, hes wasting his time. Dr. Mark Kauffman Board Member Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Meanwhile, the pres ident of the neighborhood association in the vicinity of the proposed shelter site on East Avenue quietly weighed in on the whole topic during the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations meeting on Saturday, March 1. Joseph Bessard with Park East said, Hopefully, the shelter would be built east of I-75 and have a feature for post-homelessness. After that, they could look for jobs and housing. Chances are they wont jump right into the middle class. The East Avenue site is privately owned, so it would have to be purchased by the city and/or the county and rezoned. The Osprey Avenue site is city-owned, but it might not be avail able for at least a year because of continued well construction. The parcel will become home to the citys deep-well injection facility for ex cess trea ted wastewater and brine from the reverse-osmosis plant. A memo from Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown noted the area will be needed for stag ing the deep-well injection pipes. This could take a year to nish, and delay the establish ment of a shelter, Brown wrote. Prior city comments about problems with the site prompted accusations of sabotage from County Commissioner Joe Barbetta last month. START PREPARING IMMEDIATELY Kevin Stiff is no stranger to vagrants and the homeless, as he has been a cop for the past 24 years. He was asked to go on an excursion to look at seven shelters in the Southwest, The ag pinpoints the location of Sarasota Military Academy on North Orange Avenue in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 19


all visits plan ned by Robert Marbut, the con sultant hired by the city and county to make recommendations on handling homelessness in Sarasota County. Stiffs task was to look for impacts the Police Department should prepare for once a shelter opens in Sarasota. The neighborhood around the shelter has to have a voice about how the city treats complaints, Stiff told the City Commission. A homeless coordination center should be assembled to meet the landlords in the area. Monthly meetings would be useful. This rela tionship should be established as soon as a site is located. Stiff admitted upfront that his observations were limited to what he observed at a shel ter in San Antonio, TX. We spent only a few hours at the other facilities, he said. In San Antonio, he was able to knock on neighbor hood doors and chat with pedestrians and the clients, as well as with workers at a fast food franchise in the vicinity of the facility. I spoke with 17 people, he told the commis sion. Thirteen of them were negative. He continued, I stayed at a downtown hotel. I walked ve blocks and saw 15 homeless. I judged they were homeless because they were carrying their belongings with them. I spoke with an employee in the McDonalds. He said, Its really bad in this area and getting worse. The San Antonio shelter offers two levels of hospitality. One is a large courtyard, often housing and feeding 400 to 500 people per night. Until you knock on the door for ser vices, you sleep outside, said Stiff. I talked to the manager of the courtyard, named Allen, and he said not many come from the court yard into the c en ter, maybe 15 to 20 percent. Social ser vices are available only inside the door. Other potential clients use the court yard for shelter and sustenance; they do not receive any other assistance. Meanwhile, out side the shelter, the San Antonio police have increased patrols, but the department did not increase overall stafng. Stiff was joined by Capt. Pat Robinson in his appearance before the commission. Robinson explained that the Sarasota department is forming homeless outreach teams to stay in contact with vagrants and the homeless on a daily basis. Marbut said if we do nothing, we can see a 10 to 15 percent rise in the homeless due to returning veterans, noted Robinson. We are concerned the opening of a shelter in north Sarasota might very well increase the number of chronically transient individuals on the street. Theyll use the come-as-youare portion [of the new center] and leave the other one the latter being the Salvation Army facility. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw awaits the start of the March 3 meeting. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 20


Robinson ad ded that if police in North Port or Venice transport an individual to the north Sarasota shelter, [The person will] just be dropped off in our jurisdiction. Then [he will] walk out onto our streets. OBSERVATIONS NEAR AND FAR Does it make sense to transport transients to the city that are now in a central part of the county? asked resident Lynn Robbins. How can other cities be asked to share this cost? Weve asked for the budget. How can we approve a project without even knowing the cost? Robbins was one of 13 people who shared their thoughts and concerns with the City Commission Monday. Several work at the Pines of Sarasota an assisted living and nursing facility on Orange Avenue. They expressed concern for the homeless and vagrants, but they also voiced concern for their own safety and the safety of the people at a nearby day-care center. The Osprey site would be one block from the Pines. (See the related story in this issue.) For the safety and security of my 400-plus staff members, the majority of them females, the vulnerability of our youngsters, the defenseless seniors and their loved ones, I ask you to consider them, said John Overton, the Pines president and chief executive ofcer. The mother of two cadets at Sarasota Military Academy told the board, The chronically homeless in Sarasota are not invisible to me. I do not think the concentration of addicted and mentally unhealthy people is an asset to Pines of Sarasota (marked with the ag) is also located on North Orange Avenue in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 21


this area. The number of homeless increases every year, but the number of shelters does not, so these shelters will spill out into the community.The Military Academy also is located on Orange Avenue near the 1330 N. Osprey Ave. site. Michael Bareld, vice president of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, noted city police gave out 107 citations for out-of-door lodging in the rst six weeks of the new year. There are a lot of things to be excited and positive about here, he said. I believe a shelter will go a long way to clean -ing up a community. He lives in Sarasota. Diana Hamilton pointed out that all of Sarasota effectively is a homeless shelter now. There are homeless camps all over the city; they are everywhere in our city, she said. Moving for ward proactively is our only choice here. She lives in Laurel Park.THE REALPOLITIKEileen Normile paid her own site visit to Pinellas Safe Harbor in Clearwater, another Marbut-designed shelter. The annual bud -get is $1.6 million per year, [mostly] paid by the county. The cities of Clearwater and St. Petersburg add $100,000 each, she told the Sarasota City Commission. That shelter is about a 20-minute drive from downtown St. Petersburg, and it offers no Homeless people gather on Central Avenue in Sarasota in early 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 22


return trip s to its clients. I asked why there was no transportation, Normile continued, and a sergeant said, We are not going to give the homeless back to the cities. The Pinellas facility can house about 500 people, and Normile said it serves about 400 meals per night but only about 200 lunches, meaning during the day, about half the popu lation is not at the facility. During our visit, there were clearly less than 100 shelter residents, so 300 were somewhere else, she added. Her observations were indirectly supported at a meeting the following morning. Ernie Ritz, chairman of the Downtown Improvement District in Sarasota, said during a discussion about vagrancy and homelessness, This is a life choice. I hire guys from Labor Finders all the time; they live in camps and the woods. They are perfectly happy. They get paid every day. They want to live like that. They dont want any help. Were not going to solve this. DID board member Dr. Mark Kauffman responded, If its somewhere in the county, [the shelter] will affect the city differently than if we put it in the city. It appears the commi ssioners ghting the location of this have a very valid reason. I dont see why we cant take a vote to say if we want this in the city, added Ritz. Us and the [Downtown Sarasota Association] and the Downtown Condo Association, replied Kauffman. DID Operations Manager John Moran sug gested the organization wait for Marbut to nish his job. Making an uninformed opinion could be what were doing. Kauffman responded, If everybody in the area is vociferously against it, hes wasting his time. Following the evening testimony before the City Commission, only the two commis sioners who consistently have voted against putting the shelter in the city offered com ments on the topic. I continue to say this is too much of a burden to bear, Commissioner Susan Chapman said. Vice Mayor Shaw added, Some are say ing this will be done in 2014. We need further exploration. The other three commissioners, who support a shelter in the city, remained silent. % Neal Schafers ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit My interest in photography reminded me about how my smile made me unhappy. A childhood accident caused my permanent teeth to come in askew. I had seen how Dr. Koval restored the smile of a friends father. With Dr. Koval, we discovered I also had cracked fillings and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. I am 100% satisfied with Dr. Kovals meticulous work and sincere care to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.Christine Koval, D.M.D.Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 23


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


Division over homelessness issues at the City and County commission daises continued to brew this week, with county leaders unani mously renewing their support for a shelter that would be operated by the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce. Across down town Sarasota from the County Administration Center, two city com missioners on that divided board, along with residents, have kept up a barrage of questions about plans to build a facility in the city. On Tuesday, March 4, during an update on the efforts to address homelessness in the com munity, county commissioners expressed frustration about what they characterized as misinformation and g ossip being spread by city commission ers and members of the public opposed to the shelter. County Vice Chairwoman Christine Gatherings of homeless people at Pineapple Park in downtown Sarasota have prompted complaints to city ofcials. Photo by Roger Drouin REACTING TO CITY COMMISSION CRITICISM ON THE HOMELESS SHELTER ISSUE, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CAUTION AGAINST MISINFORMATION, SAYING MORE DETAILS ABOUT A PLAN WILL FOLLOW THE COMPLETION OF STUDIES ON TWO SITES A STRONG RESPONSE We want the dialogue, want the factual information out there, but lets get the facts rst. Wayne Applebee Homelessness Coordinator Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


Robinson and county staff members lead ing the planning effort say answers on many points will come as the county wraps up due diligence and environmental studies involv ing the two sites still under review from the list proposed last fall by homelessness con sultant Robert Marbut. Robinson pointed to some of the latest misin formation that came out last [Monday] night during the regular City Commission meeting, referencing statements offered during one of the public comments segments. It was said that none of the municipali ties in Pinellas County contribute to Safe Harbor, she told her colleagues, referring to a Clearwater shelter. That is just not true, she ad ded. Each municipality has contrib uted from the beginning. Robinson noted no opportunity was provided to publicly correct misstatements offered during the city meeting. Commissioner Nora Patterson said that if unconfirmed and inaccurate information is being communicated, then county staff should check with Marbut who remains under contract with the city and county and compile a fact sheet for distribution to the public, highlighting information not only about a proposed shelter in Sarasota but also about similar projects built elsewhere. Patterson later told The Sarasota News Leader she believes city c ommissioners are A graphic offers details about studies already completed on the 1330 N. Osprey Ave. site, which is one of two being considered for a Sarasota homeless shelter. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 26


being bombarded by city residents who are anxious about the possibility of a facility for the homeless being constructed near their homes or businesses. [Marbut] issued his report and its like its being ignored, Commissioner Joe Barbetta noted on March 4. On Nov. 25, 2013, during a meeting in the County Commission Chambers with a full audience, Marbut presented his recommen dations, which were accepted by both the Sarasota City and County commissions; they heard him together. RE SPONDING TO THE CITY One major point that surfaced during a Sarasota Police Department report during the City Commission meeting Monday does not align with what Patterson saw rsthand when she toured Pinellas Safe Harbor. Sarasota Police representatives on March 3 discussed with the City Commission the need for additional patrol ofcers to make sure everything is safe around the perimeter of a homeless shelter wherever it is built. (See the related story in this issue.) Pinellas Safe Harbor in Clearwater has been called a model for a homeless shelter in Sarasota. Photo courtesy Pinellas Safe Harbor Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 27


But judging from the snapshot she brought home from her trip to Pinellas County, Patterson said on March 4, the Safe Harbor facility is well run, clean and orderly, and people she saw around it were respectful. Patterson added that altho ugh some residents socialized in a courtyard, she spotted no congregation of homeless people on the perimeter of the shelter. They didnt have a bunch of homeless peo ple hanging around outside, Patterson pointed out. After Tuesdays meet ing, Wayne Applebee, the countys home lessness coordinator, told the News Leader he believes the Sheriffs Ofce, which is expected to manage the Sarasota shelter, and the Police Department, which will be responsible f or patrolling the perimeter, will come up with a collaborative approach. But it is too early to work out a specic plan, he added, because a site has not been chosen or an architectural design approved. Applebee noted that at Pinellas Safe Harbor, additional ofcers have not been needed to patrol the site and adjace nt neighborhood. A map shows the location of the Salvation Army facility on 10th Street in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps It was said that none of the municipalities in Pinellas County contribute to Safe Harbor. That is just not true. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 28


The reality is there were no new additional police ofcers assigned for that purpose, Applebee told the county commissioners. There was a redistricting of the patrol zones around Safe Harbor, which created a smaller patrol zone, and the creation of a home lessness coordination team to handle the situation, Applebee explained. Some of the topics discussed at the City Commission dais recently have led to more confusion than clarication because due dili gence for the two proposed homeless shelter sites is still under way, Applebee said. We want the dialogue, want the factual infor mation out there, but lets get the facts rst, he told the News Leader A BETTER CHOICE A shelter plan is important in Sarasota County because continuing to allow large groups of homeless people to gather in parks and on streets downtown is the worst option for all involved, community leaders say. There is no supervision, Patterson noted. [In a shel ter], they will have warm food, books, TV in the afternoon and people working with them to solve problems The shelter is a better choice than having homeless people hanging out at a fountain. The Sarasota concept envisions a well-run shelter that will enable the city and county to bring order to the homelessness situation. Law enforcement can take people to jail, or take them to a better place, Patterson said. DUE DILIGENCE Public concerns need to be addressed, Robinson told her colleagues. She wants to schedule a board discussion on the shelter, she added, b ut that discussion should be fact-based, not fear-based. Underscoring Applebees comments, Robinson pointed out that a lot of details will be clearer after the due diligence and environmental site analyses have been com pleted. County staff and the engineering rm Cardno ENTRIX Inc. are conducting envi ronmental tests and calculating construction estimates and timetables for the two possible shelter sites: 1330 N. Osprey Ave. and 1800 N. East Ave. Among the results of that work will be the esti mated cost of a shelter at each location and indications about possible ways the Sheriffs Ofce and Police Department can coordinate efforts, Robinson added. Meanwhile, the county is moving ahead with steps to make sure $805,000 in fed eral Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) mone y is available for construction Wayne Applebee is the homelessness coordinator for Sarasota County. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 29


of a facility. The C ity of Sarasota also has $289,000 available in its CDBG program that could be used for the project. Under U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, if the city and county are to keep the funding available for the plan, they must get a certied appraisal of the site at 1800 N. East Ave., according to a staff memo provided to the County Commission. The expense of the appraisal is estimated at $3,500. No such action is necessary for the parcel at 1330 N. Osprey Ave. because it is city-owned. GROWING CONCERN Amid the concerns raised about a shelter on the city-owned site on Osprey Avenue, the operators of the Pines of Sarasota assisted living and nursing home a neighbor of that location worry about the facilitys impact on their operation and those of other nearby institutions, such as a preschool and Sarasota Military Academy. Commissioner Carolyn Mason told her col leagues Tuesday that she had spoken with John Overton, president and CEO of the Pines of Sarasota, adding that the board and staff of the nonprot want to work with the county and city. They have concerns, but they want their organization to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, Mason added. But Overton told the News Leader he does not think the Osprey Avenue site should be the main option for addressing the home less problem. He is afraid that if a shelter is built there, it will lead to 12th Street becoming a thorough fare for homeless people, as the latter walk from the come-as-you-are public shelter to the Salvation Army facility at 1400 10th St. All it will take is one negative incident to cre ate the perception that the area is unsafe, Overton pointed out. My view simply is that were concerned about the fact that we have 400 employees and are concerned about their safety and security, as well as the vulnerable senior population we serve, Overton added in an interview Tuesday afternoon. Sarasota Military Academy on Orange Avenue and a preschool in the area would also be impacted, Overton said, although the extent of the effects cannot be predicted at this time. We are asking them to look at other sites, Overton continued, referring to city and county leaders. Why does north Sarasota handle the brunt of the homeless situation? % Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 30


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A map shows the area on Clark Road where the 2050 Plan changes will go into effect. Image courtesy Sarasota County MAKING DENSE


Meetings on how to alter Sarasota Countys 2050 land-use plan are generally heated affairs, with shots red from commission critics who say board members are doing the bidding of developers and from commissioners who say opponents represent a small fraction of county residents. The Wednesday, March 5, meeting on a series of 2050 alterations that will affect 4,672 acres along Clark Road was nothing like that. It barely lasted a half-hour. The new changes to 2050 include reducing the amount of open space that will be preserved on the property from 50 percent to 33 percent and allowing the neighborhoods commercial buildings to be located outside the development rather than inside it. Requiring commercial businesses to be located in the center of a new village was added to 2050 as a way to incentivize the instruction of walk able, mixed-use communities. The changes will also dramatically increase the density allowed on the land, opening it to the possibility of 9,334 units, or approx imately 5,500 to 6,300 more units than otherwise would be allowed under 2050 development incentives, per a staff report on the issue. The alterations come on top of whatever other changes to 2050 the county eventu ally approves. County staff is in the midst of reviewing large swaths of the plan, which developers say contains too many onerous regulations and is stiing new growth. doesnt work for us as it was meant to, Jim Turner told the commission. Turner is a partner with LT Ranch, which, along with 3H Ranch, ow ns the large majority of the acre age in question. The improved pasture that occupies most of the land is environmentally benign, Turner said, meaning that preserving it as open space would do little to positively impact the environment. He also mentioned the expense $79 million, he said of pur chasing development rights to make a village work under the original 2050 rules. Robert Koski, a neighboring property owner, criticized the changes, arguing that when he moved to the area he imagined that only veor 10-acre ranchettes would be built nearby. Thats a very, very large number of parcels and the reduction of open space to 33 per cent, I think, seriously affects everything around the area, he said. And between the effects on trafc and the effects on density and the effects on wildlife, I dont think thats a good idea. Commissioner Nora Patterson was the lone dissenting voice on the board. Open space in the plan was intended to include pasture land and not just environmen tally sensitive land, she said. It was intended to preserve some agriculture, actually. Patterson is the only current commissioner to have voted for the 2050 Plan when it was adopted in 2002. Among board members, she has been the most consistently skeptical of the decision to revise 2050. I feel like this is a really serious departure from the intent of 2050, Patterson said right before casting her No vote. The motion to approve t he changes passed 4-1. % THE COUNTY COMMISSION OKS BIG CHANGES TO SARASOTA 2050 FOR ALMOST 5,000 CLARK ROAD ACRES By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 33


A graphic presented to the County Commission in November 2013 shows future land use designations for the areas surrounding the Clark Road development site. Image courtesy Sarasota County % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 34


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The Sarasota City Commission faced the future like a nervous maiden on Monday, March 3, nding comfort in the bridal rhyme Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver six pence in her shoe. The silver was the relief that comes from a clean audit of city nances. When Mayor Shannon Snyder com plained about not getting a full presen tation, he was told there was nothing to present. The auditors could not nd a single real nit to pick. However, the old, new, bor rowed and blue were far more nettlesome. The old was a 2007 plan for the 42 acres around the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The city and a variety of private institutions want to ramp it back up as the economy improves Supporters briefed the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations ear lier on this. (See the related story in this issue.) Ultim ately, A substantial crowd came to hear a pitch to revive consideration of a master cultural park plan for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall parking lot and adjacent city-owned property. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE CITY COMMISSION STOPS PAYING LEGAL FEES FOR SUSAN CHAPMAN IN HER SUNSHINE LAWSUIT AS IT AWAITS AN UPDATE ON THE CASE IN A FEW WEEKS ACTION THROUGH INACTION This is a cottage industry to bully people and make money. Kelly Kirschner Former Mayor City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


the commission postponed any action for six months. The new was appointment of leaders for the Independent Police Advisory Panel (Eileen Normile) and the Police Complaint Committee (Bill Fuller). Normile replaces former Mayor Elmer Berkel, and Fuller was reappointed, both actions by unanimous consent. The functions and duties of the panel were expanded by ordinance through a narrower, 3-2 vote, with Snyder and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo again in the minority. The panels have been an experiment in civilian oversight of the Police Department. Commissioners listened but took no action on borrowed trouble. When then-Mayor Suzanne Atwell last year said she was afraid to walk downtown because of homeless ness and vagrancy, she touched a nerve with downtowners who demanded action. After a flurr y of fruitless police Whac-A-Mole actions, the city and county decided to hire a consultant, who then recommended a shelter in the northern part of the city. At Mondays meeting, there was much smoke and some heat but very little light at the end of the eve ning. (Coverage of that is also elsewhere in this issue.) SOMETHING BLUE What could have been characterized as the sad part of the evening was the very last agenda item, as three commissioners prover bially pushed one of their own out into the cold and possible bankruptcy by knuckling under to what has been called a bureaucratic bully. In October, a group called Citizens for Sunshine led suit against the city and two commissioners fo r violating the states public A number of people stayed to the bitter 11 p.m. end of the City Commission meeting to testify in support of Susan Chapman and to hear the commission deny payment of any further legal fees for her defense. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 37


meeting la ws. The organization charged that Chapman and Atwell met with a group that included city staffers, police officers and downtown merchants to talk about homeless ness and vagrancy. There was no prior ofcial notice, and no ofcial notes or minutes were taken. The groups attorney, Andrea Mogensen of Sarasota, alleged the two commissioners talked about the issue and, therefore, violated the states Sunshine Laws. The city and Atwell folded within three weeks, and the city paid Citizens for Sunshines legal bills of $18,000 as called for in state stat utes. The city admitted to a small infraction, and Atwell admitted nothing but paid $500 to a charity as demanded in the settlement. Chapman, however, refused to surrender. In early December, the commission grumbled but voted to pay for Chapmans defense for 90 days. The period expired o n March 3. Ch apmans lawyers say no evidence has turned up to show that the two women spoke about the issue of homelessness at the meet ing. Citizens for Sunshine has not come up with one witness that either Commissioner Chapman or Commissioner Atwell said any thing except pleasantries to each other, said Attorney Bill Fuller. It is our position there is an ulterior motive for the lawsuit. It is to coerce Commissioner Chapman to vote in favor of the 12th Street homeless shelter. One of the two remaining sites under review for a city homeless shelter is located at 1330 N. Osprey Ave., near the Salvation Army facil ity on 10th Street. Fuller cited the sworn testimony of Mike LeShea, a friend of Anthony Lorenzo, chair man of Citizens for Sunshine. The president of Citizen s for Sunshine told [LeShea] the Mayor Shannon Snyder prepares for the start of the March 3 meeting. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 38


lawsuit wo u ld go away if the shelter was approved, added Fuller. Can you put a price on coercing a city commissioner? A COTTAGE INDUSTRY The lawsuit attempts to expand the scope of the Sunshine Laws, banning two or more members of the same commission or advisory board from attending a meeting of constit uents. Since the suit was led, the city has been posting notices for a large number of citizens meetings where two or more commis sioners might appear. Staff even noticed the Veterans Day Parade because commissioners traditionally walk Main Street together. A number of people signed up to speak on the issue Monday. Most were current or past civic leaders. Gretchen Serrie, former chairwoman of the citys Charter Review Committee, told the commissioners, Please give [Chapman] the support she deserves. This is politi cally motivated. Patricia Varley lives in the Gardens of Ringling Park. [Chapman] has the right to listen to constituents. [Chapman and Atwell] were there to listen. When we vote for someone, we hope they will listen to us, to hear our needs, Varley said. Lynn Robbins, a longtime Sarasota Realtor, told the board, Two days after I testied in defense of Ms. Chapman, I received a request from a friend of Mr. [Michael] Bareld asking for my emails while I was on the [Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board]. I referred it to the city clerk, who printed them. Theyve never been picked up. Michael Bareld works for Mogensens law rm. Former Mayor Kelly Kirschner testied as well. You have a pre po nderance of evidence Suzanne Atwell settled the Sunshine lawsuit filed against her over a city meeting on homelessness. Photo by Norman Schimmel City Attorney Robert Fournier will have more information about Commissioner Susan Chapmans Sunshine lawsuit when the City Commission meets again in a few weeks, he says. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 39


there was no viol ation, h e said. This is not an issue of nancial responsibility. You need to go after this and stop this. It is a cottage industry to bully people and make money. DEAFENING SILENCE After the public comments concluded, Vice Mayor Willie Shaw made a motion to extend the payment of Chapmans attorneys fees for another 60 days. The motion failed to attract a second and therefore died. City Attorney Bob Fournier quickly inter vened to ll the void. When a motion fails for lack of a second, it is normally followed by another motion. In this case, the expected action was a call to deny any further payment. Instead, Fournier offered to return in two weeks with an update on the case. Let me talk w ith her coun sel, he said, rather than denying [the continued payment] this eve ning. Shaw turned that into a motion, which Atwell seconded. Commissioner Caragiulo noted, So were not extending the payment. Chapman replied, We have offered media tion. Weve offered to dismiss if they dismiss [the lawsuit]. Theyve either refused or weve heard nothing. She concluded, We were met with obstruction at every turn. Caragiulo phrased his earlier comment a different way. No authorization for further payment. The motion passed 4-0. Because Chapman has a nancial interest in the out come, she is banned from voting on the matter. % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 40


As another aspect of addressing homelessness issues, the Sarasota County commissioners on Wednesday, March 5, held a public hearing on a law that would ban roadside panhandling in unincorporated areas of the county. The new ordinance would replace a tempo rary, emergency measure now in place. The goal of the ordinance is public safety, said John Mast, the coun tys manager of Land Development Services. Two signicant issues, however, came up during the discussion, and action ultimately was delayed. First, the commissioners grappled with how to ban panhandling while attempting to address the concern public speakers raised about the laws limiting the ability of charities, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), to seek contributions during roadside fund raising events. In addition, the commissioners wanted to adopt a unified ordi nance that would be more easily enforced countywide. On that point, Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson won approval for a A man standing alongside Bee Ridge Road in April 2013 sought help from motorists. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COUNTY AND CITY COMMISSIONS CONTINUING DISAGREEMENT ON HOW TO REGULATE ROADSIDE SOLICITATION LEADS TO DELAYED COUNTY ACTION PANHANDLING VOTE POSTPONED I dont think there are hard feelings. They just disagree. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


motion calling for county staff to try once more to work with the City of Sarasota and other municipalities on a standard regulation. Discussions between county and City of Sarasota attorneys thus far have failed to result in agreement on such an approach. Further, at the commissioners request, over the next few weeks, representatives of the Americans for Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will be invited to provide comments on a provision of the ordinance that would allow groups and individuals to seek solicitations if they meet specic guidelines. One possible option, based on an Alachua County ordi nance, is to set aside several days a year when roadside donations can be sought. The co unty board wants to hear whether the ACLU feels such a provision could be per ceived as favoring one group or viewpoint over those of other organizations or individuals. A PLEA Fireghters, parents and patients diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease pleaded with the county commissioners on March 5 to let them continue to hold fundraisers such as the Fill the Boot campaign, which helps fund a clinic and an MDA summer camp for children suffering from neuromuscular disease. Fireghters stand in roadways to accept dona tions, which go to the local MDA chapter. The proposed new county solicitation ordinance would offer clear denitions of areas where people might panhandle. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 43


MDA provides hope for me and many others, said Tonya Smith, who has been diag nosed with a neuromuscular disease. We have been doing this as an organiza tion for 60 years, Venice Fireghter Tony Fitzgerald told the commission. According to a representative from the local MDA chapter, the nonprofit has taken in $25,000 less since the countys temporary solicitation ordinance was enacted because the law bans roadside solicitations. Enacting a permanent prohibition, MDA supporters say, would have an even more negative impact on the charitys ability to raise m oney. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh and Assistant County Attorney Dave Pearce, however, argued against an exemption that could be perceived as favoring certain types of organizations over others. That is because the courts and the ACLU keep a close look out for any local ordinances that might be seen as impeding free speech, the attorneys pointed out. Pearce noted a federal court case during which a judge ruled that local governments could not enact laws that are not consid ered content neutral. In other words, local governments cannot ban some forms, or viewpoints, of speech while allowing others. A PowerPoint slide presented to the County Commission March 5 offers information about how other communities handle roadside solicitation for charities. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 44


I wanted t o stay away from any kind of exemption that would create a content bias, Pearce told the commissioners. NO COLLABORATION The City of Sarasota already has its own pan handling ordinance in place. Although Sarasota County attorneys have met with city staff to see if the two governments could work together on a unied ordinance, those discussions have made little progress. The citys ordinance is stricter, regulating attempted panhandling. [City ofcials] believe attempted solicita tion should be regulated, Pearce said. We dont agree. Commissioner Joe Barbetta said he was shocked when the city attorney told the city commissioners to move ahead with their ordinance instead of adopting the coun tys version. They think its OK to go after attempted pan handling. I think they are going to get sued, Barbetta said. Robinson argued for another attempt at collaboration. She feels the cit y staff should have been involved early on in the discussion of the county law and asked to help draft the county ordinance. Sending [the ordinance] to them to review is different than asking them to participate in the process, Robinson said. I dont feel like we are being a good partner with them. Commissioner Nora Patterson agreed with Robinson that a unied ordinance would be better, but Patterson added that it appears the city does not want that approach. Its a whole heck of a lot easier to have one ordinance and not have to gure out where [the] city line starts and county ordinance starts. Thats unfortunate, Patterson said. I dont think there are hard feelings. They just disagree, she added. Patterson a lso noted that the County Commission had to be careful with its solic itation ordinance. This is a litigious county; we have been sued for things other counties have not. DeMarsh supported the sentiment: There is a reason why your attorneys are conservative on this, he told the commissioners. The city was challenged on t his very thing. % For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 45


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.


A new S arasota County Area Transit (SCAT) Route 30 will meet demand on the northern edge of Sarasota County, providing public transportation to the Mall at University Town Center, which is scheduled to open in October, and Nathan Benderson Rowing Park. Approved by the C ounty Commission in a 4-1 vote on Wednesday, March 5, the route will run along University Parkway from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport to the State College of Florida. (See the acc ompanying map.) It will also make a stop in Lakewood Ranch. The annual operating cost of $714,000 will be split for the rst 18 months by a $529,000 Federal Transit Administration grant and $529,000 in a required county match. To cover the countys sh are without dip ping further into the countys coffers, SCAT will decrease other services. Those range from elim inating routes to increasing headway for others. (Headway Construction continues on the Mall at University Town Center, which is set to open in October. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COUNTY WILL ADD A NEW UNIVERSITY PARKWAY BUS ROUTE, BUT SEVERAL FACETS OF TRANSIT SERVICE WILL CHANGE TO FUND IT MEETING DEMAND The University route is needed. It is a no-brainer with what is going on there. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


is the amount of time passengers wait for a bus to appear on a specic route.) Glama Carter, director of SCAT, told the commissioners the changes were needed to ensure the new route was budget neutral. After the rst 18 months, the county will have to fully fund the $714,000 annual operating expense if Route 30 is to be maintained. A new $446,773 bus for the route will be paid for through sales tax revenue, Carter explained. It will be delivered in May or June. An existing SCAT Express bus will be moved over to Route 30 to join the new one. When Carter rst proposed the University Parkway service to the County Commission in August 2013, the board decided to put the plan on hold because of insufcient money to support it. However, the County Commission directed SCAT ofcials to seek funding oppor tunities such as federal grants. Subsequently, SCAT achieved success in applying for Federal Transit Authority funding. A map shows the new Sarasota County Area Transit route that will serve University Parkway. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 48


A NO-BR AINER Commissioners on Wednesday asked why Manatee County was not participating in funding the new line, since it will run along the border of the two counties. This one should be supported by both [Manatee and Sarasota] counties, Commissioner Nora Patterson pointed out. Carter reported that she did reach out to Manatee County ofcials and that funding the route was not a priority for them. The University route is needed, said Chairman Charles Hines. It is a no-brainer with what is going on there. But Sarasota County should not be the only local government footing the bill, Hines added. Manatee County residents will bene t from this addition; therefore, they should help cover the cost, he said. A large por tion of the users will be from Manatee, and Sarasota County will be subsidizing that route, Hines noted. He asked county staff to continue to explore the possibility of a combined funding effort with Manatee. Patterson pointed out that, in the past, the Manatee County Commission had expressed a willingness to help pay for a University Parkway route. THE TRADEOFF Commissioner Joe Barbetta called the deci sion to approve the new route a tough one because other services have to be cut. But we need the new route, he added. Alth ough she felt some heartache in agree ing to the cuts, Patterson added, the reality is that routes with lower ridership had to be eliminated if the commissioners were going to add new SCAT service. If we are going to privatize, trust me that is what would hap pen, Patterson noted. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson who cast the lone No vote found fault with the plan to cut 90X routes, which provide ser vice to North Port, Venice and Sarasota. She said she felt those routes, which were added recently, were not adequately advertised to residents; thus, they were not highly utilized. She did not want to see them eliminated before they had a chance to build ridership. Robinson represents South County interests on the board. The Mall at University Town Center will be across the street from another shopping complex and just down the road from Nathan Benderson Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 49


Accordi ng to paperwork from Carter, the fol lowing changes will be made: Cutting five Express bus trips on Route 90X (North Port-Venice-Sarasota) and one non-productive evening trip from Route 100X (North Port-Sarasota). Other trips to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport will be extended. Reducing frequency on Route 40 (Webber Street in Sarasota). It will operate every 45 minutes instead of every 30 minutes. Eliminating Route 71 (Booker High School). SCAT will allow Route 7 (Newtown to Northeast Plaza) to serve the Booker High School area. Removing SCAT service after 10 p.m. on all routes seven days a week. This will allow cost savings and the reallocation of resources to Route 30. However, this will impact about 50 customers. Elimin ating the 5:30 a.m. Sunday round trip to Longboat Key. This service will continue to be available Monday through Saturday when other SCAT buses are operating. While an estimated four riders use that early Sunday service to and from Longboat Key, they can use a bus that leaves the down town Sarasota transfer station 35 minutes later, at 6:05 a.m. Extending the current Route 215 on Sunday (Cocoanut to University) to Lakewood Ranch Hospital and connecting the Mall at University Town Center with businesses and services in Lakewood Ranch. Commissioner Carolyn Mason said it is important to immediately get word out to rid ers about the changes. These adjustments will obviously have some impact on some rid ers. I think it is really important that, as soon as possible, we get information out to the ridership so they will know and minimize the angst. % As Benderson Park hosts more and more events leading up to the 2017 World Rowing Championships, organizers say more demand will be seen for public transportation to the venue. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 50


Is Sarasota a strong town? Well nd out soon, when Chuck Marohn visits Sarasota to discuss the research Strong Towns, his Minnesota nonprot, has done on how devel opment decisions impact cities nancial solvency. A civil engineer and city planner, Marohn will speak at the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations annual dinner on March 18 and then host a free Q&A the following morning. The Sarasota News Leader couldnt resist the urge to pick Marohns brain. The Sarasota News Leader : How did Strong Towns get started? Chuck Marohn: I worked for many years doing civil engineering and planning and started a blog in 2008, and on that blog over time I was talking about these things that came down to the Strong Towns principles. My friends encouraged me to start a non prot. They said, Just keep writing and well ll out the paperwork. THE STRONG TOWNS PRESIDENT VISITING SARASOTA SAYS TRADITIONAL SUBURBAN GROWTH FUNCTIONS LIKE A PONZI SCHEME Image from the Strong Towns website By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Q&A: CHUCK MAROHN


SNL : Did t he 2008 crash have an impact on your decision to begin blogging? CM: That was a big part of it, actually. Two thousand eight was the election year and it was the time things really started to melt down and implode. A lot of it was for my own mental health. The early blog days were my personal therapy session. When you write, it helps you sort out your thoughts. SNL : Strong Towns describes our suburban growth pattern as a Ponzi scheme. How so? CM: The way we finance growth from strictly a local government standpoint the transactions come at a very low cost. When the federal government comes in with a grant or the state comes in with subsidies, as a local government we dont pay a whole lot for that. But all of a sudden now we get all this growth, all this tax revenue. Everything looks good. But we take on the long-term liability of maintaining all this stuff. We agree well x the pipes and the roads, and that obligation doesnt come due for a generation. We get the near-term illusion of wealth, and those costs are going to come decades in the future. Then we go out and get more growth, because growth creates more instant wealth and makes us in a monetary sense better off. Without the malicious intent, it has the same function as a Ponzi scheme. SNL : Sarasot a seems to have a lot of decaying strip malls. CM: Its incredibly common. The post-World War II pattern of dev elopment has a very pre dictable c urve to it. You have rapid growth; then, you have this period of stagnation and then just rapid decline and it goes into com plete disuse. We see this again and again and again. We are living with, burdened with, that declining period of stuff that happened a gen eration ago. Florida is particularly nasty in a lot of ways. Its so random. Around the Orlando area, youll be driving and theres an abandoned strip mall next to a brand new mall. The pat tern is so random its hard to see how you stitch those gaps together. SNL : You say age diversity is an import ant factor in building a strong town. We certainly lack that. How does a community increase that? CM: What tends to happen is you have distorted feedback loops. If you have a pop ulation that tends to be elderly, they tend not to favor investments that attract young families. If you dont have kids in schools, youre not as hypersensitive about the condi tion of schools. If youve got a college town, they tend to be less interested in things that help senior citizens lead productive lives. In Sarasota, you gu ys are kind of swamped by Press Releases & News Tips Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 52


snowbirds a nd a certain demographic mix that tends to be a little more transient. That has certain advantages, and it also has some disadvantages. So consciously try to push back against those disadvantages. SNL: It feels like the recession has only deep-ened this urge to grow and grow because development creates economic activity.CM: When somebody needs to eat, theyre less likely to want to engage in a theoretical conversation about making this place stron -ger. The problem that we face, and Florida faces this acutely, is development is not very productive. We need to nd a way to break out of this. SNL : Have other cities been able to overcome some of those deep divisions over growth?CM: When Im in Sarasota, Im going to go across to Martin County, to Stuart. They have a pretty innovative group there that is work -ing on this return-on-investment problem: How do we improve the productivity of our community? That s a huge paradigm shift.Detroit is a huge case study. There are no rules and people have to gure things out. And youve got places like Memphis that are having these discussions. Were doing a boot camp in April to help city leaders reorient the public-private relationship and help them become more risk-tolerant. Thats been a suc cess story, too.The problem is local governments are still embedded in the World War II military hierar chical model. Businesses adopted that model after World War II, but the private sector has gured out that youre much more productive having a minimal amount of top-down teams. Governments dont operate that way, and theyre having a real hard time making that transition. There shouldnt be competing divi-sions walled off from each other. That is the structural challenge that local governments face all across the country.Chuck Marohn will speak at the annual dinner of the Council of Neighborhood Associations at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at The Francis, 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets are $50. At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 19, Marohn will host a free Q&A at the City of Sarasota Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota. % 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. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 53


Sh ould taxpayer dollars be going to schools that teach creationism instead of evolution? Thats the provocative question science education activist Zack Kopplin has asked in interviews with Bill Moyers Bill Maher and others, and on a website that shows his research into state programs that fund cre ationist schools. Appearing on that website: Bradentons Family Life Community School Kopplin is a Louisiana native who, in 2010, as a high school senior, began organizing an effort to repeal the Pelican States Science Education Act, which allows public school science teachers to introduce critiques of evolution and climate change into the class room. Everyone who looked at this law knew it was just a back door to sneak creationism into public school science classes, Kopplin told Moyers last year. Kopplins mission to reverse the Louisiana Science Education Act, although still ongo ing, has broadened into a wide critique of channels by which public education funds are being directed toward schools that question the validity of evolution. Kopplin eventu ally started a website, Say No to Creationist Domenichinos 1626 work, The Rebuke of Adam and Eve, hangs in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Image from Wikimedia Commons SHOULD TAXPAYER DOLLARS BE GOING TO SCHOOLS THAT DO NOT TEACH EVOLUTION? ONE ACTIVIST SAYS NO DEBATE CLASS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Vouche rs, and began compiling a database of creationism-teaching schools that have accepted public money. In Florida, Kopplin found 164 schools that t the bill, all of whom, according to Kopplin, have participated in the states McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program. One of the schools Kopplin found was Family Life. The K-8 schools website lists its cur ricula grade by grade Kopplin zeroed in on the schools use of textbooks by A Beka Book ( Excellence in Education From a Christian Perspective ), Apologia (created to help families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith), Bob Jones (Christ-centered resources for education, edication, & evan gelism) and others. According to the Family Life site, Apologia provides the schools seventhand eighthgrade science textbooks. Apologias website describes the series : ideal for those who love science and those who arent so sure, our Jr. and Sr. High science texts make comprehen sion easy, education solid, and Gods work in Creation clear. Florida Department of Education Press Secretary Cheryl Etters tells The Sarasota News Leader that seven McKay students are currently enrolled at the school and that the school has received slightly more than $141,000 in state funds since 2008. The McKay program is a school choice initiative launched in 1999 that allows students with special needs to enroll in private rather than public schools. According to Etters, private schools Zack Kopplin on Keeping Creationism out of Public Classrooms. Video courtesy of Click to watch the video Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 55


must meet certa in state standards to partici pate in the program. Family Life is listed on the Department of Education website as a participating institution. (The school did not respond to multiple News Leader phone calls or an email.) Sarasota Christian School also made Kopplins list, but seemingly because of an acronym error. According to its website the school has a program dubbed ACE (Accelerated College Education). In education circles, ACE also stands for Accelerated Christian Education Kopplin tells the News Leader his research is likely just the tip of the iceberg. The schools he found are only the ones who made their curriculum afliations apparent. They put that right on their website, Kopplin says. There are a lot of schools that dont have a website or they dont put their curriculum on their website. Jim Wise, a member of the board of the Sarasota-Manatee chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, tells the News Leader he thinks the state fund ing may be unconstitutional at both the state and federal levels. But hes not surprised. The approach to evolution even in public schools leaves much to be desired, he says. If science teachers cover evolution, they often teach it as controversial, which, among scientists, it isnt. And then there are those who dont cover it at all. I knew public school teachers that didnt teach evolution, he adds. In many cases, it was because of their not wanting to have to deal with pressure from parents and school board members who are fundamentalists. Despite being concerned that theres little oversight on the issue, Wise feels the topic of evolution is being well-handled overall in Sarasota County schools. Kopplin says that since posting his research, little action has been taken. But that doesnt mean people want creationism taught in pub lic schools. In Louisiana, such measures are popular in the Legislature, he adds. Theyre not popular in the state. Kopplin insists his fight isnt against the school choice movement or private schools that teach what they think is best. Its about public science education dollars going to schools that dont teach science. Its just bad to teach creationism, he says. % Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 56


Th e City of Sarasotas Development Review Committee signed off this week on a city com prehensive plan change to allow triple-density development in some areas of the Rosemary District north of downtown. The committee is composed of senior city department leaders who expedite permit ting and other paperwork associated with land development. The 47-acre tract is zoned Downtown Edge, which allows 25 units per acre. A developer who wants to build affordable rental units is asking to bump the density up to 75 units per acre through u se of an overlay district. The o verlay would keep the total number of units in the 47 acres constant at 1,175, but it would allow triple density until all 1,175 were used up. Thus, there is an advantage to being among the rst to request the addi tional units. Dr. Mark Kauffmans Rosemary Square proj ect could also benet from the triple-density deal. He told The Sarasota News Leader he would probably rethink his plans to take advantage of the opportunity. However, it will take awhile for the change to become real ity. The Planning Board and City Commission must hold public hearings and approve the overl ay scheme. Plans in 2007 called for a cultural district to be located between the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and North Tamiami Trail. Photo by Norman Schimmel A NEW DENSITY PLAN FOR THE ROSEMARY DISTRICT WINS PRELIMINARY CITY OK, BUT THE CULTURAL DISTRICT DISCUSSION IS ON HOLD CITY BRIEFS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Then the co mprehensive plan change must be reviewed in Tallahassee by a variety of state departments, which now have only 30 days to complete what was designed as thorough oversight of such modications. This shorter timeline followed Gov. Rick Scotts abolition of the Department of Community Affairs. A timetable shows the triple-density overlay could come back from Tallahassee in October for nal city approval. If there is no appeal of the change, it could become effective before the end of the year. This will be the second time the city has used the new Tallahassee approval process. The rst involved a change to the Future Land Use Map around Ed Smith Stadium last year. CULTURAL DISTRICT PUT ON HOLD The Sarasota City Commission on March 3 ordered staff to take no action for the next four months on planning to create a cultural district in the 42 acres surrounding the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center. A 2007 plan for development there was shelved when the economy oundered. With the recent economic upturn, the plan was taken off the shelf by Visit Sarasota County and shown to various cultural and business groups, which endorsed its revital ization. On Saturday, March 1, the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations heard a presentation on that revival and also voted in support of it. The developers of the Rosemary Square project might try to take advantage of a triple-density option for that area if state and city ofcials give it nal approval. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 58


The City Commissions reluctance was based on a pending sale of the Quay property, west of where Fruitville Road terminates at U.S. 41 near the bayfront. In addition, the assem blage of property known formerly as the Proscenium on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Fruitville is also available for devel opment. With those two large parcels in play, commissioners did not want the city to start planning or hiring consultants until the future of the adjoining properties was more settled. Michael Klauber, the incoming chairman of Visit Sarasota County, told the CCNA, I dont think well ever see an opportunity like this again in our lifetime. Without it, we will falter. If we dont support the arts in the city core, we could lose them. Commiss ioner Paul Caragiulo asked, Wheres the potential funding? The answer came two days earlier at the CCNA meeting, when Andy Dorr said an extension of the life of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency is a source of possi ble funding for cultural infrastructure. The commission on March 3 also voted to include the former G.WIZ science museum in the cultural district, with the same four-month ban on any negotiations involving the prop erty. The city was about to issue an Invitation to Negotiate with vendors about possible future uses of the former G.WIZ building, but that is now on hold, too. % The City Commission has put plans for a new tenant of the G.WIZ building on hold while it awaits action on nearby property. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 59


Provide more public participation in the pro cess and more details about how it would work: That was the combined request the Sarasota County Commission made to staff, by consensus, on March 5 after the board heard a presentation on a request for pad dleboard rentals at the Si esta Public Beach concession. Rob Aleri, who owns SUP Sarasota, took the opportunity during the public comments portion of the boards afternoon session Wednesday to plead for approval of a six-month pilot program. He pointed out that he had been working on the proposal for the past 18 months with Warren LaBonte, who holds the Siesta Public Beach concession contract with the county, and coun ty staff. After the trial period, Aleri said, the com mission could extend the program, issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek other c oncepts for A man on a standup paddleboard cruises beyond swimmers at Crescent Beach. File photo THE COUNTY COMMISSION WANTS MORE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND MORE DETAILS FROM STAFF ABOUT A PROPOSAL TO ALLOW PADDLEBOARD RENTALS AT SIESTA PUBLIC BEACH YOUR THOUGHTS, PLEASE I think its a good amenity to have. We can control it but I dont think we have all the logistics gured out yet. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


paddleboard rentals at the beach or say, We dont like a lot of people out on the water hav ing a great time. Its no good; lets can it. Aleri acknowledged the concern of Sarasota County lifeguards about paddleboarders in the swim zone at the beach. Being a former lifeguard himself, he added in my younger and better t days he supports that view. He told the board he does not want to see paddleboarders in the designated swimming area at the beach, which is marked by buoys. However, he pointed out, he felt it was possi ble to make room for the paddleboarders in a separate area.PROS AND CONSCarolyn Brown, director of the countys Parks and Recreation Department, explained during her presentation that while the sport is gaining a lot of popularity here and around the world, the current concession contract between the county and LaBonte does not allow him to rent either motorized or non-motorized vessels. Aleri and Brown had proposed allowing people to rent paddle -boards either at the concession or at Beach Access 11, the westernmost area of the public beach, Brown noted.The present swim zone extends from Beach Access 11 to the Gulf & Bay Condominium Complex property line on the eastern side of the park, a memo from Brown, Fire Chief Mike Tobias and Scott Montgomery, lifeguard operations manager, explains.If the rental transactions took place at the concession Brown told the commissioners, A graphic shows the area at Beach Access 11 on Siesta Key (in yellow), where paddleboard rentals could be allowed. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 61


Youth maneuver paddleboards around sailboats off Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 62


patrons would be told to take the equip ment down to Beach Access 11 and launch from there. Lifeguards already instruct anyone who brings a standup paddleboard or other type of water craft to the beach to launch at the very outer edge of the swim zone, the memo notes. Section 130 of the county code prohibits air sports, watercraft, surng and sailboarding within a swimming or bathing area clearly marked by duly authorized buoys or other distinguishing devices or within 500 feet of any public beach on the Gulf of Mexico, the memo also points out. An alternative, Brown explained, would be to reduce the designated swim area, which is about 2,400 feet in length, to allow space for paddleboarders. The memo suggests carving out 130 feet for paddleboarders. The countys lifeguards are not in favor of amending the county ordinance that governs activities at the beach to allow paddleboard ers in the swim zone, the memo explains. One major concern is that a paddleboarder could strike and injure a swimmer. A s econd person who addressed the commis sion during the public comments portion of the meeting, Laurel Kaiser, pointed out that a paddleboard has a leash 10 to 12 feet long that attaches to one of the users feet; the boards themselves are 8 or 9 feet long. Therefore, if a user falls off the board, she said, swimmers within a 20-foot radius could be vulnerable to strikes. Regarding use of Beach Access 11, Commissioner Nora Patterson asked, Im assuming paddleboarders would have to go straight out perpendicular to the beach until they get beyond the swim zone. That is correct, Montgomery told her. Now how in the world are you going to enforce that? she responded. The area could be cordoned off, Montgomery told her. We would have to work with the vendor on specic rules of the road, or rules of the water, for lack of a better term. Montgomery added that a number of years ago, when jet ski rentals were allowed on Lido Beach, the vendor told customers they had to stay clear of the buoys marking the swim zone or they would lose their d eposits. Paddleboarders enjoy a sunny sojourn on the Atlantic Ocean at Cocoa Beach. Photo by Rusty Clark via Flickr and Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 63


I had constant complaints [about that rental business], Patterson replied, noting she served on the City Commission after the jet ski usage was allowed. Then Patterson asked whether it would be necessary to reduce the Siesta swim zone by the full, suggested 130 feet for paddleboard ers. Perhaps 30 feet would be sufficient, she suggested. We can further evaluate that, Brown told her. Thats a lot to take up a whole beach access for one sport, essentially, Patterson added. When Chairman Charles Hines asked how many boards would be allowed for rental at the concession Ten? Twenty? A hundred? Brown told him that that would be one ele ment for negotiation in an RFP. Hines pointed out that while he had heard concerns voiced about hundreds of paddle boarders taking advantage of the rentals, the reality is that anyone staying in a hotel or condo can walk to the beach with a board and use it as long as the person stays out of the swim zone. Commissioner Joe Barbetta concurred. Aleris proposal, he noted, was to provide another amenity at the concession, which is located near the Siesta Public Beach pavilion. When Barbetta questioned why LaBonte could not be allowed to rent paddleboards, Brown explained that she had checked with the Ofce of the County Attorney and the Procurement Department staff. Their response, she said, was that the concession contract would have to be put out for bid again if it were amended. A section of a staff memo to the County Commission explains lifeguards opposition to allowing paddleboarders in the designated swim zone at Siesta Public Beach. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 64


After County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh afrmed that, Barbetta replied, Well, that ties our hands; that doesnt make a lot of sense. PUBLIC VIEWS WANTED Following some discussion of the legalities regarding the concession contract, Patterson announced, If I were to go for this, it would be after some delay, because this has come up pretty fast. The public needs to be allowed to address it, she said. Referencing a comment Brown had mentioned earlier, Patterson reminded her colleagues that the Siesta Key Association had emailed all of them a letter stating opposition to the use of paddleboards in the swim zone. Sent at 9 a.m. on March 4, the email says, Weve had a close and very positive work ing relationship with Parks and Recreation County Staff and EMT Lifeguards [and] Sheriffs Deputies who provide service to our Siesta Beach Park. Weve not had the oppor tunity to discuss this issue fully with them and feel this issue has merit for public input. We do have substantive concerns Our request is for no action by the BCC until we have an opportunity for discussion with County Staff and public input on this matter. Patterson added that even with direction to stay out of the swim zone, she suspected pad dleboarders would stray into it, just as users of those jet skis on Lido did. Hines agreed that one option was to explore the matter further. I think its a good amenity to have, he added. We can control it but I dont think we have all the logistics gured out yet. I would li ke to see how it can be worked through as well, Commissioner Carolyn Mason said. I would like to see it vetted a little more with the Siesta Key folks. I understand vetting it with the Siesta Key folks, Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson responded, but I dont think theyre the only stakeholders in this. She added that she felt county staff should con tact the Sports Commission at Visit Sarasota County (VSC) the countys tourism ofce. VSC President Virginia Haley and the Sports Commission staff could check into best prac tices on paddleboarding use at other beaches. I know this is offered in a lot of places in the state of Florida, Robinson said. There seems to be harmony in other places on this. Im not for it or against it at this point. Patterson suggested staff also work through the Siesta Key Condominium Council, which represents residents of about half the con dominium complexes on Siesta Key, to learn how its members view the paddleboard ing proposal. Further, Patterson pointed out that it was not clear from the staff memo whether the countys lifeguards would approve use of paddleboards at Siesta Public Beach if the commission did not make any changes to the swim zone rules. After Hines made sure he had consensus for staff to explore the issue further, Barbetta said he wanted to stress to the public that people can walk down with a paddleboard any time they want on the beach, just they cant go in the swim zone area. We cant prohibit it. What were trying to do is maybe control it a little better. Thats all. % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 65


Mass transit is always a thorny problem. The transit part must be realistic. Unless it is the last bus home, people do not want to wait very long. And the mass part is needed, because if only one person rides, the cost per passen ger-mile is astronomical. For some time, the board members of the Downtown Improvem ent District (DID) in Sarasota have considered the prospect of a down town circulator to move visitors from their hotel s to the restaurants and retail shops downtown. But costs were problematic. A bus disguised as a trolley was tried, but people did not want to wait half an hour for a ride. The people behind an entrepreneurial service the Green Hopper tried using six-person golf cars, with drivers living on tips. But breakdowns of t he equipment were troublesome. Now DID Operations Manager John Moran is looking at another system, using a more The six-passenger Green Hopper low-speed electric vehicle was tried a couple of years ago as a downtown circulator. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT HEARS DETAILS OF COSTS FOR YET ANOTHER MASS TRANSIT PROPOSAL SARASOTA SHUTTLE TALK CONTINUES The cost is getting within the realm of possibility. John Moran Operations Manager Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


robust electri c vehicle called the Largo Limo, which is produced in Pinellas County. The company is recommending a very small public-private partnership. It was attractive enough for Moran to run the numbers. I projected start-up costs and operating costs offset by income, Moran told the DID board on Tuesday, March 4. The cost is get ting within the realm of possibility. THE PLAN Moran suggests eight of the Largo Limos would be sufcient to move people to and from downtown hotels. The vehicles would require a secure facility for recharging, and uniforms for the drivers would be needed (Florida casual, of course: monogrammed T-shirts and hats). Add some ofce equipment and the cost to prepare the legal documenta tion, and he estimates it would require about $21,200 in startup capital funding. The eight vehicles themselves could be leased for $46,087 under a ve-year contract. Insurance, maintenance and repairs would push the hardware side of the equation to $85,837. The administrative expense would run approximately $113,000 for a manager One of the new hotels planned in downtown Sarasota Hotel Sarasota will go up next to the Palm Avenue parking garage. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 67


($50,000 w ith n o benets), an assistant man ager ($25,000 with no benefits) and other overhead, including $15,000 for advertising. Combining the hardware and administrative costs produces a $198,837 annual operating expense. Add the one-time capital costs for chargers, security and those T-shirts, and Moran estimates the downtown shuttle could be operational for roughly $220,000. Moran proposed an unusual business model for the service. Drivers could rent their vehi cles for $250 per month, and the drivers would depend on tips. He said representatives of the Largo company knew of operations using retirees who paid $500 per month, and they had been in business for years. Using Morans e stimates of eight vehicles at $250 per month, the raw income would be $24,000, or about 12 percent of the annual operating costs. At some point you can decide how serious you want to be and how much you might want to contribute, he told the DID board. Moran suggested the operator would be a notfor-prot 501(c) (3 ) corporation not directly tied to the DID but receiving facilitation from the city. That might include a secure space in the Palm Avenue parking structure for overnight recharging. City of Sarasota Parking Director Mark Lyons has been help ing Moran with the calculations. THE NEED At least four, and perhaps as many as six, new hotels are planned for downtown to join the three already in operation. The [Ritz-Carlton] has expressed support, said Moran. And were getting interest from the east end [of Main Street]. I think economic development could occur if there is a connection between the east and west ends. For now, it is a pie-in-the-sky matter for the DID. After bonding out and then completing a major downtown sidewalk and landscape rehabilitation last year, it has far less operat ing capital. Its annual income after reserves is expected to be less than $70,000, which will have to cover everything it does. Later this year, the organization will explore the idea of expanding its boundaries. The group levies a property tax on downtown landowners, and it has independent bonding authority. % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 68


The topic at hand on March 5 was whether to allow a paddleboarding concession at Siesta Public Beach, but a comment by Sarasota County Commission Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson sparke d a flash of debate on another matter: the proposed renourishment of Lido Beach. Weve got to start get ting more information before we take these positions, Robinson said, referring to email the board had received from the Siesta Key Association (SKA) in opposition to paddleboarding at Siesta Public Beach before county staff even explained the proposal to the com mis sion that day. Organizations, includ ing the SKA, already have taken stands on the Lido project, Robinson pointed out, even though more information is to be released about that plan this spring. The Big Pass channel is calm as the sun rises on March 1. Photo by Rachel Hackney COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ENGAGE IN AN IMPROMPTU DEBATE OF SIESTA KEY ORGANIZATIONS POSITIONS ON THE LIDO BEACH RENOURISHMENT PROJECT DIFFERENT TAKES People are telling me things that are going to be in that [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] modeling report based upon guessing right now. Its a matter of jumping to conclusions Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Robinson asked Commissioner Nora Patterson, who attends most SKA meetings, to encourage the organizations board to look more deeply into subjects before announcing a position on them. After the paddleboarding discussion wound down, Patterson acknowledged she was going slightly off topic. Then she told her colleagues that SKA members had had the opportunity to hear three presentations on the proposed City of Sarasota/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to renourish Lido Beach by dredging Big Sarasota Pass before taking a stand on that proposal. One of the Corps programs took place in front of an SKA audience in December, Patterson contin ued. I realize theres a second report coming out, Patterson added, but its not like [SKA mem bers] started their conversation in a vacuum. As The Sarasota News Leader reported last week, the Corps has delayed until late April the release of promised models and a full report on the expected impacts of the dredg ing on the pass and on Siesta beaches. On Jan. 9, at their first meeting after the December Corps presentation, the SKA board unanimously approved a resolution oppos ing any plan to dredge Big Pass or its shoal, based on the information available. The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Siesta Key Village Association, Siesta Key Condominium Council and the Bay Island-Siesta Association have approved almost identical resolutions since then. A graphic that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented to local government leaders and the public last fall shows the Corps expectation that the dredging of Big Pass will have no signicant impact on the waterway. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 70


A 1995 aerial view shows shoaling in Big Sarasota Pass. Image courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 71


They didnt wait for an independent report or anything, Commissioner Joe Barbetta said of Siesta groups. The Corps manager for the Lido Renourishment Project told members of the public the Corps recommends the dredging of Big Pass, Patterson persisted, and he did that in more than one venue. Project Manager Milan A. Mora also made a presentation in September 2013 to the coun tys Coastal Advisory Committee, followed by a PowerPoint program on Oct. 22, 2013 to a joint City-County commission meeting. People are going to react to something as important as that as soon as theyre given a formal presentation, Patterson continued. I guess I dont feel like they can be criticized. Robinson responded that her intent in mak ing her comment was until youre fully informed on the issue and people are not fully informed on this issue quite yet they should hold off on taking a stand. This goes to both sides, Robinson pointed out, adding, People are telling me things that are going to be in that [Corps] modeling Condominium complexes on Lido Key stand to the south of Big Pass. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 72


report based up on guessing right now. Its a matter of jumping to conclusions Barbetta referenced the Siesta Chamber vote. I was shocked at that one. Chairman Charles Hines then interrupted, telling his colleagues they needed to turn their focus back to their March 5 agenda. DAYS EARLIER During the Siesta Key Associations annual meeting on March 1, retiring Director Peter van Roekens made his nal report to mem bers as the organizations representative responsible for keeping up-to-date on the Lido Renourishment Project. Im so proud of SKA for leading the way in opposing the dredge, he said. Following in the path of the island organiza tions, he continued, the Boaters Coalition unanimously had come out in opposition to the dredging proposal as well. More than 120 members of that community group have signed petitions to try to stop the Corps plan, he added. Corps Project Manager Mora had been sched uled to speak during a March 6 Sarasota Tiger Bay Club program foc using on the Lido plan, van Roekens co ntinued, but van Roekens had learned the Corps had backed out, leaving the City of Sarasota to defend their position. Van Roekens also noted that Mora originally said the models and reports about the impacts on Big Pass and Siesta beaches would be made available to the public last fall. That timeline has been pushed back three times, he said, with the latest schedule calling for the materials to be released in late April. This certainly doesnt give me condence that they have their act together, he added. Surely, theres an answer to renourishing the most critically eroded section of Lido Beach without dredging Big Pass or erecting groins on South Lido Key, he added. The groins are another facet of the project; they have been designed to keep much of the sand in place on Lido between subsequent renourishments, which are scheduled to take place every ve years after the initial 1.1 mil lion cubic yards of sand is added to the beach, Mora has explained. Last summer, van Roekens continued, he told City Engineer Alex DavisShaw and Sarasota County Coastal Resources Manager Laird Wreford, These groins on South Lido are not like parking met ers t hat can be taken out. % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 73


It was expected to be her nal formal address to Siesta Key Association (SKA) members as their representative on the Sarasota County Commission. Instead of using the March 1 opportunity to focus attention on a particular issue directly affecting the island she also calls home, though, Commissioner Nora Patterson was passionate in pleading for continued careful development in Sarasota County. Noting that votes the board had taken 20 and 30 years ago have had more recent negative impacts, Patterson told the approximately 130 people attending the organizations annual meeting, I dont want to leave that kind of (From left) The full board of Siesta Key Association directors for the new year are Joe Volpe, Michael Shay, Catherine Luckner, Troy Roberts, Bob Stein, Paul Wilkinson, Beverly Arias, Helen Clifford and Joyce Kouba. Not pictured is Deet Jonker. Photo by Rachel Hackney COMMISSIONER NORA PATTERSON USES HER LAST ADDRESS AT A SIESTA KEY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING TO PLEAD FOR CAUTION IN FUTURE DEVELOPMENT LOVE FOR SARASOTA AND HER ISLANDS I do worry [about] the tenets of the [2050] Plan, which are the preservation of open space, the maintenance of rural areas and rural neighborhoods [along with] the ability to develop property in a walkable, enjoyable way that will not nancially burden those of us that have lived here for years The basic tenets of the plan do need to be preserved, in my opinion. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


legacy with the decisions we are making today. In my opinion, we have to continue to be a very attractive place, a place with good jobs but physically well planned and well maintained. Patterson will step down from the board in November after four terms. Though a 2012 Florida Supreme Court ruling on a term lim its case necessitated her retirement, she had told the news media beforehand that she was ready to leave in 2014. Prior to her rst elec tion to the County Commission, she served two terms on the Sarasota City Commission. Patterson reminded the March 1 audience that during the SKAs 2013 annual meet ing, she had pleaded, Please, lets not kill the golden goose. This time, she wanted to add, Lets not injure the beauty of Sarasota becau se were so enthusiastic coming out of the recession. Please, lets not weaken further [the] past efforts to plan for our future, just for immediate prot. Lets see that we dont let slip from our hands the very things that cause us to move here and to love Sarasota and her islands. Then Patterson identied the focal point of those comments: the revision of the countys 2050 Plan It was intended to serve as a roadmap for 50 years of planning regarding lands previ ously eligible only for rural development, she explained. Although the 2050 Plan can certainly stand changes [because] its complex, its tough to read, she said, major, major changes will (From left) The new Siesta Key Association directors are Troy Roberts, Bob Stein and Paul Wilkinson. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 75


Commissioner Nora Patterson offers her remarks on a range of county issues. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 76


destroy the compromise achieved in its crafting. It was designed to ensure major new developments in those rural areas would be undertaken under very specic guidelines. She added, The intent was to preserve agri culture and to preserve rural neighborhoods, to preserve environmentally important lands and open space. The 2050 Plan also required new developments outside the countys urban service boundary to pay for themselves, she pointed out. Although developers have complained that aws in the plan have resulted in a lack of development outside that boundary over the past 10 years, Patterson continued, she could show them a map of the county and point out large developments that were approved at the same time as the 2 050 Plan that also hav e not come to fruition. I would suggest the 2050 Plan is not the impediment, she said. The difculty of getting nancing and the crash in the real estate market have a lot more to do with it. She told the audience, I do worry [about] the tenets of the plan, which are the preserva tion of open space, the maintenance of rural areas and rural neighborhoods [along with] the ability to develop property in a walkable, enjoyable way that will not nancially bur den those of us that have lived here for years The basic tenets of the plan do need to be preserved, in my opinion. Although her primary focus was on the 2050 Plan, Patterson touched on a number of other topics duri ng her remarks. Among them: Sheriff Tom Knight admires the Siesta Key Association T-shirt he received from outgoing SKA President Catherine Luckner during the March 1 annual meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 77


Although county property values rose slightly over 4 percent in 2013, they dropped 40 percent during the Great Recession. She gave considerable credit to former County Administrator Jim Ley for pushing the commission to put aside money during the height of the boom, which enabled the county to weather the downturn as well as it did. The countys unemployment rate hit the 13.3 percent mark for a couple of months during the recession. Thats just stagger ing, Patterson pointed out. Now the rate is just under 7 percent higher than wed like, but still a turnaround. Although the $21.5 million total expense for the improvements at Siesta Public Beach is m ore than I would have liked [the results] will be gorgeous. Turtle Beach will see about $750,000 in improvements, including gazebos and new picnic areas and kayak launches. The renourishment of Turtle Beach could get under way this fall, after turtle nest ing season ends. The county is awaiting the necessary permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The trolley service to Siesta Key is still on schedule to begin this year, so not everybody has to bring a car to our con gested island. Nonetheless, Patterson said, because that project is being funded for three years by the state a nd the county New Siesta Key Association President Michael Shay takes a turn at the podium. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 78


together, I can assure you that if you dont use [the trolley], it wont continue. We have to show support. The aged Siesta Key sewer plant has to be decommissioned in 2016, by state order. To provide sewer service to the island, the county will be building a huge force main along Lockwood Ridge [Road] to take efuent to the [countys] Bee Ridge [Road] plant. The boring will go under the Intercoastal Waterway and Phillippi Estate Park. The $12 million extension of Honore Avenue to Pinebrook Road is scheduled for comple tion by the fall of 2015. I didnt think that would get nished in my lifetime, Patterson added, noting this new north/south connec tor will be a huge convenience. Patt erson told the audience that she and her husband, John, came to Siesta for the rst time in 1970. They were both 27. You can do the math, she joked before adding, I know that you contribute your efforts to keep [the island] a wonderful place to live. Patterson also noted of her four terms on the County Commission, It has really been an interesting opportunity, sometimes contentious, but mostly interesting and extremely rewarding. As she wrapped up her address, she said, It has been a huge privilege [to serve the pub lic]. Ill leave the commission in November with no regrets. The audience gave her a standing ovation. Outgoing SKA President Catherine Luckner presents a gift to retiring Director Ron Flynn. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 79


IN OTHER BUSINESS During the meeting, SKA Director Joyce Kouba announced the new ofcers and full board for 2014-15. Michael Shay was elected president, while outgoing President Catherine Luckner will be second vice president. New Director Bob Stein will serve as first vice president, Kouba will be secretary and Helen Clifford will continue as treasurer. The other new directors are Paul Wilkinson and Troy Roberts. Other returning directors are Beverly Arias, Deet Jonker and Joe Volpe. Two board members retired: Peter van Roekens and Ron Flynn. Van Roekens was on the board for 12 years. This is a man Im not sure ever sleeps, Luckner said of him. Speaking to van Roekens, she added, I honestly dont know how were going to ll your big shoes. Regarding Flynn, Luckner noted he is one of those quiet forces behind the scenes an in credibly talented, brilliant man who has worked on technical issues for the board and the county, including matters related to the coming replacement of the countys emer gency communications system. Luckner presented Flynn and van Roekens gifts from the board. She also recognized Jeanne Dubi, president of Sarasota Audubon, Sheriff Tom Knight and Sheriffs Sgt. Scott Osborne for contributions to the Siesta Key community. Luckner gave SKA T-shirts to Dubi and Knight. In reflections on her term as president, Luckner pointed out that most of the direc tors are working people who handle their SKA responsibilities as volunteers. It really is a labor of love and its a labor of ethics and its a labor of care, she added. Nonetheless, much of that work is directed by the island residents, who raise issues that need to be addressed, she pointed out. This is a part nership. % Siesta Key Association Directors Helen Clifford and Peter van Roekens prepared for the start of the regular meeting in November 2013. Van Roekens just retired from the board. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 80


Bicycles and three-wheel vehicles stand outside Robin Hood Rentals on a cloudy morning on Siesta Key. Photo by Rachel Hackney CALLS TO KEEP EM IN LINE


Even before criticis m ab out the current state of outdoor displays in Siesta Village was aired at a March 4 meeting, a leader of a committee working to revise the county ordinance gov erning those displays was preparing an email blast to his fellow business owners to urge their adherence to the proposed changes. I know whats happening, Mark Toomey, owner of Robin Hood Rentals told The Sarasota News Leader about 30 minutes after the issue sparked sharp remarks during th e Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) monthly meeting on March 4. He was referring to what SKVA members ear lier characterized as a outing of the proposed revisions to the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) ordinance. The SKOD has banned outdoor merchandise displays on Siesta Key. Following a county Code Enforcement crack down on such displays that began last spring, business owners new to the Village who were cited said the prohibition diminished their sales si gnicantly. Since then, various Racks of clothing stand outside Siesta Key Outtters (far left) and Le Grand Bisou Caribbean Boutique (right) on the evening of Feb. 6. Photo by Rachel Hackney SIESTA KEY VILLAGE ASSOCIATION LEADERS SAY BUSINESS OWNERS SEEKING A CHANGE IN THE OUTDOOR DISPLAY ORDINANCE NEED TO PROVE THEIR DEDICATION TO THE CAUSE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 82


merchants and rental firm operators have been working with SKVA board members, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the Siesta Key Association (SKA) in an effort to reach a compromise that would allow some displays without creating what SKVA members have referred to as a ea market atmosphere in Siesta Village. His email blast, Toomey told the News Leader would urge business owners to do exactly what SKVA members advocated that morn ing: pull back to the parameters [of the draft ordinance] that weve sent to the county. He added, Hopefully, there wont be any issues. During the SKVA meeting, architect Mark Smith, a past SKVA president, said of business owners, They really should be adhering to whats being proposed, so that folks out here Mark Toomey is one of the leaders of a group of business owners seeking a change in county regulations to allow some outdoor displays in Siesta Key. Photo by Rachel Hackney Robin Hood Rentals owner Mark Toomey tells the News Leader he has been careful to keep his outdoor display items within the connes of space proposed in a new outdoor display measure for Siesta Key. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 83


can see what were talking about. Instead, they have a blatant disregard for the ordinance, almost in your face with their displays. Smith has been the primary person work ing on the revised ordinance since a rst draft prepared last summer by then-Si esta Key Chamber Executive Director Kevin Cooper was rejected as too lenient. During the Feb. 4 SKVA meeting, Smith said the revise d SKOD ordinance he had drafted would limit the outdoor display space to 240 square feet, and a business owner would have to submit a site plan to the county showing how the display space would be utilized. Anyone submitting an application to the county for outdoor displays would have to pay $25. If a shop were found to be out of compliance with its site plan, its permit could be revoked. PROCESS AND CONTROVERSY SKVA Vice President Kay Kouvatsos noted on March 4 that the latest revision is writ ten very well, though it needs some tweaks. The proposed changes allow for nothing on the walls, nothing hanging from the windows, none of the ea market stuff, she said. SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie explained that she had met with County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key. While Patterson wasnt excited about [allowing] outdoor display, Gaddie continued, Gaddie nonetheless had delivered a draft to Donna Thompson, the countys assistant zoning administrator, who then provided it to the Ofce of the County Attorney. After review, the county attorney said he felt the document met the necessary standards to be pre sented to the County Commission, which will have final say over what happens in the SKOD. Gaddie added that further tweaks were needed before the draft could be placed for discussion on a County Commission agenda. Th en SKA President Michael Shay said of his organizations board members, Were not ready yet to make a decision [on the modi fication] until we see the final draft, since changes are constantly being made. Shay was the person several months ago who sought and received public conrmation from Code Enforcement Ofcer John Lally that Lally had been instructed by his superiors not to cite anyone for displays violating the SKOD ordinance until the effort to revise the ordi nance was completed, one way or the other. Shay asked during the March 4 meeting, How will a new or adjusted ordinance be different from what [is visible in the Village now]? Thats an excellent point, Smith replied. It would be much better for the cause if the [advocates of the changes] show the public and ourselves how theyre going to abide by the rules being proposed. Gaddie said she had spoken with Toomey the previous afternoon and expressed our concerns. It would be much better for the cause if the [advocates of the changes] show the public and ourselves how theyre going to abide by the rules being proposed. Mark Smith Board Member Siesta Key Village Association Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 84


I do ha ve a strong opposition to how they are handling it, past SKVA President Russell Matthes concurred with Smith. Referring to the business owners supporting the changes, he continued, Theyre not even here to rep resent themselves. They put all the work back on us, specically you, he said, refer ring to Smith. Theyre going to be doing this thing all the way through season because theyre getting the advantage of displays as much as they can without enforcement. SKVA Vice President Kouvatsos told the approximately 20 members present that she had suggested to Gaddie that Gaddie give the committee members one week to get all the businesses in adherence to the proposed new guidelines or the SKVA and other island organizations would withdraw their support of the initiative. Make it happen, or were done, and [the SKOD as written is] going to be enforced. Gaddie supported Kouvatsos suggestion. She would make that clear to Toomey and Rick Lizotte, owner of Comfort Shoes in Siesta Village another member of the committee, she added. (Other members of the committee are John Davidson, owner of Davidson Drugs and numerous parcels in Siesta Village; Lori Eible, owner of Foxy Lady; and Aledia Tush, co-owner of CBs Saltwater Outtters.) Its really up to them to drive it through [the county Zoning Administration Ofce], through the county attorneys and get it on the [County Commission] agenda, Matthes pointed out of the business owners. Its already in process, Smith said. Itll be put on the [County Commission] agenda at some p oint in time, he added. Theyre going to have to show up and plead their case. This could just die in process. Shay pointed out, They have no incentive to follow through. Im not trying to be difcult, he said, [but] there is no enforcement. Its just in your face and theyre doing what they want to do. BACK ON THE BUSINESS SIDE During the interview with the News Leader about 30 minutes later, Toomey explained he was unable to make it to the SKVA meeting because of the number of visitors in the Village. As he spoke, he was watching new customers walk into his shop on Ocean Boulevard. Toomey added that a committee survey of retail business owners on the island showed 85 percent of them support the proposed changes in the SKOD. Having the ability to utilize outdoor displays, he continued, is key to surviving down here. But we dont want to take away from the atmosphere of the Village. He was quick to note he is keeping all of his outside display of rental equipment in an area that meets the specications of the pro posed revision. He also lauded Smith for all the work on the draft document. Mark Smith has been fan tastic, Toomey added. The guy has been absolutely brilliant. Asked w hether he felt he and the other com mittee members could muster a strong show of support for Smiths work in an appearance before the County Commission, Toomey said, I hope s o. % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 85


A new electronic check-in system will be available for early voters in the March 25 election who go to the Supervisor of Elections Ofce in the Terrace Building in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Scott Proftt NEWS BRIEFS Sarasota County voters who choose to cast their votes at one of four early voting locations for the March 25 elections will be checking in electronically, according to Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Kathy Dent, a news release says. The elections ofce plans to introduce elec tronic poll books (EPBs) during early voting, which will be under way March 10-22, and in all precincts countywide later in the fall, Dent notes in the release. The new system is designed to improve accuracy and efciency, ease congestion at check-in stations and take the guesswork out of ballot allocation for poll workers and voters, Dent explained in the release. Poll workers will be able to authenticate each voter at any early voting location or precinct in real time, she added in the release. The new poll books are mini iPads, which will be preloaded with the names, addresses and party afliations of all the more than COUNTY TO INTRODUCE ELECTRONIC VOTING CHECK-IN SYSTEM


273,000 Sar asota County voters, the release points out. Each EPB will be able to access the voters record by reading his or her driver license or Florida ID card number, it adds. EPBs are also able to communicate with each other, so when a voter signs in and casts a ballot at a polling location, the information will be transmitted to all devices in all poll ing locations in real time. This feature will reduce the need for provisional voting by making it possible for a registered voter who moves from one Florida county to another to vote a regular ballot, the release notes. With the current paper registration system, a voter who moves to Sarasota from another Florida county and changes his address at the polling location is required to vote a provisional bal lot, it explains. Voters may expect the following check-in procedures with the new system, the release says: A poll worker inspector will ask for a pic ture/signature ID from the voter. If the voter has a Florida drivers license or state-issued ID card the poll worker will position the ID so the EPB can read the ID number and nd the voter record. Once the voters record has been located, the voter will verify the information and sign in the signature eld on the EPB. If the voter presents a form of identication other than a state-issued ID or presents no ID, the poll worker will manually enter the voters information to locate him or her in the voter database. Voters who do not pres ent a photo/signature ID will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. In addition to improving overall polling site efciency, Dent said in the release, the new system will improve post-election data man agement and eventually save the county the expenses associated with the traditional paper poll book system. The four early voting sites designated for the March elections include the three SOE ofces in Sarasota, Venice and North Port, as well as the Longboat Key Town Hall. Herrmanns Royal Lipizzan Stallions will perform the annual benet for the Myakka City 1914 School House at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at the Herrmann ranch, located at 32755 Singletary Road in Myakka City. The event, sponsored by the Myakka City Historical Society, will feature a new tribute to U.S. military personnel, a news release says. The rescue of the Lipizzans by Gen. George S. Patton and members of the Third Army during World War II long has been a feat ured element of the training shows at the ranch during season. The grounds will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. The requested donation is $12 for adults and $6 for children, the release adds. Childrens games and concessions will be part of the activities. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs, but grandstand seating also will be provided. For more information, call 322-1304 or 322-1035. LIPIZZANS TO PERFORM MILITARY TRIBUTE DURING MYAKKA BENEFIT Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 87


Gabriella Herrmann performs the courbette during a training show of the Herrmanns Royal Lipizzan Stallions. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 88


Crews began dis mantling the Gillespie Park playground on March 5 to make way for new playground equipment, the City of Sarasota announced. A new tot lot, as well as a playground for school-age children, will be installed within the next two to three weeks, a city news release says. The playground equipment is 15 to 20 years old and is due for replacement, the release adds. The current rubberized play surface also will be r eplaced with ber mulch, which will blend in with the natural park setting, it notes. The project will cost approximately $90,000. Demolition of the playground is expected to be nished within a few days, followed by the installation of the new equipment, the release says. Gillespie Park is located within the Gillespie neighborhood off Osprey Avenue, between Seventh and 10t h streets. GILLESPIE PARK PLAYGROUND CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS New playground equipment will be installed in Gillespie Park. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 89


Phillippi Farmhous e Market will hold its third annual Childrens Day at the Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, orga nizers have announced. Although activities will be geared to children, parents will nd plenty to enjoy as well, a news release says. For example, Krisztinas Games will once again thrill and challenge kids of all ages, the release notes. Puppet shows will be offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and a free guided tour of the historic Edson Keith Mansion, located in the park, will be conducted at 10 a.m., the release says. Plenty of artists and craftsmen will also be on hand, as well as local authors, including many childrens books authors, the release adds. Brin g your well-behaved dog on a leash and plan to spend several hours perusing the locally grown produce, seafood, herbs, plants and topiaries, the release continues. Ted Stevens will provide music, and the parking is always free, the release points out. The Humane Society of Sarasota County will have adorable cats and dogs available for adoption, the release notes, and Art Center Sarasota will offer a chance for your wee art ists to test their talents on arts and crafts of their own making. Phillippi Estate Park is located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. For more informa tion, call 861-5000 PHILLIPPI FARMHOUSE MARKET TO HOST ANNUAL CHILDRENS DAY The Phillippi Farmhouse Market will have special childrens activities on March 12. Image from Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 90


On Sunday, March 16, at 2 p.m., the Womens Interfaith Network will host a showing of the documentary Strange Fruit which focuses on the song of the same name made famous by Billie Holiday. The program will be held at the Universalist Unitarian Church, located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. A news release notes that the public thought Holiday wrote Strange Fruit which was recorded by dozens of top artists. It was con sidered the rst social protest song. Strange Fruit is an award-winning documen tary exploring the history and legacy of the Holiday cla ssic, the release adds. For all audienc es, this reection on a unique song brilliantly captures the relationship between social art and our real lives and history, the Library Journal wrote. The documentary, which features old news clips and interviews, offers an astonishing revelation mid-lm, the release continues. Following the showing, an African American woman born and reared in Sarasota will speak about Sarasota then and now, the release notes. The program is open to the public. Admission is $3. For more information, call 377-1003. DOCUMENTARY EXPLORES LEGACY OF HOLIDAYS STRANGE FRUIT Billie Holiday in a portrait by Carl van Vechten via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 91


Baseball feve r has gripped the Sarasota area for years, beginning around 1923 and continu ing through the Red Sox era which started in 1933 and went on for 25 years and the current afliation with the Baltimore Orioles, a Historical Society of Sarasota County news release points out. Baseball has helped to shape Sarasotas iden tity as a Spring training tourist destination, the release continues, and it has had a signif icant impact on growth, politics, real estate and the culture of both the city and county. Come and learn how and why Sarasota became linked with professional baseball when three baseball experts gather for a Conversation at The Crocker program on Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, the release adds. The church is located at 1260 12th St. in Sarasotas Pion eer Park. The title of the program wi ll be Batter Up featuring jour nalist and baseball fan Charlie Huisking; Sarasota Herald-Tribune sports writer Doug Fernandes; and author and baseball historian Ray Sinibaldi, the release says. This event is free to Historical Society members and $10 for guests. Everyone is encouraged to wear a baseball-theme shirt or team logo cap, the release adds. Bring your own memories of baseball in Sarasota and share photos. There will be baseball snacks for all, it notes. Proceeds fr om the Conversations help to maintain the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasotas oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901), the release points out. For additional information, contact Linda Garcia, site manager, at 364-9076 or visit the website at HSO PROGRAM TO FOCUS ON SARASOTA AS A BASEBALL TOWN The latest Major League Baseball team to call Sarasota Home is the Baltimore Orioles. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 92


Its tricky bei ng a snowy plover on Siesta Key, Sarasota Audubon members point out. From March through August, the birds have to build their nests, lay eggs and raise their young during the same period when thousands of people walk the beach, children chase balls in games of catch and July Fourth festivities take place, for just a few examples, a news release points out. On Saturday, March 15, at 8 a.m. at the Siesta Key Public Beach pavilion (on the north end of the park), Sarasota Audubon Society President Jeanne Dubi will lead an informa tional beach walk about the birds. Audubon members Bob Luckner, the program coordi nator, and Allen Worms, a wildlife biologist, will also be on hand to answer questions, the release continues. Its abso lutely clear that the more beach stewards we have, the better the chance of ... our snowy plover chicks successfully edg ing to adulthood, said Dubi in the release. Our program trains 20 to 30 beach stewards each year to monitor nests and be chick checkers. Beach stewards may also serve as Beach Nesting Bird Ambassadors, the release points out people who educate the public on the beach about the birds and their habitat. Other beach nesting species that join the plovers on Siesta are the least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and Wilson plover, the release notes. Beach stewards self-sched ule themselves using a Google Calendar set up by Audubon, the release notes. They are asked to spend some time each week on INFORMATIONAL BEACH WALK TO FOCUS ON BEACH NESTING BIRDS A snowy plover chick is well camouaged on the sand of Siesta Public Beach. Contributed photo by Rick Greenspun courtesy of Sarasota Audubon Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 93


Siesta Key, Lido Key or Longboat Key. ID tags and information brochures are provided along with training, the release says. For those unfamiliar with the aforementioned birds, Audubon offers three suggestions everyone can follow to protect the adults and chicks: Keep a distance of 30 to 50 feet from nest ing areas (dunes and buffered zones). Do not chase, or let children chase, any beach birds, especially when the birds are feeding. Look out for chicks, particularly snowy plover chicks, which are about the size of a human thumb. The chicks run all over the beach looking for food within a few hours of hatching, the release points out. L eave dogs at home. Last year, Sarasota County sheriffs deputies also joined in the monitoring efforts to remind the public that dogs are not allowed on the beach, per county ordinance. The Beach Nesting Bird Project, begun in 2006, has support from numerous partners, including the Siesta Key Association, Sarasota County, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Florida Audubon and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the release adds. To learn more about the program or to donate to it, visit To attend the informational beach walk and/ or sign up as a volunteer, send an email to Sarasota County leaders are working with the nonprot Society of St. Andrew to help restock local food banks with fresh locally grown oranges, the county has announced. The Gleaning Americas Fields event will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, at the Sarasota County Solid Waste Administration building, located at 4000 Knights Trail Road in Nokomis, a news release explains. From there, participants will be shuttled to the county-owned citrus grove. Last year was the rst time we had an opportu nity to harvest the oranges, said Brian Usher of Sarasota County Utilities in the release. More than 1.4 million pounds of oranges were picked and donated to food banks. Usher added in the release, We are seeking volunteers of all ages to come out for a few hours on a Saturday and help us give back to the community. Gleaning is a traditional practice of gath ering crops that would otherwise be left in the elds to rot, or be plowed under after harvest, the release points out. The Society of St. Andrew started the Gleaning Network in 1988; the practice is pursued each year in states across the country. Since 1995, when the Society of St. Andrew opened a Florida ofce, more than 31 million pounds of fresh produce have reached food banks in local communities, the release says. To volunteer, contact Kate Lantz at 410-2129825 or For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit COUNTY WORKING WITH NONPROFIT TO RESTOCK LOCAL FOOD BANKS Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 94


A night of high fashion in Sarasota has been planned to raise much-needed funds for Parkinson disease programs and research on the Suncoast: Sarasota-based Neuro Challenge Foundation will host the fifth annual Cause 4 Fashion gala at Michaels on East on Thursday, March 20, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Foundation has announced. All of the models in the show will be Parkinson patients or their caregivers, family members or friends, a news release points out. Proceeds will benet Parkinsons disease programs and research in both Sarasota and Manatee coun ties, the release adds. An estimated 15,000 people are coping with Parkinsons disease in the two-county area, the release notes. Neuro Challenge Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of people with Parkinsons disease and their caregivers through service, education and research, the release continues. Neuro Challenge offers one-on-one advice with skilled professionals, workshops, seminars and the largest and most respected annual Parkinsons Disease Symposium in Florida, co-sponsored by the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, the release adds. The Cause 4 Fashion event will feature spring lines from Inuence, Peace of Cloth, Jackie Z, Elietts on Palm, J. McLaughlin and Martin Freeman, with hair and makeup by Yellow Strawberry, the release says. The event is being chaired by Richard and JJ Williams. Tickets, which are $150, may be purchased by calling Neuro Challenge at 926-6413 or visit ing A cocktail hour and shopping opportunity will precede a ve star meal and best-of-bou tiques fashion show, the release continues. This years bucket list live auction during the show will include a private dinner and wine tasting with Michael Klauber, a Kentucky Derby experience with VIP party and grand stand seating, trips to Alaska and the Isle of Capri, and a James Bond Secret Hideaway tour through Switzerland, Monte Carlo and Venice. NEURO CHALLENGE TO BRING CAUSE 4 FASHION TO MICHAELS ON EAST The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 95


On Feb. 27, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight presented a check for $10,000 to UnidosNow, a Sarasota nonprofit group that works to elevate the Latino commu nity through education, integration and civic engagement, the ofce announced. The money will support the UnidosNow Youth Collaborative for College Preparation (YCCP), an intense mentoring and leadership training program for high school students over the summer and fall of 2014, a news release says. YCCP provides a bridge to college for students who would otherwise not be able to attend due to a lack of resources or tools to navigat e the path to higher education, the release adds. UnidosNow also demands that parents become involved within the com munity, making volunteerism a cornerstone of YCCP. It is a pri vilege to use money seized from criminals to support an organization that pro vides positive, character building programs for young people, said Knight in the release. UnidosNow combines civic participation with college readiness, which prepares stu dents for a successful future and directly impacts this c ommunity as a whole. SHERIFFS OFFICE DONATES FORFEITURE FUNDS TO UNIDOSNOW Sheriff Tom Knight (right) makes the presentation to Frankie Soriano (left) and Cathaleen Kaiyoorawongs of UnidosNow. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 96


On Feb. 27 Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight promoted 10 employees to new ranks to fill vacancies in the Law Enforcement and Courts/Corrections divisions, the ofce announced. Promoted to the rank of major were Capt. Jeff Bell, who becomes the Courts/Corrections Division commander, and Capt. Paul Richard, who becomes the Law Enforcement Division commander, a news release says. Promoted to the rank of captain were Lt. Charlie Thorpe, Investigative Bureau com mander, and Lt. Kevin McElyea, who is assigned to the Court Services Bureau, the release adds. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant were Sgts. Ryan Brown, Chris Montalbano and Joe Giasone, whose a ssig nments are being determined, the release notes. Promoted to the rank of sergeant were Deputies Eric Wegenast, Jason Mruczek and Paul Cernansky, all assigned to the Patrol Bureau. These promotions are the result of succes sion planning, training and mentoring that began in 2010, said Knight in the release. Each one of these people has done a lot of work in anticipation of retirements that are now taking place. Who they are as people, as well as the quality of the work they do, quali es them to assume the duties of the longtime employees who preceded them. The formal promotional process was estab lished during Knights rst term in ofce to ensure its objectivity, the release points out. It is outlined in his Management Review and two subsequent strategic plans, the release notes. SHERIFF PROMOTES 10 EMPLOYEES TO FILL VACANCIES (From left) Sgt. Jason Mruczek, Lt. Chris Montalbano, Lt. Joe Giasone, Capt. Charlie Thorpe, Maj. Jeff Bell, Maj. Paul Richard, Capt. Kevin McElyea, Lt. Ryan Brown, Sgt. Eric Wegenast and Sheriff Tom Knight. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 97


J. Robert Park inson of Siesta Key will be the guest speaker for Literacy Matters the annual luncheon fundraiser of The Literacy Council of Sarasota, on March 28 at Michaels on East, the Council has announced. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. Hayley Wielgus, ABC7 news anchor, will be the mistress of ceremonies, a news release says. Parkinson has been a writer, executive coach and educator throughout his professional career, the release continues. He has worked in academia, business and government. His keen and often humorous insights into every day communication have convinced and challenged audiences to rethink how they construct and exchange their messages, the release points out. Proceeds from the program will benefit the adult literacy programs of The Literacy Council, the release notes. Tickets are $75 per person. Sponsorship lev els range from $150 to $5,000. For more information or tickets, visit saraso or call 955-0421. % PARKINSON TO BE GUEST SPEAKER AT LITERACY COUNCIL EVENT J. Robert Parkinson/Contributed photo Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 98


The Sar asota County Sheriffs Office has joined the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller in warning the public about what is known as the jury duty scam. Sarasota County residents have reported receiving phone calls from people claiming to be court employees or with the warrant department and that arrest warrants had been issued because the recipients of the calls failed to report to jury duty, a news release explains. The scammer will then ask for payment to clear up the matter, typically in the form of a green dot credit card, the release continues. Once the victim obtains the card and loads the required funds onto it, the scammer asks for the card number and the access code on the back, the release adds. With the trans action complete, the scammer disconnects the phone number from which he called, to avoid dete ction. It is impo rtant for all members of the pub lic to know that law enforcement and court employees never make requests for pay ment over the telephone and never request personal nancial information, the release emphasizes. A similar warning was issued in December, so please share this information once again with friends, family, neighbors and organizations to which you belong, the release asks. The callers are criminals and the only way to stop them is to be empowered to just hang up, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. Write down what was said, think about it and contact the agency or ofce the caller claimed to represent to make them aware of the call. Do not fall victim to their pressure. Variations of the jury duty scam and potential identity theft have been reported since 2005 in multiple states, including Florida, a news release from the Clerks Ofce points out. The Silvertooth Judicial Center is on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. File photo WARNING ISSUED BY SHERIFFS OFFICE ABOUT JURY DUTY SCAM CRIME BLOTTER

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The Sarasota County Sheriffs Offices February saturation patrols resulted in eight DUI arrests and 118 citations for other trafc offenses, the ofce has announced. These numbers do not include DUI arrests made during the month outside that specic initiative, a news release points out. The ofce conducts the monthly saturation patrols to remove dangerous, uninsured or impaired drivers from local roadways to keep motorists safe, the release notes. Because of our commitment to keep the public aware of these ongoing education and enforcement efforts, results are provided at the end of each month and d ates for the next months a ctivity are announced, the release adds. Saturation patrols are conducted instead of what is referred to as a DUI checkpoint, it continues; they include a number of Patrol and Trafc division deputies working targeted zones at the same time to monitor driving activity. Because of their design, saturation patrols are mobile and take place in different areas of the county, the release notes. This month, saturation patrols will be con ducted on March 8, 17, 22 and 29, the release adds. Patrols were also conducted on March 1. This is an initiative in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the release explains; it is supported through a grant from the Florida Departmen t of Transportation. SHERIFFS OFFICE MAKES EIGHT DUI ARRESTS DURING SATURATION PATROLS The Sarasota Police Department has started a new program in an attempt to curtail the solicitation of prostitution on the streets of the City of Sarasota, the department has announced. Beginning March 4, prostitution advisory letters were sent to registered vehi cle owners (business and residential) whose vehicles might have been observed at a loca tion where complaints of suspected criminal activity have originated, a news release says. The letter tells the registered owner, Your vehicle was observed on (this date) at an area within the city limits of Sarasota known for prostitution related crimes. The driver or occupant of your vehicle engaged in conver sation with either: (1) a known prostitute (an individual who has been previously convicted of a violation of Florida States 796.07) or (2) an undercover law enforcement ofcer pos ing as a prostitute. This is an advisory letter and not an accu satory letter, the news release points out, adding that it is for informational purposes and no criminal charges are pending against anyone involved. Each registered vehicle owner who receives such a letter is given a case number generated while an ofcer was documenting the inci dent, along with contact information for Sgt. Demetri Konstantopoulos with the Sarasota Police Department Street Crimes Unit, the release adds. Its another tool for us to put in our tool box for the ght against prostitution, Chief Bernadette DiPino says in the release. The Sarasota Police Department is taking a No Tolerance stance on prostitution. The City of Sarasota is [a] beautiful place and community members are working to revitalize the North [Tamiami] Trail. Were trying to change [the] reputation of the North Trail, and in order to do that, were going to take drastic measures to deter prostitution in the city. POLICE TRYING NEW APPROACH TO CURB PROSTITUTION Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 100

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The Sarasota Police Department released this sample of a letter that will be used to try to curtail solicitation of prostitution. Image courtesy Police Department Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 101

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The Sarasota Co unty Sheriffs Office has arrested a man for drug trafcking and other charges following an undercover investiga tion, the ofce has announced. Special Investigations Section detectives and members of the SWAT team executed a search warrant at 2382 Spring Oaks Court in Sarasota on Feb. 28, a news release says. Quintavious Johnson, 29, was taken into custody without incident, the release adds. During a search of his home, detectives found marijuana, cocaine, heroin and a signicant amount of cash, the release continues. Johnson was charged with Trafficking in Heroin, two counts of Sale of Heroin within 1,000 Feet of a School, Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute, Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He also was charged with three additional counts of Sale of Heroin Within 1,000 Feet of a School on a prior arrest warrant. % SARASOTA MAN CHARGED WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING (Inset) Quintavious Johnson. Cash and drugs seized during the arrest of a man on drug trafcking charges are spread out on display in the Sheriffs Ofce. Contributed photos Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 102

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OPINION EDITORIAL HALF A CHOICE IS NO CHOICE AT ALL EDITORIAL Fe b. 26 marked the unofcial launch of the biennial campaign for prospective Sarasota County commissioners. And if most of the announced candidates are any indication, this election could be given the appellation Hobsons Choice 2014. We previously have used this forum to bemoan the paucity of qualied civic-minded citizens offering themselves to the people as candidates for elected ofce, running out of a sense of duty and altruistic concern for their fellow citizens. Instead, it seems too many run for ofce to accomplish some sort of hidden agenda or, worse, to accomplish the hidden agenda of some moneyed special interest that is trying to get the candidate elected. Half of the four announced candidates argu ably could fall into the latter group. In fact, given their backgrounds and that of their principal advocates, it is difcult to imagine two ner prospective county commissioners if you are a land developer. A third candidate is what might charitably be termed an unknown quantity, having as a principal qualication an almost unmatched persistence in running for public ofce, and losing. Apparently, he believes that if he runs often enough, eventually voters will give in and elect him to something. Only one of the four announced candidates appears to be relatively free of the inuence of special interests. Given Lourdes Ramirez vocal opposition to County Commission efforts to gut the long-term 2050 Plan, it is difcult to belie ve that the developers who

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would be delighted to have Alan Maio and Paul Caragiulo serving on the commission would be as thrilled with her. But there are almost 400,000 people in Sarasota County, and they really deserve more of a choice when it comes to electing two out of ve county commissioners for four-year terms. It really does not seem fair that half of the announced candidates already are so closely identied with the lim ited concerns of the development community, and a third is a vir tual enigma. In the 15 weeks remaining before ling ends for these two commission seats, we can only hope that other public-spirited citizens real ize the great need for qualied, thoughtful candidates and decide to offer themselves to the voters by qualifying to run. Currently, only Republicans have stated their intentions to enter the race. Yet, Republicans are a minority in Sarasota County, making up only 43 percent of registered voters. Why is it that Democrats and Independents rarely, if ever, run for these ofces? Perhaps it is the cost, since the deep-pocketed special interests that want friendly com missioners can afford to nance high-dollar campaigns if there is signicant opposition. Perhaps it also is due to the alarming national trend of Koch brothers-backed organizations attempting to do at the local level what they have done at the state and national levels, using ext ensive third-party media advertising to bludgeon and besmirch opposing candi dates, convincing voters that those candidates are somehow villains and not the public-spir ited citizens they likely are. Perh aps, then, the bat tle already is lost. If no one of good character and noble intentions has the courage to run for these offices because of the slings and arrows of a toxic campaign, then those who represent a few rather than t he many will succeed in making our gov ernment a virtual oligarchy. The taxpayers will suffer, as they shoulder a more and more disproportionate share of the cost of public services, as developers get waivers and exemptions to avoid paying their fair share of the expenses of creating their new communities. The environment will suffer as greenspace becomes another term for golf course, and wildlife habitat essentially disappears. Tourism will suffer, as visitors to our state decline to put up with the trafc and other problems brought about by unchecked urban sprawl. It does not have to be that way. Only a hand ful of the more than 386,000 residents in the county are needed to change this situa tion from farce to fair only a few men and women of goodwill and seless concern for the welfar e of all Sarasotans. In the 15 weeks remaining before filing ends for these two commission seats, we can only hope that other publicspirited citizens realize the great need for qualified, thoughtful candidates, and decide to offer themselves to the voters by qualifying to run. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 104

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It was Joseph-Marie, the Count of Maistre, who observed more than two centuries ago that people get the leaders they deserve. If no one of virtue and conscience cares to hold office, and voters acquiesce to subterfuge an d elec toral sleight-of-hand, the results are sadly predictable. Let us hope in 2014 that is not the case in Sarasota County. % To the Editor: In the Feb. 2 8 article On your mark, get set the reporter incorrectly used the phrase Republican machine when writing about my statement regarding my being a target of the local political machine. There is a big difference between the two. The reporter was referring to comments I made at the Village Walk Republican Club meeting in response to an attendees ques tion regarding an incident that made the news media last year. Before the meeting, the woman asked about a local political player who stole my identity to make illegal political contributions in my name. It is true that he was a Republican and his attempt was to dis credit me among fellow Republicans. The fact is he did not do it to advance a Republican agenda or for any Republican cause. The Republican Party was not involved or aware of his actions. The fact is there are local inuential people who use politics as an end to their greedy means. They want to control the political scene to advance their personal agenda. I am known as someone who will not bend to their wishes, and for this reason, they tried to derail my political plans. In this crime, the Republican Party also became the victim. Since the news broke last week, Ive had to explain to people that the local political machine is not a Republican machine. As members of a community, we should con demn the actions of this political machine but make sure we dont mischaracterize an inno cent group in the process. Lourdes Ramirez Siesta Key LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other fac tors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. ARTICLE INCORRECTLY ATTRIBUTED ACTIONS TO REPUBLICAN MACHINE Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 105

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Elizabeth Sykes stole my heart with her poi gnant, pert portrayal of the Cowgirl infatuated with the handsome Head Wrangler (Ricardo Graziano) in Sarasota Ballets Feb. 28 perfor mance of Rodeo Agnes DeMilles theatrical tale of love among the cowboys. Sykes winsome portrayal of an awkward girl infused the trite role with tender charm. I had no idea she was such a strong actress, but she absorbed the role which traced a young girls journey from conformity to acceptance with a soubrettes delicacy, her facial expressions mirroring every slight hope and disappoin tment. At the same time, she sashaye d around the stage like a grace ful imp. Along the way, one cowboy, Logan Learned, had sympathy for her plight, and though he jumped with his usual spectacular brio, I did not think he projected the down-to-earth hardiness of a cowboy; but his tap dancing impressed the Cowgirl character enough to win her heart. The rest of the company, the women dressed appropriately in period long dresses and the men in jeans, lled in the background dancing, carrying the sto ry forward. There was even Sarasota Ballet performs Rodeo in December 2011. Contributed photo by Frank Atura A BALLERINA STEALS THE SHOW IN RODEO AND A PRINCIPAL COMPANY MEMBER CONTINUES TO IMPRESS WITH HIS CHOREOGRAPHY AS WELL AS HIS DANCING WOWING THE AUDIENCE By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer

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Elizabeth Sykes. Photo courtesy Sarasota Ballet Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 108

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an impromptu square dance, complete with Daniel Rodriguez as the caller, performed in front of the curtain to camouage a change of scenery and avoid a pause in the story while adding an extra slice of Americana Though I nd Rodeo dated, there is a charming light-heartedness to this ballet about a young girl learning what she needs to do in order to nd love. It was created during a period in American ballet when choreographers, such as DeMille, wanted to create American stories with plots based in the real world as opposed to the mythic worlds of the 19th cen tury ballets such as Giselle and Swan Lake And of course the lively music, hinting at old folk melodies and mimicking the rhythm of horses galloping on the range, was composed by another American, Aaron Copland. But in my opinion, the music needed to be per formed by a live orchestra for the audience to fully appreciate its timeless power. There were only hints of love in Before Night Falls company principal Ricardo Grazianos newest ballet, even though the work is struc tured with seven couples. It is a cold, arid geometric exploration of lifts with little emotion; but the choreography is clean and uncluttered and the lifts, fascinating and ingenious. The women Victoria Hulland, Kristianne Kleine, Kate Honea, Danielle Brown, Elizabeth Sykes, Ryoko Sadoshima and Anais Blake were supported by an equal number of male dancers who admirably lifted their partners overhead, underneath, around their bodies, up in the air, over their shoulders like leaves twining around a vine. (From left) Ricardo Rhodes, Victoria Hulland and Ricardo Graziano perform in Monotones II. Contributed photo by Frank Atura Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 109

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These extraordinary inventive lifts were slow and acrobatic, requiring enormous control, daring and exibility from the women and strength and timing from their partners. It is obvious that Graziano has control of the spa tial patterns in the way the dancers enter and leave the stage, and though he does vary the dynamics, he shows a cool hand, not needing to ll every second with motion. Visually, the stage was bare except for the overhead globes of lights that resembled groups of stars; and the costumes were sim ple, with both the women and men in blue outts. All the dancers were barelegged, and I wondered if this deliberate choice was a way of making the audience aware of the muscles in the dancers legs as an added comment on the ch oreography; I know I was fascinated, but that may just be I. Grazianos choice of music a clanging propulsive score by Olafur Arnalds, a young contemporary composer annoyed some audience members who thought that ballet music should be more traditional. But Arnalds music worked with the overall detached mood of Before Night Falls providing a oor of sound and rhythm. Yes, there were seconds of suggested contact and emotion: a hand given and taken, a pause, and, in the third duet between Kate Honea and David Tlaiye, the suggestion of love offered and rejected as Honea fell to the oor and her partner wa lked off in the wings. Then, as a (From left) Rita Duclos, Alex Harrison and Ryoko Sadoshima perform Monotones I in February 2012. Contributed photo by Frank Atura Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 110

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surprise, at t he last moment, Danielle Brown and Ricardo Rhodes returned center stage, and emotion seeped into their connection. They stood quietly, facing one another, as if whatever tension between them had been resolved. As she gently laid her face against his shoulder, he held her tightly in a strong embrace while the overhead twinkling lights slowly descended from high above the stage. Perhaps the lack of emotion throughout the ballet until this embrace added to its power. No question, Graziano is young and talented, and in choreographing this spare terse ballet without softening its edges, he showed that he is not afraid to continue following his cre ative star wherever it leads. Sir Frederick Ashton has said that he had always wanted to use Erik Saties music for a ballet, but not until the moon landings in the 1960s did he nd a way. Monotones I and II are the result. I discovered these meditative, poetic ballets that unfold like a dreamscape in a performance by the Joffrey Company many years ago, and they have been lodged in my memory ever since. In Sarasota Ballets Monotones I three danc ers Ryoko Sadoshima, Alex Harrison and Samantha Benoit, wearing shimmering uni tards and small beanie hats responded to the eerie wispy melody of the Satie score in slow sculptural movements. The girls were exquisite in the controlled balances that kept them, for one example, as still as a sculptured form and, again, as the trio walked hand and hand, their arms circling around and out as if scooping up the music. The contrast between the controlled ara besques and the pulse of the rippling music created a feeling that these dancers existed in another galaxy where time and space melted into one another. While Monotones II which is more acrobatic, opened with a boneless Victoria Hulland and two men (Ricardo Graziano and Ricardo Rhodes) who played with her as if she were a tumbling doll. They turned her upside down on one strong toe, her other leg shooting straight up to her ear. In another instant, they locked hands and walked together sideways in silhouette as if walking through space or caught on a frieze from an Egyptian tomb. That sense of unlocked time owed through out the two pieces, as the choreography reected the beautiful simple melodies and rhythm of the mystical Satie score. The actual steps could be classroom exercises here a slow glissade there an arabesque but performed in unison as the dancers wound in and out of a variety of patterns across the stage, the steps became a way for the dancers to converse with the music and the audience. Together, the two ballets were a challenge for the dancers technique and for their abil ity to hold slow sustained balances without showing the effort needed not to quiver or move that is essential for establishing the simple beauty of these special rare ballets that reveal Sir Frederick Ashtons versatility as a choreographer. Sarasota Ballet Director Iain Webb has said he is interested in preserving the past and invest ing in the future of ballet, and this program certainly reects that focus. However, with the Ashton Festival on the horizon and with an Ashton ballet on every program, I have to wonder abou t next years performances. % Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 111

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THE NO RIGHT ON RED SITUATION AT THE STICKNEY POINT ROAD INTERSECTION CONTINUES TO CAUSE CONSTERNATION; A NEW SLATE OF OFFICERS AND BOARD MEMBERS HAS BEEN PROPOSED FOR THE VILLAGE ASSOCIATION; AND THE SIESTA CHAMBER FINALLY HAS A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SIESTA SEEN The no right on red trafc issue at the inter section of Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass Road continues to vex county leaders and Siesta Key residents, as evidenced this week by discussions of the County Commission and the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA). During the County Commission meeting in Venice on March 4, Commissioner Nora Patterson told her colleagues, Id really like our staff to get involved with [the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)] on this. It is going to create more of a problem. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor The new east concession is under construction at Siesta Public Beach as part of the $21.5 million improvements. Photo by Rachel Hackney

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Pile-driving equipment was creating mini quakes at Siesta Public Beach on March 4, even as visitors were ocking to the shore. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 113

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Last week, Lauren Hatchell, a public informa tion ofcer for FDOT, explained to me that the prohibition on right turns on red at that intersection which has been in effect only about three weeks had prompted so many complaints that department engineers already were taking another look at the situation to determine what the next step should be. FDOT made the change after hearing com plaints from pedestrians who reported nearly being run over by vehicles whose drivers had looked left before making the right turn on red but who never looked to the right, and therefore did not see people crossing the road until it was almost too late. Patterson said during the board meeting that a lot of upset people had contacted her about the vehicle backups occurring since the right-on-red prohibition went into effect. For that matter, she said, on Saturday night, March 1, trafc on Beach Road was bumper-to bumper. The trafc was stopped. Anne Johnson, who represents Fresh. PR & Marketing Inc. at the SKVA meetings, told that group just hours earlier on March 4, As I sat in that trafc yesterday [on the Stickney Point Road bridge], I was thinking that DOT runs the bridge openings. I would think theyd get complaints from those bridge [tenders]. How do you ever Work proceeded this week on the new Sarasota County maintenance facility in the area between the site of the new stormwater pond and the public beach. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 114

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Open the b ridge, SKVA Vice President Kay Kouvatsos nished Johnsons sentence. The traffic on the bridge is nonstop at 9 oclock in the morning, Johnson added. A person who works at the boatyard off Stickney Point Road emailed the county com missioners on Feb. 26 to ask about the FDOT change. He also pointed out the backup every day on the bridge. US 41 will need a trafc ofcer on Easter weekend [because] trafc is backed up so far from the island, the man pointed out, if the situation is not improved by then. Patterson told her fellow commissioners she understood FDOT staff was looking into whether the timing of the signals could be adjusted to ameliorate the situation at the Stickney Point Road intersection, but given what she had observed on Beach Road, If you lengthen the light cycle in one direction, you are going to create havoc in the other. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson con curred with Patterson about the gravity of the problem. However, Robinson pointed out that she had observed a related issue: Folks just dont walk in the crosswalks. She added, Its amazing to me, driving up and down the road. Theyll be 50 feet away and not walk in the crosswalk, especially in the vicinity of the Stickney Point Road inter section. I dont think theres anything were going to be able to do to stop that. Robi nson noted that FDOT in 2012 put in the six new crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road between the Stickney Point Road and Beach Road intersections to create a safe lane of travel for the pedestrians. Perhaps this issue offers an opportunity for public education through the Siesta Key Condominium Council the avenue for discussions before that 2012 project was pursued about the need for people to use the crosswalks, she continued. Patterson thought that was a valid suggestion. Unless we as citizens start doing what were supposed to do both drivers and pedestrians were not going to be able to cure every thing on that road, Robinson pointed out. Then Patterson added with a chuckle, Its interesting that FDOTs objection to [install ing] crosswalks [in some locations] has been people dont pay any attention [to them] Robinson responded that the new crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road have been very effec tive for stopping cars when theyre used. Just hours earlier, during the SKVA monthly meeting, past president Russell Matthes, co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck, raised the issue of the new situation at the Stickney Point Road intersection after Sarasota Sheriffs Deputy Chris McGregor provided his report. I know youre not FDOT, but what can you tell me? Matthes asked McGregor. I dont want to go there, McGregor replied with a laugh. Then he added, Were getting calls at [U .S.] 41 and Stickney. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 115

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McGregor t old the approximately 20 people at the meeting, We havent had any signicant accidents [at that intersection]. We havent had any signicant complaints, he added, so he was uncertain why FDOT took the step to implement the No Right on Red rule. Chastanna Nieman, events and ofce manager for the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, said, The Chamber has been getting a lot of phone calls. Were usually the complaint center. McGregor also pointed out that while deputies do see people jaywalking often in the Stickney Point Road intersection area, they are reluc tant to write citations in those situations. Condominium complexes line that stretch of Midnight Pass Road, and many of the peo ple staying in those condos during season are visitors. PROPOSED NEW SKVA BOARD MEMBERS During the March 4 SKVA meeting, the slate of proposed ofcers and board members for the 2014-15 year was presented. Voting will take place at the May meeting, and names may be added to the slate, Anne Johnson pointed out. The proposed ofcers are Wendall Jacobson of Beach Bazaar, president; Mark Smith of Smith Architects, vice president; Helene Hyland of Coldwell Banker Residential Realty, secretary; and Roz Hyman of Siesta Center, treasurer. The others already proposed to make up the rest of the board are Russell Matthes of the Daiquiri Deck, Cheryl Gaddie of CG Interior Design, Kay Kouvatsos of Village Caf, Dave Magee of The UPS Store, Jeff Madden of Beach Bites, Glen Cappetta of Sun (From left) Helene Hyland, Kay Kouvatsos, Russell Matthes and Cheryl Gaddie participate in the March 4 Siesta Key Village Association meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 116

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Ride Pedicab, Brian Wigelsworth of Gidgets Coastal Provisions and Ed McConnell of Siesta Village Outtters. The members on March 4 also approved a motion by Kouvatsos to reduce the total number of board members including the ofcers from 14 to 12. Annual membership fees are due to the SKVA at the end of March. The fee is $50, which enti tles an individual or business to participate in all Village events as well as to be included in listings, logos, coupons and articles on the SKVA website A L OVELY NEW LOOK Cheryl Gaddie, the SKVA president, wel comed her fellow members of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce to a business card exchange on Feb. 20 at her new location, Suite 203 at 5011 Ocean Blvd. For me, that address is particularly familiar, as it is right next door to the ofce suite the Pelican Press called home in Siesta Village for a number of years. Gaddie previously shared ofce space with Mark Smith of Smith Architects. Cheryl Gaddie, owner of CG Interior Design, has transformed Suite 203 at 5011 Ocean Blvd. into her new ofce and showcase. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 117

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Furnishings on display in CG Interior Designs new home can easily catch the eyes of people climbing up to the second oor of 5011 Ocean Blvd. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 118

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Until I visited CG Interior Design on March 4, I had not been in that Ocean Boulevard building since the summer of 2011. To say Gaddies design of her new space is a vast improvement upon what I recall of the suite is a vast understatement. NEW CHAMBER EXECUTIVE The Board of Directors of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce last week announced the appointment of Debra Lynn-Schmitz as the new executive director, effective March 1. She replaces Kevin Cooper, who took a posi tion with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce last fall. Having grown up in Columbus, OH, LynnSchmitz and her family frequently visited Siesta Key and the surrounding area, a news release says. After attending the University of Akron and receiving her degree in business organization communication, she continued her education at the University of Phoenix, receiving her masters degree in organiza tional management. She was with the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce for 27 years, the past 19 as the executive director/CEO, the release adds Lynn-Schmitz received a warm welcome during the March 4 SKVA meeting. GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP New SKA President Michael Shay reminded the attendees at the organizations annual breakfast meeting on March 1 that he is orga nizing volunte ers fo r the Great American Cleanup on March 22. Keep Sarasota County Beautiful (KSCB) is organizing the county ini tiative for this Keep America Beautiful event, he pointed out. Already, he said, he has about 60 people signed up to clean Siestas beaches. More volunteers always are welcome, he added. Anyone interested in participating may email or call the organization at 364-4880. % Debra Lynn-Schmitz is the new executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 119

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The Yale Gl ee Club will present Whim n Rhythm a lively concert, at the Church of the Redeemer on Sunday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m., the church has announced. Hailed by The New York Times as one of the best collegiate singing ensembles, and one of the most adventurous, the 80-voice chorus of women and men will perform under the direction of conductor Jeffrey Douma, a news release says. The concert will feature works by Brahms, Victoria and Tavener, as well as new works by Timothy Laciano, Yale Class of 2015. Among other pieces will be selections by Winslow & Morr ison, folk songs, spirituals and classics from the Yale Glee Club repertoire. One of the most traveled collegiate choruses in the world, the Yale Glee Club was founded in 1863, the release points out. The group, which has performed across the United States, began touring internationally in 1928, the release adds. During its 2012-13 season, the chorus traveled to mainland China and Hong Kong. The suggested ticket donation is $10 at the door. The Church of the Redeemer is located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. For more information, visit redeemersara or c all 955-4263. The Yale University Glee Club will present a program at Church of the Redeemer on March 9. Contributed photo YALE GLEE CHORUS TO PERFORM WHIM N RHYTHM IN SARASOTA A&E BRIEFS

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The Venice Area Quilters Guild will hold its 15th biennial quilt show, Quilting by the Gulf XV A Festival of Quilts on March 8 and 9, the organization has announced. The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at the Venice Community Center, located at 326 S. Nokomis Ave. in Venice, a news release says. The show will feature more than 200 quilts of all styles, a giant boutique with handmade gift items, a gorgeous rafe quilt, daily silent auctions of small quilts to benet the South County Food Pantry and much more, the release adds. Admission is $7 for one day or $12 for both days. For more information, visit VENICE AREA QUILTERS GUILD TO HOLD 15TH BIENNIAL SHOW Joan Rive rs, the entertainment legend of unparalleled accomplishment, will take the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall stage on March 15, the Sarasota arts venue has announced. An Emmy Award-winning television talk show host, Tony Award-nominated actress, best-selling author, playwright, screenwriter, lm director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host, jewelry designer, cosmetic com pany entrepreneur and red carpet fashion laureate, Rivers has a comic style that relies heavily on her ability to poke fun at herself and other Hollywood celebrities, a news release points out. Widely known for her fashion policing of celebrities award show red carpet appear ances and her trademark question Can we talk?, Rivers is a force of nature, the release continues. She often talks about things many would think but never dare to say aloud, the release adds. Her career, which spans more than four decades in the entertainment industry, sky rocketed in 1968 when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson the release points out. Tickets are $40 to $60. For more informa tion, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit JOAN RIVERS TO APPEAR AT THE VAN WEZEL THIS MONTH Joan Rivers will bring her comic observations to the Van Wezel on March 15. Contributed photo by Charles William Bush Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 121

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The Jazz Club of Sarasotas 2014 Joy of Jazz concert series will conclude with Tom Ellison and Hip Pocket on March 9 at 2 p.m. in Centennial Park in downtown Venice, the club has announced. The concert will be free, but donations will be accepted in support of the Jazz Clubs schol arship fund, a news release points out. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blan kets. For more information, call 366-1552 or visit Ellison took up the saxophone at age 7, the release says, and by the time he was 12, he had already played his rst professional gig, performing with his fathers band. That concert s parked Ellisons lifelong passion for live performance and marked the begin ning of an illustrious musical career that has included performing with such greats as Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Woody Herman, Aretha Franklin, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Four Tops and the Temptations, the release continues. Ellison stayed busy in the Rochester, NY, music scene before he moved to Venice in 2010, the release notes. In Venice, he quickly joined the Suncoasts ourishing jazz circuit, the release adds. He is a member of several regional ensembles, including the Naples Jazz Orchestra, the Ken Loomer Big Band and the Sarasota Jazz Project Big Band. JOY OF JAZZ SERIES TO CONCLUDE WITH ELLISON AND HIP POCKET Tom Ellison/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 122

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The Peking Acro bats give audiences around the world the opportunity to experience a rich and ancient folk art tradition, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall notes in a news release. Chinas most gifted tumblers, con tortionists, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts will perform at the Van Wezel on March 12, the release adds. The Peking Acrobats have redened audi ence perceptions of Chinese acrobatics, through their tremendous skill and their daring, gravity-defying stunts, the release continues. The Peking Acrobats regularly passed from the seemingly impossible to the virtually unbelievable, The Los Angeles Times said in a review. The Peking Acrobats have received consider able media attention, the release points out, having been featured in numerous television shows and even in the Steven Soderbergh/ George Clooney movie Oceans 11 The groups performance at the Van Wezel will be accompanied by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments, the release adds. Tickets are $25 to $45. For more informa tion, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit PEKING ACROBATS TO TUMBLE ONTO THE VAN WEZEL STAGE The Peking Acrobats will appear in Sarasota on March 12. Contributed photo by Tom Hinckley of Studio 1501 Photography Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 123

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Venice Theatres ne xt Stage II production will be Underneath the Lintel Glen Bergers absorbing one-man show, as The New York Times put it, the theatre has announced. Underneath the Lintel will open Thursday, March 13, in the Pinkerton Theatre and run through Sunday, March 30. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays, a news release says. Tickets are $25 to $28 for adults and $10 to $15 for students; they are on sale at the theatres box ofce, online at or by phone at 488-1115. Underneath the Lintel is an adventure story about a Dutch librarian on a quest to find the person who returned a book that was 113 years overdue, the release explains. His search takes him around Europe and through centuries, and it involves many clues, ending in Christian medieval folklore, the release adds. Peter Ivanov will direct Jeremy Guerrero in the solo role, a part that earned T. Ryder Smith a Drama Desk Award nomina tion as Outstanding Solo Performer and later brought popular West Wing actor Richard Schiff back to his stage roots when he took over the role in the West End production, the release points out. Guerrero is no stranger to one-man shows, having garnered awards for his performance in I Am My Own Wife also at Venice Theatre, the release says. Critical response to the play when it opened in New York in 2001 (after a short preview in Los Angeles) was positive, the release adds. Anita Gates of The New York Times called Underneath the Lin tel disarmingly entertaining and Frank Rizzo of Variety praised Bergers play as powerfully human and ultimately sublime. Both reviewers com pared the story to The Da Vinci Code with Rizzo commenting that Underneath the Lintel is a riveting production that makes The Da Vinci Code seem like a game of hide-andseek, the release notes. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. Box ofce hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour before all performances. AWARD-WINNING ACTOR GUERRERO TO STAR IN VENICE PRODUCTION Jeremy Guerrero will be the librarian in Venice Theatres Underneath the Lintel. Contributed photo by Renee McVety. Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 124

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The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has selected six award-winning lms for its 2014 Jewish Film Festival, the Federation has announce. The festival will be held March 16-21 at vari ous venues in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Most showings will be followed by a discus sion with the audience, a news release notes. Tickets are $10 per lm. A six-lm festival pass is $54, and a $72 patron pass offers reserved seating at all six lms. Tickets can be pur chased online at or by calling 552-6304. The film s were selected by Roz Goldberg, chairwoman of the Jewish Film Festival, and her committee members: Karen Bernstein, Marsha Eisenberg, Barbara Jacob, Helene Morgenstern, Susan Newmark, Lois Stulberg, Evans Tilles and Janet Tolbert, the release adds. Goldberg says in the release that audiences can expect to experience an out standing roster of new award-winning lms that span almost 80 years in time and culture from Europe and Tel Aviv in the 1930s to France in the 1940s to Rome in the 1990s to contemporary settings in Israel and in outer space. Its going to be a whirlwind journey! FEDERATION TO PRESENT FIFTH ANNUAL JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL The Jewish Cardinal will be shown during the Jewish Film Festival. Contributed image The Return of the Violin is another selection for the Jewish Film Festival. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 125

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A Thrilling, Chilling Afternoon with James Swain will be held on Wednesday, March 19, at noon in Florida Studio Theatres Court Cabaret, Bookstore1Sarasota has announced. The FST venue is located at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. The luncheon event will feature best-selling author Swain, who has written 16 thrillers, a news release says. His novels have been translated into 10 foreign languages and some have been chosen Mystery of the Year by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, the release notes. Swain has received three Barry Award nominations a Florida honor for ction as well as the prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for Best American Crime Writing, the release continues. Swain is more than an author, the release points out. He also is a magician and a mind reader. Yes, you read that correctly: a mind reader, the release adds. Tickets, which are $25, include lunch. Order tickets at the Florida Studio Theatre box ofce or by calling 366-9000. In other Bookstore1 news, T.D. Allman, author of Finding Florida and Miami: City of the Future will be at the store on Saturday, March 8, at 6 p.m. A freelance journalist best known for his exposs of the CIAs secret war in Laos and for his later interviews with world gures as foreign correspondent for Vanity Fair, Allman offers a comprehensive look at the history of [Florida] from its discovery, exploration and settlement through its becoming a state to notable events in the early 21st century, the release continues. Poetry LocalMic will be held on Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m. at the shop, the release says. This month we feature three local poets: Lucia Blinn, Marcia Reass and Linda Parks, the release notes. All will read from their own works, and audience discussion will follow. Then at 7 p.m. on March 10, Robert Edsel, author of Monuments Men will appear in a program at Riverview High School Auditorium, the release notes. The school is located at 1 Ram Way in Sarasota. The program will be presented by the Jewish Federation and The Ringling. To make a res ervation for it, call Len Steinberg at 552-6301. Bookstore1Sarasota is located at 1359 Main St. in Sarasota. More event information is available at or 365-7900. BOOKSTORE1 TO PRESENT THRILLING, CHILLING AFTERNOON WITH SWAIN James Swain/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 126

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The local social group Sarasota Singles Society will mark Mardi Gras in Sarasota at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, at the Sarasota Yacht Club, the group has announced. The club is located at 1100 John Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota. You will lose yourself to the entire party spirit as we parade throughout the club, led by our musicians, said Sherry Janes, founder of the club, in a news release. Imagine you are on Bourbon Street as you arrive in your colorful carnival-type attire, she added in the release. Tickets are $68 per person, including dinner, tax and gratuity, the release continues. While membership is not required, an additional fee of $20 is required from each guest, the release adds. Reservations are due by Friday, March 7, and they may be made online at sarasotas or by phone at 504-4064. The event will be a decadent New Orleansstyle party with musicians, dancing and a New Orleans-style dinner buffet including jambalaya, blackened redsh and more, the release continues. A Mardi Gras masquerade costume contest with prizes will round out the night; attendees are encouraged to wear masks or colorful attire. Membership in the Sarasota Singles Society is available for $129 for six months, the release notes. It includes amenities, travel oppor tunities and several events each month. A poolside party and kayak trip are being orga nized for group members during April, as well as an excursion to Key West in May, the release adds. SARASOTA SINGLES SOCIETY TO MARK MARDI GRAS ON MARCH 12 The Sarasota Singles Society welcomes interested persons to attend its Mardi Gras event on March 12. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 127

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Artist Series Co ncerts of Sarasota will present critically acclaimed vocalist Jennifer Sheehan and pianist James Followell in the program You Made Me Love You celebrating 100 years of the Great American Songbook, the organi zation has announced. Shows will be held Saturday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 16, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Asolo Theater, located at 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, a news release says. The program will include songs by Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, Henry Mancini, Barry Manilow and Johnny Mercer. Tickets, which are $25 to $45, may be purchased at artistseriescon or by calling 360-7399. Sheehan has become one of the most sought-after new voices in the concert and cabaret world, the release points out. Critically acclaimed for her refreshing vocal style and riveting stage presence, Sheehan has performed in esteemed venues and programs across the country, including Carnegie Hall, where she was the guest of Michael Feinstein; the Savannah Music Festival; the Eugene ONeill Theater Center; the Juilliard in Aiken Festival; and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Followell has worked as a music direc tor, accompanist and arranger with many Broadway and cabaret luminaries, the release notes. He was musical director for the Off Broadway production of Jerry Hermans Showtune and featured pianist /vocalist in The Best of Tim es at the Vaudeville Theatre in Londons West End, the release continues. He also served as music director/pianist for the Off Broadway hit Forever Plaid and he was the conductor/pianist for the international tour of Little Shop of H orrors the release says. ARTIST SERIES CONCERTS TO PRESENT YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU Jennifer Sheehan/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 128

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Venice Theatres senior theatre performance troupe, The Silver Foxes, will take to the MainStage March 19 through March 23 for its annual March performances, the theatre has announced. Breaking from the tradition of a variety show format, the troupe will perform a fulllength original musical under the direction of Brad Wages, a news release points out. The show will be a musical comedy called Its a Country Thang, Yall! It might remind audi ences of a cross between Green Acres (city meets country) and the old Mickey Rooney/ Judy Garland movies (lets put on a show in the barn), the release adds. Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Reserved seat tickets are $24; they may be purchased online at ven or by calling the box ofce at 488-1115. The Silver Foxes are professionally directed volunteer performers who have been enter taining around the area for 22 years, the release points out. Bringing song, dance and laughter to community centers, reli gious groups and clubs throughout Sarasota County, the troupe reaches nearly 5,000 audience members each season, the release says. The annual MainStage show helps raise money for Venice Theatres education and outreach programs. This years produc tion is the groups most ambitious ever, the release adds. RE-ENERGIZED SILVER FOXES TO RETURN WITH ALL NEW SHOW The Silver Foxes actors, singers and dancers pose after a 2013 MainStage performance. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 129

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Downtown Sarasota pub The Shamrock will host its sixth annual St. Patricks Day Block Party from 2 p.m. to midnight on Monday, March 17, in the pub and under a tent at 2257 Ringling Blvd., the establishment has announced. Proceeds will again benefit the Sarasota Family YMCA Youth Shelter, a news release notes. The event is free and open to the pub lic. Doors will open at 9 a.m. The all-day party will include live music, live art, food trucks, face painting and lots of Irish and craft beers, the release adds. Last year, the Shamrock raised more than $7,000 for the YMCA shelter, which provides safe care for youths ages 10 to 18 who have run away or are experiencing family conict, the release points out. Were so thrilled to once again support the Y Youth Shelter while at the same time throwing the best St. Pats party around, said Shamrock owner Derek Anderson in the release. The headliner for the main stage will be Have Gun Will Travel, the Bradenton-based folk/ pop/rock band whose music has been fea tured on national television and radio, the release continues. The rest of the lineup fea tures Andy Thomas, Ship of Fools, Passerine, City of Sarasota Pipe Band, Sons of Hippies, Hail Dale, Big Blu House and RAEF with a DJ and light show between acts after dark. The m usic will start inside the bar at 2 p.m. and move outside at 4 p.m. The entertainment schedule is a combina tion of traditional Irish music fused with local contemporary indie acts everything from hip-hop to folk to indie rock, said Anderson in the release. At 6 p.m., the Shamrocks annual limerick con test nalists will take the stage for a chance to win a trip to Chicago for a tour of the new Lagunitas Brewery plus the Beer Circus grand opening, the release adds. The pub will also be open before and after the block party, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., the release notes. For more information, visit shamrocksara % SHAMROCK ANNOUNCES ITS ANNUAL ST. PATRICKS DAY EVENT The Shamrock pub will host its sixth annual St. Patricks Day Block Party on Monday, March 17, in downtown Sarasota. Image from Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 130

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The Church of the Redeemer again will offer organ recitals during Lent. Photo by Ghpierson via Wikimedia Commons RELIGION BRIEFS The Church of the Redeemer, located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota, will present a half-hour Lenten organ recital on Wednesday, March 12, the church has announced. The program will feature Richard Benedum, director of music at Christ Church of Bradenton, a news release says. The recital will begin at 12:10 p.m. and end at 12:40 p.m., the release notes. It is free and open to the public. For more information, call 955-4263 or visit CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER TO KICK OFF LENTEN ORGAN RECITALS

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One of Tem ple Emanu-Els most popular monthly programs, Lunch with the Rabbi will have a special installment for the Jews of Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton on Tuesday, March 11, at noon at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, located at 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., the Temple has announced. An hour-long program of friendly socializ ing and stimulating conversation with Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman, Lunch with the Rabbi offers the opportunity for both casual min gling and serious discussi on about current events and topics of Jewish interest, a news release says. Attendees are asked to bring brown-bag lunches; homemade dessert will be provided. An additional Lunch with the Rabbi will be held Wednesday, March 11, at noon at Temple Emanu-El, located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. Members of the community are warmly invited to both events, with no reservations required. For more information, call 371-2788. LUNCH WITH THE RABBI TO BE HELD MARCH 11 AND 12 Rabbi Brenner Glickman and Harry Lifsec enjoyed an earlier installment of Lunch with the Rabbi at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 132

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The Church of the Redeemer in downtown Sarasota hosted a reception on Saturday night, Feb. 22, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of organist/choirmaster Ann Stephenson-Moes working at the church, Redeemer announced. More than 200 people associated with the church and the community attended the event, a news release says. Stephenson-Moe leads Redeemers music programs and several choirs, the release points out. Each year, she also orchestrates a dynamic Great Music Series that brings worldclass musicians and concerts to Sarasota, the release continues. Additionally, she serves as organist and music director at Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key. Along with her late husband, Daniel, Stephenson-Moe co-founded Key Chorale, Sarasotas symphonic chorus, the release notes. She also co-founded, and performed as associate conductor and keyboardist for, Gloria Musicae. The Church of the Redeemer is located at 222 S. Palm Ave. For more information, visit or call 955-4263. REDEEMER CELEBRATES STEPHENSON-MOES 40 YEARS (From left) The Rev. Richard Marsden; the Very Rev. Fredrick Robinson, rector; the Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald (retired); the Rev. David Bumsted; and the Rev. Charleston Wilson marked organist/ choirmaster Ann Stephenson-Moes 40 years at the Church of the Redeemer with a grand reception for the parish and community on Feb. 22. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 133

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Temple Beth Sholom Schools (TBSS) in Sarasota kicked off its science curriculum for the secondand third-grade classes with a learning expedition to the Celery Fields on Feb. 11, the Temple says in a news release. Through TBSS project-based learning pro gram, the excursion enabled the students to enjoy a hands-on science lesson as they learned rst-hand about vertebrate research they were studying at the school. When we approach a new unit in science, it is important to look at the overall standards and decide how we can best combine direct instruction with hands-on experiences, said Barbara OBrien, a science teacher in the sec ond and third grades at TBSS in the release. We always want to be a part of what is going on in our community, and we want to help our students learn about their direct involvement in positively affecting their environments while making sure the students are receiving the important scientic knowledge that each unit is based upon. Jacob, a second-grader and he says future dentist, was quick to share his newfound knowledge of invertebrates and vertebrates. Today weve seen about 10 birds, he is quoted in the news release. This is way more TEMPLE BETH SHOLOM SCHOOLS KICKS OFF SCIENCE CURRICULUM Secondand third-grade students at Temple Beth Sholom Schools enjoy a science excursion. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 134

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fun than sitti ng in class and looking at them in a book. Jacob pointed out in the release, Invertebrates dont have a spine, and vertebrates do. We have been having a lot of fun, and we write down the birds weve seen on the sheets we got for the tour. Each student was given a pair of binoculars, a clipboard and a pencil, along with a detailed bird-watching guide, to track and record what he or she s aw, so the students could discuss the results later in class. The kids at TBS Schools are so enthusiastic and involved in their learning, noted Mary Foster, a guide from Around the Bend Nature Tours, in the release. The tours are provided through the Sarasota Audubon Society Celery Fields Education Program. Weve never had a school come out with a prepared bird list before, and they are all so interested in what we have to say, and thats very refreshing, Foster added in the release. These students came here with knowledge and were ready to put what they learned into practice. They were so excited to use the bin oculars, and we really werent expecting such great questions! Temple Beth Sholom Schools, the only pri vate Jewish school in Sarasota and Manatee counties, has classes from preschool through eighth grade. It is open to all children and families, regardless of faith or religious or ethnic background, the release points out. With a mission to impact the world through academic excellence, global citizenship and compassionate action, students are taught through Project-Based Learning (PBL) with a focus on teaching for understanding, the release explains. TBS Schools is accredited by the Florida Kindergarten Council along with the Florida Council of Independent Schools. For more information about TBS Schools, go to By popular demand, Dr. Bob Toplin, the author of Reel History and an expert on cinema and culture, will return to Temple Emanu-El on Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m., the Temple has announced. Speaking on the topic Hollywood and Hitler Toplin will examine the role of American motion pictures in responding to anti-Semi tism and the Nazi threat, a news release notes. The Temple is located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. Members o f the community are welcome to attend this stimulating afternoon [pro gram], which will include a PowerPoint presentation and film clips, the release adds. There will be a charge of $5, payable at the door. For more information, contact Temple Emanu-El Adult Education Committee Chairwoman Beth Ann Salzman at beth TEMPLE EMANU-EL TO PRESENT HOLLYWOOD AND HITLER Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 135

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Everyone is welcome to attend an eclec tic Cantorial Concert at Temple Sinai on Sunday, March 23, at 3:30 p.m., the Temple has announced. Chazzan Cliff Abramson, the areas first ordained cantor, will present a program of liturgical music, operatic arias and songs in several languages including Italian and Ladino, a news release says. The sanctuary will be lled with pianists, vocalists, cellists, violinists, clarinetists and mandolin players to create musical fare for all to enjoy, the release adds. Chazzan earned his rst graduate degree in theatre from New York University in 1985, and he has performed on stage, lm and tele vision, the release notes. In addition to Jewish music, he has also trained in classical music as a tenor and classical guitarist, the release adds. Joining Chazzan will be local notable musi cians David Lieberman on clarinet, The Sarasota Mandolin Ensemble, Christine Bruno and Lurray Myers on piano and Dr. Michal Gordon on cello, the release contin ues. Among the vocalists will be Bob Liscotti, tenor; Carole Fetterman, soprano; Amy Connours, mezzo; and The Sinai Singers. Stay for dinner, the release says. The meal and concert are $30 per person, while the concert only is $15. Register online at tem or call 924-1802 for advance reservations. The concert price at the door will be $20, the release notes. Temple Sinai, located at 4631 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, warmly welcomes guests, the release adds. Enter the site off Proctor Road between Beneva and Swift roads. % TEMPLE SINAI TO HOST CANTORIAL CONCERT WITH ABRAMSON Chazzan Cliff Abramson of Temple Sinai. Contributed photo by Lynn Elkes Press Releases & News Tips Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 136

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 07+ MARCH FST presents Thurgood Through March 8; times vary; Keating Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $36 to 39. Information: 366-9000 or 07+ MARCH FSU/Asolo Conservatory presents How I Learned To Drive Through March 9; times vary; Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $27 to 29. Information: 351-8000 or 07+ MARCH Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents Harry and Lena Through March 23; times vary; 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 366-1505 or 07+ MARCH Dabbert Gallery presents James Grifns Sunlight Seduction Through March 31; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 14 MARCH WSLR presents Spider John Koerner March 14, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $12 in advance/$15 at the door. Information: 894-6469 or 16 MARCH Manasota Theatre Organ Society presents Jelani Eddington March 16, 2:30 p.m., Grace Church, 8000 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Tickets: $15 in ad vance/$18 at the door. Information: 776-3668. 16 MARCH Sarasota Pops presents Music of 007 and Other Movies March 16, 3 p.m., Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $5 to $25. Information: 926-7677 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 137

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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 NO GUTTER BALLS HERE SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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